(The Fancy Pants Club Pledge)
I, _Daniella E. Rosecraft_, of legal age, and a rightful resident of _Gracie Mews 401 E 80th Street, New York_, do hereby solemnly pledge myself before the Fancy Pants Club President, its Honorable Officers and its Witnesses to practice faithfully my duties as a Member of the Club.
I hold the care of its activities as sacred and I will come to assist the officers with loyalty and honesty. I will not knowingly permit harm to come to my fellow members. I will not partake of, nor administer any unauthorized fancy events or parties without the written or expressed consent of the President.
I will hold all personal matters pertaining to the private lives of the Members in strict confidence. I dedicate my mind, heart and all abilities to the Club. I shall do all in my power to show in myself an example of all that is honorable and good throughout my membership.
And lastly, I will hold true to anything that is fancy as dictated by the President and its Officers.
Signed and verified by the Fancy Pants Club New Member
Ms. Daniella Emile Rosecraft
Signed and verified by the Fancy Pants Club President
Mr. Erik Romano Fancii
This is my official pledge to the Fancy Pants Club signed with my own signature. In the President's Club office at the second floor of the chateau, Erik handed this to me first to read and then sign. I guess this is for formality's sake which I understood, but when he handed me a second copy of it revised to suit our arrangements, I thought to myself that to him, this is more important than the first one.
The first few sentences were expected to be reasonable, I just shrugged my shoulder the whole time, but as I read down to the end I couldn't help inserting a few exaggerated reactions in it and they are as follows...
I, _Daniella E. Rosecraft_, of legal age, and a rightful resident of _Gracie Mews 401 E 80th Street, New York_, do hereby solemnly pledge myself before the Fancy Pants Club President (the sole witness of my agreement in this sham) to practice faithfully my duties as his personal maid (uh... slave). Whatever he wishes, I shall grant. Whatever he tells me to do, I shall do. (Are you serious?)
I hold the care of his activities as sacred (really?) and I will come to assist him with loyalty (I doubt it) and honestly. (Heck, I'm no liar!) I will not knowingly permit harm to come to him. (What is he a baby?) I will not partake of, nor administer any service to other persons or any of the club members without written or expressed consent of the President. (What am I a puppet?)
I will hold personal matters pertaining to the President's private life in strict confidence. I dedicate my mind, abilities, heart and body to him. (Are you freaking serious?!) I shall do all in my power to show complete subservience to the President.
And lastly, I will hold true to anything that is fancy as dictated by the President.
Signed and verified by the Fancy Pants Club New Member
Ms. Daniella émile Rosecraft
Signed and verified by the Fancy Pants Club President
Mr. Erik Romano Fancii
So this is how it all ended up. I returned the second paper to him after reading it, sliding it across his mahogany desk for him to pick up. Nope, I didn't sign it because of the two most obvious words I didn't like. It was heart and body. Erik, who was sitting in his executive office chair, had to raise a bitter brow at me when he saw the encircled words.
I returned the gesture to him just the same, but with crossed arms. "What?" I snapped.
I thought he'd ask to further elaborate my rationale of the encircled words, but he actually didn't and instead he said, "I am not typing again, Daniella. These corrections are insignificant."
I scoffed and flipped a hand in the air. "Those two words aren't just the only problems in that second pledge. It is basically it as a whole. I am no puppet, Mr. President, just to remind you, so I have free will to do anything I want to do even though I am your maid."
"You have free will, " he corrected which actually surprised me. "You can do anything you want to do while you stay in the chateau."
"Then what is that second pledge meant for?" I asked, "The first one is just enough. Why do you need to revise it?"
He released a long sigh. "Just sign the damn paper, Daniella." He glared at me and then handed the paper back.
I wasn't intimidated at all, but in order to make things quicker, I signed my name but not before putting a large X on the paper. I returned it to him with a victorious grin, but he just stared at me blankly.
"Suit yourself, " he said after taking it back.
It was already a void copy because of my corrections, but he still handled it with utmost care as if it still had a binding effect. I just watched as he placed it in a safe behind his chair.
"Let's go, " he said when he turned back to me.
I cocked a brow. "To where?"
"Lunch remember? I'm sure two of your 'knights' are already waiting impatiently for your presence." He crossed the room leaving me scurrying out my seat, but then I paused midway from the doorway after realizing something.
"Huh, that's it?" I said, looking at his back.
He turned to me and raised a questioning brow. "That's what?"
"Am I going to sign the pledge only? How about the duties and responsibilities of my employment to you?"
He smirked this time, leaving me wondering what plan he was concocting in his mind. "You don't need to Daniella. You'll know when you start working for me."
"And when is that if I may ask?" I crossed my arms.
"Now, " he simply replied. "Come, let's not keep the others waiting." And thereafter, exited the door.
I had to blink twice to understand the word in detail.
Really? As in effective immediately I am going to start my services to him? No one day leeway or something?
I hauled a deep breath, closed my eyes and prepared myself mentally. It is my usual ritual whenever I am to go through a situation that needed courage. However, right now, courage is not what I expected myself to have, but nerves of steel and immense luck to deal with this kind of a man for the whole six months.
Erik used his red Ferrari to drive us to our destination. The restaurant Vincent had texted me was inside Beverly Hills, just a three-minute drive away from the chateau. The whole time I was in his car, I felt nervous because of the silence between us. He didn't even say a word about my seatbelt and just pointed it to my attention.
I never expected that I would ride on this car again after that incident in Lotus Spade, but I guess I will have to change my expectations starting now since I know I will be working with him for months. Under the bright noon sun, looking at Erik's profile now and how his hands and feet coordinated well with driving the sports car, I couldn't help but secretly be at awe with him. He just looked good, and cool, and...
"What are you looking at, my precious esclave?" he suddenly said, snapping me out from my fanciful musing. "Liking what you see so far?"
Luckily I understand French, so I was irked with how he called me. I quickly shook my head, gave him a pointed glare, then dragged my eyes away from him to the tinted window. "Nothing, just thinking how égo?ste you are."
He didn't bother on replying, but I swear I could see a reflection of him smirking at me whilst he continued on driving the car with perfect skill.
I swear, the next time I am going to loose my composure because of this man's lethal charms, I'm going to stop snacking on TJ's Speculoos cookie butter, and mind you, I refuse for that to happen because I love TJ's a lot.
When we arrived in the restaurant, without blinking an eye, I scanned the whole area. This place is just full of romantic elements complete with brick walls, dim light chandeliers and elegant furniture. When we strolled further inside and into where Vincent and Enrique's table was, I felt Erik's hand slid around my waist like he was my possessive boyfriend. My breath hitched and my hands clasped in response. I seriously want to swat his hand away because like I said before, touching is a no no in our arrangement, but since we were in a public place, these two are the only quick reactions I could make.
"Daniella!" Both of my 'knights', as what Erik had called, exclaimed in unison. They both stood at attention, but thereafter raised their brows as their eyes steered to where Erik's hand rested. I saw Vincent curve a small smile then, while Enrique stepped forward and approached me.
"I thought you are not joining us, Prez, " he said while glancing at my temporary employer.
"I changed my mind, " Erik answered, then walked passed us, choosing a seat for himself.
I saw both Enrique and Vincent shrug their shoulders.
"Please sit here, Daniella, " Enrique dragged a chair in front of me but Erik swiftly pointed a vacant seat near him.
"No, here, " he said, then pulled the furniture out.
I gave the hopeful Enrique a lopsided smile before choosing Erik's seat. I have no choice anyway. He is my employer so I chose him. I just hope that this doesn't cause the two other men vying for my attention any weird ideas (like weird are-you-his-bf or something ideas.)
"What took you so long?" was Vincent's query when we all sat.
I gave him a slightly nervous smile. Right now, I didn't want for them to know that I work for Erik because of his stupid-ass blackmail. "Uhm, I had to straighten up some...kinks, " I answered after giving Erik a discreet look.
"And these...kinks, were they...straightened up?" Vincent queried again in a much more deliberate highlight of the words. This made me think that he was suspecting something. He ran his eyes from me to the president, then back and gave a secretive smile.
I dismissed it as just a trick of my mind. "I'd like to believe it had, but it remains to be seen, " I answered.
"Oh really?" he pressed two fingers in his chin and watched Erik who acted as if he was reading the menu.
There was an invisible tension between the three of us but luckily Enrique quelled it by inserting himself in.
"We took the liberty of ordering for you, Se?orita, but I'm afraid, since I didn't know that Prez would join us, we weren't able to order anything for him."
Erik snapped the menu shut. "That's fine. I'll do it myself, " he announced then raised a hand in the air calling for a waiter. Just as quickly, one came with a pad and pen in hand. Erik enumerated the dishes and drinks he had chosen. The whole time I was raising my brow because it sounded as if he ordered too much for just himself.
I wonder if he is a glutton in secret. I guess that remains to be seen under my six months service.
Since Enrique and Vincent had already waited for us for half an hour, our order were already served and in our side of the table. An antipasto of fried ravioli for Vincent, chicken parmesan sticks for me, and a cup of espresso for Enrique. For the entrée, I got shrimp scampi with pasta and chicken scallopini, while they both got pork chops Italiano and gourmet mushroom risotto.
Yes, I am good with naming these Italian cuisines quite well because I had so many experiences with Italian weddings through my family's business.
I helped myself with my antipasti first, acting demure and polite in a table full of hot, gorgeous men. However, I couldn't help but be curious of Enrique's unusual choice of drink.
"Do you always grab a coffee during your lunch Enrique?" I asked, unable to hold myself back.
He looked up and gave me his Spanish blue eyes. "Yes, why do you ask? Is it odd for you?"
I shook my head slightly. "Not at all, but it makes me think you are a heavy coffee drinker."
"He is darling, " Vincent butted in, "Because his family owns a plantation of coffee beans in Spain."
"Oh, " I gaped. Now that was one fact that caught me off-guard. I guess it is understandable since he is of noble blood.
The waiter interrupted our conversation when he came in holding a tray of dishes for Erik. I saw him straighten in his seat while the man arranged the plates.
"Daniella, " he then turned to me after taking a two-in-one plate of beef stew and mushroom risotto.
"Hmmm?" I rolled my eyes at him and then suddenly, I had a premonition that the next words he'd utter would drag me to the seat of embarrassment.
"Eat this, " he ordered in a not-so-polite way.
I blinked at the plate before me. "But I already have a plate of my own."
"Then discard that and take this plate. This is better, " he pointed.
I looked at both my knights and saw them pause from eating to stare at us.
"What's the prob, Prez? She is already eating my order, " it was Enrique who boldly questioned that.
"She needs to fatten up. Your order fails to do that, " was Erik's simple reply.
And then I heard Vincent smother a laugh. "This is the first time I've heard you care for a woman's appearance, President. That's so...unlike you."
I watched the one questioned with curiosity and waited for his rebut.
"There's always a first for everything, Vincent, " he managed to say then inserted the said plate next to my antipasto.
I gathered up my courage to speak since I believe that my final decision would most likely put a period on this unhealthy argument of ours.
"If fattening me up is your goal then I might as well eat all of these, " I stated to him. "I can't discard Enrique's order for yours. That's just downright disrespectful."
I expected him to counter a firm order, but he just shrugged me off and said, "Do as you wish."