Monday, August 6, 2007


That afternoon, Amalia went to talk to Diana, but when she found her reluctantly showing her bridal gifts to some of the other girls, she sought out Will instead. She located him at the corral, where he greeted her with polite words and a note of defiance in his eyes.

"I don't know where to start with you," she said.

"Maybe you shouldn't, then."

"If you two wanted to get married, you could've at least told me."

"Why? So you could tell us not to? I'm not stupid, Mother."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that."

"If you came out here just to insult me-"

Amalia looked at her feet. "Okay. I'm doing this badly. How about we go for a walk and talk things over like grownups?"

They left the corral and started down one of the trails that led into the forest.

It was cool among the trees and Amalia shivered. Will took off his jacket and put it around her shoulders.

"So tell me what ever possessed you to marry her. Or better yet, since I know the answer to that one, tell me why you think she agreed to it."

"She loves me."

Amalia stopped in a patch of sunlight and closed her eyes. "Has it occurred to you to wonder why a girl who expressed no prior romantic interest in you would marry you three months after being raped in the woods?"

Will’s cheeks and ears flushed red. "I don't know why we’re talking about this."

"She's pregnant, isn't she?" Not getting an answer, she went on. "You offered to take care of her and she married you because she was scared. Isn't that what really happened?"

"We love each other. There's nothing else that needs to be said."

"Oh yes, there is. You took advantage. Don’t try to walk away! Look at me!"

Will stopped, but the face he turned on her was closed and defiant. "I didn't take advantage. I offered to help and she accepted."

"You didn't have to marry her to help her. You heard Robert was thinking of going out there to see her, and you were going to get her any way you could."

"Stop it, Mother. I haven't made her do anything. Ask her yourself if you don't believe me."

"She's not in her right mind."

"Like you know a goddamn thing about her mind. You didn't ride out there to see her. You hardly wrote at all. You haven't done a thing since abandoning her at that goat farm. But you have the nerve to criticize me?" He wrenched his arm out of her grasp and began walking again.

Amalia hurried to catch up. "I just know—"

"You know nothing. In fact, you want to know what I think?"

"I'm dying of curiosity."

Will ignored her sarcasm. "I think you're mad that your plan for her to marry your precious intellectual Robert fell through. You can't stand the idea that she'd marry someone like me with no book learning and no fancy relatives living off their hoarded gold in an inbred village somewhere."

"It might surprise you that I discouraged that relationship at first. But yes, I did end up hoping it would work out. She really did like him."

"But she married me. So that solves that."

"I guess it does.” She made him stop again. "I just worry that you've done something stupid and you're going to get hurt."

"I’m not a little kid any more, Mother. It's not your job to keep me from getting hurt."

"I know. It's just— well, I suppose you'll understand when you have kids of your own. Have you and Diana decided what you're going to do about the baby?"

"We'll do whatever she wants to do," he said, as if it were obvious. "She says she doesn't want it, and that's fine with me."

"I guess I better talk to her."

"You're not going to talk her into keeping it, are you?"

Amalia shook her head. "It’s not my decision to make. But I'm curious what you would do if she changed her mind."

"I'd help her raise it."

"Even though it's not yours?"

"It's hers. If she wants it, that's good enough for me."

"That's a lot more than many men would do," Amalia admitted. "I hope she appreciates how much you love her, Will."


Alice Audrey said...

Poor Will. Well, you can't say she didn't warn him.

Alice Audrey said...

There's no way she could possibly appreciate it the way he deserves. Heart break in 10, 9, 8....