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"The Way Back Home"

by Sandy Kay Slawson

   Violet locked the door on the Boston home she’d shared with her mother for the last time. She passed the keys to her family’s long time lawyer Mr. Henry Wilson with a sigh of resignation. Drawing him into a hug, she kissed his wrinkled cheek and gave a tearful titter at the tickle on her nose from his grey whiskers. 
   “You’ve been good to me, Mr. Wilson. I appreciate how you’ve taken care of all the many details since Mother’s-“
   “I’m happy to help in any way," Mr. Wilson said in his gruff way. "I’d be happy to find you another situation here as well. I know how your mother felt about you returning to Texas." She’d seen through his rough demeanor years ago and had won her way into his heart as if she were one of his own grandchildren.
   “You know how I feel about Boston. If I wanted to stay, I could always move in with Lilly and her family.”
   “You’d clash with your elder sister as much as you did with your mother. Two peas in a pod those two were.” Mr. Wilson chuckled before his own eyes glazed with emotion. “I suppose I’ll never see you again. Texas is a world away and I’m not getting any younger. In fact, once I’ve finished the legalities concerning this house and your mother's Will, my dear, I plan to retire.”
   “Then you could come to Texas for a visit. I know Father would love to see you again.”
   “No. No. I’m too old, and I don’t think my children would allow it. It seems they think of me as the child and themselves as the parents now. Funny how time changes things. Please give your father my fondest greetings, though. It was a sad day when he took your family to Texas, but sadder still when your mother left him and brought you two girls back here without him. Ah well, no need to rehash the past.”
   “I wanted to stay in Texas with Father, but…oh, you know. At least I've had the chance to become friends with you and your family. You've been a true blessing, especially in recent days.” Violet stuffed into the depths of her mind the bitterness over her mother’s decision to break apart their family nine years before. Her mother had been sorry at the end, but it had been too late to change anything. The past could not be undone. “I’ll write often.”
   “You'd better young lady. You'd better be off, too. You have a train to catch. Where is your lady’s maid by the way?”
   “She wanted to spend her last night with her family. She’s supposed to meet me at the train station.” Violet’s angst over the sale of her family’s home, gave way to nervous energy as she consulted the timepiece pinned to her jacket. “Oh my, look at the time. I do need to be off.”
   Hugging him once more, she leaned to grasp her valise and then turned to the carriage driver who’d stood by waiting.
   “Ready, Miss Lawrence?”
   “Yes. I believe I am.”

To be continued…


"The Pecan Grove"

by Sandy Kay Slawson

Rachel waited in the pecan grove. The shadows lengthened. Her hope ebbed. Father's anger at her absence would be felt this night, if he did not come.

"Where are you?"

Rachel turned towards home. Posture slumped. Head bowed. She'd endure. She always did. A snap of a twig and she swiveled around. There at the edge of the grove he stood. A wide grin lit his countenance.

"Chad..." She raced towards him and his arms opened to receive her. His lips pressed against her temple.

"Are you ready?" He asked but before she answered, his sight fell onto the newest bruise which marred her high cheek bone. The pad of his thumb caressed the tender wound.

"The liquor makes father find fault where there is none."

"After tonight, he will never hurt you again. Are you ready?" He repeated.

She retrieved her bag hidden behind one of the many pecan trees. "Yes. More than ready."

He grabbed her valise. "To the church then. Everything is arranged."

Her soul leapt with joy. She placed her fingers in the crook of his arm. "To the church. To our forever."

The End

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