Losing the Battle
Sarah Doyle was smart, independent, and had a stubborn streak. But her only purpose was to find a husband and have children. She didn’t have a close relationship with her parents. Her father was a tobacco magnate and with his prosperity came the need to make more and more connections. Her brother Samuel would be groomed to take over her fathers business, even if Sarah was more clever and savvy. Much to her irritation, Sarah was just a use to further the plans of her family. She would marry rich, someone with connections and influence, someone who could combine themselves with her family. The woman inside of Sarah saw red every time she was reminded of that fact. Today was one of those days where she was reminded several times.
“Mama, I am not a piece of meat. Why am I being sent to this ball like a pig to auction?”
Sarah’s mother clicked her tongue. “Sarah Louise don’t be so dramatic.” Magnolia Doyle was a small, loud, sassy woman and was the reason Sarah was so stubborn and full of sass. “You know this is important to your father and to your future.”
Sarah’s father had just informed her that the family was throwing a ball at the Hansen's in two days where she would be expected to make an appearance. She knew her father cared more for how suitable the man was to his business, not so much her heart.
Sarah huffed and left her bedroom. She needed some air, wishing they were back at the plantation and she could just disappear for a few hours. They spent their summers there, but had come home early- apparently for this ball. Walking out of her family’s city home she turned down the tree-lined street and headed for her friend Katie. Katie’s house was a few blocks away, which gave Sarah the time she needed to cool down a bit. Her mother always told her that her Southern temper would get her into trouble.
As she strolled up the walk she spied Katie sitting in the swing on her front porch.
“Hello dear!” Katie sang with a wave. Katie was Sarah’s best friend and the sweetest soul you would ever meet. They had been friends since they were toddlers and were practically sisters.
“Hi Katie, how is your day going?” Sarah asked as she stepped on to the porch.
“Oh, it’s fine. Just taking some time in this amazing weather” Katie replied, leaning her head back.
Sarah sat down beside her and Katie places her hand on Sarah’s. “I know that look, what’s going on?”
“This ball.” Sarah rolled her eyes.
Katie laughed, “I’ll be there too.” Then Katie paused before speaking again. “Why don’t we make a day out of it? You can come here and we can spend the day pampering ourselves and get ready together. Maybe we can even convince Daddy to let us have the buggy!”
Sarah laughed,” Oh yes because us poor, fragile females can’t walk down the street to the Hansen’s place.” She dramatically put her hand up to her head and pretended to faint.
“Or it means we don’t have to walk home after dancing all night!”
Katie has a point, Sarah thought, before agreeing.
On her way home Sarah took her time, walking slowly and stopping once in a while to take in the nature around her. She wanted so badly to be back at the plantation, where everything was open and bright. In the city everything was loud and gray. Once she made it home she walked into the study where she heard her mother and father talking.
“Evening Mama, evening Daddy.” She said sweetly as she walked over to them.
“Feeling a bit better now sweetheart?” Her mom said, twirling the brandy in her glass.
“Yes ma’am. Daddy I was wondering if I might spend the day of the ball at Katie’s. We are going to make a day of it and get ready together.”
“Oh that’s a splendid idea!” Her mother replied joyfully. “George did you hear your daughter?” She said sternly, turning to Sarah’s father huddled behind his paper.
“Mhm, yes dear that’s fine.”
Sarah’s mother rolled her eyes. “Do you know what dress you’ll wear? Would you like me to come help you?”
“No, I was going to go through my dresses in the morning and choose one.” Sarah replied.
“Alright dear, don’t forget to check for any holes or smudges. We don’t want to be surprised the day of. Now go on and wash up for dinner, it’s about time.”
Sarah smiled,” yes Mama.” As she walked upstairs to her room Sarah tried to find the positive in the situation. She did love a good ball. Sarah loved the dancing and the all around happiness of people at a party.
Sarah tried to sleep, wondering what she would have to deal with at the dance. She knew her father, he would pawn some rich fool on her for Sarah to entertain the whole evening. Last thing she wanted was some stuffy boy following her around. She didn't know the first thing to say to him. Sarah took a big breath, reminding herself not to overthink things. "Maybe it’ll be nice and I’ll enjoy the dance," Sarah said to herself