He put out his hand and bowed slightly, assuming it would be expected when greeting an English girl. “Adriaan Hindrick Klass Van Cortland de Koningh III,” he said. Her reaction told him all he needed to know about his new house guest. “I’m twelve years old,” he added. Her expression changed not at all under the sable brown hair parted at the middle and framing her neck with ringlets; each perfectly arranged and bouncing briskly when she moved.
“What do they call you then?” She rested her hand lightly in his and dipped into a curtsey. Her head never lowered, the ringlets never moved, and her eyes never left his. He felt challenged in some way, but her smile was pleasant enough and her big dark eyes, set wide apart over even features and a small round nose, were bright with humor.
“Adriaan,” he answered, forgetting to let go of her hand. “de Koningh. Adriaan de Koningh; but my friends call me Corey.” He watched her smile deepen with two small dimples at each end.
“Then I hope you’ll count me as one of those, Corey de Koningh. The rest of it’s quite a mouthful.” Reclaiming her hand, she straightened up. He could see she was taller than he was; but she was a year older, so that was to be expected. Actually, she was only six months older; a fact he’d often remind her of in years to come. But on that day he was aware that her spirit made her his equal, rather than just another inferior girl.