Read Words Heard in Silence Online

Authors: T. Novan,Taylor Rickard

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Family Saga, #Historical, #Sagas, #Historical Fiction

Words Heard in Silence

Words Heard In Silence
By
T. Novan
Taylor Rickard
D
isclaimers:
The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and all others associated with the television series of the same name are owned by MCA/ Universal Pictures. This is a work of fan fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
Subtext:
I guess with my writing so far we'll just quit calling it subtext and call it main text. Yes they are in love with each other.
Sex:
Implied
Violence:
Yeah a little. Xena’s not a happy warrior.
Language:
Mild
Spoilers:
None
Other:
Just a little something…
 
Chapter 1
Gaines Cove Farms, Culpeper County, Virginia Friday, October 28, 1864
R
ebecca Gaines stopped washing the wall of the foyer when she heard a loud rumbling noise. Wiping her hands on her apron, she tucked a loose strand of blonde hair, which had fallen from the knot on the back of her head, behind her ear. She still had not managed to fix a small hole in the roof of her house that relentlessly leaked into the kitchen during a hard rain, and wondered briefly if there might be a late autumn storm heading her direction. Saying a small, quick prayer that it was not going to be a hard storm, she opened the heavy front door and stepped out on the porch to see if she could determine the source of the noise.
Surprised to see cloudless blue skies, Rebecca tilted her head just a bit, listening intently to the noise that seemed to be growing louder with each passing second. Then her eyes widened and her heart began pounding in her chest when she saw the source of the noise.
A multitude of emotions overtook Rebecca as she watched the Northern troops coming down the road toward her home. All at the same time, she felt fear, anger and dread welling up inside her, making her feel very ill.
For a brief moment she considered returning inside and retrieving the rifle she kept handy, but quickly put that thought out of her head knowing that any attempt at a stand off with the Yankees would only result in her being injured, or worse. So far, she had done an adequate job of surviving in these very uncertain times, and she had no desire to commit suicide now.
She watched as the men rode and marched onto her land. She straightened her shoulders, taking on a proud, almost arrogant, stance as a Union officer dismounted his horse and slowly made his way over to her, taking his time to survey the land.
"I am Major Montgomery of the 13th Pennsylvania and our troops will be staying on your land to rest and regroup."
"Just like that?" She said, staring down the steps at the man who removed heavy leather gloves and tapped them against his leg.
"Just like that. If you cooperate, we will leave your place in one piece. If you do not, it is hard telling what will happen." He took a step toward the woman, placing a booted foot on the first step. The look on his face told Rebecca that it would be extremely unwise to argue with him.
A deep voice fired from behind him. "Major!"
The officer whirled around, then immediately snapped to attention as another man in a dusty, but neatly kept uniform, rode up to him. "Colonel." He snapped a salute, which was returned by the dark haired man. "Sir, I did not expect you for another three days."
"Apparently not." The Colonel dismounted his horse. "Did I just hear you threaten this lady?" The senior officer turned to Rebecca, giving her a polite smile.
The blonde could not seem to help herself as she returned the smile to the officer. She felt a bit shocked when she noticed his startling blue eyes and felt the butterflies take flight in her stomach. She placed a slightly shaking hand on her midsection to try to calm them.
The Colonel dropped the reins of his horse, taking two long strides toward Rebecca. "Ma’am, did the Major threaten you?"
The fact that the man was speaking in a civil manner startled her. Then, his voice caught her attention. She realized he had a very soft southern accent. She had never heard of a southern gentleman in the Union Army.
Not much of a gentleman if he is fighting for Yankee rabble.
The thought crossed her mind as she narrowed her eyes on him, but she had the good sense not to let it leave her lips. "No more than any other northern officer has in the past, Colonel."
"Well, now, Ma’am, I am sorry for those others and I assure you that it shall not happen while I am here." Removing his hat and gloves, the tall man took a step closer. "I would like to rest my troops on your land, Ma’am. They are in need of rest, fresh water and baths. We have our own supplies and we will not be taking anything you might have here."
"I have very little, Colonel. Union forces have already seen to that." She wanted to be difficult and bitter towards this man, but for some reason she could not do it. She certainly did not understand it, but her heart just would not let her cause him trouble. Rebecca noticed right away he was clean-shaven. In a time when most men wore facial hair, the blonde found it to be a very refreshing change of pace. Not to mention extremely pleasing to the eye. This northern officer was undeniably handsome and she found herself hard-pressed not to admire his unusual good looks.
Silently, she scolded herself for even thinking such a thing. There was absolutely no reason on God’s green earth that a southern lady should find a northern officer attractive. If anyone ever found out she had considered it for even a moment she would never be accepted in respectable circles again.
"Ma’am, if you tell me to take my men and leave, I will. No harm will come to you or your property. I promise you. But the men are tired, some are injured and the horses need to rest and recover as well."
She wanted to do it. She wanted to order this man and his troops from her land, but something in his face and the look in his eyes would not let her. She watched him critically as he spoke. Even though he was being polite and more than respectful to her, Rebecca could see it in those azure eyes. He was tired and something about the depth of it told her it was far more than just physically tired.
"No, Colonel, you can stay. If you are on my land, I will not have to worry about something worse coming along. At least not for awhile." She turned for the house, leaving the Yankee Colonel standing on the steps holding his hat in his hands.
--*--
S
he watched from the rear parlor window as the men took up most of the land in the pastures beyond the barns. This was one of the largest groups she had seen come through the area. That thought gave her a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Rebecca watched as the Colonel moved his men around arranging the camp to his liking. She noticed that he had his command tent set up rather close to the house. She was not sure if it made her feel safe or nervous.
Once again, she noticed how good-looking he really was. He was truly the most attractive man she had ever seen. Close to six feet tall, his short dark hair was clean and neatly cut. His skin was tanned, but did not seem to have the extremely harsh, weathered look that so many men in his position seemed to carry with them after years of service in the military.
He carried himself with a certain grace and bearing she had never seen in a man. Not even the most refined Virginian gentleman. There was also a certain charm about him. Rebecca considered that maybe she had simply been without the company of a gentleman for too long. All the men were gone now, of course. Every man from the age of sixteen to sixty had been called to fight. Presidents’ Davis and Lincoln had certainly managed to make a mess of things.
He unquestionably treated his men well, this Colonel. It was a sharp contrast from the other officers that had gone through the area recently. He genuinely seemed to care about his men. Rebecca watched as he stopped by the tent that had been set up as a field hospital for the sick and wounded. He stopped and talked to each and everyone of the men resting outside the tent, waiting for it to be completed. Then he turned to talk to a man the blonde figured must be a doctor. It was then she realized that he must truly be an important man in the Union Army. Having a real doctor in the ranks was a privilege. Most officers did not and many men died because of it.
The Colonel glanced to the house, raising his hand in a gesture of agreement to the doctor. She watched him turn and begin walking toward the house. The blonde tried to busy herself with dusting the parlor so the colonel would not notice that she had been watching from the window. It was not long before there was a knock at the back door. Taking a deep breath, she moved to the screen door. Once again, she found herself captured by blue eyes and an enigmatic smile.
"Yes, Colonel?"
"Ma’am," He nodded slightly. "I have a wounded man here who really needs to be taken out of the weather. Would you have any room in your home for him?"
Again, she wanted to rebel and laugh in his face, but she could not. "Colonel, I am a single woman trying to survive. I would be crazy to tell you no. You will just take what you want anyhow."
"No Ma’am, I will not. If you say no……" He looked back to the doctor, giving a slight shake of his head. "I am sorry to have disturbed you."
He turned to walk away, but before he could take his first step, Rebecca heard the words leave her mouth.
"Will the cellar do?"
"Ma’am?"
"Are you deaf, Colonel? I asked if the cellar would do for your man."
"Why, yes, Ma’am, it would. It would be perfect. Thank you for your kindness."
"The cellar is empty. You may use it. The door is on the side of the house."
"Thank you again, Ma’am."
Rebecca bit her lip as she considered her next question. "Colonel?"
"Yes, Ma’am."
"Would you by any chance have any bread you could spare? I am out of just about--"
"Of course, I will bring it up myself after we get my injured man settled. Is that all right?"
"Yes, Colonel, thank you."
As the tall man turned and left the porch, she found herself watching him. He returned to the doctor and before long, she heard them making a spot in the cellar for the wounded man. She blew out a fretful breath, knowing that if anyone found out about this, she would be accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. If they found her guilty of that crime, she could be hung. For the first time in a long time, Rebecca was glad she was alone.
Going back to work cleaning the house, she took a moment to check the larder. She rearranged what few dry goods she did have left, finding herself hoping that the Yankee Colonel would be good to his word and that his men would leave her with what she had when they arrived.
A short time later, she heard yet another knock on the door. Dropping what she was doing, she went to the door to find the Colonel with a cloth sack in his hands. "The bread you asked for, Ma’am." He offered as he lifted the bag slightly.
Unlatching the door, Rebecca pushed it open. The man hesitated for just a moment before stepping inside, placing the bundle on a small table right inside the door.
"Thank you, Colonel."
"You are welcome, Ma’am. It is the least I could do. There is some fruit and cheese there as well."
Rebecca could not help but smile at the Colonel. He seemed so caring and gentle. He was the kind of man she wished her parents had arranged her marriage to. As it was, she had been all but sold to her husband like a common field hand. Her husband had been some fifteen years older than his captive bride. He only wanted a woman who would take care of his needs both domestic and marital. He also believed it was his God given right and her wifely duty to give him a child every other year. Much to Rebecca’s secret relief that part of the plan had not come to fruition. She was not burdened with children while trying to survive this nightmare of a war. Her stomach fluttered when her mind whispered that she certainly would not have minded so much if this gentleman had been the father of those longed for children. She brought her hand to her face in a shy fashion when she felt the blush rise to her cheeks at the terribly naughty vision that flashed through her mind.
"Well, if you will excuse me, Ma’am, I have to attend to my duties." "Of course, Colonel." She ran her hand over the sack, her mouth very nearly watering at the thought of fresh food. "Thank you again."
"If there is anything else you need, please let me know." The officer turned to leave; when his back was to Rebecca, she noticed a dark stain on the shoulder.
"Colonel?"
"Ma’am?"

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