A.N. Dear Readers. This story is being written in 10 minute intervals. I will be mainly writing in my breaks at work. So it may take me forever to upload. I am also horrible at spelling and grammar but if you will bear with me and try and overlook my mistakes I will eventually finish this little story. I welcome all reviews and critiques. Disclaimer: I do not own Tuck Everlasting. All characters and settings belong to Natalie Babbitt.
Winifred Foster sat on the edge of her bed staring out her window towards the woods. Her 10 year old mind drifting back and forth between her time with the Tucks and her life with her family. Oh how she missed the Tucks. Sometimes she felt like it was all a dream, the little bottle she kept on her nightstand reminded her of the fact that it was real. It had been three months since she had last seen her beloved Tucks and she felt as if she were loosing her memories of them.
Down stairs in the living room her mother and father were busy discussing what they were going to do with her. Winifred had ran away and they felt as if they couldn't trust her to be left alone at all. If she was outside, Winifred had to have someone with her. If she was inside her parents were constantly checking on her. Winnie let out a sigh, she knew what was coming. She just didn't know when. All the girls who attended Middlehouse Academy for Girls in Pensford started at age 11. That was a month away for Winnie.
After running away from home those months ago her Mother and Father had decided that she was defiantly going and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Oh how Winnie wished she could have just gone with the Tucks. Maybe one day she can rejoin them.
"Winifred! Get down here!" Her Mother shouted from the living room.
"Coming Mother!" Winnie replied as she got off her bed. Down the stairs she went remembering to step on the creaking step to alert her mother that she was on her way. Through the foyer and past the sitting room Winnie clacked across the hard floors. Turning right into living room she came to a stop in front of her mother. "You wanted me, Mother?" Winnie asked as politely as she could.
"The dresses came in the mail today. We are taking you to town to have them properly sized for you tomorrow morning. Please be ready to travel by 9 o'clock sharp. And your Father had agreed to allow you to visit that shack one last time. That was you condition on going quietly was it not?" Winifred's Mother finished with a disgruntled look.
"Yes Mother." Winifred replied, she turned to her father and smiled widely. "Thank you Father" she said with an actual smile.
"Anything to make you smile Winnie." Robert Foster replied with a hopeful and cautious tone.
"Mother? Can we get a plain simple dress tomorrow for the journey to the cabin?" Winnie asked cautiously hoping that her mother would see it as practical and not a daring thing to ask.
"Good heavens no!" Betsy Foster looked as if Winifred had slapped her. "What would the women of society think!"
"Winnie, why don't you go change for supper we are having a guest dine with us." Robert suggested hoping to ease the tension.
"Yes Father." Winnie left to go change wondering who could be coming to supper.
Winnie had changed from a simple pale blue high collar dress with dark blue lace trimmings into a deep green high collar, long sleeve dress with white lace cuffs and collar and black lace along the bottom. This was something her mother would call decent to dine with company in. Winnie however felt utterly ridiculous in this dress. The corset was tight and made it impossible to eat a filling meal. How she missed eating flapjacks with the Tucks. She never went to bed hungary and never woke up feeling ill or ravenous. Still an hour before supper Winnie decided to go practice the piano before her mother called her to do some other boring stiff thing. Sitting in the front parlor Winnie began running through the scales. Once she had finished them she started on the new sheet music her old tutor had requested for her. She had just learned the first section when a cough sounded from her right. There stood a woman in a very modest black dress with dark blue trimmings. This woman had dark brown hair that was just showing the faintest hints of grey. Her beady brown eyes bore into Winnie's light blue eyes as if she was searching for a flaw. To the woman's left stood Mother. Mother has a slightly smug smile on her face which told Winnie that she was in for some bad news.
"Winifred, I would like to introduce you to an old friend of mine," Mother paused briefly and Winnie took the chance to stand up and move around the piano bench "this is Mrs. Hughes. She will be your new head mistress at Middlehouse. She has come to dine with us and assess how well brought up you are to be able to properly place you in the ranking."
"How do you do, Mrs. Hughes?" Winnie asked with a gentle curtsey. The woman now know as Mrs. Hughes appraised Winnie with a disdainful look. Mrs. Hughes then turned to Mother, "Yes you have tried your hardest with this one haven't you Betsy? She will make a fine example to other new entries into our fine Academy. I do hope that her incident from earlier this summer won't hurt her chances at a high placement score." She then turned and her and Mother left the room without a single glance at Winnie. Oh how Winnie hoped that this was not how badly the rest of her life was to go. For now So now just had to survive through supper.