His At Last by Robyn B.

Word Count 5,272

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I don’t own any part of Lancer or the characters in their stories.  I do, however, like to run them around the ranch.

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I was moving around a small kitchen in a small cabin, cooking and making coffee.  I kept turning my gaze to the front door and softly sighing.

Wishing my Papa would hurry home, I got very nervous.  He was never this late and I started to worry.

I took all the food off the stove, so it wouldn’t burn, and I slowly walked to the door.  I pulled it open, wishing Papa was there, but all that greeted me was the rain and the wind.

I closed the door and walked to my chair.  I sat down and waited.  I didn’t light any candles, as  I noticed, it was getting darker by the minute.  

I had made up my mind, and I rose and walked into my room.  I took off my simple dress and put it and a couple others in a pair of saddlebags.  I donned a pair of fawn colored pants and a warm shirt.

I sat on the bed and put my worn boots on and reached for a warm coat and my hat.  I picked up a picture and stuffed it in the saddlebags.  Then I walked to the dresser and reached in the drawer for the envelope of money that Papa told me to use if he was ever gone.  I counted it, almost 2 thousand dollars and a name and address on a worn piece of paper.  It was Murdoch Lancer Morro Coyo.  I put the envelope in the bags too.

I took one last look around the small room to see if I had left anything I might want.  My eyes filled with tears and I brushed them away impatiently.

‘ Nope, you’re on your own girl.  No time for sadness.’

I breathed deep and walked to the door and walked out.  I ran across the yard to a barn, and quickly saddled a big bay.  Patting his huge head I softly spoke to him, calming him with the sounds of the storm around  us.

” I’m sorry Renegade.  We got to leave now.  I know you don’t like storms boy, neither do I.  We got to go now.”

He seemed to calm as I threw the blanket and saddle onto his back.  I cinched it and then threw the saddle bags on and tied them down.  I mounted up and as I turned him to the open barn door, my way was blocked.

” Where ya going little girl?”

” Away from here and you.”

He advanced and as he reached for the bridle,  Renegade reared up on his back legs and struck the man in the chest.  He went down, clutching his chest. I kicked the sides of my horse and we sped off into the night.

I could hear that man yelling he would find me and make me pay.  We rode at a full gallop, the miles getting further and further away.

After dawn broke, we stopped at a small town.  I went to a livery and asked the little man there if he could tend my horse, feed him and make him comfortable.

I reached for the saddlebags and handed him some coins.  He moved to tend to Renegade and I walked to a hotel.  I asked for a room and where was a good place to eat.  

The woman said, as she handed me a key, ” My dining room.  Go get settled and then come down.  We have dinner just starting. “

I thanked her and went up to the room.  I threw the bags on the bed and reached for a dress and the envelope.  I put the dress on after I washed and then hid the envelope in a pocket.  I layed my wet clothes around the room to dry and then made my way to the dining room.

The lady from the motel smiled and led me to a table.

” Amanda Stokes.”

She held out her hand, as I reached for it I softly said, ” Laci Johnson.”

” Well, what can I get you Laci?”

” Just whatever is ready and hot tea please. “

She left and I sat and thought over my plan.  I was the only one in the dining room, and when Amanda brought my meal, she asked ”  You kind of look like something is wrong.  Can I help any?”

” How far is Morro Coyo?”

” Not far, you got kin there?”

” No, I’m looking for a man named Murdoch Lancer. Papa said if I was in trouble to find him.”

Her eyes sparked and she said, ” Oh dear, yes I know Murdoch Lancer, and his two grown sons.”

” What’s he like?  Is he a good man?”

” Yes he is.  He’s generous, kind, well liked all around here.  If you got troubles, he can help ya. I’d bet this hotel on that.”

I sighed softly and said, ” Good, at least Papa’s last wish will help me.”

She looked at me and said, ” You in trouble honey?”

” Yea.  Papa I guess been killed, he never came home and the man I think who killed him wants me for himself.”

After a few minutes she said, ” Rest for a day or so, then take off for Morro Coyo.  It’s maybe a days ride, but you look like you gonna crash to the floor honey.”

I nodded and as I reached for some money for my meal, she said, ” No, it’s included in your room rate, well the first meal anyway.  Go up and rest.  If ya need anything call me.”

I thanked her and walked to the room.  I locked the door and sat on the bed.  But not before checking my clothes.  Mostly dry, maybe by tomorrow.

I took my dress off and folded it back into the bag.  I pulled the covers down and slid under them, feeling the cool cleanness on my skin.  My eyes closed slowly, the storm still raging outside.  My dreams were filled with evil and hurt.

As I rose from a vivid dream, my eyes scanned the room, slowly remembering where I was.  Sighing, I rubbed my head.

‘ Papa!  I wish you were here.  I feel so alone now.’

When dawn broke over the town, I was dressed in my pants and shirt again.  Grabbing all my possessions, I turned to leave, noticing the rain had finally stopped.  

As I walked down the stairs, Amanda saw me.” You heading out honey?”

” Yea, I got to find this guy and get help.”

” Well, when you find him, tell him Mandy says ‘ Hey you old goat!'”

We laughed and I thanked her for her help.  As I got to the livery, I saddled up Renegade.  He was lively, sensing the storms were over.  I mounted up and continued towards Morro Coyo.  As I rode into the town, I saw it was fairly large.

I rode until I found a large office building.  I tethered Renegade and reached for the envelope, from the saddlebags.  I walked in and as my eyes adjusted, I walked to a desk.

” Excuse me Sir.  I am looking for a Mr. Murdoch Lancer.  Do you know him and where does he live?”

The man smiled and said, ” He is here at the bank at the moment.  I can ask if he can see you when he is done.  What name should I say?”

”  Laci Johnson.”

He pointed to a chair and said he’d tell Mr. Lancer.  I leaned back and tried to brush my fingers thru my hair, trying to calm my wild hair.  I soon heard footsteps and a deep voice.

” Laci? Marvin Johnson’s girl?!”

” Yes. Mr. Lancer, my Papa said if he ever was gone to find you and you’d help me.  I’ve got someone I’m sure is following me, because he wants what he thinks is his.”

Murdoch waited and then said, ” What does he want Laci?”

Without looking up I said, quietly, ” Me.”

Murdoch got quiet and then he said, ” Okay, I owe your Papa for my life, so yes I will help you.  Can you ride? “

” Yes I have a fine horse, my only friend.”

We walked to the door and he saw Renegade.  His smile came to his lips and he said, ” Rennie, you still are as beautiful as I remember.”

The horse neighed and bobbed his large head up and down, and I could see he remembered the endearment.

” You seen Renegade before? “

” Yes, he was your Papa’s  horse when I knew him.  Your Papa loved that horse, as much as he did you.  When I last saw you, you weren’t very old, maybe 2 months old.”

He mounted up and I did the same, and we turned to leave.  We walked the horses, Murdoch told me about when my Papa and he were together, and how my Papa saved his life.  I listened and thought, ‘ Sounds like Papa.’

We rode the rest of the way, just talking, and then I saw the ranch.

” Wow!”

Murdoch kind of beamed and said, ” My sons and I own the largest spread in these parts.”

” Sons? “

” Scott , my oldest, John my youngest.  You’ll meet them soon. They’re out on the fence line repairing it from the storms last few days.”

We dismounted and this little gnome of a man came out to take the horses.  I reached for the saddlebags and I watched as he led Renegade to a barn.

” Jelly will take good care of him.  He loves horses.”

Murdoch showed me inside and to his study.

” Want a drink Laci?”

Without looking up I said, ” Tequila p!ease.”

I heard the soft chuckle and as I turned he said, ” You and John should get along good.  He also drinks Tequila.”

After he gave me the drink, I looked at the fireplace mantel, and I saw 2 pictures, one of a blonde young man, the other a darker man.

” My sons.  Scott is the blonde.”

I looked at the darker man and I felt my heart beat faster in my chest.

” Nice looking boys Mr. Lancer.”

I saw him smile.  He called for Maria, and a short Mexican woman came into the room.

” Maria, show Laci to a room upstairs.  She will be staying with us awhile.”

Turning tome he said ,” Why not wash up and change, maybe rest a little.  Dinner will be when my sons come hone.”

Maria held her hand out and said softly, ” This way Miss Laci.”

We walked up the stairs and I was shown a lovely room, bright and cheery.  I smelled flowers and she said, ” The gardens are right below your windows.”

I thanked her and said, ” Can someone get me when dinner is ready please.”

She nodded and left quietly.

I hung my dresses in the small wardrobe and I put the picture of Papa on the stand by the bed.  I took my boots off and wiggled my toes.  I took my pants off, but kept my shirt on.  

I layed on the bed and pulled a blanket over my legs.  I reached my fingers out and gently caressed Papa’s face.

‘ I’m here at Lancers ranch Papa.  I hope he can help me and keep me from that snake Pardee.’

My eyes closed, and I relaxed for the first time in a week.  I soon heard a soft knock and I sat up.

” Who is it?”

” Maria Miss Laci. Dinner is almost ready.”

I thanked her and got up.  Washing up a little, I reached for one of my dresses. I brushed out my long hair and pinned back the sides.  I closed the door softly and walked to the stairs.

As I got to the bottom, I heard Murdoch’s booming voice coming from his study.  I walked in and the other 2 men turned to look at me.

” Ahh Laci, have a good nap my dear?  These are my sons, Scott and John.  Boys, this is Marvin Johnson’s girl Laci.  She’s gonna stay here for awhile.”

Scott came over and bent his head to my hand, kissing it softly.  Johnny was by the fireplace, a glass of tequila in his hand.  He was watching me with these vivid blue eyes, that seemed to see right thru me.

” Laci, pleased to meet you.”

Murdoch walked to the make shift bar and said, ” Laci, can I get you a drink before dinner?”

I smiled and said, ” Yes, thank you.”

Johnny watched me as he saw that Murdoch poured me a tequila.  I lifted my eyes and saw the small lift his lips.  A few minutes later, we all were talking and then dinner was announced.

As I rose, Johnny walked to me and offered his arm to me.

” Can I escort you to dinner Laci?”

I placed my finger gently on his arm and smiled.  He sat next to me and as we ate, I would catch his sideways glances at me.

When Maria cleared the dishes, she returned with a large chocolate cake.  Johnny’s loud approval caused his father to laugh.

” Johnny loves his chocolate cake, doesn’t he?”

Maria patted Johnny’s dark head, then bent to place a soft kiss.  She then turned and left.

After we were done, we all went to Murdoch’s study.  As I sat on the couch, Johnny took up a spot by the fireplace again.  Murdoch started to tell his sons why I was there, how my Papa had saved him and everything.

Scott turned to look at me from the over stuffed chair he was in and quietly said, ” Who is this man you say is after you now Laci?”

Without any effort, my head lowered, my eyes stinging with the sudden tears filling my eyes.  Soft!y, in almost a whisper, I said, ” Pardee.  Day Pardee.”

I heard the sharp intake of air from Johnny and he looked at me.  My head lifted slowly and I saw his dark intense gaze directed to me.

” Are you sure its Pardee Laci?”

” Yes, when I was leaving, he made a grab for Renegade’s bridle, he reared and caught him in the chest.  He told me he would claim what was his.”

Murdoch sat back in his chair and looked at Johnny.

” You know this Pardee person John? “

Quietly he said, ” Yes Murdoch I do.  He’s a sadistic bastard.  Wouldn’t surprise me none if he didn’t kill your friend Murdoch.”

I sat back on the couch, my body shaking.  Johnny went to the bar, poured me a drink and handed it to me.

” I’ve had run ins with him before.  He’s tricky and cruel, but he can be stopped.”

” You gonna call him out little brother? “

” Nope, but I’m gonna goad him into calling me out.”

” You sure Son?”

Johnny nodded his head then chugged the rest of his tequila and excused himself to go up the stairs.  I stayed and talked some with Scott and Murdoch.

After awhile, I stood and said, ” I think I will head to bed, I’m still a little tired from my journey.  Good night and thank you for any help I can get. “

I walked up the stairs and walked slowly to the room I was given.  As I slowly closed the door, I was starting to unbutton my dress and I heard a knock.

I turned and said, ” Yes?”

The door opened and I saw Johnny standing there.

” Just seeing if a fellow tequila drinker needs anything. “

I matched his smile and said, ” No, I think I will just try to rest.  Kinda hard, I miss Papa so much.”

Johnny leaned on the door jam and it looked to me like he wanted something else.  My eyes lifted and I looked closely at him.  I was taken aback by the depth of his sapphire eyes.  They were so intense looking.

” Do you need to ask me something Johnny?”

He closed the door and slowly walked into the room.

” When I first met you, you looked like someone I knew.  I used to run with Pardee.  I remember, there was this girl that worked in the bar.  Little tiny thing.  Pardee loved to make her cringe when he would reach for her.  I don’t remember ever hearing her name, but it was you, wasn’t it Laci?  I rescued you a lot of times from him.”

My look was somewhat confused and I looked closer at him.

” I remember a dark haired man, who was with Pardee on some jobs.  I remember one time, he took me from Pardee’s hands and we went to an alleyway.  He pulled me to his chest and I felt safe in his arms.”

I looked closely, ” His name was Madrid, Johnny Madrid.”

Johnny saw the recognition rise in my eyes.

” Yes, I used to go by the name of Madrid.  Laci, that man who kept you from Pardee was me.”

I looked and a small smile lifted my lips.

” I remember you were kind to me.  Oh my God, I was so in love with you Johnny and then you were gone.”

He slowly walked towards me and I saw him extend his arms to me.  I bit my bottom lip and then slowly rushed I to his arms.  They wrapped around me and I put my head on his chest and listened to the beat of his heart.

Johnny’s hand slowly caressed down my hair and my eyes closed slowly.

Softly, his voice filling my ears, ” You were in love with me?  I wish I had known that.  I wouldn’t have left.”

I lifted my head, my eyes bright with unshed tears.  ” You wouldn’t have left? “

” Yes, I was in love with you too.  I thought it was best if I left. Knowing what Pardee’s temper was like.  Wish I could have helped you more.”

My heart was beating wildly in my chest. ‘ Oh my God! He was here, in my room.  Telling me he had been in love with me too.  Why didn’t I try to get him to stay?’

I started to get a little dizzy and Johnny led me to the side of the bed.

” Relax Laci.  Just breathe slow.”

I put my hand to my head and tried to get under this new information.  Thinking to myself, ‘ Papa did you know how I felt about Johnny?’

Johnny’s arm was wrapped around me and he pulled me close.

” Laci, I can protect you now.  Back then I was young and not experienced.”

I layed my head against his chest, and just breathed deeply.

” Can you beat him Johnny?”

Johnny we quiet and he said, ” Yea, I’ve had a lot of time to hone my skills.”

Johnny slid his right hand up to my chin and as he lifted my face up, his vivid blue eyes locked on mine.  He lowered his head and I felt his soft lips covering mine, caressing them gently.

My lips opened and I could feel Johnny’s tongue slip inside.  I softly moaned and I felt my hand going up to his back, pulling him into my body.

Against my neck, Johnny’s warm breath caressed me.

” I’ve always wondered what happened to you, if you were still there, if you were well!.  By that time, I was in a Mexican prison, fighting for my life.  Soon after, I was rescued by the Pinkerton agents Murdoch hired to find me.  I been here, now about 4 years.  And now you are back in my life.  I won’t let him hurt you any more Laci.  I promise. “

I sighed against his chest, my hand slowly finding its way inside his shirt.  I started to caress his chest and the soft mat of hair I found there.  

As I worked lower my fingers caressed over his nipple and I felt the slight jerk in his body.  From my lowered head, I smiled.

‘ Yep, Johnny is still vulnerable there.’

Johnny stopped my hand and softly said, ” You seem to have learned a new trick or two.  You’re playing with fire honey.”

My tongue came out and licked my dry lips.  Locking my eyes on Johnny’s sapphire eyes, I said, ” I want you Johnny.  I’ve thought of you for years, wishing you’d come back.”

Against my ear, he said, ” Be careful what you wish for honey.”

My smile matched his and I said, looking into his eyes ” I know exactly what I am wishing for Johnny, your touch.”

Johnny shifted on the bed and gently pushed me back on the bed. He leaned over and as his lips found mine again, his hands began to take my clothes off.  My hands lifted and I unbuckled his gun belt, hearing it hit the floor.

I lifted my hands up further , and started to unbutton the shirt, pulling it out if the pants he wore.  My fingers caressed his warm skin, covering his nipples with flicks of my nails.  

I could feel the tremors running thru his body.  Soon we both were naked, and Johnny’s hands pushed me up to the headboard.  His hard body loomed over mine.  His hand caught mine and he pushed both of them above my head.  His other hand sliding down my body.

I felt his lips on my neck and I started to breathe harder.  I felt Johnny’s legs moving between my legs and pushing them slowly apart.

Johnny’s hand went in between our bodies and I felt his fingers slipping inside me, to caress and make me insane.  Johnny’s eyes slowly closed to half mast, and his voice, deep with his desires, ” Wanted to take you when I first saved you from that snake.  Wanted to make you mine and take you away with me.  I left fast and didn’t have time to come back for you.   But now, you’re here in my arms and you’re mine now baby.”

His lips closed over mine and then I felt him slowly sliding inside me.  My body arched up and Johnny’s body began to move against me.  I felt him going deeply inside me.  His hand, holding mine above my head, released and I lowered them to his back.

Feeling  his hot skin under my fingers, I felt my nails raking down his back.  Johnny didn’t seem to notice and only increased his pumping into my body.

Softly, his deep voice came close to my ear as he whispered, ” You’re mine Laci, body and soul.”

Johnny came deep inside me, and my body joined with his as the tremors ran thru us both.  He collapsed on my body and my hands caressed down his back.

In a wild second, Johnny rolled to his back and pulled me to lie on top of his hard body.  Johnny’s eyes were lazy and dark, and his hand caressed my cheek, pushing my damp blonde hair from my eyes.

My head lowered to his chest and my hand rested above his heart.

” Dios, that was worth the wait baby!”

I smiled against Johnny’s sweaty skin and I felt my eyes closing, despite all my efforts to keep them open

” Rest baby.  We have the rest of the night to lie in each other’s arms.  I promise, Laci, to protect you from Pardee.  He will show up here sooner or later.”

Sighing, I said, ” Don’t leave me Johnny.  I found you again, I don’t want to lose you again.” I felt Johnny’s smile and we settled into sleep, our hearts and breathing slowing down.

Next morning, I woke and Johnny was already up and getting dressed.  He leaned over and softly kissed my lips as he pulled his boots on.

” Morning sleepy head. Sleep okay? “

I smiled and said, ” Yes you kinda wore me out Johnny. “

He looked at me sideways and said, ” You did the same to me.  It was better than I could of imagined. “

He kissed me again saying, ” I’ll see you downstairs for breakfast.  Then off to work.”

I got up after he left, feeling the stiffness in my body.  I smiled, thinking it was a good kind of feeling.  I dressed, brushed my hair, clipping it back in a long ponytail and walked downstairs.

I saw and heard the Lancer men getting ready for breakfast.  As I walked in the kitchen, I was greeted by three ,” Good morning Laci.”

Murdoch looked up from his cup of coffee and as I sat next to Johnny he said, ” Did you sleep okay last night Laci?”

I told him I did.

Maria put a cup of coffee in front of Johnny and looked at me.  Softly I said, ” A cup of tea please Maria. “

When I picked it up to drink, I felt it’s warmth giving me added energy to push the stiffness away.  As the men started to eat, I just sat with my tea.

” Not hungry Laci?”

” No, I don’t usually eat breakfast.”

I could feel Johnny’s leg slowly sliding against mine.  His sideways grin was wonderful this morning.

Murdoch was telling them they needed to take some men and go round up the cattle that broke through the fence line again.  They agreed with Johnny mumbling about stupid cows.

As Murdoch and Scott walked ahead of us, Johnny stayed back behind with me.  He softly said, ” Meet me in the gardens at lunchtime.”

I smiled and said I would.  We walked to the door, and Murdoch and Scott were already mounted up.  Johnny’s horse was beautuful and I told him so.

I leaned against the porch columns and watched Scott and Johnny and about a dozen men leave to work on the fence line and to catch any loose cattle.  I watched until they were specks in the distance.

I went back to the kitchen and Maria said, ” Maybe you would like some apples and cinnamon?”

I smiled and she placed a bowl in front of me, still warm from the stove.  As I ate I listened to her soft humming.  When I was done, I went out the back door and went into the gardens.  I walked around, and looked at all the bright co!it’s.  I found a bench deep in the flowers and I sat, smelling the perfume from the colorful blooms.

I was lost in the beauty and lost track of time.  I was startled back by Johnny’s soft kiss.

” Wow, you were a million miles away baby.”

” Just thinking about Papa.”

Johnny sat next to me on the bench, took me into his arms and kissed me, long and hard, running his hand under my hair and caressing my neck.

” You are a delightful distraction Laci, almost let 2 bulls wander away.”

” I’m sorry Johnny.”

” Its fine honey, I got them back.”

We sat with our hands clasped and my head leaning on Johnny’s shoulder.  Soon Scott was calling for Johnny and when he saw us, he smiled softly.

” Lunch is ready you two, unless you plan on working this afternoon with an empty stomach.”

After he left, Johnny and I smiled at each other, as we walked to the kitchen for lunch.  After they ate, everyone left for the rest of the work day.

I sat in Murdoch’s study, watching the flames in the fireplace.  Once again I was lost in my thoughts, so I didn’t hear the footsteps.

Suddenly, I felt a large hand come over my mouth.  I tried to scream and then I heard his voice.  Day Pardee!

I wished for Johnny to return and save me.  He tied me to a chair in the study and then he began to pace.

” Well, I might have known you and Madrid would have found each other again.  Maybe thus time, I’ll kill him and then you.”

The gag he had forced into my mouth was pulled tight and the sides of my mouth were pulled back and starting hurt.   He was drinking Murdoch’s booze and as dusk was looming over the ranch, I heard horses coming in.

Pardee moved to the window by Murdoch’s desk, so he could see them when they came in.  As the men came in, as they entered the Great Room, Pardee said, ” Well well, the Lancers.  Hello Madrid.  Long time no see.”

I saw Johnny’s hand go automatically to his gun.  Then he saw me and he relaxed a little, still keeping Pardee in his line of sight.

” You hurt Laci? “

I shook my head and Johnny looked at Pardee.

” What do you want Pardee?  We have nothing here that belongs to you.”

” Yes you do.  My revenge on you Madrid and my property. “

Johnny’s eyes began to ice over and as I watched, Johnny Madrid became visible.  He never took his eyes from Pardee and said, softly but deadly, “You wanna try me Pardee?  Think you got what it takes?”

I watched as Pardee licked his lips saying, ” Take out the infamous Johnny Madrid.  I would love the chance and as you were dying, I’d take that little bitch over there in the blood from your body.”

I watched as Johnny’s eyes got a dangerous glint in them and together they moved to the door and then the yard.  Scott rushed to me and untied me and said, “Stay here and don’t move!”

He and Murdoch grabbed rifles from the gun rack and waited.  Each knowing that if Johnny fell, they would take Pardee out.

As they squared off, I saw from the window Johnny’s stance, right hand hovering  over his colt, eyes assessing every move Pardee did.  I watched and at a sudden move, Johnny crouched and drew and fired.

I saw Pardee stumble forward and then went down to his knees, dead before he hit the ground.

Scott and Murdoch walked slowly to stand by Johnny, who hadn’t moved.

” John?”

Slowly, he relaxed and looked at Pardee.  He holstered his gun, turning and ran to the house.  I saw him at the door and as I opened it, I was suddenly in his arms.

Over and over Johnny’s soft voice said, ” You’re safe now. He’s fed.  I want you to stay here, with me at Lancer.  I should have tried to find you after I had gone.  I’m not letting you leave me again.”

As I clung to his body, I said ,” Never Johnny.  I’m never leaving  you again.”

I was finally his.

End

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