The Virgin Intern

By: Penny Wylder

It’s a good thing that I don’t have to see my uncle until tonight, because he would kill me for being late. I throw the rest of my clothes into my suitcase and grab my make-up and toiletries. It’s not neat, but it will have to do. It’s a guest house, right? If I forgot anything they should have it, and if not then I’ll be coming back to the city soon. It’ll be fine.

It’s hot. I mean, this is Florida, so that’s not really surprising. But I’m still used to Los Angeles weather. When you live with seventy degrees and low humidity year round, Florida’s climate feels like living in a sauna full time. Especially in July. Even wearing short sleeves and a skirt it’s nearly unbearable, and by the time I reach the office I’m once again covered in sweat and I haven’t even started lugging the boxes yet.

There are twenty-one file boxes. Twenty-one. If my uncle weren’t endlessly practical I’d swear he was making me haul these as some sort of punishment or else a test of my ability to do this job. Well…I guess it could be that last one. But it’s probably better not to dwell on it for too long…

I get all the boxes into the car—it takes forever because they’re bulky and heavy, and I can really only carry one at a time. A couple of times I managed two, but I have to unload all of these, and I need to save my hands. The only bright side is that I don’t see Andrew. Even if it’s never going to happen, I’m glad that he doesn’t have to see me sweaty and exhausted from the humidity and manual labor.

The air conditioning in my car has never felt this good, and I’ve used it a lot. I love road trips, and I drove both ways when I moved from coast to coast, so my car has become a mini-sanctuary for me over the years. Today is no exception. I turn on some music—not mine this time—and enjoy the ride.

That is, until I pull up to the Sterling estate. Holy crap. I knew this guy was loaded, but whoa. I’m greeted with tall black iron gates and a curving driveway that leads to one of the biggest houses I’ve ever seen. It looks like a castle, and I think there might actually be a spire off the back, but it’s hard to tell from this angle. Who even needs a guest house when you have something that big? Then again, he probably likes his privacy.

The driveway curves around the main house and down past a swimming pool that is a perfect blue, and gardens that look like they’re a spread in Travel & Leisure. Is that a hedge maze? Seriously, I really hope this guy is innocent, because we need to be friends. I’ll house-sit for him any time.

I pull up to the guest house, a villa situated behind some tall trees that keep it somewhat hidden away. It has its own garden and small pool, and even without being attached to the mansion next door it’s gorgeous. It’s a white creation in the Spanish style, with red tiles on the roof and blue shutters that make it look cheery.

I take it all in with an appreciative sigh and then get out of my car and stretch. I guess I’d better get to unloading. The faster I get it done, the faster I can get a shower and a cold drink. I grab a box and the keys my uncle gave me and let myself inside. It’s blessedly cool. The first floor is breezy and open with the entryway flowing into an open living room, small dining room, and galley kitchen. Natural light is pouring into the space from what seems like a hundred windows. I could learn to like it here, I think.

I put the first box on the floor in the dining room. My uncle wants that space to be the primary office area of the house, so all the boxes will go there for now. We agreed that we’d find a better set-up once we were both settled into the house.

Trudging out to the car again, I decide that I’m going to try to get the boxes into the house in as few trips as possible. Even if that means nearly breaking my back by carrying multiple boxes. I stack three on top of each other. It’s a stretch, but these are the lightest ones, and no one’s here to see me if I drop them.

I have to use my butt to open the door—no hands—and I nearly trip over the threshold. I steady myself and make a mental note to only bring two next time. I’m halfway to the dining room when I hear a sound, like someone else is in the house.

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