Chapter 4

“Hello, I’m Nell Frayne, Win’s aunt.” 

The words seemed to echo in Katie’s ears.  This wasn’t the way she’d ever hoped to meet the elegant Mrs. Frayne.  But she forced herself to return the older woman’s greeting and smile.

“Hello, Mrs. Frayne.  How do you do?”  she replied politely, although she felt her face grow even redder with the knowledge of her mussed appearance.  “Yes, I’m Katrina, but most people call me Katie.”  

“It’s lovely to meet you.”  Mrs. Frayne gestured toward the house.  “Would you like to freshen up inside?  Our cook has just made some lemonade, and you’re welcome to enjoy a cool drink after your walk.  My husband should be home soon, and after our treat, perhaps Win can drive you home in his uncle’s car.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Frayne.  I’d love to freshen up.” 

“Take her inside, Win, dear, and ask Beryl to serve lemonade and cookies in the parlor.”  Nell indicated her gardening attire.  “I need to change, too, and then we’ll sit down for a light snack.” 

“Sure, Aunt Nell.”  Win shifted the cooler to his other shoulder.  “Come on, Katie.  I’ll take you inside.”

Katie was awed by the elegant home, with its heavy carved furniture and the thick drapes drawn against the summer heat.  Velvety oriental rugs cushioned their footsteps, and the dark fluted woodwork gleamed with polish.  In a downstairs powder room, she closed the door and looked into a mirror for the first time.

“Ugh!”  She grimaced at the sight of her rosy face and bedraggled hair.  Quickly, she grabbed a comb from her pocketbook and began to tease out the tangles and twirl the curly mess into something resembling her usual ponytail.  Next, she splashed water on her face and washed her hands.  Every bit of her makeup had come off in the water, and she wished she had thought to bring her cake of mascara.  Oh, well, Win always says he loves nature.  He’ll have to put up with my natural look.  

As she sat in the Fraynes’ elegant parlor, drinking iced lemonade with Win and his aunt, she had to force herself not to gaze around at the elaborate draperies, carpets, and furniture.  Plainly, the Fraynes lived in another stratosphere.  Mrs. Frayne, however, seemed sweet and friendly.  “How is your mother doing, dear?” she asked as she poured Katie’s second glass of lemonade.

“She’s well, I suppose,” Katie ventured.  “She’s always working, you know.  Even if she doesn’t feel very lively, she’s at her sewing machine.”

“And do you sew, too?”  Mrs. Frayne continued.

“Oh, no,” Katie replied.  “Not that I haven’t tried it.  But I guess I’m too impatient.  I spend more time ripping out what I’ve done, than making progress.  Mamma decided a long time ago that I would do better at housekeeping than sewing.”  Fearing that her last comment sounded too lower-class, she hurried to add, “Of course, I hope to go to college next year, after I graduate.”

“How wonderful,” Aunt Nell said with a decisive nod and an eager clap.  “I like to see women who want to develop their minds as well as their domestic talents.  What do you plan to study?”

“Um, I’m not sure yet.”  Katie felt flustered again.  “I’ve thought about secretarial studies, nursing, and teaching.  But none of those seems to really appeal to me.  I hope I can find something that’s really interesting to study.”

Win checked his watch.  “Aunt Nell, I really need to get Katie home soon.  Uncle James wasn’t staying late at the office today, was he?”

“No, dear.  He should be home any minute.”  Aunt Nell’s bright blue eyes twinkled as she spoke to her nephew.  Just then, they heard a car pull into the porte-cochere.  Moments later, a distinguished-looking, elderly gentleman with bushy white eyebrows walked into the parlor.

“Good evening, Nell, my dear,” he greeted his wife, bending down to kiss her cheek.  “Win, my boy, glad you’re home.  Is this your little friend Katie?”  His deep-set green eyes sized her up in a shrewd glance.

Win stood as his uncle spoke.  “Yes, Uncle James, this is Katie.  We had a picnic at the Spencer lake today, and Aunt Nell invited her in for some lemonade.  I was just about to take her home, if I might borrow your car for the trip.” 

“You know you’re always welcome to use the car, Win.”  James tossed the keys to his nephew.  “So, you live near Hawthorne Street, do you?”  he asked.  “Your mother’s a seamstress?”

“Y-y-yes, sir.”  Katie was so intimidated by those bushy eyebrows that she stammered, which was a thing she never did. 

“How do the people on Hawthorne Street feel about the new hospital?” James quizzed her.  “It should be pretty handy for them.  We’re even going to put in a clinic for well-baby visits.”

Katie was embarrassed to admit she hadn’t heard any talk about the new hospital.  She was always too busy studying or working, and she had few friends at school, where her fellow students considered her standoffish.  “I’m sure they’re happy, Mr. Frayne.  It’s a great thing that the hospital is being built as close to Hawthorne Street as it is.”

“People complain that it’s too far from town, but there aren’t any pieces of property large enough for the grounds, let alone the building, in the downtown area.”

“I’m sure it will be wonderful,” she replied, feeling more stupid than ever.  Exactly where was the hospital being built?  Surely she should know that, if it was so close to Hawthorne Street.

“Katie, let’s get going.”  Win rescued her from the awkward conversation.  “I promised your mother I’d have you home by suppertime.”

“Sure,” she agreed.  “I’m ready.” She extended her hand to Mrs. Frayne.  “It was so nice to meet you.  Thank you for the lemonade.”

“It was my pleasure.”  The white-haired woman smiled and grasped her hand with a kind squeeze. 

Mr. Frayne walked with the young couple to the front door.  “It was good to meet you, Miss Vanderheiden.  Win’s been a little distracted this summer, and if you’re the cause, I can see why.”

She smiled uncertainly, not sure he was paying her a compliment.

“Drive carefully, Win.  And Miss Vanderheiden, construction hasn’t started on the hospital yet, but it’s definitely going to be an asset to Sleepyside and the people of the Hawthorne area.”

“Yes, I’m sure it will.  I’ll be anxious to see it.”  She breathed a sigh of relief when Win’s uncle didn’t follow them onto the porch.

Win opened the car door and held it while she slid into the front seat.  Once he’d settled into his own seat and adjusted the mirrors, he took her hand and smiled at her.  “Don’t let Uncle James bother you, Katie.  He’s so enthusiastic about the hospital because he’s heading up the construction committee.  That hospital is almost as much his baby as Frayne Enterprises, and he thinks everyone else is as fascinated by it as he is.”

“I guess you’re right.”  She smiled back at him with more confidence now that she was away from James Frayne.  “For a minute there I thought he was trying to warn me to stay away from you.”

“He can’t see that we’re just friends, just having fun,” Win said, starting the car and heading toward the road.  He was looking straight ahead and she was glad he didn’t notice the way her face fell at his words.

October, 1949

Katie walked slowly home from school on a fine Indian summer afternoon.  It was her day off from Hot Dog Heaven, and she meant to enjoy the beautiful weather while she could.  Soon she’d have to start sending out college applications, and she felt no more certain of her future study plans than she had during the summer.  But her senior year was already flying by, and she’d have to make a decision soon.  She wondered what Win was doing on this fine day.  He’d kept his promise to write, and she received a short letter from him nearly every week.  The letters weren’t really personal; he filled them with anecdotes about the squirrels that lived in the majestic old trees around his dormitory, his rowing team and their races on the Charles River, or the skits he and his friends put on for their “club”.

As impersonal as they were, Katie cherished each letter.  To her, they represented a window into another world, one that she could never enter.  Her world involved studying, keeping the little house on Hawthorne Street neat, and working at a drive-in restaurant five days a week, after school and on weekends.  Every Saturday morning she walked to the bank and deposited another ten dollars into her college fund.  The fund was scanty enough; she had nothing left for luxuries.  No theater dates, afternoons spent rowing on a scenic river, or leisurely walks in tree-lined quadrangles of dignified brick buildings, watching the squirrels scamper over the ground and among the trees.

She pulled his latest letter from her purse and unfolded it for perhaps the tenth time, reading as she walked along.

“Dear Katie, I hope you and your mother are doing well and that you are enjoying the same fine weather we’re having.  Matt and I went into the city last weekend with his new girlfriend, Celeste, and saw a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado.  My friend Alice Rainsford met us at the theater, and we went to dinner afterward at a restaurant in the theater district.  Great show—you would have liked it.

  A tear splashed onto the page, causing the ink to run.   

“Katie Vanderheiden!”  The voice penetrated her unhappy thoughts and she stopped, shading her eyes as she glanced around.

It was Dick Olyfant.  She forced herself not to just keep walking.  Dick wasn’t one of her favorite people.  He was a lanky stringbean of a boy who liked to act tough, and kept his dark hair slicked back in a ducktail hairstyle.  His family owned the house where Katie and her mother lived, as well as a nearby boardinghouse that always had something broken on it.  What could he want?

“Hey, Katie,” he said, stopping an uncomfortably short distance away from her. 

“Hi, Dick.” She managed to smile when she spoke, but it was an act of will.  “What did you want?”

“Jeez, can’t a fellow talk to a girl?”  He leered at her and she couldn’t help it.  She had to look away.  He reached for her hand and she snatched it back, shifting her books to the arm closest to him.  

“Sorry, my books were getting heavy on that side,” she excused herself.

“Well, I wanted to see if you’d like to ask me to the Sadie Hawkins dance,” he said.  “We could be a good couple.”

Katie couldn’t believe her ears.  Accompany Dick Olyfant to the dance—as his date?  She thought fast; after all, Dick was her landlord’s son, and she didn’t want to do anything that would cause Frank Olyfant to hold a grudge against her or her mother.  

“Dick, I’m really sorry, but I have to work the night of the dance,” she told him.  And I will work, if I have to beg Arnie to schedule me.  I’d rather die than go on a date with him.

“Aw, you mean you can’t get Sally to trade with you?  Doesn’t she owe you a favor or something?”  So, he was going to press.  She might have known.

“She told me her parents are taking her out of town to see her grandma that weekend,” she quickly extemporized.  “Her grandma’s been sick and they’re afraid she might not be around much longer.”  I’ve got to call Sally right away when I get home, she thought.  It won’t do for Dick to talk to her first.

“You’ll be missing out on a good time,” he insisted.  “I could show you a good time.  At the dance and after, too.”

She repressed a shudder.  “I’m sorry, Dick.  But I can’t do anything about it.”

“That’s why they all call you the Ice Princess, I guess.  Suit yourself.”  He turned on his heel and walked in the opposite direction.

The Ice Princess.  Not a very flattering nickname, but she knew about it long before Dick mentioned it.  She couldn’t think of any boy in her class who she’d want to date; none of them could compare to Win Frayne.  Maybe she couldn’t have Win, but she didn’t intend to settle for any of the boys at Irving, either.  They had no higher ambition than working at the prison, selling cars at the local Packard dealership, or becoming a clerk at the new supermarket that was going up two blocks away from the bank.  If only she could go to White Plains and attend the new Westchester Community College, she might be able to meet some boys from Sleepyside High School, in the nicer part of town.  Maybe someone who worked in a bank or sold furniture.  Maybe even someone who was studying to be a doctor or lawyer.  Of course, would someone like that ever want to go out with a carhop?  Her thoughts ran in the well-worn track of her constant dilemma:  How to meet someone with a future, who could take her away from the poverty of Hawthorne Street, versus how to get away from the poverty of Hawthorne Street so she could meet someone who might have a more prosperous future?

The meeting with Dick had spoiled her good mood, and by the time she reached her home she was feeling discouraged about her present as well as her future.  Even seeing the mailman on her porch didn’t raise her spirits.

“Hi there, Katie,” he greeted her with a wide smile.  “You’ve got another letter from Boston.”

She blushed.  “Thanks, Mr. Delanoy!  How are you?”  She increased her pace, barely restraining herself from rushing up to the mailbox.  

December 1949

That Christmas was the most beautiful holiday season Katie could remember.  Days before school finished up for the holidays, snow started falling.  Gently but continuously, large, puffy flakes fell from the sky, quickly coating the ground with  a fluffy white blanket that glittered when the weak winter sun emerged during midday.  Even the grubby Hawthorne Street neighborhood took on a clean, fresh look as snow obliterated and blurred the grime and dilapidation.  Children shouted and laughed as they built snowmen and snow forts in the small yards and vacant lots.  Katie watched them all from inside, wishing she was young enough to join the children. Teenaged boys who wanted to earn a little pocket money fanned out over the neighborhood.  When a freshman from her high school rang the doorbell looking for a job, she paid him fifty cents to shovel snow from the Vanderheidens’ short front walk.

“Are you going to the Christmas caroling, mijn schatje?” her mother called out from the sewing room.   “You might need to start getting ready.  It’s almost five now.”

Sally, her friend and coworker at Hot Dog Heaven, had come up with the plan for a group of their classmates to meet and sing at the homes of some shut-in elderly people in the neighborhood that night.  Sally had suggested that the two of them could drive out to Hot Dog Heaven afterward for Arnie’s latest special—hot chocolate.  Earlier in the week, Katie had been excited about caroling with the others.  When she learned that Dick Olyfant was joining the group, most of her enthusiasm had faded away.  Although Dick had taunted her as an Ice Princess, he’d continued his efforts to get her to go out with him.  Her fount of excuses was scraping the bottom and it was annoying just being in a group with him, as he was constantly worming his way to stand next to her.

She crossed the room to join her mother.  “I was getting excited about it,” she admitted.  “Pattie, Libby, Bonnie, and Carol are all coming, and George, Howard, Jack and Charlie.  But then Dick Olyfant had to decide to invite himself.  Sally couldn’t tell him no after she’d spread the word among our class, but that ruined the whole plan.”  She frowned.  “I didn’t cancel, but now I don’t really want to go.”

“It’s not as if you have to go out with him,” her mother reassured her.  “Are any of the others going steady?” 

“Only Bonnie and George.  So it’s not really a couples outing.  Sally and I are going out to Hot Dog Heaven afterward by ourselves.  We have a couple of little gifts for Arnie and Martha.”

“In that case, it should be easy enough to stay close to the other girls,” Juliana comforted her.  “And if Sally can park her car here, the two of you can come back here after you sing; you can come inside and warm up while you wait for Dick to go away.  I hope you didn’t tell him you’re going somewhere afterward.”

“Don’t worry!  We didn’t breathe a word about that.”  Katie made up her mind.  “I am going.  He’s not going to control my life and what I do.”  She remembered something else.  “Mamma, put up your sewing for awhile.  My vegetable soup is ready to eat.”

Katie and Sally hurried back to the Vanderheiden house after caroling for six elderly people in the neighborhood.  “The smiles on the old peoples’ faces made all that tramping around in the cold worthwhile,” Sally exclaimed.

“Yes, I don’t even mind the snow that somehow made its way into my galoshes,” Katie agreed.  The other girls and boys had given her some buffer from Dick’s obnoxiousness, and at one point, when his heavy-handed flirting had just about touched her last nerve, Charlie Henderson had actually called him down.

“Charlie’s pretty nice,” she said, remembering.

“Yes, he is,” Sally replied.  “I’m surprised he came today.  He spends every free moment working to pay his way at Westchester Community College.” 

“Do you need to change shoes before we head out?” Sally asked.

Katie pulled off her galoshes.  “I’ll just run and change socks, they’ll be okay,” she said.  Minutes later they were in Sally’s car, headed out toward Hot Dog Heaven on the Albany Post Road.  Sally drove carefully, but the plows had been out and the road wasn’t bad.

As soon as they arrived at the drive-in restaurant, the two girls hopped out of the car and hurried inside, using the employee entrance.  It was unusual that neither of them was working, but the schedule had played into their plans perfectly.  Katie shushed Sally’s giggles before falling into a fit of them herself.  It was hard to restrain her high spirits long enough to present the surprise.

The intercom squawked and Arnie’s voice emerged from the crackle.  “What are you two girls doing here?  Thought you were caroling for the shut-ins tonight!”

“We needed a little snack after the hard work of singing,” Sally replied quickly.  “But we wanted to eat inside, if that’s okay.”

“As long as you don’t let the other customers see you.  But come on out to the order window so Martha and I can talk to you for a minute.”

Katie and Sally scurried through the connecting door between the kitchen and the break room, each holding a gaily wrapped package behind her back.

“Merry Christmas!” they cried in unison when Arnie came over to them, wiping his hands on the apron he wore while working.  His wife, Martha, who often helped out with the cooking during busy times, walked over, too.

“You girls didn’t need to come all the way out here in this weather,” she admonished.  “No one else did.”  She waved in the direction of the empty parking lot.

“Well, there is a basketball game tonight,” Katie said.  “Hopefully, some of the kids will be out after that.”

“Never mind that right now,” Sally told her.  “We’ve got a little something for both of you and it’s just as well there aren’t any customers.”  She thrust her package at Arnie and Katie held hers out to Martha.  The older couple opened the small packages and seemed delighted with a bottle of Old Spice for Arnie and Coty Intimate for Martha.

“Oh!  Thank you, girls.  This is too sweet!” Martha exclaimed.  “How did you know it was my favorite?”  She hugged Katie and Sally in turn before opening the bottle of cologne and applying a few dabs to her wrists and behind her ears.  Arnie, too, seemed pleased, although he didn’t open his bottle of aftershave.

“Thank you, girls,” he said.  “This wasn’t necessary, but it was very nice.  I’ll sure get some nice looks from the ladies when I wear it.”  He winked at his wife and put an arm around her waist.  “Now, you’d better skedaddle while the roads are still good.  We’re supposed to get some more of the white stuff tonight.”

“And, here comes a customer,” Martha added.  She pointed out to the lot where a car was flashing its lights. 

“I’ll run out and take the order before we go,” offered Katie.  “You won’t have to go out, Arnie.”

“I hope it’ll be a regular customer who knows you,” Arnie commented.  “I don’t want people to think anyone can run in and out of here taking orders.” 

Katie was almost out the door.  “I’ll come and get you if there’s any problem, don’t worry!” She darted out to the curb where a dark blue Packard was parked.  Tapping on the car window to get the driver’s attention, she about to ask for the driver’s order.  As the window was rolled down, Win Frayne’s face came into view, and she stopped mid-spiel.  “Win!  What are you doing here?”

“You sound disappointed to see me,” he teased.  “I finished up my finals and rode down on the train today.  Thought I’d take a chance you’d be working tonight—I was going to see if you wanted to go skating on the Spencers’ lake after you finished your shift.”

“How fun!”  Katie hadn’t ice-skated for a year or more, and her feet immediately itched to go.  “I’m actually off tonight,” she said, opening her swing coat to show she was out of uniform.  “Sally and I went caroling with some of the kids from school and then she and I came out to give Arnie and Martha their Christmas presents from us.”

“Well, that works out perfectly for me—I hope!”  Win grinned.  “Do you think your mother would mind if you went skating with me?”

“I’m sure she wouldn’t,” Katie agreed.  “But hey, if you want some food, let me go ahead and give Arnie your order.  Then I’ll see if Sally minds going back to town alone.”  She bit her lip and added, “If that’s what you meant, of course!”

“Sure.  I’ll have a chili dog, fries, and a Coke.  And I’ll take you home so you can check in with your mom and get your skates, if that’s okay.”

“That’s perfect,” Katie said with a smile.  “I’ll turn in your order now.  Arnie probably thinks I got lost out here already.”  She turned to go back inside, waving at him.

Sally hugged her and said she was perfectly happy to go back to town alone, and Katie took Win’s food out to him after bidding the Hartfords goodnight.  She was excited about spending time alone with him, as well as the skating.  


The two skaters glided along the lake’s frozen surface.  Hundreds of twinkling stars and a full moon illuminated the scene and lent a magical quality to the landscape; the snow glittered haphazardly along the shoreline.  Win was a strong skater and although Katie was much shorter, on the glassy surface their pace was well-matched.

“It’s so beautiful!” Katie exclaimed, watching the horizon change as they moved around the frozen surface.  A line of evergreens disappeared into a dip in the distance, and tall leafless sycamores and maple trees stretched black branches toward the sky.  One hand was tucked into the crook of Win’s arm, and the other was snug inside a warm glove.  If it started to get cold she could tuck it into her coat pocket.  She’d smoothed on a second pair of nylons and a thick pair of bobby socks before grabbing her skates from the closet, so her feet and legs were warm despite the fresh chilly air and the skirt she wore.  A blue knit beret kept her head warm.

Win was hatless but a soft thick scarf tucked into the neckline of his overcoat and a pair of leather gloves lined in rabbit fur protected him from the cold.  She admired his athletic form and smooth moves as they practiced a gliding waltz step on the ice.  “Some enchanted evening…” he sang in a pleasant baritone.

When the dance wound down, Win suggested a short break.  “Let’s just stop for a few minutes and enjoy.  I’ve got a little something for you,” he added. 

“Win!  You shouldn’t have!”  Her heart beat a bit faster, in spite of her protests.  She waited as he dug down into his coat pocket.  He withdrew his hand and she saw a very small, flattish box wrapped in red paper with a white ribbon bow.

“Here you go.  It’s just a little something that caught my eye and reminded me of you.”  He extended his hand and she took the box, turning it over and over.

“Go on, open it,” he said with a smile that was shy, for once.

She pulled her gloves off in order to manipulate the tiny package, and tried to untie its ribbon.  The paper was beautiful and she didn’t want to tear it, but the ribbon was tight.  Finally, she gave in and tore the red paper, pulling it and the ribbon off.  She held her breath and opened the little box.  It was a pin, a small brooch made of rhinestones in the shape of a pair of roller skates.

Unexpectedly, tears stung her eyes.  “Oh!  It’s beautiful,” she exclaimed, staring up at him with a brilliant smile.  “Thank you!  I only hope it didn’t cost too much,” she added conscientiously.

“Don’t worry, it didn’t.  But I liked it and wanted you to have it. I have to say, your ice-skating is just as good as your roller-skating.”

“Thank you again!  Oh, my!  Can you fasten it to my collar?” she asked, looking up at him trustingly.  “My hands are getting cold.”

“Sure.”  He took the pin and after a couple of tries, had it anchored jauntily in the collar of her coat.  “Shall we skate some more, or are you too cold?” he asked.

“No, I’m fine,” she replied, smoothing her gloves on again.  “My hands were just cold from taking off my gloves.”

She placed her hand in the crook of his arm and they took off again, gliding across the ice.  When had she enjoyed herself so much?  Wait—it was back during the summer when she’d spent time with Win.  Was it his personality, or just the fact that when she was with him, their activities and conversations took her away from her everyday cares and routines?  She mulled over the question in her mind as they skated around the shoreline.  She was so quiet that Win finally said, “A penny for your thoughts!”

“As a matter of fact, I was just thinking how much I’ve enjoyed spending time with you.  Not only tonight, but every time we’ve been together.  It seems like I can see the world through different eyes when I’m with you.”  She blushed as she ended the long speech.  “I know that sounds silly!”

“No, it doesn’t,” he protested.  “When I’m with you I see the world differently, too.”

“I honestly don’t know if I have such a good time with you just because it’s such a change from my regular life, or if it’s because we really have things in common,” she said before thinking.  As soon as the words left her mouth, she felt horrified at speaking so plainly.

“Our lives may be different, but we both want to have lives that are fulfilling and to experience different things,” Win said, smoothing over any awkwardness.  “Let’s try some partner skate-dancing again.  You sing this time.”

After an hour of skating, Katie was beginning to tire and to feel a chill in spite of the warmth produced by their vigorous exercise.  The magical scene dulled a bit and she looked up at Win, who seemed as fresh as he had at the beginning.

“Maybe we’d better stop now,” she suggested.  “I don’t want my mother to worry, and I’ll fix you a cup of cocoa if you take me home.”

“Sure.  You must be tired,” he agreed immediately.  They made their way back to the shore, where their shoes waited on the pebbly shale.  Win crouched down to unlace her skates. 

“Hold on to my shoulder and lift one foot,” he said. She placed a hand on his shoulder and he slipped the first one off her foot, holding it for a second.  “Your feet are so tiny.”

“Well, I’m pretty short,” she pointed out.  That probably has something to do with it.”   

“I suppose so.”  As she balanced on one skate-clad foot, he slipped her plush-lined short boot over her foot.  She pushed her foot into the boot and put it down on the snowy ground, then lifted the other one for him.

While Katie fastened her boots, Win changed out of his own skates, then picked up both pairs of skates and held out a hand to her.  “Thanks for coming down here with me,” he said.  “I really wanted to skate out here in the full moon, but didn’t want to come by myself.  There’s just something magical about it.”

“Yes, there is.  It’s almost like we’re in an enchanted place, away from the sounds of other people, traffic, even houses.”  She stopped still and flung out both arms.  “Even though we can see the Spencer house from here, it’s just like something in a painting.”  Katie knew she was mouthing trite, clichéd phrases, but she felt unable to express exactly what she was feeling.

“I know what you mean.”  He glanced down at her, smiling at her expression of genuine delight.  “I like the way you don’t try to act blasé about everything.  It’s nice to be with someone who’s just—just real.”

“Blasé?  No, I’m not blasé.  I’d have to see and do a lot more than I have before I could ever feel blasé about anything!  Well, almost anything.”  She smiled back at him and started walking again.  “I hope once I graduate I can start doing at least a few of the things I’ve always wanted to do.” 

Win took her hand again and they headed toward the road.  There was too much drifted snow to cut through the property back to Ten Acres; you never knew when with a single step, you might sink two or three feet into the snow.  It was much easier to follow the semi-beaten path from the lake to the Manor House and then follow the driveway down to Glen Road.  Ten Acres wasn’t far, once they reached the road.

Within an hour, they were back in front of the Vanderheidens’ house.  “Come on in for a few minutes, Win,” Katie invited.  “I told you I’d make some hot chocolate for you.”

“I don’t know,” he demurred.  “It looks like your mother may have gone to bed.”  He nodded toward the house.  The porch light was on, but no lights showed in the house.  “I think it’s later than we realized.” 

“It looks like you’re right,” she agreed with a frown.  Juliana always kept a light on in the living room if she was awake.  “That’s too bad.”

“I guess I’ll say good night.  Thanks again for going with me, Katie.”  Win clasped both of her hands in his larger ones. 

“I had a wonderful time.  Thank you again for the beautiful pin!  I only wish I had something for you, too.”  Impulsively, she flung her arms around him and kissed the lapel of his coat, since she couldn’t reach his face.

“Don’t worry about it,” he advised.  “I’ve had a lovely gift from you tonight already.”  He tipped her chin up and dipped his head so he could kiss her, gently and tenderly—not on the lips, but right at the corner of her mouth.  Then he straightened up and added, “I’d better say good night.  It’s late and you must be tired.  And Uncle James doesn’t mind my using his car but he doesn’t want me out too late, either.”

“Good night!”  She could feel her cheek tingling where he had kissed it, and wanted to stand there watching him until he drove away.  But, realizing he wouldn’t leave until he saw her safely into the house, she reluctantly turned away from him and opened the front door.  In a moment more, she heard the car drive away. 

Her fingers caressed the roller-skate pin, fastened to her coat lapel.  Did it really mean anything...did she really mean anything to Win?     

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Author’s Notes

5563 words

Many, many thanks to my lovely editors, Ronda, Ryl, and Trish. Their input made the story so much better!

A great big thank you to Vivian, my wonderful webhostess, partner, and html guru. I couldn’t to anything without you!

Thanks to the Jixemitri community! You guys are the greatest!

I went looking for a Dutch term of endearment via Google, and came up with one of those question-answer online sites. Someone else was looking for the same thing, and mijn schatje was suggested, with the translation being basically "my little treasure". However, apparently there are regional differences, so some might use a different endearment for a child. I'm a big nicknamer for my daughters and I thought Juliana might enjoy the rhyming of this word with Katje. The site I took it from didn't capitalize the word, so I hope I did OK with it!

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2010-2012 by MaryN/Dianafan. Images from; manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Graphics copyright by Mary N 2012.

Story copyright by Mary N, 2012.

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