A young girl with light brown hair and light brown eyes stares back at her, blinking wide, nervous eyes from the mirror. She'd already given him her body. Her virginity.
Feeling the warmth behind her back, Lucien cages her in, his large body almost enveloping hers like a cocoon.
His reflection showing; him, tracing a finger down her neck, down, across her collarbones, exposed by the open-cut collar of her dress.
"You." Warm breath fans into her ear as he whispers.
Sera begins to lean back, into his broad chest, lulled by the familiarity.
Would he lean down and kiss her, she hopes. Her lashes flutter open and shut, unsure whether she should keep looking into the mirror or back at Lucien.
There's a woody, fragrant scent from him, like the english tea she loves to drink. The comforting smell that she wished she could roll around in surrounds her. There's another smell too, like flowers, that faintly clings to him.
A sharp clenching around her heart. It's probably some other woman, she thinks.
His palm lightly glides up her white throat, and holds her, thumb and index finger circling her jaw, as the two face the mirror. Their eyes meet.
He continues. "You, become my maid."
And he steps away from her, again.
Sera recollects herself. He just wants her to work.
"You can sleep here for the night." He continues on, gesturing to the room.
"Someone will come for you in the morning." And with that, he leaves the room. Promptly.
Sera looks at the quiet room, the jewels still softly glowing in the walls. Her chest feels tight and heavy. It was probably the broken rib, telling her it was strained. The cart ride, helping the servants unload the cart, all the way to her being stuck here and encountering Lucien. So much excitement in one day, totally shattering the monotony of her days as a student.
It was already late, and Sera was exhausted. She falls back, sinking into the soft bed. The lights seem to dim as she closes her eyes, darkness lowering itself on her like a black, glittering veil. She falls asleep.
The young girl took deep, even breaths as she laid there on the bed. Night grew deeper, shadows combining into one, and silence filled the castle. A door creaked open into the former Queen's room.
With soft, sure footsteps, a figure nears the bed. The lights, dimmed to a faint sparkle, slowly turn brighter, to illuminate Sera, sleeping defenseless on the bed. She hugs a pillow tightly to herself. Faintly her breath huffs out in soft exhales, while her body lay curled up into fetal position. She murmured under her breath in sleep.
The brighter glow reveals a red haired man; who stoops down to hear what she murmurs.
Quietly, he opens a small green bottle in his hand, and drinks it all in one go.
The flowery scent is stronger now, sickly sweet, twining itself around him.
A long silence as he watches her sleep. Silent and unmoving like a statue.
Finally, taking long strands of her hair, he kisses it and leaves.
The castle stays silent. No one sees the man enter or leave her room.
Early next morning, before the birds even begin their morning song, light knocking on the door wakes Sera up. Jumping up from the bed, while making sure her sleep-wrinkled dress was as smooth as possible, she goes to answer the door.
A stern looking woman, looking like she ate the most sour orange in the world, curtseys to her.
"Good morning, Miss Sera. My name is Hilda, head of the maids. His majesty has assigned me to guide you to your new appointment. Please, follow me" Her no-nonsense demeanor is comforting.
This was the first time Sera met Hilda. She wondered what happened to the the previous head, Glen. As Queen, she wasn't really close to any maidservant except Bea, so she didn't know what happened to her.
Hilda marches down the corridor, and Sera trots behind her to keep up. From the general direction they were headed to, Sera could tell they were on their way to the servant's quarters. It would be awkward if she saw any familiar faces there. Which for sure would happen. Arriving with Lois in the courtyard, she'd already seen a few servants that had served her during her run as Queen. She needed to suck it up and do her job. Like Lucien said, all she had was her body, and she would use it, work hard to repay him.
If he told her to work, she would do it. If he wanted her body, she would give it to him.
With the brisk pace that Hilda sets, they arrive in no time. At the servant's quarters, Sera is assigned her maid uniform, and cleaning supplies. More and more servants begin to gather in the room that has the large panel, all servants' names and jobs for the day listed there. They line up in neat groups according to job, like students before their teacher. They stand at attention, some glancing at each other the moment they set eyes upon Sera, standing next to Hilda in front of everyone.
The morning bell finally rings and Hilda announces with a steady voice.
"Everyone, meet Sera. She will be a new maid working with us from today. Not all of you may be aware, however, some of us know her as the former Queen. By the King's order, no one is to mention her preciously being nobility or treat her as nobility. She will join us as a common worker. That will be all." As Hilda continues with other announcements, Sera looks for Bea's familiar kind face among the crowd of servants. She's not here. Did Bea go back to her hometown?
Hilda leads her to a group of maids all holding buckets with rags in them."Miss Sera. You will be joining the window cleaning group today. Portia is group leader, follow her instructions." Hilda points to the tallest maid, and leaves Sera with the group.
The group of 4 maids greet her.
They all seem nice, welcoming her with brief self introductions. Sera introduces herself as well.
"Hello everyone, I'm Sera. I hope we can get along." she says, giving a small curtsey.
One of them, a girl named Fawn, looks at her with bright eyes, her body seeming to imperceptibly wriggle with an uncontainable joy.
"You're Queen Sera! I'm so happy I can meet you! I-"
Portia elbows Fawn, with a sharp elbow that looks painful.
"Oh right, we're not supposed to call you Queen" Fawn looks sad.
She cups a hand over her mouth and whispers to Sera.
"My sister served with you in one of the tents during the Great War. She said you were the hardest worker out of all of them. I'm so happy to meet you in person, Queen!"
Portia claps her hands.
"Alright girls, let's get to work!"