[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. 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 over 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: “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 bruise 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 interior. 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.
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. Though 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 Bobby 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
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