“Are you ready to go?” Gabriel asked, appearing in the doorway to Gayle’s room. She’d already been working for him for a week and while she was sure it had just been another week for him, for her it had been like a dream.
While she was hardly a princess, she had felt like one sleeping here in this castle. The work was hard but for the first time in as long as she could remember she hadn’t gone to bed with an empty belly
“Almost” she nodded nervously, “Are you sure it’s alright for me to leave? I can stay over Christmas” she offered.
“You have no lady to wait on yet” he smiled “You should be at home with your family”
“Oh .. alright” she nodded, part of her was glad to be going home, she hasn’t seen her family for a week and it was the first time she’d ever been away from home. While the coins in her pocket made a reassuring jingle part of her also hoped she’d been allowed to work over the holidays.
Suddenly as though reading her mind he threw a small money pouch towards her, catching it she peered inside at the coins.
“Whats this for?” she asked “You’ve already paid me?”
“Call it a Christmas bonus” he smiled. “When do you leave?”
“First light” she nodded, he was she decided the most handsom man she’d ever met.. well perhaps barring her father. Rich, powerful and yet he seemed to have just enough softness to prevent him seeming harsh.
“Will your mother cook a goose for Christmas?”
She blushed and shook her head, she’d never even eaten goose, some of her friends had but a goose cost almost a days wages and her ma and pa had never been able to afford it.
“Then what will you have?”
“Dunno” she shrugged, “Maybe Mutton if pa can get some or umble pie … sometimes ma’s make a mince pie but only when she can get the fruit”
His lordship nodded and then grinned, “Then make sure you take a goose from the larder before you leave… I can’t have you eating mutton at Christmas”
“But your lordship… “ she started to protest.
“Hush now” he ordered, “I have twenty three birds hanging in the larder .. I can spare one at Christmas”
“Yes milord” she nodded grinning, with the money in her pocket now enough to pay the next few months’ rent on their land this WAS going to be the best Christmas ever.
“Just remember I need you back first day of the new year understood?”
“Yes milord” she agreed.
“and make sure you bring your mother… I’d like to see her”
“Yes milord” she agreed again.