Curious Wilbur

November 15, 1896
Penelope Sumter

“Tell me.” Wilbur ordered.

“It’s not important.” I said.

“Then tell me and I will know for myself.” He said.

“I can’t.” I said.

“Why not?” He said.

“You would not understand.” I said.

“Because of you or because of him?” He said.

“It’s complicated.” I said.

“So explain it.” He said.

“Wilbur!” I said.

“I know there is a problem. He singles you out. I want to know why.” He said.

“Maybe I don’t know.” I said.

“I think you do.” He said.

“You think it’s all my fault.” I said.

“Is it?” He said.

“Does it even matter?” I said.

“It does to me.” He said.

“Can we just forget about it? Please.” I said.

“Whether you like it or not, it is my responsibility to look out for you.” He said.

“I can take care of myself.” I said.

“But you should not have to.” He said.

“It’s not like I’m failing.” I said.

“I’m not going away and I’m not dropping the subject just because you don’t want to talk about it. You have a choice, you can either tell me what is going on with Dr. Phallic and you or you can go over my knee and then tell me what is going on. It’s your choice but you are going to make it right now.” He said.

“He thinks I’m capable of more and he tries to push me to try harder because he thinks I don’t try hard enough on my own.” I said.

“Is he right?” He said.

“There was a time when he was.” I said.

“But not now?” He said.

“Last year I was more interested in other pursuits. I am more focused now.” I said.

“You know father would not approve of your focus.” He said.

“He didn’t approve much of it last year either.” I said.

“If you are trying harder this year, why does Dr. Phallic continue to single you out in class?” He said.

“Maybe you should ask him.” I said.

“I’m asking you.” He said.

“I don’t know.” I said.

“What do you think his reasons might be?” He said.

“If you are leading to something why don’t you just say it?” I said.

“Do you want to go over my knee?” He said.

“No! I don’t know what you want from me.” I said.

“The truth, Penelope.” He said.

“I’m telling you the truth.” I said.

“But not all of it.” He said.

“What do you think you know?” I said.

“Why don’t you tell me?” He said.

“If I knew, I would.” I said.

“Fine, I’ll talk to Dr. Phallic. If I find out you’ve been holding back, you’ll be sorry.” He said.

“And when you find out I’m be forthright, I expect an apology for the accusations.” I said.

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