Chapter 1

Banff and Vancouver were huge towns to Wendy. She had graduated with all top scores in her 'A' levels and continued them through Uni.

Canada held very little for her though. Sure the clubs wanted her, they always wanted a pretty face. Several punters had suggested she join them, but that was not what she wanted.

It became an easy decision to leave home when her father told her he was getting married, again. Her future step-mother was 4 years younger than she was and wore clothes Wendy would not be caught dead in.

Getting a 'green card' for the US was not to difficult. It was good for a minimum of 90 days and if she got a job for three years. What to do she thought. Seattle and Tacoma were high on her list of places she might want to settle in. Without much thought as to the future, she packed her things, kissed 'Daddy' and her future step-mum goodbye and was able to book a train South.

Her cheque account was pretty good for a 22 yr-old, she thought. $15,000 US should see her through, at least until she found work. Or so she thought. When she arrived in Seattle, she went to the taxi stop and asked to be taken to a good hotel. The Ritz-Carlton was a good Hotel. The valet opened her door, took her bags(She had 2) and escorted her to the front desk after asking her if she was already registered.

The front desk was staffed with only one person when another clerk appeared and called her up to her position. Wendy smiled and calmly asked if she might get a room. After a quick check the clerk told her they were quite full but several basic rooms were still available. "Great" Wendy told her, "may I please have one?"

"Is this your first time with us Miss?"

"Yes, first time even in the US, I just graduated from Uni and wanted to start my new life here, Canada was wonderful but there is nothing there for me."

"I'll be able to include a breakfast and place you on a floor where food and drinks are complimentary. How long will you be staying with us?"

"I'm not certain, I've just arrived and not familiar what might be available?"

"Well, good luck to you Miss Canada, just remember, if you ever doubt yourself just bat your eyes, swish your hair and some 'Prince Charming' will come to your rescue. I'll need your credit card and you can tell the desk how long you'll be staying, it is normally $2,000 but I'll give you it for $1,500."

"But I'm not sure how long I need to stay!"

"That's OK Hon, if you stay longer than a week, I'll give you the weekly rate, instead of the daily."

At this point Wendy began to feel faint. When she woke up, she was lying on a couch in the hotel lobby, her head in the lap of a beautiful young girl who was wiping her face with a damp cloth. Covering her was a small blanket and her feet were bare.

"Just lie back. You gave us a bit of a fright you know? I was just checking out when you started to fall. My brother caught you and he is finishing up at the desk. I'm Miranda, Miranda White and my brother and I just moved here from Miami."

"I'm so sorry Miranda, my name is Wendy Darling, and I feel like such a fool." She began to give Miranda some of the details of her life and the fright she had upon discovering her 'nest egg' would be gone in a week or two. Tears started down her cheeks.

A gentle hand wiped those tears away. When she looked up a very tall man was smiling down at her. "A Princess never sheds any tears. She may cause them, but never shows them to us 'common folk'.

"Ha, my brother Mark. Always a knight in shining armour for a damsel in distress. Well we were headed out to our new place here and a bite of food, so unless you have a better offer your highness, come along. I think my brother has fallen under your spell and don't think will mind a another guest in the castle."

Actually princess was not a bad description of Wendy. She was tall, blonde and had a figure more like a Norse Goddess. Although going with a unknown couple was not something she would ever consider, after one look in the eyes of the 16 yr-old Miranda, the honesty and sincerity one found there was enough to ally any fears or concerns. The look on Mark's face had reminded Wendy of a 'lost puppy'. The gentle touch of his hand and soft voice belied his giant stature. That meeting was to start a chain of events that would change all their lives, forever.

It started as they were waiting in front of the hotel for Mark's car. The doorman seemed to be ignoring them and was holding open the door of a new White BMW 742 L.

Wendy remarked that "RHIP(Rank Has Its Privileges) I guess."

"Ahh, Wendy, he is waiting for you and Miranda to get in. The bugger hopes your dresses will ride up too." He laughed, as the girls climbed in, careful not to bare too much.

He tipped the man, smiled and drove off. "Will seafood be OK for both of you?"

"That's fine he heard in stereo.

"When I was up here to interview there was a very nice place near the house I bought. We can go there and I'll explain a bit about Miranda and me."

Miranda handed Wendy her cell phone. "Call home, tell them your here and will be starting a new adventure with us. The phones at home are not installed yet, so keep the cell and tell them you will update everything shortly. Tell them you have met a new little sister and she would be lost without you. Not to mention she has a 'really big brother', a single, one. He, he!"

Wendy began to blush. She dialed home. She got a recoding. "Dad, I'm in Seattle. Everything is so different here. So expensive. I met a friend, two actually, and her name is Miranda. She and her brother say they are taking me on an adventure. If the last few hours are any indication, I believe her

They crossed a long bridge when they left Seattle proper. A short while later they pulled into the parking area for a place called Anthony's Star of the Sea Grotto. "We're in Kent' Mark said, not too far from the house. We came here to celebrate when I signed on and I fell in love with the area. Seeing Mt. Rainer whenever I go to work will be great," the big man said.

They were shortly seated, by a window overlooking the water. Miranda reached over and took Wendy's hand in hers. "I am sorry that we seemed to just drag you along. Mark will take you wherever you want to go, but please hear me out?" Tears were streaming from the little girl and her brother had a napkin to his face, his eyes misting.

"Mark is all I have in this world. He was away at school when Mom and Dad were killed and I was, I was... , I was attacked while we were home. Oh, I can't go on!"

"What Miranda is saying that we are Orphans. Miranda has been fighting the terror of losing everything that night. Not easy for a 15 year-old. I came home as soon as I heard. She was in Hospital and then home for about 6 months. When I got a offer here I was not going to accept. My little sister started to beat me up saying I would be a fool to give up everything I had worked for since I was 12 years old. She the told me she would go with me, to keep me out of trouble."

Miranda was drying her red eyes some, blowing her nose and said, "Yeah, sure 90 lbs vs. 220 lbs, no contest."

"Wendy she has given up everything she has ever known for me, for me to have my dream. When she helped you, I saw something in her that made her reach out to another human in pain. I would do anything for her. I can do most anything now too. My work often takes me away. We knew that when we came here. Until we met you, I was the only friend she had in the world. Will you be her friend too?"

The waitress had brought us some rolls and water. I took a bite of one as tears rolled down. I looked away to the water, then at Mark with his head in his hands. When I looked at Miranda, she was looking down, folding her napkin open and closed. It was not rocket science, I slipped my hand in hers and said, "Gee Sis, I'm hungry. is that big lug going to get us more than bread and water?"

The look on her face was priceless. "Mark, food or Sis and I are going to beat you up."

We girls excused ourselves to go 'freshen up'. As we were leaving Mark reached for my hand. I told Miranda I would be right there.

"Wendy, from the bottom of my heart you will never want for anything. You are my Sister too and have a home for the rest of your life."

I followed Miranda. Those words would take on a new meaning, I just did not realize it.

In the powder room, a little 90 lb pixie launched herself into my arms hugging and kissing until I almost fell down. She started jumping and dancing around. "I have a sister, I have a sister." She kept this up until, I took her hand and said. "I don't know about you, but I'm hungry, you're getting to be as bad as Mark.

We went back to the booth. "I took the liberty, my ladies, to order us some food."

MMMM, I ate and ate and ate. Mark just sat back and watched as Miranda and I ate everything brought out.

We left Anthony's. Miranda and I lay back in the soft and wonderful seats as Mark began the short drive to his new house.

We pulled off Highway 5, onto a winding gravel road. Up ahead one could see water all around. As we rode up the rise a medieval looking castle loomed into view. A silver convertible was parked at the entrance, a tall, older blond near it. This was going to be a day of surprises. As we got out of the car, the blond walked up to Mark and held out her hand, in it were a set of keys.

"Welcome to your castle Mr. White." The look she gave Mark was that of a wolf before dining on a lamb.

"Thank you very much Miss Davis. Let me have you meet my sister Miranda", she offered her hand, "and my fiancée', Wendy." Either I did not hear properly, or this was still part of my dream. The blond's face fell a mile.

She tried to recover and wanted to show Mark around. I may have been dreaming, but after my experiences with a future 18 year-old step-mom I was not about to let this hussy charm Mark away. I ran up to him and threw my arms around his neck giving him hugs and kisses. I said,, "Darling, I love it, our children will be in heaven here."

Miranda, laughing, told the blond that she thought Wendy wanted Mark to show her around a very important room in the house. The blond left them in a bit of a huff.

When she left, the three of us could not stop laughing. Mark later said it was the first time he had seen Miranda laugh since that night their parents had been killed. Not to let it take hold, I took their hands in mine and said, "Now dear, show your sister and fiancée their new home." I got two strange looks, then two hugs and kisses. It was a feeling of a family I never had. I later found out it was a feeling that Mark and Miranda had lost when their parents had been killed.

We went inside, still holding hands. In what must have been the grand ballroom of an elegant hotel was a marble floor with a life-like rendering of a 'white rose'. Miranda looked at me and just nodded. Mark looked at the rose and seemed deep in thought.

"As we enter this, our home, may 1,000 years guide us in the discharge of our destiny."

Mark continued, "We three may have lost everything but have each other. As head of this family I pledge to love, honour and protect my home, family and friends with my very life if needed." Mark fell down and prostrated himself in front of the rose. (The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic wars fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York (whose heraldic symbols were the "red" and the "white" rose, respectively) for the throne of England. They were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1485, although there was related fighting both before and after this period. The final victory went to a relatively remote Lancastrian claimant, Henry Tudor, who defeated the last Yorkist king Richard III and married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York to unite the two houses. The House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales for 117 years.)

Miranda took my hand and whispered. "Let's let him be a bit. We went ahead and had a seat on the terrace. Mark came out a short time later. "I'm sorry my ladies. Everything is not easy for me either. I don't know how I would ever cope if you were not with us Wendy. Not only does Miranda need you, I need someone too. I called you my future wife, it is a dream, but if I did not have a dream my life would be meaningless. Please forgive me for being so unfair to you. I think of this home as a castle. As far as I am concerned it is your castle too, yours and Miranda's. Come, we need to see the house, though we may need several days, it has quite a few rooms."

We were being shown around the house, much as one would tour a museum, when a series of chimes sounded. "Excuse me my ladies." In a few minutes Mark appeared asking me what kind of car and colour I liked.

"Huh!" I exclaimed. He asked again. I looked at Miranda, she shrugged. I raised my eyebrows. "A Jaguar, I think, Milord, a white one of course." I just nodded. We followed Mark outside.

"I'll need a white Jaguar also" he told the man as casually as one orders lunch.

"Please sign here, everything is in the garage and we will bring the others on Monday, if that is all-right. He looked at me, I shrugged again. I was getting good at shrugging.

"If you could just bring the Jag before then, it would help, my ladies need to go shopping and I need to go to work for a while."

"Yes sir, it will be here before 10:30."

"Let me show you to your rooms and then freshen up and we can get some dinner, some of us still have not eaten."

Miranda and I put our hands up and giggled. If the entrance to the front of the house resembled a castle, the suites Miranda and I were taken to had been out of 1001 Arabian Nights. There were gauze sheers, raised platforms with pillars and a huge sunken tub. My bags were in my room, dresses on hangers, underwear folded and placed in gold dressers and Mark had not left our side. He clapped his hands and a young girl came in.

"Girl, this is your Mistress, Wendy. You will serve her and ensure she has everything she needs."

"Yes Milord."

Now I knew this was all a dream. it became even more so when the girl, Julia, I later learned her name, helped me lie on a table and started to massage me. I fell sound asleep.

A gentle touch awoke me and Julia started to help me dress. "But these are not my clothes."

"Yes Milady, but I could not find anything suitable for dinner this evening, so there was time to bring some in. Mistress Miranda has provided some jewelry for this evening."

Miranda came in dressed with another girl in-tow. "Wendy, I should have told you, when we dine out somewhere nice or on a special occasion such as tonight we dress up a bit. Mark is taking us to a dinner party his work is having to welcome him."

It, as was said before, was just the start of a lot of surprises, some good, some not.

The first surprise was seeing Mark waiting for us in the White Rose lobby.

He was like a giant. 6' 6" and 220 lbs of all man. He took our arms and we went outside. It was still light out and a long, sleek, white limo waited before us.

There was not a word spoken the entire ride, we were all too tired. When the Space Needle came into view, both Miranda and I let out some Oh's and Ahh's. The limo doors opened and we were escorted to some fancy ballroom. I thought it was fancy since everywhere I looked men with things sticking from their ears and bulges on their side were quite evident.

We went inside and were seated at the head table. Inside I had never seen so many huge men and beautiful women gathered in one place.

A man stood up, holding a microphone. "I am glad to have my family all together tonight. Last year was a bad year, some of you are new here, a few have been here before. There have been some changes, some new faces with new ideas, the biggest change and the biggest hope is the next man I am going to introduce. From the University of Florida, the 2013 Rose Bowl MVP, and Heisman Trophy Winner, the new Seattle starting Quarterback, Mark White."

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I never knew Mark played soccer. Miranda leaned over. "Not soccer, football, like your Grey Cup in Canada, football."

Opps, I guess that was okay, a few nights out with the boys would good for him. God, was I sounding like a wife already?

Mark joined us and sat down after an hour of shaking hands. A man and woman came over and Mark introduced him as the owner of the team and his wife. I whispered to Mark, "When are we going to your work, Miranda and I are hungry. Mark laughed so loudly people were looking. "Food now next door, and this is my work. They are paying me $20 million a year to throw a ball around. My signing bonus bought us that little house and some toys to play with. I told you, you would always have a home."

Well, we finally got some food. If you call three miniscule potatoes, a dried out hockey puck and veggies that looked like they were old last week as food.

When we left, Mark asked us what we wanted to do. Miranda and I looked at each other, then shouted at Mark, "Food."

The limo driver took us to a place on the wharf and we gorged ourselves on chips, salmon and shrimp while sitting on a park bench drinking root beers. After Mark won the belch contest we decided to go home. Life in the US had been strange but in less than one day I felt I finally had a family.

When we got home my new cell phone was ringing. "Wendy's phone, Mark here."

Pouring out we could hear, "Where's my daughter, where is Wendy dammit, what have you done with her?"

Mark shrugged his shoulders and handed me the phone. He was getting as good as I was in shrugging. "Hello daddy, I love you too. After holding the phone about a foot over my head, I said, Daddy are you still there. A few minutes later I asked if he was through, he said he was. "Daddy, I am fine, we just came back from diner and Mark met the people he will be working with. Who is Mark? He is Miranda's brother. Who is Miranda? Daddy you are getting senile, Miranda is my little sister. Daddy, please, it is a long story. I am living with Mark and Miranda in the castle here and. here, near Seattle. Mark is playing this Sunday and we are going to watch him. No he is not a musician. He plays football. No not soccer, American football. Here, I'll put Mark on."

"Hello Mr. Darling, let try to calmly explain, actually try is pretty close to the truth. We just stumbled across each other and she and my sister Miranda bonded. They call each other sisters now. I know you won't believe it but it's like Wendy is a part of our family. What, that you can believe. Well it's true, she, she. she is part of us now. My sister and I are fairly well off. I will travel a lot and Wendy has agreed to stay with us and keep Miranda company. She will be 16 next month. We can talk as long as you want, they say a picture is worth 1,000 words though, so why don't you come down, see Wendy, see our home and even watch a game this Sunday. It is exhibition but will give you an idea what I do. I'll have a car waiting for you, Saturday evening, it will bring you here and take you back to the airport. I need to be leaving early Sunday for the game but Miranda and Wendy will have your ticket and bring you with them. No, we have a driver and you won't end up lost. We're English by the way and they keep driving on the wrong side of the road. I'll look forward to meeting you too. Cheers then. Here is Wendy again."

Mark handed my the phone, he had a big smile on his face and motioned that he was polishing his nails. "Yes daddy, he is a nice chap. Yes daddy he is my age. Yes daddy he is single. Yes Daddy there is more than enough room for all of us here. Love you too, see you Saturday. You know your little joke about me being your fiancée, well be prepared to listen to Daddy extol my virtues. Funny he never mentioned his 18 yr-old future wife to be. Maybe Miss blond-digger likes other men too. You sir, are a gem. I should worry how many notches you have on your bedpost."

Aggie and Julia came in and led us away to change for bed. Like schoolgirls Miranda and I shared a bed and talked late into the night. When we got up the next morning the veranda door was opened, dressing gowns appeared and the smell of a real country breakfast wafted in. Mark was already outside and we joined him.

"This time I got here first and got some food at least."

Miranda kissed him, saying, "Poor growing boy, did you eat all your food?"

She got a swat for her troubles.

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