Nellie Kingsleigh arrived at her aunt and uncle's farm in Yorkshire. After the car accident that killed her parents, she packed everything that she owned. Everything else was left behind in that big house. Of course, little Nellie, only thirteen would receive her inheritance once she came of age.
Upon arriving at the dismal Tweedy farm with only a suitcase in her hand, she looked around. It looked more like a prison than a farm, in her opinion. She had lived in the busy city of London and had traveled by bus to the northern part of the countryside of Yorkshire. It was quiet, something Nellie wasn't used to. She had never met her aunt Melisha. Her mother said that she was a very bitter woman whom she had tried to reconcile with many times.
And now here she was meeting her for the first time ever.
She knocked on the door, trembling. It was opened by a short, fat man who eyed her up and down. The little teenager with black hair and dark blue eyes. Her face dotted with light freckles. She looked uneasy.
"Come in," says the man who was known as her uncle.
Trembling, Nellie clutched her suitcase with her hands until her knuckles were white, looking around her new home. It was just as dismal as the outside. A typical home for a farmer.
"Melisha," said her uncle. "She's is here."
Melisha Tweedy looked up from her papers after her usual routine of egg gathering when she heard her husband's voice. Immediately she felt revulsion and disgust upon hearing that the only child of her sister was here. She despised her sister, Eleanor: the pretty one who got all the attention. She got everything she wanted. A spoiled brat. She married a rich man. All she married was a farmer...a petty chicken farmer. And now this little whelp, the exact same copy of her younger sister was here.
She looked over the small girl. Oh yes! EXACTLY like her mother. Pretty. Perfect. A child spoiled by riches.
Nellie looked down at her feet, uncomfortable to be meeting her Aunt Melisha, swallowing. Everything about this woman was a bit unapproachable. She saw this tall, slender woman with a worn, weary look. Her dark hair pulled back into a tight bun. Her face expressed bitterness. Her dress was wool. Her dark eyes looked mean and cold.
"So...you're here," says Aunt Melisha bluntly. "Don't expect to be pampered while you're here."
Nellie didn't speak. She was too afraid to say anything. Just looked at the floor.
"C'mere," she said with a beckoning hand.
Nellie approached her desk with slow caution; the floor creaked under her Paten-leather Mary Janes. Melisha looked over the small girl again. Spoiled. Perfect. Pretty. Now that her stupid sister was dead, she intended to shape this little clone of her mother. Make her work. Ruin her beauty. Yet, the girl had money...which she wouldn't get until she came of age. It wasn't fair!
"Lemme see your hands," Melisha says.
Nellie wondered why she would ask such a thing. Shaking, she removed her gloves and showed her. Melisha looked over those hands: small, lily-white and flawless. How she remembered they were once like that. Not any more. Now they were rough and calloused, ruined from hard labor.
"Lemme see your arm," she says.
Nellie looked confused by this request.
"Flex a muscle, you dolt," she said impatient.
Nellie slowly removed her coat, dressed in a black dress and rolled up the sleeve, flexing a muscle for her aunt. Melisha reached for the girl's arm and felt it. It was soft and unspoiled. Hard labor would get her to build up those muscles. Nellie flinched at the touch; it felt foreign and strange.
"Hm," says Melisha. "You're skinny and unspoiled. But you'll do anyway."
"I..." Nellie spoke. "I don't understand. What do you mean?"
"Well, you're living in this house," replied Melisha. "I expect you to not laze about while you're here. There are no servants to attend your little needs. You need to take care of yourself...and help out around here. In farmland, we all help out here."
"But..." Nellie was about to protest.
"Yes?" says Melisha, her dark eyes slits, scaring the child.
Nellie silenced immediately. It seemed her aunt wanted no complaints. Another swallow.
"Good," she said. "Now your clothes. They're not appropriate here. I'll make you some new ones tomorrow. For now go on upstairs. Your uncle Willard will show you your room."
Nellie was shown to her room; a dark, dank room. She sighed as she sat on the bed with her suitcase. She didn't like this place at all. It was scary. These people who were her so called family were strangers. And now they expected her to work?!
She laid on the bed, completely overwhelmed. She cried, missing her parents, her home. Being here was terrible.
A soft knock came at the door and came the humble voice of her uncle announcing dinner. Nellie came out and walked down the stairs, still uneasy. Nellie wasn't really hungry and picked at her dinner. The entire dinner was eaten in complete silence.
Eventually, Melisha got up and walked back to her desk, muttering and pushing buttons on a calculator. Then she muttered curses under her breath, shoving the paperwork off.
"Goddamn useless things!" she said.
Nellie and Willard flinched. They were scared to move. Nellie was just about to leave...
"And where do you think you are going?" she said in a sinisterly voice.
Nellie was too scared to answer.
"Yea, I didn't think so," she said. "Now take the dishes to the kitchen and wash them. They'd better be shiny and I'd better not see one drop of water any where."
Nellie slowly felt herself turn around and obeying. She licked her lips nervously and swallowed. She carried the dishes to the kitchen and began to wash. She looked so unsure.
"Use hot water," said Willard.
The girl saw her uncle standing there. He smiled a little at his niece even though they barely knew each other. He approached slowly, filling the sink with water and showed her how it was done. Nellie swallowed nervously.
"Go ahead," he said sofly.
Nellie approached thw sink rolling up her sleeves. The water scalded her her hands, making them raw. They began to hurt after using a dish rag and soap. Her dress got soaked.
She placed the dishes in the rack so they would dry, the cleaned up the after mess, making sure there was no water or soap.
"Don't worry," said Willard. "You'll get used to it eventually." Another small smile from the short man.
"Um...thanks, I guess," Nellie said quietly.
He nodded lightly.