Belowstairs, a beginning of a thing for Tír na Cali

This is Cali: there is slavery. This particular one has no dub/non con, no bondage, nothing hinkie at all.

What was I thinking? 😉

“And what exactly are you?

Thea looked at the man glaring up at her – up, because, like so many native Californians, he was painfully short – through wire-framed glasses. She cleared her throat. “I’m, ah, the new acquisition.” She tugged awkwardly on her collar.

“American, hunh?” He clucked angrily. “Well, we’ll have none of that escaping nonsense here. Try it once, and you’ll be flogged. Try it twice and you’ll wish you’d been flogged.”

Thea coughed. “Ah. I volunteered.”

“Well, then.” He shifted from foot to foot, still looking very displeased. “You’ll start mopping floors, same as anyone, and I’m sure you’ll soon learn that the glamorous life of a Californian slave is just as dirty and unpleasant as wherever you were…”

“She’ll start as chef.” Thea was uncertain if Gabrielle had stayed out of the butler’s sight on purpose, or if, being short and native Californian like the butler, the chatelaine had merely been hidden by Thea’s greater size. Now, however, she gently shoved Thea to one side. “She starts as chef, Bartholomew, because that is why the Lady bought her.”

“Nobody starts as–“

“Regardless, she is our new chef, and you can hardly argue that we need one, since the mess with the last one.”

“And then why did she buy an American, I ask you?”

“That is the Lady’s decision and not ours to question,” Gabrielle answered firmly, just as if she had not asked the Lady the same thing in Thea’s hearing, not an hour before. “I’m giving her Anthy. It’s high time the child had a proper position with a chance for improvement, and she’ll be a good translator for Thea. She can teach her how to be a slave–“

Thea smiled. She knew a cue when she heard one. “–and I can teach her how to be a chef. Sounds lovely. Where do I start?”

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