Last week we continued our Rubies Saga by beginning Marty’s story. To recap our book so far, we need to go back to Norway in 1913.
Kaja Ericsen disobeys her father and marries musician Gunner Ericsen. After the birth of their children, Gunner abandons Kaja for another woman. Alone and unable to support her two daughters, she leaves them with her mother in Norway and travels to America to make a new life as a housekeeper for a Norwegian emigrant, Hans Berglund. She promises to send for her daughters as soon as she can.
Things do not go as planned for Kaja when she is raped by her employer and forced to marry him. Kaja becomes the step-mother of Hans Berglund’s two children, William and Sophia. William loves Kaja and thinks of her as his own mother. Sophia, however, resents Kaja and when her father dies, she blames his death on the housekeeper.
Kaja bears Hans two children, a daughter and son. The daughter, Marty, is severely scarred as a child and her deformity affects her personality and an inferiority complex follows her throughout her life. The son, Hans Jr., dies from pneumonia shortly after his birth.
When Marty is four she finds her father dead on the sofa. It is then that Kaja discovers Hans has left her penniless. She marries Christian Johnson not out of love but friendship and in the hope that she will be reunited with her children in Norway.
Catastrophe strikes again and Kaja’s youngest daughter dies in Norway. The eldest daughter is so angry she disowns her mother. Kaja is devastated but goes on to put all her hopes and dreams in Marty, her daughter with Hans Berglund.
Soon Kaja is stricken with heart disease and she and Christian leave Dakota for Minneapolis where she can get better medical care. Marty quits school to take care of her mother.
Marty is very attached to her half-brother, William but when he leaves to join the navy, she feels abandoned. When Marty meets a young man who makes her feel special like William always did, she decides to lie to Kaja about their relationship. This is the beginning of the pathway of destruction for Marty.
Today we pick up on our story with Marty dating Sonny Morley, a man who is so self-absorbed that he thinks nothing of his or Marty’s deception.
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above Rubies. Proverbs 31:10
The theater was packed when they arrived and Marty's stomach was in knots. She wondered what people would think of a plain girl sitting next to such a handsome young man. Sonny said her eyes were the most beautiful green he'd ever seen and her skin was like silk beneath his fingers. Perhaps that's why the spaces between her teeth didn't bother him. She was lucky to have found him.
The movie had barely started when Sonny put his arm around her shoulder. Her heart fluttered as his brushed his fingers lightly along her arm; she shivered when he pulled her closer. She felt so strange, tingly and dizzy all at the same time. Was this what Momma had meant when she'd warned her about the things a man could do to a woman?
Before she knew what was happening, Sonny leaned over, lifted her chin with his hand, and placed his lips on hers. The first kiss was ever so gentle, but the second was harder, the third lingering. Then his tongue filled her mouth and she thought she would be sick.
Choking, she pushed him away. “Gosh, what are you doing?”
He laughed heartily. “I knew you were an innocent country bumpkin, but haven't you ever been French kissed?”
“No and it was awful!”
Sonny raised his eyebrows, humor spreading over his face. “After you get used to it, you'll love it.”
“And who says I'll get used to it?”
“If you want to see me, you'll have to learn to like it.”
Momma always said men wanted their own way. She’d never find another man as handsome as Sonny. She couldn’t risk losing him.
She smiled up at him. “I'll try to like it more the next time.”
Sonny's eyes narrowed as he smirked. Then he bent to kiss her again, his warm tongue mingling with her own.
A few months later------
Kaja's strength was declining rapidly and lately she had to nap to get through the day. But tonight her mind was on her daughter. It seemed so strange that Marty enjoyed baby-sitting so much these days. Two or three times a week earned enough money to help with the medical bills. Thank God Christian kept his job at the broom factory when so many were laid off. He had to work the night shift but they couldn't complain. It was a job.
Christian returned quickly, his face drawn.
Kaja's large brown eyes flickered with anger as she listened to his news.
“What are you telling me about my daughter?”
“Little one,” Christian cautioned, “you must not upset yourself. It is not good for your heart.”
“My heart! My heart has been broken so many times, and now this child has done it again. If what you say is true, she has been lying to us for months.”
“No, no, Kaja. Perhaps it is just for tonight.”
“And one lie is better than ten?”
Christian turned as the front door opened, and Marty crept into the room.
“Well, child,” he said firmly. “What is this we hear from Mrs. Holland about you and her brother?”
Marty's face paled. “I --ah -- she said she would explain to you.”
Kaja seized Marty by her shoulders. “You have been seeing this boy without my permission?”
Marty gasped and began to ramble. “Please, Momma, I didn't want to upset you. Tonight was the first time we were alone. The other times I just went to the malt shop to hear Sonny play the guitar.”
“Enough!” Kaja's voice resounded throughout the room.
“A musician too! God forbid!”
“But, Momma, he's not like your Gunnar!”
“If he is not then why does he allow you to deceive me? If we did not need the money so badly, I would not allow you to go to Mrs. Holland's again.”
“Little one,” Christian interrupted, “you must calm yourself.”
“Momma, please let Sonny come over and meet you.”
Kaja put her hands over her face. “Will this curse never end for me?”
Marty looked puzzled. “Momma, I don't understand.”
“Of course you don't, child.” Sighing, Kaja put her arm around Marty. “I fell in love with Gunnar and married him against my momma’s wishes. I have paid dearly for my sin.”
“But I'm not going to marry Sonny.” Marty added with a smirk, “At least not yet.”
Kaja took Marty's chin in her hands. “You are much too young to think about marriage.”
“But I'll be eighteen in December.”
Kaja's voiced pitched close to screaming as she backed away from her daughter. "You must not go against my wishes, Martha!”
Christian put his arm around his wife. “Kaja, you must sit down.”
Marty choked back a sob. “I'm sorry, Momma. I didn't mean to upset you.”
Kaja's frown softened. She too had been so much in love when she'd met Gunnar. "All right, child, I will meet the boy.”
Marty breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Momma. You'll see that Sonny isn't anything like your Gunnar.”
Kaja's smile revealed the tiny lines that had formed around her large brown eyes. Still deep inside she feared nothing could end the curse she'd brought upon herself; the boy would break her daughter's heart one day. She was sure of it.
Sonny is the youngest and only son of Roy and Annie Morley. Annie dotes on her son and isn’t happy about his marriage to such a plain girl. Sonny has lied to his father and told him that Marty is pregnant so they must marry. Marty agrees to elope with Sonny and travels to Brainerd where they marry without Kaja’s knowledge. Sonny’s sister Bertie is proud of their union as she introduced the couple.
The ceremony took place in a small chapel outside Brainerd. Bertie and Frank were delighted to stand up for them, Bertie especially because she took credit for them falling in love.
Marty was very quiet on the ride back to Minneapolis contemplating how and when she should tell Kaja. She reached over for Sonny's hand.
“Would it be okay if I told Momma about us myself?”
Sonny looked straight ahead at the roadway. “Look, Marty, I think we need to tell her this together. You're my wife now and your momma needs to know that we'll be doing things my way from now on.”
“But Momma has a bad heart. William and I are all she has.”
“That half-brother of yours again? I think he takes his fancy uniform too seriously. Just because he's a navy lieutenant doesn't give him a right to look down his nose at us civilians.”
“I don't think he does.”
“The problem is you don't know how to think. That's why you've got me now to do your thinking for you.”
Marty turned her head, pretending to look out the window, but hiding the tears in her eyes. How could Sonny say those things about William? He was her white knight, always coming to her defense, always silencing the cruel mocking of the other children with his cool stare. Before she met Sonny she loved William more than anyone. If only he hadn't left her, she wouldn't have been forced to run away and marry Sonny. Marty choked back threatening tears. She loved William, more than anything.
Marty's throat tightened when she saw the lights of Minneapolis on the horizon. She had lied and told Kaja they were only driving to Brainerd to visit Sonny’s parents. Now she prayed that Kaja would be in bed.
Christian was still working nights in the broom factory and Kaja was quietly knitting, sitting in Hans' old wooden rocker, the only thing salvaged from their life together.
It was almost midnight when they tiptoed into the house.
“Momma,” Marty whispered, “you didn't have to wait up for us.”
Kaja briefly glanced up at them and then proceeded with her knitting. “It is very late. The drive up north was long?”
“Momma, I --”
“Mrs. Johnson, Marty and I were married today.” Sonny jumped in.
Kaja's cheeks flushed, but she never looked up.
Marty scowled at Sonny and bolted to Kaja's side. She knelt down by the rocker. “I'm sorry if I have hurt you, Momma, but Sonny and I are very much in love. He'll be good to me. You'll see.”
Kaja looked into Marty's eyes and saw a mirror reflecting the same pain and tragedy she had brought into her own life. She reached out her hand to caress Marty's cheek. “Soon, my child, you will understand the sorrow I have lived with for twenty years.”
“Momma, I don't understand what you are saying.”
“You have made your bed, my daughter, now you will lie in it.”
And so we see Marty following the same path as her mother and yet she is totally unaware of the curse she has placed upon herself.
Next week we will begin to see the repercussions of Marty’s disobedience as Rubies-Escaping the Curse continues.
You don’t want to miss a single part of the saga so be sure to pick up book one today available on Amazon. Rubies Saga