Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Poplar Mountain by Dellani Oakes Part 5


The party is going well, and Lucius is about to declare his intentions toward Dollie, when his father shows up, drunk.

Lucius and Willem blocked his advance, taking him bodily from the building. Struggling feebly, their father tried to get away as they propelled him toward the pigsty. With a mighty shove, they toppled their sire into the mud of the sty. Roaring with fury, he struggled to get out, but kept slipping in the mud. The Henry boys walked away, dusting their hands.
"You ain't heard the last of me!" Earl yelled after them.
They were dancing to a scratchy, old recording of Surabaya Johnny when the doors burst open once more. Big Earl stood there dripping stinking mud on the floor. Running faster than any man his size should be able to, he upset the refreshment table, overturning it with a crashing bang that made everyone jump. This time, all the men, including his sons, dragged him outside. Mr. Bertram, the director, and one of the male teachers subdued him enough to put in the back of a truck. They drove him home to sleep it off.
Several of the women cleaned up the mud and everyone pitched in to clean up the food mess. They danced some more, but the party wound down after that point. Several of the male teachers and workers carried flashlights and lanterns to see the students safely to their dorms.
Patty, Willem and Lucius stayed with Dollie and several of the teenage boys, in order to take down the decorations and get the dining hall ready for breakfast the next morning. Everyone pointedly avoided talking about Big Earl. It didn't take long to get things packed away, the floor swept and tables put back in place, but Dollie was tired by the time it was over. Willem had offered to take his brother back to town with him in his truck which he'd left at the girls' dorm. They walked with the girls up to their apartment, bidding farewell outside.
It was obvious that Willem and Patty had news to share, so Lucius and Dollie waited impatiently for them to say something.
"Well, I reckon you can tell we've made some progress," Willem said proudly. "I done asked Patty to marry me, and by damn if she didn't say yes!"
"He gave me the prettiest ring!" Patty held out her hand. It wasn't a diamond, but it was lovely. Enamel flowers and birds decorated the simple silver band.
"That's the prettiest ring I ever saw!" Dollie exclaimed as she examined it.
"Will made it himself," Patty said with a proud sigh.
"Set a date?" Lucius asked.
"Still thinking about that one," his brother replied. "It'll depend on how soon her folks can come."
"I want to get married as soon as possible," Patty said. "We've waited long enough."
"Well sir, I'm right proud," Lucius said, pounding his brother on the back, nearly knocking him over. "Miss Patty, I'll be real happy to call you my sister."
"This don't make you and Dollie kin," his brother reminded them.
"Got that. Sure did," Lucius said, going red around the ears. He shuffled his feet nervously.
Dollie wasn't entirely sure how to proceed. She'd been receiving confusing signals from Lucius most of the evening. Really, they were fairly straight forward, he had expressed an interest in her—a very specific one. The confusion was on her part. She had absolutely no experience with having a boyfriend. Back home, she and her friends went out in groups. From time to time, they broke off into couples, but for the most part, they weren't exclusive. She'd never dated a man, nor had she ever been kissed. It was apparent by the way Lucius stood and how he looked at her, that he wanted a kiss.
Feeling very much like a fish out of water, she waited for Lucius to make the next move. Patty and Willem kissed nearby. No one was watching. The only light came from the nearly full moon. It cast eerie shadows around and about them. Shivering, Dollie inadvertently took a step closer to Lucius. The heat of his body warmed her in more ways, and in more places, than she'd ever felt before. The warmth increased as he moved nearer, bending over to kiss her.
Lucius stopped, his mouth less than an inch from hers. "Dollie, I'd sure like to kiss you."
Dollie closed her eyes, raising her chin. Smiling, Lucius lowered his mouth on hers. Their kiss was experimental, but fully expressed how they felt about one another. Lucius moved closer, putting his arms around Dollie, holding her close. Dollie's chest pressed against his. The combined beating of their hearts was the only sound they heard.
Lucius teased and coaxed her lips apart and his tongue flickered tentatively into her mouth. When she opened her lips to accommodate him, he took full advantage, kissing her hungrily. Frightened by the surge of passion, Dollie broke free with a little gasp. It was then they realized they were alone. Will and Patty were gone. Not knowing where the other two were, they felt alone and vulnerable outside.
"Best get you inside," Lucius murmured huskily.
Dollie nodded, licking her lips. She could feel his mouth against hers, possessing her, making her his own.
"Yes, I suppose. Please, come in."
"I shouldn't ought to, ma'am," he said, shuffling back a step. "If anybody saw...."
"No one's around for miles. We can't stand around in the cold waiting for your brother and my sister. Who knows where they've gone."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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