Monday, May 15, 2006

Kin to the Saboteur - Ch. 13

On the Monday following the Fourth of July, it was back to business as usual. There was more threshing to be done. This time on the centermost part of the Ackerman land. The eastern portion had already been done and the product had been processed and shipped by railcar to distribution sites all over the United States. After this they could start on the western portion where the oat crop was.

Unlike many farmers who were depended on income from a single crop and thus were vulnerable to fluctuating market forces, Halona’s prudent father wisely diversified the yield of his land much like he did his business holdings. He planted oats and wheat on his large farm in Miskito. The much smaller farmland that he owned in northeastern Nebraska was used solely for corn. Napoleon’s family ran that farmland for the Ackermans.

Even though today was business as usual on the work front, there was still something very different going on when it came to Halona’s personal life. First of all, she’d gotten a surprise visit from her two hoity-toity female cousins this morning. They claimed they came to help her with her harvest for a spell.

Ileen and Hadley had never volunteered to help Halona in any way before today. They weren’t doing too much helping now. In fact, the Ackerman sisters were doing more sitting and standing still than anything else. And who actually wears fancy aprons and summer walking dresses with decorative parasols to a harvest?

Secondly, Halona now had to deal with those same cousins constantly flirting with the handsomest man on the farm – Adam Thorpe. But what really irked Halona the most was her fear of romantic feelings sparking between Adam and one of her cousins. Even though he claimed he wasn’t the marrying kind, he could legally marry one of them if he ever changed his mind.

Thirdly, after tossing and turning every night since they kissed at the waterfall, Halona finally admitted to herself that she was in love with Adam. Deeply and unequivocally in love with him. So much so that she’d actually counted down the hours until she could see him again. Everything had just happened so fast. Too fast.

By the last meal break of that blistering day, Halona felt rung out like a wet towel. She’d never been this tired before. Yet it wasn’t just a physical tiredness, it was emotional tiredness, too, that had her feeling so out of sorts today.

Wanting only a fruit and a beverage now, Halona retired to her private spot to rest her mind and body for a while. She also intended to use that time to motivate herself to finish the work day out and not go home early like she really wanted to. The sun wouldn’t set for another three hours or more and she needed to make the most of that time for her harvest’s sake.

Taking a deep breath into her nose and out slowly through her mouth, Halona released some of her tension before taking a hearty bit of her red apple. Unfortunately, as soon as she glanced in the direction of the beverage stand a short distance away, she felt more tension attack her stiff shoulders, causing them to ache all over again. Ileen and Hadley were flirting with Adam again. This time, they were asking him to show them the latest big city dance steps after he finished his meal.

Sure ‘they’ have the energy to dance. They ain’t been in the hot sun working all day, Halona mused as she waited to see what Adam would do.

~~<<>>~~

“Ladies, I must ask you for a rain check. I am not at my best at this moment and would not do the lovely people of New York City justice right now,” Adam said. As he took another long swig of lemonade, he marveled at the vast differences between Halona and her two cousins.

Adam had plenty of reason to marvel. Not only did the Ackerman sisters look differently from their dark-haired cousin with their blond hair and blue eyes, they acted differently also. Halona was more serious, whereas her cousins were two flibberty-jibbets who had absolutely no clue what the real world was all about.

“Ooo…” the Ackerman sisters squealed simultaneously once they discovered where Adam was from.

“You’re actually from New York City?” said Ileen, the younger and the bolder of the two sisters.

“Yes,” was Adam’s polite answer.

“What did you do in New York City?” Hadley asked, her eyes eager and lit with interest.

“I practiced law,” Adam replied, starting with the truth before throwing a well formulated lie in the mix. “But just like your uncle, I came out west for a different kind of life. I needed a change of pace.”

“Ooo…a lawyer. How prestigious,” Ileen practically cooed. “Are you planning to settle down in Miskito after the harvest?”

Hadley wrinkled her nose in distaste and interjected her two cents worth. “Oh, please don’t do that. This town doesn’t have enough culture for a man like yourself. You should consider coming to North Platte. It’s brimming with all sorts of social activities. Buffalo Bill has a home near there and even staged his Old Glory B blowout rodeo there four years ago. We also have an opera house which is owned and operated by our father.” When Hadley said ‘our father’ she pointed conceitedly to herself and her sister.

“Actually, I kind of like Miskito. It has a lot of potential,” Adam replied truthfully as he turned to look in Halona’s direction. When he encountered her stormy expression, it was obvious that she was not happy with him or her two cousins right now. It was also obvious that she’d overheard their conversation since the attention-hog Ackerman sisters were a bit on the loud side.

Deciding that it was better to stay in Halona’s good graces than her cousins, Adam stood to his feet and politely excused himself from his present company. Not only had his research revealed that the Ackerman sisters and their father were basically penniless without Halona’s monthly support, he also didn’t care to continue long conversations about things that ceased to be meaningful to him since his arrival in Miskito.

“Do you have to go?” Ileen whined, truly sounding younger than her current age of twenty as she reached for his left arm to hinder his departure.

Adam fought not to wince at the immature young lady who needed a generous dose of reality to set her straight. Then deciding not to give Ileen that dosage right now by outright rejecting her efforts to dominate his attention, he pasted a smile on his face and freed his arm with a discreet tug downward.

“Yes, I have a few things to discuss with my boss,” Adam replied with finality as he placed his now empty cup and plate in the steel washtub near the beverage stand. Then without another word to either sister, he turned to leave.

Adam soon forgot about the whole encounter as his mind became completely focused on Halona and the little something special he’d been waiting to give her all day.

~~<<>>~~

Seeing Adam coming her way, Halona steadfastly drained her face of all emotion. Yet she could still feel the frown lines from where she’d been practically scowling at him and her cousins. She hoped no one else had noticed.

Oh, am I kidding? Halona mused. No doubt everyone, who had noticed the interaction between her loudmouth cousins and Adam, had also noticed Halona’s reaction to that encounter.

On top of all that, Halona had had to deal with Marilu hinting about how wonderful it would be for her to find a man like Adam all day. And Elnora, who’d successfully avoided a sisterly spat the other night by saying all the right words, had showed up at the noon meal and repeated those same words today.

‘Adam is just as sweet on you as you are on him. And he don’t seem to give a hoot about your complexion or even about the fact that you are his grouchy boss,’ Elnora had boldly said. Her eyes had dared Halona to deny the obvious.

Yet Halona hadn’t been able to deny the obvious then and she couldn’t now. She’d also noticed those things about Adam and they thrilled her. They also scared the jelly out of her bread since those very same things made her feel so vulnerable inside. And that was just two of many emotions she felt concerning Adam on a daily basis. However, the emotion that was most in control now was jealousy.

Despite herself, Halona was downright jealous of her cousins’ interest in Adam. She wanted to be the one flirting with him about carefree things. She wanted to be the one gathering information about his pre-Nebraska life. In short, she wanted to be the one. And suddenly Adam was standing in front of Halona, available for her to do and be all those things.

“May I sit with you for a bit, Miss Halona,” Adam asked.

“What for? You seem to have had more than enough company already.” Now why did I say that? Halona mused, feeling as if she’d thoroughly put her size seven shoe in her mouth for real this time.

Then determined not to act like her cousins and start talking and acting like a silly goose because a handsome man was around, Halona quickly tried to get said foot out of her mouth. “I was just getting up anyway,” she amended as she got up and walked a short distance away from her usual spot.

She’s jealous, Adam deduced with pleasure as he followed her out of ear range of others. Now they stood closer to the field stables where the employees’ horses and wagons were kept.

“Why are you following me, Adam?” Halona asked, looking thoroughly irritated now.

“To let you know that the company I had was not the company that I truly desired,” Adam replied, meeting Halona’s stony gaze head-on. The fire leaping in her eyes excited him immensely. For a moment, he lost all focus as the stirring in his loins shot to his heart and danced a happy jig. He’d felt that heart stirring on several other occasions and hadn’t known what it was. Now Adam was pretty sure that it was love.

Adam Thorpe in love…imagine that, he mused in a cloud of wonder.

Halona’s cheeks flushed crimson at his words. “Uh…is there anything else that you want, Adam?” She licked her lips and swallowed over a dry throat, unaware of the affect she was having on the man before her.

After following the path of Halona’s tongue and feeling the heat of her actions clear down to his toes, Adam lowered his voice so that only the two of them could hear. “Yes, there is. I want to taste your lips again, Sakari. I want you to taste mine. I want you to put your hands upon me again and make me shudder from your tender caress. I want to do the same to you.”

If Adam had ever spoken an ounce of truth in his life, this was it. And if Halona fired him right here on the spot, he’d go away with a smile on his face knowing that the rush of desire in her ebony eyes was as a direct result of his confession.

Halona swallowed again and turned her gaze away. She was starting to feel all tingly again. Surprisingly, she also felt as if she could work another twelve hours because the man before her had just stimulated and invigorated every cell in her body.

“We can not,” Halona said a bit on the husky side as she looked anxiously around to see if anyone had heard Adam’s confession. Fortunately, no one had. Many were looking their way, but none could hear their hushed tones.

“Of course not here, but later at the waterfall perhaps.” Adam honestly wanted to stop everything and go there now as love and desire swirled together and created a fantastic blend within him.

Halona was so tempted to agree to that insanity, but she did not. “We can not here, there or anywhere else, Adam. My virtue will not be compromised. As you well know, kisses can lead to other things. They almost did the other night.”

“My intent was not to compromise you in any way that night,” Adam replied. Yet inwardly he knew that that’s exactly what would have happened if they’d continued to kiss. Adam would not have been content to just stop at Halona’s lips. He wouldn’t have been satisfied until they both were in the most primal of states and basking in the aftermath of ecstasy.

“Be that as it may, we can not put ourselves in that kind of situation again. I will not allow it.” Halona was determined to be the voice of reason. This could go no further, despite their obvious attraction to one another.

Suddenly Adam abandoned all wayward plans concerning Halona as overwhelming love for her flooded and took control of his heart. What he was currently feeling had nothing to do with his father, his future business, or even satisfying his flesh. Adam wanted Halona for his heart’s sake now.

“Sakari, hear this and hear this well. You are the boss of my time, and only some of that. You are not the boss of my heart. My heart wants to kiss you again and I will do what’s necessary to satisfy its demands,” Adam said with equal determination.

“You would force yourself upon me? Here? Now?” With one hand holding her cup and the other her fruit, Halona stood akimbo style in challenge. Her eyes dared Adam to try such a thing at the risk of getting pumped full of buckshot. Fortunately, her voice was still too low for others to know what she was saying. Yet that didn’t stop several nosy people from staring and straining their ears to hear anyway.

“There will be no force involved. You will be just as willing as you were the first time. As for when, I wouldn’t dare dishonor you in front of others, particularly your employees. No, when we taste of each other’s lips again, it will be a private moment between you and me. In the meantime, I made something for you,” Adam replied with finality as he pulled a piece of folded parchment from his right trouser pocket.

Then after placing the unexpected gift in Halona’s fruit hand, Adam turned around and walked off, leaving her glaring after him with an open mouth and a tingling body.

When, he said. Not if, Halona mused, noting how sure Adam had been about the possibility of them kissing again. She wished she was that sure about them. Yet no matter how much her head protested their relationship, her heart still craved Adam like biscuits craved gravy.

Then careful to keep her back turned to others, Halona placed her half-eaten fruit in her cup and slowly unfolded the parchment. Suddenly the tingles in her body quadrupled when she saw that the goat skin contained a drawing of two people kissing under a waterfall. What a reminder!

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

2 comments:

kris said...

halona is doing the right thing by refusing adam. its become obvious that they oth love each other and want each other. but the real question is what does adam crave more his father's recognition or halona. either way he cold have the newspaper so thats not an issue. but if he goes along with his father's plan, his father will be gratefull but he looses halona's love and his popularity in the town. if he chooses halona over his father, he wins a family, a home, but fails his father (though it seems that adam's 'father' has no loyalty or love for adam)and may end up strengthening the attacks against the farm. either way, until halona is completely sure of adam's motives, she shouldn't try anything with him.

Suprina said...

All good points, Kris. Can't wait to show you what happens next. Thanks for leaving a comments.