Threads of Grace
Trey made a point to touch SueAnna’s hand when she handed him his coffee. “Thank you, Rose. And thank you for another wonderful meal.” Who was he fooling? His gut was tied in a knot so tight he couldn’t get food into it—and had been that way since the preacher came to stay four days ago. Surely he wasn’t jealous, was he?
Her eyes met his. “Thank you, Mr. Martin.”
She turned to the guest. “More coffee, Sage?”
So that’s how it is—preacher man is Sage, and I’m Mr. Martin. Shouldn’t a wife call her husband by his given name?
The preacher took her hand. “No, thanks. But I was wondering,” he turned to Adam Covington, “Sir, would you mind if Rosie and I took a walk after we clean up the kitchen? This is my last night here and I would very much like to have some time with her.”
This is going to stop. Trey’s chair scraped across the floor as he scooted from the table.
Covington put his hand on his shoulder before he could get to his feet. “You two go have your walk and Trey and I will see to the kitchen. That is what you were going to say, isn’t it?”
Trey swallowed. This would not be a good time to argue. “Uh…of course, SueAnna. You deserve a night away from all your duties.” Bile rose in his throat. This was not at all what he wanted to say.
The other men at the table stopped eating, their forks in midair. They knew they were married and most likely wondered why he’d just given permission for her to go out with the preacher…alone. Any comment from him would only serve to disgrace SueAnna. A week ago he wouldn’t have cared. But now…admit it, Trey…now it does.
“Annie, shouldn’t you ask Trey?” Lily’s lip stuck out like a perch.
SueAnna didn’t hide her frown. “And why should I ask Trey?”
“Well, because he’s your hus—”
Ben wiggled his fingers across Lily’s lips. “Shh, little one. Your sister is old enough she doesn’t need to ask. But you do. Don’t you ever go walking by yourself without asking. Okay?”
Sage put his napkin on the table and stood. “It’s settled then. If you’ll excuse us, gentlemen.” He nodded at the men and placed SueAnna’s hand in the crook of his arm.
“I really need to get a jacket. Wait on the porch and I’ll be right down.”
He bowed low. “As you wish, milady.”
The click of the door echoed like a shot across the prairie.
“I still think she should ask Mr. Martin.” Lily huffed.
“Yeah, well it’s okay. My opinion doesn’t seem to matter much around here anymore.”
Lily’s spoon clanked against her plate. “But when you start sleeping with my sister so we can have babies then she can’t go walking in the dark without asking, can she?” She shoveled in the last bite of pie.
He wouldn’t give Ben the satisfaction of listening to his answer. “Excuse me, please.” He didn’t even make it to the kitchen before the red-headed woodpecker snickered.
Even through the closed kitchen door he could hear the laughter in the dining room. When would that little girl learn to keep her mouth shut?