Head of the Household

Victoria is the head of a household on a homestead in the midwest, in a time before modern conveniences, She is responsible for her 16 siblings and father after her mother passed. Now that she is 18 she will be choosing a husband and just when she thinks everything can just be normal; He comes back into her life and makes her feel everything she thought she never could feel again.

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3. Three

After I have prepared dinner and getting everything set so I don’t have to rush home I grab the quilts off my bed and some offerings for mothers and walk out to the barn. I place the quilts in my saddlebag for my horse and grab my saddle. I call for Kick who is my Brown coated stubborn Mare. I named her Kick because when I went to pick out my horse she kicked me and broke three of my ribs, that was the deciding factor I bought her with 3 dresses, 3 quilts, and a pair of shoes. When I started running the household it became clear that I needed to get from one place to another much faster so I needed her. My father never said much about it but I knew he was a little proud because he couldn’t hid the smirk he had for a week when I got her home and wrapped my ribs.

            Once I am on my way I start to think about what homes to visit. There wasn’t anyone I was overly interested in in my class so I didn’t keep in touch when I left, now trying to go back and think who I would want to marry and who may already be married makes me nervous like I haven’t been in years. There was a guy Leo, Trish the trading post owner brother, he was always nice to me, he only lives a few miles from the trading post. I brought jars of jam and a few loaves of bread for the visits hopefully that is enough.

            When I get to the trading post I pull both quilts out, striating my purple dress, remembering to ask about fabric for more dresses for the family. I walk in with my head had high and make my way to where jars are if they have any. When I round the corner I almost tear up when I see there are 4 cases of jars with the lids. With 12 in each 48 jars total, more jars than I could even hope for. I grab 2 cases and make my way to the counter to Hagel with Trish.

            The gal that turns around shocks me because no only is it no Trish but the girls belly is just starting to swell, she has to be a few months into her pregnancy. The women is not really a women its Miriam a girl that was in my class at school. She turned 19 just after we finished school she had been sick when we were younger so she had missed almost a year of classes. The teachers moved her to our classes and she finished school with my class.

            “Miriam, how have you been? Congratulations!”

            “Victoria! Thank you, I’ve been good, obviously.”

            “when are you due?” I ask hoping that’s not to forward but I think about gifts and I may need to be kind to her depending on who she ended up marrying.

            “In the spring maybe may. It was a little bit of a surprise Leo and I had only been married for a month when I got pregnant.”

            “Wow what luck, I didn’t know you and Leo had gotten married.” I try to hid the disappointment in my voice knowing I have no one else in mind to visit today and if I come home with no progress my father might be disappointed.

            “Yeah I had come into the post a few times after class finished, he was helping Trish a few days and we just got to talking.”

            “well congratulations again I am happy for you.”

            “Thank you, what can I do for you today? Do you just need the two caes of jars?”

            “actually I would like all four? I only hae the two quilts but I have another I am finishing up at home.” I hope that’s enough and the dress material will just have to wait another few months. “ I can finish it up in the next week and have it here for more payment.”

            “I have a question for you.”

            “Alright?” I worry I’m not going to like the question but if it gets me those jars I’m willing to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions.

            “is the quilt at home just like this one?” she points at the quilt with stars embroidered all over with a shimmery thread. “and a follow up question are  you courting anyone?”

            I take a second to think before answering, “ I have another quilt similar to this one in shades of blue, and no I am planning to go on some visits today but they will be my first.”

            “ok will I have a deal for you all four cases for this quilt and the blue one for my baby.”

            “not this one?” I say a bit confused I have a patchwork quilt with shades of pink orange and cream it is one of my better quilts im quite proud of. Now I’m thinking I should have left it at home and brought the green simple one that would have sold for sure.

            “Well I would take the 2 quilts as plenty of payment but I know Shayne, Leo’s youngest brother is looking for someone to court and there sister Trish just had a baby girl. She would love this quilt far more than any food offering.” She winks at me letting me know that she just helped me in a way not everyone gets. I smile at this knowing if I get Trish’s approval as well as Miriam’s that’s two votes in my favor and that is not a bad thing.

            “ sounds good, my brothers will be stopping into the store tomorrow for supplies and I will finish the other quilt tonight. I can send it with them tomorrow as payment.”

            “that is perfect Victoria, I can wrap some of the cases and sent them with the boys tomorrow.”

            “thank you, will I will grab this and head over to the house.”

I walk out to Kick and pack the quilt back up. I had no idea Miriam and Leo had gotten married let alone are starting their family. I need to get better at keeping in contact with Miriam. I make my way a few miles down the road to the house. I remember I use to go to this house before mama died, it was a true childhood memory. Trish is the oldest then Leo then Shayne and finally has a girl Judy who is in Marie’s classes.

            I make my way to the door with my offerings; I knock on the door and hold my berth a bit.

            Trish opens the door with a new baby cradled in her arms; she has a bit of a shocked look on her face when she sees me at the door. I don’t know if she was waiting for someone or if I am just a complete shock showing up on her doorstep.  

“ Victoria, wow look at you hello, what can I do for you?”

“Hello, I was just hoping for a visit I brought a few things for you all.”

“Of Corse com in.”

We make our ways to the table I set the jam and bread on the table but hold the quilt in  my lap until I’m ready to talk about the hard stuff. I wait for Trish to get settled into the chair across from me.

            “So I was hoping to talk about a possible courtship with Shayne?” The words fall out of my mouth quickly giving away just how nervous I am.

“oh well I guess I’m not surprised there has been a few girls over. I suppose before winter hits everyone wants to have an idea of who to spend extra time.”

“That make sense, so you’ve had a lot of girls over?”

“Yeah we have almost as many asking about Leo, Most don’t know about him and Miriam.”

“yeah I was a little surprised when I saw her today. She’s expecting and everything and she look beautiful. I never really knew what they meant when people talk about the glow, but she has it.”

“She really does, her and Leo just clicked.”

“I see something that she’s keeping to herself but I don’t push it.”

Trish looks at me like she is formulating questions and opinions.

“So How many visits is this?”

“this is my first and to be honest my only. I plan on until winter, I just don’t have time to run around to all these families and beg for a relationship I don’t believe will end in a mirage and family.”

“Really you’re the oldest girl and already have been running a house hold for 5 years as well as being incredibly beautiful.” She almost spits the last bit out about my looks out like they stung her mouth to say.

“No I really didn’t make many friends I really only bonded with Mariam and your two brothers.”

“I see…” She trails off I know this is the point I need to flee, this has gone down hill fast and I will probably die alone.

“Well, thank you for the time I will let you get back to dinner. I need to get home and finish payment for your sister in law, she drives a hard barging.”

“She does but she keeps that store in better order than I ever could and with mama its better.”

“yes, this reminds me.” I hand her the quilt, which she unwraps, with one hand using the table to roll the wiping off.

She takes in a quick breath and stops her face softens just a bit.

“Victoria this is beautiful, I have never seen a quilt so detailed and the colors…”

“Thank you, I was going to trade it but your new sister felt you and  your new peanut would like it more.”

“Thank you I really do.” Trish keeps running her hand over the stitching almost like if she takes her hand away it might vanish.

“I appreciate you seeing me and hope that when courting comes up with Shane you will mention me.”

I walk back out to kick and un-lady like climb on my hoarse and head for home. I think about what I need to finish the quilt and pack it up for Miriam. I need to remember to tell one of the boys they are picking up 4 cases of jars for me.

When kick and I finaly make it home its dark, I put Kick in the barn and make sure to fill the food and water before I leave.

            When I shut the barn door I just take a moment and look up. I just start at the stars and wonder if I will ever find a husband, find a family, be happy or feel more to my life than endless work with my family. I wont If anyone can love the strange fire haired girl?

            That’s when I hear something in the woods about 100 yards from the barn. When I see him I just freeze it has been 10 years since I last saw him I never though he would be back. Then I blinked and he was gone. I blink a few more times hoping to see him again but its to late he’s gone as fast as he came into sight. My heart feels like it has finally been placed back into my chest, after 5 years I feel as if there is hope. I turn back to the door, and walk back into my real life leaving hope at the door.

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