Chapter Four: Meeting

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Mary went inside the boardinghouse, closing the door softly behind her. Sally was in the pastel- green parlor, knitting something large and sunshine yellow. The old lady looked up. "Oh, Miss MacEilan," she stated. Mary stopped walking and stood in the middle of the parlor floor. "Miss DuBois got home from her job early. She's up there in your room now, just thought you'd like to know."

"Thank you, Sally. I'll be glad to meet her." 

Secretly, Mary was incredibly anxious. What if this girl didn't like her? Was she like most of the Americans that Mary had known, completely against the Irish? Would Mary have to play on her father's heritage again? If she did.... well, she hoped she wouldn't have to.

Slowly she went up the stairs, reaching into her pocket and retrieving the key. There was movement inside the room on the right and as the key slipped into the keyhole, it stopped. Before turning the handle, Mary thought to knock- she didn't want to just burst in.

"Come in," trilled a high voice.

Mary turned the knob and opened the door, looking down to put the key back in her pocket. Looking up, she was greeted with a pair of fierce hazel eyes, framed by short black lashes and a mess of mousy brown curls that Miss Isabelle DuBois had not bothered to put up- they just cascaded to the middle of her back, tangling in the buttons on the tight- bodiced pink dress. Her full pink lips were pursed in disapproval.

"You must be Miss MacEilan," sighed the girl, and Mary nodded. Isabelle turned around, busying herself at the mirror above the desk. Picking at a small pimple on her nose, she glared at her reflection. "You could have sent notice that you'd be coming. It's rather rude to just show up, you know. Not terribly becoming to be rude."

"I'm sorry," Mary apologized, a spark of anger igniting. Who was this girl, anyways, to just go on and judge her? "I really don't want to start off on the wrong foot, Miss DuBois, but I'm afraid we had no choice, and what has been done really can't be undone, can it, now?" Mary kept her grey eyes fiercely level with Isabelle's hazel ones. 

Isabelle gritted her teeth. "No, Mick, it can't."

Mary's lip curled and her nostrils flared. To be called a mick- now that was going much too far. "How- how dare you?" 'Mick' was the nastiest term you could call someone from Ireland. As if Mary didn't know a thing or two about the French- which she was assuming Isabelle DuBois was in some respect. "You're just a frog, miss, and especially one for using 'mick'." 

'Frog' was the British derogatory term for the French. Isabelle had clearly caught on to it.

"How d'you assume I'm French?" came the whisper. This Isabelle was a clever one. Mary decided once and for all that that wasn't good.

"Well, judgin' by the fact that the term 'frog' made you right angry, it's safe to assume so."

Isabelle's pretty face contorted and went blotchy purple. Mary hoped she looked collected- though she had never been level-headed. Anne had always told her that her face betrayed her, and that it wasn't ladylike to get so worked up, anyways.

Isabelle screwed up her face and opened her mouth to speak before closing it. Mary kept her eyes level and her face stony, expressionless. It touched a nerve for the angry Miss DuBois, who just turned away spluttering.

"Oh, would you stop that?" she snapped. Mary gave a small triumphant smile. She'd been able to establish that she, Mary MacEilan, would not be walked over. 

Isabelle sat down on her bed and looked out the window, parting the lace curtain with one smooth, white hand, adorned by a little gold ring that flashed in the sunlight. She fiddled with it, turning it so that the gold sparkled in every way possible. Mary went to her bed, on the other side of the room, and pulled her journal and pen from the desk.

Later.

I've been put up at a boardinghouse on 5th Street, it's quite nice except for my roommate... 

Her name is Isabelle, Isabelle DuBois, and she's a right little rat. Can't be any older than eighteen, flaunts the gold engagement ring on her left hand as though it were Queen Victoria's crown. Yelled at me from the second I walked in, she did, and it wasn't my fault one whit! 

I have a job now, at the general store across the street from me. The owner's son and I have become fast friends- even though I ran into him on the train. Yes, Keith Little has been the greatest of blessings to me today- he's the one that recommended the boardinghouse to me. Not to mention the fact that he's young, very gracious, and rather  handsome, I'll admit. I just hope that little Maria and Jane never find this diary- not like I'm ever going back there for long.

I haven't got anything else to do tonight. Keith- I can call him by his first name in my diary, can't I?- took me on a walk, but it turned into more of an outing and showcase of ourselves than showing me the city, not that I'm complaining.

A knock came on the door, jolting Mary from her writing. She looked at it, annoyed, but Isabelle jumped up from where she'd been gloating, then, with a smile and a squeal, rushed towards it. The door opened to reveal a tall man of nearing thirty, with dark hair, olive skin, and eyes so dark they were almost black.

"Oh, Peter, how lovely it is to see you," Isabelle fawned, kissing his cheek.

"The same to you, dear." Peter smiled fondly at his intended, then looked around the room, stopping on Mary. "I don't believe we've been introduced," he said, striding towards her. "I am Peter Castillo, the owner of the theatre downtown."

Mary shook the proffered hand before he could kiss it. "Pleasure," she said shortly, a polite smile on her lips. "Mary MacEilan."

Mr. Castillo very quickly understood that Mary did not want to be bothered, so he stepped away, but his eyes still beheld her face.

"Come, Peter, you said we'd go on a walk at half- past noon and it's nearly a quarter till one," complained Isabelle, her eyes large and pleading. "I didn't leave Little's Mercantile and Keith Little to wait." Her lips pursed once again, but this was a 'look at me, I want attention' kind of pout- and what on Earth did she mean by 'I didn't leave Keith Little?' Mary was disgusted. What a little-

"You're right, as always, my dear," said Mr. Castillo, turning back towards her. He gave her another fond smile. "You look quite lovely in that shade of pink, my dear. It is almost as lovely as when you were on my stage. I do wish you'd come back."

Isabelle's cheeks flushed a pretty shade of pink and she giggled. "Oh, I couldn't," she sighed. "There were too many men trying to catch me when I was."

Mary felt like she was intruding on their private moment. However, there was really nothing she could do other than her current occupation- pretend to read her own diary, looking away- seeing as the couple was blocking the door and she didn't fancy the idea of going out the window. She was utterly stuck.

"I still wish you would."

Finally Mary heard the door close. She was alone in the room.

She breathed a sigh of relief. Today had been a perfect day until five minutes before, yet it was still nearly the best day in her life. If this was the best day... well, if that didn't sum up the MacEilan family's lives then Mary didn't know what did. 

It was still barely afternoon, however, and Mary had gotten valuable information. Isabelle worked at the Little's Mercantile- which meant that she was probably quitting to get married, and that the job Mary had now was probably replacing Isabelle.

That might cause a few problems, thought Mary to herself. 

I swear I'm not plagiarizing off of Wicked, but the song is pretty much spot- on perfect. I had already planned out the chapter, and when I started to write it, the song just kinda popped into my head. 

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