So I wasn't going to put chapters. I'm not a big chapter person, more of a one shot, but the muse took me and here is what happened. I hope you enjoy. I don't know when or what or how many this story will be. So there you go.
Katherine hadn't been home a week when the phone calls started coming in. It was part of the agreement she would move back home where her father could have an eye over her. In return he had offered an end to the strike and her reporter position at The World. Apparently not just World news traveled fast, but gossip amongst friends. Well she couldn't quite call it gossip or could she? Katherine really didn't know what her old friends were saying about her. All she knew was that by the constant ringing of the phone, they knew she was back. She thought she knew why they didn't call before and why they were calling now. They all wanted to know about her time by herself. Katherine had bucked traditional roles, had bucked societal rules, which had turned her friends against her. Well all but one and now that she was back, back where she belonged, they wanted to hear all about how she had sullied her reputation. They wanted to revel in her down fall, and remark on how they were all so superior now.
Joseph eventually asked his daughter about it. Remarking how their house on 5th avenue was apparently akin to Grand Central Station all of a sudden. Katherine had merely shrugged and said how this was the consequence of wanting to move back home. Her friends wanted to find out all about it. Joseph was delighted that his daughter was seemingly welcomed back into her place once again. When the ladies started inviting her to meals he couldn't hide the glint in his eyes and had encouraged Katherine to go. Years ago she would have, but lately all their gossip and tearing down of others not in their group wasn't what she wanted to be exposed to anymore. Her time away, time at The Sun, time as a reporter even if it was just flower shows and Vaudville, time with the newsies and their strike and of course Jack had all left an indelible imprint on her heart, on her life. She wasn't the same girl that had befriended these girls, wasn't the same girl whom had stormed out of her father's house to pursue her dreams of being a reporter with a regular beat. She didn't want to get pulled back in to the endless visits and social calls, she wanted something more. She had tasted something more and been inspired by it. Her father had seen this hadn't he, he accepted her as his reporter, his heir to The World.
Above all Katherine didn't want to go. So the phone calls kept coming, and she kept declining. The letters and invitations also came and she declined those as well. It wasn't until Lilla had called. Lilla, Katherine's best friend, the one who had kept in contact with her even when she was on her own. Lilla was probably being put up to it because she had rattled on and on when she called. Katherine had yet to see Lilla, but she didn't want to see with all the other girls around. Katherine couldn't say no to her best friend. Which is why the girls had put her up to calling. Katherine hadn't had the time to make a plan with her friend what with the reporter work she had dived right into. After all there were plenty of stories to be told.
She wasn't ignoring her best friend, it just hadn't come up yet and besides Lilla had also been very busy from the sounds of their conversations. Lilla and Katherine's friendship with each other hadn't changed at all. They still giggled like school girls into the phone all the time. Lilla often told Katherine how proud she was of her for following her dreams. Katherine had befriended Lilla because she was different. Different from all the other girls. Lilla hadn't grown up in society, she had society thrust upon her is what Katherine was always saying. This is what made the other girls look down on Lilla often. Lilla's mother was born into society, but had married beneath her. She grew up poor, her parents just barely making ends meet. When her father died, her grandfather had taken the family back in. He wanted Lilla to be in society, but with her father's working class Irish name, and her poor upbringing she didn't have to many friends. It was her grandfathers money and prestige which got her into some circles. Katherine didn't care about all that, never did. Katherine had always cared about character and Lilla was the sweetest and kindest person she had ever met. They had become fast friends since meeting. This had made the others if not a little envious, then something they could use to their advantage. But then again, Lilla was the only one whom had called Katherine regularly. Neither girl wanted to loose the friendship they had created.
So with Lilla's plea and her fathers constant mentioning that the calls, letters, and invitations probably would not cease unless Katherine acted upon them positively, she agreed to meet for tea.
All the girls were there by the time Katherine arrived at Alice's house. All of them sitting around the table as the butler ushered her in.
"It's so nice that you finally arrived Katherine. We were all positively wondering if you would show up today. Grace was sure you wouldn't come, but Lilla said you would be here. I guess she wins." Alice flashed Katherine a smile, one with little humor in it.
"I am sorry Alice, ladies, there is just no excuse for my tardiness." Katherine flashed her back. She didn't miss this game at all. This game of cat and mouse, of who can out do the other. She usually walked away the winner because of her talent for words, but it was all so draining.
"I'm glad you could make it. I've missed seeing you." Lilla said the last part so only the two of them could hear and offered her a warm smile.
Whatever this day entailed Katherine was extremely glad to see Lilla. Nothing changed, not the girls, not the games, but most importantly not her friendship with Lilla. Damn the rest, Katherine thought, but she was glad that some friendships are strong enough for anything.
"It's been much to long and I will plan something for just the two of us soon. Alright." Katherine beamed.
"What is it you two are whispering about there." Alice said huffily. "This is to be a proper tea party, we are much to old to fall into the traits of bad habits. Besides we are adults now and should act like it, not simpering little girls."
"Alice has a new beau." Emma said as an aside to Katherine. "Shes been involved in so much and taking on planning events for her mother recently." Emma was pragmatic. "So you see..."
"So you see we are to be adults." Alice finished for her. "And what of your new beau Katherine. What is he like?"
"My beau? I wouldn't necessarily call him..."
"Alice said she's seen the two of you walking. Says shes never seen him before." Emma chimed in again.
"Well what Katie, do tell us." All the girls were interested in this new turn of the conversation.
"I think she goes by Katherine now you'll find. And do tell us who he is, we are all at the edge of our seats in intrigue."
"Thank you Alice." Katherine could almost avoid rolling her eyes at the girl. "He's, his name is Jack Kelly. He's, well, we met when I was writing an article for The Sun. He was the leader of that newsboys strike. Jack now has a fine job working for The World as their political illustrator.
"You mean he works for your father." Alice started serving tea.
"Yes, but as an illustrator. Jack is a wonderful artist." A small smile spread across her face as she said that.
"I'm sure he's wonderful. I should probably open up my grandfathers newspaper sometime to see his work, and yours. Now Alice, how are you and your beau. Are we to get any news yet? Perhaps a wedding soon." Lilla teased without really teasing.
Thank God for Lilla, Katherine thought. When she caught her eye she smiled her thanks. Katherine might be up for the task of verbally sparing with these girls, but she didn't want to anymore. She didn't want to fall into the same habits, be the same person she was before her foray into being a reporter and her time with the newsies. Lilla, whether she knew it or not, was helping. Lilla had changed, Katherine noted, become stronger, more self confident. She wondered what the real reason for this change had been.
The afternoon passed slowly for Katherine. Lilla had helped field all the questions about Katherine's time away by turning the conversation to Alice or one of the other girls. Alice loved talking about herself. So by the time tea was done, Katherine hadn't said much if anything at all about her time away. The girls all feeling quite pleased with themselves had shared all of their news. Alice the most of them all. Alice had felt superior that day and Katherine was all for letting her feel it. Especially the times when Alice would puff herself up so much all Katherine could do was to catch Lilla's eye and wink. Stifling giggles as they sipped their tea. This tea only solidified in Katherine's mind that she didn't want to do this, didn't want to be apparent of this life. She wanted something different. Craved it even, after experiencing life on the outside of all of this. Eventually tea was finished and Katherine was relieved to go home. Glad she went, but even more glad to be on her way home. She wondered what the girls would talk about behind her back now, but if she was honest with herself she didn't care anymore. Let them look down on her. That was the way with these girls. She was a better person for the things she had been apart of.
"Katherine. Might we get together? Sometime soon?" Lilla said before Katherine got into her car.
"Of course Lilla. We will plan something later." With a wave to other girls who were also getting into their cars, and her hostess, and a smile at her best friend Katherine was off back home. Back home to talk to Jack.