FifteenA Chapter by emily
“Addy?” The voice was soft, but it pierced through my throbbing head. I groaned and opened my eyes. At first I could not see him. The sunlight falling through the window burned my eyes. But I knew without a doubt who it was.
Isaiah stood a few feet away from where I was lying. I blinked a few times before I could take him in. Last night in the dark I had not been able to see his face.
Four years had turned Isaiah into a man. His face was a stronger shape, his jaw and cheekbones more defined. He was somewhat taller too, with a much stronger body. His nose sat at a slightly different angle, a feature that I realized had not come with age but was a mark of the beating he had received that night.
But he had those eyes. Whether I wanted to or not, I saw the same boy I had loved once in his eyes.
We were in the attic, a place I had not ventured to since Isaiah left. I was lying on the cot, wearing considerably less clothing than I remembered having when I left the house. Someone had removed my dress, loosened my corset and done away with the vast layers of petticoats and crinolines, though my bloomers and stockings, thank God, were still firmly in their place.
“Isaiah?” I rasped. I felt horrible. When I lifted my head to see him, it pounded so badly I fell right back down on the pillow.
Isaiah came over and sat on the edge of the cot. “How do you feel?” he asked, putting his hand on my forehead.
Foolishly, I tried to sit up again. I put my hand on top of his on my forehead and fell back. I groaned through my teeth in pain.
Isaiah laughed quietly. “Next time I would not suggest trying to drink me away. It won’t work and you still haven’t learned to hold your liquor.”
“Will there be a next time?” I asked suspiciously.
Isaiah chuckled. “I hope not.” He put his hands on the bed on either side of me and kissed me lightly on the lips.
When he leaned back, Isaiah’s eyes fell on the pin that still rested in my unkempt hair. “You kept it!” he said, making it sound like both a hopeful question and a casual observation. I nodded and Isaiah kissed me again.
Though I was blissfully happy to have him back, something was troubling me. “Isaiah,” I said when he pulled away, “What… what happened last night?”
At first I was embarrassed that I had actually fainted in Isaiah’s arms. But then something frightened me. I remembered kissing him. I remembered the weight of him on top of me. I remembered not wanting to stop.
What could have happened while I was out? I had known Roy to take advantage of me like that, but could I trust Isaiah not to do the same? After all, I had awoken feeling poorly and wearing very little clothing. What if I did not know who he was anymore? What if he was a different kind of person now? What if everything he had gone through changed him for the worse?
He had not answered yet. “Isaiah…” I said warningly. “We didn’t… you wouldn’t…” I pulled the sheets around me, suddenly feeling embarrassed and exposed.
Isaiah caught on immediately, “Oh, Jesus, Addy! Of course not. I-I would never… You know I wouldn’t… Why… why would you think…”
“I’m sorry Isaiah,” I said defensively. “It’s just… Roy…”
Isaiah stood up. “I’m not your husband, Addy,” he said bitterly. “I’m nothing like him. Don’t you know me better?”
I could not think of an answer. I thought I knew him. I hoped I knew him.
He frowned and left my side, pacing agitatedly around the floor. I could tell I had hurt him more than he wanted to let on. “I want to know you, Isaiah,” I said, propping myself up.
He came back to me and kneeled down by the bed. “You do know me, Addy. I won’t try to tell you I’m exactly the same person who left you, but I’m still myself.” Isaiah put his hands on my face. “Believe me. Please. I would never do that to you.” It seemed like he would kiss me again. Then the door in the floor creaked and his head snapped away.
Hannah’s head popped into the room, a look of annoyance rooted firmly on her face.
“Oh for the love of God!” she exclaimed shrilly, causing my head to start throbbing again. “Oh, hell no! I am not dealing with this again.”
Isaiah smiled. “Good to see you too, Hannah.”
She shot him a look. “For one thing, you already saw me. For another thing, get out of here before Roy comes looking for her and kills you.”
“But Hannah…” I pleaded.
“No, I should go,” Isaiah said. “I’ll be back tonight.
“Not long after dark. I work for the Johann’s. They let us off early.” I was glad Isaiah was working for the only people in Alabama who treated their slaves like people.
“I will be here. I promise.”
Isaiah leaned in, glanced at his sister, and then kissed me on the forehead. “I’ll see you tonight.” Then he swung out the window with a smile on his face.
I turned to Hannah. She pursed her lips. “It never ends with you two, does it?”
I collapsed blissfully back on to the bed. “Say whatever you please, Hannah.”
She must have realized she was not going to ruin my mood. “Come on, Adeline.” She said, “You’re needed in the real world.”
Back in my room, Hannah threw me into a yellow day dress.
“You lied to me, didn’t you?” I asked as she corseted me in. “You must have known he was coming.”
Hannah scoffed. “Hardly,” she answered. “The boys got a letter from him a few days ago. He said he was coming back, but not where or when. It was dated from a few months ago, though, and we figured something must have happened to him. When you asked us about him last night, none of us knew he was back.
“Then he showed up at their cabin last night, right after you left. Scared the hell out of us too, seeing as we thought he was dead and all. When we told him you already left he took the horse and went to buy out the coachman,” She then muttered something that sounded like, “the idiot.”
I was hurt that they had not told me, but could not bring myself to be annoyed with any of anyone.
“Do you… do you know what really happened when we came home last night?” I was hoping I could find out the truth, wanting to find some proof that I could trust Isaiah.
“All I know is that Eli and I were sleeping and he showed up at the cabin like a goddamn ghost, telling us you were drunk and passed out in the attic.”
I was irritated that she could not even let herself be happy to have Isaiah back. “Aren’t you at least glad he came home?”
“Of course I am,” she said. “I just wish he wouldn’t get himself into the same mess he was in four years ago.”
I really did not want to fight with Hannah, so I let that go. She did not speak. I let my mind wander towards Isaiah.
“Roy is roaring mad, by the way,” she said casually.
“Hmm?” I had not been paying attention.
“Roy. Your husband,” she said sarcastically. “The one you married so you could have my brother’s baby.”
“You didn’t tell him, did you?” I asked, panicked. I could not deal with Isaiah knowing about Jordan right now. I just wanted to be happy with him for a while. Who knew how he would react.
“Isaiah? No, I didn’t. But you should. He needs to know Adeline.”
“Why?” That sounded especially foolish, but I really did not want to tell him yet.
“Because he has to make a decision now, and Jordan may change things.”
That worried me. “W-what decision?”
“Well, he has to decide to stay or not.” This clearly did not upset Hannah, but it sent a wave of fear through me.
“Why wouldn’t he stay?” I asked anxiously.
“Do you really think he wants to stay, Adeline? Do you really think he wants to be a slave again?”
“But he works for the Johann’s. They don’t even treat him like a slave.”
Hannah shook her head. “You still don’t understand, Adeline. He was free. Isaiah crossed that border and he was a free man. How could you ask him to come back and be a slave again?”
I knew I could not ask that of him.
Hannah sighed and walked away. “Roy is downstairs. He’s waiting for you. I would hurry. He’s definitely angry.” Then she walked out of the room.
I was left alone, conflicted and confused. How could I be with Isaiah now only to have him leave again? How could I keep him here? How could I keep away?
© 2012 emily
Added on March 17, 2009
Last Updated on March 13, 2012
AboutHello all! My name is Emily, I'm 18, I am definitely not at home in this tiny MN town, and soon I will be the most famous author my generation. I go to Barnes and Noble to see where my book will sit .. more..
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