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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: April 29, 2015      Views: 83

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Careen
"Bring Back The Wind V" by joann r romei

Careen O'Hara and her eldest sister Scarlet stood in the foyer of Mr. and Mrs.Ashley Wilkes quaint home. She watched as Scarlet frown miserably as she examined the simple rooms that were basic in their decor and arrangement. Although the meager house survived being burned in the war, Careen agreed it was a bit shabby and run down. Ashley and Melanie deserved so much more . However she never knew the Wilke's to spend on themselves. Others yes, but not themselves.

One would guess it to be the home of a meager merchant. It was as if the occupants did not want to splurge the luxuries of the world. Scarlet shook her head, " And I know damn well the mill generates enough money for Ashley to live like a king. " Yet Careen knew Ashley was the king of his castle.

Ever since Careen could talk she remembered her sister being preoccupied with Ashley Wilkes. She was either, frowning, laughing or scqouling over his whereabouts. Whenever he visited Twelve Oaks, Scarlet would beam, trail after him with her cat eyes fixed on his every move. And as time went on it was common knowledge to all that Scarlet was in love with him, for her longing gazes were too obvious to ignore, even though Ashley would kiss her forehead, chaperone her to balls and treated her like nothing more than a sister.

There was a heavy oder of paper and leather coming from the library. Dozens of books lined deep mahogany shelves that glistened from daily polishing. Some bindings were well worn, others brand new. Yet each was placed carefully by size and author, as if the reader knew exactly where to recall memorable phrases.
Careen heard Scarlett mumble, " Books are costly indeed.., but why would anyone want to read anything if they weren't lounging on a velvet settee!" Careen attempted to relax by taking small breaths, but she was unsuccessful. What her sister Scarlet had convinced her to be a part of was beyond sensible reasoning! She hoped no-one saw them entering the Wilkes home. She was worried about the Meads, and Merriweathers gossiping, because they always did in regards to Scarlet. Her sister never seemed to lack shocking the town folk with headstrong ideas that made sense to no one. It was as if Scarlet lived in an unconventional world where she ruled supremely. Careen wiped her forehead with a linen handkercheif.

But Melanie Wilkes was dead, and Scarlet had been her sister in law all these years and that make Careen feel obliged somehow. In whatever odd sort of way....She loved Melanie and was stricken with grief upon her passing. She remembers during the hardships of war, Melanie taking her and Sue Ellen hand and leading them aside to remind them, " Now dear little sisters, you must do everything that Scarlet tells you, she is working very hard to fulfill her duties at Tara. You know how she loves it so. After Twelve Oaks was burned to the ground, I consider this my home."

Careen was about to cry, then feared something outrageous, what if Scarlet was bold enough to propose marriage to asked Ashley! This must be the moment she was waiting for. Melanie to be dead! And before Careen could flee out of the house from embarrassment, she heard heavy footsteps approaching from the hallway. Uncle Peter entered dressed in a black perfectly fitted suit with ruffled collar. His eyes were red, yet they widened when he saw the pale shade of dress and bonnet that donned Careen O'Hara, but he quickly said," Morning Miss Careen, Morning Miss Scarlet."

Careen twisted the handkerchief in her white gloves. "Oh Scarlet, I do not feel comfortable in this attire while in mourning."
But as soon as she spoke the words she regretted it. For Scarlet fixed an icy glare. In the past Careen had witnessed Scarlets outbursts and tantrums. Her unpredictable violent mood had always made Careen uncomfortable, especially when her sister was set on something. And Scarlet had recently shown a fierce determination Careen had never seen. And before she could cower, she felt Scarlets nails dig under the soft skin of her arm.

" Careen don't speak until instructed, I need this to work. Ever second of every hour is keeping me from Rhett. " Careen met her wild green eyes and nodded slowly. Wether she agreed or not with the agenda at hand, It was always best to appease Scarlet, lest she succumb to her wrath. There were voices from the kitchen, Careen looked over her shoulder.

Scarlet whispered sweetly, " Now darling, Do you want them to hear you ?" Then she turned, walked over to the front window and fingered the Chantilly curtain.
"You really aren't doing this for me, your very own sister, ... You are doing this for Bo, think of him. Why he was about the same age Mellie and Charles were when orphaned and sent to live with Aunt PittyPat here in Atlanta."

Careen felt Scarlet study her crumpled expression and gave a slight grin. She persisted with her dialogue.

" Why if wasn't for Uncle Peter who was General Hamilton's personal slave, knows what have happened to them. You know as well as anyone Aunty Pitty is an overgrown baby, she can't even boil water for tea. Much less care for two small children." Scarlet looked around the foyer, "Imagine a negro in charge of the Hamilton home. And he saw to all of the duties with trustworthiness."

Scarlett continued, " Why Uncle Peter must have spent have his life holding smelling salts under Aunt Pitty's nose." Scarlett faked sniffing, " But he is getting old..."

Careen remembered when the news hit Tara that Mellie and Charles parents were tragically killed. Oh the horror of such a thing happening to people they spent lazy summer days with at Twelve Oaks. She prayed for hours while clinging to her mother's skirt in fear she may die as well.

" Careen, I know I've been such a mean sister. More importantly Melanie made me promise to take care of Ashley and Bo."
It was at that second Careen went to Scarlet and touched her shoulder. "You mustn't cry. I will do exactly as you wish. For Bo's sake."

Dry eyed Scarlet whirled around so quick Careen leaned back. "Good." She stated. " Now let me have a better look at you." As Scarlet scrutinized her, Careen smoothed the ecru shirt buttoned to her chin, and high waist lavender skirt that did nothing for her figure. She retied the simple bonnet. Careen felt she looked older and matronly, nothing like a coquettish southern belle. What was Scarlet up to?

Scarlet laughed and said," God has a devilish sense of humor. It is uncanny how you resembled Melanie Hamilton Wilkes. Careen O Hara, with your shyness and soft voice, gentle chin and wide eyes, can pass for a relative of the Wilkes."
Careen was about to speak yet stopped when they heard Uncle Peter's footsteps approaching again.

Scarlet ordered like a general, "Now remember to follow my lead, and you mustn't cry."

Like a scared goat Careen shook her head yes and hoped her sister knew what she was doing. Scarlet had assumed an authority that reigned on and off Tara. It was almost as primal as as a lioness guarding a fresh kill. And she was quite convincing when she was determined and Scarlet was more determined than ever. Careen said a silent prayer for everyone in the house, for it was the lives of people Scarlet was toying with, not pawns from games they had played as children.

to be continued...





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