Yay! Hooray! This is a story heavily influenced by William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Of course, if you have read that story, not all is revealed about this one. And so, with no more word on the subject, onto my second fanfic!
Disclaimer for the WHOLE story: I do not own anything Twilight. There. I said it.
I live in the household of my lady, Miss Tanya. I am a servant; I am not recognized, nor do I wish to be. My life is filled with boring activities that I repeat every day: scrubbing the floors, picking fruits off the trees, tending to the fireplace, welcoming guests, and helping out in the kitchen – the latter was my favorite and, luckily, the most frequent. I spent most of my time in the kitchen with Cook. I loved to cook and I was quite good at it. I was just happy that my clumsiness didn't apply in the kitchen.
My Lady is a countess, and a beautiful one at that. She has light blonde hair that shines in the sunlight and her blue eyes would twinkle when she was happy. Of course, I rarely ever saw her happy – she would normally see me when she was angry at me for doing something wrong. But she was sensitive enough not to yell for too long, and she praised us when she thought we did well. She was overall a great person.
Many of the men in the kingdom pined for her love. But she would not give it to them. For her heart had been snatched by Sir Edward, a very wealthy duke who lived not two miles away. I had heard brief conversations about Tanya's love life passed around by the gossiping servants, but I did not care, and I did not listen.
I sometimes listened to the stories of Sir Edward, however. I couldn't help myself. The tales were captivating, and they described the duke as noble, brilliant, handsome, and courageous. Of course, a man like that didn't exist; a man like that couldn't exist. There was no way that anyone could be so perfect.
My daydreaming shifted from Sir Edward to my brother, and I realized that I had been wrong on my assumption. My brother, caring Jasper, had been perfect in every way. He was two years older, and very protective. It was he that I always looked up to; it was he whom I adored.
He was very handsome; his blond hair was slightly curly and he was of a muscular build. He was tall, yet not towering, and it just added to his looks. I was sure that if he had not been of my blood, I – like most of the girls on our street – would have fallen head-over-heels for him at first sight.
Anytime something put me in danger, he was there. Whether a boy who lived close had seen me walking down the street and was too forward or I fell and hurt myself, Jasper was always there. He would give me a hug and let me stain his shirt with tears. It usually caused some amount of his work to go undone, but he never complained, used it as an excuse to get away, or brought it back up later.
And he had been ever so caring. If I needed to vent about something that had gone wrong, he listened to my shouting without showing any sign of boredom, and always offered advice. Whenever I had caught a glimpse of a boy while going to buy bread in the village center or just walking up the street to ask our neighbor if she could spare a potato, he would sit patiently while I cooed over them.
I had loved him so much.
But two years ago, our parents had passed away from a sickness that had spread around in our area, and we were split up. I was able to gather many of my belongings and they were here with me, but many things were left to my brother, who could afford work and would be able to keep them for some use, if not just for sentimental value. Now, my mother's necklace and my father's pocket watch were all I had left of them. A tear rolled down my cheek at the thought.
It was then that I had winded up here, in the care of my lady, who took me in kindly. And so I am here now, in my bed chambers – which I share with two other maids, Marie and Sophia – day dreaming about my lovely brother.
I heard a light bell tinkle, and my lady calling my name softly. I almost sprinted down the marble stairs, my hand lightly grazing the wooden banner; Miss Tanya would get impatient and irritated when her servants were slow, and when she was in that mood, she was not a woman to cross.
"Yes, Miss," I addressed her once I came through the doorway and then kneeled at her feet.
"You may rise," she allowed, and I gladly got to my feet. "Young Bella, I have been watching the servants from afar. Do not think that I haven't known of the gossip and rumors that go around my house. So many people have broken my trust as I watched them pass around those secrets that I had confided in them to keep.
"But, while watching them, I have seen you. Not a word passes through your lips, and your ear rarely comes close to anyone else's. With that, I believe that you would be able to keep my secrets. I need a servant to confide in, for nobody else will listen to me, and I can't have my emotions bottled up. So, I must ask, will you be that servant? Will you be the bottle of my emotions, and perhaps the messenger of them from me to Edward?"
Miss Tanya was one of the few people in the kingdom that used servants as messengers.
I was at first shocked – my lady had started her demands, not to mention demanded them, so quickly. Usually people warmed up to these things. But, in a weird way, the fact that Miss Tanya knew that I would understand if she just got to the point made me happy.
The thought of promotion overjoyed me. It would mean that I would – hopefully – get better food and care. And for once, I would get out of the house. Even if it was for something as small as delivering a message, I would be free. The thought made me brim with happiness. The only words that I could get out were, "Yes, my lady. I would be honored."
And I was. Never before had my spirits been so lifted.
"When must I start?" It seemed silly, to ask when to start listening to people tell you their secrets. But, apparently, that was my job. That was what I did.
"Tomorrow. My emotions have been kept to myself for five days now, longer than ever before. I can only contain myself for another day." I wasn't quite sure what to think about that. Only five days? I had kept my own emotions to myself for two years.
"As you wish, my lady."
Bright and early the next morning, I woke up and quickly scurried around to get dressed. Sophia stirred and, half awake, mumbled a question that sound like, "Wa 'r ooh oin u so erly?"
I had known her long enough to understand what she had said: What are you doing up so early? I looked over at her curled-up figure, her brown hair splayed across her face, and felt sorry for waking her up. But she seemed like she would be going back to sleep soon anyway.
"Reporting to Tanya," I answered to the barely awake Sophia. She just mumbled and sank back into sleep.
I reported to Tanya's chambers after I got dressed and sat in a squishy armchair while listening to her talk from the bed. She was brushing her hair for part of the morning, her long golden strands seeming to soften by each stroke of the brush. In the afternoon, she had lunch brought up to her room, and she enjoyed a large, filling meal while I nibbled on my sandwich.
I kept my ears opened wide, and my brain was soon filled with stories about Miss Tanya's feelings, and about Sir Edward.
The stories were even better that usual because they were coming from someone who had seen the duke with her own eyes. I heard of his eyes – green pools of color that would shine in the light. I heard of his smile – when it appeared on his face, your heart melted and you couldn't resist breaking into a smile of your own. I heard of his voice – as sweet as honey, and as smooth as velvet.
I listened in fascination as my lady went on, and the pictures in my head became clear. I couldn't imagine anyone more gorgeous.
At dusk, Miss Tanya asked me to light a candle and place it on the table. Its flame was bright enough to let us see most of the things clearly. The candle burned bright and I stared at it for a few seconds, and found my lady doing the same thing.
"It's brighter than most," she whispered. "Just like Edward. Though other men might be handsome, smart, and able to make you laugh, Edward outshines them all."
And she launched back into her stories once again.
X X X X X X X
After a few hours, my gaze drifted to the candle and found that it had burned down to a mere inch.
"My lady, I feel that I must go to sleep now. It is late, and you must be tired as well. Your stories are fascinating, and I will gladly listen to more tomorrow, but for now, I must retire. And, if I may be so bold to ask something of you, I must ask to borrow a candle to get back to my chambers."
"Of course." I was given a candle and a match that I quickly lit, and then walked briskly into my chambers.
Though it was ten o' clock at night, Marie was still awake, and she addressed me when I came in.
"Yes?" I was quite tired, but I decided that I would be polite enough to listen to Marie.
"What did the lady want?" Marie's voice was edging with curiosity, and I was pretty sure that if I held off my answer, she would explode.
"Well, I am now what you could call…her…listener. I just listen to what she has to say. And she talks a lot, mostly about Sir Edward. One day, she said, I might become her messenger!" My voice broke through two octaves as I said the last sentence, and Sophia started to stir.
Marie's voice dropped to a low whisper. "Tell me."
"Sorry," was my only response, and I lay down on my cot to get some sleep. As Marie rolled the other way, a word escaped her lips that sounded a lot like "idiot".
So now you know about Bella's life. Isn't it kind of sad? I mean, her parents died, she was torn away from her brother, and now she's living in a castle that doesn't treat her so well and she's a servant. And even in her thoughts, Bella addresses Tanya as "Miss Tanya".
Like it? Love it? Hate it? Please, drop me a review!