Good Old' Cookin
by Kimberly McKenzie
"Eva Mae, I done just found you a husband that's going to get you out from here!"
"But Pa, how are you going to marry me off to a total stranger?" Eva Mae asked jokingly. Her father had been talking this tune for the past year, which she had become accustomed to. Earl Pakston had been hell bent on trying to get his daughter from the deep rooted South of Mississippi.
"Eva Mae, I'm serious," Earl said as he fumbled through his pockets. It was to late for him but he had promised his daughter a better life and he had done just that.
Eva Mae tone quickly changed when she realized that her father was serious. He pulled some papers out from his pockets and handed them to her.
"This here is a contract. Samuel Reily will be here at the end of the summer to get you on your 18th birthday."
"Pa, how could you do this to me?" Eva Mae cried in disbelief. "I don't want to leave my family and friends to live with a total stranger," she said disgruntled.
"Well I'm sorry honey but this here is the best thing for you. It's what your mother would have wanted."
"Don't you dare bring mamma into this. She's been gone now for over three years." Eva Mae did not want to hear anymore as she handed the papers back to her father. She went to her room and sank to the floor in tears. How could her father do this she thought angrily to herself? Every since her mother had passed he has bent over backwards trying to rid himself of her. Had she been that bad of a daughter she wondered trying to figure out what she had done wrong. Well there was no way in hell that she was going off with this Samuel Reily. Her scheme to scare him off became the most important thing in her fore thoughts. She had just over a month to come up with a plan as she gathered her composure together.
"Pa, I'm going over to Sally's house," Eva Mae told her father as she headed out the door. If anyone could help her it would be Sally she thought to herself.
"Just make sure your in before sundown," Earl called out.
Eva Mae nodded as she continued out the door. You would think her father thought she was a child she grumbled as he reminded her of the rules every time she left out. The thought of a child stuck in Eva Mae mind as a sinister smile creeped on her face. Surely Mr. Reily would not want to marry a woman who had been tarnished, Eva Mae thought to herself. She quickly picked up the pace as she hurried down the dirt path to Sally's house a few miles away.
"Sally, you're not going to believe what my father have done," Eva Mae called out short-winded.
"Girl, catch your breath," Sally motioned as she handed her friend a glass of water. The water pal was near empty as she made a mental note to refill it at the well later.
"My Pa have gone off and found me a husband."
"Earl did what?" Sally asked hardly believing what her friend had just told her.
"Yeah, I couldn't believe it myself until he showed me some contract. This Samuel Reily will be coming for me next month," Eva Mae stated aloud.
"So how do you feel about it?" Sally asked still stunned by the whole situation.
"I'm mad as a buzzard," Eva Mae replied. Why in the world would her father do something like this she thought to herself? She had already lost her ma and now she would be loosing everything she'd ever known. What sense did this all make Eva Mae wondered for the thousandth time?
"We'll just have to come up with some way to keep you here," Sally stated.
"Good, great minds think alike," Eva Mae smiled. "I've already got something in mind," she stated filling her friend in on her plans.
"Bravo," Sally reeled in excitement. "This Samuel Reily will be running off before he can set foot in this town."
"Wonderful, I'm glad you think my plan will work." If anybody knows it would be Sally, Eva Mae thought cunningly to herself.
They spent the next few hours cookin up a plot against the infamous Samuel Reily. Eva Mae felt relieved that her friend could help. Her father never wanted her to hang with the likes of Sally, but since her ma died he hadn't pushed the issue. He instead turned his focus on getting her out from here, one in which Eva Mae thought would never happen.
The walk home was much more relaxing as she settled in for the evening. The cool breeze felt heavenly as it swept through her bedroom window. She stayed up late into the night thinking about Samuel Reily. Eva Mae wondered what he looked like and where he came from? A hundred of questions were racing through her mind before she finally drifted off to sleep.
Eva Mae was surprised at how quickly the days had passed as her 18th birthday approached. Come this time next week, her soon to be husband would be arriving in town.
"Eva Mae, what you cookin' up in here?" Earl asked as she finished setting the dinner table.
"Just trying some recipes," Eva Mae responded excitedly. If only her father knew what she was cookin' up, he would have her hide she thought quietly to herself.
"Wonderful. The way to a man heart is certainly through his stomach," he laughed as he sat down.
"I agree," Eva Me smiled as she served her father a plate of southern fried chicken, mash potatoes, and green beans.
"This looks delicious," Earl stated as she filled her plate. "Not too much Eva Mae. It looks like you done put on a few pounds," Earl told his daughter jokingly.
"Pa, how could you say such a thing?" Eva Mae asked pretending to be hurt.
"I didn't mean it that way," Earl replied as he stuffed some food in his mouth. "It's just that I have shown Samuel Reily a photo of my princess is all. I don't want him to think your something other than what I showed him."
Eva Mae smiled at his remark as she began to eat. They would all be in for the surprise of their life, she thought as she continued to eat. A tap on the door interrupted their conversation as Earl got up.
"Samuel Reily, I wasn't expecting you 'til next week," Earl stated as he shook his hand.
"Well I was already down this way and decided just to come a little sooner," he replied. "I hope you don't mind!"
"Of course not," Earl stated glad to see him. "Our house is your house," he said leading Samuel towards the kitchen.
Eva Mae was stunned by the conversation as she quickly ran to her room. She scurried through her dresser drawer until she came across some lip-gloss. Eva Mae glided it on smoothly as it brought out the fullness of her lips. She quickly ran a brush through her long pressed hair before glimpsing in the mirror one last time. Why in the world did she care what she looked like Eva Mae thought to herself? She wanted no parts of this man as she hurried back to join the others.
"There is my princess," Earl responded as he introduced her to Samuel Reily.
Eva Mae mouth literally flung open at the handsome man standing before her eyes. He wore black overalls and a T-shirt to match. His strong muscles were vivid as he extended his hand out to greet her.
"How do you do," Samuel replied kissing her hand.
"Wonderful," Eva Mae uttered, mesmerized by his coffee brown features. He could certainly brew up any woman he wanted Eva Mae thought as his dark eyes penetrated through her body. She stood there dumb founded, wondering why she was so captivated by the man she hated.
"Eva Mae, why don't you fix Mr. Reily here some of this delicious dinner," Earl stated breaking the silence.
"Sure," she responded as she added another place setting to the table.
Eva Mae had little to say during dinner as her father held up most of the conversation with Samuel Reily. She listened on wondering in the back of her mind whether to continue on with her plan. Her father had looked so happy it would be devastating to him when he finds out what she would soon tell Samuel Reily. She had not wanted to hurt her father but this was the only way she assured herself. He had to be surprised just as Mr. Reily would be in order for her plan to work.
"Well that was certainly a great meal," Samuel stated as Eva Mae cleared the table.
"Thank you," she replied, as her cheeks became a blushing red. He was certainly a gentleman she thought confused by the ideas racing through her mind.
"Well you certainly have a lot more to come," Earl added as he stood up. "I'm going to tend to some work now so you two can spend a little time alone."
Eva Mae eyes widened at the thought of being alone with Samuel Reily. She took a deep breath as they headed out to the back porch to enjoy the summer's breeze.
"So Eva Mae, how do you feel about marrying me?"
"Well you sure don't waste any time," she replied surprised by his frankness.
"I'm not one for games," he responded searching her face. From her reaction he could immediately tell Eva Mae was going to be a handful. She was definitely spoiled and Samuel Reily did not find that trait pleasing as he awaited her response.
"Quite honestly, why in the world would you want to marry a complete stranger?"
"I never imagined I would," Samuel told her. He was rather stunned when Earl Pakston approached him a few months back at the farmers rally. Samuel was a great speaker, giving his people insight on how to increase their productivity with better tooling equipment. People came from far out to hear him, one of the few black political leaders of the time. He had lost his wife over three years ago during the birthing of their only child. He needed a mother for his son and was intrigued by Mr. Pakston suggestion to wed his only daughter.
Eva Mae was quite shocked at the information coming from his mouth. Her father had never mentioned her becoming an instant mother she thought to herself.
"I'm sorry, I can't do this," Eva Mae called out as she ran back into the house. She could hardly contain the tears as they came spiraling down her face. She ignored the rapid knock on the door as she buried her head into the pillow.
"Eva Mae, from your reaction it sounds like you knew nothing about the arrangement your father has made," Samuel stated as he sat on her bedside.
"No, I certainly did not," she responded as she turned to face him.
The sadness in her eyes struck a cord within him as he sat there captured by her beauty. The photo Earl Pakston had showed him a few months back did her no justice. She was absolutely breath taking as Samuel took in every detail of her. Her soft cinnamon skin was delicate to his touch and revived every emotion he thought he'd lost forever. Eva Mae presence was powerful and she illuminated a warmth unlike he'd every felt before.
"I'm sorry Eva Mae. Before now I thought this was something you wanted from what your father has told me. He was the one who approached me," Samuel stated gently. He could not believe the events that were transpiring and they had both been led into a situation without all the facts. Samuel tried to calm her emotion as they both sat there clueless of what to say next.
The warmth of his hands stirred her emotions in ways Eva Mae had never felt before. She could not let her attraction for him overshadow her plans as she unleashed her bomb.
"Well I reckon my father has left out the fact that I'm pregnant," Eva Mae spoke softly. The reaction on his face quickly changed to outrage as he suddenly let her go. He must have been unaware of his actions as she fell back on her elbows. "Good," she smiled. Her plan was finally unfolding as she smirked quietly to herself.
"What in the hell is going on?" Samuel asked in disbelief. He was now pacing the floor angry from the lies that came from Earl Pakston mouth. Samuel Reily was a man of integrity and would not be taken a fool of.
The echo of a noise from the other room sent Samuel racing out to confront her father. The noise could hardly be contained, as he demanded an explanation.
Eva Mae ran in the middle of the two, scared her surprise would ensue to a physical fight. Samuel Reily strong body would certainly crush her father as she stood there shaking. Eva Mae had not wanted him to get hurt as her plan began to spin out of control.
"What on Earth are you talking about?" Earl called out at the filth escaping Reily's mouth. He could hardly believe the words as his eyes turned to Eva Mae.
"Young lady, you've got some explaining to do," Earl demanded grabbing her by the hand.
"Oh, don't go pretending this is a surprise to you," Samuel called out. "You've been duping the both of us," he shouted infuriated by the whole situation.
"Non-sense," Earl stated as he disappeared from the room. He came back with his shot gun fully loaded for action.
"Who done did this to you Eva Mae? Tell me right now," he hollered in disgust.
The tone of his voice cut through her like a sharp metal blade. The life in her nearly drained as he waited for her response.
Obviously from his reaction, Earl had no clue of his daughter's condition. The news had been as much of a surprise to him as when Eva Mae told him just a few minutes ago, Samuel thought as he looked on. "Earl, now don't go off half cocked," Samuel advised him. If Eva Mae had been a boy he knew Earl would be sure to give him a few licks as his eyes turned a furious red. "What's done is done. I think we should all settle down and discuss where to go from here."
Eva Mae was literally thrown from her seat to hear that Samuel Reily would take her in her current condition. It wasn't' what he had expected but he was not one to back down from a deal. Besides something about Eva Mae ruffled his emotions. He hadn't known her but for a few hours but knew she was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. His son would have a mother and Eva Mae would take him on the ride of his life, something he desperately needed after loosing his first wife.
"What about my say in the matter?" Eva Mae asked standing up. "Not once have anyone considered my feelings on the matter. And Pa, I am angry that you would have even arranged such a deal. This is a marriage, not a business deal," Eva Mae cried out. "I feel like a object, not a person!" she yelled running out of the house. The door slammed as she ran to her favorite place. Eva Mae found comfort under the tall oak as the trunks offered her shade. How in the world did her life become such a mess thought wishing her mother was here?
Eva Mae thoughts were interrupted as Samuel sat beside her. "Go away," she demanded standing up. The last thing she wanted was to be bothered by him she thought angrily to herself.
"Eva Mae, running is not going to solve any problems," Samuel said taking her by the hand. He hadn't meant to grab her around the waist as she tried to flee from him again.
"Let me go," Eva Mae screamed as she wiggled herself free from his strong arms. His clasp must have been too tight as a pillow full of feathers came flying out from beneath her shirt. Samuel stood there in disbelief as the feathers continued to fly everywhere.
"You're not pregnant at all," Samuel stated as her shirt took form to her slender body.
Eva Mae could not respond as she stood there helplessly watching her plan go up in smoke. She couldn't take it anymore as she fell to the soft plush grass. All her energy had been zapped as she lye on the ground trembling and upset.
Eva Mae did not refuse as Samuel lifted her into his arms. She nested her head in his chest as he carried her back to the house.
After everything that had gone wrong, Samuel senses heated as he held her in his arms. All he wanted to do was protect her from the hurt she was feeling, which was him. There had to be some way to resolve everything he thought as he gently laid her on the bed. He could still feel her body shaking as she held on tightly to him. Eva Mae hadn't let go as he began to softly caress her body. The warmth she gave intensified Samuel's state as he found his lips suddenly brushing over hers. He found himself unable to pull away from her as he slowly entered to enjoy the sweetness she had to offer. The flicker of his tongue explored new territory as Eva Mae tried to follow his motions. She had never been touched by a man much less be pregnant he thought as he continued to tease her lips slowly with his own.
Eva Mae didn't know what had just happened as she sat on the bed in a daze. She had never kissed a man before like this and wondered why she was so taken in by a man that was ruining her life. Samuel Reily had been a gentleman ever since he stepped foot in their house and even after all her stunts and rude behavior, he still wanted to be with her. Was this supposed to be her fate she wondered closing her eyes? She had forgotten Samuel was present as she became consumed in her own thoughts.
"Eva Mae, I think there is a solution to the matter," Samuel stated as she focused her eyes on him again.
"And what might that be?" she asked curiously.
"Give me one week to see if there is something between us. If by your 18th birthday you have no feelings for me, than you can do whatever you please."
"But what about the contract?" Eva Mae asked.
"Forget about the contract," he stated as he pulled a copy from his pocket. The tiny pieces of paper fell to the floor as Samuel tore them to shreds.
"I want you to love my son and I freely and not because you were forced to do so."
"Are you serious?" Eva Mae responded, not meaning to doubt his sincerity.
"I am a man of my word," Samuel assured her. He gathered the paper off the floor and threw them in the wastebasket, knowing he did the right thing.
"I know," Eva Mae replied surprised by his generosity. He could have made that contract binding but he didn't she thought biting down on her lower lip in thought.
"So what do you think?" Samuel asked as she continued to ponder upon the information he had just given her.
"Okay. That sounds fair," Eva Mae replied as a glimpse of hope sparkled in her eyes.
Samuel could read her expressions very well. "No games, Eva Mae. I am going to trust that you take this serious," he pointed as if he could read her thoughts.
"Me play games! Now why would you ever think that?" Eva Mae asked smiling. Samuel Reily could do nothing but laugh as the two stayed up talking with one another. It wasn't long before he drifted off from the exhausting ride up. She had sure worked him hard the first day; Eva Mae laughed as she pulled the covers up. She blew out the candles as she glimpsed back at Reily one last time before leaving out her room for the night.
"Good morning," Samuel stated as he took the last few strips of bacon from the frying pan.
"What are you doing?" Eva Mae asked still groggy from the uncomfortable sleep she had on the sofa.
"Just fixing you some breakfast," Samuel stated as he placed her plate on the table.
"I'm a little confused," Eva Mae replied a little dismayed. "Where is my father?"
"We had a good talk this morning and he trusted me to look after you while he went up town for a few days."
"He did what!" Eva Mae voiced in disbelief. How could her father leave in a situation like this? She hadn't planned on being totally alone with Samuel Reily.
"I hope that won't be a problem for you?" Samuel asked glancing over at Eva Mae.
"No," she replied catching on to his worries. Eva Mae had to gain his trust and she would not go on a rampage after the arrangements they had agreed to. "I just figured my father would talk to me before leaving out," Eva Mae added as she sat down to breakfast.
"Well don't worry, your in good hands," Samuel stated as he piled her plate with bacon, eggs, and piping hot grits. The aroma escaping the food was absolutely marvelous as he gave blessings.
"Amen," Eva Mae stated as she stuffed her mouth full. "I still can't believe you are in here cooking for me," she stated looking up at him.
"I enjoy to cook. There's so many things you don't even know about me," Samuel stated between taking bites of food. "I think you'll come around to like me," he added selling himself to her.
"Well that remains to be seen," Eva Mae warned cautiously. "You must have some confidence to think you can woo me in just a weeks time."
"I certainly can," Samuel stated without doubt. "I'll guarantee you'll be running into my arms before your 18th birthday."
Eva Mae could hardly contain herself as laughter filled the room. She actually found this to be quite interesting she thought to herself. "I'll believe that when I see it," she proclaimed getting up from the table.
"No let me," Samuel stated as he took the dishes from her hand. "Today is my day to take care of you," he told her as he cleaned the few breakfast dishes.
"I'm going to hold you to that," Eva Mae stated aloud.
"I told you that I'm a man of my word," Samuel replied picking her up in his arms.
"What are you doing?" Eva Mae asked surprised by his motions.
"Trust me, you'll enjoy it," Samuel responded as he carried her out the front door.
-STAY TUNED FOR THE CONCLUSIONS OF SAMUEL REILY & EVA MAE. Will she be subdued by his ways or will she leave him hanging, sorry he ever laid eyes on her!-