Comfortably ensconced on a settee in the Great Room, Teresa bent once more to her task. A positive mountain of freshly laundered socks and undergarments had already been folded neatly and placed on the cushion beside her. Now she reached down into the wicker basket and brought up the last item—a pair of shabby, faded, disreputable-looking long johns.
Holding them up before her, Teresa grimaced, dismayed at their condition. The drawstring at the waist had broken and been knotted—twice. Both knees were patched. Worn knit drooped and bagged in a number of places where its owner was definitely lean, firm and anything-but-saggy.
Fingering the soft fabric, Teresa hesitated. This tattered garment should really be consigned to the rag-bag, but there wasn’t much hope of that happening.
On a few other occasions, she’d discarded some of Johnny’s oldest, most decrepit shirts, and he had immediately retrieved them. In the face of her protests, he’d insisted they were “just getting broke-in good.”
Always a realist, Teresa recognized a lost cause when she saw it!
Smoothing the long underwear over her lap to fold it, she noticed that the material in the seat was even more threadbare than the rest…..practically non-existent in fact. Without a doubt, the next time Johnny wore these—or the time after that—he’d pull them up over his hips and find his backside was covered by…..nothing….absolutely nothing!
It was some time before Teresa could wrest her thoughts from the very agreeable image suggested by this predicament, and then—blushing hotly—she hurriedly gathered up all the clean clothes so they could be stowed in various bureaus and dresser drawers.
For the rest of the day, nobody could quite solve the mystery of Miss O’Brian’s persistent, secretive smile.