Ernest wakes up at three in the afternoon. For some reason he reminisces, the day he first met Irene, probably because she was moving back to the US mainland.
Ernesto Grey Sirg, known as Ernest to everyone. Trusted confidant of Irene Arceo, he would not have become what he is now if it were not for Irene giving him a break.
Born to Estonian immigrants, his parents wanted him to take up Philosophy in college of which he did so with honors, later he took up Psychology but shifted to Business Management and an MBA.
He moved to three different schools. He thought he’d meet more people and more friends, while studying.
It was during his last year of his MBA at Wharton, that he met Irene. She was head hunting for an executive secretary.
He was walking along the hall when he saw Irene.
Ernest thinking. Who can that be? Can’t be a new student?
What is she? Who is she? A new teacher? I can’t seem to make her out. What is her real color? She walks like she owns the place.
He found her beauty quite exotic, it is not like he had never met anyone of color.
She looks quite fair, white even, but in some certain angles her skin tone would be medium to light brown. Her eyes were slightly almond and eyebrows were naturally soft arched.
To him she came ‘au naturel’. She looked like she was not even wearing makeup. It was porcelain like.
He realizes now that she is staring at her.
“You,” Irene turns to Ernest, which rattled him, “would you work for me?” Those were the first words that she said to him.
And Ernest answers, “Yes… yes I will.” What? Why did I say that?
He could not believe that he said ‘yes’ right away. Until now he is still trying to figure that out. Did she choose him? Did she have a short list?
Irene was already a multi-millionaire when she was head hunting at Wharton.
Irene would not have reached her heights if it were not for Ernest’s knack of understanding the business battlegrounds. They compliment each other.
Where he is right now, is in upstate New York. Irene bought him an island that used to be a lighthouse in Lake Ontario.
She also gave him a large sum for every venture they conquest and win.
He turned the lighthouse into his home. Since most of his work is not in the office, he could just work from home. And Irene was alright with it.
He kept the lighthouse, but made some modifications to it, adding a basement and extending the floor plan. He tapped the lake’s current and had a turbine installed which produces power for his house.
Sixteen years he worked for her, and he has been rewarded well. Working for her was torture as well as heaven.
He made sure that he does not have any computers in his bedroom; this will only lead him to work and not sleep.
At his home office he has a picture of Irene, like how government offices have a picture of the president.
Strangely enough her portrait is all over the place.
He gets up from his bed, makes a kissing gesture on his fingers and then touches Irene’s portrait that is in front of his bed with those fingers.
He always communicates with Irene but right now trouble in paradise has had her incommunicado. To finish up on his orders from Irene, he goes to his home office which is outside of his bedroom.
It is pretty much open space with no walls dividing the living room and the kitchen. He just occupies one corner with a view of the trees outside and another portrait of Irene to his side on the wall.
This is where he normally works, but he also has a panic room below the basement. Computers below are equipped with encryption, this is also where he needs to communicate with Irene.
The computers in his main office do not have data in it, all of the data are stored on their own server. Safely away just in case some burglar comes.
In between the fifth and the 15th of the month, he normally goes out to the mainland to resupply. Today was supposed to be that day but had to cancel it due to the recent events.
His phone rings. It says dad on the screen.
“Hey dad,” man it has been awhile since I last called them, I wonder how they are.
“Ernesto, my boy, how are you son?”
“Doing great dad? How are you and mom? Oh I sent some money last week, did you get it?”
“Yes, thank you very much, we could never have a better son than you. Say I was wondering if we could come and visit you.”
“That would be awesome dad, but that should be my job right? Let me come over there, I’d ask for a leave, I do not think we may have anything to do for a while though.”
“Right. We would have wanted you to come home for a while now? We decided that you might be busy so being retired and all that, we decided to come there instead. And we wanted to see your house.”
“Oh! That, well the house is large, and the island is about 24 acres.”
“What you live on an island, and you didn’t tell us! That sounds amazing, I can’t wait”
“WE” his mother interrupts his father in the background.
“Oh, I mean we can’t wait to be there. We have a flight tomorrow, how do we get there? You said you are in upstate New York right?”
“I said it was horse island not horsing land.” His mother interrupts his dad again, and then grabs the phone.
“Ernesto, your island is Horse Island?”
“Yes mom, that is it exactly.”
“Okay, see you soon son, good bye.”
“Pay the cabbie, there should be someone here that could take us to him.”
“The marina center should be a start.”
Ernest was kind of shocked at his parents, this was unlikely of them, since they were so straight and narrow, and always had a plan that is not unthinkable.
“Alright Ernest,” Ernest talking to himself, “let us finish up on these letters, and have them sent by tomorrow.”
As he was finishing up thirty minutes later, his parents were right in front of him outside the lawn. In fact the unthinkable has happened. Accompanied by the man he usually hires to take him to and fro the island.
His mother gestures on how to get in, waving her hands.
“Mom, wait let me open the door.” He shouts and gestures with his hands to wait for him.
He runs outside to meet them. He hugs his mom, and dad.
“Ernesto, pay this man for his trouble.” His mom implores him.
“Ah, Mr. Bigsy, thank you for bringing my parents here. Why don’t you all come in first. I may still have cash around.”
So they all came in and Ernest and Mr. Bill Bigsy talked a bit, as Ernest pays Bigsy. Ernest’s mother Leonora wanders around the house and looks at his office corner. Their photos, and their family portrait on the table.
Then she sees a photo of Irene beside them, and then another photo on the wall. And to his back another photo of Irene.
“That must be Ernest’s love.” His mother whispers to Thomas, his dad.
“I wish, she looks deadly beautiful.”
“Mom, dad, let me take you a tour.” Ernest proudly declares.
“I want to see what your bedroom looks like,” his mom said, sounding like a parent, who wants to see if he made his bed or not.
Startled, he could not refuse so he relents.
“Very well, anyway I have three more bedrooms and a guesthouse over there,” he points to the back of him. “Mom, I am pretty sure I did my bed.”
“You were always lazy with your bed,” his mom retorts.
His dad at the back of his mom raised his hands in submission. So off they went to his bedroom.
Ernest learned early that in dealing with his parents, it is best to be straight and truthful. They will always find something.
As they went inside, his mother noticed the portrait again.
“You have a beautiful girlfriend son, she looks deadly too, what is her name?”