Sitting at the breakfast table, Russell looked up at his daughters' varying expressions. The oldest, Francine, was practically bouncing in her seat waiting for him to announce their impending trip to the auction house. The middle triplet, Charlotte, was staring dejectedly at her waffle. The youngest, Quinn, was trying and failing to hide her resentment for her oldest sister's enthusiasm. Clearing his throat, Russell announced, "Girls, I want you to finish up and dress quickly. We need to leave in an hour if we're going to have any time for you to browse before the auction begins."
Sighing heavily, Quinn asked, "Do I have to? Daddy, you know how I feel about slavery."
Huffing at her sister, Frannie snapped, "Stop being a brat, Quinnie. You know that because of our family's status that we are expected to each gain a slave when we come of age, which happened three days ago. You've had eighteen years to get used to the idea."
Growling at the use of the nickname her parents use for her, Quinn gripped her knife a little tighter. Trying to defuse the situation, Judy piped up, "Francine, do NOT antagonize your siblings! Quinn, you know you don't have to purchase one today, but you do have to obtain one before you turn nineteen."
Wincing at the use of her full name, Frannie looked contritely at her mother. For the first time that morning, Charlie spoke, "What if we buy someone, but we don't get along with them?"
Quickly, Frannie answered, "That's easy, Charlie. You just wait until the next auction and return them."
"That right there is my problem with this. Society treats these people as if they aren't people and don't have feelings. They are human just like us. The only reason the three of us aren't slaves ourselves is because Daddy set Mom free and married her. We aren't any better than them, yet we're allowed to purchase them and exchange them for someone else just like a pair of shoes. It's deplorable," Quinn stated.
Rubbing her youngest's arm, Judy agreed, "You're right. If your father hadn't freed me and married me, my children would have been slaves, and I'd likely never see any of you again. Hopefully, that will keep all of you grateful and teach you to make this choice carefully. Frannie, please be gentle when you bring yours home. You don't have to immediately resort to beatings to get them to comply with your wishes. Charlie, if you do bring someone home that doesn't mesh with your personality, your father can help you exchange him or her for someone else, and you won't be in trouble. It can take a few times before you make the right choice, but just give them a chance. Quinn, please take this seriously. Maybe, you'll be surprised and find someone you just have to meet. I was lucky enough that my second owner fell in love with me. Not all the stories have to end badly. Now the three of you need to go get dressed. I'll see you in a few hours." With that, Judy kissed each of her daughters' heads before heading to her office.
When the door was opened revealing the owner of the auction house, Madame Sue Sylvester, all the slaves sat up. Two boxes of clothes were kicked into the room. As the masses attacked them, three girls waited until a crate of mixed fruit was set down before moving. Rachel grabbed two bananas, Santana took a bunch of grapes, and Brittany swiped an apple and an orange. After they ate, the trio ventured over to the clothes boxes, unhappily. The clothes meant one thing, Auction Day. All of them had been purchased and returned. Rachel was purchased by a young couple who wanted her to be their son's nanny. After two months, the mother discovered her husband's attempts to seduce their slave; she was abruptly returned to the auction house. Santana had been purchased in a bundle with three other slaves by a burly man. He liked hosting parties for his friends's entertainment. She took countless beatings just because they wanted to and had numerous scars to show for it. After five months of trying and failing to break the fiery Latina, her owner grew bored and exchanged her for a meek redhead. Brittany was purchased by an elderly lady to help her keep her house clean and cook meals. Sadly, her owner passed away a year after Brittany was bought, but the lady didn't have her deed, which meant she was returned to the auction house. Once a month, an auction would take place. The three had all bonded over their experiences. Unfortunately, they knew this day was coming soon, and it was likely that they would never see the other two again. Rachel picked a yellow sundress for Brittany, a red sweater and a pair of faded jeans for Santana, and a green sleeveless dress for herself.
Once dressed, Brittany clung to her two friends, "I don't want to be sold. What if my new owner isn't nice to me like Mrs. Caldwell was?"
Tucking a stray strand of blonde hair behind her friend's ear, Rachel replied, "You'll just have to do your best to do as they ask and hope for another nice one."
"Come on guys. They're lining up. We don't want to be last," Santana encouraged despondently.
Each person was chained to a chair with a clipboard attached to the back with their basic information on it. This made it easier for the bidders to browse and get a better feel for what they were buying. Sadly, Brittany was separated from the other two by five chairs. Santana and Rachel had a muscular guy between them.
Arriving at McKinley House, Russell led his daughters inside. Once he filled out the bidder's information card and received his paddle, they moved into the viewing room. Quietly, he advised, "If you are interested in someone, pick up the clipboard and read their information. Try to avoid any that have had more than five owners because that probably means they are troublesome and wouldn't be ideal as a first slave. Also, if you are dead set on one particular one, don't hover around them because it will alert other bidders and drive up the price unnecessarily. One more thing, don't taunt any of the slaves whether or not you are interested in them. Only those without manners do that, and Fabrays are to act properly at all times. Am I understood?"
The triplets nodded and started roaming. Frannie immediately left her siblings and ventured on her own. With their conditions, the triplets were all attracted to girls even though they had been repeatedly reassured that they could choose male or female slaves. Frannie knew she was looking for a girl, who was around her age and was pretty. Quickly zeroing in on a blonde girl in a yellow sundress, Frannie strutted over and picked up the clipboard. Brittany was her name. She was seventeen, had experience cleaning and cooking, had only had one previous owner, and was very cute. Deciding Brittany would be coming home with her, Frannie put the clipboard back and continued to browse while discreetly keeping an eye on the blonde slave.
Quinn and Charlie decided to stick together. Trying to shake the feeling of uneasiness, Charlie asked, "Are you looking for anything specific?"
"No. Really, I doubt I'll find anyone today, but if anyone jumps out, I'll mention it. What about you?"
Shrugging, Charlie looked around, "Maybe someone who seems different. I don't know how to explain it, but I'll know it if I see it."
"Yeah. I think I know what you mean, but if I do make a decision today, it'll definitely be a girl," Quinn stated, and Charlie nodded in agreement.
They approached an Asian girl and looked over her info sheet: two previous owners, twenty years old, and previously worked in gardens. She had straight black hair and strong shoulders, but her eyes were blank and unfeeling, not that the Fabrays blamed her. Next, they came to a girl in jeans and a red sweater. Charlie closely looked at her. Her jaw was set in defiance, hair pulled into a high ponytail, and skin that glowed even in the awful fluorescent lighting. Looking over her clipboard, Charlie gasped. "What is it?" Quinn asked.
"Look at her previous owner." Charlie noticed the girl, Santana, stiffen. She only had one former owner, but his name was Richard Puckerman. Puckerman was known for treating his slaves harshly especially in public. Many times Russell had been invited to his "parties" but refused under the guise of needed to stay home to keep his household in line. Charlie read further and discovered Santana spent five months with that terrible man, was returned due to "disobedience," and was eighteen years old. Nodding to her younger sister, Charlie indicated that she intended to buy Santana.
Once they had walked a few steps away, Quinn asked, "You sure, Char? She's probably been through a lot."
"Look at her eyes, Quinn. She isn't easily torn down. They still hold a spark even after what must have been five months of hell," Charlie implored.
"All right, if you're sure. Let's keep looking, so Daddy can't accuse me of not giving this a chance."
Just two chairs from Santana was a petite brunette, who seemed to draw Quinn's eye. She sat primly in her seat as if she wasn't on display to be bought in a half hour but just sitting in train station waiting on an old friend. From her sheet, Quinn learned that she was seventeen, named Rachel, had one previous owner, and worked as a nanny. It's customary for slaves not to look people of higher power in the eye unless told to do so, but Rachel glanced up and locked gazes with Quinn. Something sparked in Quinn's stomach, and she knew that she had to buy Rachel if only to learn her story.
After another ten minutes of browsing, the triplets left the viewing room to join their father in the bidding room. Turning to his daughters, Russell silently inquired about their findings. Unsurprisingly, Frannie spoke first, "I know the one I want, Daddy. She's blonde, in a sundress, and her name is Brittany. She's really pretty. I can't wait to get her home."
Once her older sister was finished, Charlie spoke up, "I found one I would like, too. Her name is Santana, and she is wearing a red sweater with jeans."
Turning to look at his youngest and expecting her to retort with another comment about the treatment of slaves, Russell was shocked to see Quinn smiling. Quietly, she asked, "Can I get the beautiful girl named Rachel? She's wearing a green dress."
"Of course, my angels. Anything for you. I'm glad you've all taken an interest in someone. Just remember, if you end up not liking them for whatever reason, we can bring her back next month and get a new one."
Soon enough, the auction was underway. The triplets sat quietly and awaited their choices to be brought to the stage. Of the three, Brittany was up first. After a few bids under a thousand dollars, Russell bumped it, "$3000!" Everyone was silenced and the gavel sounded after the customary waiting period for any other bids. Frannie squealed and strutted down the aisle to clasp the collar and leash to lead her knew possession out of the room. Since they were in order from their seats in the viewing room, there were five others sold before Rachel was brought to the stage. Receiving a nod from Quinn, Russell shouted, "$1500" His bid was quickly followed by a few more. Once it passed three thousand, Quinn feared her father wouldn't want to spend that much money, but she was quickly relieved when Russell followed, "$7000!" For the second time, the gavel sounded after Russell's bid. Quinn quickly made her way to the front of the room to attached both the collar and leash even though she hated the practice. When Santana was brought on the stage, Charlie buzzed with excitement. Unlike the other two, bids for her soared instantly. Once it was left to two main bidders, Russell threw in his own, "$8000!" With that, the first bidder backed off. The second, Will Schuester, was stubborn. After peddling it up at five hundred dollars a bid for a few minutes, Russell grew tired and yelled, "$15,000!" Charlie hugged her father tightly once the gavel sounded. Gliding down the aisle, Charlie hooked the collar and leash to Santana's neck before gently leading her out the door.
After settling his bill, Russell gathered his daughters and their new slaves near their vehicle. "Quinn, will you slide the back seat forward for the new girls to climb in the back?" Silently, the three slaves settled into their seats and discreetly held hands. They were beyond ecstatic that they got to stay together, but they had no idea what to expect when they arrived at their new home.
Once at the Fabray residence, Frannie led Brittany by the leash into the den and awaited her siblings. Quinn detached the leash and held her hand out for Rachel to take, which she did happily. Charlie, too, removed the leash but thought Santana might not be comfortable holding her hand, so she placed her hand on the small of her back and led her in the house. Russell went to Judy's office to fetch her. Entering the den, Judy approached Brittany first and asked, "What's your story, child?"
Keeping her eyes on the floor, Brittany answered, "My name is Brittany S. Pierce. My mother was a slave and her owner treated me as his own daughter until I turned sixteen. Then, he sold me to Madame Sylvester. I was purchased by an elderly woman who needed someone to take care of her house and sometimes her. She had problems remembering things. Mrs. Caldwell passed away a little over a year after I had been there. She didn't put me into her will, so I was sent back to McKinley House. Today, I was purchased, and that's how I'm here."
Smiling at her innocence, Judy lifted her chin and spoke again, "I'm sorry you were separated from your mother. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to seek me out. Welcome to the Fabrays." With that, she enveloped the blonde girl in a hug, and sent her upstairs with Frannie. Turning to Rachel, she said, "Tell me about yourself, sweetheart."
Fighting to keep her eyes down, Rachel replied, "My name is Rachel Barbra Berry. I was bred to be a slave on one of those farms. Somehow, my mother convinced the owner not to sell me until I was seventeen. I was bought by a young couple who needed me to look after their son. The mother left detailed instructions for me to follow everyday, which I did to the letter. Whenever the boy, Harrison, was down for his nap, I would do the laundry. Mr. Powell learned of my routine and took his lunch hour. I started preparing lunch for him before doing the laundry, so he wouldn't have to wait. Well, he would always follow me around whenever Mrs. Powell wasn't around. At first, I didn't think anything of it. After a month of watching me do laundry, Mr. Powell started standing closer to me and finding reasons to touch me. Truthfully, I was never completely comfortable in his presence, but he was my owner. Technically, he could do whatever he wanted to me. The last day I was there, Mr. Powell pinned me to the dryer. Ripping my clothes and groping roughly at me, I was crying and asking if Mrs. Powell was okay with this. He slapped me so hard I fell down. He climbed on top of me, and just before he could unzip his pants, Mrs. Powell entered the room. I was returned to the auction house that afternoon. Today, I was purchased and brought here. I hope I can be better for your daughter." Rachel quickly brushed her tears away.
Fighting her own tears, Judy pulled Rachel into a hug and reassured, "I promise you will be perfect for my Quinn. Don't ever worry about that. The same goes for you; if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me anything. Welcome to the Fabrays." Rachel and Quinn went up the stairs hand in hand. Finally, Judy looked to Santana. Just by looking at her and the scars peaking out from under her sweater, Judy knew her story would be heartbreaking. "You're next, darling."
Letting out the breath she held during Rachel's story, Santana began, "My name is Santana Diabla Lopez. My father is my mother's owner. He even let me call him Papi. I loved my life, but when one of the boy slaves was paying me too much attention, he whipped him nearly to death. I stuck closely to my mother after that. On my seventeenth birthday, my mother made me a small secret cake. Somehow, Papi found out. Then he took Mami out to the post and whipped her. He told me so many times as a child how he loved my mother, but that day I learned that a slave owner's love only goes so far. After my mother was nursed back to health, he took me to the auction house. I was bought by Mr. Puckerman. I didn't know the rumors, so I was curious if he wanted me to be a nanny or a maid or a cook. Turns out, he wanted me for entertainment. Mr. Puckerman liked to host parties. Every one had a 'Slave of Honor,' which meant that specific slave would be pushed to his or her limits until they begged for relief. Mr. Puckerman and his guests would then take said slave into what he called the treasure room. The slave would be passed around between the men. During my third week there, I was chosen to be the 'Slave of Honor.' Unlike the others, I never begged for the torture to stop. I took the punishment as best as I could, but I never begged him. Of course, that made him angry. Every other week, he made me the 'Slave of Honor,' but I never broke. This went on for five months. Eventually, I guess he'd had enough, and he brought me back to the auction house stating that I was disobedient and willful. That being said, I promise to do my best to listen to your family and cater to your wishes, but I will never break."
Taking the handkerchief from Russell's offering hand, Judy wiped her face. Pulling Santana into a tight embrace, Judy sobbed, "I'm so sorry, dear. You won't have to worry about any of that here. My Charlie will treat you as you deserve. I'm sorry about your father, but we don't operate that way. Welcome to the Fabrays, and don't hesitate to come to me for anything, okay?" With that, Charlie and Santana ascended the staircase together.