Aurélie Giselle Beaulieu, #dec087, georgia The crack of dawn was a most merciful awakening. Gentle strokes of gold and aubergine bruised the sky into most pleasant painting, one that Aurélie was anxious to see upon every fresh spring morning. I should paint this image someday, she thought with a little smile that warmed her sleepy heart. Everyone in the world should be able to see sights like this. She stretched her slender body as the light of a new day reached the emeralds in her eyes, and a yawn broke free from her lips. Yet another beautiful day. Quel monde merveilleux. "Up, up!" came a sudden call from the opposite bed. Aurélie rubbed her eyes and sat up on command, running her fingers through untamable chocolate curls and groaning at the loud voice. "Aurélie, wake up! You are late!" "What?" she offered in a shocked reply. "But it is only seven-thirty—" "Seven thirty? Girl, it is eight-thirty! You slept in! I let you get more sleep because of all the work you did yesterday, but I lost track of time." "Quoi?! Are you sure? I—merde!" Only three months on the job, and I'm late! She spurred herself from the comfort of warm blankets and flew to the showers across the hall, giving herself a quick scrub before tending to all other personal hygiene needs. The thought of being fired continued to nag at her innocent mind, even after returning to dress herself and complete the overlook of a maid's ensemble. She snagged herself a bagel and tied her hair up in a high bun, buttoning the black vest on her way out of the maid's quarters. "Maxine!" Aurélie called in a rush, "Maxine, where am I stationed today?" "Gardens first, dear, then the Duke wants his study dusted. Come back when you have finished those things, and I will give you more." "Okay, okay!" She bit off a piece of the bagel, slipping on a pair of traditional black heels and exiting the apartments without another inch of hesitation. The large house in which the maids lived inhabited some of her dear friends who bore incredible understanding of her overworking attitude more than others, and while Aurélie appreciated the gesture that the Maxine had let her sleep in, it kept her from making money that was no doubt needed. Money will help my dreams come true, that had been her mantra ever since she left France with nothing but a suitcase of clothes and one-hundred and fifty euro to last until she found some form of employment. It was a cruel sentence for a crime that Aurélie had not committed, yet she never looked back. Those, however, were thoughts better left for darker days when the sun was absent of grace and the rain dampened moods. The girl mentally pulled herself together and drank in the sight of the morning sky, letting warmth and light engulf her every atom before continuing on with her duties. Her first stop was the gardening shed, a massive cabin of spruce wood that housed all of the necessities for tending to the various gardens throughout the Lancaster Estate. She never envied the family for a single second—royalty was not something that someone like her could aspire to become, so she felt there was no point in growing envious of their wealth and prosperity. There was a time when she thought that those of a certain stature had everything and wanted nothing, but not all in life was gold and money and riches and political prowess. Sometimes, it was nice to be able to spend time to one's self and unfold in the completeness of total relaxation. That was worth more than anything of monetary value. And still, it is something I can't relish in its entirety. I suppose even royalty would envy my ability to cherish it somewhat. Ah, well. There is no use for pity parties. I have work that needs to be done. Aurélie unwrapped a hose and attached a spray nozzle to the top, pulling the plastic and rubber from the depths of the shed and dropping it in a heap on the edge of a magnificent flower bed of bright red tulips and waving lavender. When the water was turned on, she began her work and drizzled fresh sprays of water onto the needy plants, her heels clicking along the stone as she paced the edge. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a day off, she thought pleasantly, and peruse Devonshire like I never have before. That would be a nice change.