"Don't worry, it's a big house but believe me, before this week is out you will have a decent mind map of the layout." Jessie repeated her words of comfort to Willow trailing behind her as they went up the stairs to the second floor. It was only when she bumped into Jessie's back that made Willow look up from her feet in time to see Jessie bow her head slightly, "Morning Sir."
He glanced briefly at Jessie in acknowledgement before flicking over Willow. His eyes were dead, any colour that was there had now faded entirely into grey. She frantically grasped the banister as the emptiness crashed on top of her. He carried on down the stairs without saying a word, she was glad that he had not spoken, to hear his voice would be unbearable to hear. Warmth spread across her shoulders and she heard the concern in Jessie's voice, she pulled her eyes away from his departing body to see Jessie's face inches away from her own, her hands clinging onto Willow's shoulders.
"You scared me there, you've gone pale, I thought you were gonna faint or something." Jessie almost pulled Willow up the stairs, still fearing Willow would fait and fall down the stairs.
"What happened to him?" Willow managed to croak the words out, her mouth felt like it was full of sand and she had used her strength to get up the stairs in one piece so that she didn't need to lean on Jessie which would just make her worry all the more. Jessie just stared dumbly back at Willow. "To him, what happened to him?" Willow indicated to where the guy had been but had now vanished out of sight yet again.
"What to Mr. O' Donnell? Nothing has happened to him, he's just not very chatty that's all." Jessie told her, a little confused as to why Willow had thought something was wrong but just put it down to her not feeling to well. "You look a lot better now, you're not as white anymore."
"Didn't you feel that, that coldness, he just seems so lost. It was overpowering...how could you not feel it?" More strength returned to Willow's voice as she found it hard to believe that no one else noticed how lifeless this man was.
"He's not lost, no, he's head of the family company so Daniel, oh, don't ever call him Daniel around Patricia She will skin you alive ok. Anyway yeah, he is just in work mode, that's all Will, can I call you Will or do you prefer-"
"Will's fine." Willow quickly interrupted to get back to Daniel, "I'm sorry but he is not in work mode, he is in depressed, I'm gonna jump off a cliff mode. Something has to be done ok, he needs help." Jessie just looked at Willow for a couple of seconds, trying and failing to not smile as she could tell that Willow was completely serious.
"Will, I've been working her for a while now and I can tell you that Daniel has always been this way, it’s just how he does things, you have nothing to worry about. Besides, I dunno what happened back there but you are wiped out so I say the sooner we open the windows, the sooner I can get you to sit down for a bit." It was clear that Willow was not going to get anything else on the matter so she allowed Jessie to guide her through the rooms, opening the windows as instructed by the housekeeper's schedule.
As they did this, Willow had made a decision, one that she would make sure to follow up on no matter what happened. There was no way she could work there and put up with the walking corpse like everyone else was able to. Daniel O' Donnell was screaming out for help and only Willow could hear his voice. The sooner she was able to the better, before some horrible disaster occurred.
* * * * * *
A week had passed and Willow had now settled in to her new job with ease and Jessie and been right, she could if need be, draw a layout of the house blindfolded. Willow had also been right with her first thought that Jessie's friendship would brighten up the working day, more so since the other couple of cleaners talked amongst themselves and refused to let anyone else into their little gossip group. After spending everyday together with only each other to talk to apart from when Gavin was around, Willow and Jessie found that they had a lot in common and whatever they didn't agree on, ended up being debated for hours with no conclusion except they that they were as stubborn as each other.
The one problem Willow did have was that it was impossible to get anywhere near Daniel before he left at nine thirty in the morning for his work and the times she had nearly got to him, Mrs. Williams appeared out of nowhere with some task that had to be done right away. She had thought of staying at the house for a night and trying to catch him around then but the idea of spending a night by herself with no one to talk to frightened her, she did not want to be alone anymore.
Willow couldn’t help but yawn as she shuffled lazily up to the staff room door and had barely reached out to grab the handle when it was thrown open to be lifted off her feet by a beaming Gavin. He slapped her feet back onto the ground, the air knocked out of her lungs and yanked her into the room while shouting with joy about how brilliant it is to be alive and that life is amazing.
"Ok Gav, I'm loving this new look on life and everything but its like eight fifteen and I just woke up twenty minutes ago" Willow mumbled, collapsing into the leather sofa, shutting her eyes as a shield from the bright lights.
"I know but I can't help it! A couple of my friends set me up on a date last night and we just clicked, I have found my soul mate!" he exclaimed, clearly not caring if anyone overheard what he was saying, most likely wanting everyone to hear what he had to say about this mystery soul mate of his.
Willow's eyes snapped open and bolted upright, full of attention and ready to hear what happened on this date of his."You went on a date and you never told me! Alright out with it, I want to know everything." Gavin sprang in front of her and knelt down in the same movement, taking both her hands in his.
"I didn't know I was going out on a date, my friends surprised me so that's why I didn't tell you sweetie. They took me to this club and we met at the bar, we talked for hours I just got lost in his eyes that I actually dropped my drink when he brushed his hand against my shoulder when he went to the bathroom -"
"Wait, his eyes...he’s a he?" Willow questioned, not sure if she had heard Gavin correctly, Gavin just rolled his eyes at her. "Yes, his name is Kevin and when I looked into his eyes, I felt like I could touch his soul." he added, a dreamy look taking over his face, his sparkling blue eyes turning misty as he got lost in his imagination while Willow blinked for a few seconds as all the little things she had noticed about Gavin click into place.
"That does explain all the comments you make while watching those supermodel shows...and why you watch them" she muttered to herself, smiling as he launched into the rest of his date with Kevin, his face becoming more animated as he described the little things that Kevin had done that reminded her more and more of a child opening their very first Christmas present. "So did you guys kiss?" she asked, teasingly. Gavin turned a light shade of red, "You're blushing. You are actually blushing!" Gavin playfully slapped her on her knee, telling her to shut up, "Something happened otherwise you wouldn't be blushing and trying to get me to stop. Now out with it, did you guys kiss?"
"Nothing happened." he told her, Willow was not buying it, "alright so maybe he walked me to my door and kissed my hand, that was all. He told me goodnight and he kissed my hand now will you drop it now because you gotta go take up the morning coffee in five minutes" Gavin sat down beside her, turning on the TV with the remote he just picked up from the glass table behind him, Willow glanced at her watch, it was indeed five to nine and there was no sign of Jessie anywhere.
"I guess so but where's Jessie, she should be here by now." she could not hide the concern in her voice as even by Jessie's standards for time, she was late to arrive.
"She called me at eight, well, her boyfriend called me, she fell down the stairs, she won't be for a while so its up to you to get that coffee to the top man for a bit." He saw the wave of questions about to explode from a shocked and concerned Willow and hastened to fill the silence before she did, "That was all that was said, she's fine, just a little sore and for you to not worry about it because your gonna be late for getting that coffee sorted, then you'll have to deal with Mrs Williams."
"But, god, fell down the stairs, how can she be alright, is she at the hospital, did she break anything?" she stammered out an endless list of questions, each one not completed as the next one popped into her head. Gavin pointed to the clock, you don't have time to get changed, just get the coffee and go" He pushed Willow off the chair, rushed into the kitchen himself since Willow was still chatting away to herself about calling her injured friend and was wondering how long it would take to get to Jessie's house after she was done working later on when Gavin placed the tray in her hands and set off along the corridor and up the stairs to the third floor.