Third FloorMature

    Consumed by thoughts over Jessie that it was only when Willow stood facing the plain door that she realised she was finally going to meet Daniel O' Donnell. She froze. Her past encounters were hardly a meeting with him and each time, the great weight of loneliness forced itself upon her and it only faded away once Daniel vanished from sight. The longer the encounter with him, the heavier it became, leaving Willow's entire body with its burden until she didn't feel strong enough to move. This time it would be different...or so she hoped, she had been working at the problem...although she had to admit it was very unlikely that it would take effect so soon.

   She took a deep breath to steady herself and after counting to three mentally, she released her held breathe and knocked firmly on the door and waited. Nothing. Her hand was shaking at her side as she willed it to reach out and turn the handle. Willow glared at the door handle. "Oh this is stupid." she muttered under her breathe and all but yanked the door of its hinges as she leapt into the unknown room.

   The brightness of the room startled her that she stood in the doorway for several seconds, just blinking until her eyesight adjusted. Willow nearly dropped the tray along with the cup of coffee and the morning mail. There was only one word to describe this room: modern. All the walls apart from the one she had just come through had been replaced with glass panel windows. Willow was speechless; she was gazing out across the treetops of the forest that surrounded the mansion. What little rays of sunlight that peeked through the grey morning clouds highlighted the golden green leaves that danced in a playful breeze.

   There, in the very centre of the room was a very simply glass desk with only a few pieces of paper upon in spread out neatly and a row of sleek black files stored beneath on one of the attached shelves. The desk was the only item in the entire room along with a chair which was currently in use. He was sitting at the desk, deeply buried in a some kind of letter; he showed Willow no attention as she approached the desk. Her clenched jaw became tighter with every step she took towards him, bracing herself for the strike from the tremendous pressure while a mental image of a tree was fixed in her mind, blocking out any unwanted thoughts or feeling.

   Not knowing if she should say anything at all and partly because the housekeeper's words of warning were flashing through her head, Willow placed the tray on a clear part of the desk without a word passing her lips and turned away. She had missed her chance; she had been so set on actually trying to get to him that she had spent no time preparing what she would actually say to him. On the plus side, it had worked; she had been able to prevent his emotion from affecting hers.

   "Where is Miss. Mitchell?" He asked her just as she was about to close the door to leave. Her tree shattered into a million pieces and fell from her mind...she turned slowly on the spot and if Mr. O' Donnell had glanced at her, he would have seen a very baffled Willow gawking right back at him. His voice had broken her concentration entirely because he sounded as normal as anyone could be. How could someone look as dead as he did and yet sound absolutely fine? Willow thought as she told him that Jessie was ill, repeating 'Sir' more than needed for just one sentence. He did not question her further or make any attempt to find out who she was, his eyes never left the letter he was holding.

   Still confused over this strange man, Willow closed the door and just stood there at the top of the final set of stairs leading back down to the second floor. "This house makes no sense." she moaned to herself and feeling more lost herself, began the descent down the stairs.

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   The next morning was exactly the same, Jessie was not in and Willow brought Mr. O' Donnell his monring cup of coffee, focusing upon her mental tree as she did before. He didn't look at her as she came in, placed the tray down at his desk and headed back to the door. He asked her again where Miss. Mitchell was.

   "She is ill Sir, I'm replacing her for now Sir." Willow told him, only this time, his voice did not startle her like before, she refused to be unsettled by this man anymore, it was the only way she would stand a chance of helping him, she had to be able to be herself around him and for that to happen she had to not let his depression enter her. Mr. O' Donnell said nothing else to her and she left the room in silence.

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   The third morning was the exact same thing, she put the tray on the desk and as soon as she was halfway through the door, he asked where Miss. Mitchell was yet again. Annoyed at having to answer the exact same question for third time, she breathed in deeply before telling him the exact same answer and once again, the man was silent and she left in silence, shutting the door with more force than necessary.

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   No wonder everyone here acts the way they do, Willow thought as she placed the tray upon the desk while he was reading another letter of importance. Having to go through the same routine for four days now and still no news heard from Jessie had finally gotten to her. Mr. O' Donnell asked her where was Miss. Mitchell as Willow grasped the door handle firmly, her knuckles turning white from the strenght she was gripping it with.

   There were two options that flashed through her mind as she stood in doorway. The first was take a deep breath, turn around and tell this man forth time that Jessie was still ill and leave without another word being said until the exact same time tomorrow morning. Then there was the second option. Willow took the second option.


The End

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