The rain was even worse in England. Charlotte ducked her head as she darted through the rain to the platform where the families and chauffeurs of the passengers stood waiting. Charlotte scanned the crowd uneasily, not quite sure who she should be looking for. Although Mother had shown her a photograph of Helen Carey and her husband Lewis, Charlotte could scarcely remember their faces from the grainy, black-and-white snapshot.

Beginning to feel frantic, Charlotte spotted a nearby counter with tellers standing behind it. She pushed her way through the crowd, up to the nearest young man behind the counter. "Excuse me," she said in as clear of English as she could muster. "Pardon, but I was supposed to meet someone here and I can't find them. I was wondering if you could help me...?"

The young teller looked a bit confused. For a terrifying moment, Charlotte feared he could not understand her. But after a pause, he said, "Let me see if I can help you. What is your name?" he asked, pulling out the registration books.

"Charlotte Martin," she replied quickly, biting her lip, praying he would find some information in the books he held. But then, a voice behind her repeated her name.

"Charlotte Martin?"

Charlotte turned quickly, expecting the glamorous couple from the photograph to be standing behind her. But instead, there merely stood a young man, maybe a few years older than Luc. He was not dressed in a chauffeur's uniform, but in a simple pair of slacks and a button-up shirt. And despite being frantic with worry, Charlotte noticed how charming the young man looked with his sparkling brown eyes and sandy hair.

"I'm sorry, I'm not sure I'm who you are looking for," Charlotte finally replied, a blush blooming across her cheeks. "I'm supposed to be looking for the Carey family? Helen and Lewis?"

"Then you're the Charlotte Martin I'm looking for," the young man replied. "I'm the Carey's driver and manservant. My mother is housekeeper at the Carey's. I was sent to fetch you today." He extended a hand to Charlotte. "Topher Gates." He had spoken so quickly and in such a strong English accent that Charlotte had trouble keeping up. She almost didn't realize that he had told her his name until she noticed he was waiting for his own introduction.

"I'm Charlotte Martin. It's nice to meet you," Charlotte said. She looked at his outstretched hand. Surely he didn't expect her to shake it! Her mother had always instructed her to never shake hands with a man. It was vulgar. Then Charlotte realized the reason for his extended hand. She gratefully handed him her satchel. But as soon as it had exchanged hands and she noticed the surprised look upon Topher's face, she realized she had made a mistake. Without comment, Topher led her away from the teller's counter. He walked with a sharp limp, favoring his right leg.

"Do you have other luggage?" he asked Charlotte as he walked quickly through the crowds.

"I have a trunk, yes," Charlotte called to him. "And an animal crate as well."

"An animal?" Topher asked.

"Yes, My father allowed me to take my cat with me. Is that going to be all right?" Charlotte asked. It had never occurred to her that she might not be able to keep her pet. Would the Carey's turn it out on the street?

"I'm not sure," Topher replied truthfully. "I've never known the Carey's to own a pet. But I wouldn't worry too much. They're too soft-hearted to say no. Most of the time," he added. "Your baggage slip?"

"Oh!" Charlotte gasped, fumbling in her pocket for her ticket and handing it to Topher who quickly located her trunk and crate.

"What's his name?" Topher asked, looking inside the crate at the large black cat inside.

"Petit Noir Ours. Little Black Bear, in English."

Topher chuckled at this. "Little Bear. He does suit his name. He's certainly big enough to be a small bear!" He put the trunk and crate on a buggy and beckoned for Charlotte to follow him. "Come along, it's not far back to the house but my mother will have my head if you aren't home in time for your first English dinner." Charlotte followed him outside into the city of London. She looked up in awe at the architecture, which she had only ever seen in pictures. It was breathtaking.

"Sorry that the Careys weren't able to fetch you personally," Topher apologized as they walked to the car. "They were detained at the theatre and asked me to come for you instead. They're busy people, you should know that, but they're good people."

"Does Helen still act? What about her husband?" Charlotte asked interestedly.

"Helen is still one of the foremost actresses in the city," Topher said with a tone of surprise. "Didn't you know? She's quite famous. So is Lewis, but he isn't an actor. He's a playwright. One of the best of his time, they say."

"Oh, how wonderful!" Charlotte exclaimed, excited to be staying with such a family.

"What about you?" Topher asked as he opened the trunk to the car and set in Charlotte's trunk. "I hear you come from a theatre family as well."

"Mother never really liked to talk about it," Charlotte said shortly. This was her first day in England. She didn't want to spoil it with thinking about her mother, the one who had sent her away without a second thought. "She always said that it was vulgar to have children in the theatre. And as I got older, she still didn't want me around, even though my brother would go to her shows with my father."

"Maybe it was because you were a girl?" Topher asked. He opened the passenger door for Charlotte. She stepped into the car and sat, looking at the red velvet seats and glossy interior. This family was surely rich and didn't spare money on their automobile.

"Maybe," Charlotte murmured back, although she wasn't quite paying attention. She gently ran her fingers along the soft burgundy seats, the silver door handles. It was all so classy. She caught a glimpse of herself in the car mirror and put her hand to her face. "Do I look alright?" she asked Topher.

He turned on the car before turning sideways to her. "Are you trying to impress somebody?" he asked with a smile. His smile strangely reminded Charlotte of Luc's smile...the way his mouth crinkled at the corners and how dimples deepened in his cheeks.

"I just don't want to look a mess before meeting the Careys," Charlotte explained. She glanced again to the mirror, but everything seemed just as when she had left that morning. Her hat was still staunchly placed over her glossy hair. Her dark eyes were alert and her cheeks rosy with nervous jumped in surprise when she felt Topher take her hand.

"Miss Martin," he said with a friendly grin. It was strange for Charlotte to hear herself be called that, instead of Mademoiselle. "Miss Martin, you look lovely. You have absolutely nothing to worry about. I promise." He squeezed her hand once more before shifting the car into drive and pulling out from the lot of the train station.

It only took a moment for Charlotte to forget her fears as Topher pulled the car out into the streets of London. Although rain still pounded at her windows, Charlotte pressed her hands against them and watched in awe at the passing buildings and cars. Everything seemed so different than in France! Everything was...busier, and at the same time more practical. Women ran through the rain in tan trench coats, shielding their hair with folded up newspapers. Men walked down the sidewalks briskly, holding umbrellas, not bothering to try and catch a car. Children crowded under the porch of the film theater, playing a game.

"C'est beau," Charlotte whispered with a smile. "It's beautiful."

"Is it?" Topher asked interestedly. "I've lived in London my whole life. I suppose I take it for granted. I can't imagine it's any more wonderful than Paris."

"Oh, but it is!" Charlotte nodded excitedly, grinning as she took in all the new sights and sounds. "Paris is absolutely gorgeous. But London is, too. In its own way..."

Soon they were turning onto a street lined with mansions. Charlotte was nearly trembling with anticipation-the Careys surely lived in one of these beautiful homes! Back in France, Charlotte had lived in an apartment building with her family. It had been more than spacious for the family, but she couldn't imagine what it would be like to live in one of these grand houses!

Finally, Topher pulled up to a corner lot. The house was large, with at least three levels and more windows than Charlotte could count, and it was colored a golden brown. It wasn't the largest house on the street, but it was certainly grand.

Topher pulled to the front of the house and got out of the car. He limped to the other side, opening Charlotte's door for her, and the pair ran to the front door in the pouring rain.

"I'll have to pull the car to the back," Topher told Charlotte over the pounding of the raindrops. He unlocked the door. "But I'll be back with your luggage." He opened the front door for her and guided her inside before running back to the car.

Charlotte turned and admired the front parlor she was now standing in. The carpeting was plush and red, the same red as the seats from the car. All the furniture was a deep oak and the walls were colored a rich golden color. Over the fireplace, which filled the room with a comfortable warmth, hung a lovely painting of a young man in a military uniform.

Charlotte stood uneasily in her wet shoes, hoping she wouldn't create a mess with her damp clothing. It was strange to be standing in an unfamiliar house, the one she would be living in for the upcoming months, or even years. It was eerily quiet.

"Hello?" Charlotte asked timidly, glancing around at her surroundings. Surely a beautiful home like this had servants wandering about? "Hello, is anyone here?" she asked again. She wandered over to a nearby table, where a few framed photographs stood. Perhaps there were some of her parents! Charlotte touched the silver frames, looking at each one, but they all held images of the same beautiful blonde, either onstage or holding bouquets of flowers, and a spectacled man sitting at his desk. "This must be them," Charlotte murmured to herself.

"I see you found the Careys," a voice said from behind. Charlotte turned sharply with a startled gasp. Standing nearby was a woman, probably around her mother's age, in a maid's uniform. She had dark hair tinted with gray, and pulled back into a bun. Her eyes were brown-like Topher's-and smiling.

"No need to be startled, m'dear!" she said with a smile. "I'm Mrs. Gates, Topher's mother. I'm the head lady at the Carey house," she introduced with a tilt of her head. "Except for Mrs. Carey, of course. And you must be Charlotte."

Charlotte nodded, suddenly at a loss for words. She could never understand how she could be so friendly and outspoken at school and home, but that sometimes when she met strangers she could clam up like a little child.

"It's wonderful to meet you. We've looked so forward to your arrival," Mrs. Gates said. She seemed to be surveying Charlotte from top to bottom, as if memorizing her. "Well then!" she said with a smile. "We should get you settled in before suppertime. Come along, I'll show you to your rooms."

Mrs. Gates' walked briskly, just like her son, as if they had to make good time. Charlotte followed her down a long hallway with framed portraits and up a back staircase.

"Mrs. Carey tried to make your room as comfortable as possible," Mrs. Gates told Charlotte as she led her to a doorway and produced a key. "But upon such short notice, she fears it may not be up to her usual standards. Nevertheless, I'm sure you'll be pleased with her work." Mrs. Gates gave Charlotte a reassuring smile before opening the door to her new room. Charlotte couldn't help herself-she grinned in happiness.

Her new room was painted a buttery yellow, with heavy cream curtains hanging from the large windows. Her bed, set in the corner, was dressed in a flowered comforter and had a wicker headboard. Also in her room there was a white writing desk and bookshelf, and a wicker table set, perfect for breakfast. In front of the largest window was built a white window seat where she could read or just look down at the London streets.

"And your washroom," Mrs. Gates continued, opening an adjoining door. The washroom was equally wonderful, with her own tub and set of mirrors. Charlotte could hardly wait to take a bath in the gleaming porcelain.

"I hope you find your room to your liking?"

Charlotte nodded earnestly. "Oh, yes! It's absolutely beautiful!"

Mrs. Gates smiled. "I'm glad. I should be getting back to making supper, but if you need anything be sure to ring for me." She gestured to a little bell attached to the wall by Charlotte's bed. "Our system is a bit outdated, but we don't mind. There is a young maid who comes to clean in the afternoons, but other than her, Topher and I are the only servants around the house." After seeing Charlotte's surprise, she continued, "There used to be many more of us. After the war started, many of our manservants went off to the military and our maids went to the country. We're the ones who stayed behind."

"And your husband?" Charlotte asked interestedly. But at once she regretted asking. Mrs. Gates face saddened at the question.

"My husband died years ago, in the same accident that killed Topher's sister Anna."

Charlotte's eyes widened. "Oh, I'm so sorry! Is that what injured Topher's leg, as well? Is that what makes him limp?"

Mrs. Gates looked a bit surprised by Charlotte's questions. "Yes," she finally answered. "His leg was crushed in the accident. He's lucky he can walk at all. But he's still so sad he can't become a soldier like..." she stopped and cleared her throat and Charlotte knew they were finished talking about that.

"The Careys have requested supper at seven o' clock," Mrs. Gates said in a newly cheerful tone. "Topher will bring your luggage up to your room. If your clothes have been mussed by your travels, leave them the basket in your washroom and I'll wash them tonight. Mrs. Carey ordered you a few things in case you weren't able to bring many clothes from Paris. They're here in the wardrobe," she said, opeining the doors to the tall wooden closet. "You'll find everything in there."

"Thank you," Charlotte said to Mrs. Gates as she left the room, pulling the door closed behind her. Charlotte looked around her new room with a small smile. She pulled off her coat and hat and set them on the bed together, smoothing her cream colored dress with her hands. It was nice, she decided, but it was so Parisien. It would be nicer to wear something English for her first supper in England.

She walked to the wardrobe and looked at the clothes Mrs. Carey-Helen-had ordered for her. There was quite a selection of dresses hanging, as well as skirts and blouses; shoes were set on the bottom shelf and hats and gloves at the top. Most of the dresses' skirts were narrower than they were in France, Charlotte noticed, and shorter as well. She bit her lip, trying to decide what to wear before finally selecting a modest but classy black dress from the wardrobe, and little shiny heels to go with it.

After dressing, Charlotte went to her coat and pulled from the pocket a photograph she had stuck in there before leaving Paris. Clutching them in her hands, she walked over to the mirror which hung above her writing desk. Smiling to herself, Charlotte stuck the photograph of Luc in the corner of the mirror's frame. It was her favorite picture of him. He was about thirteen or fourteen years old and on the beach of their favorite vacation spot. He was kneeling beside a sandcastle, grinning, squinting into the sunset with his hair blowing in the summer wind. Oh, how she missed him already.

Charlotte looked past the photograph to her own reflection in the mirror. She took a deep breath.

"This is a fresh start," Charlotte whispered to herself. "This is a brand new beginning, without the frustrations and hurt that built up over so many years. This is a new chance to be happy, to have everything I wanted. This can be the beginning of a new life, a wonderful one that I had always wanted for myself, but could never have." She glanced over at the photograph of Luc. Oh, how she wanted him to be there with her.

"I promise," she whispered, touching the photograph gently. "I promise I'll make you proud. I promise I'll be a better Charlotte than I ever was. I promise, Luc."