(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, 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 sharp 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]. “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?”
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 students. 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 nods 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 nods. 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
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