Thursday, September 26, 2019
Poplar Mountain Part 34 by Dellani Oakes
"Yes," he admitted calmly. "Yes, we are." His blue eyes twinkled. "I love you more than life, Dollie."
"Me too. And I'll marry you just as soon as we can without shocking everyone."
"I'll be mighty proud to make you my wife."
Will stopped singing and clattering around in the kitchen. He came out wiping his hands on his jeans. Dollie excused herself to go to the privy. She'd have preferred her civilized bathroom, but that wasn't an option at the moment.
"I got to get back to my place and get my suit. You set here?" Will asked Lucius.
"For now. I feel stronger now that I ate. I think I'll be fine. Got Dollie with me."
"That's what I'm afraid of, brother. You're stronger and you got a taste of what married life would be like. She's a pretty girl and you're a man ain't had none in how long?"
Luke muttered something that his brother didn't hear.
"Reckon I know how long a dry spell it's been, Willem. Don't need you tellin' me. Would it worry you less if we went on down to her place? Her sister'll be there. Got me two women to watch over me and each other. That sound better?"
"Well, I was thinkin' of taking Patty home with me." He laughed at his brother's consternation. "I'm teasing you. Yes. And you'd be closer to Doc if there's a problem. Go get your suit and we'll carry it down with us."
Dollie drove her car with Luke's suit hanging in the back. Will drove Luke to the girls' dorm, helping him out of the truck. Luke didn't really need help, but it made his brother feel better. Dollie carried his suit into the apartment and set about ironing his shirt and creasing his pants.
Patty and Will had a soulful parting, with lots of hugs and kisses. Luke wished his brother would go. Having them bill and coo like lovebirds made him crazy.
"Luke, would you like a shower?" Patty asked when she came back in.
"I would," he agreed. After hours of sweating in his fever, he felt a little gritty. He'd brought clean underwear and shirt with the intention of asking. He was glad she'd invited him.
"You can use the student's bathroom," Patty suggested. "The girls have all gone home. There's no one here but us. You can take as long as you like."
"That suits me right fine," Luke agreed. He got his things together and headed down the hall to the bathroom. It felt kind of strange walking into a girl's bathroom, but he soon got over the strangeness. There was fresh soap and a couple of towels on a rack. Patty must have had this in mind all along. He started up the water letting it warm up while he stripped off his clothing.
Stepping into the shower stall, he pulled the curtain closed and let the hot water run over him. The soap smelled fresh like Dollie and his mind turned to thoughts of his beloved. Washing himself was torture. Finally, feeling slightly ashamed, he relieved himself as quietly and quickly as possible. Spent and embarrassed by his own weakness, he stood in the hot water a few more minutes. It felt wonderful on muscles sore from lying in bed the better part of twenty-four hours.
When he had finished bathing, he dried off and dressed in his underwear and t-shirt. Taking a shaving kit out of his bag, he went to the mirror and shaved carefully, trimming his beard. A couple days of neglect and it looked rugged. He neatened it up with scissors.
There was a tap on the bathroom door.
"I ain't quite dressed."
"That's okay, it's just me," Will said as he walked in. He looked very dapper in his blue serge suit with a white starched shirt and dark red tie.
"Don't you look too spiffy for a funeral."
Will struck a ridiculous pose like the men in fashion ads. He and his brother laughed loudly, the sound echoing in the tiled room.
Will nodded. He didn't have to ask and wouldn't make his brother tell him. How often a man gave into his baser urges wasn't a matter for discussion.
"Dollie's got your suit and shirt ready. She said you forgot a tie, but found you one."
"Why's she got a man's tie?"
"Am I gonna ask? Don't matter. Fact is, she's got you one."
"I get all the soap?"
Will checked his brother's ears and neck carefully, wiping a little bit with his thumb. "Got it."
Lucius slipped on his jeans. Wearing only his t-shirt, he walked down the hall with his brother.
The women were dressed in dark dresses with their hair put up. Each of them had a hat with a veil. Luke's suit hung on the closet door, neatly pressed, the shirt starched. A blue striped tie lay over the ironing board. Dollie was giving it a sprucing up.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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