Sorry about this one too. Wow, it’s been weeks!
Leander didn’t know the woman in front of him, but she clearly already didn’t like him. Her lips were pursed, her brow was furrowed, and she was thrusting a very tall stack of cloth at him.
He took it, noting that the woman was also attractive, older than Sylviane but younger than Mr. MacDiarmad (at least in general appearance), un-collared (unsurprising) and strawberry blonde. Also, she was as tall as he was.
“Thank you?” he tried. In theory, the breakfast table should just be a couple feet away. But there was an angry woman and a pile of cloth — no, a pile of cloth and now she was handing him two bags too — between him and food.
“I am Mr. MacDiarmad’s personal assistant. I am not personal shopper to his staff. Certainly not to Miss MacDiarmad’s staff. If you have any confusion on the matter—”
“Yeah, actually.” He had to peer at her over the cloth, but he managed. Personal assistant probably — probably! — didn’t mean she got to give him orders. Or the other way around, of course. “Who asked you to do shopping?”
“You, presumably. I don’t know anyone else in the household with these measurements.” She flipped her phone open and swiped through. “Waist, inseam, chest, arm, neck—” her eyes settled on his neck for a split second. “-shoe size, hat size, which way you tuck. It came from Mr. MacDiarmad.”
“Then he asked you to shop for me. Thank you,” he added. “Stuff I showed up in was gonna get ripe fast.”
“Well, of course he sent the message, but as it was a request for your clothing and not his—”
“Won’t happen again. I’m sure of it.” He wasn’t, because that was the boss and he didn’t get to make decisions about what his Owner asked his employees to do, but he could say it, at least. “Thanks, Melody.” Sylviane took his arm. “Sorry, that was all me. It’s good to have him not wandering around half-naked and barefoot, you know. People might talk.”
“People are likely to talk anyway…. Miss MacDiarmad. When rich girls get a bodyguard, especially a handsome one, people always talk.”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to take it up with my father, then. This was his idea, and you know how he can be. But not with Leander, please. This wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his decision, any of it.”
Nothing was his decision, but that wasn’t something Leander felt like saying, even to defend himself.
Melody seemed to soften slightly, just ever so slightly.
“I don’t think you need a bodyguard,” she repeated, “especially a live-in one. But since he’s here, welcome to the family..?”
“Leander.” He shifted the pile of clothes until he could offer her his right hand. “Thanks for doing the shopping,” he repeated, as she shook his hand. She had a nice firm grip. “I’m not sure Miss MacDiarmad needs a bodyguard either, but it was a solid job offer.”
“Mmm. Mr. MacDiarmad is good at those. Try not to cause too much bad press – if you manage a month without anything sketchy showing up on Twitter or Instagram, I’ll gladly go buy you more clothes.”
“I think this is enough clothes.” He looked around for a place to set down the pile. “But I’ll try to keep off Twittergram or whatever anyway.”
“Is he for real?” The question was clearly aimed at Sylvianne, so Leander shifted the clothes and set them down on a little round table that seemed to be there just for people to put things on.
The colors were good, he had to admit – mostly neutral colors, darker shades. He could blend into the background pretty well in any of those. He peeked in the bag – Sylviane was telling Melody that he was genuinely real but that’s all she knew so far and Melody was saying something about Twittergram or something again – there were sunglasses, some weird scarves or something, and socks. Lots of socks and what looked like boxers.
“-I’ll leave you two to breakfast then. If you see your father, Miss MacDiarmad, please tell him I’m working on those papers. Oh, Leander, here, stand up against this wall for a moment.”
He did what he was told with only a quick glance to Sylvianne, who didn’t seem concerned. A moment later, Melody had snapped several pictures of him with her phone.
“There. I’ll get the full workup of IDs from my papers guy and we’ll get you enrolled in school. I wish you luck with that.” She smiled at Leander, an expression much more pleasant than her glare even if it did look a little sarcastic.
“Thanks… thanks.” He tried to sound not-sarcastic, but he was pretty sure that he managed more sounding lost than anything. “And I mean it,” he added, as if that would help. “Thanks for the clothes.”
She patted his arm – briefly, briefly enough that it didn’t even bother him. “Just doing my job, Leander. Just doing my job.”
She left, like a whirlwind, leaving him staring after her in confusion.