Jenny and David Series #2 – Love Me Tender (by Cinderella)

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Summary: Jenny gets her first teaching job, and she and David build a house. Short but sweet–more of a happy story, doesn’t really have any action. All reviews are very appreciated!! Sequel to Love is Blind

Rated: K+ (6,050 words)


Jenny and David Series:

Love is Blind
Love Me Tender
Bleeding Love

 

 

‘Love Me Tender’

Jenny was already at the table by the time Ben came down. “Up early, I see,” he wrapped his robe more snuggly around his waist.

She nodded. All the color had drained from her face.

“Nervous?” he sat down as Hop Sing offered some coffee.

She nodded again, averting his eyes.

“Oh, don’t be! You’ll be a wonderful teacher,” he patted her hand.

“I know I shouldn’t be, but I am,” she sipped her coffee. “I had better go get ready.” Her knees felt weak under her. Once in her room, she opened a window and let in the crisp air. Her new deep crimson school dress had been pressed to perfection. She put on her corset. After a few minutes of gasping and tugging at the laces, she was satisfied. Then came her corset cover, and her pantaloons, then the dress. Oh, it was lovely. The fabric had tiny navy bunches of flowers on it and buttons that looked like juicy ripe raspberries. The ruffle at the hem swished as she walked about. It showed her beautiful, slim figure, but her stature as well. Pinning her golden hair in a loose bun, she grabbed her schoolbooks and ledger and put them in some old saddlebags.

Ben and the boys gasped when they saw her.

She hugged her father tightly.

“We, the boys and I, got you something,” he pulled out a wrapped box.

She tore through the paper and found a handsome gold watch sitting on blue velvet. Her mouth flew open. “Thank you! All of you,” her voice cracked.

Joe fastened the string around her neck. It looked sharp with her new dress. “We had better be going. The teacher can’t be late on her first day!”

Ben chuckled.

Adam took the saddlebags and threw them over Sport.

“Where are you three going with my books?” she inquired as Ben helped her into the sleek buggy.

“We thought on ridin’ with ya, if that’s all right,” Hoss blushed.

She laughed and smiled her real smile, the smile that few people had the chance to see.

The boys mounted up and trotted along beside them. It seemed like a lifetime before they got to Virginia City, though it had only been about two hours. The cool autumn air nipped at her cheeks and nose. The children in the schoolyard stopped playing at the sight of Ben Cartwright and his sons. One of the older boys gulped. He had heard about these ones. In fact, the oldest, Adam, had subbed for Miss Scott, before the scandal. But she got married soon after that, and they needed a new teacher. Jenny’s face flushed. Her heart was in her throat as Ben helped her down and waved goodbye.

Her footsteps sounded loud. She swallowed and unlocked the old schoolhouse. Had it really only been a year since she had graduated? Making her way to the pinewood desk, memories flooded her mind. She set her books on the desk and hung her shawl and bonnet on the pegs on the opposite wall. By her new watch, it was only 8:50. She had to get through the next ten minutes without being sick to her stomach. She grasped a piece of chalk firmly and wrote her name and the lessons she had prepared on the board.

Then, taking a deep breath, she opened the door and called her pupils in. They silently filed in one by one. Once they had taken their seats, she went back to the front and smiled. “School will come to order. My name is Miss Cartwright,” she paused thoughtfully. Not for long; in three months I’ll be Mrs. Williams. She broke away from her reverie. “I am to be your teacher for this year, and hopefully in the years to come. Now, you know my name, and I’d like to know yours. Please come to my desk and give me your name and your age. Mrs. Rider, your last teacher, has already told me where you are in your studies. Girls first, please, youngest to oldest.” She sat on the straight backed chair and pulled out her tablet to record the names. A tiny girl made her way to the desk. “A-Anna Gurley, ma’am. I’m s-seven years old,” she stammered. Oh, she’s a shy one. But she’s so cute. “Thank you, Anna. You may take your seat,” Jenny smiled again. Anna hurried back as another girl came forward. “Ellen Baker, eight years old, ma’am.” Not at all shy…she won’t be any trouble. Jenny nodded and Ellen sat down. Then there was Jane Cummings, who was 10 years old and Josh Cumming’s only child; he owned the Bucket of Blood saloon. Next were the Bilingsly twins, Connie and Beth Anne, who were ten. Their family owned the top selling mercantile in the city. Dinah Belle Strong was next. She was thirteen. Her family owned a small ranch near the Ponderosa. April Bond, who was fifteen, was the last and oldest girl. Her mother was the local dressmaker.

The boys came forward. There was Harold Miller, who this year had just started school at six. James Strong, who was ten, came next. He was Dinah Belle’s brother. His parents owned a successful ranch beside the Truckee. Eddy Bilingsly, the oldest of the Bilingsly children, was fourteen and a bit haughty. Isaac Cummings, Jane’s cousin, was the second oldest. He was sixteen. Then the oldest boy, who was seventeen, was Michael Marvin, a storekeeper’s son. By the time Jenny had finished taking role, it was 9:45.

She stood and took her ruler in hand. “Before we begin with our studies, I would like to say something. I am here to teach, and you are here to learn. I will not tolerate any horseplay, tricks, teasing, disobedience, or disrespect. Anyone who disobeys will be punished. Do I make myself clear?” she asked sternly. She received a quiet “Yes ma’am,” from the class. “Good. Please open your readers… to page three, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Read silently.” A short girl walked in quickly. “I am sorry, Senora. My family has just come here from Mexico, and Mama wanted me to come here, to the school. We live on the edge of town, and I could not find the schoolhouse,” she panted. Jenny surveyed her. Her sleek black hair had been pulled back into a ponytail with a piece of rawhide. Her eyes were the blackest black she had ever seen, deep and knowing, like Pa’s. She wore a crisp white camisa, or blouse, that was tucked into a wide berry sash. Her indigo skirt came to the tops of her moccasins, made of fine deer hide. “I will excuse you this time, but the next time you are late, I will punish you. Understood?” Jenny said firmly. The girl smiled with relief. “Come to my desk and tell me your name and age and what you have learned so far.” She edged closer. “Mi nombre es …I mean, my name is Maria de la Montoya and I’m twelve years old. I know the letters in English, and can read some.” Jenny nodded. “Take the empty seat there beside Dinah Belle. All right, I want you to read out loud. Jane, why don’t you start? Begin from the third paragraph.” Jane stood slowly. Barbara had told her that Jane was a little slow at reading. “The dom-in-ant spirit, how-ever, that ha-haunts this en…enchanted region, and seems to be the co…co…” she was puzzled. “Commander,” Jenny said quietly. “…commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the ap…” she stopped again. “Sound it out,” Jenny prompted. “A-par-i-shun…apparition!” Jane grinned. “Very good. Continue, please.” She took up the story with new vigor. “…of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a…Hes-shun trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon ball, in some nameless battle in the Re-vo-lu-shun-ary War.” Jenny stopped her, “Thank you, Jane. Take your seat.” It went this way for over an hour, the children enjoying the story of naive Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. “It is almost ten o’clock. Until your recess time, I want you to read silently,” she sat back at her desk to prepare her books. “Now you may go to your recess.” The children hurried out to play. After twenty minutes, she called them back in. They had spelling, then arithmetic, then grammar, then history. Then it was lunchtime. Her pupils went out again. She gasped as she pulled back the red gingham cloth in her lunch basket. Hop Sing, I love you! There was fried chicken, enough for Hoss to be satisfied with, two small loaves of bread, three thick slabs of cheese, and an apple fritter. Her gaze aimlessly floated to the window, where a few girls were skipping rope. She smiled to herself. She remembered that at home, she would make Joe and Hoss skip rope with her. How they hated it! Those were good times.

At one o’clock, she called the children in. “School will come to order.” She had each class come to her desk and recite their spelling words and do one arithmetic problem orally and one on the blackboard. They studied diligently while she helped the younger students along. Then there was writing, then geography, and reading again. The class finished The Legend of Sleepy Hollow quickly, so she assigned them Paul Revere’s Ride for homework, as well as some arithmetic. One or two of the boys groaned at homework on the first day, but after getting a dark look and a slight shake of her head from Jenny, they were quiet. All too quickly, it was four o’clock. “You may put away your books. I look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow. School is dismissed.” The children got their books and coats and lunch pails with some help from Jenny, then ran out the door home. She put on her shawl and bonnet, cleaned the blackboard, and gathered her books and basket, placing four ruby red apples in it. Locking the door behind her, she waited for Pa or one of the boys to pick her up.

*****

Adam pulled up with in the wagon shortly. “Hey, Teacher! How was your first day of school?” he helped her up and put her books and basket in the back with the supplies. “It was wonderful. The little ones are just darling.” He chuckled, “I understand. Do you like teaching so far?” Her eyes lit up. “I love it, Adam. I could do this for the rest of my life.” Joe and Hoss rode beside them on Chubb and Cochise. She told them about the day, and about how different her pupils were until they were home. Hop Sing had prepared a special supper in her honor. After, Jenny did her lesson plans for Tuesday at Ben’s large mahogany desk. Ben waltzed over with two cups of coffee. “May I take a look?” he put a hand on her shoulder. “Certainly.” He glanced over the paper. “A quiz? Already?” his eyebrows arched. “Yes. If they did the homework I gave them, they should be ready. I’ll tell them in the morning so they’ll have time to look over the material and give it in the afternoon,” she said confidently. “You have great faith in your students,” he smiled. “Well, many of them were there as my classmates, and now they’re my students. I’m sure they can do the work, Pa.” They sipped their coffee quietly. “How about some music?” Adam took out his guitar. He cleared his throat and began to play.

“When first I come to Louisville, some pleasure there to find,
A damsel there from Lexington was pleasing to my mind.
Her rosy cheeks, her ruby lips, like arrows pierced my breast,
And the name she bore was Flora, the Lily of the West.

“I courted lovely Flora, some pleasure there to find,
But she turned unto another man which sore distressed my mind.
She robbed me of my liberty, deprived me of my rest,
And go my lovely Flora, the Lily of the West.

“Way down in yonder shady grove, a man of high decree,
Conversin’ with my Flora there, it seemed so strange to me.
And the answer that she gave to him, it sore did me oppress,
I was betrayed by Flora, the Lily of the West.”

Jenny smiled. She loved nights like this, singing along with Adam’s guitar, sipping hot coffee or cider, telling stories and jokes, and just being together.

*****

“School will come to order,” Jenny rapped her pencil on the desk. “I have an announcement. I hope all of you did the homework I assigned, because we will be having a quiz on Paul Revere’s Ride this afternoon after lunch. Josh, please diagram this sentence: The stars shone brightly in the night sky as clouds passed over the moon.” He stood and thought for a moment. “The subjects are ‘stars’ and ‘clouds’, ‘stars’ modified by ‘the’; ‘shone’ and ‘passed’ are the verbs, ‘brightly’ and ‘as’ are the adverbs, modifying ‘shone’, ‘in the sky’ and ‘over the moon’ are the prepositional phrases, ‘night’ modifying ‘sky’, the object of the preposition ‘in’. ” She grinned. “Very good, Josh! Ellen, please diagram this sentence: I saw the dog in the woods.” Ellen bit her lower lip in concentration. “The subject ‘I’, the verb is ‘saw’, ‘dog’ is the direct object; ‘in the woods’ is the prepositional phrase, ‘the’ modifying ‘woods’, the object of the preposition ‘in’.” She sighed. “Excellent, Ellen. Take your seat. For the next thirty minutes, I want you to diagram the sentences I have written on the board, then I will check them.” She sat at her desk and prepared the quiz.

At lunch, a few of the girls were eating by the well. “Do you like Miss Cartwright?” Jane ate her sandwich slowly. Cassie nodded vigorously. “She’s so nice, and she wears the prettiest clothes I’ve ever seen! Like she stepped out of Godey’s!” The girls giggled. “Did you see the ring on her finger? It’s huge!” Anna spread her arms wide. “Yea, but who’s she gonna marry?” Dinah Belle asked. Maria shrugged. She was new here and barely knew the school children, let alone the teacher’s love interests. “I heard my ma say that she was engaged to a blind man who just came back from the east where he went to school.” Ellen said proudly. Jenny had been listening from the doorway. “You can believe your mother, Ellen, for she is right. I’m engaged to David Williams, and yes, he is blind,” she smiled at the startled girls. “Where did you meet him?” April walked up to the group. “Pa sent me to check up on him and his family. He had been blinded in a hunting accident a few months earlier, and hadn’t been around the ranch much after that. I took him for a ride, and he accidentally fell into the lake and almost drowned, but the horses and I saved him. I taught him to read Braille, and he went away to school a couple of months after that. I was only fourteen at the time, but I knew I loved him, and he loved me. Those were the longest four years of my life. But now he’s back, and we’re getting married in December,” she told them the abridged version. April sighed. “I wish I could find love like that.” Jenny put an arm around her shoulders. “You will; all of you will. I’m sure of it. And by the way Michael has been looking your way, I think love could be right under your nose!” April blushed and looked for Mike. He was racing with one of the Isaac, losing more often than not. “What should I do?” she primped her strawberry blonde hair. “Go watch him, cheer him on. If he wants to talk, listen,” Jenny gently pushed the girl forward. She watched her go to the race, her canary yellow dress billowing in the wind. She rooted for Mike, and that time he didn’t let the kid win. He strutted over to her and Jenny saw him take her hands. A bit forward, but sweet just the same. They walked to the south side of the school. Jenny didn’t like where this was going. She went back inside the schoolhouse and watched through the window. Mike was talking about something, and she was smiling and laughing. He said something else, and she looked down at her feet and blushed profusely. He cupped her chin in his hand and kissed her ever so tenderly. Jenny smiled a little. Oh, love. You never cease to amaze me. Satisfied, Jenny called the students back in.

“I’ve graded your quizzes and I must say that you all did exceptionally well,” she passed them back. “I’d like you to read the next story, Rip Van Winkle. We’ll have another quiz tomorrow, but judging by the way you did on the first, I think you all will do fine. I also want…” she trailed off as David walked in. “David?” she inquired. “I’ve come to drive you home, Miss Cartwright,” he smiled gleefully. “Darling, we’re still in school.” The children giggled. “I know. I haven’t been here for a while so I thought I’d pop by and see this new teacher that everyone’s talking about,” he chuckled. “Quiet, children. As I was saying, I want you to do these problems on the board for homework. Please copy them down on your tablets. They will be turned in so I expect your best work. Once you finish copying, you may leave. It’s already ten till four.” She went back to her desk and organized her books. April, Mike, Dinah, Beth Anne, and Johnny left quickly. The rest took more time, but left before it was four on the dot. She was smiling ear to ear. “You just had to interrupt me, didn’t you?” she asked playfully. He nodded. “Here. Carry my books and I’ll get my wraps and lunch basket.” They walked out arm in arm to the buggy. “I need to show you something. I already talked with Ben and he said that it was a great idea,” he whistled to the horses. “What’s a great idea?” she inquired. “You’ll see.”

*****

The usually peaceful quiet of the Ponderosa was interrupted by loud hammering and sawing. The buggy pulled into a glen where at least twenty men worked. She gasped as the skeleton of a house came into view. “Our own home!” she squealed in delight. He laughed gaily. Adam walked, or rather, skipped up to the couple. “So, do you like it?” he hugged his sister. “I love it!” He grinned. “It’ll have two floors, the master bedroom downstairs and the others upstairs. I made some sketches for you to see,” he handed her the drawings. From the looks of it, it would be a medium sized house. Not too big to be giant, not too small to be cramped. It looked so cozy. The kitchen came off of the dining room, and it had a large sitting room just as you entered the house. An alcove jutted out from the sitting room with lots of windows. The perfect place to sew or read. It wasn’t too different from the main ranch house, but it was more feminine. “Oh, I do love it, Adam! Thank you!” she hugged him again. “Let’s call it an early wedding present. The way things are going, we could have it finished by early November, and you could get furniture and things in by the time you’re married. Hoss and Joe are working on the walls right now; which reminds me, I had better go see how they’re doing.” They toured their little piece of land. A huge tree-covered mountain stood tall and erect as an old sentry. The lake rested calmly near the hollow. The wind and waves lulled together as if talking to one another. She would be content to live out her days here; she knew it in her heart.

*****

Jenny was cleaning the house when her family rode up. “Pa! What-what is all this?” Jenny gasped at the sight of all the animals the boys had in tow. “Another early wedding present,” he dismounted. There were ten head of cattle (six cows, two bulls and four calves), twenty sheep (ten ewes, two rams, and eight lambs), five pigs (four sows, a hog, and a new litter of piglets), seventeen horses (two driving mares, three driving geldings, two sturdy work horses, two breeding stallions, six brood mares, and Isis and Shiloh, the cow ponies), and a flock of chickens. “Oh, thank you, Pa!” Jenny said excitedly! She slowly walked up to one of the work horses. His huge dapple gray withers cam up to her head. She ran her hand along his muscular side and felt his massive haunches. “We’ll call you Samson. And the other can be Delilah!” She laughed. Adam rolled his eyes. Why does she name the horses? “Put your horses up in the barn. I’ll see what David’s doing out back with the orchard.” The boys exchanged thankful glances. Ben parked the wagon in front of the door. “All right, boys, make it snappy. I’ll try to keep Jenny occupied,” he helped them unload the heavy object. They heaved it into the house and carried it to the bedroom. “Oo, I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she sees this!” Joe lifted a corner of the sheet that covered it. Adam slapped his hand. “Didn’t Pa ever teach you not to touch things that don’t belong to you?” he snapped.

“I can’t believe David and I are gonna be living here in a few weeks.” Jenny smiled to herself. She found the family in her bedroom. There was Joe, Adam, Hoss, and Ben all standing around an object covered in a blanket. “What are you guy’s doing?” Jenny said slyly. David walked into the room. “Look under the blanket,” he tried to act nonchalant, but couldn’t hide the grin on his face. She lifted it and gasped as she covered her mouth with her hands. “A cradle!” she exclaimed. “Yep; David carved it, with a little help from me,” Hoss puffed out his chest. “I love it! Thank you so much!” she let her hand rest on the headboard. Intricately carved vines and flowers curved across the Ponderosa pine. “It’s beautiful you two,” Ben admired the cradle as he reminisced. He remembered the sound of a baby crying in the middle of the night and the pitter-patter of little feet. A child first steps, first words. Ben knew that one day he would hear those things again. He couldn’t wait to have grandchildren. “Pa?” Adam gently touched his father’s arm. “Are you alright?” “Yea. I’m just fine,” Ben said with a smile.

*****

Once all the furnishings were in, Jenny began to move her things from her room. Ben got her a large trunk from the attic and she began to fill it. She dug through her closet and bureau, tossing unimportant things on her bed. The wedding was December 3 and it was already November 29! The wedding plans had been already taken care of, so all she had to worry about was her pre-nuptial jitters. She cleaned out her drawers. She found things she hadn’t worn in years. Then came her dove-in-the-window quilt she had made years ago. It was warm and snuggly, even though it had endured years of wear and tear. Ben slowly walked in. “Packing?” he had a lump in his throat. She nodded sadly. As much as she loved David, it would be heartbreaking to leave the only family she had ever known. But, she told herself, it wasn’t like they were moving to Timbuktu. They were only about an hour away. “So many memories here Pa,” Jenny said looking at Ben. “Remember when I was just a kid and before I would go to bed one of you guys would have to look in the closet to make sure there weren’t any ghosts?” Ben laughed. “I was so glad when we finally convinced you that there’s no such thing as ghosts.” “You know you loved it!” she narrowed her eyes. He chuckled heartily. “You’re right…I did love it. But I guess David will be the one who has to scare away all those monsters now.” His face fell. Jenny saw a lone tear fall from one of Ben’s eyes. “Oh. Pa,” Jenny said rushing over and giving him a big hug. “My little girl’s grown up so fast!” he whispered into her hair.

After a few minutes, she stepped back and wiped her tears on the corner of her apron. “Well, I need to get back to work.” Joe, Hoss, and Adam moseyed in. “Here, let us help.” Hoss walked to the bureau and began to unload it, throwing various undergarments all over the room. “Hey!!” Joe turned to his older brother. He had a pair of pantaloons on his head. They all laughed at the sight. Even serious Adam chuckled a little.

*****

Jenny woke later than usual. I’m getting married today…she thought, then yelled out loud. “I’m getting married today!” She looked at the clock on the nightstand. “IT’S NOON!?” she shrieked. The wedding is set for two o’clock, and they can’t wake me up? She pulled back the covers and got ready. First she put on her corset, then her corset cover, then her pantaloons (the very same pair that had landed on Joe’s head just a few days earlier), her under petticoats, then her petticoats, and lastly her stockings and shoes. Finally, she put on her wedding dress. Ivory moiré silk came to the bust curved down to the floor while creamy lace made up the long sleeves and high collar. Lace ruffles at the hem made soft swishing sounds as she walked. Oh no; it’s already one-thirty! She sat at her bureau to fix her hair. She brushed it till it shone and let it flow over her shoulders like an angel’s golden halo. Last but certainly not least she pinned the veil to her head. Delicate lace framed her face and dress as it fell to the floor, making a short train.

Ben knocked gently and edged in. He gasped as he sank down on the bed. How beautiful she was! “T-The guests have arrived and they’re waiting,” he had to fight the lump in his throat. “Well, we can’t have that,” she giggled nervously and took the bouquet of violets from him. “Ready?” She smoothed the silk bodice of the gown. “I hope so.”

Mrs. Walsh, the organist, saw them at the top of the flight of stairs and began the ‘Wedding March.’ Ben and Jenny made their way down with the tempo of the music. Adam, Joe and Hoss stood beside David and the preacher. She smiled brightly at them. They were all so handsome in their best suits. David seemed quite anxious and was sweating, event though it was the dead of winter. His wavy dark brown hair was curling from the heat of all the people and the fire. Candles had been placed in all the windows and gave off an unexplainable comfort as they glowed. She noticed April and Michael standing beside each other. April caught Jenny’s eye, and from under her shawl she showed her hand. A golden band glittered in the lamplight. Jenny smiled brightly at her. She took her place beside him with a final kiss on her father’s cheek. The preacher droned on; Jenny was hardly paying attention to him. All her attention was focused on David. “…Do you, Jennifer Grace Cartwright, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, and forsaking all others, till death do you part?” “I do.” He nodded. “And do you, David Matthew Williams, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, and forsaking all others, till death do you part?” “I do.” The preacher grinned. “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” David leaned down and kissed her passionately as applause exploded around them. They were greeted by anyone and everyone. When it was April’s turn, she hugged her tightly. “Are you sure?” Jenny sent a wary look to Mike who was getting two glasses of punch. “I’m sure. We’ve grown up together; you could say we were childhood sweethearts,” she blushed. “Well, if you’re happy, I’m happy. Can we still be friends after we’re married?” Jenny pleaded with her eyes. “Of course we will! That is, if we have the time!” the girls laughed. Some of the ranch hands moved all the furniture out of the way to make room for the dancing. The Chesney brothers, some of the best singers in the territory, stood up on the hearth and began to play. The banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar flowed together. Jed Chesney’s voice blended with the music. The second dance had been reserved by Jenny for her and her father. The guitars played soft and low. A memory flashed in his mind.

A mother and daughter were fighting in the next room. He had seen them in the lobby-the girl was pretty little thing-couldn’t be more than thirteen. And it was obvious she didn’t want to be here. Her big brown eyes were glinting with anger, her lower lip poked out in a pout… She began to sob, but quieted and she must have fallen asleep. Ben sighed. “Finally; some quiet!” he eased into his covers again. The mother began to sing to herself, or at least she thought it was to herself:

“Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning,
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while.
The feeling that I’m losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I’m glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time,
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what’s really in her mind?
Each time I think I’m close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she’s gone, there’s that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can’t deny.
What happened to those wonderful adventures?
The places I had planned for us to go
Well, some of that we did, but most we didn’t
And why I just don’t know…

Slipping through my fingers all the time,
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what’s really in her mind?
Each time I think I’m close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers…

Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile…*

Ben began to tear up. It was true…all those precious moments; all those mornings…he gulped as she leaned her head on Ben’s broad shoulder. “I love you, Pa,” she whispered. “I know, Kitten. I know,” he hugged her tighter.

All too soon, the reception was over. She and David had received many wonderful gifts, but all she wanted to do was to go home. Their home. They put on her warmest wraps and hopped into the buggy quickly. With one last goodbye, the new couple drove away. The world seemed to be bathed in moonlight, each snowflake glittering and gleaming in the darkness. The horse snorted, his hot breath making icy clouds in the air, but went on with his brisk pace. “I love you,” she said. “And I love you,” he slackened the reins and bent down to kiss her.

They went into the house; it was the same, but to Jenny, it seemed different. More like a home now that she and David would be living here. She felt very shy as they walked into the bedroom. “Uh…I need to take this dress off so it won’t wrinkle.” He nodded and showed her to the screen. A flannel nightgown had been draped over the side, along with a man’s nightshirt. She slipped it over her head and put on her old cozy slippers.

*****

“Ready to go, boys?” Ben mounted his horse and called to the other riders. “Do ya think Jenny’ll be mad when we show up at the house for the shivaree?” Hoss looked concerned. “Nah-she loved it when we gave one to Todd and Virginia McKarren,” Joe stated. “She can’t do anything about it now. She’ll just have to live through it,” Adam said matter-of-factly. The men rode out to the Williams place.

*****

The two lay cuddling afterwards. She sighed contentedly, rubbing her hands over his beautifully formed muscles. Even after years of doing no hard labor, he still had the body of a Greek god. He was twisting a lock of her hair with his fingers. “Do you hear horses?” he turned his head towards the windows. “Yea…I’ll go look,” Jenny got out of bed and picked her discarded nightgown up off of the floor. She pulled aside the drapes and opened the window just a crack, letting in a blast of snow. Then she heard singing, soft singing in the midst of the light snowstorm. She laughed out loud as she picked out Adam with his guitar, and the boys and some of the ranch hands. “What is it?” David put on his robe and sat on the window seat beside Jenny. “Hey! It’s the newlyweds!” Jeb Stuart, one of the hands said. “How’s married life treatin’ ya, David?” he called. “Very well, thanks for asking!” he chuckled. All the men had a good laugh as Jenny turned scarlet. “We got a special treat for you, tonight. Just sit back and listen to the music,” Adam plucked out some notes on his guitar.

Love me tender, love me sweet
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete
And I love you so.

Love me tender, love me true
All my dreams fulfilled.
For my darling, I love you
And I always will.

Love me tender, love me long
Take me to your heart.
For it’s there that I belong
And will never part.

Love me tender, love me true
All my dreams fulfilled.
For my darling, I love you
And I always will.

Love me tender, love me dear
Tell me you are mine.
I’ll be yours through all the years
Till end of time.

Love me tender, love me true
All my dreams fulfilled.
For my darling, I love you
And I always will.*

Jenny and David had been kissing the whole time. “I’m sorry to leave you like this, kind sirs, but I have more important things to do,” she kissed him once more and shut the window pane. The men sang a few more songs, then left the lovers to themselves. It would be a night to remember, that was certain.

Next in the Jenny and David Series:

Bleeding Love

* ‘Slipping through My Fingers’ is by ABBA
* ‘Love Me Tender’ is performed by Elvis Presley
* ‘Lily of the West’ is performed by Pernell Roberts

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