Hard Time Marrying Part 17 a

Trigger warning

 

Anya was shaking as she sat gripping the water glass, looking as though she might faint.  Joe took Sally from the sling, putting her on the floor.

“I ain’t no whore!  My stepmother handed me off to that devil to get me out of her man’s way.  I had no say than a cow or hog off to slaughter.  He tied me up and hauled me off in that damned peddler’s wagon.  He beat me and passed me around when he needed a bottle. That last night, he got drunk enough I was able to get to his pistol and fire a shot off at him.  I think I missed and finished him off with a shovel.  He would have killed me if I hadn’t gotten away, but I’m not a whore.”  She was furious now, clinching and unclenching her fists.  “I’d kill him again, if I could after all he done to me!”

Joe didn’t speak for a long time.  “So that’s how you come to be here.”  Pausing, he went on.  “Thank God the creek was high and we couldn’t get to Meadow Creek for the revival.  If you had showed up there, wanting to make a new start, folks would’a had questions after that peddler turned up with a hole in his head.  We got to come up with a plan.”

“I didn’t run off from one man just to get stuck out here bein’ your whore.  Just because I got nowhere to go don’t mean I gotta take anything off you.”  She was furious to be so near tears.

“I don’t want nuthin’ from you except you earn your keep and help out with Sally while you’re here.  You’re gonna have to lay low awhile to keep the sheriff off your tail.  The preacher is the only one who saw my wife.  If we just keep to the place, you ain’t gonna bump into him.  I never was one for goin’ to church an’ it ain’t likely he’ll have business way out here.  He might not know the difference anyhow.  It was dark an’ the woman was wrapped up when we woke him to marry us.

She stared ahead morosely, feeling a prisoner again.

 

 

 

Hard Time Marrying Part 18

Apology  Got my stories out of sequence.  To catch up, please go back and read 17 a just posted.  Then move on to 17 b before you read this.  img_1597Anna flung the door open thinking Joe was coming in with milk and eggs.  A tall, thin woman in homespun holding a basket laughed at her surprise.  “I’m Emma, Rufus’s wife.  I was so proud to hear Joe had a new wife I didn’t wait for no invite.  When Rufus said he was coming over to see if Joe I clumb right up in the wagon.  I brung you some eggs, butter, and molasses for a welcome.  It’s gonna be good to have a woman close by to neighbor with. You got any coffee left?”

Though Anya would have hoped to avoid company, she warmed to Emma’s warmth and pulled out a chair from the table for her.  “Set yourself down.  I think the coffee’s still hot.”  She poured them both a cup and put a couple of biscuits on a plate to go with the butter and molasses.

Emma spread butter on a biscuit, ate it thoughtfully, and smiled.  “You make a mighty fine biscuit.  You gonna be a good wife to Joe.  They ain’t nothin’ like good cookin’ to keep a man happy.  I’m glad of it.  I always been partial to Joe.  He’s been alone too long.”

Sally toddled up to Anya’s knee, demanding her attention.  Anya gave her a sip of milk from a cup while she gathered her thoughts, not wanting to betray herself.  “Biscuits do please a man.  I’m proud you like mine.”

“Your baby looks just like you with that white hair and blue eyes.  Maybe Joe will lucky and the one comin’ will look like him.