Chapter 2 Chapter 6
Maggie woke up to the sound of rain and the smell of coffee. Waking to the smell of coffee normally made her smile, this morning it caused her stomach to turn. She reminded herself that she could do all things through Christ before she threw back the covers and dressed for the day.
When she entered the kitchen George was leaning against the counter sipping coffee. As he gazed out the window it was apparent he was deep in thought. Maggie had noticed that when he was deep in thought he bit his bottom lip.
"Good mornin' Maggie. Are you feeling better this morning?" George said as he smiled her way.
"Not one hundred percent, but better. Thank you for asking." Maggie said as she pull out eggs and milk and sat them on the table.
George looked at Maggie until she lowered her eyes. "I will head out for chores. Not much is on my schedule with the rain. Please let me know if I can do anything to help you today." George sat his cup on the counter as he headed out the door.
Maggie gave a sigh of relief when George went out the door. Regardless of the circumstances she was George's wife. He had been nothing but kind and thoughtful to her. She needed to pull herself together. She took a deep breath and then mixed up pancake batter.
The days seemed to blend together with the continued rainfall. It seemed fitting that the gray weather matched Maggies' mood.
George noticed that although Maggie went through the motions she was off. Funny how after only a few days as man and wife he missed her carefree spirit and quick smile. He was beginning to worry. Not only about Maggie's health but he was also concerned for the yearly crop.
Thursday evening Jake came bouncing down the lane. It was a sight watching him dodge left then right to miss the ruts brought on by the rain. Even with her mood Maggie couldn't help but smile at the site.
"Howdy! Thought I'd pop in on my way home to see if you'd built an Ark yet?" Jake smiled as he spoke.
"Not yet, but it looks like I might need to start" George replied as Maggie handed Jake coffee.
"What brings you out a night like this."
"I tried to make it to the church for the elders meeting. I figured it would be cancelled and I was right. The creek is well over the bridge. Thought I'd stop in to spread the word. No need in even trying for church Sunday if this keeps up."
"I figured as much. Four days of hard, steady rain is going to cause a heap of problems." George said somberly.
"Amen." Jake softly said "Looks like the crop might mold and rot before it's dry enough to get in the field."
This was a side of Jake she had never seen. He gave his head a good shake and then turned to Maggie. "Would you like the coffee cake Betty made." She made an extra one for us and I don't reckon she'd be happy to see me eat two." Jake said as he laughed and patted his stomach.
"That would be nice. Refill?"
"No, I'd better get home while the gettin' is good. If this keeps up much longer it looks like we'll all be home bound for a bit."
"Thank Betty for the coffee cake." Maggie said as she took it and Jake's coffee cup and headed inside.
George and Jake chatted for a bit before she heard the truck head down the lane.
George stood looking at the field until Maggie came out with a slice of coffee cake.
"Thank you. We couldn't have finer neighbors."
Maggie whole heartily agreed. "I enjoy their company."
"No coffee cake for you?" George asked between bites.
George stopped eating and looked at Maggie. She was pale and dark circles had developed under her eyes. He was concerned.
"When the water recedes maybe doc should come out."
Maggie shook her head. "Oh no! There is no need for that. I'll wash up the dishes and head for bed. I must need more rest."
Maggie hurried to the sink while George stayed in the rocker.
"Lord, I'm concerned for many things at the moment. My biggest concern is for my wife. I'm not sure what ails her Lord. Please help Maggie to feel better and give me peace in all circumstances. Amen."
As George said Amen he heard a sob through the kitchen window.
George stepped next to Maggie and picked up a towel to dry the cups and dessert plate. He could see Maggie discreetly wipe her eyes and work for composure.
He put the last cup in the cabinet as Maggie dried out the sink. He gently took her by the elbow and led her to the sofa.
"Maggie, I know something is not right with you. If you need the doctor I will find a way to get him here. Please tell where you hurt, Maggie, so I can help you." George pleaded.
Maggie turned her head and George gently turned it back. Tears were flowing down Maggie's face.
"It hurts here." Maggie said as she placed her hand over her heart. George looked both confused and alarmed. "Oh, George, how could you marry me when you were promised to another." Maggie chocked out.
"What?" George said in disbelief. Then the vision of Vivian speaking with Maggie came to mind. If Maggie wasn't upset George might laugh at how absurd it all was.
"I think there has been a misunderstanding. I have never been engaged to anyone but you."
"But Vivian." Maggie began.
"I have no idea what Vivian said. What I do know is that I've never been involved with Vivian." George said firm but kind.
"She is so familiar with you. She calls you Georgie and you call her Viv." Maggie said with sorrow.
Now George laughed as Maggie frowned. "As a boy everyone called me George. My own mother even stopped calling me by my boyhood name when I was ten. Well, everyone except Vivian." George went on. "You see the Hughes had a son, Harry. Harry and I were good friends. I started calling Vivian Viv as a boy because it made her mad. That's what a guy does to her friends little sister." George paused and had a far off look for a moment.
"When Harry and I were about fifteen we started to drift apart. I was busy on the farm and he wanted no part of working with me. The Hughes didn't do dirty farm work. Mrs. Hughes told Harry they were better then that. He got mixed up with a crowd of older boys from the town north of here. One night they were out drinking when Harry was thrown from the back of a wagon. He hit his head on a tree and was instantly killed."
"I'm sorry George." Maggie whispered as she reached for his hand.
"I think I'm a connection for Vivian to her brother. As she got older she started to pay extra attention to serving me first at church pot lucks and then showed up here with baked goods. I've tried ignoring her gestures and even came right out and told her I wasn't interested in her that way. She laughed and well, continued to act like she always has. I've learned to ignore her and accept that she is pushy and overbearing. I'm sorry that I never thought of how she would treat you."
"I'm the one that is sorry. I should have said something to you instead of letting it tear me up. You see, my uncle, wasn't a man of integrity and I let my experience with him cloud my thoughts of you. You have been nothing but kind and honorable since your first letter. I'm sorry for my lack of trust and unwillingness to speak with you." Maggie said with regret.
"I guess we both have plenty to learn about communication in marriage. How about we read scripture, pray together and remember that tomorrow is a new day."
"Sounds great." Maggie said as she stood to get the Bible for George.