Quilt or Innocence

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig

Book: Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Craig
    Unfortunately, she became so engrossed with the mockingbird’s song that she didn’t notice the sound of a car engine behind her—until an old Lincoln came within about a foot of her and she scrambled off the sidewalk onto the grass.
    She saw a fist waving on a skinny arm and muttered dark things under her breath. Miss Sissy was a public menace. How did she manage to keep a license? She must be paying Ramsay on the side.
    Beatrice was relieved to finally make it safely to the church. Wyatt was at the huge wooden door, greeting worshippers as they came in. When she reached the door, Daisy was talking to Wyatt. She automatically put up a hand to smooth her hair and saw Daisy wink at her.
    Daisy said, “So I designed that quilt to represent disappearing rural Americana. It’s a wistful, poignant tribute. At least, that’s what the judges said. Isn’t that nice? Now it’s going in a Southeastern juried competition among the best original designs in our region. I’m just pleased as punch—and feel so honored.”
    Wyatt was quick to compliment her on her accomplishment and wish her luck in the competition. He actually
interested in quilting when she was telling him about it. An amazing man, really.
    Daisy started talking again, and Beatrice tried to shift her attention back. “I’m glad you’re here, Beatrice, because I wanted to invite you to a dinner party I’m having tonight—in your honor.”
    “Oh . . . Daisy. That’s really nice of you.”
    Daisy smiled at her. “It’s just a small dinner with my friends, to welcome you to town and give you a chance to visit with some people I think you’ll enjoy. I’d do something larger, but I think it would be inappropriate under the circumstances. Wyatt, I’d love for you to come, too. You always have such interesting stories about Dappled Hills.”
    “You’ve lived here a long time?” asked Beatrice with interest.
    “All my life,” Wyatt said. “Actually, I’m a third-generation minister for the Dappled Hills Presbyterian Church.”
    Beatrice was about to ask a little more about his family’s history with the church when a shrill voice to the side of them said, “I’ll come, too.” When they all blinked at her in confusion, she added, “To the party. I’ll come, too.” Thankfully, Miss Sissy was on foot and so they weren’t in any actual danger of being killed by her. Beatrice had to smile at Miss Sissy’s announcement that she’d be at a party to which she hadn’t been invited.
    Daisy looked as if she had a sudden case of indigestion. There wasn’t much she could say, though, not in front of the minister and Beatrice.
    “I’d be
for you to come, Miss Sissy! But I’m not sure you’d like my menu. Lots of exotic spices like cumin and saffron.”
    Beatrice wondered if
was going to like the menu.
    Miss Sissy’s lower lip stuck out and she looked even fiercer than usual.
    Daisy gave a brave smile. “Of course you’re invited, Miss Sissy. Six thirty tonight, y’all?”
    Beatrice felt cheerier about going to a dinner party with Wyatt planning on going, too.
    “Sorry, but it’s time for me to go in for the service,” said Wyatt in his gentle way. “Thanks so much for coming to worship with us today, Beatrice.”
    She could only beam in response.
    * * *
    Piper dropped in unexpectedly that evening as Beatrice was dressing for the party.
    “You’re not wearing
, are you?” Piper’s face was scandalized.
    Beatrice looked down at her black slacks and crisp white blouse. “What wrong with it?” she asked, fingering the strand of pearls she’d paired with her outfit. “And what are you doing here? I thought you were going out tonight.”
    “I was just checking on you before Ash and I went out. And, Mama, absolutely nothing is wrong with your outfit—if you’re going to a nice lunch or a casual supper, or volunteering in the elementary school, or—”
    “But this is supposed to be a last-minute,

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