The look of respect, admiration and love that exuded from her face melted my heart. I must have had the look of a love sick puppy, but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t even mind that Ahab was within 5 feet of me and could kill me barehanded at any moment, even with a broken wrist.
Ahab looked from Daphne to me and back again. Finally, he just shook his head.
Daphne turned toward me and said to Ahab, “Please wait on the porch for me.”
Ahab continued to shake his head and responded, “Yes’m,” as he left the room.
I unsteadily put my pistol back in my belt; turned to this dream of a girl; and said, “Come to me.”
She rushed forward into my arms, and we kissed like two starved, star-crossed lovers. I knew we would probably never be permitted to have a life together, but I was going to give it one heck of a try.
After we exchanged kisses, I looked deep into her eyes and said, “How have I been so lucky to have you love me. You are the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Tears came to my eyes, and I hugged her close to keep her from seeing a grown man with tear-stained cheeks. I was barely able to keep the crocodile tears from flowing.
She let out a few sobs and then we released each other.
Miraculously a handkerchief had appeared in her hand, and she was dabbing her eyes.
I smiled and said, “Well, I guess we have devastated the norms of acceptable courtship for one day.”
She smiled and rejoined, “I hope you don’t think me a wanton women.”
“Not in the least,” I responded. “I don’t think I could have lived another moment without taking you in my arms.”
This brought a sly smile to her face that made me love her even more.
She took my arm and asked what I would be doing now. I told her I would have to help Caleb and his mother get Joshua back home. Then I would have to get back to Shepherdstown and get the children, and I use that term lightly, signed up for school.
I asked, “Can you make up an excuse to visit your relative in Shepherdstown?”
She said, “I will find a way.
I kissed her one last time. She took my arm, and we presented ourselves to Caleb and Ahab on the porch.