Exclusive excerpt from Rebecca Grenville An Adult Romance Volume IV
I was still thinking only of myself. What about poor Will? Was I really so shallow that all I could think about was myself? Was I only running away and not facing my problems head on? My problems: what actually were they? My promise to my parents that I would look after Ben? But what about me and my life? Ben was settled and he would get stronger. He would get married to Emily eventually. He had a job. What was there to worry about?
Yesterday I thought I was settled and I was becoming calmer. Today I was in turmoil. Tomorrow? Rebecca, ignore Ben, I told myself. What do YOU want to do with YOUR life? It really is that simple.
I decided to give it a week and see how I felt. In the meantime I would write to Will and explain how I was feeling.
Thank you for your letter. I’ve started working with Mary in the Guengerich store making quilts. It’s very satisfying work. There are two other women I work with, Amy and Rosemary who have eleven children between them. Apparently large families are the norm in Amish communities. I think their tradition belongs to an older time when children died like flies and the more you had was a kind of insurance for your old age and to keep up the numbers to a viable number to ensure the community would survive.
Ben has settled in well and enjoys working on the land. I felt very settled until I received your letter so you never know I may return to you one day. Give me at least another week and I’ll see how I feel then. I hadn’t thought about my archery until your letter mentioned it. I do miss not practising. Perhaps I could get a few of us to go to the place we went to in South Dayton.
Please try and focus on your business. Have you had any further reaction to your speech to the UN?
A tourist with a smart phone was in the store today and he seemed excited by the news that an anti-austerity party had won the election in Greece. I think he was Italian, not American-Italian, but from Italy. He said it could be the beginning of big changes in Europe.
Watch that Gloria. I’m sure she has designs on you particularly since Bridget stopped playing the part of Boopsie, your girlfriend. In fact, I bet the women are lining up in SF begging for dates with you.
I do miss you, Will and would love to see you. Please come and see me next weekend.
I love you,
I read over what I had written. Was I giving Will too much hope? Was I just trying to keep him away from other women? Was it a case of I don’t want you, Will but I don’t want any other woman to have you? I was becoming more confused than ever.
“Would you like a cup of tea, Rebecca?” Mary stuck her head in my room and asked me.
“Yes, please, Mary.”
“Rebecca, what’s the matter? You look as if you’ve been crying.”
“It’s this letter from Will. I thought I had it all worked out in my head what I wanted but after reading Will’s letter I’m not so sure.”
Mary sat down beside me on my bed. “It’s never going to be easy moving from one type of life to another. You have to decide what is important to you. Is Will more important to your happiness than living here? Only you know that, Rebecca. And don’t think that living here is totally without any cares or concerns. Life anywhere isn’t like that. It’s true we may have a way of life that is more settled than most and perhaps is mapped out for us so we have a strong sense of security. But for some that can be too cloying, too restrictive. You should have heard enough from Amy and Rosemary by now to realise that they have matters that concern them. The Amish life is not an idyllic life even if it may seem like that to outsiders. Then there is the matter of the case of the Mullets that we talked about yesterday. You are more than welcome to stay but I, for one, will fully understand if you decide that life with your Will is more important than living here with us.”
“I asked Will to come and see me next weekend. I thought by then I may have made my final decision.”
“Good, but remember you don’t have to make the decision final. You can change your mind at any time.”
I thanked Mary for being so understanding.
I decided I would have a walk across to see Ben as I waited for supper to be ready. I told Mary I would make the meal the following night but she said there was no need. I told her where I was going and set off to walk to Alec Granville’s house. I was still wary of him but no longer feared him. I knocked on the door and Alec appeared instantly.
“You can’t keep away, can you, Rebecca? You will be mine one day. You do know that, don’t you?”
“In your dreams, Alec, in your dreams. I’m here to see my brother and you know it.”
“Come in. He won’t be long.”
I walked up the steps and entered Alec’s sitting room.
“Sit down,” he said.
“I’ll just stand. I’ve been sitting down all day.”
It was a mistake. At once Alec was across the room and put his arm across me to stop me moving. He pushed himself against my breasts. I could feel his erection.
His face was close to mine. “Give me a kiss, Rebecca, for old time’s sake. You’re still a very attractive woman. In fact I have to say, you’re prettier than ever.”
I pushed him away. “Don’t touch me, Alec. The thing is, Alec, you do need a woman. But I am not the woman for you. I’m surprised you’ve stayed here so long. Is there no young woman in the community who likes you? Or do they all find you so repugnant they will have nothing to do with you.”
Alec laughed. “Rebecca, you haven’t a clue. Half the married women in Conewango lust after me. I’ve already bedded a dozen of them.”
I was stunned but tried not to show it. “Do the elders know? Do the husbands know? You’ll cause a riot if they find out.”
“No, they won’t for one simple reason. I know how to make their women happy. They pretend nothing is going on but they know.”
“I don’t believe you. Why would they tolerate such behaviour?”
“I’ve already told you. I keep their women happy. Most men, and certainly most Amish men don’t have a clue how to fully pleasure a woman. And when the long, dark nights come in what do you think most husbands and wives do? They go to bed. You can’t sing and pray all the time. And in spite of what the outside world thinks, we are human beings and need sex just as much as anyone else does.”
“I still don’t believe you, Alec. Anyway, where does all this illicit sex take place?”
“Most of it is in the winter. Sometimes in broad daylight when I’m working in the shop, making my furniture. Sometimes later on if I’m working late and the women make an excuse saying they want to check on something I’m making for them. The barn shop is far enough away from the houses that the men can’t hear their women howling with joy as I bring them to climax.”
“I still don’t believe you. Amish men and women don’t divorce. They get married for life.”
“That’s why it suits everybody, Rebecca. The men pretend that all is well and the women are kept satisfied.”