Chocolate Kisses Ch. 05bycalibeachgirl©
She knew damn well what those noises were.
Copyright @ calibeachgirl
All rights reserved, 2011
Saturday, December 26th, 1931
James Ewart's home
El Segundo, California
The pancake batter sat covered and waiting in the refrigerator. The canned blueberries had all sunk to the bottom of the bowl, nothing a spoon couldn't correct, easy enough.
She kept wanting to call it the 'ice box.' Her new way of life was harder than she thought. Fancy names for fancy ice boxes...
After two weeks, Eliza considered the kitchen her domain and Bethany Rose was now getting on her nerves with her new fancy ways... forgetting where she'd come from... trying to be the man's wife inside the house, telling her what to do, like she didn't know how to cook and clean well enough. Mr. Ewart hadn't made any complaints.
Eliza walked over to the kitchen sink window and looked out at the yard. Bethany had John rake up the fallen oranges and throw them on the compost heap but more were ripening and if they didn't start eating them... Never in her life... white people... and now, Bethany Rose.
Even the radio was off, now. She was tired of listening to goddamn 'Sister Aimee,' that self-righteous fake. Once she was found out shacking up with her married boyfriend, Ken Ormiston in Santa Barbara... everyone thought she had drowned in Santa Monica Bay.
"Guess I better go out there and get some more," she said to herself, upset that she was in the empty kitchen without anyone to talk to, "before the rest of the damn things fall down."
Walking outside, she starting picking oranges from the trees and putting them into her basket. He told her he wanted the children to drink orange juice every morning. 'Vitamin C.' he had said. 'Vitamin C.'
'Well, here was plenty of Vitamin C, all right. Good thing it tasted sweet. Trying to get children to eat anything 'good' for them was a lost cause.'
Eliza put the oranges on the counter and became upset, again. Bethany promised to help pick up the Christmas toys all over the house... she was still upstairs, somewhere.
Eliza stopped to peel an orange and eat it. ''Vitamin C' or not, this is a very nice, juicy treat.'
As far as she knew, Mr. Ewart was always an early riser but this morning it was already half-past eight and there was no sign of him... or Bethany Rose, for that matter.
She'd like to believe her sister when she said that she was working hard at night with the books. The books... was that what she was calling it, now?
As smart as her sister was, did Bethany really expect her to believe that? She knew the truth, especially this morning. Bethany wasn't in her room, her bed hadn't been slept in and the noises coming from his room had kept her up half the night... she knew damn well what those noises were.
The knock on the door woke Bethany Rose. Looking at James, sound asleep and lightly snoring, she pulled the blankets back and slipped out, opening the door just enough to peek out.
"I thought I'd find you here, Bethany."
"What do you want, Eliza? What time is it, anyway?"
"What time is it? Little Sister, what time do you think it is?"
"Shhh, stop..." Bethany looked back into the room and lowered her voice. "Stop bothering me, Eliza, what do you want? Can't you just be happy, once in a while?"
"Oh, nothing, forget it. Go back to sleep." Eliza went back to her kitchen to decide what she wanted for supper.
Close to ten o'clock, she could hear Bethany Rose moving around upstairs.
'It's about time. Thank the Lord the children are too young to understand any of it.'
Eliza heard the water running upstairs. She also heard her sister's giggling... just like a young girl... a young, silly girl.
'Lord, help us.' Eliza looked up as if trying to see through the kitchen ceiling into the upstairs bedrooms.
She looked at her reflection on the back of the copper-clad pot. She touched her face, touching a wrinkle here, a white hair there.
She put the pot down and sat at the kitchen table, her head down to hide her sobs.
At ten-thirty, Bethany came down to the kitchen, wearing a different robe from the one she had on yesterday. Peeking out from the opening folds was a light-green negligee, so sheer as to be nothing.
If there had ever been any doubt in Eliza's mind, it was over now. She wanted to reach out and just touch the silk. 'Silk. I've got cotton and she get's silk..."
Eliza just looked at her younger sister and then turned away. When he finally decided to come down, he'd probably be hungry, considering what they'd been doing.
'Pancakes aren't going to be enough; especially considering what time it is... especially considering what he's been doing all night... especially considering that big damn smile Bethany is wearing.'
She opened the ice... 'the refrigerator,' she reminded herself, the refrigerator and took out the ham from yesterday's dinner.
"Is he coming down anytime soon?"
"Now, how would I know..."
"Be quiet, Bethany Rose, just be quiet. Is he coming down for... lunch, now, you've both missed breakfast."
"I could go back up and ask, I suppose." She started to rise from the table.
"Oh, just sit down, you go up there and I won't see either of you until tomorrow."
Bethany smiled. That seemed like such a good suggestion.
Bethany looked out the kitchen window as she washed tomatoes for the evening dinner. Tonight was spaghetti night. She was going to make a salad and pineapple upside down cake for dessert, giving Eliza a break. She felt a little guilty keeping Eliza up all night with her noisy lovemaking with James. Later, she had a surprise... vanilla ice cream and 7-Up.
It was much more fun cooking when there was food in the house.
James was playing 'horsey' with Lizbeth and John, letting them jump up and down on his back and push him onto the grass. The sound of their screaming didn't seem to bother him at all. His quiet afternoons had evolved into something else entirely.
On one of the Adirondack chairs under the shade of the willow trees, Eliza was feeding Glory some of the new Gerber's strained carrots and watching her other two children knock him down once again.
John and Lizbeth were going to have to take a bath before going to bed, Eliza realized.
James was going to have to take a bath before going to bed with her, Bethany realized.
He was hungry and really looking forward to eating both the spaghetti and the cook. James smiled, licking his lips.
As Eliza sat watching James play with her two older children, she realized Bethany sleeping with James had indeed aroused feelings of jealousy. Her sister had found a lover that not only cared for her in the house but in the bedroom, oh, yes, the bedroom as she well knew, hearing her sister's loud moaning almost all night long... he truly was a considerate man. Henry had never once given her something to moan about... not once.
There was no reason whatsoever for him to be crawling around the grass playing horsey with her two older children, none whatsoever other than he was a better man than most.
She was ashamed of her behavior. At least, as far as she knew, he was unaware of it and she hoped to keep it that way.
Early Sunday morning, December 27th, 1931
Eliza had the table set for breakfast. Her little spat with Bethany Rose had quickly blown over as it does with all sisters. It had been a stupid argument, she realized and after watching him with her children yesterday... was it indeed jealousy rising in her heart?
She cringed when she thought about the hovel they were living in only a few weeks before.
She stopped justifying Bethany in her mind and stared out the window into the brightness of the lingering mist.
'Thank God,' she smiled, 'for Mr. Ewart... or Jimmy, as Bethany insists on calling him, now.'
Whatever she was going to think next was interrupted by Bethany Rose entering the kitchen.
"Good morning, sister, dear. I hope you slept well." Bethany Rose stretched her arms into the air, yawning for effect, forgetting the robe was never tied for she had used the belt for another one of his bedroom games.
"What? Oh, I forgot." Bethany hurriedly closed her robe, smiling. Her negligee had been left in the bedroom, somewhere... probably wrapped in the bed covers strewn all over the floor.
"Eliza," she quickly said, trying to change her sister's attention to something else. "Can I have some coffee, please?"
"Since when did you start drinking coffee?"
"Since I'm getting woke up at half-past three, that's when. What time is it, anyway? I lose all track of time with him."
"It's almost nine o'clock. What are you doing to him that he can't get up?"
"Oh, he can get it up. It's what he's doing to me. There's no satisfying him." She gently rubbed her ass through the robe, smiling. This was something she was going to like... a lot.
"Well, are you going to tell me or not?" If she couldn't do it she could still hear about it. Eliza put the cups of coffee down on the table and they both sat down, heads together like the conspirators they were.
"Well, this morning..." She stopped and looked to make sure they were alone. "This morning, he..."
"Good morning, ladies. I hope you all slept well."
Eliza laughed as Bethany dropped her cup and splashed coffee all over the table. She jumped up and away from her chair.
"Don't just laugh, give me a towel!" How did he keep sneaking up on her without a sound? She had no clue.
James took the towel from Eliza and began to wipe up the coffee from Bethany's robe.
It was then that he saw she was without her negligee. He stopped wiping and moved closer to her face, kissing her, pulling her onto his lap as he sat down.
As much Eliza knew what her sister was doing every night, for him to come right out and kiss her, right on the mouth in the kitchen... and, now, on his lap!
He set Bethany Rose up on her feet again and gave her a slap on the butt as she giggled like a little girl.
"Eliza," he said, "thank you for being here." He stood up and kissed her on the cheek.
Eliza touched her cheek, the kiss so sudden, so unexpected, so... so exciting.
As she turned to the ice... 'the refrigerator,' she reminded herself, to get breakfast started, there was just the hint of a smile.
"Good morning, Mr. Ewart..."
"Eliza, let's forget that foolishness, at least in the house, please. You know my name is James."
Bethany poured the orange juice. 'Your name is..."
"No, you don't, you little vixen." He moved to her and began tickling her waist.
"James, stop, I'll drop the juice. Please!"
"Plenty of oranges, only one of you."
She just managed to get the pitcher down on the table before his hands disappeared between the folds of her open robe and pulled her to him, kissing her so deeply Eliza could see her sister tremble from his touch.
'She's going to have a baby if this keeps up...' she thought at first. 'Where's my man? Why can't I have a man?' was second.
"Bethany," he whispered, tickling, tickling, tickling, "want to eat now... or, later?"
"Why, Jimmy, what do you want to eat?" As if she didn't already know him by now.
"Pie?" He had become so free with her, laughing and touching.
"Later, then. I'm going to need the extra strength to keep up with you.
"Eliza, are we ready? I'm starving!"
"Just you sit down, little sister. I'm almost finished." Eliza's emotions wavered whenever she saw him, now.
"Sure smells good, Eliza," he said, "what fantastic breakfast have you planned for us this morning, dear sister?"
"I hope you don't mind, Mr... James, but I found the cookbook and let it open by itself. There were enough marks to tell me it was something you liked and I've been doing that since the second day."
"That was very nice, Eliza, thank you." 'That explains that,' he thought, now knowing how Eliza knew just what he liked to eat.
The breakfast conversations centered on having the children have at least some schooling. He was insistent. Without education, no child had a future.
Even then, the loving looks between the two told Eliza more than any words could ever express. She wouldn't be surprised if they headed back upstairs after breakfast and not come down until dinnertime.
"Look, if we can't find someone able or willing to do it, I'll do it myself."
Both women looked at him in disbelief. A white man teaching colored children... it would never happen, not in a million years.
"Ladies, subject closed. More pancakes, please."
He looked at both sisters, smiling. Eliza's demeanor had indeed changed this last day. Whatever caused that, he didn't care, as long as it was permanent.
He reached under the table to his left and held Bethany's hand. She moved it down to her thigh and left it there.
Eliza's hand, he took into his above the tabletop and he told her how grateful she had come to live with them. Eliza felt herself blushing like a schoolgirl. She looked to see if Bethany was watching but her sister seemed to just be eating her waffle, saying nothing.