Brandy had just finished her second month working in the mansion. But after a few more shopping trips (and a few more paychecks), she’d gotten far more comfortable with the idea that she had gotten this money to spend, and made her first big purchase for herself. The new laptop wasn’t the fanciest, and she’d bought it refurbished. But she didn’t have to prop it up against a wall, or jiggle the screen until it finally turned on. Like with her phone, even basic functionality felt like luxury. She’d even started building up a decent little makeup collection. Money had always been so tight that even getting makeup ‘just to play with’ seemed like an extravagance. She hadn’t been able to justify it. But now, why not? It’s not like she had to pay for food or rent here. Today, she was up especially early, taking the time to pluck a few errant eyebrows and try to practice her makeup a little bit more. She’d set up her new-to-her laptop up beside the bathroom mirror, and was trying to follow along with a makeup tutorial. So far she’d only succeeded at looking like an amateur. Practice makes perfect, she would remind herself before washing away the attempt. She could try again another time.
After a quick breakfast (How is this always so good?), Brandy checked her schedule. She expected to see her name, the maid she’d be partnered with, and a list of rooms to clean. Instead, it said ‘Report to Head Maid’ and listed a single room on the other side of the mansion. That was where the harem lived, wasn’t it? It was intimidating to think about. Still, Brandy reminded herself, this sort of thing had happened before. She would meet a new authority figure in the mansion, and it had always turned out they weren’t as bad as she feared. That didn’t do much to calm her nerves, though. Walking through the halls, she felt like she was weighed down. Her nervousness and desire to impress were telling her to rush, but her training was telling her to take careful, measured steps. There was no excuse for making loud steps through the halls, and disturbing a guest in the mansion. So Brandy walked, almost on autopilot. She worried that she had somehow failed as a maid, failed in a way that nobody had noticed or deigned to tell her until now. In these imagined scenarios, not only would she suddenly find herself without a job again, but she’d have to pay back everything she had made so far. With a start, she realized she was in front of the room. Already. Brandy took a slow, steady breath to calm herself. Then, she knocked on the door.
“Who is it?” a voice inside called.
Brandy slowly opened the door, revealing a sparsely decorated sitting room. That wasn’t what she’d expected from a room for someone in a harem. Dressed in a red and white latex mockery of the maid outfits that the staff wore was the woman Brandy presumed was the head maid. She was lounging in a massive armchair, swirling a glass of red wine. She hadn’t even turned her head to look at the door when Brandy entered. Instead, she looked down with cool detachment as a chubby girl in a sweater and a headband with rabbit ears furiously humped against her leg. Brandy flushed. A part of her noted that this was the first time that she was actually seeing what the harem got up to. She just wasn’t cleaning up the aftermath this time. And it was hot, absolutely. But it also felt personal, like she was intruding on something. She was just a maid. Not even a particularly good one. She didn’t deserve to see this. She tried to look down at the floor, but the moaning of the woman on the floor kept drawing her eyes back.
“Should... should I come back later, or maybe just... wait outside?”
“Are you stupid?” the head maid mocked. Brandy knew the tone. ‘Dom-voice’. Mocking, yes, but playfully so. Brandy didn’t know what she was expected to say, or whether it was even directed at her, so she opted to stay quiet. After a brief pause, the woman continued. “I invited you in, so I obviously want you to be here.” Brandy stood there, watching and listening to the noises the bunny-girl was making. Brandy heard faintly wet sounds as she kept humping. The woman in the chair loudly cleared her throat, and Brandy snapped back to attention.
“Sit down, Brandy,” she said. A command, not an offer. She directed Brandy to a chair right across from her, setting the wine glass down on her side table. “You can call me Miss Natalie. I am the head maid. You’ve been here just over two months now, right?”
“Oh, um,” Brandy tried her best to focus on Miss Natalie. It was difficult, given how lewdly the woman on the floor was moaning. “Yes, Miss Natalie.”
“Are you enjoying it here in the mansion?” For her part, Natalie didn’t seem to have any trouble ignoring the bunny.
Brandy took another deep breath. “Yes, Miss Natalie! I really like it here! My room is so much nicer than anything I’ve ever had before, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of the work. The other maids are so helpful, making sure I don’t make any mistakes.”
Natalie withdrew the leg that the bunny had been grinding against, nodding thoughtfully. The bunny whimpered. The noise tugged at Brandy’s heartstrings in an odd way. Natalie kept readjusting her position in her chair to offer her other leg, but while readjusting, she bumped the glass of wine resting on the side table. Brandy stood up, but she was too late. She could only watch in horror as the red liquid splashed over the carpet.
“Oh no, I’ll get the cart!” she said hurriedly, and sprinted out of the room. It was important to get the stain out as quickly as possible, or else it would be more work later on. In under a minute she had gone down the hall, grabbed the cleaning cart, and sprinted back to Miss Natalie. She reached into the cart for the box of salt, and started pouring it over the stain generously. That would soak up the worst of the spill. The cart had a small hand vacuum, which Brandy used to clean up the now-red salt. Finally, Brandy used a cloth to dab up the wine. Brandy breathed a sigh of relief, then put the dirty cloth into the bin on the cleaning cart. She looked closely at the spot where the stain had been. The carpet wasn’t quite good as new, but it was at least as clean as it would get without serious attention. Brandy’s attention was drawn away from the mess again, though, by the sound of clapping. Natalie was applauding her. The bunny didn’t seem to have noticed, and was still humping away on Natalie’s leg.
Natalie finally looked interested in Brandy. “Very, very good work. You didn’t scrub, that’s a common mistake. I’m quite pleased. Looks like everything they’re saying about you is true.”
Brandy blushed at the praise, looking away, nervously. I just... did my job, nothing special.
“Thank you, Miss Natalie,” she said instead, giving a small curtsey. She started to move to get rid of all the cleaning supplies, but Natalie spoke again.
“Before you take the cart back, could you refill my glass? As you can see, I can’t exactly get up at the moment.” She gestured to the girl humping her leg, then smiled at Brandy. “The bottle is on the table over there,” she said, pointing behind her seat.
“Of course, Miss Natalie.” Brandy strolled over to the table. The bottle was sitting on top of a white napkin. Brandy didn’t really understand wine, so she had no way of telling if this was expensive or not. But given where she was working, it was best to treat it as if it cost more than she was worth, just in case. She mentally walked herself through what she had been taught. Hold it in the napkin, so you don’t get any fingerprints or smudges on the bottle. Brandy walked over to Natalie. Always serve from the right-hand side. Carefully, she poured some into the glass Natalie was holding. Twist the bottle, and wipe it so there are no spills.
Then Natalie looked right at Brandy, and, unblinking, poured the wine out of the glass, and onto the carpet.
“Oops,” she said, with a wicked grin. Brandy didn’t waste time on her annoyance. She could do that once the stain was gone. And besides, as head maid, maybe she could even have her fired. And it wasn’t as if Brandy hadn’t come to expect sudden tests of competence.
She got right back to cleaning up the second spill, pouring the salt, cleaning it up, exactly the same. But when she got down on her knees again to press the cloth into the stain, Brandy felt something cool drip onto her head. For a moment she thought it was rain, then realized that made no sense at all. She looked up, dumbfounded. Natalie was pouring the entire bottle right onto her head. Brandy looked down at her uniform in horror. The apron, bows, and ruffles were all stained red. Ruined, she thought, an ache building in the pit of her stomach. Her hair felt unevenly matted, and her vision was blurred from the drops of wine that were rolling down her glasses. Brandy gasped, stunned. She looked up, and saw Natalie grinning at her.
“Why... Why did you do that, Miss Natalie?” Brandy asked, confused.
“Do you know what it means, being head maid?”
“It means that... you’re in charge of us all?” Brandy guessed. Maybe this was the woman who made their schedules?
“Oh, yes, it does. But it means much more than that. It means I get to do whatever I want to you. My owners, your bosses? They let me play with any of you maids or housekeepers however I want. If I think it’s funny to pour out a bottle of wine that costs more than a car payment on your head, I get to do that. If you are given an order by me, I expect you to follow it as if it came right from them, as long as they haven’t given you an order to the contrary. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Miss Natalie.”
“Good. Strip.” Brandy’s mind took a moment to process that. At any other job, this would have been grounds for sexual harassment. But... She wasn’t exactly going to get outside help. Here, the closest thing to an HR department was probably the Mistresses. But Miss Natalie said that she was allowed to do all this. That was the worrying part. What if she disobeyed and got fired because of it? Staying here, and getting my surgery... that’s worth a bit of humiliation, isn’t it? As she reached behind her to undo her apron, Natalie amended her order.
“Not here, you brazen little hussy. In the bathroom. Those clothes are filthy, and you’re a mess. Go take a shower. I’ll bring you something else you can wear.”
Brandy did as she asked, carefully undressing in the bathroom before rolling up her ruined uniform into a ball. She decided to throw it into the laundry bin. Hopefully, something could be done with it. It seemed a waste. If not, she had six more, but it still hurt Brandy to lose even one of them. The bathroom was laid out a lot like hers. The cabinet even had the shampoo she liked, so she took it with her into the shower, and washed quickly. After all this, she didn’t want to risk keeping the head maid waiting. Absently, she heard the door to the bathroom open, and then started as Natalie called into the shower.
“I’m leaving a couple different sweaters here. Wear the one that you feel is right.”
“Yes, Miss Natalie!” Brandy called back. In a few minutes, the water streaming off her body didn’t have any red tint to it. Giving it another minute just to be sure, Brandy then hopped out before quickly and vigorously drying herself off. She cleaned her glasses in the sink, then got her first look at what Natalie had brought her to wear. The underwear, bra, pants and socks were all pretty normal. Plain white, soft fabric, not as nice as most things around here, but still cozier than she was used to. It was the two sweaters that were different. One was a plain white pullover. The other was the same pullover, but with black text on the front that read ‘Obedient Slut’. Brandy rolled her eyes.
“’The one I feel is right’, of course,” she muttered to herself. “She just wants me to play along.” She pulled the ‘Obedient Slut’ sweater over her head, though she wasn’t entirely opposed to the idea of wearing it. Stepping back out into the room, she saw the bunny girl wasn’t humping Natalie anymore. Instead, she was rolling around on the floor, tears streaming from her eyes, whimpering the loudest she had been yet. It tugged on something in Brandy’s heart, but she remained steadfastly quiet.
“Ah, Brandy, that sweater looks fantastic on you.” Brandy blushed a little bit. If the head maid noticed, she didn’t say anything. “Could you help me with something?” The voice was playful.
“Yes, Miss Natalie,” Brandy answered, doing her best to keep the resignation out of her voice. What could the head maid possibly have in mind next?
“You see, this poor bunny isn’t allowed to touch herself, but I’ve got her so worked up. She just needs to cum. But my legs are so, so sore. I was wondering if you could offer your own to her?” Brandy looked down at the whimpering bunny girl, who was looking up at her piteously. Brandy actually felt sorry for the poor girl.
“Yes, Miss Natalie.” Brandy returned to the chair opposite Natalie, and stuck a leg out, unsure what else to do. She didn’t have to do anything, though; the bunny eagerly scurried up to her, and, without any pretense, started humping against Brandy’s leg. It took more effort than she’d expected to keep her leg there. After just a few minutes, her thigh muscles were burning, and her calf was practically screaming at her. Brandy squeezed the arms of her chair with both hands, trying to stay calm. Sharp, but deep breaths, in and out, just trying to hold on a little longer. On the one hand, she wanted to let the poor girl get her orgasm. But really, she just didn’t want to risk failing the order.
“You know what? I forgot something!” Natalie said cheerfully, with a tone that suggested she clearly hadn’t. “I forgot that I told her she couldn’t cum at all! I’d better fix that. Angel, you can cum now.” The girl humping Brandy’s leg took no time to start screaming in pleasure. Her eyes rolled back and she fell onto the ground, limbs twitching out in random directions.
Natalie was clapping again. “Congrats. You’re the first one in a while that’s made it through the entire list!” She sounded genuinely impressed.
“Sorry, Miss Natalie... but what list?”
Natalie nodded. “Oh, I made a little list of tests for the new maids. Just to see where the line is, you know? It’s not the same every time. That would get boring. Most of them get pretty annoyed when I pour something on their head! But not you!” She chuckled. Brandy frowned, confused. “And even if they get past that, the number of them that choose to put on the normal sweater? You wouldn’t believe how many times it’s stopped there!” Natalie laughed and gestured at the girl on the floor, who was grinning lazily, looking at the ceiling, lost in the afterglow. “You’re about as obedient as this pathetic mess, and she’s been brainwashed!” Brandy felt strangely oddly proud at that. “Good news,” Natalie continued. “You get a reward. I’ve been allowed to give you the rest of the day off - paid, of course.”
Brandy wasn’t sure what to say. It was so sudden. She looked around the room, trying to process everything that she had just been told. I guess I was right about it being a test, but... Her eyes caught the faint stain on the carpet beside Natalie’s armchair, and she winced.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to completely clean the carpet, Miss Natalie,” she sighed, bowing her head.
Natalie scoffed. “They’re redoing this entire room starting next week anyways. I wouldn’t dare ruin any of the carpeting in this place, and when I don’t have a room being redone to use, I put in temporary carpets for the tests. Mistress is serious about punishing things like that.” Natalie shuddered, then shooed Brandy away. “Get going. Enjoy your day.”
With that, Brandy hurried back to her room. It was so surreal. A few other maids and butlers saw her on the way. Some laughed, which made Brandy flush with embarrassment as she remembered just what her sweater proclaimed her to be. Others simply raised an eyebrow, as if studying her. Thankfully, she made it back to her own room without running into a guest, Mistress, or her Highness. Although... that would have been pretty hot...
Four months into the contract, the work started to fade into the background. It became just the monotony of day-to-day life instead. Brandy had been shocked to realize that even in a massive BDSM mansion, sometimes work was just work. Yes, there were the semi-regular staff play parties. Those were great stress relief, and a surprisingly good workout for her butt muscles. Liz had even broken a wooden paddle across her ass at the last one. But even those had started to feel as regular as going to the movies with friends. Somewhat more exciting were the occasions that Brandy would come across the aftermath of some depravity that Jasmine or Diana were enacting upon their harem. While cleaning up the discarded clothing and getting the scent of sex out of the air, Brandy would play a game of detective with herself, trying to guess what had happened. Imagining herself in the position of the lucky property that her Mistresses had used. But even that wasn’t a very common occurrence. She’d even found herself hoping that Miss Natalie might involve her in more games of depravity. Unfortunately, like Jenny had said, for the most part it was just an absurdly well-paying job.
Still, Brandy strived to do her best. The glitz and glamor of the mansion had worn off, but there was still something very fulfilling about being good at your work. Even on the days where the satisfaction of service wasn’t enough, seeing her bank account fill up above what she used to make in an entire year was plenty of motivation. She was getting so very close to being able to afford her surgery, and she wasn’t even nearly done.
Brandy heard a knock at the door. That was unusual, especially this early. She was glad she’d decided to get into uniform before eating breakfast. If it was Mistress or Her Highness, they probably didn’t want to see her in pajamas.
“Just a moment!” Brandy called, already moving to open the door.
It was Jenny. She was wearing her regular clothes; a green turtleneck, a leather jacket, and pants that jangled as she moved from all the chains hanging from them. She was pulling a glossy red luggage bag behind her. But... it wasn’t a day off...
“Hey, Brandy. I just... I wanted to say goodbye.” Brandy took a second to process that. Jenny... leaving? Her first friend? The person who showed her the ropes? It seemed... wrong. It was hard to imagine that she just wouldn’t be here anymore. She’d begun to feel like as much a part of her new life as the work was, and hardly in a bad way. Brandy started to sniffle, feeling tears well up.
“Woah. Don’t get all blubbery on me. I told you I was leaving the first day we met, remember?”
Brandy nodded. She did remember that, but... “I thought... maybe you w-were j-just in a bad mood, or maybe you’d change your mind...”
“Brandy...” Jenny’s hands were on her shoulders now. “You really came into your own here. When you got here, you looked... so sad, so lost. I figured you were just another broken kid with a shitty life that Jasmine and Diana...” Brandy stopped short when Jenny used their names, instead of their titles. It was real. Jenny was leaving. “That they were gonna hollow out and fill with... whatever bullshit they wanted instead. Like those poor slaves, or whatever.”
Brandy decided it then. She couldn’t tell Jenny how much she wanted that. How much she would have given, have sacrificed, to be in the place of those ‘poor slaves’. She didn’t know how Jenny would react, and it probably wouldn’t have been good.
“But, you never used to smile much. You look... at peace here, now. More you, not less.” Jenny leaned in, pulling Brandy into a hug. They enjoyed the moment, but it was interrupted by a chime indicating the main dining area from a speaker on the wall. Jenny sighed, kissed the top of Brandy’s head, then broke the hug.
“Your Mistress is calling you,” Jenny smiled sadly. “Time for both of us to get going.”
It was hard to look away. Brandy wanted to take every last second she could to look at Jenny, wanting to be certain she would never forget her face. But if it was a call to the main dining area, Mistress wasn’t going to be the only one expecting her service. It would be rude to keep her and her guest waiting.
Hurrying away to the dining area, she hoped that her tears and red cheeks wouldn’t be visible by the time she got there. If she kept her head bowed, it would probably be alright.
Silently, Brandy opened the door and assessed the situation. Her instinct had been right. There was a guest in the dining room, and Mistress was sitting at the head of the table. The table was otherwise empty. They would require refreshments and light snacks. A guest in the main dining area meant they were high status enough that ‘the good wines’ were expected, too. Without a word, Brandy nodded to her Mistress, and went to fetch everything. In under ten minutes, she had returned with an elegant display of options, and poured both Mistress and her guest their wine. But that didn’t mean she was done. She needed to be ready to provide for any other needs. So Brandy stood at her Mistress’s right-hand side, head bowed, hands folded gently in front of her. Deliberately losing herself in her service mindset, Brandy didn’t even think about Jenny at all. Making certain she served well was more important than whatever personal issues she was going through.
The guest, Mr. Ricci, was a man with a thick moustache, and a suit as skillfully tailored as Mistress’s own. He spoke in what Brandy guessed was Italian to his own servant, who translated, and would translate Mistress’s words in kind. Brandy couldn’t really follow the conversation. It had to do with investments and property disputes, or something like that. So instead, she just watched the glasses on the table, moving quickly and silently to keep the wine glasses of both parties filled. When they indicated they’d had enough, wordlessly she took the glasses away, bringing them fresh water. The translator didn’t even make eye contact with Brandy. She didn’t take it personally. It actually felt right, and she felt a kinship for him. It was a sign of his own diligence. They were, the two of them, skilled servants.
“I think we have finally reached an agreement,” Mistress said slowly, after quite some back-and-forth. “Is there any other business? If not, you are far from my highest priority today.” There was a pause, and after a few words from the intermediary, the man looked at Brandy with a hungry gleam. He said something, and the aide began to translate.
“Mr. Ricci says he would like...“ he trailed off as Mistress’s eyes grew dangerous.
“No,” Mistress said firmly, then spoke rapidly back at the man in Italian. Had getting the aid to translate been some sort of power play? Mr. Ricci, after a moment of initial shock, spoke back just as rapidly. Brandy didn’t need to know exactly what he was saying. It was clear he was begging for forgiveness. Whatever it was that Mistress had said to him, he didn’t want to be around her any longer than he had to, and left quickly after that. Brandy began clearing the table. It had been odd to watch. She couldn’t help being curious. What had gone wrong at the very end? Maybe she’d built up enough good will to ask a question without being scolded for speaking without being spoken to first. It would be, after all, the first time she broke that rule.
“Mistress?” Brandy asked. To her surprise, instead of scolding her, Mistress answered the question before she even had a chance to ask.
“He wanted to purchase you, sexually, for the night. I made it clear you were not that type of servant, and that such presumptions were beyond his station.”
Brandy realized something about herself, in that moment.
“If you had ordered it, Mistress... I would have done so gladly,” she whispered. Jasmine stared at Brandy for a moment, a curious expression on her face. She opened her mouth, then seemed to think better of it, and said nothing more. She simply walked away, and left Brandy to her tasks.
It was another month before Brandy saw Jasmine again. It happened when she was humming along, enjoying the easy rhythm of dusting her way through one of Diana’s libraries. Cleaning the library was one of her favorite tasks. The smell of old books through the air was nice, but that wasn’t why. No, it was the fact that sometimes, Diana would come in and read there for a while. Being able to steal glances at Her Highness was enough to make her entire day. Unfortunately, today she was all alone in the stacks.
The quiet rhythm of dusting was broken by the sound of a door being thrown open, slamming against the wall. The sudden, unexpected noise caused Brandy to jump reflexively. She rushed to the end of the shelf she had been dusting to see who had disturbed the quiet. Unusually, it was her Mistress. She looked furious, and her arms were full. She was carrying three different personal bags alongside her purse, a suitcase, and her cell phone. It looked uncomfortable.
“You!” Jasmine yelled at Brandy, pointing a finger at her. Brandy jumped again, uncertain what she could possibly have done to provoke such ire. Her terror must have been obvious, because Jasmine took a deep breath before she spoke again. Her tone afterwards was still terse, but there was an apologetic note to it as well.
“Come with me. My moronic assistant has apparently decided that he has more important things to do than his job, and I require an extra set of hands. Consider this an additional job duty. Follow me, now.” Jasmine didn’t even wait for Brandy to respond before turning out of the library and walking away.
Brandy bowed her head, even though she knew Jasmine wouldn’t be able to see. “It would be my pleasure, Mistress.” With that, she hurried after Jasmine. Hopefully another maid would finish cleaning the library. She couldn’t get in trouble for abandoning her work when her Mistress had given her a direct order, right?
It took a short sprint to catch up with Jasmine. Even in her heels, her Mistress kept an impressive pace. After a moment, Brandy realized they were heading towards the main entrance. Brandy realized she hadn’t entered or exited this way since her interview. It seemed like that had been an entirely different person who stepped through those doors so long ago. Mistress kept up the pace, out the door and into the back of a chauffeured car.
As soon as the doors were closed behind them, Jasmine was on the phone. The harsh tone that had been directed - if by accident - at Brandy had found its proper target. Brandy wasn’t even really listening. She was too distracted by thoughts of what Mistress planned for her to do. She didn’t even fully understand what her employer did for a job. She knew Mistress owned a very expansive business, but anything beyond that was a complete mystery. What use could I be in an office? Sure, she had a handle on cleaning the mansion, but they must have janitors who could do that job better. After a while, Jasmine stopped yelling at whoever had displeased her. She shut off her phone, and reached into one of the personal bags she had brought with her. A moment later, she’d pulled out a set of clothing and thrown it at Brandy. She looked at it blankly. It was a professional looking black skirt, blazer, a white blouse, and, on a lanyard, some sort of ID card with her name on it. She’d never seen the card before, but apparently it was already prepared.
“Get changed,” Mistress ordered. Brandy hesitated for a moment, before realizing that Mistress actually meant ‘Get changed here, now.’ It wasn’t exactly graceful, getting out of her uniform in a moving vehicle, but she managed well enough. It made sense. A french maid following her around the office would probably attract some unwanted attention. As she changed, Mistress explained the situation to her.
“I have a meeting with representatives of a small company that wish to become a client of my business. There is paperwork that needs to be prepared for this meeting. You will be collating it. You won’t need to understand it, so the task is well within your skillset, even though you have not been trained for the subject matter. All that is required is quick hands and discretion. You will be working in my office. I trust you know better than to disturb my own work?”
“Ah, yes, and remember. I am Miss Jasmine while you are at the office. There’s no reason to make people misunderstand.”
While the rest of the building seemed to be just like any other office tower, Mistress’s office was more what Brandy had come to expect from her. Expensive handcrafted furniture, chandeliers, deep reds and browns with hints of gold. The room was distinguished, much like its owner. The walls were lined with dozens of framed awards. The job itself ended up being much easier than anything Brandy was expected to handle at the mansion. A printer spat out copies of some complicated agreement, one page at a time, and Brandy just had to set them around the conference table for each of the prospective clients. It was more tedious than anything else. After the final pages had been printed and arranged around the table, Jasmine cleared her throat.
“The client’s primary representative is going to be here shortly. Go downstairs to the cafe and fetch me a coffee. Tell them it is for me. They will know the proper order. Be quick about it.”
Brandy hurried down the stairs to do as she was asked. Fitting the luxury she had come to expect from her Mistress, what she found made her think someone somehow had put a Parisian storefront inside of an office building. She barely had time to take it in, though. The barista handed Brandy a covered cup almost as fast as Brandy could tell him the order. Not wasting time, she set off quickly back up to Jasmine’s office. The representative had arrived, and was standing in front of Jasmine’s desk, shaking her hand, facing away from the door. Brandy quietly opened the door, and the representative turned at the sound.
It took a moment for Brandy to process. It simply didn’t register as possible to her. Shaved head, deep brown eyes... It was him. Her father was standing in Mistress’s office. How? Why? He was in a suit that was just a bit too small for him. He was wearing glasses now. His face had a few more wrinkles, but it was him. He seemed just as stunned as Brandy was. For a few moments, they just stared at each other.
“Brayden?” he asked hesitantly. Brandy couldn’t help but nod her head.
Brandy realized, distantly, she had dropped the coffee. It was spreading over the hardwood floors, and had splashed onto her legs. The shock of seeing her father faded for a moment as the service mindset she had been trained into over the past several months kicked in.
“I’m so sorry, Miss Jasmine. I’ll clean this up immediately, and replace your coffee out of my own pocket,” Brandy apologized quickly. She walked over to one of the counters and grabbed a stack of paper napkins. They weren’t ideal, but they were the only thing she could see that would help at all. She bent down to her knees, doing her very best to clean up the worst of it. Then, her father spoke again, and Brandy was reminded that everything she had escaped was somehow here. It was a nightmare made real.
“What... have you done... to my son?” His voice was a terrifying growl. He glared at Jasmine for a moment, whose face was neutral, then turned back to Brandy. His gaze felt like ice, as if she’d been dipped in it. She knew her father’s temper. As he marched directly towards her, he shoved the chairs and table out of his way, knocking them over, the legs of the table scratching against the wooden floor. The documents Brandy had carefully sorted were flying everywhere.
“Get that fucking skirt off!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. Brandy froze where she was, kneeling on the ground. She knew what was about to happen, but her body didn’t move as he came closer and moved his leg back. Her eyes shut tight, and a moment later, Brandy felt his foot connect with her stomach. The blow pushed completely over onto her side. He kicked into her, again, and again. She heard herself scream. For a moment, she thought it was over. She opened her eyes, but before she could actually take in anything around her. The world went black for a moment. There was a painful ringing. She felt something warm dripping down her face. She expected more. Nothing happened. The pain didn’t stop, but there were no more blows.
The ringing kept coming. Brandy realized it wasn’t just in her head. It was an alarm. She opened her eyes. It was hard to see. Her glasses weren’t on her face anymore. Even with that fog, and how confusing everything was, she could just make out four very large men dragging her father away. He was screaming something, but the words didn’t really make sense.
Brandy tried to stand, but before she even got onto her knees, she fell over again. She blinked, and then Mistress was kneeling over her. Brandy thought she looked very scared. That... was almost more wrong to her addled mind than anything else that had just happened. Someone that Brandy didn’t recognize was flashing a light into her eyes. She tried to push the stranger away, but her arm wasn’t listening. Then the world faded away.
She woke up. Everything still felt like a dream. The world felt unreal, and far away. Her vision was blurry. She must not have been wearing her glasses. She tried to look around, but her neck didn’t seem to want to cooperate. After a few slow blinks, her mind started to move again. Taking a deep breath, she tried to take stock of the situation. She was laying in a small, uncomfortable bed. The small room around her was moving. Maybe she was in an ambulance? There were bags of some clear fluid hanging off the bed, and she realized the bags led to a needle in her right arm. Oh. She was in a gown, instead of clothes. She noticed that Jasmine was sitting beside her.
“You’re awake. Good,” Jasmine sighed. She stopped, opened her mouth a couple times, and then closed it. Brandy wasn’t sure she’d ever heard her Mistress so hesitant. But trying to think back felt dizzy, so she couldn’t be sure. “I should have recognized your surname. I should have investigated it. I’ve assured you will make a full physical recovery with rest. I’m taking you home. I’m...” Jasmine wasn’t looking at Brandy. Instead, she was staring at the floor of the ambulance.
Dimly, Brandy became aware that her left eye was covered up, bandaged. That’s why she couldn’t see correctly. Her right arm was taped up, too. A few of the fingers didn’t seem able to move. It hurt to breathe in too deeply.
The ambulance stopped, and a few seconds later, two tall men opened the back doors. Brandy recognized where they were, even with her vision so fuzzy. They had pulled up to the servant’s entrance. Gently, the two workers lifted Brandy from the bed into a wheelchair. Jasmine dismissed them, and took over, wheeling her into the mansion. Sitting on the sofa nearest to the door, was Her Highness.
Diana rushed forward, and wrapped her arms around Brandy. Brandy groaned in pain from the unexpected and firm touch. With an apologetic gasp, Diana quickly pulled back. Cupping Brandy’s face with her left hand, Diana met her uncovered eye. Her Highness’s eyes were red, and her makeup was streaked. This was the first time Brandy could recall ever seeing her so disheveled. She was still so beautiful.
“My apologies, I didn’t...” Diana, much more gently this time, pulled Brandy into a soft hug. She smelled like fresh air. Her voice was whispering in Brandy’s ears. “You’re safe now. You’re safe now, we won’t let anything happen to you, my precious, precious girl.” Jasmine put a hand on Diana’s shoulder, not unkindly.
“She’s had a hard day. She needs rest.”
Diana nodded, and together, they walked Brandy back to her room. As the trio passed through the servant wing, Brandy heard gasps of shock. I must look pretty bad. She was wheeled into her bedroom, then carefully helped into her bed. It had never felt so soft.
Jasmine was standing near the door, like a silent guardian. Diana took a seat in a massive, unfamiliar chair beside her bed. Time seemed... weird. Brandy wasn’t sure how long she had laid there. It could have been minutes or hours. She felt her Highness gently stroking her arm with the back of her hand. It made Brandy smile softly. Her eyes started to close, until she heard Mistress speak.
“I have to go take care of some... work, dearest.” Diana turned her gaze away from Brandy for the first time since seeing her brought into the mansion. Her employers locked eyes for a moment, and nodded at each other. With that, Jasmine left, gently closing the door behind her. Brandy thought maybe she heard it lock.
“Are you alright?” Diana asked.
“Of course, Your Highness,” Brandy replied, automatically.
“No. The fact that you’re slurring your words makes that lie obvious.” She was slurring her words? “But I don’t want you to placate me. Tell me how you are feeling. Not just your body, but your heart.”
Brandy looked down into her bed. She couldn’t bring herself to look at Diana. That didn’t stop Her Highness from softly comforting her, though. With her good arm, Brandy reached out, and grabbed her stuffed moose plushie. Her mother had given it to her as a child. It was all she really had left of her birth family. Today had made that perfectly clear. She hadn’t really thought about it much. It was as if a dam had burst. Brandy was sobbing. Each time she gasped, the emotional pain was joined with sharp aches from all over her entire body.
“I-I-I’m sorry, Your H-h-h-highness.”
“No, no,” her voice was so soft, so gentle. “This is an order. Tell me how you really feel.”
Brandy nodded, and took a deep breath to gather her thoughts. It hurt.
“I guess... I always just wanted things to be different. I wanted them to love me. I thought if I was good enough, then... maybe they’d come around... and I know that’s... never gonna happen, but... it hurts that... one of the people who was supposed to love me the most... did this... but I shouldn’t be surprised... whenever I feel bad about myself, whenever I think I’m not good enough, or that I am stupid, or lazy or... anything like that... it’s his voice that I hear. And he’s right.”
Diana’s grip tightened for a moment. “I could... help with that, if you consented.”
Brandy looked at Diana.
“I don’t understand what you mean, Your Highness.”
“I can hypnotize you. Get down into your subconscious and help ease that hurt, at least just a little bit. I’m not sure how well it will work in your current state, but...”
Brandy heard Jenny’s voice from months ago. She was telling her about what Mistress and her Highness did to Lisa, what they apparently did to everyone in their harem. It was an emotional whirlwind. The grief, her own physical pain, the promise of relief, and... excitement, excitement at the thought of the beautiful royalty she worked for wanting to change her into something else. But that was a fantasy. That wasn’t what Diana was offering now.
“What... what would you do?”
“Well, I would start by helping you calm down and relax. I would have you focus on my voice, and slowly, carefully, I would bring you into a state of trance. Then, I would give a suggestion to your subconscious, that whenever you start thinking about him, the lies he taught you about yourself - and they are lies - you would hear... my voice, instead. I would tell your subconscious mind to ignore all the things he would say and do to you, because they were lies. You are a brilliant, hard working maid for my wife and me. We’re proud of what you have become since you started working here.” Diana chuckled a little. “I knew you had it in you. Jasmine needed a bit more convincing, but even she admits it now. Don’t tell her I told you that, though.” Diana chuckled, before turning back to the topic at hand.
“I would tell your subconscious to only hold onto this until you no longer feel that it is needed. After that suggestion had some time to set in, I would slowly wake you back up, and we would check how that feels, and debrief. Does that sound alright to you?”
“I... I would like that... a lot, your Highness.”
“Excellent.” Diana’s voice changed as she finished that word. It was like she was singing and whispering at the same time. “Then I want you to just lay back and close your eyes... and take a soft breath in for me, as much as you can without hurting yourself.”
Trance was such an interesting sensation. The memory of coming down, of falling, was fuzzy, but she remembered how it felt. Like being weighed down and floating all at the same time. It reminded Brandy of being in subspace after a really intense scene. She heard the words that Her Highness said, and they sounded like pure truth. It was as if she was in this space for hours and for just a minute all at once. She was smart. She worked hard. She was appreciated by her Mistress and Her Highness. And all too quickly, it was over. Diana counted Brandy back up, from one to ten, and snapped her fingers. But even when it ended, Brandy still felt the same peace of mind lingering. She carefully stretched herself out and blinked repeatedly. Slowly, she became more aware of the room around her. Things felt clearer, now. Looking to her right, she saw Her Highness.
“How was that for you?” Diana usually looked distant, distracted. Not now. Seeing the Queen’s beautiful face so focused on her made Brandy’s heart skip a beat.
“It was... amazing,” she breathed.
“You are quite a good subject, actually. You must have wanted this very badly. And I can understand why, after what Jasmine told me happened...”
Brandy blushed. That’s not why... “Thank you, your Highness,” she said instead.
“You had best get some sleep.” Diana got up, and stopped at the door. She turned back, her eyes scanning Brandy. It looked like she wanted to say something, but she just shook her head slightly and left.
Left in the quiet stillness of her bedroom, it wasn’t long before she fell into proper sleep. She had expected nightmares, but she had no reason to have them.
She didn’t have to listen to the lies.
She woke up to a gentle knock. Her head pounded, but Brandy managed to get out something close enough to ‘come in.’ The door opened, and Liz walked in, dressed in their uniform. They gasped in shock, and Brandy quickly tried to cover her face. That’s what it had to be. She didn’t do a great job, though. Brandy could still make out the pained expression on their face.
“Hey, um... Everyone’s been talking about you coming in all... beat up. What... what happened to you?”
“My dad happened,” Brandy attempted to shrug, but a spike of pain made it more of an uneven shake. “It’s fine, I mean, I’m... in a lot of pain, but it’s over now.” Huh. I just... I don’t care about him anymore. That’s so... wow. I really have to thank Her Highness the next time I see her.
Liz looked uncomfortable for a moment, like they weren’t entirely certain what to say. So they just moved on.
“Mistress and Her Highness say I’m supposed to help you with... well, everything, until you’re all better. Would you like to get dressed?” Liz said hesitantly. Brandy nodded. It would be nice to put on some real clothes.
Liz strolled over to Brandy’s dresser, pulling out a few options, and holding them up for Brandy to approve or reject. A few minutes later, and with only a little bit of pain, Brandy was finally in proper clothes again. It felt a little bit wrong not to be in uniform, but she’d settled for something in black and white. It just felt better.
For the next few weeks, as Brandy healed, Liz was assigned to wheel her around the grounds. To breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even just to enjoy the beauty of the mansion and the surrounding property. Brandy worried that seeing her getting to just ‘laze about all day’ would make the other servants upset. She was surprised that, instead, the maids, butlers, cooks and yard workers kept pausing what they were doing to tell Brandy how glad they were that she was okay. It was nice, if a bit embarrassing.
“I mean, I appreciate it, but like... They could just sign a card or something,” she mumbled. As soon as she said that, Liz stopped, moving to the front of the wheelchair. They knelt down to meet Brandy’s eyes.
“Brandy, you’re very special. To... a lot of us,” they smiled warmly at the last part, then leaned in to leave a kiss on Brandy’s left hand. “The little songs you hum, your quirks, your eagerness, they make people smile. I know I’m not the only one who looks forward to the days when I get a shift with you. You work so hard and seem so happy while doing it, it’s inspiring. You don’t even seem to realize how you go out of your way to help each of us.”
Brandy felt like in the past she would have questioned that. But something was different. The thought of I’m not that special was met with Her Highness's voice in her head. Brandy had no choice but to just accept the truth. She worked hard, and people noticed. She didn’t want to fight it. She couldn’t even if she wanted to. That would be inconsiderate of the effort Her Highness put into helping her. It was a light thrill to remember those thoughts weren’t her own, and had come from Her Highness.
Every two days, Doctor Owens would stop in to check on Brandy’s healing. The doctor listened to her breathing to make sure that it was returning to normal. Finally, a week later, it was completely healed. Doctors Owens unbandaged Brandy’s eye, and gave her new glasses to replace the ones her father had broken.
“But... when can I get back to work?” Brandy asked then. “I... can technically afford the surgery still, but that would pretty much drain me out, right?”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. You all get paid time off for illness or injury. And, based on what I am seeing, you could probably return to light tasks after another week.” Doctor Owens replied. “But I’ve been told that until you are back to 100%, recovering from the concussion is your primary job duty. So, consider this a vacation, really. I’d say give it another month before you’re back to full.”
Once the pain had mostly subsided, Brandy realized how much she had relied on the purpose and rhythm of her work, the pride of seeing a job well done. As soon as she was able to walk again, she began trying to be helpful where she could. Taking care of her own dishes, tying up in the servant’s kitchen, anything small she could do. Liz insisted that Brandy was supposed to just sit down and recover, but after a week of that, they had learned to give in to the simple demand.
Liz must have mentioned something to the Mistresses. Two weeks later, she was allowed to work half-days as an assistant to other servants. It was probably for the best. It was frustrating how much slower she moved. It was even more frustrating that she seemed to lack the dexterity that she’d had before the attack, even though she’d been assured it would come back. It made her feel useless, especially when it came to the delicate cleaning of art that required a graceful hand. Her right hand just couldn’t seem to remember how to move correctly. And in the evenings, Brandy was still expected to focus on resting and recovering. Returning to full shifts would be a relief.
She was deemed fit to return to duty a week later, having recovered most of her range of motion. But after just a week back on regular job duties, her schedule was interrupted. She was to report for Assessment in her own room. So, she sat down on her bed, and waited.. A few minutes later, Jasmine and Diana entered her room together, with Jasmine holding a small stack of papers. Diana closed the door behind them, and Jasmine set right to business.
“It is time for us to discuss renewing your contract. Normally, we would leave this matter to the head maid. However, given... recent events, we felt that you deserved both a direct appointment with us,” she added with a sigh.
She offered a few sheets of paper from the stack to Brandy. It was a police report, and her father’s mugshot featured prominently at the top of the front page.
“I took it upon myself to ensure that proper justice was done. That man, he will not be able to afford bail, and will be looking at a maximum sentence. In the exceedingly unlikely event that whatever lawyer he can afford to hire is capable of matching my own, he is still going to leave ruined. His employer let him go immediately after I had them informed about what happened. A freeze on his accounts to investigate ‘probable fraud’ will ensure he misses the next few payments on his mortgage, and I have encouraged that bank not to allow any leeway, whatever payment history he might have made to date. Being penniless on the street is the best he can hope for, for the next few decades at least.” Jasmine seemed to wait for a response from Brandy, but when one didn’t come, she continued.
“This... does not correct my error, of course. I failed in my responsibility to you, as your Mistress. I’m willing to renew your contract without hesitation. However, we... understand if you wish to leave our service.” Diana swallowed hard as Jasmine said the last part. Her eyes were watering.
“Mistress, Your Highness,” she began, taking a deep, shaky breath. “I want to keep serving.” Diana’s posture relaxed slightly. “This is... the happiest I have ever been. I’m good at things here. I have... friends among the rest of the servants. But...” She thought she heard Diana stifle a sob. She said the next part more quickly. “I would like a medical leave. Doctor Owens probably told you, but... I’ve saved up enough... for, um...” she looked down. “For lower surgery. If I can return to service after that, then... yes. Please. I want to.”
Diana sat upright, her face a mask of surprise. Then, she laughed, and the carefree expression that Brandy had come to expect from the queen had returned. “Oh, is that all? I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear that.”
Jasmine actually smiled. “I believe we can accommodate that.”