Lacie Ch. 07byDancingwizard©
Chapter 7: Lacie's Mansion
Lacie decided to wander the halls for a while, strolling through the hallways of the mansion's first floor. Poking her head through doorways at random, the young brunette teen enjoyed her time alone, reveling in the stately pace at which she let herself amble along. Ever since she had arrived at the mansion, it had seemed like Lacie was always rushing, dashing from one place to another, always racing the clock. Now that she had some time to herself, Lacie simply wandered. Most of the doors she peeked through led to other hallways, or were closets containing various odds and ends.
Eventually, Lacie entered a massive foyer, seeing a pair of huge oaken doors and a gently curving pair of staircases that swept up to the second floor, the gently curving steps swept to either side of the foyer, framing the room. Realizing she was in the very front of the house, Lacie was able to re-orient herself. Turning around, Lacie decided to head to the north wing of the house and investigate the huge glass walled room that she had seen next to the greenhouse. Lacie's sandals made soft slapping noises as she walked the beautifully decorated hallways. Lacie looked down and discovered marble flooring underfoot, the polished white stone gently reflected light, making the hallway bright and warm.
Lacie wandered a bit, opening doors that seemed like they might lead somewhere interesting. Lacie found a few conference rooms, each one tastefully decorated, but otherwise uninteresting. Finally, Lacie turned around a corner and saw a metal and glass door. Immediately Lacie recognized the doorway as the one that had lead into the locker room and showers. Slipping through the doorway, Lacie took her sandals off before carefully making her way through the showers. Emerging out of the other side of the tiled room, Lacie saw another metal and glass door. The smell of chlorine was strong, making Lacie's sinuses tingle.
Pushing the door open, Lacie felt a blast of warm chlorinated air hit her in the face. Looking inside, the eighteen year old thought she had stepped into some South American jungle. Huge trees ringed the room in waist high gardens full of moist black soil. The dirt was contained by tiled walls of tan colored bricks. The outside of the brick was patterned, the dark browns and tans of the dirt and trees mixing with the vibrant greens on the tiling. The colors emphasized the jungle atmosphere. Palm trees, acacia trees and dozens more that Lacie had never seen before stretched ten feet tall or higher, their leafy fronds adding to the tropical feel of the room.
A large, asymmetrical pool sat in the middle of the room. The glimmering sunlight coming in through the glass that made up the entire northern wall seemed to make the warm, rippling water shimmer. A small tiled path wound behind some trees in the far corner of the room and the glass near that corner dripped with condensation from the steam that rose out from within the trees.
"I see you found the atrium." A melodious voice called out.
Looking around, Lacie couldn't see anyone. Then a dark skinned hand started waving out from behind the trees that hid the far corner from sight.
"Gimme just a sec, ok?" The voice called out again.
Lacie identified Tara as the asian girl's arm vanished back behind the trees. Moments later, Tara emerged from her hidden alcove, water dripping off her body. Tara was clad only in a red and white striped bikini. Tara adjusted her top as she approached Lacie, waving to the new girl as she skirted the edge of the pool.
"I couldn't see you back there." Lacie stated, sidling up next to the dripping girl.
"The trees are spaced oddly. Hard to see into, but there's a few spots you can see out of pretty well. Nice if you want to be alone for a while, or if you want to have a private conversation while relaxing."
"What's back there?"
"I'll show you. Come on." Tara said with a smile.
Tara turned around and headed back to the hidden corner. Lacie followed slowly, trying not to slip on the wet, tiled floor. Turning around a small bend in one of the raised gardens, Lacie saw four wide, tiled steps curve around a sharp corner. Following the bikini clad girl around the corner, Lacie beheld a beautiful, ten foot high, man made waterfall, designed to look like a small river flowing straight out of the wall. The water gracefully poured straight into a massive semicircular hot tub. The mist rising off the hot water tickled Lacie's nose as she looked at the beautiful, tiny alcove. She could see that the glassy surface of the smooth waterfall hid a small "cave" that had been built into the wall.
"Wow." Was all Lacie could say.
Tara slipped back into the water with a slight hiss.
"Yeah. It's kept pretty hot though." she explained. "Feels great on tired muscles, which is why I'm here. I just finished my workout with Heather in the gym."
Tara finished her statement and waved her hand at the eastern wall. Lacie suspected that was the general direction of the mansion's exercise room.
"How was it?" Lacie asked, curious.
"Well, we skipped our workouts yesterday cause we were showing you around, so she was... well, not exactly gentle today." Tara said. Lacie could see the smaller girl massaging her calves under the gently roiling surface of the water. "You're welcome to join me if you want. I have to do more chores later today, but I was gonna soak for a while then go have a bite to eat."
Lacie shook her head gently.
"I don't own a swimsuit. Plus, I kinda want to explore the mansion a bit. I have no idea where anything is, really. I don't want to get lost later, when I have to be somewhere important. I appreciate the invitation though."
"You're welcome. And don't worry about the swimsuit. I can make you one if you give me a few days. Besides, anytime water gets involved most of us consider this place to be... clothing optional."
Lacie grinned at Tara's nonchalance.
"I figured as much. None of you seem all that body conscious, really."
"When you've seen as much of each other's bodies as we all do, it kinda becomes a non issue. About four months ago, Master was working this business deal with a bunch of local building contractors. I have no idea what it was for, that's why he has Bridget. But," Tara explained, "they had a lot of face to face meetings. Master usually prefers teleconferencing, but these guys were local, so that option would have proven too expensive in the long run. At least, that's my understanding."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I'm getting to it," Tara replied. "Since these guys were local, they came to the mansion a lot, and invariably, they crossed paths with us from time to time. As far as everyone outside this property knows, Master is just some reclusive rich guy with tons of cash and pretty slaves everywhere."
Suddenly, something clicked into place for Lacie.
"So, you all had to dress up in slave outfits, when they were here, that way they wouldn't catch on that Master actually treats us like people." she stated.
"Exactly. Outside the grounds, what I'm wearing right now could be considered conservative for a slave." Tara added, waving one hand over her body to indicate tiny bikini she had on.
"So I've heard, but why the charade?"
"Appearances." Tara shrugged.
"Umm, I don't quite follow you." Lacie said, leaning against the rough bole of a tree.
Turning more fully to face Lacie, Tara slid backwards into the water, floating on her back as she looked at the young brunette.
"I'm not really sure what he does on the business end of his life. I know its all 'merger' this and 'hostile takeover' that. If my understanding is correct, most of the time it's pretty cutthroat stuff." Tara said, dunking her head under the steaming water before surfacing and flipping her hair back, sending a cascade of water droplets streaming through the air. "I do know, though, that a lot of is dealing with some people most of us would rather avoid." she said, wiping the water away from her face.
"Like who? Gangsters?" Lacie asked, unsettled by the realization that she had no idea how her home was financed.
Tara laughed. "Master? Gangsters? Yeah right. He'd take all their money so fast their heads would spin. No, honey, I mean companies, CEOs, boards of directors and all that. Wall Street types. Entitled rich boys with dozens of slaves that they treat like dirt. A lot of them own companies that sell some pretty nasty products for 'punishing' slaves." Tara explained, wiping water from her face as she waded under the waterfall, letting the heavy stream drum across her back, massaging tired muscles. "That's why he needs the illusion of being a heartless, cruel taskmaster. Any hint of conscience among people like that is like blood in the water."
"So why does he work with them? If he wants to protect us from that kind of stuff, why does he work with people who make stuff like that?" Lacie asked, confused.
"That's more a question for Bridget, or Master himself. Like I said, I don't know that side of his life very well. The closest I get to that kind of stuff is ironing his business suits. I can tell you that he does what he can for women. Even those he doesn't own." Tara grinned. "He's one of the few good guys left."
Lacie nodded, lost in thought. "How did he come to own you?" Lacie asked. "I'm sorry if that sounds crude, I just can't think of a polite way to ask that question." Lacie spread her hands helplessly, a small self conscious grin on her face.
Tara laughed, "It's ok Lace. It's a pretty common question with new girls. Master actually saw me when I was around sixteen. He was doing a tour of my dad's construction sites. My father is one of the biggest land developers in Oregon." Tara said proudly. "I was on site with my mother while Master was there. Master was doing an inspection, apparently he was one of our primary investors. To make a long story short, he saw me laughing and hanging around with my mother as we waited for my dad. Made an offer there and then. It was a little unorthodox, him making the offer that early, but I guess he saw potential." Tara half joked, a note of definite pride in her voice.
"And your dad was okay with that? At sixteen?"
"Well, he wasn't about to turn the offer down. It was almost twice the going rate for a girl of my 'qualities'. Besides, Master said right off the bat that the purchase was provisional until I became of legal age. So basically, I was on layaway till I hit eighteen." Tara laughed at herself. "I was pretty happy with it anyway. I was sixteen and he was a handsome, young, jet setting investor with a mansion and a limo. I was instantly infatuated." Tara giggled. "When I found out I was gonna be his maid, well, most daydreams after that consisted of me prancing around in some black and white frilly little French maid costume complete with duster, starring him as some lust crazed, shirtless, muscled giant that gently tore my clothes off in every room the mansion had."
Lacie laughed at the mental image of Tara running around the mansion dusting old bookshelves in a French maid outfit.
"Pretty ridiculous I know, but it was an okay job once I got past the disappointment of realizing that he had purchased me to do actual work and not just dance around looking pretty. Then came the laundry. That wasn't so bad, but I kept having to mend this outfit, then that one, then adjust the dress that was the wrong length, et cetera et cetera, and before I knew it, I was pretty much making half the clothes that Bridget, Heather and Master were wearing. And I found out how much I loved it, so I got Master's permission and I started doing it as my actual job. Still do some cleaning here and there, but most of us share the random housework."
"You seem to enjoy it. You're good at it, from what I've seen. Any chance you could make a few things for me?"
"Thanks." Tara grinned. "Any ideas on what you want? I've got a few projects I'm working on right now, but nothing critical. I should be able to get a few things made for you if you give me a few days, maybe a week or two depending on what you want."
Lacie and Tara sat and talked for a few more minutes, discussing fashion and clothes. Finally, Tara sighed and stood up, climbing out of the hot water, explaining her need to get back to work after grabbing some lunch.
"You said you were exploring, right?" the half asian girl asked.
"Yeah." Lacie responded, walking with Tara to the locker room door.
"Well, then you're on the wrong floor for the fun stuff. Most rooms down here are like this, stuff that makes sense to have on the bottom floor. The gyms are just over there," Tara said, pointing again at the east wall of the atrium. "The kitchens are just south of the dining hall, through the double doors. You remember where the dining hall is?" seeing Lacie's nod, Tara continued. "There's really not much else on the ground floor that's of interest. A few meeting rooms, but that's about it. Most everything else down here is pretty utilitarian. All the fun stuff is on the second floor."
Waving, Lacie turned around after thanking the smaller girl. Walking towards the eastern doors, Lacie slipped out of the atrium, rubbing her nose as she walked down the hall to remove the clinging scent of chlorine. Lacie passed by a long glass wall as she walked. Looking into the room, Lacie saw Heather and Callie inside, the blonde girl running on a treadmill, her ponytail bouncing behind her as she jogged. Heather was standing next to the girl, watching a small display on a device attached to a strap wound around Callie's upper body.
Knowing her intrusion might not be welcome, Lacie simply watched for a few minutes, looking into the glass walled room at all the silent machinery inside. Groaning in expectation of her workout the next day, Lacie turned away and began to walk down the hallway, wanting to pop into the kitchens for a quick snack before heading upstairs. Lacie got lost twice before she found her way to the dining hall, both times she only found her way when she stumbled across the foyer by accident. Finally orienting herself correctly, Lacie managed to make it to the dining hall on her third attempt.
The hall was empty save for the table and chairs, but Lacie could hear loud clanging sounds coming from the doors into the kitchens. Pushing her way through the doors, Lacie stopped when she beheld the sheer size of the kitchens. Four separate ovens were in use, over a dozen different foods sat half prepared on countertops, while pots and pans simmered, sizzled and bubbled on the stovetops. In the middle of the culinary chaos was the tiny Russian girl Tatiana, singing to herself in her native language as she stirred a large bowl, her back to Lacie.
Calling out, Lacie caught Ana's attention. The skinny blonde girl jumped, before setting the bowl she had been stirring down. Leaning over a countertop, Ana pressed one hand to her chest and gave Lacie a weak smile.
"Please, be sneaking up on me no more, Lacie." she gasped. Lacie had obviously startled the distracted foreign girl.
"Sorry." Lacie weakly apologized, "I wasn't trying to scare you."
"Is fine, just next time, be using other doors please. Easier to watch people in for coming to kitchens." the Russian girl said as she straightened, waving a wooden spoon at another set of doors between a large set of ceiling to floor cupboards.
"Gotcha," Lacie said with a smile, "I didn't know how else to get here. I just wanted a snack."
"There." Ana said, waving absently towards a small cupboard by a large stove with sizzling strips of meat in a large skillet. "Please no touching of any thing is cooking. Most things here for dinner. Free feeling to look and be smelling food though."
Smiling at her Russian friend's inexpert use of the English language, Lacie took Ana up on her offer, gliding around the kitchens after pulling a small, soft granola bar from the cupboards. It looked to Lacie like Ana was preparing Mexican food for dinner that night, and she was able to identify half a dozen ingredients for fajitas scattered around the kitchens, all of them in various states of preparation.
"Mind if I hang around a bit? It smells great in here."
"Thank you Lacie, but I is having to lot of things be making for dinner." Ana responded, turning to a sizzling skillet and stirring it gently, tossing a splash of oil in top of the sliced peppers and onions she was sautéeing.
"I'd probably just get in your way then. Ok, thanks Ana. When are we eating?" Lacie asked, backing towards the doors as she dodged ovens and pressed herself to the wall, narrowly getting out of the small girl's way as Ana rushed across the room to pull a bubbling pot off of a stovetop.
Wiping her sweating forehead with a rag she had over her shoulder, Ana gave a smile of apology to Lacie as she responded. Lacie smiled when she saw the streak of flour the rag had left on the Russian girl's forehead.
"Gotcha. Thanks again, Ana." Lacie said, pushing the large double doors open with her butt as she backed out of the larger doors from the kitchens. Ana muttered a response that was lost amongst the sounds of the busy kitchens.
Turning, Lacie found herself in a slightly familiar hallway, Lacie turned a corner and found a short staircase leading to the second floor. Remembering Tara's comment about the 'fun stuff' being one floor up, Lacie grabbed the banister and started to climb. Upon reaching the second floor, Lacie immediately strode off, opening doors and looking in. The first two were closets filled with boxes of papers and files, but the third door she opened revealed a treasure that made Lacie's jaw drop to the floor.
A gigantic library spread out before her, bookshelf after bookshelf, soft cushy chairs, couches, dark wooden tables, softly glowing lamps, even thin metal spiral staircases leading up to the next level. The library was so large it extended upwards, into the third floor. Lacie wondered if it took up the entire south wing of the mansion. It certainly seemed like it could have been big enough. Lacie doubted if she read a book a week for the rest of her life she could finish all of the novels tucked away in the grand library. Reaching out, Lacie brushed her fingers over the spines of the books on the nearest shelf. Her fingers felt the cool gilded lettering on the spines, and as she leaned in closer to read the titles, Lacie saw they were Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. All three titles were written by Jane Austen, one of Lacie's favorite authors. Realizing she would spend all day in the gigantic library if she let herself, Lacie turned around with a wistful look at the shelves lined up behind her.
Ducking out of the library, Lacie continued her explorations. The next few doors she opened were all bedrooms, tastefully decorated, but fairly sparse. They looked more like hotel rooms than anything and Lacie wondered if they served as guest bedrooms. There really wasn't much else on the southern end of the mansion, till Lacie opened up a doorway that was hidden in an alcove. Walking inside, Lacie had to round a wall before she could see inside the massive room. Like the library, this space was as tall as it was wide, but it served a very different purpose. Two dozen plush recliners decorated the tiered floor. Lacie saw that each chair had speakers wired into the headrests, and a small pouch to the side of each chair had a black rubber cable sticking out from it. The western wall of the room was entirely covered by a massive white screen. Sitting in one of the chairs, Lacie reached into the side pouch of her seat and pulled out a remote control and a video game controller. Lacie whistled in amazement when she realized she was sitting in a literal 'home theater'. She laughed when she imagined how some of the boys she knew would drool over the idea of playing video games on a screen that large.