Emil is not tall, not slender, not elegant in any way. His olive-brown, round face is filled with a bright smile, right at Allison’s eye level. She cannot help but smile in response.
“Hello, miss,” he says, surprising her with the formality. “I hope you are having a nice day?” There’s a question mark at the end of that, Allison notices.
“Yes, very nice, thank you,” she replies. “This is a lovely place. You must work very hard to keep it so nice.”
Both Jeeves and Emil laugh at this. “Not at all, my dear,” Jeeves says. “I let much of it simply run rampant and do what it wants. Emil does the heavy lifting for me. His knees work better than mine.”
“Miss Jeeves and myself, we have fun together,” Emil adds. “It’s not like work at all.”
“Maybe I could join you, sometimes, when you’re working out here?” Allison asks. “I’m planning my own garden, and I need to learn.”
“Now that’s the best idea I’ve heard all day,” Jeeves answers. “Emil is usually here on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. Come on by, pick up some gloves, and pitch in.” A cell phone burbles in the house. “Oh, that’s mine,” Jeeves says. “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”
Allison and Emil watch her disappear into the house, then turn back to one another. “How did you meet Jeeves?” Allison asks.
The bright smile on Emil’s face freezes. “She knows my mother,” he answers. “I must leave, now, it’s been so nice to meet you, Allison. I hope we will see one another again.”
And he is gone, before Allison can process the sudden change from warm to cold. Jeeves comes back outside, and she’s not the same, either.
“I’m sorry dear, but that was some difficult news. Can we continue this later?”
Allison offers words of comfort and support and leaves. As she walks back to her own old house, a gust of cold spring wind hits the back of her neck. She turns up the collar of her fleece jacket and wonders what just happened.