This is the second of a four-part fan fiction story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures. This story also won first place in the 14-17 age category of Mrs. Marlow’s annual short story contest. ‘Proper Andi’ is meant to fill the gap between Mrs. Marlow’s ‘Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers’, and ‘Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure’, dealing specifically with Andi’s struggle with growing up, and still doing the things she loves…which don’t happen to be considered ‘proper’.
“Welcome home!” The whole family stood smiling on the platform of the train station.
Andi smiled and waved a delicately gloved hand at them. She descended from the train straight into her mother’s arms.
Andi felt tears well up and she sniffed quickly. Fashionable ladies didn’t cry in the middle of a public place.
Chad stepped forward and ruffled her hair.
Andi slapped his hand away. “Stop it!”
Her family froze.
Andi smoothed down her hair. “Gentlemen never ruffle a lady’s hair.” She tilted her nose up and airily kissed Melinda on the cheek.
Chad gave Andi a hurt look but backed away and let Mitch take his place. The youngest Carter brother learned from Chad’s mistake and gave Andi a quick peck on the cheek.
Justin and Mother shared a confused look as Andi straightened her skirts and turned to Jenny.
“Jennifer, I would like to introduce you to my family. This is my mother, Elizabeth, my brothers Chad, Justin, and Mitchell.” Eyebrows raised when Andi called Mitch by his full name. “And my lovely sister, Melinda. Everyone, this is my friend, Miss Jennifer Grant.”
Jenny made her nicest curtsy. “I’m very pleased to meet you all. Andi has told me all about you, and—”
Andi cleared her throat, and Jenny caught her mistake. “I mean, I’m happy to make your acquaintance.”
An awkward silence settled before Andi made the first move to the surrey waiting for them. “Come along, Jennifer. You must be tired and will want to get settled in your room.” She glided to the rig, and Jenny followed.
The family stared for a moment then caught up.
Andi grabbed Chad as he passed and fixed him with a warning look. “Help Miss Grant into the surrey, Chad Aaron Carter, and do try to remember your manners.”
The look on Chad’s face made Andi laugh. “You didn’t think that after two terms at dear Miss Whitaker’s I would still be a tomboy, did you?”
Chad opened his mouth, but for once he appeared at a loss for words.
Andi went right on. “Oh, really, Chad. I think it’s too bad that Mother didn’t take your advice and send me to Miss Whitaker’s years ago.”
The family was speechless. The time Chad had threatened Andi with Miss Whitaker’s, everyone had seen the drastic measures Andi was willing to take to avoid the establishment. And now she wished she had been sent years ago? Impossible!
Andi began to enjoy shocking her family on the way home. Mother and Justin seemed to take it in stride, but Chad and Mitch had expressions of surprise and distaste on their faces.
Melinda listened in silence.