Indentured Love-# 12
The children were delighted with their slates and chalk. Most of them had to be shown how to use it. She told them that now that they had one, that there would be no need to write their letters in the dirt on the barn floor. It was hard to tell which was more pleased, the mothers that stood by and watched them being handed out to the children---or the children as they fingered the gift.
John had given one to Tee-Bow that evening and patiently showed him what it was for. He also gave him a book with some pictures of ships and the names of the ships were printed beneath each one. The sat there and watched as he started copying the letters on his slate.
"Anna I think that this boy just might be your best student," he said.
"Yes, you might just be right but he needs to be with the other children so he can learn with them."
She was startled at his sharp reply.
"Anna please, as I tried to explain before, it would be dangerous for him and the others too. We will teach him but here in the confines of the house."
The next morning when he stepped into the kitchen he was greeted with the scene of Meg taking hot biscuits out of the oven and Anna leaning over Tee-Bow and pointing to his slate where he had printed several letters. He also noticed that she had on her riding habit. Yes, he certainly would miss that---gaze gown.
"Well I see that we are all busy and Tee-Bow is already learning." He smiled and patted him on the head. Hope smiled shyly over at him.
"Mr John that boy has not put down that book or the slate since you gave it to him. I think he even slept with it." Meg said and added her big grin.
Hope, placed a big plate of food that Meg had handed her in front of him. He teased Meg about how fat he was going to get with all her cooking and she beamed with pride.
When they arrived at the stable she could see that one of the mares had been saddled and tied near the fence where Storm paced back and forth until she stepped into his view. He stopped and eyed her as she slowly approached. Talking softly to him she reached out and stroked his nose and offered him half of an apple, keeping the other half tucked in her pocket.
John watched through the cracks in the boards until she had slipped down from the top rail of the fence onto Storms back and gently urged him to trot around the inside perimeter of the fence. Slowly he approached the mare and took to the saddle.
Storm abruptly stopped on the far side of the fence and watched John as he slowly rode back and forth. She talked to him and patted his neck and urged him to continue. Soon they had the two horses walking side by side with only the fence dividing them. After they had dismounted and John led the mare back into the stable, he stepped back out and was immediately confronted by Storm when he got near the fence where Anna was standing.
"Well Anna, it seems that I will be tolerated only when he see me being no threat to---you!
"Yes, it does appear that way." She said as they walked back into the stable.
Once inside she turned to John. "I think that we have taken that first step with him and if we continue in this same manner he will in time allow you to be---closer.
He looked down into her dark eyes and seen the compassion that she felt for this animal was very deep. It was ridiculous but he found himself envying that big stallion..
"Storm has pride and spirit and I admire that in all Gods creation. We must be careful that his is not broken, although I think that he has already shown us and everyone else that he will not let that happen," he said. They both left the stable laughing at that statement.
The days were getting much colder and most of the work was done. One of the women had offered to teach Anna how to spin the wool and knit it into something like a shawl. She was eager to learn because she wanted to make a gift for Meg. There was not a day that went by, that she didn't stop for a moment and think about how different her world have been if Meg had not came to her rescue.
The next morning as they enjoyed their breakfast in the kitchen with Hope and Tee-Bow now joining them. Tee-Bow was eager to show John what he had on written on his slate. Anna mentioned the fact that he was learning quicker than some of the other children at the barn.
That day they had only been at the barn for a short time when they were all startled by the ringing of the bell. She peered out the window and saw John and the other men racing toward the house. At the side of the house she could see Abigail's carriage and Tobin standing beside it.
"Well, Abigail, what do I owe a visit so early in the morning too?" John asked. He did not invite them in.
"John it has come to my attention that you have found two of my slaves and I am here to take them back." She said as she looked toward the house hoping to see them looking out.
"Oh! I am sorry that you have made an unnecessary trip on such a cold day. I think you have been miss informed. He looked directly into Tobin's face and held his stare.
"No John, Tobin assures me that you have the woman and the boy that escaped with the man which we have not as yet found."
"Abigail, do you have papers showing your ownership of this woman and boy that you speak of?"
"Well---no, we seldom have women and children listed on the papers when we take possession of slaves and they only list the man."
"Abigail I can assure you that I have papers for all my servants and that includes listing the women and children. There are copies of these papers in the hands of the magistrate if you care to go there and examine them." He turned and smiled directly into Tobin's glaring face. The hate that showed in the mans eyes was unbelievable as he stood there stroking his whip with one hand.
There was a long moment of silents as Abigail watched the two men standing before her before she spoke. "John now that I think about it, I do not need two more mouths to feed. It is really the man that I want found."
"Yes, I understand." He said as he helped her back up into the carriage.
He walked back to the barn with the men that had stayed out of sight behind the house. He instructed them to keep a cautious eye peeled for Tobin as he expected him to not let the matter drop as Abigail had.
That evening as they enjoyed Meg's hearty stew and fresh baked bread he informed them of the conversation that transpired between Abigail and himself and again warned them to not let Hope and Tee-Bow out of the house or their sight. The only time that they were to venture out was in his company.
Later that evening as she sat brushing her hair she was startled at the tap on her door. She was even more surprised to see him standing there. The first two buttons of his shirt were undone and she could see the black hair that she remembered that day in the rain. She knew that it extended down his muscled chest and made a sharp line like and arrow to below his belt.
"I---I just wanted to remind you that for a time I think it wise that you do not go to the stable at night with out me."
"Oh, and why is that?" she asked.
"I did not want to alarm Meg and the woman and boy, but I do expect more trouble from Tobin. The man is capable of doing anything and he would not care to whom." There was a long pause as he looked down at her standing there with her hair down and the brush in her hand. She had on her gown and he was disappointed that it was not the summer gauze one that he admired with the moon light penetrating through its fibers. He wanted to reach out and take her in his arms and feel her breast crush against him as he had that day under the big tree when they raced the horses. He had seen a hidden passion in those eyes that day like he had never seen before in any woman. It haunted him in his dreams and now seeing her standing there in her gown with her hair tumbling down her back was about all he could endure.
"Yes, I will take heed to what you are saying. I have heard some of the women talking about this and they too have been warned from their husbands." She spoke the words but her eyes were focused on his chest and she could see him as he was that day in the rain. She was not sure who leaned forward first but she felt herself sway.
It was an explosive embrace. She had know that this would happen between them after that day of the race and she was glad now for what she had felt building between them was a fire that could not be put out. She linked her arms around his neck to draw him closer as she savored the ecstasy of his lips on hers.
In one quick movement John had picked her up and carried her across the room and laid her on the bed as he followed her down. The feel of her breast crushed against him through her gown and the scent of her body heat sent a shudder through him. Desire pounded hot and heavy through his body as his hand sought the soft swell of her breast.
Anna gasped at the intimacy of his touch. There had been several times in the past when men cornered her and tried to touch her this way. Her immediate reaction had always been revulsion. She had always managed to escape from their unwanted pawing's---this was somehow different. Her body reacted instinctively to John's caress. She arched toward him, unconsciously offering him more.
At her sensuous move, John groaned and broke off the kiss, his lips moving to explore the sweetness of her throat. He felt her tremble at his touch and then moved lower where her gown had opened to him. He traced a fiery path over the tops of her breasts.
"John---." She whispered his name hoarsely, not knowing weather it was a plea or a caress. His mouth was a heated brand on her. An aching emptiness began to grow deep with her. She tried to tell herself this was crazy. She was only his servant and this was no reason to lose her head. He did not love her, and she could not possibly love---him.
He froze at her words. His sanity returned coldly, quickly and he silently cursed his own weakness. This was the very thing that he swore he would never do and now he was acting like a randy youth. He quickly stood and turned and headed for the door. He stopped but didn't look back but she heard his words. "You're right, this is not appropriate and it won't happen again."
Sleep evaded each of them that night. John sat at the window looking down at the stable. Although he knew she was just down the hall in her room he could almost see her down there riding Storm and the gauze gown was back on.
To be continued on audio: