Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Indiana Jones franchise. I'm just a fan with an imagination.
Author's Note: First, much thanks to my beta Sandstar08. And now for the tad confusion that occurred with this chapter; basically I put in chapter 4 before it was proofed and that's why you got the alert but no chapter. However all confusion is settled and I hope you enjoy this chapter as a glimpse into Cathleen's life. These next two chapters will be similar, for to understand what Cathleen does later you have to understand where she is coming from.
Cathleen knew that things were bad when she got a telegram – instead of a letter or phone call – from her father. A phone call meant that he could compose himself enough to talk; a letter meant that the topic of discussion was upsetting but not upsetting enough for immediate action; but a telegram meant business and that though he wasn't able to talk he wanted his way. What made matters even worse was the very precise and direct instructions that the telegram contained. Originally Cathleen had planned to finish her classes on Friday and on Saturday morning her grandmother would pick her up from school to take her to get her dress for her grandfather's 75th birthday extravaganza. But this new plan meant Cathleen barley had 10 minutes to leave school once her last class was over on Friday if she was to be in Greenwich Connecticut by dinner time.
As she did her best to hold on to a semblance of composure Cathleen could barely concentrate on Helen's monologue. Cathleen loved Helen like a sister, maybe even more so considering her lack of siblings. But once Helen was on a rant it took a major event to stop her. Luckily Cathleen had the perfect distraction.
"Helen," Cathleen said to the shorter blonde. "I need to make a run to my room." Cathleen didn't bother checking behind her to see if Helen was following her as she made her way to her dorm. She knew Helen well enough to know that the rambunctious blond was hot on her heels. And considering that Helen was wearing a sensationally high pair of heels the fact that the tell-tale clap could be heard all the way to the dorm was even more impressive. But that was who Helen was; she had always been a 'why not' type of girl.
As Cathleen got curious stares from students who were shocked to see the normally reserved young woman running down the college's paths. She was making a mental list of all the things she needed to pack. With the refreshing February chill brushing past her flushed cheeks Cathleen was momentarily taken off course as she was nearing a group of girls who were going incredibly slow.
"Cathleen," one of the girls called out as she passed. "Where are you going?"
"Home," Cathleen called over her back and sped up as she got closer and closer to the dorm hall. Once her foot made contact with the front step Cathleen took a deep breath and fished for her key as Helen caught up with her.
"Cathleen," Helen said as she caught her breath on the dorm's steps. "Why exactly did we need to make a mad dash from the Student Center to Fergus Hall?" Cathleen shoved the tiny telegram in Helen's hand.
Without saying a word Cathleen opened the door and led Helen through the lobby. Once the two women began to climb the stairs leading to Cathleen's dorm, she nervously put her hand through her windswept hair. Feeling the loose strands curl around her hand, Cathleen added another task to her list of things that need to be done before she left for Greenwich.
"Wait, when did this arrive?" Helen asked as they reached the floor for Cathleen's room. The empty hall echoed the sound of Helen's heels and the sound was beginning to grate on Cathleen's nerves.
"I don't know, Helen," she said honestly. "All I know is that it wasn't in my mailbox during my lunch break. So obviously he acted fast." Cathleen looked down at Helen and saw sympathy come upon her friend's face. "Please, don't pity me. I need your help to pack." Cathleen unbuttoned her coat and looked down at her wrinkled dress. "Do you think I need to change?" Cathleen opened the already unlocked door and found her roommate, Debbie working on her typewriter.
"Cathleen, what are you doing here?" Debbie asked as she took off her glasses, "I thought you were supposed to-"
"Change of plans Debaroo," Helen told her, "Apparently, Mr. Simmons wants to speak to Cathleen 'prior to the party's preparations'." Helen walked over to Debbie and showed her the exact line in the telegram. Meanwhile Cathleen, pulling out her dirty laundry, realized that she didn't have a clean skirt that would be appropriate for the nearly two hour long trip.
"Oh my gosh!" Cathleen yelled as she pulled out dirty skirt after dirty skirt. She knew that she was getting low in clean clothes but to not have a clean skirt to see her father in would only further anger the man.
"What's wrong?" Debbie and Helen asked simultaneously.
"I don't have a clean skirt or dress to wear," Cathleen collapsed on her bed, defeated. "This is a nightmare."
"Okay, so you don't have a skirt," Helen said calmly. "What about that great pantsuit from Bloomingdale's you got-"
"No go," Debbie said as she got up from her typewriter and went rummaging around in Cathleen's bureau. "Whoa, you really don't have a skirt to wear." Cathleen rolled her eyes at Debbie.
"I told you," Cathleen sighed as she got up and grabbed her comb. "I mean I only have one option and that will set Father's anger to boiling." Though the girls had originally thought Cathleen was exaggerating when she talked about her father's temper, as they got to know the kind Cathleen Simmons, they also got to know the interesting moods and harsh words of Douglas Simmons.
"He really will blow his top if he sees pants?" Helen asked as she rummaged through Cathleen's expensive wardrobe.
"Helen you have no idea," Debbie said as she held up a plaid skirt for closer inspection. "Cathleen and I once wore our bathing suits from her room down to the pool without a cover-up. Mr. Simmons gave us a five minute lecture on the appropriate attire of the Manor."
"That's nothing," Cathleen said as she began to fix her hair. "I wasn't allowed sneakers until the school nurse sent me home from school with a broken toe from slipping on the gym floor." Cathleen saw the grimaces on Helen and Debbie's face and smiled broadly. "Hey, are we going to reminisce about my childhood or are you going to help me get ready?"
Immediately Debbie and Helen set about getting Cathleen's things gathered together and gave their advice about her hair. It was eventually decided that Cathleen had no other option but to wear the pantsuit that she had bought on a dare – well and the fact that the dark blue color brought out her eyes. Though she tried to dress the dark garment as much as possible Cathleen couldn't get rid of that nagging feeling that her father would be adding her improper attire to the growing list of faults he found in his only child. And though that thought lurked in the forefront of her mind, Cathleen was still pleased to see that the two people who knew her best were attempting to cheer her up.
"Okay," Helen said stepping back from the three suitcases that Cathleen would take, "I'm done packing."
"Make-up and hair are perfect." Debbie said as she looked over her Cathleen's face appraisingly, "Now all you have to do is sit down whenever possible." Cathleen was about to respond when a sharp knock was heard on the door. The three women looked at each other silently, knowing who was on the other side of the door.
"Yes?" Helen spoke first.
"I'm Mr. Simmons' driver," the low male voice replied. "I'm here to pick up Miss Cathleen."
"One second," Debbie yelled as Cathleen rushed to pull on her hat and get into her high heels. Helen rushed over to her friend with her good winter coat and once it was completely buttoned up the three of them nodded to each other. A signal for Debbie to look relaxed by her typewriter and Helen to pretend she was reading one of Cathleen's many textbooks. Though each one of them was really paying close attention to what happened next. Cathleen slowly walked up to the door and opened it with a smile and saw the wizened face of Campbell, one of her father's three drivers. Unfortunately for Cathleen, he was also the one most loyal to her father and of course he noticed the pants immediately.
"Campbell," Cathleen said as she let the older man in the room, purposely leaving the door wide open.
"Miss Cathleen," he replied as he went straight to her luggage. "That is quite a suit, Miss Cathleen. Did you get that on your own?" Cathleen knew it was a rhetorical question but one she had to answer or else it would set off a bad mood for the ride. As the driver picked up the two largest of Cathleen's luggage she exchanged a wink with Helen and Debbie.
"Yes, I did, Campbell. Do you like it?" Cathleen turned quickly around to show off the outfit to its best advantage as Campbell silently made his way out of the room. "I'll see you on Monday, Helen." Cathleen went to hug her as Helen sat up.
"Good luck, Cattywatt," Helen answered as the two friends quickly embraced.
"Debbie," Cathleen made her way over to her roommate. "I'll see you tomorrow night, right?" Debbie had managed an invitation to the elite party because her father did business with Cathleen's grandfather. Of course, it had been five years since her grandfather had actually worked; but in these upper crusts of society one never let go of a valuable ally and Cathleen's maternal grandfather was extremely valuable.
"Of course you will, Cathleen." As the pair hugged tightly Cathleen found relief in the fact that if she survived to see the next day, she would be rewarded to go to a party with a friendly face.
"Okay, I'll see you both soon." Cathleen grabbed her remaining luggage, purse and gloves and made her way out to the waiting limousine and Campbell's stern face. Offering an unreturned smile and her remaining suitcase to the driver, Cathleen entered the opened door.
"Thank you, Campbell." Cathleen was greeted to a grunt by the older man and a firm shutting of the door. When she heard the trunk's door close Cathleen leaned her head back against the seat and closed her eyes. Sleep soon overtook her as the limousine pulled out of the college's campus and onto the main road.
"Wake up, Miss Cathleen," Campbell yelled as he rapped against the partition separating the driver from the passengers.
"Sorry, Campbell," Cathleen plastered a smile on her face. "How much longer do we have?"
"We're almost to the drive." Campbell smiled as he informed Cathleen that they had mere minutes for Cathleen to compose herself and freshen up. Refusing to show the shock that she felt Cathleen reached for her compact.
"Two hours passed that quickly?" Cathleen opened the compact and touched up her make-up. She would have gotten out her lipstick but Campbell liked to take the turn onto the drive a tad too hard when Cathleen was in the car. Which made her slide in her seat and there was no way to apply lipstick to perfection with a less than steady hand.
"Well, I called you name when we were thirty minutes away. You must not have heard me over that snoring of yours." Campbell timed his comment perfectly with the movement of the car and the only thing that saved Cathleen from sliding was her firm grip on the door's handle.
"I suppose I didn't." Cathleen said as she touched up her lipstick and composed herself before the limousine pulled up in front of the house. Looking outside her window Cathleen saw the usual group of servants lined up by the door. But what made this gathering unusual was the body in the doorway, framed by the light inside the mansion. "Campbell, is that my father?" The car slowed down to a stop as Cathleen's door lined up perfectly to the front entrance of the mansion. Campbell didn't reply just as Cathleen knew he wouldn't which only meant that yes, her father was waiting for her outside. Cathleen took a deep calming breath as the world slowed down and Campbell opened her door.
"Miss Cathleen," Without holding his hand to help Cathleen out, Campbell smiled broadly to the audience on the steps. Once all of Cathleen's things were out of the car, he slammed the door, making Cathleen jump.
"Cathleen," the loud, deep voice of Douglas Simmons drowned out the murmurs of the gossiping servants. "I see you still have an interesting taste in attire." Just as she expected, he went directly for the pantsuit Cathleen was wearing. Although it was expensive she was sure that it would be conveniently lost the moment she sent it to be washed.
"I'm sorry, Father," Cathleen said as she approached the stone entrance. "I was planning on-"
"Inside, Cathleen." Her father said as he turned abruptly around and marched inside. Behind her some servants scurried to take Cathleen's things to her room. Looking around she noticed that the whispers had resumed with the servants who still remained outside. Her father had fired the last servant Cathleen had become friends with, so she carefully abided by the unspoken rule that 'servants are for serving not talking to'. However, neither event had done anything to endear Cathleen to the people who worked in Fernhill Manor and whenever Cathleen was around she was sure they were only counting the days until she would be shipped off again.
Once Cathleen made it to the mansion's foyer, her jacket and purse were taken from her. As she looked around, Cathleen saw this familiar room for the museum that it was. She had always thought her house was a little more elegant than others; but as she began to spend more time in Dr. Jones's office and saw how he organized his treasures, Cathleen just felt more out of place in the place she grew up.
"Cathleen, you may enter," a tall, black man announced. The man had become a familiar figure in the last couple times Cathleen and her father had spoken to one another. She was told that the man's name was Louis and he was her father's personal bodyguard. Though Cathleen wondered why he needed a bodyguard when she knew for a fact that he prided himself for his still youthful figure and finesse, she didn't dare question the apparently excessive desire.
"Thank you, Louis," Cathleen quickly stepped past the man and did her best not to gag as his cologne overwhelmed her. Her heels made contact with marble for only a few more steps before they met the lush carpeting of the study that was off limits to her. Once she heard the click of the door being shut Cathleen took a good look around the room. She knew that it was designed with the utmost care by one of the best designers in New York City; but again Cathleen realized why she was always afraid of entering it. The man sitting at the desk in front of her had made her believe that every single thing in the room was worth more than her life. Cathleen remembered the few occasions that her father allowed her into his study and how he had recited the price and age for every single thing in the room. Looking back on those moments now Cathleen couldn't help but wonder if he knew what he was doing and the values he was instilling in the young Cathleen.
"Cathleen," Douglas Simmons said as he motioned to a chair in front of him while reading a piece of paper. It was with care that Cathleen slowly sat down in the chair that supposedly had once been in President Abraham Lincoln's White House. She also had to be extremely quiet as her father finished the task he was at and give his attention to her. She had learned this over the years and it was only recently that the need to break the silence first was lessened. In fact Cathleen could have been quite happy to spend numerous silent hours in this room with it's books on shelves as high as the ceiling, the roaring fireplace surrounded by chairs and of course all the pieces of history littered expertly around the room. Of course Cathleen knew that it was only a matter of time before her father decided he had enough of his daughter's presence and concluded his business with her. It was times like these that Cathleen wondered if her mother were around today would she be surprised or pleased to see the relationship between her husband and daughter. She hoped that had her mother stayed alive perhaps her father wouldn't spend so much time on Wall Street and maybe a semblance of a normal father daughter relationship would have been formed.
"Now, Cathleen," her father broke the silence as he took off his glasses. The grey haired man known as Douglas Simmons then frowned at Cathleen as he lounged in the green leather chair behind his desk. Knowing this certain act as not a sign of relaxation but one of intense thought, Cathleen's heart beat faster in anticipation of his next words. "It has come to my attention, Cathleen that you have disobeyed an order I gave you when you began to attend Marshall College." Pausing to reach for the paper he was reading Douglas then passed it to Cathleen. "Might you tell me why I see not only five courses on the school's bill, but also an Archaeology class listed?"
"I signed up for those courses, Father," Cathleen answered honestly. She wasn't about to give more information than was necessary – especially to someone who already had so much power over her.
"I understand that, Cathleen," he said as he took the paper back to his side of the desk. "But what did we discuss when you first went to Marshall College?" Cathleen's father allowed himself an indulgent smile that she was sure he meant to relax her, but only made her feel more tense.
"I agreed to discuss any and all classes I would be taking," Cathleen said automatically and when she didn't continue to explain Douglas took the paper in his hand once again and slid it across to her. They kept eye contact while he did this and Cathleen could have sworn that she saw a little wince in those dark blue eyes of his – eyes she had inherited. Cathleen thanked the gods that it was the only thing they shared as her delusions about her father began to melt away.
"And did you discuss this class with me?" her father then got up from the desk and walked over to Cathleen's side of the table. Leaning back in her chair defensively, Cathleen's mind went to work to see if her father was trapping her with his words. Unable to see any real threat Cathleen decided the truth would be best.
"Yes," she nodded. "We discussed those classes, Father." Apparently Cathleen said something unexpected as her father stopped walking and looked away. Something told her he couldn't hide his feelings, meaning that Cathleen had to press the slight advantage she had found. "Father, I am confused. I thought we said that since I couldn't major in Archaeology, you would allow me to take one course of my choosing while attending Marshall."
"Plans change, Cathleen." Douglas had finally composed himself enough that he could look Cathleen in the eye. "You should have told me of you desires. I'm sure we could have come to a mutually beneficial arrangement." His words made Cathleen's hair stand on end. Her father had gone into what she called 'business speak' and at times like these it was best to listen and not talk. However, Cathleen didn't want to be forced to withdraw from a class she enjoyed. So it was with all the courage in her heart that Cathleen took a deep breath and spoke.
"Father," Cathleen stood up to her full height, which in heels meant that she and her father were practically eye to eye. "I gather that this is about one course and one course only, correct? I'm supposing that the class is the Archaeology class that I had to go to the professor himself to get in?" Unwilling to back down, though her instincts were screaming for her to back off, Cathleen saw an out of this conversation – that if tired enough, her father just might concede. "Am I to withdraw from the class, Father?" Just as she hoped, Douglas Simmons turned back to the desk and sat down behind it. He waited until his glasses were on his face to look at Cathleen, who had decided to keep standing though she'd yet to decide if this was a smart idea or not. As father and daughter looked at each other with identical eyes Cathleen realized that she just had her first victory.
"You will not tell your grandmother of this, Cathleen." Douglas said smoothly as he put the school bill aside and took out a small folder.
"Of course not, Father." Cathleen looked at her father's head as he became engrossed in the contents of the folder.
"Very well," Douglas agreed and waved his hand. "Send Louis in and you may go to your room. Call down to the kitchen when you're ready to have dinner sent up."
"Thank you, Father," Cathleen said before she opened the door to Louis and closed it quickly. She beat a hasty retreat to her room through the many hallways Fernhill Manor contained. Once she closed the door of her bedroom – and only then – could she truly enjoy her small but important victory over her father.
Review and I will happily reciprocate! Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts about Cathleen's father, Douglas.