The Space Between Us
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Wrongfully accused of being her boss's mistress, Coreen was fired and kicked out of her company after five years as a secretary. On her way home with her shoulders hanging and thinking of ways to get a new job for her sick sister, she overheard a lady offering a high salary for being a maid. Desperate and in need of money, she accepted the position, not knowing that her new boss was nothing compared to her new one. Royce Sullivan is the real epitome of an asshole who taunted and insulted her continuously. But Royce Sullivan also hates human contact with anyone, especially with a stranger like her. Royce built a wall between them—literally. Coreen found herself in a desperate position when Royce offered her to be his playtoy. In the midst of it, Coreen found herself wanting more, needing more, and craving more. She found herself dreaming about the day Royce would finally touch her with his bare hands. To finally cross the space between them.
"Get out of my sight, you slut, and never show your face in front of me or my husband; do you understand?" her boss, or ex-boss now, it seems, shouted at her for the whole building to hear.
You see, she was just doing her job quietly as usual when her boss's wife, Teresa, suddenly snatched her hair and slapped her. She humiliated her in front of her peers, spoke harsh words, and called her names.
Who would've thought that she'd be mistaken for a mistress? To a family man who's twice her age at that?
Yes, she needed the money to treat her only sister, Rica, but she wouldn't go so low as to break a family.
"I never did what you're blaming me for. God knows that." She stood up from the ground and started picking up the things she had thrown away.
"'Do not even mention God, you filthy slut!" By now, passersby were staring at them, but Coreen didn't care at the moment.
When she's done, she faces the wife who overused Botox, and even Barbie will be ashamed of how much plastic she probably has in her body. No matter how desperate she is over her job, she will not go down her knees and beg someone who blames her while her cowardly excuse of a boss is just standing and watching like he's watching a movie.
She stood in her face with her head held high. "If you don't believe me, then I can't do anything about it. Let me just advise a fellow woman. You got the wrong person, and the person you're looking for, which is, by the way, who likes a fat man with little hair and stinky breath, is just around the corner." She motioned at the building and made an action of pointing at someone, which is Brenda, the real mistress of her ex-boyfriend.
"But you know what? I can't blame him. Your mouth can replace a shotgun. If I were you, I would fix a marriage that's already on the verge of collapsing." Coreen shrugged her shoulders and left the wife with her mouth agape.
Coreen smirked at Richard and waved her middle finger at him before walking away with her box. When she's far enough, though, her shoulders slump in defeat. She has no job now. And as if it's that easy to look for a job that quick. How is she going to pay for Rica's medical expenses?
Coreen's sister was only eight years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. Her parents were killed in a fire inside their home while they were at the playground. She was the only one her sister had now. She swore to her parents' grave that she would never leave her sister until she died.
She remembers how her world collapsed when she learned of her sister's illness. She then spoke to God and asked him why she had not been given the disease instead. Her sister was too young to go through that kind of pain.
She sighed and stared at nothing in particular. She needs to find a job with the same salary or higher, hopefully. Her attention was aroused by the two women talking from where she was sitting. She turned to them before looking back at the road and staring at the passing cars.
"Maybe we can talk about it, Myla."
"I don't like it, ma'am. I can't even work for Sir anymore. I feel like I'm going to die of anger," she heard a woman say aloud while crying.
"I'll raise your pay, Myla. Three hundred dollars a day, is that okay? Please, don't quit."
She softly gasped at the amount she heard. Three hundred dollars a day? What kind of job is that? An artist? A model?
"I'm sorry, ma'am. I've made my decision. It's been two weeks of hell. Thank you for everything."
She saw the woman walk past her and stared at her retreating back before looking back at the older woman with her head hung low. The woman looks so stressed.
"She was the one who lasted the most. I don't know where else to look," she says mostly to herself, but Coreen heard it anyway.
Coreen bit her lips as she wondered if she would approach the woman. But she needed a job, and based on what she heard, she was willing to pay a lot! But what if it's illegal?
Ah, Whatever! She shouted to herself before standing up and approaching the defeated woman. She cannot cure her sister with cowardice.
"Uhm, excuse me?" she said, grabbing the lady's attention.
She raised her head, and Coreen saw a tired look on her face. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to overhear your conversation earlier. Are you perhaps looking for a replacement for her?" she asked straightforwardly.
The lady's face brightened, and she suddenly held her hands, surprising her.
"Yes, that's right! Are you interested, Miss?" she asked eagerly.
"Uhm, what's the job?"
"Housekeeper! A helper for my nephew. He's a little bit of a headache that no one stays longer than a month," she said in defeat.
From being a secretary, she would be a maid? But what about it? Her conscience answered. She's well-paid, and Coreen is confident that she can do it. Surely there is no one worse than her uncle and his family?
"Yes, I'm willing," she answered with little hesitation.
Being a maid isn't illegal anyway, Coreen convinced herself. Hopefully, the boss is not a murderer or anything of that sort. No matter how much the salary is, she'll not do those things.
The lady hugged her and patted her back enthusiastically.
"Thank you! You're an angel, Miss..."
"Coreen! I'm Liza. Can you start immediately, like tomorrow?" Liza asked rather eagerly.
Wow, that's fast. But well, the faster she has a job, the better. "Yes."
"Okay. Glad to hear that. Glad I always carry around a contract just in case, you know. Come on, Coreen, let's go inside." Liza held her hand and pulled her inside the coffee shop. She wasn't uncomfortable with it because she found the lady bubbly and kind. Just like her auntie.
They sat at a nearby table, and Liza did not waste any time and placed a contract in front of her with a pen.
"You don't know how many contracts I have printed. Myla? The lady earlier lasted the longest, almost a month. She's the tenth housekeeper this year," Liza informed her with a shake of her head.
Her eyes immediately looked for the expiration and were glad when she found none. Coreen is confident that she can put up with Liza's nephew, so the longer she can work, she will. Her job is to clean, cook, and extend her patience in all caps. She almost laughed at that. Just how bad is her nephew? Is he a kid still? Her salary without tax is changed to three hundred dollars a day, as Liza mentioned earlier. She could buy her sister's medicine and still save a large sum for her surgery. With her former salary of one hundred and thirty-six per day, she could barely afford all her expenses, including her sister's medicines, so she could only save so little. Close to nothing.
"I'm not going to blame you for giving up right away, but please, oh, please extend your patience, Coreen. My nephew was nice when he was a kid, but when his mom died because his dad left them, he changed drastically. That child only needs care and love, and hopefully, you will stay longer."
She replied with a smile because she didn't want to be confident and said she would last. What if his nephew is a monster?
She returned her attention to the contract and frowned slightly while reading the rules. NEVER GET TOO CLOSE TO HIM. NEVER TOUCH HIM. It's all caps. Angry letters. Emphasized.
"What does this mean?" she asked, referring to the said rules.
Liza smiled sadly at her. "Royce hates human contact."
Later that night, she put everything she'd need good for a week as per Liza's instructions. Their housekeeper has to stay inside the mansion for a week, and her day off is on the weekend, which is perfect for her. Wednesday morning, Liza picked her up from their house, and her jaw almost dropped when she saw the mansion. It was literally a mansion, with big fences and all. The only thing she can see is the roof.
This made Coreen gulp; surely they were not hiding anything, right? The wall's purpose is to keep outsiders and thieves out, right? I... will make it out alive... right? Am I overthinking this?
Coreen also noticed the way the other houses had a huge gap from this one. She felt the urge to run away, but she restrained herself and just tightened her hold on the bag.
"Good luck, Coreen! If you have a problem or if you need something, just call me at my contact number, okay?"
"Yes." She smiled at Liza, and somehow, her h
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