“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 07 (PG-13, D):  Healing Wounds,   November 30, 2015 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #838)

aaaa-Love-in-the-Great-Pine-Woods_story-cover_Nov2515byGratianaLovelace_3inchesTallrev4(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely Tyson as Nellie Newton, and Anna Sophia Robb as Alice Trent, Kevin Spacey as Roger Delaney, Sam Heughan as Todd Wakeforest, Idris Elba as Dominic Perkins  and others as noted.]


Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.

Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter:  With Sam’s youngest brother Todd being injured by a claw trap on the mountain–but safely found after our search parties combed the area for him–the focus is upon helping Todd heal. Yet a healing of a different kind–of the heart–needs to take place between Sam and Olivia–after Roger’s revelation that Sam had a lover named Lola years ago.


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 07 (PG-13, D):  Healing Wounds

For Sam Wakeforest, his mountain has been a forgiving mistress–welcoming him home after WWII to its abundance,  beauty, and peacefulness.  That is, up until now, with his brother Todd nearly dying from exposure when he was injured by stepping into a rabbit claw trap on Saturday afternoon.  Todd will have to be transported on Sunday to their state’s nearest largest city of 50,000 in order to get the proper surgery Monday to repair the muscle and tendon damage that he sustained.   He will walk again, but his recovery will take many months.  Sam spends Saturday night at the hospital with Todd while Todd is under a mild sedation so that he can rest a bit more comfortably in preparation for his traveling on Sunday–mostly not to be alone with his thoughts about what has gone wrong with his relationship with Olivia Delaney.

And when Roger and Olivia had arrived home  finally late Saturday night–and telling a relieved Tessa that her little brother Todd was found  injured, but alive.  Tessa had noticed that Olivia seemed upset, but she attributed it to the general worry over Todd. And Roger did not disabuse her of that misinterpretation.  However, Tessa senses that something else is wrong, and her husband’s tight lipped denials do nothing to allay her concerns.

So in frustration, Tessa seeks Olivia out by knocking on her bedroom door to have a heart to heart chat late Saturday night.  At first, Olivia does not respond to the knocking on her door–she has been weeping and doesn’t want anyone to see that.  Then she worries that maybe their family’s foster child Alice might need some help. So Olivia goes to her bedroom door and opens it–only to find her sister-in-law Tessa standing there.  Seeing Olivia’s tear stained red and blotchy face, Tessa rushes forward and envelops Olivia in her arms.

Tessa: “Olivia, sweetheart!  What’s wrong?”

Olivia:  “Hmm. Hmm.” Olivia whimpers.

Tessa:  “I can only help if you tell me what’s wrong.” Olivia says nothing–too embarrassed to confide in her sister-in-law Tessa, who also happens to be Sam’s sister.  Then Tessa starts guessing.  “Is it something to do with Todd being hurt?”  Olivia shakes her head no and sniffles. “What about Sam?”  Olivia slowly nods her head and looks up forlornly at Tessa. “Honey, I’m not a mind reader.  You’ll have to give me something.  Roger didn’t say anything was wrong when he came home.”

Olivia: “Would that Roger could have been as silent earlier today.”  Olivia laments.  Tessa questioningly looks at Olivia.  “Roger blew up at Sam–thinking Sam was being forward when he was only telling me how they made his cabin fireplace. They had words. And then … and then Roger accused Sam of bedding a woman named Lola.”

Tessa: “Hhhh!” Tessa gasps in shock.  “And what did Sam say?”  Tessa asks warily.

Olivia: “Sam didn’t deny it. He said that they were lovers, but that it was in the past, and that she meant nothing to him. I don’t understand how he could be someone’s lover, but not love them?”  Olivia’s innocence and naivete  regarding romantic relationships is patently obvious to Tessa.

Tessa: “Oh dear! I didn’t even know that Roger knew about Lola!”

Olivia: “But Roger said that you and told him about her.” Olivia looks quizzically at Tessa.

Tessa: “Honestly, honey. I didn’t say anything to Roger about Sam’s past.  And your next question is why I didn’t tell you about Lola?” Olivia nods.  “Sweetie, she and Sam were so long ago.” Tessa is unaware that Sam and Lola had reconnected briefly two years ago when Tessa and Roger were courting before they married.  “I didn’t think that it was relevant to you and Sam dating.”

Olivia: “Not relevant?  Not relevant for me to know that he had dated someone for years and they had been lovers?  What if I inadvertently run into this Lola person? How am I supposed to act, knowing that she and Sam had been intimate with each other?”  Olivia trembles in distress.

Tessa: “She’s gone and moved out of state. So it’s not for you to worry.  You’re not likely to ever meet her.”

Olivia:  “But still, how can I know if Sam really likes me or loves me?  Sam seems like he likes me.  But maybe it’s all an act to get me into bed, like this Lola. I’ve read novels about those kind of men  who sully a woman and then abandon her to society’s censure. A few of our Orphanage children are the result of such a union.” And Tessa’s phrasing is quite indicative the influence of those romantic gothic novels upon her psyche.

Tessa: Interrupting Olivia, Tessa says firmly but gently.  “Books are fiction–however real that they might seem to be.  People and events are rarely clearly defined–there is a gray area to consider.  And that’s why your feelings couldn’t be more wrong about Sam’s past.  Sam is a good man–or I never would have encouraged him to consider dating you, Olivia.  Yes, Sam is a man who has lived in the world and bedded other women.  Most men aren’t chaste before they marry–not even your brother Roger was, however much you might want to think of him as being perfect.” Olivia looks alarmed.  “Sweetie, Men aren’t perfect. But then, neither are women.”  Tessa looks at Olivia in a sophisticated way–her not quite willing to reveal all of her private secrets.

Olivia:  “Then why did Roger tell me about Sam’s past lover–and make me think badly of Sam–if Roger is no better?”

Tessa:  “I cannot begin to understand that. And until Roger grovels to you and to me–and fixes this break between you and Sam by a monumental apology to him–Roger can sleep elsewhere.  I will not share my bed with a condescending hypocrite!”

Olivia: “Tessa!  But my brother Roger is your husband!  You can’t refuse him.” Olivia looks horrified.

Tessa: “Yes I can refuse him.  And I will.  Watch me!”  Tessa’s jaw is set in firm resolve.  “The times are changing and women must change with them.   It’s 1955, almost 1956!”

Olivia: “But I don’t understand.  You and Roger seem so happy and perfect together.”

Tessa: “Ha ha ha ha ha!  Oh Olivia!    Your brother Roger and I are far from perfect–as people or as a couple.”  Then Tessa clasps Olivia’s hand in hers. “Olivia, marriage isn’t about finding the perfect man, being the perfect wife, and having the perfect marriage.  Far from it!  If anything, a good and happy marriage is founded on knowing about your own and your love’s imperfections and deciding that you can live with that–because you would be miserable without your love partner in your life.  Can you say that about Sam yet?”

Olivia: “I don’t know. I’m still…shocked that Sam had a lover.”

Tessa: “With the emphasis on the past tense.  You are the only woman in Sam’s life now. But if you really want him and you don’t let him know that, some other lady might come along to love him.  He might not love her as he loves you, but he would marry her if he didn’t want to be alone anymore.”

Olivia:  “Whom would Sam marry?”  Olivia asks fretfully.

Tessa: “There is no one else in Sam’s life. I’m speaking hypothetically–but born of experience.”  Tessa says cryptically.

Olivia: “What do you mean?”

Tessa: “Hhhh! Your brother, Roger and I dated in high school and a bit in college.”

Olivia: “And he didn’t want to marry you?”

Tessa: “No, he did.  But I hesitated, unsure about us, as you are unsure about you and Sam now.   And Roger was hurt by my refusal and he married someone else on the rebound, not happily.”  Tessa blanches.

Olivia nods her head.  No one in the house really liked Roger’s first wife–she was too abrasive for liking.  But she fulfilled her role as his hostess, even if she wouldn’t give him children.  But Roger and his first wife had forged a  mutually agreeable life together for the twenty years they were married. And Roger had truly mourned her passing after a brief illness five years ago.


Olivia: “Tessa, I had no idea that your and Roger’s romance went back so far.”  Olivia is riveted to what Tessa is telling her–and in consequence, forgetting her own troubles with Sam.

Tessa:  “Yes. And when Roger married his first wife, I eventually tried to move on emotionally and I married someone else–happily a good man whom I grew very fond of in time, I even grew to love him.  But not like I loved Roger.”  Tessa reveals wistfully.

Olivia:  “Yet you and Roger found each other again.”

Tessa: “But only after wasted years apart. I don’t want that for you, Olivia–loving and yearning for someone else whom you might never be able to have.”

Olivia: “What should I do, Tessa?”

Tessa: “What do you want to do?”

Olivia: “I want … I want what I have always wanted … to … to marry Sam and to have a family with him.”

Tessa:  “Well then, are you willing to accept that Sam knew someone else–biblically–before you?

Olivia: Olivia blushes.  “I guess so–considering, any man whom I will meet will have a past.”

Tessa:  “There you go, sweetie!”  Tessa hugs a now calmed down and no longer crying Olivia.    “In the morning, we’re going to get up early, make some cinnamon rolls, and then drive to the hospital to see how Todd is doing before they transport him by ambulance to the Valley View City Hospital.  We’ll take Sam and Todd the sweet rolls to tide them over.”

Olivia:  “But should I intrude on what is your family’s emergency?  Maybe Sam will think that I’m just getting in the way.”

Tessa: Tessa makes an incredulous face.  “Not in my wildest imaginations. Sam is sweet on you, Olivia–sweeter than he may even realize at this point. You just have to give him a little nudge.  And freshly baked cinnamon rolls will be our strategic offense.”

Olivia: “Ha ha ha!  Okay!  It’s worth a try.  But what about Roger?”

Tessa: “Oh he’s in the doghouse until he apologizes and he makes things right with Sam.  But if we’re going to the hospital, then Roger needs to stay here for Alice and Bobby.  Even though you and I won’t be gone long, I don’t want to leave our foster children without either Roger or I at home.”  Tessa has taken to parenting her new foster children like a duck to water.

So Olivia goes to sleep a little easier Saturday night with Tessa’s wise counsel about love and Sam.  Sunday will be a very big day.


The overnight from Saturday to Sunday morning was a long one for Todd Wakeforest–considering the pain and swelling from his claw trap injuries on his right ankle and his concussion from falling and hitting his head on a boulder.  And consequently, Todd’s brother Sam was up all night with Todd–making sure that he had cold compresses to cool him down from his fevers, that his pain meds were administered on time by the nursing staff, and just to keep him company.

So it was an exhausted Sam who finally sacked out  in the wee hours of Sunday morning in a nearby too small hospital room chair–his arms dangling over the sides and his mouth open and snoring, that Tessa and Olivia find at 7:30am Sunday morning in the Wakeforest County Hospital when they deliver their coffee and fresh cinnamon rolls.

Tessa creeps into the room first, followed by a shyly reluctant Olivia carrying the cinnamon rolls in a box.  Tessa puts her hand to her lips and Olivia nods.  Tessa points to the sleeping Sam and shrugs her shoulders at the poor man’s uncomfortable sleeping position.  Olivia looks over at Sam and is drawn to him as she walks over to him.

Then Tessa goes to her little brother Todd’s hospital bed and sees the grave damage done to his foot–by virtue of the large and bloodied protective bandage around his ankle until his surgery on Monday.  Olivia sets the box of cinnamon rolls they made this morning on a nearby table.

Tessa: “Oh Todd!  You poor thing.”  Tessa whispers.  But it is enough to awaken the barely dozing Todd.

Todd:  “Hmm!  Tessa!  Thanks for coming.”  He moans and grimaces in pain.

Tessa: “Of course.  Are you in pain, can I get you something?”  She asks worriedly.

Todd: “Yes!  I need those pain meds!”  Todd says loud enough that it now wakes up Sam.
Tessa:  “Ill get the nurse.”  Tessa dashes out the door.

Jolting awake in his brother’s hospital room, Sam sees Olivia seemingly hovering over him Sam-isRichardArmitage-inbeard-andPlaid-wHeadphones-smiling-in2015_Oct2115viaNoemi-sized-crop2as if in a vision.  He blinks his eyes several times before he realizes that she is real.  A disheveled Sam smiles delightedly [(2) right] up at Olivia.  And then he sits up and hugs her around her waist in relief that she came to see him after yesterday’s difficulties.

Sam: “Olivia!  You’re here!  I thought that I had almost lost you yesterday?”  That would be both literally–her nearly falling off the hidden sheer cliff drop–and figuratively when she found out about his past lover Lola.

Todd: “What?”  Todd asks confusedly.

Sam: Sam stands up, but keeps his arm around Olivia’s back–and she slightly leans in to him. “Until your little adventure yesterday, Olivia and I were at my log cabin enjoying lunch.”  Todd’s eyes widen.LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Actress Emily Deschanel attends the "Yes on Prop 2" benefit at a private residence on September 28, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Olivia: “With my brother Roger.”  Olivia pipes up cheerfully [(3) right],  lest Todd think that she and Sam were in a compromising situation. Then she changes the subject. “Todd, we brought you and Sam, Tessa’s fresh baked cinnamon rolls.  Well, Tessa’s and mine.” Olivia lowers her eyes shyly as she holds out the open box to each brother and they eagerly partake of the offerings.

Tessa comes back into the room.

Tessa: “The nurse will be right here, Todd, with your pain meds.”  Then she sees how truly haggard Sam looks.  “Sam, you look awful!”

Sam: “Good morning to you, too, Tessa.”  Sam says in mock offense.

Tessa:   “They won’t be moving Todd to Valley View Hospital for hours.  Why don’t you go home and get some rest.  I’ll stay here with Todd for the next few hours.”

Sam: “Alright!  Thanks, Tessa!  I could use a shower and shave.  And I have to wash and pack my clothes if I’m heading with Todd to Valley View’s Hospital this afternoon.”

Tessa: “You should sleep after you shower, Sam.  Take Olivia with you.”
Both Sam’s and Olivia’s heads swing to look at Tessa in shock.

Todd:  “What?”  He may be drugged up with pain meds, but that sounded like Tessa said Sam should sleep with Olivia.

Tessa: “Oh really,  people!”  Tessa rolls her eyes.  “I simply meant that Olivia should drive Sam home, since he’s in no fit state to drive. Then while Sam sleeps, she could do his laundry for him.”

Sam: “That’s an imposition to ask of Olivia, Tessa.”  Then he turns to Olivia. “I’m sorry for my sister drafting you to help out.  You are under no obligation to do my laundry.”

Olivia: “I don’t mind.”  She smiles.  “And if you feel better about it, I’ve done Roger’s laundry for years.”

Sam: “But we won’t have a chaperone.”  Then Sam leans in to Olivia and whispers. “And my place is a bit untidy.   Tessa hasn’t had a chance to visit this month yet to help me catch up.”

Olivia: “Oh?”  She smiles.  “So you’re not perfect at keeping house?”  Then Olivia and Tessa exchange a knowing glance.

Sam: “No.” Sam sheepishly shrugs his shoulders.

Olivia: “Good!  I’ve decided that perfect is not what I’m looking for.”

Sam: “You’re not?” He has a confused expression on his face.

Olivia:  Leaning in to Sam and whispering, Olivia replies. “I’m not. I was naïve to think that you and I would be perfect like the romance stories I have read.” Sam raises a querying eyebrow. “Like Tessa said, relationships are built on people accepting their own and the other person’s imperfections–then building a wonderfully happy imperfect life together.  So I would like to continue getting to know you, Sam.”  Olivia smiles shyly up at Sam.
Sam smiles, then he spontaneously leans down and hugs Olivia–engulfing her in his long arms.  Then Sam looks over at his sister Tessa watching them–and he mouths the words, Thank you.  Tessa mouths back, You’re welcome.


After Olivia drives Sam home–and he reluctantly lets her in to his untidy house–she gets to work collecting the clothes off of the floor of his bedroom to put them in the laundry while Sam has his shower and shave before he takes a much needed nap.  Actually, Sam and Olivia are behaving very domestically with each other–even though, they are not officially boyfriend and girlfriend yet.

Olivia marvels at the sheer size of Sam’s clothing.  She knew that he was big at six foot 3 inches tall from being around him.  But some how her seeing his clothes without him in it shows them to be cavernous.  She first transfers a finished wash load–that Sam must have put on yesterday–to the dryer.  Then she washes his light colored shirts and underwear–her blushingly marveling at his underwear briefs’ size compared to her brother Roger’s briefs.  It seems not all men are alike.  Though the innocent Olivia has no direct knowledge of that.

Then Olivia saunters back to Sam’s bedroom to collect the clothes he was wearing overnight, to wash them with his other dark clothes.   She knocks two quick raps on Sam’s bedroom door, then she enters it.   This is only the second time that Olivia has been in a man’s bedroom–the first time being twenty minutes ago when she collected Sam’s other dirty laundry.

Olivia: “Sam, it’s just me.  I put the first load on to wash.  Do you have your clothes you were wearing that you can give to me, so that I can wash them with the second load of dark clothes?”  I look around and then notice that the bathroom door is open a crack–and I can see Sam shaving.  My mouth gapes open at seeing his nearly bare muscular form–but for a large towel covering his lower half.

Sam: “Sure!”  I say in mid razor stroke as I stand with a towel around my bare abdomen.  “Here, let me toss them out to you.”  Olivia doesn’t respond.  Then I toss a few clothes into a pile just outside the bedroom door.

I really feel sheepish about Olivia doing my laundry, but it is very nice of her to help out since I have  to travel with Todd to Valley View Hospital later today and then he will have his surgery on his foot and ankle on Monday.  We hope all goes well and that he will be able to walk again eventually.

I go back to shaving and then finish up–rinsing my face off and toweling it dry.  Then I realize that I don’t hear anything from Olivia and I peek out of my bathroom door.  And there she is, standing staring at me. And it occurs to me that I might be the first nearly naked man whom she has ever seen.  I dash to the dresser drawer and pull out my athletic t-shirt and sweatpants to sleep in–since I don’t wear pajamas.

Olivia: Regaining my senses, I avert my eyes and then close them. “Sorry!”  I squeak.

Sam: “I’m sorry, too.” I blush while trying to hold the towel on me.  “I forgot to take some napping clothes into the bathroom with me.  I’ll be right back.”  I dash back into the bathroom–making sure to close the door. Then I drop my towel and put on my athletic sleeveless t-shirt and my gray sweat pants.

Meanwhile, frozen statue Olivia thaws and collects the remaining clothes off of the floor.  Then she walks out of Sam’s bedroom and takes the clothes to the laundry room.

When Sam reenters his bedroom, he doesn’t find Olivia there. And Sam knows that it would be way too much wishful thinking on his part, to find her in his bed waiting for him.  Though the thought does conjure lustful images in Sam’s mind. But he has to suppress them. Then his exhaustion takes over, and Sam slides into his comfortable bed and he falls asleep almost instantly.

After putting the second load of laundry on to wash, Olivia folds the first load out of the dryer and takes it upstairs to Sam’s bedroom. Again, she knocks softly twice before entering the room.  The room is darker than before, Sam having drawn the drapes closed so that he could sleep.  And Olivia sees Sam’s true sleeping form–when he has a proper bed long enough to accommodate him as he does now, and not a too small hospital room chair.

Sam lies in repose under the sheets [(4) right] , breathing deeply while lying on his back. Sam-sleeping-isRichardArmitage-inMovingOn_079_Nov2915ranet-crop-sized-brt-clr His mouth is not gaping open this time, nor is he snoring, too much.  Olivia inches a little closer. She remembers Sam’s arms around her in Todd’s hospital room.  And she wants to feel that closeness with Sam again.  So Olivia doffs her shoes and her outer vest jacket.  Then Olivia slides onto the bed covers with Sam lying underneath the covers–and she lies her head down upon his shoulder with her arm across his chest.

At first, Olivia feels a bit tense lying in Sam’s arms. But after a few moments, she relaxes.  And then Sam’s strong and powerful arms come around her and he kisses the top of her head.

Sam: “I’m glad that you are here, Olivia. Thank you!  I would like to fall asleep with you in my arms.”

And then Sam’s breathing slows down and becomes deep and steady and even.  He is finally asleep. Then in a few minutes, Olivia also falls asleep.

Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be devoted to Todd’s surgery and his convalescence care.  But today, Sunday morning, it is just the two of them, Sam and Olivia.

To be continued with Chapter 8



“Love in the Great Pine Woods”  Ch. 07, by Gratiana Lovelace, November 28, 2015
1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:

a)the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

2) Sam is Richard Armitage in beard-and Plaid-wHeadphones-smiling-in2015_Oct2115viaNoemi

3) Olivia smiling  is Emily Deschanel found at http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/2400000/Emily-Deschanel-emily-deschanel-2478681-497-600.jpg

4) Sam sleeping  is Richard Armitage in Moving On found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/MovingOn/album/Moving%20On/slides/MO_079.jpg



Previous  Blog Ch. 06 Story link:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/love-in-the-great-pine-woods-ch-06-pg-13-d-l-a-walk-in-the-woods-turns-tragic-november-28-2015-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-837/ /



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“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 06 (PG-13, D, L):  A Walk in the Woods Turns Tragic, November 28, 2015 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #837)

aaaa-Love-in-the-Great-Pine-Woods_story-cover_Nov2515byGratianaLovelace_3inchesTallrev4(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely Tyson as Nellie Newton, and Anna Sophia Robb as Alice Trent, Kevin Spacey as Roger Delaney, Sam Heughan as Todd Wakeforest, Idris Elba as Dominic Perkins  and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.

Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter:  The opening of the Wakeforest Family XMAS Tree Farm on Friday heralds the start of the busy holiday season.  And as Sam Wakeforest and Olivia Delaney begin to explore possibly dating each other–their kisses on Thanksgiving having cemented both of their interests in that regard.  However, it was the unexpected arrival of the runaway teen Alice with her baby brother Timmy that caused all of the adults to focus on helping her–with Tessa and Roger Delaney taking her in to house her as their foster children while they and Mrs. Perkins attempt to resolve Alice’s desperate situation.  And owing to their Friday night dinner date being cancelled–in lieu of having dinner with the Delaney’s and Alice–Sam and Olivia will try again on Saturday. But Saturday will not turn out as anyone expects when events unfold that will cause the Wakeforest family grave concern as the treacherous nature of the mountain and its environs endangers one of their own.


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 6 (PG-13, D, L)–A Walk in the Woods Turns Tragic

When Sam invited Olivia to have lunch at his log cabin in the woods on Saturday, he envisioned a cozy tete-a-tete with, perhaps, some playful couch wrestling for dessert.  That is so not what happens. First off, Sam and Olivia are not alone–they have a chaperone.  Sam understands that Olivia’s brother Roger wants to protect her from malicious gossip were it known that she were alone with a man. But Sam could not have foreseen the lengths to which her brother would go–as in, joining them for lunch at Sam’s log cabin.  Brothers are definitely romance killers.

And Sam doesn’t remember being similarly concerned when his sister Tessa was dating Roger before they married.  Afterall, Tessa was a widow.  So she had been married–and all that being married entails. Though frankly, Sam doesn’t want to think about his older sister in such a   … well,  such a situation.  Sam doesn’t think the word position, because that conjures up other connotations regarding his sister Tessa.  But still, he would hope that his brother-in-law Roger would cut him a little slack and give him a bit of leeway with his sister Olivia.  Not a chance.

So there is nothing for it but to pick up three sub sandwiches to go at Hannah’s Diner in Cabin-in-snow-TellurideCO_Nov2315pinteresttown and then drive into the woods on the mountain to Sam’s log cabin [(2) right] .  It is snowy and the forest is heavily foliaged at midday–lending almost a twilight feel to the day. But nightfall is much darker since the thicket of trees prevent the moon’s rays from filtering down to ground level.

Still, Sam tries to forget that Roger is even there.   This is clearly evident when Sam ushers Olivia through his cabin’s front door and then shut the door behind him–on Roger.  Roger has to knock to remind Sam to let him in.   And they aren’t polite knocks either–Roger rat a tat tats the wood door with a staccato precision that would rival any concert band drummer.

Of course, this annoys Sam even more, as he  poutingly scowls [(3) right] at his date Olivia-Sam-inside-hisMountainLogCabin-interiorTellurideCO_Nov2815pinterest-sized-as he stands in the one large open room of the cabin–with his bed in plain view at one end and the sitting area and kitchen at the other.  Of course there is a couch and a table and chairs for dining, too, nearer the kitchen end of the large room. But Sam realizes that having a bed in this room with himself and his shy date Olivia might lead anyone to presume that a seduction has been planned.  And there might be one in the future.  But when Sam designed the log cabin’s layout, it was made for maximum efficiency–and natural beauty with its wood and stone materials. Try telling that to a protective older brother like Roger Delaney.

Roger:  “Are you going to let me in?”  Roger demands while standing outside of Sam’s log cabin, on the porch–stamping his feet from the cold.

Olivia:  Olivia looks a bit annoyed [(4) right] and asks Sam to let her brother in.  “Please Olivia-looking-perturbed-isEmilyDeschanel-ralph-lauren-southwestern-sweater-asBones_Nov2815wornontvcom-crop-sizedSam, let Roger in.  He’ll freeze out there.” The over sized khaki coat–that she didn’t take off with her heavier winter coat–over her patterned sweater, makes her seem adorable to Sam. And he winks at her. She rolls her eyes. “Sam? Roger?”

Sam has to think about that–whether he will let Roger into the cabin.  Maybe Roger can sit in the car and eat his sandwich there.  Obviously, Roger will have none of that because he keeps knocking on the front door.  So Sam has to let him in as Olivia goes to put their food bags on the kitchen counter at the other end of the room.  Olivia smiles at her brother Roger and waves.  They had just driven over together–so Roger nods and smiles at Olivia’s sweetness.  Then Olivia begins to look for plates and is distracted from the conversation between Sam and her brother Roger.

Sam:  “Oh!  So sorry, Roger.  I forgot that you were there.” Sam sarcastically looks at Roger in annoyance, then steps aside as Roger walks into his log cabin home.

Roger: “You invited me!”  Now Roger looks uptight and annoyed [(5) right]–annoyed Roger-upset-isKevinSpacey-inCallofdutyadvancedwarfarescreenshotjuly294_Nov2815playstationlifestyle-sized-crop-shrpbeing the emotion running rampant today.  And Roger looks uptight all the time.  Th fifty year old Roger is a banker by profession and avocation–even in his non work time hours.  And he looks it too–him wearing one of his suit coats with a pocket square over a cotton dress shirt and jeans–with comfortable slip on leather dress loafer shoes.  Roger has no plans to do any hiking outside in the snow today. Roger is a buttoned down man if ever there was one.  Yet, Sam’s sister Tessa seems to have found Roger’s soft gooey romantic heart center. That gooey center is just not on display for Sam and Olivia at the moment.

Sam: “Only under duress.  It was the only way that you would let me bring Olivia to my log cabin today.”   Sam’s sister Tessa would have normally come with Olivia, but Tessa is staying home with her new foster children Alice and Bobby.

Roger: “Well, I’m just thinking about her.”  Roger points to his sister and he furtively glances at the bed along one wall  of large open room and frowns.

Sam:  “And so am I. But if you want our relationship–hers and mine–to progress to the point of matrimony, then we have to have some private time alone to get to know each other better.”  Sam grumbles deeply.  “You and Tessa had private time together when you were dating.”

Roger:  “That’s different.” Roger blushes.  “And you know it.  Tessa had already … She was not … Dang it!  You know what I mean.”

Sam: “And yet, a little birdy tells me that you are not so prudish as you appear to be.” Sam needles his brother-in-law.

Roger: “What do you mean?”  Roger’s face drains of all color.  His Tessa is a vivacious kittenish wife who revs up Roger’s romantic engine. He just doesn’t want anyone to know that about himself.

Sam: “You and Tessa built yourselves a new masters suite in your mansion–with extra sound proofing?”  I raise my eyebrow and disbelievingly look him up and down. Roger Delaney is a nice man–usually.  But he does not seem the romantic swain type.  Roger is not tall–about five foot 8 inches.  He has a little paunch going.  And he has more hair in his ears than on his head.  And everyone knows that virile men have plenty of hair on their head.  I, on the other hand, have an abundant amount of hair–on my head.  I just keep in cut short.

Olivia:  Having found the plates to use for their sandwiches, Olivia calls out.  “Fellas!  Our food is ready.  So let’s eat!”

Roger removes his suit jacket with a flourish and strides over to the other side of the Roger-inSamsCabinKitchen-isKevinSpacey-inkitchen_house_of_cards_2_Nov2815iconeye-sized-shrproom.  Then he and begrudgingly admires the small but comfortably appointed kitchen area [(6) right] and he finally bothers to observe the generally cozy interior of Sam’s mountain home.

Roger:  “Nice cabin.”  Roger admits reluctantly.

Sam: “Thank you.”  Sam replies perfunctorially.

For the moment–while they eat–Sam and Roger have reached a détente of sorts.  Their mouths are full, hindering talking.

But that truce doesn’t last long after lunch.  And Roger goes to the bathroom–as people need to do from time to time–and comes out to find Sam crouched by the fireplace, with Olivia leaning over Sam as he  proudly tells her how they made the fireplace and chimney surround out of found stones in the area.   And from Roger’s view, it looks like Olivia is actually lying on Sam’s back in a suggestive way.

Roger: “Olivia Marie Delaney!  Get away from that man!”  Roger barks in his most booming authoritarian older brother voice.Olivia-isEmilyDeschanel-insweater-asDrTemperanceBrennan-intvshowBones-Nov2815pinterest-crop-sized

Olivia:  Olivia jumps back from Sam and gazes at her brother with a wounded look as she refutes her brother’s accusation and explains herself  [(7) right] .  “What?  We weren’t doing anything.  He was just showing me the fireplace.”

Roger: But Roger won’t let his suspicions go. “A likely story.”

Sam stands up to his full height.

Sam: “Roger, you want to say something, you say it to me. Olivia is blameless.”

Olivia: “There’s nothing for Roger to blame you of either, Sam.”  Sam puts his arms around her shoulders and squeezes.

Roger: “Oh?  Isn’t there?  What about that?”  Roger points to the bed.

Sam: “It’s a bed, Roger–for sleeping.”  Sam emphasizes.  Because Sam really had not planned to seduce Olivia today. He just wanted to spend time with her away from others.

Roger: “And how many women have you brought here?”

Sam:  Looking indignant, Sam replies disdainfully.  “None!  This cabin is my private retreat.  Only family and close friends have ever been invited here.”  Sam narrows his eyes.  He won’t be inviting Roger back.

Roger: “Not even that Lola woman who Tessa said you had been seeing for a while?”  Roger points his finger accusingly.

Sam: Sam’s face has a look of Thunder–going all red and purple at Roger’s insulting tone, and Roger embarrassing him about a past lover.  “No!”  And Sam worries what Olivia will think–wondering if she will misinterpret the situation.

Olivia detaches herself from Sam’s embrace.

Olivia: “Who is Lola?”  Olivia asks innocently, hoping that what her brother hinted at is untrue.

Sam: Sam grasps and holds only Olivia’s hand, even though she tries to pull away. Sam says pleadingly.   “She’s in the past.  Olivia, she meant nothing to me.” He pleads.

Olivia: “Was she your girlfriend?”  She asks with a hurt expression on her face.

Sam:  “No!”  Sam states emphatically.    “We were … we were …” Sam flounders, not willing to reveal his private past actions.

Roger:  “You can’t own up to it, can you?  Your little slut on the side.”

Sam: Turning to Roger and shouting, Sam explodes.  “Unless you were a virgin when you married–and abstained from sex after you were widowed and until you and my sister Tessa were married–then you have no right to accuse me of my sexual activities!  A man has needs!  And Lola was not a slut!  She was a kind and generous woman.”  Though Sam does not refer to her as a lady, that title he reserves for Olivia and his sister Tessa.  Then Sam turns to Olivia again and tries to explain in a less strident tone of voice.  “Olivia, Lola and I were lovers, yes.  But that was years ago.  And at most, it was merely a mutually satisfying arrangement–neither of us wanted marriage, and we were not emotionally involved with each other.”

And Sam supposes that he should have added, not like you and I.  Meaning that Sam and Olivia are emotionally involved. But he and Olivia are just starting to get to know each other–from Sam’s perspective.  Sam  likes her enormously, and finds Olivia very attractive.  But he is not in love with her, at least, not yet.

Yet, Olivia does feel that she is emotionally involved with Sam.  She has had a crush on him since forever.  And afterall, they kissed each other–not once, but twice.  And he made her feel like someone liked her.

However, Olivia’s views about Sam have drastically altered in the last few minutes.  For a woman like Olivia–raised strictly and sheltered–her only notion of love and marriage has come from the flowery and restrained romantic novels that she was allowed to read.  Olivia  feels that she should have realized that Sam would have had other women in his life before her.  Afterall, he is 45 years old.  And yet, Olivia feels naïve and stupid and embarrassed for thinking that Sam might have liked her more than anyone else–more than this Lola.  Olivia has never had a man pay attention to her romantically before Sam.  And she wonders now, why he  made her think that he liked her in a special way–maybe, that he might even grow to love her and to marry her–not just as a woman whom he could  have sex with and not be married to.  That wouldn’t be a life that she would choose.

Olivia: “I don’t want to hear any more!”  She screams and cries out as she lurches away from Sam. Then Olivia impulsively grabs her heavier winter coat and runs out the cabin’s front door sobbing.  She doesn’t know where she is going–nor how far away in the snow she will get. Olivia just knows that she has to get away from Sam and her brother Roger.

Sam: “Olivia!  Don’t leave! It’s not safe!”  Sam rushes to put his boots back on to follow her.
Roger: “Olivia!”  Roger races to the front door, but Sam beats him to it.

Sam: “You stay here!  I don’t want to have to look for two lost people in the woods. Besides, if Olivia comes back, someone should be here.”  Sam grabs his coat, hat, and gloves.  He also grabs his rifle.  There are animals in these woods that can kill a human–cougars, wolves, and the like.  And there is more to worry about with the surrounding elevations and some steep cliff drop offs that can take a person by surprise.  So Olivia being out in the woods by herself is very dangerous.

Roger: “Alright.” He grouses.  “But find her, dammit!  And bring her back safe!”

Sam: “I will–no thanks to you!”  Sam hisses at Roger, then he rushes out of the door after Olivia.   Sam catches a glimpse of her way ahead of him on the path–him being grateful that she is staying on the path.  And Sam picks up speed.  Sam is praying that he reaches her before she comes to harm.


Todd Wakeforest takes his usual walk about on the mountain late Saturday morning. Each one of the brothers has their day to survey the mountain, and today is his. His wife Mary had packed him a sandwich lunch which he eats hungrily at a small lean to that the brothers had erected for protection from the cold.  There are several such Majestic-large-deer-named-bySam_Nov2815freephotocourse-sizedout buildings that they have placed on the mountain as a safety precaution for themselves and hikers.

Then after lunch, Todd begins to descend through the less steep Southwest fork when he spots Majestic [(8) right] –the impressive 12 point deer buck named by his brother Sam.

Todd stands transfixed [(9) right] –gazing at this beautiful deer.  And with him inching Todd-in-snow-isSamHeughan-in-APrinceforChristmas-andfirtreebkgrndviaPinterest_Nov2815GratianaManipforward to get a better look, without looking where he is stepping, Todd doesn’t see the metal chain sticking out of the snow until he steps into the vise claw grip of a rabbit trap and the claw trap’s sharp teeth close around his hiking booted right ankle.

Todd:  “Christ!”  Todd swears in pain as he falls backward.  Unfortunately, he hits his head on a small boulder, which renders him unconscious–with his booted foot oozing blood, is still caught in the claw trap.

Majestic who had been startled away when Todd shouted out in pain, trots back to investigate.  The deer nuzzles the familiar looking man lying inert in the snow.  Majestic remembers seeing this one with the taller man from time to time.  The man seems to be breathing. But Majestic notices the blood on the snow near the foot of the man lying there–and he sees the claw trap. The smell of blood giving Majestic a sense of danger–but instinctively knowing that it is not danger to the deer.  Then sensing that something is amiss with the man not moving, Majestic sits down next to the man–lending him his body warmth.

Eventually, the pain from his foot being in the claw trap wakes Todd up about five minutes later.

Todd: “Christ a mighty!”  He swears again while feeling the back of his head that is in pain, too–a nasty lump is forming back there.

Majestic turns his many antlered head and looks down at the man.  But he does not skitter away–the very large Majestic senses that the man needs him, needs his warmth.

Todd:  Then Todd notices the warm deer at his side.  “Majestic!”

Todd manages to sit up to see what is causing his ankle to be in agony. Then he sees his foot in the rabbit claw trap and mutters another oath.  But since it is a smaller trap, he can easily pry it off of his foot and ankle, tossing the now closed claw trap away from him and the deer.  At least, no one else will get caught with it being closed.   Todd can see that the claw trap teeth punctured his thick hiking boot on both sides–leaving deep gashes in his ankle that are oozing blood.

Todd:  “Blasted trap!”   Todd notices that Majestic seems to dip his head watchfully, as if in agreement with him. Claw traps are forbidden on the Mountain, so as not to catch unsuspecting humans or animals.  But the trap had looked old and rusty, so it might have been there for decades–well before his family’s edict was in place.

Then Todd uses some snow to clean out the wounds as best he can–worried about the dirt and germs from the trap getting into his wounds.  But the snow is freezing and Todd needs to get into cover if he is to survive. Knowing that he can’t walk with his injury, Todd wonders if Majestic would let him ride him.    Todd’s rifle fell too far away from him, so he can’t signal his distress to his brothers with two shots.  Todd tries placing his arm over the deer and Majestic jumps up and skitters away. Todd guesses that a ride won’t be happening.

Todd: “Come back, Majestic.”  Todd motions feebly to the deer.  And with Todd sitting up that last few minutes, it has made him feel woozy again.  And he knows if he goes unconscious again, he will die in the snow from the cold.  So he struggles to move his body to the less wet ground where Majestic had been sitting–even as pain shoots through him.  Todd  can still feel part of the deer’s warmth where the deer had sat. But the deer’s lingering warmth on the ground is not enough to warm Todd in these frigid environs.  And Todd can’t fight the effects of his concussion and he manages to lie down before he passes out again.

Majestic watches the man for some time, not seeing movement. Then Majestic trots over to him, sees that the man is breathing, and sits down next to him again–as both a guard as well as lending the man his warmth.

But for Todd Wakeforest, will that warmth be enough?  And though the mountain bears are in hibernation this time of year, there are still wolves and cougars that roam this mountain range, even in winter.  So danger is everywhere.


After Todd Wakeforest had not returned home by 2pm as he had promised his wife Mary that he would–so they could go together to their XMAS Tree farm with their kids to pick out their Christmas Tree–she becomes frantic. This is not like Todd at all.  She phones the XMAS Tree farm at 3pm and finds that Todd is not there either–which alarms his brothers, who quickly alert several other family and friends about the need to do a search for Todd on the mountain.  They tell Mary to bring the kids to the XMAS Tree Farm so that their wives can watch them for her.    They will shut their XMAS Tree Farm business down early today.

They know that their elder brother Sam is at his log cabin with Olivia Delaney and her brother, Roger.  The cabin is located just a little ways further up the mountain from its foothills  where they are now at the XMAS Tree Farm.  And Sam’s log cabin will serve as a base for the searchers as Kevin and William organize everyone to follow them with their vehicles  to Sam’s.  And Mary insists that she ride along with Kevin. If Todd is hurt in any way–or worse–she wants to be with him as soon as possible.  And her brother-in-law relents.


Sam has just caught up to Olivia who had run away from his cabin after his verbal sparring with her brother Roger revealing about Sam’s past love life.

Sam: “Olivia!  Stop! Now!”  But Olivia keeps running–right toward one of the hidden sheer cliff drops.  Sam races ahead and grasps Olivia’s coat and pulls her back just before she would have fallen off the cliff.

Olivia:  “Ahhhhhhh!”   She screams in terror as she nows sees the air but no ground before her as Sam holds her tight to him.  However her knit hat that she had haphazardly stuck on her head, keeps going over the cliff–where she might have fallen.

Sam: “Olivia, Olivia.” Sam murmurs her name and pulls her back several yards from the edge, where they both collapse in a heap on the ground.  He shudders to think if he hadn’t been in time and she would have fallen to her death.

Olivia: Crying now out of the fear of almost being killed, Olivia has one of her panic attacks.  “Hmm! Hmm!  Hmm!”

Sam:   Recognizing Olivia’s symptoms as a panic attack, Sam gently but firmly takes her face into his hands.  He speaks in urgent, but soothing tones.   “Look at me, Olivia!  Look at me!  You’re alright!  You’re safe!  Look at me. Don’t faint.  We have to get back to the cabin!”

Olivia:  “Hmm.Hmm.” She whimpers, still crying.

Sam: “Olivia, I’m so sorry about everything.  I realize that you may not want to be around me anymore.”

Olivia:   “Hh!  Hh!  Hh!  Hh!”  Her breathing is still quick and shallow.

Sam:  “But you have to know that my feelings for you are sincere–even if you no longer have feelings for me. You have to know that I think you are wonderful.”    Sam strokes her wet cheeks with his thumbs and he kisses the middle of her forehead.

Olivia:  “Hhh!   Hhhh!   Hhhhh!”  Her breathing slows down.

Sam:  “That’s right, breathe slowly.” Olivia concentrates on slowing down her breathing.  “Olivia, I’m just a man–a very flawed man.  I wish that I could take back some of the choices that I made in my life–the one that make you think less of me.  But I can’t.  I can only move forward. I would like to date you and see if we can build a life together.”

Olivia: “Hhhh!   HhhhH!   I can’t tell you how I feel right now.  Hhhhh!   I’m too numb from the shock.” Then she adds wryly.  And my backside is getting numb from sitting on this cold ground.”

Sam: “Ha ha ha! So is mine. Shall we stand up?”

Olivia nods and Sam helps her stand. Then as they begin to walk back to Sam’s cabin, they hear two horn blasts.  Sam stops walking and listens with concern.

Olivia: “What is it?”  Sam holds up his hand for her to stop talking and he waits and listens.

Sam: “Shhhh!  Listen!”

With Todd Wakeforest turning up missing from being on the mountain that afternoon, the frantic search for him gets underway as all the Wakeforest and Delaney families, friends, and community help search for him before it gets too dark to see.  They also bring extra jugs of cider and donuts to help warm and feed the searchers–and hopefully Todd–later. And just before they leave, William Wakeforest sounds the alarm–using a civil defense like siren horn [(10)] —  in four sets of two quick blasts. One blast would mean hiker lost and a search is forming.  Two blasts means that a Wakeforest brother is missing. The number of repetitions indicating which brother  is missing, via birth order–one horn blast set for Sam, two sets for Kevin, three sets for William, and four sets for Todd.  William hopes that their brother Sam will hear the siren blasts.  William also hopes that Todd hears it–knowing that they are coming for him and that he should hang on.

When Sam hears the chilling sound of the warning siren.  He stops and listens–two siren horn blasts, silence, then repeated three more times.  Sam’s face drains of all color.  Sam knows that it is his youngest brother  William who is missing on the mountain  and he hurries Olivia to his cabin.

Sam: “It’s William.  He’s missing on the mountain.  We have to get to the cabin, and then I’ll leave to search for him.”  Sam tells Olivia hurriedly. But she is still out of breath due to her anxiety attack and now with them running back to the cabin. So she can’t respond.

Sam surmises that his brothers will bring the searchers here to his log cabin to start with. It is their emergency plan–and they have only had to use it once before, when a hiker got lost and had a sprained ankle one Spring.  However, this is freezing Winter–a much more dangerous time for anyone to be missing.  Sam quickly ushers Olivia back into his cabin. Roger is waiting with a concerned expression on his face.  Both Sam and Olivia have a foreboding dread.

Around 4pm, Sam’s brothers and the others arrive at Sam’s cabin and tell them that it is Todd who has gone missing.  And every moment is precious because Todd has been missing at least 2 hours–probably more when counting that he would have left the mountain around 1:30pm to give him time to get home by 2pm.

Roger and Olivia take Todd’s wife Mary aside and try to calm and soothe her as best they can.  But they know that the situation is grave. This is how Tessa and Sam’s father’s brother, their Uncle Fred, had died–on the mountain, but from a heart attack when they were children.

The focus of operations is Sam’s log cabin–where Roger and Todd’s wife Mary, and Olivia will stay to wait.  The twenty or so men then fan out in search parties of four people each–with Sam, Kevin, and William each leading three of the four search teams–they want no one else lost and possibly injured on the mountain today.  Every team has a rifle to signal the other teams with two shots.

Dominic Perkins, his brother Alfred and his two sons all help with the search, too, as the Dominic-insnow-isIdrisElba_Nov2815rollingout-sizedfourth search team. Sam had given the fourth team leader, his friend Dominic, the extra rifle that he always keeps at the log cabin. Dominic [(11) right] is tall physically muscular–like Sam–and more fit for traveling the mountain terrain than banker Roger would be.   The Perkins are told to take the Southwest fork to search.   It isn’t as steep there.  So with them being inexperienced forest hikers, it is a safer area for them to look in. Though Dominic is ex-military–him having served in WWII with Sam.  But Sam doesn’t want anyone else hurt on his mountain–if, indeed, Todd is hurt.

After 1.5 hours searching with no luck, Sam and his other brothers, and Roger and Olivia Delaney, as well as Todd’s wife Mary are frantic with worry after they had returned to the cabin.  The sun is beginning to set at 5:30pm–which will make searching all but impossible in a little while.  But the commanding Sam remains cool and focused on their task–finding Todd–as he and his mountain trained brothers head out together for one last search.

But not all of the searchers had checked back in to Sam’s log cabin command post. Dominic Perkins and his brother and nephews are still out searching the woods. And it is later in the afternoon when the light starts to fade around 5:30pm.  They push on, hoping to find Todd.  Knowing it is probably useless, Dominic still calls out Todd’s name as they continue to walk forward.

Dominic: “Todd!   Todd!  Where are you, man!”  Nothing, no reply.  But Dominic won’t give up. “Todd!  Todd!”  Then he waits, listening again, nothing. Once more he tries. “Todd!   Todd!” And then they catch a break.

Todd: “Here! I’m here!”  Todd feebly cries out. He has been in and out of consciousness. But the last shout being closer, jolted him awake.

And then, the Perkins family men find Todd lying in the snow in a small clearing, injured from a rabbit claw-trap on his right ankle and blood dried on his head from him hitting his head on a rock when he fell and going unconscious. They find Todd there lying semi-unconscious next to an enormous deer with many more antlers than they can count.
The deer has not seen these men in the woods.  Majestic’s eyes narrow at the rifle in the one man’s hand.  The deer takes no time to ponder whether they are friend or foe and jumps up and gallops away from the unknown man with the rifle.  Then Dominic and his family rush to Todd, finding him breathing, but very cold.

Dominic had learned basic survival training in the military.  So he has his brother Alfred help him get Todd’s freezing coat off of him. Then both Dominic and Alfred pull their coats on over Todd–to give him double warmth from their body heat.  Dominic eschews Todd’s coat in favor of his older brother wearing it.  They will have to find a way to create a pallet out of branches to carry or drag the large and heavy Todd to safety.  Then Dominic points the rifle in the air and away from them and fires two shots to signal that Todd has been found–in hopes of getting other searchers to help them.

Sam and his brothers Kevin and William stop moving  when they year the two rifle shots.  They determine the proper direction the shots came from and start racing to the Southwest fork, praying that Todd is still alive.  And they do find him alive–thanks to the Perkins family.  Sam and Dominic embrace as men do–them understanding that each has now saved a life.  Sam saved Dominic’s life when he landed that transport plane safely.  And now Dominic has saved Sam’s brother Todd’s life. Fate has a way of bringing life full circle–as it has done today.

Then as the men lash some tree branches together to create a sled to drag Todd back to Sam’s cabin with, Todd lets them know that he’s going to be alright.

Todd: “Thanks fellas!” Todd sighs. “You and Majestic saved me!   But could you finSam-isRichardArmitage-inProjectMagazine-BlkJkt664917000Oct0111RARU-pix-sized-brtd my rifle.  I dropped it when I stepped into the claw trap.”

Sam:  “You nearly lose a foot and almost freeze to death?  And you want us to find your rifle in the snow?”  Sam asks incredulously [(12) right] .

Todd: “Well, yes!  It belonged to Grandpa.  Please?”  Todd whines.

And that was Sam’s clue that Todd will be alright–Todd whining, like the little brother that he is.  Sam tousles Todd’s hair after finding his blasted rifle in the snow nearby and giving it to Todd to hold while they get him back to Sam’s cabin.  Then, they just have to get Todd down the mountain in one of their vehicles, and to the local hospital that has been alerted that injuries might be coming their way when the sirens sounded.   The Wakeforest family has gratefully survived the dangers of their mountain this day.

But some dangers are man made and could have been prevented–in the form of Roger Delaney’s revelations to his sister Olivia about Sam Wakeforest’s past sexual history.  This knowledge has caused Olivia to question Sam’s interest in her romantically–and has subsequently caused Olivia to doubt herself again, as she retreats behind her guarded reserve.

And in the coming week, Sam knows that he and Olivia will have to have a frank talk about whether they might have a future together–if she will even agree to see him.  And the nation will be seized with a crisis of conscience this coming week when a lady makes her stand–or her sit, in this case.

To be continued with Chapter 7

P.S. Dear Readers, This installment of “Love in the Great Pine Woods” was the last of my daily postings for this story while I was on my Thanksgiving vacation. I was writing all day long for each chapter–something I cannot do when I return to work on Monday.  So for this story, I will now post updates on a weekly basis–carrying it through to the December Holidays.   And I will resume writing and the weekly postings for my other in-progress story, “Thorin’s Journey:  An Unexpected Love” as it winds down to its conclusion.


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”  Ch. 06, by Gratiana Lovelace, November 28, 2015
1)The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:
a)the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

2) Image of Sam Wakeforest’s  forest  log cabin weekend home is a snowy cabin in Telluride, Colorado that was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e2/b9/15/e2b915af95e32cf1d21c31a959ddb6d8.jpg

3) Image of Sam Wakeforest inside his   mountain pine woods log cabin is Grati’s composite of:
a)  weekend home interior with bed and fireplace is a snowy cabin in Telluride, Colorado that was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/8e/ca/42/8eca4242200f04fc4698aafb89266f8d.jpg ;
b) The Richard Armitage portrait from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg

4) Olivia looking perturbed in a sweater image is Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance Brennan on the tv show Bones that was found at http://cdn2.wornon.tv/tiles/ralph-lauren-southwestern-sweater-emily-deschanel-bones.jpg

5) Roger Delany upset is Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty found at http://cdn2-www.playstationlifestyle.net/assets/uploads/2014/07/callofdutyadvancedwarfarescreenshotjuly294.jpg

6) Roger Delany unhappy in Sam’s Cabin kitchen is Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty found at http://cdn.iconeye.com/images/2015/03/kitchen_house_of_cards_2.jpg?1430477265

7) Olivia in a sweater refuting an accusation image is Emily Deschanel as Dr. Temperance Brennan on the tv shohwbones that was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1f/f2/33/1ff2333bd61ba1ebd0576ccf89950796.jpg

8) Majestic deer named by Sam image is a large deer found at http://freephotocourse.com/uploads/2/7/2/8/2728490/2198733_orig.jpg

9) Todd Wakeforest on snowy mountain gazing transfixed at the deer Majestic(background manip of fir trees from Pinterest) is Sam Heughan as the prince in A  Prince for Christmas that was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/8f/af/c9/8fafc93091449138ac595fc16e5b1602.jpg

10)  Civil Defense sirens began to be used in the US in1952.For more information visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_defense_siren

11) Dominic Perkins in snow is Idris Elba found at http://rollingout.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/idris.jpg?a5de54

12) Sam Wakeforest image is Richard Armitage in 2011 Project Magazine-BlkJkt664917000Oct0111RARU-pix-sized-brt


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“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 05 (PG-13, D):  The Wakeforest Family’s XMAS Tree Farm Opens, November 27, 2015 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #836)

aaaa-Love-in-the-Great-Pine-Woods_story-cover_Nov2515byGratianaLovelace_3inchesTallrev4(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely Tyson as Nellie Newton, and Anna Sophia Robb as Alice Trent, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.

Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter: Early Thanksgiving morning, Olivia had a heart to heart talk with their 83 year old retired cook-housekeeper who lives with them, Nellie Newton. Nellie is wise about life and love–and she encourages Olivia, her little Livvy, to get on with her life and tell that Sam Wakeforest that she is sweet on him.  Later that same morning, Sam helped Olivia and Tessa chop the rutabega for their Thanksgiving Day meal–and they had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day family meal. And later that afternoon, Sam and Olivia finally shared their first kisses–her first kisses ever–out in the freezing gazebo.  Then they came back into the Delaney home and kissed a bit more as they were trying to warm up by the fire in her brother Roger’s cozy den study.  Then they fell asleep cuddling chastely after their long and eventful day.


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 5 (PG-13, D)–The Wakeforest’s XMAS Tree Farm Opens

For most people, the Friday after Thanksgiving is either a travel day or a shopping day.  SnowyPineForest_Nov2315pinterest-GratianaLovelace-doubled-sized-signmanip For the Wakeforest Family XMAS Tree Farm [(2) right] , it is the start of a busy holiday season.   Sam and his brothers arrive early around 6:30am so they can finish positioning  the already cut down trees and premade wreaths  and make sure that their parking lot is cleared of snow.  Sam runs the snow plow truck on the gravel parking lot, making short work of the overnight two inch snowfall.  Situated at the base of Wakeforest Mountain, their Wakeforest Family XMAS Tree Farm has been in operation for over fifty years–mostly to stop idiots from just walking onto their mountain and chopping down any old tree that they took a fancy to.

Sam’s sister Tessa and and her sister-in-law whom Sam is sweet on, Olivia Delany, arrive around 7:00am with the refreshments for what will be the cold and hungry XMAS tree hunting visitors when they open at 8:00am–home made apple cider that they will heat up in a large 30 cup coffee dispenser, with pumpkin and apple bread and iced donuts, and other baked goods that are for sale.  The proceeds from the baked goods go to the Orphanage–they are hoping to buy a newer, more efficient furnace to heat the home this year.  Of course, the Delaneys and Wakeforests would just chip in and buy it, but Tessa as an Orphanage Board Member rightly pointed out that the Orphanage is a community wide endeavor. And if the community is to take ownership and feel a part of the Orphanage, then small things like fundraising for needed items is one way to do that.  So they also have a can with a slit in its plastic lid, with the side labeled Orphanage Furnace for additional donations.

Sam finishes his parking lot plowing and parks it near the entrance–placing a big sign on the plow saying that their XMAS Tree hours are 8 to 5pm Monday through Saturday. They are closed Sunday, as most businesses are in their area.  Sam notices his sister Tessa’s car parked next to the now heated barn that serves as the refreshments, shopping, and activities area.  He walks inside to see both Tessa and Olivia setting out their tasty treats.

Sam: “Smells good, ladies.” He smiles warmly at Tessa and then at Olivia, who blushes as she nods at him in greeting.  They both remember their first kisses of yesterday.

Tessa: Looking back and forth between her brother and sister-in-law, Tessa smiles knowingly. “Morning , Sam!  Sleep well?”  She hands him a hot apple cider to warm him up and he takes a grateful sip, letting the warm sweet apple tasting liquid slide down his throat.

Sam: “Like a baby!  It must be all of this brisk cold air that I’ve been out in.” He smiles Sam-isRichardArmitagesmiling--likely-a2014-TheCrucible-stage-door-appearance_May2515chiara-tweet-crop-sizedover at Olivia.   If possible, Olivia is blushing even more crimson in remembering their kisses yesterday in the cold gazebo.  Then moving to stand beside Olivia, Sam greets her personally with a smile [(3) right].  “Good morning, Olivia.”

Olivia: “Good morning, Sam.” Olivia says a bit breathily looking up at him.  She thinks that Sam looks all ruggedly handsome and tall in his dark flannel shirt and dungarees.  And Olivia wonders when she and Sam might get a chance to go out on a proper date–with him asking her out, and all.  Then he resolves that question for her.

Sam: “I hope I’m not being presumptuous, but would you like to grab a bite of dinner after we’re done here later today?  Nothing fancy.  Just stopping over at the Hannah’s Diner in town?  Hmmm?   But I have to go home and shower first.”  Because hauling trees around all day gets him sweaty–even in the Wintry cold.  “Then I could pick you up at your house around 6:00pm?”Olivia-smiling-isEmily-Deschanel-497-600_Nov2615fanpop-mask3treebkgrndmanip-flip

Olivia:  “Alright.  That will be nice.”  A proper date!  Olivia squeals internally.  “I am working at the Orphanage in the afternoon.  But  I’m sure Mrs. Perkins won’t mind if I ask to leave a little early so that I can go home and shower and change, too.”  Olivia smiles up at Sam [(4)  right] –she wants to feel pretty and feminine for Sam.

Sam:  He leans into Olivia and whispers. “Great!  I’m looking forward to it.” Then Sam impulsively kisses Olivia’s temple and gives her shoulders a gentle squeeze. Then he heads back outside to work the XMAS Tree Farm sales.  “See you later.” And Sam touches his forehead as if tipping his hat to Olivia and his sister.

Then Tessa leans over to Olivia and inquires knowingly.

Tessa:  “So? Are you and Sam dating now?”  Tessa smiles broadly with her successful match making.

Olivia: Ever shy and reserved–despite her close relationship with her sister-in-law Tessa–Olivia responds shyly.   “We’re getting to know each other, Tessa.”

Tessa: “Well I think that it’s fabulous!”  Tessa spontaneously hugs Olivia.   “You two will be great together!  I can just feel it!”

Olivia: “Oh, Tessa!”  Olivia sighs sheepishly at her sister-in-law’s  gushing.

But then, they can’t continue to chat as the Wakeforest Orphanage kids coming rushing inside the XMAS Tree Farm barn.  Mrs. Perkins and her husband Dominic had brought them over in the used school bus that the orphanage owns.

Mrs. Perkins: “Hello Mrs. Delaney, Miss Delaney, I have brought you some children who would love some hot cider.”

Tessa: “Hello, Mrs. Perkins and Mr. Perkins.  We’re glad that you could join us.”  She welcomes them graciously.

Olivia: “Yes we are, hello.”  Olivia smiles warmly at them.

Dominic: “Ladies.” He nods his head with a smile, then he goes back outside to find some XMAS wreaths.

Mrs. Perkins:  She claps her hands together and the children running about still their movements. “Children, this is Mrs. Tessa Delaney–Miss Delaney’s sister-in-law and sister to Mr. Sam Wakeforest and his brothers who brought us the XMAS tree earlier in the week.”

Children: “Oooh!”  “Thank you!”   “Hi!”  Several of the children say gleefully.

Tessa: “Welcome, children!  Now let’s get you lined up for your hot ciders and your donuts.   Then you’re going to eat sitting around the big warm fireplace over there.”  She points to some couches and chairs circling and enormous blazing fire in the hearth.

Olivia:  “And then we’re going to make XMAS tree ornaments from the ribbons and tree scraps we have on the table over there.”

Nothing goes to waste at the Wakeforest XMAS Tree Farm.  When the Orphanage children leave later, Olivia will help other children of tree shoppers make ornaments the rest of the morning. Then she will head over to the orphanage to work with the children in the afternoon as they decorate the Wakeforest Orphanage with their paper chains, ornaments, etc.–before her dinner date with Sam.

Meanwhile outside, Sam Wakeforest and Dominic Perkins are talking about old times when they served in the war together.  Dominic had been on that transport plane that Sam crash landed safely after it was hit by enemy fire. So Dominic has always felt that he owes his life to Sam.  And Dominic hopes to repay the favor some day.

Sam: “Well, I can see that the Orphanage children are all excited about Christmas coming up.”  Sam rubs his hands back and forth several times for warmth.

Dominic: “Yes.  They are a rambunctious group of children.  But my wife, Miss Delaney, and the other teachers keep them organized.”

Sam: “It’s such wonderful work that they do for the children’s benefit–creating a loving home for them until they can be adopted.  I can’t imagine how I would have felt growing up if I hadn’t had a home and family to go to–let alone no one to be with at the holidays.”   Sam remarks soberly.

Dominic: “It is tough. But more and more kids are getting adopted each year.   So maybe one day, there won’t be a need for such a place.”

Sam:  “Yes, let’s hope so.” Sam says distractedly as he notices a very young teen girl carrying a toddler and looking at the trees that they have for sale. “Excuse me, Dominic.”  Sam smiles at his friend Dominic.

Dominic: “Of course, Sam.  I’ll just go and pick out a wreath.”

The two men part as Sam goes to attend to his possible customer.

Sam: “May I help you find a tree, Miss?  I’m Sam Wakeforest.” Sam smiles down at the blond teen girl with what looks to be a one year old boy in her arms. He now notices that her clothes look worn and a little dirty–as does the child’s.  And their coats and gloves are not as nearly as warm as they should be for Winter.   And she seems to have some brAlice-nervously-lookingup-isAnnaSophiaRobb_Nov2715google-sized-removed-mic-and-pearls-manipto-treefarm-flipuise fading on her cheek, and she clutches a small fabric bag–with their clothes in it he presumes. He thinks that she might be a runaway.

Alice: Startled, she stares up into Sam’s face [(5) right] .  “Oh no!   Thank you. We just wanted to look.  You have so many pretty  XMAS  trees, Mister.”

Sam: “Thank you.”  He smiles cordially at her.  “Miss, you look cold.  Would you like to go into the barn and warm up?  We have some trees on display in there and my sister Tessa has hot cider and donut refreshments.”  He starts guiding her into the barn.

Alice:  She whispers to Sam embarrassedly. “We can’t pay for the food.”

Sam: “Not to worry, the food is free for our guests visiting us today.”  Sam smiles charitably down at her.  “What are your names?”  He inquires, sensing that the girl and the little boy need assistance.  He thinks that she looks no more than fifteen years old.  She is actually just fourteen.

Alice: “I’m Alice ….”  She falters, her not wanting to reveal her last name, Trent–lest they try to contact the family aide society people in her home town, when they are the reason that she ran away. “And this is my little brother, Bobby.  He’s 18 months old and he can walk real good now.”  She states proudly, if not quite grammatically.

Sam: “18 months?  He looks small for his age.” Then Sam sees Alice’s pained expression and he backpeddles. “But then, so was I at his age.  And look at how tall I am now.”  Of course, Sam is over six foot two inches tall–a giant compared to the petite girl.

Alice: “Oh! Yes, you are tall.” She nods her head and looks warily around the barn Bobby-isanOilPainting-called-blueeyedboy-byDennisFrost-onEbay_Nov2715ebay-crop-sized-blurinterior.  Everything looks so nice and homey to her.  But then, she doesn’t have a home any more.  So a converted barn is a step up for she and Bobby [(6) right].

Sam:  Walking up to his sister, he greets her.  “Tessa, this is Alice and her brother Bobby.  Alice, this is my sister, Tessa Delaney.  They would like some refreshments and get warm.  Well, I’m going back to the tree lot.” Sam smiles and leaves, but he stops at the door and mentions something to Mrs. Perkins on his way out. She nods and nonchalantly looks over at the young girl.

Also noticing that the young girl and baby look to be in a fragile state, Tessa ushers her closer to the fire.Tessa-isMarcia+Gay+Harden+Boots+Mid+Calf+Boots_Nov2715stylebistrocom-crop-sized-blur

Tessa: “Now you just sit right down here and get warm.  I’ll bring you over some hot cider and donuts to warm you up.  We might even have some milk for the baby.  Would he like that?”    Tessa [(7) right] smiles warmly at the young girl.

Alice: “Yes, he would.  Thank you, Maam.”  Alice smiles gratefully.  At just fourteen, Alice is desperate and doesn’t know where to turn to get real help for herself and for Bobby.  But luckily,  Alice has stumbled onto some very compassionate people.

As Tessa pours Alice her hot cider and readies a plate of donuts, she confers with Mrs. Perkins and Olivia, who comes back with a small glass of milk for the baby.

Tessa: “I think she must be a runaway.  Look at her clothes and her terrified face–the poor dear.   And with their both having blond hair, they look so angelic. ThoPaulettaPerkins-isViola-Davis-insweater-Nov2715stylebistrocom-crop-size-blurugh they could use a good wash and clean clothes–and proper meals, no doubt.”

Mrs. Perkins: “That is Mr. Wakeforest’s guess–and mine–that she is a runaway.”  Mrs. Perkins nods her head sagely [(8) right] .  “I wish we had room at the Orphanage for them.  And even if we did, the baby is too young and the girl is too old.  I will call around to a few of our foster families.”

Tessa: Then in a burst of compassion reflective of her kind heart, Tessa makes a suggestion. “No need. Roger and I will take them in while we sort out their situation.  We have been talking about fostering and adopting.  So this is perfect!”

Olivia: “Oh Tessa!  That’s wonderful of you!” They hug–being careful not to spill the baby’s milk.

Mrs.  Perkins: “It is wonderful.” But Mrs. Perkins doesn’t seem happy.

Olivia: “I’ll just take them their food.”  Olivia smiles and walks over to chat with the girl Alice.  She will let Tessa give Alice the good news.

Tessa: “Well, I’ve always wanted children around me. And having my nieces and nephews for one day twice a year isn’t enough.”

Mrs. Perkins: “Mrs. Delaney, I applaud your kindness. But I want you to be cautious.  The young girl could have a complicated situation.”

Tessa: “What do you mean?” I look at her worriedly.

Mrs. Perkins: “The girl might very well be coming from a violent home.  Look at her healing cheek bruise.  And if they find her, you might be caught up in that violence.”

Tessa: “All the more reason for us to take her under our protection.”  Tessa juts her chin out.

Mrs. Perkins: “I just want you to be aware–for your own sake and for theirs.  If we are to help young Alice and little Bobby, we must do what is best for them.”

Tessa nods her agreement.  Then she takes more donuts over to Alice, then they sit down with her as Mrs. Perkins keeps watch over the Orphanage children

Tessa: “Here you go, Alice, Dear.  Have some more donuts.”

Alice: “Thank you, Maam.”   Alice smiles while chewing happily.  This is her first real meal in three days.

Olivia: “Here, let me hold Bobby and feed him while you eat.”

Alice hesitantly lets Olivia take Bobby.  Then she eagerly gulps down some of the cider and takes a big bite of another donut.  Olivia has also brought a jar of applesauce that they sell with her, and she opens it up and feeds Timmy some of it.

Alice:  “Thank you, Miss!  Bobby loves applesauce!  But we haven’t found any lately.”  When her money ran out, Alice went to a soup kitchen once.  But they wanted her to pray with them, and she was too hungry to do that–because they wouldn’t let her eat until they prayed.  And the praying went on forever, so Alice gave up and left.  Finally a restaurant let them have some leftover food.

Tessa:  “How did you get here, Alice Dear?” Tessa asks kindly.

Alice:  “Well, I … we hitched a ride from the bus station.”

Tessa:  “That’s probably not the safest thing for you to do.  Do you have anywhere to sleep tonight.”

Alice feels a growing dread.  What will these people do if they find out she ran away.

Alice:  “Can I have Bobby back, please?”  She reaches out her arms for her little brother.

Tessa and Olivia exchange concerned glances.  But Olivia returns Bobby to Alice’s arms.
Tessa: “Alice Dear, you seem like you need a little help right now.  And I’m going to make you a proposition–and invitation–and it is entirely up to you.”

Alice: Alice looks at her–curious, but wary. “What is it, Maam?  Do you need someone to clean your house?  I can do that.  I’ll work for food and a roof over our heads.”  Alice pleads.

Tessa:  “No, I don’t need another cleaner.” Alice’s face falls. “But I do want to invite you to come live with my husband Roger and I.”

Olivia: “And me!”   Olivia chirps.

Alice: “Why?”  She asks warily. Alice feels so vulnerable.  She doesn’t want to be taken in by someone appearing to be nice and then have she and Bobby hurt again.”

Tessa: “Well, we have a big home and plenty of room for you.  And I never had children, but dearly wanted them.  So I want to help you whatever way that I can.”

Alice looks warily between the two women.

Olivia:  “And I’m her sister-in-law, Olivia Delaney.  I work at the Wakeforest Orphanage as a teacher.  That’s who all these children are–our children.  And Mrs. Perkins is our Administrator and grade school principal.”  Tessa gestures to Pauletta hovering nearby.

Alice: “But you don’t know me.  Why do you want to help us.”

Mrs. Perkins thinks that it is a fair question for someone in Alice’s shoes to ask.

Tessa:  Tessa puts her arms around Alice and hugs her, despite Alice tensing up. “Sweetie, you need help, and we’re offering it to you.  You will have your own bedroom with Bobby.   I’ll put you in the bedroom next to Olivia’s room.  So if you wake up in the night needing milk for the baby and such, she can help.”  Then she turns to Olivia. “You don’t mind that, Olivia, do you?”

Olivia: “Not at all!  I always wanted a little sister and a brother.”  Olivia squeezes Alice’s hand while Alice still holds Bobby leaning against her chest.

Mrs. Perkins: “I think we might have some baby clothes at the orphanage that might fit Bobby.  Olivia can pick them up and bring them back to you, Alice, at Mrs. Delaney’s home.”

Olivia: “And Alice, I still have a lot of my teen outfits stored away that might fit you. Then we can go tomorrow and buy you some new things.”

Alice:  “Do you mean it?  We’ll be safe?”  She looks at the ladies hopefully.   They all nod. “Thank you!”

Alice bursts into tears and Tessa cradles her in her arms, rocking her soothingly.

Tessa: “You’re going to be alright, Sweetie. We’ll take of you and then we’ll sort it all out.”

Seeing Alice crying, Bobby reaches up to touch her face and she cries more–but in relief.  Then Alice looks worriedly at the ladies.

Alice: “You can’t tell anyone where we are.  They’ll find us. We can’t go back there.”  Alice tells them fearfully

Mrs. Perkins: “Your … father?”  She guesses.

Alice:  Alice shake her head no.  “No, the social aide people. When my daddy died, they wanted to adopt Bobby to another family and put me in a group home, because we have no family.  But Bobby and I belong together.  He’s my baby brother. He has no one else to look out for him but me.”  Alice cries some more.

Mrs. Perkins:  Mrs. Perkins  winces–because the Wakeforest Orphanage that she runs is essentially a group home.  But they would never separate siblings.    “Alright, we won’t press you for more details now. But if we are to protect you, we will need some information at some point.”

Tessa:  “Alice, you and Bobby will be safe with us.   Nothing bad will happen to you ever again.”

Alice: Looking up hopefully, Alice asks meekly.  “Promise?”

Tessa: “I promise you, sweetie.”  She nods firmly. Then Tessa envelops Alice and Bobby in her loving arms in a comforting hug that lasts for several minutes.

Then while Olivia goes to inform Sam, Tessa phones two of her Wakeforest sisters-in-laws to come spell she and Olivia at the XMAS Tree Farm refreshments.  When the sisters-in-laws arrive, Olivia tells Tessa where to find her teen aged clothes stored away at home.  And Tessa drives Alice and little Bobby to her home–her having phoned home earlier to tell her understanding husband Roger what she has planned.   He agrees wholeheartedly.  Then Olivia goes to the Orphanage to find some of the stored away baby clothes that will fit Bobby.

Roger greets Alice and Bobby warmly when they arrive home.  Alice’s eyes are wide seeing such a large and beautiful home.  And Alice is hesitant when shown to her bedroom with a bathroom that she and Bobby will share with Olivia.   But Tessa encourages her to think of this as her new home.   And once Alice and Bobby each have baths and feel refreshed,  put on used but nice new clothes and have lunch, they lie down for a nap with Tessa sitting nearby in a rocking chair watching over them–since Alice is scared to be alone in new surroundings.  The poor dear is exhausted, thinks Tessa.  And she resolves to do everything she can to make Alice feel safe and loved.  And she will need Mrs. Perkins’ experience working with at risk children in achieving that goal.


That night, given the new situation, Sam and Olivia elect to have dinner at the Delaney home in the large airy kitchen with Tessa, Roger, and Alice and Bobby.  They are having Thanksgiving dinner leftovers plus some baby food for Bobby that Olivia picked up at the local general store along with some night things for Alice.  But since Alice didn’t have a Thanksgiving meal this year–and she hasn’t eaten much the last few days she has been on the run, using what little money she had to feed Bobby–she gulps it all down eagerly.  Alice remembers how it was when her mother was alive when she was little, and that they all ate together as a family.  And she likes the homey feel to the Delaney home.

Then they all sit around the family room playing dominoes, cards, and other table top games that Alice likes.  Alice is still just a child, afterall–a child who has had to grow up incredibly fast.  And Alice carefully watches how everyone interacts with each other–Tessa and her husband Roger, and Olivia and Sam. And their ease and friendliness calms Alice’s fears.

And Olivia and Sam make another attempt at a date to take lunch to his log cabin in the woods on Saturday–both for her to see his cabin as his pride and joy, as well as, to have some private time together.  Though they will have to find a chaperone other than Tessa since she is now busy with Alice and Bobby.  Sam will spend the morning at the Christmas Tree Farm. And Olivia will spend Saturday morning with Tessa to help with Alice and Bobby–getting them some more clothes and diapers for Bobby at the local Ben Franklin store and such, just to tide them over.

Sam and Olivia will have their date on Saturday–sort of, due to who their chaperone will end up being.  But events will unfold Saturday that will cause the Wakeforest family grave concern as the treacherous nature of the mountain and its environs endangers one of their own.

To be continued with Chapter 6


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”  Ch. 05, by Gratiana Lovelace, November 27, 2015

1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:
a)the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

2)  Wakeforest XMAS Tree image is of a  Snowy Pine forest vertical image (doubled) was found on pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

3) Sam Wakeforest image is Richard Armitage smiling, likely a 2014  The Crucible Stage Door appearance May2515chiara tweet

4) Olivia Delaney smiling   image is Emily Deschanel found at http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/2400000/Emily-Deschanel-emily-deschanel-2478681-497-600.jpg

5) Alice Trent  looking up nervously is Anna Sophia Robb and was found at http://www.shattalarab.net/up/uploads/1418162081091.jpg; and manipped onto a snowy Pine forest image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

6) One year old baby Bobby Trent image is represented by an oil painting labeled, Per Google search: Vintage Dennis Frost Oil Painting Portrait Blue Eye Boy Illustrate in Book DAVID” was found at http://thumbs2.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/m9qlbLbMEEkpzbNhyVFNcTw.jpg

7) Tessa Delaney image is Marcia Gay Harden at a 2008 Badgley-Mischka fashion show found at http://www1.pictures.gi.stylebistro.com/Marcia+Gay+Harden+Boots+Mid+Calf+Boots+04Zh6GnJ1wZl.jpg

8) Mrs.Pauletta Perkins image is Viola Davis found at http://www1.pictures.stylebistro.com/mp/EobR3iiq3WWl.jpg


Previous  Blog Ch. 04 Story link:



Posted in "Love in the Great Pine Woods", Children at Risk, Drama, Family, Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 04 (PG-13, S):  Thanksgiving Day,   November 26, 2015 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #835)

aaaa-Love-in-the-Great-Pine-Woods_story-cover_Nov2515byGratianaLovelace_3inchesTallrev4(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely  Tyson as Nellie Newton, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.

Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter:  The younger Wakeforest brothers tease their eldest brother Sam about Olivia fainting into his arms–to which Sam sternly reminds them not to tease the shy Olivia about it when they go to the Wakeforest Orphanage to deliver their XMAS tree.  However the boys are a little saucy–to which the Orphanage Administrator and Grade School Principal stares a stern warning.  Sam helps Tessa bring down the tree stand and other decorations from the attic. Then an orphanage kid on the stairs holds some plastic mistletoe over their heads shouting kiss–then all the kids chime in.  And when Sam leans down to Olivia, he whispers that he wants them to be in private when they have their first kiss together.  Then Tessa calls the Orphanage looking for Sam and wanting him to pick up some plum pudding for Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal–and  she suggests that Olivia go along with him.  She does, but both Sam and Olivia know that his sister Tessa is trying to play matchmaker. And Sam counts the lunch that he plans to treat Olivia to as their first date–to her amusement.  Sam lets Olivia know that he is interested in her romantically. And surprisingly, Olivia doesn’t faint, but she does let Sam know what she wants from a relationship–love and marriage.


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 4 (PG-13, S)–Thanksgiving Day

Nellie Newton is the Delaney family’s 83 year old retired Negro housekeeper and cook, living out her twilight years with the Delaneys–her only family.  Thanksgiving morning around 8:00am before her own pajamas breakfast, Olivia Delaney dashes down the back servant stairway from the second to the first floor in her candy cane patterned thermal pajamas and robe.  She knocks on Nellie’s bedroom door just off of the kitchen.

Olivia:  “It’s me, Olivia.  May I come in, Mrs. Newton?”

Nellie: “You may, Miss Olivia.”

Peeking my head into Nellie’s bedroom, I smile seeing her sitting up on the fluffed up pillows  in her queen sized bed–Tessa has obviously already been here earlier since I see the breakfast tray on the side bed table.  It looks like Nellie ate well this morning–only leaving one slice of toast uneaten. Nellie is so frail these days that she doesn’t get out of her  bedroom much.  At 83 years old, her health is failing due to her heart problems–as her now stark white hair and wrinkled face attest. I dread when she is no longer with us. I have known Nellie all of my life, and I know I’m greedy to want her to live longer and to be with me always.  But I can’t help it, I love her.

Olivia:  “Good morning.” I smile and go to sit on Nellie’s bed and kiss her cheek.

Nellie: “Good morning, My Livvy.  And what is with all this formality.  I’m just Nellie, child.Nellie-and-aYoungOlivia-representation-isCicelyTyson-inFriedGreenTomatoes-film_Nov2615pinterest-sized That’s what you called me when you were little.”  I touch the picture on my nightstand of the two of us thirty years ago when Livvy was just 5 years old  [(2) right] . The poor child lost her mother when she was so young–her first year of college, when Livvy was still learning how to become a woman. I tried to fill the void for Livvy, but at most I am like a grandmother to her. That was why I was so glad that her brother Mr. Roger remarried after his first wife died. This wife, Mrs. Tessa, I like.  His first wife was too snooty and skinny–no babies for her.   And the first wife didn’t get to know and become friends with Livvy, like Mrs. Tessa has.  And Livvy needs a loving woman’s guidance–so Mrs. Tessa is like an older sister to Livvy.

Olivia: “I know.”  I shrug my shoulders sheepishly.   “But that was only because I was little and I didn’t know that you had another name.  It’s more proper for me to address you as Mrs. Newton.”  Nellie will always have my love respect and admiration.  Next to my own mother, Nellie has been the most important woman in my life.

Nellie: “Well at my age, it confuses me–and I might not realize that you’re talking to me. Ha ha ha!”

Olivia: “Ha ha ha!”  I chuckle with her, then I persist.  “But it’s how I address Mrs. Perkins, the Wakeforest Orphanage Administrator and grade school Principal when we are in front of other people.”

Nellie: “Yes, and that is proper.  Mrs. Perkins has got her education and she is an important person–when all the education I have is through the 6th grade.”  I got taken out of school to work to help feed my younger brothers and sisters when my Pa took sick.

Olivia: “You’re important to me.”  Nellie opens her arms wide and I nestle in, sitting next to her on the bed as she strokes my hair like she used to when I was a little girl.

Nellie:   “Now, My Livvy, tell me what you’ve been up to since we chatted the other day. I hear that that fine looking Mr. Sam Wakeforest was here for dinner Tuesday night, and that you saw him yesterday as well?”  I watch Livvy to see how she reacts to Mr. Sam’s name.  I know that she has a little crush on him. It was so obvious at Mr. Roger and Mrs. Tessa’s wedding celebration last year.

Olivia:  “Yes.  I suppose that Tessa told you that I fainted into his arms.”  I roll my eyes.

Nellie: “I must have my spies if I am to keep on top of things in this house.”  I smile.  “And how did yesterday go with Mr. Sam.”

Olivia: “Fine.”  I blush.

Nellie: “More than fine, I would say.  Now tell old Nellie all about it.”

Olivia: “Well, the orphanage kids wanted us to kiss–because we were standing under the mistletoe.  One of the kids was holding it over our heads, while we stood under the upstairs railing.”  I roll my eyes.

Nellie: “And did you?” I smile hopefully for My Livvy.

Olivia:  “No. He kissed my cheek.” I reveal.

Nellie:   “Oh! That’s too bad.”

Olivia: “Not really.”  Nellie tilts her head in curiosity.  “Sam said that our first kiss should be private, and be when both of us want to–not because of some silly mistletoe.”  I sigh at the romantic way he said that, whispering it into my ear with his ruggedly masculine deep voice, before he kissed my cheek.

Nellie: “And I see that you don’t mind that–waiting.”  Livvy shakes her head with a shy smile.   “Well, if I know Mrs. Tessa, she has mistletoe decorating every room in this house.   So you had best be ready to pucker up your lips today.”  Livvy winces. Then I have a brilliant thought. “Child?  Take Mr. Sam out to the gazebo out back to peek at the fox den just beyond it in the pine underbrush in the snow.  You can kiss each other there, with no one the wiser.”

Olivia: “Nellie!”  I squeal and clap my hand over my mouth trying to hide my blushing grin.

Nellie:  “That’s better.  I’m just old Nellie.  Now you heed my advice, Child.”  I smile knowingly as I wave, my arthritic finger at her. Then I close my eyes to rest a bit.  “You and Mr. Sam will get married yet.”

Olivia: I smile at her prediction–however faulty that it might be.  “Will you be joining the family  for Thanksgiving luncheon today?”  I look up at her hopefully as she lies in her bed looking peaceful and serene.  For Nellie is a part of our family.

Nellie:  Still keeping my eyes closed, I reply sleepily.  “Not today, My Livvy.  I’m very tired.  Mrs. Tessa said that she would bring me a food tray later.  She’s such a nice lady.  You’ll have her when I’m gone.”

Olivia: “Please don’t talk like that, Nellie.”  I gently hug Nellie as I tear up.  Then I say in a small voice.  “You can’t die yet.  I want you to see my children, someday.”

Nellie: “I will see them–either here or when I’m in heaven. ‘We know neither the day nor the hour’.” I quote scripture [(3)].  And I hear Livvy whimper.

Olivia: “Hmmm.”

Nellie:   “There there, Livvy.  If I promise not to die today, will you have a nice Thanksgiving for me?”

Olivia:  “Alright, Nellie.” I sigh.

Nellie:    “And you let Mr. Sam know that you are sweet on him, too.”

Olivia: “I couldn’t!”  I sputter anxiously.

Nellie: I open my eyes and look cherishingly at My Livvy.  “Child, time is a wasting–and will be gone before you know it.  So you had best get on with your life while you can still enjoy it and have kids and grandkids.  You and Mr. Sam will suit each other.  I can feel it.  Now you run along and let me rest.”  I close my eyes again.

I stand up from Nellie’s bed.

Olivia:  “I’ll try.   Shall I come back later to kiss you goodnight?”  I bite my lower lip.  Nellie looks so frail.

Nellie: “That sounds nice, Child.  I look forward to hearing if you and Mr. Sam kiss. I want a report.”  I smile with my eyes still closed.

Olivia:  “I will.  Sleep well, Nellie.”  But she has already fallen asleep again. So I kiss her cheek and quietly let myself out of her bedroom to go back upstairs to get dressed for our Thanksgiving Day guests–especially, for Sam.


After a hurried breakfast, Olivia helps Tessa in the kitchen Thanksgiving morning to fix their noon day meals–both for the family and for their servants. Tessa feels strongly about not imposing upon their household staff on holidays–her feeling that they should have theOlivia-shy-smile-isEmily-Deschanel-asBones-266-400_Nov2615fanpop-sized-blstoblue2 day off, paid.  Both ladies are already dressed up in their Thanksgiving finery, with Olivia wearing a new but still demure high neck blue satin blouse over a navy wool pencil skirt [(4) right] .  Olivia’s softly curled hair and her little bit of extra eye make-up is because she is making an effort since Sam Wakeforest is expected for their Delaney-Wakeforest families Thanksgiving meal.

Olivia is in charge of making the onion and sage dressing casseroles. Each casserole contains  one chopped onion, a loaf of slightly toasted dried sliced bread, three stalks of celery, one large can of sliced mushrooms, two eggs,  hot chicken broth, various seasonings of powdered sage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper–with butter wedges interspersed throughout on top. Then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour–give or take, until the center is firm and not mushy, and so that the outer edges aren’t burned.

Tessa had earlier put on three 15 pound turkeys in the large commercial ovens in the Tessa-isMarciaGayHarden-2011+Winter+TCA+Tour+Day+3+-k0m4V09k94l_Nov2115viaZimbio-sized-deletedmic-dressmanipDelaney’s large kitchen–two for the 16 Delaney and Wakeforest family members (including nieces and nephews), and one turkey for the Delaney’s  8 household and grounds staff.  Yet for one in charge of feeding this army today, Tessa looks surprisingly unruffled in her black crystal beaded scoop neckline party dress–and not a fashionable hair out of place [(5) right] .

Tessa is so glad that one of the first things that she did as the new lady of the house was to upgrade the kitchen to all new modern appliances–with double wash up sinks, double refrigerators, double stoves, and double ovens.  And Tessa’s husband Roger gradually accepted his wife’s wisdom that the upgrades were well worth the expense.  They entertain quite a lot for business and community events, so they needed to make that investment in their home’s kitchen.

There are still other meal sides to be made–with chopping of vegetables and such. So Tessa readies the two green bean casseroles–one large dish  for the family, and one smaller dish for the staff.

Then with neither of us noticing–so busy in our cooking tasks–Tessa’s brother Sam slips Sam-isRichardArmitage-inGray-inRecognise-7BW_Nov2615ranet-Grati-crop-sized-colorizedinto the kitchen unnoticed, leans against the near wall, and just watches us work without announcing himself [(6) right].    Then Tessa looks up and instantly commandeers her brother Sam to help Olivia with the chopping.

Tessa: “Sam!  There you are, just in time!  Be a dear and help Olivia with chopping the rutabaga.  It needs someone strong like you to do it.” Tessa smiles sweetly–while drawing attention to her brother’s muscular physique–for her sister-in-law Olivia’s benefit.

Sam: “Oh!  Okay.” I stride purposefully over to where Olivia is standing stirring a saucepan on one of the butcher block counters.   She is wearing a lovely demure blue satin blouse and a stylish wool skirt that frames her womanly hips below it.  “You look lovely, Olivia.”  My voice smoulders deeply.

Olivia:   My cheeks pinken up, I’m sure.  “Thanks, Sam.  You look handsome, too.”  He is wearing a sophisticated gray silk dress shirt with his muscular arms well defined.  No tie, per usual.  And he must have left his suit jacket in the living room, because it looks like he is wearing dress trousers again–not that I am looking at Sam’s pants.  I touch my cheeks in embarrassment.  His attire today is a far cry from the dungarees and plaid flannel shirt wearing lumber mill owner and forestry agent that he usually wears.

Tessa: “What am I? Chopped liver?” I say to the room as I continue with my food preparations.

Sam: Without looking away from Olivia, I compliment my sister. “You look lovely, too, Tessa. Thanks for having us all for Thanksgiving.”

Tessa: Noticing my brother’s focus upon Olivia, I mutter with a smile.  “Uh huh.”

Sam leans over Olivia’s counter where she is preparing something that smells sweet.

Sam:   “Okay Olivia.  Now what is a rutabaga?  Tessa is introducing us to all kinds of new foods. I had only just reconciled myself to having to taste the plum pudding.”  I smile.

Olivia:   “The rutabega is in the turnip family.  The British call them swedes.”  Sam wrinkles his nose and makes a face.  “No, it’s good, really. You boil cubes of rutabega in water, then mash it up with butter–like potatoes.   Here!”  I hand him a wax covered purplish rutabaga and a heavy gauge carving knife.

Sam: I turn over the offending rutabaga in my hand to examine it.  “I think I would rather taste what you’re making.  It smells good.”

Olivia:  “It’s the brown sugar glaze for the plum pudding.  I just took it off the heat after it started to bubble. I have to keep stirring it so that it doesn’t congeal and turn rock hard.”

Sam:  I hold up my index finger–poised over the brown sugar glaze sauce pan.  “May I?”

Tessa: Having watched Sam’s and Olivia’s exchange with glee, I interject quickly. “Not with your finger, Sam!  You would burn yourself.  And I don’t want your germs in my Thanksgiving Day food.  Please get him a small spoon, Olivia.”   Sam pouts–as usual.  Really!  Men!

Olivia:  I nod.  “Here you go.”  And I take a clean tea spoon and dip it into my brown sugar glaze mixture, then I bring it up to Sam’s lips. “Sam, blow on it before you try it, or you’ll burn your tongue.”

I do blow on the spoon, then I let Olivia feed it to me rather than taking the spoon from her hand.  We smile at each other.

Sam:  “Hmmm.  That’s good.  May I skip the plum pudding and just have the glaze?”  My eyes twinkle mischievously.

Olivia: “You may not!  I think you’ll be surprised at the tastiness of the plum pudding.  And remember, it’s made with brandy.”  I put the glaze mixture saucepan back on the stove top to stay warm, but not directly on a burner.

Sam:  “Alright.  For you, I’ll try it.  I’ll focus on the brandy part.”  Olivia looks at me with a small smile.

Tessa:  Stirring my cream of mushroom soup into a mountain of cut green beans for the green bean casseroles, I call over to Sam and Olivia again. “Sam, please start chopping the rutabega.  It’s a hard vegetable and it will take you some time to chop it.”

Sam:  I pick up the rutabaga and survey it critically.  It doesn’t look that tough–but it does feel heavy. “How do you want me to cut it, Olivia?”

Olivia:  “Pare off the outer covering until you get to the tan colored middle. Then chop it into cubes and we’ll boil it in water with butter to cook it.”

I start chopping. And this rutabega is tough to cut.

Sam: “This is as hard as oak. I’ll need an axe to get through this.”

Tessa: “See?”  I nod my head, then continue with the casseroles.

Sam:  “I can’t believe that we’re going to eat this.” I look askance at Tessa, then at Olivia.

Olivia: “Don’t be fooled. The rutabega will cook down and then we mash it like potatoes. It has a subtle flavor–much lighter than a yam or a carrot.”

Sam: “Oh?   So are you our culinary expert, Olivia?”  I’m wondering if she is a great cook who makes good meals, or if she is a good cook who has a few great meals.  Well, they say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Olivia: “Now, behave, Sam.”  I look up at him shyly.

Sam:  “What is my reward if I do?”  I smirk teasingly at her.

Olivia:   “Well, …”I ponder. Then I remember what Nellie said.  “We do have a new fox den that we can peek at from the gazebo out back, if you’re interested later.”

Sam: “Just you and I, away from all of boisterous nieces and nephews for a few precious minutes?” She nods shyly.  “I am very interested in that.” I smile tenderly as I whisper my reply.

Tessa:  Making a match between my brother Sam and my sister-in-law Olivia is one thing. But we have 24 mouths to feed today.  “Come on, everyone. Chop Chop!  There will be time for you to chat later.”

Sam: “Yes, Maam!”  I roll my eyes at my sister, Tessa. Then I smile again over at Olivia as we finish preparing our meal.

And I am pleasantly surprised that Tessa’s brother Sam doesn’t mind helping out in the kitchen.  I can’t imagine my brother Roger helping. But I really like that Sam does.


Happily, our Thanksgiving meals were cooked, baked, and boiled to perfection–and we gave our compliments to the cooks, Tessa and Olivia.  I especially appreciated that Tessa sat Olivia and I together at the adults dining table–so with my siblings and their spouses, everyone was partnered up this year for a change, including Olivia and I.  My three brothers’ six children ranging in ages from 4 to ten were at the pushed together card tables next to us–so their parents could keep an eye on them.

Tessa had once again also outdone herself on the holiday decorations–starting early with the XMAS themes–with copious amounts of pine boughs, holly berries, mistletoe, and such interspersed through her and Roger’s lovely home.  Despite its large mansion size, it also seems very cozy and inviting–that is Tessa’s doing, as are, no doubt, all of the hanging mistletoe in the doorways. You can’t miss them.

Except Olivia seems to be quite stealthy and avoids being kissed under the mistletoe. So I wonder if she is just shy, or if she has a general aversion to kissing.  And I think that I am soon to find out which, when the kids and their parents are engrossed in a heated game of team monopoly, and Olivia motions for me to follow her.

Olivia:  I start to put on my Winter coat, and Sam chivalrously helps me. “Did you want to come see the foxes den before the afternoon light fades?”  I ask Sam nervously–since I am basically following Nellie’s advice about seizing the moment.

Sam: “Yes!” I smile and reach my large dressy tan camel hair Winter coat out of the coat closet. “There is nothing that I would like to do with you more.”  Well, there is.  But, I’m taking our relationship and intimacies slowly with the shy and reserved Olivia.

Sam and Olivia also pull on their warm Winter gloves to keep off the Winter’s chill. Then they walk out the back terrace, hand in hand, toward the gazebo that is now covered in snow.  For Tessa, the bracing freezing cold air is a bit of a shock. She had been in the house all day cooking in a hot kitchen.

Olivia puts her gloved finger to her mouth–intending to indicate to Sam that they need to be quiet as they approach the gazebo so that the fox family isn’t scared off before they can see them. However, all Sam can think about are Olivia’s two plump lips, ripe for kissing.

They enter the gazebo that is enclosed on three sides to keep out the biting Winter winds–Sam-isRichardArmitage-inCamelCoat-from2011ProjectMagazine-interview-and-photosbyMattHolyoak-27_Nov2615ranet-sized-bkgrndblurin Spring and Summer, the two temporary sides are removed to allow airflow to cool things down.  Sam leans on the one permanent brick wall of the gazebo with a small knowing smile [(7) right] .  He likes to do that, lean while watching Olivia move gracefully across the gazebo.  Olivia motions for Sam to follow her to the other side where a window opening will allow them to peer at the fox den–hopefully without being seen by the foxes.

At first, they don’t see anything as their eyes accustom themselves to the darkening lighting conditions.   Then a furtive movement of a flicking furry red fox tail draws their attention as the fox further encloses its fox den with a protective covering of another fir tree branch [(8) below] . These are Douglas fir pine trees, whose branches are densely foliaged conifers, also referred to as evergreens [(9)] –providing an excellent hiding place.
red-fox-in-the-snow_p_Nov2615wolf-rpg_sizedOlivia: “Oh!  We can’t see anything now.” She shivers from the freezing cold.

Sam: “I wouldn’t say that.”  Sam smiles tenderly at Olivia.  “And I like what I see.”

Olivia:  “Hhhh!”  Olivia sighs tremblingly with Sam’s smouldering implication.  But she also shivers again from the cold.

Sam:  “Come closer.” He motions to her.  She hesitates.  Then he opens his Winter coat. “We need to share body warmth if we’re going to stay out here for any length of time.”

Olivia: “Oh?”  She takes one step forward and stops.

Closing the short distance between them, Sam envelops Olivia in his Winter coat and in his arms.

Sam:  “That’s better. Hmmm?”  Olivia nods, but her teeth are chattering.  “Here, let me warm you up.”  Sam buttons up his coat around her and then rubs her back up and down several times.

Olivia: “It’s colder than I thought it would be.”  She looks up at him wincingly.  Olivia realizes that the dead of winter is not a great climate for kissing.

But then, again ….

Sam:  Sam leans his head down to almost touching his lips to Olivia’s lips.  “Is this alright?   May I kiss you?” Normally, he doesn’t ask, he just kisses.  But with Olivia, it feels different.

Olivia:   “Yes, but ….”

Sam’s lips descend upon Olivia’s lips–gently at first, and then sucking them into his mouth and enjoying their softness and warmth, despite the chilly environs.  Olivia is startled with this new sensation.  And she is surprised how soft his lips are–despite his scratchy beard surrounding them.

Sam: “Hmmm.”He growls seductively.  Then he lifts his lips off of her lips for the briefest of moments.

Olivia:  “… I don’t …”  She continues trying to apologize for her lack of kissing skill.

Sam’s lips hungrily capture Olivia’s lips again, taking more of her into his mouth–as his kisses drink her in.  But no tongues, not yet.  He doesn’t want to frighten her by getting too fast, too soon.

Olivia: “Hmmm.”  Olivia forgets what she was trying to say as she gives herself up to Sam’s kisses and she wraps her arms around his torso underneath his winter coat.  These are her first kisses, ever. And Olivia doesn’t know if she is doing it right.  But she likes Sam’s kisses–a lot.

Sam: “Oh, Olivia!” He sighs, then he kisses her some more.

Olivia: “Sam!”  She sighs contentedly.  Then reality sets in. “I can’t feel my feet.  I think they’re frozen.”  Olivia looks up apologetically at Sam.

Sam: “Well, we can’t have that.” He smiles. “Let’s get you back to the house to warm up.”  She nods and they head out of the gazebo.

Once Olivia begins walking back toward the house, her circulation starts returning. And once inside, she and Sam doff their coats and now snow laden boots and pad to her brother Roger’s back of the house study where there is a roaring fire blazing in the hearth.  They sit down on the heavy couch close to the fire as they try to warm up their feet–with Sam in dark dress socks and Olivia wearing shimmeringly sexy silk stockings from Tessa’s store Elle.

Sam also takes Olivia’s chilled hands in his and rubs them between his palms and blows on them to warm them up. Then he brings her hands to his lips and he kisses her fingers, and then her up turned palms, and finally, he kisses the soft skin of her inner wrists.  Olivia is feeling very warm now as the tingles from Sam’s kisses travel up her arms.  Then Olivia shyly returns the gesture–by kissing Sam’s hands, and then his palms, and finally the soft skin of his inner wrists.  Olivia doesn’t know what she is doing, but she guesses that since she liked it when Sam kissed her that way, that he might like her kissing him that way.  And Sam does like it, he really does.  No lady has ever so sweetly kissed him like this before, as Olivia is kissing him now.  And he is quickly becoming entranced with her.

And then Sam and Olivia lingeringly kiss one more time on their lips, then they nestle into each other and doze off on the couch. All that Thanksgiving turkey and then the fresh Wintry air has made them sleepy–despite the rather passionate kisses that they just shared.

And there in Roger’s study is where Tessa and Roger find Sam and Olivia sleeping a quarter hour later, when they had gone looking for them–with Sam and Olivia chastely cuddled together on the couch, and holding hands in their sleep, Sam holding Olivia’s hand to his heart as her head rests on his broad shoulders.  It is a sweetly poignant moment, and Tessa will not spoil it by waking them up.  Tessa puts her finger to her lips, and she and Roger quietly back out of the room– leaving Sam and Olivia sleeping contentedly, after their first kisses, and their second kisses.

And later that night, before she heads to bed, Olivia knocks and then enters Nellie’s bedroom.  But Nellie is asleep.  So Olivia kisses Nellie’s cheek and whispers to her sleeping form.

Olivia: “Sam and I kissed each other today, Nellie.  Hhhh!”  Olivia sighs.   Then she quietly exits Nellie’s room and Olivia goes to bed herself–dreaming of Sam and his kisses.

Tomorrow will be Friday, the Day after Thanksgiving.  And the children at the Orphanage are so looking forward to their trip to the Wakeforest XMAS Tree Farm–with its indoor and outdoor activities.  And Olivia knows–well, she hopes–that she will see Sam there.

To be continued with Chapter 5


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”  Ch. 04, by Gratiana Lovelace, November 26, 2015

1)  The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:
a) the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

2)  Picture representing Nellie Newton and Olivia Delaney as a child  is Cicely Tyson as Sipsey in the  1991 film  Fried Green Tomatoes found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e0/2c/e9/e02ce97f070a0681bd4707df26f09966.jpg;  for more about the film, visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101921/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

3)  The bible quote “We know neither the day nor the hour.”  was found at https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-25-13/

4) Olivia smiling  is Emily Deschanel  as Bones (blouse to blue) found at  http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/14600000/Emily-deschanel-bones-14691540-266-400.jpg

5) Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney is Marcia Gay Harden in 2011 that was found at http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/2011+Winter+TCA+Tour+Day+3+-k0m4V09k94l.jpg

6) The Sam Wakeforest image in gray clothes (skin colorized) is of a  Richard Armitage portrait from the 2011 Recognise Magazine photo shoot  that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/Recognisemag/Recognise-7.jpg

7) The  Richard Armitage portrait from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot (photos by Matt Holyoak) and article http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/MattHolyoak-27.jpg

8) Red fox image in snow was found at http://images.forwallpaper.com/files/thumbs/preview/45/459401__red-fox-in-the-snow_p.jpg;  For more about red foxes, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_fox

9) Douglas firs are a densely foliaged type of pine tree;  for more information, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_fir



Previous  Blog Ch. 03 Story link:




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“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 03 (PG-13, S):  Spending Time with Olivia, November 25, 2015 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #834)

(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

aaaa-Love-in-the-Great-Pine-Woods_story-cover_Nov2515byGratianaLovelace_3inchesTallrev4[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.

Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter:  After Tessa convinced her sister-in-law Olivia Delaney to have a makeover with a new hairstyle and new clothes, having Tessa’s brother over for a small family dinner–just the four of them, including Tessa’s husband Roger Delaney–seemed like a good idea to Tessa at the time. However, Tessa failed to alert Olivia that Sam would be joining them for dinner. And Olivia feeling anxious about her changed appearance, coupled with her little crush on Sam, caused her to faint into his arms.  Also, Roger’s idea of heating a home to near baking levels might have something to do with it, too. After Olivia revived, they went on to have a yummy soup and sandwiches meal. However, Sam has the growing realization that he is attracted to the shy and womanly curvy Olivia. He just has to figure out what to do about it.

“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 3 (PG-13, S):  Spending Time with Olivia

My brothers are ribbing me when I drive them to take the orphanage kids their XMAS tree this Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving–courtesy of the idiots who chain sawed the tree, yesterday.  It seems that our sister Tessa couldn’t leave well enough alone and told them about Olivia fainting at dinner last night.
Kevin: “Well big brother, I hear that women faint at the sight of you.  Must be all that tree sap that flows in your veins and the pine smell overpowering the ladies.”

Sam: “It was nothing.”  I roll my eyes.  “Roger had his furnace turned up to sizzling and we were all getting  roasted. It’s just that it affected Olivia the most.”

William: “The way I hear it, you lifted Olivia up into your arms and carried her to the foyer, then you sat her on your lap.  Pretty cheeky in putting the moves on your brother-in-law’s little sister.”

Sam:  “It wasn’t like that. Olivia had fainted and we were all trying to revive her.”  I look at them perturbed for their teasing me.

Todd:  “You know, I actually dated her in high school–took her to the prom.”

Sam:  “So?  What has that got to do with anything?”

Kevin:  “And you didn’t date her, Todd. It was one evening, and our parents had set it up.”

Todd: “Well!  I kissed her!”

Sam: “That’s right!”  I snap my fingers.  “You kissed her chin, wasn’t that it?  That’s poor aim, fella.”  I raise my eyebrow condescendingly.

Todd: “Well, she moved as I was leaning toward her.”

Kevin: “Uh huh. She was moving out of the way, more like. Todd, you have never been a smooth operator.”

Todd: “Hey!  I had my share of birds when I was single.”  He thrusts out his chin.
Sam:  “Now Todd, Olivia Delaney is not a bird.  She is a lady.  All of you remember that and don’t tease her when we see her.  She is shy enough–and you don’t need to cause her any upset.”

William: “Hmmm.  You sound very protective of her, Sam.  Maybe there is something to you sweeping Olivia off her feet.  Did you like having her in your arms?” I love gently teasing my elder brother Sam.

Sam:   “She had fainted–as in unconscious.  End of story!”  I state emphatically with a Sam-isRichardArmitage-inredcap_Jul1415cyn-shirt-to-blksharp swipe of my hand in the air.  “Now behave.  Miss Olivia Delaney is our hostess at the orphanage this morning–and she is family, as Tessa’s sister-in-law.  So you will all treat Olivia with respect and consideration.”  I glower at them in my best big brother stare [(2) right] .

Kevin: Saluting, I say crisply. “Yes, Sir!”

Sam:  “Let’s go.”  I sigh shaking my head.  I am a little worried about seeing Olivia today–since this is not our usual day to deliver the Wakeforest Orphanage’s XMAS tree from us.  But then, we have the idiots to thank for that–I think sarcastically. I just hope Olivia doesn’t faint again–since she doesn’t know that we are–that I am–going to show up today.


Tessa Delaney helps the Orphanage kids with their Wednesday morning breakfasts.

Tending to the younger children’s breakfast needs at the Wakeforest Orphanage this Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving is one of my joys.  School is on holiday all this week.  So instead of having classes and instruction, we have the children play games and also arts and crafts projects–as well as some sledding outdoors.

Thankfully, we don’t have as many children in residence as we did during and just after WWII–most of them have found homes. But it seems that there are always more children whose families cannot take care of them–too many children–or they are a foundling because their parents weren’t married.  Yet it’s still heart breaking to see our dozen or so children having to spend the holidays in the group home–however nice we try to make it.  So we try very hard to give them as many activities and traditions as they would normally have, were they in a private home, their own home.

So this morning after breakfast, we are making colorful paper chains with blunt edge scissors and colored construction paper and Elmer’s glue [(3)] to decorate the staircase of the large older two story home that is the Wakeforest Orphanage residence.

Then Mrs. Pauletta Perkins–the Orphanage’s Administrator, who is also the Wakeforest Orphanage Grade School’s Principal–pops her head into the activity room where I am crafting with the children. She is a woman of exceptional grace, patience, elegance, and dedication to education. Unfortunately, her arrival is before I have had a chance to help the children tidy up from our crafts–since we are still crafting.

Mrs. Perkins: “Miss Delaney, May I see you for a moment.”  We always use the formal mode of address in front of the children.

Olivia: “Certainly, Mrs. Perkins. Children, please keep cutting and gluing. We have a lot of staircase railings to decorate.”  The children nod happily and continue with their crafting.

Then I walk over to her out of earshot of the children. So we can speak informally as we normally do when it is just us. Pauletta has become a good friend and mentor to me–with her already twenty years of teaching and administrator experience.  When my brother Roger hired her five years ago when her husband also came to work at the bank as a loan officer after serving with Sam in WWII–she was our town’s first Negro Orphanage Administrator and Principal, let alone teacher.

And her husband Dominic was the first Negro bank loan officer.  But though there were naysayers in the community in the beginning–Wakeforest not having a large Negro population–Pauletta and her husband Dominic have proven them wrong. And it helps that the Perkins and others have the backing of my family and my brother Roger’s bank. Dominic even convinced his older brother Alfred who has a plumbing business to retire to Wakeforest with his younger sons and they started the Perkins and Sons Plumbing Contractors business with a small loan from the bank. Wakeforest may feel like a backwater town in the North Midwest wilderness sometimes, but we are trying to move with the times.

Mrs. Perkins:  “Olivia, it seems that our XMAS came early this year.”  I smile knowingly.

Olivia: “What do you mean, Pauletta?”

Mrs. Perkins: “The Wakeforest Family Lumber Mills brothers are here two days early with our annual XMAS tree donation from them.”

Olivia:  I suddenly feel very cold and woozy, but I am sure that I am blushing crimson.  “Which brothers?”  I ask as my voice cracks.

Mrs. Perkins: “All of them.  It seems that someone felled a tall fifteen foot tree that they shouldn’t have. So the fellows brought it to us for placement in the high ceilinged foyer’s stairway nook.”

Olivia: “Oh!”  I think I stopped hearing what she said after she replied that all of the Wakeforest brothers are here. That means that both Sam and his brother Todd–my high school misbegotten kisser–and the other two brothers are here.  This is a disaster waiting to happen.  And I’m not even dressed in one of my new Elle store outfits that Tessa gave me.  And my hair isn’t as poofy as last night–nor do I have much makeup on.  Sam will surely think that I’m a wallflower again–without the flower.

Mrs. Perkins: “Olivia, Dear.  We shouldn’t keep the Wakeforest brothers waiting.”  She gets my attention.  The Wakeforest and Delaney families are our orphanages main contributors–and we are very grateful for their support.

Olivia: I nod my head. “Sure, Pauletta.”

Pauletta leads and I follow her down the hallway to the foyer.  My teacher’s helper is watching the kids for me while I’m out of the room–considering the kids have scissors and glue at their fingertips. Anything could happen–and usually does.  However, I am jolted out of my kid safety musings by seeing the brothers Wakeforest smiling with an enormous  tree in the orphanage’s foyer.

Sam:   I smile broadly seeing the two ladies come into the foyer.  “Mrs. Perkins, Miss Delaney, we have your home’s tree for you this year.”

Mrs. Perkins: “We see that.  It’s beautiful!   And enormous.” Olivia seems transfixed about something.  So I nudge her with my elbow.

Olivia: “Oh yes. Huge!” I stare straight at Sam. Really, I’m not making a statement about Sam.  Though he is tall.  But for some reason, his brothers think what I said is funny and they start laughing.

William: “Ha ha ha! It runs in the family.”

Sam: “Watch it!” I hiss sternly at my younger brother. Ladies are present.

Mrs. Perkins:  “Gentlemen.” Now I look at the other three brothers sternly [(4) right].  PaulettaPerkins-isViola-davis-zoom_Nov2515viaUSMagazine-sized“We were unprepared for your visit. So we have yet to get the tree stand down from the attic.  Perhaps Olivia can show one of you where we keep the XMAS stuff and you can bring it down for us, please?”

Sam: “Of course.” I’m watching Olivia like a hawk–for any signs of fainting. Mostly, she is looking at her shoes.

Todd: “I’ll go.”  He offers jauntily. But he has a history with Olivia.

Olivia: “Oh no!  I can find it by myself!”  The last thing I want is for Todd Wakeforest to corner me in the attic–especially because he is a married man now.

Todd:  “But I…”

Sam:   “No!”  I place my hand across my brother’s chest and gently but firmly push him back.  “I’ll  go.” And I walk forward and stand in front of Olivia. “Let’s go!”  And she looks up at me and nods her head.  Then we walk up the stairs.

Kevin:  “Uh huh.” He smiles knowingly.

Olivia and I find the tree stand very quickly–since it is just inside the attic door.  So she carries that and I grab a couple of XMAS decoration boxes and carry them downstairs for them.  Olivia and I don’t really speak, just point and nod. She seems a bit anxious again.  So maybe not talking is better right now for her. I smile cordially at her, and she smiles shyly back at me.  Progress!

Then when we walk down the final flight of stairs, we see that the children have gathered round to see the tree.  They’re a motley and adorable group of kids–boys and girls, from about 4 years old to ten years old. After I set the two XMAS decorations boxes down, the kids dig into it. Olivia hands the tree stand to Kevin and my brothers start fitting the tree into it.

Sam:  “Where do you want the tree placed, Mrs. Perkins?” I smile at her politely.  She has really made such a difference in the orphanage and the school since she came. We’re fortunate to have her as our administrator.  And her husband Dominic is a fine man, too.  We served together in WWII.

Mrs. Perkins:  I go to stand inside the curve of the stairway.  “I think it would look spectacular right here. What do you think, Olivia?”

Olivia: “Yes, I agree, Mrs. Perkins.”  I walk over to where she is standing and look up.  The foyer hall light is hanging down.  “Will  we need to tie up the hanging light fixture to make room for the tree?”

Mrs. Perkins:  Mrs. Perkins steps out and looks up and down-gauging the distance. “Possibly.”Olivia-isEmily_Deschanel_Wallpaper_Nov2315rainpow-mask1-manip-shoulders-hairmanip-bkgrnd-brt

Sam: I walk over there and look up at the hanging light.  “I can do that for you.”    Then I look back down and gaze into Olivia’s expectantly upturned face–a small smile on her face [(5) right] . Even without much makeup on today, she looks fresh and lovely today, very lovely.

Then an orphanage boy races up the stairs and leans over the banister, holding some plastic mistletoe over my and Olivia’s heads.

Boy: “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss.”

Then the rest of the children chant:  “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss.”

Olivia blushes.  I must be blushing, too–and my mouth is dry.  This is awkward for both of us.  But the chanting continues.  So I lean down and whisper deeply into Olivia’s ear, hoping that she’ll understand.

Sam:  “Olivia, our first kiss should be private, and not just because of some kid holding mistletoe over our heads.” Then I tenderly kiss her cheek.  And I want to linger in her cheek’s pillowy softness, but we have an audience.  As I pull back, I smile at her warmly. Olivia smiles back at me.  She understands–maybe she is even grateful that I didn’t take advantage of the situation–because she looks so kissable right now. I take her hand in mine and squeeze it.

The children are placated because I did kiss their teacher, so the chanting stops and their minder herds them back to doing whatever they were doing.  However, the other adults stare at us with open mouths–my brothers do, anyway. Mrs. Perkins just smiles. Then Olivia remarks in what I am beginning to appreciate as her dry wit as she points over to my brothers open mouths.

Olivia:  “You could catch flies in there, fellas.  So you might want to shut your mouths.”

And to a man, my brothers do shut their mouths.  I can’t help it and I burst with laughter for the possibly tense moment getting punctured from the least likely source–Olivia.

Sam: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Good one!”   I give Olivia a sidelong glance and wink at her.  She simply smiles back at me–no fainting on her part.  Nor has my libido exerted itself embarrassingly.   We are two for two today.


But of course, then the inevitable happens. I notice the cook-housekeeper conferring with Mrs. Perkins, and then heading back to the bowels of the house.  And I wonder what’s up?

Mrs. Perkins: “Mr. Wakeforest?”

All four brothers: “Yes?”

Mrs. Perkins: “Very cute. I mean, Mr. Sam Wakeforest.”

Sam: “Yes, Mrs. Perkins?”  I ask inquisitively.

Mrs. Perkins: “It seems that your sister, Mrs. Delaney, is on the phone asking to speak to you about an urgent matter. You may take the call in my office.  Olivia, please show him where that is.”

Olivia: “Of course, Mrs. Perkins.”  I nod my head.  And I wonder why Tessa is calling for Sam.  But I show him back to Pauletta’s office. I start to leave, but he clasps my hand in his.

Sam: “Hang on. Let’s see what Tessa wants.  I may need your help.” Her hand feels good in mine–soft and graceful.

Olivia: Olivia nods. “Okay.”  And Sam still holds onto my hand as he leans against Pauletta’s desk.  I like that.  Sam’s hands are strong, yet gentle.

Sam on phone: “Tessa?  This is Sam. Is there a problem?”

Tessa on phone:  “I’ll say there is, Mister.  Someone, who shall remain nameless, …”  I glower at my husband  Roger standing next to me.  “… forgot to pick up the plum pudding at Roxbury Bakery this morning.  We can’t have Thanksgiving without plum pudding?  It’s traditional.”

Sam on phone:  “Never heard of it!”

Tessa on phone:  “It’s British.  You know, as in figgy pudding in that song.”

Sam on phone:  “I didn’t think that the British did Thanksgiving.   And that is a Christmas song.”  Olivia tilts her head quizzically, and I pull the phone off my ear and place it on my chest.  “Tessa wants something called plum pudding.”  Olivia nods.

Tessa on phone:  “Who’s there?”

Sam on phone:  “Olivia.  I am at the orphanage.  You called me here.”

Tessa on phone: “Oh!  Right!  Well then, would you and Olivia please go to the Roxbury Bakery and find me some plum pudding for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow? I have my heart set on serving it!”

Olivia overhears Tessa’s voice–which is not hard to do given my sister’s usual hystrionics–and she nods her okay.  I look at my watch.

Sam on phone:   “Okay Tessa, we’ll try.  See you later this afternoon.”

Olivia: “Roxbury Bakery?”

Sam: “Yup!  And lunch is on me, Olivia.  May we take your car?  I rode over in the jeep with my brothers.”

Olivia: “Alright.” I smile shyly.  I wonder if Tessa is matchmaking again.

Sam:  “Great!”  And I wonder if running an errand for Tessa can count as a first date? Without a referee, I’m calling it as such.

We wave goodbye to my brothers and Mrs. Perkins–after Olivia says goodbye to her Nash-Rambler_American_1st-generation_blue_sedan-1950s_Nov2515wiki-sizedshrpstudents.  Then we slide into Olivia’s car–a robin’s nest egg blue Nash Rambler [(6) right].  She’s a beaut–the car and its lady driver.

Sam:  And I have to ask as we drive away.  “What  exactly is plum pudding?”  I wrinkle up my nose. “Plums aren’t my thing.”

Olivia: “Oh!  I don’t believe that it has plums in it. But it might have other fruits like raisons and dates.”

Sam:  “Huh!  It sounds like a fruit cake.”

Olivia: “Not exactly.  It’s not a pudding either. It’s more cake like.  And I think that it’s made with brandy.”

Sam: “Well then, I like it already.”  I grin.

Olivia: “Oh you!”  I smile while continuing to look forward as I drive.  “And it has a brown sugar glaze if you want the full experience.”

Sam: “I’m all for full experiences.” I smile wickedly.

Olivia: My eyes widen at his little euphemism.  But I have to keep my eyes on the road. “Yes, well, you’ll have it if we can find plum pudding at this late date–the day before Thanksgiving.”

Sam:  “Now Olivia, you know that we have to find it somewhere. Or Tessa will be very disappointed–and Roger will be in the doghouse for forgetting to pick it up.”

Olivia: “Maybe we’ll get lucky and they haven’t sold Tessa’s plum pudding when we get to Roxbury Bakery.”  I suggest hopefully.

Sam:  “Well, if it’s not there, at least we can say that we tried and then go on to our lunch.”  I sanguinely shrug my shoulders.

Olivia:  “Wouldn’t Tessa want us to check another bakery or store to find her plum pudding?”  I ask worriedly as we wait at a stop sign.

Sam: “Of course.  But then we would delay lunch–and I’m starving!  Besides, you and I both know that the point of Tessa asking us to find the plum pudding is that it would throw us together again.  So let’s get right to it.” I smile broadly. Though by her expression, she looks at me a little warily.  “I mean, that we’ll have lunch and get to know each other better.”

Olivia: “Oh Okay.” I sigh in relief.  A future possible first kiss with Sam is one thing, anything else is still a bit scary for me. I pull up to the Roxbury Bakery and park.

Sam: “Now now, Olivia. You needn’t worry that I will get fresh with you.” She smiles.  Then I lean over her in the car, but not touching her–my arms surrounding her. “Though let me be clear.  I find you very attractive and desirable–and very good company, when you’re not fainting, that is.”

Olivia: “Did you have to bring that up?”  I wince.

Sam:  “I find your fainting to be a plus. How else might I have come to realize how lovely you are?”

Olivia:  “But I …”

Sam: “The question is rhetorical, Olivia. However, I do have one question for you.”  She Sam-isRichardArmitage-inProjectMagazine-BlkJkt664917000Oct0111RARU-pix-sized-brtnods shyly–I like that about her.  “Were lunch to go well–meaning that I don’t spill anything on you or disgust you by talking with my mouth full–might you consider granting me a second date?”  I smoulder [(7) right] .

Olivia:   “When was our first date?” I ask wide eyed.

Sam: “This is it–lunch–and I’m paying.”

Olivia: “Oh!   Is it really considered a date if you weren’t the one who asked me out?  Tessa asked me.”

Sam: “That’s semantics. And yes, we’re on a date.”  I confirm.

Olivia: “Oh, okay.  I’m just clarifying.” I blanch.

Sam:   “Besides, we haven’t had our first kiss yet.” She looks up at me almost stricken. “And no, I’m not going to kiss you in your car. Give me a little credit for being more romantic than that.”  But then, her car is called a rambler.

Olivia: “What if I don’t want you to kiss me?”  I bite my lower lip and look at Sam, waiting for his answer.

Sam: “Ah!  I hadn’t taken that into account.”  I’m certain that I’m pouting.  I lean back from her. “Oh! Sorry if I misread the signals,  but I thought you liked me.”

Olivia: “I do like you, Sam.  But … I also wonder if I like the idea of you.”

Sam: “You lost me there, Olivia.”  I gaze at her quizzically.

Olivia: “You know, becoming engaged and then getting married to a tall handsome honorable man, such as yourself .  And I want children to love and to nurture. So the man I marry has to want that, too.”

Sam:  “Olivia, nothing you’ve said so far is a deal breaker.  I’m forty five years old.  It’s time that I settled down and got married.”

Olivia: “What about love?  Roger and Tessa are very happy together.”

Sam:   “Yes, I heard that they built a new master suite for themselves–with extra soundproofing.”  I smirk.

Olivia: Not getting at what he is alluding to, I reply.  “I think Roger just added extra insulation for warmth.”

Sam:  “If you say so.  But I would love to hear you scream my name over and over again when we are being passionate.”

Olivia: “Oh?” I look at him quizzically.”  Me screaming Wakeforest, Wakeforest, Wakeforest?  “Wakeforest?  That’s a lot of syllables.”

At that moment, I realize that Olivia is a true innocent.

Sam:  “Ha ha ha!  That’s not quite what I had in mind.  Perhaps, you might start out whispering or sighing my first name three times in a row.” Then our eyes lock.  “Would you like to try it out?”  I suggest.

Olivia: “Sam, … um  Sam,… and Sam.”  I say diffidently. I’m not sure how he wants me to say his name.

Sam: “Okay, well, um, you see, it helps if you say my name with passion.”  I think wryly.

Olivia:  “Sam! Sam! Sam!”  I say loudly and quickly.

Sam: “Not quite.”  I wince. “Here, let me say your name as an example.  Hmmm?”  She Sam-is-RichardArmitage-in2014-CLS-BlEyes-Contemplative_May1315viaTheRAFanPagetweetnods. I lean forward toward her again [(8) right] and I whisper in her ear like I did in the Orphanage–my nose drinking in the rosewater scent of  her, my feeling the softness of her curls against my nose as I gently nuzzle her hair,  and I can hear her rapid breathing.  Then I whisper seductively into her ear.  “Olivia  … Olivia… Olivia.”

Olivia: “Ah!  I see.” I’m breathing quickly, but I don’t feel faint, just warm all over.  “Yes, that is quite a bit different. I may be able to do something like that, with practice.”

Sam:  I raise a very naughty eyebrow.  “I’m depending upon it.”  Now, I really want Olivia and I to have our first kiss.

Happily, the Roxbury Bakery still has Tessa’s plum pudding, so Sam and Olivia  purchase it to take to her. Then they have a lovely lunch getting to know each other better at a local restaurant–with more hand holding and tender gazes–and heated looks, on Sam’s part.  And they reluctantly part when Olivia drops him back off at the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill at the base of the mountain.

But, they will see each other again tomorrow for the Delaney-Wakeforest Thanksgiving dinner at Tessa’s and Roger’s home.  So that is something to look forward to.

To be continued with Chapter 4

P.S. Sorry for my delay in posting Ch. 3.  But I ended up having to go into the office and work all afternoon on a few projects–which cut into my writing time. And then when I arrived home, I tripped getting into the house–and I had to go get my arm xrayed.  It’s not broken, just sore–also cutting into my writing time.  But I hope you feel that Chapter 3 is worth the wait.  Ch. 4 will be up sometime by Thursday evening.

“Love in the Great Pine Woods”  Ch. 03, by Gratiana Lovelace, November 25, 2015

1)  The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:
a)the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

2) Sam Wakeforest is Richard Armitage in red cap in a tweeted image by cyn @dainty Jul1415

3) For history about Elmer’s glue, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer%27s_Products

4) Mrs.Pauletta Perkins image is Viola Davis found at http://assets-s3.usmagazine.com/uploads/assets/articles/82502-viola-davis-billy-brown-how-to-get-away-with-murder-sex-scenes/1422575089_viola-davis-zoom.jpg

5) Olivia  manip is a composite of two images: of Emily Deschanel  found at rainpow.com via google;  and manipped to the background  The Ellen Show set that she was on for a different interview, found at https://i.ytimg.com/vi/hCqt4N4xKKY/mqdefault.jpg

6) Picture and information about Nash Ramblers are found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambler_(automobile)

7) Sam- Wakeforest image is Richard Armitage in 2011 Project Magazine-BlkJkt664917000Oct0111RARU-pix-sized-brt

8) Sam Wakeforest image is Richard Armitage in 2014 with CLS Blue Eyes-Contemplative, is by Sarah Dunn Photography May1315viaTheRAFanPage tweet


Previous  Blog Ch. 02  Story link:


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“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 02 (PG-13, S): Tessa’s Reclamation Project, November 24, 2015 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post#833)

aaa-Love-in-the-Great-Pine-Woods_story-cover_Nov2415byGratianaLovelace_180x282rev3(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.

Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter:  Sam Wakeforest was having a perfectly lovely Tuesday walk in his woods on  Wakeforest Mountain this 1955 week of Thanksgiving when two idiot vacationers interrupted his idyll by their using a chainsaw to cut down a younger 15 foot tree for their XMAS tree  in the old growth forest sanctuary. Sam was seriously displeased to have trespassers on his land and killing his tree–as his two rifle shots to alert his brothers of trouble were evidence of. After Kevin, Todd, and William Wakeforest showed up, Sam writes the idiots $100 citation tickets each–in his capacity as a county forestry agent.  And Sam confiscated the idiots chainsaws and axes.  Then after carefully moving the bird’s nest in the compromised tree, the Wakeforest brothers finish felling the now dead tree to take it to the orphanage on Wednesday.They will also see the children for the family friendly activities at the Wakeforest Family XMAS Tree farm when it opens on Friday.  Their newly remarried last year sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney marshals the refreshments as the doyenne of their family. Sam is the only one yet to be married in their extended family–except for one other–and Tessa is determined to help him out with that.


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 2 (PG-13, S):  “Tessa’s Reclamation Project”

Down in the valley at the town of Wakeforest that same Tuesday afternoon after her morning shift at the Wakeforest Orphanage, Olivia Marie Delaney is minding her own business looking over some new lace edged embroidered linen hankies at the Wakeforest General Store–a kind of grocery, hardware, and clothing emporium for the county–when her musings are interrupted by her sister-in-law Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney who sneaks up on her.

Tessa: “Olivia, if you buy one more linen hankie, I’m going to confiscate them all and make quilts for the poor.”  She teases.

Olivia:  Startled, Oliva flinches. “Tessa, you scared me.  Where did you come from?” Olivia holds her hand to her chest just below her neck. Of course, it goes without saying that her chest is completely covered up to her neck–even if it weren’t nearly winter.Tessa-isMarcia-Gay-Harden216-Pumps-14-85thOscars_Nov2115ahshoes-crop-maskbkgrnd

However, Tessa is stylishly turned out in a taupe colored dressy day frock, her having just come from a county business women’s luncheon [(2) right].  Tessa has a small dress shop where ladies may purchase stylish clothes rather than having to go to the big city.  Tessa established her ladies dress shop, Elle, out of sheer need five years ago when she returned home to Wakeforest to live and found no suitable ladies dress shops within a 60 mile area.

Tessa:  “The County Business Women’s luncheon at the Grand Hotel.” I smile. “And every woman there was wearing an outfit from my store.”    I preen.  Granted, there were only ten ladies at today’s luncheon, but we are growing our women owned business numbers through micro loans from the bank and mentoring programs to women who would like to become entrepreneurs.

Olivia: “That’s nice, Tessa. Your store has pretty clothes.”  I nod.  I do like the clothes in Tessa’s shop–I just don’t think that they would look good on me.

Tessa:  “Then why can’t I convince you to try some of them on?”  I look at my sweet sister-in-law with unhiddendfrustration.

Olivia:  “Uh, well, they’re too pretty for me.   I prefer clothes that are modest and quiet.”

Tessa: “Obviously.”  I roll my eyes, while looking at Olivia’s faded dark gray corduroy shirt Olivia-isEmily-Deschanel-onLaw-andOrderSVU_Nov2115tvmouse-cropped-sized-brtover what looks like a light gray patterned thermal underwear pajama top [(3) right] .  I shake my head.  If ever there was a girl who needed my makeover assistance, it is Olivia.  “Well Olivia, it’s the holidays and I’m not going to take no for an answer. You will come to my shop and we’ll find you a new outfit or two.”  Heck! I would supply the dear girl with all new clothes. And I dream of the day in getting her into an actual dress–not just that jeans skirt she tends to wear.

Olivia: “I don’t know, Tessa. Your dresses and clothes are not cheap.”

Tessa: “Of course they aren’t!  Quality clothing comes at a reasonable price.  But I will give you my standard family discount of 50 per cent off.”

Olivia:   “I don’t want to impose, Tessa.”

Tessa:  “You’re not, your family!  And you’re one of my best friends, sweetie!  I love you to bits, Olivia!”  I give her a big hug. Growing up as the only girl with four brothers was a challenge for me.  But now with three of my brothers married, and my husband Roger’s sister Olivia, I am surrounded by women!  Finally!   “Now we just have to find you a fella, Olivia.”  I think out loud and she  shyly bites her lower lip.  And I have just the person in mind, I think knowingly.  “And your hair.  Hhhh!” I wince.

Olivia:  “What about my hair?”  I touch my hair self consciously, as if I am protecting it–even though Tessa isn’t brandishing scissors.

Tessa: “Your style is outdated and it doesn’t flatter your pretty face.”  I hold her face in my hands and squeeze it–making her lips purse involuntarily.  Then I touch her nose with a smile.

Olivia: I self consciously tuck my hair behind my ears as I lean away from my touchy feely sister-in-law. “But I can’t wear the new styles like you do. And is that a new do on you today?  Who did it for you?”   I wonder if hers is a $200 big city haircut or a $20 county haircut.

Tessa:   “My stylist Marcia over at Susie’s Hair Emporium gave me this cut this morning before the luncheon.  She’s a genius!”  Tessa primps her coiffure.  “I’m hoping your brother Roger, my husband will like it.”  She smiles knowingly.

Tessa and her fifty year old husband Roger Delaney, a banker, reconnected at their 30th high school reunion two years ago and they were married last year.  Having both been widowed, this is their second marriage each.  And they are a very loving couple. So much so that they built a larger master suite with better sound proofing and in another wing of their mansion–away from Olivia’s bedroom.

Olivia:  “Oh Tessa, Roger likes everything about you.” I sigh unexpectedly despairingly.

Tessa:  “Now Olivia, don’t get all morose on me. We’re going to give you a day of beauty–or at least an afternoon.  First stop, the hair salon.  And then we’ll go to Elle to outfit the new you!”  I say with a flourish.

Knowing that Tessa won’t be satisfied until she has her way, Olivia complies with her sister-in-law’s request–dreading the result.   But in the end, Olivia and Tessa are both pleased. Olivia’s hair was cut, but not shortened–merely layered and curled in a more pleasing style, with an appeal from Tessa for Olivia to stop tucking her hair behind her ears like a thirty five year old school girl.  And though Olivia did acquiesce to buying and being gifted with some new day clothes, undergarments, and two dressy dresses, Olivia has to admit that Tessa found updated versions of the styles that Olivia likes to wear–with sporty for daytime and prim for evening.


This Tuesday night, Tessa and Roger will host a simple small family meal of soup and sandwiches for themselves, Olivia who lives with them, and an unsuspecting Sam Wakeforest, Tessa’s five years younger brother.  Naturally, with Sam being her sister-in-law Tessa’s brother, Olivia has run into him at family gatherings over the last two years that her brother Roger dated and then married the vivacious Tessa.

And in truth since they live in the same town, Olivia has known of Sam Wakeforest all of her life–though he is ten years her senior at forty five years old.  And Olivia has always had a little crush on Sam that has only intensified since he returned from the war ten years ago as a decorated war hero–him having saved the lives of his passengers and crew with a rough but non fatal belly landing in a field near London when their transport plane’s landing gear housing had been grazed and damaged by ground rifle fire as they flew low over occupied France to escape radar detection [(4)] .  However, their companion plane on that mission was not so lucky and sustained a direct hit to its engines from a surface to air missile [(5)], with all lives lost.

The eight years before the war, Sam had been a lawyer in New York–not getting home much but on holidays and birthdays, to his parents’ great disappointment. But they cherished their time that they were able to spend with their eldest son and primary heir, Sam. And then the war came and he enlisted in the air force as a thirty year old–him already having a private pilot’s license. And before Sam shipped out, he promised his parents that he would return home after the war was over to take his place in the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill and as lead conservationist for their mountain.  Sam’s promise had made his parents so happy as they all said a tearful farewell.  Sadly, it was the last time that Sam would see his parents, who died months apart in 1943–his father from a long illness, and then his mother from a broken heart–while Sam was on duty in the European theatre.  Sam wasn’t even given leave to go home for their funerals.  So when the war ended and he was given his honorable discharge, Sam came home and changed his life by becoming the head of the Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill and a federal forestry agent and county deputy.  And Sam also consults for people needing to make real estate transactions or wills–just to keep his skills sharp as a formerly full time family law attorney in the big city.

But during the early years that Sam was back in Wakeforest, he was too busy relearning the lumber business along side his younger brothers for him to entertain the entanglement of dating and marriage. But that is not to say that Sam was without a lady’s companionship–though he was quite discreet about it.  Sam had met a lady named Lola who was to his liking and who was a waitress in a nearby town–but far enough away from their town so that there would be no gossip.  Lola was not looking for a permanent arrangement–she liked her freedom–and neither was Sam looking to marry then.  Their relationship–if one could call it that–was one of mutual satisfaction, but without any emotional connection.

But then Tessa returned home five years ago after she was widowed and her living with him at their family home meant that she knew his personal business. And he finally got tired of coming up with excuses for Tessa as to why he was out of town, overnight twice a week and coming home in rumpled clothes–since Lola’s free time was during the week when Sam lived at home with Tessa, rather than the weekends that Sam spent at his forest cabin.  So Sam and the waitress parted company on amicable terms–though they did connect up on a casual basis once in the year that Tessa dated her now husband–before Tessa and Roger married and Tessa moved out of Sam’s home to her and Roger Delaney’s home. But the old spark wasn’t there anymore between Lola and Sam and they both knew it.  So Sam has had quite a romantic dry spell these past five years–even though he is quite the virile man.  He simply uses the physical labor of being at the lumber mill and serving as a forestry ranger to exhaust himself most days–so that he is too tired to think about him not having a romantic life lately.


For Olivia Delaney, her romantic life is even more of a desert than Sam’s. Though she briefly dated one of the younger Wakeforest brothers, Todd, in high school–him being only three years older than she–it was a mercy date to the prom arranged by her parents and his.  So they were never boyfriend and girlfriend.

And the kiss that Todd attempted that night was so awkward and unsuccessful–his kiss landed on her chin as she moved away from him–that Olivia always walks in a different direction whenever she sees him, even now, which makes some of Tessa’s all Wakeforest and Delaney family gatherings a bit awkward for Olivia–even though Todd is married now.  And if Olivia thought that anyone knew that story of Todd trying to kiss her, she would shrivel up from embarrassment.
After that, Olivia became more shy a round men. Even when she went to college, she kept her male classmates at a friendly distance and never dated them either.  And the last ten years that she has been back home, their small town of 2,500 souls has not afforded much in the way of dating prospects.   Or at least, her not hoping to aspire for the man she has always had a little crush on, Sam Wakeforest, to even look her way.

To Olivia, Sam Wakeforest is mature, and rugged, and outdoorsy, and handsome, and tall–most particularly tall, since she is 5 ft 9 inches tall, towering over a lot of men whom she knows.  And yes, Olivia acknowledges that shorter men are nice, too.  It’s just that with a man like Sam who is taller than she is, Olivia feels more feminine–even in her sporty and serviceable corduroy shirts and thermal underwear printed tops.  That is, were Olivia to break through her shyness and even talk to Sam or any man.


As is his habit–born from five years in the military–Sam [(6) right] is punctual for his Sam-indressy-clothes-isRichardArmitage-in2011Recognise-6collage_Nov2415ranet-sized-crop-to-cufflinks-image-sized-brtsister’s 7 pm Tuesday night dinner tonight.  And even though he knows that it is just soup and sandwiches–their big all family gathering is happening on Thursday for Thanksgiving–Sam still showers and puts on fresh clothes in the form of dressy trousers, an oxford shirt without a tie, and a suit jacket due to the chill from the snowy weather.  And whenever he eats at his sister Tessa’s home, Sam always feels that he should dress up a little.  It’s nothing she says, it’s just her way of looking at a person that telepathically conveys her clothing suggestion, for next time.

Sam’s brother-in-law Roger greets him at the front door and they cordially shake hands.

Roger:  “Hello, Sam!  Good to see you!  Tessa said that you were going to make a fourth for dinner tonight.”

Sam: “Roger, good to see you.  Thank you for having me.”

Roger: “Of course! We’re family afterall.  And I hear that you had some excitement on the mountain today.”

Sam: “Ah!  Does everyone know?” By which he means Tessa.

Roger:  Roger smiles knowingly.  “I don’t think so.  I’ll leave you to tell Tessa–unless she heard it in town already.  I heard straight from one of the two Carter boys whom you cited when they came to cash their checks so they could pay their fines.  They’re also renting one of the cottages the bank oversees via our real estate arm.”

Sam: I had wiped the idiots’ names from my memory already.  “Oh?” I ask wondering whether I put Roger in an awkward situation.

Roger:  “Yes.  For almost thirty year olds, they sure whine a lot. But I didn’t give them much of my time–except to tell them that they were lucky that they weren’t in jail and needing to have their parents bail them out, again.” I roll my eyes and smile at Sam.

Sam: “So, we’re good?” I questioningly ask my brother-in-law.

Roger: “Not to worry, Sam. I’ve got your back.  These youngsters need to learn some respect and gain some maturity.  They were too young to be in the war–getting deferments to go to college–so they don’t understand what really matters.”

Sam: I nod my head in agreement. “Yes, that in behaving responsibly in our present–working toward shared goals in our community and helping each other–that we have a better chance at a hopeful future for all of us.”

Roger slaps his hand on his brother-in-law Sam’s shoulder.

Roger: “Right you are, fella.  Well said.”  Roger nods in agreement.

Tessa calls from the kitchen in a sweetly melodious voice that she always uses when she asks her husband to do something.

Tessa: “Roger, Dear? Will you please come help me set the table?”  She had heard her brother Sam’s arrival and hopes to give he and Olivia some time alone together–to try out Olivia’s new look on him.

Roger: “Coming!  Sam, have a seat in the family room.  The fire is blazing and it’s warm and toasty in there.  We’ll call you when dinner is ready.”   And with a wave, Roger walks back to the kitchen.
Sam: “Sure!”  I smile and walk into the large comfortably appointed family room.


Sam enters the family room and sees Roger’s younger sister Olivia sitting on the couch.

Sam:  “Hello, Olivia. It is good to see you again.” I say politely.  She looks different somehow, but I can’t quite put my finger on it as I go to sit in the wing chair next to the couch where she is sitting.

Olivia:  Immediately tensing up at Sam and I being in the same room,  I start babbling Olivia-isEmilyDeschanel-onEllenShow-Nov2115youtube-sized-clr-crop-brt2incoherently. “Oh!  Hi Sam!  Tessa didn’t say that you were joining us tonight. I thought that we wouldn’t see you until Thanksgiving.” I bite my lower lip and look over at him worriedly [(7) right] .  I was hoping to have more time to get used to my new hair and clothes before I saw him.

Sam:   “No?  I was expected tonight.  Tessa invited me.  And Roger didn’t seem surprised to see me just now.”  I state quizzically.

Olivia:   “Well, Tessa must have told Roger–but she forgot to tell me.”  I fret. I am getting more nervous by the minute around the ruggedly handsome Sam.

Sam:  I smile politely and tread carefully.  I am well aware of Olivia’s shyness–it’s partly why I have rarely seen her around town.  “Is my being here for dinner a problem, Olivia?”
Olivia: “No, no. You are most welcome.”  I assure him.  I hope I sound gracious, I mean to be.

Sam: “Well, good.  Because Tessa makes a dynamite soup and sandwich meal.  And hey!  Roger wasn’t kidding about it being toasty in here. Mind if I doff my jacket?”  I smile at her and remove my suit jacket, folding it once and laying it across the arm of the wing chair that I am sitting in.

Olivia: “Uh huh.”  I nod distractedly as I notice Sam’s broad shoulders in his oxford shirt–now sans his jacket–with his sleeves rolled up revealing his muscular forearms.  I gulp.

Sam: I snap my fingers. “Ah ha!  Now I know what looks different about you tonight.”

Olivia: “Oh?” I worry–as my stricken looking face, no doubt, reveals.

Sam: I lift up my hand and gesture to her.  “It’s your hair.  It’s not so flat as it usually is.”  Olivia-with-newborn-lamb-isemily-Deschanel_inline2_Nov2115organicspammagThe last time I really saw Olivia was at last Spring’s lambing over at Norquist Farms [(8) right].  “Is your hair naturally wavy and you have to iron it flat?  Or did you add the waves tonight?”

Olivia: Tremblingly, I take a sip of water. “It’s wavy.  I had it cut today and the stylist told me not to flatten it.”

Sam: “Well Olivia, she was right. Wavy hair looks nice on you.” I compliment her sincerely.  I know from what Tessa has told me over the past two years, that Olivia is also rather shy around men.  So that is all I say. But then I notice what else is different about her.  But I keep silent.  However, I can’t seem to control my appreciative gaze at Olivia’s womanly curves, very nice.

Olivia:  “Well, thank you, Sam.”  Then I notice that he is staring at me.  And I wonder if the dress Tessa chose for me–though I like the flower print–is too daring with its low neckline.  “What?”

Sam: “Huh?”  I look at her quizzically.

Olivia: “You’re staring at me. Is something wrong?”   I look at him worriedly.

Sam: “Wrong? Why no.”  I have to be careful here or Olivia is likely to never want to talk to me again.  And with her new look, I am definitely intrigued–even if she is my brother-in-law’s little sister.  “Oh! It’s just that I realized what else is different about you tonight.”  She stares at me waiting. “It’s your dress, it’s new, isn’t it?”   I can’t state the obvious about the style of her dress–with her chest skin below her neck showing, when she usually is covered up to her neck.  She would faint on the spot.

Olivia: “Yes, Tessa picked it out for me.  But I do like the flower print.”  I bite my lower lip again.

Sam: “Well it’s very becoming on you.”  I state with a cordial smile.  Actually, Olivia looks quite pretty tonight. It’s amazing what a fresh hairstyle and new clothes can do for a person. Hmmm.  And she might even be wearing a eye little makeup.

Then the silence in the room lasts for several minutes as neither Sam nor especially Olivia knows what to say to the other.  Then Olivia jumps up from the couch.
Olivia: “I should go see if Tessa needs help with the food.” I move to walk past Sam, but he stops me.

Sam:  I touch Olivia’s arm lightly and she stills, frozen like a statue in front of me–a very womanly curvy statue. “Roger is helping her.  He said that they would call us when dinner is ready.”

Olivia:  “Oh!  Well, still, I forgot something. If you will please excuse me.”    I dash out of the room and go down the hall to the guest bath to hyperventilate in private.  Well not really hyperventilate. I just needed to quickly be by myself.  I run the water in the sink as a ruse for my being in there while I look at myself in the mirror.  Why did I let Tessa talk me into changing myself–including makeup that Sam didn’t mention?  I’m sure Sam thinks that I’m trying too hard, because he noticed all the changes.  What must he think of me?   Then my reverie is broken by a soft tapping sound on the door.

Sam: After Olivia left the room, I sat around for a few minutes reading the Life magazine they had on the coffee table.  Then I decided to hit the can before dinner.   But the door was shut and locked. “Anyone in there?”

Olivia:  “Oh!  Sorry!  I’ll be out in just a moment.” I look around. I can’t flush the toilet now, since I had the faucet running. That’s backwards. So I run my hands under the faucet and I turn it off, and I dry my hands on the towel.  Then I open the door and smile at Sam as I walk out.

Sam: “Olivia!  There you are.” I smile at her as I walk into the bathroom.  “I’ll be right out.”  I say to her as she stares at me while I shut the door.   I wonder if she is still standing outside the door and I don’t want her to hear me pee, so I turn on the faucet–then I pee and flush.  Finally, I wash my  hands and dry them on the towel.  Then when I open the bathroom door, yup, she is still there–looking paler than when I saw her earlier in the family room.

Olivia:  I had walked into the kitchen, but Tessa sent me back for Sam. “Tessa says that dinner is ready.”

Sam:  “Good!  I’m starving. Let’s eat.” And with that, I step out of the bathroom.  Then I place my hand at the small of Olivia’s back, guiding her to the dining room in her home that she shares with her brother Roger and his wife, my sister Tessa.  Olivia seems a little shell shocked.  I’ve never seen her so flustered.  I hope that she’s okay.  I guess I should be ready to catch her if she faints.


No sooner had I absentmindedly thought that I might have to catch Olivia Delaney if she faints, then as I am guiding her into the dining room, she does faint. I quickly catch her and lift her into my arms.  She is not heavy, per se, but neither is she lightweight–her being womanly curvy and quite tall for a lady.  Well, taller than my sister Tessa.  However, I will have to set her down somewhere soon.

Roger: “God!  Olivia!”  Roger jumps up from his seat at the head of the dining table. Tessa also rushes over to me carrying Olivia.

Tessa: “Oh Dear!  Sam, let’s take her into the foyer and open the front door. It’s so warm in here, Roger! That must be what is affecting her.”  I fret.  Though I also have a guess, that her being around my virile brother Sam–who looks quite handsome tonight in his blue suit–might also have affected her.

So Sam carries a limp Olivia into the Delaney’s foyer and he sits down upon a wing chair that Roger brings from the family room and places there. Sam has Olivia sitting across his lap, cradling her in his arms.   Roger then opens the front door and lets the cold air blast in, cooling down the foyer considerably.  Tessa had also retrieved a fresh towel from the kitchen and ran cold water over it that she now dabs on Olivia’s exposed chest and neck.

Sam: “Olivia.”  I whisper softly in my deep baritone voice and I rock her gently in my arms–as if she were a child needing comfort. “Olivia.  It’s Sam. You fainted, but you’ll be alright.  The nice cool air will refresh you.” I had seen this level of anxiety a couple of times with my men as we prepared ourselves for a mission flight. They had become so anxious that they literally fainted. And the nurse medic gals on the base had to gently coax them back to consciousness.  So that is what I am trying with Olivia now–gentle coaxing.

Roger: “Maybe I should call a doctor? Or should we take her to the hospital?”  I turn to my wife and brother-in-law with worried eyes.

Tessa: “She was fine earlier today. We had a girls’ afternoon out.”  I wince.

Sam: I gaze up at Tessa.  “Yes, Olivia told me that she had her hair done and bought some new clothes.  She seemed worried about her appearance.  But I told her she looked fine.”

Tessa:  “Oh Sam!  A lady never wants to hear that she looks merely fine.”

Roger: “Tessa, who cares?”  He says distraughtly whilst hovering over his sister Olivia’s inert form.

Sam: I shift Olivia a bit in my arms, bringing her to sit more upright, thinking that might help her breathing.  But it does bring her face closer to mine.  “Actually, I was very polite, Tessa.” I pout.  “I told Olivia that her new hairstyle was nice and that her dress was very becoming to her.”  I hope that Olivia wakes up soon.  I’m getting chilled sitting here with the door open and without my suit jacket on–though having Olivia’s warm body next to mine does help.

Tessa: “Well, that’s something. The poor dear was fretting about seeing you on Thanksgiving with her new look.  So I didn’t tell her you were coming tonight.”

Sam: “Obviously!  She was clearly surprised to see me when I walked into the family room tonight.”  Then I gaze down at Olivia’s face.  She is breathing comfortably, but she is still in a faint. “Olivia, wake up sleepy head.”  Now I worry that she might be getting too cool.  My hands are under her supporting her, so instead, I lay my cheek upon her forehead.  “She doesn’t feel overheated, but she doesn’t feel cool either.”

Roger: “Maybe we should try to jolt her awake, Tessa.  Do we have smelling salts?  Or anything foul smelling that could make her wake up?”

Tessa:  “No smelling salts, but I have a bottle of vinegar in the kitchen.”  I race back there and get it.  Of course, it is not where I remember leaving it the last time I used some.  But I finally find it and pour a bit of vinegar onto another clean wash rag and then I take it to Olivia in the foyer.

Roger:  Grabbing the washrag with vinegar on it  from my wife, I thrust it in front of Olivia’s nose as she sits cradled in Sam’s arms. “Here.”

Sam is startled. And Olivia immediately starts coughing and sits up more.  So Sam pushes away Roger’s hand with the wash cloth and gently rubs Olivia’s back.

Olivia:  “KKhhh!  Kkkhhh! Kkkhhh!”

Sam: “Olivia, you’re alright.  You just fainted from the heat.”  Then I turn to Roger.  “You better turn down your furnace before everyone faints.”  He goes to do that.

Tessa:  “Are you alright, Olivia Dear?”  I ask as I squeeze her hand.

Olivia:  “Hhhhh!”  I wheeze.  “I need water. Kkkhhh!   Hhhhh!”

Tessa: “I’ll go get you some.”
Tessa leaves the foyer, too, leaving Sam and Olivia alone again.   Olivia is slowly becoming aware of her surroundings–her immediate surroundings, being cradled in Sam’s arms while sitting upon his lap.

Olivia: “Oh!  I’m so sorry.”  I am mortified that I fainted–and that he obviously carried me here. Or was it Roger who carried me? In any event, I ended up on Sam’s lap.  What must he think of me?

Sam: “You got overheated, that’s all.  You’ll be alright.” I smile at her–trying to set her at ease.

Olivia:  I feel uncomfortable sitting on Sam’s lap. I’ve never done that before–sat on a man’s lap. “I need to stand up.” I start breathing quickly again in my agitation.

Sam:  “Are you sure?  Don’t you want to take a few minutes more to calm down?”  Olivia hurriedly shakes her head no. And I realize that she is getting anxious again.  So I help her stand up and I also stand up. But she is woozy, so I sit her back down on the wing chair and I kneel beside her.

Olivia:  “You’re being very nice to me, Sam.  Thank you.  I’m sure you didn’t expect dinner, and a show.” I roll my eyes about my fainting.

Sam:  I burst out laughing.  “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”  Then I clasp her hand in mine.  “No I didn’t.  But then, I also didn’t expect to have dinner with a lovely lady tonight.”  I squeeze Olivia hand in mine as I smile sincerely at her.

Olivia:  On a roll, I banter back at him with a small smile. “I believe that you haven’t had dinner yet. So you’re 0 for 2.”

Sam: “True about dinner, but not about the other.” I smile and she blushes.  “But when you feel well enough to stand without falling to the ground, we’ll give dinner a try.  Shall we?”

Olivia: “I don’t know.  Maybe Roger should put wheels on this chair–just in case–and roll me in there.”  I wince.

Sam: I chuckle.  “Ha ha ha!  I’ll tell you what, Olivia.  If you faint again, I promise to catch you again.” I gaze straight into her sparkling brown eyes.  “Although you looked quite beatific when you’re in a dead faint, I would much rather you be awake.”
Olivia: “Why?”

Sam: “Why?” She nods.   “Well, I suppose, it’s because then … we can … Hhhh!  Well, then, we can … eat our dinner.” I uncharacteristically fumble my words.  Now why did I get all tongue tied?

Olivia: “Now you’re not going to faint on me, are you Sam?”  I smile a little at him.

Sam: “I might. This wood floor is hard on my knees.”  I wince.

Olivia: “Oh, of course, please stand up.” I stand up and then touch his shoulders urging him to stand up. But he was kneeling rather close to the chair–and to me.  And in him getting up, he loses his balance and inadvertently leans forward–with the top of his head pushing against my stomach, which causes me to sit back down in the chair.

And as I embarrassedly head butt Olivia by accident, the back of my head accidently grazes one of her nicely rounded breasts–and my body reacts.   So I quickly turn as I stand up so that she can’t see it in my dress trousers.  Okay, I know that it’s not appropriate for me to get aroused–given that she was just ill.   But I am a man–and she’s a woman. And with cradling her in my arms and having her sit on my lap, it’s a wonder that I haven’t reacted to her before now.

Somehow, Olivia manages not to faint again–and my … discomfiture … eases.  And we all get through the rest of the evening–having dinner and dessert. But Olivia is so lovely tonight–and I have been without female companionship for so long, that I know that I will have to do 100 push ups or something, just to exhaust myself before taking a very cold shower, so that I can get to sleep tonight.
So I beg off from playing cards, saying that I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow–which I do. My brothers and I will take the tree that the idiots killed to the Wakeforest Orphanage on Wednesday. But of course, then I remember that I will see Olivia there.  Oh god!  I just hope that she will stay vertical … and that I won’t.

I shake my head bemusedly as I walk to the car.   Note to self to wear my stiff dungarees tomorrow.  Ohhhh! Poor word choice on my part.  I seem to have a one track mind at the moment–that is now going through a tunnel.  I have to stop with the euphemisms or I’m going to have an accident and wrap my car around a tree.  Ohhh!  I give up!

Olivia might have been anxious and embarrassed tonight by my sister Tessa’s too obvious matching making attempt for the two of us, but I was embarrassed, too–by suddenly realizing how attractive and womanly curvy Olivia is.  And I am still thinking about Olivia as I drive home–which is why I am so … frustratingly  unsettled.

Of course, there is a solution for my discomfort.   But before then, Olivia and I would have to know each other a lot better than as the in-law acquaintances we are now–for her sake.  The trouble is, if Olivia faints or is otherwise anxious whenever she sees me, how can I make her feel more comfortable around me?  Hmmmm.  I wonder if Tessa could talk to Olivia and calm her down about dating me.  And if truth be told, my sister Tessa would probably think that I am the one in need of relationship development guidance.  Because I do realize that Olivia Delaney–like my sister Tessa–is a lady.  And ladies have a different expectation of a man and woman relationship–unlike the mutually beneficial arrangement that I had with Lola.  And I have studiously avoided ladies who wanted to ensnare me into a relationship–precisely for that differing expectation–I guess, up until, now.

To be continued with Chapter 3


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”  Ch. 02, by Gratiana Lovelace, November 24, 2015

1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:
a) the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

2) Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney in dressy day frock is Marcia Gay Harden that was found at  http://www.ahshoes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/12/5/216-Marcia-Gay-Harden-Pumps-14.jpg

3) Olivia is Emily Deschanel in Law & Order SVU was found at https://thetvmouse.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/emily-deschanel-svu.jpg

4) For more information about RADAR that was developed in 1940, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar

5)  For more information about  air defense  tactics,visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aircraft_warfare

6) The Sam Wakeforest image in dressy clothes is of a  Richard Armitage portrait  (cropped to navy suit) from the 2011 Recognise Magazine photo shoot  that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/Recognisemag/Recognise-6.jpg

7) Olivia is Emily Deschanel on the Ellen Show from Youtube; cap was found at  https://i.ytimg.com/vi/hCqt4N4xKKY/mqdefault.jpg

8) Olivia is Emily Deschanel with baby lamb was found at http://www.organicspamagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/emily-deschanel_inline2.jpg


Previous  Blog Ch. 01  Story link:



Posted in Creative Writing, Drama, Family, Fiction, Honor, Humor, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Sexy, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 01(PG-13, D, L): My Mountain,  November 24, 2015 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post#832)

aaa-Love-in-the-Great-Pine-Woods_story-cover_Nov2415byGratianaLovelace_180x282rev3(An original story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.

Scheduling Note: This love story begins around the Thanksgiving Holiday–as we are now–and I have the first several chapters written, but for some editing and the illustrations.  So I will try to post several chapters today and tomorrow–to keep us in “real time” in the story.  Thereafter, I will post about weekly in rotation with my other story that is winding down.

                    “Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Prologue

At the age of 45 years, Samuel “Sam” Wakeforest has everything a man could ever want–a tight knit extended family, blue skies, land that takes his breath away, he is his own boss, and he has a purpose for his life. And yet, his loving but sometimes over bearing older sister Tessa would say that he lacks one thing–a wife and a family to call his own.   And Tessa’s new sister-in-law Olivia Delaney is just such a prospect.  Olivia is shy and plain by her own reckoning–a maiden spinster in her mid thirties.  However Tessa sees potential in Olivia–especially for her brother Sam, if his sister Tessa can convince him of that.  And Sam’s and Olivia’s well ordered individual lives will inevitably begin to change as they forge a deepening bond of love when they blend their lives together.


          “Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 01 (PG-13, D, L):  My  Mountain

Sam Wakeforest takes his usual walking tour of the Great Pine Woods of Wakeforest Mountain on this brisk Tuesday morning with new fallen snow three inches deep upon the ground.  He is alone, but not really.  These woods belong to him and he belongs to the woods.  Their conservation is his life’s purpose, and he will protect the Great Pine Woods with his life.  Such is the nature of the binding covenant that he made with his parents and with the land.

As usual upon his solitary walks, Sam reflects upon nature’s beauty spread in panoramic snowy-pine-forest_Nov2315pinterestwonder before him.  Walking in the Great Pine Woods this Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving, I feel a sense of peace and contentment.  The new fallen snow blanketing the area gives the woods a hushed feeling–beautiful and serene [(2) right] .  I never tire of it–how this land, my land, assaults my senses in every way.  The air smells crisp and clean, filling my nostrils with the forest’s pine tree scent.  The snow crunches under my boots as I am the first one to disturb its pillowy surface.  The only thing I hear is the occasional bird call or animals rustling around the forest floor.

Breaking through into a small clearing, I see a few animals scurrying about now–the odd squirrel trying to get one more nut for his wintry hoard, and the birds nesting in the thick foliage of the fir trees.  On rare occasions, a large 12 point deer buck that I have named Majestic, will stop to look at me –no fear being present in his eyes since I am a daily visitor to the woods–and I am not a hunter.   The animals know that they can trust me.  And we do not allow hunting by anyone on our lands.

This is my land–Wakeforest land–the whole Wakeforest Mountain of 5,000 vertical feet.  Yet I am but this generation’s lead conservator for future generations of the 100 year old Wakeforest Family Lumber Mills.  Wakeforests had settled this land in the 1850’s when we were the only human inhabitants.  The birds of the air and animals of the forest make their home here as well.  We live in harmony with one another, each using only what is necessary to survive–and to sustain the habitat that we call home.

My brothers and I are very careful stewards of what trees we cull for commercial building and furniture use in the past ten years of booming housing construction since the great war ended in 1945.  And the old growth tree areas we leave untouched and pristine–never to be cut, our legacy of nature’s beauty for future generations.  For the forest lands that we do harvest selectively, we plant two trees for every one tree that we cut down, us knowing that other forces may affect tree growth–such as extreme weather conditions, fire, and idiots.

Then while walking further into the Great Pine woods near the preserved old growth forest, I hear a chilling sound–a loud mechanical buzzing noise ripping through the silence that can only be from a chainsaw.  But these are my woods, and no tree is to be felled here.  Racing toward the sound in hope of saving my trees, I see two idiot tree poachers 100 yards away who dare to trespass on my lands.

Sam:  “Stop!  That is my tree!”  I bark at them.

They can’t hear me above the chainsaw din. But they see me flying toward them–wild eyed and carrying my rifle.  I stop 20 yards from them and shoot my rifle twice in the air off to the side.  It is our signal to call each other when there is trouble.  I can only hope that my brothers will get here in time–so that I don’t have to shoot these idiots still holding their now mute chainsaws.  That would require more paperwork on my part–and I hate paperwork, I think snidely.

I am dismayed to see that the idiots have already gouged two 4 inch deep gashes on either side of a beautiful 15 foot pine tree–effectively killing it. It can’t be saved–but maybe the birds that call it home to can be saved as I look up into its branches, seeing a nest there.

Idiot#1: “What the ….”

Sam: I menacingly point my rifle at the intruders and bark my orders–my former military background as an Air Force Captain in WWII was a mantle that I wore easily.   “You are trespassing upon my land!  Drop your chainsaws and run, or I will shoot you where you stand.  I don’t care if I kill you or maim you.  It’s all the same to me.”  I bluff.

Idiot#2:  “You can’t shoot us!” The idiot stupidly takes one step forward–his stilled chainsaw menacingly hovering in his hand.

Sam:  “I can and I will shoot you.  I am deputized with special powers for the county.”  I flip up the lapel of my overcoat revealing my shiny brass Deputy Sheriff’s badge.  “Though sadly, I will have to refrain from killing you.  But maiming  you is alright.”  I point my rifle at each of them again and grin menacingly.  I have perfected my menacing look over the years–part evil grin, part narrowed steely eyes, part hunched over stance as if I am ready to pounce. And it helps that I am over 6 foot 2 inches tall–towering over most people.  So I seem more intimidating than I really am.

Idiot#1:  “But we were told that we could cut down a tree for the Christmas holidays.  We’re spending the next six weeks here at a rented cottage.”  He whines in his LL Bean plaid wool peacoat.  But the idiots wisely set their chainsaws upon the ground.

Sam: “You are miles away from our XMAS Tree Farm that is found at the base of Wakeforest Mountain.  And we don’t open until the day after Thanksgiving.  You had best get moving before the cavalry comes.”  I wave my rifle around at them some more as I stalk 10 yards closer to them.

Idiot#2: “Oh?  You and what army, Johnny Appleseed?” [(2b)]    He sneers.

The idiot blusters and tries to insult me–not a wise move on his part.   But I do wonder what is keeping my brothers.  Then I hear a jeep speeding up the trail and smile.

Sam: “This army.” I tilt my head toward the sound without taking my eyes off of the idiots.  I have had run ins with tree poachers before–some of them had threatened violence, to their own unending chagrin.

The jeep screeches to a halt about 10 feet from the idiots–with the wheels spewing up the only patch of ground gravel not covered with snow.  The idiots wave their hands in front of their faces and cough. Good!  My three younger brothers quickly pile out of the jeep–each of them carrying a rifle.  My brothers are also over 6 feet tall and big and burly like me from our forestry occupation’s physical exertions.

Kevin: “What are you two idiots doing on our land killing trees?”

Idiot#1: “We were told that we could cut down our XMAS tree on the mountain.” He whines again.

Todd: “Obviously, you were misinformed!”

William:  “Our XMAS Tree Farm is at the base of the Mountain–and doesn’t open until the day after Thanksgiving!”

Idiot#2: “So he just now told us.”  The idiot points to me as my brothers divest them of their chainsaws, axes, and saws.

Sam: I adopt a disdainful attitude as I explain to my brothers.  “Clearly, these two are  temporary vacationers, because everyone else knows when to come for XMAS trees. And where.”   Then I turn back to the idiots.  “This area of land is the old growth tree forest.  It is strictly maintained and preserved.   And no trees are cut down that are not dead already.”  I emphasize.

Idiot#2: “But these trees don’t look so old.”  He pouts gesturing to about a dozen or son 12 – 15 foot trees.

Sam:  “Hmmmm.”  I growl as I tightly fold my arms in front of my chest to try to keep Sam-is2011RichardArmitage-from-theProjectMagazine-article-photobyMattHolyoak-14_Nov2415ranet-sized-clr-crop--hi-res-shrp
warm in the freezing air [(3) right] . I lost my gloves when a raced to stop the idiots, so I’m a bit crankier than I usually am.   “These few trees are young  because  this tree that you killed and the others here were planted 15 years ago to replace the trees that were felled because they had died.” I think, idiot, but I don’t address him as such–since I already flashed my badge of office at him and I should maintain something of a professional attitude–my threat to kill him, notwithstanding.  “I’m giving each of you a citation, and I’ll need to see your driver’s licenses.” They fish for their wallets in their back pockets and give their licenses to me. Then I take out my carbon copy citation ticket pad and write them each a $100 fine that they groan about. “You pay your fines in cash within the next two days at the county courthouse in town that is open during the afternoons today and tomorrow or you go to jail for a week–your choice.”  I keep their licenses and the original copies of the tickets.  “You get your licenses back when you pay your fines.

Idiot#1: “What about our tree cutting equipment!”  He gestures to their chainsaws and axes in a pile by my brothers.

Sam:  I grin.  “Oh?  Didn’t I tell you?  They are forfeit as another punishment condition of your crime. I waived a salary in lieu of keeping whatever items we confiscate when apprehending criminals.”

Idiot#2: “That’s not fair!  We paid a lot of money for our chainsaws!”

Sam: “Kevin?”  I look at my brother. “Take their car keys.”  I threaten.

Kevin: “With pleasure!  I always wanted a Land Rover.  I saw one very like yours in a LandRover-1955model_Nov2415silverstoneauctionsmagazine article once.  Very nice!”  Land Rovers are a  pricey British jeep-like all terrain vehicle [(4) right].

Idiot#1: “No!  No!  We need our car to get out of here.”

They look at me pleadingly.  Oh how the tables have turned.

Sam: “Then I suggest that you do that!”  I hiss. “And if I see you two buying or carrying other saws or axes, I will confiscate them and put you into jail so fast that your heads will spin!”

Idiot#2:  “Let’s go.” He pulls on the other idiot’s arm and mutters under his breath.  “We’re getting nowhere here.”

Sam: “Damn straight!  And before I file my official report, I will contact the federal authorities in the surrounding counties.  So that you know not to attempt to trespass upon anyone else’s lands.”

Idiot#1: “Alright.” He says resignedly.  “We’re sorry.  We didn’t know.”

Ignorance is no excuse!  However, the idiot seems contrite.   But I venture to guess that his change of demeanor is only because he got caught.

Sam: “Now you do know.  And if you pay your fines and behave in an otherwise civilized manner during your stay in the area, then I will not have a reason to put you in jail.  Are we understood, gentlemen?” I glower, then I hold out my hand to them.  I may teach someone a lesson, but then I expect them to have learned it and I treat them with civility.

Idiots: “Yes sir.”   “Yes, Sir.”

The idiots each hesitantly shake my hand–considering that I am still cautiously holding my rifle in my left hand, and my brothers each have their rifles pointed at them.  The idiots can’t have been more than in their mid to late twenties–rich boys with no sense nor respect for the land.  And I’m not besmirching rich boys, since technically, I am one via our Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill.

And I suspect that the idiots will be startled to see my brother Kevin at the county courthouse in his capacity as Bailiff and Justice of the Peace when they pay their fines.  I’m sure that the look on the idiots’ faces will be priceless.  But the idiots will then know for certain that they will be closely watched–which will hopefully make the idiots behave as they should from here on out as guests in our area.

I suppose that I should be glad that the idiots were only killing trees and that they were not deer hunters–for we are in deer hunting season.  But hunting is forbidden on Wakeforest Mountain.  I would not have been able to restrain myself were I to have come upon the idiots if they had killed or maimed the 12 point buck Majestic–or any of our lands’ dear.  Deers and trees are living things that should be protected.   And I have seen enough of the tragic results of the killing and maiming that went on in World War II, to last me a lifetime.

After the idiots leave, my brothers and I assess the damage.  At least it is only one tree lost.  But still, that is one tree too many– with fifteen years of growth lost, due to the idiots.  So in the spring, we will have to start again and plant another tree.  And before we leave, we carefully move the now dead tree’s bird’s nest to an adjoining and larger living tree–waiting to make sure that the birds nest is secure and that the birds return to it.  The birds know me and often perch on my cap as I walk through the old growth forest.  But I thank god no one sees that–or I might get the nickname of birdman.  But I take the birds trust in me seriously and humbly.

Then my brothers and I finish cutting down the now dead tree and hoist it onto the flat bed of our modified army jeep as we all squeeze into it to go back down the mountain.  We will take the tree to the Wakeforest County Orphanage tomorrow as our XMAS tree donation this year, in lieu of cutting down another tree. This tree’s death will not be in vain–the children will enjoy an early surprise, even though they didn’t get to pick out their free tree this year.  However, we will still host the children at our XMAS Tree Farm on Friday to our usual kid and family friendly activities of sledding and sleigh riding, with hot mulled cider and pumpkin cookies and lessons about tree conservation–with coloring books and crayons for the children to take home with them.

Our older sister Tessa does our XMAS Tree Farm refreshments with the aplomb of the accomplished and welcoming hostess that she is.  It is nice to have her living in town again, though she came back for a sad reason–her having returned from living in the big city five years ago after her husband died.  Then last year she married again, to the town’s banker Roger Delaney–a childhood classmate of hers who had also been widowed several years ago.  So she will be staying in the area.  My brothers and I are glad of that–me especially. They all have families–spouses and kids–but I never married. So Tessa coming back home to live with me in our family home that we grew up in for a while was a welcome change–having someone to share my day with and to do things with–with her whipping our family home into shape with her organizing and redecorating zeal.

However Tessa no longer keeps house for me–as she did before she remarried.  So my home is a little untidy at the moment–something that Tessa abhors.  And Tessa asserts and inserts herself once a month with a cleaning and organizing binge that insures that our family home does not sink into an irrevocable state of bachelor neglect for my meager housekeeping skills.  I maintain the mechanicals and grounds. It’s just that a man does not do dusting and vacuuming. Though I had to learn to do my own laundry when I was in the military–my towels, sheets, and underwear are ship shape and Bristol fashion [(5)].

And I also have a smallish log cabin [(6) right] that I use on weekends that is situated on Cabin-in-snow-TellurideCO_Nov2315pinterestthe edge of the beginning of the incline up the slope of Wakeforest Mountain–and that I built it with my own two hands, and with the help of my brothers.   I have a small generator for running the lights and a small furnace on the worst of cold nights.  Otherwise, it is candles and the central fireplace hearth that serves as a heating hub for it.  And well water for plumbing, washing, and drinking needs.  My cabin has just three rooms–a small bedroom with a full tub shower bathroom on a septic system, a kitchen, and a combined eating and sitting area.  But it is plenty big for me.  And my cabin has no womanly decorating touches in it whatsoever–plaid blankets and pillows, as well as, brown cowhide leather on the chairs and couch are my only design choices–and I mean to keep it that way.

I know that I am set in my ways, but I have no lady friend in my life currently who would require me to compromise.  But my single status is also a sticking point for my older sister Tessa–who is forever trying to marry me off, I think groaningly.    However today’s events in the forest will likely pique and distract Tessa’s interest when we all gather for Thanksgiving in two days with Tessa and her husband at the Delaney Mansion.  And hopefully, the tree poachers topic will derail her thoughts from my matrimonial prospects, for at least some time.  I live in hope.

To be continued with Chapter 02


“Love in the Great Pine Woods”  Ch. 01, by Gratiana Lovelace, November 24, 2015 (Post #832)


1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images by Grati:
a) the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/ProjectMag-05.jpg;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg

2)   The Snowy Pine forest image was found on Pinterest at  https://secure.static.tumblr.com/1af9bbf5599c47838a7d2fec429580a5/5hdpepv/P9rntjwg7/tumblr_static_tumblr_static_110u5ivvbgu80cwk84884088s_640.jpg

2b)  For more about the  American of the 1800’s,  John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, please visit  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Appleseed

3) The Sam Wakeforest image is of a  Richard Armitage portrait (cropped) from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/MattHolyoak-14.jpg

4) 1955 Land Rover image was found at http://www.silverstoneauctions.com/land-rover-86-series-1

5)Meaning of “ship shape and Bristol fashion”: was found at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/shipshape_and_Bristol_fashion

6)Image of Sam Wakeforest’s forest log cabin weekend home is a snowy cabin in Telluride, Colorado that was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e2/b9/15/e2b915af95e32cf1d21c31a959ddb6d8.jpg

Posted in "Love in the Great Pine Woods", Conservation, Drama, Family, Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments