“Why,” she asked again moving around and pouring some water into the washbowl.
He took the cloth and dipped it and began to clean the crust of blood from his face. He could see her through the mirror folding his shirt carefully to lay it upon the chair. Pausing, Jonathan draped the cloth over the edge of the bowl and turned toward her. He spoke softly, “I did it for you.”
“Me? I’m not worth this. Jonathan, look at you.”
He could see tears threatening.
“That man would have killed you and because of me.”
He watched her put her hands together and take a deep breath. “I’m not worth it,” she whispered twisting her fingers.
His fingers reached out and traced the pulp of the tomato still evident on her cheek. “Had they stones, do you think they would have given a moment’s hesitation. No, my love, they would have used them.”
“But you put yourself in danger for me.”
“People in love do that,” Jonathan assured her turning back he picked up the cloth and looked at her reflection.
“This was because of me, my occupation.” Hope stated.
“This was because they were ignorant. They couldn‟t see what I saw. A woman of impeccable beauty with a heart so big she could share it with a lonely old man.”
“You’ve lost your practice.”
He shrugged. “That can be started again. I came here only as a replacement until Doctor Griffin could return.”
“What will you do now?” Her voice was soft.
He put down the cloth, turned and took her into his arms. “I plan on marrying you and starting my life over.”
“It’s not right. You shouldn’t have to.” She backed away.
“I’ve never chosen the easy way, Hope. I believed in the Union cause. I gave up my home, moved my family to where I thought it safe. In that process, I lost my wife and child.”
“I can’t let you do this. You’ve lost so much already.”
He watched as her fingers of her right hand twisted the fingers on her left. “No, Hope,” he took a step forward. His hands folded over hers. “I am a believer in the man upstairs. He doesn’t take this earth lightly. Come, sit.”
He led her over to the bed and they sat together. “I married my first wife because it seemed to be the thing to do. Her father was my partner. When he died she had no one to take care of her. So, I took up the cause.”
“You loved her, you told me you did.”
“I loved her in a simple way. Not the way that I love you. Hope, you bring out the passion in me.” He cupped her cheek. “One look from you and I find myself thinking of ways to get you here, in this bed. For the past two nights, my first memory in the morning is your face and my last before I nod off is the thought of holding you in my arms.”
His hand reached over and pushed the emerald back on her finger. “I choose you because this time the good Lord is allowing me to find love. He has molded me through strife to understand how precious it is. Please, do me the honor of becoming my wife. I will make it my duty that you will never want for anything.”
stop by and take a look at my release and all the other great stories offered at www.redrosepublishing.com