Adele took a deep breath and knocked on the door of the mansion house. She had been a nervous wreck since the moment she’d woken up that morning. A week ago, she was unemployed and living off chips and microwave meals. Now, she was the private chef of someone who clearly had more money than Adele would ever possess.
Still, when she’d seen the ad for a private chef, she could barely believe how much the client was offering to pay. She’d attended three interviews since applying before being chosen as the final candidate, but she was yet to meet her boss. She didn’t even know the name of the woman she’d be serving food to.
The door to the mansion opened and Adele knew right away that she wasn’t faced with her boss. A young woman was standing in a traditional maid’s outfit, her head ducked shyly.
“You must be Adele. Please come in and begin. My name is Lena, I am Rochelle’s maid,” she said in a thick Polish accent. “Rochelle expects dinner at seven o’clock sharp. She is dining with Leo tonight so please refer to the menu she has selected.”
Adele nodded nervously. She couldn’t afford to lose this job when the pay was so amazing. With money like that, she’d be able to pay off her debts, move out of her tiny apartment and start building her life. She knew that at the age of twenty-seven, there were plenty of people who had fallen further behind than her, but Adele was ready to live her best life. Find a girlfriend, settle down, have a family. That’s why this job was so important.
Lena showed Adele around the house in a whirlwind tour. Adele had been there before for her interviews, but she couldn’t help being amazed once again by the sheer size and grandeur of the place. She had thought that chandeliers only existed in fairytales and in Buckingham Palace, but Rochelle clearly had classy taste. The diamond ceiling fixture was directly above the intimate dining table where Adele would be serving her food. Nerves bubbled inside her. She’d never met Rochelle and knew nothing about her, but just the vibe of her house made Adele feel intimidated.
“You should know that Rochelle is very particular,” Lena said meekly. “She likes things a certain way. Ensure that the food is plated beautifully. She also expects you to set the table and choose the appropriate wine for each event. You will also be in charge of lighting. You may light candles if you wish, and there are controls at the door to dim or brighten the lights.”
Adele’s mind was already buzzing with ideas. The menu was a four-course meal, so white wine would be served. But Adele got the feeling that the meal was meant to be romantic. An intimate meal for two…it screamed of date night. Adele was already planning to dim the lights down low, light some candles, burn some incense. She was wary of love and romance, but Adele knew exactly how to set the mood.
Adele spent the rest of the day preparing her first meal for her boss. By the time seven o’clock rolled around, she had four perfect dishes ready to serve, and Lena informed her that Rochelle and her date, Leo, were already at the table. Adele took a deep breath before she took the first round of food out to the table.
But when she entered the dining room, she stopped dead in her tracks.
She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting of Rochelle, but the woman sitting at the table was mesmerizing in every sense of the word. She wore a black off-the-shoulder dress that clung to her curves and amplified her heavy breasts. She was older than Adele, clearly, but beauty hadn’t abandoned her with age. Her lips were plump, coated in a red matte lipstick, and her deep brown eyes were rimmed with smokey eyeshadow.
Adele felt like she couldn’t breathe. She’d never once been attracted to a man – she’d known her attraction was only for women at a young age – but she’d never been so attracted to a woman either. She wanted to touch every inch of her pale skin. She wanted to have those red lips pressed to her neck. She wanted to tangle her hands in her dark hair and whisper her name as they made love.
“Good evening,” Rochelle said, her lips curving into a smile. “You must be the new chef. Adele, isn’t it?”
“Y-yes,” Adele breathed. She knew she was being unprofessional by standing there so gormlessly, but her fantasy of having Rochelle towering over her as they explored one another in bed had swept her away entirely.
She was in too deep already.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you. But I prefer my food to be warm when it’s served. You’re letting it go cold.”
Adele blushed, feeling like she’d been reprimanded, even as Rochelle smiled at her. “I’m so sorry…”
“Don’t be. It’s your first day. I can cut you some slack. Just don’t let it happen again.”
Adele nodded and tried to steady her breathing as she served the first course. She found time to glance at the man Rochelle was dining with. He was well dressed, but not attractive in the slightest. While Rochelle was radiant and confident, he sat hunched over and his mousy features made him seem the completely wrong match for her. Not that it was Adele’s business, but she was sure Rochelle could do better.
“I’ve heard good things about you,” Rochelle purred, her dark eyes meeting Adele’s. “I’m looking forward to being blown away by this.”
Adele nodded nervously before retreating from the room. She was sweating, her heart racing in her chest and her lungs constricted. She couldn’t believe she’d just been in a room with such a magnificent woman.
Lena was waiting for her anxiously as she returned to the kitchen.
“Did it go well? Was she pleased? You look as though you have seen a ghost…”
Adele leaned against the counter. “She’s beautiful,” she breathed. Then she blushed, realizing she’d said her thoughts aloud. Lena smiled.
“You are not the first woman to fall for her,” Lena said gently. “You won’t be the last.”
Adele forced herself to keep her cool as she continued serving Rochelle through the night. She couldn’t ignore the wetness between her legs each time she saw Rochelle. When she brought out a new dish or served more wine, her eyes would be drawn to her curves, her smile, and the confidence she exuded. Adele knew nothing about the woman, but she knew that she wanted her more than anything she’d ever desired before.
As eleven o’clock approached, Lena told Adele that she was seeing the guest out. Adele found herself pleased that Rochelle’s guest hadn’t stayed the night. She couldn’t bear the thought of a man exploring Rochelle’s body, taking everything Adele so desperately wanted. And yet, Adele knew she had no claim over the woman. She was her employee and nothing more. She was there to obey her orders and her orders weren’t to fall in love, after all.
Adele waited patiently for Rochelle. She’d been told she’d receive feedback after her first shift. Still, she was unprepared when Rochelle glided into the kitchen, her beauty so overwhelming that Adele felt weak at the knees. Rochelle offered her a smile.
“Thank you for dinner, Adele. The food was…exquisite. Truly, I’ve never eaten something so divine.”
Adele let out a long breath.
Adele tensed up again.
“You should know that you got the dining setting all wrong. The lighting was not right for a business meeting. It felt like a date with all the candles. In future, if you’re unsure, please consult me. I like to get these things right.”
“That…that wasn’t a date?” Adele asked cautiously. Rochelle laughed.
“Oh, absolutely not. Leo is my agent. We have known one another for years and there has never been even a hint of romantic spark.” Rochelle cocked her head to the side. “Do you know who I am?”
Adele shook her head nervously. Should she know? Rochelle’s features softened. She smiled to herself.
“Sorry. That sounds like such a big-headed question to ask. It’s just…well, I’m used to my employees knowing me and making a fuss. I’m an actress. I’ve been starring in Hollywood films for the past twenty years…but I prefer the private life these days. That’s why you’re here. I like to eat well, but dining out just isn’t possible anymore.”
Adele nodded in understanding. She could imagine that being in the limelight would be demanding. “Well…I’m glad I was able to get it right with the food, at least. I hope I can continue to impress you.”
“You want to impress me?” Rochelle purred. She placed a finger under Adele’s chin and tilted it up so they were staring into one another’s eyes. “A pretty young thing like you…you’ve already managed to impress me.”
Adele held her breath in anticipation. She was sure Rochelle was about to kiss her. She wanted her to kiss her. Rochelle’s lips curved into a smile as her eyes explored Adele’s body.
“The things I could do to a girl like you…”
Adele was trembling beneath Rochelle’s touch. She met her eyes once again.
“I want you,” she found herself whispering. “Do what you want to me.”
Rochelle smiled. “That’s what I like to hear.”