Helen Blythe glanced over the wares in the marketplace. She and her sisters, Margy and Rose, were there looking for things to liven up their new apartment as well as shop for groceries. It had been a few weeks since they moved to New York City after the death of their father. Their only living relative, their father's older sister, was too far away for them to travel with the little money they had and their aunt didn't have quite enough either, having to take care of her ranch, so they thought it best to rent an apartment and work for a time. Helen and Margy were both old enough that they didn't have to go live with their aunt and Margy wanted to try her hand in some business, so, with Rose in tow, they figured they could make it work. Margy had found a job as a secretary for a wealthy woman named Dorcas Pepper and Rose insisted on finding a job as well so Helen could stay at home and paint commissions. Not to mention Rose couldn't cook to save her life. Margy and Helen were always joking that Rose would have to marry a chef in order for her family to survive. They were teasing her about that yet again when Margy stopped Rose from picking up nothing but junk food.
"Oh, but it's easy to fix!" said Rose. "You never know if I want to give Helen a day off from the kitchen and would like to not have to burn anything." She reached into Helen's bag and plopped a strawberry into her mouth. "Besides, not all of it is junk food."
Margy scoffed. "Well I'm sorry, you're right, not all of it is junk food, but you do pick the easiest things to fix."
Rose flipped her light strawberry curls over her shoulder defiantly. "But of course, I know what I can fix and what I can't!"
Helen laughed. "Then all we have to do is find you a guy who can fix what you can't!"
"Which is pretty much everything," added Margy with a snort. The two laughed. Rose shook her head good-naturally.
"Tease me all you want, just you wait, I'll marry someone rich and neither one of us will have to cook!" she said with a merry twinkle in her grey-green eyes.
Margy scoffed. "You'd have to get that position at that fancy store if you're ever going to meet a guy like that."
Rose pouted. "And to do that, you need experience! To start at the bottom, you have to have experience! And pray tell me how are you supposed to get that?" She glanced at Margy. "You got lucky with Miss Pepper, she at least will help you get that experience."
Margy nodded as a slight shiver went through her body, despite the August sun bearing down on them. The girls nearly ran out of money before she applied with Miss Pepper and got the job. Miss Pepper was even kind enough to give her an advance to keep the girls afloat until Margy got her first full paycheck. It had been a close call, to be sure, and a lucky break. Rose still wanted to find a job, but could continue her search at a slower pace now that Margy had a large enough of a paycheck to get them by. If she hadn't applied for the job with Miss Pepper . . . A cry from Rose shook Margy from her melancholy thoughts. She was pointing at the docks, her face alight. Helen had turned and shielded her eyes to look at the setting sun.
"Can we get some fish?"
"Well, maybe, but we do have to make this quick, it's going to be dark soon and I want Margy to get to bed on time."
"Well then, Margy shall choose, she'll make a quick decision." Rose looked pointedly at Margy. "Right?"
Margy grinned. "Definitely quicker than you, kid." But she still took a while, there were so many different fish to choose from! The street lamps were flickering to life one by one by the time Margy finally selected some tuna and tilapia, even though the sun hadn't completely set.
"You said you were going to be quick. Did that handsome fisherman distract you?' teased Rose.
"Oh cut it out, kid, that guy was obviously almost forty!" The three laughed as they began to make their way back home. They had just left the marketplace when they heard cries for help from one of the alleyways. The three paused, terrified. It was obviously two male voices calling out for help surrounded by the sounds of a struggle. Rose stepped forward to help, but Margy held her back.
"What are you doing? Are you nuts?"
"But someone has to help!"
"Then we find help," said Helen with finality. "Come on, if we split up, we might be able to find an officer, or at least enough help." Rose and Margy nodded and the girls separated. Rose dashed towards the street, hoping she could find a policeman in the dimming light.
"Help! Help! Somebody help! I need help!" She turned and saw a big policeman rushing towards her.
"What seems to be the problem, miss?" he asked in a slight Irish accent.
"Two men . . . in a fight . . . back alley . . . hurry!" She pulled on his sleeve, but he followed her without further prompt. She rushed back to what she thought was the scene of the fight, only to find that it was all over and her sisters had found help as well.
"Well by golly, she did find an officer! Way to go!" Rose blushed at the young man's praise. In the waning light Rose could make out a dark head of hair, but what really drew her in were those grey eyes of his. He was standing in the light in such a way that his eyes seemed to reflect the light, making him look suave and mysterious all the while Rose could tell there was a fiery life in him. Then he smiled, and Rose had this sudden desire to wrap her arms around him and never let go. She noticed the man standing next to him looked like an older version of him. His father, perhaps?
"And it's Officer Marks! Fantastic! Was just going to whistle for you!" said one of the other two younger men. He had light brown hair and merry, twinkling brown eyes that seemed to be laughing constantly at the world, but there was an air of seriousness about him, suggesting to Rose that he was already working his way up in the business world. The other fellow had sandy blond hair and bright blue eyes that seemed to soak in the scene around him, like this was his first ever adventure and he was enjoying it.
"Well it looks like you're becoming a regular ole deputy, Bret Hartson, having these men all captured really pretty for me!"
Bret smiled sheepishly. "Uh, thanks Officer, but we didn't nab all of them. There was a third one and he got away." He turned a serious eye on Margy. "But that young lady there seemed to recognise him." Rose turned wide eyes upon her sister.
Margy nodded and sighed. "I did recognise him. He-he's Rex Pepper, the nephew of my employer, Miss Dorcas Pepper." Helen's hands flew to her mouth while Rose gasped. Marks gave a low whistle.
"Why don't you call up Mr. Pepper, real quick, see, and he'll tell you these blasted fellows jumped us and . . ."
"What kind of a fool do you take me to be, Lefty?" barked Marks. "We've been on the lookout for you three for the past six weeks! We just didn't know Rex Pepper was the third man in your group. But now that we've got you and Bo, all we have to worry about is Rex, and that shouldn't be too hard considering he enjoys pestering his aunt."
Margy nodded vigorously. "Oh yes, he most certainly does! And pesters me too!"
Marks tipped his hat to her. "I'll be glad to get him to stop pestering you both." He glanced at the two criminals. "Once these two are taken care of." He glanced at the gentlemen. "If you four would be so kind as to help me escort these two to the station? I'm afraid I can't do it myself." The blue-eyed lad and Bret answered quickly in the affirmative. The grey-eyed teen glanced at the older man, seeking his decision.
"Well," he began slowly, "we could help, but we were on our way to meet someone, a friend of a friend, and it is rather important . . ."
"Oh come on Dad, we did tell him we would be late."
"I certainly wouldn't want to keep him waiting all night."
Marks shook his head. "I think you'll be fine, the station is only a couple of blocks away. You could escort these two and be back here in about ten minutes, twenty tops."
The gentleman glanced over the group. His eyes seemed to linger upon Margy for a brief moment before turning back to the officer. "Alright then, we shall help."
Marks smiled with relief. "Thank you so much!" After he slapped some handcuffs on Lefty, the little group marched towards the station. The girls were thinking of simply staying with the fellows until the station before heading home, but the older gentleman requested, practically pleaded, that they wait for them to come back out. The girls finally agreed to do so and waited just inside the station foyer.
"What do you think he wants?" asked Rose.
Margy bit her lip. "I'll bet it's because of Rex, he must want Miss Pepper's address to call on her and talk to her about it. He might even call on us . . ."
"Oh I would have no problem with that," said Rose somewhat wistfully as she glanced at the door they had gone through. She was hoping to get another chance to see such a lovely pair of eyes.
"Rose?" said Helen, breaking into her thoughts. "You like his son already?"
Rose blushed slightly. "Well why not? He is amazingly handsome, and they must be rich. Did you see that watch?"
"Rose! My goodness, you just met the man!" berated Margy. "And how are you so sure he's not already taken? You said so yourself he's amazingly handsome, other girls will see that too."
Rose pouted. "I hadn't thought of that."
"Well that's part of your problem, you don't think."
"Alright you two, enough," said Helen firmly. "We're still in the station, we wouldn't want Officer Marks to have to arrest you two for disturbing the peace."
"Oh goodness, Helen," began Margy, but she was interrupted by a loud whoop. The guys came back, all wearing big grins.
"Now Dad and I won't take the money, no matter what you say."
"Oh but," began Bret but the older gentleman raised his hand with a commanding smile.
"There's a reason why we won't, we can't take it. How about you come to our hotel room tomorrow night at eight? I'll explain everything then." He glanced at the girls. "You as well. And as a matter of fact . . ." he pointed at Margy, "I need your employer's address. I would like to invite her along as well."
Margy winced. "Well, I don't know. She doesn't particularly like giving her address out to people. Even so, I would still have to have her permission to give it out . . ."
"You will see her in the morning?"
Margy nodded. "Yes."
The gentleman quickly wrote in a notepad. "Then I ask that you give her the invitation instead, then." He ripped the piece of paper out and handed it to Margy.
She glanced at it, and her eyes bulged. "You're, you're staying at the Biltmore Hotel, Mr. Edwards?"
Rose's mouth dropped as she glanced over her sister's shoulder. "No way!" She glanced at the gentleman and his son. "You really are wealthy!"
The two chuckled. "Yes, and we shall explain everything if you come tomorrow," said the son, his grey eyes twinkling merrily as he seemed to take Rose in. Well, that's what she thought he was doing, looking at her like that.
"Oh my, where are our manners? We haven't been properly introduced!" Helen began the introductions, and the girls soon found that they were talking with Malcolm Edwards and his son Ralph, Bret Hartson, and Jimmy Stone.
Malcolm glanced at his watch and gasped. "Ah, Ralph, it's getting real late! I hope we haven't kept our friend waiting for long!" He glanced at the five. "It was a pleasure meeting you all, and I hope to see you tomorrow!"
"You can count on us!" chorused Bret and Jimmy.
"We'll come," said Helen, "I'm curious as to what this is all about."
"So am I," said Rose. She glanced at Ralph, and it would give her a chance to get to see him again.
"Very good, then I shall see you all tomorrow. We would escort you ladies home . . ."
"Don't worry about it, Mr. Edwards, Jimmy and I can handle it. You get yourselves to that meeting."
Malcolm smiled at Bret. "Thank you Bret. Until tomorrow."
"Bye!" said Ralph with a wave before the two dashed out the door. Bret and Jimmy did escort the girls all the way back, the five chatting away almost like old friends. The girls learned that Bret and Jimmy were both orphans like them, though Jimmy had no living relatives and Bret had one mean aunt who didn't seem to mind at all that Bret was out working for his own rent. They soon learned of the girls' history as well and were rather excited to have made friends with people of a similar history. But though they parted rather reluctantly, they were excited at the prospect of seeing each other again the next evening and finding out what secrets the Edwards's had to tell.
(Author's Note: Welcome to the first book in the Adventure Alliance series! This is a crossover between two lesser known series, The Adventure Boys by Ames Thompson and the Blythe Girls by Laura Lee Hope. Both series are kinda hard to find, the Blyth girls more so than the Adventure boys. I feel quite lucky to have found the books I have at reasonable prices. Most are at collector prices, but I try to find the best deal possible so I don't break my bank. ^^; I will be posting reviews of the first book in each series later today on my YouTube channel if you're interested in finding out about the original stories. Both are fairly short, the Adventure boys is only longer as there's a mini rant in there about the word "swarthy". I had a assumed it meant African by how much people were complaining about it, when it really only means tanned and is often used in association with sailors. Like, seriously, people read so much out of context, it's ridiculous. I mean, yeah, if they want to admit that saying mean stuff against Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, and Greeks are in fact racist, great! But I don't see that happening anytime soon since, according to most Americans, European equals white, and that's racist in and of itself as it definitely doesn't take into account the races that have been mingling with Europeans for generations. It's how come I have a bit of Jew and African in my own bloodline, small though they are, it's there. My aunt took the DNA test and found out for sure. So, yeah, our view of people are so narrow-minded, it's ridiculous. But it's why I like stories, you learn more about the people around you, and the storyteller in particular, when you stop to read or listen to a story. Anyway, enough of my little rant there. I hope you enjoy this chapter, and I hope you watch my videos! Thanks for reading!)