For Emma, the day started out so incredibly routine that her body was just going through the motions, her mind elsewhere. She was up early as usual, providing breakfast for the boys as usual and soon after began her usual cleaning. Emma hummed softly to herself as she worked, straightening the bunkhouse and checking the linens.
Suddenly, things got interesting and Emma’s mind perked up a bit. Peeking out from underneath Lou’s mattress was something unexpected, though not surprising. Further investigation proved she was correct; it was lace. For a moment, Emma stood, leaning against the bunk, fingering the feminine fabric; the dress was such a womanly item. At first, the engaging bit of lace served to engross Emma away from her mundane routine, but quickly, in Emma’s mind, it became a symbol of Lou’s sadness. Emma hurt for the young woman, so desperately trying to hide her gender at a time when she most needed to explore her womanhood.
‘Lou is a very intelligent young lady’, reasoned Emma. ‘Her even buying this is almost like a cry for help.’ So despite her decision to leave the child be, Emma decided it was time to confront her. Lou needed a woman to talk to and Emma resolved to listen.
A little later Emma walked out on her front porch, looking for the opportunity to speak with Lou alone. Luckily, she caught Lou heading for the barn.
“You wanted to see me Emma?” asked Lou, cautiously.
“Why yes,” drawled Emma. “Why don’t you take off those glasses? You are so attractive.” Emma enjoyed Lou’s discomfort as she sought the best way to approach the subject. Emma moved toward a large trunk under a nearby window.
“Now Emma,” Lou began in a firm voice, but she was interrupted.
“What I wanted to talk about was this,” Emma announced, holding up the dress. “I found it peeking out from under your bunk today and it near broke my heart.”
Lou reached up to wipe under her eye, trying to cover up just how upset she was. “When did you know?”
“Why, I’ve known all along Lulabelle,” smiled Emma, “but I figured you had as much right to make a living as the other boys.”
“And Teaspoon?” questioned Lou, who was beginning to relax.
“What Teaspoon don’t know won’t hurt him,” laughed Emma.
Lou joined in the laughter and a bond was made. Emma reached to give Lou a hug; it was the first mothering Lou had experienced in a long time.
|On to Parts One and Two|
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