“Jason. Thank you for coming.” Thomas sat in the parlor. It was his favorite room in the Mistress’s house. Bright and peaceful, he had spent many hours reading there.
Jason stood in the doorway. “I couldn’t say no to you.”
“But you also couldn’t be on time.” Over the years they had known each other, Thomas had learned to expect Jason’s lack of responsibility, but he still pointed it out.
“There’s a reason this time. I knew we would need to have a private chat.” Jason finally entered the room and sat in a chair.
“Why is that?”
“I don’t know. I just knew it would be better to be late.”
Thomas knew from experience that he wouldn’t get any clarity from Jason, so he dropped the subject.
“I asked you here because I have a proposition for you. I inherited some money, and I plan to use it to start my own house. At the meeting I asked you to attend, I invited Sarah and Matthew to be founding members. They both accepted, and I’m hoping you will join us.”
The speed of Jason’s response surprised Thomas. “At least take a moment to consider it.”
Jason smiled in that mysterious way that always vexed Thomas. “See? I was right. We do need to talk. Good thing I was late.”
Exasperated, Thomas asked, “What do you mean?”
“I think Sarah and Matthew will be great choices, but I can’t accept your invitation.”
“I have things I need to do, and belonging to a house will get in the way.”
“What do you have to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? The house wouldn’t stop you from carrying out your research or whatever else you need to do. You know this.”
“It can’t be helped. I can’t be part of a house right now.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
“I’ve tried to explain this to you before. I just know when something is a bad idea.”
“So you are saying my house is a bad idea?”
“No. I’m saying it’s a bad idea for me. I need to be free from such associations right now.”
“You are actually turning me down?” Thomas was not certain which surprised him more: Jason turning him down or the disappointment he felt.
“It’s not you. I would have turned down any offers. Just not my path right now.”
“Well, I must say this is unexpected. And unfortunate. I suppose we will have to move forward without you.”
“You’ll be fine.” Jason continued to smile, much to Thomas’s annoyance.