"Alice!" The lady of the manor yelled down the stairs. Alice looked up from cleaning the black and white tiled floor towards the door where she heard the voice. She got up on her feet as quickly as she could and ran out of the kitchen as fast as her feet could carry her.
"Coming milady!" She yelled as she rushed up the stairs and down the hall until she came across a door with stained glass window at the top. She straightened her light blue dress and white apron the best she could so she could make herself presentable. After she finished straightening up she lightly tapped on the door.
"Enter." She heard said from the other side of the door. She took a deep breath and then entered the room, her hand folded neatly in front of her. Inside the room was a woman with ivory skin and flaming red hair. Her lips were as red as her hair and she looked to be in her late twenties. She was wearing a bathrobe and was glaring at Alice.
"You summoned me milady?" Asked Alice as she lowered her head and stared at the white tiled floor. The woman glared at Alice and then she pointed one of her fingers towards her porcelain lion clawed bathtub. Alice looked in the direction she pointed, confused about what she wanted her to do.
"I wish to take a bath but as you can see there is no water, go and fetch some." She said flatly. Alice simply nodded her head and then walked out of the room closing the door behind her as she left. Once the doors were completely shut she rushed downstairs to the kitchen and put on a tea kettle on the stove. While she waited for the kettle to scream she continued cleaning the floor. Suddenly the air was filled with the sound of something screaming. She turned back towards the stove and then rushed over, grabbed a towel and then rushed the kettle upstairs to fill the bathtub. She did this about fifty times before the bath was completely full.
"Is there anything else you require milady?" She asked as she eyed her mistress playing with the water. The lady of the manner tested the water temperature and then flicked it off her fingers and back into the tub before she turned to face Alice.
"No… this will do for now. Be gone." She said in a cold tone. Alive simply curtseyed and then left the room. Once she was sure her mistress couldn't see her she ran back down the stairs to the kitchen and sat on a small wooden stool next to a table and slumped over in exhaustion.
"Now what is this hmm? Our little Alice has tired herself out eh?" Said a woman with dark brown hair that was pulled into a loose bun, and her skin was slightly tanned. She was wearing a dirty brown gown with a white apron tied around her waist. Alice looked up tiredly and then let her head collapse on the table once more when she saw who it was.
"Mildred, why does the mistress torment me so?" She asked as she gave the woman she called Mildred a pair of sad blue eyes. After she said that she laid her head back into her arms and let her long blonde hair drape over her face.
"Now, now dearie… now is not the time to be so glum. We still have plenty of work and can use all the hands we can." She said as she gave the young girl a comforting smile and then tucked a strand of blonde hair behind Alice's ear. Alice looked up at her nearly in tears and then got up, left the kitchen and began to dust off the banisters.
"Oh Alice." She turned away from her work to see her mistress sitting down holding up a tea cup. She walked away from the banister and towards the red haired woman.
"Yes milady?" She said quietly.
"My tea cup seems to be empty… go and get me some more." She said. Alice nodded her head politely and then reached over to grab the delicate cup. A sly grin appeared on the mistress's face and when Alice's hands were barely an inch away she dropped the cup.
"Oops…" She said as she watched the cup fall. Alice's eyes grew wide with shock and she lunged forward to grab the cup before it hit the ground. She caught the cup but sadly she put too much force in her hands and crushed the cup. She stared as her bleeding hand and the broken shards horrified.
"Why you clumsy little fool! The duke gave me that cup as a gift for my birthday!" She yelled.
"I…I am very sorry!" Alice said as she bowed to her mistress. The woman simply watched Alice with amused eyes and then she faked a displeased face.
"Honestly… I take you in from the orphanage and you repay me by breaking my good china?" She said as she let out a long sigh.
"I am terribly sorry milady… I'll bring you a new cup right away." She said and then she turned on her heel and ran towards the kitchen. The woman just stared at her with a sinister smile as the young child ran off.
Alice rushed into the kitchen and then towards the china cabinet with haste. She reached up and grabbed another delicate rose covered tea cup, and then she placed a kettle on the stove and waited impatiently for it to scream. The kitchen staff watched her as she ran around like an ant without a queen unsure what to do. Once the kettle screamed Alice quickly poured it into the cup.
"Alice… why the rush?" Mildred said feeling a little worried over Alice's actions.
"I…I broke milady's cup and must get her more tea immediately." She said about to cry but she pushed back the tears the best she knew how. Mildred watched her anxiously and then noticed her hands.
"Goodness! Alice what happened to your hands?!" She said as she pulled Alice away from the cup and examined her blood stained palms.
"The cup… I broke it in my hands…" She said sadly. Mildred examined them for a few more minutes and then looked over her shoulder to a man with short brown hair, a round belly, and dark skin.
"Charles, bring me some bandages!" She said and then the man nodded his head and rushed out to get the bandages.
"No I don't have time! Milady is waiting for her tea!" Alice said as she tried to pull herself out of the Mildred's grip but she would not let her go.
"Enough of this nonsense Alice!" She said as she carefully guided Alice to the table. Then she glared at the tiny girl and told her to sit. Not wanting Mildred to be mad at her she did as she was asked. Charles then came over with the bandages. Mildred took them from the tall man and began to wrap Alice's small hands. Alice watched as she wrapped her hands, her cheeks red with embarrassment.
"Thank you…" She said just barely above a whisper. Mildred simply smiled and nodded her head in reply. After her hands were completely wrapped Alice walked back over to the counter and took the tea from where she left it and made her way over to her mistress.
"Took you long enough." The woman said with a sour look on her face.
"I am terribly sorry for the wait… here you are milady." She said as she handed the woman the cup of tea. Alice watched nervously as she brought it up to her lips and sipped the tea. Then an angry look crossed the woman's face.
"Yuck! It's cold!" She said as she threw the tea out of the cup and all over Alice.
"I… I am so sorry… I will get you another cup." Alice said as she bowed to the woman once more.
"Don't bother… I shall get it myself. You may retire for the night." The woman said as she stood up and started towards the kitchen. Alice stayed in bowing position until the woman was out of sight and then tears rolled down her cheeks and she rushed out of the living room to her quarters. She walked over the yard to a horse stables. She entered the stable and then made her way over to a pile of hay. She sat down on the hay and then began to braid her hair into two long pigtails. She was about to fall asleep when she heard someone call her name.
"Alice…" She sat up and stared at Mildred on the other side fence. She stood up and dusted the hay off her knee length dress and then walked over to where she was standing.
"What is it?" She asked with a pair of eyes that were just filled with curiosity, Mildred just simply smiled at the girl.
"You turned eleven today correct?" She asked Alice. Alice simply nodded her head and then Mildred reached into the pocket of her apron and pulled out a silver chain. At the end of the Silver chain was a small silver clock. Alice gazed at the clock in awe and then she reached over and took it carefully from Mildred's hand.
"It's beautiful…" She said feeling completely speechless. Mildred laughed a little at the girls expression.
"I'm glad you like it… this way no matter where you go you will always know the time." She said with caring smile. Alice simply smiled down at the clock and then turned it over to look at the back. On the back of the clock was a rose engraved into the silver, and in the center of the rose was her name.
"Well I better head back before mistress explodes… sleep well Alice." She said as she pat the young girl on the head. Alice smiled happily as she pat her head and a slight blush came to her cheeks. Then Mildred turned around and began to head back to the house.
"Ah… Thank you Mildred!" Alice yelled at her as she began to walk away. Mildred looked back at her and then just simply nodded her head before continuing t back to the house. Alice waited till she saw her make it in safely and then she ran to the end of the stable and jumped into the pile of hay happily. She admired the clock some more before she clutched it in close to her heart and then she fell fast asleep.