This post is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, wherein participants blog throughout the month according to the letters of the alphabet. For more on the challenge, click here.
Note: If anyone wondered, I tagged the blog as having adult content due to a few factors: one, strong language; two, the possibility that excerpts I post may have graphic descriptions of sex or violence and therefore unappealing to some readers. Never fear, though, I’ll be sure to warn y’all if a post of that nature comes up! In the meantime, feel free to read on!
And another note: This post has some extremely mild swearing.
Cheers and happy ABC’ing,
I’ve finally figured out why so few posts have been about Noah. He’s not one for talking about himself either, though he’s a bit better at sharing than Gage in that he can easily make small talk and Gage can’t manage what he calls “useless” conversation. Noah’s content with the slower, relaxed pace of his hometown, and his family life is nowhere near as hectic as Gage’s—unless sheer numbers make things hectic. Noah’s the only male of a family with four children, and like his dad before him, he’s learned to roll with it. This makes him a bit more… relaxed, shall we say, than Gage.
Noah’s family are the descendants of Charles and Eliza Lawson—his maternal grandmother was Mariah Lawson. This puts him on the other side of the ghost story from Gage’s family, descended from the woman who worked for the Lawsons at the time of Eliza’s disappearance. Have I mentioned the two families dislike each other to this day? I think it’s about time y’all get a peek at why that is.
“People like to say there isn’t as much class distinction in small towns,” Noah starts, his ears reddening, “but…”
“They’re full of shit.”
He nods. “Yeah. I mean, we still have the old Lawson house, and Gage’s family still has the little house Beatrice raised her kids in after my great-great-grandfather cut her loose. They’ve…” He stops, takes his hand off the gearshift to shove it irritably through his hair, and blows out a breath. “Shit. They’ve never had much money, all right?”
I remember the dark, stifling little house and nod mutely.
“When I was a kid I was interested in the story—not for the reasons you are,” he adds hastily, and I clamp down on any expression of disappointment. “My parents brought us up to be completely fair. If we did something wrong, we owned up to it, and even if it was after the fact, there were consequences. I got in trouble once while I was in college for something I did in high school. It was… interesting to explain to my college buddies that I had to go home for the weekend because I was grounded for something I did when I was fifteen.” I laugh and his lips move up quickly before getting serious again. “The thing that got me about the Lawson stuff way back when was the fact that nothing ever happened to punish Eliza’s killer.”
That gets my attention in a big way. “I wasn’t aware anyone was ever arrested.”
“She wasn’t.” Noah drums his fingers on the steering wheel. “The night Eliza disappeared, the servants heard clattering around the back entrance. Beatrice Crawford was sitting in the back garden, with her daughter and Mariah Lawson, her dress torn up and bloody, singing to herself. The servants got her in the house, they looked after the little girls—got Mariah to bed, got Grace tucked away in the kitchen until Beatrice’s husband came looking for them. He didn’t live on site,” he adds. “Both girls had blood on their dresses, but they got them changed, hoped Charles wouldn’t notice.”
“He did?” I guess.
“Yeah. Came in just before James Crawford could get his wife and daughter home, demanded why all the servants were hiding in the kitchen, where was his wife. And Beatrice, sweet as you please, piped up that it was all her fault the mistress was dead.”
I blink. How did I not know this? “That’ll do it,” I eventually manage.
And as if this wasn’t bad enough, Noah was the one who arrested Gage way back when. But that’s a story for another day.