Benjamin felt like he would fall out of the wagon when it came to a stop, he was shaking so much. He took a deep breath then puffed out his chest, like he had seen Adam done many a time. He tried to hide his nerves as five or six girls swarmed up to the wagon to greet Millie. They certainly knew her, all gushing at once about how long it had been since they saw her and how much they missed her. One of them caught his eye, she energetically pulled herself up on the side of the wagon to get closer to Millie. Her long dark hair fell down her back to a tiny waist, Ben couldn't help himself but look all the way down, then back up again to her face. She was a tall one, like him, but she the prettiest thing he had ever laid eyes on. I gotta talk to this one, he thought and shoved his way closer to the back of the wagon to get off. Millie had been baking a up a feast of victuals to share with the townsfolk, and the dark haired girl volunteered to bring some over to the tables. "Oh, we'll bring them over!"
Now, thought Ben. "I'd be pleasured if you allowed me." he held out his arm for her, just like Millie had shown them and waited anxiously for her to take it.
"Why, thanks!" the girl smiled. She reached out and took his arm with hers. Ben felt the perspiration on his skin rise under his shirt as he looked into the girl's eyes. He couldn't think of anything else to say then, so he figured smiling was good enough for then until he could think of something, anything else.
The girl could tell he was out of steam already. She had seen this plenty of times when men tried to speak to her. She liked to tease them, and see how far they could get before they retreated to get a drink and try their luck again. They would try their hand at nervous flattery, then she would throw them a flirtatious comment or glance and that would be then end of it. She quite enjoyed winding them up and watching them sweat, serves them right for just thinking she was just another girl to tack down. It was a fun game to play for this girl, she was yet to meet her match. The other girls thought her positively wicked for treating them this way, but she had to amuse herself somehow.
"This table is where we are setting everything up, mister...?" she looked at him and tucked her chin in slightly, as she asked as she widened her eyes to a doe-like expression.
"Uh, Benjamin. Benjamin Pontipee." he replied and placed the bread down on the tables that had been set up for the occasion.
"Thank you, Mr. Pontipee, I-"
"Uh, Ben." He interrupted her, "Ben is just fine." Could she sense how nervous he was?
Half a smile curled up at the side of her mouth. "Well, thank you Ben."
The two beamed at each other, and spoke nothing for a moment before Ben remembered his manners.
"Oh, I, uh, beg your pardon. I didn't ask your name".
The girl chuckled, "My name is Dorcas Gailen." She drew closer to him and purred,"But you can call me Dorcas."
Dorcas. That was real pretty sounding. He looked at her again and took in the way she held herself, so confident. She was making him nervous and she knew it. She had seen that look exchanged between Adam and Millie, mostly in the evenings before everyone went off to sleep. Well, if Ben was going to be man of his own house one day with a wife of his own, he had to start taking charge.
He looked around to avoid her gaze and to take a breath. He reset himself, and decided that this Dorcas girl was not going to get away.
He cleared his throat. "This is a mighty fine day." he commented bluntly.
"It certainly is." she replied, "Mr, -"
"Please, Ben." he said firmly, with a raise of his eyebrows. There was something there now that made Dorcas know that this one would be harder to crack then most.
She tried again. "I am sorry, Ben." She lowered her voice. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Sure! Ask whatever you like."
"Is this your first social occasion? You seem a little distracted." she said slowly, hoping this time he might just break. To her surprise, he moved in closer, almost touching her arm, looked her square in the eyes and grinned.
"That's right, I am distracted."
She understood. She blushed and gazed towards the grass near her feet. She could feel her heart beating a little quicker, as if to say that this Ben wasn't going to go anywhere and that she definitely wanted it that way. She glanced back up to admire the angle of his jaw and the way he looked at her.
The air between them was quickly sliced by the rapid clatter of hammers on anvil.
"C'mon everybody there's going to be dancin'!"
Ben reached out and gently took her hand.