“Which aunt is the rich aunt, and which aunt is the one with an itch. Try saying that several times, fast.”
“That. That. That.” I chanted back.
“That’s not what I meant! Aunt Dottie, make her stop teasing me.”
Aunt Dottie replied. “You did say to say that several times.”
“But, but…” Jackie sputtered.
“You have to learn to accept the consequences of your words. So, which aunt is the aunt with an itch?” she chuckled. “You have so many aunts, I can barely keep track of them. It’s nice knowing that we’re all cousins, sisters, or brothers, here at our settlement. Isn’t it wonderful having so many to share the work with?”
“I’m so glad Edward chose my two sisters to marry after me, we were so close as children, now we’ll always be able to share that same closeness. Just as you share the same closeness, since my daughters are your cousins, as well as being your sisters, sharing the same father.”
Jackie giggled. “Has Father decided who will be his next wife?”
“I hope it’ll be Abigale. I really like her, she’s my age. It’ll be fun having my best friend as one of my mothers, but I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy taking orders from her. When I turn 13 next month, then I’ll be old enough to marry, too. I wonder who the elders will choose for me.”
“Oh Rebecca, then you’ll get to be an aunt, too,” Jackie laughed. “Won’t it be fun, having your own babies? One more year before I marry, too. I dream of it often.” Then, voice lowered so Aunt Dottie couldn’t hear. “Do you worry about pleasing your husband? I’m so afraid I won’t, I just can’t seem to keep my thoughts to myself, and I’m terrified that my husband won’t be as tolerant as our Father is.”
“Quick, girls, Father’s home, is everything ready, did you finish setting the table?”
“Rebecca, come here girl.” Father called.
Rebecca hurried to stand, head bowed properly in respect, before Father.
“Everyone, as you know, the Elders met today to choose the brides for this coming month. Rebecca, as you are almost of age, your name was added to the list. I’m sorry to see you go, but Abigale will be coming here, as my new bride. I know you’ll all find that to be good news, as she has a very obedient, selfless, servant’s attitude.”
“Rebecca, I have received the honor of having you chosen to be the next wife of our revered leader. You have obviously caught his eye with your kind heart, and willing spirit, as he has decided he will not wait till next month, but you’ll be married to him in the same ceremony that unites Abigale with me tomorrow.”
Rebecca blanched, silently screaming NO!
“Let us bow our heads and thank God for the bounty He has bestowed upon us.”
“Thank you God for the many beautiful, obedient, kind, and giving, young women you have blessed us with. Thank you for all the Blessings we have received in our children. Amen”
“I’m hungry, is dinner is ready?”
“Andrew, come here please.”
“Yes, Father.” Andrew replied as he slowly came to stand before Father. Andrew was Rebecca’s twin brother, and he wasn’t looking forward to the news he was going to receive. He had been thinking about it for some time now, but had expected another month of reprieve.
“Andrew, as we have moved your sister’s uniting with our revered leader up a month, so we have moved up your time to leave. I know you weren’t prepared to leave this early, so we will give you an extra 48 hours to leave the settlement. I will give you the last address I have for your older brother, perhaps he can help you find your way in the outside world.”
“I know it’s difficult to leave, but you know we can’t have young men around here with all the girls and women. It is difficult for them to obey their husbands if the younger men tempt them. We are commanded to put away that which tempts us, so you must go along with the other young men. I will miss you. You were a hard worker. Tell your mother to prepare your things to go.”
So, which aunt was the rich aunt? And which aunt was the one with an itch, to follow her brother to freedom?
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