Authors: S.R. Roddy
months of struggling and fighting her goals were close at hand. The
improvements she had already managed to make were phenomenal. Tonight’s profits
would go directly to the final repairs needed for the orphanage and if they were
able to raise enough… it could finally be reopened… hopefully before Christmas.
closer in June she had despaired of ever winning this battle, but victory had
finally come! The contractor had promised to have the repairs finished by the middle
of the month, with the inspector set to come in on the Monday before
Thanksgiving. If everything went smoothly she could begin the lengthy paperwork
process involved in bringing the children back to the orphanage. She knew not
all would come home, some had been placed in foster care, and a few of the
smaller children were set for quick adoption, but over a dozen would be returning
and with the backing of Mika’s group and some finagling by her… the orphanage
would be allowed two dozen children on the premises at any given time and boast
a lot of new amenities.
have a live in cook and her assistant, two teachers, both a male and female
counselor and a head mistress. With a half dozen bedrooms on each of the upper
floors the boys would take the top floor, while the girls would be assigned
rooms on the second floor. Each room would be shared by two children close to
the same age. To each floor they had already added a full shower facility, with
private stalls of course, and a half dozen sinks with mirrors in the hopes that
the kids could share them more comfortably. Each room would sport a half bath
with a full length mirror on the door. A short privacy wall between the beds had
been finished earlier this week for the older kids’ rooms and they each had
their own closet space. Each room had two windows, she had always wanted to add
built in window seats, but until recently the idea had been rejected by the
council. Now she had the authorization she desired, but only for the older
teenagers rooms and safety features had to be added. She didn’t care though,
because when all was said and done she had won so much for the children. She
had a carpenter friend of hers designing built in dressers… one on each side of
the rooms and a desk with an overhead light for studying. She thought she’d
allow each of the children to paint their own dressers as a way to make it feel
more like their own.
Both the male
and female counselor would have their own master suites on each floor, with
their own bath and showers as well as a small living area for them to relax
away from the kids. Besides their day time job as counselors, it would be their
responsibility to guide the children in their evening activity. They would be
in charge of bed checks, general cleanliness of the rooms and lights out.
Most of the
downstairs had been left in its original form, with a music room and library
for the children’s use. The parlors had been transformed into classrooms years
ago, but the dining room had remained with its huge solid wood table and old
fashioned chairs. A wall had been constructed in the middle of the ballroom
leaving half of it in its former glory but modernizing the other half into a
recreations room for the kids. A dance instructor would be brought in once a
week… teaching the kids everything from ballroom dancing to the modern dances
from clubs. Mika and her both wanted the children to have a taste of both
worlds. The rec room was being modernized with all the latest technology. In
the corner of the room they had designated a small area for gaming, one wall
had a big screen tv with a dvd collection to make the most avid movie buff
jealous, in the opposite corner sat a pool table and an air hockey table. They
also had plans of altering the conservatory, part of it would be sectioned off
to make room for a half dozen computers that the kids would need use of for
There was a
suite with two rooms off the kitchen for the cook and her assistant with one
master bathroom for them to share. The head mistress and the two female
teachers would be sharing what used to be a three bedroom caretakers cottage.
The entire upper floor had been transformed into a private suite for the head
mistress, which included a den and small kitchen area. There was no stove, but
we had added a microwave, a small refrigerator, electric skillet and crock
pot. The two teachers each had master suites downstairs, which included a
bathroom, dressing area and a small den. They had a large living room area that
would allow for guests if they threw any small informal parties. Like the
upstairs suite the kitchen area didn’t have its own oven, but did have its own
full size fridge, microwave, coffee machine, toaster, and electric skillet. With
a lot of counter space there was plenty of room for any other appliance they
might think to add on their own. There was also a small breakfast nook sitting
in front of the big bay windows, big enough to seat four.
One of the
local ranches had donated a small section of their property that bordered the
orphanage to be leased for a century. Since it was part of the original
property that had been sold years ago, it sported a barn, bunk house and
practice yard that had been maintained over the years by the rancher who had
bought it. The owner had agreed to maintain the buildings and provide feed for
the half dozen horses that had been donated by local ranches. A couple of ranch
hands and one manager would oversee the ranch part of the orphanage in their
spare time. With two milk cows, a half dozen chickens and a rooster, a dozen
rabbits and a huge vegetable garden the house had the potential to be fairly
self sufficient. Mika had found someone who would come in once a week to help
with the gardening and teach the kids and staff how to maintain a healthy
garden. The cook and her assistant would be in charge of the rabbits and hens
while the ranch hands would milk the cows every day with the help of the older
children as they rotated the household duties.
venture was so exciting… she couldn’t help feeling a small sense of pride at
finally accomplishing what she had set out to do. The town had agreed to pay
for half of the electricity on the orphanage for as long as the doors remained
open. She had even managed to convince them to put a clause in each contract
noting that if the orphanage ever closed for any reason the contracts would
remain active in the event that it might again one day reopen its doors. Some
of the local restaurants pulled together signing a five year contract to pay
the cooks salary and donations from other sources would pay the remaining
salaries. With the state paying their normal support per child, the orphanage
should be able to stay out of the red indefinitely, with proper management of
tonight was to help finance the last of the structural repairs needed with any
extra money going toward some of her pet projects. Some of those improvements
included a science lab, the new swing set and club house she wanted to put in,
and an enclosed in ground pool, one of the local companies had agreed to fund a
small wading pool for the younger kids as well. The wading pool would be
surrounded by a locked iron gate, with a back gate, also locked, that led into
the enclosed adult pool. It would be an open design with screens starting waist
high to the ceiling… three sets on each side, to allow the summer breezes
inside, with a 5’ of enclosed wall between each set. Bushes would be planted
outside each window 5’ deep to make it more difficult to sneak inside, with a
tree planted periodically around the building in hopes the shade offered would
keep it cooler inside. The floor would be cement, but the tiles for the pool
were going to be done in a multitude of blues and greens. A shop in San Antonio
had agreed to donate the wood furniture she wanted and she was having the water
proof pads made special, at her own expense, to match the tiles in the pool.
She had spent
a lot of time worrying about the kids. Last week she had actually broke down
after a visit with the kids and spent the rest of the afternoon talking to thin
air. She really hoped these several months away had not been too hard on them
all. The older kids she had known since they were babies, they called her Aunt
Tasha. They may not be blood, but they were all the only family she had left
now and it would be devastating to know they had been mistreated in some way.
She had tried to visit them as often as she could, but lately she had only been
able to manage every other week and that really wasn’t enough in her opinion.
The younger kids didn’t know her well and were shy and reserved around her. They
had been getting used to her visits, but she knew the longer they were away
from the home the bigger the danger of them forgetting. Most were so young it
would be a simple matter to forget the other children.
She had made
sure that if anything ever happened to her the majority of her fortune would go
into a trust fund for the orphanage, with Mika as the trustee. There was also a
smaller trust fund set aside for the eight children she had watched grow up.
Her grandmother had already set up college funds for each of them when it had
become apparent no one was going to adopt them. This was something different though,
to help them get situated after college. She had even set up specific guide
lines so none of them could use it as a crutch to get by. It was meant to help
not hinder their growth into adulthood.
this dawdling…..” She grumbled to herself. It was time to get moving to the
costume party. She was already way beyond fashionably late.
was an outfit from one of the trunks in the attic. It had belonged to her
great, great, great grandmother or something like that. It was this white
chemise looking thing that flowed to her ankles, if her memory served it was
called a… sark?.... maybe. She had added a couple layers of their version of a
petticoat, which more resembled another skirt to her, it was definitely a good
thing the weather had been uncharacteristically cold or otherwise she would be
The idea had
actually come from her dreams she’d been having for the past six months now.
She spent hours nearly every night visiting a MacKay stronghold in the past.
She knew how crazy it sounded… that’s why she hadn’t told a soul even her best
friend Mika. She had missed Tavish this last week… there had been no dreams
prompting a visit to his world and she felt the loss deeply. So tonight she
would dress up like she lived in his time… sort of… to allow herself the
illusion of being close to him.
altered each piece of the costume adding her own style and flare.... yeah she
knew it was old… but damn it was a bit plain and uncomfortable. The petticoats
had originally been white also, but she had dyed one a cobalt blue and the
other a darker shade more of a midnight blue. She had bunched her sark in the
front middle at knee level then attached a blue ribbon to match the petticoat underneath.
She proceeded to do the same with the cobalt blue petticoat underneath her
sark, attaching a dark blue ribbon to it. She then cut and hemmed both the sark
and the petticoat under it so each layer was slightly shorter than next. The
result was a layered look that was quit stunning. The corset had been white,
but she dyed it a red to match the stripes on the arisaid, cutting the strings
that tightened it. She had taken the vest that was made of a dark blue material
that matched the shade of the darker petticoat and attached the altered corset
to it. She then closed the vest with several wooden toggles she had found
buried in another chest. Of course she had altered them too, but only slightly,
she gave them an almost whitewashed look so they matched the outfit better.
She was fairly
sure that she had stolen clothing designs from several different eras, but
honestly didn’t care… it wasn’t like there would be any historical fashion
police at the party. She knew the arisaid had belonged to the clan MacKay and
her great grandfather had paid for a replica clan badge to be designed in white
gold as a gift for his wife. Her great grandmother had taught her to understand
Gaelic, but because of her heavy Texan accent, it was almost impossible for her
to speak it. Shoot she was lucky if anyone understood her English half the time
her drawl was so strong.
Ari had also taught her how to wear the arisaid… it was basically worn like a
cloak. She had a large leather belt that she wrapped around her waist to hold
it in place. The belt had been altered too, but just slightly… she had taken a
ribbon of both the shades of blue she had used for the petticoats and
interwoven them over the leather so it matched the outfit. She then draped the
top over her shoulders and attached the replica clan badge in front, a hand holding
a dagger. Tasha had always assumed the material would be rough and scratchy,
but somehow it had maintained a softer less abrasive feel to it. No skin
irritation, thank god.
looked at her watch… “Crap!” She was way more than fashionably late… now she
would have to drive instead of walking. Trying to be as authentic as possible
she removed her watch and laid it on the mantel before walking out the door. Jumping
into her car she carefully drove the few blocks to the barn house the gathering
was being held at. As she pulled in front one of the MacKay brothers themselves,
dressed in their highland colors, opened her door. As she walked around the car
and stepped into the light all three brothers… local ranchers… looked at her
with raised eye brows. Oh boy, she had forgotten about the MacKay brothers,
their family had lived here just as long as hers.
their families were related… distantly. Twin brothers… MacKay’s… had founded the
town of Opal. These men had descended from the head of the family and eldest
brother, while her great grandmother had been the great granddaughter of the
younger brother. Their grandfather had been the rancher that bought the
property next to the orphanage when my great grandmother had needed the money.
He then donated it years later when the orphanage was opened for their use.
Following in his footsteps the oldest brother Ian had just recently signed the
lease papers making it official for several generations of use. Then completely
out of character the middle brother Malcolm had encouraged some of the cowhands
to donate their spare time to helping out.