The summer days grew longer and longer, and Annabelle grew more and more each into a woman each day. It was almost scary to see herself preparing to leave the shack in the morning. She would quickly dress herself, while making sure everything thing on her body was in place. Jim Paul used to always say “If she wasn’t a slave she would be a princess.” and he was right. With the summer heat brought the summer lover out of all the boys on the plantation. People in the fields were showing more skin, and you could smell the hormones as you walked by the men working near the road. The summer was the time to find love for most of the people on the plantation, young and the old. But not for me. Annabelle loves the attention she gets from the men in the field as she works near the house. They always called out to her “Good Morning Beautiful”, and “Hello Angel”. She would just smile and pass them, waving like she was a queen passing over loyal subjects.
Since the last strike, whenever Master called I didn’t waste a moment. As soon as the sun began to set, I would just start to make my way to the house, some days making it there before he would even call. Which sometimes seemed to anger him more than me being late, but he never hit me for being early. Sometimes Master’s stare would be harsher than his hand. While in the kitchen I always sang let someone know where I was at all times, and to let any listening ear from outside know that I was okay. Today I noticed Master’s wife Mistress was awfully concerned about the happenings in the kitchen. She keep peeping from her seat in the parlor. Everyone now and than I would catch her eye looking at me, and she would quickly turn away looking out of the window as if she had never peered into the kitchen. When she could no longer hold her peace, “Sarah,” she called softly from the doorway, I turned to her, and answered “yes ma’am?” She looked down at the floor for a moment, it seemed as if the words she wanted to use were scrambled on the ground and she was trying to gather them. “You know, Annabelle is getting older, and she has been working pretty close to the house, what do you think about her working inside with you?” My mind began to race. I didn’t know how to feel about having her so close to Master and Mistress.
Me and Mistress had a very strange relationship. Secretly I hated her. She was the reason Jim Paul was killed. She claimed that he raped her, but anyone who knew Jim Paul knew that he would never disrespect a woman in the matter. You see where we had came from Jim Paul had came from a family of Royals. He was like something out of a story book. So strong, yet gentle, and his spoke poetry. In my heart I believe that she wanted him also, but since she could not have him, she had him killed. She was always trying to claim the slave children as her own, you would have though she wanted to be one of us.
I wanted to say no so badly to her question, but I knew she would once again have the final say in the matter. I just nodded, and smiled. “that will be good, really good.” She was so excited. “Wonderful, I will have John Boy move her things in the house in the morning!” I turned around from stirring the pot only see her running into the parlor with excitement. I wanted to cry, but I knew my tears would do nothing but add sorrow to the meal I was cooking. She took Jim Paul from me and now she wants Annabelle in the house. My heartbeat slowed down to almost none., and for the remainder of the time I was in the kitchen, there wasn’t a song I could sing to bring joy, because there was none. I put the plates on the table and rang the bell for the Master’s boys to come in.