“We’ll talk about this later,” Justin said softly. “Shall we go into dinner?” The adults all stood and walked to the dinning room. Justin took Andi’s hand and gave it a loving squeeze. Andi felt sick. She looked up at Justin, looking very scared. “I didn’t do it.” She mouthed.
He nodded, “I didn’t think so.”
Andi sighed in relief.
Dinner was long for Andi. She ate her food in silence and hardly heard any of the table conversation. Her dress was hot and she felt itchy. On occasion she would look up at Polly, who always gave her a cruel look.
When they all had finished Justin smiled, “Andi how about you girls go play out side.”
She nodded and started to stand.
Ava smiled jumping up. She looked ready to play.
“Good idea,” Mr. Johnson smiled.
“I don’t want to play with her!” Polly yelled angrily. Everyone but the Johnsons looked surprised at her lack of manners. Andi looked very embarrassed.
“No, dear.” Mr. Johnson smiled. “I think Mr. Carter has a good point. You all should get some fresh air. Now move along.”
Ava snatched up Andi’s hand. They both walked to the dinning room door, but Polly remained seated.
“Polly, sweetheart,” Mrs. Johnson smiled soothingly. “You should go have some fun for yourself. I don’t think you would like to just sit here and listen to us talk.”
“Your mother’s right, So move along.” Mr. Johnson looked slightly annoyed.
Polly rolled her eyes and stood to her feet. The three girls then stepped out of the
large door and out into the cool evening. The sun was starting to set, making Andi feel a little better. She petted the horse’s nose that was hitched up to the Johnson’s buggy.
“What a pretty horse,” She complimented. “Does he have a name?”
“His name is just Horse,” Polly answered flatly. “Careful he bites.”
“Oh, I don’t think he’ll hurt me,” Andi smiled stroking the horses nose.
“Was your Papa mad?” Polly asked with a smirk.
“Justin is my brother not my father and he is always very fare,” Andi smiled slightly. “I told him the truth and he believes me. He knows you lied and not I.”
“I didn’t lie!” Polly stomped her foot.
“You did so,” Andi said feeling her temper rising. “I never slapped you and you know it.”
“My mama thinks you did. She’ll believe me!”
“I don’t care if she believes you. Your mother can’t do anything to me.”
“Why are you so mean?” Polly yelled. “I’m going home.” Before Andi could think, Polly unhitched the horse from the picketing post and climbed in the buggy. She took up the reigns gave them a hard, sound breaking, slap just as Andi reached out and
grabbed the horses bridle.
“What in the world do you think your doing?” Andi asked shocked.
“Get out of my way Andrea! I’m going home, away form you!” Polly took up the buggy whip then quickly brought it down on Andi’s hand.
“Stop it!” Andi cried pulling her hand away.
Polly hit the horse with heavy force that made him reared up then bolted. Andi fell backwards into the dust with a, thud. Dust covered her white and pink dress. Ava began to scream, arousing the adults out of the house. Andi stood up and started brushing the dust from her dress.
“Polly!” Mrs. Johnson cried. Mitch quickly jumped up on to Justin’s already saddled horse and took off after the buggy.
“What happened?” Chad demanded looking over to Andi.
“She got mad and said she was going home. Good riddance I say.” Andi brushed
more dust form her dress.
“Andi,” Chad snapped. “Watch your tongue.”
Andi made no reply. They all watched for a few minutes then were relived when they saw Mitch driving the buggy back up the rode. Andi’s face turned red when Mitch brought the buggy to a stop. Polly had her arms around his neck and was sobbing loudly. Mr. Johnson helped her down and hugged her close.
“Shhhh,” He said soothingly. “You’re safe now. Now tell me what happened.”
“Andrea said she wanted to go for a ride,” Polly said through her sobs. “But as we were getting in she spanked the horse’s rear making him run away!” She buried her
head in his shoulder.
“Oh, my poor baby,” he cooed. He gave Andi a sharp look.
“That’s ridiculous,” Justin exclaimed.
Andi shrank back then squeaked, “I did no such thing.”
“Go to your room, Andi,” Chad order.
Andi dashed around the picketing post and ran into the house. Taking the stairs two at a time she burst into her room and threw herself on her bed. Hot tears ran down her cheeks while she prayed, “Dear God help me! I didn’t do anything mean to that girl! Honest! You saw it all! Why is this happening?” She buried her head into her pillow, and continued to cried out her heart. Just as she was wiping the last tears away from her eyes, she heard footsteps walk into her room.
“Andi,” came Chad’s stern voice. “I want to talk to you.”
Andi did not feel like talking, but nodded and sat up. Chad took a seat in front of her and looked very upset.
“I’m not really sure what has gotten into you lately,” he sighed. “You’ve been nothing but trouble to that girl ever since she got here. I want to know why.”
“I didn’t do anything to Polly.” Andi cried. “She has been lying to you guys. I never slapped her, and I didn’t make the horse run away ether. Why would I stoop to anything like that?” She covered her face with her hands and sobbed.
“Andi,” he said making his voice a little softer. “I know you didn’t want the Johnsons to come over in the first place, but to act this way is taking it too far.”
“You don’t believe me. You haven’t believed anything thing I have said since that accident with Virginia Foster,” Andi sobbed.
“Well, it sure has given me good reason to think this way. Andi why would Polly lie?”
“Because she’s a pest and spoiled!”
“Now that’s enough!” Chad warned. “I’m very upset with you Andi Carter. We’re going to have to do something about this. I’m going to have you stay up here till our guest are about to leave, then I want you to apologize to Polly and her family.”
“But I didn’t do anything, Chad!” Andi protested.
“I don’t want to hear any more,” He said. “I must punish you for--”
“Hold up, Chad,” Justin cut in. Andi and Chad both looked up to see Justin, Polly and Mr. Johnson standing in the doorway.
“What’s going on?” Chad asked.
“Polly has something she’d like to say to Andi,” Justin said putting his arm around Polly’s shoulder.
“Make it fast dear,” Mr. Johnson urged.
Polly looked a little annoyed. “I’m sorry Andi for lying about you making the horse run away.”
Both Andi and Chad looked surprised.
“And…” Mr. Johnson persuade.
Polly crossed her arms and gave him a, “must I” look. He nodded.
“And I’m sorry for lying about you slapping me,” Polly didn’t sound that sorry, but enough to make Andi feel better.
She nodded, “I forgive you.” She then looked away trying not to smile.
“That’s quite enough,” Mr. Johnson said turning around and leaving the room. Polly followed him out.
“Feel better, Honey?” Justin smiled. He sat on the bed next to her and wrapped his arms around her. She returned the hug and rested her head on his chest.
“Thank you, Justin. How did you do that?”
He smiled, held her for a moment then stood up, “That’s what us lawyers are good at. Getting the truth. I need to go see our guests out.” As he was about to walk out the door he stopped. Giving Chad a quick look he said, “Next time, don’t shoot first and ask questions later.”
Chad sighed and nodded. Justin closed the door behind him.
“Andi,” Chad said in a soft voice. “I’m really sorry. I was just riled up about this
morning. Ah, I feel so bad.” He put his head in his hands. Andi could hardly believe this was Chad talking. He was not one for apologizing. Tears misted in her eyes as she
stood up and moved to his side.
“I’m sorry too, Chad,” She whispered. “I should have obeyed you right away when you asked me to change into my clean clothes. I gave you good reason to think I was being mean to Polly.”
Chad looked up. Andi threw her arms around his neck then cried softly. He lifted her onto his lap and held her close. “Oh Andi,” He sighed. “I’m sorry I was overly firm with you. I promise I’ll try better to keep my temper down. Now, look I’ve made you cry.” He took out his handkerchief and wiped her eyes. “I’m sorry. I love you.”
“I love you,” And smiled. She rested her head on his chest. Chad then kissed the top of her head. Something he hardly ever did! Andi looked up at him. He smiled warmly.
“I really do love you,” She smiled, hugging him again. She looked up to heaven with winked. Thank you God for answering my prays and for giving me wonderful brothers.
Peace filled Andi’s heart once more. She and Chad sat for a short time.