Here it begins…finally. I hope that Kati and Kelli like it! I’ve done something slightly different and included some links to help with the historical background. It’s cheating I know and lazier than describing or writing, but I thought it might be interesting. In truth it’s information I want to reference without explaining, so the links might be just extra addendum stuff. The links should open in new windows, so you can read straight through and come back, or open as you go if you’d like. Or ignore then all together. It won’t change the story. So without further ado, here is chapter 1 of Kati’s story.
Katherine Suzanne stepped off of the train platform and scanned the faces of the small crowd. At the same time her nimble mind took in her surroundings, instructed her hands exactly how to arrange her dress and all the time was completely aware of the eyes turned toward her admiringly. She was not unattractive by any measure, but that was not what drew the eyes of men and women alike. She knew it was, instead, her red and blue “fishtail” dress, and it’s sleek, pleated look. Stylish, elegant, with matching umbrella. She was particularly proud of this outfit, and while modest, it drew attention for it’s lack of bustle. She was proud of the way she wore it, the way she kept it spotless on the dusty roads and filthy train and most of all, she was proud of it because she herself had designed it.
She accepted the admiring looks (without a blush or demure) for only a touch longer than might have seemed appropriate only because she was still simultaneously looking for the young man who was supposed to meet her. She was becoming annoyed. After all, he was the one who had said it was so important. A farm and a friend he’d said. She must see this unusual farm and this amazing friend.
She was aware, also, of him.
Not Jonathan, not the young man for whom she looked, but instead s slightly older gentleman who seemed to be in a hurry, who was impatiently pacing, tapping and murmuring behind Katherine while she continued to scan the crowd. She smiled to herself and moved more directly in front of the man while pretending to scan the crowd.
It was one of her constant experiments, played daily upon unsuspecting fellow members of the human race. Would he continue to be a gentleman? Would he try to brush past her? Would he speak to her or continue to pace and murmur?
He shoved her. Hard. She had definitely not expected that. She was thrust forward off the train to the waiting platform where she landed in a heap; Katherine was no shrinking violet and she was up almost as soon as she landed, whirling to face the man who had committed such an unconscionable act.
He was leaning down to help her up. In an instant she weighed the multiple optional responses and ended up accepting his hand with a look that said it was the least he could do and she was the epitome of nobility to deign to allow him to touch her silken gloveless hand.
“It wasn’t my fault.” he said, as he helped her up.
“Oh, I suppose it was mine.”
“No,” the young man was clearly uncomfortable, “that’s not what I meant. It was…” he waved at the crowd behind him.
“It was who then?”
“Well,” the man swallowed nervously,” I don’t really know. I was pushed…”
“hmmmm, a true gentleman accepts responsibility for his own actions.”
The man blushed. Katherine began to feel sorry.
“Well, but it wasn’t my own actions. Truly. I was pushed too.”
Katherine was wearying of the game and was ready to start looking for Jonathan again, and was about untie the verbal noose she held him in when…
“The edge of the platform can be a dangerous place to linger.”
“Oh, so it’s my fault now.”
“No, that’s not what I meant either.”
He was squirming in a suit, not too big exactly, but too old for him.
“You are a fine gentleman, constantly saying things you don’t mean then. I don’t know if you are truly rude or just stupid.”
The blush turned to flush and the squirming stopped.
“Well, I do not seem to be champion of that particular attribute in this conversation.” he said standing up straighter.
Katherine smiled inside to see he had a backbone.
“Are you suggesting I am rude or stupid then?”
“Well you are clearly not stupid.”
“And I suspect you are not rude.”
He glared at her and she glared back.
Suddenly, incongruously, he said, “ You are not hurt then.”
She shook her head, speechless.
“Well then as you are too rude and I’m too stupid, and I’m in a frightful hurry, I’ll be off without apology.”
So saying he did indeed rush past her, as she watched him go, mouth open. She wasn’t sure if she was amused, or angry or both.
“Well, Kati, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a look on your face.”
Jonathan had arrived when she wasn’t paying attention, a rare thing, but one he somehow managed to do more than anyone she’d ever known.
“Well, I’ve never met such a man.” replied Katherine, still staring off in the direction the man had gone.
“Ah, well whatever has happened it will all be erased soon by the memories of today. The man I want to introduce you to is unlike any you’ve ever met. He’s the son of Mr. Newhall himself, owner of this very railroad you’ve just arrived on, and he’s the most splendid type of gentlemen you’ve ever seen. His name is Walter and he owns the farm I wanted to show you as well. ” There was a twinkle in Jonathan’s eyes which Kati could never resist.
She took his hand as they walked toward the edge of the crowd, “Well then Jonathan, you must show me both. Although what is so special about a farm I can’t imagine.”
Jonathan laughed. “Well you won’t have to wait long for Walter is already there just ahead of us and he has arranged a coach to take us to the farm…Walter, wait up…Kati…what’s wrong Kati. Walter, what’s wrong? You two haven’t already met have you?”
Walter of the suit too old, regained his voice first, “Well yes, we have. Just now in fact, we ran into each other.”