n 1886, the summer heat in Charleston was mild for a late July afternoon. Thomas walked up the steps to his Aunt's house with a feeling of remorse. Knowing his summer was almost over Thomas had a solemn expression on his face when he reached the top step and the front door opened for him. Not only was his summer lost to time, but also his fond memories of his fading youth. Most of his friends had moved on and were attending colleges abroad.
Thomas was told a month before the school year ended for him in May, that he was going to a prep school in Charleston. It was a two year school that his father made sure he would go into before pursuing an advanced degree. Although Thomas was eager to go to school, he was not all too fond of the school his father picked out. Since it was close to Charleston, Thomas was told he was going to stay with his Aunt until school started.
Thomas looked up to see his Aunt Laura waiting at the door for him with a cheerful grin. Trying to make the best of a bad situation he returned her cheerful grin with one of his own. There was no use being upset for a few weeks before he went to his prep school. With both hands holding his bags, he continued towards her.
His Aunt Laura moved to greet him once he reached the top step. "Oh my lord, have you grown again. I don't know what your mother is feeding you, but it must be working." Hugging him, and planting a big kiss on his forehead. Laura Childs was petite and was only four inches above five feet, but it did not stop her from hugging him hard. Thomas always found his Aunt to have a smile on her face no matter what the occasion. With a long time between visits her expression was even more then she could hold back.
"Hi Aunt Laura. Father sends his greetings." Thomas ignored what everyone thought and said of his Aunt. His Aunt was known for being aloof and spending too much money. When he was younger it was fun and exciting though. Thomas once ease dropped on his father telling her to stop associating with the society of the city. Her pretty looks also caught the attention of many men.
His Aunt led him inside, where he was greeted by her black maid, who was holding a basket of clothes. She looked to be in her early twenties, and much taller than his Aunt. Her slim ebony face showed no signs of age. Her skin was not overly dark, but not light skinned either. Wearing a plain dark blue dress with her hair covered in a blue wrap. She lowered her eyes to him and gave a slight nod of her head. "Mister Thomas."
Before Thomas could say a word, his Aunt spoke up."Thomas you can leave your bags here. Sarah here is going to get you set up in the guest room while you and I can catch up."
It was two years since he last visited, and the memories of running through the house came back to him. Thomas always did love visiting his Aunt and her playful spirit always provided entertainment when he was younger. Thomas always thought of her as a big sister more than an older Aunt.
Following his Aunt up the steps, Thomas inquired about Sarah. "What happened to Miss Elle?"
"Oh, I had to get rid of her last year. You know how help are."
Thomas got to see the new renovations his Aunt did to the house. With her perky upbeat laugh and smile, she laughed at how each room needed her personal touch and charm. The tour was quite quick, and ended with his Aunt showing him the guest room. Before a word was spoken the front bell rung. Without saying a word his Aunt left his side and rushed to the door.
Hearing footsteps behind him he saw Sarah with his bags. Seeing her approach he walked to her to retrieve his bags before she got to his room. "Here let me. I can get those.
Ignoring his offer to help, she replied in a polite smile. "I has some nice biscuits made in the kitchen. You must be hungry and all." Thomas had to move away from the door as she made her way into the room with his bags.
As Sarah place his bags at the foot of his bed, his eyes drifted towards the top of her dress. Although the dress hid most of her body her bust and arms were still exposed. He could clearly see that her bust was all hers and large for her frame. Bending over slightly, she revealed more of it than he should have seen. It only got worse when she stood up, and noticed where his eyes had wondered too.
After an awkward moment of silence, Sarah took him by the shoulder and guided him out of the room. "Now you be go gettin some food now. Bet they're still warm."
After satisfying his hunger, Thomas watched Sarah walk into the kitchen to begin preparing supper. She was not petite like his aunt, but not large by anyone's standards. Sarah had a command of the house too. It was like she grew up in the house, and knew all its hidden areas. She moved quickly and without hesitation while moving and gather the supplies needed for supper.
The attention Thomas was given to Sarah was disturbed when his aunt strolled into the kitchen looking for something. With an aggravated tone in her voice, "Where did you put the invitation?
Sarah turned around from her cooking with a look that a mother would give her misbehaving child, "In your top dresser drawer. Where's you put it, after saying you wanted to put it in a safes spot away from me."
Thomas and his aunt locked eyes, and he saw the embarrassed look on her face. She made not sound and quickly left to retreat to her room. The sounds of her moving quickly only confirmed her embarrassment.
Sarah continued on with her cooking and started to fill a large pot with vegetables. When she was done she turned to Thomas while wiping her hands clean on the apron hanging from her dress. Looking up to see her smiling at him as if nothing had happened, and she asked him. "I hope you enjoyed that. It's nice to be cookings for someone who eats."
Almost shocked by her smile, Thomas grinned. "It was great. I am thinking supper will be just as good Miss Sarah."
Grabbing the plate in front of him she returned to her cooking. "I hopes you are as hungry as you look, since your Aunt has a party tonight."
Thomas expressed his disappointment and left to go unpack. Thomas was aware that his aunt had travelled within Charleston elite society. The Charleston elite were known for their lavish parties and his aunt never missed one of them. With nothing else to take up his time, writing his father was his only option.
Eating alone was a weird experience. Having stayed at a boarding school, and living at home; being alone was something new. Most new things have some redeeming quality about them; this one was lost to Thomas. Thinking it was just one night, or one day got Thomas through the first night. Turning in and falling asleep quickly from his long trip.
The next morning brought the realization that his aunt was not the same person towards him as in the past. She was already making her way around the city visiting and meeting with her society friends before he even woke. Breakfast was on the table and Sarah was more than happy to meet his daily needs. Each time he saw her, he made sure to say please and thank you. He figured he could at least make up for how his aunt was towards her.
Not content to mope around the house, Thomas explored the city. There was a difference between walking the streets without the watchful eye of his parents. He was reminded the last time he was in the city, and how his mother told his father about the girls in certain areas of the city. Even though his exploration was short lived, and unsuccessful with having to head back to the house. The feeling of being out by himself was a bright spot to what he thought would be a boring day.
Like the night before, Thomas was resigned to eating alone. The missing presence of his aunt for supper had him thinking that she was almost never home. Sarah cleaned up as usual, and his proper thank you was given. Each time he gave her a compliment it was returned with a smile.
The next day seemed like the day before. Aunt Laura had not left yet. She was on her way out the house, and was running late due to the rain. She did stop and give a hug and kiss before heading out under the cover of an umbrella held by a coach driver.
The knowledge of having to spend the day inside brought a sigh of displeasure. The only prospects were to finish his studies and read. By late afternoon the boredom had set on and he was looking for something to do. When he saw Miss Sarah she was in the parlor sewing. She looked up to smile as he entered the room.
"Can I gets you something."
With a bored expression on his face, he answered, "Thank you for the offer, but I am just not wanting to stay inside is all."
"Aye see Mister Thomas. The weather is no fun for a young man like yourself. Knowing you're here for a short spell and all, this city has a way of entrapping young men like yourself. God only knows how some of these girls are."
Thomas looked at the floor knowing that his aunt house maid was right. "It's not that, I am just not used to being alone like this with nothing to do."
Sarah smiled at him before going back to her sewing. "I will be fixin supper soon. Why don'ts you go gets ready and fetch some wine from the closet."
Thomas returned her smile with a big grin. "Yes Miss Sarah I think I can do that."
Sitting at the head of the table with a glass of wine made him feel like it was not going to be such a bad night after all. He watched Miss Sarah bring out a plate of chicken covered with red rice. She placed in front of him and smiled. "I hopes you enjoy this. If there's anything just let me know."
As she was walking out of the dining room the sudden loss of companionship hit him. Thomas quickly cried out. "Can you stay?
.... There is more of this story ...