Read about the day Elijah first falls in love with Victoria in the Eagle Harbor short story, Love’s Beginning.
As a ten-year-old boy, Elijah sees Gilbert Sinclair bully the other school children day in and day out. As far as Elijah figures, it’s going to be a long school year if somebody doesn’t show the rich kid a thing or two, so it might as well be him. If only his sister wasn’t around to mess up his plans.
And why does he care so much what Victoria, the pretty girl with a house fancier than Gilbert’s, thinks of their fight?
Love’s Beginning is a 12 page short story. It can be read as a standalone or as an extension of Love’s Every Whisper, which is Elijah and Victoria’s full length novel.
Eagle Harbor, Michigan; September, 1868
“Come on, hand it over,” Oliver Orrick called from behind him.
“Don’t be such a blockhead. Just give it to us,” Peter Hendricks added from his left.
“Yeah, I’m tired of waiting.” This from Clayton Pelkie on his right.
But Elijah Cummings didn’t look at the gang of boys surrounding him. Instead, he gripped the handle of his lunch pail and stared into the sneering blue eyes of their leader. “If you want my lunch, Gilbert…” He raised his arm and dangled the pail up in the air. “Take it yourself.”
Gilbert Sinclair smirked, and something in Elijah’s blood turned hot. Someone needed to wipe that haughty look off Gilbert’s face and put some dirt stains on his fancy new short pants. A few scuffs on his shining black shoes wouldn’t hurt none either. Elijah tightened his free hand into a fist.
Gilbert’s taunting smile widened until his girly-blue eyes smirked right along with his lips. “Last time I took your lunch, you ended up with a black eye.”
And a switching after he got home. But he wasn’t going to think about the sting of Pa’s willow branch right now.
Elijah glanced over his shoulder toward where the other children should be gathered, but the brightly colored leaves hid the school yard. Were they done eating yet? He could only distract Gilbert and his gang for so long. But some of the little ones ate awful slow. Probably best to keep stalling—which might mean another black eye.
And another switching.
“Come on, Gilbert. If we don’t hurry, Billy will be done with his lunch,” Oliver whined.
“Yeah! Won’t be nothin’ in Elijah’s except salt fish and dried thimbleberries anyway. Billy has sweet rolls.”
But Gilbert kept those girly eyes pinned on him. “Time to pick, Elijah. Your lunch or a black eye?”
The skin around his eye smarted like he’d already been struck. “Neither.” He swished some spittle around in his mouth and let it fly…
…Right onto the tip of Gilbert Fancy-Pants’s shoe. Perfect hit.
“You’re going to pay for that!” Gilbert’s face contorted in anger.
Elijah probably would pay, but Gilbert wouldn’t get himself dirty over it. He always stood back and watched, all clean and shiny, while the others did the fighting.
“Elijah! There you are.”
He whirled toward the voice. A flurry of white pinafore, dark blue dress, and brown hair streaked through the woods and slammed into him, small fingers clutching his shirt.
“What are you doing out here?” His little sister’s breath puffed in and out in short, quick gasps.
“What does it look like?”
Rebekah blinked, her eyes taking in the other boys.
If she had half a brain, she’d duck behind him for protection.
But most little sisters didn’t have half a brain, and his didn’t even have a quarter of one, which was why she let go of his shirt and walked right up to Gilbert.
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