The First Hello © 2015 (Rough Draft Version) By: J.L. Jacobs *Sequel to: "The Final Goodbye"*

Fate has given Sophia Lancaster a second chance. As she wakes up from what seems to be an overly vivid dream, Sophia soon realizes that it was no dream at all, rather, she had been brought back from death's embrace to the very day she is set to marry Dr. Jeremy Thompson.

From the knowledge and perspective she had gained in her former life, she decides to make better decisions and choices that could potentially alter her life, the lives of her loved ones, and history as she once knew it. In this exciting sequel to: "The Final Goodbye," follow Sophia's new journey as she takes the chance in which Fate has bestowed upon her to find out who her soulmate really is and what the consequences of her actions will be.

*Please be sure to read The Final Goodbye first! This is a only a rough draft and may contain grammatical errors. It is formatted just as a hard-copy full-length book should be. I love to hear your feedback, and your votes and shares are greatly appreciated!

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5. Chapter Five: The Dreadful Mess

Chapter Five: The Dreadful Mess

 

 

     "Why in hells fire would you even consider to think that I would have wanted what just happened between us to, um, have happened? I am so furious with you Jeremy Thompson that I could spit nails!" Sophia hurried to dress herself as quickly as she possibly could. Her body felt like it had been run over by a carriage. Her incision site hurt even worse. But it was her mind that felt the most pain, and one that no amount of laudanum could take away. Jeremy stood there unabashedly in the nude with his hand running through his dark hair, and a look of sheer confusion was evident on his face. "I didn't force myself upon you Sophia Lancaster! You seemed so willing. I didn't even expect for that to happen. You need to believe that! I would never want to hurt you! We're in love, remember? For Christ's sake, that moment we shared was inevitable!" he cried out in anguish. She walked over to him like a little whirlwind of fury and began to poke his bare chest saying, "That moment was supposed to happen after we got married, and if I recall, our wedding was called off! Dammit Jeremy! What am I to do now?" Sophia backed away when Jeremy gave her an impish smile and tried to pull her in his arms. "Ugh! You're impossible!" she declared as she went back over to the other side of the bed. "Oh Sophia, why be so angry? I rather enjoyed that and I cannot wait to enjoy it some more after we're properly wed." She remained obstinately silent as she bent down to look under the bed for her dress. But bending over only exacerbated the incision area on her lower abdomen and she cried out in pain. Instantly Jeremy crossed the short distance between them as he helped her back up, "What ails you my love?" Tears streamed down her face as she carefully sat down upon the edge of the bed. As much as she didn't want to talk to him, as a doctor, she needed his help. "C-can you please examine my incision site and make sure it looks normal. After today's events between Angelique and myself, it feels like there might be some damage. It hurts like heck." she hesitantly asked him. To be honest, she was still so furious with him for taking her virtue, but he was a doctor and she knew she could trust him. "Absolutely!" he assured her calmly, "I will need you to lie down on the bed and show me where it hurts." She followed his instructions as he lit the lanterns in the room, as well as some of the candles in order to to provide adequate lighting to see by. When he returned to the bed, her chemise was pulled up and he could see a long, angry-looking red scar that was definitely inflamed. "Soph, you never did explain to me why you had surgery. I need to know so I can properly examine you." he said gently. She sighed but conceded to his request saying, "I had some benign masses removed from my uterus less than two weeks ago. I was only just released from the hospital yesterday." He looked at her drawn face and silently wondered why she hadn't told him about any of this much sooner. Then he bent down to take a closer look at her scar. Yes, it had been compromised, most likely after the assaults that Angelique had done to Sophia earlier at the clinic. However, the skin remained intact on the outside which was a good sign. At least Sophia would not need stitches. There seemed to be some bruising but even with the lanterns lit, it was still a little bit hard to discern. He vividly recalled when Angelique had kicked her viciously in that area, as well as when Sophia had been pushed hard to the ground. Yes, those were most likely bruises there. His heart lurched painfully just remembering how Sophia had been attacked by that deranged woman. He truly felt awful because he had't done more to protect Sophia when it was all happening. Anger began to boil within him, and he made a silent vow to see that Angelique would pay for her crimes against the love of his life! What really puzzled him was that in all the years he had known Angelique, she had always seemed so quiet and unassuming. Not that he actually knew her all that well to begin with. She did work at the clinic to help out, but they never really bothered to get to know one another which he was now grateful for.  

     "The area is very inflamed. I am worried that there could possibly be some internal damage but I would need to observe you carefully for the next twenty-four hours in order to rule that out. I think you should take it as easy as possible to let the area heal. Who performed your surgery and why didn't you come to me if you had concerns with your health?" he inquired. "Dr. Jacobs in Cleveland. I didn't come to you because, well, I just didn't feel comfortable I suppose." Sophia responded honestly, "Can you do anything to help me? It hurts so badly Jeremy, but I do not want to go to the hospital if I can avoid it." He placed his hand upon her forehead to check for signs of a fever. Thankfully there was not evidence of one. "I can give you some laudanum for the pain, and I can also make a salve to put on the scar to help with the inflammation." he stated matter-of-factly. Sophia pursed her lips together and glared at him, "When you gave me laudanum earlier, it was double the dosage I have ever been given by, er, Dr. Jacobs. If I allow you to do so, do not give me that much ever again! I blame that overdose as to why I ended up in your bed tonight and for not having all my wits about me to have given into your, your... passion. I am still very furious with you over allowing that to even happen! You should have known better considering my state of being under the influence of that medicine! You are a doctor after all!" He couldn't help but feel ashamed over his actions. She was correct; he knew she was still under the effects of the laudanum but he also truly believed she was a willing participant in their lovemaking a short while ago. Part of him couldn't even rationally explain why he had been so consumed with lust for her except that he was also half asleep when it had started. "And why was I even in your bed to begin with Jeremy? I vaguely remember telling you I needed to get home. To my home! Have you no honor or consideration to my reputation? I am more than likely a ruined woman now! I am also fairly certain that my parents are, at this very moment, worrying over my whereabouts! How am I possibly going to explain any of this to them? My father is going to be beyond furious with the both of us!"Jeremy looked directly into her eyes, "We were to be married Sophia! You know that I love you more than anything in this world and I would never, ever, do anything to purposely hurt you or cause you harm. I am very sorry I took advantage of the situation. It was honestly not my intention to do so. I brought you back here because, well, I guess a part of me was being selfish and wanted to make sure I could properly look after you. I could have kept you at the clinic for observation but I worried over Angelique or Dr. Milton causing more trouble. I should have taken you back to your home and I made a poor judgement in not doing so. I could have also placed you in one of the spare bedrooms but I did not. Again, another poor judgement on my part. I did send a note over to your house explaining that you were here and why. I am so sorry my love. Please believe that." "Sorry or not, you're still an idiot!" She closed her eyes out of frustration. She just didn't know what to think right now. She had a bad feeling that this particular situation did not bode well for her. She was honestly surprised that her father hadn't come barging over here by now even if it was in the middle of the night. She was certain there would be hell to pay tomorrow. 

     As far as her giving in to Jeremy's lovemaking, how could she truthfully admit that she thought it was Travis she had lain with? That it was Travis she pictured in her mind, not Jeremy. When it was happening, and she thought it was Travis, she had actually wanted it to happen! She couldn't admit to any of that. As easy as it was to place all the blame on Jeremy, she was also partially at fault for what had occurred between the two of them. Oh what a fine mess this was indeed! "Jeremy, can you just please give me the laudanum and make the salve?" She opened her eyes and watched as he left the room. She carefully sat up, then proceeded to make her way to his bathing room in order to use the commode. She could hear her stomach growling fiercely as she relieved herself. While she was washing her hands at the sink, she looked up at the mirror and stared at her own reflection. Her face was pale and her blue-green eyes looked dull. There was no smile upon her face. Her hair looked like a bird's nest. In all honesty, she looked quite frightful. Pulling out her hair pins one by one until they were all absent from her hair, she then turned on the faucet to the sink to wet her hands. As she was using her fingers to help untangle the knots, Jeremy walked in and stood beside her. "I have my medical bag when you are ready. Can I offer you my brush?" he asked softly. "Yes please." she answered with a tiny hint of a smile playing upon her lips. It was a tad bit hard to be mad at him when he was so damned chivalrous towards her. "Follow me." he said as he took one of her hands in his and walked her out of the bathing room. He led her back into his bedroom and gestured for her to sit on the bed. As she did so, he went over to his dresser and grabbed his horse-hair brush, then climbed onto the bed so that he was sitting against the headboard. Sophia inched herself closer to Jeremy so that her backside was turned to him, and he began to gently brush out her long hair for many minutes until each and every strand of it was tangle-free and shined with vibrancy. Oh how he loved it when her hair was down and loose like this, it was so incredibly beautiful! Sophia had always loved getting her hair brushed out by someone else rather than by herself. Usually it was Rachel or her mother who had done it for her so many times over the years while she was growing up. This time, however, was the first time that Jeremy had done so. Truth be told, it felt so wonderfully relaxing despite the pain she was experiencing. He inched his way back off the bed, returned the brush to it's place on the dresser, and retrieved his medical bag. Sophia laid herself back down so that her head rested on one of the down-filled feathered pillows. She closed her eyes as Jeremy pulled up her chemise to expose her incision. There was a soft, cooling breeze that blew in from the three partially opened windows in his room. She could hear the plethora of crickets outside as they sang their nightly song which reminded her of the times she heard the same sounds during her time in Texas with Travis. Oh how she missed that man and her life there! 

As Jeremy began to mix up a salve, she couldn't help but muse over how intimate it felt to be here with him like this. There was a day, before she ever knew of Travis Ewing's existence, when she had dreamed of a life like this with Jeremy. Being here with him like this felt so natural in a sense. After all, they had known each other for over three years and had been so in love with one another. Her stomach rumbled loudly again and she heard Jeremy chuckle. "I shall get you something to eat and drink once I am finished with this." he remarked. She smiled. Jeremy really had always been so good to her. So loving, patient, and kind. There was a point in her life when he was the man she had dreamed of spending the rest of her days with, bearing his children, and making a life for themselves here in Wellington, the town where she had been born and raised. But that felt like a lifetime ago, and was before she had fallen hopelessly in love with Travis. Jeremy's warm hands began spreading a cool mixture of sorts across her scar and it instantly began to feel so much better. "That feels wonderful." she whispered quietly. "I mixed up enough of this salve so that you can use some whenever you feel you need it. I suggest applying it three times a day for the next few days. It also works well for burns, cuts, and minor rashes. Keep your chemise up like this for about ten more minutes to allow the mixture to dry. I will give you a dose of laudanum now and then fetch you some sustenance." She opened her eyes and watched him with carefully as he measured out a half of a dropper's full of the bitter medicine, then opened her mouth to allow him to squeeze the liquid down her throat. It truly tasted awful but she was more than aware of that. In her past life, she had taken it so many times that she was well used to it by now. Jeremy gathered up all the items that were spread across his bed, and placed them back into his medical bag. Just as he began walking out the door, Sophia called out to him, "Jeremy?" He turned around and looked at her. "Thank you for everything. Truly, I mean that." Sophia said, smiling at him out of gratitude. She could see his body become less tense, as if a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders, and he gave her a loving smile in return, "You are most welcome Sophia. I would do anything for you." 

     He left the room and she couldn't help but to feel some confusion. Perhaps it was from the laudanum settling in, or maybe not. She closed her eyes and the image of their lovemaking from earlier coursed into her thoughts. Even though she was still hurt and upset that it happened, she couldn't help but to remember the amount of pleasure she had felt while he made love to her. She had enjoyed it. Thoroughly. As the minutes ticked by, her body began to thrum with desire which made her feel as if she was somehow betraying Travis. In this new life, her reawakening, he didn't even know she existed. So how could she possibly feel as though she had betrayed him? Logically, it made no sense. But everything that had happened to her over the last month made little sense. She surmised that she felt guilty because she intended to search for him and now she no longer had her virtue intact. That really bothered her. She wanted him to have been her first. Again. Then there was her confusion over how wonderful the lovemaking with Jeremy had felt even if she didn't climax. Tonight had been the first time she had even seen Jeremy nude, and his body was hard and lean. It was very nice to look at if truth be told, even if he was so different than Travis. Travis was taller, tanner, and had more bulk to his build with muscles that were more defined from all the physical labor he did each day on the ranch. By the time Jeremy came back into the room, she was once again drowsy. He set down a rectangular tray on the bed and pulled down her chemise, then drew the duvet up over her lap as she forced herself to sit up straighter. "Here you go my love." Jeremy said as he carefully placed the tray upon her lap. She smiled at him when she spied the contents of the tray. There was some cold slices of ham, small chunks of cheese, and a stalk of green grapes. Next to the plate of food was a mug of tea and a small glass of water. "Oh this looks delicious!" she grinned up at him as she began to eat with a ravenous appetite. Jeremy grabbed a couple grapes and popped them into his mouth. "I shall sleep in the bedroom next door. Just call out if you need anything." he commented. He then snuffed out all the candles and took one of the small lanterns with him as he left her alone to eat.  

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     The next day, Sophia woke up to an overly bright room as sunshine and warmth poured in from the opened windows. She could hear loud voices coming from downstairs. Jeremy obviously had some visitors and she curiously wondered who they might be as she let out a long yawn. Then there were several footsteps rapidly coming up the wooden staircase. When her father stormed into the room seconds later, followed by Jeremy and her mother, Sophia instantly knew who Jeremy's visitors had been. A lump formed in her throat as she seen the furious look in her father's eyes. Uh oh. "We have a very serious situation here Sophia!" Louis shouted. His face was a deep shade of red and a large purple-ish vein over his left temple stood out dramatically in his semi-wrinkled skin. She could literally see that his heart was racing wildly from the vein as it thumped in tune to his heartbeat. Jeremy stood behind him next to her mother and they both had very different looks upon their faces. Jeremy looked frightened, and her mother stood there looking positively glacial. This was not good at all. Last night, Sophia had a feeling that this moment was coming. She had just wished she was at least dressed when it did happen. "Do you know what the hell you have done young lady?" her father shouted out, "The authorities showed up at my doorstep looking for you. They want to arrest you for assault and battery on Angelique Milton! Added to that, let's not forget to mention the fact that you were here all night, and now I find you in Jeremy's bed of all places? I cannot believe you!" Sophia drew in a quivering breath as she tried to process what her father had just said. Angelique Milton is accusing her of assault? Hare dare she! Sophia sat there speechless. "You need to get dressed right now young lady. We all have to go down to the town hall and discuss this matter with the police. I already sent a messenger to have my lawyer meet us there. Once this matter has been straightened out, I demand that you and Jeremy get married at once!" Louis grabbed Jeremy roughly by the arm and pulled him out of the room with him, then slammed the bedroom door shut leaving Sophia in there alone with her mother who looked downright furious. "Get dressed this instant!" Lucinda said stonily. Sophia climbed out of Jeremy's bed and as she straightened up, she felt a searing pain from her incision site that caused her to almost collapse. Tears instantly streamed down her face as she braced herself against the side of the bed. Lucinda's demeanor changed when she saw the pain Sophia was in. "What is wrong?" her mother cried out as she walked quickly to Sophia's side. "My incision. Pain." Sophia croaked out, "Please, g-get Jeremy. I need a dose of laudanum a-and some of t-that salve he made for me. He'll know what to do." Lucinda hurried over to the door and opened it, and Sophia could hear her father still yelling downstairs. "Jeremy!" Lucinda called loudly, "Come up here at once! Louis, you stay down there and I mean it!" In a matter seconds, Jeremy was standing before Lucinda near the doorway. "Sophia is in quite some pain. She needs laudanum and whatever salve it is that you made her for. Quickly! We don't have any time to waste here!" He moved past Lucinda and walked over to the dresser, grabbing his medical bag. He opened it at once and measured out the laudanum into the dropper, then handed it to Sophia. As she gave herself the medicine, he was busy getting the small jar of the salve out of the bag. Sophia reached over to the tray on the nightstand next to the bed and drank some of the water that was in the cup. As Lucinda stood there and watched, Sophia felt quite embarrassed as she lifted up her chemise just far enough to expose the inflamed scar. This was the first time Lucinda had seen the result of Sophia's surgery and she felt a pang of sorrow for what her daughter had gone through and endured over the last couple of weeks. She also took notice of the bruising that was dotted in various parts of Sophia's abdomen. Jeremy gently rubbed the creamy salve over the long scar. "It will need to dry before she can finish getting dressed." he said to Lucinda. She nodded her head, "That is fine. You can leave the room now. Thank you." Jeremy gave a quick look of remorse over at Sophia as he left the room, closing the door behind him. 

"Why is there bruising there?" Lucinda asked Sophia almost frantically. Her countenance became less stony and took on a look of genuine concern and surprise over seeing how awful her daughter's injury was. Sophia looked down. She hadn't realized the bruising was that bad and let out a small gasp of surprise. "Mother, Angelique Milton was the one who did this to me when she assaulted me yesterday. Not only did she push me to the ground, but she proceeded to kick me a few times in that area. She was fully aware that I had recently had surgery, and she did that with intent and malice. She was a raving lunatic when everything happened!" Lucinda became even angrier upon hearing her daughter's declaration. "Tell me what happened. From the beginning." Sophia carefully sat down on the bed, so as to not to let her chemise touch the salve. "I went to the clinic to see Jeremy yesterday after I left Rachel's house. I felt it was time to have a discussion with him over everything that had taken place on our wedding day. When I got there, the waiting room was empty. I remember ringing the bell on the reception desk and Angelique was the one who came out. As soon as she saw me, I could tell that she wasn't happy that I had come there. I asked to see Jeremy. She told me he wasn't there, but I had a strong hunch that he was, so I shouldered my way past her and hurried down the hall towards his office. She followed after me saying he wasn't there. I was able to knock on his door before she grabbed a hold of me. I began to trip on my dress and she then pushed me to the floor. I landed on my stomach." Sophia stopped to concentrate on what happened next, as everything had happened so quickly. "Jeremy had come out of his office and I think it was at that point when she kicked me a few times in the abdomen while I was still lying on the floor after she had pushed me. Jeremy witnessed everything, so he can back up my story. I think I stood up at that point and her and I began to yell at one another. I also remember that at one point when I was on the ground, she had started slapping at my head. Jeremy grabbed her and tried yanking her off of me but she grabbed onto my hair and pulled some of it out as he got her away from me. He had her over his shoulders to physically remove her from the building. She was still screaming at me while he was carrying her down the hallway, so I ran after them and punched her in the face a couple of times. It all happened so fast. She was acting like a lunatic Mother! I only defended myself and perhaps should not have done what I did to her like that. I cannot even accurately describe how awful it all was. I have never seen anyone act so crazy like that before, nor assault me the way that she did. I remember going into Jeremy's office after that and I was in a tremendous amount of pain. When he came back in the room, I was vomiting in his garbage receptacle. He gave me some laudanum, but it was double what I had been given while I was in the hospital recuperating from my surgery. I woke up in the middle of the night and found myself here." Sophia didn't think it was wise to mention the part of the story where her and Jeremy had intimate relations. Lucinda narrowed her silver eyes, "Where did Jeremy sleep or should I not bother to ask?" Sophia was able to reply honestly by saying, "In the next bedroom. You can even check it to see for yourself." Lucinda narrowed her eyes and shook her head, "Well, we need to get over to the authorities straight away. She reported you this morning for assault on her. Your father and his lawyer will handle the situation. As soon as they hear both your and Jeremy's version of the incident, I am confident your name will be cleared. I am appalled to hear of this! I am sorry you had to go through it. Hopefully your reputation will not be torn to shreds when this is all said and done. Let's get you dressed. We cannot waste anymore time!"

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     Dr. Milton, Angelique, and their lawyer had tried to have Sophia detained and arrested, but the sheriff and judge denied their claim after taking everyone's statements, and assessing the physical evidence from all the involved parties. That included a rather embarrassing moment when Sophia was forced to show them the bruising on her abdomen. Jeremy's testimony had the most dramatic impact upon the situation as he told the judge about Angelique's recent history of faking a pregnancy which ruined his and Sophia's wedding, and then how she had physically and verbally assaulted Sophia yesterday. The whole process took up most of the day, but justice had prevailed. Angelique was the one who had been detained, and the lawyer representing Sophia requested a formal restraining order to be filed so that Angelique was not allowed within one thousand feet of Sophia at all times, nor was she allowed to step one foot on the Lancaster's property. After Angelique was taken into custody by the sheriff's deputy, Dr. Milton had become furious and attempted to fire Jeremy. Additionally, he requested that his lawyer legally dissolve Jeremy's half of the partnership in the medical clinic they jointly owned. The Lancaster's lawyer was able to protect Jeremy from either of those things happening. Legally, Dr. Milton wasn't allowed to fire nor dissolve Jeremy's investment into the clinic because they were equal partners. Dr. Milton had been given two options: either he could buy out Jeremy's half of the business, or he could sell his half of it to Jeremy. Dr. Milton agreed to buy out Jeremy's half and a formal bill of sale was drafted. Jeremy was then given a check for five thousand dollars. Louis Lancaster then instructed Jeremy that he was to ride in their carriage with them back to the house. They now had some personal matters to settle amongst themselves in private.

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     It was early in the evening by the time they got there. Sophia was in quite a bit of pain, so Jeremy gave her a small dose of laudanum and the jar of salve for her to apply herself. As she was upstairs in her bedroom doing just that, Louis requested that Jeremy go with him into the drawing room for a drink. Lucinda went to the kitchen to make sure Nellie would be serving dinner as soon as possible. After Louis handed Jeremy a small glass of whiskey, he gestured for him to have a seat, and Jeremy sat down feeling a certain degree of trepidation and fear. At first, the room remained silent as the two men sipped their drinks. But it didn't take much longer before Louis spoke up, "You've been like a son to me ever since you started courting Sophia." Jeremy looked Louis directly in the eyes as he listened to what was being said to him. "I've trusted you implicitly, and you have done nothing to dissuade that trust. When that whole fiasco happened the day you were to marry Sophia, I maintained that level of trust and belief in you. Only until yesterday have I questioned that trust. Now, I have heard explanations from both you and Sophia over what occurred in your home last night. In any case, no matter what, I have to make demands that you marry her. For her reputation's sake, the sooner the better. She was in your home, over night, and I cannot have her reputation ruined because of that. It will already be in question over the events that happened with Angelique Milton and now there is some question to what may or may not have happened between the two of you last night. Do you understand where I am coming from son?" Jeremy continued to look into Louis's eyes without wavering, "Sir, I agree that you are right and I would be honored to make Sophia my wife. That is all I have ever wanted all along. I must apologize to you for my lack in judgement though. It was never my intention to have her reputation questioned because of any impropriety on my part." Louis nodded his head thoughtfully, "Good, then we understand one another." Lucinda entered the room with a pasted on smile, "Dinner is ready. Let's proceed to the dining room. I will go upstairs and get Sophia."

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     Sophia was delighting in the apple pie that Nellie had made for dessert. As usual, the meal was delicious. After such a trying and exhausting day, in combination with the laudanum she had taken an hour ago, she felt positively wiped of energy. Dinner had been a somewhat quiet affair with very minimal polite conversation taking place. It was evident that she had not been the only one who was so utterly tired. Just as she finished her last bite of the pie, her father cleared his throat to garner everyone's attention. Sophia felt an instant wave a dread overcome her body. "Sophia," Louis began in a somber voice, "I will be procuring a special license tomorrow morning for you and Jeremy to be wed post haste." Her eyes widened in surprise and she looked over at Jeremy who smiled lovingly at her. She took the cloth napkin that sat across her lap, stood up, and threw the napkin down at the table. Looking at her father with stormy eyes she cried out, "You cannot possibly be serious!" Louis took on a stern look and narrowed his own eyes, "You will sit down this instant!" Sophia looked over at her mother, but Lucinda refused to meet her gaze. Sophia sat down. "As I said before, and I will not be repeating myself, you are to marry Jeremy. Tomorrow!" Louis said through gritted teeth. "Father, I heard you the first time. But you cannot possibly force me to marry Jeremy. I appreciate all you have done for us today, truly, but just because I was at his house over night yesterday evening doesn't mean we have to get married! You heard why I was there. Surely you must see reason here? No one but us knows where I was last night." Sophia declared. "That is not true." Lucinda said speaking up finally, "The sheriff, judge, the lawyers, and the Milton's are all aware of where you were at last night. They all heard both yours and Jeremy's statements which are now public record. God only knows who else knows by now. This is a small town Sophia, and gossip travels quickly here. You know that. There is only one alternative and that is for you two to marry as quickly as possible before you are ruined completely." Sophia sat there shaking her head. No, this could not be happening right now! She couldn't marry Jeremy! She still needed to find Travis! "Sophia, sweetheart, we will have such a good life together. This is all a blessing in disguise." Jeremy said lovingly. She looked up at him and a small part of her hated him in that moment. Love be damned! "What about what want?" she cried out, "I didn't ask to be at your home last night! You know full well that I asked you to get me home when that laudanum was getting to me. Instead of doing what I asked you to do, you did just the opposite! Against my knowledge and expressed wishes Jeremy! Why am I now being punished for what you have done?" "Young lady!" Louis muttered, "This is not a punishment. It's a reality. One that you must accept regardless of what your wishes may be!" 

     Sophia stood up and ran to her room, slamming her door shut once she was up there, then locking it behind her. This was not fair! How could things in her life have gotten so out of control? She was supposed to find Travis and begin a life with him, not Jeremy! Oh hells fire! She angrily peeled off the clothing she had been wearing since yesterday morning and threw them to the floor. She put on a soft cotton nightgown and went over to her vanity table where she sat down to brush out her hair, all the while trying to think of how she could possibly avoid getting married to Jeremy tomorrow. Short of running away, there was nothing that came to mind. As she plaited her hair into a tight braid, the idea of running away actually seemed like it could be a good plan. She still had eighteen dollars leftover from the fifty her father had given to her just before her surgery, but would it be enough to run away with? No, that was not enough. She could buy a ticket and take a train down to Dallas, but she would then have to stay in a hotel until she could manage to get Travis to court her. If he even existed. If he did, what if he didn't desire her? But if he did have an attraction to her, and they fell in love, how long would it take for that to happen? No, eighteen dollars would not be nearly enough money for her to get by on. Oh what an impossible mess this all was! She used a ribbon to secure the end of the braid and went over to her bed to lay down in it. Damn it all to hell! Drowsiness was taking over her exhausted body and she tried to resist it's alluring charms so that she could figure out a plan. Her whole future was dependent upon it! Perhaps she could persuade Rachel to give her some money? A smile formed as her eyes fluttered shut. As she drifted off to sleep, she had decided that she would pay a visit on Rachel as early as possible tomorrow morning. Surely Rachel would help her out...

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  (This is the end of the chapter. Please submit your vote and comments.)  

     

 

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