An iron stove was further back, surrounded by work surfaces. A large table was in the middle with plates set out and broken chairs around it. Miranda looked from the stove then walked up, wiping her sweating hands on the apron she wore. As she advanced towards us Kiara looked to the ground.
“About time. I’m sure Jess didn’t say to take your time. We have a party to cater for in half an hour so you will be staying here unless sent for. I doubt you shall be needed, if that is the case act properly and if in any doubt follow our movements. Understood?” She asked, her eyes boring into me, filling me with dread that I’d be killed if anything went wrong or if I dare disagree. I nodded instantly then she nodded once and walked to others before talking with them in a hushed voice but still with an underlying tone of strictness.
“Hey Kiara where’s Jess?” I asked. As the maids looked at me in surprise and Kiara turned the side of an apron I tensed. “Is something wrong with me asking that?”
“Jess is not allowed here.” Miranda stated, the coldness in her voice increasing in intensity.
“Jess works directly for the Prince Regent therefore sleeps beside the King’s chamber. Also… Jess is… well.” Kiara leant close then whispered the following words to me. “Jess isn’t female, he’s a male.”
“What?!” I exclaimed in shock, Kiara stepped back holding a hand to her ears and the others frowned at me with contempt. Unable to hold in the thoughts in my head I burst out in laughter, holding my stomach as I leant forwards out of breath. “He has a girl’s name. Ha. I bet he gets bullied because of…” I went silent and my cheek burnt with a newfound warmth. My skin warmed up and I tried to register the feeling in my mind. Pain.
“How dare you laugh at someone else? You are in no position to be so rude about the one who saved your life.”
“How did he save my life?” I snapped. Another sting, Miranda slapped me exactly where she had before.
“If he had not been there you’d be in a worse state. Be grateful and hope no-one tells him of how you acted.”
“Fine. Stop slapping me. I’m not a kid.”
“Then act more mature. Now let’s not dally. Come along you lot. Kiara help.”
“Yes Head Maid.” Kiara whispered then followed her to a tray full of food and walked it through a door further back.
I sat on the chair nearest and held a hand to my cheek. “That really hurt.” I whispered then closed my eyes.
It went silent as everyone left the servant’s hall, no doubt to work in the kitchen and serve those in the hall I had been in previously. Alone with my thoughts I decided to look around the area but it was just like a kitchen, except without most of the things that were needed, so I left to find out about the castle and royal family I now served under.
Finding a window seemed to be impossible as I advanced down so many corridors I began to believe I was lost and within a maze. Finally light streamed through a window further up so I ran forwards, eager to see the outside area. Unfortunately for me, also looking for the window, having found it a lot earlier and now looking out of it, was another being.
I crashed into the body of the person then both me and them fell to the ground. My face lost it’s smile and I realized the pain of being on my feet constantly during my wondering. “I’m so sorry.” I whispered hastily. “I wasn’t looking.”
“That much is evident.” A cold voice replied. “You must be new here.”
“What? You can tell?” I asked, looking up at the man standing and brushing down rich purple robes. I froze upon the sight of the robes then gradually looked to the man’s face. He was beautiful with such sharp features on his unblemished face. His brown eyes complimented his black hair, it was a shame about his voice and attitude.
“Of course I can. Jess!” The man ordered. Footsteps sounded out then taking long strides from behind approached Jess. He looked straight at me, frowned, then looked to the man before bowing deeply. “Who is this?”
“Sarah My Lord, she is a new servant amongst this household.” He explained, still bowing. “I beg your forgiveness on this matter My Lord, it seems the others have neglected to teach her the basics.”
“There is a party on, I’m sure they were preoccupied. Still you should have stayed in the kitchen girl.” The man snapped at me. I tore my gaze from Jess, whose hair fell past his shoulders and his ribbon was held in his hand, and looked to the man.
“I apologized didn’t I?” I asked softly, hoping not to sound too annoyed despite feeling like I could scream it at him.
“Watch your mouth. As you are new I shall forgive you this once. You may rise Jess.”
Jess did so as if a dog following his master’s orders.
I held back the words trying to escape, snapping at the man’s poor attitude and treatment.
“See me to the hall then take this girl back to the kitchen Jess.”
“Yes My Lord.” He replied then tied the bow into his hair. I watched as he did so with such grace and ease he could have passed as one of these snobs.
“You, girl, come with us but stay back so you are not seen.”
“Fine.” The man glared at me. “I mean: Yes My Lord.” I said clearer then the man walked off, Jess staying behind and to his left.
I found it hard to keep up, my feet and now my back hurt and they took such long stride. The dress restricted me taking such long steps so I had to do a sort of jog just to keep half way to them. I stopped as Jess looked to me and nodded then watched as they walked through. Curious about who the man was I crept to the door and peeked around the side.
“Good morning Father, members of the court.” The man said as Jess just bowed briefly to those who looked up, not at all embarrassed about the attention. “Thank you Jess, you may leave.”
“Thank you My Lord, may your lunch be enjoyable.” He said then stood and turned, walking away swiftly.
While trying to hide I hit my head then held a hand to where I had connected with the door frame. As I muttered angrily with my eyes closed the steady clicking stopped. Slowly I opened my eyes and saw Jess staring at me, his dark eyes showing anger and annoyance. “Sorry.”
“Come with me.” He said.