Yanked out of sleep by two strong arms, Beth was in the air before she knew what was happening. She couldn’t decide if she was awake or dreaming. As she looked up and saw Jamie’s face she knew reality. “So, my new wife, I spent the day in terror, looking everywhere for you. You spent the day in the bosom of your family. Then you had a pleasant nap!”
“Luckily for you, I stopped at the ranch before I came here. Maman explained to me that young women sometimes are embarrassed after intimacy. She said that you didn’t mean to terrify me. Is that right Beth? You wouldn’t want to embarrass me or make me worry, right? Oh wait, did you think about me at all? Hmmm, the old Willy would only consider herself, but Beth, well she’s not like that, right?”
At this point Jamie had carried her out of her room, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. Jamie kissed Lucille on the cheek. “Thanks Mom, we’ll be back for dinner tonight.” Lucille kissed Beth on the cheek as if it were the most normal thing in the world for Beth to be in Jamie’s arms.
“Bethie, it was wonderful to be with you. Remember what your Papa and I said. We have faith in you dear. I’ll have roast beef, potatoes, and fresh rolls ready at six.” Jamie sniffed, “Oh my goodness I think I can smell them already. See you then, Mom.”
As they walked out the door, Beth still air born, she was struck with a sense of unreality. She couldn’t believe that Jamie Calkin had just called her formidable Mother, Lucille Bond, Mom. The craziest part was hearing her Mother giggle like a love struck teenager.
Jamie lifted Beth up into their buggy. “Upsy daisy, my sweet.” He nodded at a couple of elderly ladies crossing the street, “Afternoon ladies.” The ladies twittered, and waved. Beth was finally awakening to the awfulness of her state.
Jamie looked over. He saw Beth with her head down in her lap. He pulled her up, “Phew, you look terrible. Come on Beth, things aren’t that bad. You have to admit you enjoyed yourself last night.” Beth lifted her hand to slap Jamie. Jamie intercepted her hand before it met its’ intended object. “Tut tut, Willy, let’s not get into a snit. Look you are on Main Street. You don’t want people to talk, do you?”
Beth growled, “I hate you, you’re common, and crude. How can you talk about IT like that?" Jamie looked puzzled, “It?” His face cleared, “Ohhh IT! Is that what well-bred young city girls are calling sex these days?” Beth blushed, “Stop it Jamie. I will not participate in this degrading conversation.”
Jamie grinned, “Well that’s probably just as well. I have plenty of things to say to you, and I don’t need the interruption.” He grinned, waved and called, “Thank you Mrs. Simmons,” as an august citizen of 89 called out “Congratulations!”
“The first topic. You married me to get revenge on Eric, and Angela, is that right?” He looked casually at Beth. She didn’t respond. “That’s true, or you’d be going crazy denying it. Next topic. I spoke to your Father. He informed me that there would be no divorce, at least not for a year. He wanted to make certain that under these circumstances I was willing to stay married to YOU.”
Beth turned swiftly, “You are such an arrogant, pompous…” Again Beth struck at Jamie. Again he grabbed her hand. Jamie smiled grimly, “The reality my dear Willybeth is that you need me! Without me, there is NO marriage. If the marriage ends before a year you will be a poor working stiff like the rest of us.”
Beth spat out, “I will never be as common, and low as YOU! You have Indian blood flowing through your veins.” A tight muscle twitched in Jamie’s jaw but he showed no other reaction.
“That didn’t seem to bother you last night, my dear! Hmm, it must really gall you that even now you could be carrying our child. That child would mix your blood with the blood of a common, low, Indian!” Beth started to cry.
Jamie didn’t feel much compassion. He was exhausted. He had spent the entire day searching high, and low for his bride. When he found out the truth his future had shattered in his face. He was ready for HIS vengeance now. Willybeth would have her year of married life. JAMIE would be the one in control. She had wanted to hurt him and his family. Beth had lost that opportunity. He would make certain of that.
They were at their cabin. Jamie was saddened. He had wanted to bring his beloved bride home here. He had created the beauty of this place with the labor of his two hands. He had worked on it for years. The dreams he had dreamed as he chopped, sanded, and painted were gone now. He believed that he would never feel the same way about his cabin again.
He lifted Beth down. Next he swooped her up in his arms. “Jamie, put me down. This is becoming a most annoying habit of yours.” “On the contrary, MRS. Calkin, it’s the tradition to carry your bride over the threshold. I am just doing what any good husband would do. I don’t know if they taught you this at your fancy Swiss school. There was a group of Roman men who captured Sabine women. Since the women were captured they were forcibly carried into their new homes. The experience became a marital tradition.” Jamie carried Beth over the threshold. He then put her down clumsily. Beth growled, “Watch what you’re doing.”
Beth snatched her skirt away from contact with him. Jamie’s eyes narrowed, “There are going to be some rules, sweetheart. The first rule is that I’m going to make all the rules. If I divorce you before a year is over you will be left with nothing but scandal.” Beth folded her arms. Then she moved to a chair and sat.
In a small voice Beth spoke, “Fine, what are your rules?” Jamie smiled thinly. “You WILL do the housework. That means you will wash dishes, wash clothes, sweep, and keep this cabin as clean as it is right now. You will also cook our meals.” Beth protested, “I’m not your slave. Find another cleaning woman, and cook.”
Jamie said, “If I divorce you, you will get nothing from me, or your family. What will that leave for you? Hmm, I guess YOU could be a cleaning woman, nanny, governess, or a seamstress. No, you probably don’t know how to sew. You would be a miserable child caregiver.”
Beth picked up a vase of wildflowers. She launched it at Jamie’s head. “It landed on the ground by Jamie with a splat. Water, flowers, and glass rained everywhere. Jamie brushed his hands off, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, it’s too bad you’re such a poor aim. At least you would have had the satisfaction of hurting me before you clean up the mess you made!”
Beth screamed, “I hate you Jamie Calkin. I won’t be married to you for one more minute! You can’t make me!” Jamie stood very still while that little muscle played in his jaw again. Finally he spoke, “Beth, you have spoken truly. I can’t make you stay married to me. Indeed, unless I’m a glutton for punishment, why would I want to?”
“The truth is, that I want revenge. You took the love that I had for you Beth. You took from me some potent powerful possibilities. You turned them into dust. I want revenge Beth. The good thing is that I WILL get it. You know full well that you will never be willing to work for your living. So, if you’re not willing to do any of the trades that I mentioned, well that leaves, what did you call….oh yes, IT. Frankly my dear I don’t think men would pay very much for you.”
Beth picked up another projectile but Jamie pulled it out of her hands. “Beth, I am going out to take care of the horses. You WILL clean up the mess that you created. Trust me, you DON’T want to make me angrier. I have NEVER spanked a woman in my life, but that might change!” “You wouldn’t dare beat me!” Beth screamed in distress.
“Oh Beth, a spanking is not considered beating in any court in this U.S. of A. Since I married an emotional child, well just don’t push me too far Willybeth!” “Don’t call me that!” “I’ll be back, and make sure this mess is cleaned up,” a long pause and then Jamie added, “Willybeth!” Jamie was gone before Beth could make a parting shot.