A Ransomed Heart

A Ransomed Heart by Alex Taylor Wolfe

Book: A Ransomed Heart by Alex Taylor Wolfe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alex Taylor Wolfe
silence.  Kit gave her an encouraging smile before he, too, left the house for the evening.  Mama quietly got up and headed for the sink. She had a large teapot of water boiling on the stove and she poured the steaming water into one of the wash bins.  Annabelle got up and helped clear off the meal.  Logan had changed dramatically at supper time and it bothered her for some reason.  What had she said to make him so upset?
    She loaded the dishes in the hot water and put some lye soap in until the basin filled with delicate white suds. Mama had finished with the table and moved to the kettle to dump more hot water into a second bin for rinsing. Annabelle worked quietly in the wash bin, the warm water relaxing her a bit. Mama, too, remained quiet doing her part. 
    Mrs. Kittlinger wasn’t one for conflict, but it was hard for her to see Logan treat someone so harshly.  She knew how he felt about Mr. Sevier, and she understood why he had abducted the girl in the first place, but his manners had been inexcusable so far. She would need to talk to him. He didn’t have to like the girl, but he did need to be a gentleman around her. 
    As she rinsed and dried the dishes she watched Annabelle’s body gestures.  The girl washed dishes like a professional.  Once, as Annabelle handed her a dinner plate, Mama looked carefully at the little hands that seemed so delicate at first sight.  She saw the yellow spots of calloused skin at the top of the palm pad.  Her fingernails were short and worn down.  The freckled knuckles bore the signs of hard work and minute scars any working woman would acquire during a day’s work.  In comparison to her own hands they were almost identical, hands of a woman who had worked every day of her life.  She was puzzled. There were some questions which needed to be answered.
    “Annabelle, tell me more about your family.”
    Annabelle’s chest heaved up and down and she seemed reluctant.
    “Com e on girl, he’s gone, you can talk freely to me.”
    Annabelle sighed again. “I guess I just don’t know what to say.”
    “What about your mama? What is she like? Why don’t you tell me about her?” Mama gently encouraged.
    Annabelle’s hands halted for a moment and the backs of her eyes prickled with emotion.
    “Well , Mama, she is a lot like you.” She tried to smile up at the kind woman, but her eyes swam with tears and she brushed them away with the back of one soapy hand.
    “Is your Pa still alive?”
    “Yes, he and the boys run the farm.”
    “And a pretty little thing like you, what do you do?”
    Defiantly she looked up at the woman. “I help.”  It came out harsher than she had wanted, but she was getting the distinct impression these people felt she was pampered. That definitely wasn’t the case in her home.  “You do your part and you work hard, everyone does.”
    Mama didn’t take offence at all.  She was not surprised at the girl’s fire and wit, it was becoming clearer to her every moment Logan had this girl pegged wrong.
    “ Are your brothers married?”
    Annabelle laughed through her tears as she pictured her older brothers Jace and Peter. They both sported the Irish red hair and spitfire personality, and she couldn’t see any woman who would want to hitch their horses to her brother’s wagons.  “Naw, for one thing we hardly ever get to town, for another they are more interested in their work than they are in any girls.”
    Mama nodded her head as if she knew what Annabelle was talking about. The next question was an obvious one, and Annabelle hoped it would remain unasked. 
    Mama , too, contemplated it, but decided against it.  The story would come out soon enough and she didn’t need to push it. Sometimes it was better to leave things unsaid, that way the next conversation had a topic to begin on.  She dried the last of the dishes then quickly stacked them away in the wooden shelves.  Then she took down some mugs from the same shelf and handed one to

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