***I don't own anything of Annie, Annie, Jr, Sarah Lawrence College, or AMC Theaters.I do own Trudy Stevenson.***
***Every character and idea besides Sarah Lawrence College and AMC Theaters in this story is fictitious. I apologize if anything is too similar to something already published.***
I was different from all the other kids at school. I was never messy or unorganized. My room was always neat, tidy, and picked up, I always had my homework, and I always colored inside the lines. Some kids made fun of me because of my unusual behaviors. I felt very sad, but I didn't care, because I loved my lifestyle.
I wasn't picked on the most, though. Trudy Stevenson was a boy in my grade who was picked on because of his girly name and how he was about a foot shorter than everybody else. I felt so very sorry for him, and decided to take him under my wing. I protected him. I stood up to his bullies and helped him to be strong. We became very close friends. We liked each other very much.
But then, one summer, Trudy's father got a job in New York, and he moved. I was so devastated. Trudy was my best friend! I didn't know how I could cope without him.
We wrote letters to each other, but neither of our families had the money to visit each other. By the time I had graduated my high school in Illinois, it had been five years since I had seen Trudy. I was deciding where to go to college, but I didn't have to think much. I knew that I wanted to attend Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. It was quite a fine college, but the important thing was that it was where Trudy was.
I greatly admired the area and my college. New York was beautiful, and I had a swell time at Sarah Lawrence. When I had a lull in my activities, Trudy and I decided to meet where he lived, the famed New York City.
It was wonderful seeing my Trudy again. We had such a grand time; we went for ice cream, took a paddleboat onto the river, and saw The Wife of the Pharaoh at the Roxy. Things were just as they had been five years earlier.
The next time we met up, Trudy visited Bronxville, and we then alternated cities each time we saw each other. We visited countless times throughout the next four years.
In the spring of my senior year at Sarah Lawrence, it was my turn to take the train to N.Y.C. On the way there, though, we had to take a detour through the Upper Side because there were problems with another train at our usual stop. It would take a while for the train to be fixed, the conductor told us. We stopped at another train station, and were given a half hour to walk around before the train would leave again.
I wandered down the streets of New York City, enjoying the view, when I saw a sign in the window of a boutique. It said that Oliver Warbucks was in need of a personal secretary. Someone very organized, clever, and willing to reside in his mansion.
I was tremendously excited. Oliver Warbucks! The millionaire! And I could live in the Warbucks mansion! Oh, how grand it would be! And close to Trudy! We could go out with each other all the time, on weeknights, even!
I glanced at the clock on the boutique. I had only twenty minutes before the train was to leave. I quickly hailed an oncoming taxi cab and was driven to Mr. Warbucks's mansion.
It was such a beautiful house! There were lush gardens and streams, and the walls shone and glittered in the sunlight. I used the knocker on the front door, and within moments an older man in a black vest opened it.
"Yes?" He asked.
"Hello," I greeted him. "My name is Grace Farrell, and I saw your notice about Mr. Warbucks's needing of a personal secretary."
He examined me. "Please, do come in."
The man led me inside, and I barely contained a gasp at the enormity and grandness of the mansion. We entered a large study. It was glorious, with all the beautiful paintings and antique furniture.
"My name is Drake. I am Mr. Warbucks's butler," the man said, taking a seat as I did the same.
"Why, hello Drake," I replied, still in awe of the amazing house.
"Where do you study?"
"Sarah Lawrence, sir. In Bronxville."
"What are you studying?"
"What is your favorite book?"
"Your favorite book. What is it?"
That was unusually simple. "A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens."
He took a moment, then broke into a smile. "Good choice. Now, one last question. Why do you wish to be a secretary for Oliver Warbucks?"
Oh, no, I wasn't expecting that. I should have thought of questions he might ask me on the way there. I cleared my throat, and I thought of my answer.
"Because I would love to help him, sir."
Drake gazed at me for a moment, and he nodded. "Miss Farrell," He said, standing up. "I would like to wish you my congratulations. You're hired."
I quite literally could not speak for several seconds. Finally, I blurted out, "Why, thank you, sir."
He nodded once more.
Drake informed me of my hours, what I would need to bring with me, and when I would start. As I left, I couldn't help but blurt: "Oh, I can't believe I'm working for Oliver Warbucks, the millionaire!"
"Ahem," Drake said. "Oliver Warbucks, the billionaire."
I was thrilled as I hurried to catch a cab to make it back to my train on time. I couldn't believe that he had accepted me that quickly! Perhaps he saw something in me that he thought was special. Oh boy, I would show him what a terrific personal secretary I would be!
When the train stopped at our usual station, Trudy was waiting at the stop, which was unusual, because we normally met at a fountain in Central Park.
"Trudy," I said as I approached him. "Oh, how nice it is to see you. I have the most wonderful news. But why are you here at the station?"
Trudy's eyes were red. I knew something must have been wrong, but he smiled. "What is your news, Grace?"
My face was flushed as I excitedly told him. "I was just hired as Oliver Warbucks's personal secretary! Oh, it'll be grand, Trudy! Working for a billionaire! Doing what I love best! And I'll be just minutes from you!"
I waited for Trudy to leap up from his bench and embrace me, then lead me out to celebrating, but he just put his head in his hands.
"Trudy!" I rushed to his side. "Whatever is the matter? I thought you'd be enthused!"
"Oh, Grace!" He exclaimed, lifting his head. "I've been offered a job. Working for the AMC theaters."
I beamed; what fabulous news! He hated his job at the sandwich shop. "Trudy! Oh, that's wonderful!"
His eyes were downcast. "But you see, Grace, it's…it's in California."
I could feel my face fall. "Trudy…" I threw myself into his arms, clutching him. He couldn't be going to California! And after I had just been hired by Mr. Warbucks!
"Oh, Trudy!" I believe we were both crying now. "You can't go. You can't! I've already lost you once. I can't lose you again! And I'm moving to New York City!"
He stopped crying abruptly. "You're right, Grace." He paused a moment and said, "I'll tell AMC I can't accept. I just won't go."
"No, that can't happen either! It's such a great opportunity, and I know how much you dislike your job here! I'll go. I'll go back the to the Warbucks mansion and tell the butler I can't accept."
"No way, Grace. It's your dream job! And I know you love New York!"
There was a silence as we both realized what would happen.
"We can still write letters, Grace. And we'll both be making enough money that we can visit each other. It'll be all right," Trudy said, trying to comfort me.
I knew it was the only solution. "Yes, Trudy. We'll cope, somehow."
I was mournfully miserable as I wandered around the streets after Trudy's train had left; that's why he was at the train station; his train was arriving soon after mine. But I had to believe myself. We would cope, somehow.
And I had just received the grandest job in the world: Being a personal assistant for Oliver Warbucks.