Chapter 5: Elisa

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It took two weeks for the tenderness to leave my bottom. J.D. had risen on my skin in splotchy, red, block letters. Davis had stayed away from me giving me longing stares whenever I was in the room. A seething rage would burn through my veins every time I remembered that he'd branded me for life. But that was only during my free time because in my busy time, everyone was working tirelessly to prepare for Davis' annual spring ball that was finally happening today. His entire staff had done everything from pruning the gardens, cleaning the house, to preparing the lavish menu and even preparing potential guest bedrooms. I was dusting the living room when Davis poked his head in to tell me that I was needed in the kitchen. He'd upped the kitchen staff to include about 6 more women. They were all either peeling potatoes and carrots or carving up pieces of beef.

Patricia handed me a knife asking me to dice the tomatoes and slice up the potatoes and carrots. I quietly followed her orders, taking comfort that I was around other women. It reminded me of when I would help my mom and my aunts in the kitchen. Every week on a Sunday the whole family would get together and we'd prepare our Sunday dinner to catch up and bond. Somehow that seemed so long ago. I hadn't heard anything from my parents or Erik. Not that I could anyway, but I had hope.

"I hear Mr. Jones is coming." A young girl named Maria said. Patricia gave her a sharp look.

"Don't get any ideas." She warned. "There's nothing wrong with looking."

"Well don't let Master Davis catch you doing that."

I continued to dice tomatoes trying to remember where I'd heard that name. Jones... Jones... Mr. Jones. Like a light, the memory of almost being bought by Mr. Jones flashed through my head.

My branded mark ached, making me wish Mr. Jones had succeeded in buying me. I wouldn't have J.D. on my butt that was for sure. Maria rounded the counter, accidentally bumping into my behind. I yelped by instinct, dropping the knife onto the floor. Maria covered her mouth with her hand apologizing quickly. Word had spread throughout the entire slave camp that Master Davis had branded me because I wouldn't bed down with him. My cheeks heated up at the sorry looks everyone was giving me. 

"It's okay." I assured Maria, offering her a smile. 

"How big is this party?" I asked, trying to change the subject.

"Bigger than life. It lasts until the first crow of the rooster and we have to be up too to clean up. Be prepared to work the entire night. Master Davis orders his house servants to serve food and make sure all the guests are taken care of. It usually meant good money, not this year I guess."

When the food began to cook and soak in its delicious juices, the enchanting aroma of pork and potatoes wafted through the entire kitchen. We left the house in shifts to wash up and put on the uniform Davis had given us earlier. This was the one day he wanted us all to look presentable. As we each returned, Patricia lowered the flame on all the food and asked us to get into a straight line for Davis to approve of. He walked down the line making sure we were all properly groomed. 

"Alright, this is important. Most of you remember how I like this night to go. Any deviation from my orders will result in punishment. Understood?" he said.

We all nodded in unison. 

"Good, now get ready, guests are arriving."

Patricia rounded us up again; assigning each a job to ensure this night went smoothly. Maria and I were sent to the front to collect coats and jackets. Davis walked to the door where his wife was already waiting for him in a black long sleeve dress. She wore her hair in an elegant bun and a diamond bib necklace with diamond stud earrings. Mr. Davis nodded to Dean the butler to open the door. He pulled them apart just as the guests began to walk up the stairs. Cars rolled on through the courtyard rounding the fountain and stopping to allow their masters to climb off. Music began to pour out of the ballroom as the Davis' smiled at everyone as they passed through. A black luxurious Rolls Royce entered the premises. Davis raised a brow at his wife seemingly knowing exactly who that was.

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