|all photos taken via Pixabay|
Just over a hundred years ago, in a little town in Virginia, there lived a girl who was used to being forgotten.
Sometimes she didn't mind. On good days, her brother came home after school and talked to her while he worked on homework. At the end of the night, he would pick her up where she fell asleep on his bed and take her to her own bed.
Other days, when he worked after school, she would make supper in the kitchen and wait for him to come back to her.
But ten years later, when her brother left for college, the girl came to realize that she no longer had people to remember her. So she loved the only thing she had left.
And that was home.
Home is all very well to love until home, too, is taken from you. Sent to a strange country with the hope of seeing the father she's never met and the chance to reacquaint with her busy brother, Pearlie finds herself thrust into a place where she is faced with disappointment and danger.
Loneliness she has been used to. Loss of hope is a heavy burden to bear.
Until a red-haired fellow with a Celtic cross tattoo walks into her life.
And everything changes.
Pearlie's favorite things:
muslin curtains blowing in the wind // a beam of sunshine turning a glass jar of honey golden // a baby's laugh // tea with a friend // scrubbing floors all polished and clean // feeling the strong hug of someone she loves // penmanship all elegant and fine // someone to hold her when she cries // cherries tucked into a flaky pie crust // first love // evening lamplight shining on golden curls // an Irish rebel's grin
He traced a hand down her arm. “What can I do? I want you to be happy here, but I have to keep you safe. Tell me what you want.”
Her breath drew slower as she calmed down, and her little white-gloved fingers twisted in and out of one another. “I want…I want a place that feels like home. A place where I can sweep the floors and put the washing on the line and polish the windows, and love it every day. When you were gone I didn’t have anyone to love, but I could always love home.” Her breath caught and choked. “I want to be loved. I want to see my father.”
Ben thought of Alisa, just come, alone, and desperately in need of help. Perhaps there was a way to fulfill two claims of duty after all. He took Pearl’s hand this time instead of her elbow, and she didn’t feel as tense under his touch. “Maybe I can give that to you after all. I was going to tell you, only you ran away before I came home for supper. Charlotte and I went to see Alisa Dorroll today. She has about a month until her baby comes, and she doesn’t have friends here. We mustn’t tell her who we are. It wouldn’t be safe for her. But if you came as a friend, then you would have an old house full of memory to care for, and I know she couldn’t help but love you. It would be your own place, to make a life for yourself for however long we’re here. Would you like that?”
She thought for a long moment as they took up their walk again towards the line of cabs. Then she nodded. “I would like to try it.”
“Grand.” He squeezed her fingers. “I’ll have to teach you how to actually use a Webley, just to be on the safe side. And mind, you’re not to breathe a word about our relation to her.”
“I can keep secrets.” She glanced up at him sideways.
Ben smiled wryly. “You’ve proven that. Let’s go home for supper.”
Meet Pearlie Dorroll for yourself on November 30th, 2017.
Join us tomorrow for a brief post on how YOU can help support the War of Loyalties book release--and don't forget that Thursday kicks off the War of Loyalties book release and blog tour!!!