Prologue: The Beginning

Life was so boring. That's what Katherine continually told people when they asked her what she was doing, how life was. Well, that's how it was, in her mind. Same went with her friends, Jane and Anne. They lived in a predictable suburb, nice and safe, but still dully predictable. The month of February had not helped ease to ease the monotony, with its never-ending gray days and gray, slushy snow.

'Lord', Katherine thought as she looked outside of her front window. 'Everything's gray.'

But there were two events coming up that March, Jane and Katherine's birthdays, which might serve to create some excitement.

As it would turn out, much more excitement than they could have possibly imagined.
* * *
Now it must be understood that they were by no means popular, being much too intellectual for such a thing, but they knew many people, whether it was by Anne and Jane's orchestral involvements or various anime circles. But there was one thing that tended to occupy more of the trio's time than that of their other, mutual friends Jen, Eleanor or Meg. That occupation was a class, AP European history, and all three of them would agree that it was their favorite. Difficult, yes, but well worth it. Their teacher was a multitalented and interesting person who truly understood what she was teaching, and delivered it with a sincere interest. They admired that. She would probably have been amused (or greatly disturbed) to hear that throughout the course, the girls had decided upon their historical male love interests. In the Age of Enlightenment section, Anne had chosen Voltaire, and Jane Condorcet. Both were charismatic men of ideas and talent, and not without humor. (Sheep pox.) But Katherine, besides loudly announcing her interest in Goethe, had sat out on the Enlightenment. However, as she watched a video on the life of Napoleon, she began to notice how engaging in both looks and manner the young (YOUNG) Bonaparte was.
"This is a portrait of Napoleon by David, as he crossed the Alps after his Italian campaign," the narrator stated.
"Wow," Katherine whispered, turning around to her friend Sarah. "He wasn't too bad looking."
Sarah laughed quietly and rolled her eyes. She didn't have to tell her friend again that she was crazy. Katherine knew it.
* * *
A few months later, Katherine stood at the head of a table, surrounded by her friends. In front of her was a birthday cake, gleaming with white icing and candles. Seventeen candles, to be exact. "All right." Kat's mother declared after "Happy Birthday" had been sung, in French and English. (This was being held at the French household of Anne by the gracious offer of her mother, Margot, so "Happy Birthday" was rather obliged to be in French.) "Make a wish!"
Katherine gazed at the striped candles. 'Well, how many times are you seventeen,' she thought. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to wish for something. crazy. When had any of her wishes come true anyway? Now, what to wish for?
Kat laughed out loud as she came up with the perfect one. It was so stupid. Her friends looked at her oddly, but they were used to her random outbursts of laughter. Great minds, in this circle, thought alike.
'OK,' she thought. 'Well, just for fun.' She leaned closer to the cake, closed her eyes, and made the wish.