The word prompt, "candy", has taken me back to a story I deserted last September. It's Maggie's Story. She's the housekeeper for a very wealthy couple who have a young son, a boy who was the same age her child would have been had her parents not forced her to have an abortion.
They'd shipped her off from England to the United States, where a cousin helped her get this job. The scene takes place on Christmas Eve. John is the butler and chauffeur, also from England.
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Friday night, Maggie went up to her room. The party was still going strong, but the crew the Roberts had hired were serving and staying to do clean up. John hung around to supervise. Maggie stood at the window and parted the curtain.
She watched a group of carolers climb down from a hay wagon and sing for the party. She heard the soft melodies of carols and the applause. Mrs. Roberts passed around a basket of candy and each singer took some.
Maggie missed her yule traditions. She wondered what they were doing at home, which of her six siblings had returned for the occasion. She wondered what they were eating and drinking. She could hear, in her head, the songs they always sang and hummed the tunes softly.
She wrote a short message on the Christmas card, added the money order, addressed the envelope to her father and sealed it. One more month and she would be paid up. She sighed. That might be the last communication with her parents. I guess you don’t keep a daughter who brings disgrace to your home.
The knock on her door meant John had retired. Maggie had retrieved her present for him. When he entered, she turned to face him. Her heart hurt, loneliness surrounded her like the fur coat the missus gave her. But it chilled her instead of warming.
“Here you go. Merry Christmas, John.” She handed him the rectangular box.
He opened it carefully, his eyes glittery, darted from her face to the gift.
“Holy Mary Mother of God, Maggie! What’d you go and do this for?” He fingered the expensive, Countess Mara silk tie.
“Don’t you like it?” Pain stabbed her heart.
“It’s beautiful. I love it. But it’s too expensive.”
“Wanted you to have one like the Mister wears.”
John’s pale cheeks flushed slightly. “Very thoughtful. Very nice, Maggie. It’s beautiful. I’ll save it for special occasions.”
She put her hand on his arm. “I want you to wear it all the time, John.”
He nodded. “All right. Thank you.” He kissed her, then bid her goodnight
Maggie gazed up at the cold winter moon and sighed. She slid under the covers and spread her new cashmere sweater from John out on top. She fell asleep with her fingers stroking the soft material.