John did not argue with him.
“I have other things to worry about—my business,” Hollee hurried on, trying to explain himself. “Which may seem selfish, but think of our reputation—think of our crew. I cannot allow myself to get distracted just now.”
“Fan’s a distraction now, is she?”
“You know what I mean. Up until yesterday we were friends, nothing more. Now it is most confusing.”
“So you’d rather things carried on as before, only instead a’ visiting her by her Uncle Herbert, you’ll do it in a house you buy for her. Sounds clear as mud to me,” John said. Hollee sighed.
“She is a woman, she is supposed to be looked after by her kin. I don’t know why she wants me to help her out.”
“Did she ask for your help?”
“Not directly, no.”
“Perhaps she’d like to be kin to you, Bell, did y’ ever think a’ that?”
“I don’t even understand why she is so worried. Certainly she must have money left to her by her husband. Surely she could fend for herself.”
“And who do you think’s looking out for her money right now? D’ y’ honestly think she could walk into a bank and open an account there? And what about when Josiah gets older and needs a father? She’s thinking about him as well, Bell.”
Hollee opened his mouth to speak and then paused. The memory of the night before flashed across his mind—his hair is the same colour as yours—funny that, for he had been thinking precisely the same thing about Fanny’s hair.
“…determined to be stubborn, then leave the poor woman alone. Y’ can’t set her up in a house you bought for her and not expect her to expect certain things. You’re right, you know—you’re no kin to her, you’ve no reason to feel like you need to help her. So stay away from her.”