In The Storyteller’s Bracelet, winter comes to Oak Tree Indian School when the Indian youth Otter, named Gideon by the school’s teachers, is at the home of Wendy, daughter of one of the school’s patrons. Will trouble come to Gideon and Wendy from this snowfall? Read the scene, then you decide. Then, buy the book and see if you’re correct!
They were out behind the tool shed, where Gideon was oiling the reel mower and preparing to store it for winter, when the first flakes drifted down from the gray skies overhead.
“Stick out your tongue, Gideon! Try to catch the flakes on your tongue!” Wendy let out a laugh as she spun around, mouth open, trying to catch the snowflakes.
Hesitantly at first, Gideon opened his mouth a crack.
“No, not like that, silly; you’ll never catch a snowflake like that! Open wide, and look up!” She demonstrated, still spinning in circles, as if that would increase the likelihood of catching the elusive snowflakes.
Gideon did as he was told. When the first few flakes found his tongue, his eyes grew wide with surprise. “Cold! But then, warm. They do not last.”
Wendy stopped spinning, but not before she’d spun herself into a bad case of vertigo. She stumbled, then tripped over some unseen impediment in the grass.
“Wendy!” Gideon was at her side in a moment’s time, but not soon enough to keep her from plopping none too gracefully on the ground. “Are you all right?” He extended his hand to her. “Here, let me help you.”
She giggled, and took his hand, but instead of allowing him to pull her up, she tugged downward. He sat, next to her, also none too gracefully.
“Do you like me, Gideon?” she whispered softly, leaning in close to him.
He could feel her warm breath on his cheek. She smelled of lilacs and vanilla, and Gideon could feel his body responding to her closeness. “I like you very much,” he said.
He leaned toward her and gently kissed her on the cheek. When she did not pull away, he placed his hand on her chin and turned her face toward his. “Very, very much,” and this time he kissed her full on the lips, tenderly at first, then boldly, with a hunger he had not realized he felt.
Wendy let out a little purr of contentment, then, slowly, pulled away. “I like you very much too, Gideon.” She sighed. “But I don’t suppose it’s a good idea, do you?”
“No, I suppose not.” He looked at her soberly. “I am Indian. You are …” he nodded in the direction of the house. “You are not only white, but you are rich white. Not a good match.”
She leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulder. “Rich? I don’t care about rich. I’m twenty years old; my parents are intent on me finding someone to marry. But I am so tired of being courted by men who are rich, who are looking only for proper wives to parade around town on their arms and don’t care a whit if they have half a brain in their head.”
Gideon chuckled. “That’s funny. A person cannot have only half a brain.”
“It’s just an expression.” She lifted her head and looked him in the eye. “What I meant was, some men treat women as if they’re not smart; like they’re fragile creatures to be displayed, but not talked to about important things.”
She reached out and fingered his hair. “You, on the other hand, talk to me about what you are learning in school, and books you are reading, and your thoughts about history. You treat me like an intelligent woman, not a piece of porcelain.”
Gideon reached up and grasped her fingers, bringing them to his lips and kissing them. “You are an intelligent woman. Like your aunt, my teacher. Now, I am going to kiss you on your lips again. And if this is not a good idea, like you say, you just get up and leave me here, sitting on this cold ground.”
He kissed her. She did not leave.
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