Friday, May 10, 2013
Fate's Kiss Chapter Two
By Cathy Brockman
“Brother you look troubled. Would you like to go to town tonight to ease your frustrations? Perhaps a drink or a lady? Or Both?” He waggles his thick brows, his deep, throaty, laugh rumbles through the room as he pushes the costly pewter coffee server that Mother loved so much, and a dish of sugar lumps towards me.
“No thank you, Jonathan. I am going to go for a ride before dinner, then I will read a little before turning in.” I pour myself a cup of the dark; rich brew and think of how much it looks like Illia’s soulful brown eyes. I let out an audible sigh.
“I can go with you if you like and we can talk. Man to man. It seems lately you are deeply troubled.” Jonathan pushes me a plate of fresh biscuits and butter.
“Master Nicolai, how do you want your eggs today?” Maybelle, our cook kisses me softly on the cheek. Jonathan moves his head back and she pinches his cheek instead.
I can’t help but chuckle. Jonathan acts all tough but he loves her as much as I do. She has practically raised us both since mother died of fever when we were but young lads. She is married to one of our ranch hands. Slaves no longer exist since the war, but a lot of the old slaves stayed on with their plantations. Most had nowhere else to go. Maybelle and Roper hired on with us for a small pittance and a place to live. He works with Dad on the ranch and she cooks and cleans our house.
Sometime I like to think she is the mother I no longer have. I can talk to her about anything. She doesn’t treat me like my Father does, like I am just another of his prize stallions. Instead of horses to sell, I am to produce him more grandsons to carry on his name and granddaughters to barter for prestige.
Let Jonathan do that, he likes breeding. At least the act of it. He will use any excuse to go into town and visit the Parlor. I chuckle to myself. Father would go insane if Jonathan got any of those girls with child. But not half as mad as he would if he found out about Illia. He would rather our name be sullied by a common whore than a Gypsy.
Why does he have to dislike the Gypsy people so much? They are just people like us. They are not the heathens Father calls them. No heathen could be as beautiful, kind, or loving as Illia. He also calls Illia’s clan witches. I have asked her this and she said they do some magic but not all magic is evil. Some of their potions render healing, invoke peace and love, or protect them from evil. That’s a good thing, not evil. No different really from doctors.
I think we should not fear what we do not know. We should learn the ways of those we consider our foe. If we knew more of the other people and why they do the things they do instead of shunning and hunting them down to burn as evil, the world would be such a better place. But that won’t happen anytime soon, if ever. Especially for Father. He is dead set in his way of thinking. Only he is right, in his mind.
Cook brings my eggs and bacon and a plate of slapjack with warm maple syrup. I take in a deep breath, inhaling the sweet aroma of the syrup and the smoky aroma of the bacon. I savor each bite as the syrup and hot cakes slide over my tongue, teasing my taste-buds. A smile curves over my lips as I think of Illia. However good this tastes, she will taste so much sweeter. Her kisses taste like the nectar of the Gods.
“Maybelle, what did you put in Nicolai’s cakes that you didn’t in mine. He looks as if he has just seen heaven. You always have favored him more.” Jonathan drops his lips in a big boyish pout.
He is much more handsome with his fairer skin and light hair like Father, and more outgoing than I am. I can see why the ladies flock about him wherever we go. Whether it’s a high society party, a church social, he can always have his pick.
Why he throws away his savings on the women at the bordellos I will never understand. He can have any he desires for free. I look more like Mother with my dark hair and skin, the only exception being my blue eyes. I have no trouble attracting ladies by all means; some prefer the darker look though the more innocent seem to like the fairer ones. Like hair color or skin tells anything of a person’s nature. I am the gentler of the two of us. None if it really matters since my heart has already been won.
“Ah boy! You know I love you both as you are my own, but Nicolai has the disposition of his mother, sweet and gentle. You boy, are surely your Father’s son!” She set more slapjacks in front of Jonathan with a chuckle, a playful ruffle of his hair and leaves the room to start lunch, no doubt.
“When are you planning on going for your ride?” He takes another bite and sighs in pleasure. Maybelle does make the best slapjack in the state.
“As soon as I see to my chores.” I take a bite of eggs and pray that he changes his mind about tagging along.
Jonathan raises an eyebrow as he looks at me. I guess my face must have conveyed my unease of him wanting to go with me. I could never play poker; I tried once and lost what I brought along very quickly. I would rather spend my money on a book or a trinket for Illia.
“I have to go into town and get some feed and a few things. I would ask you to come along, but I think this ride into the woods is more than you are saying. Please; dear brother, tell me you are not meeting with the gypsy girl again?” The look on his face is mixed with concern and disgust.
I refrain from answering and seem absorbed in my breakfast though now my stomach is churning with dread.
“I take your silence as a yes. Dammit Nicolai, why do you insist on defying Father? If he gets wind of this he will strip your back of its entire hide!” He slams down his fork, nearly knocking over the chair as he rises angrily.
“My hide is none of your concern.” I try to keep my voice steady and calm though he is right, I’d be lucky to live if Father found out how strongly I felt about her.
“It is when I put my own flesh on the line for you! I do everything in my power to divert his attention from you and where you are and what you’re about! Do as I have. Marry the woman he has chosen. I have met Maryanne. Dad has chosen well for you. She is very pretty, sweet disposition, as well as a wealthy Father. You will get a ranch of your own as dowry, that’s what you dream of, take as its handed to you on a silver platter with a lovely dish of lady on the side. Marriage isn’t a noose on your neck. I have my cake at home and get my frosting in town when I need more.”
“I have been saving for my own ranch. I don’t need Father’s money or a dowry. All I need is Illia. I would live in the woods and sleep under the stars, as long as she is by my side. If you ever fell in love, Jonathan you would understand how I feel.” I look at him with a set determination.
“Heavens, Nicolai. Take the damn woman Father has chosen. You can still trip off to the woods and see this girl. Have you met her family? Do they accept you? What will you do Nicolai, if her family feels the same way as yours?” He rakes his long fingers though his dusty brown hair, before putting on his hat and slamming out the door.
He is right. Illia is going through the same thing. Her family frowns on me as much as mine does her. Neither family has met either of us. How can they judge without even knowing us? I just don’t understand this. Mother wasn’t like that. She believed as I do, there is good in us all. Although, sometimes I just don’t see any good at all in Father. He is devious and spiteful. He has no room to talk about Gypsy’s, since he is more evil than any of them I have met.
I refuse to let this conversation get me down. It is bad enough to have this meeting of Maryanne looming over my head. Illia and I must do something soon. I cover my face with my hands and try to clear this aching in my head that wants to spread to my heart. I lick my drying lips as I search for my hat. The lingering taste of sticky sweet syrup jolts my taste buds, reminding me something sweeter awaits me in the woods.
If you missed the first Episode you can find it here! http://storytimetrysts.blogspot.com/2013/05/fates-kiss-chapter-one.html