Disclaimer: I do not own the story of Christy. Christy belongs to the Marshall-LeSourd Family, L.L.C. I am not making a profit off this and it is for the sole purpose of entertainment for me and whoever else reads it.
The Dance That Matters
There I was caught between the two men that I loved the most and who I would eventually have to choose between. I stared at the ring in my hand, the sunlight bouncing off the diamond made it dance in the small blue velvet box. David's timing was impeccable and not at all how I pictured a marriage proposal to be. I glanced up at David who I realized was expecting me to give him an answer, but my mouth would not move to speak. David was a good friend, dedicated and reliable, but sometimes he treated me more like a possession on his arm to show off then as a potential soul mate. His unwillingness to have a serious conversation annoyed me and left me feeling empty. I slowly turned my head towards Neil who was anxiously sitting on his horse. He was strong and confident and at times I found myself confiding in him even before I would confide in Miss Alice or David, yet in many ways he was still a mystery to me that I had not been able to unravel. His reluctance to share his deepest, truest feelings with me about our relationship left me with many doubts, but what I saw in his eyes at that moment reached into me and touched the inner most parts of my soul. They were vulnerable and pleading with me for understanding. At that moment I knew his love for me was real, but he was still a married man and I could not forget the images that I had just seen at his cabin. I wanted to run and hide like a school girl. I looked back at the children whose eyes told me they understood my dilemma. I had to get out of there so I took off running for the mission house leaving everyone else behind.
When I reached the mission house I blew past Miss Alice quickly bounding up the staircase and firmly shutting the door behind me. As I grabbed my suitcase from under the bed I could hear raised voices outside. David and Neil had raced after me and were now standing in front of the mission house.
David was now shouting, "Don't you think that you've hurt Christy enough? You confuse her Doctor. You're still a married man. What do you possibly have to offer her that I can't give her?"
"I can give her respect, something that you know nothing about," I could hear Neil's Scottish brogue get thicker with each angering word he spit out. "She's not just pretty face to wear on your sleeve. She's an intelligent woman with feelings and she needs to be talked to as such. I know Christy better then you do because I've taken the time to have deeper, more meaningful conversations with her.
"Really Doctor, you think you know Christy that well?"
"Enough!" I heard Miss Alice's fiery voice interrupting the lively squabble between these two men. "David I believe thee is still needed at the schoolhouse and Neil I am sure that thy services are needed somewhere. This incessant bickering between the two of you is not doing Christy a bit of good. Indeed I would not be surprised to find her packing her bags right now. Both of you go and leave her alone for now."
A sense of relief flooded over me as I peeked out the window to see Neil and David retreating, going their separate ways without any further words. I suddenly heard footsteps coming up the stairs and I knew it had to be Miss Alice.
I heard a soft tap at my door, "Christy I know thou is in there, please let me come in." I let out a breath that I didn't know I was holding and slowly turned the door knob to see Miss Alice peering at me. The lines on her face showed worry laced with compassion and love. "I did not know that Margaret's return would cause so much turmoil. I think it would have been better for all if she had just left us thinking she was dead."
"Miss Alice, you don't mean that." I wasn't sure at that moment whether I was trying to convince myself or Miss Alice more.
"Yes I do Christy. I can see the hurt that she has caused in your heart and in Neil's."
"No Christy, thee needs to understand something. You and Neil have a special relationship with each other. I was jealous to see you often running off to confide in him before seeking me out and I watched the pain in David's eyes every time you spoke of Neil. At first I could not understand how he could forget Margaret so quickly and it pained me to his face light up so fast when he looked at you. There was something there that I had never seen between him and Margaret, a level of respect and admiration that was mutual in understanding. I have sense accepted your relationship with Neil because I realized that it was needed not only by Neil, but thee also."
"Miss Alice I don't know what to do." I was trying to keep my voice even and controlled, but I could tell I was failing. "No matter what decision I make someone will get hurt."
"I wish that I
could tell thee that everything will be all right, but I cannot make
that promise Miss Huddleston. You are right, someone will have hurt
feelings, but does thee remember the time that I said the truth shall
set thee free?" I slowly nodded my head. "Well then thee must
put away all distractions including that ring box thee is now
holding. The must listen to thy heart and follow it. In time God
will reveal what thee needs to do. Miss Huddleston one must remember
that in the long run the truth heals all hurts better than a lie."
I inadvertently shifted my eyes down towards my feet. For some
reason at that moment I could tell that Miss Alice could see right
through me. "Well I have business to attend to so I will leave
thee to thy thoughts, but one more thing before I go." Her eyes
glanced toward the suitcase I had pulled out on the bed, "running
away from thy problems will not solve them." With that said Miss
Alice turned and walked out the door of my room. I sighed because I knew she was right so I picked up the suitcase and put it back in its place under my bed. I grabbed my shawl and headed downstairs to take a walk. I needed some fresh air and time to think and clear my head, something that I could not seem to do when in the presence of either Neil or David.
As I walked out onto the porch my eyes surveyed the area. Neither Neil nor David was anywhere to be seen. I breathed a sigh of relief and started on my walk. With every step I took my head was spinning in circles and I really had no clue at all what I really wanted. Both men left me feeling confused and irritated for putting me in this position, but I could not blame them entirely because it was just as much my fault as it had been theirs. It was probably even more so mine because of my inability to face my feelings and make a decision. I climbed to the spot where Fairlight and I had been earlier. When we had finished our conversation I was almost positive that my feelings for Neil were stronger than the ones that I had for David. David's love for me seemed more like an infatuation and I often wondered if he was more in love with the idea of being in love than he actually was with me, but I suppose on some level he did feel love for me or at least thought he did. Doctor MacNeill was the person that I turned to most often for advice. I trusted him and he made me feel at ease. I felt comfortable confiding in him and it was evident to me in more recent days that his feelings for me ran deeper than I had originally thought, but he was married and this put a definitive barrier between us.
I looked around at the mountains, the tall trees provided a beautifully shaded canopy of fall color to the valley below and the view was absolutely breathtaking. I had come to love these mountains and the people in them, especially the children. They had made such great progress since I had first stepped into that tiny schoolhouse with my fancy pointed shoes. Most women my age were already married and starting families of their own and here I was almost twenty years old. Miss Alice's words, "thee are not here to find a husband," kept ringing through my head. She was right of course, that was not why I had come to Cutter Gap, but God had seen it fit to enter these men into my life for a reason so it wasn't entirely impossible that he meant for me to meet my husband here either. Since Neil was married, David was the only choice I could make and I did not relish the idea of spending the rest of my life alone. I could do a lot worst and I knew that he would always make sure that my needs were met and would be faithful to me. I decided to go find David and tell him of my decision. My heart was heavy with sorrow, but in my mind I knew, or at least thought I knew, I was making the right decision.
Suddenly I heard footsteps behind me and then a very distinct recognizable voice began to talk that matched those footsteps. "Miss Huddleston……..Christy, I need to talk to you." I froze where I was standing and I had to will myself to make my feet turn me around.
"Dr. MacNeill, what are you doing here?" I knew my voice had taken on an icy cold tone, but I couldn't conceal it. "Shouldn't you be with your wife?"
I heard him let out a big sigh before he began and his eyes were staring at the dirt below his feet. "I could not go back to the cabin just now. I needed some time to think. There are some things I need to explain to you."
"Doctor there is nothing to explain." I was feeling too hurt to stand here and listen to him right now.
"No Doctor! There can't be anything between us. You are a married man and you have a wife who needs you and is waiting for you. Go back to her Doctor."
"Christy," he was pleading, "you need to know how I feel about you."
"Neil, don't do this right now. It's getting dark and I need to get back to the mission before they worry about me. I'm going to accept David's proposal of marriage." I saw a dark shadow pass over the Doctor's eyes and the unmistakable pain that I saw in them was almost too much for me to bear. "I have to go," I said while brushing past him and I started making my way off of the massive rock. I couldn't stay here and look at him any longer for fear that I may not have the courage to leave him.
"Christy, please. Don't do this!" I heard his pleading voice call to me. My heart wanted to turn around and run back to him, but my mind kept me from doing so. He was married and that was that.
"I have to go Neil," I yelled back at him and I kept on my trek back to the mission house, but I could still hear him barely audibly say, "just when I thought there was a life for me………but I love you Christy." Those words shot a stabbing pain through my heart and I suddenly wished I had not heard them because they would haunt me time and again throughout the next month.
Dinner that night was quieter than usual. Miss Alice kept making attempts at small talk, but was failing miserably and David would barely look at me. Even Ruby Mae sat in uncharacteristic silence, her normal fiery red haired peppiness taking a backseat to the day's events. I could tell she was confused and that her mind was tumbling in directions trying to figure things out.
I finally broke the silence and tried to muster the best smile that I could manage, "David," I asked, "Will you take a stroll with me after dinner?"
Suddenly David had the biggest smile that I had ever seen cross his face, "certainly Christy. I'd love to take a walk with you."
"Ruby Mae," Miss Alice said, "I believe you and I have dishes to clear off the table."
"Yes mam," she excitedly replied as a wide grin spread across her face.
David and I strolled out onto the porch and down the steps towards the schoolhouse. "I remember the first day you came here," he began. "You looked so tired and you fell right into my arms as I opened the mission house door. I loved you from that very moment you know and you know I love you now Christy. I want you to be my wife, but I can't take this waiting game any longer. Either you feel the same way I do or you don't, but I need an answer. This is the last time I'm asking you." David dropped down on one knee and taking his hands in mine asked, "Christy Huddleston, will you marry me?"
I silently prayed that he could not feel my hands trembling in his and that he could also not hear the doubts in my voice as I said, "Yes David I will marry you." He picked me up and twirled me around in a circle and then putting me down he kissed me. I could not stop myself from wondering what it would have been like for Neil to have been standing here with me instead of David. I hoped that my thoughts would not betray me.
David's voice brought be back to the moment. "Come on Christy lets go tell the others." The excitement in his voice was undeniable and I wished that I could have matched it. I smiled up at him and nodded in agreement. We both walked back to the mission house to tell the others of our good news.