FAGE 10: Reborn
Title: Harvey Girl
Written for: Sunshine1220
Written By: Honeymoon Edward
Beta: Sunflower Fran
Pre-Readers: AllTheWayIntoTwilight and Thats-So-Alex
Spirit Author: Gabby1017
Summary/Prompt used: Starting Over in a New Place
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this exchange visit the facebook group: Fanficaholics Anon: Where Obsession Never Sleeps, or add the C2 to get all the stories direct to your inbox.
DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended. All mistakes are mine.
This story has a total of thirteen chapters and an epilogue. It will be posted in its entirety today.
The early 1900s
Tiny pinpoints of silver pierced the blackness of the sky as the train rattled through the open prairie.
Once again, sleep eluded Bella.
As she rested her head against the cool windowpane, her thoughts revolved around what awaited her the next day. In less than ten hours, she would arrive in Syracuse, Kansas.
Born and raised on a small farm in Illinois, Bella had never traveled outside of her hometown of Beecher. And unlike many of her classmates, she had never desired to leave. In fact, if given a choice, she would be there now. But circumstances had made that impossible.
When her father had passed from a heart attack, it had only been a matter of days before Mr. Newton, the town banker, had shown up at her door.
Two years prior to his death, Charlie Swan had been forced to take a loan. A case of blight had destroyed the entire crop. Unable to repay the debt, Bella had been informed she had less than a week to vacate the only home she had ever known.
The farm now belonged to the bank.
Without a home or family, Bella had no choice but to locate employment. Because jobs for women were nonexistent in Beecher, she journeyed to the closest city—Chicago.
For days, she searched for suitable work, but with no skills and only a high school diploma, she had little success.
Just as she was about to give up hope, she had spotted a newspaper advertisement.
Young women 18 to 30 years of age, of good moral character,
attractive and intelligent, to waitress
in Harvey Eating Houses on the Santa Fe in the West.
After a brief interview at their employment office, she had been hired on the spot. Given a train pass, she had left immediately for Kansas where she would be a Harvey Girl.
"Miss? Miss?" the porter shook the shoulder of the girl until she slowly roused from her slumber. "Excuse me, but we've arrived at the station."
After peeking through the window and seeing the depot, Bella turned to the older gentleman who had remained by her seat. "Thank you. I must have dozed."
Satisfied she was fully awake, he smiled. "Can I help you with your bag?"
After handing him her valise, she stood and stretched her sore limbs. Having sat for over eleven hours, her body ached.
Once they disembarked, he returned her bag. With a tip of his hat, he wished her farewell.
Standing on the platform, Bella took in her surroundings. The station was a bustle with activity. Workers scurried as they unloaded baggage and freight from below the train. A pang of envy coursed through her as she watched loved ones welcome each other with warm embraces.
Taking a deep breath, she headed towards the grand building, which stood adjacent to the terminal. A sign proclaiming the name of the hotel hung beneath a set of wide arches.
With its fifteen guest rooms, a lunchroom that accommodated fifty-one, and a dining room that served one hundred and ten, the Sequoyah Harvey Hotel was one of the most elegant of its kind.
Pausing outside its entrance, Bella removed the envelope, which had been tucked inside the pocket of her jacket. After rereading the name of the man she was to report to, she entered the lobby.
Tastefully decorated in shades of burgundy, the inside of the hotel was as impressive as its exterior. Bella marveled at the opulence; she had never seen a sight so exquisite.
A woman wearing a black-and-white uniform greeted her. "Can I help you? Are you here for the lunch service?"
"Umm, no," Bella replied. Her heart thumped so hard she felt it might burst forth from her ribcage. "I was sent from Chicago." Gesturing to the envelope, which was still clutched in her grasp, she stammered, "Can you take me to M-Mr. Cullen?"
An infectious smile crossed the woman's face. "You must be Isabella! Welcome, my name is Alice. We have been expecting you. Follow me, and I'll take you to his office."
After shifting her bag into her left hand, Bella trailed behind the petite woman down a long hallway. At the end of the corridor, a wooden door appeared; a brass plaque engraved with the word Management was affixed to its facade.
Alice knocked twice before they heard a deep voice grumble, "Enter."
Hunched over a stack of books and papers, a man sat at a large, mahogany desk. A pencil was lodged between his teeth as he studied a ledger.
Not bothering to raise his head, he muttered, "Hmm?"
"Isabella has arrived."
After earmarking the page he had been reading, he closed the notebook. Standing from his chair, he walked around his desk and approached Bella. With an outstretched hand, he introduced himself.
"Hello. I'm Edward Cullen."
In 1883, Fred Harvey implemented a policy of employing a female only serving staff at his hotels. The popular chain of restaurants/hotels were located alongside the railroads in the western part of the United States.
Harvey sought single, well-mannered, and educated ladies by placing ads in newspapers throughout the East Coast and Midwest. These "Harvey Girls" were paid a generous income by the standards of the time.
Thanks as always to my beta extraordinaire, Fran. She makes sense of my crazy.
A shout out to AllTheWayIntoTwilight and Thats-So-Alex. Words can't express the gratitude I have for you both. You cheered when I needed cheering and provided tough love when I needed that as well.
And to Gail, for believing in me.
I will admit when I learned I would be writing for Sunshine1220, I was a bit intimidated. Cheryl has mad skills and is such an accomplished writer - I didn't want to disappoint her.
Fortunately for me, Cheryl is also one of the kindest people in this fandom. :D
Since I know she has a soft spot for period pieces, I decided to do one with her prompt.
I hope you enjoy your story, Cheryl. It was a privilege to write it for you. :D