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“I don’t give a hoot what that Evelyn Pah-tell says. She’s a liar and that’s that.” Regina Walker glared defiantly at her friend.
Virginia Ellis returned the glare with a smile and laugh, “Regina, you are bad! You know that Evelyn Patel is perfectly respectable,” Virginia paused then grinned, “Why except for her waist size, she’s never told a lie in her life!”
Regina frowned, “Virginia, you cannot be fine, it isn’t possible.”
Virginia smiled again and spoke, “Oh Gina, you do worry too much. I’m fine; William was never really my beau. I admit I cared for him, but it wasn’t love...certainly not love. Now I only wish Mr. Foster and his wife well.”
Regina sighed resignedly as Virginia gathered her skirts and stood.
“Regina, it has been lovely, but I must go. Mother’s having tea with Mrs. Morgan this afternoon, and she insists I must attend.”
Sighing once more Regina replied, “Well alright Virginia, farewell.”
As her friend gracefully descended down the porch stairs, like a true southern lady, Regina murmured, “I simply do not know how she does it.”
“It’s quite scandalous; that young William Foster has run off and married Margaret Thomas! I know it to be true, for I had tea with the Ellis’s yesterday. I asked Virginia, ‘How is your Mr. Foster faring in the city?’ and she replied that he wasn’t hers! The rumors are true. In fact, she hasn’t heard from him in months!”
“Mrs. Morgan,” Regina Walker cried, pushing past two women, “you aren’t gossiping about Miss Ellis too?”
Mrs. Morgan looked down, blushing, and mumbled something quite unintelligible.
“I am shocked Mrs. Morgan! I thought you were a dignified lady, and to see you engaging in common gossip, and about Miss Ellis too! Why, she has always been gracious and kind to you and here you spread rumors that could shame her reputation!” Gina glared indignantly at her adversary.
“Miss Walker,” Mrs. Morgan began, offended by Regina’s tone, but too embarrassed by her own actions to mention it, “I assure you I would not dare hurt Miss Ellis’s reputation. I haven’t said a word against her.”
“Indeed. I’m sure you spoke of how marvelous and genial she is while you told how she was left by her beau; how kind of you, Mrs. Morgan.”
Regina collected her skirts and huffed off towards the Ellis plantation.
At her home, Virginia Ellis sat upon a chair, sobbing into a folded handkerchief, initialed, W.F.
A knock on her door interrupted her; she hastily opened it, without regard to her tear-stricken face.
“Virginia, whatever is wrong?” Regina looked at the handkerchief Virginia still held and frowned, “Oh Virginia, I knew you weren’t well! It’s William. Darling, don’t cry. Besides he couldn’t be happy, Margaret Thomas has a face like a frog!”
Smiling through her tears, Virginia spoke, “It is William, it is, but oh, Regina, look!”
Grabbing her friend’s hand, she pulled her into the house.
“Hello Miss Walker.” A familiar male voice greeted Regina from the parlor.
“William!” She cried excitedly and turned to her friend.
No longer smiling, but grinning through her tears, Virginia nodded and unfolded the handkerchief. Tucked inside was a diamond ring.
“He has come to ask father’s permission.” The joy was apparent in her voice.
“Virginia! Oh, I told you Evelyn Patel was a liar! I came to tell you that Mrs. Morgan was telling how William had run off with Margaret Thomas. Of course it’s not true, so I’ll go. Oh Virginia, I’m so happy for you!” Regina hugged her friend and faced Mr. Foster, “Goodbye Mr. Foster, Virginia….oh! I’m just so happy for you both!” She waved and let herself our, smiling.
Virginia walked over to her beau, and wrapped her arms around him.
“Oh William, I thought you wouldn’t come.”
“Of course I did. I could never be without you, Ginny,” He brought his lips to hers, “I love you.”
“Oh William, I love you too, but we mustn’t kiss here. Not in the living room. It’s not proper, what if mother came down or Flora came back in?”
“I suppose you are right.”
She looked up at him and frowned, “Why didn’t you write me, William? That’s why I thought you wouldn’t come.”
William frowned, “I couldn’t. I told you, darling, in my last letter, I was going to England and wouldn’t be able to write for some time.”
Virginia laid her head on his chest and said miserably, “Your last letter? Oh, William…I never read it. I was going to, but then Evelyn Patel said you were Margaret’s beau…and-and I thought that’s what you wrote to me.”
He lifted her off his chest and spun her to face him. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he spoke,” Virginia Ellis, you must never doubt again. I will never abandon you,” He smiled, “besides I wouldn’t marry Margaret Thomas over you, yours is much prettier than her frog’s face.”
Then, without regard to properness, William Foster kissed Virginia Ellis. In her living room.