Ok, this was inspired by Tracey Bateman's series, the penbrook diaries and Yeston/Kopit's Phantom of the opera. I own nothing.
Also, the book cover is from an E/C manip. made by honeyphan. A very talented artist.
Please note that due to the time period, the word Negro will pop up. Now, I am trying to be historically acurate. I am black myself so I mean no racial slur. If you are offended, please, cease reading and do not leave reviews or PM with your disgust.
Raoul de Chagney climbed out of the carriage and glanced at the magnificently structured southern plantation house. It was a three story house and it looked very much the same it had looked when he'd left it to graduate from college four years ago.
"Raoul?" Raoul moved towards the steps and smiled as he held his arms out this his mother, "Raoul." Her southern twang twirling the 'r' sound. "You're home."
He hugged her and she pulled back with a frown. She felt his head; "you're warm."
Raoul shrugged it off, "I'm tired."
"Come inside, rest. Your father is attending to some pressing matters in the field. Another runaway slave."
Slavery. He'd grown up with it all around him, but during his stay up north. He'd become friends with an abolitionist. At first, they were simple debates, but then they grew more and more serious. By the end of his first year of college, he didn't agree with slavery any more.
Raoul pushed the front door open and it hit something soft. A woman's cry caused him to stop and peer behind the door. A woman was holding her back where he assumed the doorknob had hit her.
"Oh, I'm so sorry." He said moving the door and she turned around. Her dark brown eyes wide. "Are you all right?"
"Raoul," his mother said sharply. "Come."
"Mother, I just,
"She is none of your concern."
"Mother! I just hit her in the back."
"So what? The little Negro should know better than to stand behind door. What were you doing there anyway."
"I was told to clean all the wood in the house ma'am." She stated quietly. "I was getting the ledges behind the door."
The girl looked down to the ground. Raoul frowned. The girl's skin was an extremely light brown; she almost passed for white.
"She's hired from the West's. They owe your father money so she's collateral until they pay up." Raoul took off his traveling coat. "They treat her like their own daughter. Strange."
Cool finger's brushed his and he turned to see the girl taking the coat from him. Her eyes once again studying his boots. "It's all right." He said. "I can do this."
"I can hang up my own coat." He said quietly. "Honest."
"For pity's sake Raoul!" his mother snapped. "What's gotten into you? Aren't you feeling well?"
Raoul ran his hand over his forehead. It was hot and sweaty. "As a matter of fact, I think I may be coming down with something."
His mother's eyes widened, before turning and snapping to the girl. "Go get so damp cloths! Quickly!"
"Mother," Raoul sighed as his mother pushed him into the parlor. "It's not that big a problem."
"Nonsense!" she said pushing him into a comfortable chair and feeling his head. She frowned. "You have a fever. I'll go get some medicine. You stay put."
Christine took the basin of ice cold water into the parlor being careful not to spill it. She saw Raoul sprawled in a comfortable chair his vest undone and his eyes closed. Setting the basin on the table, she dipped the towels in the water and rang it out. Gently, she touched his head and frowned, he did have a fever.
Those closed eyes opened and she drew her hand back. She dropped her gaze, "sorry sir."
"It's all right." She began dabbing his head and he took the cloth and placed it on his forehead and held it there. "I can do this."
She nodded and went to go wet another cloth when he caught her hand. She stiffened, but turned. She was in no position to argue, he was her master until her owners could scrape up enough money to free her.
"I'm sorry." He said. "I just wanted to know your name."
She stared at him, "my name sir?"
He nodded, "yes. Your name."
He smiled, "Christine, a lovely name for a lovely girl."
She shifted. She was now aware of what he wanted. The blood that ran through her veins were growing cold with dread. The sound of footsteps and she pulled away. She hastily dampened the cloth and replaced the one of his head.
Raoul reached out and his hand gently traced her face. "It's not like that Christine. I don't want you like that."
She gasped and stared at him. The fever must be making him delusional! She was too white to be black, and too black to be white. And Mr. Chagney was one of the most powerful men in the south! There was no way in the whole world that it would ever be possible. He's sick. She reminded herself.
"Raoul?" his hand dropped from her cheek and his eyes closed at his mother's voice. "Your father's here."
Raoul opened his eyes and stood up. "Hello sir!" Raoul swayed as he extended his hand. His eyes lolled back in the back of his head and he passed out.
"Get a doctor!" Mr. Chagney bellowed at her. "Now!"
She nodded, "yes master."
Grabbing her skirts, she turned and ran out the front door. She wished she could run away from this place forever. But she had no one in the whole world other than the West's and she wouldn't forsake them. They'd given her everything and sheltered her as best as they could. They treated her kindly, even if she was only one-eighth black. Someday, she hoped to repay them for every kind deed they'd shown to her.