I ran fast trying to catch the train. It was pulling out of Memphis at 2:00. I could hear the conductor yelling his last “all aboard” call. My head was swimming with worry.
I had to get on that train. It was my safe haven. A true way to escape the hardships of life, even though a man had been murdered last week on the train. I was afraid I might be the next target, but I was compelled to go.
I ran faster, trying not to break a heal on my new shoes. I waved my white gloved hand at the conductor.
”Please,” I yelled. “Please wait.”
Before I knew what was happening Jasper grabbed my arm and was pulling me onto the train. I gasped for air. My feet were dragging behind me, tearing my new shoes to shreds.
“Harder Jasper. Pull harder!”
”I’m trying ma’am, I’m trying.”
My purse fell from my arm. I quickly grabbed onto Jasper’s arm pulling myself to the bottom step. He threw his other arm around my waist and pulled me close. We fell backwards into the entry way.
”Oh my God, you did it!” I breathed in quickly trying to catch my breath. I looked into his eyes, our faces inches apart.
”Are you all right?” he asked.
”Yes, Jasper, yes.” He wouldn’t remove his gaze.
I ran to my private room, heaving for air, and slammed the door shut. The train was rolling along at a good pace. At least I made it on the train, even if my shoes had to be sacrificed for it.
I sat down on the couch and shuddered at the thought of blood being shed on my father's train. When the body was found there were very little clues as to who killed the man.
The door to my room abruptly opened.
"Mother. You startled me," I said. "What are you doing here?"
"Scarlet, is this what you plan on doing for the rest of your life?"
She glared at me and promptly sat down, not waiting for an invitation or an answer to her question.
"You spend months on this bloody train, doing nothing but sulking about your life."
"I'm not sulking Mother. Maybe if you would take the time to find out . . ."
"Enough!" she growled.
I sat silent, knowing she would never listen.
"It's 1952 and the passenger train lines are going bankrupt. We've received another offer from Jonathan Adams. It's a fair offer and I think it's time we accepted."
"You know I can't do that Mother."
"If you don't give this man what he wants, he will come after you. And possibly me as well." She stood up and paced the small room. "Think about it Scarlet. And stop acting like a spoiled child. Your father's gone. Holding onto this company won't bring him back."