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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chapter 16

“Dammit Saul!  Why do you have to make it your mission in life to scare the crap out of people?” 

“What the hell did I say?!” 

I was being carried again.  “What do you mean what the hell did you say?  Damn, and you people call me dense and out of touch.” 

“Stop that or I’m going to puke again,” I groaned.  “I’m not a dolly you can just tote anywhere you feel like dumping me.” 

“I’m going to dump you on your head if you don’t stop wiggling.  Now hold still.  Regina is coming and bringing Mom.” 

“No!  No, no, no, no!” 

“Oh yes.  And you will sit and you will let her take a look at you.  End … of … discussion.” 

“She won’t like it.” 

“She may not and you may not but Mom is the best there is about this stuff.  She used to be a nurse and she’ll know why you keep going tip over tea kettle.” 

“It’s just Bean letting me know stuff.” 

“Well tell Bean to settle down because you are going to get looked at.” 




He was looking around the little house wondering where to set me.  “I do not want to traumatize you Thorn but I don’t see anything else for it.  I’m going to take you to the bedroom.” 


“Dammit …” 

“Roman Douglas Beauchamp.” 

Bean, I’m not lying when I say that Roman jumped and turned so fast it made me even dizzier than I already was.  “Sit her down now.  Go stand outside.  Now.” 

“Mom …” 

“What?” she said with an irritated snap in her voice. 

“Don’t scare her.” 

“I’m not scared!” 

He looked at me and said, “Remember.  I promised you that no one around here would send you back, make you go back, or anything else like that.  And no one is going to hurt Bean.  Mom is just upset too.” 

“I’m not upset.  Stop acting like I have … like I have sensibilities.  I don’t.  And I can take care of myself and Bean too!” 

It was irritating to realize no one was listening to me.  At Mother Mary’s someone would have aimed a slap at me or thrown something in my general direction to shut me up but these people … they act like you aren’t even in the room and just go about what they intend to do.  In no time flat Roman’s mother was barking out orders and Missy and Regina and another woman were moving faster than the girls at Mother Mary’s ever had, myself included.  I’d like to know how she pulled it off because she looks like a little puff ball but when she says jump no one even bothers to ask how high they just start jumping until she tells them to stop. 

I was stripped, washed, shampooed, dried, examined, measured, bandaged and taped, and then redressed in a nightgown I’d never seen before and on top of it ordered into the bed before I could even find enough fight to put up a fuss.  As a matter of fact I was all wore out. 

Breathlessly, when Missus Beauchamp put a tray in front of me and told me to eat, I told her, “But … but I can’t pay for this.  Please don’t …” 

That’s when Roman had to put his big mouth in and came through the door.  “This is for Bean, remember?” 

“You’re just trying to fool me.” 

“Nope.  Ask Mom.  This is all about Bean.  Isn’t that right Mom?” 

She crossed her arms and arched an eyebrow really good but Roman didn’t back down.  Finally she nodded and said, “Yes.  It is.”  To me she said, “And I expect you to eat all of that and not throw it away.” 

I’d had enough of being treated like a little kid and I told her, “I’m not stupid.  You don’t waste food because if you waste what you have today there might not be more tomorrow.  God’s like that.” 

“I beg your pardon?  Are you making fun of God?!” she asked in outrage. 

“Do I look like I want to go to hellfire and damnation?  God can squash you like a bug for doing that sort of thing; heck He can squash you for no reason. But a good way to bump up the odds of getting squashed is by being wasteful.  Everybody knows that.  Stupid revenuers, hope all of them go to hellfire and damnation,” I muttered still angry even after all these years. 

Roman drug a chair over and said, “About that, how did you know who those men were?” 

“Everybody knows who the revenuers are.  They steal things from the country and give it to the city to shut people up.  Hate them. Hate them long and hard and forever.” 



“Why do you hate the revenuers so much?  Seems personal.” 

“None of your business.  Besides everyone knows revenuers are evil … revenuers and dust bunnies are the two most evil things on the planet.” 



“Are you feeling ok?” 

“Why do you keep asking stupid questions?” 

“Because I’m not sure I understand what revenuers and dust bunnies have in common.” 

“Then you don’t know as much as you think you do.  They both have dust for brains.  And they multiply in the dark and make things nasty if you don’t keep them cleaned out.  Everyone knows that.” 

“Uh huh.  Who told you about the evils of revenuers and dust bunnies?” 

“Stop asking because I’m not going to tell you.  It isn’t any of your business.” 

“You sure are contrary.” 

“Anybody would be if they kept being asked questions they have no business being asked.  If you want to know about the other stuff fine.  I figure you’ve got good reason to ask me that … but nothing else.” 

The man I knew was Roman’s father walked into the room and patted his wife who left, shooing the other three women out ahead of her.  The only reason I didn’t puke again was because they left the door open … and because Roman moved his chair closer after putting another chair by the bed for his father.  I gotta tell you Bean, I’m not too sure that we’ll be staying here.  These men are strange and I don’t understand them.  After looking like he wanted to bash me Mr. Beauchamp was acting like I was a bug that needed to be examined.  

“I’m beginning to see where you get the name Thorn from.  Though I think Narcissa is far prettier.” 

Roman and Alex had obviously been talking about stuff they had no business talking about and I gave Roman a dirty look since Alex wasn’t around.  I told Mr. Beauchamp, “Narcissa is from before.  It was taken from me so I don’t use it anymore.” 

“No one can take your name away … well … I suppose they can under certain circumstances but you can take it back.  If you want to.” 

“What … what do you mean?” 

“Roman says you are determined to never go back to … back to the way you were living.” 

I told him, “Didn’t want to live like that to begin with.  It just sort of happened.  Is this where you ask how Alex wound up owning me?” 

The older man winced and Roman sighed before saying, “Thorn, take the edge off.  I know you are having a hard time trusting us but …” 

“But you’re having the same trouble too.” 

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“OK.  I suppose I owe you some answers.  Ask … but if I don’t want to answer …” 

“You won’t.  Kinda have that figured out.  Is there anything you want to ask?” 

“Uh … wha?”  It had never even entered my mind.  Like I said Bean, the men here are strange. 

“Well we’re going to ask you questions so don’t you think you should ask us questions to get to know us?” 




“Why forever not?” 

“Well duh, that’s obvious.  You people are having a hard enough time knowing me.  There’s no way that you want me to know you.” 

“I give up,” Roman said in a peeve.  “Dad … she’s hard headed.  I don’t know how much good it is going to do for you to question her.” 

I was tempted to spill my life story just to spite Roman but decided that I still wasn’t completely crazy.  Still, it was with no small amount of satisfaction that I answered Mr. Beauchamp’s questions as pretty as I had been taught a long time ago in how you speak to your elders.  By the time he was done hearing as much as he could stand to hear Roman’s eyeballs were about to pop out of his head. 

“Why you little … you did that on purpose.” 

I looked at him and asked, “And what if I did?” 

He got up in a huff and stomped out of the room.  I regretted running him off when I found myself alone with his father but really, it is for Roman’s own good and I told Mr. Beauchamp so when he remarked on it. 

“He’s too nice.  He’s going to stick that chin out once too often and there will be a little less nice in the world and there’s hardly any of it left as it is.” 

“Hmmm. You consider Roman nice?” 

“Yeah although maybe not nice exactly … but he cares about things that aren’t his business to care about and that’s going to get him in trouble.  Look at the grief he is taking because of me.  First from Alex then from everyone else.  He doesn’t look like the kind that deals with that kind of grief very well.  It makes him cranky.  It would be better if he stopped going around looking for it.” 

Mr. Beauchamp ordered me to finish the soup and then to go to sleep.  Which was fine by me.  It’s a good thing I got some rest when I did because I needed it.