SixteenA Chapter by emily
I quietly crept down the stairs, knowing a conflict with Roy was inevitable. He had the greatest sense of misplaced pride I had ever seen in a man. He hated to be made a fool of, and I had certainly succeeded in that aspect.
When I stepped into the parlor, he was there. Roy was already drinking at eleven in the morning, not a good sign. He sipped his glass of brandy before he spoke.
“Come in, Adeline,” he said, and I walked nervously forward. “Sit,” he commanded.
I sunk into a chair. Roy looked at me for a long time before saying anything. Roy’s finger traced the edge of his glass. “I thought I made my intentions quite clear last night,” he said, his tone controlled. “Yet I returned to find your door locked.”
I averted my eyes, thanking God that either Isaiah or Hannah had had the good sense to lock the door. “I was asleep by the time you came home. If you wanted something from me, you should not have stayed out all night.” It was definitely a bad idea to fight him like this, but I was not going to bow to him. Not today.
“If I want something from you I will have it whenever I want,” he said quickly, his control wavering. “You are my wife, you will answer to me. You will not repeat last night’s behavior again.
“My behavior last night does not concern you.”
He looked completely enraged. “Does not concern me?” he stammered. “Of course it concerns me!” He roared as his anger suddenly took over. The brandy glass fell violently to the floor and shattered. “Your actions affect me in every way. You are a disobedient, shameful excuse for a wife and everyone knows it!”
He took a deep breath. For once I was too afraid of him to reply.
Roy smoothed his hair and quieted his voice. “Now, I am leaving tonight for a war convention in Montgomery. When I return tomorrow you will have become a model wife.” I was too stunned and scared to say anything, so I nodded.
“Good,” he said. “No more drinking. No more unescorted calls. And no more excuses. You will give me a son within the year, even if I have to force you into bed with me every night until you cooperate.”
I took a deep breath. “And if I refuse?”
Roy set his jaw and cruelty played in his light blue eyes. “I know how much that slave child means to you,” he said darkly. “I don’t pretend to know why.” Roy ran a finger along my cheek, sending a shiver of disgust down my back. “But don’t underestimate what I am capable of, dear Adeline.”
I winced and nodded. “You’ll have your son.”
He smiled a wicked smile, “I knew you would see it my way eventually,” he smirked. “I always win, Adeline dearest,” he said as he strolled out the door. “Don’t ever forget that.” I was left alone in the parlor, my whole body shaking with rage and fear.
I was so stupid to think he would not eventually figure how much I cared for Jordan. I had always assumed he would be too worried that any half-black baby that showed up would be his.
Though I had not known he was capable of such rage until just now, I knew what he could do to my daughter. Roy had the power, the anger, and the cruelty in his heart to hurt an innocent child as punishment for my actions.
I did not have a choice. For the sake of my daughter, I had to comply with Roy. I would have a little McCalvin son, with blue eyes, blond hair and an wicked soul. I wondered, though it was the least of my worries, what Roy would do if I gave him a daughter.
What if he found out how close I was with Hannah or Eli or Ruben?
What if he found out about Isaiah?
I knew the answer. He would hurt them. Roy would hurt everyone I loved to get what he wanted.
I had my head in my hands, so I did not see Hannah come into the room.
I looked up and saw her cleaning up the broken glass, eyes on me. “He knows, Hannah. He knows about Jordan.”
“At least someone knows,” she said flatly
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Listen, Adeline.” She said, kneeling down next to me. “If Roy is a danger to Jordan, you have to tell Isaiah. He can help you. You and Jordan can get away from here with him.”
I looked up at her. She had a point, but I was unmovable in my decision.
“I can’t tell him, Hannah. I… I don’t even know how long he will stay. I don’t know what he feels for me. I don’t even know if he is the same person he was four years ago,” I said softly but firmly. “I need… I just need to wait.”
Hannah shook her head and gave me a look that made me feel like a complete fool. “Adeline,” she said like she was talking to a child. “He is Isaiah. He was the boy you were loved, and now he’s the man you’re falling in love with.” She crouched down to look me in the eyes. “Are you going to let your fear get in the way again?”
I knew she was right. For some reason, Hannah always knew how to handle Isaiah better than I did. He could rescue me now, take me away from Roy and give my daughter, our daughter, a better life.
But I felt that I was right to be skeptical. Though I hoped I knew who he was, I had no way of knowing for sure. Living with Roy, I had truly forgotten how to trust a man.
So I shook my head, pretending that Hannah’s condescending words had not gotten to me. “I just have to wait.”
Hannah sighed. “All right, all right, but you know you still feel something for him. And Isaiah would not be here if he didn’t feel something for you too.”
I had not thought of that, but before I could ask Hannah, she was out the door.
I had nothing to do, but I could not bring myself to go out and see Jordan. I knew if she brought him up, I would not be able to hide the truth from her.
I walked around the gardens, sipped tea, and talked about idle things with my parents and Ethan all day. No one mentioned the war, my brother’s new disability, or my behavior last night. I wished that just for once, my family could talk about something real, or at least acknowledge when something had gone wrong.
Thankfully, Roy left early in the afternoon, so at least I did not have to deal with my need to stab him with the fireplace poker.
When I got tired of pretending I had not been threatened by my husband and was not waiting for my long lost lover to meet me in the attic, I went up into my room. I sprawled across my bed and worried. I was down to chewing my last fingernail when I heard a knock at my window.
I sprang up and raced to the sill. “Isaiah?” I hissed. If he was here now, in my room before sundown, something must have gone horribly wrong.
“Afraid not,” a playful voice came from below me. “Unless you want one of us, you’ll have to wait a little longer for that kind of amusement.” I looked down. Eli and Ruben were dangling from the ivy.
“What are you doing?” I asked, completely perplexed.
“We heard you might need some support,” Ruben said. “Hannah said Roy’s been really hard on you.”
“Well last we checked, we were your friends,” Eli grinned. “And we’re both real sorry we didn’t tell you about the letter. We wanted you to know that whatever you do, we’re behind you.”
“We just want you and Isaiah to be happy.” Ruben added.
They really meant that. Other than Isaiah, maybe, there were people who wanted me to be happy.
“That means so much.”
They smiled up at me. “Any time, little sister.” Ruben said.
“Now get on up there!” Eli said, gesturing so widely with his hand that he almost lost his grip.
I laughed and shut my curtains. I lifted the door in the ceiling, expecting it to be empty.
But Isaiah was already there.
© 2012 emily
Added on March 28, 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..