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Newest Chapter: A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XXX

Art by Rachel St. Louis

Art by Rachel St. Louis

Rachel St. Louis, Reporter

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Daisy for Hannah Jane

Chapter XXX

So, just like that, Harriet ordered Mr. Jamison into a bath the moment he put his foot through the threshold. As a reply, he gave her a flirtatious grin. Caleb stepped in front of him, scowling, holding his arms at his sides. The gardener’s strong, clenched hands sent Mr. Jamison a clear message.

As if his obvious strength wasn’t enough, Caleb spoke to him in short, choppy sentences full of authority. “Excuse me, sir. I was just passin’ through. The lady here is my wife. You will call ‘er Mrs. Graham.”

Harriet’s eyes had never been so wide. She stood aloof, a towel in her hand as always, while Caleb stood over the rat-looking Mr. Jamison. No one has called her Mrs. Graham, only Miss Harriet. Or Harriet.

Caleb stood taller, like that was possible. He inflicted a superioristic deepness in his voice. “You’ll see me in the gardens. Have been, always will be.”

“Excuse me?”

Caleb grunted. “If you don’t unnerstand, all I’m a-sayin’ is that if you mess with anyone in this here house, you’ll either be dealing with me or bein’ tossed back out into the dirty streets you came from. And it’ll be my hand tossin’ you out. Shore am glad you’re alive considerin’ these here circumstances, but the minute you’re trouble, you’re gone. Sorry, sir,” he sighed, casting Harriet a mysterious look, “but that’s the way it is. Unnerstand?”

“Yes, I do. I’m sorry if I’ve raised any sort of suspicion.” His words were genuine. So he was the parent who’d given Raymie the mince-no-words genes.

He stuck his hand out. “I see we’re brethren?” He nodded to the small wooden pendant Caleb always wore.

“Only if you play horseshoes.”

Mr. Jamison laughed, a lifting sound. “Deal. Call me Charlie. Please.”

“Caleb.” They shook hands. Relaxed, Harriet’s gray eyes shone. They flickered to mine and we exchanged knowing looks. These men will be good friends.

Caleb thumped him on the back. “Welcome to the fam’ly, brother Charlie! You’ll be ‘ere a long time.”

Both men looked to me for assurance and I blushed to my toes. When the adults I’d practically grown up with looked at me, I imagined what they saw. Caleb saw the daughter he never had. Harriet saw a new baby in my faith.

I wondered what Mr. Jamison saw.

“Son!” he shouted, issuing the occasional frown from my grandmother.

Jamison sauntered into the house, shutting the door after all of the staff and Grandmother followed him. “This lady tol’ me to bathe. I ain’t bathing before eatin’, son.”

“Come on, Pa, get in the bath. There’s no rebelling against our Harriet.”

I was appalled at Jamison’s lack of respect, but when the older folks laughed with him, I realized it had always been there.

Looking around the room, I saw people who I’d grown to have compassion for. It was astounding, really, what the past year had entailed. Staying single after Raymie’s leaving and his death, meeting wretched Sir Henry, meeting Jamison in the process, returning to the Chauldings mansion.

Then I reunited with Harriet, tried to reach Grandmother (and still am), almost lost Jamison, found out he was Raymie’s little brother, and came close to ending up with Grandmother forcing an engagement on us.

I was fearing for Harriet’s life before she finally married Caleb. I became a Christian this year. I even had a new friend. Ethel.

But as if it all hadn’t been enough, Jamison tried to be my hero and got arrested. He met his father, who had supposedly been dead, in that prison. Jail had done something to both of them. It made Jamison think heavily on some things and decided to alert the police about Sir Henry instead. I couldn’t bear to think about what he and his henchmen had done to the Jamisons and to me in the past few months. God, thank you for keeping me alive through it all!

And now Grandmother was expected to die sometime next year. My heart was torn apart. Especially because there was nothing I could do but join Ethel, Harriet, Caleb, and Jamison in praying steadily for her salvation.

I loved her, crazy as I was. I loved Jamison, feeling content that Raymie would wish for it. I got over the loss of my parents and the five years I’d spent living alone. Doing terrible, unspeakable things to stay alive just so I could be “free from the Chauldings mansion.” I would always miss my parents. Always.

I would never forget Raymond Stoldings. But most of all, I couldn’t let myself forget what Jesus had done for me: Blessed me with this life. No matter what I could think.

 

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