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A Writer Recluse Places an Ad for a Caretaker and Gets More Than He Asked For
This quiet contemporary fiction has a calm romance beneath the seeming gruff exterior of a reclusive writer who wants his solitude above all else.
When a caretaker arrives who is every bit as quietly headstrong about keeping the place tidy, there have to be some adjustments...
Herman Gauss found a caretaker through an ad he placed.
As a reclusive writer, he didn't much care for what he got, but had some wishes. Since he'd never married again, the idea of having a female moving about the big empty house made him both worried and content. He had been happy to live quietly at the end of a long, dusty road, but found his cleaning habits left too much dust around.
He wanted to write, not clean house. He didn't want his solitude interrupted, but would appreciate having the dust gathered out of the corners and the occasional hot meal he didn't have to prepare himself.
So he placed an ad through an agency. He paid them to find and pre-interview the applicants. They would send over one at a time, only sending the next in line when an earlier one disqualified themselves.
And the reasons for the disqualified applicants seemed inconsistent and even frivolous. But the company was only paid to send applicants, so the money would keep coming to them until Herman ran out of it, or they ran out of applicants. (Word can get around about certain ads.)
Maggie was herself quiet and happy to have such a job. She was a student of writing, but had never published. Her shyness found her many admirers, but never a long relationship. That's not to say she didn't have strong opinions. And perhaps those were what drove her would-be lovers away. She never talked about her personal life, even when asked.
How she got hired was a bit of a mystery. She wasn't outspoken much, but was firm and unmovable when she was. It wasn't that all things should be a certain way, but certain things should be kept in certain ways.
The hiring company took this minor loss of income in stride.
- - - -
Herman got used to the thick curtains on the west being open in the morning, and those curtains on the east only open when the sun had passed the house peak, where the west curtains would be closed. He didn't mind that if he came in early from his walk, he wasn't allowed back in his own study until the cleaning was finished.
Maggie didn't work to keep the porch as spotless as the rest of the house inside. So when Herman was refused access to his inner chambers, while she was cleaning, he would come out here. He took the rough broom and ash shovel, and pick up the worst-offending dirt clods and dried mud clumps. He'd even pick up his boots to put them outside on the steps so that he could empty the tray they sat on. All to help get rid of som of the dust. At least those in the form of dirt clumps.
In Spring, he would find occasion to take his heavy tan overalls and dark brown coats to put them into a standalone, faded, porch cabinet out of the sun. Heavy gloves would go into porous bags made from pillowcases, putting in sets onto one of its upper shelves.
However, he wasn't permitted to clean the windows or screens of that porch. Maggie would have a fit, in her own quiet way, if he tried this. If they needed painting or repairs, then he could take them down to work on them.
The house soon became Maggie's as much as Herman's, although he had title to it...
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