Katie's Dream

Katie's Dream by Leisha Kelly Read Free Book Online

Book: Katie's Dream by Leisha Kelly Read Free Book Online
Authors: Leisha Kelly
size to play with would make her want to stay that much more.
    Going down the stairs, I sighed. Katie wouldn’t want to leave anyway. If we were in a smelly old shack without another soul to play with, she would still want to stay. Because of Samuel most of all. What were we to do?
    Dirty dishes were waiting in the kitchen, and ordinarily I would have done them just to have them out of the way before the morning’s bustle. But this time I left them in the dishpan and stepped outside. Whiskers met me on theporch, and my eyes searched the dark yard for Samuel. Finally I saw him behind the apple tree, just standing. I went to him slowly, not wanting to interrupt if he were praying. But I needed a hug. Surely he would too. I put my hand on his shoulder, and he drew me into his arms.
    â€œIs she sleeping?”
    He held me for a moment in the quiet, struggling, it seemed, for the right words. “Juli, I’m sorry . . .”
    I felt a sudden stir inside. What if it were true? But no, I would not entertain such a thought. Not about Samuel.
    â€œI had no idea he was out. Or that he’d do something like this—”
    â€œIt’s all right.”
    â€œNo. It isn’t. She’s just a little girl. Can you imagine how scared she must have been, traveling for miles with a stranger? And Edward, as coarse as he is! How could he hit her? And what do we do? If it’s true, that her mother didn’t want to keep her—”
    â€œWe can’t be sure of anything right now.”
    â€œI know. But she must have family somewhere.” He grew quiet. “Juli, when he got in the car, he swore he was telling the truth. I don’t know what to think. I’ve seen his lies plenty of times, but he’s gotten better at it. I don’t know what he’s trying to do. Turn you away from me, maybe.”
    â€œHoney, maybe it’s a different Wortham. Maybe a relative, even, that you didn’t know about. He might just be mistaken—”
    â€œThen why is he enjoying this so much?”
    I had no answer.
    â€œSometimes I think you’re the lucky one, Juli.” He sighed. “All your family is dead. And they left you with fond memories—” His voice broke.
    â€œSammy . . .”
    He sunk down to the grass, and I held him. I wasn’t sure what was happening. I’d never seen him like this.
    â€œIt’s been so long since I’ve seen him.”
    â€œWere you ever friends?”
    â€œI tried.”
    I was quiet for a moment. “We should get some sleep. We have a lot to think about in the morning.”
    â€œWill you stay out here with me, Juli? Under the stars tonight?”
    I didn’t want to protest. But there was Katie inside, in a strange house. “Honey, what if that little girl wakes up?”
    â€œYou’re right.” He pulled himself to his feet. “How ’bout we stretch out a blanket in the sitting room?”
    I didn’t know why he’d wanted to sleep outside. He’d never before mentioned such an idea. “Are you all right?”
    I took his hand, and we walked to the house. He didn’t speak again. I looked in on Katie and blew out the candle. When I came back to the sitting room, Samuel was unrolling Emma’s big comforter quilt to give us something soft to lie on. We wouldn’t need a cover, as warm as it was.
    He sat there, looking up at me in the soft moonlight filtering through the nearest window. He looked so vulnerable. Like a child, almost. Like Katie, scared and alone.
    â€œI’ve never known another woman, Juli. In all my life.”
    â€œOh, honey, I know.” I held him, kissed him, but I couldn’t help but feel his tension. If Edward did this to him every time he came around, I hoped he never came back.
    Finally Samuel lay still beside me, and I tried to sleep. Tomorrow he’d have to get to town. Maybe he could use Barrett

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