Annabelle led me back through the servants’ halls and to the kitchen. It was already crowded with servants and workers; all working busily and efficiently. I felt really dumb because all of these people were wearing tunic type dresses in different shades of brown and tan; and when we walked in they all looked up at us. I tried to smooth my outfit out, but it didn’t work and I took a step behind Annabelle to try and hide.
“What is the problem here?” A voice came booming through behind me, I jumped and turned to see a large woman behind me. I heard that the commotion behind me started up again, and there was a small murmur of conversations starting.
“Annabelle,” the woman in front of me said. There was a certain relief in her voice, but it was also a surprise. “I didn’t expect to see you here again.”
“Yeah, me either.” I heard Annabelle laugh her answer.
Again…? I asked myself in my head and made a mental note to ask her what that meant. But I was completely distracted by this woman who was talking to Annabelle.
This woman was very tall, and well manly in a way. She had large arms and legs, but I could tell it was a mixture of muscles and then just her normal figure. Her hair was an earthy red with a few gray hairs. It was very frizzy and curly, and being held back by a low ponytail. She had many freckles going across her cheek and nose and along her arms as well. Her eyes were a muggy brown, and when they looked over in me something ignited in them to make them a bit brighter.
“Ah, so you’re the one that has brought all this fuss and gossip around the castle.” She said as she looked over me again, and again I felt self conscious about my outfit.
“Josey, this is Mystic.” Annabelle said with a hand on my shoulder.
“Mist,” I corrected her quietly.
“I see,” she said looking over me critically and then back at Annabelle. “So why is she here?” Josey asked Annabelle, and the way she said here made it sound like it was hers.
“Master Finn wants her to explore in different areas before becoming his servant.” Annabelle explained as I gave a sour look at the ground at the mention of Finn’s name.
“Well I have too many girls—” Josey began on a rant as her voice rose.
“Jo,” Annabelle cut her off. “You’re not responsible for her; I am.” Annabelle said flatly. I bit my lip as I heard her say that, remembering what Finn said and knowing it was true.
“Oh,” Josey said. Then she looked at me. “You better not cause this girl any trouble; or I will do double what ever punishment she gets.” Josey said with a laugh that was joking. But something in her eyes made me thing she wasn’t, even as she gave me a smile and Annabelle laughed behind me.
“Don’t worry about me, it’s here I think Finn’s after.” Annabelle added as she began to pull me away. “We’re going to go break eggs, and then later I’ll bring her back to peel.” Annabelle pulled me along as Josey nodded and then started working on something to the counter next to her.
I was pulled through a maze of counter tops, stoves, sinks, and people. The kitchen seemed small at first, but the further back you went the bigger it got. It was almost like on the cooking channel about those five star restraints, how everything was organized and its place. Mean and poultry in one area, then veggies, then fruits, followed by sauces, and the last area I saw I think was for desserts because there was only one person working there.
“You’re gonna start by cracking some eggs for the breakfast.” Annabelle said as she led me to a counter that was round. There were several other girls sitting around the counter and in the middle there was a large bowl and I could see there were egg yolks in it. They were all talking conversationally as they broke eggs, spilled the contents in the bowl, and then threw the empty shells in a hole next to them.
They continued to work efficiently as they chatted and we approached. When we got closer to them though the chatting died down and we were looked at as they continued to work.
“Hi ladies, miss me?” Annabelle spoke up. The girls burst into smiles and they all started talking at once.
“How are you?”
“What happened, we thought you were transferred.”
“Who is this?”
“I missed you guys too.” Annabelle said gently. “Ladies, this is Mystic. Oh sorry, Mist.” She pushed me forward a little to an empty stool next to an older looking woman. “She’s going to be working in the kitchen for a while.” The girls grew quiet as they all looked over me and then back up at me. There was a girl with wavy short hair and she got a look of surprise on her face, then she turned to the brunette with curls next to her and began to talk.
“It’s her, that’s the girl I was talking about.” The blonde said, the brunette studied me and then her face matched the blondes.
“No, that’s her?” The brunette asked.
“Mhmm, that’s the one their making the ring for.” The blonde looked back at me, her face full of admiration and longing. “How do you do it? I’ve never known a human who could do that to them.” She had stopped working and so had the brunette, but now everyone stopped and looked at me and I could feel all their eyes watching me.
“What are you talking about?” I asked when I found my voice.
The blonde was a young girl, and defiantly talkative, but she sounded like she knew what she was talking about. “I mean, I know we all can communicate thoughts with them, but they have to let us into their head. But you,” she looked at me now with a smile. “You can talk to them freely, and you hurt Master Finn. Not physically of course, that would never be able to happen, but you still got him to let go of you.” It clicked in my head what they were talking about. They were talking about the hunt I had, how Finn kept popping into my head and I screamed at him. I didn’t think anything of it at the time; it was just something that was useful to me.
“Wait, I’m the only one who could do that?” I asked, I still didn’t completely believe it, but it could be true.
“Well, technically you’re the only one we’ve met who could ever do it. All of the servants here can’t do it, you’re the only one.” Annabelle said behind me. There was a voice behind us, which was followed by several gasps.
“Yes, you’re the only one.” All the girls stood up and bowed their heads and I turned to see Annabelle doing the same thing.
“Good morning Master Jess.” All the girls at the table and Annabelle said. I turned completely around to see Jess sitting there with his hands in front of him. Jess was looking over me with a disgusted look on his face. He looked good in his clean forest green business shirt and black jeans. Jess’s hair was falling in front of his eyes and when I gazed over his eyes I couldn’t look away. Everything else around me blurred some, but I was still aware of Annabelle looking at me and whispering something to me.
“Who made that outfit?” Jess asked. My heart fluttered some when I heard him speak and it made me upset, but I couldn’t look away.
“I don’t know...” I answered back to him shakily. The truth was that I really didn’t know who made it even though my mind kept screaming at me Finn had it made for me. “Don’t you like it?” I asked him now, not really knowing where it was coming from, or why I said it, but it just slipped out. My stomach lurched and turned as I saw his expression change from disgust, to a small happy face, and then back to disgust. It hurt when his face went back to disgust and he continued to look at me and I made myself look away so my stomach would stay still. Everything came back into view and I saw a disapproving look from Annabelle. I don’t know why I had even looked at him. I bowed my head as Annabelle was and then turned my voice into a shy timid voice.
“Good Morning Master Jess.” I said keeping my head bowed. I didn’t want to look him in the eyes again. I don’t know what I was thinking when I asked him that. I was just a stupid servant girl and he was a…well I didn’t really know his title; but he was going to be my master. I hated that word, but that’s what was going to happen, there was no way to change it.
“Yes, well…” Jess seemed to struggle for words then I saw him shake his head some and then he snapped at us. “Get back to work, all of you.”
“Yes Master Jess,” we all answered him at one, me a second behind then the rest. Annabelle lightly grabbed my elbow and then led me to an open seat next to another girl, while she took the one next to me. I began to crack eggs like I had been doing it all my life, even though I probably looked nowhere near as composed as the rest of them. My stomach still felt like it was turning and when I saw Jess walk out of the kitchen door something inside me shriveled up in pain, and then it went away.
There was so many things that I couldn’t explain about this place, and the thing I felt with Jess was one of them. But it was also one of the things that I think I would never really know. So instead I just thought about home as I tuned out the rest of the girls- probably not the best first impression with them- and though of home as I cracked the eggs.