Chapter 7

“Good morning Miss Shirley.” said Bertha as she opened the curtains of my bedroom window. I yawned tiredly. Today I had to wake up extra early than I usually did, to be extra prepared and organized, for the trip to my grandparents’ place in the Hamptons. I was almost done packing but it would not hurt to check if I had forgotten an item, or if I had overpacked, which I had done.

“Uhhh… Good morning Bertha, what time is it?” I inquired as I stretched my arms, and looked around the room.

“It is 5:30, and time to awake to this lovely, freezing cold, New York morning.” laughed Bertha, heartily, as she opened the window. A cold gust of air entered the room which made it shiver, and hid back underneath my covers. Bertha teasingly tugged off the covers, leaving me feeling even colder.

“Bertha!” I exclaimed with annoyance, as I stepped out of bed and quickly tied my robe, and put on my slippers.

“That was the only way to get you up, you know.” laughed Bertha, shaking her head, as she left the room. “Also your grandparents will be here for breakfast in a few hours.” she added as she closed the door behind her.

I shook my head, with annoyance, and began getting ready for the morning. Today I decided to wear one of my nicer outing outfits, my grandmother had very high standards in clothing, so a good impression was key.

I decided to pin my hair up into a losenot, there was no need to look older, today. After all my appearance preparations, I sternly told myself to be charming and polite, to have an impact on both my grandparents and their associates. This Christmas may be my chance in a successful life, to make successful friends.

Downstairs I saw Henry, who was surprisingly awake(he despised mornings). “Good morning Shirley.” he said as he looked through a newspaper.

“Good morning to you Henry. Well you look good today.” I said with a laugh. It was true. He was dressed in one of his modestly nice suits, which made him look older and more professional.

“You flatter me sister.” he replied with a laugh, as he put down the paper. “Well to change this rather foolish conversation, when are our grandparents coming?” I asked curiously.

“No idea. They come when they come.” replied Henry, as he gestured to me to follow him. “What is it?” I asked as he led me towards the entrance.

“Let’s go for a short walk. Our grandparents won’t come anytime soon, and besides if we are late we have an understandable excuse.” he replied as he handed me a coat, which I took. The walk was a peaceful one, everyone in New York seemed to be still asleep, and everything seemed very Christmas like.

It was unbearably cold though, so our walk was very quick in length, before we knew it our figures were numb, and our cheeks bitten with frost, so we decided to head home. Henry was correct, our grandparents had still not arrived, which left me plenty of time to idle about, in boredom. 

At last! I thought when I finally heard a knocking noise. I hurriedly answered the door, beating Lizzy, who was also hurrying for the door. Quickly but calmly I opened the door to my awaiting grandparents. After a quick greeting, I led them inside, where Henry greeted them also, then we had a quick and simple breakfast, which was strangely quiet and uncomfortable.

After that our grandparents had to leave to attend an unexpected event, so again Henry and I were left alone, so we decided to visit Central park to feed the ducks again, then meet up with grandparents at the Grand Central. Which we exactly did.

At last, Henry and I boarded a train with our grandparents, we were going to the Hamptons! I felt overwhelmed with excitement. I had only been to the Hamptons a few times, but I remembered everything, the fine mansions, the rich guests, and the clean sea air.

“Shirley and Henry, now that we are here, your grandmother and I decided it was best to tell you both about the events you will be attending.” said my grandfather, seriously.

Henry looked at me, with the look “I knew this was going to happen”, as my grandfather continued, in his stern old voice. “In two days you both will be attending a party at one of my associates, Mr. Clark. Then we will have a luncheon at your great-aunt Dahlia’s house, and probably two more luncheons with different associates. There will be more parties, the invitations have not yet been sent. So please show a decent impression, represent us.” said my grandfather.

“Harold I am absolutely positive they will be charming, especially Shirley. Not dull which goes for Henry. And I believe they will state a good impression on the family.” retorted my grandmother, with a twinkle in her eye.

“Grandparents, we will do our best.” said Henry speaking for both of us.

“Good.” he replied sternly, as he turned away his gaze towards the window. The rest of the rather quick trip by train was rather quiet, and stiff. But I was with my grandparents, who were not the loving and gentle sort. When the train finally stopped at our destination it was already mid afternoon, and a soft light glowed down upon us.

After two more minutes of waiting my grandparent’s main servant drove in with my grandparents’ automobile. Quickly we all entered inside the automobile. The quick drive from the station was a rather dangerous one, with the automobile skidding about on the ice, which left my grandmother pale, and I clutching onto something. But we, much to everyone’s relief, arrived at my grandparents mansion in one piece.

As I stepped out of the automobile I realized that my grandparent’s home was far larger and grander than I had remembered, much bigger than my home back home in New York, I felt slightly overwhelmed, but decided to conceal it. Henry squeezed my shoulder gently, as if saying, “we would get used to this”, as he stared up at the building. Then we both followed our grandparents towards the door, entering their world.


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