Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Story: Daphne And The White Apron

by Monica Graz

Daphne Arnellos finished getting dressed  and gave an indifferent look at her immense untidy bedroom. Her Polish maid Magda would take care of that later, she thought. She moved to her study and turned her computer on and then went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. She knew that Magda would be out at this hour doing her morning shopping.    

She started going back but she stopped as her eye caught the freshly ironed white apron’s strings as they were hanging down at the end of the utility room table right next to the kitchen. Instinctively she went in there to check. She picked the apron hesitantly and looked at it. It was a small serving half apron, quite pretty with its broderie anglaise trim. She looked down at her body noticing her very simple black dress she was wearing and then she remembered the words of her friend and confidante Annette when they were both students at a very exclusive Swiss boarding school for girls several years ago.

“Daphne dear,” Annette said with her melodious French voice continuing immediately in French, “Il y a deux fa├žons de porter la robe noir, avec un collier de perles ou un tablier blanc!”

She didn’t understand immediately what her friend said but then it dawned on her. There are two ways to wear a black dress either with your pearls or with a white apron. The Mistress and maid syndrome that pestered Daphne all her adult life.
Because for the next few years and until she left the boarding school, Daphne became Annette’s maid and general factotum. And during those years in Switzerland Daphne learned how to be a proper lady but a lowly maid as well. The black dress with pearls or a white apron on was going to mark her for life.

Suddenly she had this strong urge to put the apron on. Magda was out shopping so she thought she probably could verify once more Annette’s theory.

She looked around for a mirror but the only one nearby was in Magda’s room which was right next to the utility room. She went there quickly feeling quite guilty at the same time. She was trespassing in her maid’s room and that made her feel uncomfortable. She saw the mirror at the far wall of the room and stood in front of it. She tied the apron with fast movements and tried to make a correct bow in the back. She looked at her black and white reflection and suddenly, she saw a maid in front of her. Probably the hair was a bit too long, there was not a cap on and the shoes were rather expensive but the impression was all there. A maid was looking back at her. A strong pang of pleasure crossed her body like an electric current and butterflies gathered in her stomach. She was excited!

She kept looking at herself in the mirror; she turned around to look at the bow in her back then turned to face the mirror again.

She was totally absorbed in her world when she heard Magda’s familiar voice with her distinctive accent, “You look very cute in that apron, Miss Daphne, you would make a very attractive waitress or maid, and men would love your looks.”

Daphne froze and turned to face Magda who was standing by the door still carrying her shopping bags, neatly dressed in one of her morning uniforms.

Blushing all over like a schoolgirl she said awkwardly, “I’m sorry Magda, I shouldn’t be in your room, I was just curious to see the effect of the apron on my black dress. I’ll remove it immediately and move out of your way.”

Magda was an educated woman, she had studied English literature back in her country hence the good knowledge of English, but the lack of work brought her to London to work as a maid. She instinctively realized that there was more to what she just saw in Daphne putting on one of her aprons and in an impulse decided to press her a bit more.

“Don’t remove the apron just yet, Miss Daphne, you simply look adorable in it. Let’s go to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee and talk about it. You could probably tell me a bit more about your urge to wear it.”

Daphne found impertinent for a servant the request of Magda but also intriguing because deep down she wanted to talk to someone about it and talking to her maid would be simpler than try to explain it to any of her relatives or friends. So, she followed Magda rather awkwardly to the kitchen feeling the white apron in front of her dress so alien and yet so comforting at the same time.

Daphne sat at the edge of the chair in front of the kitchen table and started sipping her coffee still very conscious of the white apron. Magda joined her, a mug in her hand and sat right opposite looking at her expectantly.

At that moment, Daphne decided to open her heart to a total stranger. She had an inner need for that and Magda was going to be the recipient of her inner thoughts and feelings.

‘I am bored and frustrated Magda, you must have noticed that already,’ she started talking in an assertive manner and as Magda nodded in agreement continued, ‘Here I am in this immense prestigious Mayfair apartment just a stone’s throw from Berkeley Sq. trying to finish my damn PhD without any friends or social life.”

Magda couldn’t fail to notice that Daphne was at the verge of starting to cry as she continued talking, “Every bloody day I sit in front of my laptop and I can’t write a single word. My mind is blocked and I know that father expects me to finish my thesis by the end of this academic year. I simply can’t do it.”

Magda knew of course that Daphne’s father Andreas Arnellos was a Greek tycoon and ship-owner having one of the biggest fleets of cargo vessels globally. He is the one who employed her initially to work in his villa in Mykonos and then he decided to send her to London when his only daughter Daphne had to go there to finish her studies.   

She decided to be bold so she said very assertively, “Would you like to become my assistant for a few days, Miss Daphne, to help me with the cleaning in this immense house? Having seen you with an apron on I thought it might be a good distraction for you from your present worries. There is nothing better to distract your mind than menial tasks; I can assure you of that.”

Daphne looked at her puzzled as the excitement came back to her. She looked down at her apron and then she raised her eyes and said simply, “Yes, I would love that Magda, when can I start?”

“How about now!” Magda said enthusiastically then added rather boldly, “But before we start tell me a few things about yourself Daphne, tell me what urge pushed you today to put this apron on. I want to know a bit more about your feelings if you don’t mind.”

Daphne didn’t fail to notice that Magda called her Daphne for the first time skipping the ‘Miss’ but didn’t mind her question, she wanted to talk to her.

“All my life I am surrounded by domestic staff, Magda. I grew up with nannies and maids taking care of me. I always had a fascination for their uniforms and their tasks. I was fantasizing being in their shoes quite often, I even had dreams about that.”

She stopped and Magda saw her eyes shining from excitement and anticipation. At that moment, she realized that Daphne was going to be putty in her hands.  

“In fact,” Daphne continued, “During my years in Switzerland when I was in an exclusive boarding school for girls I learned how to be a real-life maid.”

“How come?” Magda asked being genuinely curious now.    

“Well,” Daphne continued a bit more nervous now, and she started playing with her apron, “My friend and confidante Annette, the girl I was sharing a room with, introducing me to a Mistress and maid game and gradually I became her servant in all aspects, like a general factotum.”  

“What’s that,” Magda asked puzzled, “I never heard that word before.”  

“It is Latin and it means a person of all works, a servant who takes care of everything.”

“And then what happened?” Magda asked eagerly. Daphne’s story was getting better and better.

“Well Annette thought it would be better for me to get the real experience and since she was a Swiss national and with many connections she made me work during my vacations and weekends as a hotel maid in a nearby town, very popular with skiers in winter. For my family, of course I was staying with my close friend Annette and her family. Imagine how I felt working as a maid in a hotel where all the rich and famous were coming. I was always worried that some friends of my family might recognize me. Thank God it never happened but I was kept on my toes all the time.”

Magda was truly amazed. She never suspected that this slightly depressed and spoiled girl had such a past. She looked at Daphne and said, “Wow, what a story, I’m really impressed.” Then she added in a mischievous way, “That means that you are experienced in housework so I don’t have to teach you anything, you can start working at once.”

Daphne looked at her a bit hesitantly now. Did she actually reveal too much to Magda? She simply said, “Yes, I certainly know how to clean and prepare a hotel room and make the bed properly according to certain rules, but I never did real housework in a private home.”
“That you will learn in no time. I could see how you were watching me when I was working in the house. Now I understand why, you probably wanted to be in my shoes. Am I correct Daphne?” Magda asked assertively.

“Yes, you are;” Daphne answered simply, “I was quite fascinated watching you.”

“Now to more practical matters before you start your menial tasks,” Magda said looking quite excited herself now. “First you need a new name, Daphne is too pretentious for a maid and it would remind to both of us your family and in particular your famous father. Do you have a name you would like to adopt in this new phase of your life?”

Before Daphne had time to answer she added, “Or even better. Do you have a memory of a maid in your family that you liked a lot, a maid you would like to identify with?”  

Daphne looked a bit confused with the question but then suddenly her eyes shone and a smile framed her usually serious face, “Yes. When I was about 10 we had a Filipina maid at home who really pampered me and even allowed me to help her in the kitchen. Her name was Angelita but we all called her Lita. I was very fond of her.”

“Lita it is then! That’s your new maid’s name. Welcome to the Arnellos London family house Lita. I hope you will be a good domestic servant and you will follow my instructions carefully.” Magda said half-seriously half-jokingly.

But the impact of those words on Daphne was astounding. She stood up and half-jokingly half seriously curtseyed saying at the same time, “Thank you Miss Magda, I’ll try my best to be a good servant. I’ll try and learn as much as possible from you.”

They both laughed and hugged after that but the role reversal had happened. Daphne or rather Lita was the maid now. The End.


  1. Nooooo!!

    Such a good start! And then it was over!!

    *sigh* I loved it anyway. Thank you for the read =)

  2. Too bad it is already over.

  3. Please continue such a great start

    Jackie J

  4. I enjoyed it very much. No need to continue, each reader can mentally follow the story. Thank you!

  5. Hi You are one of my favourite ever. now that you are back to business can complete your uncompleted stories in fictionmania or can you write some new stories there please please please.........

  6. Excellent story, Monica.

    I would love to see more of it, either with a continuation or a prequel. That backstory has a lot of promise in it too.



    1. Thank you for your kind words Balladonna and all the others as well.

      I can see it myself, this story could have a future and certainly a prequel could be possible as well.
      I don't want to promise anything immediate because of other current obligations but whenever I have the chance I'll write more about Daphne Arnellos or simply Lita now.

      And speaking of that Belladonna, I would love to see the sequel of 'who is the maid now'.

      Thank you all,
      Monica G.

  7. If you do write additional chapters, I would love to see a role reversal based on mutual affection. Some of these stories get so depressing!

  8. Why does it seem like I have read this story before? And before you ask, I am not trying to be clever.

    1. It could be because Annette's Becoming a Maid starts with the same saying about a black dress.

    2. I also used it before in my story in Fictionmania 'GENERAL FACTOTUM' which is unfinished and I try to finish it now so it can be published as a full story in MAGS INC.
      Monica G

  9. Monica, is your new ebook Adjusting His Voice an expanded version of the Fictionmania story. I love your writing and I hope to see more stories--on this blog or as an ebook. Thanks

    1. Yes, the Mags Inc ebook 'VOICE ADJUSTMENT' is the full story of the unfinished story 'Adjusting His Voice' in Fictionmania.
      Monica G

  10. Would you consider rewriting the ending so it continues? This was the best I've read on this site for quite some time. It started out so delicious then.... gone.

  11. I went back and read this again when I saw that a second part had been published.
    I agree, this should be just the beginning of a longer story, and I am delighted to learn that now it is.
    Pearls or apron, apron or pearls . . . .

  12. Daphne had a need, Magda 'benevolently' facilitated Daphne to further meet that need.

    The way the story develops the slow initial consensual reversal of roles, feels like a firm foundation upon which the story can be built.

    Because of the lovely 'sedate' way the story developed, i personally found the use of the word servant by both, Magda and lita near the end all the more powerful, confirming the reversed roles.

    A fine piece of writing, thank you for your efforts