A euphoric atmosphere gripped the Avonlea evening air as the village prepared for the Summer Ball. Gentlemen were usually early to escort young ladies to the ball, but this year, Gus was late.
Gus quickly replaced the wheel on his carriage. "Wouldn't ya know," Gus thought to himself while shaking his head, "Felicity will probably think that ah stood her up." How ironic that he once accompanied Felicity to a ball several summers ago, only for her dreams to be crushed by David Hawes. It must have been destiny that night and Gus certainly wasn't going to let Felicity slip away because of a silly wheel. He jumped in the carriage and grabbed the reins and was soon on his way. He finally arrived and wiped the sweat from his brow as he walked to the door with a handful of roses. He cleared his throat and knocked on the door.
"Gus!" Felicity exclaimed as she opened the door. "I was starting to wonder!"
"Felicity!" Gus gasped with a sparkle in his eye. He gave a sharp whistle after seeing how stunning she looked. "Ya look like an angel floatin' down from heaven." He suddenly realized the whistle might be considered ungentleman-like and straightened his tie. "Oh... Ya wouldn't believe it. Mah wheel came flying from my carriage down the road. Ah have it ready now..." He looked down and then up at her with pleading eyes, "...That is, if ya still want ta go with ah feller who was late but tryin' ta get here on time..."
"Oh!" Felicity realized. "That's why you were late! Of course I'll still accompany you." She took his arm, and they walked out to his carriage.
Meanwhile at the ballroom in the White Sands HotelÖ Emily Cooper was quietly standing by the refreshments table waiting for the dinner to commence, she hadn't eaten since lunch and it was now around 5pm.
"Where is Andrew!" she asked herself "He didn't escort me, he didn't invite me, and now he's not showing, I guess he doesn't love me anymore I might as well just leave! But I can't I must talk to Ms. Stacey about the job, oh the agony!"
Andrew smiled when he stepped into the room, his blond hair shining from the lights above. He saw the girl who had meant so much to him as of late. There was something about her that made his heart skip a beat and think warm thoughts that would drift joyfully in his dreams at night. He looked at her from across the ball room floor. 'How lovely she looks tonight," he thought to himself pleasantly while making his way across the room, while the music swirled in the back ground, inviting couples to dance to a magical waltz that seemingly wisked them away to heights undreamed. Finally, he reached her and tapped her gently on the shoulder while waiting to see her smile in anticipation.
Emily Copperfield spun around and gave a big horsy grin, with cake crumbs stuck between her teeth. She jumped into Andrew's arms, her pigtails bouncing with excitement. "OOooh Andy!" She said while batting her eyelashes, "your so dandy!"
"So, how long have you been here?" Andrew asked Emily as he set her down. He looked across the room and saw Emily Cooper talking to another boy. "So that's how it is," Andrew said. "That's why little miss two timer called off our engagement. So she could flirt with that new kid.'"
"What a shameless hussy," Emily said. She put her hand to her head. "Oh Andy, I'm feeling faint. Could you go get me a glass of punch?" She asked while shoving her glass in his chest.
"Uh, sure," Andrew said and walked toward the refreshment stand. B'Ellana walked downstairs and joined Emily, while wiping a tear from her eyes. "Oh Em, you won't believe what just happened to me. I figured out that my sister Gertie-Lee was really my mother and a two bit swindler, and now she's going to jail with my daddy."
"Not now B'Ellana, I have real troubles!" Emily told her friend urgently while taking the little trickle of light that shined on B'Ellana and directing it to herself with blinding self-importance. "That love potion I slipped in Andy's milk at school must be wearing off!"
"Em, where did you ever get your hands on a love potion?" B'Ellana inquisitively pondered.
"Oh B'Ellana girl, what if Andy really does like me?" Emily swooned. "I think he's so dreeeeeaaaaaaammmmy," she said and then giggled loudly.
"B'Ellana girl, you need to do something about those farmer coveralls," Emily advised her. "This ain't one of them barn balls you know." Before B'Ellana could reply, Emily grabbed her arm. "Oh B'Ellana! Here comes Andy now! I'll side track him while you put the love potion in his drink, and then I'll be the first girl he looks at!" Emily swooned with dreamy eyes.
"Here's the drinks ladies," Andrew said.
"Gosh thanks Andy!" Emily said and then pushed B'Ellana toward him. She turned around and quickly mixed the formula into one of the glasses.
"B'Ellana, would you care for a dance?" Andrew asked her.
When Emily turned around she saw B'Ellana being escorted to the floor by Andrew. "B'Ellana, you get back here girl!" Emily cried. "You can't dance with my Andy!"
"You can really dance!" Andrew told B'Ellana.
"You ain't seen nothin' yet!" B'Ellana replied and then told the band to play a dosie-doe waltz. She ran out in the middle of the dance floor and began to dosie-doe while slapping her hand against her knee to the rhythm of the country tune. She tossed her bare foot feet into the air and clapped her hands between her overall pant legs. Soon, Andy was pushed aside as everyone started clapping there hands with chants of "B'Ellana! B'Ellana! B'Ellana!" ringing through the ballroom."
Gus arrived with Felicity's arm intertwined with his and saw the girl performing her acrobatic dance moves on the floor. "Now this is what ah call ah dance!" Gus laughed. "Come on Felicity, care ta dance!" Gus pulled out his fiddle and brought Felicity out to the floor, while accompanying the band with the folkish waltz.
"I'd love to dance with you, Gus," replied Felicity. She stepped out and danced to the music while Gus played.
"This reminds me of the time ah was playin' down at the cannery every night!" Gus said as his bow danced across the strings of his fiddle. He set the fiddle back in it's case. "Ya know Felicity," he said with excitement, "ah would rather hold yer hand then ah fiddle! Even mah own fiddle!" He took her hand and spun her around.
"Aaaaah!" Felicity squealed in delight. "Gus!!"
B'Ellana, meanwhile was tapping her bare foot against the pristine ball room's floor with vigor. "Come on, don't be shy!" She grabbed Andrew's hands and started spinning him around with Herculean strength.
"B'Ellana!" Andrew yelled, "your spinning me too fast!"
Soon, the girl let go of Andrew which sent him flying into the band. As the folkish waltz hit it's crescendo, B'Ellana slipped and accidently did 'the splits.'
"B'Ellana, are you alright?" Andrew asked after seeing the girl fall.
"Ooooowwww!" B'Ellana howled from the agonizing position. "I ripped my pants!" Several of the dancers helped B'Ellana to the side of the floor.
Gus shook his head and turned to Felicity. "Ya know, B'Ellana wouldn't have slipped if she had ah pair of shoes." A wave of inspiration suddenly overcame him. "Ah know, there is an old pair of boots in the back of mah carriage. Maybe B'Ellana could make some use of them." Shortly, Gus returned and handed the boots to the girl.
B'Ellana turned her head away. "Ah'm sorry Mr. Gus, but I can't accept these nice boots. They are just too good for me."
Gus glanced over at Felicity with a look that seemed to say, "this is going to harder than I thought." He looked back at the girl. "Ah, they are just ah pair of ol' army boots that someone left behind. Ain't nothin' fancy. Listen B'Ellana, ah know that ya got ah lot of pride, but sometimes ya got ta let people help ya out. Ah let Miss King help me out with my reading and writing and now ah'm ah better man fer it. When ah was fishin' off the coast of Nova Scotia, ah sailor once told me ah story. It was about ah feller named Icarus who had wax wings. His pa told his son Icarus not ta fly too close to the sun, but Icarus's pride was too great and the feller done burned his wings off and fell inta the ocean."
B'Ellana looked up with tear stained eyes. "I... I don't want to fall into the ocean!..." She gripped the boots tightly and then slowly put them on...
Gus took Felicity's hand as a slow ballad began to play. "You were very helpful with her, Gus," Felicity told him. "I'm proud of you."
"Actually Emily," Andrew continued, "igneous rocks are formed by solidification from a molten state while sedimentary rocks are formed by the deposition of sediment over time. It's actually quite interesting if you think about it." "Andy," Emily said dreamily, "you say the sweetest things.""Andrew King? I have a letter for you from a Mr. Roger King." Albert, the White Sands bellhop suddenly said while handing him the sealed letter. Andrew read the contents carefully:
My original intent was to write to you and tell you about all the scientific discoveries that I have recently uncovered in the Congo; However, my research partner Ward Tyler has experienced an immense tragedyÖ His wife June was eaten by lions.
Mr. Tyler is in fear that his daughter Lily will be in danger if she stays with our expedition. After a pack of lions were spotted near the basin last night, he decided to send her to stay at the White Sands in Avonlea.
Please ask the King family to be kind to her during her stay.
Andrew closed the letter and stood with a dazed look on his face. "That's why I was here in Avonlea in the first place. Father said it was too dangerous in Africa. How tragic for Lily's mother to be eaten by lions..."
"Andy, all this talk about lions is making me thirsty. How about another glass of punch?" Emily asked.
Andrew suddenly felt dizzy. "I think I need to sit down."
Muriel looked over in Andrew's direction, noticing he didn't look so good. She walked over and asked, "Andrew, are you alright? Should someone send for Dr. Snow?"
"That's okay Ms. Stacey," Andrew replied. "I don't think that will be necessary."
Izzy looked at Felix and said, "Your cousin Andrew doesn't look so good."
"When does he ever look good?" Felix asked.
Janet walked over to Andrew and said, "Andrew dear, is everything alright? You look awfully pale...here sit in this chair," she motioned for him to sit in a chair that Gus had brought over. "Thank you Gus," she said gratefully. "Felix, would you go get your cousin some punch please?" asked Janet.
"I'm going to be fine Aunt Janet," Andrew said while holding the letter in his hand. "It's just that father sent me a rather troubling letter about his experiences in Africa. He's fine, but unfortunately one of his colleagues wasn't so fortunate." Andrew sipped the punch and looked back up at Muriel and Janet. "Father says that his colleagues daughter, Lily, is being sent to stay at the White Sands and he asked if the King family can treat her with kindness while she is here. She apparently lost her mother recently."