Emily Collins stood looking from her
bedroom window, her thin frame pressed
tight against the pane. Beulah sighed, as
she watched her standing there. She was
young and beautiful with creamy white
skin, Rosy Cheeks, green eyes, and long
red hair that flowed past her tiny waist to
her slim hips. She remembered the first
time she saw her it was the first day on
the plantation. It Seems like only
yesterday, when in reality it has been 10
years. She was a woman now, 20 years
old. A woman who should have parties
and handsome suitors begging for
attention, but she had no one. Although
Beulah had no say so, she could
understand why her father was doing
what he was.
I know you're there Beulah, Emily said as
she turned and smiled. She could barely
make out the shadow of a figure that was
standing behind her but then she didn't
have to. She knew her distinct walk, the
way the floor sagged under her as her feet
hit, and the smell of the kitchen still in her
apron as she entered. Beulah was her
daddy's black slave. A heavy-set woman,
with large arms and breasts, and although
her Daddy had other slaves, none of them
was like Beulah. She could make her
laugh, and told her stories about her
family in South Carolina, before she was
taken away from them. Going blind didn't
seem so bad as losing your family like she
had. The war between the North and the
South was over, yet her daddy slaves
stayed on. Beulah said Mr. Collins was a
good master, who treated them all well.
Emily knew they were right. Her father
treated everyone with dignity regardless
of their color, which often brought him
problems from his white associates. But
everyone in Atlanta knew he was a kind
" So what are you thinking about miss
Em?" Beulah place your hands on Emily's
shoulders leading her to the bed. Emily
could smell the fresh scent of pine she use
to scrub the sheets and pillows. It was a
scent she would miss after today, along
with everything else in the house. By
tomorrow she would be in another house,
it would be strange to her but she would
learn how to get around
. It would be what was expected of her .
"Just wondering about tomorrow." She
answered slowly stretching out flat on the
bed as she hugged her pillow as if some
how she could store the scent in her
It'll be okay miss Emily, Beulah, tried to
sound happy, but she knew the feeling of
being taken from your home to a strange
place. Something all slave shared alike.
Master Rawley, him have a big house, lots
of people doing and fix-in for you."
She loosened the back of Emily's dress
and helped her into her long lace gown,
then brush her hair with long slow
strokes. Emily pulled the quilt up close
around her. Come tomorrow she was
expected to be a woman and a wife.
Master Rawley's wife. Her body shiver at
the mere thought of giving herself to a
man she had never met.
Jake Rawley was also thinking about
tomorrow as he turned back the covers on
his old oak bed. He knew his life was
about to change. It was a change that he
was really looking forward to. It had been
eight years since his beloved Amelia died
in childbirth, taking his only heir with her.
He had resigned himself to the fact that he
would never fall in love, or marry again.
His friends and business associates on the
other hand didn't agree and we always
introducing him to eligible ladies they
thought would fill his empty existence. It
was on one such occasion at the mens
club that he was introduced to John
Collins. They had many things in
common, they both owned plantations just
20 miles apart and we're in the cotton
business . He often heard John speak of
his daughter Emily, and the sickness that
was driving her into blindness. The
doctors could do very little for her, and he
had little hope of any suitors who would
be willing to take a blind woman to wife
even if she was beautiful. Perhaps he
concluded as he got under the covers it
was the reason he listened when John
presented him the idea of marriage to his
daughter, a woman 15 years younger than
himself. But he could offer Mr. Collins
peace of mind by giving his daughter the
security that he was so desperately
seeking for her. He would make sure she
had a comfortable life, as much as was
possible for a blind person. Although
John Collins assured him that his
daughter was exceptionally beautiful, he
was just as sure that she was not. He had
no expectations except that she'd be
willing to accept his proposal of
marriage, show the common courtesy as
the mistress of his home to his friends and
business associates, and leave him to his
solitude. At least that was what he wanted
until he saw her. It happened quite
accidentally, he was riding past their
Plantation when his eyes caught sight of a
vision of loveliness sitting out on The
Veranda. She was having tea and holding
a book in her hand. Her long red hair
cascaded down over her back
As she sat in a pink lace dress, while the
wind played with the Hem of her
petticoats revealing slim shapely ankles.
She was beautiful, just as John Collins
had told him.. But she knew nothing about
him. Only that he was a stranger, who
would probably expect wifely duties that
usually cane with the conditions of love.
He knew she would never look into his
eyes, or see his face, or realize that he
was at one time thought to be a very
handsome man. That revelation would
come, if she would give him the chance.
As he rode away he watched her, the wind
playing with her hair. A smile crossed her
thin lips and he knew at a glance that he
loved her, and he wanted her to come to
love him too. But a marriage of
convenience only bound her to him on
paper, with what he wanted was to bind
her heart with his forever. As he closed his
eyes, he visioned her next to him. She
would be frightened of him, and he
understood that. He would give her as
much time as she needed, until she felt the
love he had in his heart for her. Then she
would come to him and love him willingly.
She didn't need eyes for that.
" You best be getting up Miss Em", Beulah
said as she opened the bedroom drapes.
Morning and come so quickly Emily,
thought, as she yawned, stretched, and
swung her slender legs over the side of
"Today is your wedding day." Beulah
said in an anxious voice.
" I know," Emily answered her voice void
of any emotion. A woman's wedding day
was supposed to be special, with excited
girlfriends, gifts and dreams of the man
she loved crowding her thoughts. But not
for her. The only feelings she had were
ones of fear for what was ahead. She was
marrying a total stranger. She didn't care
if he was rich and could provide for her.
Her daddy wasn't poor and she could take
care of herself. She was well-educated,
knew braille, and ran her daddy's house
efficiently. It was the life she loved, why
did it have to change. But as she slipped
into the warm bathwater Beulah and
waiting for her, she knew why. Her daddy
was well up in years, and the thought of
his own mortality coming to an end, was
the real force behind his actions. He
wanted to secure his daughter's future
while he was still around to see it. Love
had never entered his mind. But it had
hers some time ago, when she was in
Boston. She remembered Charles
Langton, her braille teacher. He was very
attentive to her especially since it was
unusual for a sighted person to attend the
School for the Blind. And after she told
him about her retinas deteriorating and
that she would eventually be blind, he
spent many evenings tutoring her, and
telling her how brave she was. He seemed
to care for her. He was tall and lanky,
with curly hair and smooth hands that she
loved holding as I walked along together.
His warm smile gave her hope for the
future. It was hard to leave Boston but he
promised her that he would write and he
did but eventually the letters became less
and less until they were no more. Even
as her world became dimmer and dimmer
she had not forgotten Charles, his face
was etched in her memory.
"Sit still miss Emily, Beulah scolded to
her, as she proceeded to lace up the corset
around her warm pink flesh, that showed
her womanly bosom.
"I wish you were coming too," Emily said
anxiously, wonder what she would do
without Beulah. She had always been
there for her, to dress her when she woke
up or went to bed. She was the one person
she confided in. Beulah could see the
tears welling up in her eyes, she wanted
to comfort her, but it would only make
things worse. She quickly started fixing
her hair in a Cascade of curls that would
be fitting for a master's wife.
"Have you seen him,"Emily is anxiously,
pulling away from Beulah's dutiful hands.
She could feel the Silk curls as they fell in
ringlets around her ears and neck.
"Yes I see's him."
." What's he like?"
Beulah could see that worried look on
Emily's face and stopped and sat down on
the vanity chair beside her.
" I see him talking to your papa the other
evenin . Him real tall and handsome,
with hair as dark as molasses, and eyes
too. His face was right kind looking and
him have them long arms and legs good
for horse riding."
Emily smile nervously, as she leaned both
elbows on her knees. She knew Beulah
would not lie to her.
" Master Rawley, I hear's he's a good
man, lots of women be glad to be his wife.
Him have a big house like your Papa's
here, lots of rooms and servants to do and
fix for you."
" I hear he had a wife long time ago. Her
die birthin his youngin, and baby died
too. Now we best get you ready Miss
Emily, Master Rawley, him sending
carriage for you and your papa this
As Emily yielded to Beulah's wishes she
felt sympathetic for master Rawley. She
knew how much a male heir meant to a
man. Her father and almost died himself
when her brother Jonathan was killed in
the war at Gettysburg, but she still had no
desire to be Master Rawley's wife. John
Collins sat erect in the Double Wing chair
in his study. His gray hair neatly combed
and parted to the side, as he puffed
relentlessly on his favorite cigar. For man
of 65 he still has features that would turn
a woman's head when ever he went into
town. His tall statues physique, broad
shoulders and chest, could hold their own
with the youngest of men. But today he
felt as if the wind had been knocked out of
"Master Collins," Beulah voice caused
him to turn.
She was standing in the doorway, with
her head lowered and her hands clasped
together. He could tell that she was
disturbed about the whole affair although
she said nothing, and it bothered him a
bit. She and Emily were more like mother
and daughter. It had been that way from
the beginning when she came to the
plantation after Emily's mother passed
away of the fever. Emily had become an
extended part of Beulah's family. If six
children of her own weren't, enough for
her and Earnest to care for. And he knew
about the secret meetings at night when
Emily had taught them both to read and
" Yes. What is it?" His blue eyes
deepened and as he looked at her.
"I had them trunks put on the front porch
for when that their Carriage comes."
John Collins nodded silently.
" There's something I'd like to say to you.
He walked over and stood by her. I know
you love Emily."
Beulah dried her eyes on her apron.
" Yes...um, I do."
He smiles. So do I."
"Him is a good man....Master Rawley I
mean. Him treat miss Emily good?"
John Collins patted Beulah's shoulder.
"Yes Beulah.....Jake Rawley is a good
man...and Emily will have a god life."
Beulah turned quickly and walked away,
but he could hear her silent crying as she
As he watched her go out, his attention
Was drawn to Emily's figure on the stairs.
She looked so beautiful in her white satin
wedding gown with billows of petticoats
and Lace, that he almost staggered when
he saw her. For one moment it was as if
her mother Elizabeth was standing there,
and he was the captive groom.
"You look lovely Emily," he said walking
over to extend his hand. It surprised me
when she pushed it away.
John Collins could hear the tension in her
voice and he knew she was displeased
with him. The carriage would be coming
soon to carry them to Jake Rawley's
home. How could he let her go this way,
feeling that he was casting her out
because of her blindness. He followed her
out onto the porch, where she had taken a
seat in the old wicker swing that she loved
as a child. As he looked at the face of a
woman it was an image of the child that
he was remembering. The child that
clutch at his heartstrings. The warm
Summer Breeze they shared together, and
the Small Voice that question them about
life and love. He watched her as your
fingers move nervously to brush a
wayward girl from her forehead.
I love you Em," he said his voice cracking
with intense emotion. Emily looked
toward the image standing in the
doorway. It had been a year since she had
seen her father's face clearly, but you
knew he was crying. He never called her
Em,only Beauty did that.
"Oh Father," she rushed into his arms as
he covered her face with kisses, his strong
arms holding her as when she was a
" I understand, really I do father," she
tried to assure him as he held her in his
arms. The Carriage was coming slowly
up the road to take her to another time
and place but neither of them saw it. It
was their moment. She wasn't a woman
or a bride,they were merely father and
daughter to suspended it in time.
Jake really never thought he would feel
this happy again and he anxiously
awaited their Carriage arrival that would
bring his future bride to him. But he also
knew that Emily Collins didn't share the
same anticipation as he. He felt remorse
knowing that she felt no love for him. She
was only fulfilling her father's wishes,
nothing more. In time he hoped that
would change, but there were no
guarantees in the matters of the heart. His
beloved Amelia had loved him from the
start. They were kindred spirits and had
been from their youth. Their Love and
marriage had been eagerly anticipated by
both their families and brought joy to all
in their hometown of Charleston Virginia.
Even when they move to Atlanta the
town's folk spoke of the love that shines in
their eyes for each other.
"Master Rawley....Master Rawley, Bessie
voice bellowed with excitement, as she
rushed into his study. They's come in the
He tried to calm himself as he followed,
his her tall dark frame, and long legs
with his thick black hair and popping in
front of him.
Bessie she has been with him for what
seemed like a lifetime. She had nursed his
sick wife until the end. Although she was a
free woman she chose to stay on with
Lewis her husband who cared for the
Rawley's horses. Their twin boys Jacob
and Elijah had been born in his own
house and he's taken quite a liking to
them. It would be Bessie that he would
entrust the care of his wife, to make her
make her feel welcome and comfortable
and help her to learn her new home.
Was waiting on the porch along with a
few of Jake's business associates. Bob
Butler., Lou Myers, and Jake's only living
relative Jim Raleigh. He could see the
questioning glances passing between them
as the carriage came slowly to a halt. And
as he descended the stairs to meet it, he
felt the Cool June Breeze mingle with the
perspiration on his brow. His black
tailored suit and Tails, and ruffle shirt,
felt more like a straitjacket than a groom's
attire. The Carriage seemed miles away
with each step as his legs grew heavier
and his throat dryer. When he finally
reach the latch on the door that separated
him and his intended, he was aware of his
hand shaking nervously. He nodded to
John Collins as he stepped off, and move
to the side smiling. Emily carefully took
Jake's hand and he helped her out. Jake
was absolutely mesmerized by her beauty
and Grace. She could feel his strong grip
still holding your hand, and your eyes
could dimly make out his tall lean figures
as he led her by the arm to the steps.
There are eight steps you said Softly
His head was so close to her, that you
could smell the scent of his freshly shaven
face, as he secure her every step until they
entered a large room that was wonderfully
and smelled of peach blossoms and pine
. It was a scent that was familiar to her,
and made her feel a little less
apprehensive, she could hear the voice of
her father, and the other gentlemen
talking in the hallway behind her
comment as Jake Reilly letter to a long
sofa with soft cushions and pillows. Emily
could feel him staring at her as he took a
seat beside her. Although her eyes were
Hazel she could see him looking carefully
at every inch of her body. Her eyes finally
his eyes finally settling on her face again.
As he looked at her he was stunned by her
beauty, and could not resist the impulse to
touch her delicate face, only to have her
pull away from his touch
"If you need anything, Bessie will be
happy to do for you," he said in a strong
voice, as he got up quickly. He could tell
that his touch was not welcome. He was
acting like a lovesick School boy
experiencing a woman's beautiful for the
first time, when in reality he had known
many women in his lifetime.
" If I could freshen up a bit? " Emily stood
to her feet their bodies facing each other.
She had intended to drop back when he
touched her it was just unexpected. She
knew that tonight he might even expect
more of her as a wife, and that frightened
her a bit since she had slept alone in her
own bed for so many years. Now she
would have a man in the bed with her...a
man who was now legally her husband.
As Bessie took her arm and she followed
her out of the room Jake Rawley watch
her until she faded out of sight, and down
the long narrow hallway. He knew he had
to control himself if he was to win her
heart, or he might lose her forever. He
Slumped down on the couch knowing how
much he wanted her to love him. It has
been a long time since he had a wife and
he hoped he could still make a wife happy
as much as he made his wife first wife
Amelia so long ago. As he arose to greet
the other guests that was filing into the
living room he tried to put the thought of
Emily out of his mind. The Parson was
now there for the ceremony, and he had to
concentrate on that.
Emily found Bessie very enjoyable to be
around. In minutes she had told her all
about her life with Jake Rawley, her twin
boys, and her husband Lewis, as she
cooled her face and neck with cold towels,
and refresh the curls Beulah has spent
time fixing. Emily listen to Bessie
carrying on about her wonderful Master
Jake Rawley, and how kind and gentle he
was, and how all the women long to be his
wife and marry him in her place. Emily
wished at that precise moment that she
could have granted those woman's wishes.
Emily had always dream that she would
have a large and elaborate wedding, but
she had seen only a few people on the
veranda when she and her father arrived.
Her father met her and Bessie met her
and Becky in the hallway, where he took
her arm, then escorted her the rest of the
way, until he placed her hand into Jake's.
Emily didn't hear the organ playing. All
she could hear was the pounding of her
own heart as Jake Raleigh walk silently
up beside her, then his footsteps stopped
right next to her.
They stood in front of a short man coming
with bushy hair. Emily couldn't make out
the shape of a book in his hands and knew
that it was the Holy Bible. And that they
were facing the minister, who in only
moments would pronounce them man and
wife. As Jake Reilly Stood beside her, he
could see the quivering of her full lips and
feel the shaking of her arm as he held it
firmly to steady her. He wanted to take
her in his arms and tell her that she had
nothing to fear from him, he only wanted
to love her even if she didn't love him. His
hand slid down her arm until his long
fingers entwined hers, and he rubbed
them gently. He was sure fate had brought
her to him. And when he felt her fingers
curled around his in return, he was just so
sure that one day she would love him
As eager guests gathered around Jake
Rawley and his new bride, Emily was ever
aware of his warm hand around her waist.
Her thoughts still lingers on his kiss,
when they were pronounced man and
wife. She never expected his lips to be so
warm and soft, or her mouth to part so
instinctively. She had never before kissed
a man and what was that strange
sensation that she felt in your whole body
and made her feel weak in her knees. If
his arms hadn't been there to hold her, she
probably would have collapsed onto the
floor in front of everyone.
"Emily." she bared her thoughts with the
sound of her father's voice. Jake's arm
slid down from her waist as he stepped
away giving her a private moment with
your father. John Collins prayed that Jake
Rawley would be gentle with his daughter
tonight of all nights. There was so much
that she didn't know about a man, and he
had been reluctant to tell her. He had
always start on their her special wedding
day that her mother would share such an
intimacy with her.
" You look so beautiful Emily so much like
your mother, he said sadly giving her a
kiss on the cheek tonight he cleared his
throat struggled to find the right words to
prepare her. Tonight will be different than
any other night, things will be expected of
you by your husband."
Emily watch the shadow of the man that
she had loved and respected all her life,
who was never at a loss for words pace
nervously in front of her as if he was
trying to tell her about what was ahead.
"I know father," she said, her arms
suddenly tight around his neck. He could
still feel her shaking as he pulled away,
and walked out of the living room to the
awaiting carriage that would take him
back to his plantation but without his
Emily could feel the weariness of the
afternoon tugging at her, as everyone
went out on the veranda where Bessie
serve them wedding cake and a tall cold
glass of lemonade.
Se found Jake's cousin Jim Rawley to be a
fast talker, who took pleasure in telling
things they did as a child in Charleston.
As she listened to his stories she wished
her father had stayed longer but knew
why he hadn't.
" I'm really not that bad of a guy is my
cousin makes me out to be," the deep
voice of Jake Rawley remark.
He placed the tall grass and lemonade in
her hand as he took a seat beside her on
the swing. He could see the tiredness on
her delicate face, and took the liberty to
put his arm around her pulling her close
to him. He was overjoyed when she didn't
pull away, but slowly rest your head on
" I'm sure you were an angel as a child,
he said, nothing like your husband."
Emily could hear the steady beating of
his heart in her ear as she rested her head
on his room chest. He referred to himself
as her husband. It sounded strange to
hear, but that's what he was and tonight
she would be his wife. She sat up easing
out of his arms, and turned sideways
"Father says I was an angel, she smile but
I'm not sure, he's prejudiced where I'm
"And he should be, he said, reaching over
over taking her hand in his. I could never
imagine you doing anything wrong."
She could see him closing the distance
between them, and feel his hand reaching
up to stroke her face.
Jake felt propelled by a force stronger
than he could control as he lifted her
mouth to his. her mouth to his. Her lips
trembled at his second kiss, then then
parted allowing him privilege to the
sweetness of her mouth. Emily such a
wonderful warm flood her body. How
could she feel such strange enjoyment
from a man he knew nothing about. But as
she open your eyes, he gave her no time to
think as he took her fully in his arms
again, kissing her deeply with no
resistance from her at all.
As Bessie led her to the upstairs bedroom
and Jake said his farewells to his business
associates and his cousin Jim Rawley,
Emily knew that tonight would be
different than any night in her life. As
Bessie open the door to a large room, she
could make out a huge four-poster bed
before her. She walks slowly to it and
seated herself on the satin comforter, as
she waited for Bessie to return and help
The drapes were wrong and why and
there was very little light in the room
making an even more difficult for her to
see. When the door opened it wasn't the
figure of Bessie her eyes beheld...but the
tall lean figure of Jake Rawley himself.
"I was waiting for Betsy she said
nervously you said if I needed anything I
should ask Bessie."
He looked at her a long minute.
"what is it that you need," he questioned
as his hand move slowly over her back
and down her spine causing her heart to
" I need help undressing that's all." Her
voice was cracking and she knew he
heard it as he move closer to her.
" That's what husbands are for," he said
softly as he started unbuttoning the
numerous buttons on the back of her satin
Jake could feel her shiver as his fingers
made their way down her back as his
fingers made their way down her back.
Ff nothing more he would lay with her,
feel your body next to his, and just hold
her in the night. With the last button
undone he slid the dress from her
shoulders and help her step out of it.
Emily heard his footsteps as he gathered
the dress in his arms and cross the room
with it, and then return. Then he
proceeded to unlace her corset, and help
her out of her pantaloons.
Her breath caught in her throat knowing
that she was naked before him.
"You have nothing to hide from me
Emily...nor I you."
Even with dim eyes she could see that he
was removing his clothes too. First his
suit coat, then his shirt, trousers, lastly his
shoes, until he stood naked before her too.
He lifted her into his arms and lowered
her to the bed. Emily could feel the satin
sheet beneath her as he laid her down,
then gently positioned himself next to her.
He felt a burning desire in his body to
love her, but knew in his heart that now
was not the time. as he looked at her.
She was everything he could ever want.
Beautiful. She was his second chance at
love. A chance he never expected.
"Oh Emily "he gasp as he smother her
with kisses on her face, neck and breast.
Emily had told herself not to be afraid
but she was.
Jake could feel the tears trickling down
onto his chest.
"Oh my love, he said softly, you have
nothing to fear from me, I would never
hurt you or take from you what you're not
ready to give. He kissed her sweetly, as he
wiped away her tears with delicate
Strokes. We're Bound in marriage, but not
yet in love. I have no right to love you
until you give me that right."
He kissed her sweetly on the lips as he
enclosed her in his arms where she laid
silently listening to the rhythm of their
He had undressed, seen her naked, yet
took no husband privileges.
Her father, Beulah, and Bessie were right,
she concluded. Jake Rawley was a good
And as she closed her eyes, she suddenly
felt safe and warm. There was so much
she didn't know about him, but she had a
lifetime to find out. And as she nestled
deeper, and closer to his warm flesh, she
knew she wanted to love him , and would
ultimately give him what they both
deserved....The Right To LOVE!