Lad of Moss, part 6
Author's Note: I am a VERY bad girl. In my story, I wrote that the Colonials had little love of the American Indians in 1652, but in a case of too little too late, I found that they got along well with them for almost 50 years, which would be about 1670. In fact, they even had laws to protect the Indians from being cheated in business deals. It wasn't until later that relations between cultures grew tense. (Hanging head in shame) I offer my humblest apologies to the readers.
After being introduced to his new employer, Lydia eagerly went up the stairs to inspect their new home. With them, they had brought buckets, rags, scrub brushes, and soap. Alexia joined her a few moments later, walking through what was actually one large room divided by a single wall.
Hearing the floor creak, she excused herself to fetch her wooden tool box from their wagon. She nailed down the squeaky floorboards and looked for any other repairs that would need done. One shutter hung haphazardly and it too was fixed.
Putting away her tools, she began helping Lydia scrub the rooms down. Both were pleased to see that the chimney had been recently cleaned and there was a place to install the small stove that was in their cottage. A counter with cabinets was on one side, providing them with a place to prepare food and store utensils. Shelves on the wall to hold plates, cups, and other small items. The rooms would be cozy except for the heat of summer, but with windows that swung open, it would be tolerable.
Phineas came up the stairs to view their handiwork. "I had forgotten how nice these rooms were until now." He peered at the freshly scrubbed floors and looked up at the couple. "I spoke with the Wainwright up the street. He suggested renting the wagon and horses from him. That way, thee not need to return to the country to return them. One of his stable hands will take your other wagon to the Waller property for thee and ride back on the spare horse he'll take along with him. He'll do it for 35 pence if thee think it fair."
Alexia thought it over. A mere ha' penny would buy a loaf of bread. Considering her options, she thought it fair. She would have his wagon and horses for 3-5 days and he'd lack his stable hand for two. In addition, she wouldn't have to find a way to return the wagon. Nodding in agreement, she told the Glazier that she would speak with him shortly and pay him in advance.
The tall redhead gave the teary Abigail a final hug goodbye. The woman clung to her, knowing she'd miss the gentle lad. Alexia pulled back and wiped a tear streak from her face.
"Now, I dinna want ye to remarry for less than love Mrs. Waller. I want ye happy." The former servant thought she deserved it. Besides, men still outnumbered men by quite a lot, so she could afford to be choosey. The older woman nodded and turned to Lydia, embracing the slight young woman and kissing her cheek.
Alexia helped her spouse into the wagon and climbed up into the seat, grabbing the reins. With a final wave to everyone, they left their old life behind and looked forward to the new.
Lydia paid the sawyer's son his five pence for his help carrying items into the loft. He bowed pertly and ran down the street, no doubt to drink away his earnings at the tavern. Mostly settled, she and Alexia were planning a trip to the market down the road. Since Alexia was drawing a salary instead of working for boarding along with being taught, they had to supply their own food. Her wages would let them skim by but they agreed her own income would be for saving or small luxuries.
Already, due to Mr. Douglas' wagging tongue, people have approached Lydia for sewing orders. Ready made clothing from England was costly. Most households had their own small loom for making cloth from flax, but few had the talents for more than simple patterns. Once worried that she would be bored during the day, she quickly realized she would be meeting people almost on a daily basis. Women were scarce and tended to meet regularly.
She collected her marketing basket and went down the steps. Alexia had already received a key to the shop from Mr. Douglas, giving them freedom of the building. The Glazier had admitted he was grateful they now lived in the building. The presence of a former soldier would prevent thievery. While they had been gone, Phineas had pegs driven into the walls to hold a musket and powder that he had provided, just to be cautious.
Alexia locked the shop door and held her arm out to Lydia. They strolled eastward, towards the market. They wanted naught but simple foods for neither of them had the energy for cooking. Looking over the available fare, they chose bread, cheese, apples, and a crock of sweet butter. They had brought a few food items with them, mostly dry goods such as flour, salt, tea, and crocked foods that had been packed in straw.
Lydia spotted a small cart with household notions. She handed the basket to Alexia, who was looking over an assortment of leather goods. Peering at some coveted bone needles, she was joined by another customer who drew her into conversation. She was perhaps in her mid thirties, her shape plump from many years of childbirth no doubt. Her pale hair was tucked under a cap and she wore a light gray dress.
"You must be Mrs. Browne. I had planned on visiting you in a few days, after you settled. I'm Mary Elizabeth Sullivan," she stated.
"Pleased to meet you Mrs. Sullivan."
"Mary, please. And may I call you Lydia? It is so nice to see another adult woman in our small township. Most females are but children or just passing through. The women servants don't socialize since their time is spoken for. I understand your husband and you were working for Jonathon Waller before he passed away, may he rest in peace.'
"Yes, and since he freed his servants from their contracts in his will, we decided to move here."
Mary pointed towards Alexia, "Is that your husband?" Lydia nodded with a smile. "My, he is quite tall, and that scar makes him appear quite fierce!"
The younger woman laughed. "One look into his green eyes and you'll never fear him again," she said fondly.
"Ah, a gentle soul." Looking upon the younger woman's face, she knew without a doubt Lydia loved the red haired youth. As they watched him, Alexia turned and sent a heartfelt smile across the distance between them. Neither of them noticed anything else, as though they were alone in the world.
Basking in the glow of their love, Mary grinned, pleased to see such devotion between a wedded couple. Alexia's eyes never left Lydia's as she began walking towards her, joining the two of them. She bent down to kiss the seamstress' cheek fondly and looked towards the other woman.
"Mary Elizabeth Sullivan, this is my husband, Alexander Browne."
"Tis a pleasure to meet ye Mrs. Sullivan," Alexia said with a smile, bowing politely.
"Ah, a Scot! Lydia was no doubt snared by that lilt in your voice Mr. Browne."
Alexia felt a blush flame her cheeks. Her spouse chuckled and patted her arm fondly. Mrs. Sullivan was a hoyden. Her husband probably had his hands full with this outspoken wench, Alexia thought helplessly, wondering how often she'd be blushing in this woman's presence.
"And I see what you mean about those green eyes," she added. Alexia's looked down at her wife, wondering what in Glory Be they had spoken about. Lydia shrugged innocently.
"Mrs. Browne, why do I hae this idea that my dignity would be better served if I were to hide from the two of ye?" The tone was teasing rather than angry, so Lydia knew Alexia wasn't offended.
"Do not fret Mr. Browne, your wife was telling me of your gentle eyes. I meant no offence, do accept my apology." The woman appeared contrite but the sparkle of mischief in her eyes betrayed her.
Laughing with good humor, Alexia told the woman what she thought. "Mrs. Sullivan, I believe ye and my wife will undoubtedly get into some sort of trouble in the future. I just pray that it will be slight." Bending down, she kissed her wife and suggested that the three of them return to their new home. Mary agreed to stay just a short while, knowing they must be tired.
"Not too tired," Alexia whispered naughtily. Lydia shushed her.
Mary looked over their small quarters, finding it charming. It wasn't overcrowded with possessions but neither did it seem barren. Lydia had decorated with the curtains they brought and had thrown a gaily colored rag rug over the largest portion of the floor. Matthew had given them a tatted tablecloth that his mother had made, softening the dark wood of the table.
Sitting down at it, she noticed Alexia putting a kettle on for tea. It wasn't often she saw a married man do domestic chores. Lydia joined her at the table as Alex put the tea leaves into a pewter pot to steep.
"Lydia, if he can cook also, don't speak of it. You don't want every unwed woman in the parish trying to steal him away," she teased.
Alexia bent down to once more kiss her wife. "Impossible, for no one could compare to my Sweet Lydia" she said, delighted to finally cause the olive-skinned woman to turn pink—even if she had meant every word.
"Mercy, he is romantic, can cook, and sweet natured. Lydia, keep him in your sight at all times!" Mary teased, fanning herself with her hand.
In spite of Alexia's earlier naughty promised, she fell asleep the moment they snuggled up together. Lydia couldn't say she was disappointed, for she was weary too. She was asleep within seconds.
The redhead awoke in the early morning hours. The sky had not yet lightened so Alexia needn't rush. Pulling Lydia a bit closer, she buried her face in Lydia's dark hair. The seamstress mumbled in her sleep and rolled over, sliding her warm thigh between Alexia's, giving the larger woman ideas.
Telling herself to behave, she closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep. An arm circled her waist. Convinced Lydia was sleeping soundly, Alexia kept her eyes closed. A hand drifted along her spine and settled on her bottom. The larger woman sighed heavily. Then the small hand tickled the sensitive buttocks.
Alexia quickly reacted, rolling onto her back to protect her most ticklish area. Lydia giggled and crawled on top of her, seeking her lips.
Married for nearly eight months, they were familiar with each other's unspoken needs. The kiss was lingering and soft, the type shared when affection was the only goal. Alexia curbed the impulse to arouse her wife, keeping her touches innocent in spite of the hunger she felt. Unaware that she was doing it, she spread her legs and cradled Lydia's petite body against her own. Now intimately connected, Lydia realized Alexia's wants.
The kiss changed. Lydia opened her lips, slipping her tongue into Alexia's mouth. The redhead reacted instantly, her hands tracing the smaller woman's body. The seamstress broke the kiss and sat up, straddling Alexia's torso. She wasn't truly in the mood to be touched sexually, her menses was too close, but she did want please her spouse. Alexia looked up, trying to gauge her moods.
"Just let me touch you dearling. That's all I want."
"But I want to touch ye too," she pled quietly.
"I know, but this morning, allow me to please you. I'm cramping today and you know how I am." Her hands began stroking the redhead's breasts, but the larger woman stopped her.
"Nay sweet Lydia. If ye dinna want it as well, my pleasure would be less." She sat up, wrapping her arms around the small woman. Her large palm settled on the small of Lydia's back, feeling the tension there. "I'll put some water on to heat and make ye some willow bark tea. That should ease the pain," she offered.
Lydia wanted to cry, not from the rejection, but from the caring in Alexia's voice. She moved back into the bed and watched Alexia walk nude to the small stove and light a fire. She filled the cast iron kettle with water from the water crock and placed it over the heat. She slipped back under the coverlets and rolled Lydia to her side, spooning behind her. Her large hand stroked her spouse's belly, easing some of the discomfort.
The seamstress sniffled, overwhelmed by the gentleness and caring she received. A kiss brushed her neck as Alexia comforted her with words whispered into her ear. A tear fell and landed on the pillow. They snuggled a bit longer then the redhead got up, donning only a shirt. She set a cast iron pot on top of it with a bit of water. She cored a few apples and filled them with nuts and spices. Placing them in the pot, she fixed the tea and took it to Lydia.
She fixed herself a pot of regular tea and set it to steep. Peering through the slats of the shutter, she knew she had about a ha' hour before needing to go downstairs. After washing at the basin, she began dressing. Alexia checked the apples and found them nearly done. She sliced some bread, applied some butter and preserved strawberry jam, and scooped out an apple onto a plate. Lydia tried to get up but was told to stay there. The large woman brought her the plate and fork to eat in the comfort of their bed, piling the pillows behind her.
"You are spoiling me," she smiled gratefully.
"Nay, just cherishing ye as the good minister instructed us at our wedding."
"Mmm, I wish he instructed us to kiss at least every half hour," she teased.
Alexia grinned and kissed her wife tenderly. She straightened and fetched her own meal. She had to move along. Eating quickly then dressing, she gave Lydia one last kiss before going down the stairs.
Noticing Mr. Douglas hadn't yet arrived, she unlocked the door and opened the shutters to let in light. Feeling nervous, the redhead decided to sweep the floors to keep occupied. Finding the broom, she began steering the piles of dust towards the front door. She was just sweeping the last of it into the road when Phineas arrived.
"Good morning to thee Mr. Browne. Industrious I see." He removed his outer coat and hung it on a peg. He indicated a stool at a work bench so Alexia sat down.
"Did thee sleep well?" Alexia nodded. Phineas looked around. "I can smell your breakfast. I'm sure it is a comfort to have a wife to care for thee, although I've avoided the state of matrimony myself," he winked.
"Actually, I made our morning meal. Lydia felt a bit poorly this morning. She ought to feel better later on," she explained.
"She's not with child is she?" thinking perhaps she was suffering from morning sickness.
"Nay, but females tend to have their own delicacies." Alexia's master nodded knowingly. Changing the subject, he took his apprentice on a tour of the shop.
To Be Continued
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