[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.
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 over 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 sister’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 incoherently. “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.” The 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.”
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
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