“But baby, sweetheart, certainly you don’t want to dump that awful child off on me, do you?”

“What else do you propose I do, Wynonna?”

“Well, darling, you know, he is getting quite old.”

“Is he?”

“And people in the towns are talking….”

“Are they?”

“Oh, they sure are! They say, ‘When is that rich, handsome factory owner going to marry off his sad, pathetic son?’”

“I don’t know, Wyn, Jacob isn’t ready to get married.”

“Now Isaac, you and I both know that the only reason you’re holding on to him so tight is because he reminds you of your poor, unfortunate, deceased wife, God rest her soul.”

Jacob closed the vent and walked away from the wall. For months, he knew that his step-mother was up to something. Usually, the something was bad. Whenever his father wen away on a business trip of any sort, he’d come back to find that there were two knew ponies in the bar for Winnifred or they entire ballroom had new crystal windows. Did she really think that she was going to be able to send him away to get married?

Of course, Jacob knew better than to even ask that Wynonna had his father wrapped around her little finger. He would do whatever pleased her, as long as she bad it sound like it was for his benefit and really the only charitable thing to do. It was amazing how manipulative the woman could be, even before breakfast.

Jacob trudged up the winding staircase to his bedroom, the only room in the house to which his step-mother did not hold the key. He pulled the small iron key out of his pocket and locked the door with a click. Wynonna could have the whole mansion if she wanted, but this was his room and he needed this much.

But if Wynonna had her way, he wouldn’t even have this. She’d marry him off to some poor whore, making it sound like his idea, and leave them both to a life of sin and poverty. Then convince his father to disown him, as it would be the only charitable thing for a father to do. He would never have a choice, never have any say. As long as he stayed on this forsaken island, it seemed to be his destiny. Jacob kicked a plush black satin pillow under his bed and something squeaked.

He dropped to the floor and looked under the bed. Once his eyes adjusted, he saw two green eyes staring back at him.

“Winnifred, get out from under there.”

His step-sister pulled herself out from under the bed. “You’re leaving,” she stated simply, brushing her dirty blonde hair out of her face. She sat on the floor, and frowned like a dejected puppy.

“I never said that….”

“But you thought it, Jacob!” she pouted some more. Jacob looked at her sideways. She had a way of knowing his thoughts even before he did sometimes, a gift which perplexed him. Winnifred folded her little hands in her lap and looked down. “Mother doesn’t mean it….”

Jacob shook his head and pulled his younger sister into his arms. “Unfortunately, she does.”

Winnifred wrapped her arms around him. She nuzzled her head against his shoulder. “The only way to get away from her is to leave. And I’ll never see you again.”

“Don’t be silly, I’ll come back.”

Winnifred looked at him with her big green eyes. “No, you won’t.”

“Why do you think that?”

Instead of answering, she buried her head into his chest again. Jacob stroked her hair. “Be a good girl?”

Winnifred nodded. “I’ll take care of Sunfire… and the dogs, too.”

It was Jacob’s turn to nod. He pulled away from his sister. “You’d better go, before you get caught. You know you’re not supposed to see me.”

Winnifred pulled away and wiped the tears from around her eyes. As she was about to leave the room, she turned around and smiled halfway. “I love you, big brother.”

Then she disappeared into the corridors. Jacob had a dark feeling in his gut that she was right; he would never see her again.

.

Word: Marriage. || Time: 15 minutes. || Character: Jacob leBrenne.

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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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