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A Daisy For Hannah Jane: Chapter VI

Rachel St. Louis, Reporter

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A Daisy For Hannah Jane

Chapter VI

A ring. An old, dusty, all-around beautiful ring had waited for me under a scrap of cloth inside that special drawer. Not even a note from Raymie; I supposed he knew I would find it there if he never got the chance to beat me to it.

It had a tiny cluster of dazzling sapphires on each side of the circular diamond, all sitting atop the silver band. Inscribed was Elizabeth Beale Stoldings. With love, John.

Raymie’s grandfather had spent an insane fortune on this ring, then inscribed those six words — those thirty-five letters of pure love and devotion — by his own blacksmith hand. An elaborate symbol of sacrifice and adoration. And now it was mine.

Somehow, it brought a better feeling into the reality of my loss: hope. I had hope that life wouldn’t be so, so dreary and lonely, even after receiving that heartwrenching letter. Many a folk would cry their eyes out at the sight of their former fiancé’s proposal ring, but I cherished it.

Meanwhile, the birds were tweeting their tiny heads off, the sky smiled a familiar hue of crisp blue, the fern leaves were uncurling in their waking glory, the squirrels scuttled about, the clouds bobbed across the sky as if they were boats on the sea, the flowers were blooming their vibrant brushstrokes, and the grass leapt at the chance to hug bare feet. Spring had finally sprung.

For once, since Raymie’s death, I could catch my breath. Everything was wonderful.

Well, until there was a rapid knock on my door.

“Miss Lewitt?” The voice belonged to that of a snob. I grimaced, knowing it was one of Grandmother’s plagues in the form of a rich bachelor.

I was still looking awful. I hadn’t visited the market in so long, being the introvert I am, so my bath was long overdue. My features in general were that of an old woman, my hollow cheeks, my chapped lips, my dull eyes. Even my dress was musty and faded.

“Miss Lewitt, I am losing my large amount of patience out here in the slush!” The voice sounded familiar somehow. I willed myself to be as hospitable as possible and opened the door.

“Sir Henry?” My brain spilled out a steady stream of other things I could’ve called him.

“Sir Henry Denver, if you may.”

‘If you may’? “I may not,” I retorted. That serves him for indulging on my expensive scones during our first meeting. His manners certainly haven’t changed within the last two weeks either.

“You said ‘Denver,’ sir? That’s odd, because I could’ve sworn it was Dover last time we met.”

He scowled with the squinted eyes of his. No answer.

“Have you any companions, sir?”

“Just my handyman.” His gaze flitted across the room, then finally rested on me. I felt my ears turn red as he swept those beady eyes over my rigid frame.

“Well? Where is he?” I longed for Jamison, or for some other woman, to interrupt Sir Henry’s stunts. Someone.

“I ordered him to stay by the road.”

“Why?”

“That doesn’t matter right now.” He reached his plump hand to mine. My pulse kicked into overtime and I flinched away.

“Either take this visit outside or invite your handyman in,” I told him. “I know what my grandmother is doing, but I am in no search for another hand. You know full well I am single now, but, to be frank – ” and I practically threw my ring-adorned hand in his face to finish my sentence. He saw the glittering jewels and frowned deeper.

Calmly, I dropped my hand and raised my chin slightly. “So please take one of the options I just suggested or leave my home at once,” I commanded.

Sir Henry (if that was actually his name) smirked. It was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen. “You are a fiery one,” he said. “I like that in a woman.”

All of a sudden, listening to his voice was like castor oil being shoved down my throat. I couldn’t take it anymore. “Oh, suuure you do! No, all you want is a girl for your pleasures and a pretty accessory to have fanning herself daintily in your parlor when some group of hotheaded diplomats arrive for a visit! If you aren’t here to deliver a message from my grandmother, or any message at all, I find no cause for this visit, and I know your intent. You do not care for me.”

“Why, I declare! Sounds like blasphemy to me.”

“The government is not God.”

“Shouldn’t it be?”

“Only in our spirits! Don’t play the religion game with me.”

He raised an eyebrow. “What’s the religion game?”

I walked over to the door and pointed outside. “Enough.”

“Are you always this harsh to rich men just seeking a wife?”

“I am protecting myself.”

“I see you must need a new wardrobe. How much are you protecting yourself in such an awful state? Have you no wages to pay for necessities? Like soap? New cloth?” He looked to the barren kitchen. “How about some food?” He acted concerned. I loathed it.

“I believe I said enough, sir.”

“Why don’t you show me the rest of your home? That way, I can see what other ramifications need to be paid for.” Henry took a step forward. One step too many. “Let’s start with your bedroom, shall we?”

I felt pale and automatically began to edge closer to the door. “Pardon, but wh-what is in my house i-is none of your business, sir.”

The snake leapt to seize my arm right as I hollered, “Jamison!” out the doorway at the top of my lungs. “I always knew you were of questionable integrity. Now let go of me! Let me go!”

Jamison came bounding through the doorway as I was struggling most. I barely had any strength in the first place. “Jamison, help me!” My big eyes cried out to him. My voice was too weak to utter a word.

With that, Jamison broke me free. I wasn’t exactly sure how, but I looked at my forearm and saw a red mark that was beginning to burn. I didn’t really know what was really happening until Jamison pushed Sir Henry out of the doorway.

“He is not a Sir, nor a Henry, nor a Dover. Or a Denver,” Jamison finally wheezed out. “He is my mother’s nephew.”

“Your cousin?”

“No.” His eyes were guarded. “My mother’s nephew. I do not wish to call him my kin.”

I nodded.  “How have you been doing?” He asked gently, softly.

“I’ve been better. Could you get me a restraining order on that not-cousin of yours?” I said jokingly. But he nodded, solemn.

“I see you have a ring now.”

“Good observation. I found it in Raymond’s special drawer. It belonged to his grandparents. He’d mentioned a ring before he left. It’s very pretty,” I blurted out.

Jamison smiled faintly. “I’d better leave, but I’ll see you soon?”

“Yes,” I said. “But outside, of course.”

“Absolutely. Of course. Sorry I haven’t been around in a while. I’ll see you later.” He gave me a nod and began walking out the door.

I was positive he loved me. My heart was still with raymie, of course, but his godliness was telling me I needed to move on. After all (even if it wasn’t exactly the best choice), he moved on from the war by becoming a deserter. Whereas he would’ve wanted me to be happy.

“Oh, and Jamison?”

He turned on his heel, hair ruffled, eyes twinkling, lips tugging at a smile. “Yes?”

“Thank you.”

 

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A Daisy For Hannah Jane: Chapter VI