A/N: This is my first try at a story, and I am no expert by far at writing. I mainly do it because my love of history and creative writing. So of course I can't always be accurate – nobody can! I'm bound to make mistakes, but I ask that you please read and review! And most of all enjoy! Thank you for reading. :D
NOTE(S) OF IMPORTANCE : Kate's given name is Audria Cathleen Kerr, but as a child she took a liking to the name Kate and demanded for many people to call her such, in matters or formality and to her parents she is known is Audria. I will not to confuse readers too much, by only calling her Audria when someone is speaking.
Another small note, rear view windows were not standard production on cars until 1916.
" You're such a silly girl Kate." Her older sister said with only a hint of mirth as she looked up from whatever it was she was writing in a ledger. In return the adolescent girl set her jaw determinedly and looked back down at the book she was currently reading. She tried for a moment and a half to recover the spot she had attempted to read for over fifteen minutes but her eyes were not up to the task, and she slouched a bit as she began flipping through the pages in the book. Was there no end?
Just at that moment their mother came in, immediately setting her eyes on her youngest daughter. "Sit up properly Audria," the woman sharply bid. "Young women of consequence do not lounge about like nobodies, look at Leandra and how well she is keeping her form." Their mother gave a rare smile to the older daughter.
"How are your calculations coming, as of now?" The mother questioned with a worried look, breezing behind the girls chair to peer over her shoulder. "Will the amount your father offered be able to suffice the cost, or will more be needed?"
"More than enough, mama," Leandra said furiously scribbling on the paper with the excitement yet composure of somebody who thought themselves anything but non orderly. Finally finished, she picked the tome up and offered it to her mother.
The older woman smiled grimly at what Kate could only guess were prices for Leandra's upcoming nuptials. She watched over her own book – The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton, something her mother would have found less than amusing if she actually paid attention to more than the outside cover. Kate at the moment was only trying to act like she was reading the book without doing it much real justice.
"Yes, this is good." Their mother sighed, setting down the book and walking to look out the large window for a moment before turning back around. For once an easy smile rested on her lips, "How is your reading coming along my dear?"
"Well enough mother, I-I've made quite some progress to-day." Kate lied, looking down and found that through all her vain flipping she'd ended up on only page fifty-two.
"Oh really?" Her mother raised an eyebrow, an expression Kate wasn't keen enough to realize crossing the woman's face – humour. Eleanor Kerr was hardly one to believe the girl of fourteen was anything if interested in a book for long enough to finish it, to get the full gist of it.
Kate nodded solemnly, "Yes mother." She whispered, casting her eyes back down on the book. And for a moment Elle Kerr wished she could have had the connection with Kate that she did with Leandra. "Well, I will be back later. I am going to have Carter drive me to a meeting in town." She smiled as Leandra sprang up to give her a small gesture of affection, but Kate sat motionless in the chair, eyes scanning a page in what looked like concentration. A farce in reality.
So Eleanor Kerr breezed out without bidding the girl any goodbye at all.
Early May, 1915
Kate Kerr was nothing like her older sister and this revelation though not anything new to her as she stared at the reflection in the gilded mirror on top of her vanity. It made her sigh and deflate as she slouched in her chair. Upset as she stared back defiantly at the image the mirror cast - Her own.
No matter how hard she tried, wished, or wept she knew that she would never be able to change her toffee brown eyes, or pin straight medium brown hair. Nor would any powder settle in doing her will and covering the freckles that dusted across her nose.
She wished sometimes she was like Leandra, polished and refined. Or like their cousin Lydia, worldly and a great beauty. At parties Kate always felt like the dowdy kid sister, still dressed like a child. Her mother still thought her youngest was far from a lady. And Eleanor Kerr was not a woman Kate liked to mince words with, because she tended to lose.
She looked back glumly at her angular face. Why couldn't she be a dazzling and like those Gibson girls like her sister with the small waist and pompadour? With her long straight hair and frank brown gaze she knew she wasn't much to look at, her hair would never stay up in all the pretty styles like her mama and Leandra.
She sighed, finally turning away from the mirror and looking around at her small room. Longer than it was wide it had wooden paneling on the walls, and blue carpeting – mama said it was all the rage to have carpeting these days. Her room was decorated in blues'. Light blue curtains on the lone window at the one end of the room, a straight shot from the door. In one corner by the door was her white framed bed, a blue spread made upon it, Kate, with her luxurious upper middle class life had no idea how you made a bed, Tamara, one of the family servants did it for her.
Kate couldn't think of anything to do as she drummed her fingers absently against the windowsill, looking out into the bright sunshine of the morning she paused and caused her attention to be jarred away from the cottonwood seeds floating by in disarray by sharp yet firm footsteps coming up the walk way. She looked down and her mouth fell open to give out a strangled cry, she leaned out the window excitedly, waving.
"Carter! Carter! Have you any news from town?" She cried gleefully, only to be given the simple nod the man had accomplished over many years of answering the youngest Miss Kerr's questioning on any and everything.
"No'm, afraid no letters or anything worthwhile in the post this time."
"Not even news of the war?" Kate asked in a confused daze.
The man began, looking down at the news tucked under his arm. "Well – yes miss, but I know your mother does not want –
"I'll be right down!" The girl cried excitedly quickly clambering out of her room and down the staircase in a ball of excitement. She quickly made her way through the main hall and into the entrance hall, running out the front door to meet Carter, who was just then coming up the steps.
"What is it? What is it!?" It seemed Carter was hiding something from her, trying to keep the paper away from her. Forgetting her manners she pulled the newsprint out of the middle-aged man's hands and made a sharp sound of flicking the front head line open. Her mouth gaping a little, as it tended to do when she was thoroughly shocked.
"B-but Carter? Surely not!" In her hands lay the Boston Evening Globe, "LUSITANIA SUNK; NOT KNOWN HOW MANY PASSENGERS SAVED, TORPEDOED BY GERMANS, REMAINED AFLOAT TWELVE HOURS."
"No, it cannot simply be possible. Why, there were Americans on that ship and we're neutral, the Germans would be too stupid to think – to think they can get away with this-" she waved the paper around, while catching up with the servant who was briskly starting to walk off down the hallway, trying to put distance between himself and the innocent naiveté of Miss Kerr.
But her legs were nearly as long as his and she caught up quickly. She didn't understand why no one around her seemed to want to join the cause in war. Why did they not want to help the British? Whenever her cousin Lydia wrote a letter she always seemed to ask that exact question.
"Well now we shall join the war surely!" Kate chortled with eagerness.
Carter spun around. "Miss. I say this out of kindness only; it would not be in our best interest as a country to join the war."
"But it is in our best interest to supply for the warfare?" She shot back hotly.
The man knew he had been somewhat cornered and he smiled softly, "Yes miss that it might be."
"When shall we act, shall we wait till the Huns come knocking at our front door, when we could surely start them while they are still by the front walk yet if it weren't for that ostensible Wilson and his tisket-tasket ways!?" She asked with a shake of the post as she looked at the offending news once more. Something rustled behind her.
"So I see you've learned of the newest actualitys to grace us."
Kate turned to find her mother standing there a small, grim smile distorting her fine features. Carter stood there, opening and closing his mouth, rubbing at his forehead, thinking of some way to show his own upholding innocence. That he had been coerced by the strong willed girl.
"It's fine Carter, she would have had to have learned somewhere sometime soon. And it's best she says such things about the president here were she will not be scorned quite as much as if she were to say them to the whole populous.
Kate murmured angrily. "What things? The truth, how are president is a no-doer."
Carter simply heaved a sigh and was gone within a moment. Much to Kate's grief, leaving her alone with her mother. "Follow me." Commanded with force Kate did as she was bid and soon found herself sitting across from her mother with tea served up to her as well.
"Kate," Elle sighed, finding it best to use familiarity to sway her daughter as she set down the cup she had been about to drink when she had heard the outburst, as anybody in that part of the house was sure to have. "I'm afraid … I – I just hope you haven't been too influenced by the letters from your cousins in Nottinghamshire. I think them well girls, and fine young men … But, they are British citizens unlike you. You must understand things are different here. We aren't involved Audria and we must act like Americans, even if it means not being involved –
"The Canadians are." The girl huffed.
"We aren't Canadian either." Her mother raised an eyebrow.
"But mama! You're British at heart and surely you must-"
"I have lived in New England for twenty-one years. I think myself well liking the U.S. now Audria, now you simply must put this adamant war support to rest or else I must discuss it with your father."
Kate knew the fight was lost then, and she gave up. Focusing on her tea. "Very. Well." She said evenly.
Berlin, New Hampshire
Late May, 1915
"This dress is too scratchy!" Kate moaned loudly as she looked out the window of her father's car as they drove along the country road. "Why do we even have to go to go to Berlin?" She asked, Leandra looked over at her worriedly and moved to touch her hand.
Her father looked in the rear view mirror, his cold blue eyes meeting her hazel ones. "That will be enough Audria." Kate grimaced and Leandra squeezed her hand softly.
"You like the Lyle's Kate. It should be fun."
The girl nodded, knowing in fact she did not like the Lyle's especially Randall Lyle the middle son. And in fact she would be having no fun at all.
"Yes of course. Fun." She smiled sadly as Leandra began to chatter animatedly between her sister and mother about her upcoming wedding next summer.