Crickets chirped their quiet lullaby songs as the sun set gently over the town of Rosewood. It had been a very long day and Quinn looked forward to nothing but heading back to her small house on the river to put her feet up and relax. She wished her town folk a good evening and sighed in relief when the cluster of happy but mildly overbearing people were disappearing behind the trees leaving her alone with the cool autumn air and her thoughts. The grass was already beginning to gain a light covering of frost that crunched quietly beneath her simple brown shoes. The smell of fallen leaves coupled nicely with the chill in the air. Quinn pulled her arms insider her cozy sweater sleeves and grabbed the ends of them closing off the wrist holes to the cold then wrapped her arms around her chest. There was nothing she loved more than feeling cozy and warm with a chill in the air.
Quinn was moderately tall with fair skin and eyes. A dark head of hair spilled over her shoulders and held a slight natural wave. It bounced and shimmered under the rising moonlight free from its usual ponytail prison. As she walked back to her home on her tired feet she thought about the prior week and all of the experiences she'd already had in the little town.
In her old town she had been confident enough and enjoyed talking to people but over the years she found the people she lived around to be static and dull, never doing anything interesting or different and it wasn't long before she felt stuck in a rut. She began to feel more comfortable making her own fun by getting lost in a book or wandering around and studying bugs and animals in the forest near her house. She'd do anything but try to force one more boring conversation with her neighbours.
It wasn't long before she was aching for change. Over hearing two people chatting at her local market about the little town of Rosewood she felt a spark in her chest she hadn't felt before. From that moment she knew Rosewood was where she was destined to go. It took her all of a week to plan her move. She contacted the town's construction company and had a small house built with her savings. She boxed up all of her belongings and the next day and had them sent by train to her new home to be waiting there for her when she arrived. Her parents were worried about her but proud that she was taking such a leap and sent her with a few extra bells to help her along her way. She would miss them but she was excited to start fresh somewhere new.
Knowing it was a relatively tiny community she had expected a welcome from the locals but much to her surprise they were expecting someone else and she had been mistaken for that person. It was the moment she had stepped out of the train station that she discovered she was Rosewood's new mayor. She had tried to explain the mistake several times but no one would believe her. She finally gave in and followed her new assistant, Isabelle, to the town hall feeling a mixture of excitement and terror for her new responsibilities.
"This is the town hall!" Isabelle said, wearing her winning smile. "It's where you'll be conducting all of your day to day mayoral business!"
Quinn bit her lip and played with a wayward strand of hair as she examined the room. It was classy with leather furniture and ornate wooden details and the whole room smelled like ink and fresh paper. Isabelle's desk was covered in forms and pamphlets, pens, calendars and even Rosewood postcards with images of the town's iconic features plastered on the front of them. Everything was neatly stacked and presented in a very organized way. In the back stood a professional desk with a computer and a few stacks of documents. Above the desk was a painting of an elderly man with kind looking eyes. Quinn looked at Isabelle and was about to explain herself once more when Isabelle spoke.
"Quinn, I know you're not the mayor, but the person we were expecting ended up never coming. When people saw your house being built they just assumed you would be the new mayor and a lot of hype ended up being generated about it. Mortimer, the old mayor, has no idea whom the new replacement is or anything about them so it'll be no problem convincing him you're it." Isabelle was looking at her with pleading eyes and just as Quinn was about to explain she had no idea about the first thing a mayor was supposed to do the young girl continued, "I started as his assistant a year ago but I've been running the town on my own since Mayor Mortimer started his new project. I know I can do the job but if the town's people knew I was in charge they might not accept the idea so well. They all still see me as young and inexperienced. All I ask is that you let the town's people call you mayor and help out at a few ribbon cutting ceremonies to keep up the appearances. Mortimer is too old and distracted now and he can't do the job like he used too. Please Quinn." She was practically begging. Quinn just looked at her, stunned, her mind racing with the new information being given to her.
She shook her head to clear her mind and when words finally came back to her she said, "Isabelle... I'd be delighted to help out. I know I'm new here and have no idea what to do but if you'd like me to help you with anything I'll be here." Isabelle's eyes lit up and she threw herself at the taller girl wrapping her in a tight hug.
"Thank you! Oh I couldn't have asked for a better person to move here!" She released her and beamed for a few moments, earning a smile from Quinn in return before she turned her attention back to the town hall and proceeded to go over all of the duties that the mayor would be responsible for. It wasn't long before Quinn's head was spinning.
It had been a few days since then and she felt like she was actually starting to get a hang of the whole mayor thing. Of course Isabelle did most of the work but Quinn did her best to help in any way she could to lighten the burden on the poor thing. The town's folk were all nice people and she was already starting to get along well with them too. Still, after a long day she was always happy to get in and put her feet up by her warm fire place.
She had just gotten in and had been making herself a cup of tea when the doorbell rang. Quinn had no idea who could possibly be visiting at such a late hour, but she put down her kettle and straitened her clothes. She was mayor now, so she guessed any one of her town's people could be visiting to ask for advice or guidance. When she opened her front door, to her surprise, a kind looking old man she found vaguely familiar was standing there, smiling. "Hello Quinn. May I come in for a bit?"
"Yes, of course," she said, stepping out of the way to let him past. He slowly shuffled in, his feet and legs stiff with age, and then she shut the door gently behind him and guided him to her comfiest chair by the fire.
"Thank you dear, you're so kind. It's only been a few days and I can already see we've chosen the perfect successor." He said with a big toothy grin, crinkling the corners of his wrinkled eyes. His snowy white beard and thin wisps of hair reflected the glow of the fire giving him a heavenly appearance. She felt like she had seen him somewhere before but she still couldn't place a finger on it.
"Thank you," Quinn began as she went to the kettle again to prepare a second cup of tea for her visitor, "but may I ask who you are?"
"Oh!" He laughed, realizing his absent mindedness, "I'm the previous mayor of this town! Mayor Mortimer!"
Suddenly she remembered the portrait of the old man on the wall behind her desk at the town hall, "The old- that man is you! Well I should have known! I'm very pleased to meet you Mayor!" She laughed then handed him a cup of tea and took a seat across from him. She'd never given the portrait much thought before but it made so much sense that it would be a portrait of him. She almost face palmed.
"Thank you very much child," he said as he gently blew on the hot beverage, "and I'm not the mayor any more! That responsibility falls to you now."
"About that..." Quinn began, feeling like the Old Mayor should know the truth, but Mortimer cut her off.
"I know I threw you into the deep end right off the bat, but I'm grateful that you were willing to help. The town is really shining since you took over and I'm happy it fell into such capable hands." He put his tea down on the coffee table in front of him and then clasped his hands together, "I'm far too old to play this game any more and there comes a time in every person's life when they realize they've reached their limit. I heard that there was a great mayoral candidate coming from another town who was willing to take the job and I knew it was meant to be. I'm sorry I couldn't be here for your arrival but I have a new project that I have been quite invested in."
Quinn didn't have the heart to tell him about the mistake that was made or the conversation she had had with Isabelle. Though she wasn't actually the one in charge of the town or the heavy burden of responsibility that came with the job, she did actually enjoy helping Isabelle out and she couldn't help but adore the renown that came with her newly given title. At the thought a pang of guilt hit her chest due to her wrongly bestowed fame. Truthfully it all belonged to her assistant, the true mayor of Rosewood, but the young girl had insisted many times that she didn't want people to know it was her. So now the credit was all going to Quinn for the wonderful decisions being made behind the scenes. "I was very happy to take on the roll sir, but I'd be nothing without Isabelle," She said modestly, "It's a very tough job."
"That's why I came over tonight Quinn. I know how hard it can be to have a job like this. The work is never done, no matter how hard you try or how much you do." He took a small sip of his tea and studied Quinn's wide blue eyes before continuing. "Before I left the town I invested my life's savings into a beautiful tropical island south of here. Before I purchased it there was only a small fishing community living there but the place had a lot of great potential and a need for more jobs. I worked with the Mayor of Capitol city to turn it into a fine resort for all to enjoy. We have our own shuttle service to get there but it's a long train ride to the city and a hansom fee is required to board."
Quinn wasn't sure what the old mayor was getting at so she asked, "Did you want me to start promoting the resort around the town...?"
Mortimer just laughed a tender old laugh and continued, "No child, you see because I am the owner of the island and the co-owner of the resort I have my own private ship to take me there. I spoke to the captain and arranged for him to take passengers everyday over to my new island resort right from the boardwalk of this town. That way you can take a load off, relax and explore any time you feel the need to get away!"
Quinn was shocked; no one had ever done such a thing for her before and the thought of an adventure through a new type of landscape was thrilling. The feeling of excitement began to fill her chest and she wasn't sure if she was going to dance or hug the old man. "Are you serious? I've always wanted to explore faraway lands!"
"Of course I'm serious! I've invited the whole town to visit my pride and joy! There are all kinds of creatures to discover and foods to try there, as well as activities and tours. I spend practically every day there now," he exclaimed with a laugh. He finished his tea and pushed his old bones up out of the chair. Quinn stood up to help him but he politely waved her aside. "Don't worry child, it's just late for this old man now. The captain will be at the dock tomorrow morning to receive passengers in time for the grand opening. I hope to see you there soon." He touched Quinn's shoulder once and smiled broadly before making his way back to the door. Quinn held it open for him and wished him well before closing the door and squealing with joy. She was heading over to the island as soon as the sun came up and she was positive she wouldn't sleep a wink.