Karl was halfway home before he realized that he had left his horse behind in Frederich’s coral. He chuckled at his absent-mindedness, and continued on his way. He’d send George over later this evening to collect the horse, and maybe by then he will have gotten up enough nerve to speak to Emilie about their future.
As he approached his yard his eyes spotted the sway-backed nag that belonged to Joseph. His eyes swung toward the house, and sure enough, there was the man himself, lying on his side in the tall dry grass beside where Emilie stood hanging her wash on the new clothes line that George had strung the week before. Did the man have nothing better to do, than lie around and watch women work?
Karl shoved his hands deep in his pockets and clenched his fists tightly. He’d have his work cut out for him trying to get rid of Joseph so that he and Emilie could be alone later this evening. Now was a good time to let his stubbornness rule the day, he figured, as he squared his shoulders and approached the couple, who until this minute had been unaware of his approach.
“Good day, Joseph. Nice day isn’t it?” Karl said with less enthusiasm than he would have in greeting his horse. “I’d think you would have all kinds of chores to do on a fair day as this!”
Emilie turned from her task and regarded Karl silently, and wondered about the tone of his voice.
“Hello Karl,” Joseph’s broken English irritated Karl to no end, as it reminded him anew of Joseph’s bond to Emilie.
Karl moved close to Emilie’s basket of laundry, then reached down and picked a small shirt from the basket. He shook it to the wind as he had seen Emilie do many times in the past and then using a clothes peg left on the line from the last wash, pinned it haphazardly to the line.
“Karl, what are you doing?” Emilie’s cheeks flamed, as she reached out and grabbed the next item to be hung out of his hands.
“I just thought I’d give you a hand here, Emilie – save time and get you out of this horrible heat!”
“Well I can do this myself!” she bristled, suddenly uncomfortable with his presence. Why was he acting such a fool? Was he deliberately trying to embarrass her in front of her friend? Oh she’d take him to task for this, she vowed, as she slammed the peg harder than necessarily down onto the line.
“Okay,” he backed away from her, and turned toward the house. “I’m going to eat something now, and then go out to the north pasture and work on the fence till dark,” he announced to no one in particular, as he made his way to the house.
“Oh, that man!” Emilie muttered to herself, as she hastily finished hanging the wash. “If you want something to eat Joseph, you’d best come now too,” she informed her guest as she whisked past his still prone body, and followed Karl into the house.
Karl was already finished half of his sandwich when Emilie entered the kitchen. “You didn’t have to hurry, I am capable of making my own lunch, you know.” He informed his flustered housekeeper with more than a bit of sarcasm in his voice.
“I know you can make your own lunch, but you haven’t had to do it in months, so why would you want to now? And what has gotten in to you, Karl Wright?” she placed her hands on her hips and waited for his answer.
He sighed, “I don’t know; I think maybe I’m just hungry.”
“Karl Wright, you are a lot of things, but you have never been a liar.” Her eyes lit with challenge, “You have never offered to do the wash before either!”
“Yeah well sometimes a man just does what he does,” his lips turned up with the beginnings of a smile at his stupid explanation for his behavior. He tipped his head to the door. “What’s he doing here this time of the day? Has he nothing better to do than lay around my yard and make eyes at you?”
Emilie grinned at his accusation. “I do believe that you are jealous,” she chuckled softly in delight.
If one stood at a certain angle, one could see clear through to the kitchen of Karl Wright’s home – this Joseph found quite by accident as he reached to open the screen door into the house. From his spot on the porch, he could witness the beginnings of an argument between Emilie and her employer. He could see her standing there as if awaiting an answer from some question, and then watch as the man sitting at the table turned to address her question.
You would have to be blind not to notice how the man regarded the woman before him, and if you were a man, you would know exactly where the other man’s eyes would rest. You could see the man throw down his sandwich in frustration and reach for the woman and draw her ever closer to where he still sat by the table. Their lips would move, but you would not hear what was said being said, because even though they were close enough to watch they were much too far to hear.
You could watch as the man gently lowered the unresisting female onto his lap, all the while devouring her with his eyes and you would notice sadly, that her eyes did the same. You would see the man’s hand travel down the length of the woman’s back and then slide along the side of her torso, before finally coming to rest across her breast.
If you stood there long enough, you would see them kiss; tentatively at first, and then passionately, mouths open and tongues seeking, and you would feel their excitement by just watching their actions. The longer you observed, the more heated their embrace would become, until pretty soon you would know that to continue your observation of their private moment, was beneficial only in making sure your own heart was broken to bits.
Just before you turned away, without opening the door after all, you would see a small girl child come upon the embracing couple, and they would spring apart with haste, but then they would both turn to the child with love and attention, and you would know once and for all that they were a family, and you were interfering in their private lives.
If you were any kind of man, you would turn on your heels before you were discovered for the spy you were; you would hurry to your horse, and ride on home, alone and lonely once again.