Oops. I had every single intention of continuing Natural Selection for you folks, but I sort of unintentionally wrote the prompt somewhere else first. Rather than interrupt my forward progress on what will be a (lowcost/freebie) story starter, I figured I’d roll with it.
So this is part of Kat’s as-yet untitled story. Kat is a character from my Dominion Falls series with an interesting back story of her own. This section is the beginning of Part 2 of her story. Part was was titled “Runaway” – Part 2 is titled “Awakening. In this part, Katherine ran away three years ago, but after her runaway did nothing intentionally to draw attention to herself. She went from one life of propriety into another. Fear and guilt kept her initial rebellion quelled.
Until her eighteenth birthday, where the fire inside is reawakened when she’s forced by contract to find her own way. She begins to plot a way to find her own way, and who to use to do just that:
Katherine leaned on her hand and sighed. Rather than run the numbers she’d been handed, she stared at the door as if it would make something happen.
“Psst.” Melanie nudged Katherine in the side. “There he is again. Like clockwork.”
Katherine straightened in her seat as the gentleman Melanie pointed at removed his hat and scanned the bay of windows. The particular bank Katherine worked in employed all women to handle the everyday transactions, while the men handled the larger business of the bank.
All rumor indicated that Mr. Patrick Warner came to this bank religiously for that reason alone. Rumor also said he’d wooed, corrupted, and then broke the heart of every woman that dared to catch his eye.
Katherine didn’t pull her gaze away when he glanced her direction, as she had for the past two weeks. “Perhaps he’ll visit my window today. I heard tell he’s left Marjorie bereft, so he’ll be looking for a new woman.”
“Katherine Marie, you can’t be serious.” Melanie gasped and set about rearranging the stamps on her desk. “He’s broken the heart of every woman he’s approached.”
“That’s because they were hoping for love and marriage to be taken away from this so-called horrible life as a worker. I, however, have no designs for the life of a wife.” Granted, Katherine had yet to achieve the freedom she’d left Dominion Falls to find three years ago. While Cole’s guidance had taken her to a home and a steady job, for which she was grateful, she’d yet to really find the freedom she’d sought. She’d never been left wanting for food or shelter, but she wanted more. Travel, excitement, and maybe even men.
Just a month ago she’d turned eighteen and, as per her agreement with the woman that had taken her in, Katherine had needed to find a job of her own and living arrangements. She’d managed to find room in a woman’s boarding house and the job at this bank.
Still, she was doing everything she was supposed to, as she was supposed to. With her coming of age, she wanted more. Before she turned spinster, she was curious as to what lay beyond propriety, and she hungered for life beyond her job and the city of Chicago. If she had to start anywhere, why not with learning about sex with a man skilled enough to corrupt numerous proper young ladies as Mr. Warner had?
“Katherine.” Melanie set her hand on Katherine’s arm. “He’s a rake.”
“I know full well what he is.” Kat smiled at the man whose eye she planned to catch, as he spoke with one of the men in the lobby. “Perhaps if he knows what I’m after, we can come to an agreement. After all, the only thing I wish is what he’s rumored to be quite skilled at.”
Deep red hues flooded Melanie’s features, and she shook her head. “It isn’t decent.”
“I’ve been decent for too long.” Katherine had kept her head down and done what she should out of fear her parents would locate her and drag her home if she drew too much attention. At eighteen, the fear was subsiding and the burning need for more that had first flamed to light in Dominion Falls now burned bright again.
Before Melanie could protest further, Patrick approached Katherine’s window. His smile broadened with every step closer he took.
Katherine brushed an unruly curl back into place and returned his smile. “Good afternoon, Mr. Warner.”
“Good afternoon. I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage. You know my name, and I don’t know yours.” He slid his transaction across the desk.
“I’m Katherine.” She didn’t bother with a last name, though it would be the proper thing to do. “And it wasn’t a disadvantage. I believe you enjoy allowing your reputation to precede you, Mr. Warner.”
“I believe you’re right, Kat.”
She smiled at the nickname, one no one had dared to call her before. Once his transaction was complete, she quirked at brow at his continued presence at her window. “Was there anything else, Mr. Warner?”
“You’re new here.”
“I’ve been employed here for three weeks. Long enough.”
“Long enough for what?”
Katherine shrugged. “To have learned some things.”
“Perhaps we could discuss those things outside of the bank?” He leaned on the counter and flashed a charming smile. “Over supper?”
“No, supper won’t do.” She grinned when he straightened in surprise. “I wouldn’t mind a walk. I have a proposition for you, and it is best discussed discreetly.”
His surprise melted into a wicked grin. “I’m intrigued. For that alone, I’ll take you up on the offer. When shall we have this stroll?”
“Are you free this evening?”
“I can be for one so bold.”
“Then at five, right outside.”
“I look forward to it, Kat.”
“Me too, Mr. Warner.”
Hope you enjoyed it! Click on the Tuesday Tales badge to see more excellent entries!!