A Love Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand


3. 2


“Clara, Clara.” Someone said in a harsh voice shaking my shoulder as an attempt to wake me up. I open my eyes. The first thing I feel is that my back is sore, and I soon realize why. I fell asleep in the chair in the living room, “reading”. James is standing over me, his icy blue eyes boring into mine. Thomas is standing behind him, his soft brown eyes a bit confused. “Why are you out here all alone? Where you out here all night?” He asks, his tone sounding like he is a bit annoyed and angry. Oh, no. “I, erm, fell asleep reading.” I struggle to get the words out of my mouth. I've never lied to James or Thomas before. It's mostly Thomas that is making this hard. He was always the one I could trust with everything. Now, I've put myself in such a horrible spot that I can't even tell him that I've possibly broken a law.

“Reading?” James says, raising on of his light auburn eyebrows at me, not believing the words coming out of my mouth. How can I get someone else to believe me if I don't believe myself? “Yeah, it's this really cool thing where you look at words in the book and understand what they mean and get this amazing mental picture about what's going on in the book and get enveloped in all the twists and turns of the book!” I say, giving James my best cheeky smile. He just rolls his eyes, always hating the fact when ever I imply that I'm smarter than him. Well, I am and he knows it. “If Father were here, he'd smack you for back talking me.” He says, with a tone showing superiority. He stands straight up towering over my small figure lying in the chair. Thomas, standing behind James, gasps.

My father hit me once. It was after I helped that slave. It was the next day after I had helped the boy fix himself. My father saw how much better the marks left on the slave boy's skin looked compared to what he thought they would look like. His eyes immediately shot to me. My heart jumped to my throat. He stood up and his chair fell back to the ground with a loud clatter. He raised his right hand and smacked me right across my face. I had never felt so much pain in my entire life. I ran out and...

I look back into my brother's evil blue eyes boring into mine. I hate him. With all my heart. I stand up out of the chair and James leaves the room. Thomas sees me struggling to keep my balance, due to my uncomfortable sleeping arrangement last night, and rushes to help me. “Don't listen to him, Clara.” He says, grabbing my hand and helping me to stand up. “Well, how can I not listen when he is screaming at me, all day, every day! Him and Father. They hate me. Father wishes I was a boy!” I scream at Thomas, throwing my hands in the air showing dramatic effect. “Clara, that's not true.” “Well, damn, Thomas, you know it's true! Father is never happy with anything I do! I read more than James and in return, he forces me to spend more time with Mother, depleting my time to read!” I break down, my body crumbling to the floor. I lie in a position with my hand in my hair, knees pressed agianst the cool, wooden floor of the parlor, my chest filled with sobs. Thomas leans down besides me, wrapping an arm around me. Thomas was always the one there for me, and this is not the first time he has seen me cry.

Why am I crying? I sit up straight and whip the salty tears off my pale white face. “So, what is the real reason you were out here?” Thomas says, a little half smile creeping on his face. “Well, funny story actually,” I stammer, my palms getting sweaty. Can I tell Thomas about...? Oh, no! I need to go talk to Will! I scramble to my feet and rush out of the parlor and grab my cloak on the way. “Clara! What are you doing!” Thomas exclaims, running after me.

“Thomas, you can't know! Please just go back to the parlor.” I say, slamming the door to the outside. I feel the misty, cold air reach my skin, even through the fabric of my shawl. I can feel goosebumps rise up on my skin and the hair on the back of my neck rise. I walk to the shed and swing the door open. I stumble inside the shed and see Will lying sound asleep on the bed, or, more like a cot. He stirs a little when I slam the shed door, on accident of course. The wind was blowing hard and slammed it. I walk over to the sleeping boy on the cot and admire him. His face, his jawline, so sharp and defined. His closely cropped hair, how it is so short and curly. His long, fluttering lashes. He snores slightly, giving me the impression that he is fast asleep. I look at his hands, one underneath his head and the other facing up, showing the callouses and cuts all across it. I could only ponder over the thought of what pain he had to have endured to receive these. Years of heavy lifting or crop picking? I could only wonder.

I watch him for a minute longer, looking over all the features in his face, until I hear faint screaming. “CLARA! Where are you?” Thomas' noticeable voice calls. I remain silent, hoping he won't find me. The empty air is filled with mine and Will's breathing and Thomas' cries from outside. His voice gets more and more silent before it disappears altogether. I let out a sigh of relief. I am certain I would be able to keep this secret for a while. I hear a small creak and whip my head from the beautiful sleeping boy to the noise. I see Thomas standing there, his mouth open. 

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