Indentured Love-# 8
The next morning as they sat at the kitchen table he noticed that Anna could not stifle several yarns. "Anna, you look like you are in the need of some sleep." For he was well aware of the fact that she had worked with Storm longer than usual last night. He also wondered how long it would be before they might venture out of the confinements of the fenced in area?
"Oh I'm sorry, I guess that I haven't really adjusted to the hot and humid nights as yet."
"Mister John it ti's probably my fault for I don't give miss Anna much room in the bed sometimes and she just goes out side and comes back when I am asleep I think," Meg said with concern.
"I don't know why I haven't though about it before but there is no reason why either one of you should be trying to sleep in that bed in the back of the kitchen where it is so warm. This is a big house and there is ample room. Meg I want you to move into the back room in the main house and Anna you just select one of those rooms up stairs."
"Oh no sir, we could not do that, it would not be proper." Meg said.
"Please, you are not in England now and here in the colonies we do things much different. I insist that you make the change today." He smiled as he headed out the door and then stuck his head back in to till them that he would again be at the stable at noon.
They were still sitting there looking at each other over the delight of having their own rooms. "Anna do ye know how blessed we are to have been indentured to a man as ti's John Blake?" They both talked on about how different it might have been if they had been taken by a person like Abigail Hedrick.
Anna selected the room that looked out over the back field on the east side of the house. It reminded her of the view back in her own home where she could see her own stallion every morning prancing around while he seemed to be coaxing the sun to rise. It didn't take long for them to get settled in, for after all they didn't have many possessions.
John and the men were working hard in the field cutting tobacco leaves and soon they knew that they would be very busy with all the other crops to harvest. He stopped and listened when he heard the same dogs baying in the distance as they had heard several days before. Knowing that if it was Tobin and his men that they would not stop until they found the poor slaves that had run. He hoped for their sake that Tobin did not find them. Yet, where could they go and survive? Looking up he seen the sun high above and knew it was about mid day which he was learning to look forward to more and more each day and it wasn't just the---food.
This time he settled down under the big tree and quietly watched Storm as he paced back and forth keeping a alert eye on him. Suddenly he turned and focused on the stable door and slowly walked toward it. He could only sit there and shake his head in amazement at this animals knowledge and instincts as Anna stepped through the door. Her eyes were on the house and she gave him a radiate smile as she walked over to him and rubbed his head. He could hear the horse whinny softly as they seemed to be communicating in some magical way.
Today he planned on asking her if she knew how to ride---as if he didn't already know but he was not ready to give up that privilege of seeing her each night in that gauze gown astride Storm. If she admitted to knowing how to ride then maybe he would venture as far as asking her to ride one of the mares with him as he did many evenings after the days work was done.
"Meg said to be careful for she has put a special treat in the basket for you today."
"Oh what is it?" he asked as he took the basket from her hand.
"I really don't know for she told me to just carry it carefully and not look into it, for after all it is your meal, not mine."
She sat down beside him as he indicated with a pat of his hand on the grass.
Slowly he removed the cloth from the basket and next to his sandwich was two plates with a big piece of fresh baked peach pie and tucked neatly along side was two forks. He smiled and looked over at her. "I think that this is intended not for just me Anna?"
"Oh," she said as she peered into the basket and laughed. "I thought that I could smell that when I came into the kitchen but Meg didn't mention it when we ate our meal." She glanced up at him and was startled at how close he was to her. She stared at the hard line of his jaw and the sensuous lips of this man that was only inches from her own.
Storm snorted loudly and they were both jarred back to reality. Soon they were laughing and talking as they seemed to be doing as of late, especially at the breakfast table. She was telling about the children and how they were so eager to learn their letters and how she couldn't help observing their mothers as they listened very intently at them too.
"Yes, Anna but be very careful that this word does not get out because as I said before it could bring trouble to those that you are teaching."
"Why would anyone deny someone of a chance to better themselves?" she asked with complete disdain edging into her voice.
He went on to explain that these people felt like that simple fact would undermine their complete control over their workers and that is even worse for the slaves that so many land owners were buying off of the slave ships.
"Are you saying that if MoJo or his wife were to learn to read a book that they could be in some kind of danger?"
"Yes," he said and watched the emotions play across her face.
Here again she thought about how she had been so selfishly ignorant in her proper up bringing. A simple think like stepping into her fathers library and choosing a book to read she had just taken for granted. She was brought out of these thoughts when John repeated her name.
"Anna, my mother was an excellent rider and she and I use to ride everyday and I was wondering if you rode?"
There was a long pause before she answered and then he almost wasn't sure that he heard her.
"Yes, I can ride well enough, why do you ask?"
"I am asking because I am not able to exercise my mares enough and I was wondering if you would care to join me on some of these evening rides?"
"Oh yes, yes indeed I would." She hoped she didn't sound to eager but the truth was she had not expected such an invitation on something that she loved.
That evening as he sat in front of the window and watched her work with Storm and that gauze gown drawn up high on her legs, he thought how nice it would be if when she joined him for tomorrows ride that he wouldn't have had any objection at all if she was still wearing that gown.
When she left her room and passed by Johns room she noticed that the door was open and he was obviously already down at the stable. She hoped that she wasn't late for she was looking forward to this ride for it had been so long and finding the riding clothes in his mothers trunk was a blessing, although they were to short but she had her own riding boots and that would help hide this. The cobbler had done an excellent job on repairing them.
Of course no one needed to know about the short rides that Storm had taken her on around the confinements of the fenced area behind the stable. What she really yearned for was to race Storm to see how fast he could go. She missed letting the wind whip through her hair and stinging her face---it had been so long. Well today she would have to be content with just riding along like a proper lady beside her employer.
"Anna, I'm over here," John said as he popped his head over the top of the stall but not before he noticed the riding habit that she wore and recognized it as one of his mothers. He had saddled one of the mares and brought her out and handed her the reins. She patted the mare and talked to her and then she noticed that the saddle was not an English style saddle. She was examining it closer when he brought his mare up along side of her.
"I'm sorry but I don't have any English style saddles. I first seen these used by the vaquero's when my ship docked for a short period in Mexico. Later I purchase two of them." He watched as she stroked the saddle horn admiring and studying the leather tooling.
"I have never seen this type before, they are beautiful and the workmanship is exquisite," she said.
"Here let me help you mount." He cupped his hands for her to step into. She did not hesitate and obliged him with a quick leap and she was seated---straddling the mare in the saddle---as his mother had done many times. He hid the grin that wanted to surface---there was more to know about this Anna Martin.
She had to remind herself several times as they rode along side by side that she was only here to exercise the mare as John had said and it was no more than that! Still she wanted to spur the mare into a more vigorous gait.
As they past by certain landmarks on the land he pointed them out and told her about some of his childhood memories of them. Then he pulled his mare up short, hers followed suit.
"See that big oak tree up there at the rise?"
"Yes," she said as she glanced over at him and then she seen the devilment that danced in his eyes. With that he took off and the race was on. Her heart was racing with the excitement of the race and it felt so good to finally feel the breeze against her face and she felt that some of her hair had slipped from its neat bun but she didn't care at that moment. All to soon they were pulling their horses up to an abrupt halt in unison beside the oak tree and they were laughing like two---children.
"Well, I think that we have no winner here but the next time I think that I will just make a few adjustments and then we will---see!"
"Oh, I suppose you are going to give me the old blue mare to ride so you can win?" She said with the laughter sparkling bright in her eyes.
"Anna Martin, you are a very cleaver woman and I see that I will have to just out fox you, so be fore-warned." H dismounted and reached up to her. "We need to walk the horses now for a little while to let them cool down."
She took his hand and started to slide down. He caught her with both hands at her waist and when she looked down into his face her body seemed to go limp and he pulled her to him. She lifted her gaze to his and found him staring down at her with a flaming intensity that seared her very soul. His lips were so close that she could feel his warm breath teasing her own. She licked her bottom lip to taste his breath.
Suddenly his head snapped up. He still held her tightly but he seemed to be listening to something and then they both heard it. It sounded like someone crying. He put his forefinger to her lips and indicated for her to stay there and handed her the reins of his horse.
She watched as he made his way through the dense bushes until he was out of sight. It seemed like a very long time until he emerged again.
To be continued: