At Her Boss's Bidding

By: Miranda Lee

‘He didn’t, the selfish rat. But that doesn’t mean that one day you won’t meet a man who will love you the way you deserve to be loved.’

‘You’re only saying that because you were lucky enough to find Rafe. Not so long ago, you didn’t have such a high opinion of the male sex.’

‘True.’ Isabel couldn’t deny that she’d been a classic cynic for ages where men were concerned. She’d spent most of her adult female life falling in love with Mr Wrong. She knew where Rachel was coming from and, honestly, she couldn’t blame her for feeling the way she did. Eric had treated her shamefully, dumping her after he found out Rachel was quitting her job to look after Lettie. That, coming on top of Lettie’s own husband heartlessly abandoning his increasingly vague wife, must have been the final straw. It was no wonder Rachel’s faith in the male sex had been seriously dented.

‘I’m quite happy as I am, Isabel,’ Rachel went on, ‘without a man in my personal life. I’m really enjoying my job. It’s very interesting working for an investment consultant. I’m learning a lot about the stock market, and money matters, which hasn’t exactly been my forte till now, as you know. I’m thinking of going to university at night next year and doing a business degree, part-time. I have plans for my life, Isabel, so don’t you worry about me. I’ll be fine.’

Isabel sighed. That’s what she always said. Rachel was one brave girl. But a rather unlucky one. When Lettie died they’d both thought she’d at least have some financial equity in Lettie’s house, despite it being mortgaged. Rachel was the sole beneficiary in Lettie’s will, made after Lettie’s husband had deserted her. Rachel had been going to sell the house and put a deposit on an inner-city apartment with the money left over after the loan had been repaid. So she’d been shattered to find out the house was still in Lettie’s husband’s name.

When Rachel went to the solicitor who was looking after Lettie’s estate and explained that she’d personally paid the mortgage for the past four and a half years with money she’d earned doing clothes alterations at home, the solicitor had countered that Lettie’s ex had paid the mortgage for fifteen years before that and had no intention of giving her a cent.

She was also informed that Lettie’s ex was thinking of contesting Lettie’s last will as well, since it was made after she was diagnosed with a mentally debilitating illness. Rachel was advised she could go to court to fight for a share of the house and contents if she wished, but her case was shaky. Even if she won, the amount of money she’d be awarded would undoubtedly be exceeded by her court costs.

So Rachel had walked away with nothing but a few personal possessions, her clothes and a second-hand sewing machine.

She’d temporarily been living with Isabel in her town house at Turramurra, and had agreed to house-sit whilst Isabel and Rafe were away on their honeymoon. Isabel had offered her the use of her place on a permanent basis for a nominal rent, since she was moving into Rafe’s inner-city terraced house on their return, but Rachel had refused, saying she would look for a small place of her own closer to the city.

Silly, really, Isabel thought. She should let her friends help her in her hour of need. But that was Rachel for you. Independent and proud. Too proud.

But the nicest person in the world.

Isabel hoped that one day a man might come along worthy of her. A man of character and sensitivity. A man with a lot of love to give.

Because of course that was what Rachel needed. To be loved. Truly. Madly. Deeply.

Just as Rafe loves me, Isabel thought dreamily.

God, she was so lucky.

Poor Rachel. She did feel terribly sorry for her.


RACHEL hurried down the city street the following Monday morning, anxious not to be late for work. She’d caught a slightly later train than usual, courtesy of the longer time it had taken her to get ready for work that morning. Now she was trying to make up for lost time, her sensibly shod feet working hard.

Turning a corner into a city street which faced east, Rachel was suddenly confronted by the rays of the rising sun slanting straight into her eyes. But she didn’t slacken her pace.

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