"Felicity, you are about to burn the apple butter!" Nan's shrill voice shook me from my daydreaming and I glanced down at the pot of gooey apples to see that I'd stopped stirring. With a sigh I stared to move the wooden spoon in a circular motion.
"Felicity, what do you daydream about?" she asked curiously, hopping up onto the wooden stool next to the fireplace.
"Lots of things, like Penny and Patriot, Ben-"
"You daydream about Ben?" she asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Are you in love with him?"
I laughed aloud and shook my head.
"No, of course not, Nan. I do not daydream about him like that," I clarified, giving her an amused look. "I just cannot wait to see him again. It has been so long since we have seen him and so long since we have received even a letter from him."
"Do you also daydream about the young men that come to call upon you?" she asked.
"No, I hardly think about them expect when I open the door to see them standing there," I replied with a shrug.
"Oh, I wish young men would come to court me, but mother says I am not yet old enough," Nan said with a wishful look on her face.
"Don't be so anxious to grow up, Nan. Your time will come soon enough, enjoy the time you have to be young," I said as I mixed the apples. I looked down at the bubbling pot and smiled.
"I think the apples are ready, Nan," I turned my eyes to her and she smiled brightly.
"Oh, I will go tell mother and maybe she will let us have some!" she exclaimed, getting down slowly from her chair and taking, small, dainty steps into the other room. No matter how excited she got she always made sure she behaved like a perfect gentlewoman. Even though Nan was fourteen and I was seventeen, mother sometimes pointed to her as an example of how I should behave. As I took the pot from it's place above the fireplace and took it to the kitchen I heard a knock on the door.
"Nan, can you get the door? I have my hands full," I called as I carried the heavy pot.
"Yes," she called back softly. I poured the hot mixture into a churner and got ready to put another batch of apples into the pot when I heard the door open, and Nan say sweetly,
"How may I help you, sir?"
Suddenly there was a scream and I ran into the kitchen to see Nan lying on the ground, looking up at a wild-eyed man in a British soldier's uniform, who looked around frantically. I felt an anger fill up inside of me when I saw Nan sitting on the ground, close to tears.
"Leave me sister, alone!" I yelled at him, walking up to him. His eyes landed on me and he narrowed them before walking over to me and pushing me aside.
"You are trespassing, get out of our house!" I yelled at him, jumping up and following him into the kitchen. When I saw him taking food from our pantries and tables I ran over to him and grabbed his arm.
"That is our food!" I cried. With one swipe he knocked me onto the floor and turned back to taking our food.
"Under the Quartering Act of the great King George of England you are required to feed and house British troops," he snarled before walking back out of the room. My arm still hurt from the blow it received but I got up and walked out just in time to see Nan run up to the man and try and grab some of the food he held in his arms.
He simply knocked her down before turning slowly to look at her. "You're a feisty one aren't you? And not too bad looking either," he said with an evil grin on his face. Nan's eyes widened in fear as she scrambled to her feet, but her dress got caught under her feet and she fell back down to the ground. The man slowly set the food down before taking a long stride over to Nan and grabbing her by the arm.
I sprang to my feet and pounded my fists against the man. "Let go of her!" I cried. Suddenly my mother rushed into the room and when she saw what was going on she gasped.
"What on earth!" she gasped, her eyes growing wide. The man pushed Nan to the ground and climbed on top of her as she screamed. Then, for the first time in my life, I heard mother raise her voice.
"Get off of my daughter!" my mother cried, lunging for the man. She dropped to her knees and tried to push him off of Nan, but he only reeled back his hand and smacked her across the face. When I saw my mother fly back, a red mark on her face, a fury filled me that I had never felt before.
"Stop it! Stop it!" I yelled at him, clawing, biting and kicking anywhere I could in an attempt to get him off of Nan. I scraped my nails across his cheeks and I saw a thin red line of blood appear before he turned to me with fire in his eyes. I hardly had time to respond when I felt a sudden pain in my chest as I was thrown back against the wall. I bent forward and gasped in desperation, trying to breath.
I looked up with pain and fear in my eyes as I saw the man hold Nan down with one arm and throw her skirts back with the other. I struggled to stand when suddenly we all heard the cocking of a gun. We all froze and turned to look at the open door to see a British soldier standing there, pointing his gun at the other man.
"Get off of her," he commanded. The man turned around slowly to look at the younger man.
"Get out of here, boy," he said, his voice low and threatening.
"Not until you leave this family alone. You know Commander Walker won't tolerate this," he said firmly, gripping the gun tighter and putting his finger over the trigger. With a low growl he slowly got up and walked out of the house. Mother, Nan and I stared at the soldier with the gun in shock.
"I am so sorry about this," he said with a look of sympathy in his eyes before closing the door and leaving. For a moment everything was dead silent, and then suddenly, Nan began to wail. I looked over at her to see tears pouring down her face. I crawled over to her and wrapped my arms around her protectively.
"It is alright now, Nan. I am not going to let anyone hurt you," I whispered to her as she continued to sob. Mother took a deep breath and held back tears in her eyes as she got up and walked over to us. She bent down and rubbed Nan's back soothingly as she continued to cry and tremble.
I looked up at my mom to see the red mark on mother's cheek starting to turn a sickly yellow color. A bruise would be there by tomorrow. Suddenly I heard the sound of light footsteps trotting down the stairs and turned to see William and Polly standing at the top of the stairs, confused and slightly frightened looks on their young faces.
"Children, go back to your rooms. I will be there in a moment," mother said, her voice trying to stay even. They rushed back to their rooms and mother turned to look at me before standing up and climbing the stairs to their rooms. I swallowed back my tears and fear and held onto Nan like she might be taken from us at any minute.
Later on that day I sat in Nan's bedchambers, still calming and comforting her. I laid back onto the pillows on her bed and brushed her hair away from her face as tears rolled down her eyes. She did not talk or make a sound, she just stared at the wall with a frightened look on her face.
"Nan?" I asked, and she turned to look at me as if she hadn't noticed I was there before. She turned her eyes back to the wall and was silent for a moment.
"I suppose I should be thankful that nothing more happened," she whispered, and then turned her big green eyes over to be, "But I was so scared Lissie. And then I think about what he might have done if that man had not…" Her bottom lip quivered for a minute before she leaned over and pressed her face into the soft lace of my gown.
"It's alright, Nan. Father and Ben will be home soon, and they won't let anything happen to us. No one will ever hurt you again, Nan. I won't let them," I said firmly as I ran my fingers through her light, copper colored hair. Soon she feel asleep and I moved her head over to the pillow before bending over and kissing her on the forehead. I heard voices downstairs so I walked silently out of the door, closing the door behind me, before walking downstairs.
I saw a man in a British officer's uniform, standing in the doorway with my mom standing in front of him, her hand firmly on the door. I could see her knuckles were white from gripping the wood and felt a protective feeling well up inside of me. I was tired of seeing redcoats! Why couldn't they just leave us alone?!
I took a deep breath and consoled myself with the fact that at least it was not the man from before. This man was a bit older, with black hair and a long mustache.
"I came to apologize for the actions of one of my soldiers today. I can assure you, ma'am, that such behavior is not tolerated in our regime, and the man will be punished for his actions," he said. I walked up to the door and put my hands on my hips as I glared at him.
"That man should come and apologize himself for what he did to my sister! Nan will not stop crying!" I snapped at him. The man cast me a disapproving look before turning his eyes back to my mother.
"I bid you a good night, ma'am," he said with a tip of his hat before he walked away. Mother closed the door and then turned to me.
"Felicity-" she began, but I cut her off before she could reprimand me.
"But mother, it is not fair! Why must I be polite after what he did to Nan? You should have seen her, crying in her room! She was very upset and scared!" I cried, exasperated.
"I know, Lissie. I know," she sighed before walking up the stairs to Nan's room.
I walked slowly up to my room and closed the door before walking over to the window that overlooked the street below. I let out a sigh as I sat on the seat by the window and gazed down at the homeless and poor people, warming themselves by a fire they made by the edge of the street.
Suddenly I spotted a bright red coat that shone from the light of the flames. I squinted and from what I could see of his face from the firelight, I recognized him as the man who had saved us earlier today. He walked towards the fire, but as soon as he got close a man walked up to him and pushed him away roughly. He stumbled back and the other people surrounding the fire turned to him. Some took a step or two in his direction, while others glared, as if a silent warning that we was not welcome there. He stood there for a moment or two before finally walking off towards the woods behind our house.
I felt a sympathy for him quite like the sympathy I could see in his eyes before he closed the door. I put a determined look on my face as I walked over to my closet and pulled out a thick, woolen blanket that I hardly ever used. Then, I raced down to the pantry and pulled off half a loaf of bread and a couple apples before placing them on top of the blanket. I grabbed a nearby basket and put all the stuff in it.
"What are you doing, Lissie?" a voice asked from behind me. I turned around, startled, to see my mother standing inside the doorway.
"I was going to take these things to somebody who needs them," I explained, hoping she would let me go. She stared at me for a minute before letting out a small sigh.
"Alright, but do not stay out too long."
No sooner had the words left her mouth than I was walking out the door towards the woods behind our house. I walked down the small path that father had made and found the soldier from earlier leaning against a tree, his eyes closed. When he heard my footsteps approaching his eyes shot open and he stared at me.
"Sir, I brought you a blanket to keep you warm, and some food to eat," I said softly as I walked over to him and placed the basket on the ground. I couldn't make out much in the darkness, but I could see that he had hair as golden as corn in the summer, and eyes as green as soft pasture grass. He raised an eyebrow in confusion.
"But, why are you doing this?" he asked.
"I could ask you the same question. Why did you defend my family earlier from that man?" I asked, turning his question back at him.
"Because, loyalist or not, your family did not deserve to be treated that cruelly," he said, raising his head high.
"I am helping you because, patriot or not, you are kind, and you did not deserve to be chased away by those colonists in the street. Also, because you saved my sister. A kindness for a kindness," I said softly. He looked at me surprised for a minute before smiling at me.
"Thank you, miss," he said with a small tip of his hat.
"You are quite welcome, sir," I replied, and then with a smile I stood up and walked back to the house.
Well, Ben should be appearing in the next chapter and then the story will really get moving then. I hope you're enjoying the story so far =)