A Woman Scorned

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Aria Jones remembered the day when she met James Turpentine for the first time. She had gone for her usual walk in the park and had spent a while there before she decided to drop by her parents’ house to see them and her younger sister, Jane. As she approached the house, she saw a couple standing there, embracing and she realized that it was Jane and a man she had never seen before. From where she was, she could see that he was tall and handsome.

Curious, she went over to them. As she drew nearer, she called out to Jane who turned her head. A broad smile spread over her face as she greeted her older sister, “Hello, Aria.”

“Hello.” Aria’s gaze had shifted to Jane’s companion. This close he was even more handsome. Lucky Jane. “Hello. Well, Jane, aren’t you going to introduce us?”

“Oh, yes, of course. This is James. James, this is my sister, Mrs. Aria Jones.”

James had smiled at her and extended his hand. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Jones,” he said.

Aria had taken his hand which enveloped hers in a firm but warm handshake. Her face felt hot. She hoped that they would attribute its flush to the weather and physical exertion. Her face always felt hot and flushed after spending sometime outdoors. “Are you American?” she inquired. She wasn’t keen on Americans. She found them to be loud, obnoxious with a tendency to brag about themselves –at the least the ones she had met so far. And they had a tendency to take the Lord’s name in vain. This one was different, however. Refined, reserved and agreeable. She instantly liked him.

“Yes, I’m American but I have friends here in Sydney. It was through one of them that I met Jane.” He looked at Jane who blushed.

“This James’ first time in Australia,” she informed her sister. “He was in Brisbane for a couple of days and then, he came here to Sydney.”

“How long will you be here in Sydney?” Aria asked him.

“A week.”

“Where are you staying?”

“I’m staying with my Australian friend and his family.”

“So, how do you find Australia so far?”

“It’s different. I can’t get used to the fact that it’s autumn here. Back in the United States, it’s spring. My friend advised me to bring clothes I would normally wear in autumn.”

“Well, I hope that you will enjoy being here in Sydney in spite of the season.”

“Oh, don’t get me wrong. I like autumn. Back in America, the changing of the colors of the leaves is just amazing. I like to take walks in the park just to enjoy the beauty and to take pictures.”

“James and I just came back from a nice, long walk to the village. I think I must have introduced him to everyone in these parts. And now, I’m famished. Mother and I have prepared a special dinner for you, James. Aria, you’re more than welcome to join us.”

“I’d be delighted to join you.”

“What about Flynn? Would he be able to join us too?”

“I’m afraid not. He’s working late this evening.”

“That’s too bad. You’ll meet my brother-in-law another time,” Jane said to James.

“How about this Saturday evening?” Aria asked. “The two of you are invited to have dinner with Flynn and me–that is, if you don’t have any plans.”

“We don’t,” Jane said. “We would be delighted to come. Thank you, Aria.” Jane hugged her.

Aria smiled. “Don’t mention it. Now, let’s go in. I too am famished.”

The three of them went inside. James received a warm welcome from Mr. and Mrs. Williams. It was a very pleasant evening. And as Aria sat there eating the Family Meat Pie, she furtively glanced at James. By then, she knew that she was deeply attracted to him and resented her sister, Jane. Everyone goes on about how nice she is but I’m the pretty one. I’m the one he should be going for, not her. If only I’d met him before I married Flynn. Flynn, what a bloody mistake he turned out to be.

It was just after ten when Mr. Williams and Jane drove Aria home and James to his friend’s house. He and Jane sat at the back while Aria sat at the front with her father. As she said goodnight to them, her eyes lingered on James whom she couldn’t wait to see again.

Saturday evening came and she anxiously awaited their arrival. They were punctual, arriving on time for dinner which was at seven. Luella, the maid, answered the door. Jane and James went into the living-room where Aria and Flynn were. Aria greeted him warmly, thinking how dashing he looked in his suit. Then, she introduced him to Flynn who looked shabby in comparison. She tried not to let her irritation show but smiled graciously at their guests, especially, James.

They had cocktails in the drawing-room until dinner was ready. They filed into the dining-room and sat down at the beautifully laid table with its fine dinnerware. Dinner was Roast Lamb with Baked Potatoes. After dessert, they retired to the drawing-room where they enjoyed after dinner drinks and chatted. Then, Aria suggested that James and she played cards in the study. James liked the idea and accepted.

Jane declined. “I think I’ll go outside for a breath of fresh air, instead,” she said, standing up.

“I’ll join you,” Flynn said, rising to his feet as well. He got her coat and his and they went out into the garden.

Aria and James went into the study where there was a table already set up for card playing. They sat down and she watched him as he dealt the cards after they decided that they would play a game of Bridge. She blushed now as she recalled what happened.

It was while he was dealing the cards for the second game when she asked him point blank about Jane. “So, what are your intentions toward Jane?”

He had smiled. “I guess I expected to asked that question by a member of her family. I assure you that my intentions toward your sister are honorable.”

“Do you love her?”


“Have you and she discussed a future together?”

“Yes, we have.”

“If you decide to marry her, will you live here in Sydney or in America?”

“In America, I expect.”

“America seems so far away. I–the family would love for you and Jane to live here.”

“I like Sydney but my life is in America.”

“What about Jane’s life here in Sydney?”

“I don’t think Jane would have a problem living in America.”

“Everyone thinks Jane is nice. Is that why you’re with her?”

“It is one of the reasons.”

“So, it has nothing to do with her looks, then.”

“What about her looks?”

“Well, she’s not pretty.”

“I think she is but, her looks aren’t what attracted me to her. It’s her character.”

“You’re a very handsome man, James. I’m sure that many women find you attractive.”

It was at that point that he had begun to look uncomfortable. “Why don’t we concentrate on playing cards?” he suggested.

“I heard that Americans are very direct and Australians are very down to earth, so I think you would appreciate my being honest with you. I find you extremely attractive, James. I was attracted to you the moment I first saw you. Since meeting you, I wish we had met before I married Flynn.”

“And what do you think would have happened if you weren’t married when we met?”

“Well, I don’t think that you would be courting Jane.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re with the wrong sister and I’m with the wrong man.”

James rose abruptly to his feet. “Mrs. Jones, I don’t think we should continue this conversation or this game.”

Aria rose to her feet and went over to him. “James, please don’t be angry with me. I can’t help that I’ve feelings for you.”

“You’re a married woman.”

“If I weren’t married, would you be with me instead of Jane?”

“No. I would still be with Jane. For her sake, I wouldn’t mention any of this to her. Excuse me, Mrs. Jones.” He turned and strode out of the room.

She had stood there for a while, trembling. When she finally returned to the drawing-room, James and Jane were saying goodbye to Flynn. Jane hugged her and James politely bade her farewell before Flynn gave them a lift. She didn’t see James again until he returned the following year and she learned that he had asked Jane to marry him. The wedding took place in Sydney and then, they were off to Bali for their honeymoon.

Jane wrote her and their parents regularly when she and James were settled in New Hampshire. Aria couldn’t stop thinking about him and how he had made it clear that even if she were unmarried, he still wouldn’t be with her. That stung. And she resented Jane even more. How could he prefer her to me? I’m pretty and she’s plain. And she resented Flynn. If only I’d refused to marry him but at the time, I wanted security. Flynn was well-off. They lived in a nice big house, had a cook and a maid. Yet, she would have given all of that up for James if he had wanted her.

And then, she got the telephone call from Jane who in between sobs, had told her about James and the colored nurse. As she sat there listening to her sister, she felt her love for James turn into hate. He had rejected her. And now he was throwing his marriage away for a black woman? How she hated him. She hated him because he had given his love to someone else instead of her. She didn’t care about Jane and how devastating this must have been for her. This was about her, not Jane. They both loved the same man and he had fallen in love with another woman.

After she managed to calm down somewhat, Jane told her that she was leaving James and moving back to Sydney with the children. Jane and the children were going to stay with their parents. Jack would sleep in Aria’s old room and Jane and Sara would sleep in Jane’s old room. Aria wasn’t looking forward to seeing her nephew and niece because they would be a painful reminder that she was married to a man who couldn’t father any children. For as long as she lived, Aria would never never forgive Flynn for them being childless.

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Aria sat there now on the bench in the park, thinking about how she had erupted in anger after she finished speaking to Jane on the telephone. She was beside herself with anger and jealousy.

Flynn had been astounded when she declared that Jane’s marriage to James was a mistake because he was an American. When he reminded her that she liked James as did he and the rest of the family, she declared that her liking for him had turned to loathing because of what he had done.

As far as Flynn was concerned, she was incensed because of Jane and what James and done to her but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Her hatred for James had nothing to do with Jane and the children at all. If she were honest with herself, she would admit that she was a woman scorned. It was true what that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. She wanted James to pay for rejecting her. But, what could she do to him that would really hurt and destroy him?

Then, she thought of what was keeping him and that black nurse apart. As long as that anti-miscegenation law existed in America, those two would never be able to marry or even have relations with each other. It gave her satisfaction to know that. And I hope that she ends up marrying one of her own kind and having lots of black babies with him. It would serve James right for throwing over two white women for a black one.

Sources: My Food Book; Heritage 3059; Women’s Weekly Food; Wikipedia

4 thoughts on “A Woman Scorned

  1. Fascinating and marvelous story. Obviously Aria is the type of woman who is consumed with jealousy and selfishness; she will never find happiness in life and what little joy she gets is from other people’s misery. As for James, what can one say? The heart wants what the heart wants, even if it is as someone else’s expense. Jane and the children are the ones who will suffer as a result and they are the innocents in this sad but marvelous story.
    Wonderful writing, straightforward yet filled with the unknown. I enjoyed story very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comments. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the story. You’re spot on in all of your comments. Aria is selfish and she has always been resentful of her sister. James never intended to fall in love again or to hurt Jane but he has. Jane and the children are the ones who will suffer the most. I’m happy you liked the writing 🙂 The saga will continue. Thanks again for your encouraging and very insightful comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • After writing the first post about Aria and Jane is the one, Coming Home, I thought I would give a little background history. I could write another trip down memory which would address their relationship. The first post in the series is, “Maddie and the General”.

        Liked by 1 person

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