Chris And Missy Part 5 Of 5
by Leslie

The incident with Rachael and Chris left Bob depressed. Yes, all of Missy's efforts training a replacement had been in vain, but that was a small problem that would sort itself out over time. The possible flaw it revealed in his sister's character, however, was huge. If not corrected, it could last a lifetime and ruin all he had worked for. Also, the thought of Chris having to drop out of school still weighed heavily on Bob's mind. Financing Chris's education was not his responsibility, but he really liked Chris, saw potential in him and still wanted to help. Also, he bore some responsibility for Chris's situation. And it brought back memories of the worst time in Bob's life when he was forced to give up his dream and drop out of school because of money.

The fact that the incident had been an unintended consequence from a decision he had regarded as trivial was especially upsetting to him. For a man who took pride in his analytical and decision making skills, this was humiliating. Here he was presuming to teach others how to make good decisions framed in the broadest possible context specifically to avoid unintended consequences when one almost random event let things to blow up in his face. He has thousands of employees and he had screwed up something as simple as hiring a houseboy.

While he was mentoring other college students, he should have been putting his effort into his little sister's development. This was a critical time in her life and shipping her off to a school out of state was tantamount to abdicating responsibility. Since he had assumed responsibility for her, he had always kept a close eye on her academics looking at her homework each night and helping when needed. Likewise, he had paid attention to her moral development, taking her to church every Sunday and discussing moral, ethical and social issues with her. On the other hand, the incident could have been a blessing in disguise if it turns out to be a learning experience for all involved and had revealed a problem that might have gone undetected.

Bob regarded Rachael's over-reaction to being ogled by Chris at the pool as both petty and immature. Chris was a servant, and if you are going to have servants in your home, they are going to see things. That's why confidentiality clauses are in contracts. Yes, she had an expectation of some degree of privacy at her own swimming pool in her own private court yard, but she did know they had a gardener and other staff in there from time to time. Also, could you blame a boy for looking at a naked girl, especially an exceptionally pretty one? That's just a biological reality. Without that, the species would cease to exist. That was another point weighing on Bob's mind as he contemplated the potential extinction of his family name.

If it bothered her that much, she could have demanded that Bob get rid of him. Bob would have grudgingly complied out of deference to his sister wishes, but she didn't do that. The amount of mental effort, discussion time with her friends, and Internet research that seems to have gone into this scheme was way out of proportion to any perceived offence. Bob concluded school was not challenging enough and these girls simply had way too much time on their hands.

Seeing her naked was not nearly as bad as the behavior Chris witnessed that evening or the body parts he saw and examined up close and personal that night. Events that night contradicted her fanned modesty used to justify her actions. The ogling at Thanksgiving was clearly just a pretext for something she wanted to do. If she wanted to get laid, that was her business, but she might have skipped the drama. He just wished she had not chosen his household employee.

How could Bob overcome his embarrassment to even talk to her about it? He'd stick with broader principles and hope she draws the right conclusions. Then again some subjects have to be addressed head on, but he could at least pick the most opportune times to do so. He felt bad that he had forgotten to warn her about Chris and a bit guilty that he and Missy had indulged themselves by watching a potentially humorous event unfold instead of shouting down and diverting Chris from the courtyard. But, hindsight is 20/20 and it's too late to dwell on it.

The day Chris was fired, after Rachael had told Bob what happened, Bob had expressed his dissatisfaction with their late mother's alma mater. Based on his mother's description of the school, each time Rachael came home he had expected to find her more refined than before but he was seeing the opposite. He had concluded that some of her friends at school were having a bad influence on her. Perhaps there was less attention paid to instilling refinement in individual students now than there had been in their mother's time there.

Without her knowledge he had begun working on contingency plans, and the day Chris was fired, Bob moved immediately to see if she could be enrolled at the state university for the current term. He was not going to get a runaround at a registrar's office. For him this was far less complicated that it might seem, because the stately mansion next door to the Greenwood's home is the official residence of the university's chancellor. The chancellor had known Rachael since she was a small child and had been disappointed when she chose another school. Setting things in motion simply involved a visit by Bob to his old friend.

Old friend might be an understatement. He had been a friend of Bob and Rachael's parents and he knew Bob's wife and his young son before all four were killed in a terrible airplane crash a dozen years ago. He had been the shoulder that Bob leaned on and cried on through those trying times and had become a surrogate father as well as friend. Getting her accepted into the university would not be a problem. Rachael was the problem.

Bob knew he couldn't force Rachael to do anything, and he would never use his control over her finances to coerce her, because of the horrible precedence such heavy handed tactics would set and the potential long-term resentment it might cause. That could increase intransigence and cause a split in their relationship, something he could not bear. All his efforts for the last twelve years had been for her. After the death of his parents, wife and son, he has given up on happiness for himself and he still grieved. Rachael was, after all the only family he had left.

In her, he still sees the anguished eight year old crash survivor facing the loss of her parents, sister in law and nephew. He had raised her and fought for her and would not pressure her in any way. Thankfully he got a phone call from Rachael one day into the new term. She had come around to his view that her school was not the good influence they had hoped for. It was obviously no longer the school their late mother had attended and always spoke of so fondly.

To her surprise, he said “Pack up your things that you want, give away everything else and I'll come get you right now. You can transfer credits and start into the university here right now, or take time off and start next June or September. You can make that decision tomorrow, or six months from now as you like. Just say the word and I'll immediately be on my way to pick you up.”

There was a long pause on the telephone. She was thinking. Her reply was, “The word.”

He said, “In that case, I'll see you first thing in the morning. I'm on my way, leaving right now. Bye!” and they hung up. He grabbed his wallet and keys, found Missy and told her he was going to pick up Rachael, headed out to the car and was on his way for an eight hour drive.

Rachael was feeling blue form the revelation that her friends were duplicitous and thus no longer what she considered to be true friend material, but she was buoyed by her brother's unquestioning show of support and his willingness to drop everything to come to her assistance. Her mood went from gloom to glee and she felt invigorated that a decision had been made. She packed her bags and went to bed that night contemplating the prospect of new challenges and a new venture into a far bigger world offered by the state university.

Bob arrived the next morning to pick her up and withdraw her from school. He could have sent her an airplane ticket, but he wanted to send her a clear message that she was his top priority and he didn't want her to have handle this alone. Tuition was cheerfully refunded, which might not have happened if they were dealing with a student. School administrators however, know that it doesn't pay to be tacky or cheap when dealing with multi millionaires, especially childless multi millionaires with a history of donating to the school.

He was happy to see his mother's old school again, but he figured spending time together in the car on a road trip is probably the best way to have nice conversations with a loved one, so that was the plan. They picked a few tourist destinations to visit along the way and once she decided to skip the winter semester, they took a leisurely trip stretching an eight hour drive out to a three day trip. It was time well spent.

Missy had stayed on a bit longer working the few days she had left open before graduation to train a replacement from the agency. Bob appreciated her willingness to help and it reminded him of the time she made the French maid outfit for Chris whom, at the time, she barely knew just because she knew he would like it. He remembered thinking at the time what a sweet person she is. When Bob and Rachael finally arrived home Missy was gratified that Rachael seemed more down to earth, more in tune with Bob, and was more like the girl Missy used to know.

Rachael was always very fond of Missy, viewing her more like a big sister than a maid. She said if she was going to take the next semester off she might as well take over running of the household. She was twenty years old now and her brother had been shouldering all the burdens since their parents' death. It's time for her to step up.

Bob was greatly relieved to discover his concern that Rachael had gone to the ethical dark side was unwarranted. He had feared that she had abandoned their family's objective, fact based Enlightenment values where traditional absolutes delineate right from wrong as clearly as black and white. He feared that she had adopted the supposedly more nuanced newer system of ethics where everything is seen as varying shades of gray and even the concept of good versus evil is ridiculed. He regarded that system, which mistakes deception for kindness, “group think” for sophistication and places feelings over facts, as being no ethics at all. It was the attitude one would expect from a small child, they want what they want and will bend their perception and presentation of reality to get it. His only response to such people is his well worn phrase “I can't abide a liar”, to write them off, and have nothing whatsoever to do with them. But, that was hardly an option for dealing with a wayward sister, so his relief that an arduous and potentially contentious task of rehabilitation had been avoided bordered on pure joy.

When Bob was twenty five years old he had just receiving his MBA and had started in on a PhD program in economics. His fondest desire was to be a professor some day. He loved teaching, but, the airplane crash forced him to abandon his dream, drop out of school and take the reins of the family business which was in freefall after his father's death.

Faced with the option to sell out, walking away with a small fortune and watching all of their mill equipment loaded on ships bound for China or taking a chance to save jobs that provided the livelihood for so many families in various parts of his home state he, with his eight year old sister's permission, gambled everything and they won. The price however had been abandonment of his dream and it had required his total commitment to the company from then on. The workload might have been his way to deal with his grief and on top of that, it took no small effort as a 25 year old widower to keep custody of his 8 year old little sister.

In his effort to save the company, he created and spun off a non-textile consumer products division. Then for the old mills, he developed and patented a light weight permeable fabric for agricultural weed control that was well received in the market. That not only kept his mills humming but allowed him to acquire some closed mills at rock bottom prices and reopen them. The feather in his cap, however, was the spinoff machine manufacturing company that manufactured key components for his mill equipment needed specifically for his new textile. Patients on that equipment effectively extended the lifespan of his original textile patient.

He now had rebuilt the family fortune but had only his sister to leave it to. That is why her basic values were of paramount importance to him. With his nose to the grindstone he never found another wife and doubted if he ever would. Any family legacy would be through her.

Bob had called his office the first morning of his trip and told them he'd be gone for a few days so not to call unless it was urgent. Thankfully things were running smoothly at work and now with Rachael taking over from Missy at home, things might finally be falling into place.

Graduation day had arrived and it would be Missy's last day in town. She had invited Chris to her gradation several weeks before he was fired and she was glad he showed up so she could tell him there were no hard feelings. He was surprised to see Rachael there and she took the opportunity to visit with him and apologize. Bob saw them talking and kept his distance respecting their privacy. After the ceremony, Missy's father invited them all out to lunch and Rachael quietly mentioned to Bob that he should rehire Chris.

At lunch, Bob and Chris and Missy finally had a chance to talk. He asked for Chris's opinion of the wisdom of allowing him to wear the maid outfit and Chris admitted that he regretted his choice. It seemed like it would be fun at the time but it lost much of its appeal. He admitted that cross dressing for him must be more hobby than lifestyle, and perhaps it deserves a less prominent place in his life. Bob had always found Chris's preference for the maid uniform perplexing, but was trying to understand it and empathize. He observed that it seemed to him to be a compulsive behavior, similar to cigarette smoking, drinking of alcohol, or use of recreational drugs; all of which could provide pleasure or escapism but were able to take control of one's life and become potentially harmful if not controlled by tremendous will power.

Missy owned up to her part in that, but Bob said no, that it was his mistake, not hers. Just as Missy had been training Chris to manage the household, Bob had been training Missy to make business decisions. That's why he left it up to her. “While one can delegate authority, one cannot delegate responsibility, so the responsibility was ultimately mine.”

Bob said “In this case there is plenty of blame to go around. Chris violated his contract and hopefully in the future he will think before he acts. I must say, however, that I see a disturbing trend in our society with the expectation that one must be destroyed for any infraction – the so-called cancel culture. The concept of redemption seems to be falling out of favor. People, especially young people, should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them without catastrophic consequences. I see no reason for you to be condemned to debt slavery as the only way to get through school. I also see no reason for Chris to bear a disproportional amount of the consequences for something we all had a hand in.” So, he offered Chris his job back as houseboy with some conditions.

Bob will choose the uniform this time and while Chris will be a full time employee, moving into Missy's old quarters, he won't be taking Missy's job just yet, because he will work for Rachael. So, any history they had together would have to be chalked up to good memories or bad judgment or whatever works for them, but it is over by mutual agreement as long as they are employer and employee. And of course there would be a contract, and code of conduct again!

They all thanked her dad for taking them to lunch, hugged Missy and wished her well in California and went their separate ways.

If you think this was the end of sissy maids at the Greenwood house, you'd be wrong. Rachael had developed a fondness for sissy maids or at least one in particular, and allowed Chris to wear the old uniform if he chose when his duties would not put him in contact with others. She liked him in his little uniform and enjoyed the slight personality change it created in him.

Eventually he did take over running the household as Rachael was shifted into management of various parts of the family business reducing Bob's workload. That freed Bob up to do some teaching at the university based on his experience in business even without a PhD. As a result, Rachael's progress toward her college degree would be slow but the added maturity and work experience made it just that much better when it happened.

Bob's connections in Hollywood stemmed from old tax laws that effectively subsidize bad movie investments. The money lost could be multiplied when applied against your income tax as credits. The financial advisor who introduced Bob to this scheme said he had watched hundreds of bad movies looking for distribution rights for the worst of the worst. He promised a sure money loser and said he had found the worst movie ever made and Bob bought part of the distribution rights to it. Wouldn't you know it, the movie turned out to be a blockbuster.

It's always better to make money than to lose it, so Bob was happy with the outcome. But he dumped the financial adviser and kept investing in Hollywood directly with the recognition that this was gambling, so it is only done with discretionary funds. But as an investor, he would be invited to parties and he got to know many people in that industry, even making a few friends.

Four years had passed. Chris had graduated from the university and been replaced by another student houseboy and Bob was in Hollywood on business. He happened to be at the production company where Missy worked and dropped by her office to visit. They talked at length and agreed to meet for dinner at a local Peruvian Restaurant. She had never had Saltado before.

At dinner he asked her how she liked making monsters for movies and he could see that she was putting a brave face on things, but clearly it was not up to her expectations. She knows he can be a bit direct at times, but what he said next was over the top, even for him. He told her that her talents were wasted making monsters when she could be making babies that are of much more consequence. He was right and she knew it!

“Well Bob, as much as it pains me to say so, nobody had asked me.”

So, he did ask, “Then the guys out here are idiots, so I'll ask you. Missy, will you marry me?” complete with kneeling on one knee and a ring. Clearly he didn't “happen” to be there.

She couldn't believe it, but without hesitation she said yes. They had never even kissed but probably knew each other better than the vast majority of engaged couples. And, let's be honest, it's not as though each of them hadn't considered the possibility many times before, but were each too proper to cross the employer-employee boundary. He asked if she wanted a big wedding or to just elope to Vegas. After her answer, they called Rachael and told her to catch the first flight to Vegas to attend their wedding and she called her parents to come. They all flew to Las Vegas to witness the blessed event.

Ten years on, they have five children and Rachael and her husband have two. Now the sound of children playing echoes through the old house once again and all are happy as it should be. With plenty of children, there is lots of help for the maid and with Missy's cooking skills there is no need for a chief. There is plenty of room in the old house for the two families and they even added an elevator to make the reopened third floor more useable.

Bob, looking out of the window of his study had a since of déjà vu as he observed two French maids walking together across the courtyard. Lest you think the days of French maids mincing around the old house are over, they aren't. Every once in a while, when the maid is off and the children are at school, Missy breaks out her old French maid outfit just for the fun of it, and she's not the only one. Walking with Missy was Bob's brother in law, Chris. As he watched them from the study he appreciated that they still look cute together.

The End
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