AUTHOR'S NOTE: In keeping with Anna Godbersen's theme that there is a short letter, diary, newspaper or book's quote, I have included a letter at the beginning. I know that this is longer than most, but I felt it was the best way to set the scene. As this is my first fanfiction, all reviews will be appreciated – even the bad :) I really hope you enjoy what I've done!
Disclaimer: Not mine.
February 3rd, 1909, New York City
Your pursuits in my dear Paris sound wonderful, and it is with much fondness that I consider my time in that beautiful capital – there is not a place quite so special in all the world! But, my dear sister, I worry for you, though I know that you are strong; much strength of will it must have taken for you to surrender your true love, for I know that even in the knowledge that I was impoverishing my family, I could not. Let me know truly that you are well.
My sweet Edith is now almost two, and though she is of quiet temperament, she is first and foremost a child and must be allowed to boisterous and active as children are. Darling Teddy plays with her in the evenings, and I during the day, but between she, Keller, Taylor and Savannah, we find ourselves quite exhausted. And here I blush, for I know must tell you that I am once again expecting – due in August.
My object in writing, I confess, was not only to seek after your health and welfare, but to beg your assistance. Please, Diana, come to New York. You will find it much changed. The nanny, I told you, I sacked because she was incompetent, but so am I. You always had such a way with children, and Keller and Taylor especially are anxious to meet their aunt. You know I would not ask unless in dire need, but what with Mama and Aunt Edith gone, and Teddy so busy, I'm quite alone and have few friends upon whom I can rely. Please, Diana.
Your loving sister,
It had been several months, or perhaps even years, since Diana had seen the time that was dawn, and thus she could not help but marvel at the spectacle which was so majestically unfolding before her – for surely, she thought, it must be for her benefit that the sun spread its rays out over the sea to stroke its surface and smooth its waves – surely it was for her benefit that the beams of light were reflecting off of Lady Liberty's torch – and if this was not a homage to her sensational return, it must, Diana decided, be a good omen.
Onlookers, most likely, would find it difficult to decide what was most odd about the strange young woman who gripped the railings, tossed her head back, closed her eyes and inhaled the sea air. Her hair, perhaps; shorter than most men's, the wisps barely touched the nape of her neck! Perhaps the satin trousers that hung so neatly from her waist? Or the alarming fact that she was a young woman on a voyage across continents alone – without a chaperone?
While indeed these things were bazaar, it was the strange look which her features carved out – young, but intense, defiant, but anxious, exited, but wary. And the intriguing glint in the eye of Miss Diana Holland; the idea that she knew something her spectators did not.
Diana had not considered the fact that she would not recognise her sister, but, she mused, ten years and four children may well age a person. This thought, in fact, only occurred to her when she found herself in amongst a bustle of bodies over whose heads she could not see.
"Sir," she said to a young man nearby. "I wonder if you would allow me to stand on your case; I cannot see, and I haven't one." She smiled sweetly, for though she had aged ten years as her sister had, she had had no children; besides, flirting was her forte.
"Certainly, Miss...," he paused expectantly, waiting for an introduction and holding out his hand to assist her. But Diana was not one to conform to expectation, and instead with a short, "Thank you," climbed onto the case.
The heart-shaped dace and porcelain complexion, which had so often been written of in newspaper columns, indentified Mrs Elizabeth Cutting to her sister. Two young children were at her skirts, unaware that the fabric they were clutching cost as much as the average New York labourer's monthly wage. A third child, a mirror image of the mother in whose arms she rested, smiled gaily at the hoards of people surrounding her, her innocence unaffected by their coarseness. Next to her stood her father – tall, smiling, and quite the dashing gentleman in his uniform - with another boy in his arms. It was son rather than father who wore the officer hat, and this scene which was so typical of an American family could do naught but induce a smile on Diana's face.
She offered a mere nod of appreciation to the man on whose case she stood, and delicately battled her way towards her family. Fleetingly, Diana realised that her dear nieces and nephews had never met her, but Diana was no stranger to brashness, and so approached her sister undaunted.
"Darling Liz," she said, stretching out her arms to embrace her sister. "How I've missed you!"