Authors: Jordan Silver
Copyright © 2014 Alison Jordan
All Rights Reserved
"I'm not marrying that quack."
"You'll marry who I say and that's that young lady. His granddaddy has a boatload of money and... "
" I don't care if he has more gold than Croesus, if you try to force me to marry that backwoods hick there's gonna be hell to pay."
I walked across the room and dropped down in my chair. I’d said all I meant to on this subject and that was that.
I’m used to getting my way after all, have been since I was four and learned how to wrap my daddy around my little pinky. Mama is a harder nut to crack, but I can get around her well enough if I need to.
I’ve just spent the last few weeks on a roller coaster ride. Mama has got it into her head that I have to marry someone of her and daddy’s choosing, like this was the seventeenth century or some mess.
I’m fixing to show her that I will do no such thing. I have my own ideas about what my husband would look like and be like. He would come from a good family of course, have lots of money, and a good standing in our society.
He will also be so enamored of me, that he will let me have my way in all things.
I looked out across the front lawn, towards the pond that ran alongside of the property. The ducks and swans were lazing in the late evening sun, while off in the distance the call of a gator or two could be heard.
I turned my attention back to mama
, who was busy picking up the clothes I’d left strewn all over the floor. I don’t see why she does that, because the maid always does it in the mornings anyway.
"Alright then if that's the way you want to play it."
Mama had her stubborn face on, which meant she was about to make my life miserable. I’m beginning to think that’s her favorite pastime.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mama to bits, but sometimes I get the feeling she wishes I were something else altogether. I’m a debutante down to the bottom of my little feet yes, but I also have a whole lot of my daddy in me.
Which means I’m stubborn as a mule and I like to go my own way more than I like following the crowd.
She dropped my clothes in the wicker hamper in the corner and headed for the door with a determined look on her face.
She slammed the door and then I heard the sound of keys, before the lock was turned in my door. I flew across the room but it was too late.
"Mama what're you doing?" Mama open this door." I yelled and pounded on the door
, but to no avail. I could hear her humming as she made her way down the hallway away from my yelling and screaming. What now? I rattled the door just to be sure, but it was just as I’d feared. She’d locked me in. I can't believe it. I tried the adjoining door, but that too had been locked from the other side. Had she planned this when she came up here?
The only other door led to my bathroom, and the only window in there was too small for me to fit through.
Well shit, a look out my bedroom window showed I was good and truly stuck. There were iron guards on the outside
, and I was a good three-stories up in this old antebellum house, that was two minutes older than dirt.
I can’t believe she would go to these lengths for that good for nothing scamp Jethro Durant.
Whoever heard of such a name in the twenty-first century? Everybody called him Jet, but so what.
He was a swamp digging Neanderthal, who had the nerve to tell me, on our last and final date if I had anything to say about it; that when we get married he would become the man of the house, and as his wife I would do as he says, or else.
Who does he think he's talking to? I have a college education for crying out loud. But according to him, my only function as a woman would be raising his kids and keeping that old plantation house he wants me to call home clean.
He could kiss my lilywhite butt if he thought that was ever gonna happen. I hadn’t even bothered addressing his asinine suggestions, when he so seriously told me how things were going to be. As if!
Didn’t he know that I could have any man I set my mind to? Why, I had men in three states vying for my hand. Men who knew how to treat a lady like myself, men who would bend over backwards to please me.
Who did that over inflated windbag think he was anyway? So what his family had money? that just goes to show that money can’t buy class. He probably picks his teeth at the table with his fork.
Okay, in all fairness, on the few occasions that we’d been out together, he had shown exemplary manners.
And if I’m being totally honest, the truth is that when I get around him I forget all about his background and get caught up in his magnetism.
He does have a certain way about him that makes me feel like a dainty little porcelain doll. Like all the men who come into my orbit, he was obviously enamored of me, but unlike the others, he refused to let my charm sway him.
I just couldn’t live with that for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t mind feeling all that strength and animalistic power of his covering me just once, I’ve even dreamt about it, but the price was too high.
How had my life come to this? Where had everything gone off the rails? I was just home after graduating from Loyola, after four years.
I had to go to school locally, because mama didn’t think it was right for a girl to go too far away from home, unless she was going off to get married.
It suited me just fine, once I got over my resentment of not being able to go up north somewhere, which is what I’d wanted to do.
At least this way I was still the belle of the ball. Everyone in New Orleans knew my family name and I was treated in the manner in which I was accustomed to.
I know that sounds pompous to some, but that’s just the way it is, it’s how I was raised. I have mama’s sense of entitlement as a gently bred southern belle, and daddy’s strong mindedness. All my life I’ve been given my way.
As the oldest child, I always got the best first, my little sister Melissa and younger brother Justin looked up to me, and I simply adored them. But I had been an only child for five whole years before Melissa came along, and those five years set a trend, if you know what I mean.
I’m not selfish, at least no one has ever accused me of such a thing. But I know what I want and heaven help anyone who tries to stand in my way.
Though most southern gentlemen preferred sons to daughters, my daddy wasn’t of that bent. He loved my brother who’d come along seven years after my birth yes, but I was the apple of his eye.
As he puts it, I’m the first of his body and nothing’s going to change that. He had a big hand in shaping the woman that I am today, so if mama wanted to blame someone for my bull-headedness, as she likes to call it, then she only had to look to her husband. My daddy loves showing me off; he always has, ever since I was a little bitty thing.
I can remember standing at his knee
, while he was conducting business at his big old desk in his upstairs office, and he’d just be going on and on about how smart I was and everyone always said how beautiful I was, and how I was going to grow up to be a real stunner.
So how did this happen? I'm my daddy's little doll baby; he gives me everything I want. Always have, but on this one thing, the most important thing in my life, he's decided to leave it up to mama, and everybody knows mama has a few screws loose.
I don't even know where she found this family anyways. The Dubois family has been the leading family in these parts since the first settlers came here back in the early seventeen hundreds.
Now all of a sudden the Durants are supposed to be top dog. A more redneck, hillbilly bunch you'd never meet.
Daddy got into some trouble on account of the economy going bust, and I'm the newest commodity. Our shipping company needs new blood, which means money, and I'm being sold.
Well I'm taking myself off the market. I’m only twenty two years old; I’m in no way ready to tie myself to some man, and especially not one that hasn’t got the sense of a goat.
I never even met him before a couple of weeks ago. I knew of their existence of course, everybody does, because of their wealth, but I’d never had occasion to run into any of them since they lived on the other side of the Parish thank heavens.
He was handsome enough I guess, with his broad shoulders and strong looking arms. He wore his hair shorn short and his panther green eyes weren’t too bad either.
I guess neither was the fact that he moved like the cat he reminded me of. We’d had a few nice evenings together, and I’d been really beginning to fall for him there for a while.
But I wasn’t about to marry any man that told me what to do even before the ring was on my finger.
The first time we’d met, I’d had no idea what my family was up to. My little sister Melissa seemed taken with him, as he sat at the dinner table, if all the snickering and blushing was anything to go by.
I noticed his looks and won’t deny a subtle interest on my part, but that all went out the window when I finally picked up on the thread of the conversation.
It seemed more and more like mama and daddy were trying to get me involved in conversation with our guest.
That’s when I decided to wise up. If I wasn’t careful, I’d find myself packed off to the woods somewhere, cooking coon and hunting squirrels.
He spoke well enough, but I suppose with television and the Internet
, anyone could learn to be civilized.
Melissa was not too happy about that turn of events either, and as soon as he left the premises, I brought up the fact that she seemed more taken with him than I was.
Mama had nipped that in the bud right quick.
“It doesn’t matter what your sister wants, he chose you, you’re the one he wants.”
“How does he even know me? I’ve never laid eyes on that beast a day in my life.”
“Well he’s seen you, and unless you want your daddy to lose everything he’s worked for all these years, and for this family to live in shame, you’d do as you’re told.”
“I won’t do it.”
That was only after the first meeting, before any words had been exchanged between the two of us without an audience.
After that first night, he came to see me a few times. He was sweet and kind, with a great sense of humor and I found myself looking forward to his visits.
He was also quite the gentleman, opening doors for me, pulling out my chair at dinner. Then the night of the annual social, everything changed.
I’d gone to lots of trouble to look my best, not that I didn’t always, but that night I found myself putting a little extra effort into everything I did.
I had Jean Paul blow out my curls, because I always looked more sophisticated when I wore it that way, and for some reason I wanted to impress Jet.
We’d come to the dance together, and I was getting over my prejudice against his background and actually seeing him for the man he was.
I felt proud to show up on his arm and see the envy and jealousy on the faces of all my friends, but something had gone wrong halfway through the evening.