Chapter 8

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   The first few months after the birth were relaxing for Sheba but crazy for James. Lafayette had gone back to the army base, Sheba stayed in bed for two days, nursing the boys a few times a day, and doing a few minor chores while James did most of the housework. 

When Sheba got back on her feet, James was relieved. "I never knew that it was such hard work being a woman," said James one day.

"Well, it isn't when you get used to it," Sheba replied, smiling. "Where is Micah, Asher, and Israel?" she asked.

"In their cribs. I moved them into the kitchen for you."

"Thanks."

She got up and began sweeping the kitchen and making clothes for the boys.

Little Israel began to cry. Sheba got up and began to rock him. "Hush, little one," she whispered, "It's alright." The child relaxed in his mother's arms and held a fist full of her hair.

Sheba got up and opened all the windows to let in the fresh air. She sighed. "Soon, you will be a man and working in the fields with your father," she said sadly, "But now, I'm gonna enjoy you three as babies." She laid Israel down in his crib and put on her apron.

She kneaded the bread dough and wondered how Martha and General Washington were doing. General Washington was still at some army base or fort. He never stayed too long in one place. The two families had become close friends over the years.

Soon, a knock at the door made her jump. She wiped her hands on her apron and opened it. Martha's son Lawrence stood in her doorway.

"Lorie!" She cried, backing away, "What do you want?"

"Can't a man just stop in and see his favorite girl?" he said drunkenly.

"You smell like a cellar full of whiskey," she said, "You ain't coming in my house any time soon."

"Well why not darlin?" "Because you aren't my husband."

"That'll change soon!"

He tried to grab her hand, but she jumped back.

"Get away from me, Lorie!" Sheba screamed.

"I ain't leavin without a kiss from your beautiful lips." He lunged and tore off the hem of her dress. Micah began to scream, which triggered something in his brothers to howl with him. Sheba screamed in terror and tried to defend her children from the drunk.

"What will your mother think?" she cried.

"I don't give a dang about what anyone thinks," He said, slurring, "I just want you by my side, all the days of my life..."

James appeared in the doorway. "Lorie!" He yelled, "Get away from my wife!"

"Why, if it isn't the little spy boy from the puny Colonial Army, James Tory!" Slurred Lorie.

"Yes, and I said get away from Sheba!"

"Make me!"

James ran toward him and punched him in the mouth. Lorie looked stunned, but then swung and missed. James then pushed him down and held him in a head lock.

"Swear that if I let you go, you will leave and never come back!" Yelled James, "Swear!"

"I swear! I swear!" Stuttered Lorie.

James released him and Lorie staggered out the door. Sheba saw him spit blood on the side of the road.

She fell into James' arms. "I didn't know what to do," she whispered, "He just came at me so suddenly, and I thought only to protect the babies..."

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