"The Very Thought of You "
This story takes places during the 1930's, the Great Depression Era in the heart of New York City.
I do not own Twilight!
It was an icy snowy morning; I sat next to my mama in the very back of the large cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Angela, my longtime and very best friend, sat to my left. She had her head leaned on my shoulder since we sat down. This was the first time all of the house servants had been out of the mansion the same time. It would have been great if we weren't at a funeral.
It would've been wonderful if we weren't dressed in our uniforms. They were our best uniforms though, the ones worn only for special occasions. Instead of heavily ironed and starched ones we always wore, these were softer. The women had pretty white collars with lace trim, white cuffs with lace trim, and white aprons with lace trimmed. All the men had crisp white shirts, and satiny ties. And of course everyone's shoes were shined.
But this was not just any funeral, no Sir! But it was the master of the mansion, Carlisle Cullen. He died unexpectedly and left the whole mansion and the city in disarray. I had the unfortunate pleasure of being the first chambermaid to find him in the bedroom earlier after his wife Esme's screams woke up the rest of the mansion. I had a hard time shaking that thought from my mind.
"Lord have mercy this is so boring." Angela whispered to me.
"That's because we can't see anything back here." I answered. Couldn't see anything because the whole family and all of New York City's who's who came out to see the man who was almost as rich as Rockefeller. Us servants were in the back in the cold section, right next to the door.
"And nobody is screamin' and throwin' themselves on the floor like I thought they would be doin" she said as she sucked her teeth.
"This is a Catholic funeral Angie, not a Baptist." I leaned my head right on top of hers.
"You think it's true about him being poisoned?" She whispered.
"I don't know. Who would do it? And why?"
"The two of you be quiet." Mama said. " Carlisle was a wonderful man. Nobody would poison him. And hopefully now that he's gone, Esme will keep us employed" she never called them "master or mistress" when she referred to them. She always said she wasn't a slave and didn't intend on speaking to people as one.
But keeping their job was the main thing my Mama and all the others were worried about. Yes there were rumors surrounding his sudden death, but keeping our jobs was all we talked about now. We were lucky to work for the Cullens at this time. All of us that worked for them, colored and white needed it. It was this Depression where so many people didn't have work. I don't know what I would do for work if she didn't keep us.
Maybe I'd work as a coat check girl somewhere. I didn't want to think about it. The music started up again and all of the people in the cathedral stood up. We all stood up in the back. I watched as they carried Mr. Cullen's casket out the church and the rest of the family followed it slowly.
Alice, the beautiful only daughter of the Cullen family, held Mistress Esme's hand. They both cried sadly. Alice was always happy and fun to be around. She was around my age. I didn't mind cleaning her room because she always wanted to gossip with me about her new beau Jasper if she was in there.
Mistress Esme's handsome, youngest son, Edward followed close behind with his hands in his pockets. He'd been away at school for so long and this was his first time back. I almost had forgotten how he looked. Almost.
The only thing besides my memory that reminded me, was the many photographs of Edward when he was younger. But in those photos, you couldn't see that his hair was red like a brand new penny. Or how green his eyes were...
I didn't have many moments with him since our childhood. Mistress Cullen was different from most of these rich white ladies. She didn't care about color so she didn't mind her kids playing with colored kids. Mama said it had something to do with her being French.
I can clearly remember one time that always makes me smile when I think of it. All us children where in the backyard, playing some silly game. We were maybe 6 or 7. I had to stop because my braids kept coming undone.
"Bella's hair looks like black dandelion seeds" Emmett laughed. I walked away from everyone frustrated because I didn't have straight hair like Alice's or even curly hair like Angie's. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Edward's shy pale face and huge green eyes. He placed a large yellow dandelion in my wild hair.
"I think dandelions...are pretty...like your hair." He managed to say in a voice slightly above a whisper. As his chubby cheeks started to look red like apples, he ran into the mansion.
He was always a quiet and shy little boy. And it appeared that he was still a very quiet man. Once we reached that age where I was old enough to work, I was placed along with Angie in the kitchen. He went away to boarding school, returned momentarily and then went away to college. He learned and I worked.
Next to him was, his older brother Emmett. Yes he was handsome but he was trouble. All the girls had been warned by the head housemaid to stay away from him. If anyone of us got mixed up in the Cullens "personally" it would mean losing our job. And none of us girls could afford to do that.
He would always stumble around the mansion late at night with a different girl under his arm. "That's why you shouldn't listen to that jazz music," Mama would say. But I knew it sure wasn't jazz that made Emmett into a drunk. And that wouldn't make me stop from listening to it.
We left out of the cathedral and the snow continued to fall. I watched as the photographers' bulbs flashed at the Cullens. This would definitely be in the papers. I watched as all the fancy cars filled up with the rich people. I spotted Billy, the Cullen's driver, stand with the door open to drive them to the cemetery.
The Cullens got into the car and slowly pulled away. The servants weren't going to the cemetery. We had to go back to the mansion and get things ready. Everyone wanted things to be perfect. The more comfortable the Cullens were, the more likely they wouldn't fire us.
We walked back slowly, I loved the way the snow covered all the buildings and the tree. The city was so beautiful and quiet in the winter. I watched as some kids threw snowballs at each other. They looked like they didn't have a care in the world…
Mama walked ahead of Angela and me. She talked with the other older women, who worked in the kitchen with her. Angela's mama walked with her. They were as close friends as we were.
"I wonder if Edward is gonna stay at the mansion. He can't go back to school now. Some one has to take over and run things." Angela said.
"Who knows." I shrugged my shoulders.
"I know" Jacob's deep voice came up alongside me. "He has to stay. Emmett will gamble, drink and spend all the family's dough on loose dames." he put his big cap on top of my head. I smiled at him as he smirked at me.
"You think you know everything Jake" Angela teased.
"I do. My dad said Edward came with a lot of stuff. Mike had to bring in a whole lot of luggage," he said. I didn't say anything while they fussed back and forth. I was used to it. Angela was the sister I never had and Jacob...I want to say he was like the older brother I never had. But the past few years, things had been changing between us. I heard that a man and woman can't be just friends for long. Apart of me wondered if it were true.
I started to notice how Jacob watched me. There was something different in his light brown eyes. I didn't know how to feel about it, so I never mentioned it. To nobody, not even Angie.
"Wish we could stay outside just a bit longer" I sighed as we approached the large mansion.
"Yep, but now it's time for the fun." Jacob said.
I didn't have time to warm off in my tiny room before I had to get everyone's room ready. As one of the chambermaids, it was my duty. How did I manage to be a chambermaid when my mama was kitchen maid? That is because I'm completely clumsy and caused more problems in the kitchen instead of work.
For some reason, being alone in a person's bedroom: without eyes on me, heat and pressure of the kitchen, I was able to clean and kept things straightened up. I wasn't nervous; I didn't have to over think. It was the same thing everyday.
The only thing I hated was everyone thinking I got paid more for doing it. In fact I got the same pay, its just Mr. Cullen was being nice to give me another chance to work somewhere else in the house. And I was very grateful I didn't have to do laundry. Whatever straightness my hair maintained would definitely be gone if I did.
Everyone's bed was left unmade, as always. And I made them. The Cullens beds were bigger than the beds we had. I bet they never rolled off the bed by mistake. By the time I made it to the room Edward would stay in, I was able to sit down.
He hadn't been in the room yet so there was nothing to do. His suitcases were lined against the wall waiting to be placed in the dressers and hung in the closets. I carefully opened them, and nothing was folded. I guessed he had been in a hurry when he put them there.
I carried a pile from each suitcase to the bed. I went inside the closet and grabbed a bunch of the hangers. I sat on the bed and started to quickly fold and sort and hang. I took my shoes off and sat with my feet under me.
I picked up a sweater that had the name of his college stitched on it. It felt like he wore it a lot. I rubbed my fingers along it. I brought it to my nose to smell it. It smelled so good, like a combination of soap and musk. I closed my eyes as inhaled again.
"Bella, they're back. Come downstairs, Mistress Cullen wants to have a word with us." Victoria, the other chambermaid said to me. She was older than me, maybe 40 or so. She took me under her wing when I started to be a chambermaid. She'd been doing it since she was old enough to work. She knew all the tricks and the shortcuts.
I placed the sweater down and slid off the bed. She waited while I placed back on my shoes and I followed her down the stairs. Everyone stood around and waited.
I stood next to Victoria because I didn't have time to spot out Mama or Angie. The Cullens stood in front of us. Emmett wasn't with them. I assumed he was off somewhere getting drunk despite how early it was. Alice stood next to Edward and held his hand tightly; she seemed so short next to him. But he was very tall and slender.
"Now you all are like the family I've never had. When I moved here from Paris to marry Carlisle, I didn't know anyone but him. And when we moved into this mansion, and started our family, you became a part of it. Many of your children grew up with mines." She looked at them and out at us.
"That is why I can't let any of you leave us now. Everyone will stay employed and things will be like they were. Margaret, a cup of tea please" she went up the stairs and Alice followed behind her. All the servants went back to their duties.
"Master Edward, do you want a cup of coffee?" Margaret asked him. She had been here the longest; she was the parlor maid and served also like a grandmama to us all. Ange and I called her Mama Maggie.
"Yes, I'd like that." He said. His voice was deep and raspy. "Is my room ready?" I wanted to hide behind Victoria, but it was too late when Mama Maggie spotted me.
"Bella is the room ready?" She called. I stepped forward.
"It's almost ready, I'm almost done unpacking." I stuttered as his green eyes caught mine.
"You're...you're a chambermaid now?" He asked me. I only nodded.
"I'll, I'll help you Bella-" he started nervously.
"Oh no! Sorry. What I meant was, you should get your rest and I'll take care of it." I said. He nodded and headed up the stairs. I felt Maggie's eyes on me so I turned to her.
"He's a bit of the independent type, but don't neglect your duties because of him." She said softly. I nodded. "And Bella love, don't be distracted by those bedroom eyes."
"Yes ma'am" I said. Bedroom eyes. That's what they were called. I think I heard that before or read that in one of my romance novels. I took a moment to get myself together and headed up the stairs.
When I entered the bedroom, Edward was at the desk by the window, his black dress jacket on the back of the chair. He had been writing in a journal. He closed it when he saw me. He pulled at his tie and loosened it. He got up and walked towards me; he had gotten so much taller than I remembered.
"I'm very sorry for your lost Master Edward." I said as he watched me. I felt like I was holding my breath. Why did I suddenly feel this way around him?
"Thank you Bella. You, you don't have to call me Master...Edward is fine enough." He said breathlessly with his bushy eyebrows furrowed.
"I have to call you that sir." I said as I held my hands nervously. I tugged at the white lace trim at the cuffs of my uniform.
"I suppose, I suppose you do. But...I...rather you didn't." He stammered. I grabbed the remaining clothes that were out and placed them away as quickly as I could. As much as I wanted to be there with him, I wanted to run away. My heart hadn't slowed down since he looked at me and I didn't understand why.
The dumbwaiter bell dinged and I opened it. His coffee was inside; next to it was a huge slice of apple pie. "Sir" I said. I held the tray it was on and handed it to him. I could smell that Mama Maggie put some booze in his coffee. Maybe for his nerves, he did seem slightly a wreck.
Once I was upset about something and couldn't sleep, Mama Maggie made me a cup of hot chocolate. It had some kind of booze in it. I'm not a drinker, so needless to say I drifted to sleep soon after.
He grabbed the tray, but his hands touched mine's softly. I could feel his warm long fingers on top of mine. I looked up at him and he looked down at me. His pale skin flushed red as he clenched his jaw. He took the tray from me.
"Thank you… Bella..." he said flustered. I nodded and quickly left the room. I closed the door and leaned against it. I gasped for air. I could still feel his fingers on mine.
"Bella? Oh there you are! Could you help me please?" Alice said. She rushed over to me she kept her hair short and waved. I always thought of cutting my hair like that, unfortunately it was too thick. I stuck to hot combing it and keeping it tied up. Also mama would blow her wig if I cut it.
"Yes Miss Alice." I said as I followed her to her bedroom. She closed the door behind her.
"I was looking for the locket my father gave me and I knocked over the jewelry box. Everything went everywhere" she said defeated.
There was jewelry all over the floor. I only owned one pair of gold studs...my papa gave them to me. I knelt on the floor and picked up pretty bracelets, earrings, necklaces and a few tiaras. I picked up a gold necklace with a heart shaped locket. I opened it and inside was a photo of Master Carlisle and Mistress Esme.
"I found it." I said and handed to her.
"Perfect Bella." She opened it and stared at the photo. "I can't believe he's gone...he wasn't even sick." She started to cry.
"You know they never really leave Miss Alice. They stay and watch over you. They protect you like angels" I touched her hand.
"You're such a good friend Bella." Friend? Was I a friend when it was my duty to serve them? I got paid for what I did but being kind was just who I was. But I was told not to be too chatty and to mind my beeswax. I smiled shyly at her.
"You know eyes as big as yours should be covered with this new cake mascara I bought."
"Oh if I were going to somewhere nice, I guess I'd wear some makeup...but I..." she nodded.
"I understand." We sat on the floor in silence momentarily.
"It's good that Master Edward is home," I said softly.
"Yes, I've missed him so much Bella. He's going to have a heck of a lot of responsibility on his shoulders now. If only he can get over his shyness and nervousness..." she shrugged her shoulders. "Between us girls, I think if he had a girlfriend, he'd be more outgoing."
I nodded even though I wasn't quite sure what she meant. Would I be more out going if I had a guy? Would that be the cure for my clumsiness? I doubt it. I just think certain things are just who you are. But I can't stop thinking about if I did have a guy as I work through out the day.
So this is my second story, thanks everyone for reading. What does everyone think about it? Tell me in a review or private message! Have a great week!