Just seeing Cassie exit the elevator and step into the lobby brought a smile to Ted's face. Although he did try to maintain a friendly welcome for everyone that came to and went from each of the offices in the 26 floor building, there was no denying that Cassie got a true and happy grin whenever Ted saw her.
It's not just that she was pretty (she IS), or that she was always smiling (she WAS), or that she had a way of making people feel seen (she DOES)- somehow Ted felt like she was always aware of HIM, personally.
Cassie was one of the assistants to Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliams, the sole occupants of the penthouse on floor 26 (really, it was floor 25, but like so many buildings, there was no floor 13 on the elevator control panel). No one really knew which of the Fitzwilliamses made their money or how they did it, but it was obvious that someone, somewhere, somehow had made beaucoup bucks. Ted would put his money on the Mister as the breadwinner, or maybe it was family money, well invested. No one had seen Mrs. Fitzwilliams for quite some time.
Well, for that matter, no one had seen Mr. Fitzwilliams for several months now, either. Ted guessed that, if you lived in one of the most exclusive buildings in the city, in THE most exclusive penthouse in that building, there might not be any need to leave home, anyway.
The truth is, Ted felt sorry for Cassie; she left so much later than the other non-residential people he saw everyday. In at 6:30 AM sharp, according to the log book the morning doorman kept; she usually exited close to 8:30 PM, long after any other employees had finished their tasks for the day. The elevators and lobby were almost always deserted when she left, save for Cassie and Ted.
She looked exhausted, too. Ted could tell from the way she rubbed her hands after dropping off packages to be mailed at the day watchman's station. Why the Fitzwilliamses had her do this for them Ted couldn't imagine. At the very least one of the building's porters could easily handle it, using a dolly or trolley. Probably, Ted thought to himself, they just didn't want to pay any tips. That's how rich people get richer.
Cassie had an even larger load of sturdy packages this evening, Ted noted. After she'd carefully placed them on the shelving behind the desk and slowly straightened up, he could see her take a slow breath in and then out, squaring her shoulders, like she was preparing herself to face the world.
Would she, Ted wondered to himself, would she do it now? It was his favorite part of the daily ritual when Cassie left. (Well- if he was to be honest, and if not honest with himself then who?- his favorite except for watching her hips sway and the swell of her toned behind move through the lobby almost as if she danced a special dance just for him. It was, he mused, like he was her audience of one.)
But besides that performance, his favorite thing was when she would turn his way and start for the door. She'd lift her eyes to his, give a small quiet smile, then purse her lips and begin to whistle and LILT a LIGHT TUNE. It was like a small musical kiss meant just for him. Ted looked forward to it and felt the pure pleasure of it rush from his head to his toes then back up again to settle tinglingly just below his belt. When rose to open the door for her and tipped his cap, every bit of Ted stood at attention.
Cassie exited the building, lips still pursed with the last notes of 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'. As always, she walked slowly, leading with her thighs the way she'd read Marilyn Monroe describe was the most effective way to create a captivating sashay. Whether that was true or not, it certainly captivated that doorman every night.
It's good to have something you can count on.
Especially as she needed to start casing out her next job.
With Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliams safely stowed in the giant walk-in freezer they'd so thoughtfully installed during their initial remodel, Cassie had worked her way through the penthouse undistracted. There really wasn't much left except for the furniture, and Cassie always left that behind.
Each day she arrived bright and early, with a clear prioritized plan: first packaged were the items she sold online. Got to keep the buyers happy and her ratings up. Then things she sent to her fences, those items that had to be handled... delicately and without a trace back to her. And last; Cassie packed the things that were just for her, souvenir tokens that made her smile.
Thinking of the necklace that would arrive at her home the next day, Cassie's smile stretched wide and she started to sing in earnest one of her favorite Prince songs: Diamonds and Pearls.
This piece was written for the Vocal Word Hunt Challenge, and the three words used are in the subtitle: Lilt Light and Tune.
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