Grace continues to chat with Rose (her talking blanket) and makes friends with a very large guy.
The next day, servants brought in another new bed. This was for Grace. She stood there, mouth agape, as they took down the old bed, set up the new one and covered it with fresh, blue sheets and blanket. She almost didn't speak in time to tell them to leave Rose behind.
“What you want this old blanket for?” A tall, gruff, burly servant asked. He looked to be around twenty and Grace guessed he was gorgeous under all the hair on his face. The beard was full but not long and a hint darker than his blonde head. “You've a nice, pretty, blue one right there.”
“I just like it.” Grace replied confrontationally. She didn't want the brute hurting Rose's feelings.
The servant grunted and stared into Grace’s eyes in a way she didn't like, but then he tossed Rose on top of the new bed. “New desk and such will be in tomorrow,” he grumbled. Then he followed the other servants out the door.
Grace immediately spread Rose out over the new blue blanket. “There now,” she said soothingly. “And look how this blue background improves your complexion.” And it was true. Rose looked smaller on the big, blue bed, but quite lovely.
Then, Grace thought of what the servant had said and rushed to clean out the drawers of her desk and dresser. She didn't want anyone looking at the contents.
The next day, Grace explained to Rose about the new apprentice on her way. “I'm so nervous. She won’t like me.”
“Why wouldn't she like you?” Rose asked. “I certainly do.”
Grace smiled. “Thank you, Rose. But she’ll find me pathetic. I don’t have the magic I’m supposed to have.”
“Who you talking to?” The hairy servant was smirking at Grace from the doorway.
Grace sat up straight and cleared her throat. “Myself, of course. Do you see anyone else here?”
The servant fully smiled. “I do it too.”
Grace was startled to receive a smile from the gruff man but recovered quickly. “Do you have my new desk?”
He scratched his bearded cheek with one hand and dangled measuring tape with the other. “Just measuring the door. Helmut doesn't think the desks’ll fit through. Well, I'm sure you know, we better make 'em fit or the mistress'll bite off our teeth.”
“Bite off your teeth?” Grace asked, confused.
He nodded, “Figure-tively speaking, of course.”
Oh. “Ah, you mean bite off your heads.”
“Is that it?” He grimaced sheepishly. “Agh, I've been saying it wrong.”
Grace smiled despite herself. She felt a little excited to be having a conversation with an actual person. “I think she could bite off someone's teeth if she wanted.”
The servant grinned. “Isn't that so?”
There was silence as the two of them watched each other amiably.
“I'm Grace,” she said, remembering her manners. “Forgive me for being short with you about Ro— About the blanket.”
“Nah. It was me. I wouldn’t want some fella coming into my room and messin’ my stuff.” He smiled, showing his teeth (which were straight and white), and looked down shyly at his feet. “I'm Goliath.”
“Goliath? Well, isn't that apt?” Grace smiled back encouragingly.
Goliath looked up suspiciously at first, but when he saw that Grace was smiling, he smiled back. “And my papa named me when I was first born. Came early and I was sick and little!” He laughed.
Grace laughed too.
Suddenly, Goliath stood up straight and looked away, down the hall. “Helmut!” he said, obviously startled.
The rough-looking head handyman, even thicker than Goliath, came into view, scowling. “What you doin' boy?” Helmut demanded. “You measure that door yet?”
“Well? Will they fit?”
“Not gonna fit side to side. Gonna need to put it up long-ways and slide it in side-ways. And we'll need to take the door off its hinges.”
“Huh. Good work, boy.” Grace cringed at the way Goliath was being treated. It was oddly familiar. “Now let's go get 'em up here.”
Goliath sent one last glance at Grace before walking off.
The look swam in Grace’s mind as she sat on the bed. Something about it had made Grace feel like she and Goliath had a secret.
Though, that could have been wishful thinking.
After Goliath left, Grace dug into her trunk and pulled out her mirror again.
“What are you doing?” asked Rose, curiously.
“I just want to look nice for company.”
“Company? You mean that Goliath fellow that wanted to throw me in with the rubbish?”
Grace sighed. “Rose, how many conversations have you heard me have with other humans?”
Silence. Then, “Well, just that one, I suppose.”
“Exactly. Everyone else treats me like a pariah. They think I'm cursed or something. Maybe I am. So I'm not about to ruin the chance to make a friend by looking shabby.”
“You could never look shabby.”
“Oh? Can you see me?”
“Well... no. But I can imagine you.”
Grace smiled. “That's really nice, Rose.” She looked into her mirror. Today, her hair actually looked curly. She also found herself liking her freckles. “What is going on with me?” She couldn't help thinking that she looked beautiful—and not just because of her hair. That had never happened before and she hastily shoved the mirror away before the thought could go to her head.
When Goliath, Helmut and a group of other servants arrived at the door, Grace was ready. She wasn't chatting with Rose and she wasn't cuddled under her blankets like a child. She was sitting comfortably on the end of her bed.
Just as Goliath had suggested, they removed the door from its hinges and managed, barely, to fit the desks through the door. They also delivered two desk chairs, and two dressers.
They whisked away the old desk and dresser and Grace was thankful that she had never become attached to them the way she had Rose.
“Boy, put the door back on,” Helmut ordered and he left, directing the others to carry the old furniture.
Grace watched as Goliath fixed the door back on its hinges. “Thank you,” she said.
Goliath smiled at her fully. “You're not creepy as everyone thinks.”
The confirmation that everyone was making up rumors about her should have made her sad, but Grace was happy. “Thank you,” she repeated.
“You must be pretty lonesome.”
Grace bit the inside of her mouth. “Terribly.” She was immediately embarrassed at her confession.
“Well,” he said with a grin that was only a little bit goofy. “Now you have a friend.” He tapped his chest with his thumb.
Grace stared at him as her heart soared.
If his lopsided grin was any indication, Goliath was just as pleased. “Can I come back and visit you?”
“It will have to be late.”
“Are you afraid that Katerina will find out?”
“Hah. It’s Helmut I’m worried about. The mistress might have magic, but she doesn't know anything.”
Grace didn't understand why she had the urge to say this, but it passed her lips: “She calls me 'girl'.”
Goliath looked her in the eye and nodded. He obviously wasn’t as daft as he seemed. He was just uneducated and used to being mistreated. He smiled, “One day they’ll use our names, Grace.”
She liked the thought of that.
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