It has been over two weeks since Jacob has come to stay with us. I don't want to say anything to Avery because I see how happy he is to have him back in his life. I know they are brothers and have been separated for a very long time, close to ten years I think. I am not really comfortable around Jacob, though he has been a proper gentleman since I first found him sleeping in our wagon. I see him looking at me sometimes, and it is not the way a brother should be looking at his brother's wife. I am trying to tolerate it until he leaves thinking it would be only a few days.
Today, I went to town earlier with my wagon and he wanted to ride with me. I told him to stay home and keep an eye on things, that Avery was watching Benjamin and he should stay with them. I did not want him riding somewhere alone with me. I think he may think I am young, almost seventeen now, and inexperienced with dealing with situations like this. What he should remember is that I told him that first day I met him at the wagon, that I was a crack shot and I am. When I drive to town I carry my pistol. I have had it since I was nine. My grandfather and father taught me how to use it. Father did not want me riding out into the woods without some protection and made sure that knew how to use it.
While in town I stopped in to say hello to my friend, Ruth. She was thrilled to see me. We had tea together and I told her about Jacob. She asked me if Avery's parents knew yet. I told her that Avery didn't want to tell them quite yet. He wanted to get to know his brother again, thought Jacob would leave again once his father knows he is here. She hugged me when I was leaving, "You be careful with that brother-in-law. Don't be left alone with him. If he does do anything to scare you, scream, kick and bite. Then tell Avery!"
"I will," I answered, but in my mind I was thinking I would try to handle this situation the best I could without Avery knowing how I felt. It could be that I was wrong about Jacob. He was just a man of the world and had some hard times. After all he is Avery's brother and they were raised in the same house. How could he be that bad? Maybe I have been too hard on him. I will try being nicer starting tonight.
When I got home Jacob had already brought in all my firewood, a job I usually do myself. Avery still is healing but feeling much better, He has been doing more and more. His ribs were broken and the only mend for them, the doc says, is rest. It's hard trying to keep him down though. So I don't usually mention something I need done. I try to do as many chores myself as I can. Jacob though, has been doing what he thinks needs to be done before I can try to do it myself. He knows not to touch Tator and Spud's stalls as that is one job I will not allow even Avery to do.
"Why thank you Jacob for getting my firewood. One less job for me to do before supper," I said as he came in with another handful.
He brightened up and looked at me with a smile, "Anything for a pretty lady."
I blushed, but tried not to show it. I was not used to other men giving me compliments, and with Jacob I was wary of them.
Just then Avery came in from the front room carrying Benjamin who was crying. "I think he wants his Mama," said Avery as he handed him over to me. "Nothing I could do would quiet him. I hope nothing is wrong."
"No, he is starting to get a tooth and it hurts. I got something in town to rub on that." I opened up a bottle and put some on a cloth and rubbed it on his gum and he quieted right down. I wiped the tears from his eyes and felt his diaper, "You are are dry? What a surprise!"
Avery said, "No, he wasn't. I just changed him. I thought that was why he was carrying on so."
"Well, I got to get to work. Supper needs making and I am behind on my schedule."
"Rachel, how about if I make pancakes and bacon for supper and give yourself a rest?" Jacob said.
"Oh my, I can't let you do that. Meals are my job. Women's work."
"I worked as a cook. I am pretty good, heard tell. Sit down with my little brother and Benjie there."
Later after supper, Jacob cleaned up all the dishes and washed and put them away. I felt like I had been wrong about him. He couldn't be that bad if he did all that for me and Avery's chores too. I think I will give him another chance. Not many men I know would do all that work and he was a good cook too.
On our way to bed, Jacob held the candle out to me and said, "Night Rachel."
Our eyes met and I smiled and said, "Good night Jacob. Thank you for all the help you have been to Avery and myself." Avery took my arm and we went upstairs to our bedroom.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole