The Sweetest Rum
Chapter 11When he was out of sight I turned around all the pent of happy screams coming silently out of me. I was not capable of thinking well enough to actually make a noise.
I opened the door trying to appear casual. Lily showed just behind me her face radiant
“So...?” she wanted to know.
I held up my left hand the gray metal showing up clearly at the bottom of my finger.
She squealed and then quickly covered her mouth to not wake Mama.
“He wants to marry you!?”she said nearly as excited as I was.
I forced my face to form and unhappy expression. “No, he just gave me the ring.” My mouth was twitching up wanting to be allowed to smile again.
“Liar!” she accused her eyes narrowed she grabbed my hand and read the inscription on the ring. She squealed again.
“Do you think you will get another one for the wedding?” she asked.
“He is not rich Lily” I said shaming her and pulling my hand back away.
“Sell the bloody farm.” she said emphatically.
“Lily.” I scolded. She had spent to much time around Eli his bad language and sharp anger was rubbing off on her.
She just smiled, I was in no mood to reprimand her, I was tempted to sell the bloody farm and run away to an island to sit around and create flower wreaths and Eli could make jewelry. I sent Lily to bed and I followed her up the stairs. I
was too excited to sleep so I danced around my room reenacting the night. It was funny how I could hardly remember anything except Eli’s smile and beautiful flashing eyes. What everyone else was doing or what dances we danced I could not remember, I only remembered swirling around following Eli’s lead.
Finally when I had reminisced over everything I could I collapsed on my bed and fell asleep fully clothed. I had many happy dreams Eli’s face coursing through my mind. Lily woke me up the next morning telling me I was still dressed at that I slept with a smile on my face I nodded sleepily.
“You are so queer.” she complained before listing off her day. “So, I decided since your getting married soon that I can be done with school so Mama and I are going to go tell the tutor that I am finished today. Then we have to pick the strawberries and asparagus. I think we might be making apple pie. Oh, and also you might want to explain to mama why Eli is at our house at “this god forsaken hour of the morning that we should not be liable to accept visitor’s at.” she concluded getting up from my bed.
“Wait, Eli’s here?” I asked
“Of course.” she groaned pulling a work dress from my wardrobe.
I sprang up from my bed and dressed in record time.
“Why are you just now getting me up?” I hissed
“Well Eli said you should get some sleep after your late night. We played a game of checkers and then I came to get you up, I won, by the way.”
I smacked her lightly with my pillow and ran for the stairs. Eli was waiting at the bottom. I smiled and he bowed to my hurried curtsy. Mother was also awake and moving about mumbling about visitors at early hours.
“Mama, it is all right.” I said waving my hand at her. “He will be spending a lot more time here.” I smiled nervously almost a grimace waiting for her reaction.
She surprised all of us by going and shaking Eli’s hand earnestly.
“Praise the Lord.” she said. “It was about time I married you off.” she turned to me her eyes wrinkled at the edges in a smile. I embraced her.
“Thank you mama.” I said my eyes tearing up as my heart swelled with more happiness than it had ever held.
“We need a rematch.” Said Lily wanting to keep Eli at the house.
“I thought you had big plans for today?” I reminded her.
She made a face and told mama that they had to get her out of school now. Mother agreed both thinking it necessary since I would be leaving soon. That left Eli and I to pick the strawberries.
I pulled my hair up in a cap and put on an apron. I had no idea how Eli was managing to get out of so much work with his uncle to spend time with me but he was and I was going to make the most of it.
We went to the garden with the full intent to pick strawberries. We ended up throwing each other more strawberries than we gathered. Eli was munching down a strawberry when he looked up.
“This is what you smell like.” he said holding
a strawberry to his nose. “Fresh strawberry jam.” he leaned over sniffing my neck. “Delicious.” he murmured. I giggled and shoved him away.
“Well you smell like rum.” I retorted. “Which is gross.”
He pretended to be upset, pouting. He leaned over getting in my face. “Breathe it in. The tasty smell of rum.”
I shoved him away again. “You also smell like honey which good enough to cover the rum.” I giggled.
“Well I should smell like rum considering I drank a whole bottle last night in celebration of my recent engagement.” he smiled turning to sit on the dirt beside me. “Well actually I split it with my uncle.” he said. “Twas sad I could not have the whole thing to myself.”
“You better not be planning to drink that much at our wedding.” I said joking.
“No,” he agreed. “I will not drink that much, I promise.” he gave me an evil grin “I will drink more.” he laughed and stood up and helped me to my feet. We gathered the strawberries that we had not eaten into my apron and took them in the house. We dumped them onto the counter in the kitchen, either we would eat them later or make them into jam. Lily had mentioned apples as well so Eli and I went to pick some apples to bake into pies.
Eli began to climb the tree in the back garden and began pluck the apples from it dropping them to the ground where I could pick them up. He would try to aim for my head but always missed on purpose with a few swear words added in trying to make it seem like he was being realistic. We
picked every single apple that was not bruised. Eli bruised several when throwing them away from me. We took them back to the kitchen and placed them next to the strawberries.
“Have you ever made pie before?” I asked.
Eli I guess was actually a decent cook since he lived with his uncle they had to do their own cooking.
“Once, I burnt it.” he replied.
“I am going to teach you to do it properly.” I began to assemble ingredients, for the family recipe that I stored in my head.
“Why would I want to learn, if you are going to be making them for me?” He asked stacking up the ingredients into a tower.
“What happens when I get stolen away again. What will you eat?”
“All of the pies that you will store for me in the cellar.” he winked sending his tower tumbling but catching anything that could spill.
I rolled my eyes and smacked him lightheartedly in the gut. He stumbled backward and collapsed over a chair.
He cracked open an eye. “Guess I need not learn how to bake now eh?” he asked.
I crossed the room to him and pulled him up. I pointed to the apples
“Start cutting.” I ordered mixing the crust ingredients.
Eli saluted and began to chop apples swiftly. I watched the knife in his hands slice through every apple skillfully, and sometimes he would spin the knife around his fingers to impress me. I ignored him continuing to form my crust. We both finished and put the halves together. We lit the oven and
put in the three pies we had created in to bake. “You have to check them every so often to
make sure they don’t burn. They are usually done as soon as you can smell them.” I instructed sitting in the chairs in the kitchen eating more strawberries. Eli came to sit by me.
“It sure is no wonder you smell like strawberries if you eat them all the time.” he teased.
I threw a strawberry at his head and he caught it in his teeth.
“Good trick.” I said tossing him another that he also caught.
We were down to the last three strawberries when Lily and mother returned with their arms loaded with groceries. Mother had not been out for a while so I should have expected she would do some shopping. Lily looked quite pleased and I assumed that she had convinced mother to buy her several things she wanted.
“Did you pick any strawberries?” she asked looking at the remaining three.
“Yes.” I said handing her one popping one in my mouth and tossing the other to Eli. “They re all gone now though.” I said as if it was not obvious.
Lily rolled her eyes. “Do you still work?” she asked Eli wondering why he was at our house.
“My uncle said I could start again after I got married. He think Trinity would be a distraction in my mind and I could burn myself. Which is possible and I do not have a problem taking a month off.”
“A month?” Lily asked.
We had not decided on a day but a month seemed like too far away. I wanted to be married in a week.
“You had best start working on invitations then.” said mother ruining the happy day dreams.
I pulled on Eli arm. “We will be in the parlor.” I muttered. “Check the pies.”
I pulled him from the kitchen and up to the parlor where I fetched some paper from the writing desk and brought it out to the central table.
“We should start with the note in the paper.” I decided fixing my pen and dipping it in ink.
“Eli Commondew, betrothed to Trinity Smith. Wedding to be held at Edenton Port Church. On August 11th” I wrote as I read allowed
“That is only a little boring” Eli sarcastically commented.
I looked at him waiting for a suggestion.
He waggled his eyebrows at me and began to proclaim. “Eli Commondew, fell in love with Trinity Smith. They are betrothed. due to be married. The moment of their greatest happiness shall occur on August 11th at their local parish.” he paused switching back to a regular voice. “Is that a real date?” he asked.
“Why not?’ I shrugged I had just written a date. August 11th seemed just as good as any other day, it still seemed terribly far away though it was less than a month.
“Marvelous” he intoned. “That inscription will do just fine for the paper.” he said poking the drying ink so his finger came away black. “I will drop it by the printers on my way home.’ he picked it up blew on the ink and tested it with his finger again before folding it into his pocket.
“What about invitations?” I asked
“Can people not just read the paper and come if they want?” he asked begrudgingly
obviously not wanting to make invitations and decide whom to invite.
“I would not mind if they did.” I said not wanting to make professional invitations. “If no one shows up it will be You, Mother, Lily, your uncle, and me.” I ticked off on my fingers.
“That will fill the front pew.” Eli said said smiling. “and we will fill the altar.” he grinned reaching across the table for my hand. I flipped it palm up and he placed his hand in it his fingers running across the ring on it.
“Trinity! You have an appointment with the tailors for your wedding dress, I told him I would send you over.” Mother called from the kitchen.
“I will leave now.” I said getting up and taking off my apron.
Eli followed me to the kitchen where I hung my apron and then opened the door outside for me. “Mind if I accompany you? I can go to the printers after I leave you to be fitted.” I nodded. and step out the door taking Eli’s arm for an escort. The sun was shining down on us and it was beautiful. I felt like skipping but held my legs still in a normal walking form. Eli paused outside the tailors and kissed my hand as I went inside.