Scandalous Sadie – Sylvia McDaniel

A ll Sadie ever wanted was to be accepted. Being the second richest young woman in town, she would’ve thought that wouldn’t be a problem. But money didn’t buy the right connections in high society or the friendships she craved—acceptance by a group of ladies in town who considered themselves society’s darlings. And yet today, she received an invitation to a picnic with none other than Nellie Robinson, the mayor’s daughter. The girl who seemed to control the local young women. The one person whose words were often cutting and cruel, who decided which girls were accepted, and which ones were not. The leader of the clique. The woman was mean if ever she had met one. Could she be ready to accept Sadie? Preparing for the outing, Sadie, wore one of her nicest dresses with a stylish hat covering her dark hair and even an umbrella to keep the sun off her ivory complexion. As she waited outside the house in the summer sun, she wondered if the woman would stand her up. Send her an invitation and then never arrive. It had been known to happen before. A man in a dark suit, driving a buggy, came around the corner. The poor man must’ve been sweating buckets in the hot Texas heat. Nellie Robinson leaned out the window and waved to her.

“Sadie, let’s go,” she said. Hurrying to the buggy, she lifted her skirts and climbed in. “Nellie, it was so kind of you to invite me.” The girl smiled. “Well, I thought it would be the perfect day for a picnic out at the springs on the other side of town. Cook prepared us a lunch. Who knows? We might even dip our toes into the water to cool off.” Sadie couldn’t believe how kind Nellie was being. “Sounds lovely and tell your cook thank you for preparing the meal,” she said. With a wave of her hand, Nellie dismissed the very thought.

“That’s her job. Daddy pays her to cook for us.” Not wanting to upset her, Sadie didn’t say a word at how privileged she sounded. Her own servants were more like family. “Are you attending the ball this weekend?” “Yes,” Sadie said, excitement rushing through her. She had a new gown she couldn’t wait to wear. Nellie’s blonde hair blew in the wind as she turned her brown eyes on Sadie. “You know, Levi Griffin, the most eligible bachelor, is said to be attending. His mother, the newspaper columnist, Betty Griffin, is trying to find him a woman to marry this year. Though the man keeps insisting he’s never marrying.

” Sadie had seen pictures of the man. Handsome, dark hair, and emerald-green eyes, but if he didn’t want to marry, why would anyone force herself on him? “Why doesn’t he want to marry?” Nellie shrugged. “Who knows, but he is the best catch of the year, and I plan to snag him.” There wasn’t a man Sadie could think of that she wanted to snag. Was she wrong wanting them to catch her? To court her? To vie for her affections? As the buggy rolled through the area known as Hell’s Half Acre, Sadie gazed around. Her father had never approved of this part of town. He’d said it was filled with criminals and cowboys drinking and gambling. Papa was always one for propriety and she was stunned that Nellie’s driver took them this way. “Look at that saloon girl,” Nellie said. “Despicable.

Earning her living on her back.” An uneasy feeling skittered down Sadie’s spine. Why had she wanted to be with this snobby young woman? She didn’t like Nellie and yet here they were on their way out of town to the springs. She changed the subject. “Did you purchase a new gown for the ball?” she asked her hostess. The girl smiled. “It’s exquisite. Mother had the dressmaker get the latest patterns from New York. It will be beautiful and I’ll be the prettiest girl at the ball.” Sadie gave her a weak smile.

“I’m sure you will be.” “Oh, look here is the springs. I love this place.” This pond, with a small waterfall from a river that fed the lake, had lush vegetation and big oak trees. A natural spring, the water was clear and cool. The driver pulled the buggy to a halt, set the brake, and stepped down to help them alight. The place was deserted and an eerie feeling skirted up Sadie’s spine. Almost a warning. “Robert, place our picnic on the ground and then do not be within sight for a while.” He spread a blanket out and then set a basket down.

“Yes, ma’am. Anything else?” “Just wait on the road. I’ll call you when I’m ready to go.” “Yes, ma’am,” he said and crawled into the wagon and drove off, leaving them alone. They both sat on the blanket, then Nellie opened the basket, and fixed a plate. She handed it to Sadie. “Bon appétit.” After Sadie had taken a few bites of the food, she smiled. “Delicious,” she said. “I’m so glad we’re doing this.

” An impertinent smile crossed the young woman’s face. Since their days in school, this was the friendliest Nellie had ever been to Sadie. Maybe the young woman had changed. “You’ve been alone since your papa died?” Nellie asked. “Yes, my servants have been with me for years, so they protect me.” “You can do whatever you want.” “Not really. My maid watches over me very carefully.” “That’s not the same,” Nellie said. “You’re free.

” What she meant by free, Sadie didn’t have a clue, but she wasn’t about to argue with the woman. They finished the meal and then Nellie turned to her with a wicked smile. “Let’s go swimming.” “What? Ladies don’t swim,” Sadie said. Nellie stood and began to remove her clothes. “This lady does. Come, no one is here. No one will see us. We can cool off in the water.” The thought of cooling off sounded wonderful.

It was a hot summer day, and Sadie did want to belong to Nellie’s group of friends. “All right,” she said as Nellie ran stark naked into the clear, sparkling spring water. Glancing around, Sadie hung her clothes on a bush and then ran as fast as her long legs would carry her into the water. The cool wash was like a breath of fresh air. Nellie was swimming out to the center of the pool and Sadie reluctantly followed her. She was a weak swimmer at best. When they reached the middle, Nellie grinned at her. “Isn’t this refreshing?” “Yes,” Sadie admitted. Nellie went even farther out and Sadie followed, wondering how far she intended to go. When they were near the small waterfall, she laughed gleefully.

“Race you to the bank.” She took off and Sadie knew she would never catch her. When she reached the bank, Nellie grinned at her. “Not much of a swimmer, are you?” “Not really,” she said. “Race you to the falls again,” she said, taking off splashing her arms. By this time, Sadie was winded and arrived a lot later than Nellie. They paddled about in the water and then Nellie glanced at her. “I never really thought you would come out here with me.” How did she respond without sounding desperate? “I’ve wanted to be your friend for quite some time,” Sadie told her. “You’ve never shown any interest in being sociable with me.

And I thought this would be a good chance to get to know you.” The girl smiled. “My daddy is the richest man in town. I’m very careful about who I choose to be my friends.” Sadie nodded. She could see that. “Even though your father left you a lot of money, you’re kind of an oddball. An outcast, even though you’re quite beautiful.” “Thank you,” Sadie said, hoping she meant that as a compliment. “But we’ll never be friends.

In fact, you’re going to hate me,” she said with a wicked grin. A trickle of alarm spiraled through Sadie as she wondered at her statement. What did she mean, hate her? “Last one back remains behind,” she said and took off toward the shore. Stunned, Sadie glanced at her. Last one back…behind? Dear God, no! Immediately, she swam as fast as she could. By the time she reached the shore, Nellie had grabbed all the clothes, the picnic items, and was making a naked dash to the buggy. When she reached the waiting vehicle, she shouted to her driver. “Let’s go.” The man stared at her nude form as she screamed at him. “I said let’s go.

” “What about the other young woman?” “We’re leaving her behind.” The man shook his head and climbed into the buggy. At the shore, Sadie stood and watched as her nemesis drove off, taking with her every stitch of clothing she’d been tricked into doffing. Dear God, what did she do now?


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