Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 1]

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Chapter One.
(A new hire, The mis-pronounced Mrs Cambridge, Ominous forebodings, and Perplexing romantic gestures)

Admiral Reginaldfield Chesterpot Walter peered over his desk at the new maid. Most of her hair was demurely wound up in a cap, but a few escaped tendrils declared her to be a dirty blonde. Her skin was sun-touched, her hands rough from hard work. She was small and bore the demeanour of one who chose to escape bullies by trying to be invisible. She was thin and in need of a few meals before she might make a fine figure of a woman.

Of course he spotted her attempt at forgery in an instant. Tonia. Ha! There was no such name in all the world. He decided to test her. "Tonia... Tonia... Where the deuce is that name from?"

The lass looked briefly panicked as her gaze jinked across his full name on the name plate on his desk. "Please, Sor," she squeaked, barely audible. "I only did it so's I'd have a chance at work. I've never done any such thing in me life, Sor. Only I'm fair starvin' an' I ain't got nowt but a poor house to look forward to. This place is m' last chance... Please, Sor... Have mercy on a Christian child?"

Easily cowed. That counted in her favour. "And what was your name before you adulterated these papers?"

Now even the mice would have trouble hearing her. "...tighe, sor."

"Not for much longer," he purred.

Her face jolted upwards so she could stare. Good grief, she was actually weeping. "Sor?"

"I know some people," he breezed. "They can clear up your -ah- paperwork problem in a few days... And in return... you, my dear, will be assigned to my idiot son."

Her lips moved, but no sound came out. The weeping continued, with a side-helping of trembles.

"Don't fret," he ordered. "He probably won't notice you're there for a couple of weeks. Plenty of time to get that accent fixed." And with that in mind, he found one of the right business cards. "You know your letters, so you can find that place without any problems. Tell him I sent you. He'll fix you up. No doubt you'll expect Sundays off. You can go then."

Her hand shook as she took the card. "Thank you, Sor."

"Servant's quarters are in the cellar, and the wine is under lock and key. That idiot boy of mine has taken over the top floor. And be sure to use all your feminine wiles on him, eh? Got myself so damned desperate for grandchildren, I'll take his bastards from a damned Paddy." He blew out a sigh. "It's still better than that flighty suffragette alleged 'doctor' woman he's gone cow-eyed over. So damned daft that he built her a hundred and fifty foot tall automaton giraffe. As a romantic gesture! Lad's coddled in the head. So make sure Mrs Clambridge gives you the noticeable uniform. No. Wait. Don't talk to anyone until that fella fixes your accent. I'll tell her."

She nodded her understanding.

He let her try to blend in with the scenery and rang for Mrs Clambridge. Ignored her until the Head housekeeper finally turned up. "Ah. Mrs Clambridge."

"Cambridge," she corrected.

He ignored her. "This is the new maid. Iris Tonia. Make sure she gets the 'special' uniform. She's going to be seeing to my idiot boy." He winked and tapped his nose.

"Right you are, Sir," she said. "Follow me, please, miss Iris."

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