No one could understand. He chose the girl over his own family. Nelson & Cora. Chapter 3
March 24, 2013
A VG Serial: Nelson & Cora
McGinnis Plantation, Kentucky, 1866
Nelson paused just long enough outside of Gertrude’s room to listen to her snore. He smiled and patted Apollo’s head. Apollo lay down in front of Gertrude’s door. He would sleep there until Mattie got up in the morning to start breakfast. She would feed him scraps as she cooked. Mattie didn’t know it, but George, Nelson and Gertrude would
do the same thing from their plates too.
The light from the lantern in George’s room filtered into the hall from under the door.
Nelson knocked lightly and opened the door before George could respond.
“How are you doing?” Nelson asked.
“Fine,” George sat at his desk in the corner of the room, going over the papers that were laid out in front of him.
“I don’t think fine. When did Lawrence leave?” Nelson asked. He sat down on the edge of George’s bed.
“Two weeks ago,” George said. He continued to shuffle the papers. “I knew he was seeing her. I knew it. But, I didn’t think it would come to this. I never thought that it would come close to this. And, she was a nice enough girl. Secretary for one of the professors. I thought it would be over quickly,” George said. He looked at Nelson as he spoke.
“What happened?” Nelson asked. He leaned back on George’s bed and turned to lie on his side.
“I honestly don’t know. They met each other a few times, mainly for lunch I think. Then, Alvis shows up and the next thing I know, Lawrence is packing up his things and leaves campus,” George said.
“What happened to the girl?” Nelson asked. He stretched out his legs to the end of the bed.
“She was fired. They both had to leave campus,” George answered.
“Why did Alvis come to the school?” Nelson asked. It was a much farther trip for Lawrence’s family than for theirs. Alvis wouldn’t normally come to campus until the end of term to bring Lawrence home.
“Nelson, that’s it. It seemed like Alvis knew something was happening. He came there looking to find Lawrence doing something,” George said. He folded his arms across his chest.
“Someone told him,” Nelson said. He reached for the quilt folded at the foot of George’s bed.
“How do you know? Who would have told him?” George asked.
“Could’ve been anyone. Lots of people know Alvis. Lots of people know Lawrence,” Nelson said.
“But why would Alvis treat his son that way? Nelson, he said that Lawrence was dead to him, dead. Turned his back on him and walked away. His son, Nelson,” George said.
“Yes. That’s what Father said. He said that Lawrence was dead to all of us too now,” Nelson said. He pulled the quilt under his chin.
“But, he’s not. He is still my friend, Nelson,” George said.
“What are you going to do about the letter?” Nelson asked. He tucked one arm behind his head.
“It came last Friday,” George said. He picked up the papers again.
“I figured. You didn’t tell Father,” Nelson said. He closed his eyes but kept talking.
“No. I didn’t. I knew Father would want me to send the letter to Alvis. I just couldn’t do that,” George said.
“Did you read it?” Nelson asked.
“Of course,” George answered.
“And, did he make it to Virginia? Is he happy with the girl?” Nelson asked. His breathing was getting heavier and slower.
“Yes, and yes. They married as soon as they left the college. Her family has accepted him. They have agreed to help him go to school in Virginia,” George said. He looked at his brother.
“Nelson, did you hear me? Her family is going to send him to finish law school in Virginia,” George said.
“What are you going to do about Father?” Nelson said. He didn’t open his eyes.
“What should I do?” George asked.
“Nothing. He’s going to see Alvis after he gets done in town with you and Judge Parker. I’d do nothing. Alvis will tell him what he knows. Father will tell Alvis what you told him tonight. That will be that,” Nelson said. His lips were barely moving.
George looked at him, reorganized the papers once again and shook his head when Nelson started snoring.
“Goodnight, brother,” George whispered as he put out the lantern and headed to his brother’s room to sleep.
Chapters of the serial are published on Sunday.
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