I think, in retrospect, that I have always loved him. I am a rational man, and the idea of love at first sight is one that I find doubtful and foolish. Still, I fear that there is a part of me that has always found the idea attractive, if unlikely. Upon further reflection, I have reached a compromise. One might be moved by the object of one’s affection by a smile, unusual beauty, or choice of words. This spark ignites love, which is a long and arduous chain of events. One spark, one soft glance or endearing smile, ignites yet another, and, if circumstances remain favorable, grows into a warm hearth, which softens the many imperfections that are apparent to others.
When love is not tempered with logic, the fire rages out of control, consuming one as easily as a cottage made of wood and straw. It is with some dread that I recall the fate of Oscar Wilde, destroyed by this very flame. I reassure myself with the thought that his beloved was so unlike my own, whose heart is as gold. If the flames are to destroy me one day, it will not be because of his doing.
I have always been a resourceful person. While not born to privilege, I live my life among those in power, and have learned that while making yourself useful ensures a living, making yourself indispensable gives you power beyond compare. Seldom have I wanted for anything, as those I have served have rewarded my services handsomely.
My life with Mr. Wooster is the softest I have had thus far. He is courteous, even tempered, and generous. I am free to run the home and our affairs as I see fit. For the first time since I was a child, I have a place that I can truly call home, purely because of his ample heart and kind spirit. I want for nothing… except perhaps for Mr. Wooster, whom I long for with every fiber of my being.
At first, I wanted him to need me because it was essential that I retain my employ in this fortunate situation. Mr. Wooster is quite simple to look after, in the domestic sense. He is fond of the comforts of home and a stable routine, which I am able to provide with ease. Happy so long as he has his tea in the morning and his evening nightcap, it was easy to impress him with the most basic of domestic chores. The one exception to the simplicity of my duties is perhaps his penchant for clothing. Mr. Wooster’s wardrobe is extensive, and needs constant care and careful editing. I confess that I enjoy this task most of all, washing, mending, ironing, sorting, so that each day as I dress him, I see him become the ideal gentleman, layer by layer, from bare skin to tailored jacket.
Mr. Wooster was at first rebellious in a childish way, asserting himself in small fits that were easily contained. Once I had his house and affairs running smoothly, he gave up his will without complaint, trusting me with the most intimate of his affairs, beyond bathing, dressing, and feeding him, to tending to the household finances and family obligations. It was during this time that my heart began to stir. There were many helpless, mentally lacking young men among the noble classes, but never had I met one that didn’t temper his naïveté with robust arrogance. It goes without saying that the more incompetent a man is, the more he will exhibit bravado to prove otherwise, particularly among the upper class. His placid nature and idealized chivalry fascinated me. He honestly viewed the world as a benign place, and looked to me to protect him when time and again it proved otherwise. I became overwhelmed with a fierce protectiveness. I found that I quite liked to be relied on, much more than I had ever thought possible. I watched him and counted the facets of the jewel that had become my treasure to defend: a wistful grin, a generous heart, talented fingers that glide effortlessly over the piano in accompaniment to a rich, warm voice. Wide blue eyes cast upwards in complete trust and a bit of anxiety as he said that he needed me, time and time again. I was more than happy to oblige, to keep my treasure for another day. I schemed constantly, carefully arranging matters so that he would look upon me as absolutely essential, as essential as he had become to me. I must confess, there are times when I went a bit further than necessary, but I do not regret it.
Upon rescuing him from the peril of the moment, he rewards me with a kind word. Each word of praise is held close to my heart, engraved permanently in my memory.
An absolute marvel, old thing.
There’s no one like you, Jeeves.
I’d be lost without you.
…Don’t leave me.
As if I ever could.
As time went on, I gained a certain arrogance of my own, asserting myself perhaps more than I should have. There was a time when he called my bluff. I had threatened to leave his employ because of his maddening banjolie playing, not taking into account his stubborn pride, which at times equals my own. Fortunately, circumstances happened that I was able to attain employment to be close to him. So fearful was I that I had driven him away that my heart thundered in my chest as I approached Mr. Wooster as a guest under the service of Lord Chuffnell; yet the light in Mr. Wooster’s eyes when he saw me was enough to assure me that he had thought twice about our row, and all was not lost after all.
I should have been gentle, yet I regret that as I regarded him, the fierce possessiveness in my heart mingled with a nasty streak of vengeance. For a few days, I toyed with him, teasing him into a confused, jealous creature, relishing his utter dependence on me until I could bear his miserable glances no longer, and made amends.
In the end, he abandoned the banjolie, as he abandons most of the ill advised items he acquires. Upon returning to our comfortable nest, he muttered soft apologies to me, and I dismissed them, urging him to drink the tea that I prepared before even taking off my jacket. He needed a bath, a shave, and a dozen other comforts of the city that I longed to provide for him. I would look after him with the tenderest care after that weekend, to ease the guilt of distressing him in such a way. A long, silent moment passed, as his lips trembled, carefully forming words.
“Don’t let me dismiss you again, Jeeves.” He sighed, turning those eyes to me in that way that makes me weak and helpless. “If I ever try that again, old thing, tell me to go boil my head, will you?”
I exhaled a breath that I hadn’t realized I was holding. “Very good, sir.” I replied, relieved that he was once again with me, although I knew that he could never be truly mine.