Courting Days (sequel to The Blizzard)
Izzy Pettibone peddled her bike up the hillside towards the lighthouse. Cecily King waved to her from the lighthouse steps and jogged down to meet her. Izzy rolled to a stop, swung her leg over the bike seat and waited for Cecily to join her.
"I thought you weren't coming," Cecily said a bit breathless from the run. "What took you so long?"
"Father had something he wanted to tell me." Izzy said playing with a piece of leather that was peeling off her handle bar.
"He said I couldn't see Felix again unless we had a chaperone."
Cecily's eyes widened "A chaperone? Why?"
Izzy let her bike fall to the ground and started towards the shack where Ezekiel Crane had kept his fishing nets. There were some logs there to sit on. "Apparently he thinks I spend too much time with Felix. He said it wasn't proper for us to be together without a chaperone."
"Proper?" Cecily linked her arm with Izzy's. "Your just friend's right? I mean it's not like you two are courting on the sly or anything."
"He's worried about my reputation but I don't know why. No one but our families and Dr. Snow know about that night when we were forced into the barn. The gossips don't know and they never will, so what's to worry about my reputation? We didn't do anything wrong."
"Do you think he knows about Pine Bend?" Cecily asked.
Izzy groaned "I hope not. Muriel and I have tried to keep it from him, but I suppose he could have heard about it in town. I'm glad he was away for the Dominion Day picnic. If he found out about Pine Bend he'd lock me in the house or ship me off to Halifax. I suppose I'll have to put up with his chaperoning until I can think of something to do."
"Who's going to chaperone you while he's away?"
"Ms. King," Izzy said.
"Not Aunt Hetty -"
"Oh Iz, does Felix know?"
"No not yet." Izzy looked towards the lighthouse, "It's not fair Cess. We shouldn't be forced to court each other because we want to spend time together. We should decide to court at our own free will. Felix is going to hate me for this."
"No he won't, Iz. It will be inconvenient for you both, but you'll figure something out."
"I hope so. Knowing my father and Ms. King, everything will be complicated. The conversation will be dictated by them and Felix and I will be miserable sitting in my parlor not saying what we want to say because of them. It will never work."
Felix dropped down into a kitchen chair with a plate of sandwiches in one hand, and a newspaper in the other. It had been a hectic day at the White Sands, and he had just come in from milking the cows. Sleep sounded heavenly, but he had just enough time to relax for a few minutes before going back to his chores. He had just bitten into his sandwich when the front door opened and the voices of his father and Aunt Hetty drifted into the kitchen.
"They've got to Alec," Aunt Hetty was saying "and I for once agree with Clive's decision."
"I just think it's a little extreme, Hetty. They're good friends, not lovebirds."
"Oh pish-posh, I've seen the way Felix looks at her and so have you. The boy is clearly smitten. Clive is only protecting his daughter."
"I still think he shouldn't force them into this." Alec said.
"He's not forcing them into anything. Clive doesn't want Izzy around Felix without proper supervision and that's that." Aunt Hetty said.
Felix turned to look at them as they entered the kitchen. "What do you mean I can't see Izzy without supervision?"
Alec took off his hat and scratched his head "Well son, Hetty says Clive has forbidden Izzy from seeing you without a chaperone."
"Why?" Felix asked cautiously as he set the newspaper on the table. "We don't need a chaperone."
"Well Clive says you do, and I agree with him." Aunt Hetty said "He has delegated me to step in for him as chaperone when his superintendent job takes him away from Avonlea."
"We're friends," Felix said standing up. "Last time I checked being friends didn't require a chaperone. What does Izzy say about all this?"
"From what Clive says she's as angry as you." Aunt Hetty said "You'll both have to get used to it and that's the end of it." She turned to Alec "I'd stay longer Alec, but I promised Olivia that I'd stop by before seven. Tell Janet and Cecily hello for me. And Felix…" she glanced his way "Stay away from Izzy unless you want to bring Clive's wrath down on you both. If you want to see her let me know, and Clive and I will schedule a time when you can meet."
"This is crazy," Felix said "I want to see her now. This isn't right - we haven't done anything wrong."
"I'm sorry Felix, but it's the way of the world. When a gentleman wants to see a lady he does it the right way with chaperones present. I'll ask Clive what day this week you can get together."
Cecily came into the kitchen.
"Hello Cecily, I was just leaving" Aunt Hetty said "Tell your mother I found the recipe for the chocolate cake she asked me about and I'll make a copy for her as soon as I can."
"Alright" Cecily said.
"Well I'd best be off. Have a good evening." She let herself out.
"I guess she told you about the chaperoning" Cecily said.
"You knew?" Felix asked
Cecily nodded "Izzy told me this morning. She's really upset about it."
Felix sank back down into the chair "She probably hates me for getting us into this."
"Felix, you didn't cause this" Cecily said "Mr. Pettibone should be grateful that you saved Izzy's life, not spiteful because you're friends."
Felix ran a hand through his hair "How is this going to work? How am I supposed to talk to Izzy with Aunt Hetty and Mr. Pettibone breathing down my neck?"
"It will work out Felix." Alec said. "Clive will cool off eventually, and maybe he'll relent. I could talk to him, make his see reason."
"Where Izzy's concerned, Mr. Pettibone is blind to reason," Felix said.