February 6th

Dear Diary,

I really don't know what is to become of Jonathan and me. Once again, I have failed to carry my child to term. He tells me, that he knows it isn't my fault but God's will. Since this is my fourth loss, he says maybe we should stop trying. I know how badly he wants an issue of his seed. I have mentioned adoption, but he refuses that route steadfastly. I know it would not be the same as one of our own, but it would be someone to love.

I wonder if Jonathan regrets marrying me now. He use to say that I was a delicate flower, and not sure I could withstand the vigors of country life. Let alone the loneliness of being miles from anyone I knew. Yet he happily built this house, with expectations of a family...

February 7th

Dear Diary, 

Jonathan brought young Amanda Willis into our home to nurse me as the doctor said I must have bed rest til the bleeding eases. She will also see to the cleaning and meals. She is such a beautiful girl, with raven hair, and emerald eyes. She smiled sweetly as she told me not to worry, she would look after Jonathan for me.

February 10th

Dear Diary,

Amanda refuses to look me in the eyes, when she brings my tray, or helps me to change. She has the air of a young woman in love. Often as I eat, she stands looking out my window until I'm done. I see by her carriage that she is seeing the object of her desire, but that is ridiculous, as besides Jonathan, the only male here is Jeb, our hired hand, and he is old enough to be my father. Perhaps she is simply daydreaming of some love in town. When I ask, she simply blushes and hurries out.

Johnathon is being unbelievably sweet during this time. When he comes from tending the stock for his noon meal, he always stops up for a chat. He assures me that for a child, Amanda is doing a remarkable job of the house. I laugh that at 16 she is NOT a child. After all did we not wed when I was 17, ten years ago? 

He tells me not to rush, and that I shouldn't get up before I feel that I'm ready too. The doctor says I still need to build my strength. I don't recall being this weak for this long with the others. He says it might be because I did carry this one longer... if only I could have carried it 5 more months...

February 14

Dear Diary,

Amanda baked tiny heart shaped cakes today. Wasn't that sweet? Johnathon brought ours up on a tray. She had iced them with pink frosting, and put our initials J.W. + E.W. on them. Funny on his my E looked a bit like an A. But it was hard to tell as he had drawn his fork through it on his first bite.

He gave me a bottle of Lilac cologne. He remembers my favorite flower, that makes me so happy.

February 15

Dear Diary,

I felt well enough to journey downstairs today. How I wish I hadn't. I had made it to the landing, when I heard muffled giggling, and small cries of stop that. At first I thought Amanda's beau had come calling. Then I heard Jonathan say, "Make me." I moved to the dining room doorway, taking care not to be seen, and peered around the corner. Amanda was standing on the table dusting off the chandelier, and my beloved Jonathan was, ACTUALLY making grabs at her!!! I felt color flood my cheeks. Not sure what to do, I hurried back up to my room, where I sobbed myself to sleep..

How? How could they??? Here under my roof? Oh, God, is he bedding her? Is this my punishment for not giving him a son to bare his name?

What am I to do? 


I stopped reading there for the night. Poor Emily, to miscarry, and find your husband carrying on with someone ten years younger? But what really struck me was the similarity of Amanda standing on the table dusting while he grabbed at her, and my experience... I groaned at myself to go to sleep...

Voices woke me. At first I thought Lori was talking in her sleep, but then I realized I was hearing several different voices. Two women and a man arguing. One of the women was crying and begging. I couldn't quite make out what was being said.

I reached over and shook Lori. " What?" There was a sharp note to her voice. 

"Do you hear that?" Abruptly the voices stopped as she sat up.

"No. No, I don't . Now go back to sleep." Within moments she was softly snoring again.

I laid there thinking, was it possible for a 'frail flower' to decapitate someone? Surely it took great strength to sever a head. Why not just divorce the cheating bastard? I didn't know much about the 30's, but I suppose back then it just wasn't done.

I did not have a restful sleep. Somehow the zipper on my bag kept sliding down, and I kept being exposed to the cool air. I'd wake with the uneasy feeling of having been touched, as I pulled the top part of my bag back over and rezipped. 

In the morning, I tossed Lori my keys, "You drive. I've a headache," and I slid into the passenger seat. Neither one of us talk much before coffee, so the ride into town was quiet. We quickly located a small diner and went in. 

Our waitress was a middle-aged woman with a bad bleach job. As she filled our cups, she drawled, "Ohhhhhhh, honey, I love your hair. What shade is that?"

"Mine?" I looked at the her toothpaste smile surrounded by too bright lipstick, " It's called natural."

"No! Really? Well, you are SO lucky. Mine cost a fortune." I bit back saying that she'd been ripped off then. "Anyway, you girls, know what you want?"

Normally,neither of us are big eaters, so my jaw almost hit the table as Lori ordered up eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausage. "Ummm...I'll have a Belgian waffle and lots of coffee. Thanks." Usually we would have split the waffle. "Geese a tad hungry are ya?" I asked Lori, as our waitress went to place our order.

"Yeah, just a tad," she ducked her head a bit and almost whispered, " I had SUCH a dream last night..." I sipped my coffee and waited for her to continue. "Well, you know that house gives me the willies. Something just isn't right there, but if I could have a dream like that - I'd sleep there every night."

"Oh my God, you're blushing, Lor...must've been a hell of a wet dream," I said teasing. Her, "yeah, it was," almost made me spew my coffee. 

"You're kidding!"

"Jan, it was SO real. I mean, I know it was only a dream. But...man! Only one thing was really weird about it." She paused as our food came, and we both said thanks to the waitress. "Remember that head, I thought I saw? The guy in my dream looked just like him. Only he had a body. God, what a body." 

I sat, with a bite of waffle poised midway to my mouth. "You romantasized a decapitated head? Sometimes, I just wonder about you girl." I recalled my feeling of having been touched in the night. Now Lori was telling me she'd had an x-rated dream of the highest order. We chatted about things left to be done at the house, and what we wanted to pick up for food. I gave up midway through the waffle, feeling stuffed. I sat sipping coffee while Lori polished hers off. Silently, I was asking myself if it was wise to go back there.

I drove us back to the house and we carried in the groceries. I fished in the bag and got out the can of WD40. I was not going to keep wrestling with the stuck doors in this place. I gave the hinges of the front door a few sprays. Entering the foyer, we both commented on what a difference the cleaning had made. Sun poured in through the windows, and gleamed off the washed and polished wood. I placed the groceries by the cooler and excused myself for the bathroom. "That's whatcha get for drinking a pot," Lori called after me. 

I glanced at the mirror on my way out. I must have been in such a hurry it didn't register on my way in, but scrawled in vivid red lipstick were the words "GET OUT!"

"LORI!" I bellowed her name, "get in here! Now!!!!" 

She was by my side in seconds, staring at the mirror, "What the ****?"

"That's what I want to know." I took a deep breath. " Evidently some neighborhood kid's idea of a joke. I'll clean it up." I started back for the cleaner and a rag, but heard Lori say, "WHAT neighborhood?"

After I cleaned the mirror off , we walked the entire downstairs together, looking for more vandalism. Nothing else had been disturbed. We gathered our cleaning supplies and went upstairs. The stairway ended in a long hall, which ran between four bedrooms. We repeated our pattern of the previous day, going from room to room knocking down the worst of the cobwebs first. There was nothing remarkable about any of the rooms. One was more of a storage room then anything. Here, everything was either boxed up or covered with a sheet. Another room saddened me as it was obviously a nursery, and I knew it had never seen children. The third room served as perhaps a guest room, holding the usual amenities; bed, dresser, night stand. The fourth was the master bedroom. It was dominated by a large, ornate, four poster bed, whose matresses were so thick, there was a small set of stairs to aid in your getting into the bed. Heavy cherry wood dressers and vanity were present, as well as an upholstered chair. I looked at Lori, "You pick. Where do we start?" She decided that the storage room would be quickest and easiest, as there was really only the floor and windows to clean, and that was around the boxes and things. So it was morning eased into afternoon. By lunch time , we were down to only the master bedroom left.