Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

LOVE'S ALLEGIANCE
Friday, August 16, 2019 by LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

PLEASE WELCOME

LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

TO

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

 

EXCERPT FROM LOVE’S ALLEGIANCE

The sun warmed Irwin’s back as he bent over the unwieldy boat motor laying on the plywood he’d propped on a pair of sawhorses. He could have taken the engine to a mechanic, but he enjoyed doing the work himself.

Father approached. “We can pay to have that done, son.”

“Yes, but I enjoy the work. If things were different, I might have chosen to be an automobile mechanic.” He tucked the wrench into his pocket. “I’ve seen you perform tasks you don’t need to.”

Father nodded. “True. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of our lives before the farm became so successful.”

“I can understand that. You’re responsible for a lot of lives which must be a heavy burden.”

“It can be, but God has blessed us mightily, so it’s only right that I pass along our abundance.”

Irwin tugged at his ear “You’re a good man, Father. I’ve learned a lot from you over the years.”

“It’s a man’s job to train his son. Why the sentimentality?”

Irwin shrugged. “I’m going to be leaving soon, and I wanted you to know.”

Father cleared his throat. “I’m going to miss you and not because of the work you do around here. I’m proud of you, son, of who you’ve become. For choosing a path that isn’t popular.”

“Thank you for believing in me. Word is out. I guess old Barney at the telegraph office doesn’t think confidentiality is part of his job. I’ve had a few snide remarks tossed at me. It seems people think I don’t care about our boys in harm’s way. Others intimated that I’m a coward or trying to take it easy.” Irwin sighed. “I do care. But I can’t go against my convictions.”

“People are going to believe what they want no matter how much you try to explain. And they’re afraid for their families. Your mindset may seem to belittle their sacrifices.”

“It hurts enough when a stranger is rude, but when friends are unforgiving…it’s been difficult.” Irwin blew out a deep breath. He pointed to the unmoving bolt. “See if you can get that ornery thing to turn.”

Father leaned over and wielded the wrench. “You still feeling good about the position with the hospital?” His voice was muffled. “Perhaps you’ll be in danger after all.”

“I’ve been praying about the assignment, and I get the sense it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Jesus’ words about ‘the least of these’ keep coming to mind. I’ll find out more when I get there, but I don’t think I need to fear the work...or the patients. Perhaps some are violent, a kind word and acceptance may go a long way to helping them.”

“If you say so, but there’s a reason psychologists get lots of schooling. Physical wounds can be sewn or patched. Mental wounds aren’t that obvious and more difficult to repair, or so it would seem.”

“I’ll leave the cures to the doctors.” Irwin rocked back on his heels. “I’m looking forward to going. I hear Delaware is beautiful.”

“I was in there once. Many years ago.” The bolt shifted, and Father grunted. “Your grandfather claimed he heard about a new strain of corn, and sent me to investigate. Turned out to be an excuse to get me there.” A distant look filled his eyes. “Your mother was visiting her aunt and uncle, and he knew that. Apparently, he’d been trying to get us together for months, and nothing worked.”

Irwin raised his eyebrows. “You’ve never shared that story before. I thought you met Mother here at church.”

“No.” He chuckled. “We got to know one another through the church, but the first time I laid eyes on her was a sun-filled afternoon, much like today. She was sitting on the porch shelling peas. Her hair gleamed in the breeze, and when she smiled she lit up like a beacon. I was smitten. Just like your grandfather thought I’d be.”

“Why—”

Tires crunched over gravel. The Packard shimmied around the circular driveway. Earnest was at the wheel, and a young woman sat in the back. Irwin squinted. A new employee? Why was Father’s secretary chauffeuring staff?

His hand at a half-wave, Father didn’t seem surprised.

“Father?”

The vehicle lumbered to a stop, and Earnest got out. He opened the back door then extended his hand to the passenger. She gripped his fingers and slid from the car.

Irwin blinked. Chestnut-brown hair fell below the girl’s shoulders. A tentative smile formed on her lips beneath porcelain cheeks and dark eyes. Her green dress, the color of new moss, accentuated her lithe figure. The skirt fluttered in the breeze, exposing well-shaped legs. Her face pinked as she attempted to tame the unruly garment.

Earnest bowed to the girl and gestured toward Father who wore a satisfied smile. They approached, her steps tentative. Irwin straightened and wished he wore something other than dirty work clothes. Even his scuffed shoes had seen better days. He mopped his face, hoping to create some semblance of cleanliness. He caught sight of his grease-stained fingers and cringed. Not a great first impression.

Wait. Why was he worried about any sort of impression? He was leaving. Soon. It didn’t matter what she thought.

Yeah. Try telling that to his heart that skipped more than a few beats at her appearance.

“Irwin?” Father nudged his shoulder.

“Hmm?” Great. He’d been caught staring like a toddler in a candy shop.

“They’re early. I’d hoped to tell you about her, but—”

Irwin tilted his head. “Why is your secretary carting around a new employee?”

Father sniggered. “She’s not staff, son. She’s family. Distant family, but family all the same. Her name is Rochelle Addams, and she’s lovely. I can see from your expression you agree. That’s good.”

A knot formed in Irwin’s stomach. “What’s going on?”

“I’ve arranged for Rochelle to stay with us until you leave, so you can get to know each other.”

“You—”

“She’ll make an excellent bride.”

 

ABOUT LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. Linda is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

ABOUT LOVE’S ALLEGIANCE 

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down.

Love’s Allegiance is inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac,

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2YCumje

 

 

 

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