Author: pumpkintoasty PM
It's 1912 and Samantha Parkington is about to make a reacquaintance.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Humor - Words: 5,778 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 18 - Published: 06-05-06 - id: 2975339
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: A foray into AG fanfic- I'm so glad we have a section!
Obligatory Disclaimer: I only wish I owned American Girl, because then I could pay tuition. Also, I would totally write older stories for them. So, without further ado:
In the end he would be glad he'd gone to that party. But in the present, Eddie Ryland was dying of boredom. He had only accepted the invitation to Kurt Niles's party because his mother had asked nicely and his suspicions had born him out. The crowd was composed of the quietest, dullest and slowest of New York's young set. But Niles's mother had been an old school chum of his mother's, so he tried to be somewhat amenable to the rather bumbling boy.
He managed to catch a glimpse of the clock over- Oh, what was her name? Amelia? Amanda? Amelia. - Amelia's shoulder. He only need stay another half hour before he could leave politely. The minutes ticked away as Amelia continued droning on about her sister's upcoming wedding.
He finally reached thirty minutes. He excused himself as quickly as humanly possibly and sprang away with a spring in his step. He gave his apologies to Kurt before heading to the foyer. He was waiting for the maid to get his coat when she walked in.
Tall, but not taller then him, shining dark brown hair, dancing brown eyes, rosy complexion. Slim and dressed in the latest fashion. Laughing delightedly. She was strangely familiar and on the arm of Frank Bryan.
Frank had attended the same prep as Eddie until he'd graduated last spring, and was now a freshman in New Haven. He was notoriously insufferable and mirthless. Thus he was looking puzzled at the girl's laughter. Looking up from his companion, he noted Eddie. "Ryland, right? How's old St. Marks?"
"Still old, and they've kept the name." Frank continued to look puzzled but moved onto introductions, "Ryland, this is Sam Parkington. Sam, this is Edward Ryland."
Recognition hit them at the same moment. "Samantha Parkington?" he exclaimed at the same moment she gasped, "Eddie Ryland?" Then both broke into laughter.
Perplexed wasn't Frank Bryan's best expression. Samantha turned to him and explained, "Eddie and I grew up next door to each other."
"You grew up with the Driebes on one side and the Emersons on the other," Frank said accusingly.
"Oh, I mean when we were really children, back when I lived in Mount Bedford at Grandmary's. The Ryland's lived right next door." She turned from her escort to Eddie, "Eddie, you must come for dinner sometime. I didn't even realize you were in the city. Grandmary is in town until next Saturday, and she'll want to hear of your mother and all her old friends from Mount Bedford. Is Wednesday good for you? I'll have Owens send a car round for you at St. Marks. Be ready at six."
Eddie was a bit too shocked to respond. It wasn't everyday that beautiful young women railroaded him into eating dinner with them. Even if their grandmothers were gong to be there. By now his coat had arrived and he managed to stammer out his assent before Samantha entered the party with a still confused Frank and he exited out into the cold autumn night.
On Wednesday he found himself outside a stately townhouse located across the street from Central Park. After ringing the bell, his coat was taken and he was ushered into a formal sitting room. There he found Samantha's grandmother and her husband. The maid paused to announce, "Admiral and Mrs. Beemis, Mr. Edward Ryland."
Mrs. Beemis looked up, "Oh, Edward, how lovely to see you. When Samantha told me she'd seen you and invited you to dinner I was so pleased. I hope you won't mind if inquire after a friend or two of mine from Mount Bedford. Your parents are still living there, aren't they?"
"Yes. I go back for weekends quite frequently and my mother is sure to keep me up to date with all the latest news."
Samantha seemed to be running late as fifteen minutes later Eddie was still answering inquiries after Mrs. Frasier's new salon and Mr. Waverly's new car with no reprieve. He was relieved when the maid appeared again to announce, "Miss Parkington."
Samantha was as pretty as she had been, her cheeks flushed from the night's chill. The room seemed to liven instantly as she rushed in to kiss her grandparents. "I'm sorry to be late, but the gang over at 50 Park was reluctant to let me go. The maid had to pull Meryl off my leg and then Gardener was being naughty- swinging on the curtains at one point- and Alex wanted a lullaby and he always insists that I sing it..." Samantha trailed off laughing.
The Admiral was chortling quietly and Mrs. Beemis was smiling indulgently, but Eddie was confused. What sort of mad house was Sam Parkington living in? He knew she'd moved to the city to live with her aunt and uncle when they were eleven, but he remembered the Edwards as a stately couple- not the type to preside over the type of bedlam Sam was describing.
Mrs. Beemis seemed to sense his confusion and turned to explain. "As you know, Edward, Samantha lives with my son Gardner Edwards and his wife. They have five children now, and the children just adore Sam and the O'Malley's."
"The O'Malley's?" Eddie choked on his drink a bit in surprise. "Not Nellie O'Malley and her sisters?"
Sam's smile widened even more, if it was possible. "Oh, yes. Nellie and Jenny and Bridget have lived with us for years. The neighborhood despairs of our unruly clan. Nine children in the house seems so excessive." She had the propriety to look somewhat sheepish as she said that.
Eddie burst out laughing as something occurred to him. The rest of the company waited for him to calm down and once he had composed him self he explained, "Sam, you always wanted a bigger family. And you always did get what you want!"
"I do, don't I!" Sam's peal of laughter echoed though the house.
Later that night, after dinner, back in bed in his room at St. Marks, Eddie couldn't get the sight of Sam's wide smile or the sound of her ringing laughter out of his mind.
He realized, quite simply, that he was in big trouble.
In the weeks that followed Eddie Ryland continued to be plagued by that smile and that laugh, as Sam Parkington was seemed to be everywhere he went. She was at the same parties, the same lunches, the same sidewalks as him.
The encounter outside the New York Public Library was especially notable. There was Sam, in a deep pink coat and tam that only served to make her shining brown eyes and hair even more luscious and rich, and with her was a girl that could only be Nellie O'Malley almost all grown up. Her red-blond hair, once limp and thin, was now thick and wavy and almost as lustrous as Sam's own. The meek, subservient air that had once marked her had gone, replaced by quiet confidence and undeniable intelligence. She regarded him though thin gold spectacles as she was introduced by Sam.
"Hello Eddie. Sam tells me you're at St. Marks. How do you like it?" Nellie's voice was neither friendly nor unfriendly, but the instant warmth of Sam's reaction was conspicuously absent. While Eddie may have taunted and teased Sam in childhood jest, the history between him and Nellie was less easily swept under the carpet, not dismissible as the pratfalls of youth.
"I enjoy it a good deal. The teachers are solid and you won't find a finer, more spirited group of chaps."
"I have a good friend over at Wellington who has a good sum riding on his boys beating yours at the football game next week." Nellie was smiling. There was more potential for humor than he had supposed.
"Your friend has already lost himself a good sum, then. St. Mark's will never fall to Wellington. Not if I have anything to do with it."
"Will you be playing Eddie?" Sam asked, smiling, of course.
"Yes. I'll be at quarterback."
"Does your mother know anything of this? Football can be dreadfully rough you know. I can't imagine she'd approve of you risking yourself like that for a silly game." Did he imagine a genuine concern of her own in her eyes?
"It's not a silly game- it's a matter of honor and school pride and masculine assertion. It'd by yellow of me not to fight for my friends and my school."
Nellie took the position of her friend. "It's an awful lot of trouble to go through to fight for your school. But I suppose we'll see you there. Gardner's been absolutely mad for football lately and he'll insist on dragging the lot of us out to watch you boys try to kill each other."
"Well, if Gardner is a fan, I'll see if I can't try to get him a game ball. Get some of the team to sign it or some such." Sam hadn't flashed him the full-blown smile yet, and he needed it desperately.
"Eddie, he'd love it! He'll go mad! You're too sweet." And there it was, in it's full glory. Samantha Parkington's best smile.
He walked away whistling.
The next week he was kidding with some of his team when he heard a distinctive laugh. He found Sam in the amassing crowds almost immediately. He was pleased to note that she had a strip of St. Mark's red and navy pinned to her coat. He was displeased to note she was talking to Frank Bryan. That bore hadn't the ability to begin to amuse Sam, yet, there she was giggling away. Eddie quickly excused himself from his team mates and made for the pair.
Samantha spotted him before he reached them and waved jauntily. Frank's response was less avid and he seemed a bit peeved that he had been interrupted.
"Eddie! The conquering football hero. Gardner is just dying to meet you. Frank, you'll excuse us, but my sweet boy can't be made to wait." Sam neatly dismissed Frank and led Eddie away, towards a group of children playing tag on the lawn. "Thank heavens," she whispered, "Frank is such a bore. But I never know how to escape from his clutches. He is as persistent as he is stupefying. And I can't afford to insult him. His mother is great friends with Grandmary and- Here we are! Gardner!"
A handsome boy of about five with dark curling hair looked up from the game and spotting Eddie in his uniform ran over immediately. "Are you Eddie Ryland?"
"Yes, I am," Eddie said smiling, "And you must be Gardner Edwards. Sam's told me a lot about you."
"Really?" The boy's eyes widened. They were dark brown and reminded Eddie of his cousin's. "How do you know Sammie?"
"We grew up together in New Bedford, when Sam used to live with your Grandmary. I used to tease her mercilessly."
"Eddie ruined my eleventh birthday party." Sam now seemed good natured about the fiasco. "He put salt in the ice cream maker."
"That's awfully mean." Gardner seemed to be rethinking his position on Eddie in light of this heinous crime against his beloved cousin.
"I only did it because Sam wouldn't let me have any." Eddie rushed to his own defense. Gardner's eyes widened.
"Sammie, Mother says it's not nice not to share." Now Gardner seemed to be rethinking the both of them.
"And she's right. Your Aunts Agatha and Agnes can tell you all about how all of us did a number of naughty things during my birthday and we all got duly punished for them. But you know better don't you." Sam had slipped into disciplinarian mode, a fascinating new facet of her personality.
"Of course I do." There was a stubborn edge to the boy's voice.
"Which is why you are going to stop teasing little Grace Driebe."
"Aw, Sam. She always starts it."
Sam laughed. "I bet that's what Eddie would say. Now go on back to your game." Gardner made to go but then remembered something and turned back to them, all business.
Gardner faced Eddie. "Sam, said you might get me a game ball."
"I might, but you have to promise to be good and not tease little Grace."
Gardener knitted his brow and scowled at his new hero. "Aw, did Sam get you to do that? She's always ruining all my fun."
"I did nothing of the sort. Now go on back to tag." Sam dismissed Gardner back to the game and the two of them stood watching as the boy ran back to the mass of children.
"So, how are the twins?" Eddie hadn't heard of the irrepressible redheads since Sam had moved to the city.
"They're in Paris for school right now. New York had about reached its limits trying to reign them in, so their parents thought a new city might manage better."
"Still complete loons?"
"Oh yes, they're always good for a wild ride. They have recently taken up sport driving."
"Letting them drive at all seems risky enough, much less racing."
"They may be wild, but their escapades rarely cause any lasting permanent damage."
"True." Looking at her, he could see a wistfulness in her eyes. "You miss them, don't you?"
"They've always brought a lot of spice into my life. I have my family now, but they were the first people to really break up the monotony of New Bedford. Besides you that is." This brought something of a smile back to her face, though it was more subdued then before.
"Glad to be of service."
"You really were Eddie. Even if I didn't realize it." They were standing quite close to each other now, necessitated by their quiet conversation in a loud, rollicking field. There was not hint of a smile in Sam's face as she looked up at him, but he didn't miss it. She was just as beautiful with it as without.
The moment was broken when Eddie heard his name called. Turning away from those eyes, he saw a teammate waving him over. "I think we're about to start. I must be going."
"Well, then, good luck!" She leaned up and kissed his cheek. "Try not to get yourself broken."
He was sure the grin on his face was decidedly goofy as he jogged away.
He decided that he probably shouldn't let pretty girls kiss him before raucous football games anymore on the way to the hospital. That thought and the echo of the resounding crack his arm had made as it hit the ground were his only company in the back of the ambulance that had been called up. The pain in his arm was agonizing.
Some of the other boys had already arrived at the hospital by their own devices by the time they got there, and one, Greg Howard, was talking to the doctor about what happened.
"I can't even explain it. He didn't even seem to see the Wellington boy coming up beside him, and the hit made him fall down at a weird angle so- well, you'll see how the arm looks. Here he is now." Greg cut off as the two men who'd driven the ambulance carried Eddie into the room.
The doctor was unfazed by the rather gruesome injury, only giving it a cursory glance before ordering the nurse to fetch some morphine and a good bone setter.
Seeing the nurse set off for the morphine bottle, Eddie turned to Greg and gritted his teeth to ask, "Have you called my mother?"
Greg was concerned. "I thought she'd have been at the game."
Eddie managed a short laugh. "She doesn't even know I was in a game. She doesn't think much of football. Can you call her in Mt. Bedford?"
"Eddie, I don't know the-" Greg was interrupted by Sam Parkington flying into the room, looking uncharacteristically flustered.
"Eddie! Are you all right?" She was studiously avoiding looking at his arm, searching his face instead.
"I'll be fine Sam. Now look, My mother didn't know I was playing today, so she wasn't at the game."
"I know, Cornelia and I were looking for her to offer her a ride here." Eddie took a moment in his pain to think that sounded like something Sam would do.
He glanced towards the door where Mrs. Edwards was speaking in hushed tones with the nurse, who held the needle and morphine bottle firmly. "Well, can you call her in Mt. Bedford and tell her? She shouldn't have any problems getting here, but can you break it to her gently?"
Sam caught the underlying intent of his words. "She doesn't know you've been playing at all, does she? That is just like you, you silly, silly boy." Too late Eddie recalled that Sam had had something of a temper as a child, and apparently as an adult as well.
"Sam, you can rage at me later. Please call my mother." She didn't soften, but she did leave the room to find a phone.
Greg looked after her as she went, having not spoken since she entered the room. "Gee, Ryland, how does a slob like you land yourself a girl like that? She gorgeous!"
Eddie managed another laugh, this one rueful, "I wish I could tell you."
The nurse, apparently having reached the end of her conversation with Mrs. Edwards and her patience, took this opportunity to apply the morphine, and the entire world slipped away.
When he awoke, his mother was there, Sam was gone and his arm was shored up with enough plaster to build a wall. He spent the next couple of days under observation at the hospital, before being released back to his dorm at St. Marks with a firm injunction against anymore football. The boys of St. Marks, without their fearless leader, proceeded to play one of their worst records in school history. Eddie felt pretty rotten about that.
With winter coming on in earnest to add to his doldrums, the only thing that cheered him was the invitation he received to Saturday lunch at 50 Park Avenue. The formal invitation was standard enough, with the exception of the scribbled injunction from Sam at the bottom that he show up for lunch, or else. He didn't need the ultimatum, but appreciated it anyway. He sent his RSVP immediately.
Saturday noon found him whistling as he strode up the snow lined front walk of the brownstone. He was tossing the promised signed game ball in his good arm and heard a yelp from an upper story window. He rang the bell, and as the maid opened the door, small Gardner Edwards came catapulting headlong down the stairs.
"Is that a game ball!" He launched himself at Eddy who had to drop the ball in order to catch the boy awkwardly with his left, good arm.
Samantha picked up the ball and held it out of reach of Gardner's grasping hands. She had clattered down the stair more sedately while Eddie had attempted to manage the flying projectile. "Now, Gardner, what did we tell you about being gentle with Eddie? He broke his arm and you cannot expect him to roughhouse like your little friends."
"Aw, Sammie, come on, gimme the ball. Eddie can handle it, he's a tough guy. Now, gimme the ball, Sammie." The squirming bundle of energy was hard to handle with just one arm and Eddie was struggling valiantly not to drop him.
Sam assessed the ball with a measuring glance and an experimental toss or two. As she watched it return to her hand, she asked wryly, "Well, what do you think, Eddie? Should he get the ball?"
"I dunno… He's so excited now he's libel to take a window out with it. I suppose if he were to calm down a bit-" The squirming stopped instantly. Suddenly, Gardner was the very image of the well-brought-up young gentleman, with a somber expression and his hands docilely folded together.
Sam tossed him the ball and Gardner quickly dropped out of Eddie's arm and sprinted back up the stairs, calling for his siblings to come see his new treasure. That seemed to be Mr. Edwards' cue to enter the foyer. He lightly mussed Sam's hair before placing a kiss on top of her head. "Now that wasn't very nice. Threatening to withhold such a treasure from your cousin."
"Hmm, I got him to behave didn't I?" There was a cagey smile on her face.
Mr. Edwards' rolled his eyes. "Thank goodness we've got you here to raise the children. We may not let you go off to that college of yours next fall since you're clearly desperately needed here."
"I plan to have the whole crew of them whipped into shape by the time I leave. Now, Uncle Gardner, you remember Eddie Ryland, don't you?"
"Well, yes, of course. The last time I saw you that arm of yours was in considerably worse shape, and the time before that was years ago and you were being scolded by your mother for soiling your outfit while terrorizing Sam here."
"If you'd been at the hospital after the game you would have seen a very similar scene." Eddie grinned ruefully at the reaming his mother had given him after finding out about his elicit foot-balling.
"See, it is very important to not let mothers find out about these sorts of things. Not that I flatter myself that I ever pulled the wool over my mother's eyes, but I certainly never gave her any proof." Sam had snorted at the first part. She'd never really managed to pull one over on Grandmary either.
"I wasn't planning to, but outside events intervened against my behalf."
"Well, yes, tough luck that. Now I wonder how lunch is getting on. We did invite you to eat after all. Cornelia!" His voice echoed into the back of the house.
"Yes, Gardner. Lunch will be ready any moment now. Why don't you take our guests into the parlor and entertain them until it is?" Cornelia Edwards appeared in the foyer also. She was still undeniably a Victorian beauty, but motherhood had softened the extremity of her beauty. Now, she was just perhaps the loveliest woman Eddie had ever seen. Something she had passed on to her niece.
"Now if you could act like a proper hostess, Sam, and offer to take your visitor's things and let him out of the foyer, and if you could take Alex, Gardner, I'll go see about lunch." Sam was startled into action immediately requesting to take Eddie's coat, hat and scarf and Mr. Edwards reaching out for the baby Mrs. Edwards had been cradling on her hip. The lady of the house gave a satisfied smile and now took the chance to greet Eddie. "Hello, Edward. It's so nice to see you again. How's your arm?"
"Much better, Mrs. Edwards. Thank you so much for inviting me to lunch."
"It's our pleasure. Now, expect no proper society manners from this moment forward, because this is the Edwards household, the venue of nine very rambunctious children. And, yes, I include you I that, Miss Samantha 'I'll be eighteen any day now' Parkington." She smiled again and walked deeper into the house.
Sam smiled knowingly at him. "You don't want proper society manners, anyway, do you Eddie? Now let's go to the fun parlor and wait for lunch to be ready."
"The fun parlor?" The Edwards were certainly out of the ordinary, but Sam always had been, hadn't she and he liked it.
"The fun parlor." Sam lead him into a room filled with elegant, expensive, beautiful furniture and fragile antiques. "This is the formal parlor," she announced before continuing though a door across the room, "And this is the fun parlor."
This room had a warm fire crackling in the cozy fireplace and nice but comfortable furniture arranged around the room slightly haphazardly. There were two identical girls who looked to be about six-years-old playing cards at a table between two couches. Each had their dark curling hair pulled back by large bows and he was reminded strongly of a younger Samantha. The other occupant was a young teenaged girl who was curled up in a blanket on the window seat with a book. She was clearly a young O'Malley with the same golden blonde hair of her sister and was clearly a preteen with the long gawky legs that marked a recent growth spurt. All three looked up as Sam and Eddie entered the room.
"Bridget, Alice, Anna, this is Eddie Ryland. He's an old friend of mine and he's having lunch with us today."
"Is he the one that has Gardner in such a tizzy?" asked one of the two younger girls with a slight sneer.
"Yes, I suppose he is. But I bet he can also teach you and Alice some great new card games." Sam was clearly going to make sure the girls liked him, thank goodness.
But not quite yet it seemed. Both girls regarded him warily. "You know good games?"
"Oh, yes, loads of them. We play cards all the time at school." Neither girl let up on their suspicious scowls.
"Sammie, do you get to play games at school?" the one he thought was Anna asked.
"Um, no. Rosehall frowns on card playing in its students." Eddie smiled at this. "Frowns on" would be a mild way of putting Rosehall's distaste for any sundry activity in its proper society ladies in training.
Both girls developed identical pouts. "Well, then we don't want to go there ever," said the one he thought was Alice.
"Well, you won't have to for a long time, not until you graduate from Miss Haverford's Academy." Both girls were still pouting a bit. "But in the mean time, why don't you let Eddie teach you a new game?"
Both girls brightened at this. "All right!" Eddie sat down with the girls at the table and explained the rules to Poughkeepsie Pull. As he began to deal the cards for the first game, he asked the other girls in the room if they'd like to join them.
Sam had gone to sit with Bridget in the window and she looked up startled from the intense discussion they had started, as if she had almost forgotten he was there. Bridget continued to look at her hands as Samantha answered distractedly, "I think I'll sit this hand out, thanks."
Eddie and the twins continued playing cards as Bridget and Samantha continued talking quietly in the window until Mr. Edwards came in, still with the baby on his hip, to announce that lunch was ready.
"Sam, I need to go get the rest of the gang from upstairs, so can you keep Alex?"
"Of course." Sam took the baby and easily swung him onto her hip while herding the rest of them out of the room. Mr. Edwards headed up the stairs as Alice and Anna lead the way presumably to the dining room. Sam fell into step with Eddie presenting him with the baby. "Eddie, I'd like you to meet Mr. Alexander Pitt Edwards, more commonly known as Alex."
Eddie, playing along, reached out to shake the baby's hand. "Nice to meet you Mr. Edwards," then to Samantha, "How old is he?"
"He turned one in May. He's actually walking very well, but when the entire troop in running around, it's best not to have him underfoot."
They arrived in the dining room where Alice and Anna had already seated themselves next to each other at the end of one long side of the table. Across from them was a younger girl, also with dark curling hair, though hers was shorter and pinned back with two matching bows. After placing Alexander in a high chair placed near the head of the table, Samantha sat next to her, tugging a curl affectionately, and gestured to Eddie to sit in the chair on her other side. Bridget sat at the opposite end of the table on the other side. She still had not greeted Eddie and showed no intention of doing so.
Mr. Edwards soon appeared with Gardner, who was still clutching the prized football under his arm and quickly made to sit beside Eddie. Behind them was Nellie, who sat across from Eddie, smiling pleasantly, and girl who had to be Jenny O'Malley, who sat between her sisters, and Mrs. Edwards, who sat at the end of the table near Samantha and the twins. Mr. Edwards sat at the other end, beside Bridget and Alex, and with no other cue, the two maids appeared to begin serving.
Lunch had only a fraction of the bedlam Eddie had expected by this point. The older persons at the table outnumbered the younger ones significantly. Meryl, who was the girl beside Samantha, as Sam had explained, was very well-behaved for a nearly four-year-old, Gardner barely had time to cause trouble between drilling Eddie with questions and shoveling as much food as possible in his mouth, the twins were perfect young ladies and Alex was non-problematic as a baby could be.
After lunch, Sam suggested a walk, which the twins and Gardener took her up on. Nellie needed to go to the library, so she walked with them for a bit. Meryl and Alex had headed for naps and Bridget and Jenny had departed for some friends house without a word to Eddie.
Soon they were in the snow covered park, Nellie having left them en route to the library and Gardner and the twins twenty or so feet in front of them, examining such curiosities as an abandoned bowler hat and a scampering rabbit. Keeping an eye on them, Eddie and Sam strolled along leisurely. Eventually they reached the park center and the children went to frolic around the dry fountain as Sam and Eddie sat themselves on a bench with an easy view of things.
Sam was nibbling her lip and Eddie got the feeling something was up.
"Sam? Do you have something to say?"
She smiled weakly. "Yes, and I'm nervous about it."
"You're never nervous about anything!" he chortled.
"Well, even I get nervous when I flagrantly flout societal norms Edward." She sounded defensive.
"What on earth are you going to do?" Eddie was bewildered.
"Eddie, will you go with me to the Infirmary Ball at the end of December?" She had grabbed her hands up in her own and the combination of the unexpected contact and the unexpected request made him left him dazed a few seconds.
When he back to himself, Sam Parkington was still looking at him pleadingly with her big brown eyes. The obvious question presented itself. "You're about to turn eighteen this spring. Why haven't you had a deb ball yet?"
"Well, my birthday doesn't fall until after the Infirmary, so Grandmary would never have heard of me being presented when I was a soph since its wildly inappropriate for a fifteen-year-old to be presented to society. Then last year, I caught the flu from Meryl the week of the ball, and Grandmary won't hear of me being presented anywhere else, so I simply had to wait another year."
"How do you get to go to parties if you aren't out yet?" It was the most inane question he could ask about the situation and yet it was the one most pressing on his mind.
"Grandmary cares about these things and Cornelia doesn't. Anyway, I'm definitely doing it this year, and I need an escort. Grandmary needs to approve since it's mostly for her sake and so the only other option I have is Frank Bryan and could there be any worse fate then having to suffer him at the event that is supposed to begin my adult life? Oh you will take me, won't you Eddie? You aren't mad I asked you are you? Eddie?"
"Well of course I will. I would never consign a friend to an evening of Frank Bryan."
Her relief was visible on her face. "Oh, thank goodness. Thank you so much, Eddie. You aren't mad I asked you are you? You didn't say." She was actually worried about it!
"Sam, it's not like you to worry about offending people so much." He was genuinely surprised.
"Well, I really need you to take me, and it's really dreadfully forward. You must tell Grandmary you offered to escort me unprovoked." She said this very seriously.
"Of course. So it's only Grandmary you're worried about?" He wiggled his eyebrows some as he said this.
Now she knew he was teasing her. "Eddie," she dragged his name out for about six syllables, "I don't want you to think I'm some forward hussy either. Really."
"Good. And I don't. There really wasn't any other way to go about it was there?"
"No, not really. I'll get you the specifics very soon. Now, I think the children are bored of the fountain. We should probably get back home."
He walked the group back to their door, stepping inside briefly only to thank the Edwards for having him, and then walked back to St. Marks wondering what on earth he had done to deserve his fabulous luck.