Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blood is Thicker than Water: Juliet Takes Abby In

Abby sat in the parlor outside Miss Pettijohn’s room. She was angry, so angry she expected to explode over every piece of lace and tassel in the room. And there was a lot of lace and tassel. She could hear Juliet talking to Miss Pettijohn about finding Abby a place at the school. Juliet insisted that Abby not stay alone. The only benefit Abby could see to the whole situation was easier access to Dalia. Aunt Polly probably wouldn’t have approved of that relationship anyway. She’d mentioned some disapproval on the boat.

Aunt Polly…how dare she abandon Abby! If Aunt Polly thought she was going back to Abernathie, dear old Aunt Polly was out of her mind! Abby was sure that being at the school would work out better for her. She wondered what had happened to Aunt Polly, what she was doing. It never occurred to Abby that Aunt Polly might have trouble taking care of herself until just that moment. Abby would have to search for her.

Juliet opened the door, her step still unsteady from last night’s escapade. Miss May Pettijohn, a Southern woman of proper decorum, followed. Her outfit was simple and she smelled of lilac. Abby had perceived that her whole body was constructed of pure moral fiber from the moment they had originally met.

“Abby,” Miss Pettijohn said in soft, feminine tones, “I’m sorry your aunt was called home. Until one of the girl’s rooms becomes open, you may stay with Miss Armstrong.”

“Thank you, Miss Pettijohn.” Juliet helped Abby with a small bag and took Abby to their room. A small cot had been placed by the usual bed.

“Don’t worry, Abby. I’m sure this is just temporary,” Juliet said as soon as the door was closed. “We’ll find Aunt Polly and square things away.”

“Why should I wish to do that? She started it.”

“Yes,” Juliet sat at her desk, “but don’t you want to make amends?”

“No!” Abby stamped her foot. “She said terrible things! I’ll never forgive her!”

“You don’t mean that!”

“Yes, I do! And from now on, I will do what I want when I want. Anything at all!” She stopped when she saw the look of dismay on Juliet’s face. “Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”

“I’m not worried about you,” said Juliet decisively. “I’m worried about your aunt. And New Orleans. I’m worried about you Raintrees and what you’ll end up doing to the poor city.” She began scribbling a letter.

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