On a crisp autumn morning Anne Shirley walked along a Kingsport street, orange and brown leaves falling with every slight gust of the wind. Soon the trees would be completely bare. She was finishing her most recent task of purchasing last minute items at the grocer for the gathering which the Gardners of Kingsport were hosting that evening. It was an errand she often completed for them and normally she would continue straight back to the grand house - her list of jobs seemingly never ending. However, this day she took one of her rarer routes passed Redmond College. The recent heir to his fortune, Royal Gardner, attended the prestigious school and on occasion Anne was sent to deliver a forgotten book or item. Instead today she walked past the quad on the Redmond campus. Classes must have just released as students began pouring out of the doors. Placing her shopping basket on the ground Anne took a seat on a nearby bench. A cool gust of wind blew and she pulled her thin sweater tighter over her thin frame, her gaunt pale face ducking into the crook of her arm. Finally the wind died down and Anne looked around, studying the people her own age. She sat there alone and allowed the sting to burn through her chest.
Her parents had died when she was an infant and because of that she was left to fend for herself in abusive homes and cold orphanages. She would never be one of them. Her scant education ended when she was ten - she was good with the children and so the matron at the orphanage instead used Anne to assist with the care of them. This continued for years until she was old enough to be hired out and move from the orphanage. She'd been at two other homes as cleaning staff before The Gardners took her on and she moved to Kingsport. The pay was meager but it offered enough to split a drab apartment with two other orphans whom were also hired on.
Anne's gaze was drawn to laughter coming from a nearby circle of friends. There were several people within the group. A pretty brunette hanging adorably onto the arm of a rather goofy looking man. Another brunette woman stood beside a pretty blonde. Next to the ladies was a terribly bored-looking man. Across from them there was a handsome young man that she was particularly drawn to. He had curly brown hair, roguish hazel eyes, and a wide grin. This man appeared to be the ring leader of their group. On his arm was a classic beauty - with raven hair, a rose-leaf complexion, and starry violet eyes.
Anne's breath caught as tears pricked her eyes, her flaming red hair whipping out of its simple do. She quickly stood to her feet, picked up the basket and fled - all the while chastising herself for her deviation.