All In The ServicebyMaxSebastian©
She came to Medley Hall twice a year to visit his employer, her grandfather, Lord Templeton, but the last time she'd been here, Toby Linton had almost lost his job.
He remembered it well, a mixture of good feelings and bad now blending within him as the memories danced around in his mind. For it had been pleasurable to be around Miss Templeton, she had always been a strikingly attractive girl, as long as Toby could recall, and as her years increased between her infrequent visits to the leafy Hampshire countryside, her looks only became more and more bewitching.
"I'm feeling cold, Toby, very cold. I want you to put an extra sweater on me today."
"Of course, sir."
"Can be seen shivering when she gets here, eh?"
She had always flirted with Toby – if for no other reason than the fact that he was the only member of the staff of her own age – but it had always been a game rather than anything serious. She knew as well as he did that his primary function was to serve her grandfather, particularly when he had taken over as valet, taking personal responsibility for the fragile lord's person.
"No sir, of course not."
"I think that green one will do."
But the last few times Miss Templeton had been to Medley Hall, she'd been spending more and more time with Toby, dragging him away from her grandfather to get him to show her round the gardens or take her riding through the various bridle paths in the beautiful rolling green countryside. And Toby had enjoyed spending time with her.
Yet the last time she'd been at Medley Hall, Miss Templeton had rung for him in the middle of the night, asking him to stay with her a while since she could not sleep
Now, as he dressed Lord Templeton, buttoning up the elderly gentleman's spotless starched white shirt in preparation for her arrival once again at Medley Hall, he felt real nerves flutter around inside his chest. He remembered how Swainson, the stuffy butler had burst into the room that night, apologising to Miss Templeton but dragging Toby out into the corridor for a serious dressing-down. He remembered the red-faced butler demanding to know why Toby had been in Miss Templeton's room at such an hour, shouting that Lord Templeton had been ringing for him for nearly half an hour while he was attempting to seduce the poor man's granddaughter.
"Yes, I may be eighty-four, Toby, but I can't be seen shivering – not by anyone."
"If a man doesn't have dignity, Toby, a man has nothing worth anything."
That little incident had nearly cost Toby his job – and no one hired valets without good references, so it may have cost him his career. He'd had a long lecture about how dangerous it was getting involved in an affair with an employer's relative – and despite Toby's own protestations that he had not purposefully been trying to seduce Miss Templeton, the lecture had been long – and he was warned in future to keep away from her.
But now she was coming back to Medley Hall, Toby was slightly worried. Because although he had never done anything morally reprehensible with Miss Templeton, if he was suspected of it, that was bad enough as far as Swainson was concerned. Swainson had been looking for a way to get rid of him for a while now, because Swainson was looking for a way to get his nephew a post at Medley Hall.
"Right," said Lord Templeton, reaching for his cane before pulling his elderly frame up onto his feet, "she should be here in a few minutes. Shall we go?"
"Certainly, sir," Toby replied meekly, assisting the old man in his sluggish shuffle towards the elevator. Why the old man did not get a wheelchair was beyond Toby's reasoning: it would have been so much easier. But pride was a huge part of Lord Templeton's temperament, and being seen in a wheelchair was not something for a man of his social standing as far as he was concerned.
As the elevator sank through the elegant floors of the great house, Toby found himself getting more and more nervous. She was coming back – the most beautiful girl he'd ever met – and he was worried that he would be caught looking at her in a way less than professional. Because he did care for her – he'd grown up with her, despite only seeing her twice a year – and he liked her very much as a person. He also worried that she would get him in trouble. And deep down, he was worried that she would arrive and have her own life settled, and that she would no longer desire to spend time with him at all.
"Her car just drawing into the drive now, sir," Swainson was there immediately they left the confines of the elevator on the ground floor. The tall butler escorted them through the lavishly furnished hall past the gloomy oil portraits of previous Templetons.
"Her room is ready, Swainson?" Lord Templeton demanded.
"Of course, sir, and Alice has placed fresh flowers in all the vases."
Standing out in the drive like that, their polished shoes motionless in the clean yellow gravel, the servants watched as the shiny black Rolls Royce approached. Winter had turned to spring and the green oaks dotted across the estate were full with their brilliant green regalia, their fresh leaves so beautiful in the light breeze.
"Miss Templeton will want her supper fairly soon," Swainson said to the cook as they stood there in front of the house, the glossy black Rolls Royce drawing closer and closer as it progressed towards them up the drive. "You'll fetch her luggage and take it up to her room, Toby," the irritatingly smug man continued, always seeming to enjoy ordering Toby around.
And then, as the vehicle came to a halt in front of them, they were all silent. Swainson stepped forwards to open the Lady's door.
Toby was nervous, more nervous than he had ever been now. He'd worked at Medley Hall for most of his life, and even though he was still fairly young, it would be hard getting employment elsewhere in this modern age with no real qualifications and no references. Miss Templeton held the key to his future: if Swainson suspected anything, he would be out on his ear.
His heart was in his throat as Swainson opened the door of the sleek black Rolls Royce. Miss Templeton stepped out of the car. Toby stopped breathing. Wow. His first glimpse of her was like a punch in the stomach as he was reminded of her real beauty. She was absolutely astonishing.
She took two steps up to her grandfather, stooping slightly to kiss his cheeks – age had robbed him of height as well as strength.
"My dear, how is life treating you?" Lord Templeton asked.
"Great, thanks," she smiled – such a sweet smile, "I'm in college now, grandpa."
Her accent had always seemed slightly glamorous to Toby – the sharpened consonants and altered vowels from across the Atlantic being more at home on the silver screen that in reality in the sleepy shires of England. Part of it was Toby's love of the cinema, part of it was his stifled desire to see the world – not something a simple servant had to look forward to. But part of it was merely the complete package: Miss Lisa Templeton was exquisite, and made his whole body seem light as a feather whenever she was around him.
"Would you care to have some lunch, Miss?" Toby heard Swainson asking Miss Templeton as he moved to take her luggage from the roof of the car.
"Sure," she said, "later, though. First I want to get changed– I've been travelling in these far too long."
"Very well, Miss."
And as Toby took her two suitcases past her, he briefly caught her eye. The connection between them was fleeting, but it set his heart alight with its intensity. There was no doubting that she still felt something for him in the same way he did for her – but that might not be a good thing.
He was in her bedroom – so elegant and feminine with its four poster bed draped in spring colours and the various arrangements of flowers – having deposited the two heavy suitcases ready for Alice to unpack, when Miss Templeton arrived.
He was already breathing heavily, his skin flushed and his flesh warmed by the effort of heaving those solid cases along the various corridors up to this room, but now his heart quickened even further.
Alice, the maid, followed her in, but Miss Templeton turned to her and smiled, saying that she would not be needed. A brief expression of bafflement escaped the thirty-year-old maid, who was normally the one to help Miss Templeton with her person, but who was she to question Lord Templeton's granddaughter? She did as she was bid, and retired from the bedroom. Toby caught her eye briefly, and a look of solidarity passed between them – Toby knew he could trust Alice not to alert Swainson to this breach of protocol, since Alice like most of the rest of the staff was no great follower of the stuffy butler.
"Uh… will that be all, Miss?" Toby asked the attractive auburn-haired girl. His job had been to bring her suitcases up to her room, and that had been accomplished.
"Aren't you going to unpack for me, Toby?" she said, sitting down on the large velvet-covered bed.
"Uh… if you would like me to, Miss," he said, the confusion clear in his voice.
"Good," she grinned, loving her power over him, "you know, I always liked you best out of all the servants."
"Thank you, Miss," Toby tried not to blush by concentrating his mind on the job at hand – unpacking the suitcases.
"Do you think my grandfather looks frail, Toby?" she asked.
Toby was not awfully familiar with the female items of clothing, but he did his best. The walk-in wardrobe was already filled to quite some extent with a certain amount of her clothes, which was why she needed only these two large suitcases for her fortnight's stay. But there was enough in the suitcases to keep Toby busy for a while. He tried not to focus on the items of a more personal nature, the lacy underwear and so on, because to think of what the beautiful petite American girl dressed in such a way made the blood stir between his legs.
"He is getting old, Miss," Toby said, trying to be neutral. He knew she was hardly enamoured of her elderly grandfather – she only saw him twice a year, after all, and that was largely out of a sense of duty – but he still felt he needed to deal with her question with tact.
"I've never seen him so frail," she said. "I shall miss him when he is gone, you know?"
"Of course, Miss."
Miss Templeton's parents were dead, so Lord Templeton was now the closest relative she had in her father's birth country. Her mother had died during her childbirth, but her father had died in the Great War, just ten years ago. That had effected her greatly, but with time she had recovered her smile.
"He may still have many years ahead," Toby tried to reassure her.
"I doubt that," she said sadly.
He looked up at her, and she grinned knowingly at him. For a moment, he was unsure what she was grinning knowlingly at, but then he realised that he was holding a pile of her underwear.
"Do you like serving me, Toby?" she asked, her voice sounding innocent but her face displaying something that was less than innocence.
"Of course, Miss," he replied.
"You're sure you're not just saying that because I might be your employer one day soon?"
"No, Miss," he said.
But a fire seemed to have ignited within his chest. He had never really stopped to think about it, but if Lord Templeton did die, the whole estate would go to his granddaughter – his nearest direct descendant. Toby would be employed by Miss Templeton. What would that be like?
"Good," she said with that satisfied smile, "I'll enjoy having you as my personal servant, Toby. I'll be able to tell you to do anything I want."
"You can do that now, Miss," he said – and it was true to some extent.
"No," she said, "not quite. I'll have you all to myself then, without my grandfather here to take you away when I most need you."
"Uh… of course, Miss," Toby said. The suitcases were, at last, emptied, and Toby stashed them away out of sight. He wanted to be out of there – he was sure Swainson would be wondering where he was. He walked back out of the wardrobe and was surprised to find that Miss Templeton had removed most of her clothes, and was now standing in merely her underwear. He avoided looking at her, but as she sat back down on the bed, her small petticoat riding up on those stunning legs, it was hard not to. She really was something, and he was really in trouble if anyone came into the room.
"Uh… will that be all, Miss?" he asked, praying that she would let him go. He was now trapped: if he walked out on her without being dismissed, he would be in trouble, but if he was caught in here with Miss Templeton in such a state, Lord Templeton would be informed and he would find his career prematurely ending.
"Will you not help me dress, Toby?" she asked innocuously.
"I…" he said, "I… I really should be seeing to your grandfather…"
She reached behind her to remove her petticoat, and he was given the most extraordinary sight of her slender thighs and elegant white lace knickers. It was incredible, quite taking his breath away. But it was also very strange: he had grown up with this girl, seeing her twice a year, helping her to enjoy her time at Medley Hall, an environment hardly suiting a young girl. Until a few years ago, he had never really been attracted to her, never really seen her as being of the opposite sex.
But now, he was afraid that he would not be able to stop seeing her that way. She was sitting there, asking him to take care of her personally – in a way that a maid usually did – dressed in only a few scraps of white lace and white cotton stockings with that sweet fragrance of her perfume so thick in the air. If he didn't get the sack, he was going to go crazy.
"You mean you refuse to help me?" she asked.
"I... uh..." Toby didn't know what to say.
"I'm kidding!" she giggled. "You go do whatever you have to do," she smiled. "You know, in America we don't have servants at all?"
"Of course, Miss," he said, gratefully retiring as she let out a last giggle and breezed through into the elegant bathroom.
While Lord Templeton had lunch with his granddaughter, below the stairs Toby ate his midday meal with the other members of staff. At the beginning of the meal, after grace, Swainson had publicly warned them all to take care while around young Miss Templeton, for though her American ways were less formal than they were used to, there was no excuse for sloppy behaviour.
Toby knew this warning was aimed at him more than anyone else, and it made him blush slightly. How he hated Swainson. How he wished the snotty butler would leave.
There was a certain amount of excitement around the table for the remainder of the meal, for the staff liked having Miss Templeton around - it was a connection to the outside world that normally wasn't made with Medley Hall. Alice and the other maids bore most of the conversation, feverishly gossiping about the little they knew about Miss Templeton's life and future plans.
Swainson was silent all meal - he never did hold any part of a conversation with the members of staff, he treated them as inferiors. Toby was also silent, for he had much to think about. It was clear that Swainson was gunning for his job, and that made him feel distinctly uncomfortable. But the image of Miss Templeton in her underwear was also prominent in his mind. He had not had much contact with the opposite sex - his job was so full-time that he never saw anyone not directly connected with Medley Hall, and the other members of staff were mostly much older than him.
He felt like a monk sometimes, but now he had had a vision of inestimable beauty, he felt real temptation - temptation that could ruin him. And there was Swainson, ready to watch him fall.
The meal was unpleasant: the tension between himself and the butler beginning to become unbearable. Towards the end of it, Toby was wondering if perhaps it might not be better for him to leave - hand in his notice before Swainson had the chance to sack him. At least then he'd have good references to take to another employer.
"Toby, they've nearly finished dessert."
Toby looked up to see Davenport pop his head round the door, his black brill-creamed hair glistening in the dull light. Well, if the Templetons had nearly finished dessert, then he'd be needed to assist Lord Templeton to wherever he wanted to go next.
"Thanks," he said, and excused himself from the table.
It was a relief to put his jacket back on and head out of the room, along the gloomy low-ceilinged corridor to the servants' stairs up to the ground floor. He waited outside the dining room until at last Jeffrey came out again, and ushered him inside.
The dining room was designed to seat a party of at least twenty - in his younger days, Lord Templeton had hosted many lavish occasions, but during Toby's recollection there had only been two notable gatherings in this room, both of which had been funeral-related. Now it was all but empty, for all its grandeur, with Lord Templeton sitting at one end, his daughter at the other - with what seemed like a mile between them.
"Ah, Toby," the elderly man smiled gratefully as his valet moved to his side to help him onto his feet. "I'll want you to take me to my study for this afternoon."
"Then I rather think young Lisa would like you to take her to play tennis."
"Ah, very good, sir."
Tennis. Well, at least it would take him out of the house, away from the accusatory eyes of Swainson. And an afternoon in the company of Miss Templeton would be pleasant enough. Toby looked at her now, and she flashed a smile back at him in a conspiratorial manner. Was she recalling her standing before him in her underwear - or was she planning on exhibiting herself again for him in the future? Toby smiled back, of course, in that meek way servants avoid becoming overtly involved in their superiors' lives, but he couldn't help but feel a slight tingle between his legs at the recollection of what he'd seen in Miss Templeton's bedroom.
"Right, I'll be fine, Toby - you may go and play your tennis."
"Thank you, sir."
"I wish I could watch you both play," the old man smiled, "but I fear I have far too much to do to be sitting around a tennis court all day."
"Of course, sir."
"Run along, then, young Toby."
It was quite exciting - he never normally got the opportunity to play tennis, it wasn't something the servants were supposed to do. It was only whenever Miss Templeton was around that he got the chance - and they couldn't play in the winter. It was a great game, though, really got the pulse racing. He hurried along to his room in the servants' quarters, changing into his white tennis clothes - unused for the last eleven months or so - and out to the back of the house where the immaculate grass courts were situated.
Miss Templeton was already there, practising her serves, and Toby just managed to stifle a gasp. He should have known - she always liked to wear that tight white blouse and short white skirt - but today, her skirt seemed just that much shorter than usual, her top that much tighter. Her exquisite feminine lines were really on show, and irresistible to the eye.
"Ready to go, Toby?" she asked.
"Ready," he said back, and she served.
One of the reasons Miss Templeton seemed to like playing Tennis was that Toby wasn't all that good at it. He simply didn't get any practice when she wasn't around, and it showed. But it was the servant's place to lose in favour of his employer - or his employer's daughter, in this case. On numerous winter evenings, Toby had dutifully lost various games of chess to her grandfather.
The game went on and on, and as they hit the ball backwards and forwards, both getting cheerfully sweaty in the warm sunlight, Miss Templeton asked Toby what seemed like pretty personal questions - such as whether or not he had a girlfriend. Toby felt awkward, but he answered her as best he could.