Church went pretty much the same as it had the week before except that this week the eyes glaring at me the most were the Maxwell’s. I should have realised that they would be there but I hadn’t thought about it. Joseph told me not to worry as they were not likely to tell anyone what happened. Apparently it would have been embarrassing to them as well as me. At least I had my camera and that was my purpose for being there.
The Maxwell’s didn’t speak to us after Church and I was glad. If I never spoke with them again it would be too soon. As we were getting into the buggy Joseph mentioned that we wouldn’t be going to Oistin’s Sunday market because he had something important to do. So he took us back to the Great House and left us there. So much for getting pictures on my last day!
I took Sarah from Nana and went outside with Thomas to play in the garden. The kittens we had found were really tame now and came to us hoping for scraps of food. I sat on the lawn with Sarah and a kitten on my lap as I watched Thomas trying unsuccessfully to climb a tree.
The day passed slowly, Cookie had called us in for Sunday lunch and still Joseph had not returned. I was beginning to get anxious as I was leaving tonight and wanted to spend more time with him before going.
Seeing that both children went to rest after lunch I decided to go back to my cottage and write the farewell note to Joseph so I borrowed the writing implements from his desk and left.
Writing the note was difficult, not only coming up with a plausible lie but also expressing my feelings for him. I did want him to know how wonderful I thought he was, but at the same time I couldn’t go overboard with sentiment or else my leaving would have seemed foolish.
Eventually I finished what I thought was an acceptable note and left the parchment open on the dining table so the ink could dry. I then went to call the office to sort out the final arrangements for my departure.
Only Melinda was there and she looked very happy to see me.
“How’s it going Kat?” she asked “I hope you’re still enjoying it there because guess what?”
“John doesn’t want you to come back yet. He called us this morning and asked that you stay there and take photos of as many locations in Barbados as possible. On your return, he wants to present a large report to the White House, including the photos.”
My heart leapt. I could stay longer and I didn’t even have to make an excuse to do it. My face must have expressed my true feelings because Melinda’s mouth dropped open.
“Wow girl, you’ve got it bad,” She said.
“What are you talking about?” I replied.
“You should see the expression on your face. You’re really falling for this guy aren’t you?”
“Don’t be silly Melinda.”
“It’s written all over your face Kat. If you don’t want the guys to figure it out you’d better find a way to wipe that smile off your face”
“I hope you’re just imagining things because I really don’t want them to find out.”
“So I’m right then?”
“Kind of, you’re right in that I wouldn’t mind spending a bit longer here.”
“Did he kiss you yet?”
I could feel my cheeks going red, “He did… but I only let it happen because I was leaving today.”
“Well if I were you, I’d try to cool things down because I don’t know how long John’s going to make you stay.”
“That shouldn’t be hard. I don’t think he’s forgiven me for attacking Mrs. Maxwell yet. After church this morning he took off on his own and I haven’t seen him since.”
“Good, I have ordered some new dresses for you. Can you think of anything else you need?”
“I’d love a candy bar and a cold coke. God I miss ice in my drinks.”
Melinda laughed, “Oh the things we take for granted. Hang on, I think I have a Kit Kat in the fridge, I’ll send it through now.”
“Thanks, I’ve got to stop chatting now though, I’ve got a farewell note to destroy.”
“I love you honey, be careful and remember to call tomorrow.”
“I will,” I replied and hung up looking forward to my cold coke.
After finishing my Coke and half of the large chocolate bar, I decided to head back to the Great House. I was so relieved that I had more time here I just wanted to kiss the children.
Joseph arrived shortly after I reached his house. “Come,” he said. “I have a surprise for you.” And he led me outside to the buggy.
I couldn’t believe my eyes… sitting in the buggy was the young slave girl from Maxwell’s plantation. “What’s she doing here?” I asked.
“After church I met with Mr. Maxwell and he agreed to sell me her.” He said. “She’s yours now.”
My mouth fell open. He bought me a slave. I was a slave owner. On the one hand I was mortified at that fact, but on the other hand this was one lucky girl. She had escaped the clutches of Mrs. Maxwell.
“Joseph, I don’t want a slave. I can’t have a slave. Where would I keep a slave? What happens when I leave?... Thank you for saving her.” I was rambling now.
“She can live with my slaves. In fact I thought that Chubba’s sister might take her in since her son died, but it’s your decision, she’s all yours my soft hearted beauty.”
Had we not been standing in the open I would have reached up and kissed him but instead I went up to the buggy and spoke to the young girl who was cowering nervously in the back of the buggy.
“What is your name?” I asked her.
“Nana.” She replied.
“Nana… really? We have a Nana here already. Do not be scared no one here will ever hurt you. Come and let’s get you cleaned up.” I said.
I turned to Joseph. “So she’s really mine? I can do what I want with her?”
“Do you have clothes for her?”
“No but I can get some. What are you going to do with her?”
“Well if you can find her some clothes I’m going rid her of that filthy dress, bathe her and give her a meal. Then I’ll return her to you so you can get her settled in with Chubba’s sister for the night.” I replied.
I wasn’t ready to tell Joseph what I was going to do with her tomorrow as I knew he wouldn’t approve. I was going to teach her to read and spoil her rotten. I would let her apprentice with Cookie as well. She seemed to have worked in the kitchen at Maxwell’s so I figured I had better let her continue to learn that line of work. Hopefully that would guarantee her employment as a domestic slave when I left and she would not have to cut canes or do the dangerous job of working in the grinding mills.
I thought back to the Nana’s journal in the Barbados Museum. Up until now I had assumed Thomas’s nanny had written it, but maybe I was wrong and this was the Nana. However, if it was, then I wasn’t supposed to teach her to read, according to her writings, a woman named Malaika would do that. Would I be changing history if I taught her? Could history be changed? Oooh a new experiment… I was feeling like a scientist again. I would teach her to read… sorry Malaika… you were in the history books when I left home, but what would happen now?
Joseph did manage to find a dress that, though a bit big, would do for New Nana, and with his permission I took her back to my cottage and filled my tub. I decided that I would totally spoil her so I also took out my soap, breaking off a small bit so it no longer had a brand name written across it and proceeded to bathe her.
As she bathed, I spoke with her gently telling her that her life would never be as bad as it was at the Maxwell’s again. I told her that she could tell me anything she wanted and I would not punish her. Eventually Nana began to relax. I was extremely happy thinking about how I intended to change this girl’s life, that is, for as long as I was still here. I hoped that I had at least four weeks with her; I could do a lot in four weeks. After her bath, I attempted to brush her wild hair and braid it. Not an easy feat. Then I did the craziest thing, I gave her the rest of my Kit Kat to eat. I guess I thought of her as too ignorant to realise that this was not a normal treat for 1793.
When I returned to the Great House, on my orders, Nana took New Nana to the kitchen and gave her a plate of food, after which Joseph took her down to the slave quarters.
When he returned, we ate dinner together on the veranda and I thanked him again for saving little Nana. He seemed really pleased with himself for his decision.
“So maybe you won’t leave on Tuesday? Will you stay even if only for a short time longer?”
I nodded and he reached over the table and hugged me. “Thank you, you won’t regret staying.”
I hoped he was right.
That night, as usual, Joseph and I walked back to the cottage holding hands like a young dating couple, and when he kissed me goodnight I felt butterflies fluttering in my stomach like the innocent woman that I was.
As I lay in bed I imagined making love to Joseph and as wonderful as my fantasies were I was aware that this was never going to happen. It couldn’t happen but not for moral reasons, I was a twenty year old woman and making love should be a natural occurrence. I was not one of those stodgy old people who believed you had to be married first, my reasons for not wanting to sleep with Joseph were a lot more complex than that.
My first problem was that I had not travelled with any 18th Century underwear. So if I were to decide to sleep with Joseph I would either have to find a way to explain my very brief panties or wear none at all and I wasn’t sure which way would be worse.
The second and bigger problem was that I was a virgin. Had I introduced myself to Joseph as a single woman this would have been okay, but I was supposed to be the widow of the brilliant and wondrous Dr. Smith. How could I explain that one? I don’t know much about the state of my virginity as I was a 21st century virgin. Maybe it wouldn’t be as noticeable as if I were an 18th Century one. After all, I didn’t sit side-saddle on a horse; I rode bicycles and even used tampons. Surely, therefore, I could pass for an experienced woman. Maybe one day I would find that out but I couldn’t risk finding the answer here.
I guess I could ask Melinda to send me some funky old-style panties but then she’d know why I wanted them, and that was more personal than I wanted to be with her.
Other problems included the fact that, as an eighteenth birthday present, Melinda had paid for me to have laser hair removal done. Really she had given me this gift because she wanted to do it herself and didn’t want to do it alone. So every eight weeks she and I would go for the treatment and as a result, I have no hair on my lower legs and very little hair in my bikini area. To think I had been so thrilled with the results. I no longer had to shave my legs and I could throw on a bikini anytime and head to the beach without a second thought. Tonight however, I would have given my eye teeth to be a hairy cave girl with eighteenth century granny panties and the ironic part is that I wanted this, all to have sex with a man.