If you desire to leave at anytime, you're free to go. Daryl will deliver you anywhere you wish, but if you stay, be prepared. Richard never rests. Every day is filled with living. He loves life and lives it to the fullest.
We assist by making sure he has everything needed to make his day complete; in the process we get to share in his love of life. Every day is an adventure for him and he so looks forward to each new day.
Now get some rest. There will be plenty of time when you wake tomorrow to decide what to do with the rest of your life." As she tucked Amber into bed, Maria added, "If you need anything, just give a couple of tugs on the cord hanging by your bed."
On her way out, Maria turned off the light. The bed felt so comfortable, all Amber remembered was her last thought, 'Maybe I'll hang around just long enough to see what Richard has planned.'
The servant's bell from Amber's room was ringing off the wall. Two young ladies burst into her room followed by Maria. Thinking there must be a major emergency, Maria immediately inquired, "What's going on? What's happening?"
Infuriated, Amber squared off demanding, "Where are my clothes? They were right there on that table last night."
Maria sent the two young ladies back to their normal duties. Turning to Amber, she smiled with understanding, "I took them to Gordon and told him to get rid of them. He deposited them where they belong, he threw them in the incinerator."
Gordon... Gordon, oh yea, Amber remembered, he was the butler looking guy when they came in the door. "Who gave you the right to destroy my property?" Amber demanded to know.
Maria replied with a smile, "Who do you think? Richard of course. But only after he told me to get your size and send for new clothes."
Amber choked back tears as her emotions were unexpectedly blindsided by the impact of Richard's kindness and generosity. She sat down on the bed and turned her head slightly so Maria wouldn't see the extra moisture in her eyes. Amber hadn't cried in years, she didn't intend to start now. Regaining control, Amber looked up at Maria before asking a simple question she would repeat many times in the future, "What now?"
Shrugging her shoulders, Maria asked, "Would you like your new clothes and a ride back to where you came from? If not, you might want to try on the new riding outfit Richard ordered for you. He has been waiting to see if you might like to join him at the stables for a morning ride. If so, would you like some breakfast or it's close enough now, some lunch first?"
Amber's forehead had a deep frown.
Maria scoffed with a smile, "Is the decision really that difficult?"
"Well... yes and no," Amber squirmed... "I've never ridden a horse before."
Maria laughed, "Well besides the fact Richard loves to teach, don't you think it's time you started learning how to enjoy life?"
'It's unbelievable. The time has just flown by. What's it been four, no, five weeks?' Amber couldn't remember exactly how long she had been at Wetap.
Maria's warning had proven true; the days were filled with so much living. Every day was an adventure, if not, before it was over, Richard made it seem that way. Amber never recalled feeling so secure or seeing a place so beautiful, it truly was a wonderland.
Amber could see everyone involved in Richard's life deeply cared for him. It was evident being born wealthy never affected his love and concern for others. His character seemed to be reflected in a personal nature that garnished the respect of others, even from his own employees.
Richard had sent for her. As Amber entered his study, she recognized his serious face. Even though he was smiling, she had come to know what each smile and facial expression represented. When Richard became serious, she had learned to be wary. It usually meant a major change in someone's life.
In his most serious tone, Richard said, "Miss Amber, we need to discuss your future. It's been fun and games and we have enjoyed ourselves, but as in life, sooner or later all things must come to an end."
Amber didn't like the sound of this and panic gripped her heart. She had spent more than one restless night wondering when this incredible dream would end and she would have to leave. It was finally happening. He was putting her back out onto the streets.
How could he be so cruel to have brought her here, let her fall in love with Wetap, experience all the love and joy it had to offer, and then dump her back out into hell? God, she would die.
Richard could see the fear in her eyes. To clear the air quickly, he continued, "You didn't finish your high school education, it's time you did. Miss Amber I want you to get your G.E.D. and then we are going to enroll you in college. If you are going to continue living here, I insist that you finish your education and continue to improve yourself."
Amber sat in stunned silence; her eyes filled with tears as Richard lost his smile and looked thoroughly confused. "Did I say something wrong? I didn't mean to hurt your feelings Miss Amber," he stammered.
Next thing he knew, Amber was in his arms. She had him locked in a bear hug and was sobbing on his shoulder. He had never seen her cry. Richard absolutely didn't know what to do; for the first time in his life, he felt the fear of panic. Where was Maria when he needed her?
Just as he was about to hit the panic button, Amber pulled back and he could see the big smile on her face. She was so relieved, happy, and elated, there were no words she could find to express her feelings. The only thing she could do was blurt out, "Whatever you say Richard, you're the boss."
With a nervous smile covering his relief, Richard added, "Overall, I think our little talk went quite well. Don't you Miss Amber?"
She had not only grown to the point of loving his smile with all its different personality traits, but she had come to appreciate the annoying habit he had of always saying 'Miss Amber' whenever he addressed her. She knew it was a term of endearment he used with all the ladies in his life.
When she had asked, Maria burst out laughing while explaining it was Richard's way of showing affection. Maria said, "Don't worry, after awhile it will grow on you, just as Richard does. You will get to the point it makes you feel good to hear it." Amber now understood what Maria had been trying to convey to her.
Richard tapped into his connections, using his influence to help expedite the process. With her previous education plus special tutoring, Amber had her G.E.D. and university enrollment in record time.
She had just begun to experience the serious side of Richard. Even an inkling of the grueling hours of marathon study that lay ahead for her, might have made Amber seriously reconsider Maria's offer. She might have taken the new clothes and run.
The next two years passed quickly. Amber was surprised at what she was able to accomplish while maintaining a very high grade point average.
Richard insisted on and supervised her studies, never letting up or giving her a break. He had been serious about her 'continually improving herself.'
Amber's spare moments were spent with Richard attending the theatre, ballets, operas, museums or art exhibits. On occasion he took her on short jaunts to different parts of the world. She had been to Paris, London, Brussels, Berlin, Moscow, Peking, Sydney, Tokyo, Honolulu; they spent two weeks in New Zealand sightseeing from one end to the other.
She couldn't elude the fact her life was a living fairy tale most people would die for. Not that she didn't work and have responsibilities, but it was a life she could only fantasize of before meeting Richard.
Amber was beginning to experience something else. Before arriving at Wetap, she had been too scared, hungry, and destitute to pay attention to changes in her body. To just survive on the streets had been a daily battle requiring all her time and energy. It had taken everything and left nothing for her.
One of the benefits of having all your needs catered is the personal freedom to indulge yourself. At twenty-two years old, her sex drive was working overtime, for the first time she was listening to its demands. Raoul, the estate's young horse trainer, looked awfully appealing.
When Raoul would bring Amber's horse out for her early morning rides, she could feel herself yearning to touch and be touched by his young muscled body. He looked so sexy in his tight pants and t-shirts. Amber could tell he was attracted to her also. Every time their eyes met, they were giving each other 'the look.'
A brief series of knocks rapped on Amber's bedroom door. Her heart stopped as her head clouded with confusion and panic, no one came to her bedroom after bedtime. Who could it be? Maria? Without thinking, Amber half shouted, "Who is it?"
The door slowly opened and she could see Richard's outline silhouetted by the hall light. She heard him say, "Miss Amber, I'm sorry to distur...." His voice locked in mid sentence as she clutched the sheet to her naked breast. Her mind screamed 'Noo, nooo... oh God... noooo!'
They were frozen in suspended time as the reality of the situation closed in on both of them. She could see Richard's head drop. "Excuse me, I'm sorry for barging in on you," he said. He gently and quietly shut her bedroom door as he left.
The tears were flowing down her face. She realized they had been on full display when the light from the hallway lit up her bed. As Raoul reached for her she recoiled in horror, "What are you doing?" she demanded angrily.
"He's gone and won't be back, we can pick up where we left off," Raoul coaxed.
"Raoul, just get dressed and get out," she ordered.
"But...," He stammered.
"No but, just get out," she had already dismissed him. The fires that had been lit by her desires earlier were now nothing but cold embers.
Speaking more to herself than to Raoul, Amber loudly muttered, "I have to go find him and talk to him." Richard was the dearest friend she had and she needed to make him understand. She couldn't leave him thinking the worst of her.
After getting dressed, she knew where Richard would be. Amber knocked lightly on the door of his study. His soft voice said, "Come in."
As she entered the room he was sitting at his desk writing on a slip of paper. Shutting the door gently, Amber implored, "Richard?"
"Yes," he responded.
She wanted him to turn and look at her; she needed him to turn and look at her; she needed to see his face. Amber tried again, "Richard?"
This time, he answered a little louder with a touch of firmness, "Yes, what is it you need?"
Her voice half pleaded, "Richard, I need to talk to you. I need to explain what was happening. I don't want you to misunderstand."
Just then Richard finished writing. He picked up the slip of paper and a key lying next to it and pivoted around so he was facing her. "There's nothing to explain. Don't forget, I was young once. I haven't forgotten the emotional wringer of romance or the torturous experiences desire extorts."
"But I don't want you to be mad at me," Amber entreated with tears in her eyes. The tears were from the guilt she felt for the fact Richard was not smiling, something she had never experienced before.
"I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at myself. We should have had this talk long ago so you would know and understand that I expect everyone who works or resides at Wetap to respect its sanctity.
It's this sanctity that makes it a loving home for all of us, me, you, and the employees. Violate that sanctity and everyone loses respect, not only for their home, but for each other.
It's your life, what you do outside of Wetap is your business. But I and everyone else who live here have a vested interest in what happens at Wetap.
We have already seen people in high positions show great disrespect for the sanctity of our Nation's most important and historical home, the 'White House'. I will not stand for it to happen here at Wetap." His voice left no doubt to his conviction.
"Richard, I'm so sorry...," Amber responded with sincerity.
"No need to be, you didn't know. That's my fault. I'll try to never let that happen again," he confessed. Handing her the piece of paper along with the key he said, "Now take these."
Reluctantly and with hesitation, she gingerly took the objects offered. Not understanding, Amber questioned with misgiving, "What're these for?"
With a blank stare Richard replied, "It's the address and key to a home of a very dear friend who died a few years ago. His health prevented him from working so I paid off his mortgage. Since he had no relatives, he left it to me.
"I'd just put it on the market two days ago. I'm pulling it so you will have a private place to take anyone you desire. No one need know but you and your guest."
His action stunned her. She pleaded, "I don't need a place like this Richard."
"Well it's there if you need it," Richard firmly responded. "The choice of whether or not to use it is yours," he added while pivoting his chair back around to face his desk.
Amber had the feeling she was dismissed. She felt so cold. He had never treated her so impersonally. Reaching for the door handle, she turned her head and asked, "Richard?"
"Yes?" He questioned.
"Why did you come to my room tonight?" she inquired.
Never turning to face her, he informed, "Oh yes, I wanted to let you know I will be leaving before you wake in the morning and to tell you goodbye. I have some business to tend and friends to visit."
Something wasn't right. Richard was upset, he had to be. In her heart she knew he had come to tell her to pack and be ready to leave in the morning, but changed his mind. Amber would not be going with him.
He had never taken a trip without her since her arrival at Wetap. It would be the first time she would spend a day without him, she would be all alone. Her voice quivered, "How long will you be away?"
She saw his head slowly rise. He appeared to stare at the wall as he solemnly replied, "I don't know for sure, could be a while. Continue your education and studies while I'm gone, Maria will see to your needs. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some paper work to prepare before I leave." As he looked down at the papers on his desk, he quipped, "I'll let you get the door on your way out."
Amber quietly eased through the doorway, gently shutting it behind her so not to disturb him. As she started back to her room, something didn't feel right. She knew he didn't smile once during their talk, but there was something else missing in their short conversation, something very familiar and comforting.
It dawned on her, never once during their exchange had he affectionately called her 'Miss Amber.' With a sob she gripped the key so hard it almost drew blood.
When Amber arose the next morning, true to his word, Richard had already departed. She had breakfast alone in the dining room.
Later taking the address and key Richard had given her, she set out in the convertible to find the house he had spoken of. Much to her surprise, she found herself at a mobile home park, commonly called a trailer park. Judging from its appearance, it was a more upscale park.
Slowly circling the oval drive that constitutes the layout of most trailer parks, she located the house, or a better word 'mobile home,' that sat at the address Richard had given her.
From the outside, it appeared to be a well maintained and attractive home. She slowly got out of the car and cautiously walked to the front door.
The key worked. As she stepped inside, her first impression surprised even her, it was a very well kept home. Anyone could tell the previous tenant had loved and cared for it with affection.
One of the first things that caught her eye was the collection of books. Since Richard had overseen her education and studies, she had read many classics and novels, they were all there. It was easy to see what Richard and his friend had in common. She could almost feel the previous owner's emotions and thoughts as she ran her hand over the books one by one, reading their titles and authors.
It was a lovely home, she felt perfectly relaxed, not the same extravagance and largeness as Wetap, but still very secure and comfortable. She could feel Richard's concern and his continual vigilance for her well being as she studied the various aspects of this gift he had provided for her.
Amber was caught off guard when Raoul sprang from the shadows in the foyer, pinning her to the wall with a passionate kiss as he tried to slip his hands under her blouse. "Stop it... stop it, I mean it," she ordered him.
With a surprised look, "What gives, I thought you wanted it as much as me?" Raoul questioned. "Are we ever going to finish what we started or were you just teasing me?"
Amber looked him in the eyes and replied, "I would never do that, but it's going to be my first time and I want it to be right. Tomorrow, I've got a place where we won't be disturbed, but never, I repeat never, will it happen in this house. Do you understand?"
Raoul whipped the convertible into the parking space provided alongside the mobile home. Amber was laughing with Raoul at some off the wall joke he had cracked. Her laugh dropped to a light chuckle as she viewed the mobile home for the first time with Raoul.
"Hey, this is great. How did you come up with this place?" Raoul questioned.
Amber laughingly replied, "Oh, I have connections."
Raoul bailed out and ran up to the door, "Come on, I've been dying to pickup where we left off. I want you so bad, hurry."
As Amber sat reflecting for a moment, it crossed her mind, this wasn't right. Richard was still trying to teach her something, but what? She slowly got out of the car, extracting the key to the mobile home as she walked up to the door.
"Come on, hurry, I can't wait," he said. "I can't believe we are going to make love and this time, no interruptions."
As Amber slipped the key into the lock, she paused, looked around and Richard's words came roaring out of the back or her mind. 'Miss Amber, a lady never opens a door in front of a gentleman, if she does, she's not a lady. If he doesn't open it for her, she needs to be with someone else because she's not with a gentleman.'
Nausea swept through her abdomen, she suddenly felt sick and light headed. "The key doesn't work," she said to Raoul, "let's go."
As he felt the moment slipping away... again, he begged in desperation, "Here, give it to me. Let me try." Damn, he wanted to fuck this bitch bad.
"I said it didn't work," Amber angrily spat between clinched teeth. "Let's go home."
Once in the car, knowing she wouldn't be back, Amber took a final look at the mobile home. With its sanctity intact it remained a beautiful home. At the last minute she had been able to comprehend what Richard was trying to convey, even in his absence.
If she had allowed Raoul to fuck her in that wonderful mobile home that is all it would have been, just a fuck, she and it would have become nothing more than 'trailer trash.'
Now she understood, people's perceptions reflect on everything. 'Oh God,' she wondered, 'what is Richard's perception of me?' She was afraid she knew the answer to her own question as she recalled his final words in the study that night, 'I'll let you get the door on your way out.'
It was a very frustrated Raoul who fired up the convertible and sped out of the mobile home park.
Amber sat silently looking out the passenger side. A tear rolled down her cheek as she thought, 'I just called Wetap my home... and it is. How could I have come so close to being so stupid? Richard, I'll be so glad when you come home. We have so much to talk about.'