Helena knew she shouldn’t be here, she knew it deep in her bones as her mother would have said but this was a good job and she didn’t want her daughter to miss out on the opportunity.
Good jobs where hard to come by she didn’t even need to convince herself of that, the pay was a good deal above to going rate for this kind of work.
She had followed Gabriel around the castle as he showed her various rooms in both the family area and the servant’s quarters and reaching the small bedroom which he promised to Gayle. She knew she had to do whatever it took to make sure Gayle got the job.
Helena had a lifetime of what if’s. Stephan was a good husband and he tried to be a good provider but life was hard and it had been quite to jolt into reality even after living with her mother.
Most years they barely made end’s meat and struggled to put food on the table this year had been especially hard. Even now the knawing hunger in her stomach made it hard to focus on much beyond getting Gayle out of Brightden, out of their little hut and into job where she would have a warm bed she didn’t have to share with her sisters. A job where she could be certain there would be food on the table every night.
Two of Gayles friends had already taken to whoring to feed themselves, but Helena had seen that life first hand and she just wanted more for her daughter.
Looking at Gabriel she couldn’t help but wonder what her life would have been like if she’d stayed with him, if she’d been brave enough to fight his father. It wasn’t that she didn’t love Stephan but sometimes when her children where cold and hungry she wondered if taking the safe option hadn’t been the wrong one.
Glancing around the bedroom she wandered over to the bed too scared to touch the linen in case she made it smudge even though it was just a servant’s quarter it was far more comfortable than anything Gayle had ever slept in at home.
“Do you have children?” she asked suddenly wondering, not much news filters to Brightden about the Hamdun’s she knew he had married a princess and that clearly something had happened too her otherwise he wouldn’t have been hiring for maids for a new wife.
“No” he replied “But I’m looking to change that as soon as I’m married”
“Why not?” she asked, freezing as he came up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.
“My wife..she betrayed me.. she had two children to other men while doing everything in her power to prevent giving one to me”
“That’s terrible” she replied she could hear the sadness in his voice. “What happened to her?”
“She killed herself when I found out our … son … wasn’t mine”
“and the boy?”
“She killed him too” he replied sadly.
“I’m so sorry Gabriel” she soothed, turning to face him and putting a comforting hand to his arm.
“Not to worry” he tried to smile “I’ll be married in spring.. start fresh.. after all I’m not dead yet”
“No you’re not” she agreed, amazed at how well he was dealing with it all. “I have a question if I might?”
“You might” he nodded.
“I was told you where looking for young girls to tend your wife? What is the reason for that? Surely older woman would have more experience?”
“My wife is young. I wanted girls her own age” he reasoned. “She won’t have much company I thought it was for the best”
“That’s very considerate” Helena smiled, “My Gayle will be good company I’m sure”
“I’m sure as well” He nodded “Though I’m ashamed to admit, I hope it more because I hope it will give you the excuse to visit”
She blushed, but a twang of guilty reminded her she had a loving husband at home waiting for her. “You seem so different … confident, self-assured”
“I’m hardly an awkward teenager anymore” he agreed, “These days I know what I want”
Nodding she tried to smile but she knew that look and the suggestion was not lost on her. “I … should go” she decided.