Thursday, June 27, 2019

Poplar Mountain by Dellani Oakes Part 8

The fire is out, and the men see Dollie and Patty home. Will brings up a woman named Betty Mae, causing his brother to run off.

"She claimed she was in a delicate condition, and that the baby was his," Will told the girls as they went inside. "Luke come close to marrying her. Her daddy was pretty insistent. It became apparent that she was lying, and he called off the wedding. Her daddy never forgave him, neither did Betty Mae. Few months later, she trapped some other poor sap. This time, she was. Don't say it was his, but he had more money and prospects than the rest."
"A woman who treats a fella like that, uses a baby to manipulate a man.... Well, she's trash," Patty said angrily.
"I agree. And that's a word you could use to describe Betty Mae."
"You shouldn't have told us, Willem," Patty scolded. "That wasn't nice."
"He was lecturing me on how I'm behaving and I can't say something back? Seems to me, I got cause."
"We were behaving badly," Patty reminded him. "Not that I minded. Misbehaving with you is more fun than being well behaved with a hundred other people."
Will chuckled and looked smug. Dollie was shocked. Gasping, she backed away from her sister and Willem.
"I can't believe you're talking so blithely about—intercourse!" She whispered. "Patty, you know better than that!"
"Perhaps, baby sister, but I also know what I like."
"You mean this wasn't the first time?"
"We've been dating over a year, and promised for more than six months," Patty replied as if that explained it.
"Why not get married right off, then?"
"And live where? Here in our little apartment with you?"
"They have places for married couples...."
"We wanted our own place, Miss Dollie."
"Sorry if we've upset you, Sis. When you're with the right man, you'll understand."
Dollie sniffed angrily. Squaring her shoulders, she marched into her bedroom in a huff.
"I need to get going, Patty," Will said softly. "Best go find my brother before he gets hisself in trouble someplace."
"You'll come by tomorrow?"
"Can't keep me away. I love you, Patty."
"And I love you, Will."
They kissed briefly and he took his leave. Patty watched him drive off, then went to talk to her sister. She found her getting ready for bed, brushing her teeth vigorously in the bathroom.
"I never meant to hurt you, Dollie," she began.
Dollie spat out the toothpaste and rinsed before answering. "You didn't hurt me, Patricia, you hurt yourself. Men don't want to buy the cow...."
"It's not like that with Will. We love one another. We've been all but married for almost eight months. It was a matter of pride for him to have the house built before the wedding. He's been working on it since we met, isn't that romantic? He knew that day, that exact moment, I was the woman he wanted to marry."
Dollie blinked back tears. That was romantic and it hurt her feelings to think that a man had been that decisive about her sister and not her.
"I'd love for a man to say that about me," she said in a sad, dreamy voice.
"How do you know one hasn't all ready? Lucius is mighty fond of you, Dorothea. In fact, I venture to say he loves you as much as Willem loves me."
"He doesn't. He's fond of me, to be sure...."
"I see the light in his eyes whenever he looks at you. He aches with wanting you."
"Why's he not spoken up, if that's how he feels?" Her chin jutted defiantly.
"Because Lucius isn't as impulsive as his brother. He thinks things out long and hard."
"He hasn't built me a house," Dollie protested.
"That's not his way either. When he makes up his mind, he'll do it. And won't a thing in this life stop him when he's decided either."
"I hope you're right."
"I know I am."

Willem followed his brother, knowing where he'd gone. Whenever he was upset, he'd go sit in the woods behind the chapel. He'd done it since they were kids, and his habit hadn't changed. There was a small grove there that Lucius had whittled out and maintained. He called it the Woodland Chapel and it was his special place. As he anticipated, Will found Lucius sitting in the center of his chapel, arms wrapped around his knees.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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