After Aunt May’s diatribe about Lucy’s mother’s loose morals, Lucy is determined to sneak out of the house when her aunt and uncle go to sleep . Her mission: to get her mother’s comb from Jake.
Lucy continues with what happens next:
I lay aside the tray and writing implements and crossed to the door. I pulled it not quite closed, leaving a crack so I could slip out without making a sound. Then I arranged the pillows and blankets to make it look like I was asleep. There was almost no chance Aunt May would check on me, but if she did, I wanted it to appear I was in bed.
And then I waited. I heard the hall clock strike ten, and still I waited. At the half hour chime, I decided it was late enough. Carrying my shoes, I tiptoed down the hall in stocking feet. The farthest outside door from my aunt’s room was the kitchen at the back of the house.
Once out of the house, I dashed down dark streets, keeping to the sides, moving into bushes, until I got to the main street. I hurried down an alley and came to the stable. A dog barked and was shushed. I opened the stable door, moonlight casting my shadow.
“Jake, are you awake?”
There was rustling in the back. Jake stumbled into view, rubbing his eyes. “Lucy?” He lowered his hand and squinted in my direction. “What are you doing here?”
“I came for Ma’s comb. I’m sorry to wake you.”
“That’s okay. I’ll get it.” He turned back in the direction he came from. In a moment, he was back. “Here. I’m glad I saved it. It has to mean a lot for you to come this time of night.”
“It does. It’s about all I have of Ma’s except for the bit of her hair in my locket. Thank you.”
I wanted to say more, wanted to stay and talk to him about what was happening at the hotel with the new owners and tell him how life was going with the aunts. He had been a good friend to Ella and Jennie. I realized now that he could still be a friend to them because they were still children, only ten and eight. Because I was fourteen and he was older by a year or so, people saw our friendship differently, some, like Aunt May and Uncle Graham, would even say scandalous.
“Your aunt was pretty upset about us talking this afternoon, wasn’t she?” Jake said.
I was glad he had mentioned what I’d been afraid to say. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by not stopping by to visit, but I couldn’t risk angering the person who gave me shelter. “She was. It’s all about what people will think and about marrying me off to the right person—meaning someone with money and position.”
“Thanks again.” On impulse, I stepped forward, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, turned, and ran for home.
I hope you are enjoying this blog series. There will be another post next week. Also, Undercurrents is available for pre-order on Amazon, and The Courtship of Hannah True, the series prequel, is free on Book Funnel.