Abbie by Patricia G

Word Count 8,703

This was my very first fanfic story that I ever wrote. I sat on it for two years. Finally pulled it out, made revisions (with the help of my great Beta, Raian), and decided to release it. I hope you enjoyed it.

Chapter 1

Scott slapped the reins on the horses’ rumps to get them to pick up the pace. His ‘sister’ had been complaining the whole way to town.

“Sometimes that brother of yours can be so inconsiderate,” fumed Teresa. “He knew that we needed to get to town and back quickly so I could get started making the pies for the Church Dance on Saturday! But no, he kept us waiting on him to finish making out the ranch supply list, since Jelly wasn’t here to do it, until he was finished in the barn. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he did it on purpose because he didn’t want to do it in the first place. I already had my kitchen list ready last night!”

Scott nodded his head in agreement and smiled all during her rant. When she finally took a breath, he jumped in.“Teresa, the only way we’re going to get all our errands done and back in time for your baking is to divide and conquer,” Scott thought about it militarily. “We can split up and get everything done in half the time.”

“Oh, you’re a genius! I can check for mail and any telegrams. You can go by the bank for Murdoch and then stop by the dress shop next door to pick up my packages. Then we can meet up at the general store for the supplies.”

“Whoa, now wait a minute. Why do I need to go to the dress store?” Perhaps his divide and conquer idea was not such a good idea after all.

“Scott Lancer, you aren’t afraid of a little dress shop are you? It’s right next to the bank and it’ll be on your way to Mr. Ramirez’s store.” Teresa liked the look of discomfort on her ‘brother’s’ face. “All you have to do is pick up the packages and a dress for me and then be on your way.” Teresa smiled that smile that made the Lancer men give in every time.

Scott decided it would take longer to argue about it than to just get it over with.

He slowed the wagon down as they entered the town limits. The horses practically knew the way to the general store. Scott helped Teresa down from the wagon as she waved to Mr. Ramirez. She handed her list off to the store keeper and scooted off down the street.

Scott sighed as he wandered over to the bank. His business at the bank was relatively quick, so he casually walked next door. The blond arched his shoulders back standing as erect as possible. As he entered the dress shop, he glanced around hoping no one was watching him. And no, Teresa, I’m not scared of going into a dress shop, he thought to himself. Proud of his confidence, he walked further into the empty store. The first thing he saw was the backside of a lovely woman in a pretty green dress up on a ladder. Maybe this won’t be so bad an errand after all. He cleared his throat, but unfortunately that startled her into losing her balance as she missed a rung on the ladder. Scott realized that she was falling just in time to catch her and they both ended up on the floor with the lass on his lap.

She was shocked and stunned, but then realized that she was sitting in the lap of this man.“Are you all right?” asked the handsome blond stranger. “I didn’t mean to startle you. Are you injured?”

She hadn’t spoken a word and Scott was beginning to worry.

She tried vainly to get up from Scott’s lap, but tripped on her petticoat and wound up landing back in his lap.

“Oof,” Scott breathed out as her tailbone jabbed him in a rather delicate place.

She started to laugh and then apologized. “I am so, so sorry. I didn’t mean to land on you … there. You must think I’m very clumsy.”

“That’s quite all right,” Scott winced, “Accidents happen. I’m Scott Lancer, Miss —?” Scott continued in his usual polite way as he helped her to her feet.

“Very nice to meet ya. Oh, you’re Teresa’s big brother … sorta. My name’s Abilene, but my friends call me Abbie.”

Scott enjoyed listening to her drawl. “Are you from Texas?” he asked.

“What gave it away? My name or my accent.”

Scott smiled at her. He wanted to stay and get to know the auburn haired beauty, but knew that Teresa would be waiting impatiently for him at the general store. He quickly thought up another plan. “Well, I would love to stay and chat, but I’m in somewhat of a hurry and I need to pick up Teresa’s packages.” Abbie’s smile started to fade. But Scott continued, “The church is having a dance on Saturday night —”

“Oh, I already know about that dance. That’s why Teresa wanted me to make her a dress!” she interrupted.

“Uh… and I would enjoy taking you, Miss Abilene,” he resumed. “So we could have more time to get to know one another. If you don’t already have a date.”

Abbie smiled a grin almost as big as Teresa’s. “I’d be delighted to go to the dance with you, Mr. Lancer. Let me get Teresa’s things together and send you on your way.” She scurried around, getting all the purchases together and loaded Scott up.

Scott looked around all the packages in his arms and said, “I look forward to seeing you on Saturday night at the dance.”

Abbie nodded and thought Saturday couldn’t get here soon enough as she enjoyed watching Scott walk away from her shop.

As the Lancers entered the dance hall, Scott’s eyes searched the room looking for Abbie. When he found her, he quickly went to her side. He took her arm in his and strode across the room to introduce her to Murdoch and Johnny. After meeting them, Abbie exclaimed, “Y’all make a girl feel real welcome.”

Murdoch commented on her Texas accent. “I know several ranchers in Texas. Where did you grow up?”

Realizing he might know her father, Abbie lied and said, “Oh, my daddy has a small place in the panhandle. You wouldn’t know him.”

Before Murdoch could ask her any more questions, Abbie turned to face Scott in hopes he would take her out to the dance floor. He smiled and took the hint. She was a wonderful dancer. Those years in finishing school had paid off for Abbie. She loved dancing with Scott as he was a wonderful dancer as well.

Teresa turned to Johnny and asked him to dance as Murdoch smiled and went to find his own dance partner.

After the dance, Scott and Abbie walked arm-in-arm back to her home above the dress shop. Standing in front of her shop, the redhead exclaimed, “Scott, I can’t remember having such a nice time. Your family is so warm and friendly and the people here are so accepting.”

“Did you just enjoy my family and the towns people?” Scott asked, angling for a compliment.

“Scott, I especially enjoyed your company, “ Abbie batted her eyelashes at him. “You’re so easy to talk to and such a good dancer. I’m so glad that you asked me to go to the dance tonight. It’s been so long since I’ve allowed myself to have a good time.”

“My pleasure, Abbie. And I enjoyed myself as well. So much so, I’d like to take you on a picnic tomorrow afternoon.”

“Why that sounds lovely, Scott,” Abbie gushed.

From the alley, two men came up behind Scott. One hit Scott in the back of the head with the butt of his pistol. Scott crumpled to the sidewalk. As they tried to grab the redhead, she pulled a gun from her purse and announced, “If my daddy hired y’all, I ain’t going back to Texas! This is a two-shot derringer and I know how to use it.” The incident started to attract the attention of people leaving the dance.

“Come on, Joe,” one hissed, “there’s too many witnesses.”

After the two men ran back into the alley, Abbie sank to her knees and put Scott’s head in her lap. She started talking quietly to the blond. “Scott, please wake up, honey. I’m so sorry. Please wake up.” She ran her fingers through his blond bangs and marveled at how soft it felt.

Scott groggily came to and slowly sat up holding the back of his head. “What happened? We were just talking—”

“Someone came up behind you and hit you over the head,” Abbie explained with a scared look on her face.

Scott quickly looked around for the gunman, but regretted the sudden movement of his head.

“Don’t worry, they’re gone. They took off when the crowd from the dance showed up.”

“I guess Green River isn’t as safe as I thought it was. I’ll talk to the sheriff tomorrow before I pick you up,” Scott said, rubbing the bump on the back of his head.

Abbie didn’t want to involve the law, so she thought fast, “I feel confident that it won’t happen again with you around.” She checked his head as they helped each other stand up.

Ever the gentleman, Scott took her key and unlocked her front door. Before she went into the dress shop, he took her in his arms and kissed her goodnight. She leaned into his arms as the kiss lingered longer than expected. As they separated, he huskily said “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Abbie.”

Abbie smiled, blushed, and went into her shop.

Scott smiled and walked away, humming a lively tune.

The next morning, the hired guns went to telegraph “Daddy” they had found her again. They had snooped around the town asking about the blond who had walked Abbie home.

Package found
Green River California
Scott Lancer involved
Need instruction

Upon receiving his telegram, Daddy decided to hire the Pinkerton Agency to investigate Mr. Scott Lancer.

Chapter 2

Scott got all gussied up for his date. Teresa was happy because she liked Abbie and felt that she had had a hand in “setting them up”. Which surprised Scott when she told him that, but he was too busy smiling about his upcoming picnic.

Teresa made them a picnic basket and included some of her delicious chocolate cake. Johnny strolled in from the great room and tried to open the basket to inspect the contents. Teresa slapped his hand back.

“Hey, is that the last of the chocolate cake?” Johnny carried on, “Why does Scott get to take the last of the cake?”

“Well, when you take a girl on a picnic, I’ll let you take the last of the cake,” Teresa replied sweetly.

Scott stood in front of the mirror in the great room adjusting and readjusting his ascot.  Johnny strolled in from the kitchen with a cookie in his hand and stopped to watch his brother’s nervous fingers.

“How do I look, little brother?” Scott enjoyed the jab calling Johnny little.


Scott nodded his head, “I gotta agree.”

Johnny couldn’t help ribbing his big brother some more. “Breathtaking! Actually, you look quite pretty!”

The blond smiled, “You think so?”

Johnny grinned.

“Any more cute remarks from you, little brother, and I’m going to have to teach you some manners.”

Johnny laughed. “You don’t wanna get all wrinkled up, do ya?”

Scott thought about it and said, “No.” He walked out to the corral with a silly grin on his face. He had just met the girl and was so looking forward to seeing Abbie again.

Jelly had brought out the surrey with the top up. “Just so you young-ins don’t get yourselves all sun burnt.”

“Thank you, Jelly. I know Abbie and I will appreciate it.” Scott was still smiling as he drove away in the spit-and-polished carriage pulled by matching bays with white stockings.

Scott picked up Abbie, who was waiting in front of her dress shop and took her to a beautiful spot by the lake on Lancer land. He helped her down from the surrey, then carried the picnic basket over to a flat grassy spot. He handed her the basket while he spread out the blanket. She proceeded to unload the basket.

“Scott, I do love listenin’ to you  talk. Where’d you grow up?”

Scott told the inquisitive woman about being raised by his grandfather in Boston after his mother died and then about coming out to Lancer to live with Murdoch and Johnny. “I love listening to you talk, as well. Tell me about growing up in Texas.”

Abbie talked about being raised by loving parents and about her big brother, but skipped over other important information like why she left or where she was raised. She too had lost her mother at a young age. She felt sorry for Scott that he didn’t get to have any time with his mother. At least she had ten years. She talked about going away to boarding school, then leaving Texas to make a life on her own. She had worked in dress shops in New Mexico and Colorado getting valuable experience before coming to California. “I’m so happy here in California and my dress shop seems to be doing so well.”

Scott again apologized about the “ruffians” outside the dress shop on Saturday night. He realized in his haste to pick up Abbie, he had forgotten to talk to the sheriff.

Abbie thought about telling Scott about her daddy, but Scott kissed that thought right out of her head. Scott and Abbie had the same thought: I could get used to this.

The young couple walked around the lake, holding hands, and discussing the beautiful scenery, because neither wanted to talk about anything except when could they get together again. Scott asked her to dinner on Wednesday evening. Abbie was eager to accept as Scott took her in his arms again for a long passionate kiss. They both realized it was beginning to get dark. Where had the time flown? Regretfully, Scott knew it was time to return Abbie to town. At least he would get to see her again soon.

Meanwhile in Green River on Tuesday afternoon, Daddy’s hired men got a telegram from Abbie’s father.

Bring Package home
Any means
Finish job

Chapter 3

Scott’s week dragged. He thought Wednesday would never get there. He had a constant smile on his face and nothing his annoying brother did or said bothered him.

Finally, Wednesday arrived. Scott came whistling down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast. Murdoch and Johnny were already seating and eating. Maria smiled, at the oldest son as he sat down, and brought his plate to the table. “Gracias, Maria,” Scott smiled back at the housekeeper.

“Well, old man, what are we going to do today? Maybe you could have Scott dig a new outhouse?” Johnny thought he was being funny.

“Nothing you can say today, Johnny, will dampen my good mood.”

“Scott, I want to go over some contracts and the books with you today. Johnny, if we need a new outhouse, you can take care of that.” Murdoch looked to see what kind of reaction he would get from his youngest.

“No, sir. I’m gonna check the fence line on the north border. Besides, the outhouse isn’t full yet.”

“Johnny, we’re eating here. I don’t think that’s appropriate conversation at the table.”

“Yes, sir.” Johnny understood he had crossed a line with that comment.

Scott simply smiled. He enjoyed when Johnny got taken down a notch and especially by his father.

Scott thought that Murdoch was just being easy on him because of his date tonight, but they really did need to go over the books and several contracts. The blond kept looking at the grandfather clock as the afternoon wore on. By the three o’clock chime, Scott was about to jump out of his skin. He wanted to take a bath and get ready for his date. Murdoch enjoyed watching his oldest squirm. Finally, he let Scott off the hook.“Scott, why don’t we finish this tomorrow morning. I’m pretty sure you want to go get ready for your dinner date tonight.”

Scott grinned at his father. He knew Murdoch had been stretching out the day just to bust his chops.“Thank you, sir. I’d like to get a bath before Johnny gets home.” Scott got up and walked calmly up the stairs to collect his clothes, but couldn’t remain calm as he bounded down the stairs two at a time.

Scott strode confidently toward the barn to saddle up Charlie as Johnny rode in on Barranca.

“Heading out for your date, brother?”

“How did you figure that out, Johnny?” Scott said sarcastically.

“Just observant. Something I learned from my big brother. Oh, and tell Abbie hi for me.”

“If I remember,” Scott laughed as he walked his horse out of the barn. The brothers smiled at each other before Scott rode away from the hacienda.

Scott tied his horse up in front of the dress shop. He used his hat to try to knock some of the dirt off his jacket. As he reached up to knock on the door of the dress shop, Abbie opened the door. Scott loved the way Abbie was punctual and always pleased to see him.

She turned to lock her shop, put the key in her purse, then put her arm in the crook of Scott’s arm.

“You look lovely tonight, Abbie,” Scott practically gushed. Her royal blue dress flattered her figure showing off her curves. It showed just enough skin to leave him wanting to see more.

“Why thank you, Scott. You look quite handsome yourself.” She appraised the blond as well. She loved the short two-tone jacket he wore and the way his pants fit his muscular long legs. No doubt, Scott Lancer was a fine figure of a man.

The couple walked to the hotel for a delicious dinner oblivious to the stares of the townspeople. Scott and Abbie were deep in conversation and never noticed the two strangers watching them either.

Scott held out the chair for Abbie and helped her to sit down. He took the table near the window so he could show off his date for the evening. The sheriff walked by the window, saw the couple and smiled as he walked on by. Everyone in town was talking about them, even thought they had only been out a few times. The talk said one of the most eligible bachelors was off the market.

Several times during the meal, the couple leaned their heads close together. Laughter was also heard from the table as they brushed hands accidentally a few times.

“Could we do this again on Friday? We could try the cafe.” Scott knew she would say yes, but waited with bated breath for her answer.

“I would love to see you again, Scott.” Abbie couldn’t take her eyes off his handsome face. She finally turned away with a blush to her cheeks.

Scott walked her back to her home, but this time he walked with a proud look on his face and smiled at the people they passed.

She handed him her key to open her door. As he opened the door, Abbie pulled him into the store. Her arms went around him as he pulled her into another passionate kiss. Scott backed her up to the nearest wall. Their hands caressed each other. Scott knew he needed to stop now, or he wouldn’t be able to.

He backed away from the auburn-haired beauty. Abbie had a flush to her checks and a dazed look in her eyes. She knew Scott was a gentleman and appreciated his manners to protect her honor. Neither could talk and both needed to calm their breathing.

“Abbie, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to go so far.”

“Scott, you don’t need to apologize. I wanted it as much as you did.”

Scott kissed her gently this time, “I’ll see you Friday.”

Abbie walked him to the door, watched him mount his horse, then locked the door. She leaned against the door with a sloppy smile on her face. The redhead skipped up the backstairs to her home.

Johnny and Scott were moving cattle into the south mesa pasture. Around mid morning, Scott turned to Johnny, “I need to go into Green River to run an errand. Johnny, could you cover for me?”

Johnny thought about giving his big brother a hard time, but he noticed the look on Scott’s face.“Sure, I will. You just saw her last night!”Johnny yelled as Scott turned to ride away.

Scott tied his horse up in front of the dress shop. He had no qualms walking into the dress shop, even if it there were ladies inside. Abbie was behind the counter waiting on Mrs. Johnson and her two daughters. Abbie excused herself and walked over to Scott.

“Abbie, could you get away for lunch?”

“I wish I could, but I have customers and Laura Joshua has a wedding dress fitting in an hour. Then I have appointments all afternoon.”

Scott was disappointed. At least he got to see her today. She ushered him to the door and he stole a kiss as she pushed him through door. She smiled and whispered, “I’ll see you Friday.”

“Scott Lancer!” Mrs. Johnson tsked at Scott for showing affection in public.

He grinned at Mrs. Johnson, “For doing this?” and then he kissed Abbie again.

Daddy’s men were watching from across the street. They saw the interaction between Abbie and Scott. “Daddy won’t be too happy if she’s got a boyfriend and don’t wanna to go back to Texas,” said the dim-witted thug.

“Well, we’ll just have to get rid of Mr. Scott Lancer so she ain’t got no reason to stay,” replied Joe, the brains of the two.

Scott didn’t even remember riding back to the house. He walked through the front door as Murdoch looked up from his desk.

“What are you doing here, Scott?’

Scott thought quickly, “Uh … I came back to get lunches for Johnny and myself.”

“O.K. Son.” Murdoch knew that they’d taken their lunches when they left that morning. He chuckled at his eldest and shook his head. Scott was head over heals in love and it made him a happy father.

Chapter 4

Friday night, Scott went to pick up Abbie from her dress shop. She wasn’t waiting at the door for him. As he entered her unlocked, darkened place, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Something was definitely wrong. He placed his hand on his gun, thankful he remembered to wear it, but decided not to draw … yet.

“Abbie, are you here?” Scott heard a noise coming from the back of the shop. “Abbie?!” Scott loudly called out again. He continued to search the building. Finally the blond spied a slight movement from the back corner of the room. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw it was her. The scared woman was crouched in a corner with a pistol in her hand. “Abbie, honey, it’s me. What or who are you hiding from?”

Her hands were shaking as he calmly took the gun from her hands. He pulled her into his arms as she began to sob. When she finally stopped crying he released her and led Abbie to a chair. She looked up into Scott’s eyes and decided it was time to confide in him. “The men that attacked you after the dance were looking for me. They were hired by my daddy to bring me back to Texas. They found me in New Mexico and then in Colorado.”

Scott shook his head in shock, but still did not understand what was going on. “Why does your father want you to return to Texas so badly he’d send armed men after you?”

“Oh, Scott, it’s such a long story. I can’t go back. I just can’t. I have to leave before they can hurt anyone else I care about,” Abbie sobbed again.

“Abbie, I won’t let you leave,” Scott sighed, “running from these men won’t solve anything. If they found you here, they’ll find you again. Now, calm down and take a deep breath. You must tell me why you’re running from your father.”

She took a big breath and nodded her head.“Scott, you remember I told you that my mom died when I was young?” He nodded. “Well, everything was fine until my brother went off to the war and then when he didn’t return Daddy sent me off to boarding school. When I came home, he said that I should marry the foreman so I could take over the ranch when he died. Oh, Scott, the foreman was fifteen years older than me! I couldn’t marry him, even for my daddy. I made it as far as New Mexico and started a new life there. But Daddy’s men found me and hurt some people there that I had grown to love. They had to sneak me out in the back of a wagon to escape these men. I thought I’d gotten away in Colorado. Don’t you understand, I can’t stay. I don’t want any of you to be hurt.”

“Abbie, there are so many reasons for you to stay here… You know Teresa needs a good friend, the town ladies need a good dress shop and … I … want … need you … to stay.” Scott looked straight into her big brown eyes as he confessed his feelings. Then he took her into his arms, as she leaned her head into his chest. “Abbie, I want you to come back to Lancer with me. You’ll be safe there.”

The young woman couldn’t argue with the handsome blond who she was beginning to have strong feelings for. She packed up her meager belongings. They walked quickly, arm-in-arm down to the livery to rent a buggy. Scott didn’t want to leave her alone for a minute. As they left town, they stopped by the dress shop long enough to grab his horse, then headed to the ranch. The couple didn’t know they were being watched by Daddy’s men.

The two thugs decided they should move to Morro Coyo as they felt it was getting too hot for them to stay in Green River. They sent a telegram to Daddy informing him of their move to a new location.

At the ranch, Scott and Abbie sat on the sofa across from Murdoch in the great room. They talked about what had happened in town and about her history.

Murdoch suggested, “Why don’t we send a telegram to your father, inviting him to come to Lancer?” Abbie was worried, but agreed to try his plan. She knew how determined her Daddy could be when he wanted something his way.

Scott rode to town the next morning to send the telegram. Abbie came along to check on her shop and see some customers while she was in town. Scott hung around town in hopes for a quick answer to his telegram. He also went to talk to the sheriff about what was going on. The sheriff decided to send telegrams to the law in neighboring towns to be on the lookout for strangers fitting Abbie’s description.

Scott was surprised how quickly the reply telegram came.

Daddy decided to send out two telegrams. One to Murdoch Lancer accepting his offer to visit Lancer, and the second one to his hired men to eliminate the “love interest.”

Scott swung back by the dress shop to pick up his girl. “Abbie, good news,” Scott beamed, “your father has agreed to come to Lancer. I think this is all going to be over soon.” Abbie hoped he was right, but she knew her father and still wasn’t so sure.

The young couple rode happily back to Lancer hoping their troubles were truly over. Unfortunately, Daddy’s men caught sight of with them about halfway back to Lancer. They followed the couple from a safe distance behind them and were not noticed by Scott or Abbie.

Chapter 5

The next morning, Scott was out rounding up strays with Johnny.

“Hey, big brother, is that smile for real? I haven’t seen you without it for over a week now.”

“Johnny, I haven’t felt this way about a woman in a long time. Wait, I don’t think I have ever felt this way. Not even when I was engaged to Julie in Boston. I know it’s been really fast, but I think Abbie is the one.”

Johnny whooped, “Congratulations, brother! I know she makes you over-the-moon happy, so I’m happy for you.” He rode closer to Scott to punch him in the arm and saw a flash in the trees.

“Scott, look out!” Johnny yelled out as he leaped off Barranca and pushed Scott off his horse. They stayed down waiting for another shot, but it never came. Finally they sat up and looked around. Scott turned to his brother and noticed, “Johnny, you’ve been hurt. Your arm’s bleeding.”

“It’s just a graze. Did you see anything, Scott?”

“No, I was facing the wrong way and didn’t see anything after you tackled me. Let’s get you back to the house, so Teresa can doctor your arm.”

They rounded up their horses and rode back to the hacienda.

Daddy’s hired men took off for the rocks. “You hit the wrong one stupid. You’ve got to get it done right next time!” Joe looked with anger at his cohort. “If we don’t do it right, we don’t get paid!”

By the time Johnny got back to the house, his arm was starting to throb. Scott followed his brother into the house. Murdoch looked up from his desk. “What happened?”

Scott started to tell, but Johnny interrupted, “Someone took a potshot at us.”

Scott jumped in, “We didn’t see which way they went and since Johnny was injured, I thought it would be better to get him back here to get his arm taken care of.”

“Teresa,” Murdoch bellowed. Teresa came rushing into the great room. “Johnny’s been shot in the arm. Could you take care of it?”

“Oh, Murdoch, it’s just a scratch,” Johnny whined.

“Come on, Johnny, let’s go into the kitchen,” Teresa turned and expected Johnny to following her. Johnny mumbled and complained but followed Teresa into the kitchen.

Scott was standing in the middle of the great room as his father walked over to him. “Drink, son?”

Scott nodded his head to Murdoch’s question. Murdoch carried the drinks over to the sofa.

“Do you think it was a hunter, or is someone shooting at you or Johnny?’

“I don’t know. I don’t think they’re shooting at me.”

Murdoch tilted his head and stared at Scott. “What about Abbie’s father’s hired gunmen?”

“What? Don’t you think he’d have called them off since he agreed to come to the ranch.”

“Well, just to be safe, no one works alone for a while and we’ll post some guards to protect Abbie, too.”

“Yes, sir.” Scott agreed then went to the kitchen to check on his brother.

Abbie’s daddy sent a new telegram to his men before leaving Texas:  Progress Report

Daddy didn’t receive a reply because the men had left town and were hiding out in the rocks over Lancer.

Daddy sent one final telegram before he arrived in California: Stop project, coming to California, I will handle

They didn’t receive that telegram either.

Daddy’s hired henchman sat  in a cave gathered around a small fire. “What’re we gonna do now?” asked the slow-witted hitman.

“We let it die down a for a while. Let them think it’s over. Then, we try again. But this time, you don’t miss!” Joe got up to stomp outside and walk off his frustration.

Every few days, one of Daddy’s men would go into a nearby town to buy supplies. They changed towns and went alone, so no one would suspect them of any wrong doing. They waited several weeks in the cave just on the edge of Lancer till they thought the time was right.

Meanwhile, Scott and Abbie had a comfortable routine established. Scott drove Abbie into town on Saturday and Wednesday so she could meet with her customers. Then he would pick her up at the end of the day.

Chapter 6

Scott waited for the stage to arrive, with his arm around a nervous Abbie. Her father took the train from Texas to Cross Creek and now they were waiting for the final leg of his journey on the stage. They’d been waiting on him to arrive for three weeks. She remembered her father to be a large man similar to Murdoch, but when he stepped off the stage she realized he had changed since she saw him last. Her daddy looked tired and much smaller than she remembered.

Scott stepped forward with his hand outstretched. “Welcome, sir. I’m Scott Lancer.”

Her father looked Scott up and down before taking his hand. “Theodore Caldwell.” Mr. Caldwell looked at his daughter. “Abilene.”

“Daddy. I’m so glad you decided to come. Would you like to see my dress shop before we go out to the ranch?”

Mr. Caldwell nodded his head. Scott helped Abbie into the front seat of the carriage and then put the luggage in the back. Daddy climbed in the back seat. Scott drove them to the store. “We don’t need to get out. I’ve seen the store. Now can we go to the ranch? I’m very tired.” Abbie was disappointed that her father didn’t want to go into her store, but nodded her head in agreement.

Scott discretely squeezed her hand, then started the horses toward home. On the ride back Mr. Caldwell asked Scott about the ranch: the size, how many cattle, how many horses, etc. Then the hard questions came, “So young man, tell me about yourself.” Scott gave him the abridged version: Harvard, raised in Boston, been a rancher for a few years. Then Scott dropped the bombshell. “I was a Calvary officer in the war. I served under General Phil Sheridan.”

Youwere a Yankee?” Mr. Caldwell glared at the back of Scott’s head.

“Daddy, the war is over. We need to let it go.”

“Your brother died in a Union prison camp! I have a hard time just letting that go.

“Sir, I am sorry for your loss. I know that it was tragic to loose your son, but the war has been over for years.”

Abbie squeezed Scott’s hand in solidarity with him. The next few miles were traveled in silence. When they reached the South Mesa, Scott stopped the carriage.

“From here all the way to the mountains. As far as the eye can see is all Lancer.” Scott gestured proudly pointing toward the mountains.

Mr. Caldwell was impressed, but tried not to show it. Lancer was definitely larger than his ranch in Texas. Scott watched his expression and was silently pleased.

As they pulled up to the house, a hired hand came out to take the carriage. Scott rushed around to help Abbie climb down. He removed the luggage from the carriage and placed it on the ground.

Murdoch and Teresa heard the carriage arrive. They quickly went out to greet their guests. Jelly started to walk over as well.

“Mr. Caldwell, this is my father, Murdoch Lancer.” The men shook hands.

“Welcome to Lancer, Mr. Caldwell. This is my ward, Teresa and a good friend, Jelly.” Dewdrop started to squawk. “Oh, and that’s Dewdrop,” Murdoch laughed.

“Oh, hush up you mangy goose. You’re not making a very good impression.” Jelly admonished.

Scott opened the door to the house allowing the ladies to enter first, followed by Murdoch and Mr. Caldwell.

“Would you like a drink, Mr. Caldwell?” Murdoch offered.

“Nothing hard until after dinner. Something to wet my whistle would be nice, though.”

About this time, Teresa and Abbie returned from the kitchen with a tray of cookies, a pitcher of lemonade and some glasses. They set them down on the coffee table in front of the sofa.

Murdoch motioned for Caldwell to take a seat on the sofa. Abbie sat down next to her Daddy.

Scott mouthed “Thank you” to Teresa, then quickly poured everyone a glass of lemonade.

Before any conversations started, the front door opened and slammed shut. “Murdoch is Scott back with Abbie’s Daddy, yet?” Johnny chuckled saying “Abbie’s Daddy” again.

Mr. Caldwell stood and turned to face Johnny. He assumed he was hired protection. He must be the reason that Scott wasn’t eliminated by my men, he thought.

“Mr. Caldwell, let me introduce my other son, Johnny.” Murdoch was slightly embarrassed by Johnny’s behavior.

“Oh, Mr. Caldwell, sorry about that,” Johnny walked around the sofa and extended his hand. “Very nice to have you… ah, visit.”

Mr. Caldwell looked at Johnny’s outstretched hand, thought about not shaking hands, then changed his mind and accepted the handshake. Abbie’s daddy wiped his hand off on his pants leg after shaking Johnny’s hand.

The air was so thick with anger after Johnny’s slight, until Johnny said, “Oh, sorry. I had mud on my hand.” Whether this was true or not, it definitely lightened the mood in the room. “I think I’ll go clean up,” Johnny stated as he left the room.

“Mr. Lancer, if you don’t mind, I would like to clean up and lie down for a while. I am quite tired after my long trip.”

“Oh, yes, sorry. I should’ve thought of that. Teresa will you show Mr. Caldwell to his room? Your luggage has already been delivered there for you.”  Teresa nodded and led him to his room.

The silence in the great room was deafening.

“Well, that went well,” Scott stated sarcastically. All breathed a sigh of relief. “Abbie would you take a walk with me out to the garden?” Scott wanted to find out more about her brother since it was news to him that her brother died in a prison camp.

Abbie and Scott sat on a bench holding hands. They talked about her brother and how his death affected her father. They talked about how the meeting with her daddy went. Then Scott glanced around to see if anyone was watching before he leaned in to kiss Abbie.

Johnny cleared his throat as he left the kitchen. Scott and Abbie put some space between each other.

“Teresa sent me out to tell you dinner should be ready soon. Abbie do you want to get your father?”

“Yes.” She blushed at being caught by Johnny and rushed to her father’s room.

The delicious meal was enjoyed by all. Teresa served up roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans and corn on the cob. Mr. Caldwell patted his belly and bragged, “This beef was almost as good as my Texas beef back home.”

The boys turned to see how Murdoch would take it. Both ranchers laughed and everyone relaxed. The prideful Texan talked about his ranch, acreage and how long it had been in his family. “Abbie is my only remaining child since my son, Franklin, was killed fighting for the Confederate army. He actually died in one of those horrendous Union prison camps.”

No one looked at Scott, but they wondered what he would say, if anything. Teresa even flinched when Scott finally spoke up. “Mr. Caldwell, again I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I too spent a brutal year in an enemy prison camp, but unlike your son, I was able to survive. Many of my friends did not.”

Mr. Caldwell already knew about Scott’s military background from the Pinkerton’s report he received before leaving Texas and from Scott’s earlier confession. Abbie though was shocked at this revelation from Scott. He had told her he was a Union officer, but hadn’t told her of his time in the prison camp.

The room grew quiet. Everyone waited for a reaction. Abbie jumped into the conversation. “Thank God that dreadful war is over and we are a united country again.”

Again, the silence was palpable.

“Why don’t we have dessert in the living room everyone?” Murdoch announced like a proclamation.

Scott helped Abbie from her seat and took her arm leading her to a chair by the fireplace. He then rested on the arm of the chair. Teresa returned from the kitchen with a tray with coffee cups and a pitcher of coffee. Maria brought in a tray with chocolate cake, plates and forks. Polite, safe conversation was made during dessert.

“Murdoch, I think you and I need to have a little talk,” Mr. Caldwell announced.

“I think that’s my cue to leave. I think Teresa needs some help in the kitchen.” Johnny carried one tray and Teresa the other back to the kitchen.

“Daddy, Scott and I are going for a little walk. You two daddies keep it civil now.” She laughed as she turned to walk away with Scott.

“I wonder what they’re talking about?” Johnny stated as he started to walk toward the door to eavesdrop.

“Johnny Lancer, it is none of your business. You get back here and help me with the dishes. I would hate for Maria to have to use her spoon on you.” Teresa reprimanded Johnny.

Scott and Abbie talked about the war and if things had turned out different, her father might not have demanded she marry the foreman. Then they’d never have met. She didn’t blame Scott for her brother’s death, just wished he had survived the war. Scott whispered sweetly into her ear about how glad he was that they had met. He came very close to proclaiming his love to her. They stopped under the tree at the end of the courtyard to kiss. Again Johnny walked up clearing his throat.

“Go away Johnny,” Scott asked frustrated by his brother’s interruption again. “Can’t you give us a little privacy?” Abbie stayed snuggled into Scott’s arms.

“I would, but Murdoch and Mr. Caldwell want to see you both.”

In the great room, Mr. Caldwell took Abbie’s hand. “I can see how happy you are here, but I really think you should come back home with me to Texas. I won’t make you marry anyone you don’t want to.”

“Daddy, you know that I love you with all my heart, but I want to stay in California. I have a thriving business in a community that needs me.”

Scott chimed in “I would love for her to stay here as well, sir. I care deeply for your daughter.”

Everyone smiled at the blond’s admission.

“I’d be happy to show you around the ranch tomorrow so you can see it for yourself.” Mr. Caldwell had been watching the young couple all evening, but hadn’t heard any request for his daughter’s hand in marriage. “I would definitely like to have a tour of your ranch, young man.”

Johnny started to argue that the ranch belonged to the three of them, but stopped when he saw Murdoch shaking his head.

“Well, it’s getting late and we have to get up early in the morning. This ranch doesn’t run on its own.” Johnny and Scott shared a smile. They almost mouthed the words with Murdoch as he said it.

Good-nights were wished to all as guests and Lancers retired to their assigned bedrooms.

After breakfast the next morning, Scott excused himself to get the carriage out of the barn. “I would prefer to ride, Scott. You can see more from the back of a horse.” Scott nodded and smiled in agreement.

Abbie decided to go along as a buffer between the two men that she cared about so much. The three experienced riders left the yard with snacks from Teresa in their saddlebags. Scott was an excellent guide and Abbie wasn’t really needed as a go between. The conversations were all civil. Mr. Caldwell was impressed with the ranch and with Scott. He caught loving glances from Scott and Abbie during their ride.

As they were riding toward the lake, shots rang out. Abbie was riding a short distance behind Scott. A bullet grazed Scott in the head knocking him off his horse. The second shot hit Abbie in the leg and continued into her horse’s side. The frightened animal bolted back toward the hacienda. Daddy flew after his daughter. The redhead was unable to control the horse and fell to the ground. The bloody horse continued back to Lancer. Mr. Caldwell jumped from his horse to cradle Abbie in his arms. He pressed down on the wound, but the blood continued to pour from her leg.

Chapter 7

Johnny was just leaving the house after eating lunch in the kitchen. He looked up and saw the frantic horse with blood on its side racing into the open corral. He calmed the horse, then realized it was the horse that Abbie had been riding.

“Teresa! Jelly!” Johnny bellowed. As the two arrived Johnny started to yell commands. “Jelly, get a wagon ready. Teresa get some medical supplies together. Jelly, send someone to town for Doc Jenkins.”

As everyone ran toward their appointed errands, Murdoch rushed out of the front door after hearing all the commotion.

“Murdoch, this was the horse that Abbie was riding.” Johnny explained to his father.

“Johnny, anything could’ve happened. Let’s not panic. Take the horse into the barn so a hand can look after it.”

“O.K. But I’m going out to look for them while Jelly gets the wagon ready.” Murdoch nodded his agreement to Johnny’s suggestion.

Meanwhile, Mr. Caldwell was worried that his daughter would bleed to death if he didn’t get her back to the ranch. He picked up his limp, bleeding daughter, put her on his horse and raced them back to the house. He ran across Johnny on the way.

“Where’s Scott?”

Mr. Caldwell pointed in the direction behind him. Then, he kicked his horse into a gallop to get help for his daughter.

Johnny feared the worst. Knowing that if his brother weren’t injured, he’d be the one taking care of Abbie.

Johnny glanced around the area. He finally located Scott lying face down in the grass. He felt a lump in his throat. He scanned the area looking for the shooter. Feeling safe, he rode to his brother’s side and jumped to the ground. “Scott.” Johnny called his brother’s name with tears starting to form in his eyes. He rolled his brother over and bent down to see if he was breathing. To his relief, Scott was alive, just unconscious.  Johnny checked Scott over to see the extent of his injuries. He only found blood coming from a wound on Scott’s head. Johnny went to his saddlebag to bring out the bandages that Teresa made him carry with him since he and Scott seemed to be injury prone.

Johnny cradled his brother’s head in his lap as he waited for the wagon. “Come on, Scott. Wake up, brother.” Johnny continued to talk to his brother hoping he would open his eyes. The litany of pleas from Johnny to Scott didn’t stop until the wagon pulled up and Murdoch got to his boys.

“Johnny, let your brother go. We need to get him in the wagon and back to the house. Johnny!”

Finally, Murdoch got through to his youngest son.  They carefully put Scott on the hay in the back of the wagon. Murdoch climbed in and put Scott’s head gently in his lap. Jelly tried to be as careful as possible, but Murdoch cringed with every bump and rut he hit, but Scott didn’t awaken. Johnny rode by the wagon keeping an eye on his father and brother while leading Scott’s horse home.

Back at the house, Teresa had taken charge. Mr. Caldwell had carried his daughter up to her room. She looked so pale. She had lost so much blood. Tears were streaming down his face as he watched his daughter slip away while they waited for the doctor to arrive.

When the wagon arrived, Johnny was the first to help. He, Murdoch and a couple of hands carried Scott’s limp body to his room and laid him carefully on his bed. All they could do was wait for the doctor. Teresa came in bringing hot water and fresh bandages. She immediately got to work cleaning the wound on Scott’s head, then replacing the bandage. There was no miracle cure to bring Scott around. Only time.

It was the next day before Scott began to regain consciousness. Murdoch watched as Scott’s eyes moved back and forth under his eyelids. “Come on, Scott, open your eyes for me, son.” Scott groaned as he moved his head. Slowly he opened his eyes. Murdoch smiled down with love at ‘Catherine’s eyes.’ “How are you feeling? Would you like some water?”

Scott squinted at the light coming in from the window. Johnny got up quickly and closed the curtain. Murdoch brought a glass of water to Scott’s lips as he put his arm behind his eldest’s neck. Scott sipped the water like it was the best wine he’d ever tasted.

“Abbie?” She was the first thing Scott thought of. “How is she?” He tried to sit up in bed, but Murdoch stopped him.

“Scott, let’s take this slow. Sam said you shouldn’t get too excited. You have a serious head injury and he doesn’t want you to get out of bed.”

Scott knew his father was avoiding his questions.“Johnny?”

Johnny came to his brother’s side. “I’m right here, brother.”

“How is Abbie? Tell me, Johnny.”

Johnny looked at his father who shook his head no. Murdoch thought it was too soon. Then he looked back at Scott, who was begging for the truth with his eyes.

“Please tell me, Johnny.”

“I’m sorry, Scott. She didn’t make it. Sam did everything he could, but he just couldn’t save her.”

Scott closed his eyes as the tears began to fall slowly down his cheeks.

No one knew what to say to make it better for Scott. Murdoch just held his hand and Johnny sat by his brother’s side.

Mr. Caldwell climbed into the wagon. The wagon held his daughter’s coffin. Murdoch had made all the arrangements with the undertaker and had gotten train tickets back to Texas. The shooters were never found, but Mr. Caldwell had a feeling he knew who they were. He would have to live with the guilt that he’d had his own child killed.

Caldwell’s hired men realized they had made a huge mistake. They knew they couldn’t go back to Texas, so they hightailed it to Mexico, hoping they would be safe there from Mr. Caldwell. 

Murdoch and Johnny stood on either side of Scott to support him physically and emotionally. The three Lancer men watched as Jelly drove the wagon away, heading to Cross Creek.

Scott stood with his arms crossed, wrapped around his stomach, trying valiantly to hold his emotions in check.

Murdoch turned to Scott and placed his arm on his son’s shoulder. “Son, there’s a saying that I learned a long time ago that helped me through some hard times.”

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass …
It’s about learning to dance through the rain.

Scott listened to his father’s profound words, but wasn’t quite ready to hear them yet. He looked down at his boots and said, “I think it’s time to take off these dancing shoes and sit it out for a while.”

The dejected man turned and with the help of his brother walked quietly back into the house.

The End
November 2021


Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or Email Patricia directly.


14 thoughts on “Abbie by Patricia G

  1. My sister didn’t like the ending either. The original story had them getting married. Thank you for your comments!


  2. Well, this was a beautiful story even though it wasn’t a happy end. But it was well written, you could almost see Scott smiling and being happy. Johnny was funny too.


    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you for also asking for more stories. It helps to know my writing is appreciated!


  3. Thank you! I am glad you liked it. It was a sweet story that took me two years to finally release it.


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