Losing Control

October 2, 1896
Penelope Sumter

“I’m not going.” I declared.

“Yes, you are.” Wilbur said.

“You can’t make me.” I replied.

“Yes, I can.” Wilbur said.

“Am I interrupting?” Lizzie asked as she entered the room, unexpectedly.

Wilbur glared at her without speaking.

“Yes.” I answered.

“I can come back.” She said.

“That would be appreciated, Miss Bassett.” Wilbur said.

Lizzie backed out of the doorway and closed the door. Wilbur and I remained silent for a moment as we listened to her retreating footsteps. When there was nothing left but silence we turned to each other again.

“Why does it matter to you anyway?” I asked.

“It’s your future, that will always matter to me.” Wilbur replied.

“It’s a dance.” I said.

“Yes, and what message does it send to father when you purposefully avoid every social opportunity the school provides?”

I smiled despite myself. I almost laughed but Wilbur would not have responded well to it so I kept inside.

“I think the message would only be degraded by putting it into words.” I said.

“You think you are being cute?” He asked.

He did not wait for me to respond. In the same instant he closed the space between us. He propped his left leg up on my beg and grabbed hold of my arm. I tried to pull away but his grip was like steel. Seconds later I was staring at the floor only inches away from my face while his hard hand slapped against my skirted posterior. Even through the layers of clothing the smacks stung.

As quickly as it happened it was over. I found myself face to face with my brother only now I was blushing with embarrassment. Anger was boiling up inside me. Without thinking, I slapped him across the face.

“I’m not going and you can’t make me.” I asserted.

Wilbur took a step back from me. His right fist was clenched and his arm shook. It was his eyes though that made me regret my actions and words. The expressed a disappointment and hurt I had never thought possible between us. I would have apologized, but it was too late.

“We’ll see about that.” He said.

Wilbur walked out the door and slammed it closed behind him.

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