Chapter 2

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Deep red walls, a massive four-poster bed and burning incense dominated my senses. What in the world kind of place is this? Another slave popped into my vision for a split second, her white dress flashing in the corner of my vision before she disappeared through another door. White blurs flit in and out of the rooms as slaves rushed about their business ignoring us as they tried to accomplish their tasks. No messing around in this place is there. I stood in the center of the room and watched the goings on for a few more seconds before we continued on our way. Before I had a moment to process the room I was being hauled towards, we ducked behind a tapestry and into a hidden room packed with rows of beds stacked against the walls. Out of sight out of mind I guess.

“This is where we sleep.” She gave me a once over with her eyes. “Big hips, small waist, average breasts.” She circled around me with a serious stare. She picked up a piece of my hair, turning it over in her hands, “Brown. Not the best color.” Turning around she started digging through a pile of white cloth, pulling out pieces that looked like rags. “These will be your clothes until we have time to make ones that fit.” Half throwing them at me rather than too me, she set off across the room leaving me scrambling after her.

I hate this getting established crap. You are confused don’t know which way is up and they really expect the transition to be flawless?

My guide quickly moved into another room, past scurrying slaves and I scrambled to follow. “You know how this works. Keep quiet, don’t look at them, and do your damndest to do what they want before they even know they want it.” I struggled to keep the scraps of clothing she had thrown at me in my arms as we walked. “You have two minutes to change then I will be back for you.” She pushed past another curtain and I stopped in mid-stride.

Damn-it! I looked around the crowded room. Damn-it! This is not the way I wanted to start my time here. I started to pull off the clothes I was wearing hoping to change without attracting attention from the men seemingly focused on the task at hand. I pulled the dress over my head, fumbling to hold it against myself with one hand and trying to open the new white dress with the other.

“Cook! Where is …” At the sound of a voice I turned around to face the curtain where the young man from earlier, my owner, was staring open mouthed at me. I tried to wrap the dress around myself farther. Damn-it!  I was worried about the other slaves, now I have just guaranteed myself some problems in the future. He blinked at me a few times before closing his mouth. He pulled himself up taller and took a step forward. Shit! I took a step to counter his forward, dropped my gaze to the floor and closed my eyes. Please don’t see me. Please ignore me! I clutched the dresses to my front and squeezed my eyes shut with excessive force.

A grab at my elbow and I found the young woman from earlier dragging me through another doorway, away from the stare of that man. He was young. Much younger then I would have expected now that I have seen him close up. “Don’t go near him. He owns this house and he owns you. Make him mad, and you will be shipped off without a seconds’ hesitation.” I glanced over my shoulder at the figure still staring at my retreating form. Gorgeous brown hair, wide shoulders, narrow waist, toned everything and his eyes! He looked deep into my eyes and that’s when I realized that I was looking at him again. I dropped my eyes and felt a hot flush creep across my face. As soon as we rounded a corner we stopped long enough to pull the dress over my head. This is really not starting well.

~*~

I stared in absolute awe at the frothy, miracle bubbling out of the water in front of me. I reached forward with a finger and tentatively poked one of the bubbles. With the slightest ‘popping’ sound the bubble disappeared leaving only its rich floral scent behind. A magic show in a bathing tub!

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