Howdy. Below is the next installment of my WIP, The Pledge. You can read it from the beginning by clicking here. And thanks for stopping by my blog.
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Shua is not very tall; in fact, he is shorter than Judah. His hair is receding, his beard is speckled grey and he is missing a couple of teeth. Still, there is something about him that is…imposing. Judah finds he is nervous as Hirah’s father makes introductions. He can’t read Shua’s expression – not until Isaac’s name is spoken.
“Isaac ben Abraham,” the man repeats, a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
With this news, Shua welcomes them into his home, leading them to the main room. Following closely, Judah can only imagine the thoughts of wealth and advancement going through the Canaanite’s head. He just hopes he doesn’t ask for specifics.
They sit down and wait for Shua’s wife to bring them strong drink. Judah looks around, taking in his surroundings. The house is much bigger than Hirah’s. Certainly, his own upbringing in the plains of Padan-Aram pale in comparison. Inside, lavish tapestries hang on the walls, with silks covering the plush chairs. By the hearth is a teraphim, as his avi called them. The household god, protector of the home. Squatting in the corner.
A servant enters the room carrying a tray of drinks, Shua’s wife quietly following behind her. She says nothing, but watches as the drinks are disbursed. When Shua tells her to bring Alit, she simply nods and exits the room.
Judah settles back in his chair, feeling older than his seventeen years: he was a man now, holding his own without his father or brothers and he liked that.
“My daughter is a rare beauty, my boy,” Shua says, as if warning him. Not knowing how to respond, Judah simply nods his head. He doesn’t want to give the impression that he is there to meet Alit, or make any kind of business or marital alliance. Perhaps one day, Judah decides, but for now, he is still young and there is yet a big world before him. No, he was there, as the grandson of nobility, to meet another local nobleman.
All confidence and feelings of comfort leave him when Alit enters the room. Her head is bowed in reverence, her hair covering her face. Judah cannot see her eyes, but he recalls their depth, their exquisiteness. She wears a colorful dress, exposing her arms and giving shape to her curvaceous figure. Judah stares. He doesn’t want to be so obvious, but he can’t help it. Alit was a rare beauty, and all of her, every bit of her, beckoned; no, demanded his attention.
Alit’s black hair parts as she raises her head and their eyes meet. Judah releases the breath he had been holding, knowing he won’t be able to keep up his confident charade much longer. And he is right. When she smiles, Judah is lost.