Frank exited Dean’s car and gaped at the museum he was to be working. The lavish Georgian style house nestled on 2300 acres of land, a large balcony stretched the full length of the house and an extravagant garden laid neatly kept filled with multi-coloured tulips. This is fucking huge, Frank thought to himself. I’d love to have a house like this someday. Dean noticed his expression and chuckled to himself.
“Frank, let’s go see the rest of the house, shall we?” Dean snapped Frank out of his fantasy, “I’ll grab your bags”. He pulled open the car door and hauled out Frank’s suitcase. “Holy fuck, Frank, did you pack the whole American Eagle store in your bag?” he heaved, “you’re only staying for six weeks, man”.
“I know, but a brother has to dress good, you know, to impress the ladies,” Frank joked.
Dean rolled his eyes and motioned for Frank to follow. Frank followed close behind and jumped up the stairs two at a time, creaking at each landing. “I’d be careful if I were you, everything here is in it’s original state. Some of these boards might be a bit weak”. Frank nodded and followed him inside. The inside of the house was very elegantly decorated. Old style chandeliers lit up the room, their delicate crystals sparkling off the walls with Frank’s every movement.
“Everything in here is original,” Dean said. “This house was built around 1813. All of the furniture is the exact same,” he smiled and gestured to the fluffy white and pink floral living room set perfectly laid out in the living area. “You’ll see the rest of the house later. First we must meet with the coordinator. Follow me”.
Frank followed Dean through a long, dark, wooden corridor. Along the walls stood antique hardwood wardrobes, with inlaid mirrors and intricate carved borders. He followed closely behind Dean as they reached the end of the hallway to a heavy looking door. Dean was about to knock as the door flew open. A flustered woman with long, dark brown hair appeared in the doorway. “Dean,” she spoke quickly, “you finally made it.”
“Hello, Madison, this is Frank,” Frank nodded her direction and shook her hand. Madison gave a hurried smile.
“I hate to cut this short, but I’ve gotten word that there will be a new girl joining us tomorrow, and I must go make some phone calls,” she sighed, “I swear, I did not plan for this. You can go inside, the others aren’t here yet. I’ll be back as soon as I can”. Madison smiled again and quickly left them, in search for files and phones. Dean raised his eyebrows at Frank and they both walked inside and sat down and waited.
The next morning...
“Okay, let’s all tell each other something about ourselves. Something basic,” Madison said, eying the men sitting before her. They all stared back at her, stone faced and unresponsive. Madison nodded slowly. "All right, I'll go first," she started to speak as the office door flew wide open. A girl with long black hair fell into the room, sunglasses falling off her face. She fell over trying to pick them up.
"May we help you," Madison asked, getting up to help the fallen girl off the floor. She pulled up a chair for her, and sat her down carefully, unsure if she would fall over again.
The new girl finally took off her glasses and glared at Madison, then the guys. "Yeah," she started, "you can get me some vodka. Someone ate mine this morning, it seems," she finished, pouting.
Madison rolled her eyes and stared at the girl. "I'm sorry, there's no alcohol allowed in this facility," she then looked in the guys' direction. A man with deep hazel eyes and long black hair was chuckling to himself. "You think this is funny, Gerard? Your alcohol is gone too, you know," she smirked and sat back down, fingers massaging her temples. "Alright, since you decided to rudely interrupt us by showing up late and making a huge scene, you can start by telling us a little about yourself". Madison smiled and waited for the new girl to speak.
"My name is Jay, and I'm an alcoholic. That's all you need to know." she said as she put her glasses back on her face, leaning the back of her head on the chair and staring at the ceiling.
Madison nodded slowly and looked at everyone in the room, "Okay, who wants to go next." No one answered. Madison took a deep breath. "All right. I'll go. Then I will pick someone, and then when that person is finished, they will pick the next victim." She took a deep breath and began.
"My name is Madison, as you already know. I'm from California, but I moved here to New Jersey about four years ago," she began. "I went to UCLA, and obtained my Masters degree in Psychology and Human Resources, so don't try to fool me, because you won't win". Madison waited for their reactions, but received nothing. She shrugged. "Frank, you next."
Frank glared at her. He hated being put on the spot in any given mood. Today, he was just aggravated. Frank had not received much sleep the night before, as he hated new places. This place was especially creepy, with all of its creaks and crashes. He swore he heard someone whisper his name and window shutters slamming shut in the distance, but assuming he was just anxiety ridden, he pushed it far out of his mind. Four hours later, he finally fell asleep, only to be woken up again in what seemed like no time at all.
"Frank, are you awake?" Madison's voice chimed in. Frank looked up at her.
"Sorry," he muttered. Madison gestured him to continue. "Um, hi. I'm Frank and I'm from Belleville. I run on a need to know basis, and you don't need to know," he concluded, his voice with finality. He gestured to the guy across from him for an introduction.
"I'm Bob, and I'm from Chicago. I moved here with my girlfriend two years ago," he stated, then muttered, "before she became a whore". A slight chuckling filled the room. Madison shot a demanding glance in the others' direction. She nodded to the man, apparently named Gerard, to take his fifteen minutes of fame.
"Hello, I'm Gerard, I'm also from Belleville, and I'm an alcoholic as well... in denial," he smirked. Madison rolled her eyes and dismissed him, moving on to the next person, the one with frizzy hair.
"I'm Ray, and I'm not interesting," he said, and nodded to the next, and last person.
"I'm Mikey, Gerard's younger brother, and I'm guilty of being addicted to coffee," he smiled. Madison smiled as she flipped through her notebook.
"Okay, now that's settled," she spoke. "Let me tell you all about the duties you will be performing," she finally stopped and rested on a page filled with messy scribbles.
"Each day, you will all be given an individual task, be it gardening, cleaning or otherwise. Sometimes, you will be instructed to be a tour guide, so I suggest you brush up on your history and tourism knowledge. We get a fair amount of people who are new to the area," she said.
"You must complete this task to the best of your ability during the hours specified. If your duty is to clean, you must do it when there is no one in the museum," she eyed them all carefully. They stared back at her, dumbfounded. Madison smiled at their expressions, "Don't be so excited, boys".
"You guys have the rest of the day off to rest and mingle with each other, which I strongly suggest you do. You'll be living with each other for quite some time," she stated. "Tomorrow, you will meet my assistant, Rachel. She couldn't be with us today due to an earthquake watch in California". She watched their bored expressions. Madison sighed to herself.
"You're dismissed. Get out of my office," she smiled. All of them jumped up to leave at the same time. Madison groaned inwardly. /This is going to be a rough six weeks.../. She sighed and set back to her paperwork, wishing it would do itself.