Lunchtime Confrontation

Author: Kay
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Livy turned and left the barn, sorry that Ray was upset with her for talking about going to Denver to deliver the baby. She sighed heavily....she was nervous enough about the actual birth, and knowing she hurt Ray's feelings didn't help at all. She looked out across the farm as she walked back up to the house. She can see the different crops in each field, looking like a huge patchwork quilt. A small smile crossed her least now she recognized what was growing out there!

In the kitchen, she washed her hands, ready to fix some lunch. She stopped for a moment, stared out the window, and thought how her life had changed since coming to the farm, since marrying Ray. She is so torn! On one hand, she believes she might have a future with Edward. Surely once he knows about the baby, he will move heaven and earth to get to her, to claim them so they can become a real family.

But on the other hand, she was beginning to have feelings for Ray. She can't stop thinking about dinner that night at Hank and Martha's. When Ray mentioned the excavation of Troy, she was stunned! She was touched that he sought to learn about the things that meant so much to her. Then when they got home, and he reached to take her face in his hands, she had bolted! She wanted to give in to that kiss, she was so longing to be held and loved. It was all so confusing, these emotions he had stirred in her! She wanted to be a good wife to him, she really did. She could see his warmth, his caring. Lord knows, she was becoming aware of him as a man, and as her husband. She thought about what it would mean to be a real wife to him. She blushed, and tried to banish these thoughts from her head as she hurried to prepare his meal.

Out in the shed, Ray muttered to himself. He felt so frustrated! He has been so patient, and he is trying so hard. He curses himself for giving in to his heart and trying to kiss Livy the other night. He had vowed that he would make this marriage work, that they would grow to love each other. He was certainly beginning to realize the depth of his feelings for Livy. He wanted to nurture that, all the while wooing her slowly, to let her see that he would be a good husband and father. Now he feels so dejected....isn't the farm good enough for her? And more important, isn't he?

The more he thinks about Abby and her visit, the angrier he becomes. She was downright rude! She cruised in here unannounced, and he had welcomed her into their home. Then she left, without saying good-bye or thank you? He might be just a farmer, but even he had been brought up with better manners than that! And how did she repay their hospitality? She stirred up trouble, and high-tailed it out of here, but not before she tried to persuade Livy to go back to Denver to have the baby.

He banged his knuckles on the tractor wheel, cursing at the pain. He stands up, throws his rag down, and kicks at the dirt. Damn it all...he is mad at himself, not because he cares for caring for Livy, but for allowing her to see it. How can he face her now, knowing she does not have the same feelings for him, that this arrangement is not working out?

At the kitchen table, lunch is waiting, getting colder by the minute. Livy watches Ray as he walks slowly to the house, head down, shoulders slumped. Franklin walks by his side, as if he senses his master's sadness. Livy is afraid she has pushed Ray too far this time, that he will tell her it is time for her to leave. But she is still proud. She squares her shoulders and puts on a pleasant smile.....

While Franklin settles on the porch, Ray comes in and hangs his hat on the hook. He rolls down the bib of his overalls, and washes up at the sink. He stalls, in no hurry to sit with Livy and make small talk while he is still smarting over her news. Finally, he joins her at the table. He prays over their meal, and refusing to look at her begins to eat. It is an awkward meal, with neither of them speaking, but stealing glances at each other. They are both aware of the hurt Abby's visit has caused. The only noise is the scuffing of chairs, the clink of silverware against dishes and lots of sighs.

Finally, Livy clears throat and with forced cheerfulness tries to tell Ray the news from Denver. He continues to eat, chewing thoughtfully, but not commenting on her nervous chatter. Finally, she broaches the subject they have both been avoiding. "Ray, about going to Denver. You know, it will be much better for me to deliver in a hospital....." It is that sideways look, the way he bites his lip -- that stops her in mid sentence.

His fork clatters as he drops it to his plate and he fires all of his questions at her. "All right, Livy, answer some things for me. Why did your sister leave so suddenly? And just who's idea is it to go to Denver? You know, my mama had all 3 of us kids in this house! Isn't that good enough for you? If Abby is so worried about you, why didn't she just take you with her? Why are you still here?"

He pushes his chair away from the table and takes his dishes to the sink. Standing at the window, he is not happy that he has lashed out at Livy. He just needs to know where things stand between them. With a lump in his throat, he asks the question he is most afraid to have answered. "Are you coming back home after you have the baby?"

Stunned at Ray's outburst, Livy is speechless. She is wounded by his remarks, thinking maybe he doesn't want her to come back. After all, how could he could love her after the mistake she has made in getting pregnant out of wedlock? Knowing she had just sent another letter to Edward through Abby, her face burned with shame.

Ray is extremely hurt, as Livy's silence is all the answer he needs. He takes his hat, and opens the door, looking out across his land. Quietly, he asks Livy one last question. "Did it ever occur to you that I would like to be there for our baby's birth?" He shuts the door without looking back at Livy, and walks out to the barn, Franklin again by his side.

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