Abby hurried down the street, clutching her threadbare shawl and an old reed basket close to her body, as if to protect herself from the biting wind that threatened to rip her off of the ground and send her flying into the sea. The basket was filled to the brim with flour and other essentials for the children at the New Haven Orphanage in the small English seaside town that ran along the Pacific Ocean. Remembering that there were people waiting for her was the only thing that pulled the chestnut-haired girl away from the warm shops. They would be waiting for the supplies so they could begin baking cookies and cake for their Thanksgiving feast. It was Saturday, and all the children had been anticipating baking their own treats all week. Abby knew the treat making part would be fun, but she dreaded the mess that would be left for a few other older girls and her to clean up afterwards. Every year the children got messier, but she doubted it could be worse than the food fight mishap that had happened last year.
She let out a small shudder every time she remembered the floury mess with all the precious, expensive sugar thrown all around the room. Then the big shudder would come when the memory of a raving mad Mrs. Cline, the cook, and later the even more angry Mrs. Mathews and her husband that had scolded the children very loudly for wasting all the supplies. There had been no sweets for anyone that Thanksgiving, and none for Christmas either. Abby hated getting scolded, and this was the angriest she had ever seen any adult, other than the father she had once known as a small child, but thinking about her past made her eyes well up with tears, so she quickly shoved all thoughts out of her mind and quickened her pace even more. Finally she rounded the corner of the street that the orphanage owned much of. Mrs. Mathews' husband was a lawyer, and a wealthy one at that. The couple had started out with just a small plot of land big enough for an office and a home, but as Mr. Mathews' fame as a lawyer grew, so did his wealth, and they eventually bought all except a half acre of land that was owned by an elderly woman, Mrs. Hansen, who wished to hold on to her land as a reminder of her son. The Mathews didn't push her to sell, and the woman visited the orphanage a few times each year, often bringing presents and tales of the far off lands she had visited.
The younger children always listened to the stories with awe, but the older ones were more skeptical. The boys had asked rude questions a few times, which got them punished and their presents given to a younger boy who was more respectful. Mrs. Hansen never seemed to mind most of the questions though, and she had answered a few of them by telling some of the younger children a fake story to tell the boy who had asked the question. She always told the child to let the older, rude child to believe the story for a week or two, but then to tell him the truth so it wouldn't be lying.
Pulling herself out of her reverie, Abby practically ran the length of the street, wondering again why the kitchen building had to be all the way at the end. She supposed it was in case the fires that were bound to break out did, the kitchen would not set the whole town on fire. She wasn't certain though, yet she had never asked anyone since she didn't want to sound like a dimwit. Finally she reached the kitchen building's door, and when she opened it and walked into the dining room, she was greeted by eighty-five faces staring back at her and asking why she was late.
"Well the store was busy!" Abbey exclaimed blushingly before fleeing into the kitchen with her load. She quickly distributed the sugar and flour into many separate but large containers that would set at different places along the table. There were even more mixing bowls and eggs than there had been in the previous years, and she wondered how many the ever-growing orphanage would need next year. As it was, they had to have three different mealtimes to fit the 102 girls and 97 boys that lived at the New Haven Orphanage into the dining room.
"What took you so long? We thought there was going to be a rampage! Poor Harriett had to put on a bright red wig and go in there and square dance to stop it!" Hester, one of the many kitchen hands teased Abby as they mixed dozens of bowls of cookie batter. The children waiting in the dining hall were the older children, most of them her own age, so they would do the cutting, let the younger ones do most of the decorating. They would come back later, though, to eat the only cookies that were allowed to be eaten before the holidays and to help clean up all the mess. Abby took her place towards the end of the table so she could get back into the kitchen quickly to fetch more supplies if they were needed. Soon the children were arguing over what cookie cutters they would use, so she hastened back into the calm of the kitchen to see if she could find any that hadn't been brought out already. Abby found three of the hands heating the ovens as fast as they could, for the cookies were beginning to get brought into the kitchen for baking. Finding none, she went back out in the Hall and whispered to Mrs. Cline, who was supervising, that when they were done, the children should leave their trays on the table and go out to play. Not waiting until Abby's ear was a safe distance away from her face, the buxom cook told the Hall's occupants what Abby had said, and almost immediately a good portion of them got up and went outdoors. Abby and the other hands started scurrying around the table, picking up the discarded trays. Easier said than done..

A/N: I get into the story more in the next chapters, I promise! And please, please, please review! I'll return the favor many times!