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    Southern Comforts—Chapter 4

    Tina takes another sip of her coffee as she flashes a brief smile “I did make a choice to board this train with you when I could have easily made the journey back home.  I am willing to see where this takes me and I do admit I could also use some help keeping my emotions grounded so to speak”

    Bette nods “Well it seems the emotions that you speak of have to do with me.  You have said yourself in not so many words that I tend to ruffle your feathers”

    Tina chuckles “Well you certainly can do that but I will try to be the perfect lady around you.  If I can accomplish that I will be able to do that with ease in society”

    “That is true Tina but remember a true lady must have genuine empathy to succeed otherwise you are just a facade for not portraying your true self to others”

    “I understand.  And there is more to me that meets the eye. You will see” Tina states emphatically

    “Looking forward to it” Bette winks at her

    Tina chuckles and shakes her head as the hostess returns to the table taking their breakfast order

    “So what is your business in South Carolina if I may ask” Tina asks as the hostess walks away

    Bette raises her eyebrow “I don’t think you will be too happy upon me telling you what I have been summoned for”

    Tina eyes Bette suspiciously “I’m not sure I will from how you just answered me but seeing as I am accompanying you on this journey I would like to know”

    Bette sighs as she folds her arms against her chest “I have been summoned by the United States Army stationed at Fort Sumter in Charleston.  They wish to commission our steel for branding their weapons”

    Tina spit out the coffee she had currently sipped “You’re what?!” She said rather loudly drawing attention from the nearby tables “Are you insane?” she asked through a hiss

    “Lower your voice please..Remember the cot you are wanting to rest your head on for the night” Bette challenged as Tina took a deep breath slowly letting it out

    “Weapons?..Is there really going to be a war?” Tina asks trying to control her emotions

    Bette sighs “I don’t know Tina..I really do not know..But tensions are high since Governor Pickens demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter and President Buchanan refused.  Now Charleston has a Confederate Army stationed there with Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard having ordered the surrender of Union forces there.  I’m afraid war will be imminent if they do not comply. President Lincoln has not budged on the issue either upon taking office”

    Tina gasps “So you couldn’t just decline to meet with them?”

    Bette shakes her head “This is the United States Army. Our business was summoned. We had no choice.  My father was unable to make the trip so that left me” she says seeing the worried look in Tina’s face “Look..You will be safe at Levington Plantation where we are staying.  It’s located just outside of Charleston.  I will conclude our business and we will leave immediately”

    “How long are we staying?” Tina asks worriedly..Bette sighs

    “That I can not answer but hopefully no more than a few days and in the meantime we can practice your charm and grace.  My Aunt Mary will be delighted to help while I am out” Bette smiles

    Tina sighs “Wonderful.  At least I will be able to be charming and graceful even in a time of war”

    They both go silent as the hostess brings their breakfast with neither one of them really having much appetite at the moment and feeling apprehensive about what will happen in South Carolina upon their arrival.

    ~~~~~~~~

    Comments

    1. Well, Tina has turned a corner. No sense acting put out by being on the this trip or Bette will not be the only one having a miserable time. Common sense says relax, go with the flow and get along with Bette as best you can and you will soon be on your way home. And if you do a good job of getting along with Bette, she will give a glowing report to her parents and Tina will have her debutant ball secure. But, Tina is obviously not one to use common sense. There is something else that is motivating Tina and her behavior – curiosity! Bette is a unique character – attractive, intelligent, comfortable in her own skin, and admired by all she meets. She has a masculine flair but is most definitely a woman. She is a buisness woman, who is well travelled and has been entrusted with her family’s buisness. This woman is a curiosity to Tina… yet she just has not stopped to consider all she knows about Miss Bette and what she doesn’t know and more importantly what does she want to know? If Tina has any intelligence whatsoever, she should be thinking that Bette Porter could be a very important person to have in her life as a friend at least.

      This is an interesting story….. the reason for Bette to be in Charleston, South Carolina is a little thin but this fiction and I will let that slide. I’m just going to assume that Bette needs to be in Charleston to make a sales call for the steel her family produces in Pennsylvania just as she made at Kennard Plantation and now Tina is with her as a favor to the family. It was obvious by the barbeque at Kennard Plantation that war is coming. But with this chapter, war is here. These two are headed for real danger.

      Thanks for this chapter…. I like the turn in Tina’s attitude. She still needs a little more fine tuning to be the lady she thinks she is. Her questioning needs to polished so that she presents her inquiry without being blunt and insulting. Hopefully we will see some improvement as time goes on….

      Please write soon….. thank you…

      • Thanks Martha for the comment..Enjoy your insight as always

        And the reason for Bette to be in Charleston is exactly what you said. Her reason is to coordinate the amount of steel they are calling for and arrange transportation. It is a business deal even though they have been commissioned and there is a contract she has to deal with. I just did not go into detail in this chapter..More will be explained next chapter as I have planned

        And Tina is a rough gem right now to slowly be polished

        Thanks!

    2. Thanks for posting, jlr. It seems that being away from her family lets Tina come into herself. The mask of the spoiled brat dropped and already she’s able to have decent, adult conversations. I’m curious to see Tina grow on this little journey. Just hope they will be safe should war break out, especially Bette as a Northerner.

      pps

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