short story set in south Louisiana -not completed-
| I inherited the plantation while my father was busy trying to run the world from his small corner of his study selling large plots of land to rich men. Not much that I could say would stop him from sending me out into the bayou country to “tidy up” as he called it, what is now the greatest possession I own. When I got here there wasn’t much to really do other than what seemed to me like tear down everything that had been done by the previous owner and start from scratch. I was used to people coming in and doing the work while you told them what color walls you wanted, not visiting the lumber yard to pick out what wood would hold up best for the floors.
At first Louisiana was okay, to sum it up. I had grown up in the warm California hills where we got a whopping total of 22.5 inches a year and upon hearing that my father was to send me south, deep south, to fix one of his newest properties I was devastated to hear that it rained and usually stormed each night. The rain was to become my enemy but my friend as well. The plantation was situated in a small open field just about 7 miles from the nearest swap and just a few miles from the nearest town. The signs posted were in some type of French Creole, and I had a hard time at first trying to read them. French wasn’t my strongest area in school, even if my father did make me swallow it and the French culture in order to become “more refined”. I didn’t see things the same way as he does, and I still don’t. I see refined as knowing where you came from and where you are going; whether it be a road or just a footpath.
I say the rain had become my friend because it was the only time that I could wear a coat and hide from the town’s people, who were constantly trying to be my best friend. When the rain came I looked like any other average Joe. They were all too friendly, with their daily dinner invitations and creepy smiles. It was like they were trying to get me to join a cult of some type. It was all too perfect.
The plantation had been owned by the late Owen F. Decaraux, the second wealthiest land owner in the district. He had actually owned the town, however when he died he turned it over to the people themselves, and so now it is theirs. Somehow, Mr. Decaraux and my father had been acquaintances and he willed the plantation and its land to him. That is where I came in. My father couldn’t go and secure the new addition himself, so he sent his only daughter, who was busy trying to find of a job after graduation from college, to go secure the area and make sure it was stable to sell. I had never dreamed I would be the owner and keeper of the 5-bedroom and very spacious house on the bayou.
I had arrived on a Wednesday morning, just as the sun was coming up and the summer humidity and heat had begun to fall and blanket the land. At first it was oppressive, almost hard to breath but after the first hour or so it became easier to move around without feeling like there were cinder blocks tied to your body. The sun was big and bright, and hot; hotter than I had ever felt it back in California. I silently cursed my father for sending me here to do his dirty work. After becoming acquainted with the layout of the house and structure, I started to bring in my things and assess the damages. Mr. Decaraux had actually done a good job with keeping things up while he was sick. The house was clean and tidy; the furniture which had been left was clean and smelled like dust. The floors were clean and swept, the porch was empty, and the windows were spotless. My things fit into one room easily, I didn’t want to disturb the serene décor of the rest of the house, so I just left them in the bedroom which I would take as my own. I had noticed that most of the work would have to be done on the yard and the outside of the house. It would be too much work for me, but it was to be done. Just behind the house there was a garden with a small terrace which had become overgrown with ivy vines and Spanish moss. The rest of the yard in the back was shaded over by towering trees draped with Spanish moss. It all seemed like it had been taken out of a book and frozen in time.
I had spent the day exploring what was soon to be my new home. I started back toward the house when I noticed on the horizon a storm cloud moving in. The trees turned and odd shade of green in contrast with the dark gray clouds overhead. I sprinted back to close the windows in fear that rain would leech itself in and ruin what I didn’t have to fix. Low rumbles of thunder rolled up and with them came a knock at the door. I had expected it to be just another towns person coming to see how I would fare alone in the storm and offering some type of casserole, but to my surprise it was a new face, and quite a handsome face at that.
The man had dark hair with a hint of wave to it. It had a wind blown look to it and he looked weary. He was dressed simply, just a plain white shirt and blue workers pants. I went to answer his knock.
“Hello miss. My name is Wyatt. There seems to be a storm moving in and I was just wanting to know if it would be at all possible that I stay here, just until it’s over. It’s not good to get stopped down here in the swamps with a storm like that overhead. Too much rain coming”. His voice was deep and had a smooth southern drawl to it, like sweet honey. It was rich and warm. His eyes were deep golden brown and his teeth were like inlaid pearls which peeked out from behind his full lips as he spoke. He was extraordinary to be someone who didn’t live anywhere permanently. His hands moved about as he spoke, but in a slow, drawing manner; as if to slowly pull me into what he was saying. Without thinking or hesitation I said yes. I could not refuse his company.
“What is your name miss?” he asked as he walked inside. I motioned for him to sit.
“That’s a nice name, very feminine if you ask me. What is it that you do here?” His eyes moved around the room which looked as if it belonged to another time period.
“I’m not from here. I just got here today actually. My father just inherited this land and he sent me here to check up on it and keep it in order to sell.”
“Why would you want to sell a place with as much beauty as this has?”
“There’s a lot of work to be done; especially since I’m here by myself I having to do everything. My father is too busy with other business things. What about you? What are you doing way out here?”
“Oh, well I don’t really take up a permanent residence around here. I just move about from place to place. I just happened to be walking through this way when that storm decided to follow me. I’m terribly sorry if I’m interrupting you. You wouldn’t happen to need any help around here would you? I would be glad to help for just room and some food every now and then.”
I hesitated at his offer but finally in my mind I came to the conclusion that maybe I did need another person to help with everything. After all, it would be nice to have a friend. I told Wyatt yes, that I would love to have his help and we sealed the deal with smiles and a cold bottle of root beer.
The thunder continued to boom and the lightening lit up the sky as if it were the middle of the day and the sun were shining. Dashes of purple and white flew across the dark sky against the black clouds. This was my first real thunderstorm. I had always heard about them, but in California I had never gotten to experience one. I sat near the window in the salon and peered out over the land. The rain kept falling in sheets. The lightening would every now and then create strange shadows in the trees which would look like people standing in the yard watching me.
“It won’t be over soon you know.” I turned to see Wyatt standing in the doorway. “Louisiana storms last for hours. You might as well just go on to bed. Miss Rachelle, do you-“
“You can just call me Rachelle.”
“I’m sorry. Rachelle, do you mind if I use your shower?”
“No, go ahead. There are four other bedrooms up stairs, take your choice. Mine is at the end of the hall. I’ve got the best window and view.” I smiled and he smiled. He turned and went up the stairs. I wondered about this man. Where did he come from? Why was he here? It all seemed strange that the most handsome man I have seen in Louisiana just happens to walk up to my door. I decided that 10.30 was late enough to stay up, like Wyatt had said, the storm showed no signs of letting up. I left a note in the kitchen that said that there really wasn’t much real food, but he was welcome to whatever was there. I locked the front door and headed up the stairs. I walked past the bathroom and noticed that I heard no running water. Wyatt was supposed to be taking a shower unless he only spent a couple minutes in there tops. I walked on down the hall way and the first room’s door was open, so I looked in and only his shirt was there. I thought that was strange and continued on down the hallway. No other doors were open, so I had just assumed he was still in the bathroom where I could not have seen him. I continued on to my room and shut the door.
Sleep found me quickly. I had already become attuned with the thunder and lightening and so they were more like a lullaby to me now. The humidity in the room was heavy and I pushed the covers off the bed. Something had opened the window and a rush of cooler air flowed in over me. I woke and turned to see what had happened. My greatest fear was that the window had broken so I would have another thing to repair, but to my surprise it was Wyatt standing in front of the window. His eyes glimmered as the lightening touched them and the shadows made it look as if he were moving towards me. I sat up and started to scream when all of a sudden he was gone. The window was closed. It was just a dream, I thought and so I lay back down and went back to sleep, with my back towards the window.
The morning was beautiful. Everything looked greener than it had yesterday. Parts of the yard were muddy, but still tranquil. What had now become my favorite part of the house, the garden was still teeming over the brim with grass and weeds. A few roses stuck out here and there, along with a few flowers. This was to become my project, I thought. Wyatt can do the other yard work, but this piece was mine. The sun shown down through the small pockets in the trees and moss. Wyatt was already outside doing work. He had changed into a thin button up shirt and more blue pants.
“Good morning. I found these clothes in my room, I hope you don’t mind if I wear them.”
“No, that’s fine. I certainly can’t fit them. I was actually going to get rid of some of the past owners effects, and so anything in that room or the other rooms that you would like is fine.”
Wyatt smiled and nodded his head.
“Are you eyeing that garden?” he asked.
“Yes, I was thinking about taking on this project. Why? You have better ideas for it?”
“Well of course not. This is your property. I was just watching you.”
“You were watching me.”
“Well yes, you are standing right in my field of view.” He laughed. I obviously liked to hand him jokes about myself on silver platters. I felt embarrassed and my face became hot.
“Where were you last night?” I had decided to ask him about the dream I had had.
“Well, I left you downstairs and went up stairs to take a shower. I then returned to the room I chose and went to sleep. Well, I did find some old newspaper and decided to read it for a few minutes. Then I went to sleep. Why?”
“Nothing. I just walked by the bathroom last night and you weren’t there but you shirt was in your bedroom. Sorry if I seem a little paranoid. It’s just that this is a big house and I’m not used to it yet. I’m doing my best to not get lost. He smiled and looked behind him. He turned back around.
“Do you want me to do work on that old shed, or just get rid of it?
“Whatever you think is best”, I said. I really didn’t care; it wasn’t one of the things I was going to be using a lot. He simply nodded and went back to moving some rocks.
“Would you like to come to town with me? I need to go pick up some things. You’re welcome to come.”
“Thank you, but I would much rather stay here and finish this job. I’m not one for shopping anyway. But I do thank you for your invitation.
“Okay”, I said as I pushed my hair behind my ear. “Any special requests?”
Wyatt looked up from his work and smiled. “No Rachelle. I am fine with what I have. Thank you for being ever so kind.” He put the rock he had in his hands back down and moved over closer to me. He lightly put his hand on my shoulder as his free hand gently brushed my other hand. “Just be careful in town.” He lingered for a second and walked back to the rock.
I stood in that same moment for a few more seconds before coming back to my senses. “Why?” I asked. I sensed he had meant the people in the town. What was wrong with them? I thought to myself.
He stood silent for a second. I detected a bit of hesitation under his breath. “Those roads can be awful to drive in after a storm.” He let out a half grin and proceeded to move the rock.
Driving to the town gave me time to think about what had just happened. Wyatt had not meant the roads, he had meant something else, something he didn’t want to tell me. He still seemed odd to me. The way he moved and spoke was just different. Maybe it was the way he was raised, or the people he grew up around. I didn’t know. But one thing I did know was that I really liked having him there. Not just for the help, but as company. There was some quality of him that I could not say no to. I couldn’t think negative thoughts about him, and I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I had already come to dreaming about him. What would be next, seeing shadows and calling them Wyatt.
The town was muddy, but lively. It was as if the people didn’t care, they still had to get out and talk to people. I would suspect that talking and gossiping, two things that since I have been here, I have come to learn are completely different; are what most of the people here do. I first stopped to pick up some food for the kitchen. As far as I remember, it was looking bare so I stocked up on the essentials: lots of canned item, some frozen entrees, a few vegetables, bread, milk, and eggs. I wasn’t even sure what he liked, but if he was anything like other men; which so far proved to be false, then he would eat anything. I continued to pick up some other items and pay. The cashier was a short little man with white hair and thick glasses. At first he didn’t look at me, when I started to get money ready he looked at me and smiled. He stopped and said “Why, aren’t you the one who is living in the old Decaraux plantation?”
With a slight grin I said yes. He continued to tell me some story about Mr. Decaraux and about when he had lived there and how grateful the town was for him giving them the land the town was on after his passing.
“Did you know that he had a son?” the old man asked with a slightly raised eyebrow.
“He sure did. Handsome fella too. Had a great future in front of him, but he lost it all. If I recall correctly, his name was Chase. All the ladies were after him. Every night there would be a line of ladies at the front door of the Decaraux place and he would have to refuse them every night. Shame. At least the place is in good hands now, I suppose.”
“What happened to him?” I asked.
“No one knows. He just left one night during a storm and never came back. A lot of people think his father ran him off, and others think he hated himself so much for breaking so many hearts, that he stopped his own. Don’t get all worked up with gossip stories now. It’s just a story anyways. He probably just left because he didn’t like that old house. Who knows? Are you going to need help carrying these out?”
“No thank you, I think I can handle it. Thank you.” I continued out the door and to my car to load the shopping bags. Why would someone just leave that place? It all didn’t make sense. As I was driving out of town I caught a glimpse of some chairs for the porch. I stopped and bought two quickly, since the porch at the house was currently bare.
As I pulled up into the drive Wyatt came walking towards the car. “Were you waiting for me?” I asked.
“No, I just happened to see you pull up. Thought you would need help.”
“Thanks. Oh, I picked you up a new project to work on as soon as possible.” He looked confused. I pulled out the two large boxes which had drawings of lawn chairs on them. “Chairs! For the porch. I thought we needed them and since you are here I got two. Sound like a plan?”
He laughed. “I can get started today, but it will have to be after I carry these things inside for you.” He lifted the shopping bags and turned to take them inside until I grabbed his arm. He stopped and turned back around.
“I know we are in the south and it’s polite the help, but I’m a strong woman and I can carry things in too, okay. I don’t want to make you do everything. It’s okay for a woman to do some work every once and a while too.” I smiled, hoping that he would catch that I wasn’t upset. It took him a second, but he finally did. He hesitated and eventually handed me the bag which had the bread inside. We walked back to the house, him with the majority of the shopping bags and I with one.
The afternoon was short. I spent most of my time moving things around in the salon and putting my clothes into the closet. I walked downstairs to find Wyatt. “Wyatt?” I called and there was no response. I called again and he answered.
“Out here!” The voice had come from the back of the house. He was standing under the tall trees looking up.
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing, just looking at the trees.”
“It’s not going to talk you know. I’m going to take a shower. Help yourself to the refrigerator, just don’t make a mess.” He nodded and I walked up to my bedroom to grab my night clothes and take a shower. The water was a bit cooler than I had expected, but it was nice to finally relax. The day had seemed so tiring, when I really didn’t even do much. Tomorrow I planned on getting some work on that garden done and getting to know Wyatt a little better. He is too mysterious as of now. As I walked out of the bathroom, down the stairs, and into the kitchen I noticed Wyatt wasn’t there and there were hardly any lights on. I continued to walk out the front door. The cool night air hit me and I immediately wanted a jacket but I wasn’t going back upstairs now. At first, I didn’t see anything, but with my second look I noticed something sitting on the porch. All of a sudden I felt someone behind me. I immediately turned so find nothing and no one. I turned back around to see what was on the porch when I was startled by Wyatt standing just a few inches from me.
“Hi.” He said with a small smile.
“What are you doing? You nearly scared me!”.
“I’m sorry. I just wanted to surprise you. Look!” He pointed to whatever was sitting on the porch. As he turned the light on, I realized that it was the two chairs I had bought for him to put together.
“Wow” I said. “It’s great. How did you get them both done so fast?”
“It’s a secret.” He laughed. We went to sit in the newly assembled masterpieces.
“It’s a bit chilly tonight. This isn’t normal for Louisiana is it?”
“No it isn’t. Probably more rain coming tomorrow.” Wyatt leaned over and took a lock of my hair delicately with his fingers. He released it and stood up.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“Your hair is still wet. I’m going to get you a jacket so you don’t catch a cold. Don’t want you sick now do we. He retrieved a coat and came back outside with it and a cup of warm tea. He handed it to me and motioned me to drink it.
“How did you…”
“You heat water, and then add the tea.” He quietly laughed and draped the jacket over my shoulders. “My grandmother would always give me warm tea on cold nights. She said it fought the cold out of your system so you would stay warm.” Wyatt looked out in the night sky and surveyed the stars.
We didn’t really spend any time talking that night. I just sipped my tea and he watched the sky. I fell asleep and I was woken up by Wyatt. He was trying to pick me up out the chair without waking me, but it didn’t work.
“Thank you. Most men would have just woken me up and told me to go to bed. I can walk.”
“No, you are still asleep. I would feel better carrying you; the stairs can be tricky with closed eyes.” I didn’t protest. I curled up to his chest and wrapped my arms around his neck as we ascended the stairs. His arms were much stronger than I had imagined and his scent was that of earth, but with a musky undertone, that of the bayou. The last thing I remember for the night was being placed into my bed and Wyatt brushing the hair off my face before he shut the bedroom door.
The sun was shining through the window as my eyes were opening. The warm rays flowed through the glass, gently caressed my face, and bounced back off. I sat up in bed and contemplated the day when the bedroom door opened. It was Wyatt.
“Good Morning. Here’s a cup of coffee for you. I’m not really sure what you eat for breakfast, but this should get you off to a good start.” He handed me the tea cup and turned to walk out the door. For the past few days that Wyatt had been here, he was still a mystery to me. He was too polite, too caring, and too perfect. I climbed out of bed and stood for a moment trying to re-center by balance. The night before, I had had long dreams about running through a forest so it seemed as if I hadn’t really rested all night. I dressed quickly and went downstairs to start work on the flower garden behind the house.
“Hello Rachelle. You seem lively today.”
“I got a lot of sleep I guess. What about you, you sleep well? I’m sorry I haven’t asked or anything.”
“I have been sleeping well. The house is extraordinarily comforting. I have enjoyed my stay. Have you?
“Well, since it’s free and it gets me away from my father for a while, yes I have liked it here. Louisiana just has a bit more growing on me I guess.”
Wyatt walked over a bit closer. As he took off the gloves he was wearing, I saw the bits of sunlight touch his skin and radiate off. He was magnificent. “Why do you say that?” He asked as he stopped just inches from me.
I stammered over my words. A nervous little tickle grew within me and I could not calm it. I have never been able to not say something in the presence of someone else. Wyatt waited for my answer, but I just stood speechless until I finally sputtered out “the rain”.
Wyatt smiled and backed away a bit. “What’s so bad about the rain? It’s good for the land. Is it the rain or is it really something else?”
“What do you mean, ‘something else’?”
“Just the land or the people or things along those lines. Some people don’t go to the mountains because they don’t like them, or some people don’t go to California because the people are different.”
I didn’t say anything else. I walked off and started to pull weeds from the garden.
Wyatt followed me quickly and tried to talk.
“I am deeply sorry if I offended you with what I said.” Wyatt stood in the sunlight waiting for my response. I didn’t say anything, I kept pulling weeds. As I began to pull another, he gently but firmly lifted me up to look at him. His eyes had turned gentler than they had ever been. The brown just seemed to melt. He was truly upset.
“Rachelle, I am truly sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean anything to it that would offend you; it wasn’t meant for that purpose. I would never hurt you.” His eyes continued to melt and could not stop looking at them. “Please. Just say something.” He continued to look at me.
Finally, after I couldn’t take it anymore, I moved closer to him and hugged him. At first he didn’t know what to do with his hands but the finally found there place. He embraced me back and held me tighter than I had him. I broke the silence that had found us.
“I need to know things.”
“Yes, and what do you need to know?”
“I need to know things about you. Where you are from, why you are here, who you are. Just things. I don’t want you to be a stranger anymore.”
He let go of me and stood back for a second. “I will tell you anything that you want to know.” He stood just a few minutes longer just staring. “How about we go get something to drink and discuss a few things? How does that sound?”
I smiled as my response. We walked back to the house and found ourselves sitting in the same chairs as the night before. I got up to get two drinks, but I was immediately nestled back into the chair by Wyatt who insisted on getting them himself.
“Shall I start or would you like to?” Wyatt was standing behind me with two glasses of iced tea.
“You make iced tea too?”
“It’s a southern tradition.” Wyatt said as he handed me a glass. I took a sip and found it a bit too sweet, but I wasn’t going to tell him. There were so many things I wanted to ask him, I couldn’t get just one thing out to say. My thoughts in my head were jumbled as were the words on my tongue. He noticed, but waited patiently as I tried to make sense of my thoughts.
“What’s your name?”
“Are you from here? This part of Louisiana?”
“Yes and no. My family would come down to these parts during the summer some years. My father had an old friend that lived out here, and we would spend days at his home.”
“Did you like your father?”
“Well of course, I very much did. He was my father. But there were times and things that I didn’t much like him for. He had an old deep south thing about him. Very high class, well mannered, but ill about things that weren’t good enough for him. He treated himself like a king on a gold throne. I suppose you like your father?”
“My father is a business man. He never really focused on the family until my mother became ill and died. After that he really found his priorities. I left for college and he was alone; just him and his work. It became his life and so when I finished college and came back home this summer he put me to work with him. That is how I got talked into coming here.”
“I think it’s a good thing you are here. I’m not too sure your father would have let me stay with him.”
“If my father knew about you now he would kill me.” Wyatt found this funny and laughed softly.
“Are you taken?”
The question shocked me. I had expected Wyatt to be so blunt. “Sorry?”
“I mean, do you have a significant other back in California?
“Oh no. I couldn’t. Time just isn’t my friend back at home. I’m always on the run to somewhere do something. Plus my father would have to know every little bit of information about the person.”
“I see you have inherited that.”
“Yea, you’re right. Never noticed that before.”
“Its understandable. I was going to sit down and question you too.” We sat in silence for a moment. I contemplated the rest of the night. What was going to happen for dinner. Would there be more rain.
“Why don’t you come to town with my tonight?” I asked Wyatt. His smile turned into a confused frown.
“We can find somewhere to get dinner. I’m a lousy cook.”
Wyatt’s face reddened and he began to trip over his words. Something was wrong. Once I mentioned anything about going into town he became defensive and tried to change the topic. “Come on, its just town. Nothing bad’s going to happen. I just don’t want to be stuck here eating frozen turkey any more. Please come with me.” I stood up and begged him again.
“I guess I can arrange it. Just nothing big okay. Just dinner?”
“Just dinner.” I went up to my room to grab my robe and ran back down to the bathroom to shower. It was quick. I heard Wyatt in his room getting ready. He was fussing over not knowing what color shirt to wear. I ran back to my room and had the same dilemma facing me. I wasn’t sure if it was a casual thing or if I should have dressed up. In the end I deemed it a casual night and wore dark jeans and a simple long-sleeved shirt with a lighter one underneath. I released my mess of chocolate curls from the clip that contained them, shook my head, and was ready to leave. Wyatt was already downstairs, waiting by the door with my jacket and umbrella. Apparently it had started to rain. He looked clean himself. He had tidied his hair and changed into a light blue button up shirt with black slacks. Wyatt watched me as I walked toward him. He helped my put on my jacket and handed me my umbrella. Without one word, be both left the house and got into the car.
“You look very nice for just dinner Wyatt.”
“It’s all I could find.” He did that half smile that I had grown to love. “You look nice yourself for just dinner too.”
I blushed. I hadn’t had a man complement me since college when I had time for relationships and friends. “Do you know anywhere good in town to eat?”
“Not really. There should be a good restaurant somewhere in town. You’re the one who comes here, you should know.” Wyatt beamed with happiness.
“I know of one place my father told me about before I left. He said they have good jambalaya. We can go there if you don’t mind. I have never had real jambalaya, but I have had they stuff out of the frozen box if that counts.” Wyatt shook his head no.
“Jambalaya is one of my favorites.” He said as we started to slowly enter town. The streets were growing dark and rainy, but there were people out. There were groups of kids laughing and having fun. Elderly people sitting on their porches watching the rain and people walk by. The town had nightlife, even if it was pouring rain. The people didn’t seem to care. Half the people who were out didn’t even carry umbrellas; they just strolled along at their own pace in their own world, watching it rain in front of them.
I stopped the car when we got to the little restaurant. It was lit up inside and the lights reflected off the wet street outside. There was a canopy outside with tables. All but one was empty. An old man sat at the table with a coffee cup and a newspaper. As Wyatt and I walked past, he tipped his hat and smiled. The inside of the restaurant was dim, but cozy. There weren’t many people inside either. Just two others sitting at a table across the room. The waitress took Wyatt and I to a table in the back corner. She was short but cute. Probably only 17, but with stunning blue eyes. She took our order quickly and brought back two sweet teas in a matter of seconds. Just minutes later she was back with two bowls of jambalaya. She kept staring at Wyatt as if she knew him. Even after she had brought us our order, she continued to turn and look.
“Do you know her?” I asked as Wyatt was just raising his fork to his mouth. He dropped the rice on his fork from surprise.
“The waitress, do you know her? She has had her eye on you since we first walked in.” I slowly tipped my head in her direction. Wyatt’s face turned red.
“No, I have never seen her in my life. You?”
“Nope.” This is good.”
“Very delicious. How are you faring with southern food so far?”
“It’s growing on me. I’m so used to microwave food; anything would taste amazing for me.”
“Good, I’m glad you like part of the culture here.” Wyatt smiled and I did and we both continued to eat. After we were done, I quickly paid the bill and we left. We decided to take a quick walk down the street rather than leave town immediately. The rain kept coming, but it was welcomed. By the time we had gotten outside, most of the people had left and went home. However, most of the houses we passed had people sitting on porches talking. The sun had set completely now and the only lights were those from the porches and balconies. The walk passed quickly but I enjoyed it. Wyatt on the other hand looked as if he was in pain. When he caught glimpse of the car he began to walk a little faster. Eventually we got there and we were on our way back to the house.
The car ride was silent. Wyatt drove back and I watched out the window as rain drizzled down it. Before I knew it we were back. Like a true gentleman, Wyatt opened my door for me and held the umbrella so I wouldn’t get wet.
“I’m not tired.”
“Wyatt, would you mind sitting with me?”
“It would give me great pleasure to sit with you. Where?”
“On the porch. I want to talk.”.
“Of course, but first would you like to change into something else?”
“That would be a good idea.” We both walked up the stairs and into our rooms. I changed into my sleeping pants and shirt. As I was walking out of my door, Wyatt was doing the same. He hadn’t changed, but in his hands he held a blanket. I went on outside and found my chair while he had disappeared into the kitchen to turn off the lights.
“Wyatt, why do you insist on being the perfect gentleman?”
“It’s in my genes I guess. I don’t even realize that I’m doing gentlemanly things.” He covered me with the blanket and pulled his chair closer to mine. He also had in his hands a candle. He lit it quickly and looked up to see my smiling.
“You brought a candle too?”
“It was dark without it. I couldn’t see if you were sleeping or not.” He chuckled. “What do you want to talk about?”
“I don’t know. Tonight was nice. The rain is so relaxing.”
“Yes tonight was nice. I thought you liked it. You looked very nice tonight too. I have never seen your hair down, and it was beautiful.”
“Thank you. I had never seen you that dressed up either. You looked very handsome.” A few moments passed with silence. The rain kept coming down and the candle flickered across our faces. “Tell me more about yourself.”
“What would you like to know?”
“Things about your family. What are they like?”
“Well, my father was an aristocrat from the old world with old money, like I told you before, very high society. My mother wasn’t as much as he was. She was more on her own. My father would spend nights at extravagant parties while she just sit somewhere outside and spent the night alone. I don’t even know how they ended up together. My father probably charmed her with his cunning ways. I was the only child. For most of the time I was with my mother. I didn’t see my father much, except for early mornings and dinner time. When I got older I saw him more, but he was always busy with someone. When I saw the way he treated my mother and traded her love for his lifestyle, I vowed to never become him. He, in reaction cursed me and threw me out of his life. After the day he said that I had turned my back on him, I hadn’t seen him since. My mother wasn’t allowed contact, for she feared what he would do to her. I haven’t seen my family in years. I believe they have forgotten about me, but I haven’t forgotten about them.”
“I am so sorry. I never knew…”
“Its okay. I have accepted my childhood now, that has made me the man I am today. Usually I don’t tell that story to strangers, so I guess we are no longer on those terms.”
“I thought that a few days ago. So why are you here?”
“I just happened to be passing through. I don’t really stay anywhere for a long period of time. I just keep moving.”
“You don’t have to leave here.”
Wyatt leaned in closer to me. “I won’t leave unless you want me to.”
“I am very glad you are here.”
“And I feel the same way.”
“I think I don’t want to go back home.”
“Then don’t. Stay.
“It’s more difficult than just staying or leaving. There’s business and legal stuff involved. I wish I could just stay and never have to worry about anything.” My voice began to trail off as I began to fall asleep. “I just wanted to let…you know that….I…really… love”. My voice broke and I was asleep.
Wyatt blew the candle out and carried me to bed as he did the past night. I woke up as he laid me down. He had turned and was just closing the door when I said “Don’t go. Please. Stay”
Without a word Wyatt removed his shoes and crawled onto the bed next to me. We were face to face. He touched my hair and then my nose. I moved toward him, following his scent and the direction of his body heat. I cuddled up against his chest. His arm had found its place around me while the other was buried in the soft curls of my hair.