The conversation swirled between the three occupants as they drove back to the Jackson residence. Joel was driving the team pulling the carriage.
Angel’s eyes danced with glee. “Fawn, I’m sure you are going to love those people. They already seem taken with you.” She sat with her back in the corner of the seat, her knees facing Fawn. She leaned forward and whispered, “You never know who you might meet once you get settled into a routine.” She actually winked.
“I am not interested in meeting anyone other than the people for whom I shall be working.” She smoothed her skirt, avoiding Angel’s gaze. She swallowed hard. No. Rankle burned in her gut. It boiled and bubbled, and would not be subdued.
“Did you have to tell everyone that my parents could not pay for my education?” There. She had said it. Yet the burn was still there.
Angel waved her hand in dismissal. “Oh, you worry too much what other people think. The important thing is. . .”
They had turned up the drive to the Jackson home, or what should have been their home. Now it was a pile of smoldering rubble. People were running about with buckets of water but had obviously not been successful in putting out the fire. Only the barn was left standing.
Joel stopped the carriage just as the house came into view. He jumped from the driver’s seat and opened the passenger door.
“What’s wrong?” was the first thing Nana said.
Joel removed his hat and twirled it in his hands. “I am so sorry, Mrs. Jackson, Fawn. Your house is gone.”
“No!” Nana and Fawn screamed at the same time.
Quick hot tears momentarily choked Fawn. She watched Nana’s breathing come in quick gasps. She grabbed Nana’s hand, forgetting about Angel. In one swift move Fawn was by Nana’s side. They clung together for several moments.
“What will we do now?” Fawn asked.
Nana shook her head slowly, like someone who is about to lose consciousness. Her voice was barely above a whisper. “I don’t know, child. I just don’t know.”
Jason ran to the carriage and helped Joel get the ladies down. Jason glared at Angel but did not speak to her. Taking Nana by his left hand, and carrying her cane in his right, he gently led her to his mother.
Joel and Angel took charge of Fawn.
“I am so sorry t...