Thursday, June 20, 2019
Poplar Mountain by Dellani Oakes Part 6
After Big Earl crashes the party, it ends. Willem and Lucius walk the sisters home, where Lucius kisses Dollie for the first time. Will and Patty have disappeared. Puzzled, Dollie invites him inside.
Lucius suspected he knew where they were. He thought the windows of Will's truck looked a bit steamed up. He figured Will and Patty were starting early on the honeymoon. Not that he was a man of great experience, but he had more than a few steamed up windows in his past. It was fairly obvious that Dollie hadn't. He'd have to tread carefully, or he'd scare her away. He cast about for a subject, finally settling on the party.
"That was some funny thing when that clarinet made us think we'd got a fire," he said as they walked inside.
Dollie giggled, nodding. "I thought the Devil himself had lit a fire under you, you jumped so high."
Lucius chuckled. "Yup. Da—darn near scared the life outta me."
"You can say damn around me, Lucius. I'm not so sheltered that I haven't heard, or said, the occasional swear word."
She took a step toward him, taking his shirt front in her hands. Fiddling with the buttons, she raised her chin.
"Thought we talked about that."
"We did. I reckon I'm gonna backslide some."
"You got it right when it counted most."
"Dollie, I sure like you loads."
"I know that. I like you too, Lucius."
"I'm proud to hear that."
"That was a nice kiss," she whispered.
In response, he kissed her once more. Dollie found it hard to believe, but this one was even better. Arms around her, Lucius held her close. The kiss intensified, but this time, she didn't pull away. It felt right being in his embrace. This was where she most wanted to be.
The bell at the dining hall clanged once, startling them both. It clattered and clanged again, faster and more imperative. The fire siren started up soon after and the two created a cacophony of sound that made the hills ring. Moments later, the door to the apartment burst open. Will stood there, shirt open, pants unzipped, Patty's lipstick smearing his face and neck.
"The barn's on fire!" He ran from the building.
Lucius followed him out, hopping in the truck as Will took off with a grinding of gears. Patty stood on the porch, her hair a mess, lipstick smeared, dress askew. Dollie didn't notice right away. She was more concerned about the fire.
"We better get down there, see if we can help."
"Yes," Patty said, somewhat dazed. "We should."
"I'm changing into pants and a sweater," Dollie said. "Patty, come on!" She yanked on her sister. "You okay? You look all flummoxed."
"Dammit, we were so close!" Patty wailed as she washed her face and changed her clothing.
"Close to what?" Dollie stopped, suddenly aware of what had been happening in the truck. "Patricia Belloit, were you getting overly familiar with that man?" She stood with her arms akimbo, hands firmly pressed on her denim clad hips.
"So what if I was?" Patty struggled into her sweater. "He's my fiancé. We can do as we like."
"Is this your first time?"
"Not entirely," her sister evaded. "Dating isn't all about movies and play parties, Dorothea. Time you learned that. Kissing is nice, but it eventually leads to more. You'll find out. Fix your face, little sister. I imagine Luke's got Red Poppy lipstick all over him too. Oh, Will!" She hung her head, suddenly ashamed.
"No one's gonna notice. They'll all be too busy with the fire. Come on, would you?"
They ran down the hill carrying flashlights and buckets, intent on getting down to the fire. Some of the men had formed a bucket brigade while others did their best to attach the hose to the ancient hand worked water pump.
Everyone pitched in to fight the fire. An hour later, the flames were out, and only a smoking mess was left. The animals, fortunately, were fine. Aside from a few minor burns, they'd escaped the blaze.
"Would've been a different story without Luke and Will," Mr. Bertram, the director, said. "They got here faster than anyone, thanks to the truck. They got all the animals out, before the rest of us showed up."
Will and Lucius were filthy, covered with sweat and soot. Will had a burn on the back of his neck where some sparks from the roof dropped on him. Lucius had a mark on his hand where one of the horses nipped him.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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