Falling In Love With Her Husband

An Unusual Proposal
“Will you
marry me and take me with you to North
?” I blurted the words out so fast my head was spinning.
Dakota
I anxiously waved the fan as I waited for his response. I
couldn t bring myself to drink the punch, so I just held it, hoping
I wouldn t spill it since my hand was beginning to shake.
“I
His head shot up and he looked at me, shocked.
must be dreaming,” he
whispered.
I sat still, not daring to speak another word. I figured
since he loved me, he would agree to my request. However,
his response surprised me.
“I don t think it s a good idea. As much as I would love
to take you with me, you would be doing it for the wrong
reason.”
“You l
well.”
ove me. You will treat me
“But you will be doing this to get away from Kent and
Rebecca. It wouldn t be right.”
Panic flashed through me. “Why couldn t I learn to love
you
? Just because you ve loved me first
, it
doesn t mean I
won t come around to loving
you.”
“You love Kent.”
“Now. But that can change.” Couldn t it? Was I
destined to love Kent for the rest of my life?
***

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter One
Ann’s Point of View
Growing up in a wealthy family in Virginia wasn t
always easy. I should have been grateful for all the
comforts I possessed, but there was a thought in the back of
was missing. I didn t know what
my mind that something
that something could possibly be nor did it occur to me to
seek it out. I simply went about my life in the routine that all
young ladies were expected to follow.
All of my dresses were modestly cut. They started at
my neck and stopped at my ankles. They had puffy sleeves
and swirling skirts. I especially liked pinks and purples,
though blues and greens were close behind as far as my
favorite colors were concerned. I thought the pinks and
purples went better with my light brown eyes. I liked the
flowery decorations that the seamstress would sew into the
expensive fabric. The dresses were meant for show and
entertaining. There was nothing practical about them, and I
had to wear a corset and seven or eight petticoats with
them.
1

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I spent most of my free time talking to my friends.
Agnes Brothers was my closest friend, though she was a
year younger than me. She was a lot of fun to be around
with her good heart
. If she ever had a bad day, I didn t know
about it. She could talk for hours without taking a breath,
which I didn t mind because she had a way of telling stories
that caught everyone
s
attention.
Since our parents were good friends, I got to see her
a lot. More often than not, we would go to the
Brothers
house. The Brothers had seven children. The oldest, Todd,
was the only boy. He was my age, so I had many classes in
school with him. I didn t know him very well because he
spent so much time with Creepy Alex Dawson.
Sometimes, Alex would go to the dinners, though his
parents opted to stay at their home, probably to get away
from him. He was a terror with his insistent need to pull
pranks on people. But once in awhile, Todd s other friends,
Jack or Simon would be there, and they were decent boys
who I considered a good influence on him. It was difficult to
separate Creepy Alex from Todd, though Todd was always
nicer to the girls than Alex was. I figured since Todd had
sisters, he was automatically more respectful toward girls.
One Sunday after church in the middle of
September, my parents accepted an invitation from the
Brothers to attend lunch at their house. Unfortunately,
Creepy Alex was there too.
I had just turned seventeen, and I was beginning to
feel the pressure to start courting so I could get married
when I finished my last year of school. I contemplated my
newfound pressure while I ate the steak and mashed
potatoes on my plate. My mother sat to my left while my
father sat to my right. We sat near Mr. Brothers who sat at
the head of the table. Across from me were Agnes and
Abigail who were the girls closest to my age. Agnes was
just about to turn sixteen. Abigail was fourteen. Lucy was
twelve and sat next to Todd who sat next to Alex. Then Mrs.
2

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Brothers headed the other side of the table. Across from
Alex, Todd and Lucy were ten year old Miranda, seven year
old Colleen, and four year old Judy. That meant I was far
from Alex. Thank goodness for that!
“H
?” my father asked Mr. Brothers.
ow is your job
“Good. Business is doing better than ever,” Mr.
Brothers replied. “Todd will be starting out in the loan
processing department in October. We re proud of him.”
“He is turning into a fine young man,” he agreed.
“I m sure he will do well.”
Agnes pretended to yawn.
I giggled. She thought these conversations were just
as boring as I did. I crossed my eyes.
She suppressed her own laughter.
“Ann, remember your manners,” my mother
whispered. “You are not a child anymore. You must act like
a young lady. No man wants to marry a woman who acts
rudely at the dinner table
.”
Her words sobered my mood. Marriage. It was the
big expectation that hovered over me like an impending
storm. I did want to marry, but I didn t know anyone I
could
get excited about. As Mr. Brothers talked about his other
children, my mind wandered to what my future was going to
be like. Dinner parties, social luncheons, and dances. That
wasn t so bad but the pressure to find a husband was
overwhelming at times. Sometimes I couldn t decide which
was worse, marrying
a man who wouldn t treat me as well
as my father treated my mother or being confined to doing
what others expected me to do. I felt guilty for complaining
about my life. I had it a lot better than other young ladies
who weren t fortunate enough to be ad
opted by such loving
people.
A shriek from Colleen interrupted my thoughts.
My eyes narrowed at Creepy Alex who was trying
not to laugh. I glanced at Colleen and saw what had caused
her distress. He had slipped a bug in her soup.
3

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Alex, I thought we discussed this,” Mrs. Brothers
admonished. She didn t seem as upset as I felt. In fact, I
thought she was hiding her smile. “You can t do this at the
table. Pranks and meals do not mix.”
I rolled my eyes in disgust. Was I the only person
who found his actions incredibly annoying?
“Relax, Ann. Mrs. Brothers is taking care of it,” my
mother whispered.
“I didn t say anything,” I whispered back.
“Your expression speaks volumes, dear.” She patted
my hand sympathetically. “Men will notice such things.”
“I have no one to impress in this room, so I should be
allowed to show my displeasure.”
“Todd is here.”
“So?”
Thankfully, everyone was so busy laughing over
Alex s prank that they didn t notice my conversation with my
mother.
After the lunch, I joined Agnes and her sisters in the
parlor where a servant watched us to make sure we didn t
break anything valuable. Ever since Alex nailed the rug to
the floor, he was banned from the room, so I knew I was
safe from him. At least, I was for the moment.
Whil
e Agnes sisters played a board game on the
floor, I turned to Agnes who sat next to me on the couch.
“Do you ever feel trapped?” I asked her.
“How do you mean?”
I sighed. “I don t know exactly. I just keep thinking
there s more to life than entertain
ing guests and getting
married. There should be something adventurous out
there.”
“I think we have plenty adventure
s whenever Alex is
around.”
I gagged. “That s not the good kind of adventure.”
“It s better than being bored all the time.”
“Why don t his pranks bother you?”
4

Falling In Love With Her Husband
She shrugged. “Maybe it s because he s Todd s
friend. I m used to se
eing him pull something on me and my
sisters.”
“Is Todd ever behind any of it?”
“I don t think so. Whenever it s just Todd, things are
dull. He used to try to get us riled up but our parents put a
stop to that early on, so now he just hangs out by himself or
rides his horse unless Alex is around.”
“I suspected as much. I noticed the same thing,
though he has been hanging around us lately. Don t you
at s strange?”
think th
“He asks about your school work because you share
many classes together. He usually leaves after that.”
“True.” I had suspected there was more to it than
that, but Agnes was probably right.
“Why are you feeling so melanchol

y?
“Can you keep a secret?”
Her eyes lit up. “For you? Of course, I can!”
I chuckled. She had a tough time holding back
gossip for anyone but me. “My parents are making offers to
other parents to attract suitors. They re offering a pretty
good sum of money in my dowry. They announced this
when I was a child but it s beginning to get attention now
that I m seventeen.”
“How much are they offering?”
I told her.
“That s a lot of money.”
“I m also their only child, so I suppose it s easier for
them to make that
deal. I almost feel like I m being put on
display for the whole world to see. A thirty year old and
forty-five year old stopped by to greet me yesterday. Then
Jack s parents visited with my parents
about an
arrangement. Thank goodness my parents insist that I
make the choice.”
“Yuck. I can see why you re disheartened. If it
makes you feel any better, not everyone knows about your
5

Falling In Love With Her Husband
dowry. Todd doesn t. I assume my parents know but they
haven t spoken a word about it. My father is more interested
in Todd working at the bank than if he gets married. Todd
turns eighteen in April, and you would think if anyone is
feeling pressured, it would be him. But the rules are
different for men. They can be forty and a bachelor and no
one cares. It isn t like that for us.”
“What will you do?”
“I don t come with a big
dowry like you, so I suspect
it ll be easier for me. I m looking forward to being courted.”
“Just make sure you stay in public where at least one
person can see you and the young man together at all
times. It s one of my rules. Ginny always makes sure I m
safe.”
“Don t you trust any of the men in this town?”
“Your brother is the only one, but that s because
we ve known each other all of our lives and I ve seen how
he is, even on his worst da
ys.”
“He s a good person. Very stable, patient and loyal.
He s kind of boring.”
Lucy and Abigail jumped up and screamed as a
couple bugs fell into their hair. Since they were sitting by
the slightly opened parlor doors, they were the logical choice
fo
r Creepy Alex s next prank. I sourly noted the sound of
footsteps as he ran off. He was probably looking for Todd
so he could blame it on him, which only proved how much of
a friend Alex really was.
“Get him!” I demanded as I stood up.
“Ewe! Get the bugs off of me,” they whined.
The other girls ran to help them.
I stared at them in disbelief. Were none of them
going to get even with him? I stormed out of the room. I
would make it so that he didn t mess with them anymore, at
least when I was around. I saw the closet door by the room
and opened it. My eyes lit up when I saw the broom. It was
6

Falling In Love With Her Husband
time to show Alex he couldn t engage in such rude behavior.
I raced down the hall until I found him hiding in Todd s room.
“This has to stop!” I ordered an
d started hitting him
with the broom.
Todd burst out laughing.
“I didn t do it. Todd did,” Alex protested, holding his
hands over his head. “He wanted to see if you d do
anything.”
“Oh right. Like I believe that,” I retorted. “Everyone
knows you re
the instigator. Leave my friends alone you
creepy boy!” I continued my assault on him until someone
grabbed me around the waist and pulled me out of the room.
“Ann Clara Statesman, stop this right now!” my father
ordered as he held me up in the air.
My mother looked flustered as she pried the broom
“What s come over you?”
out of my hands.
“Alex Dawson won t le
ave my friends alone. He
needs
to be taught a lesson.”
“It wasn t me,” Alex argued but no one believed him.
Todd couldn t stop laughing.
“You
creepy boy!” I yelled. “You better not go near
any of my friends ever again.”
“That s enough, Ann.” My father set me down and
gave me one of his stern looks that immediately quieted me
down.
“Apologize to Mr. Dawson.”
“But he threw bugs in Abigail and
Lucy s hair.”
“I don t care. Apologize or you won t be able to
attend Agnes birthday party.”
I crossed my arms. “Sorry,” I muttered, not looking
at Alex.
“Look at him and tell him nicely.”
I sighed and faced the little rat. “I m sorry, Alex.”
“You can go to the party, but you won t receive any
guests for a month.”
7

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Really?” My face lit up. No suitors for a whole
month?
He frowned. “I don t know why but I think I just gave
you a reward.”
“It will be nice to have a break from all the men
coming
over,” I admitted.
His expression softened. “Perhaps your mother and
I have been somewhat pushy. I can see your point. But you
won t be able to receive female visitors either.”
“It s worth it, though I will miss Agnes.”
“Alright. Go with your mother to the buggy. I ll say
goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Brothers.”
Once my mother and I were in the horse-drawn
d. “My dear, you know
buggy, she shook her hea
I love you,
but you ll never
find a good man with the way you act in
public.”
There it was again. The whole marriage discussion.
I decided to keep quiet.
After a few tense moments, my father joined us and
sat next to my mother.
George, one of the three servants in our household,
clicked the reins on the horses so we could head home.
“Please help me
this, Dan.” She turned to my
with
father. “We want her to be treated well by her future
husband. If she keeps acting unladylike, who can she
possibly attract without the help of her dowry?”
He paused for a moment as he considered her
question. “She may
be attracting the right kind of attention
and we aren t aware of it. Did you see the look on Todd s
face? He actually seemed to be impressed with her.”
I blanched. Todd? Sure, he was okay looking. He
had a slender frame with broad shoulders. His dark blond
hair turned lighter in the summer when the sun hit it. He did
have nice blue eyes and an infectious smile. But he was
Agnes brother.
8

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Fortunately, they did not press the issue. We rode
the rest of the way in silence. I was so relieved to be away
from Alex, I didn t mind missing the rest of the afternoon with
Agnes.
9

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Two
Todd’s Point of View
I still remember the day I realized I loved Ann. My
parents took the whole family to her house to celebrate her
sixteenth birthday. Since I wasn t allowed to bring Alex
along, I figured it was going to be boring with no one but our
parents and my sisters there. I would have brought another
one of my friends had they been able to come along, but
they were busy. When we got to her house, I sat in the
parlor, bored out of my mind, while the girls all giggled and
talked about stuff only girls would be interested in. I tuned
these topics out fairly well.
As I was staring out the window, Ann walked up to
e. “Would you like to play
m
the new game my parents
bought me for my birthday?”
Anything to get away from the mindless chatter
appealed to me, so I nodded and followed her to her
bedroom. Ginny, one of the servants in her household, was
with us, so there was no way anyone would think we were
doing anything improper. Her bedroom was a typical girly
10

Falling In Love With Her Husband
bedroom but somehow, it didn t seem so bad compared to
what my sisters bedrooms were like.
deck of cards. “T
She handed me a
he game is
called Solitaire. Are you familiar with it?”
I shook my head.
“It s a game you can play by yourself.” She shuffled
the deck and set seven cards out in a row on her desk. I
watched as she continued to set the cards out. Some were
faced up and some were faced down. As she did this, she
explained, “Since I m an only child, I don t receive games
that are for two or more players. This card game is fun and
can be tricky. If you make a mistake, you have to hope
you ll get to use the necessary card again.”
“Why are you doing this for me?” I had to ask it.
Usually, she didn t notice me.
She smiled at me.
I blinked. Since when did she look pretty?
She handed me the rest of the cards.
“It can t be fun
for you to sit in the parlor and listen to us talk about clothes
and jewelry. I know our parents are close and wanted to
spend the day together, but it s hardly any fun for a boy to
be surrounded by girls. Also, I was the one who insisted
that Creepy Alex wasn t allowed to come. I m sorry, Todd,
but I just can t stand him. He thinks his pranks are funny but
I don t.”
I shrugged.
“I guess he s not for everyone.”
“I had hoped that maybe one of your other friends
would be able to come. Simon and Jeff are actually nice.
It s
too bad
that didn t work out. So
I thought if you could
play an interesting game away from the rest of us, it would
.”
help pass the time
“Thank you.”
She spent the next five minutes teaching me the
rules of the game, and I was intrigued by it.
“I will
let our parents know that I invited you back
here so they won t bother
until it s time to eat,” she said.
you
11

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Would you like me to stay here, Miss Ann?” Ginny
asked her.
Ann looked at me for a moment before turning back
to the servant. “No. I trust him.”
That was when I fell in love with her. From that
moment on, I sought her out whenever she was around. I
found that I was able to have a good conversation with her
as long as we were alone, with a servant quietly watching.
Being wealthy with servants following us all over the place,
we grew up used to it. But the times when I could talk to her
without one of my sisters, our parents or a friend with us
was rare. Most of the time, I had to listen to her and Agnes
talk. I stayed as long as I could tolerate the conversation.
On several occasions, I attempted to change the topic, but
Agnes dominated the room so I gave up and left. As much
as I loved to sit and look at Ann, I could only handle so
much female talk.
I spent hours staring at her picture. It was the only
one I had of her. It was taken on her sixteenth birthday.
She gave Agnes a copy. I wanted to ask for one too but
was suddenly too nervous around her, so I offered to buy
Agnes copy.
“Ann s my dearest
friend,” she said. “If I
sell this, it ll
be like I m selling my friendship. I can t do that.”
I didn t hide my disappointment. “It s just one
picture. Y
ou have others of her.”
“True but this is her most recent one.” She paused
and gave me a careful look. “Do you love her?”
I shook my head. “Of course not.” Like I would ever
admit such a thing to my sister!
She didn t seem convinced. To her credit, she didn t
give me a hard time about it. “I ll tell you what. I ll ask her
for another picture.”
“You re not going to tell her why, are you?”
“I should. It might be the first step to her becoming
my sister by marriage.”
12

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I just want her picture. I don t want to marry her.” At
sixteen, I wasn t thinking that far off into the future.
“I ll get the picture and I won t tell
her why.”
As soon as I got the picture, I framed it so it would
stay in good condition. As the year passed, I often gazed
upon it and recalled the day she taught me Solitaire.
It was easy to admire her dark hair, fair complexion,
ass figure. I couldn t think of a single
brown eyes, and hourgl
thing that was wrong with her. Well, that wasn t entirely
true. She did have
one flaw. She didn t love me.
***
My last attempt to get Ann s interest came in October
when we were seventeen. She came down with a fever and
was unable to attend school, so I volunteered to take her
homework to her. This was my chance to talk to her without
Agnes being around.
Monday through Thursday, I visited with her in her
bedroom. Ginny stayed in her room while I discussed the
class lessons for the day and recorded her answers to the
questions on our homework. Even when she was sick in
bed, she was beautiful. Her disheveled hair and runny nose
did little to discourage me. It was nice to see her without her
jewelry, fancy dresses and hats on. We mostly made small
talk, and I thought she was beginning to enjoy my company.
I know the more I learned about her, the more I loved her.
She wasn t sure what she want
ed to do after we finished
school in May.
“I suppose it will be
time to get serious about looking
because I have to,” she said thoughtfully. “
for a husband
I
hate to say it but sometimes being wealthy
isn t much fun.
You have to do what others expect you to do. For once, I
would like to do something that isn t proper.” She glanced at
Ginny and smiled. “I often tell Ginny that one of these days,
13

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I m going to let my hair down and go outside without a hat or
parasol.”
a
I grinned. “I wouldn t mind seeing that.”
“Oh, I know it
isn t a
big thing as far as the rules g
o.”
“Who says you have to do something drastic?
Sometimes just doing something small can help when we
live under the expectations of our parents.”
“So you do understand.”
More than she realized. That was one of the
reasons I went along with some of
Alex s pranks. They
were harmless and funny. I didn t want to mention him
though. I wanted to keep the atmosphere pleasant.
“What are you going to do, Todd?
Are you going to

college or start working?
I hesitated to answer her question. I was seriously
considering moving to Jamestown, North Dakota to be a
farmer. Alex s aunt and uncle,
who lived in Fargo, told me
many stories about farming and North Dakota whenever
they came for a visit. They also sent him pictures which he
showed me.
Finally, I a
nswered, “I m not sure yet.”
“Tell me. Do men have the same pressure to marry
that women do?”
I thought over her question. “No. At least, I don t.
We do feel pressured to find a suitable job.”
“So we have our own
pressures to deal with. How
do you
cope?”
“By dreaming of what I want to do.”
“Really? What is that?”
Did I dare tell her? I wanted to, especially since I
was hoping to ask her to marry me and go with me when we
finished school. But with Ginny there, I decided not to
mention it. I di
dn t know how much servants talked amongst
themselves and did not wish my parents to discover my
possible plan. The only person I trusted with the information
14

Falling In Love With Her Husband
was Alex who faithfully kept my secret and helped me find
out more about farming and North Dakota.
“It s alright. You don t have to tell me,” she said. “I
can understand the need for a secret.”
Again, she amazed me.
“I suppose we should discuss my homework,” she
stated before she sneezed into her handkerchief.
“God b
ou,” I whispered.
less y
Even when she
sneezed, she was pretty.
“Thanks.”
We turned to the homework.
When Friday came, I wore my best suit. It was a
medium gray color with a dark blue tie. I even paid attention
to how I combed my hair. This would be the day I would ask
her if I could court her. Since we had some pleasant
conversations over the week, I was hopeful that she might
I didn t want her to
start to see me in a more romantic light.
think of
me as just Agnes older brother.
When I arrived at her house with her books, my heart
pounded loudly in my chest. I rang the doorbell and waited
for her servant to answer. I followed George into the parlor
and smiled at the sight of her. She wore a gorgeous dark
green dress and had her hair neatly pulled back with a dark
green bow. I
didn t dare hope she dressed
nicely for me.
Ginny took my hat and coat.
“You look like you re feeling well,” I greeted as I set
her books on the table.
“I do. Thank you.” Ann motioned to the chair. “Will
you sit down?”
I sat in the chair while she sat on the sofa. Of
course, I wished that I was sitting next to her but knew it
wouldn t be proper until I was courting her, and even then, I
wouldn t sit too close.
“My fever is gone, though I still have a stuffy nose,”
she reported. “I do ap
preciate your keeping me current on
my school work.”
15

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“It was either come here or work at my father s
bank.” That wasn t really the reason I was doing it, but I
didn t feel ready to say the truth yet.
“Are you ready to start that so soon?”
I sighed as I thought about working there.
“Apparently.”
“I take it that it doesn t please you. You should be
able to have the job of your choosing after you graduate, so
your time at the bank will be temporary.”
“We ll see.” The truth was, if she showed any interes
t
in me, I would seriously consider staying in Virginia and
working at my father
s bank, but I didn t want her to feel
responsible for such a decision. After a few moments of
awkward silence, I said, “We got a new student today.”
“Really? Who?”
“Kent A
shton. He just arrived two days ago from
New York.”
Her eyes lit up.
“New York? How impressive.”
I frowned. A lot of the young ladies in class thought
Kent was exciting. Did I really have a chance next to
someone who was obviously more charming and
sophisticated than I was? “Yes. Many girls seem to be
taken with him. Alex had to welcome him the only way Alex
could.” It wasn t my intention to bring Alex up but I hoped to
get off the topic of Kent.
“Oh no!”
“You know, Alex may be a prankster but he s
harmless. He s not al
.”
l bad
She rolled her eyes. “Alex
is so childish. When are
you going to get tired of his foolishness? I hope Kent
doesn t assume everyone is as ill
mannered as Alex.”

I stiffened. “I admit that Alex does joke a little too
much, but he is a good friend.

I thanked the servant who brought me a cup of hot
cocoa.
16

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Personally, I think he s a bad influence. If I hadn t
dumped sand all over him when we were ten, he never
would have left me alone. I hope Kent will teach him a
le
sson.”
I grinned as I recalled the day Alex and I were so
bored in class that we threw pebbles in her hair until she got
fed up and poured a jar of sand all over us.
“I must have
taken two baths that night to make sure all of that sand was
off of me.”
She chuckled at the memory, her mood brightening.
“It was kind of funny.”
“Everyone in class learned not to m
ess with you after
that. Oh, Agnes wanted me to give you her letter. She
wanted to come but I felt it was best that she wait until
you re
healthy
. I don t want her to risk getting sick.”
“Tell her I miss her,” she replied as she took the
letter. My heart rate increased as our fingers lightly
touched. “So, what homework do I need to do?”
I wanted to say something more but decided to go
over her homework.
After an hour, I stood up to leave. “I
will see you on
Monday. I m glad you re feeling better.”
“Thank you agai
n for bringing me my homework so I
don t get behind in school.”
I shrugged. “It wasn t a bother.”
Ginny brought me my hat and coat. I slipped them
on and hesitated. Would it be appropriate to ask her if I
could court her?
“Is there anything else?” she wondered.
Suddenly
, I realized I couldn t do it. “No. I better
go.”
And so I left with a lot I wanted to say but couldn t.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Three
Ann’s Point of View
On Monday, I entered the classroom. I quickly
waved to Debbie and Rachel as I headed straight for my
desk.
“Ann, may
I say something?” Todd asked as I
passed him.
I stopped, not because I wanted to but because it
would be rude if I didn t. I clutched my books to my chest
and waited. He wouldn t say anything in front of the entire
class. Would he? I had the sinking sensation that he
wanted to court me and hoped to make sure the
conversation regarding it never came up.
He stood up. He smoothed his hair and adjusted his
tie. “I m glad to see you made it.”
I shrugged. “It was either come here or stay bored at
ing at the walls.” It was a dumb
home, star
joke but it was all
I could think of. I glanced at my seat which was a couple of
rows from him.
“Did I upset you Friday
when I talked about Alex? I
know he bothers you.”
18

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“You re his
friend. I expect you to ment
ion him.” I
ed. “I suppose he shouldn t irk me so. I mean, it s not
sigh
like he does anything to me and no one else seems to mind
his pranks. It probably
doesn t help that I keep calling him
Creepy Alex either.”
He chuckled. “He calls you Scary Annie.”
I frowned. “I m not scary.”
“Well, you did hit him with a broom.”
I giggled.
“That was funny, wasn t it?”
“Good for you,” someone interrupted. “I think Cr
eepy
Alex is an apt term. However, I can t imagine you being
scary, even if you did come after me with a broom.”
I paused and turned around so I could see the
person who spoke. Dark brown hair, clear green eyes, and
a great smile. This had to be Kent. And he was handsome!
I imagined someone from New York would be fascinating
but he put all of my fantasies to shame. I thought he was
rude to listen to what Todd and I said, but since he set his
in front of Todd, I realized he couldn t
books on the desk
if that s where he had to sit
help but overhear
.
“I m Kent Ashton.” He
kissed my hand.
I stared at him, bewildered that he could be so bold.
That must be how New Yorkers were. Bold and charming. I
cleared my throat. “Todd told me you came here last week.”
“Yes. My family moved from New York.”
“I know. He told me that too.”
“We can always talk later when your family comes
over to see mine,” Todd said.
Remembering To
dd, I looked at him. “What?”
His smile faltered. “Never mind. I just
wanted to
on Friday.”
apologize for mentioning Alex
“Oh. It s alright. I wasn t upset with you.”
He nodded and sat down.
Blushing, because Kent still had his beautiful green
eyes on me, I shyly said that it was nice to meet him and
walked to my desk. I had no idea what to say to him. He
19

Falling In Love With Her Husband
was much more sophisticated than me. To my surprise, he
followed me.
“May I hang your coat in the back of the room?”
My heart skipped a beat.
“Uh…” None of the young
men had offered to do that before. But Kent was from New
York. Maybe young men did that kind of thing there.
“I promise I won t run off with it,” he teased.
I laughed. “I know.”
Feeling somewhat awkward and aware that Debbie
and Rachel watched me with amused expressions, I took
my coat off and handed it to him. I watched as he put it on
one of the hooks.
He returned to me. “I hope you don t think I m
k you re the best looking
overstepping my bounds, but I thin
lady in this
room.”
Then he went to his seat.
My eyes grew wide. He was definitely bold! I
numbly sat down and stared ahead at the front of the room
where the teacher was getting the day s lecture ready. Kent
Ashton was better than I thought he d be. The teacher
stood up to speak, so I turned to my books and got my
things ready for the day.
***
Kent turned out to be very charming and attentive.
He seemed to care for me and we did have fun talking about
how creepy Alex was whenever he pulled another one of his
silly pranks. I spent Saturday afternoons in my parlor
listening to Kent tell me how exciting New York was. He
even brought pictures of New York and of the people he
knew there. It sounded better than Debbie claimed it to be.
“If we get married, I ll take you there so you can see
it for yourself
,” he once said
.
When December came, he asked my father if he
could court me, and my father said no. This was the second
20

Falling In Love With Her Husband
him he refused to let Kent be with me. Greatly upset, I
confronted my father about it that night at dinner.
“Your mother and I don t trust him,” my father replied.
“He s not what he appears
to be
.”
“Have you met his parents? You always told
me that
I should judge a man by
his parents.”
“Ann, I am the voice of experience and wisdom.
You
have to trust my judgment.”
“No one else is appealing to me, Father. I have
been paraded through this town in front of countless
bachelors who are only interested in my dowry. And a
couple of those men were old enough to be your age. What
kind of
life am I going to have if I m confined to a loveless
marriage? All these men care about is what I can give them
instead of who I am. At least Kent doesn t
know about the
he enjoys my company.”
dowry, and
My mother sighed. “What about Todd?”
“We ve already had this discussion. I don t want to
marry him.”
“Ann,” Father began, “marriage is more than fleeting
emotion. It is best built upon a foundation of friendship.
You aren t looking at things clearly. Kent may be charming
ut there s something wro
b
ng with him. Todd, on the other
hand, is stable, trustworthy, and loyal. You can be sure that
he won t do anything to harm you.”
“What proof do you have that Kent would do that?”
He stared at the fork in his hand.
“I don t have proof.
bad feeling about the boy.”
I just have a
My mother nodded.

You should consider Todd. I
see the way he looks at you during church and when we re
Brothers home. He
at the
loves you. Why, a boy like that
will treat you as you deserve to be treated. What you and
Todd need is to spend time together. Then you might see
him the way he really is.”
“I spent time with him in October. He s alright but
he s not…
Well, to be frank, he s not exciting.”
21

Falling In Love With Her Husband
My father set his fork aside. Picking up his pipe, he
. “So you are
?”
looked at me
opposed to Todd
“Yes! I don t love him.”
“Alright. Your mother and I will speak with Kent s
parents so we can get a better idea of what he is like.”
He kept his promise and both he and my mother
concluded that his parents were respectable people, so they
allowed the courtship. I was ecstatic. Kent did mention
marriage and the possibility of checking Europe out on our
honeymoon. He said he had an uncle in Ireland who could
give us a personal tour. He even brought over brochures
and pictures. He frequently told me I was pretty and bought
me little gifts for no reason at all. I loved surprises, so this
was a treat. He took me to symphonies and the theatre. He
would only kiss me on the cheek and occasionally hold my
hand, so I knew he respected me.
Debbie, Rachel and Agnes sat with me and planned
out my future wedding. Agnes would be my maid of honor
while Debbie and Rachel would be my bridesmaids. They
were excited for me and it was fun to look forward to the
future instead of dreading it.
***
Then April came.
I got ready for Kent s arrival at my house.
“Miss Ann, you have a caller,” Ginny announced.
I turned from my bedroom mirror in anticipation.
Ginny giggled.
“Do I
look alright?” I asked her.
I wore a dark blue
satin dress. He liked the color blue the best.
“You look as beauti
ful as usual. Come along. It
wo
uldn t be right to keep him
waiting.”
I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. When I
entered the parlor, my heart raced with excitement. He
looked to be larger than life with his broad shoulders and tall
22

Falling In Love With Her Husband
frame. “Good afternoon, Kent,” I greeted warmly a
s I
approached him. “It s

good to see you. Will you sit down?
“No thank you, Miss Ann.”
Surprised by his formality, I stood awkwardly. Out of
the corner of my eye, I noticed Ginny shrug, just as
bewildered as I was. I waited for him to speak but he
refused to look at me. I knew something was wrong, so I
. “Did you have a bad
took great care in asking my question
day?”
“No. I…I have to tell you something,” he mumbled,
staring at the lace curtains on the other side of the room.
I was afraid of what he had to say, so I didn t press
him to continue.
He sighed loudly. “I don t know how to tell you this.”
I remained silent. Part of me needed to know while
another part wished to remain ignorant. At last, I asked, “Is
someone in your family ill?”
“No, nothing like that.”
By now, I was squirming. When I could not stand the
awful silence anymore, I demanded, “What is it?”
“I c
annot call o
n you again.”
“What?” I dumbly asked.
“I love Rebecca Johnson, and I intend to marry her.”
“How…When…?” I couldn t manage to finish my
question.
“It just happened. I didn t plan
it. I
don t think
anyone can plan
things like this,” he
hastily explained.
Before I could reply, he walked to the front door. “I
hope there won t be any hard feelings between us. I ll see
you in church tomorrow. Good-
bye, Miss Statesman.”
And just like that he was out of my house and out of
my life. I did
n t know how long I sat in the chair, staring
blankly at the wall in front of me. All I kept wondering was
how he could claim to love me one day and claim to love
someone else the next. Ginny sat by me. I took small
d the fact that I didn t
comfort in her presence. I appreciate
23

Falling In Love With Her Husband
have to talk to her. I wished to be alone with my thoughts
for awhile.
When dinner came, I went through the motions in a
daze. I ate dinner outside on the veranda with my parents
but I didn t participate in their co
I wasn t hungry
nversation.
so I kept moving the food around on my plate.
“Ann, my dear, what s wrong?” my mother
asked.
I took a deep breath. My parents didn t like it when I
cried. Tears were not allowed in front of others. I braced
myself.
“Kent came by toda
y, and he announced his
engagement to Rebecca Johnson.”
“He s going to regret it someday,” my father softly
replied.
“Oh my dear Ann, is there anything we can do to
help you?” She put her arm around me and gave me a
gentle squeeze.
I battled with my sense of grief and humiliation.
They had warned me. Yet, they were being gracious about
it. I felt like such a fool for not listening to them.
“I want to be alone right now. May I be excused?” I
fought back my tears.
“Of course you may,” my mother said.
She quickly
wiped the tears welling in her eyes on her handkerchief.
Her concern for my emotional welfare made me
grateful for her. I could tell by the look in my father s eyes
that he also grieved for me. Even if they were most likely
glad for the en
ding courtship, they didn t show it because
they loved me. Their support and concern gave me a calm
deep in my heart.
That night, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the
pillow, and I woke up refreshed and eager for church. The
reality of Kent and Rebe
cca didn t sink in until I saw them
sitting together at church. He leaned over and whispered
something in her ear. She laughed so loud that I could hear
her from across the room.
24

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I felt faint. I leaned on my parents for support.
Don’t
cry, I repeated to myself.
“He has nerve,” my mother angrily wh
ispered.
“He s just a foolish young man. He doesn t realize
what he s giving up,” my father replied.
“He and Rebecca are flaunting themselves in front of
everybody. It s not proper.”
“Please, let s sit down,” I interrupted.
On our way to our usual pew, we passed the
Brothers. I looked for Agnes but figured she was talking to
some of our other friends.
My parents stopped to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Brothers.
I tried not to look awkward, standing by myself in a room full
of people who were happily socializing.
“Good morning, Ann,” Todd greeted, his hands in his
pockets.
“Good morning, Todd,” I politely replied. Usually,
that was all we ever said to each other at church, so I was
surprised when he didn t l
eave and sit down. I pulled my
eyes away from Kent and Rebecca. “Is there something you
want to discuss?”
“Are you
?”
ready to finish school
“We still have a month to go,” I absently reminded
him. Rebecca s laughter echoed through the building. Out
of the corner of my eye, I saw Kent smile at her. He used to
reserve those special smiles for me.
“Have you thought about what you re going to d
o
after graduation?”
I turned back to him. Why was he still talking to me?
Not wishing to be rude, I answered him. “No. I don t know
what to do.” I had planned to be Kent s
wife. Now my future
was a blank slate, and I didn t know what to put on it.
Noting
that he was still standing by me, I cleared my throat. “What
?”
about you? Are you going to work at the bank
He glanced at his father who was talking to my
father. “We ll see.”
25

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I wondered what he meant but didn t ask f
or
clarification. I wanted him to leave me alone, so I tried to
discourage any further conversation by looking around the
church. I knew it was rude and my mother would not
approve, but I just wanted to sit down, get through the
service and hide in my house so I could get away from Kent
and Rebecca.
“What a wonderful idea!” my mother proclaimed.
“Fine. Then we ll see you next Sunday for dinner,”
Mr. Brothers replied.
I inwardly groaned. Another dinner with them? I
didn t feel like eating
ever again.
“We will see you next week,” my father nodded.
Thank you, Father! I gladly walked away from Todd
and sat in our usual place.
During the sermon, my eyes kept darting to Kent and
Rebecca. Once the sermon was over, Agnes ran over to
me while my parents talked to other people. Relieved to talk
to Agnes, I walked outside with her. The Spring air was
warm. I loved the feel of the sunlight on my face and
shoulders but had to open my umbrella to protect my
“delicate, white skin”.
“Tell me what happened between you and Kent,”
Agnes insisted.
“Kent s going to marry Rebecca.”
“No!”
I nodded. “He informed me of their engagement
yesterday.”
“I don t be
lieve it. He loved you. Anyone could see
that.”
I shrugged. “I thought so too. But we were wrong.”
“What a shame. I was
looking forward to being your
maid of honor.”
I sighed sadly as the plans we had made for my
wedding evaporated right before my eyes. Now I would be
26

Falling In Love With Her Husband
destined to be an old maid. I wondered how many cats I
would collect by the time I was sixty.
“I know you
don t like me to bring this up,” Agnes
warned.
My eyes narrowed. What could she be talking
about?
“If you married Todd, we would be sisters!”
. “That s impossible. Don t start
I quickly hushed her
trying to fix me up with him again. I will never be interested
in him that way and you know it.”
“Even if it means we would be sisters?”
“Yes.”
She groaned. “Oh, it s just as well. We would get
bored of each other because we d see each other all the
time.”
I chuckled. “Yes, t
.”
hat would be devastating
“I hear you re coming to dinner next week. I ll bring
out the new game Fa
ther bought. It s a mind bender
, so you
have to think on your feet.”
“Sounds fun. At least, it
will get me through the
dinner.”
“Old people talking about how their kids are d
oing. I
don t like it either. I always feel put on the spot.”
“At least you get to share the spotlight with six other
siblings.”
“Yes, I just love being compared to Todd s
in
telligence, Abigail s dancing, Lucy s drawing, Miranda s
spelling, Colleen s cooking, and Judy s writing. What have I
got? I m Agnes the big talker. A talker. That s my special
talent.”
“Talking is good. You tell wonderful stories.”
“And what good is that?”
“Well, you ve made me feel much better. You re a
couragement.”
great source of en
“Thank you, Ann.”
27

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I smiled. “You re a wonderful friend. Thank you for
listening and caring.”
“Any
time.” She looked at the church door and saw
that
her family was ready to leave. “I ll see you at school
tomorrow.”
I nodded and strolled to my parents.
***
The week passed. I hardly ate anything. I spent my
free time locked in my room so I could cry. I didn t even
want Ginny to comfort me. I wanted to be left alone. At
school, I went through the necessary motions. I couldn t
concentrate much on what the teacher said. What would it
matter anyway? In one month, I would never have to learn
anything new again. I would attend many social functions in
hopes of finding a husband. That was what my whole life
was about to become. The quest to find the man who would
we d have together
care for me and the children
. Though I
greatly desired those things, I didn t see how anyone but
Kent would adequately fill that position.
Rebecca let as many students as possible know of
her engagement. One time, I thought she gave me a cold
look but decided I
imagined it. After all, she didn t have an
y
reason to dislike me. She had Kent.
During lunch on Wednesday, Creepy Alex put a frog
on Rebecca s chair.
She bolted from her seat and
screamed so loud the entire school could hear her. Agnes
and I giggled from across the cafeteria.
“What do you think you re doing?” Kent yelled at
Alex, his face red with anger.
“Don t get riled up,” Todd defended his friend. “He
was
joking around.”
Kent stood in front of the two boys. Todd and Alex
weren t as tall as he was, so they looked small compared to
him. By now the entire student body was quiet.
28

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“It was a small frog,” Alex said. “We meant no harm
by it.”
I rolled my eyes. It was obvious that Alex did it
himself, but once again, he was pulling Todd into his pranks
with him.
“I ought to teach you a lesson about playing pranks.
Nobody likes a joker.” Kent looked directly at Alex.
Apparently, Kent knew Todd had nothing to do with the
prank too.
“Come on, Alex. Let s go,” Todd said. “He s not
worth your time.”
“Is that an insult?” Kent demanded.
Todd shrugged. “Depends on how you take it. I just
don t want to see anyone get into a fight, that s all.”
“I ll let this one go. But don t play an
ymore pranks on
Rebecca.”
“I won t,” Alex promised, his face glum.
Kent sat back down as Todd and Alex sauntered
away. The students slowly turned back to their
conversations.
“Creepy Alex strikes again,” I commented under my
breath.
“Oh Ann, it was just a harmless prank,” Agnes
replied.
“He s extremely annoying.”
“I don t know. I actually think he s good looking. I d
let him call on me if he wanted.”
I gave her a disgusted look. “It s a good thing I m not
going to marry Todd because I d have to k
ill Alex if he ever
became my brother-in-law
.”
“I doubt Alex would find me interesting anyway. He s
going to go to a college
and make something of himself.”
“Something like a fool.” I chuckled at my
joke.
“When are you going to get over that pebble
inc
ident? He hasn t bothered you since that day.”
29

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“That is true. Hmm…
Maybe if he had, Kent would
have stood up for me.”
“You don t need anyone to stand up for you. You re
so strong-willed and independent, you can handle people on
your own. Rebecca s
weaker. She needs support.”
I frowned. “Do you think that s why Kent is marrying
her instead of me?”
“No. He s just stupid.”
I stared at the half-eaten food on my plate. It would
be nice if a man felt the need to protect me. Someone
who d treat me
as if I were the most important person in the
world.
Someone like Todd.
30

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Four
Todd’s Point of View
I contemplated telling Ann about my love for her. I
didn t think she would be pleased, which was the only
reason I hesitated to do so. It was apparent to anyone who
cared to notice that she loved Kent. I knew there was no
way she would go to North Dakota with me, and even if I
stayed in Virginia and worked at my father s bank, she
would either continue to mourn over Kent or find someone
else. The realization depressed me, but it did help me
realize which path I should pursue. I would go to North
Dakota without her. Perhaps I could find someone else out
there. I wondered if anyone could ever take her place.
It was Thursday after school when I had another
confrontation with my father. I was sitting at my usual desk
at the bank and
wishing for the five o clock hour so I could
go home. I worked there every day after school. Though I
was still a newcomer to banking, my father insisted I take a
position as the loan officer. He had dreams of me owning
the bank someday and was eager to start me at a higher
pay scale than a teller. I saved aside all the money I made
31

Falling In Love With Her Husband
into my moving account. I had already purchased two
horses to replace the two I would take with me. I had been
with Lightning and Thunder since I was fifteen and couldn t
bear to part with them. I also had a covered wagon. I had
even packed aside my belongings that I planned to take. I
was just waiting
for Alex s relatives to confirm that Mr
. Martin
was indeed selling his house and farm.
“Todd, please come into my office,” my father said as
he walked by my desk.
Since I didn t have any customers, I followed him
and sat in the chair across from him.
He sat down in his chair and placed his elbows on
the table, his hands neatly folded. It suddenly felt like I was
. “What do you think of your position here at
at an inquisition
the bank?”
I sighed. This wasn t going to be a good d
iscussion.
“I don t.”
He
frowned. “Perhaps I should give you another
position.”
“That won t work either. I keep telling you that I don t
enjoy this.”
“How can you be sure? You
haven t given your job
a
chance. I m offering you a legacy. Surely, you will want
something to
leave your children.”
I inwardly groaned.
“Someday you will get married and hav
e children.
What better gift can you leave them than this bank
?”
“There s no guarantee I will get married or that I will
have sons. I would have to have a son to leave the name
„Brothers on the bank.”
“Miss Statesman is no longer seeing that Kent
Ashton fellow. Perhaps you can court her. I could arrange
something with her parents if you d like.”
“No. She s not interested.” The la
st thing I wanted
was my father to arran
ge my love life for me. “What made
?”
you think of her anyway
32

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“It s obvious to everyone that you love her. My
advice is to be there for her and let her cry on your shoulder.
It may be the very thing that will get her to finally notice you.
It worked fo
r your mother.”
My head was spinning. It was obvious to everyone
that I loved her? Did that mean she knew too?
“Well, don t let any of that trouble you,” my father
continued. “There are plenty of other young ladies you can
choose from. You have years to explore your options.
What matters now is your job.”
I tuned him out as he ran through a long list of
reasons why banking was the perfect job for someone in my
economic status. I had heard this many times, but today it
was especially irritating. Perhaps the realization that
everyone knew what I felt for Ann was the final straw.
“Father, please stop.” I tried to be kind while being
firm. “I have no intention of working here after I graduate.
I ve been praying about this for a long time, and I
really feel
led to farm.”
“Farmers don t make as much money as we do. It s
a necessary profession since we all need to eat, but it is
beneath you. You were born into a wealthy family. Your
name means something. Don t waste it.”
“Life is more than money.”
“Money helps you provide for your wife and children.
The Bible makes it clear that a righteous man leaves an
inheritance to his children s children. It also says to honor
your parents. The best way to honor me is to work here.”
“Is there anything
else?” I finally asked when I
realized he wasn t going to listen to me no matter how many
times I told him that his dream wasn t my path in life.
“I ll open up the mortgage officer s position for you
next Monday. You might find that more to your liking.

I couldn t believe it.
33

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“One more thing
before you leave,” he added.
“I
f
you pursue this farming thing, you can consider yourself
dead to the family. You may go.”
I quietly stood up and left his office. I returned to my
desk and willed myself to calm down. If I ever have
children, I will let them do what they want with their lives.
***
The next day before school began, I stopped by
Alex s desk and sat in the seat next to his before Debbie
needed it. “Have you heard anything about the Martin
farm
?”
I whispered my question so no one overheard us.
“It s available. Do you want me to get my aunt and
uncle to get a loan set up for you? I can send them your
down payment.”
I glanced at Ann. She looked like she was trying to
ignore Kent and Rebecca who were sitting close together
and talking.
“When are you going to give up on Scary Annie?”
Alex asked.
. “She s not scary.”
I laughed
“A
ny girl who dumps sand on me and hits me with a
broom is scary.
” He shook his head.

I can only imagine
what she ll
do when her future husband upsets her. If it
were me, I d sleep with one hand on a gun for protection.”
“You re exaggerating
.

“Maybe. But I wouldn t
e my chances. I don t
tak
know why, but y
ou like to live dangerously.”
“What you interpret as scary
is what I call passion. If
you grew up with a house full of sisters who never fought
back, you d understand.”
“I still wouldn t sleep with the light off.” He
momentarily shuddered.
If I was in bed with Ann, the last thing I d be doing
oubted she d let me sleep either. When
was sleeping. I d
34

Falling In Love With Her Husband
she got involved with something, she gave it everything she
had. But I didn t dare voice that opinion.
“As much as she scares me, I do feel bad for her,”
he admitted. “I also feel bad for Rebecca. Kent s not the
person he appears to be.”
I turned back to him in interest. “What do you
mean?”
“I don t wish to go into detail. Let s just say that Ann
is much better off without him. It may not seem like it, but
she s the lucky one between her and Rebecca.”
s widened in surprise. I knew Alex didn t like
My eye
to spread gossip, even when it was true. He would only
warn someone that something or someone else wasn t a
good idea to pursue. As much as I wanted to know what he
saw Kent doing, I decided to keep quiet.
“S
hould I tell my aunt and uncle to get the loan for
you?” Alex pressed.
“Yes. It s not like Ann will ever want me. I have
nothing to stay here for.”
“You re better off.”
I saw Debbie enter the classroom. “See you at
lunch,” I said as I left her sea
t.
***
That Sunday night I chose my best suit. I knew it
would be the last time I would see Ann at a dinner party
before I left for Jamestown, North Dakota. I fixed my tie as I
went over the words I would tell her. There was nothing to
lose at this point. I would simply tell her how I felt and tell
her that I knew she didn t return my feelings but I wanted to
let her know before I left. At least, she would know
someone loved her even if Kent no longer did. Perhaps, it
would give her courage to find someone else.
I glanced at the picture I had of her on my dresser. I
hesitated to take it with me to North Dakota. What was the
35

Falling In Love With Her Husband
point in holding onto the past? I picked it up and stared at it
for a long moment. If she loved me, I could marry her and
take her with me. But even if she did love me, would she
really be content to go without the luxuries we were used to?
From what Alex said, the farmer didn t enjoy servants who
did their every bidding. Ann wouldn t be able to afford her
jewelry and fancy dresses. She would have to learn to
cook, clean, and do whatever it was farmer s wives did. No.
She wouldn t want to deal with the hardships out west. I
walked over to the trash can and held her picture over it.
Alex was right. It was time to let go of the past and move
on.
“Mr. Todd, the Statesman family has arrived,” Laura,
one of my parents servants, said.
“I ll be right there,” I replied. I dropped the picture in
the trash can. After tonight, I wouldn t have anything else to
do with Ann.
I joined my sisters who were giggling around Ann
who seemed overwhelmed by the attention. I stood to the
side while Agnes and Abigail discussed corsets. I closed
my eyes. I knew more about female clothing items and
other feminine details than I cared to admit. Maybe being
alone on a farm would be a blessing. Then I wouldn t have
to concern myself with such things ever again.
“Todd,” my mother greeted as she walked over to
me. “I think it would be nice if you offer
ed to escort Ann to
the dance this
Wednesday.”
“I m the last p
with,” I replied.
erson she wants to go
“Oh, she just doesn t know what a fine young man
you are. She probably needs a nudge in the right direction.”
“Please don t. I appreciate what you re trying to do,
but it s not meant to be.”
“Well, from what I
heard, there are no other available
bachelors to take her. It might be God bringing you two
together. You never know.”
36

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“She doesn t lov
e me. Besides, she might like to
stay home for a change. She doesn t look like she s up t
o
.”
dancing
In fact, during the meal, she looked like all she
wanted to do was go home and stay locked up in her
bedroom. Despite Alex s insinuation that Kent wasn t good
for her, it was still rough to watch her. She seemed sad and
trapped at the same time.
Our parents made their usual rounds of updates on
what their children were up to. I cringed as my father
discussed his plans for me at the bank. I hated to
disappointment him. I knew he would be upset when he
woke up one morning and I was gone. I would leave a note
explaining what I did and that I was still thankful to him and
my mother for all their
care, but I knew it wouldn t help. I
was about to get disowned.
At one point, my mother asked Ann if she planned to
go to the dance, but Ann stared at her plate, absentmindedly
fiddling with her peas.
“Ann?” Her mother lightly tapped her on the arm.
She immediately turned her attention to her mother.
“Mrs. Brothers asked you a question, dear.”
“I m sorry. What did you ask, Mrs. Brothers?” she
politely asked.
“Are you going to the
My mother smiled at her.
d
ance this Wednesday?”
“Yes, I will be going,” she softly answered.
I realized that she didn t feel like going but would go
to please her parents. I sympathized with her predicament.
Only, I was getting out of my prison.
“Todd, would you be so kind as to escort Ann to the
dance?” my mother blurted out.
My face grew red from a mixture of embarrassment
and anger. Hadn t we already discussed this?
“She may
not wish to go with me, Mother,” I
kindly, but firmly, replied.
I couldn t look at Ann since I
was too humiliated.
37

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Of course, I would be honored to go with you,
Todd,” Ann replied.
I couldn t say no
with everyone staring at me. I knew
she only agreed because everyone expected her to. And
now I would take her because everyone expected me to. I
forced myself to look at her and smile. “Then I will take
you.”
I pretended to be intensely interested in the roast
beef dinner after that. If the dinner could have gotten worse,
I didn t kno
w how. In three weeks, this would all be a
memory. It was the only consolation I had.
Once dinner was over, I decided it was time to tell
her what was on my mind. I didn t want her to spend the
next couple of days worried about whether or not I would
ask to court her after the dance. The situation was awkward
enough as it was. Since she was ready to run off with
Agnes, I had to yell her name across the room in order to
get her attention.
She and Agnes stopped. Turning around, she
politely asked, “Yes?”
I hated being put on the spot. Everyone was staring
us, and it irritated me. I would have to speak with her in
“Could I speak
private. I walked up to her before I spoke.
with you on the veranda?”
I knew our parents would be fine with this since they
could see us from the window.
She nodded and followed me out.
Now that she was in front of me, I forgot my well-
rehearsed speech. She sat on the bench and patiently
waited for me to talk. I shifted uneasily from one foot to the
to tell her and that would be it. “What I
other. I was going
have to say isn t easy for me,” I slowly began, staring at
the
ground. I couldn t make eye contact
. I feared she would
laugh at me. Taking a deep breath, I quickly said, “I love
you.”
38

Falling In Love With Her Husband
It wasn t the way I had
envisioned telling her a year
ago. Back then, I planned to hold her in my arms and tell
her before I kissed her. This wasn t anything like that. I felt
like a fool who was out of place. Hoping to avoid any further
awkwardness, I continued to talk.
“I
know y
ou don t love me,” I admitted.
Before she could interrupt, I requested that she let
me continue. She simply nodded and waited.
I sat next to her, making sure there was adequate
distance between us so I didn t spook her. “I wanted you to
felt about you before I left. I don t want to work
know how I
at my father s bank. I know it s what my family expects of
me, but I m not going to do it. I want to be a farmer. I know
it sounds silly but I believe it s God s purpose for my life. I
have a friend who knows a man out west who wants to sell
his farm and house so he can be close to his grown
children. I m going to purchase his property.”
“You re leaving? When?” She was obviously
stunned. No one but Alex knew my plans up to this point, so
I wasn t
surprised by her reaction.
“I ll leave the day after we graduate.”
“Where are you going?”
“North Dakota.”
“That far? But what about your parents and sisters?”
“My sisters will get used to it. I think it might even
show them that they need to pursue their dreams so they
can live the lives they want. My parents will mostly likely
disown me.”
“Oh, they wouldn t do something so drastic. Sure,
they will be upset but they ll accept it.”
“No, they won t. Trust me, Ann. I know them better
than you do.”
She closed her mouth and nodded.
“I know how you feel about Kent and I ve accepted
that,” I went on. “It s not my intention to make you
39

Falling In Love With Her Husband
uncomfortable.
Now you don t have to dread going to the

dance with me.
the window. “We need
,”
Her mother tapped on
to go
she yelled.
Ann turned back to me and smiled. “I ll miss you
when you leave. I won t tell anyone your plans. And I m
sorry I never gave you a chance. You are very nice.”
“Thank you.” I stood up with her. “I hope this will
make going to the d
ance with me easier for you.”
“I don t want to go to the dance because Kent and
Rebecca will be there, but it will be less of a burden since
you ll be with me.”
That was the first time she seemed to glad to be in
my presence. I took her picture out of the trash can when I
returned to my room. I stared at it again. If nothing else,
she was a friend. I packed it in my suitcase. I could always
throw it out after I made it to North Dakota.
40

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Five
Ann’s Point of View
Wednesday after school, I started getting ready for
the dance. I wanted to wear the nice emerald dress, but my
mother insisted I wear the pink one.
“But it s so tight,” I argued. “I can hardly breathe in
it.”
“I know it s
uncomfortable, but it is your best dress.
Discomfort is a small price to pay for beauty, my dear.
Besides, you don t want Rebecca showing up in a more
expensive dress.”
I sighed as Ginny pulled on the strings of my corset.
I almost passed out when she was done.
“You will be nice to Todd tonight, won t you dear?”
My mother handed the dress to Ginny who put it on me.
“Yes, I promise.” I winced as Ginny fastened the
many buttons up the back of the dress. “I might faint
though.”
“Once you are married, you may relax your d
ress
want to be sure you find a suitable bachelor.”
code. I
41

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I nodded. I already knew who would make a good
husband. Someone who wanted what was best for me.
omeone who loved me and not my family s money.
S
Someone dependable. Someone I could trust. Someone
like Todd. My parents were right, and it was time I listened
to them.
I looked up at the mirr
or. This was it. I d come too
far to back out now. I slipped on the pink gloves and hat to
complete the outfit.
I left my bedroom when the doorbell chimed. Todd
was here. In the hallway, I glanced at my reflection in the
mirror one last time. No one would guess my sudden plan.
I would ask Todd to take me with him when he went to North
Dakota.
“Here s your fan, for when you feel hot at the dance.”
anded the white lace fan to me. “Now, our
My mother h
servants are taking the rest of the night off, and your father
and I will be visiting with Mr. and Mrs. Brothers at the
Clemmens house. We should be back shortly before
midnight. Mr. and Mrs. Carson will be chaperoning the
dance. If you should need anything, go to
them.”
“Does that include smelling salt
?”
s
“Yes, it does. A lot of ladies feel faint after dancing.”
“Very well. Thank you, Mother.”
George opened the door and let Todd into the parlor
where he waited for me. I wanted to take a deep breath, but
my dress prohibited the simple action. My mother wished
me well and left me alone. Well, I was as alone as possible
with George standing to the side of the parlor room.
Todd held a bouquet of red roses. His blond hair
was neatly combed back under his gray hat. It was a
strange contrast to his black suit and gray tie. He was not
bad looking. In fact, one might consider him to be
handsome. I wondered how his appearance would change
once he started farming.
42

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Good evening, Ann,” he said, smiling at the sight of
me.
“Good even

ing.
He motioned to the roses. “These are for you.”
nodded and took them. “Thank you. They re
I
lovely.”
After I put them in a vase, we left for the dance.
, I asked, “Aren t
Once he sat next to me in the double buggy
you going to miss all of the comforts we re used to?”
He shrugged. “I m not sure. Perhaps I will. Perhaps
I won t. I won t know until I m gone.”
I fanned myself. This dress was already making me
feel unbearably hot. The material was too thick for the warm
Spring weather.
We arrived at the dance, and he helped me out of
the buggy. The horse neighed but I barely noticed it.
cca s familiar cackle. I groaned.
Instead, I heard Rebe
Must
she let the entire town know she won?
I braced myself for seeing Kent and Rebecca as
Todd escorted me into the building. Thankfully, he led me to
the opposite side of the room from the two lovebirds. We
danced to two songs. We discussed our classes, how warm
the air was getting and what Agnes was up to that night
since she wasn t allowed to go to dances until next year. At
the end of the second song, I thought I was going to pass
out.
I waved my fan furiously back and forth, but the
“I need to
building was so hot that it did little to cool me off.
sit down.”
“Would y
ou like to go outside
?”
It wasn t something I was
His concern surprised me.
used to.
“Yes,” I admitted.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
“That would be nice. Thank you.” I walked outside,
walking numbly past Kent and Rebecca who were dancing.
43

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Don’t look at them. Just keep going.
Once I was outside, I
exhaled as much as I could, considering the tight dress, and
sat down. The cool evening breeze felt good against my
flushed face.
When Todd handed me a cup of punch, I glanced
around us. No one was near us on the veranda, so it would
be easy to have a private conversation.
“Will you please sit?”
He sat by me and looked at me. “What is i
t? Are
you feeling ill?”
“I feel fine.” Well, that was partly true. I was ab
out to
take a giant leap that would change my life forever. How
could a person remain calm during that? I cleared my
“I have a request.”
throat.
“I would do anything for you,” he softly replied,
looking down at the ground.
I hesitated. He meant those words. I almost
decided against my plan, but another round of laughter from
Rebecca strengthened my resolve. “Will you
marry me and
?” I blurt
take me with you to North Dakota
ed the words out
so fast my head was spinning. I anxiously waved the fan as
I waited for his response. I couldn t bring myself to drink the
punch, so I just held it, hoping I wouldn t spill it since my
hand was beginning to shake.
ed. “I
His head shot up and he looked at me, shock
must be dreaming,” he whispered.
I sat still, not daring to speak another word. I figured
since he loved me, he would agree to my request.
However, his response surprised me.
“I don t think it s a good idea. As much as I w
ould
love to take you with me, you would be doing it for the wrong
reason.”
“You l
ove me. You will treat me
well.”
“But you will be doing this to get away from Kent and
Rebecca. It wouldn t be right.”
44

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Panic flashed through me. “Why couldn t I learn t
o
? Just because you ve loved me first
doesn t
love you
, it
mean I won t come around to loving you.”
“You love Kent.”
“Now. But that can change.” Couldn t it? Was I
destined to love Kent for the rest of my life?
He shook his head.
“I m sorry, Ann. It wouldn t be
appropriate.”
I set the cup down before I smashed it on the ground
in frustration
. “It wouldn t be appropriate. It wouldn t be
proper. God forbid I should do anything that defies the
standards we are to live by. I m sick and tired of do
ing what
everyone else wants me to do. No one bothers to ask me
what my opinion is, except for you.” I waved the fan faster.
My face was heating up as my anger surfaced. I managed
to keep my voice down, but my agitation was apparent.
Hopefully, people would assume it was because of Kent and
Rebecca. “I hate being stuck. I
hate having to watch those
” I nodded to the love
two.
birds. Again, Rebecca laughed.

ore time, I m going to
Ugg!
And if I hear her laugh one m
pour this
cup of punch on her head.”
“Ann, calm down. It will get easier.”
. “You have no idea what it s like for me,
I grunted
Todd. There are things I want to do, things I want to pursue.
But I can t because I m a lady. I have to attend every social
function and learn to be a proper hostess. I have to learn to
walk, talk and act delicate. I can t go outside unless I have a
parasol or hat. I have to go to dinners I don t want to go to.
I have to spend hours shopping for new clothes.
” I paused.
“Well, that part isn t so bad.”
He chuckled.
I tried not to give into my own urge to laugh.
“Seriously though. My parents are more lenient
than other
do have a set of rules I have to obey. You re
parents, but I
getting out of here. You can do that because you re a man.
west by herself is impossible.”
A woman going out
45

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I have a plan,” he gently reminded me.
“And I have a strong desire to be somewhere else, to
do something other than what I ve been doing all my life.”
“I wish I could
help
you but I can t.”
I jumped up and waved the fan as fast as I could.
“You have the ability to take me out of here but you refuse.
What good is your love if you won t help me?” I set my jaw in
firm determination as I stared at the trees in the moonlight.
“I will get out of here. You re not the only
one who can do it.
I ll run away if I have to.”
He stood up and walked over to me. He took the fan
out of my hand. “Before you break it,” he explained
when I
started to protest. He stared at me for a long moment.
“Yes, I will take you. I planned to
leave the day after we
graduate.”
“Do we have to wait?” I was afraid if we waited, he
wouldn t take me with him.
As it was, I was having trouble
talking him into it now.
“Graduation is in a couple weeks.”
“Do you need to graduate to be a farmer?”
“No.”
“Then what s stopping us? You ve been planning
this for a long time. Surely, you have all the stuff you need
in place.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Then let s leave tonight.”
“It s best to be pa
tient. We should think about it
.”
oaned. “I ve already though
I gr
t about it, Todd. I
don t want to wait another minute.” He seemed to be
searching for another excuse, so I touched his arm.
“Please.”
He closed his mouth and studied the sky for a
moment. Finally, he sighed. “I can t deny you anything.
We ll leave tonight.”
Alright.
“Good!”
46

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“After you tell your parents. They need to know
you re safe.”
“I ll leave a note.” Thankfully, the house was empty
so no one would stop me.
“It might be better if you tell them in person.”
“If I do that, they ll talk me out
of it.
” They would
never let me leave Virginia, even if it was with Todd. “I need
to get out of here, and I want to go with you.”
He reluctantly complied, so we managed to leave the
dance while no one noticed.
47

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Six
Ann’s Point of View
Our departure was rushed, so I left many things
behind. There wasn t
much room in the horse-drawn
covered wagon he had purchased. He already had his
supplies loaded into the back, so all he had to do was hook
up his two horses. Since he didn t h
ave to go into his
house, he had an easier time avoiding unwanted eyes than I
did.
I was relieved my house was empty and quickly
packed my carpet bag. I tried to take sensible clothing. At
least, the dresses would fit better so I could breathe
adequatel
y. I didn t dare change my dress, though I
desperately wanted to. I was afraid if I hesitated, then Todd
would change his mind and leave me here. I wrote my
parents a note to let them know I was marrying Todd and
going with him to North Dakota. I decided not to tell them
where I was going to be in North Dakota. I took a moment
to look around the parlor and wiped the tears from my eyes.
I uttered a prayer for my parents and left the house.
48

Falling In Love With Her Husband
He stood outside the front
door. “It s not
too late to
ack.”
turn b
“Do you want me to come with
My stomach tensed.
you?”
“Of course I do, but it s not about what I want.”
I handed him the carpet bag
. “I m going with you.”
He nodded.
I followed him to the wagon and waited for him to
load my carpet bag in with his other belongings before he
assisted me onto the wagon seat.
Some people marry for love, some for money, and
some are forced into it. I married Todd because I was afraid
if I didn t, then I would have to settle for someone who
wouldn t treat me as wel
l as he did. I was wrong about
Kent. I had thought he was the right one for me. My
parents had warned me about him. They also
recommended Todd. So, in the end, I decided to trust their
judgment. Maybe it was a selfish reason,
but I was afraid I d
give up the best husband I could have.
We stopped by our minister s house, and fortunately
he was there so we didn t have to go find another one. We
did want the minister we grew up with to marry us. During
the simple ceremony, I thought about my parents
dream for
me to have an elaborate wedding with lots of guests, food
and music. The only person to witness the event was his
wife. There was no food or music. The minister did
question us about our decision, but since we had reached
the age of accountability, he agreed to marry us.
Once we were married, we thanked the minister and
headed out of Virginia
. Todd s cautious nat
ure made me
anxious, for I feared our parents would find us and make us
return. I kept looking behind us, only reassured that we
we
re safe when I didn t see any lanterns in the distance.
“I ve been mapping out a trail to North Dakota for
months,” he assured me when he noticed my distress.
“Someone who hasn t
get lost.”
studied the trails will
49

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Still, I couldn t relax, espe
cially when he stopped to
let the horses take a break.
“Do we have to stop now?” I wondered, fiddling
with
the white lace on the sleeve of my dress.
“They need to rest for a few moments. They have a
long journey ahead of them. We don t want to wear th
em
out
.” He hopped off the wagon
, untied his horses and led
them to the stream so they could drink the water.
Afterwards, he fed them some carrots.
I wondered what time it was as I stared at the full
It really was a beautiful sight. Why hadn t I
moon.
noticed it
before?
When he hooked the horses up and sat next to me, I
asked, “What if our parents do find us?”
He paused for a moment. “The
n we were meant to
Virginia.”
stay in
I frowned. Why did we have to rely on horses for
transportation when trains were much more practical?
“Are you cold?” he asked.
“Actually, I am.”
He grabbed a blanket from behind the seat and
wrapped it around my shoulders.
“Thank you,” I whispered, pleased by his concern.
He stared at me, as if he wished to say or do
something. Suddenly, I felt strange. We were married now.
How would things change between us?
The moment passed, for he must have decided
against whatever thought raced through his head. I chose
not to ask what he wanted. Instead I closed my eyes. We
didn t say much that night as we traveled. It seemed that
words weren t necessary. I was actually comfortable in the
silence we shared. Eventually, I went back into the wagon
and fell asleep.
***
50

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Todd didn t sleep that night. He made frequent stop
s
so the horses could rest. I slept through most of the night,
which proved my mother correct when she once commented
that I could sleep through anything. By the time dawn
arrived, I woke up. My back and neck were stiff. I never
experienced such discomfort before and asked Todd if it
was normal. He assured me it was and stopped the horses
so I could stretch and walk around in order to loosen my
tight muscles.
When we were ready to ride again, he handed me
. “It won t last us all the
food called jerky
way to North
Dakota but it s suitable for now.”
That was the first cold and tough meal I ever ate, but
I was so hungry that it tasted better than the meals I was
used to.
By mid-day, my dress became unbearable. I asked
him to stop so I could change into one of my more
comfortable dresses. He stopped so I could do so. I took
one of my other dresses out of my carpet bag and went
behind some bushes to change. In all my years of wearing
dresses, I had never dressed myself. Ginny had done that
for me. I stood, surrounded by bushes, wondering how I
was going to get my pink dress off. There were so many
buttons in the back and most of them were out of my reach.
I hated to ask Todd for help but seemed to have no other
choice.
I peeked through the bushes.
He wasn t at the
. When I saw the horses weren t there either, I knew I
wagon
would have to wait until he returned with them. I sighed. I
wasn t used to waiting.
I paced back and forth, anxious for
the horses to be done drinking and eating.
I really needed to learn patience. At home, my every
desire was met immediately by the servants. How did
someone learn to wait and like it? As I turned to pace in the
other direction, something moved on the ground. A snake! I
tried to scream but couldn t find m
y voice. I stumbled
51

Falling In Love With Her Husband
backwards and fell on my rear end. My hat flew off my head
and I heard my dress tear in the side. The snake, more
frightened of me than I was of him, slithered out of the
bushes. I took a deep breath, relieved it hadn t been
poisonous.
I stood up to examine the tear in my dress. This was
the only pretty dress I had taken with me, and I had no idea
how I could repair the damage. I wiped the tear that fell on
my cheek and frowned when I realized I had dirt on my
hands. I did
n t have to look down at my dress to know it
was dirty as well. I quickly wiped my hands and cheek on
the clean part of my dress.
I decided I wouldn t tell Todd how hard and
confusing this new life was for me in case he decided I
couldn t handle it and t
ook me back to my parents. I would
rather roll around in the mud than face Kent and Rebecca. I
forced back my tears and ripped the dress and six out of
eight petticoats off of me. I was tired of being hot and
sweaty. I could handle two petticoats much better than the
mountain of eight of them. Besides, no one could tell how
many I wore anyway.
My sudden determination prompted me to put on my
other dress. I couldn t button some of the top buttons, so I
decided it was time to get Todd s help. I peered
out of the
bushes and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw him hitching
up the horses. As soon as he was done, I called out his
name. Even though no one was around us for miles, I
couldn t go out i
nto the open without all of the buttons
fastened.
He walked to me, careful to keep his eyes on my
face. I blushed, grateful for his consideration.
“I can t button my top buttons in the back of this
dress. Can you help me?”
He nodded shyly. I smiled to myself as I felt his
hands tremble as he fastened the rest of the buttons. It was
a relief to know I wasn t the only one who was nervous.
52

Falling In Love With Her Husband
When he was done, he spotted the torn and dirty dress and
petticoats on the ground next to my hat.
“Have some problems?” he grinned good
-naturedly.
My face flushed hot
from embarrassment. “I didn t
like that dress anyway,” I lied as I picked them up.
“I could carry those for you, if you d like,” he offered,
probably trying not to laugh.
“I can handle this
myself,” I stiffly responded.
I hastened past him and threw the clothes into the
back of the wagon. I hopped up into the front, glad to be
able to move around freely. Unable to make eye contact, I
stared at the ground as Todd got in beside me and urged
the horses to start moving. We rode in silence for awhile.
e sun was hot but it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn t
Th
wearing a hat or carrying my parasol. I closed my eyes and
enjoyed the freedom of letting the sunlight hit my face.
“We should be entering
Later that afternoon, he said,
the next town soon. I think we should stop there for the
night. What do you think?”
“You re asking me if I want to stay in the next town
tonight?” I couldn t remember ever being asked if I wanted
to do something.
“Yes.”
I found that I liked to have a choice to make. “I
like to sleep in a soft bed tonight.”
would
We reached the next town by sunset. By this time, I
was hungry and tired. We ate first, but as the meal
continued, I grew nervous. I knew how a married couple
consumm
ated their marriage. I just couldn t imagine m
yself
making love to him. I made my vows before him and God. I
would fulfill my wifely duty if I had to, though it was difficult
for me to make the leap from friendship to romance.
When we checked into our room for the night, he
“Do you need more time
took my hands in his and asked,
before we consummate our marriage?”
53

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Once again, he was asking for my opinion. He had
no idea how much I appreciated it. “I don t feel ready yet,” I
slowly admitted.
“Thank you for being honest. Will you tell me when
you re ready?”
“Yes. I will tell you.” I tilted my head curiously.
“What about you?”
He smiled. “I won t be ready until you are.”
I knew he meant it too. He would never force himself
on me.
I hugged him and thanked him for being
understanding.
He set his pillow and blanket on the floor. He
insisted that I use the bed. And so, our sleeping
arrangements were established.
54

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Seven
Todd’s Point of View
Though the journey was arduous, I enjoyed every
minute of it because I was learning more about Ann and she
seemed to enjoy learning about me. The more time I spent
with her, the more I wanted to be with her. She did mention
missing her parents and Agnes, but she didn t express a
desire to go back to Virginia. Instead, she confessed that
she was beginning to look forward to our new life.
“It s an adventure,” she said.
I was secretly pleased that she still wanted to stay
with me.
“Do you remember that time you brought my
homework to me when I was sick?” she asked. “I believe
it
was in October.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“Do you also remember
one of the days you came
over, I said I wanted to go out in the sun with my hair down
and not have a hat or parasol with me? You said you
wanted to be there when it happened. Well, here we are
and I m out in the sun!”
55

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I didn t
think you remembered any of the
conversations we had.”
“Of course I do. It may not have seemed like it, but I
did consider you a friend.” She frowned. “I suppose my
rude. I m sorry for that.”
manner toward you was
I shrugged
. “Since you didn t love me, you probably
worried that if you showed more interest, I would have taken
it the wrong way, and then you would have had to tell me
that I misunderstood your actions. I understand.”
“Yes, I did worry about that.”
She looked down at her
hands.

If I were in your position, I probably would have
done the same thing. I did
n t realize my feelings were
. I tried to hide them.”
obvious until my father told me
“I m glad you weren t able to.” She
looked up at me
ed. “It
and smil
gave me the courage to ask you to take me
.”
with you
“Let s just put the past behind us and start our
new
life getting to know each other? You know, as friends first.”
“Yes, I would like to start at friendship. It would
make me feel less uneas
y. I m going to do everything I can
to be a good wife for you. I will love you the way a wife is to
love her husband. You treat me so well. Please, be patient
with me.”
“We have our whole lives ahead of us. Patience is
not a problem.”
I smiled as I took in her long wavy hair
falling gently over her shoulders
. “You re
beautiful. I am
happy that I got to see you with your hair down in the
sunlight. It s too bad you weren t able to do that in Virginia.
You look lovely no matter what you do with your hair, but I
always liked it best when it was down.”
She touched her shiny
brown hair. “I ll have to wear
it down more often then.”
I was surprised that she would do such a thing
because I liked it.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
We spent the next few weeks talking about things we
would and would not miss about Virginia, her experiences
with Agnes, and the fun times we had while growing up. I
didn t realize she had a sense of humor, for she seemed
serious most of the time.
“I do have to admit there was one prank that Alex
pulled that
was funny,” she admitted. “I don t think he
intended for it to end up the way it did though. It was the
Christmas show we were forced to participate in when we
were fifteen. Alex brought that bag of nuts along so when
introduce the play, he d
Mr. Clemmens came on the stage to
step on the nuts.
I don t know how that squirrel found its
way into the bag, b
ut I ll never forget how loud Alex
screamed when he opened it and the squirrel jumped on
him.

“He suspected you had something to do with it,” I
informed her.
Her eyes widened.
“Me? Why in the world would I
put a squirrel in his bag? I wouldn t touch one of those
disgusting things.”
“That s what I told him. Ever since that day we threw
pebbles in your hair, he suspected you were going to do
ng else to get even with him.”
somethi
“I was just glad he left me alone.
I didn t want to do
anything to get even.” She placed her blue hat on her head.

Why did you join him in throwing pebbles at me
anyway?”
“To be honest, it was a bet we had. I told him t
hat
you wouldn t put up with his pranks like the other girls did. I
told him you stood up to me plenty of times whenever your
parents brought you over to my house. He wouldn t believe
me, so I told him that if he was right, I would do his
homework for a month. But if I was right, he had to give me
his bicycle. He threw a couple of pebbles but I threw most
of them. I was beginning to fear you weren t going to
retaliate. You almost made me look bad. I had such
57

Falling In Love With Her Husband
confidence that you weren t like the other
girls. I was
sand on us.”
relieved when you dumped the
“Why Tod
She laughed.
d, that is sneaky. Here I
thought Alex insisted you join him in his pranks. I had no
idea you were capable of such deceit.”
“I knew you weren t weak. You could hold your
ow
n.”
“I can t believe you did
that.”
“You made me proud.”
She shook h
er head, amused. “I
t did get him to
leave me alone, so I suppose it worked out well enough.
But I am surprised it was your idea. Apparently, there s a lot
I don t know about you.”
“To put your mind at
rest, I won t throw pebbles in
your hair.”
“Good. Because if you did
anything sneaky like that
again, I d have to dump sand
on you.”
I raised an eyebrow. “What if I
put a squirrel in your
?”
bag
Her jaw dropped. “That was you?”
“Guilty.”
“You re rotten!” The twinkle in her eye revealed that
she was enjoying it. “Why didn t you confess?”
“And miss him panicking over
what you might do

next?
“I m going to have to keep a close eye on you.”
I chuckled.
***
On the first of August, we were due to reach
Jamestown. I got up early and quietly grabbed my good suit
and bathing supplies while Ann slept in the bed. I glanced
at her for a moment. She had bathed the night before, and
she smelled and looked wonderful. I liked to watch her
sleep. She seemed peaceful and content. I hoped it
58

Falling In Love With Her Husband
wouldn t be too long before I could sleep next to her. I
would like to see her first thing every morning. I already
knew that we would start out sleeping in separate bedrooms
at our new home.
I left our room and went to the lavatory. Fortunately,
it was vacant. After bathing, I took out my shaving kit and
rubbed the lather on my face. I couldn t help but smile as I
recalled the previous afternoon while we were on the
wagon. She was curious about my facial hair.
“Do you plan to keep the
beard?” she had asked.
“No. I just haven t shaved because we ve been
traveling. Why? Would you like me to keep it
?”
“Honestly,
no.
I can t see m
uch of your face. Does it
feel strange?”
I hadn t thought about it, so I shrugged. “I don t
really know it s there.”
She looked like she wanted to ask me something.
“What is it?” I prompted.
“You ll think it s silly.”
Curious, I urged her to continue.
After a m
oment s hesitation, she asked, “Can I feel
it?”
I thought it was an odd request but agreed she
could. I stopped the horses so she could move closer to
touch my face.
This time it was her fingers that trembled, which I
found a relief since she was just as human as I was. My
breathing quickened with her sitting close enough to me that
I could almost feel her body against mine. Her fingers lightly
brushed my cheek.
She grinned. “It tickles. And it s a little rough.”
I smiled at the memory as I shaved. I didn t care for
the look or feel of it myself, but apparently, some men liked
it. I got dressed in my dark gray suit and returned to the
room.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
She was already dressed, and she was putting her
brush into the carpet bag. She had her hair pulled back into
a braid. When she finished packing, she put her hat on. As
much as she liked to go without it, she realized that wearing
the hat protected her skin from the heat of the summer sun.
“Good morning,” I greeted. I packed my things away
and picked up my blue tie.
She smiled at me. “Did you sleep well?”
“Yes. Spending all day on a wagon wears a person
out. How did you sleep?”
“Wonderfully. It
s good to be clean for a change. I
didn t realize how much I missed baths until I took one last
night.”
“It
e a person feel better.”
does mak
I slipped the tie
around my neck and began to tie the knot. I stopped when I
noticed she was staring at me. “Is it the wrong color?”
“No. I…I was just thinki
ng that you are a handsome
man
.”
I blushed at her compliment. I didn t know who f
elt
Finally, I said, “Thank you” and finished
more awkward.
working on my tie. I was glad she liked looking at me. I
wanted to be as desirable to her as she was to me.
“Can I feel your face now that you shaved? I m
curious to know what the differe
nce is like.”
“I m all
You can touch me anywhere you want to.
yours.”
I tried to sound nonchalant about it, but I suspected
she picked up on my excitement.
I stood still as she walked over to me and gently
stroked my face. She had wonderful hands. I wondered
how they would feel on other parts of my body. My face
tingled at her touch. I longed to take her hand and kiss it but
forced myself to remain still. Her fingers lingered on my
cheek.
“I like it,” she whispered. Was she as excited a
s I
was? “It s smooth but
mascul
ine.” She blushed and quickly
put her hand down. Then she turned to put on her shoes.
60

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I pushed aside my disappointment and picked up our
luggage. I missed her touch.
61

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Eight
Ann’s Point of View
When we reached Jamestown, a sense of peace
washed over me. I gazed upon the flat farm lands further
out of town.
“The way to our house is in that
He pointed north.
direction.”
“It s beautiful,” I whispered.
A strong wind tossed my
n t
braid around so that it flapped against my back. It was
this windy in Virginia.
“I saw pictures of this
He urged the horses forward.
idn t prepare me for it. I m glad we came
place, but it d
here
.”
I turned my attention to the town. It was smaller than
the one we grew up in. Even the houses were smaller than
what I was used
to, and it didn t appear that
any of them had
servants. The people dressed in a different material and
style than I was accustomed to. I felt sorely out of place
here but was determined not to show it.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Todd stopped in front of the mercantile. I had heard
of a mercantile but never entered one before. Servants did
that kind of shopping, but we didn t have servants anymore.
“I m going
to apply for a job at the
bank.” H
e pointed
“I plan to
to the building down the street.
work there until I
have enough money saved up to buy farming supplies.
Since my father insisted that I work at his bank, I know I can
do that job. Afterwards, I can help you through the
mercantile
if you d like.”
I eyed the store warily. It would be comforting to
have him with me, but I didn t want him to think I was
incompetent. Besides, I had to learn to take care of these
things on my own. “I m sure I can figure it out. How hard
can it be to buy food?”
“You re right. We eat it every day.” He du
g into his
pocket and handed me some money. “Do you think this will
be enough? I know it s not much but it s all I can afford right
now.”
Since the issue of cost never crossed my mind
sure it was enough. “This will do fine.”
before, I was
After Todd helped me down from the wagon, I
entered the store, trying to act as if I did this all the time. I
frowned as I walked around, examining the contents on the
shelves. I recognized fruits, vegetables and eggs, but
everything else seemed to be in jars or paper sacks. Why
didn t anything look like food? I read l
abels for flour, yeast,
broth and baking soda. My eyes scanned the labels. I felt
as if I were reading a foreign language. Where were the
breads, mashed potatoes, and steaks? Very little of this
resembled actual food.
I sighed in despair. First, I had ripped my pink dress,
stunk for weeks
because I hadn t bathed,
and now this?
Was living without servants going to change everything? As
I began to feel sorry for myself, I imagined Kent and
Rebecca together. My jaw clenched. So my life would be
different. I could handle it. I began to pick things at random.
63

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I would make sense of it later. Luck was on my side, for I
saw a recipe book. Of course, I grabbed it.
“Hello,” a warm voice gre
eted me.
I looked up from the recipe book that I had just
placed in the basket. The woman who stood before me was
dressed in simpler clothing that looked like it had seen better
days. She looked like she was my mother s age. I noticed
her rough hands. Would my smooth hands be that rough
one day? Was I staring at an image of who I would become
living out west?
I shoved the thoughts away. “Hello,” I replied,
nervously smiling. I wasn t sure what the proper method of
greeting someone was in this town.
“I haven t seen you before,” she kindly said. “Are
you passing through or are you moving here?”
“My husband bought a farm out here.”
I cleared my
throat. I wasn t used
to referring to Todd that way. “It s
north of here actually.”
“That s wonderful!
My names is Beth Coley. My
husband and I own this store. We have a son who owns his
own farm west of here and a daughter who sews clothes
down the street. Where did you move from?”

Virginia. My name is Ann, and my husband is Todd
Brothers. We jus
t arrived here. We haven t even checked
out the farm yet.”
“My, that s a long way to travel. You must be
exhausted.”
I nodded.
“Do you have pots and pans to cook your food in?”
My eyes widened. I hadn t thought of any of those
things. “I don t think so.”
What exactly did cooking entail?
“Could you recommend some things I might need? I
m not
familiar with cooking. I had servants who did that for me.” I
blushed.
She didn t judge me as I feared she would. Instead,
she told me the basics of cooking. She examined the items
64

Falling In Love With Her Husband
in my basket and placed some unnecessary things back on
the shelves. She put the things I would need into my
basket.
Unfortunately, the total amount for all I had collected
was more than what Todd had given me. It was
embarrassing, but she smiled.
“You can put the difference on credit and pay it off
later,” she offered. “Many people do that. Payment doesn t
necessarily have to be money. It can be items you make,
such as pot holders. It could be jewelry. I have a couple of
merchants who like to purchase jewelry from me. Payment
can also be in the form of fruits, vegetables or eggs. I even
accept it when people help me maintain this store.”
“I m not sure. I better put some things back for now.”
I wasn t sure what skill
or item I had that would be useful for
her store.
“Whatever makes you comfortable. The offer will
always stand in the future.”
“Thank you.”
entered the store with a box full of eggs. “I
A man
have a couple more boxes in the wagon. Mr. Johnson
s
hens are really pushing them out today.” He smiled when he
saw me. “Hello. My name is Mark Coley.”
“I m Ann Brothers.”
“She and her husband are
the new owners of the
Martin farm.” She looked at me. “It s the only farm vacant at
the moment. That s ho
w I know. Mr. Martin left most of his
supplies there, so you should be in good shape. I know he
took good care of his things.”
He nodded. “We look forward to seeing
you more
often then.”
“And please, take this recipe book as our gift to you.”
“Thank you,” I replied. I was overcome by their
kindness.
I glanced out the window and saw Todd leaving the
bank. “I have to go. My husband is waiting for me.”
65

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Let me help you with those bags,” Mr. Coley offered.
“Thank you, again.”
I joined Todd and introduced him to Mr. Coley. After
Todd and Mr. Coley put the bags in the wagon, they shook
hands. Mr. Coley gave him directions on a quicker and
easier way to get to the farm. Todd thanked him and then
we left.
“The
,” Todd commented.
people here are nice
I nodded. Turning my attention to other matters, I
asked, “Did they hire you at the bank?”
“My interview with the boss is the day after
tomorrow. I ll know then.”
After the months we traveled for what seemed like
endless miles, I thought the trip to the farm would be quick,
but it seemed longer than our trek across the states.
An hour passed by the time we arrived at the empty
white two-story house. Mr. Martin had left modest
furnishings, which were still in good shape except for the
kitchen table that had a wobbly leg.
“I had to take out a loan to pay for it,” Todd
explained
as I looked around.
I tried not to get discouraged as I looked at the dust
and cobwebs covering everything. My parents would never
accept such living conditions.
You’re not i
n Virginia
anymore. This is a different world.
“The water from the well should work,” he said. He
left to check it.
I went to investigate the small house. The parlor
was spacious and led to the front door. The dining room led
to the kitchen. The kitchen led to the back door. There
were two closets and a small room with things in it that I
didn t recognize.
The wooden stairs led to three bedrooms.
I stepped out of the last bedroom and walked down the
stairs. The kitchen had a pump at the sink.
“We re in luck,” Todd said
when he came back into
. “The water is good.”
the house through the front door
66

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I hesitated to ask the question that pressed on my
r later, I d have to use the
mind but had to because sooner o
“Where is the toilet?”
privy.
“The
outhouse is in the back.
I ll show you where.”
I followed him to the kitchen window which
overlooked the fields and the barn. He pointed to a small
wooden building the size of a closet that had a door. It was
between the house and the barn.
“The well
s out front, so the wat
er won t get
contaminated from…” He shrugged.
“You know.”
The idea of going to the bathroom outside made me
cring
e. It didn t seem sanitary.
Just what other unpleasant
things would I face out here?
. “I ll help you
He sighed
clean this place. Once we
get rid of the dust, it will look better. Why don t you sit down
and rest? I ll bring our things in.”
I shook my head. “I d rather help. I want to do
something other than sit.” I had done enough sitting over the
past couple of months. It felt good to move.
We didn t have much, but after the tiring trip, it
seemed that we would never finish putting things away
where they now belonged. I was glad that Mrs. Coley
recommended that I get pots and pans, because the kitchen
cupboards were bare. Once we finished our task, we were
so tired that we fell asleep. I slept on the couch and he slept
on the chair.
***
Early the next morning, I woke up refreshed and in a
good mood. I wasn t a morning person by nature, so it was
unusual for me to wake up with a smile on my face. In the
daylight, the house didn t look as bad as it had last night.
We could make it work.
67

Falling In Love With Her Husband
Since Todd was still asleep, I decided to surprise him
by making breakfast. I took out the recipe book that Mrs.
Coley had given me.
I decided to make scrambled eggs. It looked like a
meal that was difficult to ruin. I stared at the cast iron stove
and the wood on the floor in the corner. A box of matches
sat on the counter. I hadn t been allowed in the ki
tchen
while I was growing up, so I did as Mrs. Coley instructed in
starting a fire under the range. The oven door was right
next to the compartment where the fire burned. Neither the
oven nor the range looked easy. How would I know when
the range was to
o hot? Or what if it didn t get hot enough?
I turned back to the task of making scrambled eggs.
I threw the eggs into the pan and used the wooden spoon to
stir them around. I stopped when I realized the eggs didn t
d groaned. I wasn t
mix well. I read the recipe again an
supposed to keep the shells. I tossed the eggs into the sink.
This time I tried breaking the eggs, but I either used too
much force to crack them open or not enough. In the end, I
was stuck with egg white and bits of the shells splattered all
over the table
. After five attempts at it, I didn t dare use any
more eggs. I quickly put out the fire and cleaned up the
table. I threw the bad food into the pail in the corner of the
room.
I angrily sat in the kitchen chair. Cooking was not as
easy as Mrs. Coley made it sound. What made me think I
could live out here? None of the classes I took prepared me
for any of this. Everyone just assumed I d spend my life
surrounded by serv
ants who did the “trivial work”,
as my
father once put it.
My eyes fell on the fruits on the counter. At least I
knew how to cut fruit. I took some apples and strawberries
and cut them up. Then I ate my portion and waited for Todd
to wake up so he could eat his.
“Good morning,” Todd greeted as he entered th
e
kitchen.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I waited for him to sit across from me so he could
eat. It still felt strange to think of Todd as my husband. I
knew he was the right choice for me, though I didn t feel the
romantic feelings toward him that I had felt for Kent. I hoped
the feelings would come in time. I meant what I told him.
That I would do my best to be a good wife. I had messed up
with Kent, and my parents warned me about him. Since
they liked Todd, then Todd had to be the right choice. I
hope I didn t make a bad dec
ision. The last thing I wanted
to do was to hurt Todd because of my selfishness.
“It sure is a beautiful day. It s too bad
Todd smiled.
we have to spend it cleaning.”
“Do we have any cleaning supplies?” I hadn t thought
to purchase those at the store.
“Mr. Martin left some in the closet by the stair
s.

“Oh.” I watched as he ate. “Do you think you ll get
the banking job?”
“I think so. I know enough about it. If, for some
reason, I don t get it, I ll apply for another job.” He must have
noticed my apprehension because he stopped eating and
smil
ed at me. “We ll be alright.”
My spirits lifted and a new comfort came over me. I
smiled back and nodded. I was glad to have him with me,
and I could tell he was glad to have me with him. That was
the first time I was thankful that he loved me.
***
We spent the entire morning cleaning the
downstairs. By the time we were done, I noticed the blisters
forming on my thumbs from sweeping the broom. I wanted
to please Todd, so I didn t complain.
To my surprise, he offered to help me cook lunch.
“What do you want to eat?” he asked.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I don t know. I hadn t thought of what to make,” I
slowly replied as I glanced at the recipe book. I had no idea
what to make without burning it. “What do you want?”
“What did you buy?”
I motioned to the cupboards that held some
vegetables, fruits, eggs, and bags of flour, yeast, and other
items that I was still trying to figure out how to cook with.
“Hmm…
This isn t what I expected,” he replied. “Is
this all the
mercantile had?”
“For the most part, yes
. Mrs. Coley gave me a
recipe book and some cooking tips.”
“This is all we could afford?”
Embarrassed because I didn t know what to buy and
knew we didn t have much, I turned away from him. I was a
failure as a
wife. I didn t know the first thing about taking
care of a house or how to cook food. I wondered if I could
get anything right out here. It was such a different world
than Virginia.
arms around me. “Forgive me, Ann. I
Todd put his
wasn t criticizing you. I just didn t realize food cost so
much.”
I hugged him back. “I felt
Relieved,
lost in there.
Thankfully, Mrs. Coley was very nice and helped me.”
“I should have gone in with you, though I don t know
if I could have been much help. I don t under
stand what
we re supposed to do with flour or yeast.”
“Apparently, you can make bread with it.” How, I
didn t know.
“I thought I was prepared to be out here, but I didn t
consider
cooking food.”
“I m going to learn to cook. I know I can do it.”
“One
thing I do know about you is that when you set
your mind to something, you succeed.”
He had no idea how much I appreciated those
words. “Do you know how to start the fire for the stove?”
“Yes.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I watched in amazement as he got the fire burning.
He obviously practiced this. I should have expected it, but it
made me feel inferior as a wife.
“I had to buy some pans, pots and utensils too,” I
added. “I m sure I can get more food next time.”
“You did good, Ann. You ve always been good
about the choices
you make.”
I frowned. “I suppose if you don t count Kent, then I
do make good decisions.” I turned to the recipe book and
opened it.
He didn t respond, and I wasn t sure what else
to say
either. After we decided to make soup, I took on the task of
cutting up potatoes, carrots, and celery which I added to the
new pot so I wouldn t have to mess
broth and water in the
with the stove again. I stirred the pot.
“Are y
?”
ou ready to put it on the range
he asked.
I nodded and carried the pot to the stove. My hands
got too close to the range. I almost dropped the pot as I
pulled my hand away from the stove.
Todd quickly grabbed the pot and put it in place for
me. “Are you alright?”
“I m fine,” I replied but my hand
was already showing
signs of being lightly burnt. I made a mental note to never
get too close to the range again.
“Maybe cool water will help.”
I followed him to the sink. He picked up a clean
washcloth and pumped the handle until water came out. He
washed the cloth under it before he turned to me and
wrapped the cool cloth around my hand.
“That s much better,” I assured him.
After a few minutes, he uncovered my hand so he
could inspect the wound. “It looks superficial.” He sighed. “I
didn t think to bring any bandages.”
I took a deep breath. Somehow, the way he
carefully held my hand seemed more intimate than any kiss
Kent and I shared.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I m fine. It doesn t even hurt.”
Uncomfortable, I
“Do you know how to work everything in this house?”
asked,
nodded. “It helped that I talked w
He
ith the servants
back home. My father thought I was crazy for following the
servants all over the place, but I wanted to make sure I
could make it out here.”
“So, you know how to do laundry?”
“Yes. Would you like me to give you a quick tour of
the
scullery room?”
Was that the name of the small room I saw with the
“Yes, I would like to learn what you
unfamiliar objects in it?
know.”
He stirred the pot before he showed me the wringer
washer machine and washtub. It all seemed confusing, but
he demonstrated how to use them.

It took me a couple of times of helping the servants
I got the hang of doing laundry,” he said.
before
I didn t look f
orward to doing laundry. It looked like a
lot of work. But I was determined to press on and learn the
tasks I needed to.
We finished cooking the meal and had a good lunch.
Then we headed upstairs to clean the bedrooms. Todd let
me have my choice of the bedroom I wanted. He would
sleep in another room until I was ready to be intimate. I was
grateful for his patience because I doubted that other men
would have been as understanding.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Nine
Ann’s Point of View
When I woke up the next morning, my entire body
ached. I glanced at my hands which were red and sore.
The burn was going to leave a scar but was healing nicely. I
didn t want to
get out of bed, but I wanted to make Todd
breakfast and wish him luck on his interview.
I attempted to cook scrambled eggs again. Again, I
had difficulty getting the egg yolk and white out of the shell.
Bits of shells kept finding their way into the small bowl. After
trying to successfully crack four eggs, I finally got two eggs
perfectly cracked. I stirred them together with butter and
poured the mixture into the pan. I turned to clean up the
mess from my failed attempts. When I returned to the pan, I
realized the eggs were badly burnt. My aggravation
surfaced and I angrily threw the pan across the room.
Would I ever get the hang of cooking?
“Ann, are you alright?” Todd yelled from upstairs
.
I gasped and quickly ran to pick the pan and burnt
eggs off the floor. “I m fine! I…I accidently dropped
something. Everything s fine.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I hastily cleaned the pan and cracked the remaining
eggs I had into it. I hoped I would succeed this time or else
Todd would have to eat fruit again, which I knew wasn t ve
ry
filling. I stayed with the pan and carefully stirred the eggs.
Fortunately, they turned out correctly this time.
Todd s eyes lit up when he saw me. “Thank you for
making breakfast. I hop
e you didn t go through too much
trouble.”
Surprised, I realized that I would go through the
horrid ordeal all over again because it made him happy.
“Aren t you going to eat anything?” he asked as he
sat at the table.
I placed the plate of eggs in front of him and handed
a cup of water. “I ll eat
when I feel hungry.” My stomach
him
growled but I ignored it.
After he ate, he left for the interview and I decided to
eat. It was easier to make mistakes without someone
nearby who might witness them. I threw the slices of potato
in the pan without wiping oil on the bottom of the pan first. I
knew the recipe book said to do that, but how important
could oil possibly be?
Since potatoes didn t require stirring
like the eggs did, I left the kitchen and collected the laundry.
I didn t notice the smoke right away. At first, I
assumed the sudden odor was coming from the laundry.
Perhaps, this soap smelled bad. As the smell grew
stronger, I lifted the wet laundry to my nose. It smelled good
and clean, not smoky.
That was when I remembered the potatoes. I ran to
the kitchen, my hands still wet and soapy, and inspected the
potatoes. I grabbed a flour sack towel and grabbed the
handle of the pan. I tried to scrape the potatoes off with a
spoon, but they stuck to the bottom. Once again, I had
botched up cooking a simple meal.
That s when I started crying. What was I doing
here? I was used to servants who waited on me and served
me food. I had no idea how I d manage to survive out here.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I couldn t live on
fruits for the rest of my life. What made me
think I could do this? I shoved the pan into the sink and
threw the towel on the table.
Many thoughts raced through my mind. I could go
back to Virginia. No, I was married now and I must stick to
that decision. But what about an annul
ment? We hadn t
consummated the marriage. No, I made a vow to God. I
could persuade Todd to go back. No, he d be miserable and
I d still have to face Kent and Rebecca.
Then my anger surfaced
. This was all Kent s fault!
He was the one who approached me. He asked my father
for permission to call on me. Why did he initiate a romantic
relationship with me if he was going to choose someone
else?
I broke into a fresh wave of tears. I made the choice
kind to me. I didn t
to come out here, and Todd was being
deserve him. Not only did I not deserve him, but I couldn t
take care of the household tasks that farm wives did.
“What made me think I could do this?” I asked myself
as I stared at the burnt pan.
***
The next day, I experienced a bitterness toward Kent
and Rebecca that took me by surprise. While Todd was at
his new job at the bank, I paced back and forth in the parlor,
unable to concentrate on the household chores I needed to
accomplish. The bitterness turned into anger, which burned
brighter and hotter as I recalled all the lies that Kent once
told me. How foolish I was!
Hoping to burn off my anger, I took a long walk
through the fields. The sunlight brought out the brilliant
yellows and light greens of the land, but I was too caught up
in my memories to notice. At one point, my anger reached a
point where I had to run. I ran as fast and as hard as I
could, hoping to drive all traces of Kent from my mind. But
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
he haunted me without reprieve. “She actually believed I
loved her,” I imagined him telling Rebecca. I squeezed my
eyes shut, as if that would stop the pictures of Kent and
Rebecca laughing at me.
At some point, I collapsed on the ground, exhausted.
My mind whirled through my relationship with Kent, the end
of it, my hasty marriage to Todd, and the long trek to North
Dakota until they all became one big mix. My rapid
breathing and aching muscles prompted me to lay still. The
images in my mind finally began to fade as I became aware
of my hunger. I had forgotten to eat anything that morning.
After a few minutes passed, I grew tired. Relieved, I
gave myself up to the darkness that enveloped me. By the
time I woke up, the sun was low in the sky. I gasped. Todd!
He would be worried. I jumped up and ran in the direction of
. I hadn t realized I had gone so far into the field.
the house
I ran until my side hurt and then I had to walk, and the walk
back seemed to take forever. I saw Todd riding his favorite
horse in the field, calling out my name.
I stopped and waited to catch my breath. When I
could manage it, I called out to him and waved my arms. I
grinned. I looked at silly as my mother.
He turned his horse which galloped to me. He
jumped off the horse an
d hugged me tightly. “Thank
you re alright. I feared the worst.”
goodness
Overwhelmed by his reaction, I returned his hug.
Did he think I left him? Did he think someone took me
away? “I went for a walk and I
fell asleep in the field. I
didn t expect to be gone for
long.”
“There are coyotes out here
. You could have been
harmed.”
Coyotes? I shivered.
He released me.
“I ll need to buy a gun, just in case
one tries to attack either of us. But we can worry about that
later. You must be hungry. Would you like to take a break
wn?”
from cooking and get something to eat in to
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I felt empty as soon as he pulled away from me. My
growling stomach reminded me of more pressing matters I
needed to attend to than wondering about his hug. I readily
agreed, excited to eat a good meal for a change.
***
The anger did not leave as I hoped it would. If
anything, it seemed to intensify. Sunday came and we went
to church. Unlike the church we went to in Virginia, this one
who wore old clothes. I shouldn t
was filled with farmers
have been surprised but I felt out of place in my extravagant
clothes.
Todd seemed as nervous as I was. A momentary
flicker of homesickness washed over me. If I could see my
parents again… If I could talk to Agnes… I quickly brushed
the tears from my eyes and followed Todd to the pew.
After we sung the hymns, the middle-aged preacher
talked about anger and how we needed to forgive those who
upset us. The lesson wasn t lost to me. I k
new that this was
something I had to deal with. I reflected on my anger at
Kent and Rebecca. Did Kent care for me, even a little,
during our courtship? Could he help loving Rebecca?
I sighed. I was angry, and I needed to forgive them.
When it came time for everyone to silently pray, I prayed for
the ability to let the past go.
The service ended. Todd and I stood up, ready to
leave, when John and Barbara Russell approached us.
They were ten years older than us, and they had two sons
and a daughter. Calvin was eight, Bruce was five, and Molly
was two. I was thrilled to discover that they owned the farm
next to ours. They invited us to dinner at their house, and I
was happy to get out of cooking again.
By the time Todd and I arrived at their house, we
were famished. Barbara
s food tasted so good that I ate
until my stomach ached in protest. I wondered if I could
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
ever learn to cook as well as her. I hesitated to question her
cooking methods, but I was sick and tired of eating
overcooked and bland food.
After the men left for the barn, I offered to help
Barbara clean the table and dishes, which was one of the
few things I was good at. As we worked, I tried to think of
how to ask for cooking advice without sounding
incompetent.
“So, what brings
yo
u and Todd to North Dakota?”
she asked as she washed a plate.
“We moved here because Todd knew
I dried a cup.
someone who knew Mr. Martin. Todd s currently working at
the bank in town in order to save up enough money to buy
farming equipment.”
She smiled as she washed a dish.
“I m sure John
will love teaching Todd all he knows about farming. Calvin
and Bruce are learning, but they are still too young to do the
bigger tasks. Did you grow up on the farm?”
“No. I lived in a city. Actually, Todd and I
grew up in
wealthy households, so we re new to everything out here.”
Something about Barbara
told me I could trust her. “Todd s
father refused to offer him assistance if Todd left banking. I
think it s hard on Todd to be alienated from his family. I
hope they come around to accepting
his decision.”
“What about your parents?”

They like Todd
, but I m not sure they will approve of
how I married him. We eloped without telling anyone. I left
a note telling them about it before we left Virginia.”
She handed me the dish.
“Well, you ll find there are
more important things than wealth. What John and I
don t
.”
have in riches, we make up for in other areas
“Is it hard to make money as a farmer?”

We live modestly. Sometimes I sell quilts in order to
nice things.”
buy
Making quilts?
“I have a lot to learn.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“So did I when I married John ten years ago. I grew
up in town. My mother taught me to cook and sew, but I
didn t know what I had to do to be a farmer s wife until I
came out here.”
“How did you meet
I set the plate in the cupboard.
him?”
“We attended the same school, but he was two
grades ahead of me so we never talked much. Besides he
quit school in the eighth grade so he could work all day on
the farm. When I was seventeen, I went to a barn dance,
I didn t
and he asked me to dance. The rest is history.
believe I could live on the farm and like it and the first year
was tough, but I wouldn t give up this life for anything.
Getting through the first year is the secret.”
I hesitated before a
sking, “Did you always cook as
well as you do now?”
She grinned at my compliment. “Good cooking
comes with practice.”
“I never learned how to cook.” I hoped she wouldn t
laugh at me.
Thankfully, she didn t. “I suppose a wealthy mother
hter wouldn t have to cook. You had
figures her daug
servants cook for you?”
I nodded.
“Would you like me to teach you what I know?”
“Yes. I was going to ask for your help.”
“Then we ll start tomorrow. I can go t
o your house, if
u don t mind Molly tagging along

yo
.
“It ll be good to have a child around.”
“I m sure you ll have your own soon.”
I chose to keep quiet.
For the rest of the visit, she continued to tell me
about her childhood, courtship with John and marriage.
***
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
During the rest of the month, I gained an incredible
amount of knowledge in cooking. At first, my meals were
poor in quality but I soon improved. Todd had
complimented my poor cooking, but I thought he was glad to
eat better meals. I know I was glad to eat them.
Todd didn t
like his job, so many times he came
home depressed. He couldn t fully enjoy his days off
because he kept thinking of Monday when he d have to go
back.
I didn t realize that working at the bank would make
him moody. Barbara assured me that most men got that
way if they didn t like their work. Upon hearing this, I
decided that leaving Virginia so he could farm was the best
thing for him.
In addition to our meeting with John and Barbara on
a regular basis, I enjoyed
their children. I hadn t realized
how much I loved children. In Virginia, I was surrounded by
people my own age. I did look forward to the day I would
have my own, but I also enjoyed the time Todd and I had to
ourselves to get to know each other. I was sorry I didn t give
him a chance in Virginia. He was actually very fun to be
around, when he wasn t
upset about his job.
One warm evening in late August, I sat next to Todd
on the porch swing. I had set a nice blanket on it with a
large pillow because it looked comfortable. I enjoyed the
fact that it was the one place we could sit together and be
close. I found that I looked forward to the evenings for this
reason. Since he hadn t initiated any physical contact since
he hugged me in the field on the day I went for a walk, I
wasn t sure i
f he wanted to be close to me. But he was
probably waiting for me to be ready, and I didn t want to rush
things. Not when Kent and Rebecca were still on my mind.
Though I d come around to accepting what happened, it was
taking time to heal from it. In the midst of these emotions, I
did find comfort in being with Todd. I had thought I was
close to Agnes, but my friendship with Todd seemed to run
deeper than it had with her.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
We d spend most of our time on the swing reading a
book together. Though he held a book in his hands, he
didn t open it on this particular evening.
“Dinner was terrific,” he said, fingering the pages.
. “At least I didn t burn the bread.”
Pleased, I smiled
“You haven t burned anything in a week.”
I raised my eyebrow at him. “Oh
? Did you forget the
potato slices from last night?”
He chuckled. “Those weren t burnt. They were
nicely browned.”
I laughed, not understanding how he could overlook
that mishap. I thought I had enough time to hang up clothes
on the clothes line. I d been wrong. After a moment of
silence passed, I asked, “How are things going at the bank?”
“As good as it can be. At least Mr.
Richard is a good
boss.”
“That is good news. It should make working there
more bearable.”
“It does.”
seemed preoccupied. I wasn t sure of
I sighed. He
what to say.
I glanced at the front yard. Usually, our
conversations were easy, but this evening it seemed forced.
I focused on the way the strong wind shook the leaves on
the trees that formed a shelter belt around the house.
“Do you ever regret leaving Virginia?” he asked.
Turning my attention back to him, I shook my head.
“No.
I do miss my parents and Agnes.”
But
“I cou
ld get some time off of work around
Thanksgiving. Would you like to visit them
?”
“Do we have enough money?”
“With all the overtime I work, we do.”
“Will you come with me?”
He grinned. “Of course.
I couldn t bea
r to be away
from you. I ca
n hardly stand to be gone while I m at
work.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I was pleased by this. I also looked forward to being
with him. Maybe that s what happened when people got
married. They became a part of each other.
“We d
take the train,” he continued.
I nodded, returning my thoughts to the idea of going
back east. “Good because that wagon ride was long. Don t
get me
wrong. It wasn t boring because I was with you, but I
I wouldn t have
was exhausted when we finally got here.
survived
another day.”

You would have made it. You have great strength.
I m impressed with you. I don t think many women could
handle the t
rip or getting used to living here.”
“It is an adventure.
I wouldn t trade this life for
Virginia or anywhere else. I m happy here.”
“I like hearing that. I want you to be happy.” He
handed me the book. “I better take care of the horses for
.” He stood up. “I was going to stop working
the night
overtime at the bank, but it would be nice to see your
parents in November. After that, I can work less and be
around here more. Is that alright?”
“Yes, but you don t want to read tonight?”
“No. I m not in
the mood. Why don t you read a
couple of chapters and tell me what happens?”
I nodded and opened the book to the marked page.
He went down the porch steps and walked around
the house so he could go to the barn.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Ten
Todd’s Point of View
didn t progress as fast toward
Ann and I
intimacy as I
would have liked but I was continually reminding myself to
be patient. I knew that until she put Kent behind her, she
wasn t going to be able to open her heart to me, and I
wanted her to see me as a man, not as the boy she grew up
with or the friend who shared a house with her. Waiting for
her to reach this point wasn t always easy. There were
times when I got upset and unintentionally snapped at her.
She assumed it was my work that was irritating me. That
was partly true, but my increased awareness of her physical
beauty wore on my nerves because I couldn t do anything
about it. I was married to her, yet I wasn t free to explore
the physical side of our relationship.
I wouldn t tell her the truth of my irritations because I
didn t want
her to consummate our marriage because she
felt guilty or obligated to. I wanted her to want me as much
as I wanted her. I actually looked forward to going to work
at times because at least when I was at work, I was just
bored. Being bored was easier than being aroused without
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
relief. I focused on my goal toward farming while I worked.
I kept a calendar in my desk where I was marking down the
days to when I could quit.
I did enjoy giving Ann money so she could buy new
foods to cook. She seemed to enjoy trying new foods, and I
liked eating them. She was quickly turning into an expert
cook. Coming home to one of her meals was the highlight
day. It wasn t just her cooking I looked forward to
of my
though. I mostly enjoyed coming home to her sweet smiles.
This was one of those situations where I wanted to be with
her and away from her at the same time.
On the third Saturday in September, I went into town
so I could do some additional bookkeeping for Mr. Richard.
Afterwards, I took out enough money I had saved aside for a
gift to buy Ann. She didn t complain about a lack of
anything, but I knew she liked to wear pretty dresses. She
wasn t
able to buy any new dresses, and the ones from
Virginia were wearing out
. They weren t made
for
housework. I found the pink dress she had worn at the
dance. She had thrown it away, but I found it and set it
aside for when I could afford to buy her a dress that was
pretty but also durable.
Since Mrs. Coley s daughter, Daphne Rhodes,
sewed dresses and other clothing for a living, I handed her
Ann s old pink
dress and informed her that it was a little tight
on Ann because Ann did complain about it at the dance.
Daphne had a new blue and green dress ready on that
Saturday, so after work, I went by to pay her and collect the
dress. Daphne knew I wanted to keep the dress a secret,
so she never mentioned it to anyone. I wanted Ann to be
surprised by it since it was her birthday gift.
Daphne wrapped it up in a pink cloth with a pink
ribbon
. I couldn t wait to show it to Ann. Though I didn t see
the dress, Daphne had shown me the design and I thought it
would look terrific on Ann. Of course, Ann could wear a
potato sack and still be beautiful.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I hope you don t
mind that I included a bonnet to
match the dress,” Da
phne said as she handed me the
“Thank you, Mrs. Rhodes,” I replied. I paid
present.
her for the dress and included a tip for her thoughtfulness.
“Thank you, Mr. Brothers. You are very generous. If
you need any more dresses, I will be happy to make them
for you. Your wife is a very nice woman. I know my mother
enjoys her conversations with her.”
I was pleased to hear this so I thanked her again and
left. Ann didn t seem to have any problems making friends.
She naturally drew people to her with her sunny personality.
As soon as I got home, I was anxious to surprise
Ann. She wa
sn t in the kitchen, parlor, dining room or any of
the bedrooms. I hesitated to go to the scullery room
because that s where we took baths in the metal tub
, but my
excitement overcame my awkwardness. I noticed the
scullery room door was shut so I tapped on the door.
“Ann? Are you in there?”
“Oh, Todd! I didn t expect you back so early.”
The sound of water splashing in the tub brought
images of her
taking a bath. I hadn t seen a woman naked
so I really couldn t visualize anything specific. I was
enjoying the imagery that did come to mind, however. I
pushed the thoughts aside.
“I didn t have to work the entire day. I have a
surprise for you.”
“Really?”
“You didn t think I forgot your birthday, did you?”
“Well…
I didn t even know you knew when my
birthday was.”
“Of course, I do. I ve been to enough birthday dinner
parties to remember.”
“I need to finish washing my hair. I ll be out in a f
ew
minutes. Can you put the surprise in my room? I ll be there
soon.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Can I help? I can wash your back. I wanted to say
didn t. Instead, I wen
this but I
t to her bedroom and set the
gift on her dresser. Her room was simple in its decoration
since sh
e didn t bring many of her things in our hurried trek
out west. Still, there was no denying it was a woman s
bedroom. Dresses hung in the wardrobe, the blanket she
laid out on the bed was embroidered with pink and white
carnations, and her comb, hairbrush, and two hats were
neatly set out on the dresser. I liked the smell of the room.
It reminded me of her.
To my surprise, she walked into the room in nothing
but her robe. Her hair was still wet from her bath, and for
some reason, this was even more arousing than I figured it
, hoping she wouldn t notice my
should have been. I shifted
erection.
She blinked, as if surprised. “Oh. I didn t know you
were going to wait in here.”
“Should I leave?”
Please say no.
She seemed to consider my question. “We
are
married,” she softly replied. “I suppose sooner or later, this
was bound to happen
.” Then her eyes fell on the gift. “Is
that for me?” In her excitement, she forgot the awkwardness
of the situation.
I was secretly relieved. I wanted to look at her. It
was as if I was a starving man and there was a banquet
right in front of me.
She smiled widely at me. “You got me a present?”
I could only nod.
“How thoughtful of you! What is it?”
I cleared my throat and willed my breathing to go
. “Open it and find out.” I sat on her bed, not
back to normal
trusting myself to stand. I was ready to run over to her and
kiss her. I didn t trust myself to get too close to her. As it
was, I almost felt guilty for staring at her, but I remembered
that we were married and looking at her was acceptable.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
She gently removed the ribbon. Why did women feel
the need to take their time opening gifts? I didn t bother to
ask. In fact, she could take all day if she wanted. I
suddenly caught sight of her reflection in the mirror and saw
the skin below her collarbone. She wasn t awar
e of my
response to her
. It didn t even occur to her
that I was
thinking about sex.
She removed the cloth and squealed with delight.
“It s gorgeous!” She picked up the dress and
put it up to her
neck so she could inspect it in the mirr
or. “Oh, and there s a
bonnet to match! This will be more comfortable than the
hats.

I wanted to tell her to put the dress back down so I
could continue to look at her skin, but she was happy with
the dress
so I didn t. I was glad she liked my gift.
“How do you know my measurements?” she
wondered.
I blinked and looked at her eyes. They were such a
pretty brown color. I always liked her eyes.
Her eyebrows furrowed. “Are you feeling alright?
You look
flushed.” She forgot to hold her dress up to her
neck and walked over to me. She leaned over and touched
my forehead.
I couldn t move. Her sudden movement loosened
her robe enough for me to catch a glimpse of her breasts.
Perfectly formed white mounds with pink tips. They were
much better than I imagined.
“You feel warm. Maybe you should lie down,” she
said, concerned.
“No, I m fine,” I quickly argued. The beating of my
heart sounded loud in my ears. She was, without a doubt,
the most exquisite woman in the world.
“I don t know. You look like you re going to faint.”
She stood back up and studied me, as if determining
whether I was sick or not.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I shook my head to clear
it. “I m fine. It s just a little
hot in here, that s all.”
“I feel cold. Maybe that s because I just got out of
the bath. Would you like to take a bath? Maybe it would
cool you off.”
“That s a good idea.”
“I can boil some water for you.”
“No. I ll just take cold water.”
“Are you sure? That can t be comfortable.”
“I ll survive it.” It was either that or thro
w her on the
bed and act on the thoughts that were racing wildly through
my mind.
She stood there and stared at me.
I looked back at her. “What is it?”
“Aren t you going to take the bath?”
“I was hoping to see how you look in the dress first.”
There was no way I was going to stand up with her looking
at me.
I didn t want her to see how aroused I was. I cleared
“Y
.”
my throat.
ou can put it on in the third bedroom
Or you
can put it on right here.
She blushed. “Oh.” She quickly tightened the top of
her robe.
I sighed. I was hoping she wouldn t remember to do
that.
“I ll be right back,” she said before she left the room.
I jumped off the bed and opened the window so that
the fresh, cool air would calm me down. There was no way
that the dress would look better than her wearing nothing.
She was incredible.
When she returned, she wore the dress. I breathed
I didn t think I could handle wat
a sigh of relief.
ching her in
her robe anymore.
She ran to the mirror and examined her reflection.
“This is a wonderful dress.
How did you know my
measurements?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Now that she was fully dressed, I could concentrate
“That was easy. I took that pink
again.
dress you wore at
ance to Mrs. Rhodes.”
the d
“It fits better than
that dress.”

I told her the pink dress was a little tight because
you felt faint in it.”
She went to the mirror and combed her hair which
was drying nicely. She placed the bonnet on her head and
turned to me. “What do you think?”
“You re the best
looking woman I
ve ever seen,” I
whispered.
She beamed.
“That is very thoughtful of you to say.”
She walked over to me and hugged me. “Thank you. This
s ever given
me.”
is the best gift anyone
“You had better dresses back in Virginia.” It felt so
good to hold her.


But this took some thought.
“I know how much you like dresses.”
“Todd, you re the best husband
a woman could ask
. I m very thankful you love me so well.” She kissed me
for
on the cheek.
I turned my head in hopes she would kiss me on the
mouth, but she had already pulled away from me and was
admiring the dress in the mirror.
“I think I ll take that bath now,” I weakly said before I
left the room.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Eleven
Ann’s Point of View
I was thankful for the fall season. It was good to feel
the cool breezes drift in through the open windows. Early in
October, I woke up and realized I had finally forgiven Kent
and Rebecca. I was relieved and happy to be able to move
on with my life.
Since Todd and I slept in separate bedrooms, I
wasn t aware he had trouble sleeping. How many sleepless
nights had he spent pacing in his bedroom or downstairs in
the parlor?
I wouldn t have even known he was having trouble
sleeping if I hadn t gotten cold in the middle of the night and
had to close my window. I realized I was thirsty, so I
decided to go to the kitchen to get some water. On my way
down the steps, I heard the sound of footsteps in the parlor.
I gasped and stood still, afraid to move. I held my breath
and considered what to do. Suddenly, it occurred to me that
an intruder wouldn t spend so much time in one place.
I slowly walked down the stairs and tiptoed to the
sound, curious as to what Todd would be doing up at such a
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
late hour. I was ready to let my presence be known when I
saw him, slouched over the desk in the parlor. The
candlelight by his side showed his worried expression. I
stayed out of sight in the shadows. He was greatly troubled.
He never told me anything was bothering him, so I had no
idea what it could be. He sighed loudly, stood up and paced
in front of the desk, sat back down in front of a pile of
papers, wrote something down, threw his pen down in
aggravation and paced the floor again. Obviously, whatever
he was writing wasn t working. Finally, he ble
w out the
candle and walked back up the stairs. I quietly hid in the
shadows.
Once he shut his bedroom door, I crept over to the
desk and pulled open the drawer that contained the papers
he had been scribbling on. I pushed aside my guilty feelings
and walked to the window so I could study what was on the
by the light of the moon. It didn t take me long to
papers
realize that I was holding the household budget. I frowned.
We needed more money. I put the papers back where I
found them. I didn t know i
f I felt better or worse now that I
knew what kept him up at night. He wanted to protect me
from financial worries, but I was partly responsible since I
bought extra food that I wanted to cook. Some of the food
was expensive. Plus, he originally planned on coming out
by himself, so I was an extra person to care for.
Winter was coming soon, and Barbara
recommended that I get warmer clothes, coats and boots.
Now I was worried. How could we afford those things? I
wanted to help him but didn t feel comfortable approaching
him since he was determined to handle this on his own.
That night, I stayed awake, tossing and turning in my bed as
I thought of ways I could ease our financial burden. As I
cooked breakfast, I found the answer. I would take Mrs.
Coley up on her offer to give me food in exchange for my
services.
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Barbara came by to pick me up later that morning.
We went to town once a week so she could visit her mother.
Molly usually joined us while Calvin and Bruce helped John.
While Barbara and Molly visited her mother, I went to the
store.
Mr. Coley was stocking the shelves. “Hello, Mrs.
Brothers. How are you and Todd doing this morning?”
“We are
doing well, thank you,” I replied.
Mrs. Coley walked out from the backroom
. “You re
early. You don t usually come for another hour.”
I took a deep breath. “Yes. I had something I
wanted to ask you.”
Mr. Coley stopped and looked at me.
“Is your off
er to help you with the store still open? I
would like to work for free food.”
Mrs. Coley thought for a moment. “We could use
someone to clean the store, update our books, and keep an
inventory list of the supplies we have. Are you willing to do
things?”
those
I nodded. “I know how to do all of that.” For once, I
was grateful for my schooling. “I m not sure my husband
would appreciate it if I worked here. He might not like the
fact that I m helping with the finances.”
“You don t need to explain,” Mr. Coley replied. “We
won t say a word about this.”
I sighed, relieved. “Thank you.” I didn t want Todd to
feel like he couldn t make it out here on his own.
So we agreed that I would come in twice a week to
do these chores in return for food and cooking supplies.
Since Todd didn t go shopping, he didn
t know the cost of
food, so I was able to fib on the cost of different items. I
simply explained that I had found ways to cut back on the
grocery bill. He accepted my reason for the sudden
decrease in food expenses.
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After two weeks, I took a midnight peek at the budget
and smiled when I saw we were back in good financial
shape.
As it turned out, Mrs. Coley and I became good
friends. She would fill me in on her past memories,
especially funny sto
ries of her children s childhood. She
loved to tell her stories, and I enjoyed listening to them. She
also gave me advice on staying warm during the winter. It
was funny how I got used to doing the chores at home and
in the store. I
didn t even notice
how exhausting they were
anymore.
***
That Sunday evening, Todd and I sat on the porch,
watching the sun set as the wind tossed orange and red
leaves on the ground.
“I wish time would stand still at this moment,” he
commented. “If only things could always be this peaceful.”
“It is beautiful,” I agreed.
He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the
chair. It had been a couple of weeks since he sat next to
me on the porch swing. I worried that he no longer loved
me like he used to, but
I didn t
ask him about it in case I was
right.
“I wish tomorrow wasn t Monday.”
I sighed. It seemed that he hated his job more with
. “Try not to think about the bank.”
each passing day
“I try, really I do. I tell myself once winter is over, I
can afford to qu
it. John s going to help me purchase farm
equipment. He ll know what I need to get started.
He
recommends I start planting-

I bit my lower lip so I wouldn t scream. Instead, I
said, “Todd, I ve heard this a dozen times already. Can we
talk about something else? Maybe you should quit your job
.” When he didn t
at the bank and get another job until Spring
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respond, I continued. “There s an
opening at the post
.”
office
“Do you think I can t handle the job I already have?”
He sat up straight, his eyes wide.
? “You re a great
Why did he have to be so touchy
banker. It s just hard to watch you spend al
l your waking
hours in misery. You might enjoy life more if you did
something else for the next few months.”
He frowned. “I don t know.”
“What do you have to lose?”
“I ll think about it.”
I hesitated
but decided to speak. “There s not only a
job at the post office but the stable
is hiring as well.”
When I
saw him clench his jaw, I realized he wasn t listening to me.
“I ve had it! I m tired of hearing you complain about your job.
I don t understand why you don t quit.” It hadn t been my
intention to raise my voice but the more I spoke, the louder I
got.
He glared at me. “Unlike some people, I don t run
away from my problems.”
I bolted to my feet.
“That s the last time I ll try t
o help
you!” I quickly ran
into the house before I said something I
would regret.
I locked myself in my bedroom. So what if I left
Virginia in order to get away from Kent and Rebecca? Todd
didn t refuse to take me with him! I crossed my arms and
sat on my bed. Perhaps leaving Virginia the way I did
wasn t the smartest thing I ever did, but I liked it here. I
didn t
regret coming out here, even though I missed my
parents and Agnes.
I spent most of the night fuming at his words. Did he
think I was staying here because I was still mourning over
Kent? Did he think that was the only reason I stayed
married to him?
By the time morning came, I was tempted to make
Todd fix his own breakfast. I stared at the stove and oven. I
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wondered how long it would take him to figure out how to
make pancakes and biscuits.
“I m sorry, Ann. I didn t mean to say that about you
runnin
g away from your problems,” Todd softly stated.
I hadn t heard him enter the kitchen. I turned
around, my heart melting. “I m sorry too. You know how to
handle the situation at work better than I do.”
He seemed as relieved as I was to have things go
back to normal. Unlike the other times we apologized, he
hugged me. The action startled me for a moment, but then I
returned his hug. I found that I enjoyed hugging him.
Maybe fighting wasn t so bad after all.
“You don t run away from your problems,” h
e said
when our hug ended. “If you did, you wouldn t be here. I
know it wasn t easy for you to learn to cook and clean. It s
hard work, and I want you to know that I appreciate it.
Thank you for taking care of me.”
My eyes lit up at his compliment. I kissed his cheek
to show my appreciation. “Of course, you take care of me
too.” Again, I was thankful that he loved me and treated me
so well. I gladly turned to the stove and made his breakfast.
***
The next afternoon when he came home, he rushed
into the house and said he had a surprise for me.
Interested, I followed him out to the barn and paused when I
saw my gift. He bought me a horse?
“Do you think this is a good idea?”
“Of course it is,” he replied, smilin
g proudly at the
. “Do you want
brown animal that was eating hay in her stall
to name her?”
“Why do we need another horse?”
“I notice you go into town more and thought if I was
at work and you needed to go to town, you can hook up
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Thunder and this horse to the buggy. You can go anywhere
while I m at work.”
you need to
I considered my words carefully. I didn t work at the
Coley s so he could buy things we didn t need. “I appreciate
the thought. You are very kind to think of me.”
He frowned. “But…?”
I shrugged. “I don t kn
ow. I just think that it may be
unnecessary. Barbara takes me into town whenever she
goes.”
“I thought you would be pleased.”
I noted his disappointment. “I am but isn t a horse
expensive?”
“Are you saying I can t afford it?”
“Can you?”
“Yes.”
I rubbed my forehead. I saw the budget that night. I
knew he couldn t. Not really. Not without sacrificing
something important, like food or clothes or blankets for the
winter.
He sighed and looked at Thunder and Lightning who
rested in their stalls, munching on their portion of the hay.
“I work all the time to give you what
He turned back to me.
you want and no matter how hard I try, I can t please you. I
really thought you d appreciate this horse. I bought her for
you.”
“I don t need a horse.”
“You want more clothes?”
“No. I m content with what I have.” Why was he
getting upset? I was trying to ease his financial burden, not
increase it. “You don t have to buy me things. I don t need
things to be happy. I just want to be a blessing to you.”
He looked as if he was about to say something but
decided against it.
“Forget about the Thanksgiving
I shook my head.
trip and
the horse. You don t have to work overtime
at the
bank. Do you think I want you to suffer over there just so I
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can have more things? I already t
old you I wasn t going to
buy as many clothes anymore and I have managed to cut
back on the food expenses. I did all of that for you, but you
take the money I have saved you by not spending it and you
run off and buy an animal I don t need. Then you re going to
run back to the bank and overwork yourself again.”
“I keep telling you we can afford things. Why don t
you ever listen to me?”
He was too proud to admit that he needed help.
I couldn t make him tell me the truth, and I didn t
want to have another fight about his job. I turned to the
mare. He did show a great deal of thoughtfulness in buying
her for me. I should graciously accept it and just hope it
didn t create a hole in our finances. “Thank you for the
horse. I m sorry I wasn t appreciative of it before. I do like it
when you buy things for me.”
“You do?”
He looked uncertain.
I nodded. “It let
s me know you think a
bout me.”
He smiled back. “That s good information to have.”
“Why don t we
Relieved, I returned his smile.
name
her Storm? I think it goes well with Thunder and Lightning.”
“I like it. Storm it is.”
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Chapter Twelve
Todd’s Point of View
One night, I couldn t sleep at all. Thoughts of Ann
continually replayed themselves in my mind. I recalled the
day I brought home her dress for her birthday and how
beautiful she looked in her robe. I recalled her perky white
breasts when she leaned over to touch my forehead. I
wanted to see everything that was under that robe. I
managed to drift off into a fitful sleep halfway through the
night, and my dreams were filled with images of Ann coming
to me. My hands caressed her breasts. I recalled the feel
of her silky hair, the way her lips felt on mine, and how her
body felt when I hugged her. I reluctantly willed these
thoughts away as I woke up. I was too aroused to go back
to sleep. I jumped off my bed and opened the window.
I shivered as my body temperature finally dropped. I
didn t dare close the window. Instead, I decided to go
downstairs. I didn t fee
l like taking of my sexual needs that
night. I d just ride it out. I quietly walked down the stairs
and lit a candle in the parlor. I went over to the desk by the
window and opened the top drawer where I put the papers I
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wrote on to plan our spending and savings. I took out my
pencil and began working on a new idea on ways I could cut
spending. I had already cut back as far as I could on my
clothing. I had enough warm clothes. I did odd jobs for
John for some hay to feed the horses, so I managed to save
aside some extra money there.
I looked at Ann s clothing and the food budget. I
sighed loudly and stood up and paced in front of the desk. I
hated to cut back on the things she enjoyed. She had
bought some warmer and prettier dresses, which I liked.
She not only looked good in them but she had fun buying
them. It was one of the things she did enjoy back in
Virginia. I sat back down in front of a pile of papers and
considered cutting back the food budget. I wrote some
amounts down to the few foods I knew. I did enjoy her
cooking, and she had fun trying new recipes. Some of them
were fancy but it tasted just as good as the other stuff she
made. If I cut back on the food and clothing, it would save
didn t want
more, but I
to do that to her.
I stared out the window and recalled the last time
she brought a new dress home. Her face glowed with
pleasure. I wished she liked me as much as she liked those
dresses. I threw the pencil down in aggravation and paced
the floor aga
in. I didn t like thinking such thoughts. I had to
be important to her in some way. She wouldn t even tell me
she loved me, but she had no trouble expressing her
pleasure for cooking and buying clothes. I groaned. So I
wasn t going to sleep tonight.
I blew out the candle and
crept up the stairs. Despite my frustration, I quietly shut the
bedroom door. I wanted slam it so she would wake up and
come running out of her bedroom to ask me what was
wrong.
Then what? I would get to look at her in her
htgown which didn t hide as much as the dress
nig
es did, but
she d be oblivious to the fact that I was in
pajamas which
didn t hide much either. She d be relieved that I was
alright
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and go back to her
room. She wouldn t invite me to her
e. Then the next day, I d be just as
room or come into min
miserable but with the reminder that she didn t care to do
anything interesting with me the night before when she had
the perfect chance. I laid on my bed and resigned myself to
another sleepless night. Again, the thought crept into my
mind that I should have left her back in Virginia.
***
That Sunday evening, we sat on the porch again. I
sat in one of the chairs. I was finding it harder and harder to
sit next to her. Instead, I put as much distance between us
s possible. I was afraid if I got close, I wouldn t be able to
a
control myself. There were too many intimate thoughts
running through my mind. If she had any idea, she would
probably think there was something wrong with me or,
worse, reject me.
I wanted to ask Ann what she thought about sex but
knew it wouldn t be appropriate since we weren t actually
having it. Or would it? Could it be something that would
open the door to consummating our marriage? I could talk
to her about anything else. So why not this?
“It
was nice that we spent the day together,” Ann
said. “We always have fun with John and
Barbara, but
sometimes it s nice to spend some time alone.”
Breaking out of my thoughts, I turned to her in
interest. Did she enjoy being with me?
She shifted on the porch swing and cleared her
throat. “It s just that sometimes I feel like I don t get to see
you very much. You work so many hours at the bank. Not
that I m complaining,” she quickly added. “I know you re
doing everything you can to provid
e for us.”
“You like having me around?”
She blushed. “Of course I do.”
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I appreciated her comment more than she realized.
“I like being with you too.”
I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the
chair. It had been a good day. She sat closer to me than
usual in church. Usually, there was some space between
us, but now that I thought about it, our arms were touching.
I had assumed she sat close to me because Molly wanted to
sit right by her and she didn t have enough room to leave
some space between us. Was it possible that she
intentionally sat close to me? There was enough room on
Molly s side. Then I recalled the way she sat next to me at
dinner and touched my arm a couple of times. I had
assumed it was innocent Ann behavior. Was there more to
it than that? A spark of hope went through me.
“If you want, I could stay home more.” Suddenly, I
wanted to be with her. Perhaps I should stop working
overtime and see if more would come from her actions.
“I
understand that you need to be at work as much
as you are,” she argued. “I don t want you to stop doing
what you need to do.”
I frowned. “What do I need to do?” Be away from
her? Did she want me around or not?
She looked startled. “I didn t mean anything rude.
I… Well, you know what
you need to do. That s why you
work overtime.”
I blinked, confused. “What are you talking about?”
“Nothing. Forget I said anything. It doesn t matter
anyway. We re having a lovely day. Let s not ruin it with
another argument.”
“I don t want to forget it. I want to know what you re
talking about.” I sat up in the chair, aware that I was getting
upset. Something in her comment bothered me and I didn t
know why.
“I m not saying you re inadequate. You do a great
job.”
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“Why should I feel inadequate?” Was that why she
didn t want to have sex with me? Because I didn t measure
up to her standards?
“You shouldn t
feel inadequate
.” She looked
. “Really, I meant nothing wrong.”
alarmed
“Fine. Then you can tell me what you meant.” I
didn t mean to soun
d as harsh as I did, so I forced myself to
take a deep breath to calm down.
“You do a great job at the bank. You re a hard
worker.”
What did that have to do with sex? “Are you trying to
avoid the topic?”
“No. I ve been talking about your job. That i
s what
you re talking about too, isn t it?”
Her words broke through my confusion. She was
talking about my role as the provider. “Why should I feel
inadequate about work?”
“No reason. Can we just forget it and talk about
think of the preacher s
something else? What did you
sermon today?”
I narrowed my eyes. I couldn t let go of her
insinuation that I wasn t a good provider. “Are you saying
you don t get enough money?” How many dresses or food
could a woman possibly buy? I thought I was already being
generous on those accounts.
“No! I m not saying that at all.”
“I don t believe you.” Now I was fuming. “This may
not be Virginia where you had tons of money to throw
around, but I work hard and I do make a good living at what
I do.”
“Of course
She looked like she was ready to panic.
you do.”
“I m sorry I don t meet up to your standards, Ann.
Perhaps you d like to go back.”
She angrily stood up. “I m not going anywhere. I like
it here and you can t make me leave. It s my house too!”
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“You sure
do enjoy living here. It s almost like I m
living with one of my sisters.”
“Is that what you see me as? A
She gasped.
sister?”
“You treat me like I m your brother.”
“I can t believe you said that. I ve just been giv
ing
you time alone. You re so up
set with your job that
it s hard
to be around you.”
“Or are you upset
because you can t buy everything
you want?” What was going on? Were we really having this
conversation? I wasn t even sure what we were talking
about. Were we talking about money, sex or my job?
“That s it! I can t take this anymore. You go ahead
and stay at your job all you want, and we ll spend all of our
Sundays with the Russell family. I told Barbara that I
wanted to spend the day alone with you since I do enjoy
being with you. But all we do lately is argue and I don t
understand how your job can affect your mood so poorly.
Really Todd, if it s that much of a pain, then quit and do
something else.”
Again, she was insisting that I quit my job. “
In case
you haven t noticed, I m a
. I can handle my job. I don t
man
need you to tell me what to do.”
“Fine. And in case you haven t noticed, I am a
woman. I am not one of your sisters, nor do I consider you
to be my brother. Apparently, I was the only one who
listened to the preacher today. I am sorry that I offend you,
but I refuse to leave. It s too bad you re stuck with me.” She
ran into the house and slammed the door behind her.
I sat on the chair, unable to process what had just
happened. I knew it wouldn t do any good to follow her.
She usually ran up to her room and locked the door. I didn t
understand her. She was too complicated. One minute she
was telling me how much she enjoyed being with me, then
she told me to work more, and then she acted as if I had
insulted her. What did I say that was wrong? Irritated, I
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closed my eyes and rocked back and forth in the chair. She
was right about one thing. Whenever we spent time
d fight. I couldn t remember
together, we di
the last time we
had a pleasant day all through the day.
I didn t imagine that marriage could be so hard. I
loved Ann for years. I thought we were having fun being
together up until the beginning of this month. What changed
in that time? True, I did complain about my job and dreaded
going to it, but I didn t think it was as bad as she said. Was
she afraid I was going to stop working so she couldn t afford
her precious dresses?
I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. I
understood that we would have our fights when I married
her. I didn t expect things to always go perfectly. I even
anticipated female mood swings that were common with my
Why couldn t we
sisters. But Ann was a lot more complex.
get along anymore?
***
The next morning, I went to the kitchen. Ann stood
at the sink and stared out the window. She liked to look
outside while she cooked. She said it gave her a feeling of
peace to look at the flat landscape.
I took a deep breath as I drank in her beauty. She
wore her hair down so that it reached the middle of her
back. Her waist and hips were incredibly feminine. How
could she think I saw her as one of my sisters? I never
looked at them the way I looked at her. She knew I loved
her. I had told her I
did. Granted, I hadn t told
her recently,
but did she really need to hear it all the time? If she would
give me some indication she was the slightest bit interested
in me as her husband, then I could show her what I thought
of her.
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One thing I did know
was that I didn t want to fight
with her. Neither one of us enjoyed that very much. “I m
sorry, Ann,” I said.
She jumped around, obviously startled. “Why don t I
ever hear you enter the kitchen?”
I smiled, glad the tension was broken. “Apparently, I
have quiet shoes.”
She returned my smile. “I m
sorry too. Will you eat
some French toast?

“Aren t you going to eat anything?”
“I m not hungry this morning. I ll make a snack later.”
She usually didn t eat much when something was
bothering her. I
sighed. I didn t know what else to say so I
sat down and ate my breakfast while she cleaned the
dishes. I couldn t take my eyes off of her. Wasn t she
aware of how attractive she was? Just as I finished the
French toast, she sat next to me.
“Please don t think I intended to criticize you
yesterday evening,” she began. She considered her words
carefully. “You are a good husband
. I know how hard you
work for me, and I appreciate it. I may not seem grateful for
you but I am. And I don t look at
You re
you as a brother.
very handsome.”
I was
pleased by her words. “Thank you, Ann. We
can afford the dresses you like to buy. Do you need more
money?”
“No. I m doing fine. I m even getting good deals on
some food from Mrs. Coley s store. I ve
learned how to
economize.
I don t want to be a burden to you.”
Where did she get the idea that we didn t have
enough money for the things she wanted? I never told her
we were having
financial problems. “You don t have to do
that. We have plenty of mon
ey.”
“I want to learn to watch what I spend.” She paused
for a moment. “I don t miss the things I had back in V
irginia.
. What matters is you.” She put her
They were just things
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
hand on my arm. My body tingled in response.
“You are a
admire and respect you.”
wonderful man. I
“I don t think of you as one of my sisters. You re too
beautiful for that. Don t you know that I love you?”
“It s nice to hear once in awhile.” She smiled and
peered at me through her thick lashes.
“You really think I m
beaut
iful?”
Did the sun light the day and the moon light the
night? “You
look in the mirror. Surely, you can see how
desirable you are.”
“I know I m not the most beautiful woman in the
world. I just want to look good for you.”
“I disagree
. You are the most beautiful woman in the
world.”
She blushed. “You are very kind. I am glad we re
married.”
“Me too.”
“I hope you have a good day at work.”
She leaned over and kissed me. Right on the lips. It
wasn t one of those pristine kisses on the cheek. Bef
ore I
could respond, she stood up. I wanted to bolt out of the
chair and grab her so I could kiss her. I wanted to kiss her
the way I d been wanting to kiss her ever since we were
sixteen and she showed me how to play Solitaire.
She took the empty plate and put it in the sink. She
left the room. Curious, I followed her. She brought me my
coat and hat.
“I thought I would get your things for you today,” she
explained. “I know you have to get going.”
I glanced out the window on the kitchen door. The
sunrise graced the barn. It would be a nice day, even if it
would be chilly. I looked at her. She was smiling, and her
eyes twinkled in a way that I d come to learn was a clue that
she was happy.
I didn t know
what to do. Was she giving me
permission to touch and kiss her? Or was she trying to
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make amends?
I wanted to kiss her, to see how she d
respond. I wanted to touch her soft hair. I wanted to hold
her so I could feel her body against mine. But I did none of
these things. Instead, I put my coat and hat on and thanked
her before I left.
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Chapter Thirteen
Ann’s Point of View
In the beginning of November, Barbara picked me up
to take me into town.
“These blankets will keep us warm,” she said as I
hopped into the carryall carriage.
“Where is Molly?”
“John decided to keep her home so th
ey can discuss
me this Christmas.” She urged the
what gift to make for
horses forward. “John didn t say that s what he s doing, but
I know it. I think he likes to make gifts with them. Children
can be a handful but they are worth it.”
“They are adorable, except when they re fighting. As
I grew up, I wanted a brother or sister that I could argue with
over things like candy. Todd was the oldest of seven
children and since they were girls,
he didn t argue
with them
very much. Despite all the fights his sisters did have
amongst themselves, they were close.” I sighed. I missed
Agnes and her funny stories.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I decided to tell Barbara my two favorite Agnes
stories, and she couldn t stop laughing as I told them. We
reached town by the end of the second story.
She yielded to a couple who crossed the street.
“You re wonderful with Calvin, Bruce and Molly. They look
forward to when the
y can see you.”
“I have a lot of fun with them. The
y know how to
.”
brighten my day
She smiled at me before she urged the horses
forward. “You re a natural mother. I bet you and Todd can t
ho knows? Maybe you re expecting
wait to have children. W
and
don t even know it yet. That would be a good Christmas
gift, wouldn t it?”
I didn t know how to respond so I stayed quiet. I
breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled up to the post office.
We usually checked the mail when we got to town.
To my surprise and delight, my parents sent me a
letter. I had only told them I was going to North Dakota. I
did not mention where in North Dakota. My mother wrote
three pages alone on how hard it was to find me. “Oh
, your
father worried about you,” she continued in
the letter.

We
know Todd is taking good care of you, but we do worry
when we don t know what s
happening out west.”
I wiped the tears from my eyes, thankful that my
parents had forgiven me for leaving like I did.
“Are you alright?”
Barbara asked as we left the post
office.
. “Yes, I m fine. I didn t mean
I nodded and laughed
to upset you. My mother wrote me. I miss my parents
.”
She smiled. “Maybe you could visit them.”
“Todd and I already discu
ssed it. He said we could
go later this month
. He s even
been working extra hours at
the bank so we can afford the trip. I am fortunate to have
him. I know he s sacrificing a lot so I can see my parents.”
“He can also visit his parents while you re there.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I m not sure. He doesn t think they w
ill have
anything to do with him.”
“I know I couldn t turn my children away. Perhaps
they will change their minds once they see him.”
I hoped so. Since she had to get to her mother s,
I
waved to her as she left. On this particular day, I remained
outside the post office for a few minutes despite the chill in
the air. I wouldn t be able to focus on my work until I
finished reading the letter. To my delight, my mother
announced that she and my father would come to visit for
Christmas.
“It is vital we stay in touch, my dear,” she wrote. “We
look forward to seeing you again.”
I quickly checked the clock in front of the bank. I
went to the mercantile and cheerfully did my work. As
usual, I finished my tasks several minutes before Barbara
was due to pick me up, so I had a few minutes to spare. I
wanted to be sure Todd was alright with their visit. If he
wasn t, I would have to tell them we d go visit them instead.
According to the letter, they planned to stay at a motel in
town, but I didn t want the
m to do that. I wanted to see as
much of them as possible.
I ran to the bank. In my excitement, I ran into
someone by mistake.
“Excuse me.”
The man grumbled something but I was too happy to
care what it was.
I hurried up to one of the tellers since I
didn t see
Todd anywhere.
“May I help you?” a balding man with glasses asked
in a whiny voice.
“Yes. I m looking
for my husband. His name is Todd
Brothers. Has he gone to lunch?”
“Mr. Brothers is talking to the owner of this bank.” He
direction of the owner s office. “To be honest,
nodded in the
it doesn t look good.”
I blinked. “What do you mean?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I don t know what s going on except that the owner
t look happy when he asked
didn
your husband to join him in
xt person in line.”
his office. Oh, I need to help the ne
I numbly moved out of the way. A sense of dread
washed over me. What could Todd have done to upset his
boss? I waited for Todd to come out, but after ten minutes, I
realized I had to wait. I put the letter in my coat pocket. I
hated leaving Todd when he was facing difficulty but didn t
see that I had a choice.
Barbara
was still at her mother s, so I decided to do
some extra cleaning in the backroom of the store in order to
alleviate my anxiety. What could the owner want to discuss
with Todd that was so serious? I didn t have to wait long to
find out. Mrs. Carson, the town gossip, came in to tell Mrs.
Coley what occurred between Todd and his boss.
As soon as I heard Todd s
name, I froze and
so she didn t see me.
listened. I was still in the backroom
“You won t believe what happened at the bank
,” Mrs. Carson
between Todd Brothers and Samuel Richard
began.
“Is this all you are buying today?” Mrs. Coley
interrupted her. She hated it when people gossiped in her
store.
However
, Mrs. Carson wasn t to be deterred. “Who
would have thought Todd Brothers was capable of stealing
money from his own employer? That s what we g
et for
welcoming people who grew up with lots of money. He just
couldn t handle the fact that he wasn t rich anymore. You d
better watch Mrs. Brothers closely next time she shops here.
You know what they say: two birds of a feather flock
together.”
“Mrs. Carson, I would greatly appreciate it if you d
leave now,” Mrs. Coley coolly
stated.
“Well! Never say I didn t warn you,” she huffed
before she left the store.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I stood still, my hand frozen as I held a jar of
peaches. My Todd was accused of stealing money? That
explained the „unhappy look on his employer s face. I knew
Todd would never steal anything. So who did? I suspected
that even Mrs. Carson didn t know the answer to that
question.
Mrs. Coley appeared around the door. When she
saw my stunned expression, she sighed and shook her
head. “Mrs. Carson
doesn t know when to keep her big
mouth shut.”
“It s a lie. He didn t do it.”
She took the jar of peaches out of my hand and
gently put it on the shelf. “I know. Mrs. Carson has spread
false rumors before. She s not someone who can be
trusted, and most of the people in town know that. Maybe
it s b
est if you went to comfort him. Men may not realize it,
but sometimes they need our support.”
I smiled and hugged her, grateful for her friendship.
Then I shrugged into my coat and ran to see Todd at the
bank. But he was already gone. I figured he was on his
way home to tell me what happened.
Barbara appeared with her horse and carryall. Her
cheeks were red with anger. “Some people have too much
time on their hands,” she commented. “Have you heard
about Todd?”
“Yes.”
I climbed in next to her. Word had already
reached Barbara
? Was there anyone in town who didn t
know? I pulled my coat tightly around me, suddenly feeling
exposed.
“That Mrs. Carson makes me so mad! Apparently,
she was there at the bank when Todd came out of the
owner s office, and
someone at the bank told her what
happened.”
My jaw dropped. No one told me anything but Mrs.
Carson got the whole story? “Do you know who told her?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“She won t say. Isn t that funny? Mrs. Busybody
blabs everyone else s business but she never reveal
s her
source. Well, John and I will stick up for Todd. We ll set
them straight.”
As she continued to talk, I wondered how Todd was
taking this. Was he angry, sad or relieved to be rid of his
job? How could I comfort him when I had never comforted
him before? Did I ever try to comfort anyone?
As soon as she paused in her monologue, I asked
her for tips on being supportive. I breathed a sigh of relief
when she didn t laugh at me.
“Listen to him and let him know you are there for
him,” she replied.
“Really, that s all you can do.”
I hugged her. “Thank you.”
“John and I will be praying for you two.”
I suppressed my anxiety. Could I help him through
this? I was surprised at how fast my heart was pounding. I
knew Todd all of my life, so why was I nervous? Saying
good-bye to Barbara, I walked around the house and to the
barn. Patches of snow decorated the grass. I hardly
noticed the beautiful landscape. I said a quick prayer as I
entered the barn.
Todd was chopping wood. The axe slammed
through the wood with so much force, I jumped. Todd
wasn t just mad. He was furious. Maybe this wasn t a good
time to approach him. I quickly turned to leave.
He stopped chopping. “You heard.” It was a simple
statement but I could hear him fighting back his anger.
I took a deep breath as I walked to him
. “I think the
whole town s heard, but I know you re innocent.”
He dropped his axe and held me close to him. “As
long as you believe me, I don t care what the rest of the
town thinks.”
“Do you have any
idea who started this whole thing?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I have a suspicion but I can t prove it. I can t belie
ve
my boss thought I d
steal money, especially after all the
overtime I put in.” He shook his head in exasperation.
I rested my head against his shoulder, wondering if
he took as much comfort in my embrace as I took in his.
“What happened at the bank?”

I was counting money at my desk when my boss
told me to go to his office. Mr. Richard is usually a mild-
mannered man, but he nearly lost his temper when he told
me he discovered my bookkeeping was totaled incorrectly. I
. I told him I didn t know how that
was short by five dollars
was possible but he d
idn t believe me. Since the other
employees have worked there for at least two years, he
decided that I had to be the one who took the money. Then,
to top it all off, he had me search my desk. There was fifty
shouldn t have bee
cents in a place where it
n. As if that
t bad enough,
wasn
there was a piece of paper with the
combination to the safe written on it
.”
“Someone must have made you look guilty,” I said.
“I agree. That s the only explanation for it. It doesn t
matter now though. Mr. Richard said he hated to let me go
but didn t know what else to do. I don t know what to do
.
Who s going
? And we can t afford to take that trip
to hire me
to see your parents.

“We ll make it through. And speaking of my parents,
they sent me a letter. They pla
n to visit for Christmas.”
“Your parents wrote you? How did they find out
where we are?”
I took the letter out of my pocket and handed it to
him. “I told them I was going to North Dakota, and they
narrowed it down from there.”
After he read the letter, he gave it back to me.
“They re wonderful people.”
“Did you notice that they asked how the
I grinned.
ir
new son is doing?”
He smiled and nodded.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I sighed. “Your parents will come around. When we
save up the money, we can go visit them. We don t n
eed to
go to Virginia as soon as I wanted. I can wait. But we can
go when you want to.

He didn t respond. Instead, he picked up the axe
and said he needed to be alone. I nodded and went back to
the house.
I picked up the Bible and began to read it. I fell
asleep on the couch and woke up as the sun was setting. I
blinked a few times as I recalled
the day s even
ts
. Todd s
chopping wood assured me it hadn t been a dream.
I quickly put on my coat, gloves and hat. Why had
he stayed outside for so long? I entered the barn and
t have on his gloves or coat.
frowned when I saw he didn
I shivered in the cold weather.
“Todd, you re going
to get sick if you keep this up. Will you please come into the

house?
He wiped the sweat from his
forehead. “I nee
d to
more wood.”
chop
I shook my head in disbelief at the piles of wood he
had already chopped. “If you keep this up, there won t be
any more trees on our land. We have enough wood to last
us the entire winter.”
He sighed heavily and sat on the ground.
“I keep
wondering how Mr. Richard could believe I stole that money.
I thought
he knew me better than that.”
I didn t know what to say, so I sat beside him and put
my head on his shoulder. I reached for his hands which
were red from being cold and rubbed my gloved hands over
them. He knew better than to stay outside for so long when
he was underdressed. Didn t he know I worried about him?
“You re wonderful, Ann.”
“It will work out, Todd. I know you ll find another job.
Maybe you ll find something you enjoy.”
He remained silent while I continued to rub his cold
hands.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Is it alright
if my parents stay in the guest bedroom?
They mentioned wanting to stay in a motel, but I would like
to have them here.”
“That is fine.”
“Thank you.”
I gulped the nervous lump in my throat
as I considered how to make my confession. I wasn t sure
when the feelings developed but going through this ordeal
with him made me aware of them. It was time I told him
what was in my heart. “I do appreciate you. I know I don t
say it much, if at all. The feelings I have for you are still
new. I didn t feel this way with Kent. It s better with you.”
I stared at our hands, and despite the frigid air, my
cheeks flushed with warmth. I could tell he was looking at
me, which made me even more nervous.
“Sometimes,” I continued in a whisper, “I get cold at
night. I…” I paused, wondering how I could be bold while
being discrete. I was ready to consummate the marriage
but wasn t sure how to come out and say it. “It w
ould be
nice to feel warm.”
“Do you need more firewood?”
I cleared my throat. “Well, I was hoping you d come
by my room.” My heartbeat pounded loudly in my ears. This
was harder than I thought it would be.
“I ll tell you what. I ll start a fire in yo
ur room in the
afternoon so by the time you re ready for bed, it ll be warm.
I ll even add more wood before you go to sleep.”
“Oh.” I was surprised by how disappointed I felt.
“Is there something else?”
I shrugged. I didn t have the courage to come ou
t
and say it. “No. I suppose not.” I let go of his hands and
looked at him. “Will you please come into the warm house
before you get sick?”
I thought he was going to argue again, but he stood
up and grabbed his gloves and coat. I took the lantern. We
walked side by side into the house.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“You re so cold,” I commented when I noticed how
red his face was. I set the lantern on the desk in the parlor.
“I want you to lie down on
the couch in front of the fireplace.
I ll get some blankets and a pillow so
you can warm up while
I make dinner.”
I took his coat and gloves and went upstairs before
he could argue. By the time I returned, he was lying down.
I put the blankets over him and placed the pillow under his
head. The fire felt nice and warm.
“There.
Now I order you to relax. If you need
someone to talk to, just say my name,” I said.
As I began walking away, he reached for my hand.
Surprised, I turned to him.
“You re my strength,” he softly remarked.
I knelt in front of him. Despite my beating heart, I
allowed myself to follow my instinct. I leaned over and
kissed him. It was a simple kiss but it filled my heart with a
new sense of joy I hadn t experienced before.
We smiled at each other for a moment.
“Everything will work out,” I whispered
.
Then I went to cook dinner.
After I finished dinner, Barbara, John and their
children came over with an apple pie. We spent the rest of
the evening just talking as the children played games. From
the look on Todd s face, I knew he was grateful for ou
r
support.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Fourteen
Todd’s Point of View
To my surprise, I didn t get sick. I fully expected to
after staying out in the cold for so long, but it was Ann who
got sick. It reminded me of the time when I visited her when
she was seventeen. Unlike that time, we didn t have Ginny
watching everythi
ng we did. I didn t miss the presence of
servants, and I found it refreshing to do something for Ann
for a change. I never appreciated all her work around the
house until I had to do it myself. I didn t mind doing it since
it meant she could get her much needed rest. She was still
sick on Sunday, so I went to church without her. The seat
beside me felt empty even though Calvin sat next to me. I
missed her.
After the service, I waited for Barbara, Bruce and
Molly to leave to talk to one of her friends. Usually, Ann
would run off with her too. Calvin liked to hang around me
and his father. I think it made him feel like a grown up. I
grinned as Calvin followed me and John out of the church.
The air was cool but still refreshing enough to enjoy.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I waited until we were out of earshot of anyone else
“I need your advice on women.” It was the first
and said,
time I ever came to him with such a concern.
“I m still figuring them out myself, but I ll do what I
can. What s the problem?” John asked.
“It s not actually a problem. I was wondering what
you do when you want to show Barbara you love
her?”
“I have a box that I keep things in for
Barbara.
Whenever we have a fight or if I forget an important date or
if it s just the kind of day when a lit
tle surprise gift is in order,
I take an item out and give it to her. I don t know what she
wants, to be honest, so I have Calvin go along with her to
town.”
“I buy things
that Mother says she likes when I m in
town with her,” Calvin explained. “That way we know she ll
like it.”
“He s my eyes and ears when I m not around.” Jo
hn
grinned at him. “This way I don t have to wonder what she
likes. I already know.”
“Very clever.”
“Mrs. Brothers likes a gold ring in the mercantile,”

didn t want to spend
Calvin said.
She told Mother that she
the money on it since she needed food more.”
“It would make a nice wedding ring,” John added. “I
think every woman wants a wedding ring. It s a symbol of
your love for her.”
“She also said she liked the
kitchen towels with
,” Calvin continued, obviously
snowmen sewed on them
enjoying his role as a spy.
I chuckled. Who knew kids could be so resourceful?
“Thank you, John. And thank you, Calvin.”
***
The next day, I went to the Coley mercantile and
walked to the counter.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Mrs. Coley glanced up from her jewelry display.
At least I found the ring.
“May I help you, Mr. Brothers?” she warmly asked.
“I would like to purchase a couple of items for my
wife. Calvin Russell told me she mentioned liking them, so I
want
them to be a surprise.”
Her eyes twinkled. “Oh how delightful! She will be
pleased. What did the boy tell you she liked?”
“He
mentioned a gold ring
.”
She nodded and took out her rings. “You re in luck.
The merchant who usually comes to buy the jewelry was
de
layed, so it s still here.” She took the ring out that Calvin
mentioned and handed it to me. “What do you think?”
“I think it would be nice to give her a wedding ring. I
wasn t able to buy her one when we got married.”
“What a

wonderful Christmas gift.
“Does it fit her finger?” I looked at the price
tag and
decided I could afford it if I took some money out of my
savings account.
“Yes. Ann couldn t resist trying it on.
It s very
pretty
.”
“Calvin also mentioned some
kitchen towels
corated with snowmen.”
de
She nodded.

One of the women in town made
them. She just brought in a matching washcloth this
morning
. Would you like to see them?”
“Yes.”
She led me to an aisle filled with various kitchen
cloths and decorations. I didn t kn
ow a woman could do so
much for a kitchen. She held up the complete set of items.
“They look like friendly snowmen. Mrs. Grant always does a
lovely job.”
Again, I checked the price tags.
“You can get the entire set for half price,” she said.
I blinked in surprise.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Your wife does more than her share to help me
whenever I need someone to fill in for me. I tried to give her
this set at the discounted price, but she wouldn t take it. I
hope you will.”
“Is there anything else you think I should give her?” It
seemed that Calvin and Mrs. Coley knew Ann better than I
did.
“There is something a woman always likes but never
tells a man she wants. I m not saying that Ann has ever told
me this. It s just something I know a woman likes since I am
a woman.”
She handed me a card that had a red rose
painted on it. The edge of the card was covered with dark
pink lace. “My suggestion, and you don t have to take it if
you don t want to, is to write one thing you appreciate about
her and set this card with the snowmen cloth set on the
kitchen table after she goes to bed tonight. I always like
surprises, and Ann seems to like them too.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Coley. I ll
take them.

She nodded. “
Barbara told me that Ann is sick.
When do you think Ann will be able to come back to help
me?”
I wondered what she meant by „helping her but
decided I would ask Ann later. “She s almost better now. I ll
let you know what she tells me.”
After I purchased the items, I walked down the main
street. It felt odd carrying a bag full of items that only a
woman would want, but John had mentioned that Mr. Fields
was looking for help with fixing some tractors. “He s only
looking for someone to work until Spring, and I mentioned
your name to him. He said he would be interested in talking
to you,” he had told me.
Mr. Fields
Tractor
store wasn t too far from the
mercantile, so I didn t have far to walk. I ignored the looks
several people threw my way. I knew it would take time for
the gossip to die down. It didn t bother me sin
ce the people
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I cared about knew I was innocent. I entered Mr. Fields
store.
One of his grown sons came out from the backroom
as soon as he heard the front bell ring on the door. “Good
morning, Mr. Brothers. Mr. Russell said we should expect
you to co
me by today.” He shook my hand.
“Good morning,” I returned, surprised by his warm
welcome.
I had expected there to be some hesitation on his
part, given my sudden reputation in town.
“I ll tell my father you re here.” He motioned to the
room on my right.
“H
ave a seat in his o
ffice.”
“You trust me?” I tried not
to sound guilty as I said it.
“You re a friend of John Russell. That s good
enough for us.”
I nodded and went to the office. No one was in it. It
was small but comfortable. There were two wooden chairs
in front of a small wooden desk. A wooden chair behind the
desk had been pushed back, so apparently, Mr. Fields had
been sitting there earlier and had to leave in a hurry. There
were stacks of orders for tractor parts neatly piled on the
desk next to a cup holding pencils. Mr. Fields was a neater
person than Mr. Richard was. I set the bag down next to me
and sat in one of the chairs. I adjusted my tie so it didn t feel
so tight around my neck. On the wall was a calendar with
appointments written on it.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” Mr. Fields said as he
entered the office.
I quickly stood up and shook his hand. I liked him
right away. He was in his 50s but seemed younger.
“Hello,
Mr. Fields. I wasn t here long.”
“So, John
tells me you are looking for work and
would prefer something that involves farming,” he stated.
He sat on the edge of his desk.
I sat back down in the chair. “Yes, that s right.
I plan
.”
to start farming next Spring
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“You bought Mr. Martin s old place?”
I nodded. “He left it in excellent condition.”
“He was a good man. He still is, I suppose. He
moved to Fargo to be near his grown children. I believe he
was good friends with Robert and Patricia Dawson. He
mentioned that you were a good friend of their nephew.
Alex. I
sn t that his name?”
“Yes. We grew up together in Virginia.”
“What made you decide to leave?”
“Alex s relatives used to visit and I would listen to
them tell stories about farming out west. They brought
books that I looked forward to reading, and I used to bother
Alex to get pictures for me. It just felt like something I was
to do.”
meant
He smiled. “When can you start?”
I blinked. “Aren t you going to ask me if I have any
experience?”
“Do you have a desire to farm?”
“Yes.”
“Do you think you ll need a tractor?”
“Yes.”
“Do you want to learn how to build and repair a
tractor?”
“Yes.”
“Then that s all you need. Desire is more important
than experience. My sons and I will teach you everything
you need to know. According
to John, you can t get enough
of hearing him discuss farming.”
“Yes. I must be a pest with all my questions.”
“Nonsense. You re passionate about what you want
to do. Passion is what makes a good employee. You ll
have to lose the suit though. Working with machines is dirty
work. Can you start today?”
I had told Ann I was going to an interview with Mr.
Fields and would be back as soon as it was done, but I
didn t think she would mind if I stayed longer than I had
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
planned, especially when I told her I
got the job. “I can,” I
replied.
“Great. We have a huge order due by Friday. You
came at the right time. You can borrow a pair of my work
suitable clothes tomorrow.”
clothes today and then wear
I nodded, excited and grateful.
***
The next morning before Ann woke up, I set the
snowmen kitchen gift set on the table. I hesitated when it
came time for me to write something in the card Mrs. Coley
gave me. Finally, I wrote, “I greatly appreciate your support
s. Yours, Todd.”
and care for me. Your worth is above rubie
I didn t usually leave before she woke up, but I
I didn t realize how
wished to surprise her with the present.
good it would feel to give her something. I enjoyed giving
her dresses, but this was different. It was something she
would never have guessed I thought to give her. Thanks to
Calvin, of course. I would have to give him a piece of candy
next time I saw him. I was looking forward to Christmas so I
could give Ann her wedding ring. I really wanted to get her
something to mark the beginning of our life together.
I washed up as well as I could before I returned
home. I wasn t sure what to expect. I walked through the
back door and hung my coat and hat on the hook. I took my
boots off. The house smelled of freshly baked cake. I
grinned. She only made cake when she was in a good
mood.
I turned to face the kitchen and saw that she was
waiting for me. She was only a few steps away, and she
was smiling.
“I got your message and the gift,” she quietly said.
“Thank you.”
“You r
e welcome
.”
She walked up to me and hugged me.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I hugged her back, enjoying the feel of her in my
arms. I kissed the top of her head. She smelled like
lavender. I reached up and lightly touched her silky strands
which she let fall down her shoulders in gentle waves. Did
she wear her hair down for me? I liked thinking she did. My
hand descended to the side of her face. Would she mind if I
touched her? I hesitated to do so but since
she hadn t
backed away, I let my fingers brush her cheek.
“Your skin is soft,” I whispered.
She stepped back and ran her hands up my arms.
“You have gotten stronger out here. It must be all that time
you chop wood.”
She reached up and caressed my cheek.
“I m glad you shave. I like the feel of your face.”
I didn t
My heart pounded as I looked into her eyes.
know what to do so I stood still and waited for her to make
the next move. I promised her I would wait for her to be
ready, and she said she would let me know when she was.
I was shocked and pleased when she kissed me. It was
longer than the kiss she gave me before.
When the kiss ended, she cleared her throat. “I
made steak and potatoes for dinner and cake for dessert.
They re ready.”
I was so happy that she kissed me that it didn t
bother me that
she didn t want to do more. It occurred to me
that she was opening up to me and that knowledge was
enough to satisfy me.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Fifteen
Ann’s Point of View
When I returned to working for the Coleys the next
day, some additional gossip regarding Todd had spread
through the town. No one came to me directly, but they
talked freely in the mercantile as I checked the inventory in
the back. I heard various comments such as, “Mr. Fields
better watch his money,” and “That Todd Brothers should be
rced to leave town,” and “If Mr.
wasn t such a
fo
Richard
forgiving Christian, he would have had Todd arrested

. As
many people as there were to discredit Todd, there were
those who stood up for him. They said that if the Russells
and Coleys said he was innocent, then that was all the proof
they needed.
That night, I sat on the couch in front of the warm,
cozy fire as Todd got out a book to read. When he sat next
to me, I couldn t help but notice he sat close enough to me
so that our shoulders touched. My heart pounded with an
unexpected excitement.
I didn t know when things had
changed between us, but I found that I looked forward to
being with him. It wasn t that I didn t enjoy being with him
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
since we married, because I did. But something was
different. I wanted to explore the physical side of out
relationship.
After he finished reading, he put his arm around my
shoulders, and in response, I snuggled up to him.
“Ann?” he whispered, as if afraid to break the
silence.
“Yes?”
He hesitated.
Curious, I sat up so I could look at him. Part of me
was relieved to see that he was as nervous as I was about
consummating our marriage, but another part of me found
his blushing very flattering. Hoping to encourage him, I
reached for his hand. “What is it?” I gently
smiled and
pressed.
His eyes held mine and I could feel his love flow into
“I love you.”
me.
Before I could respond, someone knocked on the
front door.
Startled, I jerked away from him.
“Who would be coming here this late?” he grumbled
as he stood up.
I was just as disappointed as he was but worried
someone might be in trouble. Was one of our friends sick?
I jumped up and followed him.
I laughed when he opened the door.
“Agnes!
What
are you doing here? How did you find us? How did you get
here? Is anyone else with you? Why didn t you write? Oh,
it s so good to see you!” I hugged her
.
Todd chuckled as he waved her inside.
“Give her a
chance to come in before barging at her with all those
questions.
This is a pleasant surprise.”
Once he brought her carpet bag in, she sat in front of
the fireplace. I insisted that she tell us everything.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Todd, who realized how much I missed Agnes, took
the bag up to the third bedroom and started a fire in the box
stove.
Meanwhile, Agnes told me all ab
out her journey. “I
signed up for a three week retreat to New England, but I
came here instead. I can figure out how to be a proper lady
in social situations any old time, but I don t
get a chance to
see my closest friend anymore. As soon as several of my
lady classmates left for New England, I hopped a train and
headed out west. Your parents were gracious enough to
give me your address, though they assumed I wanted to
write you a letter.”
“Do your parents know where you are?” I
whispered
so Todd wouldn t hear me.
Agnes understood my reason for the secrecy. “They
don t approve of what he did at
We can t
all.
even talk about
.”
him
“Surely, they will come around. He is their only son.”
She shook her head. “My fath
er feels betrayed.
Family loyalty is everything to him. Todd was supposed to
work at the bank, but he
s out here farming. My father is
very strict about duty and obligation. My mother, however,
is in tears most of the time. She misses Todd but can t do
anything about it. My father makes the decisions for the
family.”
“That s awful.” How was Todd going to take this
news?
Agnes proceeded to tell me all the details of her train
trip, especially regarding the people she sat next to. One
elderly couple was also going to North Dakota, so she joined
them for the most of the trip.
“Weren t you scared to travel alone?” I asked.
“I was but I figured if I stayed around other people
the entire time, I would be safe. And it worked!”
As she rambled on about her journey, my thoughts
drifted to Todd. Was he giving us time alone to talk? I
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
marveled that I should wish for him to be near me after
trying to avoid him all the other times Agnes and I talked.
“This woman had so many feathers on her hat, I
wondered if she was i
mitating a peacock,” Agnes continued.
“Oh, that hat was gorgeous, just like the male of the species.
I told her so. I think she was offended at first, but when I
assured her that I meant her no ridicule but considered the
hat to be one of the most beautifully decorated I had ever
seen, she became amiable toward
me.”
Todd brought us a cup of hot cocoa. He sat across
from us. I hid my disappointment. I had some room next to
me on the couch even though I sat next to Agnes. There
was a time I dreaded hi
s closeness, but I couldn t seem to
recall why.
“Agnes, are you going to let
anyone else talk?” Todd
. “Yours is the only voice I ve heard since you got
asked
here.”
“For your information, she wants to know all about
my trip, right Ann?” Without waiting
for me to respond, she
described her strange encounter with an old lady who
confused her cat with her dog. “She was the best part of the
trip though. She was so funny.”
“You should have told us you were coming. We
would have gone to town to meet you.”
“Oh, the stage coach driver didn t mind when I
offered him extra money to bring me here. Besides, the
looks on your faces was worth it. I wish I had a picture of
” She giggled and then sighed.

that moment.
It is beautiful
out here. I can see why you
wanted to come here. Alex s
pictures di
dn t do this land justice.”
After a moment of silence, I turned to her. “I missed
talking to you. So much has happened. It seems like it was
only yesterday when we arrived, but I have a year s worth of
tell you. I m sure Todd has a lot he wants to tell
stories to
you too.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He stood up and collected our empty cups.
“What I
have to say can wait. I d better get so
me sleep so I can
for work.”
wake up
We thanked him.
“Don t bother getting up early for me tomorrow.
I ll
get breakfast in town,” he told me.
I smiled at him. “Thank you. I appreciate it.” He was
so good to me.
He returned my smile. To Agnes, he said, “I ll talk to
you when I get home from work.”
She grinned. “I can t wait.”
Once he was upstairs, she squealed with delight.
“He adores you more now than before you got married! I
knew you were perfect for each other. To be honest, I was
thrilled when my parents discovered his letter announcing
his marriage to you and your quick departure to the west. It
was so romantic.”
I blushed. Maybe it had been romantic.
“Have you
found a beau yet?” I wondered.
“Oh, there s no one worthwhile. I don t want to settle
for second best.”
“You shouldn t have to,” I agreed.
“You don t want to
e who doesn t treat you well.”
be with someon
“I won t.” She hesitated for a moment before giving
me a sly smile. “
When am I going to be an aunt?”
So…
I had a funny feeling that my parents would be
asking me when they would be grandparents. I bit my lower
lip. She had been my friend since childhood, and if there
was anyone I could confide in, it was her. I explained how I
wasn t ready to engage in marital relations on my wedding
night since I was still in love with Kent at the time, and I
added that Todd was waiting until I was ready.
She shook her head.
“My brother has an abundance
.” Then she looked at me w
of patience
ith a question in her
eyes
. “What about Kent?”
“I haven t thought of him for at least a month.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Maybe I should rephrase my
inquiry. If Kent were to
show up and ask you to annul your marriage to Todd so you
could run off with him, would you?”
“Annul my marriage?”
“You haven t consummated it yet so it permissible,
not that I m recommending that.”
Feeling uneasy, I shifted on the couch and asked,
“Is
there something you re not telling me?”
She sighed heavily, as if the weight of the world
rested on her shoulders
. “You might as well know. Ke
nt
Rebecca. I don t know why he
broke off his engagement to
asked her to marry him in the first place.
And I don t care
why they re not together.
You and Todd are what I care
about. Kent kept asking me about you, especially where
you are living. I refused to tell him anything, but I think he
found out from someone else. That s why I wanted to know
how you feel about him. He could arrive any day now. I just
wanted to warn you.”
I stared at the fire.
“Ann, what
are you thinking?” She tugged the sleeve
on my dress
. “Ann, please speak to me.”
“I have to be alone to sort things out,” I calmly
The truth was, I didn t
replied.
know want to think. Kent still
wanted me? He didn t want Rebecca after all? I s
tood up.
“I ll show you to your bedroom.”
“Promise me you won t do anything
rash!” she
anxiously whispered.
I purposely ignored her because I was afraid of what
I might say.
She mutely followed me, her head hung low. I knew
that she figured she had said enough already.
I didn t get undressed when I closed my bedroom
door. I sat on my bed and stared at the box stove. Todd
faithfully started a fire in it every evening so my room would
be warm by the time I went to bed.
Agnes
words haunted me.
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“Kent kept asking about you…”
But Todd takes good care of you. He would never
hurt you the way Kent did.
Kent was coming for me. What would I do?
I blindly stared into the box stove, willing my feelings
away.
Do you love Todd?
Kent s image blocked any rational response to that
simple question.
Oh God, I don’t want to feel this way. Why am I
pleased that Kent is coming?
***
By morning, I could
n t bring myself to face Todd,
even though I was wide awake and could make him
breakfast. I heard him moving around in the next bedroom.
He was getting dressed for work. I wondered what he
looked like as he got dressed in his cotton shirts and denim
pants. I turned over in my bed and caught sight of my
dresses hanging in the wardrobe
. They weren t as fancy as
the ones my parents bought me, but he worked hard for
them. He wanted to give me nice things. I sighed heavily
and squeezed my eyes shut to force the tears away.
When he left for work, I got out of bed. I needed to
put Todd and Kent far from my mind. That meant I had to
keep myself busy. I finished some light housework by the
time a yawning and sleepy Agnes came down the stairs in a
pink dress. My body relaxed at her familiar face.
“What would you like to eat for breakfast?” I asked
as I took out a skillet.
“You cook? I mean, you know how?” She shook her
head as she walked over to me. “Is it hard?”
I laughed, recalling my uneasiness when I started
cooking. “It s a lot easier than it looks. I ll teach you. What
like to eat?”
would you
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Can you make French toast?”
“Sure. Todd eats that all the time.” I paused for a
moment as I realized I had mentioned him. I hoped she
wouldn t ask
me about Kent
. Fortunately, she didn t. I
breathed a sigh of relief. “First, we need some bread,” I
began and turned my attention to the meal.
After breakfast, I introduced her to Barbara and the
children. “We didn t even know she was coming, but we
re
glad she did,” I said. “
Barbara has been my friend and
mentor. She s the one who taught me to cook and take care
of children.”
It was exciting for me to be with both of them at the
same time. I did most of the talking on the way to town in
s
Barbara
carryall.
After Barbara dropped us off at the mercantile,
n. “This place is small. Don t
Agnes looked around the tow
Virginia? There doesn t seem
you miss the entertainment in
to be anything to do around here.”
“At first, I was dismayed at the
small population, but
I m familiar with most of the
It s cozy.”
now
people here.
“Hmm…
I don t know. I feel trapped.”
“Yes, I suppose you aren t meant for the small town
life.” That s when I realized that we were different. I had
assumed we shared all the same interests while we were
growing up.
We entered the mercantile and I introduced her to
the Coleys who were as friendly and generous to her as
they been to me when I first met them. I smiled at her
startled expression. She wasn t used to such welcom
ing
introductions, but she quickly began talking to them as if she
had known them her entire life. I happily did my work while
they shared stories.
Everyone I introduced her to seemed to enjoy her.
. I didn t notice
Everyone, that is, except for Barbara
Barbara
s discomfort rig
ht away. On our way back home,
Agnes did most of the talking.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“And little Becky got so mad at Sam for putting a bug
in her hair that she punched him out. He was unconscious
” Agnes giggled. “I m sorry, Ann, but
for five minutes.
this
makes the time Todd and Alex threw pebbles in your hair
look like child s play. But
n t think Mrs. Bore
anyway, I do
appreciated Bec
ky s action. Not that Mrs. Bore s
ever had a
sense of humor about anything, although I do believe she
comedy.”
smiled once during a Shakespearean
“Mrs.
Byron
has a sense of humor,” I argued. “You
were too busy acting up to notice.”
“Oh, I was a pe
rfect eight year old. Mrs. Bore never
appreciated my enthusiasm
.”
The children giggled as they played a word game.
Barbara remained silent. I wondered why.
“I couldn t believe it when Rhoda decided to let Jeff
He s completely dull,” Agnes continued. “Why he
court her.
can t even


I stopped her. “Agnes, it s wrong to gossip.” I used
to enjoy these conversations but now I found gossip
irritating. Who knew how many people got hurt because of
careless talk?
“You
sound like Todd.”
She pouted.
Then her eyes
“That s wonderful! You must be getting close to him
lit up.
after all!”
I sent her a “be quiet” look.
Agnes understood and started talking about the
latest book she read. Agnes was always good about
reading my signals. But even as we said good-bye to
Barbara
and her children, I couldn t figure out what was
wrong with Barbara.
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Chapter Sixteen
Ann’s Point of View
The next day, I decided Agnes and I should spend
some time with Barbara and her children. I knocked on
s front
Barbara
door. Calvin answered it, Bruce and Molly in
tow.
I smiled at them.
“Hello!”
I surprised them with some
chocolate candy that Mrs. Coley gave me.
They squealed in delight and thanked me.
“Ann, is that you?”
Barbara called out from her
kitchen.
The smell of freshly baked cookies filled the air.
“Yes, it s me,” I called out. “Do you need a hand?”
“Actually, I could
use some help. Calvin and Bruce, I
want you to clean your room. Molly, come into the kit
chen.”
Agnes and I followed Molly to the kitchen, amused at
Molly s blond
the way
curls bounced as she ran.
Barbara
s smile seemed forced as soon as she saw
me and Agnes. I assumed she was worried about trying to
get her children to clean their room while trying to cook.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Ma, Mrs. Brothers gave me candy!” Molly
exclaimed, jumping up and down.
“That s nice. Did you thank her and Agnes?”
Barbara asked.
“They all did,” I replied. “So, what can I do to help?”
“And what can I do? Give me an easy task though.
I m not used to this,” Agnes added.
“Well,”
Barbara began as she looked around the
kitchen, “I could use some help putting the cookie dough on
the tray. I also need to decorate the ones that are done.”
I stared at her, suddenly wondering if something was
wrong.
Agnes asked me how to bake cookies. I spent most
of my time teaching her, so I didn t have a chance to ask
Barbara if something was bothering her. As the afternoon
progressed, we sat in the parlor. The children played a
game of hide and seek around the house. Agnes did most
of the talking. Whenever I attempted to bring Barbara into
the conversation, she usually gave one answered replies
“yes,” “no,” or just shrugged.
like,
I became irritated at her lack of participation, and
after awhile, I ignored her. I figured if she was going to be
cold, I could be cold too. At one point, the silence grew so
thick that Agnes recommended she and I leave so she could
send a telegram to her parents. It was a lie, but I
appreciated the excuse to leave. Barbara seemed happy to
let us go, which I sourly noted. I said a cool good-bye and
left.
***
That night, I was in a bad mood. The good thing
about being angry at your friend is that you didn t have time
to feel guilty for remembering the good times with your past
beau. I tried not to show my anger to Todd or Agnes, but
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
they knew me well enough to know that something was
wrong.
They decided not to irritate me further by asking me
questions which was good because I didn t feel like talking
to anyone. I made dinner in silence. I ate dinner in silence.
I cleaned the dishes in silence. I didn t care about the
tension in the house. Todd and Agnes briefly made idle
conversation at the dinner table. They glanced at me,
uncertain if I would get more upset by a comment they
made. I just chewed the food mechanically, lost in my
thoughts. Soon, they gave up their efforts and finished their
meal in silence.
Agnes decided to go to bed early, and Todd decided
to get some firewood. Meanwhile, I cleaned the dishes.
What was Barbara
s problem anyway? I tried t
o be nice to
her and introduce her to my childhood friend. And how did
she repay me? She rejected me. It was if she resented
what I was trying to do.
“We ll see if I ever do anything nice for her again,” I
muttered sourly.
“Did you say something?”
Todd asked as he set
some firewood by the stove.
I jumped. I didn t hear
him enter the kitchen. Some
of my anger subsided. “I was just talking to myself,” I
replied.
He put his hands on his hips and studied me, as if
debating whether or not to say anything.
I finished the last plate and set it on a towel to dry.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked.
I stood still for a moment. Was he referring to Kent?
Did Agnes tell him? Or was he referring to my bad mood
today? Realizing that Agnes wouldn t t
ell him about Kent, I
relaxed. Taking a deep breath, I explained the events that
s house.
had transpired at Barbara
Once I finished, Todd nodded.
“That is upsetting.”
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“And it hurts too,” I quietly admitted. I sighed, my
anger drained. “The afternoon
started out perfectly. Agnes
and I wanted to help her make cookies. I thought she might
like to speak with Agnes and get to know her. If I had
known that wasn t the case, I wouldn t have gone over
there.”
“Maybe she needs time to think things through.
There s got to be a reason for what happened.”
“I don t care what the
reason is. She had no excuse
for treating me that way. It was as if I was inconveniencing
her.” I shook my head. “I m just going to forget it. She s not
worth th
e effort if she s g
oing to be
childish.”
I didn t wait for him
to respond. I wanted to be alone,
so I went to my bedroom. Thoughts of her, Todd, and North
Dakota swirled through my mind. Did I make a mistake in
coming here? Maybe I should have stayed in Virginia. If I
had stayed, I d probably be
with Kent. I stared out the
window. It was a clear night. The kind of night that should
have brought peace instead of inner turmoil.
I knew I needed to pray. I also knew I shouldn t be
wanting Kent when I was married to Todd. I made a vow
before God to love, honor and obey Todd for the rest of my
life. My thoughts sobered. I had been so concerned about
what I wanted that I hadn t bothered to think of what God
wanted me to do.
Startled at the revelation, I got down on my knees
beside my bed and prayed. As I prayed, I held nothing
back. I confessed all my thoughts about Kent and how I
was hurt when he ended our courtship. I also admitted that I
married Todd to get out of a situation that I didn t want to be
ed Todd. He didn t deserve it, even if
in. I had us
he knew
what my feelings toward
him were. I wasn t being faithful to
him when I considered the possibility of leaving with Kent.
In that instant, I realized that love wasn t a feeling. It
was a choice. I didn t h
ave to be at the mercy of my whims.
I had freewill. I could choose to love Todd. There was
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
certainly nothing repulsive about him. In fact, he was
absolutely wonderful. He treated me much better than Kent
ever had. And he was handsome. So there wasn
t any
reason I shouldn t desire him. There was no reason why I
couldn t love him.
I also prayed about the situation with Barbara and
what to do about it. I prayed for Agnes and what she might
encounter when she faced her parents who were bound to
find out she came to visit me and Todd rather than go on a
class trip to New England. I prayed that Todd s parents
would bring him back into their hearts. Then I recalled all
the good things Todd had done for me and how much he
loved me. My last thought was that I loved him before I fell
asleep on the floor.
***
When I woke up, my body felt stiff but my heart was
light. I eagerly got dressed and hopped down the stairs. I
couldn t wait to see Todd. I was ready to finally put Kent
behind me and start my li
fe as Todd s wife.
To my surprise, I saw Agnes making French toast.
“Good morning,” I greeted.
She grinned at me. “Look who s cooking! I didn t
want to wake you so I dared to explore the great unknown.”
“That s very brave.”
“Do you want some?”
etended to think about it. “Will I have to be brave
I pr
to eat it?”
She rolled her eyes at my joke. “Who knows? It
may be better than what you make.”
“Then I better have some. Did Todd go to work?”
“Yes.”
I sat down. He didn t usual
ly leave this early. I
thanked her as she handed me the plate of food. After
taking a bite, I said, “This is good!”
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“Thanks. Are you feeling better?”
I nodded. “Much better. I m sorry I was
inhospitable
yesterday. My parents would faint if they knew how I
behav
ed.”
“You had a lot on your mind.”
I knew she meant Kent
. “Agnes, I have something to
tell you. I did a lot of thinking last night, and I recalled how
good Todd has been to me. I m not going to leave him.”
She looked relieved. “I was scared for awhile there.”
“You really wanted us to be together for a long time,
didn t you?”
“I just
thought you two made a good couple.
Besides, it s nice to have you as a sister.”
After she set her own plate down and sat in her
chair, she changed the subject. “
I do wonder why Kent
suddenly ended his engagement to Rebecca. It seemed like
one day everything was fine, and the next, it wasn t.
Rebecca doesn t even come out of her house anymore.”
“When did he end their engagement?”
“About
three months ago. You handled being
without him better than she is
.”
“Her parents aren t forcing her to go out and attend

social functions like mine did, are they?
“No. They aren t. Well, I m glad your parents
. You wouldn t have run
insisted you go to social functions
off and
married Todd if they hadn t.”
“I got lucky. What if I ended up with someon
e who
mistreated me? I was vulnerable, and it would have been
easy to run off with the wrong man.
It was my parents faith
in Todd that made me pick him.

“Do you regret marrying Todd?”
“No. But I am sorry our families weren t at the
wedding.”
***
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Since the weather was nice, Agnes and I decided to
go into town so she could do some shopping. It felt good to
go shopping with the small amount of money I had saved up
for
Todd s Christmas gift. Agnes had her allowance to
spend, and she insisted on buying things form North Dakota.
“I miss shopping with you,” I said as we entered the
barn.
“I do too. It just isn t the same without you.”
I wiped a tear from my eye and focused on getting
the buggy ready. When we got everything set up, I realized
I also missed my trips to town with Barbara. I pushed aside
the ache in my heart and urged the horses forward. The air
was brisk but felt good. The ride into town seemed longer
that day for some reason.
“Who s that?” Agnes interrupted my thoughts by
pointing to the side of the road.
I glanced at the direction she indicated. I didn t hide
my surprise. What was Mrs. Carson doing out here without
her horse? She was all by herself and an abandoned
buggy.
An instant surge of gratification swept over me. It
served her right to have to walk to town after all the
gossiping she did about Todd. I was ready to ride past her
when a question popped into my head. What if it was you?
I sighed. It took all of my energy to stop and call her
name.
She turned around. I saw that a wheel on her buggy
had fallen off.
“What happened?” Agnes asked for me.
Mrs. Carson choked back her sobs as she spoke.
“The
wheel came off and the horse ran off. I don t
know
how he got away but he did. And I-I
…can t believe it. He
just ran off.”
I glanced at the direction she motioned to. He went
south. Suddenly, I felt compassion for her. She was cold
and afraid out here all by herself.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Can we take you to town?” I offered. “I know where
your husband works.”
She agreed and we helped her into the buggy. It
was meant for two people so we squeezed in together. We
gave her some blankets so she could warm up.
“Thank you,” she softly replied, still fighting back her
tears.
“We re heading into town anyway,” I replied.
The rest of the ride was quiet. I supposed Mrs.
Carson was as uncomfortable around me as I was around
her. I didn t know what to say to her, and even A
gnes was
at loss for words. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we
arrived in town. The trip had been difficult for all of us.
“Is your husband at lunch?” I asked.
She took note of the time on the clock in front of the
bank. “No. He will still be at work.”
I nodded and urged the horses to trot until we
stopped in front of the small building between the library and
the church.
“Thank you, Mrs. Brothers,” she quietly replied.
Her humbled expression softened my hard heart.
“You re welcome.”
She got out of the buggy and ran into the post office.
I lightly clicked the reins on the horses so that they
took me and Agnes to the mercantile. Before I set the
brake, Agnes put her hand on my arm.
“What s wrong?” I asked.
“I ve been doing a lot of thin
king, and I think I know
why Barbara has been
reserved with you.”
Curious, I waited for her to continue.
“She was acting fine until I showed up. I am
guessing you two are close friends?”
I nodded.
“I think she s afraid that since I m here, there s no
place for her in your life.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
My eyes widened. Could it be true? “Oh, that s silly!
I can have both of you for my friends.”
She smiled. “Of course, you can. But you and I
shared our c
hildhood together. I m now your
sister-in-law,
and we have so much in common. She probably feels like
she doesn t belong
with us when we re together.”
I hadn t considered that possibly
.
“Anyway, I notice she s in town today. Why don t I
do your job at the Coleys
while you talk to her?” She pointed
to the doctor s office across the street. “I m sure you two will
work things out.”
I knew the Coleys would be fine if Agnes took my
place for the day. I agreed and we parted. I took a deep
breath as I walked to the doctor s office. I didn t want to lose
Barbara
s friend
ship. Though she was dramatically different
from my childhood friend, I valued her just as much. I slowly
opened the door.
“Mrs. Brothers!”
I immediately grinned as three little children came
running over to hug me. Calvin, Bruce and Molly were
excited to see me. I hugged them back, delighted by their
warm welcome. I glanced up and saw Barbara say good-
bye to the doctor who returned to the backroom in the small
building. I hesitated for a moment but decided our
friendship was too important to worry about a rejection.
“How are you today,
Barbara
?” I asked. I stood up
and walked over to her, her children on my heels.
She smiled. “Actually, I m great. I just found out I m
in the family way
.”
“That s wonderful!” I hugged her. “Is that why you re
ere?”
h
She nodded. “I kept thinking I had the flu, bu
t John
insisted I come here to see if it was something else. It turns
out he was right.”
I frowned. “Why did you think you had the flu?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I feel sick all the time and I don t have my usual
energy.”
“Is that common when a woman s expecting?”
“With most women, it is. Didn t your mother
discuss
?”
such things with you
I shook my head. “I don t know my real mother. I
was adopted by my parents. They weren t able to have
children.”
“Oh.
I m sorry.”

You d
idn t know. I didn t have a
nyone to tell me
about expecting. The teachers were too busy making sure
we knew how to act at a dinner party or decorate a house. I
learned how to read and write and do math though, so it
wasn t a total waste of my time.”
She considered
my words. “If you were in the family
, would you know?”
way
I blushed. I knew how babies were conceived. At
least, I wasn t that ignorant! Even young ladies discussed
those details when no adults were listening. “I know I m not
. I still menstruate.”
in the family way
“Would you like me t
o tell you what the common
symptoms are? Perhaps soon you will feel ill and figure out
it s n
.”
ot an illness
Her kind grin brought relief to me. It was as if
had to discuss it. “Y
nothing was wrong. Still, I knew I
es, I
do need to know that
,” I admitted. “First
though, I would like
to discuss a matter that has been troubling me. Could we sit
down?”
She seemed uncertain but followed me to a seat in
the office. We talked quietly while her children played. No
one else was in the room and the doctor gave us privacy.
“Agnes said you might be feeling
ignored
since she s
come to visit,” I finally ventured. “Is that true?”
the floor and sighed. “It s
She glanced at
childish. I
know you had fr
iends back in Virginia.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
So Agnes had been right. I was glad that was all
that was bothering her. “
Barbara, I am thankful that we are
friends. You are like a sister to me. It s true that Agnes and
I grew up together
, but she can t take your place. Yo
u are
both important to me.”
Her eyes met mine an
d she smiled widely. “I was
foolish. I wanted to say something but didn t when she was
around, and the longer I waited to say anything, the harder it
became. I m sorry, Ann.
I should have told you right
away.”
“I didn t give you much of a chance. I m sorry too.”
We hugged.
I was glad things were back to normal.
“You must bring Agnes by again. I ll have to treat
her better this time,” she promised.
“Oh no. You are with child. You don t need to go
to
any trouble for us. Why don t you and your family come
over for dinner tonight? That is, if you feel up to eating.”
She laughed. “I may not eat much, but we would
.”
love to come over
“I m
excited for you. Another baby! John will be
thrilled.”
“Yes. He wants at least seven children. You re good
with children. Wouldn t it be wonderf
ul if you were expecting
soon so our children will be close in age?”
I didn t know what to say, so I
nodded. My
goodness! What would Todd think of this conversation?
Ignoring my pounding heart, I said good-bye and left. I went
to the mercantile and helped Agnes with the rest of my usual
chores. After we were done, we went home so I could get
dinner started.
Agnes insisted on helping me. “I want to learn more
about cooking. Who knows if I ll ev
er need to know this? I
might end up marrying a man whose grand dream is
farming.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I laughed
. “The chances of that happening where
you live are slim.” I stopped peeling a potato and looked at
her. “Do you wish to stay in Virginia?”
“Yes. I do like visiting here, but my heart will always
be back there.”
“Then you ll probably marry someone from a wealthy
family. Do you have your sights set on anyone?”
She shrugged. “Not really.”

You must be disappointing many young men. You
have a way of attracting them
.”
“I know. Maybe that s why I don t feel rushed to
make a decision. I just haven t found the right one yet.”
“The important thing is how he treats you. Kent
might have been charming and outspoken but he focused
on himself. Todd actually cares about what I want and what
I think.”
“I hope you remember that when Kent shows up.”
“I don t understand why he would bother. He knows
I m married.”
“And that doesn t matter to him. I don t know why he
proposed to Rebecca in the first place, but for some reason
he did.”
She poured water into the pot as I added the peeled
potatoes into it.
She sighed thoughtfully. “Do you love Todd?”
“Yes. But what I feel for him is different than what I
feel for Kent. Well,
I should say „what I felt for Kent. I m
over him now.”
“Just when you think you re over the past, it comes
back to haunt you.”
“No. I won t let
it. I made my decision the day I
married Todd. I promised to forsake all others as long as he
lived.”
She still seemed uncertain but nodded and silently
turned to the salad we were going to make. That was when
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I made my decision. I would consummate my marriage with
Todd that night.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Seventeen
Todd’s Point of View
After John, Barbara and their children went home,
Agnes, Ann and I stood in the living room. I assumed we
were going to sit and talk, but Agnes said she wanted to go
to bed early.
“What a lovely day,” she said.

I do confess that
I don t know how Barbara
those children wore me out.
does
it all day with them! You farmer s wives have too much work
to do. I have to admit that I like to be spoiled. I would rather
have the servants help, but this certainly i
s a nice place to

visit.
“It s really not that diff
icult once you get used to it,

Ann assured her. “It s nice to have some privacy. When I
had servants, I couldn t even sneeze without someone
handing me a handkerchief.”
“I suppose there are benefi
I smiled.
ts to both
worlds.
I m glad you ventured out
here.”
Ann nodded. “I am too. Thank you for coming.”
I turned to Ann after Agnes went up to her bedroom.
“That s odd. I thought she d wa
nt to stay up for two more
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
hours. Usually, I can t get her
to stop talking. Life certainly
isn t boring when she s around.”
“Oh?”
“You know what I mean.” I grinned to show her I was
joking. Life was definitely not boring with Ann. I motioned to
the couch. “Would you lik
e to stay up and talk
?”
She hesitated. “Actually, I
was thinking of going to
.”
bed
“Oh.”
I had hoped we could sit together and talk.
Perhaps, more would come of it. Even if it didn t, it would
ce to be with her. “Are you going
still be ni
to wake up early
tomorrow? Ever since Agnes got here,
we haven t had
much time alone. I guess I got us
ed to it just being us.”
She didn t reply right away, which surprised me s
ince
she didn t usually take
long to answer my questions. When
I wasn t expecting her reply. “Would you
she did respond,
like to come with me?”
I nearly bolted for her bedroom but I forced myself to
stand still. “Are you saying that you re ready?” I wanted to
be sure I understood her.
She nodded.
As much as I wanted to forget my nightly chore, I
knew we would all be cold by morning if I didn t do it. “I ll
gather enough firewood for the night and bring it to your
room. I should take some to Agnes too.”
“Then I ll be waiting for you.”
I watched as she walked up the steps. I was so
excited that I quickly slipped on my shoes and grabbed my
coat. I threw open the back door and ran out to the barn to
collect enough wood for the night. When I came back into
the house, I hastily took off my coat. I would put it on the
hook later. I didn t bother to take my shoes off. Instead I
climbed the stairs and took a deep breath. I knocked on
Agnes bedroom door. I couldn t forget to give her some
firewood.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Agnes opened her door. I noted that she was still in
her dress.
“I brought you some firewood for the night.
Would
you like me to put a piece in the box stove
?” I offered.
“Alright,” she agreed and moved aside so I could
bring in the wood.
I knelt by the box stove and inserted a piece of wood
into it. I glanced over at her bed and noticed she was
reading a book. “I thought you were tired.”
“Oh. Not really. I just wanted to g
ive you and Ann
some time alone. I know I tend to dominate the
conversation whenever I m around. After all, my great gift i
n
life is talking.”
I smiled at her as I stood up. “That s thoughtful of
you.”
She gave me a quick hug. “She does love you, eve
n
though she won t come out and say it. We did a lot of
talking and she likes being with you. You re a lot better than
Kent ever was.”
I thought her words were odd but accepted them. “I
hope you enjoy the book.”
She nodded and sat on her bed.
I quietly shut the door behind me and walked past
my room. It felt good not to have to sleep in there tonight.
By the time I reached Ann s door, I realized my hands were
shaking. Now that the moment was here, I was more
nervous than excited. I loved her so much. I hoped she
would enjoy the night as much as I knew I would.
I tapped on her door.
“Come in,” she softly replied.
I had a hard time making eye contact with her as I
entered the room. I laid the stack of chopped wood beside
the box stove. Since the fire was low, I added two more
pieces of wood to the fire. I slowly stood up and turned
around. I frowned. She had her eyes closed.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Are you asleep?” I whispered. I really didn t want to
return to my room but couldn t bring myself to wake her.
Her eyelids flew open.
“I m sorry. I didn t mean to scare you.” I smiled
,
relieved she was still awake. I sat next to her. “Are you
sure you want to do this?”
“Yes. Do you?”
Yes! “More than you know, though I didn t think I d
be this nervous when the
time came,” I admitted.
She looked relieved. “Thank goodness. I thought I
.”
was the only one who was nervous
I chuckled, glad she felt the same way I did.
I took off my shoes and slipped under the covers.
She moved closer to me. I loved the feel of her in my arms.
I hugged her close to me. My heart pounded with joy and
anticipation. We remained silent for a long time. I wanted to
enjoy the moment, but my desire to do more was steadily
increasing.
I kissed the top of her head. I loved the smell of her
soft hair. She lifted her head off of my chest. She was so
beautiful. I gladly gave into the urge to kiss her since now I
knew I could. She responded to my kiss with a passion that
surprised and delighted me. She wanted me as much as I
wanted her. This knowledge only increased my arousal.
Our kiss deepened and I took off my shirt as she settled
back into the bed. Her hands felt incredibly sensual on my
bare shoulders. I had often wondered how they would feel
on my body, and it was better than I expected. My hands
traveled from her hair to her breasts. She was amazingly
soft. She was all woman and I was aware of how my body
was responding to that fact. My lips hungrily made their way
down her neck. I was desperately trying to go slow but my
urgency for her was starting to consume me.
“Todd, wait. Agnes is at the door.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I stopped and looked up at her, not fully
comprehending what she was saying. Did she want me to
stop?
“Todd, our parents are here!” Agnes
yelled from
. “They re at the front door.”
behind the closed door
My reaction to my sister s announcement was
immediate. I bolted out of the bed as if it were on fire. Of all
things that could kill a mood, this ranked high on the list. I
quickly picked up my shirt and buttoned it. After I put my
shoes on, I remembered Ann. I turned to her. I didn t want
to leave her, but I didn t feel like I had a choice. “I have to
see them. I m sorry.”
“No, don t be sorry. I understand.” Her eyes were
wide with the same shock I was experiencing.
“It s probably best if you stay here, just in case things
don t go w

ell.
She nodded.
I sighed and left her room. I faced a startled Agnes.
“You didn t open the front door?”
“Of course not.
I don t wish to confront them on my
own. They re
bound to be furious with me. I came here
against their will.”
“You re not the only one,” I grumbled as she followed
me down the stairs. I didn t
feel like seeing them. I wanted
to be with Ann in her bedroom.
I opened the door and my parents rushed into the
parlor.
My father s face was red with rage, but my mother
was softly crying into a handkerchief. I braced myself for
what he would say.
“Agnes, go out to the carriage,” he ordered. “I need
to talk to your brother.”
“Let s not be hasty,” our mother
sobbed. “We don t
need to make matters worse.”
“Mother is right,” Agnes quickly agreed. “Why don t
?”
we sit down and take a few moments to calm down
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I thought this was a good idea.
“I have had enough of
My father shook his head.
this. I spent many days traveling here. The last thing I want
to do is spend another minute in this…
this…”
–he looked
around my house as if it were the most disgusting thing he
ever saw–
“place.”
“May I remind you that this is my house?” I
stated
through gritted teeth. It took all of my willpower to not throw
him out. He is your father. Be careful what you say.
“Such as it is.” He turned to my
mother. “Take
Agnes out of here. What I have to say, I only have to say to
him.”
“I will have to pack my clothes first,” Ag
nes angrily
replied before she headed up the stairs.
“Please, go easy on him,” Mother begged. “He has
his reasons.”
“It would be best for you stay out of this,” he told her,
his tone gentle. “I will not change my mind.”
an “I m sorry” look
She gave me
and followed Agnes
to her bedroom.
I turned to him and crossed my arms. I didn t
appreciate being treated like a little kid who got caught doing
something wrong.
“I raised you better than this. You could have had
the entire family fortune. As the only boy, it was your right.
Your sisters will find men to care for them.
” He took a deep
breath.

Look, I am willing to overlook your rebellion if you
come home with me.”
“I am not a boy anymore. I
m a man. This is my
house. I found work I love and I
plan to stay here. I don t
need your money, but it would be nice if we could get
along.”
“You continue to reject me, your own father?”
“I am following God s leading for my life.”
“And you re dragging poor Miss Statesman down
with you. Do you think it s fair to make her suffer like this?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I clenched my jaw. Why did he have to call Ann by
her maiden name? It was bad enough that he refused to
acknowledge my work. Couldn t he at least acknowledge
my marriage? “Her name is Mrs. Brothers. We re married.”
“Even so, the poor thing must suffer out here. There
are no comforts.”
“It is a tough life at times, but it s
worth it. She chose
to come with me. I didn t force her.”
“She only came because of Kent and Rebecca. Do
you honestly think she will stay once she finds out he wants
her back?”
Time stood still for me in that moment. Kent wanted
her back?
“Rumor has it he will be here any day. Save yourself
the humiliation of losing her and return to Virginia. The only
advantage Kent has over you is his economic status. I will
hold a job for you at the bank.”
It took me a couple of seconds to process his words.
If he knew that Kent was coming, then Agnes knew too.
And if Agnes knew…
“I m staying here, and she will stay with me,” I finally
said, though my words seemed hollow to my ears. Would
she really stay once she saw him again?
“We ll see about that,” he snapped. “You are no
longer my son. Agnes, you have no choice. You are not old
enough to defy me yet. Stop eavesdropping and get down
h
ere right now.”
Agnes and Mother obediently walked down the
stairs. Agnes clutched the carpet bag to her chest.
As soon as Father left the house, Mother quickly
hugged me. “Keep praying, Todd. God may show him that
you did the right thing.”
“Thank you, Mother,” I softly replied, glad for her kind
words.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Agnes gave me a quick hug but I didn t return it. “Be
bye. I ll try to find a way to visit
sure to tell Ann I said good-
again.”
“You should probably wait until you graduate from
ill be an adult.” I forced myself to stay
school. Then you w
calm despite my sudden anger at her. She knew that Kent
was coming, and she
told Ann but she didn t tell me.
“Of course. You warning is well
heeded.”

After she left, I stood quietly in the parlor. Many
emotions coursed through me. Disbelief, shock, love, doubt,
fear, and finally…
anger. That was why Ann had been
distant from me the past couple of days. She wasn t aloof
until Agnes showed up. So Agnes told her the night she
arrived. I knew something was wrong.
I closed my eyes, willing my rage to die down. I
hated Kent. I hated how inferior he made me feel. I could
never compete with him. I was planning to ask Ann if I could
court her when he stepped into the picture and took her from
me, and he was about to take her away again. In that
moment, my entire world caved in. Why didn t she tell me?
What did she have to hide? The on
ly reason she wouldn t
tell me was because she was tempted to go back to him.
The realization had a chilling effect on my heart.
I looked at her bedroom door which was slightly
open. She heard everything. I knew she did. Why wasn t
she coming down to explain the situation with Kent? All she
had to do was tell me, and then she could reassure me that
she wouldn t go with
him, that she would stay with me. After
all, why would she plan to consummate our marriage if she
had no intention of staying? I shook my head. I didn t know
what to think.
I took a deep breath before I walked up the steps. I
thought about leaving the house, but I knew I had to
confront her first. I had to give her a chance to confess what
had been bothering her. If she admitted it, then we could
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
work through it. My heart raced as I softly knocked on her
door.
“Come in.”
I opened the door. She was standing by the bed in
her robe. Did she look guilty?
“I suppose you heard all of that.” It wasn t my
intention to sound cold. Give her a chance. I crossed my
arms, suddenly feeling vulnerable, and waited for her to say
something.
She didn t say an
ything. She just pretended to be
interested in the cord on her robe. Why wasn t she telling
me Kent was coming?
“It actually went better than I expected,” I said,
wondering if beginning the conversation would help her to
open
up. “I knew my father
woul
dn t approve of what I did.
My mother, however, did surprise me. I didn t anticipate her
concern.”
“Then that part is good news.” She stood there, just
looking at me and waiting for me to continue.
I couldn t believe it. After how close we
d gotten, she
wasn t going to say it.
“You re going to make you ask it, aren t you?” I finally
stated.
“If I had any idea of what you are
referring to, it
help.”
would
“Agnes keeps nothing from you, but she does have
her share of secrets from me.” My anger was qui
ckly
surfacing.
She stared at me as if she had no idea what I was
talking about.
“I can t believe this. You are actually going to make
me ask it.”
“I have done nothing wrong, but you make me feel
like I did.”
I noted the anger in her voice.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
My jaw t
ensed. “Agnes told you about Kent, didn t
she? Surely, if my parents knew, then she did too.”
Her eyes grew wide, as if she had just heard the
news. “Yes, she told me. No, I haven t seen him nor do I
plan to.”
“Why didn t you tell me? Do you underst
and how
this looks to me? It s like you re trying to hide your guilt.”
“But I have done nothing wrong.”
“Then why didn t you tell me?”
“What was the point? I don t plan to run off with
him.”
“Is there anything else you re hiding from me?” Did I
really know her?
“I don t appreciate being treated like a
She gasped.
child. I have kept my vow to be faithful to you.”
I forced myself to calm down before I said anything I
would regret. “I m sorry that you feel that way. I just want
the truth. I thought you were beginning to love me. But
after this news about Kent…” I shook my head. “I don t
and didn t tell
know what to think. To find out that you knew
me makes me think
I can t trust you. I have to wonder what
other things I don t know about you.”
“I can t believe this. I have opened my heart to you
in a way I never did with him. You can rest assured that I
have never done anything to harm you. What I do, I do to
help. And since you must know every single detail of my
life, I help
the Coley s out at the store in town
. I noticed you
were pacing downstairs one night and realized you were
having trouble with the finances, so I decided to do some
cleaning, bookkeeping and inventory in exchange for some
free food and cooking supplies. I still do it and will keep
doing it. It gives me a sense of purpose, and I have met
some wonderful people while in town. Would you like a list
their names?”
of
My jaw dropped. “You don t have to be con

descending.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Neither do you.”
Now was not the time to argue. Emotions were
down. “It s been a long night. I
running too high. Just calm
suggest we get some sleep. We can talk more in the
morning.”
She stared at me as I left and went to my bedroom. I
wanted to slam the door in frustration but didn t. Instead, I
quietly shut it and walked to the window. It was a clear and
cool night. I should ride my horse. I needed to burn off my
anger somehow. I turned to the picture of Ann that I kept on
my dresser. I picked it up. The solid frame felt unusually
cold.
When I asked Agnes for the picture, I had no idea
what was going to happen in the next two and a half years.
I loved Ann for so long and she never noticed me. I spent
many nights trying to think of things to say that she might
find interesting. I wasn t the one she wanted. She wanted
Kent. Did she want him now? How could she still want him
when she was willing to give all of herself to me? I should
have left her back in Virginia. I never should have brought
her with me.
I lifted the picture over my head, ready to smash it on
the floor. Break it! Just break it and get it over with! Do you
really want her to h
aunt you for the rest of your life? She’s
bound to leave once Kent comes for her. I stood still for the
longest time. I couldn t move. I wanted to break it. I
wanted to let go of her and be free. But how free could I
possibly be when she lived here? Memories of her
penetrated every room in the house.
Despite my best effort, I gently placed the picture in
the top drawer of my dresser and started to cry. It didn t
help that I could hear her crying in the next room. Why did
we have to be miserable tonight? I should go in there and
hold her. I wanted to make love to her. But she might not
belong to me. What if she decided to go back to Kent? I
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
could hardly breathe now. She d completely destroy me
if I
enjoyed physical intimacy with her and she ran off with Kent.
I threw on a sweater before I headed down the
stairs. I picked my coat off the floor, grabbed my gloves and
hat and raced to the barn. I had everything on by the time I
got to the horses. I quickly set the saddle on Lightning,
since I knew he ran the fastest, and hopped up on him. The
other two horses barely moved as I urged the horse forward.
They were probably glad I didn t pick either of them. They
knew when I was angry.
I rode him through every acre of land I owned. Even
out i
n the fields I loved so much, I couldn t escape her. I
recalled the day when she went for a walk out here and fell
asleep. I was scared that something bad happened to her,
and now I was scared she was going to walk out of my life.
A wave of intense sorrow mingled with a wave of rage. I
loved her and hated her at the same time. I remember
asking her why she wasn t mad at Kent when he announced
his engagement to Rebecca. I couldn t understand why she
could still love him even when he was part of the reason for
her heartache. Now I knew. She was mad at him while she
loved him. It seemed like a cruel paradox. But the hardest
lesson I had to face was the knowledge I brought all of this
on myself when I agreed to take her with me. I knew it was
wrong but I wanted her so badly I didn t care. In the end, I
had to admit I was to blame for the way things turned out.
And I d
pay for that decision for the rest of my life.
I wished I could go back and do it all over again.
This time, I wouldn t even tell her I was going to leave
Virginia. I would simply wait until the day after graduation
and slip out of sight. She wouldn t have missed me. I
would ve missed her, but at least she never would have
gotten as close as she did. What was I going to do?
I knew the answer. I d
have to let her go if she
wanted to go.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I slowed the horse to a trot and headed back to the
barn. I noticed two coyotes sniffing around in the fields. I
sighed as I rode the horse into the barn and shut the door. I
took the rifle from the shelf above the stack of piled firewood
ut they didn t.
in case the coyotes had followed me, b
I entered the kitchen and set the gun next to the
back door. I hung my coat and set the gloves and hat near
it. I slowly took off my shoes and sighed as I walked up the
stairs.
I picked up some firewood from the guest bedroom
and started the fire in the box stove in my room. I could
hear Ann crying. Was it possible that she did love me? I
recalled how affectionate she had been before Agnes
arrived. She seemed to genuinely care for me. She shared
everything with Agnes, and Agnes told me she loved me. I
shook my head. I didn t know what to do or what to think.
Should I go to her? Ask her what she wanted to do
about Kent? She said she didn t plan to go with him when
he came, but would she be able to resist him? I couldn t
resist her.
My steps were silent as I made my way to her
bedroom. My hands pressed firmly on the cool, closed door.
Did she want me to come back? I hesitated to knock on it.
What if she was crying because she wanted to leave me
and felt obligated to stay? That would be worse than if she
left with him. I didn t want to take second place in her life
anymore. I wanted to be her first choice. I pressed my
forehead against the door in defeat. The only way I would
know what she wanted was after she saw Kent. I would
have to wait and see what happened.
Please choose me, Ann. I need you.
My shoulders slumped in defeat, I slowly walked to
my room, which seemed as empty and miserable as ever. I
quietly sat on my bed with my head in my hands and
listened to her as she cried through the night.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Eighteen
Ann’s Point of View
The next morning arrived, and I was exhausted. I
didn t want to get out of bed, but I knew if I didn t, th
en I
wouldn t be able to go to
town. I desperately wanted to go
to the Coley s store and help them today, even though I
didn t usually come in
on Wednesdays. I needed to take my
the previous night s events. I put on my well
mind off
-worn
but comfortable light blue dress and brushed my hair back
into a braid. I glanced at my bed and sighed. Nothing went
as planned last night. Agnes was gone and Todd suddenly
felt like a stranger to me. I left my bedroom and went to the
kitchen.
To my surprise, Todd was drinking a cup of coffee at
the table. He looked worse than I did.
“Would you like something to eat?” I asked.
I braced myself for whatever he might say, but
nothing prepared me for the sad look in his eyes.
“I owe you an apology,” he softly stated.
I stared at him, unsure of how to respond.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He stood up and set
his cup in the sink. “I had no
right to be harsh with you. I married you knowing the
situation between you and Kent. I hoped that you would
learn to love me
.” He shook his head. “I brought this on
myself.”
“Todd, I do love you.”
He came over to me and gently placed his hands on
my arms. The simple action shocked me. I dared to look at
him. He really loved
me. He didn t need to say it. I could
tell by the way he looked at me.
“You must understand why I didn t c
onsummate our
marriage last night,” he began. “You may not belong to me.
I don t know what you ll want when Kent comes to see you.
Maybe you ll discover that the love you have for me is not
enough. I only want you to stay with me if that is what you
nt. Please, don t stay with me because you feel obligated
wa
. Since we haven t been intimate, we can annul our
to
marriage.”
“I don t want that.” I knew he was trying to do what
was best for me, but his words were breaking my heart. “I
want to be here.”

Until you see Kent, how can you or I know for sure?
.”
After all, you did love him when you married me
I couldn t look at him anymore. I wanted to kiss him
and assure him that I would stay with him, but would he
believe me?
“I have to go into town toda
y to order some seeds for
next Spring. Would you like to come with me? You could
help out the Coley s or do whatever it is women do in town.”
“So you re not mad about my working there?”
“Of course not. I don t know why you wanted to keep
it a secret.”
“I was afraid you would be upset. I didn t want you to
give up on farming because we were having financial
problems.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He gave me a light kiss. “You have no idea how
wonderful you are.” He clea
red his throat and retrieved his
“You should
I won t leave until I feed the
hat and coat.
eat.
horses.”
“Yes, I suppose I should. Are you going to eat
anything?”
“I ate early this morning. I will be back soon.
I want
is ready.”
to make sure the wagon
I nodded as he went out the back door. I decided on
scrambled eggs because it was quick and easy. I felt much
better now that we had worked things out, at least as much
as we could at this point.
When he had the horses hooked up to the wagon, I
came out to join him. I carried the blankets.
“You should let me bring those out,” he said. He ran
over and took them from me.
“I thought I would help this time.”
“Don t do too much to help. I like taking care of you.”
I nodded and let him help me get into the wagon. I
wrapped two blankets around my shoulders. There was a
light blanket of snow on the ground, so our trip into town
would still be smooth.
“I usually go to town with
,” I told him. “It s
Barbara
nice to be going with you for a change.”
He clicked the reins so the horses moved forward.
“Do you th
ink Agnes will be in trouble when she gets
home?”
I asked.
“I m sure she will be fine. Besides, it s not her that
my father s really mad at.”
We rode in silence the rest of the way. The clouds
were gathering. I wondered if we were due for more snow .
Our path was straight and level, so the ride was easy. I
looked forward to Christmas when my parents could see the
landscape. It was so different from Virginia.
By the time we reached town, I was sitting so close
to Todd that our shoulders touched. I had moved by him for
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
additional comfort but found the closeness exciting as well.
I hoped we would soon get a chance to continue what we
began the night before but worried how Kent s impending
arrival would affect the situation. I was beginning to dread
is arrival. Up to that point, I hadn t considered the reality of
h
it. For the first time, I wished that he was still with Rebecca.
Then Todd and I would be enjoying each other as a married
couple should be.
I nudged Todd gently in the side as he stopped in
front of the mercantile. “There s
Barbara
at her mother s. I
didn t realize she was coming in today.”
He urged the horses to trot over to Barbara
s
carryall.
“How are you this morning?”
Barbara greeted when
she saw us.
“Good.” I smiled, glad to se
e her.
“I need to get going but I ll come by the store to pick
you up around noon,” Todd told me.
After he helped me
“I hope you two ha
down from the wagon, he said,
ve a
pleasant visit.” He tipped his hat
. “It s good to
to Barbara
see you.”
ft, she took my hand in hers. “Something
Once he le
is wrong.”
“Is your mother ill?” I asked, suddenly alarmed by
her concern.
“No. She is fine. She s
playing with the children. I
am on my way to the mercantile to pick up some items for
it.”
her. You are troubled. I can see
“You can?”
“There is something about your expression that
doesn t seem right.”
“You re right. Is there a place we can talk in
private?” I didn t wish to stand out in the cold.
She nodded and led me into her mother s house in
the kitchen. “My mother s
entertaining the children in the
. What is it, Ann?”
parlor
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I didn t know where to begin. I did not wish to upset
Todd by revealing too much of our personal information so I
d to stick to the main points. “When Todd and I left
trie
Virginia, I was being courted by another man. His name
was Kent Ashton. He decided he should court another lady
instead of me, so when Todd told me he was heading out
west, I insisted that he marry me and take me with him. I
knew Todd loved me so I figured he wouldn t deny my
request, and I was right. It was probably selfish of me. But
we married and came out here. We are husband and wife in
name only, though I thought that was going to change last
night. Last night Todd s parents came by and demanded
that Agnes go back to Virginia. Before they left, his father

informed him that Kent was coming here for me.
She took a moment to absorb everything I had told
her. Finally, she asked, “What will y

ou do?

Todd. I won t leave him.”
I love
She squeezed my hand
. “
Then stay firm when you
see Kent. Todd does love you. I can see it when he looks
at you.”
I nodded.
“He s a good husband.”
“Yes, he is. Will you come with me to the
mercantile?”
“I
was planning to go there
,” I replied.
As we walked to the store, our talk ranged from her
future child
to our plans for Christmas. “My mother and
cousins and their families will be coming out to my house
this year. Will you and Todd join us as well? I figured since
you and Todd are far from Virginia, it would be nice to be
around your friends.”
“Oh, my parents are coming.”
“They are invited too. Of course, if you d rather have
your own get together, that is fine. I just wanted to make
you are welcome to our place.”
sure you know
“I ll ask Todd and see what he thinks.”
She nodded.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
We entered the mercantile. I was relieved to be
s mother s
back in a warm place. The walk from Barbara
house seemed long in the cold weather.
“Good morning, Ann and
Barbara
,” Mrs. Coley
greeted warmly. “What brings you into town today?”
“I came for a few food items for my mother,”
Barbara
replied. “She sprained her ankle and the doctor ordered her
to stay off of it for the next month.”
I removed my bonnet. “
I hope you will let me help
you today. I came in with Todd and he won t be leaving for
three hours.”
She smiled.
“I can always use your help.”
I went to the back of the store to work on the
bookkeeping while Mrs. Coley helped Barbara gather some
food. The smells and sounds of the store took my mind off
of Kent and Todd. I enjoyed being here. It had become a
second home to me. After some time, Mrs. Coley stuck her
head in the doorway of the backroom.
I glanced up from the desk, startled. “Did
Barbara
e?”
leav
“She s been gone for fifteen minutes. I have taken
care of two other customers since then.”
“But I didn t hear the bell on the door.”
“That s because the bell fell and broke last night. Mr.
Coley is getting a new one later today.”
“Oh, that expla
ins it.
” I grinned. “I lose track of
the
time back here.”
“I find it a peaceful place too. Whenever something
is troubling me, I like to come back here and take inventory
of the supplies.”
“Mrs. Coley? Are you here?”
I grimaced. I recognized Mrs.
Carson s shrill voice.
Mrs. Coley chuckled
. “You won t believe this. I don t
know what happened but she s actually quite pleasant now.
I ll be right back.” She left to take care of her customer.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
She was right. I didn t believe it. It was hard to
imagine that someone whose favorite past-time was
gossiping could be pleasant. I kept my thoughts to myself
and returned to work. I finished the bookkeeping and turned
to the inventory list. Good. She hadn t filled it out yet. I
picked up the paper and began scanning the items on the
shelves.
Mrs. Coley returned. “Mr. Randolph fell on some ice
and broke his hip, and Mr. Grant s assistant isn t back from
a home visit yet. Would you mind taking care of the
so that I can help the doctor?”
mercantile
“I would be happy to help.” I
followed her to the front
of the store.
“I shouldn t be gone for longer tha
n thirty minutes.
Thank you
, Ann.”
I was familiar with what she did to help her
customers since I observed her many times in the past. I
stood at the counter for five minutes, waiting for someone to
enter the store but no one did. I walked to the window and
peered at the people who strolled by. I tapped my fingers
on the table holding jars of candy. I grinned. Children
naturally gravitated to this area of the store.
I looked up as a man with white hair pulled a wagon
to the front of the store and stopped it. I went back to the
cash register and waited for him to enter. To my surprise,
he brought in a basket of eggs.
“I don t recognize you,” he sa
id.
“I m Mrs. Brothers. I m filling in for Mrs. Coley while
she s helping the doctor.”
“Oh yes. She mentioned you. M
ighty proud of the
work you do. You save her hours of work.”
I blushed, pleased by his comment. “She has been
gracious to me.”
“T
ell her that Mr. Whitman stopped by with the eggs.
She can pay me next week.”
“Yes, sir.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Good day.”
I nodded as he left. I took the basket to the
backroom. I thought it was very kind of Mrs. Coley to say
positive things about me to other people. I smiled, grateful
she worked here. Who knew if anyone else would have
offered me free food for helping in this store? I went to the
shelf where Mrs. Coley usually put her eggs.
“My goodness, Ann. You re just a
s beautiful as I
remember
.”
I paused. I recognized that voice. My hands
trembled as I finished putting the basket down before I
turned to him. Why now? Why here?
Kent s smile widened. He was dressed in his best
suit. He looked as handsome and charming as I
remembered
. But he wasn t Todd. A
nd in that instant, I
knew that I really did love Todd more than I had ever loved
Kent.
“I believe I caught you by surprise,” he smoothly
stated. “
I admit we parted under dire circumstances. I
made an error in judgment. I am no longer engaged to
Rebecca. She was a mistake. I came to apologize and ask
if I can court you again.”
“I m married.”
I glanced around the room. He was
standing in the doorway. An uneasy feeling crept up my
spine.
“I know why you married Todd Brothers. You were
distressed over my brief encounter with Rebecca. It is
understandable that you ran to the first person who offered
you comfort. This
is my fault.”
“But that doesn t change the fact that I am married. I
belong to someone else now.”
He laughed. “I m sure we
can find a way to get you
„unmarried . Really, we can work through it.”
I couldn t believe my ears. “I vowed to be with him
for the rest of our lives.

“Vows are made to be broken.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I m not leaving him.”
“Hmm…
pose you re expecting
then?”
I sup
I was shaken by the fact he would ask such a
personal question. I shook my head. What was I doing?
What time was it? Would Todd come by earlier than
expected?

The
n there s
nothing to fear. This marriage can
easily be dissolved.”
“No.”
It struck me as odd that I would say that so clearly
when my hands shook. There was something in his eyes
and in the way he stood that I didn t like. Why hadn t I
noticed it before?
“I hurt you more
He sighed, as if with deep regret.
than I realized. I promise that I will never hurt you again.
There is no other love in my life. You will always be the
one.”
He took a step toward me. His movements and
words flowed so smoothly together. He was very charming
and confident. He was nothing like Todd. No wonder I
di
dn t
notice Todd in Virginia. Todd was quiet and
sometimes clumsy. But he was sincere. He would lay down
his life for me. He would even give me up if it meant I could
be happy.
“I love Todd,” I finally said.
Kent laughed. “That s sweet.
Todd is a good boy.
I m sure he s treated you very well out here, in the middle of
nowhere. But a lady such as yourself deserves better in this
life. You were meant for comfort and riches. Look at your
clothes, your hair, your hands! You don t even own a single
piece of jewelry. You may love Todd but he has you living
like a beggar. You were born for beautiful gowns, servants
to wait on you, for your every desire to be fulfilled.” He
“Things I can give you.”
stepped closer to me.
I had to get out of here! I felt like I was going to
suffocate.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Enough of playing wife,” he continued as he walked
closer to me. “
Come with me. I can give you things that he
can t.”
He reached out and touched my cheek. Startled, I
shrieked. His hesitation gave me the strength to move. I
bolted for the doorway. His reflexes were quick, for he
grabbed my arm.
“You can t be serious,” he hissed.

You would give
up what we had for Todd?”
“Yes. Let me go!”
“Perhaps I need to
what you re missing.”
show you
He put his free hand behind my neck and brought my mouth
to his.
“What is going on here?”
Kent released me and I nearly fell to the floor.
Looking up, I saw Todd, staring at us.
“Todd!” I ran to him but he backed away.
Todd shook his head, looking bewildered
. “I can t
…”
believe this. I mean, it was a possibility but
“No. No! It s not what it looks like,” I insisted.
“Don t lie to him, Ann,” Kent softly stated. “It will do
you no good to deny it.”
Todd didn t say anything. He simply turned and
left
the room.
“Todd!”
I screamed and ran after him.
As I passed the doorway, my eyes fell on Mrs.
Carson who had her hand to her cheek, as if she couldn t
believe her good fortune in overhearing a juicy piece of
gossip.
I stopped when I saw her.
I’m d
oomed. Once she
blabs the whole thing to the town, everyone will believe I’m
ready to leave Todd for Kent.
Todd was out the door before I looked away from
her.
“I ll come back for you. I m sure you ll come to your
” Kent said as he left
senses in time,
the mercantile.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I broke into tears. Obviously, Todd hadn t heard the
whole conversation. He just walked in on us when Kent
kissed me.
“I heard every
t
hing,” Mrs. Carson said
.
I groaned. Her version would be sordid. Some
people still believed Todd stole money at the bank.
Mrs. Coley opened the front door and walked in.
She gasped. “Ann, what s wrong?”
Relieved that she was back, I grabbed my coat. I
raced out of the mercantile. But Todd was long gone.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Nineteen
Ann’s Point of View
s mother s house seemed to
The walk to Barbara
take forever and I didn t notice the chill in the air this time. I
was anxious to find Todd and explain everything to him, but
would he even believe me? I knocked on the door.
Calvin opened it.
“Is your mother here?” I asked.
“Sure she is, Mrs. Brothers. Come in and I ll get
her.”
He ran off before I had time to enter the house. I
softly shut the door behind me. Now that I was here, I
began to relax. Barbara would know what to do. At least,
she should have some idea of how I could make the
situation better.
Barbara walked into the room, a dish towel in her
hands. She was wiping some dough off of her fingers.
“What is it?”
“Kent came to the store and he wanted me to go with
ut I kept telling him I was married but he wouldn t listen
him b
to me no matter how many times I told him and then I tried
172

Falling In Love With Her Husband
to leave the back
room but he wouldn t let me and he kissed
me and Todd saw us and thought I wanted to kiss Kent but I
didn t and I tried to explain it to Todd but he wouldn t listen
and Mrs. Carson said she heard the whole thing but we all
know how she interprets the truth and now she ll blab it all
over town and everyone, including Todd, will believe I
wanted to kiss Kent and Todd went home without me and
I m sure it s all over and I ll have to go back to Virginia now
and I don t even want to be with Kent and…” I started crying.
“It s all a mess and I don t know what to do.”
“Calm down. You re speaking too fast. Come, sit
down.”
I sobbed into my handkerchief as I obeyed her.
“I need to finish making a loaf of bread,” she said.
“Can you wait fo
r ten minutes?

I nodded. “Yes, I can wait.”
“Good. Now try to breathe. You can explain
everything to me on the way home.”
I sat in the chair and tried to slow my thoughts so
they weren t all jumbled together.
I suddenly realized I was
exhausted.
I hadn t slept the night before
. I put my head in
my hands and focused on slowing my breathing. The action
was calming. I must have fallen asleep because the next
thing I knew, Barbara was tapping me on the shoulder,
asking me if I was awake. I stood up.
“Are you ready?” I asked.
“Yes.
Calvin will be staying with my mother to help
her around the house. Bruce and Molly, come along.”
I helped her take the blankets and tuck the kids in
the carryall so they would be warm during the trip home.
Molly was so tired she fell asleep. Bruce was content to
play with a toy train his grandmother had given him. That
left plenty of time for me to explain my morning in the store
to Barbara. Snow was already beginning to fall and by the
time we got halfway home, it was apparent that we were
going to have a storm.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
When she stopped in front of my house, I heard
Todd chopping wood in the barn. I sighed. He was angry.
“I saved some food for you,” she said.
We got out of the carryall and she helped me bring
some jars and boxes into the kitchen.
“I ll leave you now,” she whispered. She put her
hand on my
shoulder. “I ll pray for you and Todd.”
“Thank you,” I quietly replied.
Once she left, I put the food away. I could still hear
Todd chopping wood. He d
stay out there all day if I let him.
What should I say? I didn t think he d accept anything I to
ld
him. I contemplated going up to my bedroom instead of
seeing him, but I wanted to resolve the matter. If that was
even possible…
I took a moment to pray before I headed outside.
The snow was falling heavily now. I couldn t even see
Todd
s footprints in the snow. I pulled the hood of the coat
over my head and braced myself for the blowing wind as it
pressed against me. Thankfully, my gloves were thick so
my hands stayed warm. I walked to the barn and pulled the
door open.
t wearing his coat or
Sure enough, Todd wasn
gloves. He was at least wearing a sweater this time, but
that hardly made me feel any better. He had a lantern lit,
and, even from across the barn, I could see that his eyes
were red from crying.
I looked aside for a moment, ashamed that I was the
cause of his grief. But I did nothing wrong! Strengthened by
the reminder, I pressed forward until I was standing several
feet in front of him.
He had his axe raised to chop another piece of wood
but paused when he noticed me.
My heart pounded loudly in my ears. Now that I was
here, I didn t know what to say.
“Have you come to say good

bye?” he finally asked.
I blinked at his bitter tone.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He brought the axe down and sliced the wood in half.
I jumped. I wasn t guilty, so why I was
acting as if I
was? I took a moment to regain my composure. “I m not
going anywhere. I want to be with you, Todd. What you
saw at the store was a big misunderstanding.”
At first I thought he was laughing, but when he wiped
his face with the sleeve of his sweater, I knew he was
crying. “Even now you would lie to me?”
“I m not lying. I do love you.”
“Enough! I can t take it anymore!” he yelled. “I m not
blind. I know what I saw.”
“You didn t see every
thing. I was trying to get away
from him and he grabbed my arm. He forced himself upon
me.”
“Then why didn t Mrs. Carson try to stop him? She
was listening to you when I walked into the store. She only
said I needed to help you. Apparently, I needed to help you
control yourself.”
“Mrs. Carson
is a busybody. She only wanted to
hear all the details so she could spread her vicious rumors.”
“If it was just her word, I wouldn t believe anything
she said. But I saw you kissing him.”
“You didn t see enough!”
He dropped his axe and walked up to me until he
was a few inches from me. I instinctively backed up a
couple of steps.
“Look at me, Ann. I m a wreck.”
I wanted to look away but couldn t. The anguish in
his eyes and his messy hair stung my heart. There was no
denying the intensity of his pain.
“God help me, Ann.” His voice was so low
I barely
heard him. “You re a part of me now. If you leave, a part of
me will die.

Tears sprung in my eyes. “I m not leaving. I want to
be here.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Then why did you kiss him?” He turned away
from
me and went back to his axe. He picked it up and put
“The person I am mad
another piece of wood up to chop.
at, more than anyone else in this whole mess, is me. I knew
from the beginning you didn t love me the way you love
d
him. I knew and I still married you. I never imagined he
would come searching for you. As long as he stayed away,
I thought you might learn to be content with me. I hoped
you might even love me over time. You have no idea how
happy I was last night. Then my parents showed up and I
learned that Kent was coming for you. You knew he was
coming but you didn t tell me,
and today you re kissing him.”
He used all his strength to chop the wood. Again, I
jumped. His shoulders slumped in defeat.

I never should have brought you here. You should
go back.” He turned his back to me and sat on the ground,
his head in his hands.
I didn t know what to say. He obviously
didn t
believe me. He couldn t accept that
I loved him. He had
made up his mind. I slowly turned around and walked out of
t
he barn. I couldn t hold back my tears as I made my way
into the house and up the stairs. My feet dragged as I
ouldn t bring myself to look at
entered my bedroom. I c
the
bed or the memories it would give me.
Instead, I looked out the window. The wind grew
stronger. I could hear it whistling against house. My
forehead felt cool against the glass. I shivered. Todd hadn
t
started the fire in the box stove yet. The fire was roaring in
the fireplace downstairs. I felt sick as I recalled the anguish
in his eyes when he told me I was a part of him, for I felt the
same way about him. How could he tell me to go back to
Virginia? Why didn t he believe me? Why did Kent have to
leave Rebecca? It would have been better if he had stayed
with her.
“Lord, if
Y
ou don t intervene, I will be forced to return
to Virginia,” I prayed.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
The knocking at the door downstairs interrupted my
thoughts. I stiffened. What if it was Kent? I ran down the
stairs and peered out the parlor window. I gasped in
surprise and delight and raced to open the door.
“Mother, Father, what are you doing here?”
They thanked Mr. Albert who brought them on his
sleigh and brought their luggage into the house. I hugged
them, relieved to see them.
“We re sorry we didn t warn you of our im
pending
arrival,” my mother spoke as I took her coat and hat. She
kicked off her boots at the door. “When we heard that th
e
Brothers were coming to get Agnes, we felt it best to come
and be a support to you and Todd. Mr. Brothers was awfully
dn t want him to say something he d regret later
mad. We di
on.”
“I hate to disappoint you but they arrived last night.
They took Agnes back late in the evening.”
My mother shook her head, clearly distraught by the
news. “How did Todd take it?”
I sighed. “As we
ll as could be expected. I suppose
since he s known his father would be upset when he left
Virginia, it helped to soften the blow.”
She put her hand over her heart. “The poor boy.
What a blessing it is that he has you to get him through this
time.”
difficult
If only she knew…
“Speaking of troubling news,” my father began with
his face, “Kent is coming.
an unusually serious look on
Apparently,
he decided that you ll
be his wife. This is not
appropriate. He knows you are married. We came to talk
im to his senses.”
h
I groaned.
“I wish you had come sooner
. He
cornered me today at the mercantile
in town.”
Their faces paled.
“I was by myself in the back
room putting eggs away
and that s when Kent showed up. He wouldn t let me leave
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
the room. I
kept telling him I wasn t going to go with him, but
he wouldn t listen to me. He insisted that I would be with
him. As I was running out of the room, he grabbed me by
the arm and kissed me. Todd walked in on us at that exact
ant to leave with Kent.”
moment and now he thinks I w
I didn t realize I was crying until my mother handed
me her handkerchief and hugged me. “Oh my poor dear.
What you must be going through.”
“Do you love Todd?” my father asked.
“Yes. I have no intention of leaving
him
.”
“Does
he know what happened?”
“I tried to explain it but he won t listen to me. The
town gossip was in the store and heard the whole thing and
didn t bother to stop Kent, so Todd figures I must be lying.”
“Hmm…” My father narrowed his eyes as he tried to
think of a suitable solution. He brought out his pipe and lit it
up. It was how he handled tough situations. “Where is Todd
now?”
“He s chopping wood in the barn.”
“Would he mind if I went out to see him?” my fat
her
asked.
“I don t think so.”
“Good. I d like to say hello to my son
law.”
-in-
After my father left the house, my mother took me by
the arm and sat next to me on the couch in front of the
fireplace. “My dear, you are very l
ucky to have Todd. You
remembe
r how your father and I weren t too ha
ppy about
your courtship with Kent.”
I nodded, curious at the hushed tone she used.
There was no one else in the house, yet she spoke as if she
were about to reveal a secret.
“Thank goodness Kent ended that courtship.
We
hardly knew anything about him. True, his parents are
honorable people, and they were pressing him to marry an
honorable lady, which you are sweetheart. I think a part of
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
him may have genuinely cared for you. However, he does
not act like a gentleman with certain women.”
By the term certain women, I knew she meant loose
women.
My eyes widened. I hadn t expected this.
“Rebecca was such a woman,” she confided. “Their
sudden courtship was arranged privately between her
parents and his parents when they found out that they were
being intimate with one another. Their parents insisted that
they marry as soon as they graduated from school to avoid
unwanted gossip. As it turned out, Rebecca got in the
family way but miscarried two months after they announced
their engagement. That s wh
en she stopped attending
social functions. Kent ended their engagement, though their
parents protested. It would be decent to do the right thing
and marry her of course. He told his parents that he was
going to find you. I suppose he figured that he was free to
choose whoever he wanted as his wife since Rebecca was
no longer expecting
.”
“But he knew I married Todd.”

Yes. Everyone knew, my dear. The night you
eloped with Todd was a busy night for everyone. We
searched for you. The Brothers were furious, but his mother
was more understanding about it. I think she sympathizes
with Todd, but she s not in the position to do anything about
it. His father has made up his mind about the situation. I
think Todd may be more accepting of what you want, but
some men don t allow their wives to ha
ve a say in things
that happen. Once Mr. Brothers decided to disown Todd,
there was nothing she could do about it.”
“What did you and Father
think?”
“He was upset. I was too. We had no idea you
would even consider a courtship, let alone a marriage, with
Todd. We weren t upset that you two married. We were
delighted. But we missed out on the fun of our daughter
getting married. It s one of those p
roper things we raised
you up to obey. Looking back, however, we realized all the
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
social rules we taught you don t matter. The important thing
is that you and Todd are happy.”
“Todd treats me much better than Kent ever did. I
didn t marry him because I
loved him. I married him to get
away from Kent and Rebecca. But I got to know him in a
way I never could back in Virginia. He s a wonderful man. I
love him now.”
My thoughts drifted to another concern.
“Mother, what do you think Father is talking to Todd about?”
“Why, your
dowry of course. Mostly though, he will
want to welcome Todd to the family.”
“But Todd
doesn t believe
me when I tell him what
happened between me and Kent. I tried talking to him, but
he won t listen. He even told me to go bac
k to Virginia.

My
lower lip trembled. The words still stung.
She rested her hand on my arm.
“He s afraid he ll
lose you. Give him time. When he sees that you aren t
leaving, he l
understand.”
l
“What will I do when Mrs. Carson spreads lies about

my wanting to kiss Kent? What am I to do then?
“You wrote to me about Mrs. Carson and how she
told everyone that he stole money from the bank. Don t you
think he ll realize that she could just as
easily spin lies
concerning you?”
I hadn t thought of that
.
“Everything will work out
, especially since you are
innocent.”
I hoped she was right.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Twenty
Todd’s Point of View
While Ann took care of changing the bed sheets and
blankets in the guest bedroom, I got all the fires started. I
couldn t bring myself to go into the guest bedroom while she
was in there. It was hard enough to go to her bedroom. I
focused so hard on making the fire that I didn t have to think
about what almost happened in this room the night before. I
couldn t bea
r that memory at the moment. After I was done
with the fires, I fed the horses. Mr. Statesman wanted to
examine my barn, and I was glad for his company. I had
admired him while I was growing up. I could understand
why my father was friends with him.

in good condition,” he said
This barn is
.
“Mr. Martin owned this land before I got here, and he
took good care of everything he had. All I have to do is
maintain it.”
“Alex Dawson
used to talk about farming, didn t he?”
I smiled at the thought of my ch
ildhood friend. “He
has an aunt and uncle who live in Fargo. They knew some
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
farmers, and they would share some stories with me and

Alex when I went over to his place to visit.
Mr. Statesman nodded and walked over to the
horses. “I don t recognize this
one.”
“I bought that one in October,” I told him. “I wanted
to be sure that two horses were here during the day so Ann
could go into town if she wanted. I ride Lightning into town
when I go to work.” I petted my favorite horse affectionately.
“He s always been a good horse.”
“I remember you used to take him out and race him
with Alex. Your father bragged that you were faster than
Alex on any horse.” He looked at me. “Your father will come
around. He just needs time.”
I didn t believe
happen but didn t
that was going to
argue with him.
The snow storm had finally died down, but the wind
was still blowing the snow around. I hadn t taken much
notice of the snow storm with everything that was going on.
We returned to the house and sat down in the parlor to talk.
“Are you sure you won t take the dowry? It is yours
since you married my daughter,” he said.
“No, sir. I wouldn t fee
I don t mean
l right about it.
any disrespect.”
“I m not offended, son.” He paused. He lit his pipe.
“I
set aside the dowry when Ann turned sixteen. I knew it
wouldn t be long before young men started to court her. I
have nothing to do with the money, and it will go to waste if
it s not used. May I put it in the bank in her name?”
“That is fine.”
He shifted in the chair.
“O
ne thing we have always
told Ann is the importance of honesty. A person is only as
good as his word. I remember when she was twelve and
she was playing in the parlor. Later that day, I saw that her
mother s favorite vase was broken. This vase wasn t
expensive but it was sentimental. It belonged to her great-
great-grandmother. We questioned her about the vase and
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
she said that it was still intact when she left the room. We
didn t believe her, for who else could have broken it? S
he
had no brothers or sisters. So, we decided that she couldn t
go anywhere but school for a month. That was the year she
gnes eleven year birthday dinner.”
missed A
“I remember that. Agnes cried all night.” I grinned at
the memory of my sister s hyste
rics.
“Yes. I recall hearing that too. Well, the next week,
the servant who had been watching Ann the day the vase
was broken returned from her vacation and reported that the
neighbor s
cat had gotten into the house. That cat ran
through the parlor and knocked the vase off the table.
Apparently, the letter the servant left explaining this fell off
the table so no one found it until we searched for it. It was
under the couch. We felt awful after that event, but we
learned that we could trust Ann. Believe it or not, she even
confessed to sneaking a few cookies before dinner one
time. You would think it s easy for someone to admit
something good but to admit to a bad behavior… That takes
character.”
“I understand.” He was telling me, in a very nice
way,
that Ann didn t want to kiss Kent, that Kent had indeed
forced the kiss upon her. I sighed. Certainly, he knew when
Ann was telling the truth, right?

.” He reached into the
We received this from her
breast pocket of his suit and pulled a letter out. I took it as
he handed it to me. “She is happy here, and for that, we are
grateful to you. Now, to change the subject, I want to learn
more about tractors. I haven t seen one close up.”
I put the letter in my pocket, unsure of whether or not
“I have a book on the desk over there.
I wanted to read it.
Would you like to see it?”
He nodded, so we spent the rest of the afternoon
looking through the book together.
***
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I did feel better by the time dinner was ready. I still
couldn t look at Ann but
did participate in the conversation,
which was an improvement over my mood earlier that day.
Ann s father beamed at her. “That was delicious.
Betsy back home doesn t cook stew this good.”
“Oh, Father. She s an excellent cook,” Ann
argued,
obviously pleased by the compliment.
“Which tells you how good this stew is.”
He was proud of her, just as I was at times. I wanted
If only Kent didn’t haunt me…
to be proud of her again.
“It is very good, my dear,” her mother added. “You
have done well in
learning so much. I don t know how you
do it all. You must be exhausted by the end of the day.”
“I was at first,” she confessed, “but after I got used to
it, I hardly noticed how much work it was. You should have
seen my first attempt at cooking pancakes. It was a
disaster.”
I chuckled as I recalled the mess in the kitchen. It
took us a good half hour to clean it up. She was endearing
as she frantically scurried around the room to clean it up,
wouldn t discover
hoping I
her mishap.
“I don t mean to
be rude but I have some dishes to
wash,” she said.
“Can I help?” her mother asked.
“Yes.”
“We ll get out of your way,” her father replied.
I wanted to stay with her and ask her again about the
events in the mercantile but realized it wasn t the
right time,
so I followed him out of the room.
***
That night, I sat on my bed. I was exhausted but
didn t want to sleep. I stared at the wall for the longest time
as the events of the past two days played over and over in
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
my mind. It didn t make sense tha
t Ann would want to
consummate our marriage if she planned to leave me. Why
would she risk getting a child with me? She had made it a
point to never spend a moment alone with any men while
she was living with her parents. Even now, I was the only
man she let herself be alone with.
She trusted me. She knew I would
n t force myself
on her. But she never allowed Kent to be alone with her. I
sighed. It didn t make sense that she would be alone in the
backroom of the store with Kent. Then I remembered the
missing bell on the door of the store. That bell always made
the loudest ring. No one could miss it if they were in the
backroom. She would have come out of the backroom if
she heard the bell. Had the bell been there on the door, she
wouldn t have been in the backroom with him. Then Mrs.
Carson would have been in sight and the kiss most likely
wouldn t have happened.
Could it be true that he forced her
to kiss him? Did he take advantage of the situation? The
thought was too appealing to my wounded heart.
I stood up and walked to the window. It was a clear
night and the moon was full. It was the perfect night to be
enjoying Ann in her bed. Any night would be the perfect
night to enjoy her. I turned from the window and stared at
my room. It wasn t as warm as her room, but I knew that it
felt lonely because she wasn t
here.
I remembered the letter her father handed to me.
What did I have to lose? I took the letter out of my pocket
and read it. It was written on October 13.
My Dear Mother and Father,
I was glad when I received your letter. In my hasty
departure, there were many things I failed to explain. But
first, I want to say I miss you both. Eve
n so, I don’t regret
coming here. There are many things I have learned. I
actually cook and clean on my own. There is a good woman
who lives on the farm next to ours who has taught me to
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
cook. When I started cooking, I made many mistakes. I
couldn’t even make scrambled eggs without cracking almost
a dozen eggs the wrong way or burning them in the pan. I
have gone through five pans already in my pursuit to be a
better cook. The laundry is tedious at times but it gives me
time to think.
I can’t remember what my life was like when I had
servants catering to my every whim, and to be honest, I
would rather do these things myself. It is fulfilling to do hard
work. Every time I see Todd’s eyes light up when he tries a
new recipe that turned out right, all of my previous failures
seem insignificant.
As for Kent, my heart is free of the burden of my
anger and grief. Todd has been patient with me during this
time, which must be hard for him. You w ere right about him.
He is a good man. I wish I had taken the time to learn that
while we were growing up. I keep wondering why I
continually pushed him away in Virginia. I can only come to
at he didn’t stand out as
the conclusion th
men like Kent did.
Todd was shy and quiet. He stayed mostly to himself,
though Creepy Alex did bring him out of his shell. I hate to
admit it, but Creepy Alex probably wasn’t so creepy after all.
I should stop calling him ‘Creepy’ Alex. It’s a force of habit.
Anyway, it was Alex who realized what a good friend Todd
when so few others did. Not that Todd didn’t have
was
other friends, but I don’t think any of them took the time
to
see Todd for who he really was the way that Alex did. It was
Alex who encouraged Todd to pursue his dream of farming.
I d
idn’t even know of this until the night you dragged
me to the dinner at the Brothers’ house. I had wanted to
stay home and mope in self-pity, but you insisted I get out,
which I am very thankful for. That was the night when Todd
and I were on the veranda and he told me he was going to
leave for North Dakota. He also professed his love for me
and told me he understood that I didn’t share those feelings.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
It wasn’t unti
l the Monday before the dance that I
decided to ask Todd to take me with him to North Dakota. I
considered asking him to stay in Virginia so I could take the
time to know him better, but it didn’t seem right to ask him to
stay when it meant he had to work at the bank. So I opted
to ask him to marry me and take me to North Dakota with
him. If Todd left, I would be stuck with settling with
someone who most likely would not love me as well as Todd
did.
You would be surprised at how he resisted my plan
at first. I know he resisted because he didn’t think it was in
my best interest. I had to threaten to run away if he didn’t
take me along. We got married by our preacher and you
know the rest. I have grown closer to Todd than I have ever
been to anyone. He still treats me very well and considers
my needs before his own. I can’t imagine my life without
him and am thankful for his love. I only hope I can be the
kind of wife who will bless him. He makes a wonderful
husband and he will make a wonderful father.
All My Love,
Ann
I set the letter down. She did love me. This time
when I cried, it was with relief. She was still here. She
didn t leave with Kent
. If she really wanted to run off with
him, she wouldn t be here. She didn t know her parents
were coming early, so she didn t stay to appease them. She
stayed because she decided to fight for our marriage.
I went to her room and lightly knocked on her door. I
wanted to talk to her and smooth things over. When she
did
n t answer, I turned the knob. She was asleep. I wanted
to go in bed with her and just hold her, but I knew she was
as tired as I was and needed sleep. I smiled and shut the
door. I would talk to her tomorrow. At least, I knew she
would still be here to talk to.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Twenty-One
Ann’s Point of View
I woke up past dawn. I looked over at the empty
spot next to me. I hadn t noticed how large my bed seemed
. I was disappointed when he didn t
until Todd had been in it
come to my bedroom last night. I laid in bed and stared at
the ceiling for a good hour before I finally fell asleep.
I got up and looked outside. The snow sparkled
under the intense glare of the sunlight. There wasn t a cloud
in the sky. I wondered how deep the snow was. I got
dressed and brushed my hair. As I ran down the steps, I
was surprised to find Todd and my parents eating breakfast.
“Wou
ld you like some cornbread
?” Todd offered.
“Why didn t someone wake me? I would have made
a hot meal.”
“We thought you could use some rest, so we didn t
disturb you.”
“Thank you.” I sat next to him at the table. I was
grateful that he seemed more like his usual self.
“We
measured the snow and we got three inches
yesterday. I found a sleigh under some old blankets in the
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
barn, so we can still hook up the horses to get to town.
There is a large snow drift blocking the large door of the
barn. It will take some time to shovel but once the path is
clear,
we can get the horses and sleigh out.”
“I d like to help,” my father of
fered.
Todd accepted.
“I am eager to see the town,” my mother said. “We
didn t get a chance to take a good look at it yesterday.”
“I would like to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Coley,”
I replied. “They own the mercantile. Of course, you ll have
and John Russell. They re good friends of
to meet Barbara
ours.”
It felt strange to say “ours” since I wasn t sure what
would become of me and Todd, but I was hopeful from his
friendly demeanor.
After breakfast, my mother helped me wash dishes.
“I m glad you and
father are here. Thank you for
being nice to Todd.”
“My dear, we have always welcomed him. I think
your father is relieved you married well. We had worried
you might pick the wrong person.”
“I almost did. I almost married Kent.”
I put the dirty dishes in a bucket of water and added
soap. The clean bucket of water was in the other sink.
“The important thing is you didn t,” she said. She
picked up a towel and dried the plate I handed her. “You ll
never
guess who is studying to become a minister.”
“Who?”
“Alex Dawson.”
My eyes widened in surprise. “Todd s friend?”
“The same. That boy did nothing but play p
ractical
jokes all his life. Then he goes off to college and gets
serious
. Isn t that amazing?”
“Quite. I can t believe it.”
“M
iracles happen. It will be interesting to see how he
behaves when he visits for Christmas. His parents are
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
happy. They worried he might be a troublemaker for his
entire life. He has an aunt and uncle out in Fargo, North
Dakota who often visited his family. I wonder if they had an
influence on Todd
wanting to come out here.”
“Yes.” And for the first time, I was actually glad that
Todd knew Alex, for I loved it here.
Two hours later, my mother took me to the guest
bedroom so she could give me a photo album and my
jewelry box filled with rings, necklaces and bracelets. “I
thought you might like these personal mementos of your
past,” she said.
I took the items and left her so she could take a nap.
I went to my bedroom and set the jewelry box on my
dresser. I sat on my bed, opened the photo album, and
flipped through the pictures. I was surprised to see pictures
of Todd with his family. I knew my parents were good
friends of his parents. I chuckled at the picture of Agnes
making a face at the camera. She hated sitting still for the
photographer.
Sitting there, with the pictures in front of me brought
back memories from my childhood. My earliest memory
was when I was four.
My parents took me over to the Brothers
house so
we could see their fourth child who was two days old. While
one year old Abigail slept, Todd, Agnes and I were in the toy
room. A servant watched in amusement as we fought over
what game to play.
“Agnes and I want to play dolls,” I said, my hands on
my hips.
“Dolls is boring,” he protested, rolling his eyes. “Let s
play with the blocks.”
“No. We build towers but you knock
them down.”
“That s fun!”
“It is not fun. It is rude.”
“Fine th
my new train set?”
en. Want to see
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Agnes and I looked at each other and nodded.
He took his trains and tracks out of his toy box and
we helped him set it up. Agnes couldn t get most of the
pieces to fit, so we had to finally tell her to wait until we were
done. Then he set up the trains and small wooden people.
I grinned at the display.
“It s
pretty,” I commented.
He gagged. “It s not pretty.”
“Here s a Mommy and Daddy and their baby,” Agnes
said. She was took the people and went to the corner to
play with them by herself.
“She s a baby,” he replied. “We don t need those
people anyway.”
He moved his train down one of the tracks and I
moved my train down another one. We played quietly for a
few minutes. Then, to my horror, he rammed his train into
mine.
“Bam!”
ot him a dirty look. “Don t
do that.”
I sh
“It s fun!”
“No, it s not. I m
playing
.”
“We are playing. Now you crash into me!”
I took his train and threw it across the room.
“What did you do that for?” he demanded, his face
red.
“It s fun.” I stuck my tongue at him.
“This is my train set. Go play with Agnes.”
I grabbed a train and ran to Agnes.
“That s mine! Give it back!” He ran after me.
I giggled as I dodged him. Finally, he knocked me
down and grabbed the train out of my hand. I screamed as
loud as I could so the world would know the injustice of it all.
The servant calmly took the train from Todd and put
all the toys back, except for the people Agnes was quietly
playing with. “Todd, go to that corner and fa
ce it. Ann, you
the other corner.”
do the same in
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Yes, ma am,” we replied, realizing we would get a
king if we didn t obey.
span
I chuckled and looked at more pictures in the photo
album. Poor Todd grew up surrounded by girls. He wanted
a baby brother so badly but never got one. I used to tell him
he should be grateful to have any siblings at all since I was
often lonely as an only child. But Alex seemed to be the
brother he never had. I shook my head as I recalled the first
time I stood up Alex.
We were ten and I worked on my assignment in
class when a pebble hit my head. Startled, I looked back to
see who had thrown it at me. My eyes narrowed. I should
have known. It was Todd and Alex again. They took an
irrational pleasure in throwing things into girls hair. Our
teacher wasn t in the room at the moment, which explained
why Todd was involved.
He didn t dare do anything wrong
when the teacher was in sight. I gave them a “stop it” look
and turned back to my work. Of course, they didn t stop. I
tried to ignore them as pebbles flew in my hair, past my
shoulders and onto my work.
Finally, I lost my temper. I glanced at the door and
noticed that the teacher was still talking to a parent.
s
and Alex s snickers,
Ignoring Todd
I stood up and walked
to the jar of sand by the window. It was part of our science
lesson, but I found a better use for it. By now, our entire
class was watching me. No one alerted the teacher. They
wanted to see what I would do. Since Alex and Todd sat
next to each other, it was easy to get both of them at once. I
took the lid off the jar and dumped the sand on their heads.
They jumped up and screamed. The rest of the
class laughed at the hysterical scene.
“Ann!”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I looked up in time to see the teacher rushing to me.
“What are you doing?” She shook her head in disbelief.
“What got into you?”
“They keep throwing pebbles in my hair,” I replied,
my voice shaking. I wasn t used to getting in trouble.
Todd and Alex were frantically trying to shake the
sand off of their bodies.
“Todd and Alex, you may go outside. Ann, you are
going to clean this mess and then put the dunce cap on at
the front of the room until I tell you to take it off.”
“Yes, Miss Hampton.”
Even though I got in trouble, it was worth it. They
never threw anything else in my hair again. In fact, they
stopped throwing pebbles in the other girls
hair too. I was a
hero to those girls that year.
Alex also liked to dare Todd to do disgusting things.
I recalled a time during lunch hour when we were twelve.
Alex challenged Todd to eat a plate of bugs. As appalling
as it was, I joined the other students. There was something
mesmerizing about someone eating insects.
Todd seemed hesitant. “You eat them,” he said as
he pushed the plate to Alex.
“I
challenged
you first. You can t back out now,” Alex
replied. He wore that satisfied smirk that drove me crazy.
“You don t have to do it,” I argued. “Alex is a
coward. That s why he won t do it. Just tell him no.”
Alex nodded. “Yes, you could do that.”
I frowned. I didn t like the tone in his voice. He was
up to something.
“Or, you could kiss

e grinned. “Apparently,
Ann.
H
you need your mommy to take care of you.”
A couple of girls giggled and some boys told Todd to
eat the bugs.
Todd took a deep breath. “I ll eat the bugs.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
The boys cheered. The girls, including me, just
commented on how gross it was. I was secretly relieved to
get the focus off of me, and another part of me was
fascinated that Todd could sit there so calmly while he ate
those bugs. Where did he get the strength? Though he
didn t complain about a stomach ache, I felt n
auseous for
the rest of the day.
Todd wasn t always following Alex s instructions.
There were times when he was a model student. It helped
when his other friends, Jack and Simon, were around.
When we were thirteen, a snake got into the classroom.
Our teacher, an elderly woman, was terrified. Even Alex
wouldn t get out of his chair. Todd, Jack and Simon
volunteered to corner the snake. Jack took an empty bag
while Todd and Simon chased the snake until it slithered
into the bag. Jack immediately ran outside to dump it out of
the bag. We cheered for the brave three boys when Jack
returned.
Breaking out of my thoughts, I saw another picture of
the class Todd and I were in. It was taken last year right
before Christmas. I was standing next to Jennifer and
Debbie. I looked happy in my pile of seven petticoats and
. I shook my head. I didn t miss that part of
restricting corset
wearing a dress. My dress in the picture was gorgeous, but
it would never last on the farm. Todd stood at the end of the
line. He was attractive in his dark suit. It was hard for me
to think of him in a suit anymore. He wore a suit when he
worked at the bank, but as soon as he got fired, he started
wearing denim pants and cotton shirts. No one would have
guessed he was planning to move out to North Dakota. I
sighed. Even back then, he loved me.
My eyes fell on Rebecca who stood next to Debbie.
Rebecca wore a big smile. Sympathy welled in my heart.
Though I wouldn t have imagined she engaged in improper
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
activities, I felt sorry for her. She must have loved Kent. I
shut the album in disgust. He should have married her. It
was the least he could have done after dishonoring her.
A light tapping on my door interrupted my thoughts.
Startled, I looked up and saw Todd. His cheeks were red
from being out in the cold.
“Do you need something?” I asked and stood up.
“No. I m fine. Your
father is reading downstairs. I
wanted to talk to you, but I wanted to wait until everything
settled down.”
My heart skipped a beat. From the way he shyly
smiled, I assumed this was going to be a good talk.
“Please, come in.”
When he walked over to me, his eyes fell on the
photo album. “I didn t know you brought some pictures with
you.”
“Oh. I didn t. My mother did. Would you l
ike to look
at them?”
He nodded and I handed the album to him. “Will you
sit next to me?”
He sat on the bed. I sat too, but I
didn t dare get
close enough to touch him. Just being next to him was
making me lightheaded.
He opened the album and
grinned. “
Even as a baby,
.”
you were cute
I groaned. “Those silly ruffles on all those dresses.
It s amazing I could crawl around.”
“You remember that far back?”
I smiled at his joke. “Of cour
se not, silly
.” I leaned
over and turned the page.
“Oh n
?”
o! You have a baby picture of me
“I like it.”
He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye and
shook his head. “You take better pictures than I do.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“It s probably because I actually smile at the camera.
You look serious in all of these pictures. Well, except for the
.” I showed him the picture I referred to.
one of you and Alex
He chuckled. “I remember that d
ay. Alex drove my
parents insane but they liked his parents so they tolerated
him. After Alex nailed the rug to the parlor floor, we could
no longer play unsupervised.”
I shook my head. “That was awful.”
He shrugged, but I suspected he hid a smile. He
turned to another page. “I remember when Agnes brought
home this picture.” He showed me the picture my parents
had taken of me when I tu
rned sixteen. “You were so
beautiful I asked her if I could buy it from her. She wouldn t
sell it though. She said her friendship couldn t be bought.”
“Is that why she asked me for another one? I
wondered why she insisted that she have two pictures of
me.”
“I still have that picture. It s in my top dresser
drawer.”
I blushed at his confession.
He turned to the final page in the album. It was our
school class picture. “You always take good pictures,” he
“It s easy to
softly commented as he stared at my image.
see why Kent was
taken with you.”
The easygoing atmosphere instantly changed as
tension settled between us. I waited for him to continue,
unsure of where his thoughts were going and unsure if I
wanted to know.
He closed the album and turne
d to face me. “
I want
you to answer
a question that s been bothering
me since
know it s something
last night. Please be honest even if you
I don t want to hear.”
I took a deep breath. “I will tell you the truth,” I
slowly replied wondering if this was going to lead to more
problems. I clasped my hands together in my lap and
braced for the question.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He looked down
at the album. “When you saw Kent,
id you want to go with him?”
d
I considered his question. I had been so caught up
in the anguish of what Todd assumed happened that I
hadn t thought through the actual encounter with Kent. “No.”
He looked at me and I noted his relief.
“I kept telling him that I wasn t going to go with
him
but he didn t listen to me.” I shivered as the realization of
what happened came to
my mind. “When he came toward
me, I backed up but the shelves were behind me and I had
nowhere to go. I felt trapped. I knew if you were there, he
would back away. He just kept talking about all the things
he could buy me and then he touched my cheek. That was
to the door. I didn t want him touching me. It all
when I ran
happened so fast. One minute he grabbed my arm, and the
next thing I knew, he was kissing me. I was grateful you
showed up when you did. I hate to think of what would have
happened if you hadn t.”
“Ann, I m sorry,” he whispered. He
put his arms
around me and held me close to him. He lightly kissed the
top of my head. “I was a fool to not believe you.”
“How could you have known any differently? You
at the wrong moment.”
walked in
He was silent for a few moments. I could feel the
beating of his heart. It was very comforting and relaxing.
My anxiety over the events slowly faded away.
“I didn t think about it before,” he began, “but when I
walked into the store, Mrs. Carson was on her way out. I
think she was going to get help for you. When she saw me,
she said I had to help you. When I saw you kissing Kent, I
thought she meant that I had to stop you before you acted
improperly. But now that I think about it, she looked scared.
I believe she meant that I was to protect you. It all makes
.”
sense now
He finally believes me!
“Can you forgive me?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I laughed.
“Of course.”
After another moment passed, I stood up and
showed him my jewelry box with the jewelry in it.
“I would like to sell the jewels to Mrs. Coley. She
has a couple of merchants who like to stop by and they
particularly like these items
.”
“Ann, those are a part of your past. You don t have
We re doing fine.”
to sell them.
He would never admit the truth, but maybe that was
how men were when it came to money.
“They re doing me
no good here. I don t have any use for them.”
He sighed.
“They belong to you. D
o with them what
you will.”
“I know my
I nodded, glad to settle the matter.
father
has a dowry for me.”
“Yes. He ll be putting it in your own
He stood.
account at the bank when he can get into town.”
I took his hands in mine and looked at him. “I want
you to have it. As my husband, it is your right. My mind is
ou won t change it.”
made up and y
“Alright.”
“I need to prepare
a snack before dinner.”
“I love you, Ann.”
I smiled, relieved everything was going to be right
between us. “I love you too.” I left
the room and turned
around
. “Aren t you coming?”
“Do I have your p
ermission to move my things in
here?”
“It is your bedroom too.” I blushed, surprised at my
boldness.
He grinned. “I ll be down shortly.”
I nodded and floated down the steps.
***
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
As I prepared dinner later that day, Todd and my
father finished shoveling the snow drift. My mother watched
me prepare dinner and offered her services to grab
seasonings for me.
“I feel
She chuckled as she brought me some salt.
lost in here.

“I know how you feel,” I agreed. “I was
lost when I
started cooking. Fortunately, I had Barbara to mentor me.
She s going to teach me to sew patches on clothes. I
suppose she ll eventually teach me to sew clothes too.”
“Why, you are very self
sufficient.”

“Actually, it s very satisfying.”
She nodded. “I can see that it would be.” She put
the salt back on the shelf where I kept my seasonings. “I
would like to meet Barbara
. You ve mentioned her several
times in your letter.”
“You ll get your chance. I
m thinking of paying her a
visit tomorrow if Todd and Father manage to get the horses
and sleigh ready by then.”
“I don t mean to pry but I was wondering if things are
settled down between you and Todd? You and Todd
seemed happy this afternoon during the snack.”
I blushed. “Yes. Thanks to you and Father.”
“I don t kn
ow what I did but I suppose your father had
He s
some words of wisdom.
good at helping others make
amends.”
We finished preparing the meal and called the men
in to eat.
“You have excellent timing,” my father said
as he
and Todd took off their coats and hats. I noted that Father
r of Todd s comfortable dungarees
had borrowed a pai
. I
thought he looked funny in overalls.
“We just finished.”
“Oh good,” Mother replied. “I was hoping to meet
and John.”
Barbara
“John. He s the farmer, isn t he?”
“Yes,”
Todd answered.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I would be interested in hearing what he has to
say.
May I come along?”
“I m sure they won t mind the company.”
As we ate the meal, we discussed some funny
incidents during Todd and my childhoods. We laughed so
much, it was hard to finish eating, but we managed to get
through it.
After desert, Todd offered to help me clean the
dishes. “You wash and I ll dry.”
Since my parents were in the parlor, we had some
privacy. “My father adores you,” I confided as I handed him
a clean plate to dry.
“I like him too. Your parents aren t stuck on societal
expectations.”
“They are to a degree, but when they insisted I
behave a certain way, they made it clear that it wasn t
necessarily because they agreed with it but because it was
proper given where we lived. Remember that dance you
?”
took me to
“How can I forget? You threatened to run away if I
didn t take you to North Dakota with me.”
I giggled. “Yes, I did.
I didn t want to go because of
Kent and Rebecca. Though my parents understood and
sympathized with me, they felt it best that I go because of
look to everyone if I didn t
how it would
. Then my mother
made me wear that horrible pink
dress.”
“I liked that dress. It showed off your best features.”
“It was awful. I could hardly br
eathe in it. It was so
tight.”
“I liked the fact that it was tight. You have great
curves.”
“Why, Todd. I didn t think gentlemen noticed such
things.”
He raised his eyebrows innocently. “Is it wrong for a
man to appreciate the finer qualities in a w
oman?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
My cheeks grew warm. “No, it s not. It s not like
women don t notic
.”
e some qualities men possess
“Really?” He set his towel down on the counter and
turned to me, interested in what I would say next. When I
continued to wash the pan, he said, “Go on.”
“Oh no. A lad
y never tells her secret
s,” I teased.
“Not even for a kiss?”
I shook my head. “No.”
He stood behind me and slowly ran his hands from
my shoulders to my hips. “You are very appealing,” he
whispered in a way that made me forget what I was doing. I
held my breath expectantly as he kissed the side of my
neck.
“I can t wait to see what treasures you re hiding under
those clothes.”
“Todd, such speech is…is…” I searched for the word
but for some reason, I couldn t think straight.
“Appropriate for a husband to tell his wife.”
I considered his statement and realized he was right.
It still made me blush to talk to him of such things.
Determined to overcome my shyness, I turned to face him. I
couldn t gather enough courage to loo
k at him directly so I
stared at the clock on the wall behind him. “I m glad you
moved your belongings into my bedroom.”
“Our bedroom.”
He stood so close to me I could feel his breath on my
cheek. I nodded weakly. My body was responding to his
touch and words in a way that thrilled me. I realized that I
longed to explore these new feelings. I noted the time on
the clock and wished it was later in the evening so we could
go upstairs.
He lightly kissed my cheek. I turned my head so he
would kiss me on the lips. His lips met mine and I wrapped
my arms around his shoulders, thoroughly enjoying the
desire flowing through me. He deepened the kiss. I sensed
his pleasure and passion for me as his hands continued
their intimate search on my body.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He gent
ly pulled away, his breathing shallow. “If I
keep going, I won t be able to stop.”
As much as I wanted to keep going, I knew he was
right. We would wait until my parents were asleep.
He went back to his side of the sink and picked up
the towel. He took a deep breath to calm down and held out
his hand. “I m ready for the next dish.”
I could only nod as I turned back to the sink and
finished washing the pan. I handed it to him, surprised that
my hands were shaking.
“You didn t answer my question,”
he stated as he ran
the towel over the pan
. “What do you find attractive in
men?”
“It s what attracts me to you. I like your shoulders.
They re strong and broad. Sometimes I watch you as you
take care of the horses. I can see your muscles move under
your shirt if you re not wearing a vest or a coat.”
“You ve been admiring me when I wasn t looking?”
I chuckled at his appalled expression. I knew he was
“Yes. And not just the shoulders,” I admitted,
joking.
deciding this game was fun.
“What else?”
. “Well, your pajamas are a little
I glanced at him
tight.”
He rolled his eyes. “I know. I picked the wrong size
at the store.”
“That s your opinion. I take peeks when you re not
looking.”
“I feel naked.”
I could tell he didn t mind being ogled.
“I can t wait for tonight.”
I shared his enthusiasm but didn t voice
it. Instead, I
turned my attention back to the dishes.
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Chapter Twenty-Two
Todd’s Point of View
That night, once her parents were asleep and I
finished my usual chores, I quietly walked past my old room.
It felt good to not sleep in there anymore.
It felt strange not to knock, but I reminded myself that
she was expecting me. It was our bedroom now. I opened
the door. The kerosene lamp resting on the dresser lit up
the room in a soft glow. She stood by the window in her
nightgown. Heat swelled in my groin and I resisted the urge
to hide my arousal. We were about to have sex, so there
was no longer the need to hide my attraction for her. I shut
the door and smiled at her.
“Should I come to you or would you like to come to
me?” I tried to sound playful but it was hard to concentrate
on anything but how great she looked. The nightgown didn t
hide the curve of her breasts and hips as much as the
dresses did.
“I thought
I would show you my treasures first.” Her
voice was soft. “I ve been hoping for this night for awhile
now.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Why didn t you tell me?”
“I tried. I didn t come right out and say it. Do you
remember that day you lost your job at the bank and we
were in
the barn?”
I nodded.
“I told you I wanted you to come to my room.”
My eyes widened. “I thought you wanted firewood.”
“The firewood was nice but it wasn t what I really
w
anted. I won t make you
decode my messages for now on.
I should have just said i
t but wasn t sure how.”
I feel so stupid. Why didn’t I get that when she said
it?
“That s it, Ann. I don t care who comes to the door or if
the hous
e burns down. I ve wanted
you for so long, it s
been driving me insane.” I locked the door. “We re not
leaving the room until we consummate this marriage.”
She smiled. “I wasn t the one who interrupted us
.”
before. I want this too
This I liked to hear. She wanted me. That was the
crucial part of this night. I was glad I waited for her to be
ready.
She cleared her throat and took off her nightgown,
letting the cotton fabric fall to her feet.
I beheld her beauty for a moment. Never in my
wildest dreams could I have pictured her like this. Her round
breasts with the taut pink nipples, her slender waist, and the
patch of dark hair… She was perfect, and I was about to
make love to her. I would finally get a chance to explore her
he way I d wanted to since we got married
t
.
I forced my feet forward, aware that I suddenly felt
nervous. I took a deep breath to calm the wild beating of my
heart. It didn t work. “You are beautiful.”
She gave a soft smile and peered up at me through
her thick lashes. “It s your turn.”
My hands slightly shook as I removed my clothes,
aware that she was watching and not sure if that excited me
or scared me. I d never been naked in front of anyone since
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I was old enough to bathe myself. I stood in front of her, my
pulse racing as her gaze swept over me. I cleared my throat
asked, “What do you think?”
and
Her face turned a p
retty shade of pink. “I like what I
.”
see
I cupped her face in my hands and gave her a
chaste kiss.
“I love you, Ann. I m going to spend the rest of
ng you how much.”
my life showi
I lifted her in my arms and carried her to the bed. It
suddenly occurred to me that I had no idea how to make
love to her. I knew the mechanics of it because of the
stories I heard from the older boys in school. But this was
really happening for me and it was with Ann. I wondered if
she would enjoy it. I hoped so. I wanted to please her.
I settled next to her, lying on my side so I could take
in her naked body. She was amazing. Every part of her
captivated me. My fingers brushed her cheek. It was a
familiar action, and right now a familiar action made me feel
like I knew what I was doing.
She turned to me, pressing those wonderful curves
into my flesh. She was soft and smooth. My breath caught
in my throat. Her abdomen cushioned my erection, sending
an unexpected thrill through me. If this was a foretaste of
what was to come, then making love had to be the best
thing I was ever going to experience.
“Tell me what you want,” I said in a husky voice I
didn t recognize.
“Kiss me.”
She didn t have to make that request twice. I
lowered my head to hers and obeyed. The kiss started out
as a gentle one. I parted my lips and she did the same,
allowing me to taste her. Our kiss deepened and I shifted
against her. She was, without a doubt, the most exquisite
woman in the world. I could happily kiss her for the rest of
my life, but my body wanted more. I wondered if hers did
too.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I slid an arm under her to support her weight. Her
hands rested against my chest, her fingers a bit ticklish but
also sensual. My hand cupped her breast which was just as
soft as I remembered from having touched it before. I
groaned. My shyness was slowly slipping away as my
desire for her intensified. I traced the length of her side,
covering the dip of her waist and the rise of her hip and the
strength of her thigh. She was incredibly made, and she
was mine. All mine to cherish and enjoy.
She moaned and rubbed her leg against mine,
sending shivers through me. I wanted to enter her right
then. But I was determined to take it slow, to learn her and
savor each moment. All of it was terrific.
I turned her on her back so I could have better
access to her body. My mouth left hers and descended to
her neck. Her arms wrapped around me, the palms of her
hands pressing into my back. I nuzzled her neck, taking in
the wonderful smell of the lilac soap she used when she had
bathed after dinner. I groaned as I pictured her wet and
naked in the metal tub. Now that I knew what she looked
like naked, I could visualize it. And I liked it.
“Oh Ann. You re so very beautiful.”
My words barely came out as a whisper. I wanted to
both feel her and taste her. I took the time to study her
curves, taking time to caress the full length of her body,
spending more time on her breasts. I kissed them and
cupped them in the palms of my hands, my thumbs brushing
the hardened nipples. With a soft sigh, she shifted and
spread her legs. I took the invitation and settled my anxious
body between her thighs. I leaned back so my hungry eyes
could take in her figure.
I massaged her legs that rested against my waist,
and I worked my hands up her thighs, pausing a moment
over the center of her womanhood. Holding off on entering
her, which was proving more difficult with each passing
minute, I knelt in front of her. I wanted to taste this part of
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
her and see it up close. I bent down. With feathery
touches, I traced the yielding folds of her softness. She was
a wonder to learn. I ran my tongue along her, enjoying her
unique taste and scent. It was her. A very intimate part.
And I liked it.
I gave a slight smile as she squirmed against me and
ran her fingers through my hair. I realized that she enjoyed
this. I returned to sitting in front of her so that I could better
explore her with my fingers, to get an idea of how I should
enter her. I didn t wish to hurt her. I heard the first time
could be difficult for a woman. I wished to give her as much
ease into the consummation as possible. I found the flesh
beneath the curls and fingered it.
She encouraged me to explore her, and I was more
than happy to oblige her. I slipped a finger inside her and
groaned at how warm and wet her flesh was. It was more
amazing than I imagined. I knew it would feel good but had
no idea just how incredible it would be.
She arched her back. “Don t stop.”
Excited because she liked what I was doing, I slid in
a second finger and stroked her. Her whimpers of pleasure
served to push away the lingering doubts I had, and I
became firm in my movements. I explored the area around
the opening. When my thumb found her sensitive nub, she
gave out a louder moan. I slid a third finger into her, noting
the tightness at what I suspected was her hymen. I glanced
at her, wondering if I should take the third finger out but she
moved her hips against me, giving my three fingers full
access to her.
I watched her as I caressed her nub with my thumb
while my fingers continued to stroke her. Seeing her naked
and touching her was sexually pleasing but seeing her
receiving pleasure from what I was doing proved to be the
most stimulating thing I d ever witnessed. Her breathing
came faster and she moved against me in a rhythm until she
let out a final cry. Her tender flesh clenched around my
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
fingers. I stilled my movements and waited as the
contractions lessened. Her body relaxed.
Having satisfied her, I removed my fingers and
entered her. She was a little tight, and her stiffening against
me made me go still.
“Ann?” I asked, forcing myself to
remain still in case
she was hurt.
“Keep going,” she whispered. “Fill me.”
I didn t need further prompting. Wishing to prolong
the tingling sensation mounting in me, I slowly moved back
only to slide further in. Her flesh yielded to me, surrounding
me and clenching around me. She groaned again and
tightened her hold on my arms. Her legs wrapped around
my waist and drew me as far as I could go. Any semblance
of self-control departed. All I could think of was how
amazing she felt. I increased the momentum of my
movements, each thrust driving me closer to the brink of
heaven. Her moans blended with mine until she let out
another cry, her flesh clenching around my arousal, and I
gave into the urge to let go. I shuddered as the intense
pleasure consumed me. I stayed still as my throbbing died
down, feeling complete in having emptied my seed inside
her.
I collapsed on top of her with more force than I
intended. I pulled back to relieve her of my weight, but she
stopped me by tightening her legs around me.
“Don t go,” she softly spoke.
I looked into her eyes and saw that she was happy.
Thrilled at the realization, I smiled and settled over her,
making sure I didn t make her uncomfortable. I liked being
inside her. It felt as if we were one. I wanted to prolong the
experience. We were closer than ever before, and it was a
wonderful feeling. She was mine. I was hers. Together, we
were complete.
I touched my lips to hers. “I love you.”
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She let out a contented sigh and returned my smile.
“I
love you too.”
I dropped kisses along her cheeks and forehead and
back to her lips. Knowing this was the first of many times
we d come together to celebrate the marital bed filled me
with a sense of awe and satisfaction. And there was no one
else I would rather be with than her.
***
The next morning I woke up with my arms around
Ann. It was the moment I had hoped for every morning
since we married, and it was finally here. She was fast
asleep. I gazed at her, loving how she looked first thing in
t
he morning. I didn t think it was possible to love her more
than I had, but I did. I softly kissed her and eased out of
bed. It was still early but I wanted to take care of the horses
so we could head out to the Russell farm. I knew Ann
wanted to introduce her mother to Barbara. And I wanted to
do what I could to please Ann.
I noted the chill in the room so I added another piece
of firewood to the box stove. I wrapped the blanket around
her body so she would be warm. Then I got dressed and
shaved. I felt different. It was a good feeling. I recalled
how she felt, how she smelled and how she tasted.
Everything about her was wonderful
. I couldn t stop smiling.
I almost felt comical running down the steps with a big grin
on my face, but I was too happy to care.
As I put on my hat and coat, her parents came down
the stairs.
“Good morning,” I called out.
“Good morning,” they replied.
“Can I see your barn?” her mother asked. “I wasn t

able to check it out before.
“Sure. I m on my way to feed
the horses,” I replied.
“Lightning is out there,” her father told her mother
.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Lightning? That is your best horse, Todd. I m glad
with you.”
you were able to take him
I waited for them to put their coats and boots on.
She continued. “I remember the
first day you got
that horse. You had just turned fifteen. Even Ann was
excited about that horse. She thought it was the most
beautiful shade of brown she ever saw. She asked us if we
would ask you if she could ride it. Maybe we should have
said yes.
We weren t sure that it was a good idea since she
had never ridden a horse. Who knows? It could have
started something between you two sooner.”
“Lucille
, things are fine.
There s no sense in dwelling
on the past,” he said.
“Mr. and Mrs. Statesman, I
would like to thank you
for raising Ann as well as y
ou did. She s a wonderful wife.
She brings a lot of happiness to this place. It wouldn t be
the same without her.”
They smiled at my compliment.
“Thank you, Todd. That means a lot coming from
you,”
she replied.
“We re glad to have you in the family,” he
r father
added. “We keep praying that your father will come around.
He s a good man. He does miss you.”
“I miss him too,” I admitted. But even he couldn t
bring my mood down today. “Are you ready?” I opened the
door for them and led them to the barn.
When we came back, we were hungry. I decided to
get the rolls that Ann set aside for breakfast when we heard
a knock at the front door. Leaving the kitchen, I went to the
front door and opened it. To my surprise, it was Mrs.
Carson.
“Good morning,” I greeted.
“Good morning, Todd.” She wrung her hands
on her
scarf. “May I please come in? I have something very
important to tell you.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I stepped aside to let her into the parlor. Turning to
Ann s
parents, I made the introductions.
As soon as the usual pleasantries were done, I
invited her into the kitchen
. “Would you like something to
eat or drink?” It was breakfast time. I wondered why
she felt
the need to come out this early.
“No thank you.
I had to tell you that what you saw in
the other day wasn t what really happened.”
the mercantile
She looked frantic as she sat at the
kitchen table. “
I feel
terrible. I wasn t able to eat or sleep. I tried to get here two
days ago but the storm prevented me from leaving town.
Then yesterday, I had to make arrangements for a sleigh. I
wanted to c
ome and explain what happened.”
I sat next to her and Ann s parents sat on the other
side.
“What did happen, Mrs. Carson?” I asked.
“It wasn t the way Kent
said, Todd. Ann was trying to
get out of the backroom. She kept telling him she was
married and loved you but Kent wouldn t listen to reason. I
still remember how patronizing he sounded. It was as if he
thought her love was a childish thing. I was ready to step
into the room, but she screamed and I heard footsteps.
When I didn t see her emerge from the room, I knew he had
physically stopped her. I realized I was just a woman and I
didn t have the str
ength to stand up to a man. So I ran to
the front door of the store. My intention was to go next door
and get a man to help me. Fortunately,
that s when you
showed up. I was relieved to see you. I wanted to explain
what happened when I realized you misunderstood the
situation, but you ran out of there
so fast, I didn t have a
chance. Then Ann came out, and she looked distraught.
Kent finally left, but he promised to come back for her.”
My ears perked up at this announcement. Why
hadn t Ann mentioned this
? Probably because she forgot it
during the ordeal with me.
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“I think he meant it,” she continued. “It would be
wise for her to be careful. I still get chills when I recall the
look of satisfaction on his face, as if he enjoyed putting a
wedge between you and Ann. Then I told Ann I heard
” She sighed, looking sheepish.
“I don t think she
everything.
took that the right way, which I can understand, given my
history of spreading gossip. This brings me to another
reason why I am here today. I want to apologize for telling
the town you stole money at the bank. I had no proof but
found it such a tasty morsel of gossip,
I didn t resist
spreading it. I don t know who did it. But I am a changed
woman. I have learned the error of my ways.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Carson,” I said. “I a
ppreciate your
coming out and telling me this.”
Ann opened the kitchen door. “Good morning.”
Her father and I stood up at her arrival.
“Come on in.”
Her father waved her forward.
Mrs. Carson smiled at her. “I m sorry I came so
early. My spirit would not rest until I told your husband that
you didn t want to be with that man in the mercantile.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Carson,” she replied.
“I feel much better. Now I can go home and sleep.”
“I will see you at the store next week when I go in to
help Mrs.
Coley.”
She nodded, said good-bye and left.
My thoughts turned back to Mrs. Carson s
warning.
Having her account of the events match so clearly with
Ann s made me aware that Kent did indeed plan to return. I
recalled the way Ann explained her encounter with him in
the store. She had been afraid of him. And for good
didn t come for her when she was in the
reason. What if he
store next time? What if he came to this house? What if I
wasn t here when he did come? Who would protect her
?
It occurred to me that Ann was talking to her parents
but I didn t hear anything they said. I turne
d to her father
who seemed to understand what was bothering me.
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“What should I do?” I asked him.
“I wonder…” he pondered. His eyebrows furrowed.
“Let s discuss it outside. We may be overreacting so I d
rather not worry the women
.” Turning
to Ann and her
mother, he said, “We will return soon.”
I kissed Ann on the cheek before I followed her
father out of the house.
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Chapter Twenty-Three
Ann’s Point of View
After breakfast, we decided to visit John and
Barbara. My father insisted on getting the sleigh and horses
ready while my mother went to the guest bedroom to find
some suitable jewelry to wear. She loved her necklaces and
rings.
Todd helped me with my coat. He paused, his
hands on my hips. “I m glad you re here,” he whispere
d. He
leaned over to kiss me.
I loved the feel of his hair as I ran my fingers through
the silky strands. When he pulled away, I realized my
impulsive behavior had messed up his neatly combed hair. I
smoothed his hair the best I could, but it was still messy. He
didn t seem to mind. When I saw we were still alone, I
allowed my hands to descend from his neck to his chest. I
found that I enjoyed our newfound intimacy.
By the smile on his face, I could tell he liked it too.
“Just wait until tonight,”
he promised.
I blushed, recalling how wonderful lovemaking was.
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Turning serious, he kissed me again. “I will do
everything I can to keep you safe.”
I frowned. “What is it, Todd? What s wrong?”
“We ll discuss it later
. I want to enjoy the day
.”
I nodded. I wondered if Todd would mention what he
and my father discussed in the barn. As long as he wasn t
upset with me, I was content to wait.
My mother came down the stairs. We waited for her
at the door before we headed out to the sleigh. The ride to
John and Barbara
s was spectacular. The sunlight glistened
off the snow. The weather was warmer than the day before,
so we didn t have to bundle up with
as many blankets. It
was a perfect day for a ride through the country. My father
and mother sat up front, so Todd and I had the back to
ourselves. We sat close together and held hands. I couldn t
believe I spent so much time trying to avoid him while we
were growing up. Now all I wanted to do was be near him.
When we reached John and Barbara
s ho
use, their
children were playing in the snow. Calvin was beating
Bruce at their snowball fight, though Bruce tried his hardest
to hold his own. Molly was eating the snow, obviously
enjoying the cold white stuff.
“Why do
rough?” I
boys play
asked Todd, recalling
how he wanted to bang his trains into mine when we played
together as children.
He grinned. “It s fun. There s action and adventure.
All you girls seem to do is sit down and stare at your dolls.
That s boring.”
“We didn t stare a
t the dolls. Agnes and I made up
stories with those dolls.”
“And you wonder why that s boring?”
“I suppose girls and boys find different things
interesting. Our parents never should have made us play
together.”
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“Growing up with sisters, I didn t have a choice but
to
play with girls. At least you fought back when I rammed my
s.”
trains into your
“What did your sisters do?”

They ran to my parents. Since I was the boy, they
usually took their side. My sisters used that to their
advantage.”
“So what happened?”
“I either had to go to my room or play whatever they
wanted. I spent most of my time in my room.”
“If we were
boring, why did you want to be around us
when I came over?”
“Isn t it obvious? I thought you were pretty.”
I guessed as much but it was nice to hear.
We got out of the sleigh and introduced John and
Barbara to my parents. As Todd was about to join John and
my father out to the Russell barn, I quickly asked Todd why
men liked to separate themselves from women.
“Because, you re still boring,”
he good-naturedly
replied. “When you get together, you talk about cooking,
cleaning or children. God forbid you should mention a
female problem. Those are the scariest of all talks, and I ve
heard enough of those from my sisters.”
“So what do you men talk about?”
“Work. Sometimes we discuss how to fix things.”
“Oh. Now that s boring.” Thank goodness I didn t
have any brothers to listen to while growing up.
“At least when we get together, the conversation is
better for both of us.” He kissed the top
of my nose. “Just so
you know, I enjoy our time together the most.”
“Me too.”
I smiled as he walked to Calvin, John and my father.
As much as I looked forward to spending time with Barbara
and my mother, I knew my thoughts would be on Todd and
how wonderful he was. Barbara was delighted to see that
things were better between me and Todd.
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“I prayed day and night that you two would be
alright,” she confided while my mother talked to Molly a
nd
Bruce. “But today, you are glowing.”
“I appreciate your prayers. They worked.”
“Thank goodness.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Tired but happy, especially since you and Todd are
alright.”
Bruce led my mother to us. “Can
Mrs. Statesman
see my jacks
?”
“Yes, she may,”
Barbara replied.
He ran into the house.
“Would you like to come inside?”
Barbara asked me
and my mother.
We nodded and joined her.
***
When we decided to go to town, I was surprised that
Todd, John and my father went to visit Mr. Fields who had
puppies he was eager to give away. I wondered why they
brought two light brown and white puppies. I soon
one was for John s children and the other
discovered that
one was for me and Todd. I wanted to ask Todd why we
needed a puppy but knew he would tell me later. While the
men stayed to talk to Mr. Fields, Barbara took me and my
mother to visit her mother and to meet Mr. and Mrs. Coley.
Afterwards, we returned to the Russell house to
prepare dinner. My mother insisted on playing with the
children since she made a better nanny than a cook.
“She enjoys the children as much as you do,”
Barbara commented as she rolled the dough.
I stuffed the dough with cheese and folded the dough
to make ravioli. “She spent a lot of time with me when I
was
a little girl. I suppose since I was the only child, it was easy
time to me.”
to devote most of her
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“She seems like
a
compassionate person.”
“She is. I think she took my heartbreak over Kent
worse than I did. It wasn t that she
liked him. She liked
Todd more, but it hurt her to watch me in
pain.” I sighed
“She ll make a good grandmother.”
thoughtfully.
Barbara
looked at me. “Is that a possibility?”
“A lot has changed in two days,” I simply replied, my
cheeks hot from embarrassment.
“What grea
t
news! Maybe you ll be expecting
soon
and we can have our babies close together. They could be
friends.”
good
I smiled. “What if I have a girl and you have a boy?”
“Then maybe they ll marry someday.”
“You re horrible

!
She shrugged. “It s fun to imagine.”
I grinned. Yes, it was.
***
After my parents settled into bed for the night, Todd
said he wanted to talk to me, so I sat next to him on the
couch. The puppy quietly played in the corner with an old
shoe. I hoped this talk would explain the sudden need for a
dog.
“I know this is something you don t like to think
about, but I need you to remember something for me,” he
said.
I frowned. This didn t sound promising.
“When I saw you and Kent in the mercantile
, did he
say anything after I left?

I blinked in surprise. I stared at the fire as I
processed the events through my mind. I had focused so
much on the fact that Todd saw us kissing that I hadn t
considered what happened afterwards. A feeling of dread
washed over me. “He said he would
be back.”
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“That s what Mrs. Carson said. You didn t mention it
before, so I couldn t be sure that is what happened but now I
know. Your father recommended that we get a dog for
protection. I can t be here all the time.”
“You think
he ll come here? To our
I sat up straight.
home?

“I don t know but I d rather play it safe. I want you to
come with me to the barn.”
I reluctantly put on my coat and followed him outside.
Once he set the lantern on the ground, he picked up his
gun.
“What are you doing?” I asked, though I really didn t
want to know.
“You may need to use this. The dog won t do
enough damage to stop him. It will just buy you time. If
Kent s serious, he ll still come after you. Ann,
shooting

someone to protect yourself is not murder.
I shivered.
I didn t feel comfortable
using a gun.
“Can t I use something else?” Did I really want to be out
here, having this conversation?
He thought for a moment. “I guess the gun is
intimidating to a woman.”
This whole conversation was intimidating to a
woman. Was Kent going to drag me off and force me to be
his wife? Did Todd think that would actually happen? I
recalled the way he kissed me, the force he used and how
he wouldn t go away when I told him to.
I quickly turned
around so I could regain my composure.
Todd wrapped his arms around me.
“Ann, I hope I m
overreacting, but
I can t afford to take my chances. You
said you were afraid of him. I can only do so much to
protect you. As long as you re with someone in town, I think
you ll be safe. But if you re alone here, there s no one to
help you. Your father is going to discuss the situation with
Kent s father. Hopefully, they can resolve the issue. In the

meantime, I need you to be strong for me. Please?
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I took a deep breath
. “I ll learn to shoot the gun.”
He smiled. “There s the girl that threw sand
on two
class bullies.”
I laughed, glad to have the mood lightened. I didn t
want to think of Kent. I wanted to focus on Todd and how
wonderful it felt to be loved by him.
“We won t practice tonight, but I w
ant to show you
.”
where to find the gun in case you need it
I watched him put it behind the pile of chopped
wood.
He continued to explain, “I figure that if you re at the
house, the dog will attack Kent and it should give you
enough time to get the gun. I m going to install door locks
the house.” He picked up the
on the front and back doors of
axe that had been behind the chopped wood and placed it
on the shelf above the wood. “We ll start practicing after
ents leave.”
your par
As he took my hand and led me back into the house,
I hoped that I would never have to follow his plan.
***
My parents stayed for two weeks before they went
back to Virginia. Todd and I spent Thanksgiving with the
Russells and their relatives. For Christmas, I gave Todd a
new pair of boots that would be durable for farming. He
gave me a wedding ring.
“Todd, it s beautiful,” I said that night as we sat
together in front of the fire in the parlor
. “I think it s the most
beautiful ring I ve ever seen.”
“You ve owned fancier rings than that one.”
“Maybe. But none of them were from you.”
He put his arm around me. “Is it any wonder
that I
love you?”
I finally stopped staring at the ring and turned to him.
“I would like to go into town tomorrow and help Mrs. Carson
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
take down Christmas decorations at the church. She s
really a different person now. Even Mr. Carson decided to
go to church. He wanted to know what caused the big
change.”
“It s nice to know you two are friends.”
He held my
hand. “You don t have to keep working for the Coley s. We
have plenty of money.”
“I supposed that was the case when I gave you the
dowry. I still get food and cooking supplies, but I also enjoy
being there. I ve made some friends in town and it s a great
way to visit them. You would be surprised at how many
women go shopping during the day.”
“More boring women talk. No wonder men rarely
enter the mercantile.”
I didn t take offense at his comme
nt since I knew he
was joking.
Someone knocked at the door so I jumped up to
answer it. I blinked in surprise. What was Mr. Richard
doing here?
“Good evening, ma am. Ma
He took his hat off.
y I
speak with your husband?”
I glanced over my shoulder at Todd who hopped off
the couch.
“Mr.
Richard
, it s
a pleasure to see you. Come
in,”
he invited.
I moved aside and took his coat and hat which I
hung on the nail by the door. “W
ould you like some hot
?” I asked him.
cocoa
“No thank you, Mrs. Brothers.”
I looked at Todd to see if he wanted something to
drink.
He shook his head.
“If you ll excuse me, gentlemen,” I said and left the
room.
I went upstairs and changed into my nightgown. As
soon as I got into bed, I realized how tired I was and fell
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
asleep. I didn t wake up
until the next morning. I squinted
as I lifted my head off the pillow.
Todd smiled at me. “Good morning.”
“What time is it?”
“Almost seven.”
“I must have been more tired than I thought.”
He chuckled. “Would you like some good news?”
“Sure. It s
.”
a good way to start the day
“Mr.
Richard
discovered who stole the money.”
“Really? Who did it?”
“Mr. Randolph. He s been working at the bank for
ten years. Shortly after I began working at the bank, his wife
got sick. Since there wasn t anyone to
take care of her, he
missed a lot of work. He took some money when they ran
out of food. He thought that he could make up the work by
doing overtime, but her health kept getting worse. Mr.
Richard caught him taking some money out of the safe
yesterday.”
“But the bank was closed.”
“That s why Mr.
Richard went to investigate the bank.
He noticed someone was inside it. Mr. Randolph knew
put the key, so that s how he got in
where Mr. Richard
without being noticed.”
“So did Mr.
Randolph plant the money and the
in your desk?”
combination to the safe

Yes. He was desperate and scared. He was afraid
if he lost his job, then he wouldn t be able to support hi
m
and his wife at all.” He reached for my hand. “
Mrs. Carson
happened to be passing the bank and heard what was going
on. She volunteered to watch Mrs. Randolph so he could go
. He ll be working some overtime to pay back
back to work
what he stole, but I think everyone is happy with the
outcome. Even though stealing is wrong, I can understand
id it. I m glad he ll be paying Mr.
why he d
Richard back, and
it s great that Mrs. Carson is doing so much good for people
in town.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I nodded.
“Mr.
Richard offered me the job back, but I said I was
happy working for Mr. Fields. Isn t it amazing how things
work out? Mr. Richard gave me some money for what he
did to me. I told him he actually did me a favor because I
hated that job.”
“That s wonderful news for everyone.”
“I had to resist the urge to wake you up last night and
tell you. You were just too tired. I
couldn t wake you up.”
I snuggled up to him and smiled.
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Chapter Twenty-Four
Todd’s Point of View
The next month and a half passed by swiftly. Ann
and I fell into a very comfortable and pleasant routine. As
much as I enjoyed my work, I couldn t wait to come home.
She would wait for me at the door and give me a big hug
and long kiss to let me know she missed me when I was
gone. We continued in our book readings, and I took her
out to the barn twice a week to practice shooting at bottles.
She was terrified when she first fired the gun, and it wasn t
easy to get her over the discomfort of using the weapon.
But she pressed through her anxiety and became a good
shot. I mastered my own shooting skills and had no
problems shooting each bottle.
The puppy grew into a big hairy dog. We finally
decided to call him Patches since his brown and white
spotted fur reminded Ann of a mended garment. I built a
dog house for him in the front yard, and we gave him some
old blankets to help add to his comfort in the cold winter
months. January and February were the coldest months,
and we spent most of our time indoors whenever we had a
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snow storm. I liked these days the most because we would
enjoying each other. Farming couldn t
spend all day in bed,
compare to the joy of being with her.
***
One unusually warm day in mid-February, I took Ann
to town. Since enough snow melted, I was able to take the
wagon. She sat close to me and wrapped her arm around
mine. She rested her head on my shoulder. I smiled,
enjoying the moments I had with her before we went our
separate ways
. She went to the Coley s store to help Mrs.
Coley while I went to Mr. Fields
to work. Ann planned to go
s mother s house during lunch, so I took that time
to Barbara
to purchas
e Ann s gift. It was another idea I got from Calvin.
I smiled as I hid it in the back of the wagon. I loved to give
her things I knew she liked but wouldn t buy for herself.
The rest of the day went by slowly as I waited for the
end of the work day. Finally, I got off of work and went to
s mother s house to pic
Barbara
k Ann up. She was helping
Barbara with some last minute cooking. I watched Ann as
she took a pie out of the oven.
“Would you like a piece?” she asked
me.
“There s plenty,” Barbara
added.
“No thanks.” I was eager
to show Ann her gift.
“Can I have a piece?” Calvin and Molly as
ked as
they hovered around Barbara who was showing in her
pregnancy. Bruce was too busy chasing a cat to notice the
pie.
We said good-bye to them and left. As we strolled to
he put her arm through mine and whispered, “I
the stable, s
stopped menstruating.”
Had it been any other woman, this comment would
have repulsed me, but coming from Ann, I knew it meant
that we could be physically intimate that day. I grinned and
quickly pulled her into a small alley where we would be out
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
of sight. I gave her a long kiss, my hands running down her
back. “Just you wait until I get you home,” I said.
“We ll see,” she slyly replied.
I raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean by that?”
She shrugged and left the alley. Glancing over her
shoulder, she said, “I don t think you ll make it that long.”
I chuckled. She was shy in the beginning, but I liked
the way she grew more assertive as she got more
comfortable in our lovemaking.
We went to the stable and I paid the owner before
helping her into the wagon. As she hopped up into her seat,
she brushed her body against mine. Did she do that on
purpose? By the expression on her face, it was hard to tell.
She appeared to have nothing on her mind. The ride home,
however, soon proved that she did do it on purpose. She
sat close to me again, but as soon as we were out of town
and alone, her hands caressed parts of me that made it
difficult to properly lead the horses. Her kissing on my neck
didn t help much either.
When I couldn t take it anymore, I stopp
ed the
horses and set the brake on the wagon
. “I have a surprise
for you,” I told her.
“Are you going to show me?” She took my hand and
urged me to follow her into the back of the covered wagon.
She began to unbutton my pants. “I ve been desiring you all
day.” She kissed me.
I almost forgot what the surprise was but suddenly
remembered it was breakable. “It s right behind you. Watch
out or you ll sit on it,” I warne
d.
She turned around to see what I was talking about.
Two can play this game. You’re not the only one who can
catch the other one off guard. She let out of shout of glee
when she saw the box. She opened it.
I enjoyed her excitement as she pulled out the
matching dish set decorated with various fruits. “How did
you know I wanted this?”
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I sat next to her.
“I can read your mind.”
“You seem to do that, you know. It s almost spooky
the way you know exactly what I want. Did Mrs. Coley or
Barbara
tell you?”
“No and you can t ask any
more questions or I can t
surprise you anymore.”
“Oh. I love your surprises. You are so thoughtful.”
“I like buying you things.”
She put the cups and dishes back into the box. “This
will go perfectly with the new kitchen towels you got me. I
re a faithful customer.
think Mrs. Coley likes to see you. You
How can
you afford all of this? Don t you need some money
for your farming
supplies?”
“I knew you would ask me that question, so I brought
you a written account from the bank. This is what is in our
account. I keep your dowry money in the investment
. You ll see that I take the interest we earn from the
account
dowry and use that to buy you gifts. Mrs. Coley gives me
ntly, you don t take
discounts on anything I buy you. Appare
enough food for the amount of work you do.”
“No, I don t. I like being there so much that it doesn t
seem like work. It almost seems like I m taking advantage
of her.”
“She said the same thing about you. I think when I
her feel better.”
buy you things at a discount, it makes
She examined the papers.
“So, we have been doing
well all along.

“That s
what I ve been trying to tell you.”
She grinned. “I suppose I haven t taken
the time to
listen to you.”
“You wanted to help me
love you for that, Ann.”
. I
“You re doing well. That s a good thing. But why did
you spend so many nights last fall pacing the floors at night?
about money.”
I thought you were worried
“You were in the room next to mine and I wanted to
be with you.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“O
h. Then you spent a lot of time desiring me and I
had no idea.”
I took off my hat and laid down. “Yes, but I wanted
to be sure you were ready. I didn t want you to have sex
with me because you felt obligated to.”
She looked at me with her compassionate
expression
. “You poor thing. What you must have gone
through.”
I was ready to reassure her that I was fine, but the
moment seemed too good to pass up. I loudly sighed. “It
was hard. A man has needs.”
“I want to meet those needs.”
She leaned forward
and kissed me.
shifted in another direction. “Ann, when
My thoughts
I was working at the bank, I overheard two women telling
each other that they considered sex a chore. You don t
think that, do you?”
“I spent all day in anticipation for this moment
and
you ask me a silly question like that? Couldn t you tell how
much I wanted you?”
Her hand slid from my shirt and under
my pants until she caressed my erection.
“You do
I raised an eyebrow.
have your hands all
over me.”
She chuckled. “You are irresistible.” She paused
and grew thoughtful. “I suppose if a man doesn t treat his
wife with respect and love, then it s hard to get excited about
being intimate. I don t have that problem with you. You ve
” A
always been good to me. How can I not desire you?
wicked grin crossed her face.

Can we stop talking and get
to the fun part? I ve been waiting for this all week.”
“I m all yours.” I pulled her on top of me and let her
make love to me.
***
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We did have another snow storm in late February,
but the snow didn t stay on the ground for long. In early
March, Ann received a letter from her parents. She told me
what was in it while we sat on the porch swing. She
seemed as sad as I felt when she informed me that my
father had forbidden Agnes to communicate with us. It was
apparent that he was determined to hold onto his anger,
though my mother was sympathetic and wished to talk to us.
“Onto better news,” Ann continued. “My parents are
moving to Jamestown in August. I do miss them. It will be
good to have them nearby.”
I nodded. I had always thought her parents were
good people.
“Also,” she went on, “Alex and Agnes seemed to get
along well when he came by for a quick visit during
Christmas vacation. They re writing letters now, and it
appears that they are fond of each other. I hope this won t
lead to where I think it s leading.”
“You mean marriage? What s wrong with that?”
“Alex will be related to me.”
I laughed. “It will
be good to have him as a brother.
Besides, Agnes seemed to think he was attractive, though
they didn t take the time to talk. I su
ppose with me out of
the way
, it gave them a chance to get to know each other.”
She groaned. “Maybe we should have stayed
in
Virginia.”
“Then we wouldn t have gotten to know each other
as we have.”
She sighed miserably. “I am trapped either way I
go.”
I kissed her. “Is it that bad? He won t be living near
us. He ll be states away.”
“That does help ease the pain.”
I shook my head, unable to understand how two
people who had such a big impact on my life could be at
other. “You don t have to worry about him.
odds with one an
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
If he pulls any of his pranks on you, I ll slip a squirrel in his
shirt.”
“Yo
Her face lit up.
u would do something like that for
me, wouldn t you?”
“Of course. I can t have him pulling pranks on
you.”
She snuggled against me. “I love you, Todd.”
“I love you, too.” I put my arm around her shoulders
and enjoyed the gentle breeze. “Did your moth
er say
anything else?”
“Yes, she did. You ll like this news. Once she and
my father got back to Virginia, he had a long discussion with
Kent s father. Kent s been warned not to see me again.
Mother said he won t be a problem anymore.”
I sighed with relief. Thank goodness that was over.
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Chapter Twenty-Five
Ann’s Point of View
It was mid-March when most of the snow melted and
my trips to town with Barbara picked up to twice a week
again. Since Thanksgiving, I stopped going to town as
often. Barbara was six months pregnant by this time and
over our talks, I became adequately educated on the subject
of expecting and babies. I supposed that Todd was relieved
he wasn t around for such talk. He would surely consider it
boring. Bruce had turned six and Molly had turned three in
January. Calvin was anxiously expecting his birthday in
April. Mrs. Carson came in to pick up food for Mrs.
Randolph who was still ill but steadily getting better. Mrs.
Carson signed up at the town s church to clean and cook for
the elderly who didn t have any re
latives to care for them.
Rumor was that the elderly loved her stories of what good
things people were doing for others in the town. She was, in
a sense, the town angel. Even Mr. Carson couldn t stop
praising his wife.
When Barbara stopped the carryall at my house, I
thanked her for taking me to town and got out of the
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
carriage. I took the bag of goods the Coleys had given me
into the kitchen. When I entered the parlor, I was surprised
to see Todd sitting at the desk with some papers in front of
him.
“I thought you were going to Mr. Fields today.”
He looked up from the papers and smiled. “I don t
need to work there anymore. I just brought home our own
tractor. Soon I ll start working here.”
“That s wonderful! Can I see it?”
“I was hoping you d ask.” He quickly grabbed his
and led me to the barn. “It s used but the parts
sweater
work. I should know. I helped hi
m repair it.”
“You worked on this?” I stepped around to exami
ne
the red machine that would sit one person. It looked large
and intimidating.
“It s a
tractor. It runs on gasoline.”
John Froelich
“Instead of steam?”
He nodded.
“I m going to buy a thres
hing machine.
This tractor will pull it during the harvest season. It ll cut my
time down because it d take longer if I used the horses.”
I was impressed he could use the tractor, let alone
“You must kno
understand what to do with it.
w a lot about

farming.
“I learn a little more each day.”
I hugged him, laughing. “Your dream is finally
coming true! You re a farmer, Todd.”
I could tell he was pleased, and I was pleased for
him.
***
By the end of March, I woke up in the middle of the
night not feeling well. It was a mild nausea so I thought I
could ignore it and go back to sleep, but it bothered me
enough that I had to get up. I tried not to wake Todd as I
took the kerosene lamp and went down the steps. I waited
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
until I was in the kitchen before I lit it. I turned the knob so
the flame was low.
wasn t anything I
I sat at the table. The mild illness
had experienced before, so I tried to decide what could be
causing it. After a few minutes, I stood up and went to the
calendar that hung on the wall.
In the news of my parents
plans to move to town, I had forgotten to keep track of the
days in my cycle. When I realized I was late for the month
of March, my heart fluttered with excitement.
“Is everything alright?”
I turned to the kitchen door. I hadn t heard Todd
come in.
“When I woke up, you were gone. I came to see if
is wrong.”
anything
I couldn t stop smiling. “No, nothing s wrong.
I think
I m expecting.”
“Really?” Suddenly he was wide awake.
“I ll have to see the doctor to make sure, but I m
pretty sure. Barbara told me everything I need to know
about it.”
He walked ov
er to me and kissed me. “Ann, this is
great news. I never imagined my life would change so much
in a year.”
“I can hardly remember what life was like before we
came out here. Isn t that strange? I m
glad you took me
with you.”
“Me too.”
***
I couldn t wait until Thursday to go into town, so I
went to Barbara
s house the next day and we went to see
the doctor. She was as excited as I was when he confirmed
my suspicions. “It looks like you ll be having an early
Chri
stmas gift this year,” he s
aid.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Of course, I had to stop by the mercantile and tell Mr.
and Mrs. Coley the news. I even told them to let Mrs.
Carson know the next time she came in. I sent a telegram
to my parents. I knew they would be thrilled. The ride home
al, for I couldn t wait to confirm the news
was longer than usu
with Todd. After I took Barbara and Molly home, I put the
horses and buggy in the barn.
I noted that Lightning was gone. Todd must have
gone out to the fields to make plans on where he would
plant his crops. He had mentioned needing to do that. I
dismissed my disappointment. It wasn t like he didn t
already know.
I went to the house and gathered food for the dog.
Sometimes the cats liked to eat with the dog, so I put the
food in an extra large bowl. I walked out to the front and set
the bowl on the porch where the dog and cats quickly ran up
to me. I grinned. The only time they seemed to care about
me was during mealtime. I sat on one of the chairs and
watched them enjoy their meal. As I rocked back and forth,
tired from the day s events. In all the excitement the
I felt
night before, I couldn t sleep. I went over to the porch
swing, laid down and took a nap, wrapping a warm blanket
around me.
Patches barking woke me up. I tried to ignore it but
e dog s persistence paid off so I sat up to see what was
th
bothering him. Perhaps Barbara was coming over. He
often barked no matter who came to visit. I frowned as a
the house. I didn t
man on a black horse rode toward
recognize the horse, and it was too soon to recognize who
the visitor was. John didn t come over unless he brought his
odd s
wagon. He usually brought some tools to work on T
farming equipment. Perhaps it was Mr. Fields coming to
check the condition of the tractor. Did he have a black
horse? I wished I had paid more attention when I visited
him and his wife a month ago. But Todd would be here if he
expected Mr. Fields. He wouldn t be out in the field.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Feeling uneasy, I pushed the blanket aside and
stood up. I grabbed the empty bowl and took it into the
house. After I placed it on the kitchen table, I hastened to
the parlor and peered out the window. A feeling of dread
came over me. It was Kent! Why was he coming here? He
wasn t supposed to come back. He even made it a poi
nt to
apologize to my parents. So why was he here? I couldn t
dismiss the feeling that something was wrong. I quickly
locked the front door and backed up.
Patches barking grew more persistent. Kent was
getting closer. I stopped walking when I reached the back
door of the house. I looked out the window by the door.
Could I make it to the barn in time? Should I stay here or go
to the barn? My heart pounded fiercely in my chest. Where
was I safer? The distance to the barn seemed to span an
eternity.
The sound of someone knocking on the front door
made me jump. I knew it was him without looking out the
window. I quickly locked the back door and ran up the
steps. I didn t consider that my movements would be loud
enough for him to hear from outside. In my panic, I thought
if I stayed in the house, he would assume I wasn t home and
go away. I breathed heavily when I made it to the guest
bedroom, which was the first bedroom upstairs.
Just stay quiet and he’ll go away.
Patches continued to bark but I could still make out
the sound of knocking from downstairs.
I forced myself to take deep breaths so I could calm
my nerves. He would go away. He would have to go away.
He doesn’t know I’m here. Does he? Did he hear me
d, why wasn’t I more quiet?
running up the steps? Oh Go
I stood in the doorway. I couldn t see the front door
but I could hear what was going on. The sound of glass
smashing nearly made me scream. I put my hand over my
mouth before the sound could escape my throat. Was he
really going to break into my house?
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
What should I do? What should I do?!
Patches was growling and Kent screamed at him.
Sounds of a struggle made its way up the stairs. I took the
moment to take my shoes off since they made the loudest
sound possible on the hardwood floors. My feet were quiet
as I anxiously made my way across the room. I looked out
the window. I groaned when I didn t see a tree to climb
down. Todd s old bedroom had the tree in front of it.
Downstairs, the struggle between Patches and Kent ended.
Was Patches dead? The sound of Kent walking across the
parlor moved me to action. I slid under the bed. The bed
was high but the blanket was so long it was inches from the
floor. I readjusted it, praying that it would hide me. I set my
shoes at my head and closed my eyes, forcing my breathing
to slow down.
Pretend you’re wearing one of those horrible
corsets.
It wasn t long before I heard footsteps coming up the
stairs. “Ann? Are you here?”
I cringed at the sound of his voice. Go away!
“Ann, I know you re here. I saw you from the porch
when I was coming here.”
I squeezed my eyes shut. That was my mistake. I
should have gone to the barn. He would be searching the
house and I would be safe out there.
Don’t
He casually made his way up the steps.
look
under the bed! He stopped at the guest bedroom. I saw a
drop of blood fall to the floor. Was it his blood or Patches
blood? He walked in and looked around the room. I held
my breath as his shoes stopped in front of the bed. He left
the room a
nd went to Todd s old bedroom.
I had to get out of the house. When he didn t find me
in the other bedrooms, he would surely start looking under
the beds. I had to move quickly but quietly. I slid out from
under the bed and tiptoed to the door. I peeked around the
corner. He was inside the room.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He laughed. “I don t understand why you re hiding
from me.” Then he grew serious, “Is Todd here too? Is he
keeping you quiet?”
I made my way down the stairs as quietly as I could.
Since he was talking, it made it easier to hide the squeaky
sounds my footsteps made on the steps. Just as I made it
downstairs, he came out of the second bedroom. I stopped,
pressed my back to the wall, and waited to see if he would
look in my direction. I noted his bloody arm. It looked like
Patches bit him. Kent didn t look at me. He went to the third
bedroom.
His voice turned sour. “Hmm…
It looks like you two
got friendly. I thought you were going to stay pure for me. I
told you I d be back for you.”
I didn t listen to him. Every instinct in my body told
me to get to the barn. I ran as slowly as I dared, hoping he
wouldn t hear my footsteps as
I made my way through the
house. I unlocked the back door and opened it. Since he
was still talking, it was easy to avoid being heard.
Once I was out of the house, I ran as fast as I could
to the barn.
“Ann? Are you running away from me?” h
e yelled
out of my bedroom window.
I didn t look back. I just kept running, my heart
pounding loudly in my ears. I knew Kent would be able to
outrun me. I just prayed I had enough of a head start to
make it to the barn first. Once I got the gun, he would have
to leave me alone.
I heard the back door slam shut. That meant he had
left the house.
“Ann! Wait! I can forgive you for sleeping with
Todd,” he yelled as he pursued
me.
Where was the dog? Where was Todd? What did
Kent plan to do to me? I recalled my encounter with him in
the mercantile. What am I supposed to do when he won
’t
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
listen to me? I can tell him no but he won’t accept it.
Do I
have to point a gun at him to make him listen?
I made it to the barn. I ignored my shaking hands as
I went to the pile of chopped wood. I nearly cried in alarm
when I saw that the gun was gone. I glanced up on the
shelf and saw the axe. I grabbed it and frantically looked
around. I needed to get to Todd. He would know what to
do. My breathing was so fast that it made me lightheaded. I
forced myself to take a deep breath. I needed to think
clearly. Now wasn t the time to faint.
Just talk sense into him. Did I really expect him to
think I was trying to talk sense into him when I was holding
an axe in my clammy, shaky hands? I considered laying the
axe down but something stopped me. What if he didn t just
kiss me? What if he went further than that? With Todd and
the dog out of sight, I had no guarantee that anyone or
anything would stop him before he did something rash. So I
decided I would hold onto the axe. Todd was right. It was
better to overreact if it meant I increased my chances of
being safe. I glanced at the two horses in their stalls. The
smaller one would be easier to ride bareback. I wished I
had taken the time to learn to ride a horse, but now was not
the time for regrets. It was time for action. The smaller one
would have to do. I hurried over to the stalls.
Kent ran into the barn and came to an abrupt stop
when he saw me. In the stall beside me, Storm neighed at
the sight of the stranger.
. “Ann, I came back for you.
Kent shook his head
Aren t you happy to see me?”
“Go away!” I yelled
.
He looked shocked.
“I want to be here,” I continued. “I love Todd.”
“What has happened to you ou
t here? Have you
?”
gone mad
W
hy doesn’t he leave?
I felt the tears welling up in
I’m so scared!
my eyes but forced myself to stay focused.
I
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
gripped the axe.
I don’t want to use it. Lord, please don’t let
it come to that. Just send him away.
“Please, leave,”
I sobbed despite my best effort not
to.
“Ann, I wouldn t hurt you. I love you. I want to marry
you. It should have been you. Rebecca got in the way.
She seduced me, as I m sure Todd seduced you. Can t you
urtship?”
understand that I never wanted to end our co
“It doesn t matter what happened, Kent,” I said.
“We ve already made our choices. You have to move on.”
. “Are you preaching at me?”
He glared at me
What?
He moved forward a step.
I moved back.
The horses neighed.
“I ve had enough of peo
ple reminding me that I need
,” he spat. “What I need is to get back to the way
to move on
things were a year ago. You can t honestly stand there and
tell me you like it here.”
“Yes, I can.”
“No, Ann! You re not supposed to like it here. Todd
forced you out here and kept you a prisoner against your
will. I m here to save you.”
I shook my head and rapidly blinked through my
. “I want to be here.”
tears so I could keep track of him
“No!” He lunged for me.
I shrieked and swung the axe. I wasn t aimin
g at
him. I was trying to stop him from getting closer to me. It
worked. He immediately backed away. I had to get out of
the barn but how? I glanced at Storm. If I could get on her
back, I could ride out of here. Trying to steadily my hold the
axe in one hand, I reached for the latch on the stall door with
my other hand. My hand s
hook so badly, I couldn t open
it.
To my shock, he grabbed the axe. I tried to hold
onto it. I gripped it with both hands and leaned back, hoping
gravity would work to my advantage, but he was too strong
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
for me. He pulled the axe toward him and I fell back when
he yanked it out of my hands. I sat on the ground in shock.
I watched as he held the axe. Oh God, what is he going to
do?
He shook his head. “Do you think I
m going to use
this on you?” He put the axe gently on the ground. “I don t
want to hurt you, Ann. I want to marry you.”
“I m not yours.”
“We can change that. You ran away with Todd. Run
away with me.”
“No.”
My fingers felt a solid object. I gripped the rock in
my hand. I managed to stand up. I had to get out of here!
“You have to love me, Ann!” He grabbed me by the
arms and tried to kiss me.
I threw a rock at his head with as much strength as I
could muster.
He screamed and let me go.
I turned to the stall and tried to shake the door open.
It wouldn t budge. I wasn t thinking clearly enough to unlock
it. I swung my leg over the side of the door. If I could hop
on the horse, I could get out of here. Just as I made it
halfway over the door, Kent grabbed my foot. I slipped and
grabbed onto Storm
s neck. The horse bucked back in
protest, but I managed to hold onto her. Kent lost hold of
my foot but held onto the hem of my dress.
He started to climb the stall.
“Let me go!” I screamed
, kicking at him.
Suddenly the sound of a gun shot pierced through
the air. Startled, Kent let go of me, and I fell into the stall
with the horse. Storm bucked again but I rolled away from
her in time to avoid being stepped on.
“Get away from my wife.”
so grateful to hear Todd s
I was
cold voice that all of
my energy departed. I just cried silently in the stall while I
watched them.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Kent grabbed his ear. Blood seeped through his
fingers. He slowly backed away from the stall, his hands up
in the air. “It s not what it looks like.”
Todd s horse moved closer to Kent. Kent continued
to walk back until he was against the wall. Todd sat on
Lightning, his gun trained on Kent. He shot an anxious
glance in my direction
. “Are you alright?”
I was so relieved to see him that I could only nod.
Turning his attention back to Kent, he clenched his
jaw. “I ought to kill you for attacking my wife.”
“Don t…I…” Kent s voice shook. “I won t come ba
ck.
I promise.”
The next sound I heard was Patches barking.
“How do I know you ll leave her alone?” Todd
demanded over the barking.
“Look at you. You re ready to kill me. I don t want to
die.” Kent touched his bloody ear. “I understand now. She
wants to be with you. I thought I was rescuing her but I
wasn t.”
Patches quieted down.
“You told her parents you would leave her alone.
But here you are. I don t believe a word you re saying. I
think you ll say anything to get out of trouble.”
Someo
ne called out, “Mr. Brothers?”
I stood up to see who it was. I blinked in surprise. It
was Kent
s father. Kent hustled over to him. Todd finally
relaxed his hold on the gun.
“Son, you have caused much grief to your mother
and I,” his father sadly sai
d
. “Mr. Brothers, I apol
ogize for
trusting my son to stay away from your wife. Kent, get your
. I want to talk to Mr. Brothers.”
horse
Kent nodded and left the barn.
Todd leaned over and helped me out of the stall. He
slid off his horse and set the gun aside on the ground. With
one arm around me and one hand on the horse s bridle, he
led us to where Kent s father stood.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Mr. Ashton s face was glum. “I m sending him to my
brother in Ireland. My brother is tough. He won t let Kent
get away with anything, and if Kent hopes to get his
inheritance, he will have t
o abide by my brother s rules.”
“Do you believe he ll stay away from here?” Todd
asked.
“If there s one thing Kent lov
es more than women,
it s
money. He won t give up that inheritance for an
ything or
anyone.”
“I believe you, sir.”
“I m sorry.
He was raised better than this.” He shook
his head.
“Good day, Mr. Brothers, Mrs. Brothers.”
I nodded to him. I was speechless. A year ago, I
to be with Kent. Now, I couldn t imagine being
wanted
with
anyone but Todd. I leaned against him, grateful he was
mine and I was his.
We watched Kent and his father leave. Once they
were out of sight, Todd returned the horse to its stall. I
hugged the dog, grateful that he went to find Todd for me.
The dog did have blood around his mouth, but he looked
unharmed. Patches must have bitten Kent s arm and when
he couldn t stop Kent, he ran to get Todd. When Todd saw
the blood on Patches mouth, he knew something was
wrong. The pieces of the events that occurred were easy to
put together.
Todd walked back to me.
“He got you for me,” I said.
I stood up and hugged him.
He held me tightly against him
. “I was never so
scared
in my entire life,” he whispered. “I almost killed him,
pulling the trigger.”
Ann. I came so close to
I tightened my hold on him.
We stayed there for the longest time, just holding
onto each other, still shaky but relieved.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Twenty-Six
Ann’s Point of View
One night in late April, I had a nightmare that I woke
up and was next to Kent.
“I will
He smiled his usual charming smile at me.
I won t take no for an answer
never go away, Ann.
. You
belong to me.

I bolted up in bed, my pulse racing as I struggled to
determine whether or not I was still dreaming. It was
disturbing to have a dream where I kept waking up only to
realize I was still dreaming. That had been happening a lot
lately. I glanced next to me and saw someone lying next to
me. My mind, still caught up in a dreamlike state, couldn t
register who it was. For a moment, in the moonlight, the
person almost looked like Kent.
“Ann, are you alright?” he asked, sitting up.
I screamed and fell off the bed. I quickly squirmed
under the bed and closed my eyes. Make him go away. I
held my breath, willing him to leave the house.
“Ann? It s me. Todd.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Todd? I opened my eyes and saw Todd kneeling by
the bed, his concerned expression immediately bringing me
relief.
I released the sobs I had been holding in. “I thought
Kent.”
you were
He moved close to me and held me in his arms.
“What did he put you through?” I could hear the anger and
pain in his voice. Though he tried to hide it, I knew he was
furious at Kent for what he did. “I ll never forgive myself for
not leaving that gun behind the woodpile.”
onto him and continued crying. “We didn t
I held
know he would come back. There was no way to know.”
He kissed the top of my head and tightened his hold
on me. “I promise that the gun will always be there for you
in the future. I ll get a gun for the h
ouse and another one for
when I m in the fields.”
The next day, he did just that.
Sometimes, I went to the barn with him while he
worked to make necessary repairs or to take care of the
horses. I didn t know what I could do to he
lp him, so I
mostly sat and watched him work. He taught me how to ride
Storm since she was a gentle horse. If I ever needed to ride
a horse to escape, I would know how. Lovemaking took on
another dimension. It was one of the few things that took
my mind completely off of Kent. I discovered that the simple
act of being intimate with Todd wasn t only exciting and
pleasurable but it was also comforting because I knew he
loved me and did everything he could to keep me safe.
***
Fortunately, Barbara came over as often as she
could. Her presence and words brought me great comfort.
“I don t understand why I m still afraid,” I told her in
May when we sat at the kitchen table while Molly played
with her doll.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Give yourself time,
Ann. What happened to you
was traumatic for any woman. It will take time before you
safe when you re alone.”
can feel
“I m glad you re willing to spend so much time with
me,” I admitted. Mrs. Carson had made regular trips to visit,
and my trips to town with Barbara
to help out at the Coley s
store did much to alleviate my anxiety, but I felt closer to
Barbara than anyone, except for Todd.
“This time of year, the men are out in the fields a lot,”
she replied. “It can get lonely, so it s really no trouble for me
, it s still nice to
to be here. As busy as children keep me
have another adult to talk to.”
“You
re due next month. Is your mother coming to
your place to help you?”
“She will stay for a month to help out, yes. It would
be nice to have you come by for a visit too, and I should be
ugh in a couple of weeks to come out here.”
healed eno
“I do want to be there when your baby is born. I
would like to know what to expect. I know you ve described
it but I want to see the birth, if that is alright?”
“You are certainly welcome. In six months, you ll
have your own experience. It will be painful, but when you
t even
hold your baby in your arms for the first time, you won
think of the pain. Just be sure you spend some time alone
with Todd. Sometimes husbands can feel left out after the
baby is bor
n.”
I took note to be sure to follow her advice.
A knock at the door interrupted our conversation. I
opened it and smiled at Mrs. Carson who brought in a box of
food.
“I hope it s alright that I came here unannounced,”
she greeted.
“Certainly. It s always good to see you,” I replied.
She followed me to the kitchen and gave the box to
Barbara
. “This is for you, so
you won t have to worry
about
cooking once the little one arrives.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Thank you, Melanie,”
Barbara responded, obviously
pleased. “How do
you find time to do so much for
everyone?”
“Oh, that s easy. My children are grown and have
yet to be married, so I just have my husband to care for. I
have too much time on my hands and will linger a little too
long where I shouldn t be if I don t kee
p busy. Though I
don t gossip anymore, I like to avoid temptation when I can.”
“If I have a girl, I m naming her Melanie in hopes
she ll be as thoughtful and caring as you.”
“Well, I don t know what to say.” She took her
handkerchief out and dabbed her
eyes. “I ve never received
such an honor before.”
“Now, don t go crying.
Barbara and I are so
emotional these days, we ll start crying too,” I joked, though
there was some truth to it. I wasn t prepared for the frequent
urge to cry at the slightest provocation.
She laughed.
“We can t h
ave a room full of crying
women.” She sat down next to us. “So, did you receive a
letter from your mother yet?”
I nodded. “Yes. It came just the other day. They
should be arriving at the end of August. They are coming
out to buy a house, and after that, they will move their things
here. I think you will get along very well with my mother.”
“Will they bring their servants with them?”
“Just Ginny. Ginny is almost like a sister to me, and
she is close to my mother. She said she wished to stay on
as their servant. She has no family keeping her back in
Virginia.”
“How are you feeling these days?” Melanie asked
me, suddenly serious. “Are your nightmares going away?”
“Slowly. It s not so bad anymore. My mother
confirmed that Kent is in Ireland with his uncle. His uncle
h him. He s under constant
actually hired someone to watc
supervision
.”
We sat in silence for a few moments.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Barbara looked at
me. “Have you heard anything
about Agnes? I often wonder how she is doing since she
graduated.”
“Actually, I did receive a letter from her too. She will
marry Alex next month. They are going to stay in Virginia
while he finishes up his schooling. Alex has become close
to her parents. I think Todd s father is starting
to come
around to accepting Todd again. Agnes says that when her
father sees Alex, he sees Todd. I guess since Alex and
Todd are friends
, his father can t help but remember Todd
whenever Alex is around.”
“Wouldn t it
be wonderful to see your parents and
Todd s parents vi
siting for Christmas
?”
“We must not give up hope,” Melanie said. “After all,
if a gossiping, crabby woman like me can change, then
anything is possible.”
Barbara and I laughed.
“I can t remember what you were like before,” I
admitted.
Barbara nodded her agreement.
***
Later that day, as I was making dinner, Todd came in
from the fields. After he washed up, he joined me in the
kitchen and gave me a big hug.
“Are you excited about seeing Agnes and Alex when
hey visit in July?” I
t
asked him.
“Of cou
rse, I am. But are you? I do recall you being
upset whenever Cree
py Alex was nearby.”
“I ll just have to get used to him, I suppose. Despite
my best intentions, it looks like he l
l be my brother-in-law
.”
“When you get to know him, as I know him, you ll be
alright with him.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I turned my attention to the stew on the stove.
“One
can only hope.” Though I gave Todd a hard time about his
childhood friend, I did expect to enjoy his company.

He will never admit it but you intimidate him.

“That s hard to believe.”
“It s true. But you can t tell him I told you that.”
“Why weren t you ever intimidated by me?”
“Growing up with six sisters who picked on me gave
me amazing strength to withstand female hysterics
.”
I stared at him in disbelief.
“What?”
“Poor Alex had two brothers. He didn t know what to
do.”
“Female hysterics?”
He paused and looked at me. Despite his joking, I
could see the admiration and love he had for me in his eyes.
“I wouldn t change anything about you.”
He took me in his arms and kissed me with so much
passion, I felt my face flush.
“I think you re done with dinner,” he whispered in my
ear.

No. I have to keep stirring it or the meat and
.”
vegetables will stick to the pot
“I ll help you with that.” He
leaned against me and
took the pot off the stove. Then he looked at me with a
mischievous glint in his eye. “Now, where were we?”
“You were just telling me that women are better than
men
.”
His eyes widened. “I was?”
I wrapped my arms around his waist and kissed his
neck. I loved the way he smelled. He had such a masculine
scent. It spoke of the freedom of the fields and fresh air.
“Yes.”
“You could almost
talk me into that.
” He gently pulled
me. “
me away and smiled at
Did you know you grow more
and more beautiful every day?

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“You keep talk
ing like that and your dinner will get
cold,” I whispered, my heart pounding in anticipation at his
words and the way his hands caressed my body.
“I m not hungry. Not for food anyway.”
I gladly responded to his kiss. An all too familiar
ache formed between my legs, reminding me how wonderful
it felt when he was inside me. He pulled me tightly against
him, his solid chest crushing my breasts. I didn t mind. In
fact, I liked it. I liked everything about making love to him. I
especially enjoyed the feel of his arousal and pressed my
abdomen closer to it. Groaning, he stroked my back,
sending unexpected chills up and down my spine. My skin
flushed with desire. I wasn t new to lovemaking anymore,
and knowing what to expect made me eager for him.
“I can t wait. I need you now,” I confessed as I pulled
far enough from him so I could undo the buttons of his
cotton shirt.
I slipped my hands under
the shirt. He d developed
muscles in the time we d been out h
ere. I found him
especially sexy when he chopped wood, and as I traced the
hardness in his chest, I pictured him out in the barn with his
axe. Why didn t I realize he was
sexy when we lived in
Virginia?
He shrugged out of his shirt and kissed my neck. I
giggled at the tickling sensation that played along my skin.
His hands traveled from my shoulders and caressed my
arms. I closed my eyes and tilted my head to grant him
better access to my neck. The tickling sensation faded into
a more urgent demand for him. My hands dropped lower,
tracing his lean abdomen and down to the belt holding his
pants up. I always had trouble with the leather belt. I
groaned in aggravation.
He chuckled. “I ll help.”
“Well, hurry up. I don t know how much longer I can
w
ait,” I teased.
“You can help by taking your things off too.”
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I smiled at his playful tone and removed my clothing,
no longer shy in front of him. It was strange but being naked
in front of him felt as natural as if I were alone. He truly was
a part of me, though a more exciting part. I liked his body
and had fun exploring him and learning what he liked.
When his pants fell at his feet, I let my hands caress the
male part of him. Leaning into him, I stroked him, closing
my eyes so I could focus on how it felt. Hard and thick. The
ache between my legs increased. I longed to feel it in me
again.
I didn t know why a couple of the girls in my class
seemed horrified by the notion of touching their future
husbands intimately. But having learned Todd as I had, I
also discovered that the girls really didn t understand the
male body, or the beauty of it. Broad shoulders and narrow
waist. Strong arms and legs. The intimate touching was
one of my favorite parts of lovemaking, whether he touched
me or I touched him.
He led me to the kitchen table which he had fixed so
it no longer wobbled. Taking me by the waist, he picked me
up and set me on it. He moved closer to me. He didn t
enter me but his erection settled against me. I moaned and
kissed him, enjoying the way his hands traveled my body.
My skin responded to his touch, feeling as if it had caught on
fire.
I didn t have the patience to wait any longer. I laid
back on the table. I wrapped my legs around his waist and
pulled him to me. “I need you.”
Still standing, he entered me. I moaned. The initial
contact always felt wonderful. I liked how he filled me. It
made me feel very feminine, and I was glad I was a woman.
He found my sensitive nub and rubbed it. Closing my eyes,
I gave into the sensations his fondling produced, aware that
my body clenched around his erection as he made slow,
purposeful movements in and out of me. I shifted my hips to
heighten the pleasure raging through me. My hands
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
grabbed the back of his thighs and pulled him closer to me.
Not that we could get any closer, really. But the contact was
incredible.
He continued his slow and methodical movements,
which drove me crazy since my body was screaming for
release. When I finally reached the peak, I cried out and
tightened my hold on him. He leaned over and kissed me. I
wrapped my arms around his shoulders and kissed him
back, returning passion for passion. His skin felt slick and
he smelled wonderfully masculine. He slid his hands under
my waist, lifting my hips to bring him deeper into me. My
inner tissues throbbed, prolonging the pleasure echoing
through me.
Clinging to me, he moved inside me, gradually
increasing the momentum of his thrusting. He brought his
lips to my neck, and I could hear his ragged breathing. I
moved with him, eager for him to experience the same
pleasure he brought me. He arched his back. I felt him
throb inside of me and knew he found his release. Knowing
he found such ecstasy with me made my heart flutter with
joy. I wanted to give him pleasure. He treated me so well,
cherished me so well, and loved me so well. How could I
not want to satisfy him? Not just with my cooking or
cleaning, but also by opening myself completely and freely
to him. Loving him as he had loved me for all those years.
He rested on top of me, his breathing still rough. I
kissed his neck and held him. When he rose up on his
elbows, he kissed me, a lingering kiss that delighted me.
I smiled. “Dinner might be cold this evening.”
He grinned back. “I ll su
rvive. Besides, this was
worth it.”
Yes, it was. It definitely was.
***
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
In early June, I decided to make lunch while Todd
washed the horses. He offered to join me in the kitchen, but
I wanted to be able to do something in the house alone. I
wanted to do my chores without being in constant fear. I
chose to make sandwiches, and I was chopping a tomato
when I heard Patches bark. I froze. For a moment, I
couldn t breathe as images of Kent breaking into my house
flashed through my mind. I didn t want
to look out the
window but I forced myself to go to the parlor and check the
front yard. I cried with relief when I saw that Patches was
playing with the two cats. Kent was nowhere in sight.
I stumbled back to the kitchen. My tears fell down
my cheeks as the reality of my fear consumed me. I had
been paralyzed when I thought he was coming. I knew I
was safe but I wanted to feel safe too. I hated Kent! I knew
he was terrified of Todd now that Todd had pulled a gun on
him. I knew he wouldn t come ba
ck because Todd would kill
him if he ever saw him again. But I didn
t
feel safe!
Struggling to complete the lunch, I set the tomato
Stop it. You’re safe. He’s
onto its side. My hands shook.
all the way in Europe.
He can’t harm you anymore.
As
much as I repeated these things, my shaking and crying
wouldn t stop.
I angrily sliced the tomato until I realized I was
cutting the board too. I threw the knife in the sink, picked up
the board and banged it against the table, pretending I was
hitting Kent with it. If I pounded the table enough, I could
erase Kent completely from my mind. I hate you, Kent! I
wish I never met you! I
won’t live my life in fear anymore.
The board finally gave and split in half. The table
had suffered damage as well but was still intact. I curled up
in the corner of the room and sobbed hysterically into my
hands. I couldn t keep living this way. I had to get past this
Maybe I’ll never feel
or else I would be a prisoner forever.
completely safe again. Maybe the fear will always linger in
the back of my mind, but I should be able to do something to
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
ease that fear enough so I can be comfortable when I’m
alone.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the
closet by the door. The kitchen door was open. I had a
good view of the parlor. I hated for any door to be closed
since I wanted to know what or who was in the next room at
all times. The closet door was open as well, and I saw the
rifle sitting under the coats. I may not be able to control the
circumstances around me, but I can control how I respond to
those circumstances. I wiped the tears from my eyes and
stood up. My anger returned with newfound energy. I can
control some things in my life, and I can make every effort to
protect myself.
I recalled the stack of empty glass bottles under the
kitchen sink and grabbed an armful of them.
You don’t win,
Kent! I’m taking my life back!
I stormed out of the house
and to the barn. I didn t
see Todd, so I went to the shelf in
the corner of the barn and set the bottles on it. After the
bottles were in a row, I went to the woodpile and picked up
the rifle from behind it. I made sure it had bullets in it before
I turned my attention back to the bottles. I w ill defend
myself. I will kill Kent if he ever comes near me again. I
have every right to protect myself. I shot at each bottle until
I succeeded in blowing them all off the shelf. When I was
done, a sense of relief flooded over me. I knew this was the
answer. I was going to overcome my fear and anger by
equipping myself with the skills necessary to protect myself.
I turned to put the gun back when I saw Todd who
silently watched me. He was washing Thunder by the large
door of the barn.
No wonder I didn t see him when I came
in. The storage shed had blocked my view of him. I walked
over to him.
“I m tired of being scared all the time,” I told him
.
He nodded. “I m tired of being angry.”
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By the look in his eyes, I knew that we had just
agreed to put the past behind us and move on. Relieved, I
returned to the kitchen to finish making the sandwiches.
***
Two days later in the late morning, John came over
to announce that Barbara went into labor. I told Todd that I
was going to help out, and after I got into the buggy, I rode
over to the Russell house where a flurry of activity greeted
me.
“She went into labor yesterday afternoon,” her
mother told me as soon as I walked through the front door.
John took the children out to the barn so we could
help the doctor without them running around us. I followed
her mother to the bedroom where Barbara was trying to
breathe. She gripped the newspapers under her, her face
contorted in pain.
“The
,” the doctor said.
baby will be here soon
“Does labor always take
long?” I asked.
“Sometimes it can.
Barbara has had long labors in
the past, but she progresses smoothly along and has little
trouble with the actual delivery.”
So I could expect to be in labor for a long time as
well.
“The beginning of labor involves minor
discomfort
,”
her mother continued as the doctor turned back to Barbara.
“It s not like she spent the whole nig
ht in pain. Now that
she s ready to give birth, things are intense.”
I was glad to be here so I knew what to expect when
my time came. I took a deep breath. It was difficult to watch
Barbara in
pain but I was determined to help. “Is there
anything I can do?”
“It would be a good time to get some hot water, cle
an
towels and more
newspapers,” the doctor replied.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I nodded and boiled some water on the stove while
her mother gathered the towels and newspapers. By the
time we finished getting everything ready, the doctor
announced that it was time for Barbara to start pushing. Her
mother held onto her hand while I sat and waited with a
towel in my hands.
I was aware of the movement in my womb. Soon it
would be my turn. I had to admit that the process of giving
birth was gross and I felt queasy as I watched the b
aby s
head come out, followed by the rest of the body.
There’s no
way I’m going to let Todd watch me give birth.
I could
understand why the husband and children were sent
outside. I didn t relish the idea of going through it myself.
“It s a girl!” the
doctor announced.
Little Melanie cried and we all laughed. The doctor
handed her to me and I gently held her while I did my best to
clean her up with water. She was tiny but amazingly strong
and loud as she struggled to squirm away from me. I
handed Melanie to Barbara while the doctor took care of the
afterbirth. Her mother leaned over and smiled at her new
granddaughter.
“She s a cute little girl. I bet Molly will be
I smiled.
I can t wait to tell Mrs.
delighted to have a sister. And
Carson that y
ou had a girl.”
laughed. “Yes, she will be pleased.”
Barbara
“It was scary to watch,” I confessed. “But when I
saw Melanie, I realized you were right. It is worth it.”
“I m glad you were here.”
“I wouldn t have missed it for anything.”
“Everything looks good,” the doctor said. He
s temperature and heart rate. Then he
checked Barbara
checked Melanie to see how she was doing. “I m giving
both of you a clean bill of health. You ve been through this
before, so you know what do but remember to get plenty of
rest.”
Melanie continued crying.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
He chuckled.
“Well,
get as much rest as you can.
I ll
tell the father the good news and be on my way.”
Her mother and I finished gathering the towels and
blankets and took them to the laundry. John came in shortly
after the doctor left and Calvin, Bruce and Molly got to meet
their baby sister. After her mother and I were done washing
the laundry, I hung the things up to dry and asked if there
was anything else I could do. I was anxious to go home and
tell Todd that Barbara and John had a girl. They said that
there was nothing more they needed, so I went home to tell
Todd the good news.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Todd’s Point of View
Alex wrote me a letter to tell me that he and Agnes
would be visiting for a couple of days in July. I thought that
Ann pretended to be upset that they married since she had
vowed to never let him become her brother-in-law, but
Alex s hesitation to stay in our guest bedroom gave me an
idea to have a good time with my childhood friend.
Ann offered to come with me into town to pick Alex
and Agnes up from the train station, but I asked her if she
would practice her shooting in the barn by the time we
returned. She asked me why I wanted her to do this, but I
told her it would become obvious soon enough. She
shrugged and agreed to my strange request. It felt good to
leave her alone and know she was comfortable with it.
Alex and Agnes looked very happy together, and I
couldn t believe how much he
had changed. He was more
serious, though he did tell some good jokes. He had
matured in college. I noticed how Agnes face glowed
whenever he looked at her. I was glad he was treating my
sister well.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Ann kept her word and was in the barn practicing her
shot with the rifle by the time we entered the barn. I grinned
as soon as I saw her. She was starting to show in her
pregnancy, so she looked especially feminine even though
she was holding a gun in her hands.
She stopped shooting and came over to us.
“Hello,
Agnes and Alex.”
Alex ducked when she swung the gun his way.
I bit
my lower lip so I wouldn t laugh. She was so
used to the gun that she didn t notice she was waving it
around.
“When are you due to give birth?” Agnes asked,
delighted to see her.
“Either late November or early December deciding
on when the baby s ready to come out.” She hugged Agnes.
“You ll be an aunt soon enough.”
“Good. I can t wait to spoil my niece or nephew.”
This was beginning to get boring. I cleared my throat
and nodded at Alex.
“Oh. Hello, Alex. Did you enjoy your trip?” Ann
asked. She waved the gun in his direction.
“Watch where you re
pointing that thing!” he
squeaked as he hid behind me.
I burst out laughing. It was fun to watch him run from
her like that.
Her eyes grew wide. “I forgot I had this in my
hands.” She quickly went to put it away.
“How could she forget something like that?” he
whispered.
I noted the sweat on his brow.
I told her he was scared of her. Ever since she
dumped sand on us, he had been on his guard around her.
But she wasn t aware of his reaction to her, which made it
even more humorous.
She walked back over to us. “Did you have a good
trip?”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“It was wonderful,” Agnes nodded, also unaware of
Alex s hesitation around Ann. “It s much more fun to travel
when you re with someone you love.” She glanced at Alex
and smiled.
“Alex, I m looking forward to getting to know you as
Todd s friend instead of the annoying boy who pulled pranks
on everyone,” Ann said. “I better get starte
d on dinner. You
two must be famished.”
Agnes hastened to her. “Can I help? There s so
much I want to tell you.”
“Sure.”
I watched Alex gulp nervously as Ann and Agnes
went to the house. Of course, I could only hear Agnes
talking. My sister rarely stopped to take a breath.
“Why don t we eat in town?” he asked.
I shook my head. “What s wrong with you? Ann s
going out of her way to be nice to you. She never would
have done that in Virginia.”
He followed me as I brought the horses and wagon
into the barn.
“She s only being nice to make me feel safe until she
her revenge on me,” he insisted.
can spring
“You re paranoid.”
“Am I? Agnes told me that Ann called me „Creepy
Alex while we were growing up. She even said that Ann
once told her that sh
e d
kill me if I ever became her brother-
in-
law. Do you think she s going to do something to the
dinner?”
After the wagon was in its proper spot, I unhooked
the horses. I knew I shouldn t increase his anxiety but the
“I ll tell you what.
moment seemed too good to pass up.
You ride Thunder and I ll ride Lightning.” I
got the horses
ready while I talked. “We ll take a race. If you win, we ll eat
in town. If I win, we ll eat here. Deal?”
He shifted from one foot to the other.
“I don t like to
ets anymore.”
make b
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“Just because you re going to be a preacher doesn t
mean you can t have some good old fashioned fun. I
promise you that Ann will not do anything to your food.”
“I don t know.”
“Wouldn t it be good to have a race for old time s
sake? We u
sed to have a lot of fun. Sometimes I miss it.”
He sighed.
“I do too. When you go off to college,
everyone expects you to be serious.”
“Great. So throw off your hat and let s have some
fun!”
“Alright. But if I win, we re eating in town.”
“Agreed.”
As we got up on the horses, I asked him how long he
planned to stay.
“Two days,” he said. “Agnes and I still have to visit
my aunt and uncle.”
“How are they doing?”
“They re doing well. They wanted me to stop by here
first so I can give them an update on your progress out
here.”
“Then I ll have to give you a tour tomorrow.”
We urged our horses forward. I pointed to the route
we should use in our race. “Are you ready?”
He grinned. “On the count of three. One, two…” He
took off.
“You cheater!”
I spurred my horse to action.
The ride felt wonderful, and I won despite his effort to
gain a head start.
“We eat here tonight!” I cheered. “Ann s making your
favorite dish. Pot roast with vegetables. She s going all out
for you and Agnes. She
Agnes favorite meal
ll make
tomorrow.”
“I can t wait.” He didn t sound enthusiastic.
By the time we went into the house, Ann was almost
done with the meal. Alex sat next to Agnes on the couch so
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I slipped into the kitchen, wrapped my arms around Ann and
kissed her on the side of the neck.
She jumped. “Why don t I ever hear you when you
come into the kitchen?”
I chuckled. “Alex and I had a race to see if we were
going to eat here or in town. I won so we ll be eating here.”
She frowned and turned from the sink where she
was washing some bowls. “Why doesn t he want to eat my
food?”
“He s afraid you re going to put something bad in
it. I
ld him you wouldn t but he believes the worst.”
to
“I can t believe this. I went to great lengths to be
nice to him in the barn, and this is how he thanks me?

For Ann, it probably was a big effort on her part. “I
know. You were wonderful.” I kissed her soapy hand. “I
ink Agnes told Alex the „Creepy Alex rants
th
you had while
we were growing up. It s got him paranoid.”
She seemed ready to protest but then she looked out
the window and slyly grinned.
“What are you planning?” I liked it when she had that
twinkle in her eye.
“You ll see.” She kissed me on the cheek. “I don t
.”
want you to have to share the blame
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Just keep Alex and Agnes out of here. I want him to
know that no one was in here with me
.”
I couldn t wait to see what she was scheming. And
fortunately, I didn t have to wait long. As soon as we sat
at
the table, Alex led us in prayer.
“Lord, we thank You for the chance to get together,”
he began. “Most of all, we thank You for Your protection
from things we cannot see that may be out to harm us.
Please watch over us while we eat this meal and give us

long life afterwards. Amen.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
I struggled to hold in my laughter, but Ann s own
quiet giggles didn t help. She nudged me in the side, which
only made the situation that much more funny.
“What is so funny?” Agnes wondered, bewildered. “I
lovely prayer.”
thought that was a
I couldn t look at Ann. I knew I would burst out
laughing if I did. Instead, I focused on my little sister.
“We re just so happy you two are here.”
“Oh, that s nice.” S
he smiled, content with the
answer.
Alex hesitated to eat the food on his plate. He
glanced around the table and sighed.
Agnes brought a fork full of pot roast up to her
mouth.
“Agnes, stop!” Ann cried out. “I
gave you the wrong
” She ran over to the other side of the table and
plate.
switched Agnes and Alex s plates. “There. That s better. I
wanted to give the bigger potato to Alex. I know how you
men need your strength.” She sat next to me and took a bite
. “Isn t anyone else going to eat?”
of the food on her plate
I stared at her in awe. How could she do that with a
straight face?
I tried to eat but I was too busy fighting off my
laughter to do so.
“This is delicious,” Agnes said after she took a bite.
She glanced at Alex. “You should eat some. It s your
favorite dish.”
“I m not that hungry. Maybe
I should just share your
plate,” he replied.
“You haven t eaten anything since this morning.”
“Traveling affects my appetite.”
“You ate just fine last night.”
“Are you lying, Alex?” I pretended to be shocked.
“You can t preach the Bible
and lie.”
“I m not lying. I really don t have much of an
appetite.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Ann groaned.
“Alex, I did nothing to yo
ur food. I
must admit I m disheartened that you would think I would do
such a thing.”
“Well, you did put a squirrel in
my bag during the
when we were fifteen,” he told her.
Christmas performance
“I did not.”
“Sure you did. There wasn t anyone else who could
have done it.”
“Oh no?” I spoke up.
He gasped as he turned his attention to me. “You
did it?”
“Yes,” I admitted.
“But why? We were suppo
sed to play pranks on
other people, not each other.”
“Do you remember that day you made me eat bugs
when we were twelve? Ann said I didn t ha
ve to eat the
me to either eat the bugs or kiss her?”
bugs but you told
He grinned. “That was great. I actuall
y wondered
which one you d pick. You were always praising her. It
would have been more fun if you had kissed her in front of
the whole school.”
“No. It wouldn t
have been fun. I was twelve.
Kissing girls was embarrassing back then.”
“So you waited f
or three years to put a squirrel in my
bag?”
“I have a lot of patience.”
Ann placed her hand on my thigh and smiled at me.
“Thank goodness
for that.”
I returned her smile.
“So
you see, you re perfectly safe,” Agnes said. “I
swear, all the way out here, he kept fretting over all the
things he was afraid you were going to do to him. Now he
knows who he really has to watch out for
.”
“Then explain why she changed our plates around,”
he insisted.
“She wanted to give you the bigger potato.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
“I was just
playing
with you, Alex,” Ann interrupted.
“I didn t touch your plate.”
“If it makes you feel better, you can have mine,” I
offered as I exchanged my plate with his
. “Now if I die in the
morning, you ll know you were right.” I took a bite. “This is
really good, Ann. Once again, you outdid yourself
.”
She blushed from my compliment.
“Thank you.”
“I guess I was wron
Alex slowly picked up his fork.
g.
I m sorry, Ann.”
“It s alright, Alex. I spent a
lot of time calling you
„creepy ,
d your hesitation.”
so I can understan
“I won t call you „Scary Annie anymore. Peace?”
“Peace.”
It was good to see them finally getting along.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Todd’s Point of View
Ann s parents and Ginny moved to Jamestown in
August, and the harvest came shortly after that so I spent
most of my time in the fields. Her father offered to help and
seemed to enjoy the process. It was hard work, but it was
work I enjoyed. I didn t mis
s sitting at a desk at the bank
even though it meant regular work hours and weekends off.
Besides, by the time the crop was taken care of, I had plenty
of time to spend around the house getting things ready for
the baby.
John gave us a bassinet he made, and Barbara, Ann
and her mother sewed baby clothes. Whenever they
discussed the details of giving birth and taking care of a
newborn, I would find something else to do, even if her
father or John wasn t around. I was happy and anticipated
the birth of my child, but enjoyed my ignorance on the topics
Ann loved to discuss. To her credit, she simply let me feel
the baby kick and didn t say anything else.
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
It was late November when I woke up in the middle
of the night and saw Ann sitting on the bed and staring out
the window.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“I think the baby s getting ready to come.”
I sat up in bed. “Why didn t you wake me?”
She smiled. “It takes awhile. I could be in labor for a
day. There s no sense in both of us not getting much
sleep
tonight.”
Now I was beginning to wonder if I should have
asked for some of the details. “How long do you think it will
be? When should I get the doctor?”
“The contractions should be five minutes apart when

you get the doctor.
“Then I should probably keep track of them for you.”
“You don t have to start yet. They re far apart.
Besides, I ll keep an eye on the clock. I would like
Barbara
and my parents to also be here when the time comes.
Barbara wants to help and I know my parents are eager to
see their grandchild.”
“Alright. Just tell me when I need to go.” I wished
there was more I could do for her, but I knew it was
something she had to do alone. “If you need anything, will
you let me know?”
She nodded. “I m going to do some cleaning
downstairs. Try to get some sleep.”
“Shouldn t you be taking it easy?”
“If I do that, the night will pass too slowly. I have to
do something.” She leaned over and kissed me. “You re
going to be a wonderful father. I keep praying your father
to come here once the baby is born.”
will want
I sighed and squeezed her hand. “Even if he
doesn t, I ll be alright. You and our baby is what I m
concerned about.”
She left the room and I managed to go back to sleep.
I didn t realize I had slept in so
long until I went down to the
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
kitchen after getting dressed. It was almost
nine. I didn t
late. “Ann? Where are you?”
usually sleep this
She didn t reply.
I immediately ran through the house and breathed a
sigh of relief when I saw her doing laundry in the small room
off to the side of the parlor. Though I could tell she was in a
lot of pain, she
didn t scream as I expected her to.
When her face relaxed, I asked, “How far apart are
your contractions and what are you doing in here?”
“I m getting things ready. I ve decided to give birth in
here since it s the easiest room to clean. I have clean
blankets, towels and clothes in the corner next to some
clean water. It s really a matter of waiting. I already cleaned
the downstairs. I got bored so I began washing some dirty
clothes. I m almost done.”
“Ann, you re pushing yourself too hard.” I didn t mean
stern but her actions worried me. I didn t want her
to sound
to wear herself out.
“The work keeps my mind off the pain. I can
ntrate on something else.”
manage it better if I conce
“I never realized how worrisome
the whole process
could be on the husband,” I admitted, softening my tone. I
watch. “So your last contraction just
took out my pocket
ended?”
She nodded. She turned her attention back to the
clothes.
I couldn t think of anything to talk about, so I just
stood there and stared at my watch. When she paused and
gripped the sides of the wringer, I knew she was in pain
again. I forced myself n
ot to snap at her. “You re f
our
minutes apart, Ann.”
I didn t wait for her response. I simply grabbed my
coat and boots and rushed out to Lightning. The horse was
hungry but he d have to wait. My first stop was at
Barbara
and John s house.
Barbara immediately jumped on her
267

Falling In Love With Her Husband
horse and headed over so I could go into town to get the
doctor and her parents.
“When did her labor start?” the doctor asked as he
collected his bag and coat.
“Around four
in the morning. She was supposed to
tell me when her contractions were five minutes apart but
when I got up, they were already four minutes apart.”
“I hope I make it there in time.”
He didn t say anything else, and I didn t feel like
asking him if she was in danger because she waited too
long. Again, I wished I had asked for the details but
shrugged off the thought and went to tell her parents.
“We ll leave shortly,” her father said.
Her mother was too excited to talk.
I rode the horse hard back to the house. I was
anxious to find out how she was doing. Lightning protested
when I didn t feed him, but I ignored him and went into the
house. On my way from the barn, I shook my head at the
sight of the clean laundry hanging on the line. I hoped
had talked some sense into Ann. She really didn t
Barbara
need to be doing work when she was about to give birth.
Barbara ran out of the scullery room, looking
irritated.
“Is she alright?” I asked,
alarmed.
“Oh, she s fine. She s just stubborn, that s all.
Did
you know she was hanging up laundry when I got here?
She nearly doubled over in pain when I came up to her.
She kept saying that she needed to focus on something
else, but I made her lie down. She really shouldn t push
herself so hard. That baby
is eager to come out. I don t
know if the doctor will get here in time. I may need your
help.”
She grabbed a bucket of water and turned to go
back to Ann.
I hadn t realized I beat the doct
or in getting back. He
probably didn t
know about the shortcut. I wished I had told
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
him because by this time, Ann wa
sn t holding back her
screams, and quite frankly, I didn t want to go through this.
But I followed Barbara into the room. I had never seen a
woman in labor and from the look on Ann s face, I could see
that the pain was intense.
“Here.”
Barbara handed me some clean towels
. “I ll
hand you the baby. It
s head is starting to come out.”
The room started to spin around me. I felt like I was
going to pass out.
Fortunately, the doctor entered the room at that
moment. “I ll take over from here,” he told me.
I didn t argue with him. I handed him the towels and
left the room. I hadn t expected it to be so hard to watch
Ann like that. I wished I could take the pain for her.
“I see the head,” the doctor s
aid.
How could he be so calm?
“You re doing good, Ann. When I say to push, push,”
he told her.
I felt sick. I had to get outside. As soon as I stood
on the porch, I took a deep breath. The cold air settled my
stomach. Ann s parents climbed up the p
orch steps. I was
thankful for the distraction from listening to Ann scream.
“I think this is a situation
where we should be out of
the way
,” her father said as her mother ran into the house.
He sat in the chair.
I was too nervous to sit. Ann had stopped
screaming.
“It s not easy for us men either, though the women
do all the work,” he acknowledged. “Are there any chores
that need to be done?”
It took me a moment to remember the horses. “I
haven t fed the horses yet.”
The sound of a baby crying interrupted my thoughts.
“Todd! It s a boy!”
Barbara called out from the front
door. She walked out. “Ann and the baby are doing fine.
269

Falling In Love With Her Husband
She practically gave birth all by herself. I
can t believe she
.”
progressed that fast. I wish my labors were that easy
I smiled, relieved and glad it was over but also
anxious to see Ann and our son.
“Ann s mother is washing the baby and the doctor is
taking care of Ann.
We ll bring the baby out after the doctor
says it s alright.” She quickly went back into the
house.
“I ll feed those horses for you,” he offered.
“Thank you.” Feeding the horses was the last thing
on my mind. I wanted to see what the baby looked like and
make sure Ann was feeling well.
After what was five minutes but seemed like forever,
Ann s
mother came out holding a swaddled tiny baby in her
arms. “He s
precious.” S
he smiled as she gently placed him
in my arms. “He has ten little fingers and toes and little bit of
light brown hair on his head.”
I was surprised that he was asleep after all the crying
he had done just a couple minutes ago. He seemed small
and fragile. He yawned. I laughed. It was an amazing
experience to know I was holding my son.
“Did you and Ann decide on a name?” she asked.
I looked at her in surprise. “Didn t she tell you?”
“She said she wanted to wait until after he was born.”
“Nathaniel
Alexander Brothers.”
“What a nice name.”
The doctor came out of the house and shook my
hand. “Congratulations! Mother and child are doing fine.
Ann can have as many kids as you two want. She handles
labor very well. In the future though, notify me when her
contractions are about seven minutes apart. She gives birth
faster than most women. Now I already talked to her about
not waiting so long next time, so you don t have
to worry
about that. Ann is ready for you to see her. Good day.” He
nodded to Mrs. Statesman who smiled in return.
“I m going to tell Ann s father the news,” she said.
270

Falling In Love With Her Husband
I walked into the house, careful not to disturb
couldn t stop smiling.
Nathaniel who was still sleeping. I
came out of the scullery room. “I just
Barbara
finished cleaning up in
there. I
m going to take the dirty
blankets and clothes to my home and wash them and bring
them back so Ann won t worry about it. Knowing her, she ll
probably try to do more laundry before the day is over. The
doctor made sure she understood she has to take it easy for
the next two weeks. I don t know if she ll listen, but between
me, Mrs. Carson and her mother, we should be able to do
she can relax and focus on the baby.”
enough of the work so
“I appreciate that,
Barbara. I know she can be
stubborn.”
laughed. “She wanted
She
to see you right after the
baby was born but kept telling us to wait until she was
presentable. She said you looked like you were going to
faint when you thought you were going to be there for the
birth, and she wanted to spare you from seeing anything
else. She really does love you, Todd. Anyway, would you
tell Ann I ll be back this evening with a meal for everyone?”
I nodded.
After she left, I went into the scullery room where
Ann was lying on a couple of blankets on the floor. I sat
next to her and lightly tapped her on the arm. If she was
asleep, I d let her stay that way. But she opened her eyes
and smiled at me.
“How are
you feeling?” I asked her.
“Wonderful.
was right. I don t even
Barbara
remember the pain. As soon as he cried, it was all worth it.

“I didn t think it was possible, but you are more
beautiful than I ve ever seen you.”
“I m a mess.”
“You re my wife
who just gave me a son. You re the
most beautiful woman in the world.” I leaned over and
kissed her. “I love you.”
Tears filled her eyes. “I love you too.”
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Falling In Love With Her Husband
This time I didn t mind it that she was crying.
***
That Christmas, Ann wanted to have her parents and
Ginny over so she could do the entertaining. The house
was filled with a lot of warmth. The smell of ham, potatoes,
and cake filled the air. Her mother held Nathaniel while Ann
and Ginny took care of the cooking. Her father and I got the
sleigh ready for a ride. Shortly before dinner was ready,
there was a knock at the door. The women were so busy
talking, I doubted they even heard the knocking. When I
opened the door, I paused, stunned.
My parents stood on the porch.
My father cleared his throat. He had his hat in his
hands. “May we please come in?”
t speak. Finally, I
For a moment, I couldn
stepped
aside so they could enter the house.
“May I join the women?” my mother asked.
I nodded. “Of course.”
Ann s father smiled and led my
mother to the kitchen
so my father and I could be alone.
Feeling awkward, I closed the door. “Would you like
to sit
?”
“Yes, I would.”
He’s as nervous as I am.
I took a deep breath as I
sat across from him
. I couldn t think of what to say, so I
waited for him to speak.
“I came to apologize,” he
slowly
began. “I
feel like a
fool.” He shifted in the chair. “Will you let me into your life?”
I fought back the swell of emotion that came over
me. “You have always been my father. I would like to have
you back in my life. I am sorry for the way I left. I was afraid
you would talk me out of it if you knew.”
272

Falling In Love With Her Husband
He smiled
. “Yes, I would have, but that would have
been wrong. You were right. You have to follow your path,
.”
not mine
“Thank you.”
Ann and my mother stepped into the parlor. My
mother held Nathaniel in her arms.
Ann smiled. “It s
good to see you, Mr. Brothers. Will
you be staying here for a couple of days? We have a guest
bedroom.”
My parents and Ann looked at me.
“It would be nice to
,” I replied.
talk
My father nodded
. “Yes, we will stay for three days.
Thank you.”
“His name is Nathaniel,” she told Father, smiling at
the baby. “May he see him?” she asked me.
“Of course,” I softly replied.
“We ll leave you two
alone,” Ann said.
We nodded as they left.
Father grinned. “I remember the day you were born.
I held you in my arms and you looked so much like this little
one. Where did the year
s go?” He sighed. “In the end, it s
family that matters. It s not what you do with your life, it s
who you do it with. The job at the bank isn t worth losing my
relationship with you.”
“I appreciate that. And who knows? Maybe he ll
want to be a banker. He might even want to work in
Virginia. But it has to be his choice.”
“You are a good
He wiped the tears in his eyes.
son
.”
We spent the next ten minutes talking about what I
was doing and what was happening back in Virginia.
I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye.
Ann stood by the parlor doorway, smiling at us. When she
realized we saw her, she announced that dinner was ready.
I waited until Father entered the kitchen so I could
have a moment alone with her.
273

Falling In Love With Her Husband
“How did it go?” she asked.
“Very well.”
“I m glad. We ve all been praying for a reconciliation.
What a great Christmas gift. It makes the hat I gave you fail
in comparison.”
“You had people praying for me and my father all this
time?”
She nodded. “I wanted to see you two on good
terms again.”
I hugged her. “The greatest Christmas gift I have
ever received is your love. You have made my life
complete. Merry Christmas, Ann.”
“Merry Christmas, Todd.”
We kissed before we entered the kitchen.
274

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