FINDING MY WAY
BY MAVIS APPLEWATER
Copyright (c) September 2000
DISCLAIMERS: This story is mine and mine alone. Although the two main characters bare a strikingly similar appearance to the characters of a certain television show that we all know and love that happens to belong to Renaissance Pictures and Universal/MCA. Please remember appearances aren’t everything.
SEX/VIOLENCE & ROADTRIPS: Yes. No & Yes. This story is an alternative/uber story. So if you are underage come back later. If this is illegal where you live get out and come back when you have moved to civilization. If this is a subject matter that you find offensive don’t read it. Is everybody happy?
A SPECIAL THANKS: First to the producers of the wonderful web site you found this story on. If not for you so many of us would not have an arena to express our selves. Second to my beta reader and other half of my soul. Third to Half Pint Stewart who keep going on and on about this TV show that I just had to watch. Even though I thought she was insane I caught an episode. (If you had only told me about the subtext I would have watched sooner.) But not only did you get me started watching you turned me onto the wonderful world of fanfic. Also a special thanks to Callie for the wonderful artwork she did .
LOCATION/LOCATION/LOCATION: This story takes place in a fictional town north of Boston. Some places are real (many names have been changed to protect … well me) and some exist only in my warped imagination Now that everyone has been mentioned, thanked and egos properly stroked.
As Always For Heather
I had always thought that I knew myself. I laugh at that now. Life is a constant cycle of change. I had at one time mapped out my entire future. Funny that reality took me off course. I veered in a direction that I never allowed myself to see. My story is simple. My life or should I say my living began one summer morning. I was standing at the back of a classroom listening to a woman speak. I was completely unaware that my life was about to change. If you like I can tell you my story. It all began in late August 1999.
I found myself mesmerized as I watched her speak. The classroom was packed, it was amazing, and in the middle of summer it was standing room only. I hid in the back doubting that even if she had seen me she would remember our brief encounter ten years ago. My God the woman was electrifying. She was the kind of teacher I had always dreamed of becoming. How did she do it? Maybe it was the eyes, their crystal blue intensity were captivating. Ten years ago they possessed a coldness that sent shivers through me. Today she held no resemblance to the arrogant lawyer who had dismissed me without a second glance. Her name is Allison Kendell, she is sitting on her desk with her legs crossed clad in blue jeans and a simple white t-shirt. As I stand here in my Jones New York suit, I cannot help thinking that she looks more like a student than the professor.
Allison Kendell the heir apparent of the Kendell fortune. Allison Kendell who walked away from a top Wall Street law firm to become a history professor at this small New England University. Why in the world would anyone walk away from all of that money and prestige? I guess the rich are different. When I accepted the position at Haven University I had no idea that I would be working with her. Upon my arrival this morning I discovered that we would be sharing an office. I could not believe it. I would have to sit side by side with the woman who had prevented me from writing my first book!
Well she did not prevent me from writing the book but the finished product was not what I had wanted it to be, all because of this woman. The book was my doctoral thesis, which was very well received. I had written an in-depth study on the Louisiana Tigers. A very colorful southern confederate unit during the Civil War. There was a myth regarding one of its members, Master Sergeant Stephan James Ballister. There were several rumors regarding his true identity. Some speculated that he may have not been Stephan Ballister the young plantation owner from New Orleans but possibly a young boy who fought in his place. It had also been rumored that his widow had left a diary and that the family still had possession of the diary. So being the ever diligent pig headed person that I am, I tracked down the Ballister ancestors. I found Nicole Kendell, one of Sergeant Ballister’s great grandchildren. I was thrilled when she agreed to meet me for lunch. My luncheon with Nicole could not have gone better. Although she was not personally in possession of the diary she older sister Allison was. Nicole was more than happy to arrange a meeting for me.
At the time I could not believe my good fortune. That should have been my first clue that all was not as it seemed. I knew if I could discover the truth about Master Sergeant Ballister it would be a major coup. I can still remember the train trip from Connecticut to New York City. I was bubbling over with excitement as I boarded the train. But from that moment on nothing went as planned. I had everything planned down to the smallest detail. I even rehearsed what I was going to say. I had booked a modest hotel room that I could not really afford so I could shower and dress appropriately for my meeting with Miss. Kendell.
But instead of finding myself relaxing in my hotel room preparing for the most important meeting of my life, I found myself sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It soon became apparent that I would not have the time to freshen up. Instead I was forced to change my plans and go directly to the offices of Wainwright and Griggs. When I arrived I looked completely disheveled. But I knew once that I was inside I could win over Allison Kendell. Except I never made it to the inside of her office. Her assistant who very politely and very firmly explained that Miss. Kendell would be unable to assist me in my research greeted me. I was flabbergasted. I had traveled all this way after meeting with her sister. Nicole Kendell had assured me that not only was the diary real but there was a second diary written by Stephan himself. This was incredible, a second diary! It was not hard to convince Nicole to arrange the meeting with Allison. Perhaps that should have been my first clue that there was some animosity between the two sisters.
I had found myself suddenly standing on the street after failing to convince Miss. Kendell’s assistant that I would only take a moment of her time. I found a pay phone and canceled my hotel room. To add insult to injury the cancellation came too late for a refund. But since there was no longer any reason to stay in New York, I just wanted to go home. I called Amtrak and found that I could catch any number of trains heading back to New Haven. I knew that I could still finish the book. But Stephan Ballister had been a decorated southern hero and to finally unveil his true identity would put me at the top of my profession. If the rumors were true I knew that I could receive funding for a documentary. For the first time in my life I faced failure. This had never happened to me before. I faced defeat and hailed a taxi, as I approached my cab I watched in horror as someone else started to open the door.
“Hey!” I screamed. “What do you think you are doing?”
“Sorry.” She snarled as she blew a puff of smoke in my face.
I could never erase the image of her. With her sculpted features and raven hair. She was an imposing figure with her six foot frame clad in a designer suit that. Hell everything about her looked as if it had been pulled out of a fashion magazine. Everything but the cigarette. “Allison Kendell?” I said coldly.
“Yes.” She replied in an annoyed tone.
“I ‘m Stephanie Grant.” I shot out boldly as I blocked her from entering the taxi.
“So?” She sighed with annoyance.
“You were suppose to meet with me today.” I was infuriated by this woman’s arrogance.
“Right … the student.” She sighed impatiently. “So?”
I was so appalled by her lack of manners that I simply stood there slack jawed. “I do not have time for this kid.” She chastised me. I blocked her path as she tried to push past me. “Your sister said that you have the diaries.” I pushed.
“And …?” She asked dryly as she tried once again to enter the taxi.
“Come on ladies I don’t have all day!” The cab driver bellowed.
“Just a second!” I shouted back raising my voice for perhaps the first time in my life. “Look Miss. Kendell.” I hissed. “I came a long way to see you because your sister led me to believe that you would be willing to show me the diaries.”
“After how many martinis?” She asked snidely.
“What?” I answered in confusion feeling that I was about to loose my advantage.
“You don’t remember do you?” She sighed. “Bombay Sapphire martinis extra dry with three olives and she rarely drinks less than a dozen. As you can see, I am very well acquainted with my sister’s fondness for gin. I bet she stuck you with the bill.”
There was nothing I could say in rebuttal. What could I say it was true? Nicole had invited me to lunch so we could discuss her famous ancestor. I soon discovered that Nicole’s version of lunch came in liquid form and she did in fact stick me with the tab. Suddenly I felt very stupid and much smaller than my five foot four frame. It wasn’t bad enough that this woman who already towered over but now I felt like a dwarf standing next to a very pissed off Snow White. And if that was the case I was most certainly Dopey.