The librarian smiled in welcome when Bee came in and asked if she could use of the computers. “Of course, dear.” Emily made no mention of Bee’s noticeably swollen eyes and too-bright smile. News traveled fast, and while the rich folks believed in Horace’s version of the story – she’s a slut, wanted me to pay before I tried out the goods, then cried rape when I said I’m no idiot like the boys she fooled around with – Emily and her kind knew better. They had all noticed Horace’s interest in Bee from the very start. Bee might be a little plain, but even at sixteen she had already possessed a full figure, and while years of too much work and too little food had left her painfully thin, this had only served to emphasize the girl’s voluptuous abundance.
Sympathy squeezed the librarian’s heart as she turned to where Bee sat, with the girl’s frowning gaze focused on the monitor before her. Poor girl, Emily thought. While no one would have wished for Horace to attack Bee that way, maybe it was the final push the girl needed to leave their town for good.
Unknown to Emily, similar thoughts were already going through Bee’s head. She had come to the library to access her email, and more importantly, answer the latest mail from Danny.
Their correspondence had begun when a marketing email arrived at her inbox three months ago. It was from a matchmaking agency that specialized, of all things, in mail order marriages. It had seemed too much of a coincidence, but then after a bit of research, she found out that Google, Facebook, and the likes had a way of utilizing user data to come up with targeted advertising. So maybe, her interest in mail order bride romances was the reason she had gotten such an email?
After a bit more online snooping, she had signed up for an account, seeing that the website had promised complete anonymity and wouldn’t even require her to send a photo. All it wanted was a description of her profile and a short explanation of what she was looking for in a marriage.
A month after registration, she had gotten an email from an eighteen-year-old university student named Daniel. They had exchanged almost daily emails since then, with the younger boy, whom she liked to call Danny, constantly entertaining her with funny little anecdotes about ranch life.
You’ll love it here, Bee. Just say the word, and Dad will have the papers ready. You’ll be my new mom, you’ll be married to Dad, and we’ll all live happily ever after.
It had all sounded too good to be true, and even as poor, lonely, and desperate as she were, Bee had been unable to let go of all her fears and worries. Common sense had warned her about the whole thing being a scam, and every day, she had struggled against the urge to write back to Danny and say, Yes.
But everything had changed now.
She had seen how the wealthier folks in town had started looking at her, the looks of disgust and contempt that they threw her way. It was clear as the light of day that Horace hadn’t wasted any time spreading lies about her, and they had all chosen to believe him without even asking for her side of the story.
Bee knew she could lodge a complaint against the factory manager, and that to do so was the right thing to do.
But if she did that, it would mean having to stay and fight, see things through until the end. And she didn’t think she could bear staying another day in this town.
It was time to move on, Bee told herself as she began to type her reply.
I know this will likely come a surprise, a pleasnt one I hope…
One week later
The city bus only came twice a day to Evergreen, Texas, with the first in the early hours of the day, and the other arriving before sundown. It was not that Evergreen had a particularly small population, but rather, Evergreen’s residents had no need of public transportation, with locals primarily consisting of families that owned multimillion-dollar ranches for several generations.
As such, Nicholas Sutherland was unsurprised to find himself alone at the bus stop and when the city bus finally came at 5:59 PM, only one passenger alighted: a tiny, brown-haired woman in a faded, pastel-colored dress. She appeared frail and alarmingly thin, her skinny body seemingly a product of having to go without three full meals a day instead of overdieting. Even so, her slender figure only served to accentuate the fullness of her breasts and the generous curves of her hips. She was temptation in silken flesh, and even Nicholas’ powerful and well-disciplined body was no proof against her inordinately sensual presence.