This story takes place after the story Envy in the Luxe Series. It is technically my version of Splendor. Enjoy.
"Left!" yelled the commander of the unit. "I said left Private Hollander!"
"Sorry, Sir!" yelled Private "Edward Hollander"- the male alter ego of Manhattan socialite Diana Holland. She had cut her hair and ran off disguised as a man to fight in the war. She wanted to be with Henry Schoonmaker, her lover, her friend, and her sister's ex-fiancé. And married to Penelope Hayes.
She was being shipped off that night. She was being shipped off to the Philippines. She was tough enough not to quit. She was tough enough to stick it out. That's what counted. That's all that mattered to the United States Army.
She could have run home to her mother, but God only knows what would happen to her then. Most likely, she wouldn't be able to leave the house until her hair grew to an acceptable length. Knowing her mother, that would be years.
There were things she missed, like being with her sister, Elizabeth. She wondered how her sister was doing in her pregnancy. How many months had she been away? One? Two? She had lost count of the days.
In her spare moments, she wrote to Elizabeth, but she did not know if her sister recieved the letters or not.
I miss you very much and I hope you and mother can forgive me one day for running away like that. I do not know if you will, but I hope with all my heart you do. I cannot tell you much about location, but I have joined the Army. I am going to find Henry. I miss him too much. If you respond to my letters, you have to address them to "Private Edward Hollander" instead of Diana Holland.
Just one last question. Are you and the baby all right?
I miss you all.
Private Edward Hollander
That was the last letter Diana Holland wrote to Elizabeth Holland-Cairns before she departed for the Philippines and embraced her identity as Private Edward Hollander.
Mrs. Henry Schoonmaker, neé Penelope Hayes, was learning that life without Henry was much better than life with him. She could do what she wanted, when she wanted. She could hold a grand ball with the help of her mother-in-law, who was only seven years older than she. It was fun to be around Isabelle, no one could deny that.
Carolina Broud was at the top of her social climbing game. Ever since her benefactor, Mr. Carey Lewis Longhorn, passed into the next life, she found herself attending every social event there was to offer in Manhattan. She was truely having a ball.
She was the apple of Leland Bouchard's eye when he was in New York, or anywhere near her. That made her very happy and almost forget everyone else.
Elizabeth Cairns was in her sitting room, just waiting. There was not much else she could do. It was not her favorite thing in the world to do, sitting around and having people call on her, but in her delicate condition, no one wished to bother with having her call on them.
She was waiting on hearing from Diana. "A letter for you, Mrs. Cairns," said one of the butlers.
"Who is it from?"
"Someone named Private Edward Hollander."
"Give it to me." She did know that her sister had joined the Military, so it was only natural to take a man's name. The servant gave it to her, and she carefully opened it. Dear Liz, it started. It was definitely Diana. No one else called her Liz besides Penelope.
By the time she finished reading the letter, tears were at her eyes. She had missed Di. She was just as stubborn, it seemed. She finally got her wish. She was now concidered a boy by the army. No more dresses. Elizabeth smiled at the thought.
"Good luck finding him, Di," she murmured. "Good luck."