An elderly man whose movements rasped of arthritis in every joint hobbled from the door of the lodge house and struggled to slide back a bolt on the gates. Annie thought about getting out and helping, but the driveway consisted of a stony track half submerged in puddles and she was wearing her one and only pair of high heels. Instead she reinforced her decision to go for the sophisticated look and refreshed her lipstick in the mirror behind her sun visor. Then she wound down her window.
“I‟m here for a job interview. Sorry I‟m a bit late. I was stuck in traffic.” “Maggie‟ll understand,” the old man muttered. “She‟s been stuck all her life.” An adolescent boy tumbled out of the lodge carrying a laptop and struggling into a tattered old Harris Tweed jacket.
“But time is running out, G-Gramps. That‟s what Grandma says all the time now.” He thrust his head close to Annie‟s open window and said quietly, “No need to hurry really. But can you give me a lift? Make each other‟s acquaintance?” He dashed round to the other side of the car, and then was seated beside her, slightly out of breath, smelling of something domestic out of her childhood; spearmint toothpaste overlaid with antiseptic ointment.
“I‟m Annie Clarke. I‟ve come for an interview for the post of Marketing Manager.” “And I‟m Jeremy. Very pleased to meet you.” She put the car in first gear and edged forward, carefully negotiating potholes. “Who‟s Maggie?” “My Grandmother.” “Would that be Lady Margaret Burnet?” He muttered a minimally affirmative “hmph”. Annie took a serious look at the boy next to her, and the car lurched, and then stalled. There was something adolescent about his manner, but now she saw the serious stubble on his chin, and the width of his chest beneath the ill-fitting jacket, and guessed he was into his twenties. She quickly characterised him as cocky aristocrat slumming it with a deeper purpose, and made a mental note to be cautious.
She concentrated on steering her course and he remained stubbornly silent. She was determined not to give him whatever kind of advantage it was he thought he was getting.
“So it‟s your grandmother who‟s going to interview me. How about giving me a bit of background to help me out?”
Jeremy pointedly sat up straight and launched into a breathless account so astonishing that Annie was certain he was pulling her leg, which left her thinking double beware.
“Well Mummy ran off with an Arab prince when I was a baby, and Daddy died of a broken heart soon after, so Maggie sort of took over as Mummy and Daddy except she was mostly looking after Sir Thomas, that‟s her husband and my grandfather who died last month