CHAPTER THREE - QUEEN BEE
Tommy's words played on my mind for the next few days. Was he referring to me? Or, was it just a general fact he was spouting to break the silence between us? If he was referring to me... does that mean I am supposed to be bearing children to repopulate the community? Am I to be the breeder of gods army?
I had never been told as such, just that I would be the one to lead us into the new world. But, if all the world was engulfed in hells flames... Our measly community would need to have more people to build anew. And, if that was a part of my role... was I ok with that? I honestly did not know.
Over the next few months, my father encouraged me to spend more time with Tommy. He told me that with the power that god bestowed on me, I was the only one who could bring him fully into the light. He said that Tommy would be my greatest warrior in the war against evil.
I didn't mind, I enjoyed my time with Tommy. Whether we were riding the horses in the outer community, swimming in one of the dams or sparring, he always managed to make me laugh. He was my first true friend, the first person to treat me as equal and not put me on a pedestal.
In front of others, he would bow down to me, but when we were on our own we were the same. For the first time I could enjoy my childhood, I felt free. My crush on him grew stronger everyday but I dare not act on it. Instead, secretly delighting in the small touches we would share.
It was on my 14th birthday that things began to change. The day was a massive celebration throughout the community. I was pampered and spoiled beyond measure. In the afternoon, Tommy and I rode the horses down to the dam. It was too cold to swim, the autumn leaves had all fallen to the ground coating the earth in browns, golds and reds. I loved this time of year, the colours were so pretty.
We dismounted the horses and let them drink from the dam as we sat on the grass and looked out over the hills. The dam was close to the outer edge of the community. Father said that while it looked the same on the other side of the boundary, it was just an illusion placed by the devil to trick us. Only father could go into the evil and not be scarred.
We sat in silence and took in the beautiful illusion in front of us. Tommy knocked his shoulder against mine. I looked over at him, a smile on his face
“Close your eyes...” he said softly. I smiled and bit my bottom lip, before closing my eyes. I felt Tommy's hands brush my shoulders, moving my hair to the side before dropping something around my neck. He moved my hair back, his fingers playing across my skin before he moved away. “Open them.”
I open them and look down at the beaded necklace placed around my neck. The handmade beads were painted brown, gold and red, matching the autumn leaves I loved so much. I look to Tommy with tears welling in my eyes. Never had anyone given me something so thoughtful. While I was spoiled beyond measure, nothing was given out of love.
“Thank you Tommy... I... I love it.” My voice cracks as I look between Tommy and the necklace. He smiles and reaches over to touch the beads.
“I made it from bottlebrush cores... and in the autumn colours you like... I know it's not much...” I cut him off by pulling him into a hug. His arms circle my waist as he returns my embrace.
“It's perfect Tommy... the best gift I've ever been given.” I pull away, placing a soft kiss on his cheek before moving back. A small blush plays on his cheeks making me smile. Tommy clears his throat.
“Come on princess, I better get you back.” He says. I bite my lip and nod my head. Tommy stands and reaches for my hand. I place my hand in his and he pulls me to my feet. We mount the horses and head back to the community.
My birthday dinner consisted of my father, my birth mother, my full blood siblings and myself. I had an older brother Kade, who was 16 and 2 younger sisters, Madeleine who was 10 and Adelaide who was 7. My father had 18 children of his own to 13 of his wives. Wife number 14 was Tommy's mother. She was still of breeding age and I was sure she would give him at least one child. My youngest half sibling was just 3 months old, the oldest being 29. Out of my father’s 18 children, he had 6 grandchildren, with 2 more on the way.
Father led us in a prayer before we began to eat. The dinner table was silent, everyone knew not to speak. It was after dinner when the table was cleared that father addressed me.
“Genevieve, how are you and Tommy getting along?” he asked me. I look down at the table and bite my lip, trying to hide the blush that forms at the mere mention of his name.
“Very well, father.” I reply politely. He nods his head.
“Good. He will be your first husband. You two shall be married a year from now on your 15th birthday. Hopefully, you will have your first child to him before you turn 16.” He states. I feel a lump in my throat and my stomach churns. But I swallow it down and nod my head in agreement.
“Yes father.” I dare not go against my father. We are dismissed from the table and I walk towards my room, trying to digest the information I have been given. The only thought that keeps running through my mind are Tommy's first words to me all those months ago. "The queen bee repopulates the hive".