Arabella picked up her plate, heading to the basin in the corner of the kitchen to wash her dishes. She hoped to assume an innocent appearance, but her ears were ready to hear any bit of conversation between Priscilla and Benjamin. Mrs. Clark had left for the fields, and they were now alone at the table.
After a few seconds, Arabella turned back. What she saw surprised her: Benjamin had covered Priscilla's hand with his, and Priscilla's cheeks were reddening madly. With a slight stifled giggle, Arabella turned to the basin, diligently scrubbing at the plate. Her own cheeks reddened as she thought, considering what she would do if Ed were to do the same...
Her wonderful thoughts were interrupted by a clatter of plates falling onto the ground and the frantic footsteps of Priscilla. Arabella turned quickly, finding Priscilla standing and wiping food off of her dress. Arabella raised her eyebrows in pity; Priscilla must have moved her hand quickly.
Priscilla shot a desperate look at Arabella. "Help!" She mouthed.
Arabella swooped over, a slight smile on her face to keep Benjamin from looking at Priscilla in her moment of embarrassment. "Benjamin," she started, making sure she was distracting enough. "Will you please check on our mother in the fields? She may need help."
Benjamin took one last look at Priscilla, then nodded and left for the fields.
"Thank you," Priscilla seemed to roll her eyes as she picked the plate up off the floor.
"What's that for?" Arabella asked, picking up a few more plates from the table.
"You can just control these men, can't you?" Priscilla remarked, standing up straight and heading to the basin.
"Well, Priscilla, I am but a woman." Arabella brought another plate to Priscilla. "I have no authority, but I do have my tricks." She smirked.
"Arabella," Priscilla started to scold. "You must act more proper." With a nod, she added: "The way you act may even be the death of you."
"The death of me!" Arabella laughed. "You may be taking this a bit too far. Priscilla, I see nothing wrong with my behavior. So what if I don't spend my days praying? Life is short."
"Shorter, if you keep acting this way." Getting no reply but a huff, Priscilla sighed, giving up on her sister.
They cleaned in silence for a while, thinking over the activities of the past night. Arabella's heart still raced at the thoughts of the men dancing, surrounding her, and the heat of the fire warming her face as she laughed. But Priscilla was quite the opposite; every time she thought of this disaster, worry made her stomach drop. If people were to find out that Arabella was out the other night, what would happen to the Clarks?
Arabella was washing the final plate when a knock was heard at the door.
"Stay there, I'll answer it." Priscilla dried her hands on her apron and opened the door, revealing the tall figure of Ed Mosley.
"Hello there," he greeted her, taking off his hat. "Is Arabella here?"
"She's here, but busy." Priscilla remarked, raising her eyebrows at Ed. This was someone her younger sister shouldn't be with.
Arabella ran over, standing behind Priscilla. "Ed!" She exclaimed as soon as she saw him.
"Arabella!" He replied, extending his hand. Arabella's eyes widened and her cheeks were overcome with heat as she gave him hers, and he led her out of the house.
"We'll be back in a bit," he smirked at Priscilla, already walking away with Arabella.
"Don't you...Arabella, stop!" Priscilla called, but Arabella gave her a pleading look, and she softened. Priscilla stepped back inside, returning to her chores, yet overcome with worry.