It was a year since the great terrible battle in Gettysburg and nothing could calm the sadness that Amanda felt as she looked out onto the fields that once held the bodies of so many men. Some were just boys and others she knew were once fathers and husbands. She and many of the towns women had to rally and help in the tents of the wounded. The horrors could hardly be forced from her mind. She winced as she closed her eyes to block the images of those days but they still came and with it the sadness that she would never see her beloved Anthony again.
Anthony with the warm brown eyes and tall frame that she loved to waltz with. She knew one day there love would see them together. How she wished she lost her virtue to him prior to leaving to fight what he believed in. She didn't want him to go but they both had strong opinions on what this meant for the country and freedom for every man woman and child.
She knew she better not linger on thoughts of her virtue being taken by him because she knew she wanted it and it was a sin. Yet at night especially on these hot July summer nights she felt a longing in her most private parts and shutting her knees together to keep it from over taking her sometimes made it worse.
She recalled the dream she had the night before as she was hanging the wash on the line. She saw him coming toward her and reaching out for her to swing her up in his arms. It seemed so real she woke with her arms reaching out to him and calling his name.
Oh God how long will we have to wait to know if he was still a prisoner in the South or has he died? It was all anyone who had no word from the family could do. Did he know her brother and best friend had just fought over the rise past the farm and had perished there?
She wanted him home badly but was thankful he was not in Gettysburg that day! Too many men she knew had died.
Just as she was hanging the last bed sheet she heard her name and like all the other times she thought she heard him calling out to her she learned to ignore it. When she picked up the basket and turned to leave she nearly ran smack into a soldier who was tall but his face was being blocked by the sun. " Can I bother you for a dipper of water mam? "
She replied " follow me to the pump and I will get you some nice fresh cold water. Where are you coming from soldier?" She asked
He had a smile she couldn't see through the beard and dirt and he realized she didn't know him yet. "From Carolina mam I was held prisoner there and was injured and was just well enough to travel recently."
Where are you heading ...but the words trailed off as the dipper of water fell from her hands.
"OH Blessed Be the Lord Anthony you have come home!"
Anthony sat her down on the side of the well and saw she was shaking badly gave her a drink of water then took a long drink of his own before refilling it again.
"You look so different~ she began and then said~ What has happened to the man I saw leave here?"
He said " I promise to tell all just let me know first what is the word around here, how is John? What is the word on my mother I know my father had died so no need to tell me that but how is she?"
She bent her head low and started to cry, she had remembered to write him but he obviously had not gotten the letters. He instinctively knew they both were gone, his mother had said if his dad ever went then she would die of a broken heart too. He knew the feeling if anything would have happened to Amanda he knew he wouldn't want to go on. Too much sadness and loss had happened to them all.
He said "Don't worry we can talk of other things I understand it isn't good news or you would have told me. Can I please get a bath and stay here I have been walking for days and my shoes are worn through.?"
"Of course, I will heat water for the tub and you can go to Johns room and use anything of his that will fit you." The tub is in the kitchen where the back pantry use to be. It was one of her mothers prize possessions. She began heating and hauling more water from the outside pump. She put the wooden yolk on her neck over her shoulders and lifted two large buckets at a time it was back breaking but she didn't mind her man was home, but how much of him came home? She noticed a haunted look in his now too thin face. It made his wonderful brown eyes seem more expressive and wise beyond his years.
Once the tub was full she called up to Anthony in her brothers room and set a towel for him with the soap she had just made it was scented with lavender.
She heard the steps but knowing he was getting in the tub made her have her back to him she was planning to wait out on the porch swing and started to go but his words stopped her. "Don't leave me yet Amanda I couldn't bear it." He sank into the tub and she pulled up a chair trying to avert her eyes but she wanted to see what her man looked like she had never seen a naked man until her work at the medical tents. It shocked her and also made her wonder what being made a woman would feel like.
He caught her looking at him and smiled and ducked under the water. My he was filthy. His feet were blistered and she just noticed he had a nasty jagged scar near his shoulder. Her eyes widened in shock.
Anthony began his story " I was shot near Greensboro and hit in the shoulder, I couldn't shoot anymore and the small band of men I was with made up a story and stole clothes off someones line and left me with my uniform, I couldn't hold a rifle and I couldn't shoot so I was a burden to them as they came back up to Gettysburg for the big battle we heard tell. I put on a southern drawl and had an old crone take me in, she had lost her son to the "damn yankees" she hated us with a passion and carried a small pistol in her waist purse so I didn't dare let my accent fail me. I stayed with her and was well enough to go on my own in the fall but she was good to me asked me to help with the harvest and so I did the work that was needed. I wanted to write but it would have been the death of me if I did Amanda I swear any post to or from the north would have blown my story. I then got up the next state hitching on the rail car but was caught and thrown off. I didn't want my uniform on until I got through to the union line. I then put it on with pride and got in the worst snow storm and stayed with an old codger up in the hills of blue ridge mountains, it was rough going when we were running low on supplies and thought he would kill me and eat me if the spring didn't come.
So here I am as soon as I could I got here on my own two feet, there were rebel bands along the way who wanted to kill or capture me they didn't hear that it was over, or didn't believe it,What I saw Amanda, it was hell what humans did to each other in times of war, I am not sure I will ever recover. Those men along the way I told you of the rebels, they were not looking like men anymore and not acting like it, I was sleeping under a large fir tree and heard them coming, all I had for protection was the old ladies gun, she gave it to me, but the men were arguing with each other over Gen. Lee and they disagreed and then the three ganged up on the one and oh God they killed him for food!!!
I am so lucky I escaped before they saw me.
I left as the one unlucky gent was screaming his last.
So here I am Amanda if you still want me, I am here I will never leave again. That's my story."
To that Amanda looked into the eyes she loved and slid off the chair and into his arms with out care of the tub and water sloshing every where." Anthony all I wanted was you back, I am glad your here, don't ever leave."
The kiss she gave him held all the passion she held in her heart since he left long ago, departing as a boy and coming back as a man.
He deepened the kiss stood up and carried her with him to her bedroom trailing water everywhere. He was unbuttoning her dress and unlacing her garments before ever arriving at the bed. She gasped and cried out "Oh Anthony take me, make me yours" She was shaking with pent up passion and tension, he was ram rod hard and ready for her call of duty. He planned to do just that and with as little words as possible because his mouth would be on her body in one part or another and too busy for small talk. She was naked before him and he looked upon her beautiful body with a gasp no words would come if he could talk, he sat on the bed pulling her atop of him, and just like it was meant to be she let herself fit into his embrace and as he trailed his hands calloused and hard from work all over her body she shivered and let out a sigh and tears glimmered in her eyes, he shifter her beneath him and said to her " I will make you mine now and fully in name as soon as the preacher will be available, I won't have your name sullied." She smiled and kissed him and it was at that moment he put his hand in her most private place and felt the warm wet promise of the closest thing to heaven a man could get. He stroked her until she was nearly bucking as he was teasing her nipples with his mouth and lightly nipping them with her teeth.
He then moved and slid into her as he kissed her, he felt her tense and moan something between pleasure and pain, it was then he knew she did wait for him and he had horrible thoughts while he was away that she would find another or believe him dead. He had tears in his eyes too as he increased the pace and felt his release come all too soon.
She sighed and said to him "I think we need to dress and find that preacher." He said " After I show you what a proper love making should be," and with that for the next several hours he showed his fiance just how a man should love a woman.
Anthony found his treasure waiting at home where the best treasure is always found worth more than silver or gold because love has no price. Amanda and Anthony lived through so many horrors that most would not be able to cope or go on but every time Anthony had thoughts of his time at war away he came to his treasure Amanda and they shared a special way of coping with it, he took his demons of war and thoughts and treated her body to lovemaking that was fierce at times but nothing Amanda could not or would not cope with to have her man back was all she ever wanted worth more than anything and she loved when he touched her, she was his and anyway she could be touched by the man who loved her and proved it daily she loved it.