Chapter 5

Written by: Ray Stone

“I’m Phoebe,” said the girl, grinning. “You look too nice to have done anything bad.” She propped the broom against the counter and wiped her hands down the long white apron covering her gray dress. A cloud of dust and flour swirled up from the floor as she stamped to clear flour from the top of her laced boots. She raised her skirts and stepped over Brown. “You’d better hide before this one comes too,” she said. “What’s your name?”

“Liam,” he answered, wheezing hard.  He looked down at Brown and then with longing at the open door onto the street. The urge to escape was great but leaving Phoebe alone was something he couldn’t do. He sighed and resigned himself to his fate.

“Don’t worry about him,” giggled Phoebe, hands on hips.  “I’ll tell him I was aiming for you and missed. There’s a room upstairs. Go and hide until he’s gone.” She pointed to a door behind them.

There was a loud groan as Brown stirred beneath them. Liam breathed deeply, stepped behind the counter, and bounded up the stairs two at a time.

                                                                   ******************

A blustery wind blew fresh snow off the top of the bakery roof. As the snow swirled downward it beat a light tattoo against Liam’s bedroom window, waking him as a dark dawn slowly emerged. The snow had come early and one storm after another had left the main street in deep drifts, turned into a brown slush by horses pulling heavy carts.

Liam gradually opened his eyes. Phoebe was up and the thick blanket had slipped down past his shoulders. He shivered and rubbed his cold nose. Strands of vapor spiraled upwards from his mouth as he yawned. From below, he could hear her shoveling coal into the furnace. The place would smell of bread soon and men from the yard would be knocking on the door for their lunches.

He looked out at the falling snow, reflecting on his situation with a heavy heart. Phoebe had taught him to cook and bake over the last six months and he told her stories of his beloved Ireland. An infatuation had turned into love and his life could not have been happier.  

His heart began beating faster. He was torn between love and his dream to work on the railroad. Their conversation that night had lasted into the dark after the oil lamp had burned itself out.

Downstairs, Liam ate breakfast alone, listening to Phoebe load the oven. When she returned she was crying and told him to leave right away.

 She hugged and kissed him passionately, whispering she would wait for him to return. Then, gently pushing him away, she looked into his eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks and mouthed good bye.

Choking back emotion, Liam left the shop and pulled his collar up against the bitter wind.

The railway beckoned.

Raymond Stone (USA)

Comments

Six months together has to do something for any two people in love. Great read Mat and good lead in for the next chapter
Read that as Raymond great chapter. Next time I'll pit my glasses on to finish the detail
I don't understand your comment.
Maybe I could be called Mat Raymond and have the best of both
worlds.
Never trust anyone with two front names Raymond. Stay with what you've got.
I like the fact you are developing a conflict in Liam. "He was torn between love and his dream to work on the railroad." But I do not "see" or "feel it." Even the kiss is written "She hugged and kissed him passionately" What was he doing? Did he respond. Okay they slept together, but the one time you mention that she is up and gone and he is in bed alone. Why not have him lay in bed with her in his arms and a joke about how cold it is? You need more "show" just telling in this case is almost as cold as the snow falling of the roof. Feeling wise this left me a little cold. I also wonder why there is no dialogue in this whole piece. A little "sweet talking" is a big part of expressing love.