It was Saturday yet Leela woke up early. She slowly got out of bed. Last night’s scene with her mother came to mind. It seemed unreal, like it happened a long time ago. Could it be that she dreamt it all? Yes that was it. She had dreamt up the whole scenario, yet deep down inside she knew she hadn’t. She blocked out all her negative thoughts as she walked down to breakfast. She approached the breakfast table reluctantly. Her father put down the paper and smiled.
“Good morning, Leela. I hope you had a pleasant sleep.”
Leela looked at her father blankly. He acted so normal. She sat down just as her mother entered the room. The look on her mother’s face, tired and sad, told Leela that she didn’t dream up yesterday’s conversation. It had actually happened.
Leela’s mother brought in the breakfast foods but Leela had no appetite. She stared dumbly at her plate. Thousands of questions swam in her mind, yet none of them seemed to reach her lips to be spoken out loud.
“Leela you’ve got to eat something.” Her mother’s voice shot through her thoughts. Leela looked up as her mother continued.
“Leela, it’s for your own good. Now eat up. We’ve got a big day ahead of us. First we have to get you ready for the day’s event. That means we have to get you bathed, dressed, and fixed up. Now don’t give me that look, Leela, it’s for your own good. Then when you’re getting ready, we’re gonna have to send a message to the preacher. I’m sure he will be in.”
At the mention of the preacher Leela let out a muffled sob. Slowly the tears began to fall. She tried to voice her disapproval but each time she opened her mouth nothing but a sob would come out. Silently she wept. Her hand wiped the tears that slid down her cheeks. No one seemed to notice her crying. Her mother kept on talking but Leela wasn’t listening anymore. She wanted so much to run, to scream, to make her parents understand that she didn’t want to get married.
Her mother stood up and walked to the door. As she opened it Leela heard a man’s voice, Taylor’s voice, greet her mother. That was all Leela heard. She went running to her room.
Taylor with his dark hair and light eyes proudly walked into the breakfast room. Leela’s father rose to greet him. Extending a hand, Leela’s father welcomed Taylor.
“Sit down Taylor. Would you like some coffee?”
“Yes Mr. McMooley, that would be fine.”
Leela’s mother quickly poured hot coffee into a waiting mug. She handed it to Taylor who immediately took a drink. Then she rose and started to clear the dishes. As she departed into the kitchen the conversation continued.
“Taylor, today’s the day you will become part of the family. Drop the formalities and call me by my first name, Walter. Now, let’s talk about my daughter’s future.”
“Mr. McMooley, I can tell you want only what is best for your daughter, but to tell you the truth I’m a little afraid of what lies ahead.” Taylor paused as he tried to collect his thoughts. He didn’t want to offend Mr. McMooley. As he continued to speak, he talked slowly as if he was searching for the right words to say.
“Wouldn’t it…Don’t you think the truth would be best?”
Walter rose, slightly angry at Taylor’s question. He looked at Taylor with cold eyes that weren’t use to being defied. When he spoke it was forceful.
“Mr.Clout, all that I’ve planned has been planned with my daughter in mind. I will not be antagonized by no one, not even her soon to be husband. The wedding will be at 1:00 o’clock.”
Taylor looked at Walter with questioning eyes. He was still a little hesitant. Leela was beautiful, with her light brown hair and hazel eyes, but for some reason Taylor was a little doubtful about this upcoming marriage.
Leela’s mother was about to enter the breakfast room when she heard her husband’s outburst. She waited silently until he and Taylor left to continue their conversation in the parlor. Only then did she enter the breakfast room. She still had questions, questions that bothered her. Were they doing the right thing? Was forcing Leela to marry really right?
Mrs. McMooley let out a deep sigh. No matter if she thought it was wrong Leela would still have to marry. Walter had his mind made up and no one could change it. Hadn’t she tried? Hadn’t Taylor?