“William, I’m so ashamed of myself—truly—you must forgive me. I’m just so annoyed over Miss Peckham.”
“Why? Because you need to be the center of the universe at all times? Come to your senses,” William said as he pulled a bottle of whiskey from under the tablecloth and filled a large glass to the rim. “You’re a pretty girl, but not the prettiest or smartest or anything. And no, I don’t have to forgive you—and I don’t. Look, the dance is over; better be off to your fiancé before you’re upstaged by Miss Peckham.”
“I hate you, William.”
“It’s Bill,” he muttered, gulped back his drink and poured another.
Miss Peckham raced up, yanked the bottle from his hand and said, “Mr. Weldon, I need you for a dance.”
“I don’t dance.”
Miss Peckham grabbed his hands. “Come on! I know you’d like to. I can see it in your eyes!”
“That’s the drink, I’m afraid,” William joked.
“Don’t be afraid, Mr. Weldon. . . .”
“Mr. Weldon, aside from Lieutenant Fahy and me, there’s no talented dancers. It’s just following steps.”
William laughed. Miss Peckham pulled him out, even as he protested, to a circle of dancers with a spot reserved for them by Lieutenant Fahy. The officer had a smug look on his face. William knew he had been set up—yet again—for humiliation. Thankful saw what Fahy was up to and stood stiff and angry with both men. Mrs. Markham and the aged quartermaster sergeant made the third pair and two other second lieutenants rounded out the circle.
“Mr. Weldon, by gosh, take a breath—I’ll get you through this with flying colors!” Miss Peckham whispered.
William nodded staring at his feet, and the music began.
“Three steps forward and back—and again, Mr. Weldon,” Miss Peckham coached.
William concentrated on his teacher. He found that he could follow and not too awkwardly. Turning the opposite partner went all right, but the small sashay got sticky.
Miss Peckham dragged him along as if she were made for the job. When the final twirl of the opposite partner came up, William found himself left hanging in the center, but it was Fahy and Thankful who had missed a step and Thankful belatedly trotted out. “Sorry, my mistake,” she said icily to William.
“So, Mr. Weldon, you seemed to enjoy yourself,” Miss Peckham said as they drank punch between dances.
He laughed. “Thanks.”
“No need to thank me, sir. You could have done it all by yourself.”
“But I wouldn’t have,” William said.
Miss Peckham shook her head. “Well, that’s a sad state of affairs–to wait for others before doing for yourself.”
William took a long drink and said nothing.
The hops lasted until the last dancers went to bed and tonight Miss Peckham and William were amongst the group that kept the musicians awake. Thankful went home early with a headache. Fahy grew tired of watching Bill Weldon make a fool of himself. When Miss Peckham stopped at the front gate of the Markham quarters to say good night to William, Thankful hid by the window to listen. “Call me Gertie, Bill; all of my best chums do,” Miss Peckham whispered.
Thankful’s blood boiled, but she got into bed. Mrs. Markham had put down cool cotton bedding and a nice feather pillow on a cot next to Thankful’s bed, but Thankful pulled an itchy wool blanket out and spread it over the cot after hiding the cotton under her pillow and tucking the feather pillow beneath her bed. She listened as Miss Peckham entered the dark room with a sigh and got into bed. “I hope you’re comfortable, Miss Peckham.”
“Oh, Miss Crenshaw, you’re awake. Thank you for asking. Truth is I could sleep on broken glass and it wouldn’t bother me. I’m so bone tired.”
PREVIOUS EPISODE: WEARY of RUNNING
Excerpted from WEARY OF RUNNING. Read more about Buck Crenshaw, his sister Thankful and William Weldon’s misadventures when you buy the book today!
“The second installment in The Tenafly Road Series definitely did not disappoint. With the introduction of new characters and the return of familiar ones, Weary of Running made for an exciting read. The protagonist, Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. The story ranges from love and romance to questions of faith and morality. It does all this without being preachy and explores many angles of different aspects of life. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.” Amazon Review
“Buck Crenshaw is my favorite dysfunctional lovable character.”