Delphia stared up at the stars as her toes played in the dirt. She heard gravel crunch in the distance and headlights flashed through the cornstalks. She gave the dozing Micky a little shove.
“Are you expecting anyone?” she whispered as his eyes fluttered open.
“Yes,” he grumbled. He propped himself up on his elbow and rubbed his face. In the distance a car door slammed.
“Who? I thought we had the place to ourselves.” Delphia brushed the dirt off of her dress as she got to her feet. She was a bit put out.
“It’s Cylus and Vern, they’re always here. Don’t worry, they know how to make themselves scarce.” Micky had gotten to his feet and picked up his jacket. Delphia instinctively reached over and tried to smooth his collar, but it was no use. They were covered in dirt anyway.
“And what do they do?” Delphia picked up her shoes and started leading the way back to the farmhouse.
“They’re my assistants, I suppose, but I’m sure they also keep tabs on me for Sicero.” Delphia stopped abruptly and he almost ran into her.
“Do they know I’m here? Does Mr. Sicero know?” she asked. She thought back to their earlier conversation before the foray into the cornfield. Micky hesitated before answering.
“No, but Cylus and Vern can be persuaded not to say anything to Sicero.”
“Oh!” Delphia scooted behind Micky and gave him a shove forward. “Let’s see you talk yourself out of this one then.” She was a bit peeved. First, they had visitors and weren’t alone and secondly, she was probably not allowed to be here anyway. Micky emerged back onto the lane and headed towards the house. Delphia lingered at the edge. She could see two men in the shine from the headlights. One was leaning on a truck and the other kneeled on the porch as he lit a lantern. Micky waved to them and they nodded. Delphia hurried to catch up to him.
“I’m surprised it took you this long,” Micky said.
“We had a late start,” Vern grumbled. He lifted the lantern and hung it from the eave. The light spilled further and illuminated Delphia on the path behind Micky. The man by the truck straightened up.
“What’s this?” he growled. Cylus hadn’t expected anyone besides Micky to be there. He quickly noted the disheveled state of Micky’s clothes. The girl held her shoes in her hands and refused to look him in the eye. Her feet were covered in dirt. She looked familiar.
“Have you met Delphia?” Micky said casually. He put an arm around her shoulders.
“Libellule,” Cylus muttered.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Micky said, “She’s been working too hard serving all those bennies and needed a few days off.”
“So you brought her out here to the Farm?” Cylus asked.
“Yes, Delphia likes farms, don’t you, Dollface?” Delphia nodded and forced a smile for Cylus’s benefit.
“Pleased to meet you,” she curtsied, realized how dirty her knees were and tried to cover them.
“Miss,” Vern said politely and tipped his hat. Cylus reluctantly nodded hello.
“That’s Vern and that’s Cylus,” Micky pointed at each of them. The party stood in an awkward silence for a few minutes in the glow of the lantern. Cylus finally crossed over to Micky and leaned menacingly close to Delphia.
“So…what’s in it for me?” he said. His deep voice sounding almost like two stones rubbing together. He lifted a hand to wipe some dirt off her cheek. Delphia sprung back.
“Don’t touch me, you big ape!” she yelled. Before the two men could flinch, Vern had darted off the porch between them.
“You mean, you’re not for sharing?” Cylus said, then he started laughing. A big, hearty laugh as he clutched his stomach. The tension melted between everyone as they all three started to laugh.
“You mean you didn’t get your fill last night?” Micky punched Cylus in the arm. Delphia stepped closer, but stayed just behind him. Cylus wiped away a tear as he tried to control him self. He smiled brightly at Delphia.
“Don’t be scared. I won’t tell Frank you’re here as long as you can cook. You can cook, can’t you?” he asked. Delphia finally grinned as she nodded.
“If there’s a decent enough range in there, I could do up a roast chicken for the three of you.” Vern’s shoulders slumped.
“But we don’t have any chickens,” he moaned.
“You have neighbors,” Delphia pointed off into the distance. “If you’re too afraid to ask for one, I’ll sneak over there and steal one. They won’t notice and when they do they’ll just think a fox got it.”
“I take it, you’ve done this before,” Micky chuckled. He dug in his pocket and pulled out his cigarette case. Delphia shrugged.
“A girl’s got to eat,” she replied as she stepped up on the porch. “Like right now, I’ve worked up an appetite, so I hope you have something besides whiskey around here.” She opened the front door and stepped into the darkness.
“Grab the bags, why don’t ya?” Micky said to the two men before he brushed past her and turned on the light. A single naked bulb hanging from the ceiling. Outside the car doors slammed and the headlights were turned out.
“So this is it,” Delphia said. She was slightly disappointed that the interior was just as worn out as the exterior. There had been roughhousing in here, too many empty bottles and errant playing cards littered about, never mind being out of date.
“You don’t like it, do you?” Micky rubbed his chin as he realized the state of the room. “I should have probably cleaned up a bit before I left. It was a hectic morning getting the trucks organized though.”
“It’s fine. I expected that there was to be some tidying to do.” She went over into the kitchen area and stared at the dishes in the sink. Vern and Cylus squeezed in the doorway with their bags. Delphia rushed over and took her suitcase. She propped it on the table, opened it and dug out her old apron. With a flourish she tied it over her flashy and now dirt spotted dress from Moira.
“When I was on the farm nobody sat down to dinner until the chores were done. Vern, please clear the table. Cylus, take the empty bottles outside and that broken chair. Micky-,” she paused at the sink. “Go make the bed.”
“But-” Micky began. Delphia shot him a look and he didn’t continue. He obediently headed up the staircase. Behind her, Delphia began to hear the shuffling of feet and the clink of bottles.