Chapter 3 
  
  Published by
  Purple Penguin 
  Publishing
  P.O. Box 
  20763, Roanoke, 
  Virginia  
  24018
  
  This novel is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places,
and 
  incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are
used 
  fictitiously.  Any resemblance to 
  actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely 
  coincidental.
  
  Copyright © 2004 by Tanya 
  Adams
  
  All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced 
  or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, 
  including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval 
  system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except
where 
  permitted by law.
   
      
       In the large master suite down the 
  hall, Meki was also thinking how odd it would be to expose so much
of herself 
  that evening to her beloved 
  Victoria.  This was a night she had dreaded for 
  so long.
       It had been nineteen years to the day 
  since horrible tragedies had struck her life.  She had been
ripped of all happiness 
  and security that day so long ago.  
  Since then, only Victoria 
  had brought any joy into her life and security was simply never
again 
  attainable.  She could never again 
  trust fate when it had been so cruel to her.  The losses she
suffered had been too 
  catastrophic to ever really overcome completely.
       In nineteen years, she had never told 
  anyone all of the horrors she had endured.  She had entrusted a
small portion of 
  the story to Cook and even fewer details to her friend, Anna. 
Now she was about to confide all of 
  her past to the only person she had ever again opened her heart to 
  completely.  Meki had always known 
  that Victoria had a right to 
  know the truth and had tried often to muster up the courage to tell
her all of 
  it.  She knew it had been selfish 
  of her to never let Victoria 
  know any more than she already did.  
  Meki had made too many excuses over the years in an effort to block
the 
  memories that haunted her.  She 
  knew that the truth would bring 
  Victoria a peace she had 
  searched for, to finally have the answers to all her 
  questions.
       Meki was terrified that 
  Victoria would not be able to 
  fully understand the pain she had suffered.  It is not an easy
task to explain why 
  it would take someone almost two decades to finally find their voice
on the 
  subject of their own family.  
  Especially since one of the people Meki had not been able to discuss

  with Victoria was her 
  father.
       Meki reminded herself that 
  Victoria would understand her 
  avoidance of the subject and forgive her for not telling her sooner
once she 
  learned the whole truth.  Their 
  closeness made it difficult to stay angry with one another for very
long 
  anyway, but Meki was sure the gravity of all she endured would allow

  Victoria to understand why she 
  had not confided in her sooner.
       While Meki fretted over the details of 
  the conversation she was to have following dinner, she carefully
wrapped the 
  beautiful embroidery she had completed for 
  Victoria that afternoon.  Suddenly she realized she was 
  shaking.  A chill ran through her 
  and it felt as if someone had poured ice water through her 
  veins.
       She wrapped the shawl 
  Victoria had given her tightly 
  around her arms and shoulders.  As 
  she felt the lace at her fingertips, she looked down at the
beautiful design 
  and started to cry.
       Had she made a terrible mistake in 
  promising to tell Victoria 
  everything?  What if she couldn’t 
  make Victoria understand why she 
  had kept the truth from her for so long?  
  What if the reality of the situation left 
  Victoria as shaken as it had 
  her?  Meki had been more than two 
  years older than Victoria when 
  these events unfolded and she had barely been able to recover. 
Meki knew the reality was she could 
  not protect Victoria from these 
  facts forever.  She also knew that 
  she was mostly protecting herself from having to rehash the events
with her 
  daughter.
       Meki regained her composure as she 
  started to get herself ready for the evening.  She reminded
herself that she had 
  always felt such conflicting emotions with the prospect of exposing
the 
  past.
       In her closet she took out a dress she 
  had ordered from a dressmaker months before in preparation for this
special 
  night with her daughter.  As she 
  put on the delicate new gown, she felt somewhat overdressed. 
It was an expensive item made of the 
  finest black silks, satins and lace.
       She had commissioned a dressmaker out 
  of Paris for the design.  It was the same dressmaker who had 
  designed and made the dresses she wore nineteen years earlier on
what started 
  out to be the best days of her life, but had become the worst
imaginable.  Meki had always been very 
  superstitious.  Yet, instead of 
  seeing this as an omen of bad things to come, she was determined to
break free 
  of all her bad memories with this silly gesture.  She wanted to
prove to herself that 
  facing her past head-on in the smallest way would not break 
  her.
       Meki sat down at her dressing table and 
  looked at her reflection.  She 
  could not see the beautiful woman with golden blonde tresses who
stared back 
  at her as she twirled her hair into a twist at the back of her
head.  All she could see in the bright green 
  eyes in the mirror was a lost soul.  
  The emptiness from all she had lost crept into her very being 
  immediately following these events nineteen years earlier and had
taken a 
  strong hold.  Since then, 
  Victoria had been the only joy 
  in her life.  Had it not been for 
  Victoria, Meki was sure she 
  would not have been able to recover from the tragedies.  She
was also abundantly aware that 
  confiding her story to Victoria 
  was necessary if she was to ever move past all that had 
  happened.
       She looked down and ran a hand across 
  the exceptional marble top of the dressing table where she was
sitting.  This table, in fact this entire house 
  and its existence, was a beautiful story filled with love which
needed to be 
  told.  Meki was only thirty-nine 
  years old, but she knew all too well that no one ever has the
promise of 
  another day.  It was time to tell 
  the story in its entirety.  She 
  had to revisit the past so that she and Victoria could move on with
their 
  future.
       Meki had been an observer in life the 
  previous nineteen years.  She was 
  finally ready to live again.
       Meki and Victoria were each still 
  getting ready for dinner when Cook rang the dinner bell.  The
soft chime sounded in each room in 
  a descending order.  The sound 
  filled the house like the tinkling of a piano being played. 
Normally, they barely noticed the 
  sound.  This night, both Victoria 
  and Meki felt their hearts leap in their chests as they heard the
echoing of 
  the bells.
       They departed their bedroom suites 
  almost in unison.  From opposite 
  ends of the long hallway, they each started the walk down the oak
staircase on 
  opposing ends.  There were only 
  ten stairs on either side until they arrived at the adjoining
landing that 
  would join them together for the final descent down the remaining
fifteen 
  stairs.  This night it felt as if 
  they had a hundred stairs to walk down.  
  The anxiety over what lay ahead was overwhelming for each of 
  them.
  After what 
  seemed like an eternity, they finally reached the foyer at the
bottom of the 
  staircase.  Nervous laughter 
  filled the hall as Meki realized they were acting as if this were
their last 
  meal on Earth.  How silly she felt 
  to have caused such anxiety for them both over the events to
come.  Soon 
  Victoria joined her in laughter 
  as well.
       “I’m sorry this has been a difficult 
  few days,” Meki said with a smile, “I have just been very nervous
about 
  tonight.”
       “I understand,” 
  Victoria 
  answered.
       Meki turned to 
  Victoria and said, “You look 
  beautiful 
  Victoria.”
       Victoria replied, “Thank you.  So do
you.”
       “Let’s go eat!” Meki said with more 
  enthusiasm than she actually felt.
       They walked towards the large dining 
  room to find that Cook and the other girls had really outdone
themselves.  They had made all of 
  Victoria’s favorites.  Each silver platter was filled with 
  the tempting treats she had always loved most.  There was
country ham with red eye 
  gravy, fried green tomatoes, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and
corn 
  bread.  From the kitchen, they 
  could smell the warm pecan pie that was cooling for dessert. 
Since the beginning of the war, 
  several years earlier, ingredients to make such a meal had been 
  scarce.
       The table was set with their finest 
  china.  It had a delicate pattern 
  of little pink roses dancing around the rim of each plate. 
Their finest crystal, silver and linen 
  napkins were also arranged around the table.  Usually meals
like this, with all the 
  “fixin’s and trimmin’s” as Cook referred to all meals that their
best table 
  settings were used for, were reserved for special guests or 
  holidays.
       As they ate, they made idle 
  chitchat.  
  Victoria elaborated about 
  her day down at the market and Meki talked of her day sewing and
working 
  around the house on her little projects.  
  As dinner started winding down, the conversation became more forced

  between the two women.  Finally, 
  Meki eased the tension by asking 
  Victoria if she would like to 
  move on into the other room.  As 
  both were just finishing their last bite of the delicious pecan pie
Cook had 
  prepared, they quit putting off the inevitable and moved into the 
  parlor.
       It had been an unseasonably warm day 
  for this eighth day of September, 1919.  
  Once they entered the parlor, they realized that perhaps it was a
bit 
  too warm to stay indoors.  They 
  decided to move out to the back porch for the start of their 
  conversation.  Usually this time 
  of year it would be rather cool by late afternoon, but it was a
balmy eighty 
  degrees outside and only a light breeze blew to cool 
  them.
       
  “Victoria,” Meki broke the 
  nervous silence between them, “I now have a story to tell you. 
It’s a story I’ve always wanted you to 
  know, but never found the strength to tell you.  The story of
our family, the tale of 
  how we came to be and who brought us to our own places in history is
what you 
  will learn this evening.  It is a 
  story you deserve to know.  When I 
  am finished, I pray you will understand why it took me your lifetime
thus far 
  to work up the courage to tell the tale.”
       “I will now start at the 
  beginning…”
  
     
  
  
      
  
    Chapter 1
     Chapter 
  2 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  
  

  
  
  
  
    Copyright © 2004 
      Tanya Adams 
    
   
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