Tuesday, August 15, 2017
I Love Dialogue from Poplar Mountain by Dellani
Dollie Belloit and her sister, Patty, are from the big city Up North. They have come to work at a small settlement school in Kentucky as the secretary and accountant. Dollie is sweet on Lucius Henry, a local man, who is also sweet on her. Both shy, they find it hard to communicate their interest. When Dollie asks Lucius to help her find boys to decorate the dining call for a party, he happily complies.
"Don't worry. I'll get them hopping," he assured her as they passed behind the clinic. "You head on up to the dining hall. I'll go by the boy's dormitory and see what I can do."
"Thanks, Lucius. You're a prince."
He bowed deeply, sweeping his hand behind him as if pushing back a cape. "Mine is but to serve, Your Highness."
Blushing, Dollie giggled nervously. She liked Lucius more than she wanted to admit. The boys back home had never interested her much, nor had they treated her like a grand lady. Lucius always gave her the feeling that she was the most important person in the world.
Lucius righted himself, stepping closer. "Do you have an escort to the play party tonight, Miss Dollie?" His voice deepened, growing husky.
"I'd be proud if you'd consider me your partner for the dancing."
"I'd be delighted, Lucius."
"Thank ye, Miss Dollie. You do me an honor."
"Just Dollie," she whispered, dropping a slight curtsey. Embarrassed at her boldness, she turned and ran the rest of the way to the dining hall.
Lucius watched her until she was a pastel blur. Turning his steps towards the boys' dormitory, he whistled a happy tune. Fond of the mountain tunes of his ancestors, he chose There Was An Old Woman. Soon, he was singing in a clear, ringing tenor, "There was an old woman in our town, in our town did dwell. She loved her husband dearly, but another man twice as well. Sing too-di-um, sing too-di-um, Whack fa-lal-the-day." He reached the end of the song when he got to the door of the boys' dorm.
Snatching up the first four boys he found, those who couldn't outrun him, he drove them like cattle over to the dining hall. They, of course, complained the entire way.
"Luke, you got no call," his younger cousin, Jed, whined.
"Y'all oughta helped Miss Dollie without being told. What would your mothers think, you making a lady work all on her lonesome?"
"She had to ask you," Jed pointed out rudely.
"But I didn't know she needed help, or I'd of been down here all ready."
"That's cause you're sweet on Miss Dollie," Jed teased.
Lucius cuffed his cousin. The teenage boy hopped ahead, teasing and chanting. He danced backward, sticking his tongue out until he fell over a tree root and sprawled on the ground.
"Teach you to keep a civil tongue," Lucius said as he helped him up.
"Shucks, I'm just telling the truth," Jed replied, sulkily.
The other boys filed into the dining hall. Lucius kept Jed back a moment.
"You don't ought to say things like that, Jed. What'd Miss Dollie think if she heard?"
"Well, ain't ya?"
Sixteen year old Jed saw deep into his soul. Lucius couldn't hide from him how he felt about Dollie. Blushing, he partially turned away.
"Don't have to say a word, cuz. Reckon I know that look. Didn't Jake look that way over Rachel Gibbons 'fore he popped the question?"
"Ain't poppin' nothin'," Lucius replied sullenly. "No way Dollie'd take a man like me serious."
"What's wrong with a man like you?" Jed could see the time to tease was over. "You're a hard worker, ain't ye? You've got a spot of land to build on...."
"I ain't been to college. I'm not a proper gent. I'm a poor farm boy from up the holler."
"You're more a gent than most citified men we ever met," Jed replied stolidly, punching his cousin good naturedly. "What you lack is confidence. You look at Miss Dollie sometime when she thinks you ain't, you'll see what I mean." Raising an eyebrow, he put his index finger beside his nose, giving Lucius a saucy salute.
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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