Stumbling to a stop, my eyes slowly traveled up the building in front of me. This wasn’t a mansion. This was a castle. Rising to the sky, the building sparkled in the sun, with tons of windows. It had towers. I felt like Cinderella after the ball thinking she could walk in the front door.
I jumped at the chuckle in my ear. Glancing at the adonis next to me, my eyes returned to the magnificent castle.
“Why aren’t there pictures of this amazing building?” I questioned.
His deep voice answered me, but I could not stop staring, “The owner liked his privacy and the current owner does too.”
Confused, I turned and asked, “He likes his privacy but allows a bunch of children to run around? That makes no sense.”
He laughed again, and his genuine grin made his face compete for attention with the castle. “Maybe someday you can ask him that and maybe someday he will answer.”
He started walking away, but I couldn’t move my feet. I felt unworthy to enter such a magnificent building. Stopping he turned to me, “We’ve established this is not the lair of a serial killer, so come on.”
I shook my head, “But, But I should be wearing something more magnificent than jeans for this place.” I protested.
He laughed again and I grinned slightly at my foolishness. Picking my chin off the ground, I slowly walked forward towards the door. My eyes trying to take in everything around me.
As he held the door open, I walked into a large entrance hall. Doors opened to different rooms on each side with a hall directly in front of me. To the sides lay sweeping staircases in a gorgeous dark wood, with blue carpet, that met in the middle. I must have stumbled into the Cinderella story. I wondered if I was Cinderella or a wicked sister.
“Wait here,” the man who still hadn’t told me his name said, “I’ll deliver these to your room. The headmistress will be right out.”
Walking up the stairs to the left he disappeared just as I heard a door shut down the hallway. A small, gray-haired woman emerged with a grandmotherly smile. “Ah, you must be the new librarian and hall mother.”
Taking my nod as consent she continued, “I’m glad Caden found you. The last one ran away. Some people can’t handle the isolation.”
Only one thing stood out, “Caden?”
Turning she looked at me, “Caden Laroy, tall, blond, blue-eyed, gorgeous.”
“His name is Caden Laroy?” I sounded dumb but she just laughed.
“He didn’t introduce himself?” As I shook my head, she smiled, “Well don’t let that worry you. Caden does not like to get to know new people unless they have been around a while.”
“What does he do?” I asked looking up the staircase he had taken.
“He is the history teacher.” Shaking her head briskly she continued, “Anyways, welcome to the Kings Private School. We have many rich students, most troubled. Still, we do not treat them any different than other students no matter who their parents may be, do you understand?”
I nodded and she continued as she turned to walk down the hall. I hurried to follow. “Now on this island, no cellphones are allowed for the students or personal computers. On the second floor, there is a computer room for use during free times and a phone room, where students may call family members. There is a strict breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule. I left that in your room along with the school schedule.”
I nodded trying to process everything she said as she leads me through the house. She kept going, “Now as the librarian, you will be expected to be open for certain hours, but I or Caden will help out as needed or relieve you for lunch or dinner. You may also have a few students to help.”
She stopped at the top of the stairs, “Remember as hall mother you are in charge of eight young ladies or four rooms, two girls per room. Your job will be to make sure they leave their rooms for breakfast and are in bed at lights out. Also, you are to lend a listening ear if needed. They are still children no matter how old they may act.”
My head kept repeating my nod as I tried to take in the instructions, so much so, I almost ran her over when she stopped. “Now this is your room,” she pointed to a closed door with the discreet number 4 on it. “Your girls will be in the two rooms next to you and across from you.” She motioned to the doors numbered 2, 6, 1, and 3.
Opening the door she handed me a key, “Now I have the only other key to your room and you will want to keep it locked. The children like to prank the new teachers. Please make yourself at home.”
She turned to leave, then stopped, “Cassandra, thank you for coming. I am sure you will be a great help. If you need me please come to my office. My door is always open. And I almost forgot I am Esther Smith. Also, I like to keep things informal among the teachers so I encourage us to treat each other as friends. Any romances between teachers must not affect their work or they will be dismissed.”
With that, she left. Turning, I took in the plain room with the fanciful four-poster queen bed. I could see two doors open to a closet and a bathroom to my right. My bags were placed by the closet. I walked to the large window. I could see the forest and ocean.
“Well, Cassie,” I muttered at myself in the window, “Welcome to your new home.”