It all started the day my sister Bridget and I were out picking berries for a pie. I liked doing it because it gave me a chance to get away from the house.
"You shouldn't step there, you know?" said my sister. "I just cleaned your shoes the other day because you were stepping where you were not suppose to."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh, I'm sorry I can't float above the ground or the path of mud," I said sourcasticly. "Oh wait! That's not mud!" I laughed but my sister didn't think it was very funny and continued looking for berries
The difference between my sister is that she is WAY too uptight. I know she's eighteen now and I'm only a girl of fifteen, but still. She can be such a pain sometimes. About an hour later both of our baskets were filled. We had enough for almost three pies.
"Say," said my sister. "You feel like going for a swim?"
Her question took me by surprise. "No, Bridget. Laundry day is Sunday." I told her, not looking up at her from picking some mini sticks out of my basket.
I felt her playfully slap my arm and say, "No, silly. let's go for a swim. I mean it! We have plenty of time before we have to get back home. Besides, the sun is killing me!"
I stopped walking and looked back at her. "Well...ok." it was a hot day out after all and my sisters idea sounded great at the time so we went.
When we got to the creak the water was still and the look of that cool water beckoned me to jump right in. My sister and I both helped take off our dresses and left our undergarments on. I dipped my toes in first to check the temperature and it brought a chill to my little feet. My sister of course made the mistake of walking in front of me and I pushed her in. I laughed as I watched her squirm back up to surface.
"Not funny!" she yelled. "Look at my hair!" she pouted.
I could only laugh more at her ranting which only made it worse. She stood up fast, water dripping off of her garments and sticking to her skin like honey; she pulled me by the shoulder and I fought with her for a while. Suddenly I placed my foot to get a better stand but ended up slipping in mud. The two of us went under with a giant splash.
I felt the water go up my nose and burn. I rose from the bed of water and coughed and blew my nose to the water out so I could breath.
"Serves you right for trying to pull a trick like that." I heard my sister say. I looked over at her, waiting to see a snare look on her perfectly round face. But instead I saw a grin and my stomach no longer felt so flat. I took a few more steps in to the water and sunk in, leaning back and making myself float.
I don't know how long we stayed in the water but like clock-work we stood up from the water when we heard a rustling noise in the distance.
"What was that?" my sister said, holding on to my arm
"I don't know! Would I be standing here as clueless as you if I knew?" I mentally punched myself for calling myself stupid. Suddenly I felt my sister leave my side and dash to land. She quickly picked up her things and up the hill she went. "Wait!" I called, running to get my things but ended up slipping in the mud again and a splash of muddy water flew up to my face. "ACK!" I spat and whipped the bits of mud from my face. When I was done and ready to reach for my close, I found myself stopping and looking up at a familiar face. "THOMAS MARTIN?" I crawled backwards into the water with only my head sticking out like a water lilly.
"Kelly...What on earth are you...doing?" he said, obviously towards me.
"Uhm...Just swimming." I laughed nervously.
"It's nearly supper time. What are you still doing out. I almost mistook you for an animal."
"Did you now?" I said, still in the water.
"Would you like me to help you out of the water?" he asked me.
"Oh no. No thank you, Thomas...but c-could you turn around please so I can get my things?"
He nodded and spun right around. I always thought Thomas was such a gentleman. Though at times he could be childish, then again I was too at times so I'm pretty much putting my foot in my mouth.
"Ok. You can turn around now." I said to him. He faced me and his cheeks went a light pink. I looked down at my dress that was quickly absorbing the water from my undergarments. I tried covering myself the best I could with my arms but it wasn't really helping. "Did you happen to see my sister?" I asked him. I looked for the basket of berries and found that my sister had forgotten hers. I sighed and picked both of them up.
"Here, let me help you with that." Thomas stretched out his hand for a basket but for some reason I pulled it back. "Do you not want my help?" he asked, confused.
I shook my head. "No. That's not why I pulled away. In fact...I don't know why I pulled away." I slowly handed the basket to him and he took it. For a second there our fingers met and I quickly hid my face, afraid he would see my hot face. "Well...I guess we should be heading back now, huh?"
We walked in silence until we reached site of my house.
"Thank you Thomas Martin for walking me home. It was very nice of you." I reached for the basket of berries he carried for me and he handed them back to me.
"It was nothing," he said. I nodded to him and started to walk away. My clothes were now almost dry so I moved about more easily and not so shyly. "Uh...Kelly!" I heard Thomas call out to me and I turned around.
For a moment he was hesitant but then spoke up again. "I...I'm joining the war soon."
"The war?" I must have looked devastated because Thomas quickly said spoke up again.
"Uh...It won't be for another year yet though..." He said this to me as it if would comfort me. I let my mind wander for a bit, trying to gather my feelings all together until I heard Thomas calling out my name, trying to get my attention.
"Kelly?...Are you upset?"
I shook my head. How stupid of me to shake my head. Of course I was upset! "No, Thomas. I think it's very brave of you to want to fight for your country. But...can I ask you something?" He nodded. "I know you may want to fight for the freedom of this country, but...are you not afraid of death?"
He paused for a moment and then said. "If I die, what's there to be scared about? I'll be dying for a good cause."
I only nodded my head once. "Well, Thomas Martin...Good night and thank you again."
"Good night, Kelly." We then parted ways and I was left feelings I had never felt before.
A few days passed and I was out picking herbs for my sister. She was sick this week so that meant extra work for me. You could say that the dip in the water is what did her in. She was always the weaker one with it came to health. It scared my parents so they always treated her with more care even though she was the oldest. I pricked my finger on a sharp twig hidden with the leaves. It drew blood and I quickly put my finger in my mouth to stop the bleeding. Suddenly I heard footsteps coming closer to me. I turned around, not knowing who to expect and then thats when I saw him; Gabriel Martin, the eldest son and child of the Martin family. I could hardly tell that it was him from all the cuts and bruises.
"Gabriel!" I rushed to his side right before he fell and he almost crushed me with his weight. "What in heaven's name-Gabriel!" I quickly gathered all my thoughts and thought that it would be best to take him back to the Martins. It was an hour walk and would take longer with helping Gabriel, but I did not want to risk the chance of him getting sick from my sister or vice-versa.
When I finally reached the Martin home it was almost dark. Just a bit of sunlight still sat in the evening sky. I heard a gunshot and jumped back a little. I stopped walking for a moment and then continued walking. I walked to the side door because I was closest to it and walked inside. Gabriel moaned a bit while I helped him inside. I then heard the soft click of a gun and stopped dead in my tracks.
"Slowly turn." I heard a voice say. I did as I was ordered to and when I saw Mr. Martin there I sighed with relief, but Mr. Martin seemed more relieved than me when he saw his son. He quickly took him in his arms and yelled for Abigail. Everyone, including myself was in the living room as Mr. Martin placed his son on a soft couch. Thomas then ran into the room asking questions about the war and where it was being held. He then saw me and quickly stopped talking and stepped back a little. Mr. Martin then took knowledge of my presence again and said, "Miss. Kelly, you will stay here tonight. No one in this house leaves. Is that under stood?" Everyone nodded in understanding. He then had all of us children escorted out by Abigail and taken to bed. I stayed with the girls and the boys stayed together that night. It was a long night; hearing all those gun shots and people yelling and screaming, I didn't get much sleep that night.
The next day the whole house including me, all took part in helping the soldiers, no matter their coloring of uniform. Thomas on the other hand, I could see only helping the American soldiers. I couldn't really blame him. He was after all going to join the war in a year. The very thought of that made me feel ill again and it was the foul smell of wounded soldiers surrounding me. All of a sudden, a large group of Red Coats came ridding up their horses and lots more came walking up to the house. With their guns held proudly in their hands everyone froze at the sight of them all coming toward us.
A man by the nameof travingtonstarted talking, saying that it is unlawful to neighbor the enemy and that they would lose their home and barn and their horses would be taken away. Another man of high stature handed some dispatches. He quickly demanded to know just exactly WHO was it that was carrying them. Taken over by his strong sense of leadership I found myself tripping over a pan of semi-bloody water, scaring the horse thatTravinton was on.
"Blast it child! The bloody hell is wrong with you? Get away before I shoot you for being a clumsy idiot!" As he was busy yelling at me I noticed Thomas pulling Gabriel back into the house. It then hit me. Gabriel must be the one in charge of the dispatches. I was sure glad of my clumsiness at this point in time. Cornwallis then recollected himself and began demanding for someone to come forward. When nobody did he shot a random American soldier. "Kill the American soldiers and fire the house and barn...Know this, sir," he was obviously talking to Mr. Martin. "If you harbor the enemy...you WILL lose your home."
That evening right after we fought with trying to put the fire out we realized that we had lost and watched the rest of the place burn to the ground. We looked around at all the bodies surrounding the house, all dead and all covering the yard. We had no choice but to throw them in with the fire. We didn't want to, but what else could we do? Digging a grave for everyman was out of the question. We would need at least twenty more men to get that done.
That night we all slept together outside. We were lucky it did not rain. The next morning I was the second to wake. The first was Mr. Martin and then after me it was Gabriel and Thomas and soon the others woke too.
"Where are we suppose to go now?" asked Nathan.
I spoke up and said, "I'm sure my mother wouldn't mind taking all of you in for a while."
"No, Kelly. We thank you for hospitality, but there is no need."
"How so?" asked Nathan. "I think that's a great idea." His father shot him a dirty look and he quickly shut up.
"Really, Mr. Martin. My parents will not mind." I persisted. "It's the least I can do for all the other times your family has helped mine."
Mr. Martin thought about it for a while and then nodded. "Right. Of course. If it is alright with your parents we will be glad to stay until I can get a hold of someone else. I shall see to it that my sister-in-law receives a letter from me about all of this."
A week later and the Martin's were spending their last day here with my family. My sister and Gabriel got awfully close in that short amount of time, the little ones enjoy playing around with the farm animals, Mr. Martin enjoyed the company of my parents, but Thomas seemed to be off on his own from the very start. I was beginning to think that I had done something terribly wrong.
I sat by the same river where Thomas found me and my sister left me. I was washing my hands and feet and the back of my neck and face to cool off.
"May I join you?" I heard someone say.
I turned my head to see Thomas taking a place right next to me. He took off his shoes and socks and rolled up his pants and stuck his feet in the water. We sat there for a few moments until Thomas suddenly stood up and started taking off his garments.
T-Thomas Martin! W-what are you doing?"
Before jumping into the water he said, "What does it look like?" the plash from his jumping nailed me right in the face and all over my clothes. Seeing that I partly wet I decided to go in after him. As I took off my dress, leaving my under garments on I saw Thomas's eyes ger wide. Either it was because I was going in after him or that I took my top layer of clothes off...or perhaps it was both. We both splashed around for quite some time and then finally got out. We gathered up our clothes, not minding to put them back on and waiting for the rest of ourselves to dry off. We walked all around the field, talking slightly and then exhausted from all the swimming and walking I collapsed to the ground and laid in the grass.
"Are you alright, Kelly?" I heard Thomas say.
I nodded. "Yes, I'm fine." He then sat down with me, watching the clouds go by; some looked like frogs, others wild horses galloping in a grassy field.
"You know, Kelly, I've been thinking a lot."
"About what?" I asked him.
"Everything," he stated. I said nothing so he decided to talk again. "But...maily I've been thinking about the war." I turned over on my side, away from Thomas. "I've also been thinking a lot about you, Kelly." I heard him scoot closer to me. "Kelly?" he whispered in my ear.
"What do you have to say about that?"
"What I just said.
"You mean about the war? I have nothing to say about that."
"No," Thomas said. "About what I said about you..."
"Oh...That?" I turned back around seeing that Thomas was closer to me then I had realized and slightly blushed. "I don't know." I told him honestly.
"Really?" he asked me, a little devastated.
"Well...what DO you want me to say? Your leaving to go to war! I hate that! I don't want you to go!"
Thomas looked surprised. "You...you don't want me to go?"
Shocked by my own words I froze in place, staring up at him as he stared down at me. Suddenly Thomas reached for a strand of my hair and twirled it around his index finger. "Why didn't you say that SOONER?"
"I don't know." I told him truthfully.
"Do you like me, Kelly?" he suddenly asked me.
"Yes, Thomas. You are a very dear friend of mine."
He shook his head and slightly laughed. "No. More than a friend."
"Oh..." I said. "Well...I could, I mean I might, I mean...maybe...oh...Thomas!" I covered my face from embarrassment and Thomas slowly peeled them away revealing my rosy red cheeks! he inched closer to my face until the gap between our lips were closed and locked together. We then broke apart. Thomas said, "I like you too, I mean I could, I might, maybe...Don't worry. I do like you, Kelly. A lot in fact." he then laughed and kissed me again.
Our relationship was just starting and so were our lives and I couldn't wait to spend the rest of it with Thomas!