- Place these boxes in the living room.
- Yes, Ma'am.
You went into the kitchen and put the box on the kitchen counter before looking around to the number of boxes. You sighed, nonetheless happy, and went to check on the workers in the living room. They were trying to fit the furniture next to the sea of boxes. You took a moment to look at the house you were in, detailing your surroundings when you heard the front opening and you turned on a woman.
- Ah, you're here. I was looking for you.
- Marcy? Is everything all right?
- Oh yes, yes, I just I ought to be honest with you, even though you told me you knew the disturbing history of this house.
- The family before you was discovered fleeing the house in a hurry after what they affirmed was a, traumatic experience.
- What kind?
- They claimed to have recognized the former family. The husband claimed to have witnessed the maid of this house, who, of course, denied being here at such a late hour, and the wife saw the wife. Before both seeing the couple injuring each other physically and advised them to run.
You were slackjawed. Marcy saw the look of disbelief on your face and waved off her comment.
- But of course it was never proven, and the maid ever denied seeing anything suspicious.
- Since when this maid has been working here?
- Oh, ever since nineteen eighty-three.
You nodded, stunned.
- Aren't you... You know, concerned?
- Why Marcy? You said it yourself it was never proven.
- I know, but still. People did die in this house.
- I will be fine I promise, and if let's say something peculiar happens, you'll be the first to know. What do you think?
When you looked up to Marcy, you saw the uneasy look on her face. You stood back up when the workers came toward you.
- Everything has been brought in, do you need any help with assembling furniture?
- No thank you, let me write the check. This way.
Ten minutes later you came back in the living room and found Marcy at the same spot, files in her hands and still that uneasy look on her face.
- What are these?
- Papers, official papers. After this signature, you'll be the new owner of the mur... This house.
- Good, let's sign them then.
Marcy placed the papers in front of you, and you started looking through what was written. When you reached the end Marcy handed, you a pen and you signed, feeling eyes on you. You turned slightly and could have sworn to have seen black clothes.
-All right. I guess it is done.
You jumped slightly looking back at Marcy in front of you.
-Moira should be coming in the course of the end of this week.
Marcy left toward the front door, opening the door.
-You might want to replace the locks or just secure your doors.
-Why is that?
-Because it just happens that the woman next door was a former tenant of this house.
-Twice to tell the truth, the first time was in 1983; the next was presumably a few years after.
-Nobody knows she claims he er husband ran off with the maid. But the maid is still working here.
She left, closing the door behind her, leaving you, staring at the door. You turned around to look at the house; your hands resting on your waist.
-Well seems like it's just you and me now?
- Coming! Oh hi.
- Good afternoon, I'm Moira O'Hara; I'm...
- The housekeeper, yes Marcy informed me. I'm (y/n). It's nice to meet you.
- May I come in?
- Naturally, please.
You both went toward the kitchen; you sat back, your teacup warming your hands while Moira was taking off her coat making you stare. She was wearing an extremely revealing French maid outfit. One of those you see for Halloween and adult parties. You focussed on your tea and looked to your left, feeling observed.
- I hope you won't find that intrusive if I ask you questions?
- What? Oh no, it's okay, ask away.
- What would cause a person to purchase this house again? Did Marcy skip telling you what happened here?
- No, quite the contrary, she has been exemplary. But I sort of new the house a bit. And you know, I don't really have anything to lose except my life so.
- Life is precious you know. Not everyone has that chance to be able to walk freely.
- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound, I don't know bragging or entitled.
- No, it's my fault, I shouldn't have snapped at you. What a first impression!
You laughed nervously when she turned, her dress was a bit unbuttoned and seduction was emanating from her. Suddenly the door of the kitchen opened on a golden-haired woman. You turned startled, while Moira was making a six feet long face.
- My, I suppose you are the new tenant.
- Yeah. Let me guess you're the neighbor.
- I'm Constance Langdon.
- And this is my house. So next time you'll be kind enough to knock and wait for an answer. Its called respect.
Both Constance and Moira were looking at you speechless, even though Constance's eyes were displaying signs of slight annoyance, Moira had a distinct smile on her rosy lips.
- I see you've met Moira. I hope her dusting has improved.
- Constance that joke being as old as you, I'd like to inform you to amend the record. You've been playing this one for too long.
This time it were you and Constance who looked at Moira speechless.
- I see the wh... mouse learned how to bite.
- Would you mind leaving? Actually, please, do leave.
- You'll see me around here.
Constance passed the door without a look for either of you, and you turned toward Moira speechless.
- Is she always like this?!
- She has always been like this.
- Christ... She doesn't seem to appreciate you that much.
- We are not friends and she loathes me, you can say it. It's merely the truth.
- I see...
- You do?
You looked up meeting Moira's eyes, you shrugged a sorry look on your face and she smiled gently.
-It's okay, I'm used to it. And honestly, I don't think it's ever going to change.
-You shouldn't be used to it. The way she's behaving, god I knew someone like that, what a pain in the butt.
Moira stopped her movement half scandalized, half laughing. She kept on cleaning the cupboards and caught a glimpse of the look you gave her. You rotated your head quickly, cursing yourself. Who would dress like that and have good intentions? You have to be more careful with this one.
-Please, I'm not my mother. Call me anything but that, please?
You looked at her, a tired sigh passing through your lips.
-That's better, not ideal, but we're getting somewhere...
-What did you mean to tell me?
-I'm going upstairs to take care of the boxes in my bedroom. I won't be down for a while.
-The white room?
You sensed her tone turning harsh and less friendly, her face twisted by something dark.
-You're kidding, right? That room's got unusually bad vibes. No way I'm getting in without a sufficient reason, or if I want to frighten myself. You added laughing.
Moira seemed to relax after you completed your sentence. She turned to you a beaming smile on her face.
-I agree. I don't like this room at all.
You were about to leave to go upstairs, but you turned toward Moira, an odd look on your face. You chased the feelings away and focussed on the present task.
You let yourself fall on the bed. The bedroom was done. And now there were every other rooms to take care off. Alone. Later, tonight you only wanted calm and peace. To rest after such a day of labor and meeting new people. You heard your phone ring waking you from your planning. When you looked at the screen and saw your best friend's picture, you unlocked your phone and accepted the call putting her on speakers.
-My god (y/n)! I thought you were already dead since you didn't call me!
-Sadly no! I'm still here and alive and well and alone.
-You wanted to move across the country, remember?
-Yeah well, I wouldn't have had to do that if it wasn't for her.
-Yeah, I know. About that. Johanna has been exhausting me with questions about you.
-What did you tell her?
-That you moved out, took your things and fled to the other side of the country. If you had seen her face!
-I can very well picture that!
-So met anyone yet? No ghost so far?
-Come on don't start me with that.
-What I'm merely inquiring, it's a legitimate question after what you told me.
-You're right. I'm sorry I'm just unused talking about it.
-That's okay, don't worry. So met anyone living in there?
-A former tenant who happens to be a bitch.
-As if that was surprising. Don't tell me she lives next doors...
-Who lives next doors.
-Wow, you're so dead!
-So, who else?
-Maid? What maid?
-The house comes with a maid. She's been working here for ages. But something doesn't line up...
-She's young. And she's supposed to have been working in here since 83.
-You're confident she's alive that maid? Remarked your friend laughing
-I don't know... I scarcely know if I care honestly...
-Okay, girl. Give me her name. I'll see what I can retrieve.
-Sure, her name is Moira O'Hara.
-Right, what is she like?
-You mean physically?
-She's got red hair, she's tall, pale, thin, she's got blue eyes as well.
-Okay, I'll see what I can discover on your mysterious maid hon. Oh, fuck me.
-No thanks! You said laughing.
-No. It's your bitch of an ex.
-What do you mean?
-She knows we're still in touch and that I know where you are.
-It's not as if it were a secret that you would know that.
-Yeah but now she is flooding me with messages. Anyway, gotta go. I'll talk to you later!
-See you, Laura!
-See you girl!
You hang up looking at the time. A quarter to midnight. You sighed and changed in your pajama. Suddenly you heard a mat noise coming from downstairs, making you turn at once. You clutched on your phone going toward the door, opening gradually. You distinguished no one so you decided to go further toward the stairs, going down as silently as you could.
- Violet! Do you want to wake up the new tenant?!
You jumped at the sound of the voice of the maid, yet it somehow seemed unfamiliar, older. You went next to the opening, looking at what was happening in the living room, your eyes wide.
- Sorry Moira, but Thaddeus pushed me, go complain to him.
- Violet talk better to Moira, please.
- I wasn't...
- Vivien, it's fine, but if any of us keep uttering more noise we'll wake her. And none of us want that.
You looked at the woman who had her back facing you. She had red hair in a low bun and a regular maid outfit, and no heels. A woman approached her and put a hand on her arm gently.
- So, Moira. You said you saw Lorraine's girls wandering upstairs?
- Indeed, they rarely come up. Only when there is a new tenant. I fear for her Vivien.
- That's okay. We'll simply watch over her; she can't see us, so it's going to be easy.
The more you were listening, the less you understood, afraid to comprehend what and who they were referring to.
- So how does she sees you?
A man appeared from the corner an exasperated look on his face.
- What dad? It's only fair. Moira could help depending on how she perceives her.
- What if for once we don't delegate the dirty work to her.
- Ben, who else could do it? Moira remains the maid; she is to be seen every day. We aren't. We're supposed to be dead and not even here.
- I'm sorry but after all these years living with her and understanding how the house works, it simply doesn't seem fair anymore.
You saw the red-haired going toward the man you assumed was Ben. She passed her arms around him, and he circled her with his arms as well as a sorry look on his face. When they parted, she turned to face the two women present in the room. A gasp left your lips, and you looked astonished at the woman. She was much older than the young chick who was cleaning during the day.
- I'll do it if I have to. At least to chaperon her. She seems pleasant, so maybe I won't have to. And to acknowledge your question Violet she perceives what I desire her to see.
Ben and who seemed to be Violet and Vivien looked at each other concerned.
- What do you mean? Asked Violet
- She's seeing me young because that's what I decided this time.
- But why? The adolescent girl asked.
- It's more straightforward to fathom out a person's personality and intentions when tempting them.
- If that's your choice.
- Dad, you were against it just two seconds ago?!
- Violet! Volume. Snapped the woman
- You're right, but you see. Moira is right. Because she did the same on me. So I know she's right and that we can rely on her to do what is right.
- Thank you, Ben. I'll go talk to Nora to see if she'll be willing to help and tame Thaddeus as she's the only one who can do that.
Your back collided softly against the wall, surprise, and fright all over your face. That couldn't be happening nor be possible. Right? You heard steps in the living room and hurried back upstairs in your room, rushing toward your bed, entering the covers. Hoping for a good night of sleep to shed light on what you'd merely overheard and the mysteries of the House.
A week had passed, you had settled quite well, somehow happy to have the maid's company. Yet what you had perceived that evening kept coming back to you. It wasn't making any sense, but you knew something was off. All of those feelings, being watched, pushed, hearing whispers, steps. The maid, Moira it was the only time you witnessed her like that. Older. She was always youthful with you. Acting seductively, bending over, making sexual conundrums. Initially, you thought it was for fun and to have a good laugh, to test the person. But now that the second week had arrived you lost interest looking at how much body she was revealing. The woman next door, Constance. She came by quite a few times, rarely knocking or scarcely asking to come in. You would sometimes find her in the kitchen, the basement, or even the attic. But she never seemed to be alone. You would always recall the look the blond gave Moira when she bet over for you once again serving you both tea. It was a look of disgust with a knowing smile. That was the first time you pondered how she perceived her? If it was indeed accurate what you had seen in the living room. But that thought was rapidly replaced by sadness toward Moira. What had happened, if this was indeed true, to cause her to behave that way.
I looked around seeing the new tenant nowhere. So I went toward the basement and went down the stairs. That's when I saw them. Ben, Violet, Vivien, and Nora. And they seemed to be in an extremely agitated discussion.
- Tate keeps following me around and keeps telling me we wouldn't have to worry if she were murdered. Stated Violet
- I'm sorry darling; I saw Constance coming to talk to him a few times. Thaddeus keeps him away from her, though. Tried Vivien
- Larry has been freed. I've seen him skulking around; I'm sure he is going to keep on helping Constance. And Hayden has been following the tenant around. Spat Ben
- Lorraine and the girls will not be a problem if we keep them far enough from the new tenant. They are sad people who want to make others feel like them. Added Nora
- What about you Moira? Asked Violet
I opened my mouth to speak but no sound came out of it. I passed a hand in my hair looking at everybody.
- I think being young doesn't do anything.
- What do you mean?
- It is possible she's not gay. Tried Violet
- I heard her talk about a jealous and angry girlfriend. Hence, it's not that. Explained Moira
- For all one knows it's because of what she stands for... Started Vivien
- Who? Asked Nora
- Moira of course.
Suddenly all looks were on me and I looked warily at them all.
- What are you attempting to say, Vivien?
- What I'm saying is you appeared young to her ever since she first set here. You told us she was looking at you at first. I don't know what you look like younger, so I can't...
Vivien had stopped talking, looking at me as if she had seen a ghost. Ben seemed displeased to see me as that and Violet looked at both her father and me speechless.
- So that's why you weren't even fighting her off that hard?!
- How many times am I supposed to apologize?
- Violet, it's fine, it was my fault at the time.
When I looked at Vivien her look left me perplex. Everyone started to look at her when she came closer to me and started to touch my face and look at my outfit, not at all pleased.
- Well, I can understand why she would find that nice at first but is growing tired of it.
That hit me hard. Why was she saying that?
- Mom?! That's harsh!
- Vivien from personal experience the outfit is a no for me but younger she is gorgeous.
- That's exactly what I'm talking about! The outfit! I mean Moira have you ever looked at yourself in such clothing?
- I can't think of the last time I did...
- Well, maybe you should. Because you're conveying an image of you close to a whore.
- Vivien! Talking like that about Moira will not help your situation nor hers. It is merely going to make things worse.
- I don't get it.
Everyone turned toward me unsure.
- Why doesn't it work on her?
- Maybe because the way she sees it is, a young, seductive woman who seizes every opportunity trying to gain her way with her. Whereas she is trying to be friendly and talk to you. And that outfit? I mean you have a cleavage Moira; I can see your bra. Your skirt is the shortest I've ever laid my eyes on and you're wearing heels. And I can see where your stockings are attached to your garter belt.
When Vivien stopped her monologue, I looked at her speechless. My arms resting on along my legs, seeming defeated in manner.
- So what? Said Violet
- So gay or not she is never going to do anything with Moira like that. Moira looks like a cheap whore who doesn't respect herself and who thinks she is only good at that, being fucked or giving people blowjobs. That's why it's not working.
- Viven you're being harsh.
- Am I Ben? Because I don't see what's to like about Moira's younger appearance. Moira...
I had a tear going down my cheek. My breathing had gone faster when Vivien had described what I made her think of. And it hurt, it hurts so bad. I felt as if my chest was constricted by some invisible bindings. She came toward me and wiped the tear on my young cheek, before giving a look to my usually wounded eye.
- I didn't mean to make you cry. I didn't even mean for that to sound harsh. But... I had ne'er seen you like that before. I'm literally shocked! I mean, I understand the tenant. Moira I'm never going to lie to you. Younger you were beautiful, I think everyone here can agree. But this outfit it's a no go... Can you be normal, you know, go back to yourself?
I nodded slightly and appeared as I always appeared for the last years when I didn't have to appear young.
- That's much better. Moira, you are a nice, gorgeous, slightly too graphic woman! What's not to like?
- Thank you, Vivien...
- She's right, you're much lovelier like that Moira, what do you think dad?
- I agree and am sorry that's how the house works.
- So what should I do?
- Maybe if you so want for her to see you young you could at least wear that outfit. You know, a normal length and buttons buttoned. Said Vivien smiling at me
- Do you think it would make a difference?
- I think she could even start to like you or maybe spend more time with you.
- More than now at least. Also, you've seen how she talks back to Constance. She's my new hero honestly! Added Violet a smile on her lips
- Which is why we've got to help her. Moira, Try to spend some time with her, make her talk about herself I don't know but occupy her when there is a danger coming.
- What causes you to think she'll want to talk to me after that first week.
- I'm certain she will. As it happens, we should all go upstairs and see where she is.
- Is she even in the house?
- Well, I guess we'll find out.
Everybody nodded toward Vivien. We went back upstairs, and I went to the kitchen in case, she was coming back or in the house. It was only ten minutes later than Violet rushed into the kitchen.
- She's on the porch; you got this Moira!
I saw her living to get her parents and Nora and heard the door opening. I swallowed with some difficulties and smoothed my uniform, my heart beating in my ears. I went to pour a fresh glass of water and heard a knock. I turned and saw (y/n) resting against the opening giving on the kitchen. I went and gave her the glass of water when I looked behind her I saw them looking, hopeful.
- Where did you go if you don't mind me asking?
- You can ask, and I was just running some errands. It's was more than needed. She said laughing.
I smiled gently before turning toward the bag she put on the table, starting to place everything in the fridge.
- That suits you better.
I ceased what I was doing my eyes wide. I turned instantly and look at the new tenant, giving periodically a look to Vivien who's eyes seemed to say "see I told you. "
- I'm sorry?
- The other uniform, It's good for Halloween adult parties. This one suits you much better. And Moira... Respect comes in many and various forms, but if you don't respect yourself and respect people, they won't respect you. You have to recognize your worth for that.
She left the room a contented smile on her face and I saw everyone coming to me all smiles as well. Vivien passed an arm around my shoulders and gave a look where the young woman had left.
- I think she likes her. Mentioned Violet
- You mean one version of her, stated Vivien, You see I told she would say that.
- Thank you, Vivien.