Well, Leo had to talk to someone. Maybe it wasn't Essie, after all.
He was serious when he asked her what he should do about Henry. Something was wrong. He just couldn't put his finger on it. The last few weeks Henry had been aloof.
"I just thought we'd be ..closer..you know." He looked at Essie as if he needed her guidance. Of course, she wasn't on duty at church. Instead, they were in her room. Alone.
"I dunno why you ever got involved with him in the first place." She summed it up with a pout and her arms crossed.
"What do you mean?" He squinted hard as he sat there on her firm bed thinking this might be a compromising position of some sort. This felt a little weird. Suddenly.
"Its just." She sighed as if he was the late bloomer like everyone said. "Couldn't you have waited until college to get into a full blown relationship of this kind?"
She gave him a soured scowl as if he needed to snap out of it and be done with Henry.
"I love Henry." His voice cracked. "I just don't know..what's going on. I mean, he's hiding something from me. I sense it." He wished he didn't. He bit a nail in the quick, again. The act repulsed him, but it was as if he was punishing himself and didn't know it.
"Look." She pulled out an old photo from her upcyled dresser and plopped herself next to him. "Remember this?"
It was picture of him in drag with her. It was a few years back, but it was like looking at a relic of himself.
"So." He'd only did it on a dare. For a day, he was Emma. No one suspected a thing a church. He'd pulled it off completely, and they had the biggest laugh. "I'm not..her." How much more did he have to admit? It was only a whim. It was something he'd never told Henry about. "Why are you getting that out?" He didn't even have a picture of himself dressed like a female.
"You didn't have to do much. To look so fab." She held in a giggle.
"Well, you were the one who did the make up and had the wig." He shrugged.
"Precisely." She looked at the photo.
"I'm not doing it, again." He winced. This was not what he wanted to talk about. "I'm not a drag queen."
"This isn't about you ..being in a contest. Besides, you can be so.." She pressed a smile. "You could model."
"Yeah, you are so tall. Great legs. Those eyes." She sighed.
"You, are the one who wanted to model." But she was tiny and he thought she didn't think about it, anymore.
"What if ..what if we ran away to New York and..and you got on as a model." She sighed as if that would be a perfect dream.
"New York City?" He glared at her. "What is going on?" This couldn't have anything to do with him. It was just an excuse. It had to be.
Essie said what ever was on the tip of her tongue. She could dream, couldn't she?
She'd somehow been wrapped up in the Bro. Caleb welcome wagon from the get go.
Essie had to face facts, her parents were just salesmen and she was one too. Although, there was suppose to be a super religious experience about it. Only, she hadn't had one in a very long time. Maybe, she'd never really had one.
Maybe she didn't even believe in God. She felt as if she was facing a certain darkness. She knew she should have stood up for Carson, a long time ago, but somehow she got suckered in to this mission to keep the peace with her family and the new preacher.
Except now, she felt so lost. A freight train could run her over, and she was certain she wouldn't feel it. Yes, she was a hopeless case. And she might not even make Carson, happy anyway.
"Its nothing that concerns you." She was straight lipped now, thinking she should have never brought up the time they had some fun, and no one knew about it, but them. "I'm fine."
But there was a certainty, she would never be happy.
"I just want you ..to be happy and..and that might not even be with Henry. I mean, you have to think of you..and..do something for you." She knew when she said it, she was talking about herself, but she couldn't stop herself. "There is more to life than this little old town. Dream big, will you? Go to New York City. Try something new. Just..just don't get set in your ways..before its too late."
But it was true, she felt stuck with her parents' ways. And she knew it was hard to break these chains of guilt. If she wanted to be in this family, she had to do what she was told. And that was seeing to Bro. Caleb.