Their red ink has no boundaries…
Huge thank you to Blueeyedcherry (Beta Phenomenon), Cinnynala (Saavy Pre-Reader), Mia Isabella Cullen (Brilliant Counsel) and FrozenSoldier (Banner Creator)! This story is nothing without y'all. Literally, scribble.
Monday-Friday Updates. Banner Link is on profile.
Provocative, Spine-Tingling, This-Is-Heaven, Hurts-Like-Hell, Southern Romantic Angst.
But mostly, cupcakes.
Summary: Mama said she wanted someone noble, upright, and godly for me. I just wanted him. Somewhere along the way, I found out what I wanted wasn't always what I needed.
Chapter One: Prologue
Memaw saw him coming a mile away.
Rosie Kate swore up and down to the bayou and back that it was my cousin Peter, but Memaw said that wasn't godly. Being five years old and full of sass that only comes from Daddy's side of the family, Rosie Kate argued until she was blue in the face. She said Harry and Sue were cousins and they got married, but it didn't matter 'cause baby Cletus was going to grow his little toe any day now.
Memaw spanked Rosie Kate after that, and when my little sister was finished screaming, Memaw explained that the person she saw was meant for me.
"I see it," she told me. "You're gonna get loved. A boy is gonna come and love you so hard you're not gonna know which way is left and which is right."
I had enough going on. Between worrying about the Ladies' Circle and keeping all the little ones out of Mama's hair, the last thing I wanted was a boy.
But Memaw ignored my wishes. She had this way about her, speaking of things sooner than they happened. Premonitions, she called them. Daddy didn't like that too much. He said the devil was putting ideas in her head and us younguns didn't need to pay her no mind.
But my siblings and I never cared. We'd plop ourselves right on Memaw's lap and sip sweet tea in the humid night as we listened to tree frogs mate all the way from the creek. Even from our porch we could smell the crawfish dawdling down the murky waters, knowing they had a few hours left before they ended up in a broil with cob.
Memaw would stay up telling us all sorts of tales. Half were true and the other half, well, no one bothered to tell the old woman she was a pathological liar. She kept saying she was going to die but every morning she'd wake up, breathing like she had beat God at his own game.
When the good Lord takes me, child, that's when it's my time.
I'm beginning to think the Lord's watch broke a long time ago.
So I asked Memaw all sorts of questions. Do I know him? Is he smart? Is he handsome?
Memaw never gave details, but she told me, "He ain't kin. He and his family are coming through, and no one between Forksdale and Creole is ready for the likes of them."
"Why?" I questioned. "Are they bad folks?"
At 17, I'd met my share of crooked people. There was this bunch of city slickers who only ate vegetables. They said they didn't barbecue anything either. Daddy claimed they were sick in the head. I reckon the devil got to them too.
"I can't tell," she replied, shaking her head and grasping my shoulders firmly. "But he's a strong boy, the kind you're going to need later on. But heed my words, child: he'll come a'blazing. You can put out the fire, but you can't hide the smoke."
I didn't know what she meant, but it scared the living daylights out of me. It wasn't the first time neither. All of Forksdale was terrified of Memaw. She once caused a ruckus in church, telling the saints a storm was coming that would wipe out the entire town. That storm turned out to be a rain shower that blew a few branches onto Lulling Road. By then the town had already spent thousands preparing for no reason.
And then there was that time before I was born that she proclaimed to Mama that she had a set of triplet sons on the way. That, too, was a big mess. Mama bought a whole slew of boy clothes, only for me to pop out with nothing dangling between my legs. Eventually Riley James came along, and then Embry, and finally Rosie Kate, but they were all born by their lonesome.
So Mama and Daddy stopped listening to Memaw a while ago, but I kept on believing. Memaw never wavered when it came to her omen about my future.
When it finally happened, I was far from ready.
He came all right, but he wasn't anything like Memaw said.
There's not a crystal ball in the world that could have predicted how that boy was going to change my life.