The Start of Temptation
Louise Barlowe was never particularly fond of the hot, summer Virginia sun on her pale skin. In fact, she spent most summer days indoors. Her parent's plantation house was big enough for them to think she was outside, even though she was just in another room on the other side. One room she always loved was the one on the top floor with a window facing a small field of tall grass that between their house and the neighbor's. In her opinion the view was pretty. Then one day, her mother interrupted her solace of time.
"Lou Lou, honestly," she said, lightly grabbing her by the arm, "You're sixteen now. You need to start looking nice so you can have a husband."
"But, mama, I told you I don't want to get married," she rolled her eyes.
"You will not act like that in this house," she put her hand on Louise's blonde hair, "Oh, look at your hair, it's such a mess. That nice boy, Isaac Walker is coming over today. You need to look your best." Her mother dragged her downstairs, then yelled, "Ruth!"
An older black woman came over, one of their oldest slaves, "Yes, ma'am?"
"Ruth, get her ready," her mother said, pushing her forward.
Ruth had taken care of Louise since she was a young girl of four years old. Deep down, she hated how her mother ordered her around. When she was younger, she wanted to run away with her. In a way, she was still willing to do it.
"Hold on, Elizabeth," her father said, walking into the house, "I have someone new and younger to help out."
He pushed forward a girl who couldn't have been more than a few years older than Louise. She looked at the new slave girl. Her skin was like the color of almonds, but looked like it would feel like silk. Long coal black hair hung in a ponytail, while her dark brown eyes looked up at everyone with a softness of clouds. She looked fragile, but still whole.
"Oh, good, she can help Louise get ready," She looked to the older slave, "Ruth, come with me."
"Yes, ma'am," said Ruth, following her into the kitchen.
Louise turned to go to her bedroom, then looked back, and asked the new girl, "What's your name?"
"Maggie," she said quietly.
Sitting in front of her mirror, Maggie brushed her hair. Her skilled fingers weaved through Louise's golden strands effortlessly after every stroke. Rarely did she ever brush her own hair, but this felt very different from when Ruth did it. It was as if care was put into every stroke…but she must be imagining things. Not everyone shared her feelings. For Louise Barlowe wasn't attracted to men at all. No, she preferred other women. No one else knew of her feelings. She was too afraid to tell everyone. What would they say? And her mother…it would just kill her to know that her daughter didn't want anything to do with men.
Maggie's fingers gently ran down her hair and stopped on her shoulders. Every sense perked up at her touch. She shouldn't feel like this. Especially not toward the family's new slave girl.
"What dress would you like to wear?" She asked, her voice musical.
Her cheeks felt hot as she stood up, "Maggie, uh, I can take care of myself from here."
"Yes, ma'am. Would you like me to wait outside?"
Honestly, she would've liked that, but instead she said, "No. Why don't you go see if anything needs to be done around the house."
"Yes, ma'am," she said, and then walked out of her room.
Her steps were graceful. Louise rubbed her cheeks some. She needed to think like a normal girl. Just pretend she liked Isaac.
They all sat down to dinner. The Barlowes and the Walkers, Isaac included. He sat next to Louise. His green eyes smiling at her the whole time. Their fathers talked of the plantation and how the crop was doing while the mothers talked of gossip around their small town. Isaac's younger sister, Hannah was sitting on Louise's other side. She was a year younger than Louise.
She leaned over and whispered, "Isaac fancies you and Julia."
"Julia, too?" She asked with mock surprise. She hadn't talked to Julia in months. She lived in the house on the other side of the small field, and they were even best friends, but lately, they had grown apart. "I thought Julia was going to marry that Hardy boy."
"Oh, yes, Levi Hardy. They're getting married. But that doesn't mean my brother can't like her."
"Hannah," Isaac said kindly, "Don't spread rumors about me. I no longer fancy Julia," he smiled at her. They shared the same smile and the same dark hair, even though they were five years apart. He turned to Louise's father, "Mr. Barlowe, how is Oliver doing?"
"Ah! My son is well," he said cheerfully.
Louise was bored. Hannah started talking endlessly about half of the boys in town. She seemed to like them all. Lucky for her. All Louise could think of was Maggie. She was a server tonight, and she brought out the string beans and dished them out to Louise she gave her a faint smile. That tiny gesture overjoyed her to no end. Maybe Maggie liked her? She had never met another girl that liked women the way she did.
"Lou Lou! Hey, Lou!" Hannah said, a little loud.
"Oliver. When is he coming home?"
"In two weeks. Do you like him, too?"
She giggled in response, "Well, he is twenty-two."
"Oh, Hannah, stop," her mother said playfully, "You can only marry one man, dear."
Then everything seemed to stop for a minute. Maggie came out again. This time as she was collecting plates, she seemed to lean in close to Louise. She had a naturally sweet scent about her. Almost like flowers. It made her think of the small field by the house that she loved so. Patches of wildflowers sprouted in it every spring and stayed until winter.
"Lou Lou," Hannah said, strained.
"What's wrong?" She asked absently.
"Is my brother sitting next to you that distracting?"
"I believe it is," she responded, her thoughts focused on being in that small field with Maggie by her side.
A/N: Okay, so this was my attempt. I've had this story idea in my head for awhile now, but I hope I can make it come out the way I intend it to be. Romantic, but dark with some tragedy and happiness mixed in.