You’re in love with him, Sandra said in a delighted whisper. Lily thought of her half-section of land, of the corn crops and fruit trees that would one day grow there. She forced herself to remember that Caleb wanted to keep her, not marry her. And, of course, there was the fact that he was a soldier. No! she protested, guarding her dreams. Sandra folded her hands in her lap. Her amethyst eyes sparkled with mischief. I don’t believe you. I don’t care, Lily snapped, out of patience. Sandra laughed. You needn’t be so testy about it. Caleb never loved me, Lily—I’m no worry to you. If he didn’t love you, why did the two of you get married? Lily asked reasonably. Sandra’s slender shoulders moved in a pretty shrug. My aunt and uncle are among Caleb’s oldest friends. I suppose we were sort of thrown together. Lily found the courage to ask, Did you love him? Sandra thought carefully. I don’t think I knew what love was until it was too late and I’d lost him. A terrible sadness swept through Lily. But you love him now? Yes, Sandra said with a small, resigned sigh. For all the good it does me. I had hoped Caleb might see things differently if I came back, but I was too late. You’re here. Lily was sitting on the very edge of her chair. Not since her years with the Sommers family had she felt like such an intruder. I’ll go back to Tylerville, she promised. If only the stage hasn’t left. Sandra reached out and closed her hand over Lily’s. You mustn’t go—you belong here, with Caleb. You seem to think this is much more serious than it is, Lily hastened to explain. I hardly know Caleb. We sat together in church, and he came to supper one night, but— His eyes glowed when he told me about the picnic, Sandra interrupted. Lily wondered if he’d mentioned kissing her. He—he told you? We talk about everything, Sandra said. Caleb regards me as a friend. These
― Linda Lael Miller,
Lily and the Major
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