Moments With James

My First and Last

As I returned to my home, I let out a huff as I found Mama standing at the front, her arms crossed, peering her sharp pointed eyes directly at me as I approached her.

"Jane, where have you been?" Mama demanded, sternly.

"I told you, Mama. I went to fetch us some water. I put the barrel in the back while you were still inside."

Without a word, Mama pointed her long, stiff finger towards the side of the cottage, where the empty barrel laid on its side.

"Oh," I gapped as I searched my mind, desperate for an explanation. "I actually went to, um…"

"I will hear no more of your lies," Mama interrupted, annoyed. "The Lord punishes sinners. Do you understand me, Jane? Now, I want the truth. Where exactly did you go?"

Fortunately for me, before I had the chance to respond, we both heard hooves stomping on the ground. I turned my head to see a man with short blonde wavy hair riding towards our cottage.

"Ah, James has arrived to meet you," Mama informed in an unchanged tone. "It is unfortunate we had no time to clean you up prior to his arrival."

I could not help by smile, as James demounted his brown horse and tied it up. This was the second time he has aided me and he was not even aware. Perhaps I should give him a chance. If he truly comes to care for me, then maybe I could get him to pay Lucas's debt.

"James, I am happy to see you arrived safely," Mama greeted without a smile as she grabbed my hand and urgently dragged me towards him. "This is my daughter, Jane."

James's mouth formed a shy but friendly smile as he nervously extended his hand. "Nice to finally meet, Jane. You are, indeed, very pretty."

I trembled, blushing, slightly as I ran my fingers down the front of my hair, brushing it away from the face and muttered, "Thank you."

"Well, I will leave the two of you alone." Mama stepped towards the door. "I should see if Lucas has awaken."

I sighed as Mama closed the door behind her.

James held out his hand to me. "Shall we walk?"

Accepting it, I nodded as we plowed through the meadow, though remained close to home. I had no desire to hear more of Mama's lectures.

"I know this is sudden," James began, softly, looking down as we walked. "Your mother seemed quite forceful when she spoke with my parents."

I nodded in understanding. "I am sorry about her. She is a rather pushy woman. I assure you I am nothing like her."

James chuckled a little. "That comes to my relief, I must say. Though I suppose I understand, with your father gone, she must act strong for your family."

"That does make sense," I agreed, briefly glancing at him, smiling. "Except for she was already that way even before he passed away."

"Still, you seem sad to leave," James pointed out as we came to a stop.

"It is my brother of whom I will miss," I explained solemnly. "Growing up together we have always been quite close."

"I see," James answered quietly.

In our few moments of silence, I thought of the deal I made with Percy, wondering when would be the appropriate time to inform James of the debt. Now did not seem right since he could still, at this time, refuse to marry me, dooming Lucas.

"I was thinking," James began breaking our reticence. "Perhaps I could build us a home, not far from here so you will have the freedom to visit your brother as you please."

My eyes sparkled, blissfully, as I gazed up at him. "That would be wonderful."

He beamed, his blue eyes shining. Finally, I have come to accept my fate. After all, I know I must marry someday so why not now. James seems like a decent man, one I will be happy with. In my mind, I pictured our future, our children, a little boy and girl running wild across the meadow as Lucas and I once did. I thought of my brother coming to visit, playing gleefully with his niece and nephew, the long, fulfilled life I will have.

My thoughts became interrupted as I heard the sound of several hooves, beating the ground. I turn my head to observe the riders approaching our home, red hair stood out to me amongst them.

"You cannot take her, Watson!" I heard Lucas shout, as Watson's men held him down. "You have no proof!"

"I have all the proof I need," Watson retorted, smugly as I waved his opposite hand. "You know, you could have avoided this, Lucas, had you been more responsible."

James took hold of my hand. "What is going on?"

Before I could answer, my brother shouted desperately, "Jane, RUN!"

To my best ability, I dashed, but my feet could not move like the hooves of a horse. Percy lashed his whip around my arm, knocking me to the ground, my heart furiously pumping blood.

As he slid off his horse, Percy firmly grabbed my arm, raising me to my feet, declaring, "Jane, I hear by accuse you of witchcraft."

A/N: This was a short piece I used for my Creative Writing class last spring. I am considering expanding on this, making it a full length novel, but before doing so I would like to get some opinions on what you thought of this story as a whole. Any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading!