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Monday, September 8, 2014

Chapter 29



“Is your mother crazy?” 

“That’s a possibility.” 

We were both standing in the kitchen and looking at all of the stuff that Roman, Fletcher, Peter and a couple of other men I was introduced to as being a cousin and a brother in law – though I never did figure out which was which – had hauled in from two wagons.  The other men had left and trying to get around was like how I imagine navigating a maze would be.  But we had to try and so started moving things by type into different rooms.  There were some piles I couldn’t get around without banging you into Bean so I had to be careful.  The worst though was when I tried to squeeze between two piles and caught the back of my pants on something sharp and there was this awful ripping noise. 


“Gaaaah!  I just sewed those for the third time.  There IS no more left in the seam.  Now what am I supposed to do?!  I had a hard enough time pulling them up this morning!” 

“Well for starters … uh … you … could let me help you get them off.”  I looked at Roman and his face fell a little bit and added, “If you feel up to it.” 

I know he didn’t mean to Bean and I know he’d be mortified if he ever read this so you can’t let him know but when he looks like that he reminds me of this hound Tim rescued that had this thing for shoes.  He (the dog, not Roman) didn’t really chew them – at least not much – but if you were missing a shoe you could bet good money that if you looked in the barn in the corner of the hay that the dog had dug out sure enough the missing shoe would be there.  He wouldn’t get mad that you took the shoe back but he’d be so disappointed and sad looking, like he knew he had a bad habit and just couldn’t seem to break it no matter how hard he tried.  Roman looks just like that, right down to the big brown eyes and the hound dog expression. 

I rolled my eyes.  “I’m popping out all over.  It might not just be these pants you need to help me out of.”  Roman nearly broke his arm scrambling over some boxes but that didn’t slow him down much though he got a good scrape I had to clean and woke up bruised.   

We aren’t really doing it.  Roman says he’s still thinking of ways so that he doesn’t hurt me.  I keep trying to tell him not to worry about it but that only makes him more pigheaded about the whole thing.  He seems happy with what we do although I told him that he had to stop saying he was dead because it gave me indigestion to think that I might be hurting him.  It really does worry me when he starts breathing like a tugboat.  I’d ask Mrs. Beauchamp to check his blood pressure but I don’t think it would go over too well when I explained why. 

It got cold again last night and we gave up trying to put stuff away.  Roman was a lot more interested in … uh … staying warm than he was in working anyway.  I didn’t even need to worry about those pants until this morning and so far I’m not sure what I’m going to do.   

I had stayed under the covers per Roman’s orders and was half asleep when there was some clatter outside.  I woke up all the way and when Roman stepped into the room and said Saul had stopped by.  I jumped out of bed and forgot I didn’t have a stitch on.  “Oh no!  What am I gonna wear?!” 

Roman had that glazed over look on his face and said, “He’s gone.  He just came by to ask if I would help with separating out what’s left of Peterson’s wood pile.  Do that again.” 

“Do what again?” 

“That.  That wow.” 

I had to smile and told him, “Roman, it’s cold.” 

He sighed.  “Yeah I guess so.” 

But then I did it again a couple of times until he flinched and said, “Damn, I gotta ride the horse all the way over there.” 

That made me giggle and I climbed back under the covers for the last time.  He left after telling me how to heat the soup he’d put on the mantle and that he might be late but not to worry and to not unlock the door for anyone but him.  He took a key out of his pocket and said, “This one is yours.  So no one can ever lock you in again.  It’s like a skeleton key.  It may not work outright on every lock but it will on most of them around here after I show you how.” 

“Oh Roman.”  I almost asked him to stay just for saying that. 

He was walking a little funny and I knew it was my fault.  He didn’t exactly ride off very fast either.  But then the sun went behind the clouds and I wandered around for a while until I got too cold and I crawled back in this bed and decided to write to you Bean. 

See, I know exactly what I’m doing when I do things like that to Roman.  I know I’m just this side of mean teasing and that I should be ashamed.  I want to make him need me so bad that he stays around, that he’s not sorry that I’m staying around anyway.  But I don’t know, sometimes I think it isn’t fair.  Roman is a nice man and if yesterday is any indication maybe other people are starting to wise up to the fact that he has lots more to offer than they gave him credit for having.  What if some nice woman suddenly wises up to it and she’d be sweet and fresh and new for him in a way I never can be.  I just don’t know Bean. 

Maybe I shouldn’t be talking to a kid like you about things that are so personal but I want you to understand who I am just in case by the time you read this I’m not around anymore.  I don’t want people to tell you that I was some hard whore that didn’t care for you or Roman.  Because I do.  I didn’t know I could care like this or so much.  But I have to be honest too.  I’m not always a nice person and if some fresh, sweet woman ever does try and get Roman’s attention I’m pretty sure I will fight.   

I don’t want to own Roman.  And I don’t want him to own me though in a strange way it feels like he already does; and for some reason that doesn’t bother me except for the fact that it doesn’t bother me.  I also don’t think he’ll ever go back on his word about taking care of you and keeping you safe Bean.  I’m just worried that now that I’ve had a taste of it, I’m not sure that I could let Roman go even if he wants to and that I’ll do whatever I have to so that he won’t or can’t.  And that makes me a pretty bad character because while I don’t know much, I do know that Roman deserves a good woman, and what chance does a dock whore ever have of being a good woman?

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