Priscilla pouted as she returned inside the house. Ed Mosley was not the boy in which Arabella should be about. He was a bad influence....her mind ran across the events of last night. He had been there, had he not? Was he the one who convinced her to accompany him and do such a foolish thing as that?
Shaking her head, she began arranging the dirtied laundry, gathering them in a basket to take out to the wash bucket and the line. Perhaps she would be able to keep an eye on the two as she did so. What a ridiculous thing for Arabella to do-there was work to be done and Mother would soon find out of her play-games with Ed, and certainly disapprove more than Priscilla did.
She took the basket in her arms and made her way outdoors, the air crisp and the breeze fresh. It ruffled her hair and played at her cheeks, the sound of the wind through the trees as it swept across the green knolls a delightful murmur. Sighing, she rolled up her sleeves, taking the wash basin to haul to the creek to fill.
Priscilla wrung the dampened clothes one by one and hung them across the line--by now Mercy was at her side sprawled across the grass and picking each of the blades and humming to herself absent-mindedly.
"What song do you sing, Mercy?" Priscilla chatted lightly, her eyes still lingering on the landscape. Arabella and that mischief-maker were no were to be seen.
"I am not sure," the youngest pushed herself up to stand, brushing a few stray clumps of dirt from her apron. "I am to get Dolly."
Priscilla nodded, watching the little girl toddle off back to the house. She returns her gaze outwards, catching a figure walking her way. It did not take long to realize that it was Benjamin Smith once more returning from the Clark's fields where Mrs. Clark and Thomas still stood, preparing for a day's work.
She paused, averting her eyes and gathering her wits about her. Her hand slipped to her hair to push a stray strand behind her ear.
"Hello, Ben," Priscilla looked up as he neared, smiling slightly.
He nodded, returning something of a sheepish half-grin. Stopping, he pointed a thumb towards the barn. "I am to fetch some tools for your Mother. Umm..do you need help?"
"No...no thank you," she replied slowly, attempting to keep her voice paced. There was an awkward break, Benjamin shifting from foot to foot. Priscilla swallowed and continued, "What should happen now? How could people do such things to Mrs. Williams without being prosecuted? Is that not...outside the law?"
With her question, his posture eased and he stepped closer. "I am not sure," he frowned. "It is unusual and....savage. We now must all be really be careful."
Priscilla nodded slowly, looking to the ground, though her mind did not linger on Mrs. Williams at that time. She nearly jumped where she was, heat rushing to her feet, and jerking from her throughts as Ben reached for her hand and held to it, his action forcing her to look into his face.
"You all must be very careful," he said quietly. There was something of a confidence in his stance that she had never seen before in him towards her. He was incredibly close, her heart thudding in her head so hard she feared that he would hear. "They may suspect anyone of.....," he continued, but he seemed to lose his thought. Priscilla appeared too have forgotten what they were talking about.
Gently he bent closer to her and brushed his lips over hers.