Thursday, July 18, 2019
Dollie is unhappy to see that Patty and Will are spending time together. She asks Luke if he thinks they will be indecorous. He tells her he believes so. That starts a conversation that he'd rather not have. Fortunately, he calms her down and they go to the movie.
The film began with a news reel. Most of it was about the troubles in Europe that seemed to be building to a head.
"That's a big, ol' mess," Lucius declared. "Mark my words, that's gonna get worse 'fore it's over. It'll be bigger than the Big One."
"Oh, do you think? That was supposed to be the war to end all wars."
"It ain't. Men can't stop fighting long enough to get along."
"Why? It makes no sense."
"Ain't having enough sex," he murmured before taking a huge bite of popcorn. He winked at her.
Dollie blushed, swatting his arm. "The sad thing is, you're probably right."
"Well, men can't fight if they're in bed," he replied knowingly.
The movie began before Dollie could reply. They were both caught up in the story, amazed by the pageantry of the film. By the end of Wuthering Heights, Dollie was in tears. Lucius handed her a freshly laundered and pressed handkerchief. Dollie wiped her eyes, thanking him.
"It's as beautiful as I remembered," she whispered. "How I love that story!"
They walked out to the truck. Lucius glanced at his watch. Will had asked for two hours. It wasn't quite that yet.
"How about coffee and pie? See, there's a diner just across the way."
"I'd love to." Taking his arm, she leaned her head against his shoulder. "Thank you, Lucius. That was beautiful and wonderful. I do so love movies."
"Seen a lot of 'em?"
"Quite a few. My friends and I used to cut classes so we could go. I still don't understand how I managed to pass." She laughed at herself. "I used to go once or twice a week to the movies."
"Why, Miss Belloit, you ditched class to watch moving pictures? What a naughty girl you are!"
She giggled, tossing her head. "That was as naughty as I got. Mostly, I was such a goodie two shoes, it was disgusting.
"Got to be bad sometimes," Lucius replied as he held the diner door open. "Otherwise, life ain't much fun."
Seated, they ordered their pie and coffee. They laughed and chattered for nearly an hour. Finally, Lucius became aware of the time. It was almost 10:00.
"Much as I hate to, Dollie, I got to take you home. It's mighty late."
"I confess, I don't want the evening to end. It's been such a delight."
They stopped at Will's room. Lucius honked the horn. A few moments later, Patty emerged, breathless and pink cheeked. Will appeared behind her, bare chested and smiling. They kissed several seconds until Lucius beeped again. Patty screamed, then thumped the fender, laughing.
"Impatient hillbilly," she chided. "I love you, Will-Billy," she told Will.
"I love you too, Patty-Cake."
Patty was quiet the entire way home. Once in awhile, she sighed happily, but she didn't say a word. Lucius and Dollie tried to talk, but her complete silence made them want to whisper. When the truck stopped, Patty didn't wait for Lucius to open the door. She got out and walked into the apartment, leaving them alone. Lucius chuckled as he watched her.
"One day, I hope I love a woman so well, she's speechless."
Dollie punched him—hard. "Are all men like that?"
"Like what?" He rubbed his arm, genuinely puzzled.
"Only interested in one thing?"
He bridled slightly. "Dollie, if all I wanted from you was sex, you'd be naked."
She gasped, scooting away from him. Past the point of caring what he said or what she thought of it, he continued.
"I love you, Dorothea Belloit. So much, it makes me damn crazy. I like to hope you love me, too. And one day, I'd like you to marry me. But I'm so afraid I'm gonna say somethin' wrong, I hardly know what to say. You don't leave room for a man to breathe, Dollie."
Dollie burst into tears and Lucius was completely at a loss. He hadn't meant to say so much and he sure hadn't meant to make her cry. Dollie blubbered and sobbed. Lucius tried to touch her, but she flinched away.
"I have principles, Mr. Henry. I have standards. Unlike my sister!"
"She's in love, Dollie. Maybe when you can say the same, you'll not be so—I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...."
Dollie hiccuped as she cried. Lucius put his arms around her and was surprised that she let him hold her close.
"I do love you, Dollie. I have since the day we met. Tonight was meant to be the time I told you how I feel, not how I hurt your feelings. You're beautiful and smart and the only girl I wanna spend my life with."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
After a bath, Lucius feels more like himself. He meets up with Dollie at her apartment in one of the girls' dorms.
"You look beautiful, Dollie. I'm gonna be the envy of every man in town, when you step out with me."
Dollie blushed, making her even more beautiful. Patty stood up, very businesslike.
"You two, scoot together. I'm getting a picture. You can put it in an album so your children can see how you looked on your first date."
Lucius liked the assumption that Patty made. He wanted very much to marry Dollie. She didn't seem to mind either, making him very happy. He dutifully put an arm around Dollie's waist, scooting close. He felt like a giant, so much taller than she. Dollie turned her head, smiling up at him. Patty snapped the picture.
"I declare, you look picture perfect together! One more, then I'll leave be." She took another before they could move apart. "Now, you behave yourselves. Back before ten," she teased her sister. "And you, young man, be a gentleman." She winked at Lucius when Dollie wasn't looking. He understood by that he had her permission to be a little naughty, but not much.
"Oh, I forgot to switch handbags," Dollie said as she scooted back in the bedroom.
"Don't you educate my baby sister too much, Luke."
"I promise. Ma says you got to tell her...."
Dollie came back out.
"Ma says y'all need to get up and see her soon," Lucius covered quickly.
Patty nodded knowingly as he helped Dollie with her jacket. "I'll sure do that," she promised.
To Dollie, it sounded as if she were talking about Rachel Henry. Lucius and Patty knew differently. Dollie and Lucius walked out to the truck. Surprisingly, Patty went with them.
"You're going too?" Dollie sounded dismayed.
"Only to Will's. Don't worry, baby sister. I'm not going to chaperon."
Much relieved, Dollie got in the truck beside Lucius. Patty scooted in beside her. They talked animatedly as they rode along the winding track to town.
The trunk pulled up in front of Will's rented room. Lucius hopped out, opening Patty's door for her. Will appeared a moment later to escort her in. Dollie watched as her sister joined Will, kissing him in a more than friendly way. Dollie sat, tight lipped, arms crossed, waiting for Lucius.
"We'll be at the cinema in a minute," Lucius said.
Dollie didn't reply right away. Her frown said it all. "Do you think they'll be indecorous?" she said waspishly.
"I expect," he said rather loudly. "That they will." He wasn't more specific, but they understood one another. "I reckon it ain't the first time, nor is it the last. You can't fight nature, Dollie. Love will out."
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," she said stiffly.
He leaned over, the engine rumbling. "I mean, Dollie, there are times when the attraction between a man and woman is so strong, it won't be denied." He scooted closer.
Dollie leaned away. "Have you felt that attraction?"
"Oh, yeah." I'm feeling it now. "Ain't nothin' wrong, if you love each other." He brushed a wisp of hair from her cheek.
"Did you love Betty Mae?"
"Thought I did, till she went crazy on me. Girl was cracked. Messed up in ways you can't imagine."
"When you took her to bed, did you love her?"
"Dollie, do we have to talk about this?"
"Yes, I rather think we do." She crossed her arms and legs tightly across her body, effectively closing herself off.
Sighing, Lucius shut off the truck. "Betty came on like a summer storm—hot and wild. She hit me hard, and set my head spinning so fast I could hardly see. She seduced me, Dollie. I'm a man who takes my time, but not with her. By the end of our first date...." He shook his head, not wanting to remember, as the memory flooded back. "If it's been up to me, wouldn't of got that far so fast. It was a hell of a bumpy ride."
"But you still have some good memories of it." Her tone had mellowed slightly, but she was still angry.
Lucius chuckled. "Miss Dollie, let me explain a little something about men. We like sex. And we will remember it fondly, despite circumstances."
Lucius laughed loudly. "Baby, you got to calm down and loosen up." He started the truck. "Can't have no fun if you don't relax. I ain't gonna jump all on you our first date."
Dollie relaxed, crossing her ankles, hands in her lap, instead of clutching her neckline to her throat. "Let's go to our movie, Lucius."
"That's the plan!" Grinning, he drove to the theatre.
Loaded up with popcorn, they took seats in the middle of the theatre. Dollie looked around, admiring the decor. It wasn't a large theatre by city standards, but it was quite ornate. Gold scroll work edged the screen and heavy, colorful drapes lined the walls. The ceiling was painted like heaven, with angels, cherubs and clouds.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Monday, July 15, 2019
Soulless and exiled from Heaven the Dark Knights have spent millennia protecting humanity from Lucifer and his demons. But the longer they live the closer they come to joining Lucifer’s ranks in Hell. Their only hope is to find their soul keepers, and love. After an attack by a demon left her injured and weak Amber Fitzpatrick welcomed the attention and caring of her rescuer Jacob—until he turned into an abusive monster. The night Amber flees the possessive, extraordinarily toxic relationship Jacob reveals his true demonic nature. Zach has more than Lucifer’s minions to contend with. Each day brings him closer to Hell. For fifty years he’s walked the thin line between sanity and giving in to his dark urges. Urges that go against his calling as a healer and a teacher. Every battle drives him closer to the edge, feeds his inner demon and pushes him to find a permanent solution to death. When Zach meets Amber he sees a chance for salvation. But Amber’s experience with Jacob makes her afraid to start any kind of relationship with Zach, especially discovering he’s not that different then the man she walked away from. Can Amber set her fear aside and save Zach before she loses him to the darkness forever?
On the road to seek work in the cotton fields of Texas, an old Ford Model T truck breaks down and forces a change of destination that ultimately leads the protagonists to the Argentine Patagonia. Follow the anecdote-driven story of a devoted couple who spent their childhood in the U.S. Southwest during the Great Depression, met and married during World War II, and together undertook a lifelong journey of adventure and service.
Alone in the big city, Pia Donvan is feeling rather lost when she finally arrives at the majestic, old hotel in the downtown area. All that changes when she meets Flynn Chancellor. He and his roommate, Yancy Fredrick, take an interest in Pia, introducing her to their city. Pia seems to have found her niche, making friends with the friendly residents in the old hotel. Life seems perfect, until one weekend when everything changes forever.
So Much It Hurts is part of Smashwords Summer/ Winter Sale. Use the code SSW50 at checkout for 50% off!
After a lifetime of being protected and sheltered by her parents, Kate is thrown into a state of turmoil after their sudden death. With nowhere else to turn, she finds herself living with her fiancé, a conniving businessman who is well on his way to becoming a corrupt super-lawyer. At the same time, Kate’s father’s law firm houses more secrets than a politician’s hard drive. Later, she receives a shocking surprise when a long-lost half-brother enters her life. Can Kate rise to these challenges, discover the truth and re-emerge as a stronger, smarter version of herself?
I don’t know who I am. I can’t remember my name, where I come from, or how I ended up in the hospital with a bullet wound to my chest. When I think back, searching for a memory, all I see is a big black hole of nothing.
But I recall her voice…the sweet, angelic sound that reached out to me through the coffin of black, pulling me back to the light.
I might not know anything about my past, my life, my identity—but the moment I opened my eyes and stared straight into hers, I knew I wanted her. I knew there was no way in hell I would let her go.
Now I need to piece back together the missing fragments of my life so I can figure out where she fits into it—or if she fits into it at all.
The only problem is if your past is buried beneath a shroud of darkness, you have no idea when it might come back to haunt you.
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Lucius invited Dollie to the movies. He's had a long, filthy day at work. When he gets home, his mother is frantic with worry about something.
"Did you find him yit?"
"Find who, Ma?"
"Your pa. Sam was s'posed to talk to you."
"Ain't seen Sam all day. I been out fencing. What's wrong?" He led his mother to the porch steps and persuaded her to sit.
"He run off in the night and ain't been back. It's not like Earl. He'll drink hisself into a stagger, but when he's home, he's home. He don't run off and not come home. Not never, in all this time!"
"He'll turn up. He was mad as a hornet last night. What got him so peeved?"
"He was riled about Will finishing up his house. Now he'll marry that city girl and be lost for good."
"He's not lost, Ma. He's still around. Don't he still come up and see us when Pa's not home?"
"It won't be the same. She'll keep him away."
"No, she won't. I promise. And I won't stay away neither...."
"You? What have you to do with this?"
Lucius explained as calmly as he could about his interest in Dollie. Instead of being happy for him, his mother drew back her arm, slapping him hard. His ears rang and he saw stars. He knew his mother was yelling at him, but he couldn't make out words at first.
"—as bad as your brother! You'll drag off Sam next, then who'll take care of us when your pa's gone? He'll drink himself to death and where will I be then? Had your heads turned by a couple chippies!"
"They ain't chippies, Ma. You love Dollie and Patty and they love you. They won't keep us away, they want to be here as much as we do. I plan to court Dollie and ask her to marry me. I love her and I won't let you, Pa or the entire state of Kentucky stand between us. And, just so you know, I still plan to work this place. I promised, didn't I? I'll build us a little house up the holler and Dollie'll bring the babies down to visit every chance she gets."
"Ain't got babies yet, boy." She smacked his chest, but she smiled a little.
"We'll have us a passel."
"Best check what Dollie thinks of that. That poor girl ain't go no idee what's what between men and women. You'd think her mama would've explained."
"Patty says their mama's real straight laced. Her daddy's a preacher. She didn't tell the girls nuthin'. What Patty knew, she found out from her auntie on her daddy's side."
"Then she'd best explain to her sister what's what. If she don't, I will."
"Ma! You can't tell the woman I love about—that."
"And why not! You think I'm squeamish cause it's my son she'll bed? I finished Patty's education, let me tell you. What she knew was precious little." She made a disgusted sound, waving it away. "A girl needs to know what goes on in the marriage bed afore she gets in it. You wanna tell her?"
"Oh, no, ma'am!"
His mother laughed. "Go get cleaned up. You stink. I put water on to heat. Sally and Jenny fotched the tub. You have a wash in the bath house."
"Thanks, Ma." He knew that was a lot of work on the part of his mother and sisters. Despite her annoyance with him, she'd done something kind.
After a hot bath, Lucius felt and smelled a lot cleaner. He wished for indoor plumbing like Will had, but knew his parents would never agree. One thing he planned to have in the house he built for Dollie, was an indoor bathroom so she could bathe in comfort.
He shaved his cheeks carefully and trimmed his beard. Most men he knew had a full, bushy beard. He preferred a neater look. Having seen portraits of men from the middle ages, he'd found a goatee. Liking the style, he'd worked hard to maintain his. He also had a mustache that met the beard, ringing his full lips in soft hair. Most of his friends thought it was silly to spend that much time on something that came in naturally, but to him, it was important. The women seemed to approve and several had commented on how attractive it was.
Satisfied he looked his best, he went down to pick up Dollie. She wasn't quite ready, so he sat and talked with Patty. She told him that she and Will had finally set a date.
"I got a call out to Mama today. Mama said the soonest they can get here is first weekend in August. So, I guess in about two months, Will and me are getting married!"
"Got some planning to do. Any way I can help, you let me know."
"I sure will. Helping Will finish up the house would be the best thing you can do just now."
"I can do that," he agreed with a grin. "I'm right happy for ya." He squeezed her hand. "You'll make him a fine wife."
"I sure hope to try. I'm so happy!"
Dollie came out a moment later. She was dressed in a crisp blue lawn dress scattered with tiny white flowers. Her dark curls were held back in a sleek bun that must have taken hours to get right. Her lipstick was more a purpley red than a true red. It complimented her dark eyes and fair skin.
Lucius could hardly breathe. He stood up, smoothing his shirt front. Feeling much the country bumpkin, he stepped forward, taking her hand in his.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes Dellani
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Lucius asked Dollie to the movies. She got so excited, she kissed his cheek, got embarrassed and raced out the door. Willem assured his brother that he didn't mess up, Dollie's just skittish.
Assured that he hadn't made a mess of things, Lucius went to work. He was digging fence holes with two of the other men. They had a pesky bull calf that didn't respect the barriers that men had laid, so he kept tearing down the fences. This was the third time they'd had to replace the fence in six months. Lucius was ready to sell the beast, but it wasn't his decision. He'd already managed to cut himself on the rusted wire and had more than a few splinters from the rough wood of the posts. Even with gloves, his hands were a mess. Overall, the day wasn't shaping up to be one of his favorites.
He and the other men were still trying to figure out how to reinforce the fence when the noon lunch bell rang. Wiping the sweat off his brow, Lucius got a whiff of himself. He and the other men didn't figure they could go into the dining hall smelling like they did. Instead, they went to Albert Travis' small cabin nearby and washed off under the pump. Feeling a little more fresh, they went to the dining hall and asked Lucius' cousin Jed to bring them cornbread and milk for their lunch. He did so gladly, bringing nearly half a pan of cornbread per man. He also brought cold bacon left from breakfast and hunks of hard cheese.
A slender pink figure strode up the path from the office. Lucius saw her before she saw him, and was upset by his disheveled appearance. She looked as fresh and pretty as she had that morning and he looked like something the cat had dragged in. Smoothing his hair, he and the other men stood as she approached.
Dollie smiled up at Lucius. She mumbled hello to the other men, but had eyes only for him. She didn't even notice that he was dirty and damp from his improvised shower.
"Howdy, Miss Dollie," he said when she stopped to talk.
"Howdy, Mr. Henry. You boys been working hard, I see. That blasted calf busted out again, hm?"
"Yes, 'um," Albert Travis replied. "We been studying about how to keep him in."
"Can you put the posts closer?"
They glanced at one another, slightly surprised.
"Mr. Bertram said he leans on the wire until it gives way. If it hasn't any slack, he can't do that. The closer together the posts are, the less slack there is."
"That's a mighty fine idea," Albert said with a grin.
"Dollie, I think you hit on something there," Lucius said. "May not be perfect, but it's better than what we were thinking."
"Oh? What had you considered?"
"Short of knocking him in the head and sending for the butcher? Not much." Lucius said with a grin.
"Oh, he's just a baby! He wants to be back with his mama."
Considering what they'd found him doing the last time he knocked down the fence, Lucius was pretty sure that wasn't the case. He wanted the females, all right, but not because he missed his mama. It was spring and he was old enough to feel the urges that males of all species felt in a powerful way.
"M'bee so," Albert said with a snicker.
The men burst out laughing. Dollie wasn't sure why they were laughing, but the tone of their laughter told her she'd be better off not knowing. She'd heard that sound before. It meant there was something earthy involved, not appropriate for a lady. Sniffing in disapproval, she squared her shoulders.
Lucius stopped laughing. Taking her hand, he kissed it. "I apologize, Dollie. Got to forgive men our bad moments."
"Yup. We cain't hep it, Miss Dollie. Men are a dirty bunch," Albert declared with a grin.
Lucius opened the door for Dollie. "I'd foller you in, but I'm mighty filthy. I promise I'll wash 'fore I pick you up this evenin'."
Dollie blushed again. "I look forward to it, Lucius."
He shut the door behind her. The other men looked on, hooting and hollering as he sat back down. Albert punched him, the other fellow pummeled his back.
"Whoo whee. That's one pretty girl!" Albert declared.
"Best keep your hands and eyes to yerself," their companion, Billy Ray said. "Lucius'll bust yer teeth, you look at Miss Dollie wrong."
"Look at her a'tall, Billy Ray," Lucius said calmly. "I'll bust your teeth. That girl's mine."
"Ain't no ring on her finger," Billy Ray replied. "Fair game's my way of thinkin'."
"And you're the village idiot," Albert said. "Pay him no mind, Luke."
"She's mine and I'll fight any man says different," Lucius said quietly.
The men sobered with that remark. Lucius didn't fight often, but when he did, he won. Not wanting to provoke him, they dropped the subject. They went back to work and, taking Dollie's suggestion, reinforced the fence with extra posts.
When they were done, it was close to quitting time. They went back to the dining hall for a cold glass of water before heading home. Lucius wanted a long, hot bath, but knew that wasn't likely to happen. He was gonna get an icy cold douse with the pump. When he got home, his mother was nearly frantic. She paced the porch, ringing her hands. She saw Lucius approaching and sprinted off the porch.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, July 04, 2019
The next morning, Lucius' brother, Samuel, asks Dollie if she's seen his father around the school. He left home, during the night, and hasn't been back.
"We don't think your pa had anything to do with that fire. Your brothers spoke to Sheriff Squires last night."
Samuel nodded, shuffling his feet under the table. He leaned close, whispering. "I'm skeered, Miss Dollie. Pa's not right. He's real mad about somethin'. Ain't just Will and Luke. There's somethin' on his mind."
"Do you know what?"
"No notion. He won't say, and honest, I don't much wanna get in his way long enough to ask him. He's in a fightin' mood." He rubbed his chin as if he'd already experienced Big Earl's wrath.
"I'm sure he'll turn up, Sam. Don't worry about it." She patted his hand, squeezing his fingers.
Sam's ears turned red. He wasn't immune to Dollie's beauty anymore than his brother was. However, Luke had staked his claim. Not only that, Dollie was several years older, and treated him like a child. It was no end of bother to Samuel, who thought there wasn't a woman around as pretty as Miss Dollie.
"I'll ask Mr. Bertram about your pa. I'll see what I can find out. You come by the office this afternoon and we'll talk."
"Thanks, Miss Dollie." He touched his brow as if tipping a hat and dashed for the door.
She was finishing her second cup of coffee when two tall men walked into the dining hall. One headed toward the kitchen, the other let his gaze travel the room until he spotted her. Smiling, Lucius walked over and sat across from her at the long table. One of the girls brought him coffee. He thanked her with a nod.
"You look mighty pretty today, Miss Dollie."
Dollie simpered, casting her eyes downward as she blushed a delicate pink. Her coffee colored hair was tied back with a pink ribbon. Her top was a matching pink, scattered with pastel flowers. Her skirt was a darker shade of the same pink. It was an outfit she'd made herself and this was the first time she'd worn it.
"Don't believe I've seen that there before. Pink suits you, Miss Dollie."
"Why, thank you, Mr. Henry."
Lucius chuckled. "I done it again. You look lovely, Dollie." He took her hand across the table.
Completely wrapped up in one another, they didn't notice that sounds in the kitchen and dining room had changed. People watched them expectantly, waiting. Lucius held Dollie's hand a moment longer before picking it up and kissing it. A collective sigh went up from the women, but the couple were completely unaware of anything but one another.
Patty watched from the kitchen doorway. She grabbed Will's arm, hopping up and down excitedly. He grinned at his brother. They'd had a long talk on the way in from town this morning. It seemed his advice had taken root. Lucius was making progress. Will squeezed Patty's fingers. Neither wanted to speak for fear they'd break the spell between their siblings.
"Dollie, I'd be pleased if you'd go to the moving picture show with me this evening," Lucius said carefully, just as Will had coached him. "There's a film I thought you might like to see. I remember you said how much you liked books by the Bronte sisters...." He was extemporizing now. On shakier ground, he hesitated.
Dollie's eyes glowed excitedly. "You don't mean that Wuthering Heights is finally here?"
He grinned broadly. "I do indeed. I recollect you said how much you'd like to see it. I'd be mighty proud if you'd go with me."
"Oh, Lucius! I'd love to go! Thank you!" She kissed him on the cheek. Suddenly realizing they had an audience, she jumped away like she'd been shocked.
Leaving her tray on the table, she scurried from the room to the sanctity of her office. Lucius sat at the table, stunned. Had it gone badly? Had it gone well? He didn't know. Dumbfounded, he stared at his coffee cup, wondering.
Willem slid onto the bench across from him. "So, she's going?"
"Yeah, I reckon. She said yes, give me a kiss and run off like Old Scratch was on her tail."
Will chuckled. "You're dumber than dumb. Course she did. She kissed you—in public."
"Should I go talk to her?"
"Patty's going. She's got to get on to work anyhow. You done good, little brother. Keep talking like that, you'll be a married man in no time."
Lucius wasn't sure what to think. He wanted to marry Dollie. He loved her with a passion he didn't know existed. But he wasn't sure he could live through the courtship. If she took off like that every time they kissed, he'd spend all his spare time chasing her down.
"Did I do something wrong to make her take off like that?"
"From what I saw, you did everything just right. Some women are more skittish than others. Now Patty, she'd have kissed me smack on the mouth and marched out proud as a peacock with its tail spread. Miss Dollie, she's more shy-like."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes Dellani Oakes,
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