Sitting beside Effie, he stretched his back and shifted his weight. He didn’t like the idea of putting her aside, young as she was. He had no other wifely prospects, and he didn’t have long months, certainly not years, to court one. At his age, he was already having trouble sustaining the march. If it came to putting Effie aside, though, he needn’t feel any guilt. If the Lord didn’t think her worthy of children, the Lord wouldn’t fuss over his leaving her.
He scowled at finding only Graf ’s wife behind the counter, her hair stacked, a full bosom. Tawdry.
“Rev. Jackdaw,” she said, her voice pinched. Then in a kinder voice, “Effie.”
“Where is he?”
The woman eyed him a moment as though answering a simple question took wits she struggled to muster. “Mr. Graf ’s gone on a delivery.”
“Gone?” The Lord’s hand. No need to even discuss the bill. “She’s got something for you.” He scowled and turned to Effie. “Give it.”
The corners of the bar Effie put on the counter were so well rounded he knew he needed to come home more often, keep a better eye on his own wife.
Graf ’s wife let the soap lay. “Effie, how are you?”
“Skinny,” Rev. Jackdaw said. He pulled his last coin from a pocket and dropped the dollar on the counter. The other had gone against Nell’s fees. “You tell him I paid that.” Then wished he’d hadn’t laid down the money; Graf wasn’t even there. Before he could reclaim the silver, the woman’s arrogant hand snatched it.
“Don’t put that in your own pocket.” He tugged Effie’s arm. “Come on. No use waiting for a man who’s off and not minding his store.”
“Effie,” Graf ’s wife called to their backs, “take care of yourself.”
He stopped and fired the woman a hard look. A rich squawk in her fancy clothes, acting as though she were a friend to Effie, acting as if he were some sort of demon.
“I hear you’re barren, too,” he said. “Not even a girl.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish