Today I’m going post another scene from Kent Ashton’s Backstory. 🙂
“Did you end your courtship with Miss Statesman?”
Kent paused as he cut into his steak, debating whether or not to make eye contact with his father. Why did his father feel it necessary to ask him such a personal question during dinner?
His mother finished sipping her wine and placed the glass on the table. “You decided not to marry Ann?”
Kent glanced her way, noting her surprise. His father hadn’t told her about anything about Rebecca? He turned his gaze to his father who wiped his mouth with a napkin before setting it back in his lap.
“Kent is going to ask Mister Johnson if he can court Rebecca. He plans to do that tomorrow.” His father looked at him. “Don’t you?”
“Yes, of course,” Kent quietly replied.
“What caused this change of heart?” his mother asked.
Not sure what to say, Kent turned his attention back to his father who waved his hand. “Love,” his father told her. “As simple as it is, love has changed his mind. He has decided he’d rather marry Rebecca. A fine choice, if I say so myself.”
She shrugged and poked her potato with a fork. “Ann or Rebecca, it’s all the same to me. I suppose the mother is always the last to know these things when she has a son.” She smiled at Kent. “Rebecca is a fine choice. Well done, Kent.”
Though he returned her smile, it was hard to eat the rest of his meal. He would have thought his father would be insisting he marry Rebecca at once considering the circumstances. He watched as his father continued to eat as if nothing horrible had happened the previous night. He knew better than to say anything in front of his mother since his father was determined to keep the situation as quiet as possible. As difficult as it was, he managed to finish the rest of the meal.
But after dinner was over and his father retired to the informal parlor, he followed him, shutting the door for privacy.
“I don’t believe I asked to speak with you,” his father said, reclining in his favorite chair and picking up the newspaper.
“Shouldn’t I be making plans to marry Rebecca as soon as possible?” Kent asked, keeping his voice low.
“That’s not necessary.” He opened the paper and put his feet on the ottoman. “But you did end your courtship with Ann?”
“Yes. I did that this morning.”
“Good. You will go to Mister Johnson tomorrow and ask to court Rebecca. We’re going to do this the right way. She deserves to be courted for a year before you marry her. Now that we’ve secured those investments, we can afford to wait.”
“But aren’t you worried there’ll be a baby? I don’t want anyone finding out about this.” Most of all, Ann.
His father lowered the paper and sighed. “You bring up a good point.” He paused then continued, “If it turns out she’s with child, you will marry her and go to New York. That will protect her virtue. No one needs to know she conceived before you married.”
“But her parents will know.”
“Kent, you worry for nothing. The chances of Rebecca getting with child from one incident are so small that you needn’t give it a second thought.”
“But it only takes one time—”
His father groaned and crossed his arms. “If it turns out she’s with child, we’ll deal with the situation then. In the meantime, you will ask to court her.”
Knowing his father wouldn’t budge, Kent finally nodded and left the room.