Victoria Penning

United States

11 siblings
Coffee drinker
KotLC fangirl
Town & country girl
Instagram: @author_victoria.penning
Jesus loves you, and I do too.

Message to Readers

Very slowly continuing this. The first thing I posted might be the introduction. Or... prologue... what ever it's called.... I like introduction better. ;D

A Protectors Promise: Chapter 1

August 21, 2018


  November 3rd, 1913

   “Pardon me Sir, but-”
   “Joe! Help the woman up front!”  
Grace Hemmings’s eyes widened in shock at the man’s rude, brusque manner. She bit her lip, trying to keep her scolding words on how a proper gentleman would treat a lady, at bay. A young boy of about thirteen came hurrying out of the back room. He was out of breath, covered in soot, and Grace could hear his tummy rumbling. She bit her lip harder as harsh words rose up to her lips. She smiled warmly at the boy and slid her paper across the counter.
   “I have an order to pick up.”
He looked tired as he cast a weary glance at the fat man sitting his afternoon tea.
   “Of course miss. Wait just a moment and I’ll have your parcels.”
   “Joe! We don’t make our customers wait ‘just a moment’. We are known for our prompt deliveries, and I won’t have that reputation die because we’re out of breath, ey’?”
Grace’s gloved hand curled in anger. The young boy gave a jerky nod then ran back into the room. She heard him rummaging about, and then he quickly reappeared with her four packages. An idea sprang into her head.
   “There are an awful lot of packages to carry home by myself. Would you be a good lad and help me?”
She spoke to him alone, and ignored the store owners head as it jerked up.
    “Now… wait just a moment-”
    “I am sorry to steal your valuable help, but I’ve had a long day, and I’m afraid I would be constantly dropping my parcels all the way home.”
She gathered two of the up in her arms and left the other two to the young boy, and they headed for the door. The man blustered behind them.
   “But, what am I to do without him?”
Grace turned back to the man.
   “I’m sure you could help him in running your shop. You said yourself that you have a reputation to keep for speedy deliveries. I wouldn’t want your reputation to go down the drain, and I have also heard that you are very good at having the customer’s needs come first, and I so appreciate your willingness to allow your boy to help me. Thank you for putting my order together. Have a good day.”
She bustled out the door and into the chill sunlight. The young boy followed Grace as she marched around the corner. As soon as they were out of sight, Grace stopped and took the other two parcels from her helper and smiled at the confusion on his face.
   “They aren’t that heavy, and my destination far. I just wanted you to get a little break. Are you hungry?”
A smile broke out on the lad’s face and he nodded eagerly.
                                                                    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
   “Father? I’m home!”
   “Ah! Grace dearest. When did you get back?”
   “Just now, Papa.”
   “Oh my dear, you haven’t been here for an hour! I’d say you’d just arrived.”
Grace smiled at her father.
   “Yes Papa.”
The dear old man whom Grace loved with all her heart was slightly taller than she was, with white curly hair that covered his ears, and blue eyes that twinkled constantly. A smile was always lurking around the corners of his mouth. He carried the smell of tobacco smoke, home and love. Grace quickly placed her purse on a nearby chair and fell into his warm embrace. She was always able to feel content when she was in his arms. She didn’t worry about the troubles she had with her brother Philip, the sorrow of the death of her mother, or the trickles of gossip of war. When she was in her father’s arms, she felt at peace, and that nothing could ever harm her.
    “Grace dearest, you smell of smoke and ale, where in heavens name have you been?”
He pushed his daughter away gently to study her face. She smiled up at him.
   “Papa, you know I take groceries to the slums on Wednesday’s.”
   “Oh my dear, I hope you haven’t been going into any slums. They always smell of smoke and ale. Not good places to go. Even your mother agrees with me.”
Grace’s heart dropped like a rock to her stomach. She had hoped that after four months, her father would at least notice Marianne’s absence. He had the most forgetful mind, and could hardly hear at all. She worried about him, but he would not allow her to take him to see a doctor. She sighed.
   “I know Papa. But someone needs to help them.”
   “Oh, my dearest Grace. Someone needs to help those poor beggars in the slums, but I don’t think you and Marianne are the women for the job. Dangerous places they are, those slums. Shouldn’t be… roaming about them now, should we?”
He grunted and stopped for breath as he limped back to his arm chair. Grace’s brow drew together in worry.
   “Papa, why don’t you go rest? I’ll have Philip meet the carpenter, or I can meet him when he arrives. You need some sleep.”
   “Oh my dear, the carpenter is coming today. Would you or Philip meet him when he arrives? I’m feeling tired myself. Might head on up to get some rest.”
Grace gave a small smile.
   “Wonderful idea Papa.”
                                                                  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
   “Come in.”
Her brother’s voice called through the closed door. She opened the door to his bedroom and slid halfway in, in case she needed a hasty exit.
    “The carpenter is coming today to fix the kitchen door. Father is resting.  Can you meet him when he comes?”
Her brother leaned back in his chair behind his desk. “Why can’t you do it?” He raised an eyebrow, as if challenging her to say what she knew would be a bad idea to say. If she said it, he would adopt the prideful air that he had inherited from his real father. She swallowed and her grip on the doorknob tightened. Her heart beat faster.
   “Because, I don’t know-”
   “Exactly. You don’t know. So just go sit in the parlor and embroider and visit with guests. Leave these kind of things to the men.”
   “If this is about me asking to learn how to fix the cars with Nathan, then you have no business in my personal life.”
Philip stood. Something simmered behind his eyes, but Grace could never tell what he was thinking. She slid behind the door a little more.
    “I am the only one bringing in money to support your family, so unless you want that to stop, I suggest you be a good girl, and listen to big brother’s advice.”
He put a hand on the door and pushed on it. Grace scooted out of the way as the door closed behind her with a solid click. She grit her teeth.
   “Half brother.” She muttered under her breath .
She headed down the stairs of the modest two story house, but stopped and checked on her father. She heard his gentle snoring, coming from his room. A hitched breath here and there was the only evidence of his illness. Grace bit her lip and continued down the stairs. Collapsing in the chair behind her father’s desk in the parlor, she picked up the pen and started scratching down the event’s that had been going on in her life as she wrote her letter to her dear friend Anya. Anya lived in Germany. They had meet at school, and became fast friends. Grace never told anyone about Anya, for fear of them doing harm to her or her father for her association with a German, and especially with hints of war coming to England. Her hand trembled by the time she had finished the front and back of two pages. She allowed the ink to dry, while she headed to the kitchen.
   “Oh, my dearest! You gave me a start!”
   “I’m sorry Nanny. I just thought I’d have a cup of tea.”
   “Well my dear, consider the kettle on already.”
The short woman whom was affectionately known as ‘Nanny’, bustled about, pulling putting the kettle on the stove and setting out two tea cups. The wonderful smell of chicken soup wafted throughout the kitchen, making Grace smile. She watched the woman who had been like a grandmother and a second mother to her. This woman had known Grace since before she had been born. She had nursed. Marianne when she was sick and had delivered Grace on the bed upstairs by herself. The woman had raised Grace while her mother had been away to hospitals in different cities, and had taught Grace all there was to know about being a woman, and being kind to others. Grace quickly stood from her chair.
   “Let me do that Nanny. You sit down and rest your feet. It smells like you’ve been busy.”
Nanny smiled at her girl.
   “Oh, you’re such a sweet girl. Thank you.”
Grace returned the smile.
   “You’re the only reason I turned out this way.”
Nanny’s smile died slightly.
   “I know that if your mother had the opportunity, she would have wanted to be more involved in your life.”
Grace turned away from the woman when she heard the water bubble in the kettle. She lifted the pot and poured it through the leaves placed above Nanny’s teacup, and then hers. She sank into the chair with a sigh. Nanny reached across the table and placed her hand over the young woman’s.
   “What’s on your mind?”
Grace ran her finger over the edge of the teacups saucer.
Just the one word caused Nanny to understand all the worries going through Grace’s mind. She gave a rueful smile.
   “Ah. I understand the worry lines then, and the frantic, upset writing in your letter to your friend.”
Grace looked up at Nanny. Her eyes wide with surprise.
   “What? You read my letter? How? I finished it right before I came in here!”
Nanny laughed.
   “When you’ve taken care of a child for twenty years, you start to pick up on their habits.”
   “I have habits?”
Nanny laughed again. “Yes my dear. You have habits. I knew you were upset while writing the letter, is the ink smeared across your hand shows that you weren’t paying attention to your hand, and that your handwriting was sloppy.”
Grace looked at her hand, as if needing proof of Nanny’s observations. She gave a small laugh.
   “I guess you’re right. He does frustrate me, and… lately I’ve been slightly afraid of him. He pretends that he’s not part of our family, and he does not refer to father properly, but as ‘your old man’ if he’s talking to me.”
Nanny shook her head.
   “When your mother first had him, I knew he was going to be a trouble maker. And of course his father didn’t help. He encouraged that boy. Told him a real man always gets what he wants. He taught him to fight for what he thought was right, but gave him no training on what is right or wrong. His father died before he could have any chance of making right the wrongs he had done. Philip was six when your father married his mother, and eight when you were born. He just needs lots of prayer, love and time.”
Grace sighed.
   “And a smack over the head with reality. He’s had time. He’s had twenty years to change, but he hasn’t given it any thought.” She shook her head. “I doubt he ever will.”
The two were silent as they considered the rebellious man upstairs, and took a drink of their cooling tea at the same time. Their eye met across the table and they both let out a snort, falling into merciless laughter.


See History
  • August 21, 2018 - 9:52pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Victoria Penning

    nevaredhp, Thanks!!! I'll try to work on that sometime, but at the moment I'm mostly trying to focus on finishing Evidence for Angels. :) But I'm so glad you liked it! :D

    about 3 years ago
  • nevaredhp

    Oooh I love it!! Let me know when there's more please :) <3

    about 3 years ago