Laelia had left a few hours prior and patients had been coming in on time for their appointments. Patients were never on the time it seems except for today, today everything was going differently than it always did.
Joan ushered the last patient for the day through to Dr Papadopoulos and started to rearrange the files and stationery that she had left on the counter, she was busy packing and filing when she heard a soft cough behind her, being an elderly woman she took her time, Dr Handsome could wait. She smiled to herself.
Andreas waited patiently for Joan to finish what she was doing and he was in his own thoughts anyway, he was thinking of hazel eyes and red hair.
Yes, Doctor how may I assist is there something you need or has Mrs Fourie left already? She asked politely.
He liked this motherly lady, she was just so sweet and reminded him of his own mother so much that he was at ease with her. Yes, Joan, Mrs Fourie has left I have done a pap smear and arranged for the lab courier to collect the samples in a few minutes, we are all set for the day and I was wondering if I could offer you a lift home, as I didn’t see a vehicle parked outside when I came in this morning I assumed you caught the bus or a taxi.
She beamed a huge smile at him well now Doctor Papadopoulos that would be marvellous she said. I wanted to speak to you when we were done for the day in any case; this just gives me an opportunity to do so without keeping you here for a short time and wasting your time. She looked very happy with how this had turned out. My fiancé dropped me off this morning before he took a flight to Durban.
Oh, I didn’t know that you were engaged, congratulations Joan and I don’t mind at all let me grab my jacket and we can get going. Andreas had the funniest feeling she had planned this, but how could she have? He was the one who had offered to drive her home she hadn’t asked him to.
He drove one of the most expensive pickup trucks on the market but why? Unless his house that was being renovated was on a farm or a plot of land in the wilderness he wouldn’t need this huge vehicle in central Johannesburg, she was not sure so she asked instead.
Why do you drive this specific vehicle of all the cars you could have the pick of, you're driving an almost three million rand pickup truck.
Andreas looked towards her; it’s a personal choice and the safest option on the market, I’m not one for sports cars I prefer safety over style.
I see. Joan replied
Oh! I’m not sure you do Joan, I like the Pickup truck I like to live comfortably and I am not one for taking risks with my life and crossing the speed limit so don’t worry, I won’t be buying a Ferrari if that’s what you were thinking I can easily buy myself a garage full of expensive cars to look at but I don’t see the point. He was smiling at her and it reassured her even more that what had happened today with her little Laelia was just a fluke, how could this lovely young man have been so utterly insensitive? She shook her head slightly
Andreas picked up the small shake of her head. Don’t worry Joan there are No risks and shenanigans from me.
It struck her then that this Greek Doctor didn’t have an accent so to speak of, he sounded almost like a born and bred Englishman, only a slight vocal inflection and a tiny mispronunciation of his s’s were noticeable. It was cute the way he had said shenanigans “sse-nanny-gans”.
She was very curious as to why that was, but first, she had to ask him to dinner tomorrow night.
Dr Papadopoulos, she began.
Andreas! He said lightly, call me Andreas, please. He smiled at her and she felt like a mother beaming at her son after he had just won 1st place in a science contest.
Why thank you Dr I mean Andreas. She smiled brightly.
You see I am very grateful for the lift home and as such, I would like to invite you to an early dinner at my place tomorrow evening, and as a special treat I would make Malva pudding, it’s my goddaughter’s absolute favourite dessert and she will also be there, and I would love to have you over to say thank you for the lift and to of course say thank you for keeping me on at the practice even though you could have replaced me when you took over. She was smiling again.
He frowned slightly, why would I have replaced you? You are efficient all the patients know you and it’s your filing system I would absolutely never force you into looking for another job or early retirement.
Oh! Thank you for that Dr, I mean Andreas. That is lovely of you though I am almost 65 you know. She chuckled.
You could be 100 years old for all I wouldn't care Joan you are a hard worker and you can stay for as long as you like.
Andreas, you know that Laelia is my goddaughter right? Joan asked softly just loud enough to let him register.
Oh! Should he tell the truth or should he tell a little white lie? He turned a quick look on Joan and saw she had a mischievous smile on her lips as she looked ahead at the road, for some reason he suspected that this old lady was wiser and infinitely more perceptive than anyone he had ever met before.
And as such he didn’t dare tell a little white lie because he felt like if he did she would make him stop the car and pull him over her lap and spank him as he deserved. Ha! He gave a quick bark of laughter and Joan looked at him with a twinkle in her eyes, she knew what he had been thinking he was 100% sure of it.
That is lovely of you to invite me over for dinner Joan, I would gladly accept. Isn’t it fortuitous that I’m driving you home this way I know where to go tomorrow. And yes I found out earlier that she is your goddaughter. He said it very softly.
Hmm mm she said
Andreas still had the uncanny feeling this lady was up to something, but for now, he would enjoy the ride and the company and come tomorrow a home-cooked meal and apparently the best dessert ever. He wasn’t really thinking about the food, his thoughts were on dark red hair and freckles, on beautiful hazel eyes that sparked and sizzled when they were angry and that had dancing lights in them.
Turn left here Andreas!
What? Oh! Okay yes he indicated a left turn and swung into the correct lane of the road, even though the roads seemed deserted he obeyed every single rule of the road, he had made a study of the South African K53 rule book, the last six months had made him overly cautious while driving.
Pulling up to a magnificent residence, actually, it looked more like a palace than an ordinary home. Andreas turned a curious gaze on Joan, You live here? He asked very surprised and just a little suspicious at why she worked as a receptionist if this was her home.
Joan to her credit looked completely nonplussed. She just patted his hand on the steering wheel and told him where to park the Pickup.
Dr Papadopoulos this is the Gatsby Mansion it was Designed and built by a world-renowned Design Group, Gatsby was originally conceived as a private “hotel” for royalty, so it boasts an array of sumptuous reception rooms and a luxurious private night club as well as its own wellness spa, library, gymnasium, business/conference facilities, heated indoor swimming pool and outdoor training pool.
Joan giggled at the look on his face, but she carried on.
It is built on four levels and with expansive glass frontages to optimise the panoramic views, yes Andreas this is a 2,000 square meter palace.
It also contains eight glamorous en-suite bedrooms, luxurious bespoke furnishings and an international collection of rare artworks and as to your question, Yes Andreas I live here, I live in one of the opulent rooms and have access to everything, but no this is not my Mansion I am but the humble caretaker cum house sitter till the owner one day moves in, and hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later. It was bought as a wedding gift but the groom died the day of the wedding and as such the wife refrained from moving into the mansion.
Andreas was speechless, who in their right mind would live here alone, he turned to Joan and blurted out the obvious. Do you clean this place all by yourself? He looked shocked and completely incensed at the same time.
Ha! Far from it, my dear, Joan assured him.
There are tons of staff currently in their quarters at this time of the day and 24-hour security officers stationed on rotation that lives on the property with their families and all the staff have their own private residences spaced throughout the grounds. As well as a centralized vacuum system dear. To him it sounded like Joan was giving a lecture in a language he didn’t understand. He kept staring at her and then she laughed.
My dear Doctor the house has smart home automation and eco-friendly technologies all through it, which is what I am saying, no one has to vacuum, and the house does the vacuuming for you. Why did she sound like she was talking to a little kid, Andreas looked around, no it is definitely only me here, wait is she talking to me? Am I the little kid?
He nodded slowly and then cleared his throat. So Joan you live in the lap of luxury in a palace and you work for me? He still sounded slightly puzzled.
Joan took his hand curled in around her arm and patted it lightly, yes my dear I live here, it’s just a home with too many steps and lovely pictures to look at but it is home. She said kindly.
Andreas was out of his depth, completely and utterly floored. He stared at the oversized oak doors floating within a sea of frameless glass, flanked by classical pillars. He asked a dumb question that Joan answered with a kind smile.
Can I sleep on the couch? I don’t think I can drive I’m too shocked.
Ha ha! Joan laughed and then smiled up at this tall Doctor, yes dear you can sleep on the couch but I was actually going to offer you a room here till your own home has been renovated and you can move in. She patted his hand again, come on young man let’s get you a whiskey you look like you need one. She said kindly.
Andreas was not really thinking he was putting one foot in front of the next being steered by the motherly hen of a woman who worked in his Doctors office, ah Joan he asked slowly, may I ask why you are living here?
Of course dearie but first let’s get you onto a couch and put a drink in your hand to steady you somewhat. What do you say?