“Cosette,” echoed a voice; interrupting her work.
“Ah, Fils de pute!” she winced in pain, and threw the knife on the counter after pricking her finger. She cursed even more, though used words far more uncommon to Alfeo, and words likely more crude. She gripped the tip of it like a vice, and watched the blood bubble to the surface of the cut. She hadn’t cut off the digit, but it was quite deep to bleed so profusely.
“I’m sorry, mademoiselle,” the man apologised in French.
Cosette looked up from her work, and her wound and saw the gardener in the doorway. She glared at him. The hopeless man. And rather than simmer like the pot on the element, she exploded, “What?! What is so important?!”
Ashamed for butting in, he said again, “I’m so sorry, Cosette. But, the boat has arrived. The guests should be at the villa in a few minutes.”
“Génial! Was that so important? I already knew they were coming! Augh! Petit tabernac!”
“I’ll go get—”
“Non!” scowled Cosette, knowing he’d get the medical supplies. But she wanted to be left alone. “I will do it myself. Casse-toi.”
Alfeo nodded, and excused himself, while Cosette went for the sink to rinse away the blood.
“Merde!” Cosette swore again.
In addition to cooking for a despicable creep like Linden Murray, she now had to cook for ten extra people over the course of the week-end. And all on her own. It was more than enough to drive Cosette up the wall. Then enter a man who tip-toed around the house frequently, soundlessly. Always moving around so quietly, startling her on a daily basis—
Cosette took a deep breath. Inhaled… and exhaled. In... and out.
“Il n’est pas M. Murray…” she chanted, “Il n’est pas M. Murray… ” It was her new mantra. And already, her face didn’t feel as flush, and the flow of blood had almost stopped, by her estimation. It had begun to clot. Then a solution of saline, a plaster over her injury, and she was back in business.
When Cosette returned to her workstation, she picked up the knife again. A bright red cruor had stained the metal, but she seemed fascinated by it. She wondered, how long it had been since she last cut herself. She wondered how long it would be before she saw a blood stain on a knife again.