Chapter 1

"The party was marvelous Maggie dear." Julia Kape said as she walked out the door of the Lawton's beautiful mansion, giving Maggie a parting kiss on the cheek.

"Oh Julia, my parties are always marvelous, but only because you attend."

"You are such a charming girl, it's no wonder David Porter is enamored with you. Perhaps you'll keep this one?"

"For the moment I suppose, as of right now there is no one more handsome or rich in town."

"You are too cruel." Julia giggled. "Now I must be off, but I hope to see you again soon."

"Yes, you can expect another party before the end of the month, I simply begin to go mad without the company of my closest friends."

"All sixty of them?"

Both girls burst into fresh giggles on the front steps of the elegant home. Julia was finally pulled away by the impatient honk of the car that waited for her in the driveway. Despite being handsome Stewart Kape was not the most patient of men, but he was rich, allowing Julia all the luxuries she could ever dream of, which is why she married him.

Maggie turned back inside, making her way upstairs to her elegant bedroom, not wanting to be downstairs to watch the maids clean up the mess. She flopped on her bed, twirling a piece of her jet black hair, letting out a bored sigh. Oh how she hated being bored, boredom almost seemed a sign of her status, the more bored she was, the less popular she had become, and she needed to be popular.

Her life was filled with all of the finest things in life, silk pajamas, maids to fix her hair, and the most beautiful gowns in all of England. She was practically a princess, only her bloodline keeping her out of the palace. Her parents were often gone on trips, leaving her free reign of the large house, and when they were home, they lavished her with gifts that any young lady would envy.

She was so lost in her own thoughts, that she hadn't heard the doorbell sound, nor the footsteps that approached her bedroom. Only the sound of her door slamming shut brought her back to reality. There, her best friend stood, back against the door, her face pale and plain.

"Amelia! What a pleasant surprise! I was only just thinking how terribly bored I was, and that I could use some company, and here you are! I swear we think with the same brain sometimes, truly the best of friends." Maggie twittered on, the look on her friends face going unnoticed. "I was disappointed that you weren't at the party today, I wanted you to tell Alyssa McIlroy all about your trip to France, would have made her absolutely green with envy!"

"Stop." Amelia whispered, still unmoving from the place where she entered.

"You know how much she always wanted to go to France, but her parents can't afford it. Part of me feels sorry for her really, but then, she's always so obnoxious, showing off about things that aren't special at all, trying to make herself better than us, as if that's possible."

"STOP IT!" Amelia screamed, her face turning a bright shade of red.

Maggie went silent immediately, taken aback by her friends sudden anger. She stared at her, confusion etched in her eyes, biting her lip to keep tears from falling down her cheeks. No one had ever spoken to her so fiercely, and she couldn't imagine what had caused Amelia to do it now. Her mind raced as she tried to come up with a reason, wondering if she had somehow offended her. Maggie was by no means afraid to speak ill about people she disliked, sometimes she even spoke poorly of those she was fond of, but not Amelia, never Amelia.

"Don't you ever think of anyone but yourself? Don't you ever think of things other than parties, and champagne and pearls? You are the most shallow person I have ever met, and to think, I used to be just like you."

"Used to be?" Maggie murmured, not entirely understanding her friends ranting.

Amelia disregarded her statement and rambled on. "Don't you realize that the most popular shade of lipstick is anything but important? That diamonds can't buy you happiness, and the friends you keep would leave you if you ever became poor. You live a meaningless existence, and you're happy with it, and that is what is truly sad, I pity you Mags."

The last words she uttered came out like a whisper, as she collapsed onto the stool in front of Maggie's vanity. Maggie couldn't help but stare at the now unfamiliar girl that sat in front of her. She had just seen her two days ago, she had slept over and they discussed all of the gossip of London before they fell asleep at three am. How, in such a short period of time had she turned into someone so different, so depressing, and why was she suddenly attacking her?

"What's wrong with you?"

"Don't you see, didn't you hear anything I said?"

"If I don't wear the right shade of lipstick for my complexion, girls like Alyssa will talk about me behind their back! How could I let people talk about me when I know what will stop it."

"You honestly believe that the color lipstick you wear stops people from calling you a nasty self centered brat?"

Maggie's mouth fell in shock. She wouldn't have ever believed that her best friend would said such a thing about her if she hadn't heard it come out of her mouth. People had called her a brat before, of course she had heard the staff talking about her in the corners of the house, but their comments had always just rolled off her back, because she thought them jealous. Amelia had always had everything Maggie had, her parents were just as wealthy, and she had been just as spoiled. The fact that she was the one saying her life was meaningless, calling her shallow, hurt her more than anything ever had.

"I, I don't understand why you're saying all this. We've been best friends since we could talk, you've never called me shallow before." she whimpered.

"I didn't realize it before, because I was just as shallow." Amelia said softly, now aware how greatly she had hurt her friend. She stood and moved to the bed where Maggie sat, sitting down beside her.

"We're not shallow Mia, we're popular and rich, what is so terrible about that."

"I'm not shallow anymore, but you are. There is nothing wrong with being rich, or popular, but it is the way in which you go about it. Tell me, do you know anything that's happened in the war? Do you understand at all what Europe is going through?" As she uttered the last sentence, tears started to fall down her cheeks, grief bearing down on her.

Maggie stared, unsure of what to do, she had never seen Amelia cry over something so totally unrelated to her. Of course she used to cry when a beau would leave her for someone else, or when her mother had scolded her for not being lady like. She had never had a bleeding heart for the wrongs of the world, in fact, high society was the only thing that mattered to either of them. Something wasn't right.

"What's wrong Amelia." she whispered, wrapping an arm around her.

"He's dead! Killed in battle." Amelia sobbed, grief shaking her shoulders.

"Who's dead?" Maggie said softly, wanting to help her friend, but still not understanding.

"Frederick..." she whispered, "Freddy." The sobs resumed, now more fierce, Amelia's body seemed to be convulsing under Maggie's embrace.

"Freddy? The man you met in France?"

"I didn't just meet him...I love him. I would have stayed in France if he hadn't joined the army. We had been exchanging letters, and then three weeks ago, they stopped coming."

"Oh, darling, I'm sure the mail is caught up, or he's forgotten to write, I'm sure another will be arriving soon."

Amelia looked up, unbelief streaked across her blue grey eyes. "No it won't, I received word from his mother yesterday, he was killed in action, at the Battle of Mons." Maggie sat silently, staring at her friend, both confused and surprised. "You don't even know what the Battle of Mons is do you?"

"No...I'm sorry."

Amelia stood quickly, her eyes puffy and red from her tears. She wobbled to the door, grasping the ornate handle with a shaking hand. As she was about to pass through the threshold of the door, she turned, her eyes narrows with grief and anger. "Grow up Mags, there is more to this life than parties and fun. There is love, grief, suffering and fear, and the sooner you learn that, the more human you'll become."

AN: I'd love to know what you think about this one! I've been working on this story for a while and have quite a few chapters already written, so updates should come pretty regularly. This is the third story I've written, and I must say, so far it's my favorite, I hope you like it too!