The Fire and the Party
The flames were soaring, blazing and blistering. The popping of the glass and collapsing of the wooden building sounded loudly through the roaring flames. The four Newman kids wailed as they watched their childhood home burn. Dylan, the oldest at sixteen, had his arm around his little sister Victoria, who was eleven. She was holding the baby Adam who was five and the third child, Nicholas, who was seven, had his face buried in Dylan's leg. When they arrived home from school, they found the house engulfed in flames.
“Ma!” Victoria wept as she held a sobbing Adam tightly. “Pa!” Dylan wrapped his arm around her tighter. He had wanted to go for help but he knew it was pointless. They lived too far out side of Genoa City and by the time the fire brigade got there everything would be gone anyway. He had forced Victoria to help him wet the ground surrounding the house so that the rest of land didn't catch fire. He had slapped her in order to get to stop her hysterics. They weren't helping in the moment. He knew what the ugly truth was. Their parents, Victor and Nicole Newman were in the house. The house that was now a blazing inferno. The house that this time everyday their Pa was in waiting for them. He was never sure if he would make it for supper because of the work in the fields so he always tried to have lunch with them after school. The house that just this very morning they had had a family breakfast in. Now hours later, the Newman kids stood with tear stained faces and watched as everything they ever knew turned to ash.
“Get back!” they all heard a man yell. They couldn't make out his voice and they didn't turn to look at him. “Get back from there!” he yelled again this time pushing them backward.
“What?” Dylan mumbled.
“Get back!” Neil Winters yelled. He worked for their father. He had a little house on one of the back fields and Victor paid him a dollar a month. A few moments later the fire brigade appeared and began putting the fire out. Neil and his wife Drucilla lead the Newmans to their wagon and back out to their house. The four of them sat on the back and watched as their home lay in a scorched heap.
“Ma. Pa,” Victoria whispered sadly as she laid her head on Dylan's shoulder.
“Vicki, are you ready?” Esther Valentine, the maid at the Chancellor Estate, asked when she entered into the now fifteen year old girl's room.
“Why do I have to attend things like this?” Victoria asked as she watched Esther pull clothing from the wardrobe.
“Mrs. Chancellor is very important to Genoa City and because she has taken you in, you belong to this world,” Esther said helping her into her underthings.
“But I don't want...” Victoria said gasping for air as she held tightly to one of the four posts of her bed as the maid drew the ribbons of her corset tight. “or need a husband yet.”
“Mrs. Chancellor has been married since she was sixteen. You mother was married at sixteen,” Esther grunted as she pulled the ribbons again. “You'll be married at sixteen,” she grunted again. Victoria held on tightly and gasped again. She let out a deep breath when she felt the maid tying the ribbons.
“I have no interest in that,” Victoria said as she stepped into the blue gown waiting for her. “I have other plans for my life.” she said putting her arms through the arm holes. She watched in the full length mirror as Ester buttoned the dress up the back. It was royal blue and floor length with a moderate hoop for nighttime and a short train.. It was off the shoulder and short sleeves had black lace at the top and bottom just like the top of the bodice. She examined herself as she felt Esther tie the black sash at the back of the dress into a bow.
“Your plans don't matter,” Esther said leading the young girl to her vanity. Her hands moved quickly, styling her hair in the latest style. “Your husband will make those decisions.” she said handing the girl a royal blue shawl, a pair of black lace gloves and a black bonnet with royal blue lace. “Mrs. Chancellor, Mr. Murphy and your brothers are waiting for you in the sitting room.”
Victoria nodded and exited her bedroom. She tugged at the life threatening corset under her dress before she descended the stairs. When she reached the sitting room she was greeted by her youngest brother Adam who was now nine.
“You look beautiful,” he said taking his sister by the hand.
“Thank you,” she said said smiling. “You look handsome,” Adam blushed a little before turning his head. He had turned into such a bright little boy. He was the smartest in his class and he often found himself explaining things to his siblings.
“Is everybody ready?” Katherine asked her surrogate children.
“Why do I have to go?” Adam questioned. “We'll get there, I'll eat supper and then I'll have to go to bed.”
“It'll be late at night,” Patrick Murphy explained helping his wife into her jacket. “All the children need their rest.”
“Babies need rest,” Adam muttered.
“Stop complaining,” Dylan laughed. “Nick used to complain all the time when we would go to parties. You remember, Vicki?”
“I remember. He would cry into Pa's jacket because he had to stay home with Olivia,” she said tousling her brother's hair.
“I was little,” Nick said straightening his hair. “Of course I cried.”
“I'm not crying,” Adam said pouting as he folded his arms. Dylan threw his head back laughing. The now twenty year old had his father's laugh. On more than one occasion, Victoria and Nick both had to stop themselves from crying when they heard the reminder of their late father. Eleven year old Nick was becoming more and more like their mother everyday. Strong, compassionate and a mean streak that reached the moon. Victoria often found herself with her nose buried in a book; just to stay away from the constant reminder of her parents.
“Tonight is very important,” Katherine said as she ushered the Newmans to the awaiting carriage. “All of you be on your best behavior.”
“Katherine, Dylan is a grown man,” Murphy said as the tapped the ceiling of the carriage with his straight cane. “He knows what behavior is suitable.”
“I hope so because Jessica Lord-Buchanan is eighteen,” Katherine said as she peeked behind them. “Murphy, Esther's wagon is secure isn't it?”
“Yes. I checked the wheels myself,” he said patting his wife's hand. She smiled at him. The Newman kids chatted amongst themselves during the ride. When the carriage came to a stop in from the massive Buchanan mansion, the driver opened the door and Murphy climbed out. He helped Katherine and Victoria out and waited as the boys exited. They were welcomed in by a sour faced man.
“I am Nigel,” he said helping Mrs. Chancellor out of her jacket. He handed all of the outerwear to Esther and pointed her down a long hallway. “This way,” he said leading them in the opposite direction. Dylan, Victoria, Nick and Adam could hear the low murmuring of people as they approached the ball room. Nigel opened the doors and allowed them to enter. “Dinner will be served shortly,” he said with a glance at Adam.
“Thank you,” Murphy said. Nigel bowed slightly before leaving the room.
“The Duchess of Genoa City,” a tall, commanding man with a wide smile said as he approached them.
“Mr. Buchanan,” Katherine said holding her hand out to him. He kissed it and smiled again. “I'd like you to meet my husband, Patrick Murphy.”
“You run the mill out in Genoa City, right?” Asa asked shaking the Murphy's hand.
“Yes I do. The biggest lumber mill around,” he said proudly.
“Well, with Genoa City being smack in the middle of Llanview, Pine Valley, Port Charles and Forrester City, I would assume so,” Asa said clapping Murphy on the shoulder. “That's how I do business too. Bigger and better than anybody else,” he said with a hearty laugh.
“Enough business talk. Mr. Buchanan. This is Dylan, Victoria, Nicholas and Adam Newman,” Katherine said introducing each of them. Asa shook Dylan, Nick and Adam's hand.
“Jessie, Nattie come here,” Asa said turning to the crowd behind him.
“Victoria these are my granddaughters, Jessica and Natalie,” he said introducing them.
“How do you do?” Victoria said.
“How do you do?” they said.
“Have you met anyone else?” Natalie asked as she linked her arm into Victoria's. Natalie had red hair, blue eyes and a very pretty round face.
“No, just your grandfather,” Victoria answered.
“Oh, well sit with me and I'll tell you everything you need to know,” the ginger girl said happily. Victoria followed her to two chairs. She looked back to find Jessica and Dylan speaking with each other. “Oh, could it be love?” Natalie said with a giggle as she pointed to her blonde twin.
“Maybe,” Vicki muttered.
“Alright, those are my parents Clint and Victoria,” Natalie said pointing to the happy people standing closest to them. “Next to them is my Uncle Bo and Aunt Nora. They're son Matthew is running around here somewhere; with your brother Adam no doubt,” she said with a laugh. “That's my oldest brother Cord and my other brother Kevin.” Victoria looked in the direction of the handsome men. It wasn't a surprise to her that they were both surrounded by women. Victoria only partially listened to Natalie talk about her family. She was too busy watching the room fill up with more guests.
“Katherine Chancellor, I'd like you to meet Eric and Stephanie Forrester,” Asa said introducing the couple. “Eric here owns just about everything worth putting your name on over in Forrester City.”
“How do you do?” Katherine said politely.
“Very well,” Eric said with a glance to Asa.
“I know that look. The Duchess here owns Genoa City,” Asa said.
“Excuse me Mr. Forrester but my father did not have a son and I was left with everything. I take the responsibility of being a Chancellor very seriously and I intend to continue in direction of my father, even after I've gone to Heaven,” Katherine said sternly.
“My apologies,” he said as he cut his eyes at his wife. She had tired to cover her mouth the keep her laughing quiet but it hadn't worked.
“Dinner is prepared,” Nigel said appearing in the door way. Asa nodded and lead his family and guests into a massive wood paneled room with a sprawling wooden table. He sat at the head with his wife, Reneé, to the left of him. Asa clapped his hands and the room was filled in with servants carrying trays. They placed the plates in front of everyone and after Asa took the first bite, everyone began to eat.