Chapter 14: Elisa

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Miss Felicia, Emilia and I were sitting on the sun deck going over plans for the engagement party. She was having a special dress made just for the occasion. The announcement about the engagement had gone out just a few days ago and the phone lines had been flooded with calls from their friends all over town. Flowers came every single morning as congratulations.

      Matilde stepped onto the sun deck to announce the arrival of Mr. Elias. He smiled at us as he thanked Matilde, then he leaned down kissing the top of Felicia's head. He sat beside her, looking over the invitations to the engagement party that we would be sending out within a couple of days. Felicia leaned over asking my opinion on the design she wanted to pick. I nodded assuring her it was the perfect choice. She glanced at Elias firmly telling him this was the final decision she was making over the invitations.

"Whatever you want." He laughed.

Guadalupe's shape darkened the entrance of the sun deck.

"Miss Felicia do you mind if I steal Elisa for the day?"

"Not at all."

      I stood, extending my hand out to Emilia.

"Oh don't worry about her. I don't mind looking after her." Miss Felicia said.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Positive. You focus on your tasks, and I'll make sure she's occupied."

"Thank you."

Miss Felicia smiled, placing Emilia onto her lap to help her choose the photo that would go on the engagement invitation.

      Guadalupe handed me a vacuum and asked me to hit every nook and cranny upstairs. I hauled the machine up the stairs taking my time in each room. The vacuum left clean streaks over the carpet, assuring me I was doing a good job. Next, I made all the beds dusting the furniture then moved onto cleaning the bathroom. There was a pile of shirts on Mr. Andrew's bed with a note asking me to iron them and hang them back in his closet. I grabbed the ironing board laying one out remembering this was around the time Davis tried to make me his.

      The sensation of his protruding belly pressing against my body sent a shiver of disgust down my spine. He was a repulsive man. How he had a wife and a mistress was beyond me. I spent the rest of the day and the rest of the week helping the women clean the house from top to bottom in preparation for the engagement party. Emilia was stuck to Felicia keeping out of my hair and busy with planning. Thank goodness for that girl. The party was just a few days away and the bustling was finally coming to the end. I had finished serving breakfast when that shrill voice pierced my brain. Thought I was having a stroke until I realized it was just Becky Dowager in all her annoying glory.

      Mr. Andrew's face lit up like a kid in a candy store. He couldn't possibly find that voice appealing, could he? He stood to greet her and kissed her cheek inviting her to breakfast. She shook her head making a comment about watching her figure. I rolled my eyes as I entered the kitchen only to have Mr. Andrew call me back in. He asked me to help Becky get settled on a horse so they could take a ride out. I nodded, leading the way to the barn. Becky was on her phone seemingly uninterested in saying anything to me as we crossed through the backyard. When we made it to the barn, she picked her horse ordering me to bring it out for her. I bit my tongue and did as she asked. Becky finally looked at me casting me an irritated glare as she shooed me away.

      A sense of distrust bloomed in my chest as I rounded the corner of the barn. I pressed myself against the wall inching as closely as possible. There was a brief silence before inaudible words could be heard coming from her. She seemed to be whispering. I inched even closer, closing my eyes to be able to hear something.

"No, no, I need more time. There is definitely something here. He's nice to his slaves and that's usually a sign that something is off. I need maybe about a week more and I'll have something solid. Jones is hiding something."

It's funny how you get to hear exactly what you need to.

"Elisa?"

      I gasped, backing into the barn wall at the sound of my name. Mr. Andrew was standing in front of me wearing his riding clothes.

"What are you doing?"

"Uh... waiting for you! Becky should be all settled."

"Thank you, Elisa."

He rounded the barn wall pulling a horse from a stall. Becky beamed at the sight of his then they rode off together. That was odd, there was no chaperone.

      I shrugged the thought off and dashed for the house. Becky was working for someone that could hurt Mr. Andrew. Maybe Davis? He'd already hurt him by killing his parents, maybe now he was trying to get rid of him. I found Miss Felicia sitting in the living room watching a kiddie show with Emilia. She looked at me as I tried to catch my breath. Emilia was so engrossed watching reruns of Pingu that she didn't even notice Miss Felicia pulling me onto the sun deck.

"This might be out of line, but I have to tell someone." I began, taking in a deep breath.

"What is it?" she asked.

"As I was helping Becky she shooed me away and got on the phone with someone. I couldn't hear everything, but what I did hear was that she was that she's looking to get something on your brother. I don't know who she's working for but she said she needed more time and that it was so odd how nice he was to his slaves and needed one more week to have something solid on him."

"Don't say a word of this to anyone else, okay?"

"Okay."

She sent me over to the kitchen to help the ladies while she sat with Emilia and finished the rest of Pingu.

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