Chapter 57

The next morning Rhett was surprised to find himself alone in the room. He drowsily threw on his robe and walked to the window and saw Scarlett standing in the driveway and overseeing Pork who was polishing the leather, brass and wood on his horse carriage. When he called to her, she gave a bright wave and started up the stairs.

"My horse and carriage being shined and readied, my suitcases packed and my clothes ironed-" greeted Rhett with a laugh. "And my little woman running all over the house shouting orders-"

"I know you want to leave to tend to your business and I didn't want to delay you" replied Scarlett, with a smile that made her green eyes endearing. She was just then admiring herself for sounding entirely natural and composed.

"That's very thoughtful of you." replied Rhett,encircling her about the waist and drawing her to him. "But I'd like to take my time if you don't mind." He leaned in to kiss her when he saw that her eyes were swollen and red. "Have you been crying?"

"No. I haven't" answered Scarlett, pushing Rhett back with her hands and turning away.

"What is the matter? Tell me why you are crying?" asked Rhett, refusing to let go of her hand.

"It's nothing. Well, if you must know. I woke up this morning and found you lying next to me with your head against my shoulder and I felt so happy and yet sad that you were leaving. Yes, I know you have work to do. But I remember years ago when Ashley came for his furlough from the war and Melanie got to spend one night with him and the next morning she didn't come out of her room to see Ashley off. And I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for me- Well, what I want to say is, I never really knew what Melanie was feeling until now-"


"I feel weak and I'll miss you terribly-"

"Honey, a war is drastically different from what I am involved in-"

"I know. I know.. But- you don't really know much about me, Rhett. All you have seen is the side of me that appears strong and haughty. You have never known how many times I've envied Melly- for her quiet contentment, the blush and tenderness in her face or the excitement with which she read Ashley's boring letters- But now that I am in love, I feel all those things. I honestly wouldn't mind if you wrote a letter describing the parts of your ship- I would still find it interesting because you wrote it." Scarlett's voice began to shake and she leaned her head on Rhett's chest. "I feel all these things and it's funny how it feels so painful.. I can read your letters, if you ever remember to write them- only once in two weeks and it will drive me crazy to be away from you. " Scarlett drew back and wiped a small tear. "So, I got up from bed and got to work, getting your things ready so that you can go immediatly-"

"Aaah, darling" said Rhett, kissing her hair. He wrapped his arms around her. "You don't have to be so brave. I will miss you too, especially now when you have said all these lovely things. It surprises me how much romantic and sentimental you are too. I think I'm lucky. But you are going about this the wrong way. I don't want to fly off abruptly and have you crying tears for me. I thought I'd have breakfast and we could sit together and talk about what you and I would be doing for the next five months. I want you to have some money too. I thought we'd discuss everything and then I could leave. Wouldn't that put your mind at ease?"

"Oh yes, it would! I'd like that very much!"

"I would too."