The sun shone brightly on that hot July day. Louisville was always hot, but today, the humidity seemed to be unbearable. All of the windows were drawn by the housekeepers. Unfortunately, there was no breeze to pass between the lush gardens of the Baker estate into the stately house on this summer day in 1918.
The house was nothing short of incredible. The floors were mahogany and had a richness to them. They always made a clicking sound whenever a young ladies heel would stroll upon them. The massive walls were covered in the finest paper all the way from Paris. If those walls could talk, numerous secrets of the Baker household would be dispelled for all of the towns to hear. All of the furniture was quite large and filled up the space of the house nicely. Of course, it was imported, and practically too expensive to be sat on. A large percentage of the people who stepped foot in this home would know how grand it was. All except one person, who happened to be an occupant of this stately home.
Jordan was the middle daughter of Reginald and Sybil Baker. She was quite a gorgeous girl, but no one really seemed to pay any mind to her, except for her Daddy. Her father saw the bright sparkle that was always in Jordan's glass grey eyes. The two were often seen bonding at the country club in town. Jordan's father had been her golf coach since she was eight. Now, ten years later, she could very well turn into a professional, according to her father.
Reginald thought the world of his middle girl, but his wife and two other daughters often stole Jordan's spotlight. Sybil has always been a glamorous woman. She always adorned the latest fashions, and was frankly, quite controlling. Sybil was always the one to lead a conversation, as well as the one to end it. The Baker family played by her rules, and that was that. Their two other girls, Rebecca and Elise, took after their mother. Both loved the latest and greatest and loved to spend their father's money. Both were equally outspoken and often left their middle sister in the dust. Jordan too loved fashion, but she wasn't one to speak out, or up for that matter. The boys in town didn't pay much attention to Jordan and often went after Becca and Elise. Jordan didn't seem to pay much mind, as she often just watched from afar.
The Baker estate was usually quiet in the early hours of the morning, especially in the summertime. However, today was not quite like any other day. Today, the Baker's were hosting a gathering for the officers stationed at Camp Taylor. The clicks and clacks of housekeepers on the mahogany floors woke up all the Baker girls, however, that wasn't enough to get them out of bed.
Sybil went into every one of her girls' room's, pulled up the shades, unveiling the blinding sun, clapped her hands and said; "Young ladies shouldn't be sleeping the day away, especially when heaps of handsome young men are coming over later."
Jordan, not being an early bird, pulled the covers over her head, dreading the day. She detested nothing more than large parties, where her overbearing mother would try and fling her together with any bachelor that would have her. Jordan wasn't particularly interested in the mingling, unlike her sisters and mother, who craved all of the attention.
"Jordan Elizabeth, you get up!" Sybil said while yanking the covers off of Jordan.
Jordan eventually got up and was immediately inspected by her mother.
"Dear, go put some rouge on your face… I understand you just woke up, but you really shouldn't go around looking like that, especially when young men are crawling all over town!"
"Yes Momma, I will." Replied Jordan with a yawn.
Jordan stretched her long limbs and made her way into the powder room that she shared with her sisters. Miraculously, she managed to get to there before her two sisters. She went to the vanity, sat down, and looked at herself in the mirror.
Jordan was a truly beautiful girl, one who possessed natural beauty. She really could go out without a drop of makeup and look as pretty as a picture in a magazine, as her father said. However, Jordan didn't see that. She was almost always compared to Rebecca or Elise. They were drop dead gorgeous with and without makeup. They were petite, while Jordan was taller, and on the slender side. Her sisters often made fun of her long limbs calling her "chicken legs." It always hurt her feelings, but being "mousey Jordan", another nickname given by her sisters, never said a peep.
Jordan did a minimal amount of makeup, much less than her mother would like, before she was interrupted by the pounding at the door.
"Jordan, do hurry up, would you? Momma needs us all to be ready!" Shouted Elise
"Jordan, I don't have the slightest clue what you're doing in there. You can barely put your face on as it is!" Quipped Becca.
Jordan rolled her eyes at the remarks of her older and younger sister. They were always the ones to poke and make fun. Jordan hardly ever did. The few times she has lashed back, the two girls would go crying to their Momma, leaving Jordan with the wrath of Sybil.
Jordan got out of the bathroom and drifted cooly past her sisters without saying a word.
As Jordan went down the hall, she overheard her sisters whispering.
"Why is she so quiet? You would think she would want to be like us..." Chirped Elise.
"You would think so Elise, but you see, Jordan's a wallflower, and she'll always be one." Replied Rebecca.
"What's a wallflower?" Jordan said snarkily, yelling down the massive corridor.
Jordan didn't think that her older sister would have the guts to admit that Elise and she were talking about her, but that morning, Rebecca was feeling quite high and mighty.
Rebecca shot Jordan a deadly glance, and slowly traipsed her way down the hall to confront her younger sister.
"You see Jordan, a wallflower is an awkward person, usually one with chicken legs and a mousey personality that no one seems to notice. Next time, why don't you mind your business and don't listen to others conversation?" Rebecca said as she drew in closer to Jordan, pointing her pristine and polished nails in her direction.
"All right Rebecca, and next time, if you're going to gossip, why don't you shut your fat mouth until the person you talk about is in the other room?"
"JORDAN ELIZABETH! YOU STOP TALKING LIKE THAT OR I'LL TAN YOUR HIDE, YOU HEAR?" Shouted Sybil from the foot of the staircase.
Jordan's face grew redder by the second, and hurried into her room and shut the door. Tears rolled down her porcelain face, and the thing was, she believed every single thing her sister told her.
Jordan then heard a knock on her door, and responded; "Please, I'm getting dressed. Leave me alone."
On the other side of the door, her father said; "Darlin' don't you worry 'bout a thing. I'm going to have a talk with Becca. You're as pretty as a peach Jordan Elizabeth, and don't you forget it."
In the midst of tears, a smile came to her face. Leave it to her father to say just what she needed to hear.
All three of the Baker girls were dressed, and much to Jordan's dismay, they were all to go out shopping with their mother. Jordan loved shopping, alone. When her sisters and mother were shopping together? It was a nightmare. Jordan being Jordan, she kept to herself on these shopping trips and simply watched the bickering and drama unfold. Usually, one of her sisters would be angry with their mother usually because they couldn't get their way. On certain occasions, Momma would get annoyed with either Rebecca or Elsie, which secretly put a smile on Jordan's face. On those few occasions, Jordan wasn't the target.
This trip was just like any other. They went to the shops in town, and right away, Jordan saw a dress that she liked. It was a creamy ivory number, with lace around the collar, sleeves, and the hem which went down above her ankle. It wasn't the most extravagant, but it was pretty. Her sisters described as "boring" and how no man would give her the time of day in it. Jordan simply shrugged and continued to watch the disaster unfold, as her sisters and mother continued to browse around the store.
Jordan found the trip quite comedic, as both of her sisters liked the same dress. Of course, Rebecca being the oldest caused quite a huff.
"Elsie, you always want to copy me. Now cut it out! I saw the dress first, and I'm getting it. It's as simple as that!"
"Momma, Becca isn't being fair! She's just jealous that I look better in it, so she doesn't want me to have it!"
"Both of you stop it! Neither of you are going to get anything if you act like this. It's such a shame too, it's such a lovely dress…" Sybil said until she locked eyes with her middle daughter.
"Here Jordie, you try on this one. It'll look nice on you." Sybil said as she handed over the dress that her sisters were bickering over only moments ago.
"But Momma, I already have a dress." Jordan said quietly.
"Jordan, that dress isn't lavish enough for tonight's affair. Try this one on…" Sybil stated as she took the other dress from Jordan's hand and replaced it with the other.
Becca and Elsie were wild, they both shot Jordan daggers from across the store. At that point, Jordan wanted to disappear. Of course, her mother had to involve her in her sisters' argument somehow.
When Jordan emerged from the dressing room, her sisters and mothers mouths dropped. The dress suited her much better than either of her sisters. It was the palest shade of blue, which brought out her beautiful eyes. Its shorter sleeves complimented her frame perfectly, and it hung on Jordan as if it was made for her.
Sybil looked at her with a grin and said; "Jordan if you decided on that other potato sack dress over this one, I'll smack you silly."
The sun went down, creating the haziest of pink skies on the Baker's property. Officers began gathering like moths, enjoying the spread that the wealthy family had put on. Reginald watched on as Elsie and Rebecca's friends swarmed all over the place, dancing, and chatting like there was no tomorrow. Sybil was right in the mix, getting to know all of the soldiers, and trying to find a perfect match for each of her daughters.
While everyone was frolicking about, Jordan sat alone on the front porch. Her elbow propped her head up, while she looked across the lawn at all of the men, following around all of the young debutantes and heiresses. She looked "absolutely stunning" that night, according to her father. Her mother even noted how pretty she looked. However, Jordan wasn't quite in the mood to be social that evening. The way her sister treated her this morning put a bad taste in her mouth.
"Maybe Becca was right, I am just a wallflower…" Thought Jordan as she pondered on the front porch.
The lightning bugs lit up in the distance, as the pink hazy sunset grew more orange, and then more violet, as dusk was growing upon them.
Out of nowhere, Rebecca walked up to the front of the house with a man on her arm, with another group of soldiers, her friends from school, and Elsie trailing behind her.
"Oh do lighten up, it is a party after all." Becca said as she looked over to Jordan with a false sweetness in her voice.
Jordan rolled her eyes at her sister and continued to watch the party on the lawn.
"You know Rebecca, I think I'm going to head back to the camp, thank you for showing me around." Said the man on her arm.
Rebecca looked quite taken aback, not used to having a man leave her so abruptly.
"Leaving so soon? Oh, that's too bad. Well, I hope you enjoyed yourself. C'mon boys, Elsie, let's go to the south lawn for a bit and dance."
The young soldier watched as the group went through the house and out of his view. He sat next to Jordan on the wicker bench, as Jordan was propped like a statue on the chair next to him.
The young man chuckled to himself; "I hope you don't mind, I had to get rid of that group for a moment."
Jordan turned to him and smiled. "Truthfully, I don't blame you. I'm not much for parties."
"I don't know why you're not a fan of parties, being such a beautiful girl… I hope you don't mind me saying that." The man said as he smiled at Jordan.
Jordan turned and looked at him with those glass grey eyes. He seemed to be a young man in his early twenties. He had chestnut brown hair, and his eyes were the brightest shade of blue. He was muscular, but not a hulking man, and slightly taller than Jordan.
"My sisters seem to steal a majority of the spotlight… That doesn't really make parties much fun for me." Jordan replied with a slight smirk.
"Oh really? Who are your sisters?" The young man questioned.
Jordan rolled her eyes. "Well, my older sister was arm in arm with you before you sat down, and my younger sister was trailing behind her. Then you sat down and began to flirt with me."
The officer looked quite shocked and then began to chuckle. "Well I am sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. If it's any consolation to you, your mother sort of grabbed me out of nowhere and flung me together with Rebecca."
"Well, in that case, I should be the one apologizing." Jordan said with a smile.
The officer laughed; "Oh it was no problem, however, I do think your sister likes the sound of her own voice if you don't mind me saying."
That got Jordan laughing quite a bit. "You know something…" She said as she looked at his name on his uniform; "Mr. Carraway, you're quite funny."
Mr. Carraway smiled. "Please, Miss. Baker, call me Nick."
Jordan smiled back at him. "All right Nick, but as long as you call me Jordan."
Nick took Jordan's slender and delicate hand in his and shook it. "All right, Jordan, how do you say we take a walk?"
"Well Nick, I think I'd like that very much."