Memories by Robyn B.

Word Count 10,905

I don’t own Lancer nor the characters from the show.  I do, however, take the boys out on occasion for a gallop around the ranch.  The characters of my making can’t be used without permission.  This story will carry an R rating, for some sexual sections, scenes of brutal torture and minor language.  Warnings will proceed these sections.

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Sitting in a garden, inhaling the fragrances of all the flowers, I began to think of how I came to be at this lovely home.

A soft smile graced my lips as I recalled the first time I ever saw the brothers. The beginning of my fairy tale ending.

Not that my life was over. Oh no, not by a long stretch! I’d always read those types of books as a teacher for the local school in Morro Coyo. Princesses, dragons, knights in shining armor.

Signing as I remembered the stories I read to the kids, and I thought, ‘ Elizabeth Anne Lancer, you are such a romantic ninny!’

Softly, I chuckled as I remembered that as how it started really. I was at my home, a small cabin outside of town, and I was sitting on the porch. My back was up against a post and my feet were tucked up under my dress. As I read my book, I’d wiggle my toes.

I was so into the book, I never even noticed a beautiful golden horse standing very still in my front yard. Nor did I even notice the handsome dark haired man on his back.

He softly chuckled and a slow smile crept to his lips. He quietly dismounted and stood by the horse. He shook his head as he walked to my side.

He squatted down and gently kissed my cheek. Well, not only did I throw the book to the porch, but I kinda cried out in surprise.

” Whoa! Lizzie, it’s me. Relax Honey. I didn’t mean to scare you. I thought you knew it was me and you were just pretending to not notice.”

I turned to look at him. Johnny Lancer, the one man I’d never thought in a million years would ever visit my home, much less kiss my cheek!

” What are you doing, Johnny Lancer sneaking up on ladies and scaring them witless!”

Johnny leaned back on his heels and I heard a soft sweet laugh. He glanced at me, sort of sideways, and I felt the warm pink blush creeping up my cheeks.

” Come to ask if you’d like to go to the barn dance in town this Saturday night.”

My heart began to race. I could feel it, I thought it would jump out of my chest for a minute.

” A dance Johnny? Really? You mean it!?”

The smile wrinkled the lines by his eyes and I saw the sparkles in his eyes begin to shine.

” Of course I mean it. I’ve been thinking about you for the better part of a week Lizzie. And I want to take you out for a special night. Dinner at the hotel restaurant and then to the dance. “

I lifted my hand to gently caress Johnny’s cheek. I felt him lean into my touch and his eyes slowly closed. This soft gentle smile came to his lips and he leaned over. I felt the gentle caress of them against mine.

As I sat among the flowers in the garden, I remembered that soft kiss. My first kiss ever from Johnny. I lifted my fingers to touch my lips, as a sort of dreamy look came to my face.

I locked my eyes on the lovely yellow roses, thinking back to the dress I wore to that dance. Johnny said it was the best color for me, because it made my long blonde hair seem brighter.

I smiled to myself, as I stood up to go back into the hacienda, to start the meal for dinner.

Ten years, and I still can remember that dance, the dress and kiss, as tho it was yesterday.

In the kitchen, I saw an older and slower Maria bustling around, getting things going for dinner. It was going to be a special welcome home dinner. The three Lancers, plus almost all the ranch hands have been on the spring drive. Even Murdoch. He was in his late 60s, but still able to ride and herd his cattle.

Scott had married ten tears ago, but lost his wife and baby in child birth. I could tell he was still sad, but he regrouped and is now Murdoch’s right hand man.

Not that Johnny is a slouch. He works harder than most of the hands. Maybe even harder than Murdoch, in his younger days.

I found out, from Johnny, before we got married, that Scott lost his mother when he was born. It was a double shot to the tall blonde, because he lost his child as well. It was a long time before any of us saw Scott smile again.

Johnny was happy and proud, when his older brother and his best friend, stood up with him at our wedding. He smiled and stood proudly next to his little brother. I know his strong presence helped Johnny thru that special day, even tho his heart was in pieces.

The brothers always work together on the ranch. See one, the other one isn’t too far away. He still breaks horses, but not often. The last time he got hurt, bad. I remember him sitting in our bed, waiting for Sam.

” It’s just a wrenched shoulder Lizzie. I’ll be up in a few days.”

I remembered it wasn’t a wrenched shoulder, he dislocated the damn thing, and was down for almost a month. He was forty-five when he did that.

I remember sitting with him, trying to keep him from getting antsy.

” Johnny, my dear, you are forty-five years old. You don’t bounce back from injuries now. Sam wouldn’t tell you to stay down, unless it was necessary.

I sat at a table to chop vegetables for the stew, and I started to chuckle to myself.

Maria turned around and looked at me, a clear question in her soft brown eyes.

” What is so funny Chica?”

I put the knife down and looked at her and said, smiling brightly.

“Just remembering how Johnny is when he’s injured. Thinking he’ll bounce back in a day. Honestly Maria, he takes so many chances with his life, I wanna scream sometimes!”

We both got quiet and my mind once again went to that first dance Johnny took me to. I wore a bright yellow dress that was daring, with the low cut of the top.

I didn’t care. It was special date and I wanted to look special for Johnny. He wore his white shirt with the fancy stitching and his tight leather pants with the silver conchos.

Dinner was wonderful. Johnny had the cook in the hotel restaurant make a special dessert for me. Strawberries and whipped cream. I could have sat there all night eating them, feeding Johnny some and getting the cream on his lips.

When I lifted a finger to wipe away the cream, I saw something flare up in his beautiful sapphire eyes. I saw that look only once more, on our wedding day.

At the dance, there were people who, after twenty years of him being home and being Johnny Lancer, still gave him grief.

I could tell Johnny was angry, but he decided to ignore them, because I was with him.

That first dance. I felt like I was floating on air as Johnny twirled me around the barn floor. To tell the truth, I felt like a fairy princess and Johnny was my handsome knight.

I frowned as I remembered how we were getting angry looks, but Johnny ignored the looks. I felt Maria’s soft touch to my arm and I started. I saw her soft smile and I smiled back.

I sat there thinking for a bit. That was the best dance we’d ever had. Even despite the fact, that Johnny was attacked after he took me home. We walked under the stars and I felt Johnny’s hand reaching for mine.

There was part of that memory that I wish I could forget. I found out three days later, that Johnny had been knifed after he left town heading back to Lancer. Seven men from the dance, who just had a thing against Johnny, and always had hated him.

Johnny had been beaten and knifed four times, and barely got back on Barranca to get back to Lancer. It was by magic that Barranca got Johnny home, because he was unconscious and bleeding profusely.

Murdoch and Scott were still awake when Barranca brought Johnny home. He slid bonelessly into his father’s arms and that was when Scott saw all the blood.

They brought Johnny to the dining room table and Murdoch wrapped towels on each knife wound.

” He’s lost so much blood Scott! Get the sewing kit in the kitchen. If I can stop the bleeding, he might stand a chance!”

Scott turned and bolted towards the kitchen and returned with the supplies. Murdoch sewed the wounds closed and stopped the bleeding. He wrapped pads around them and it seemed to help.

” Go tell Cip to send someone for Sam.”

As Scott ran for the door, Murdoch slid his thick fingers thru Johnny’s dark bangs.

Softly, his words fell over his son’s unconscious body. ” Hang in there Son. Don’t leave me Johnny, please don’t leave me.”

He was still standing by Johnny’s body, holding his cold hand, and whispering words to keep him grounded.

Scott stood by the door to the dining room, and his tear filled eyes looked at his little brother, lying there in between life and death.

Silently, he prayed that his brother would hang on. He couldn’t go on, if he left him. As he stood there, tears finally ran down his cheeks.

Sitting in the kitchen, I felt a tear slide down my cheek. Maria came to me and asked me if I was okay.

It took a minute to focus on the present and I softly said, “Was just remembering when Johnny was hurt so badly after our first dance together. I almost lost him, before we even started a relationship, Maria.”

She came to stand by me and I felt her warm hand on my cheek.

” Juanito, he is fine now. That was so long ago Sweetie. Why are you remembering such sad things?”

I sat quietly for a moment and then I quietly said, ” I don’t know Maria. I’ve been thinking of lots of stuff lately.”

She seemed to understand and caressed my cheek.

” We better get dinner going Chica. The Patron and his sons will be back from the drive soon. And you promised a grand meal.”

I smiled up at her and got to work on the vegetables again. As we got stuff together, I heard Maria softly humming, and it brought a smile to my face.

As the afternoon wore on, I could smell the stew as it was cooking. I started to drool and I wished the three Lancers would get home already.

Suddenly, there was the sound of horses, lots of horses, in the compound. My eyes got a bright sparkle and I had Maria hide the chocolate cake I was frosting in the pantry.

As I wiped my hands, I straightened my hair and rushed to the front door. I threw the door open, and walked onto the porch.

My eyes searched for and found the sapphire eyes of the man I loved. His smile was bright and loving, as he slowly slid from Barranca back.

Johnny walked slowly to me and I felt his arms tiredly wrap around me. I didn’t care that he was dusty and sweaty, I just was glad to have him home.

” Welcome home Baby. I have missed you so much these last few weeks. No one to tease or to lie against at night.”

I snuggled against Johnny’s warm chest and my arms slid around his waist even tighter. His arms slid around me and he slowly swayed us to the music only he could hear.

Tiredly, his soft voice was hoarse sounding and he said, ” I’m so glad to be home finally Lizzie. It seems these drives get longer and longer every time.

As I stood in Johnny’s arms, I welcomed Scott and Murdoch home as well. As they walked into the house, I noticed Murdoch was limping badly. I thought to myself that maybe this was the last drive he would go on.

After Scott and Murdoch disappeared into the house, Johnny put his fingers under my chin and lifted my face up to his.

As I felt his soft warm lips covering mine, my eyes closed and I leaned into his hard chest.

” Hmm, those lips always make me feel like I’ve come home Chica. Sometimes wish I didn’t have to go on these drives every year.”

Laughing softly against his warm chest, I said, ” Oh maybe when you are really old, you won’t have to anymore!”

I felt his right hand move down and swat my butt ………hard.

” Brat!”

Softly, I looked up and I said really sweetly, ” Better be nice to me or you won’t get any dessert Johnny.”

That got his attention. I saw him raise one eyebrow up and the smile exploded on his face.

” Oh yeah! What ya make!?”

” Oh, you’ll see if you behave Johnny.”

I heard a soft quiet growl and we went into the house. He went up the stairs to our bedroom, to wash and change. I headed to the kitchen, to see how the dinner was going.

Maria was just putting a pan of cornbread into the oven and I went to her and hugged her to my body.

As we were getting dinner into a big serving bowl and putting pieces of cornbread on a platter, I heard the three Lancers coming down to the Great Room.

Scott and Murdoch had their whiskey and Johnny had his ever present tequila. I stood by the doorway into the Great Room and I remembered having one sip of tequila. Johnny telling me it was tasty.

Oh my God, the feeling I got in my gut after I swallowed it, I seriously considered killing my husband of not yet one year. His evil laugh didn’t help my thoughts at all either!

Johnny turned and saw me there and held out his hand to me. I walked to his side and he softly caressed my lips with his. I noticed they tasted like tequila and I smiled at Johnny.

” Well, you all look human again and not the walking dust balls you were when you came into the compound.”

I was standing in Johnny’s arms and Maria came to the doorway and softly, almost in a whisper, said, ” Dinner is ready Patron.”

The bowl of stew and the corn bread were there on the table, along with tomatoes from the garden. As Johnny pulled my chair out, his warm breath caressed my cheek as he said, ” I have a special evening with you planned for later Querida. ” I gently shivered.

Everyone was rather talkative, even Murdoch. There was a fair at their final destination, and all three of the Lancers had a good time.

As they talked, my mind began to travel to that first dance. I met his father and Scott for the first time. I remembered that Scott bent over my hand and kissed it. I was very impressed.

Johnny even relinquished me to his brother for a dance, and I was twirled around the floor. He was a good dancer, but johnny had a smoothness that made you think he was one with the music.

I had my spoon hovering between my bowl and my mouth, as I remembered our first dance. I could still feel his arms around me and felt as tho we were floating. I always wondered where Johnny had learned to dance so beautifully.

Suddenly, I felt Johnny’s left hand touching my arm. I startled back to reality and turned confused and unfocused eyes to him.

” You okay Lizzie? You got very quiet and seemed like you were frozen in place. Everything okay Honey?”

I smiled softly and said that I was just remembering our first dance.

” That was almost ten years ago Chica. Why would you be remembering that night?”

” Oh, been remembering all sorts of things the last couple days Johnny. It’s nothing to worry about.”

He smiled, but to me he had a look of concern in those sparkling sapphire eyes I loved so much.

When dinner was over, we had all gone to the Great Room.

After a bit of time, Maria came into the room carrying a tray with cake slices on plates, coffee cups and a pot of coffee.

Johnny’s eyes sparkled brighter as he saw the three layer chocolate cake slice on one of the plates. As Johnny began to eat his slice of cake, I swear he was positively purring!

As Johnny finished, I was watching him with a smile on my face.

” Enjoy that cake did you, Johnny?”

Then Scott piped up from his chair by Murdoch’s desk.

” He must have, I heard his soft sighs way over here!”

Johnny blushed softly and he said very quietly, ” Well, Lizzie does make a very delicious chocolate cake!”

Murdoch chuckled and said, “Alright you two, stop teasing John. He just knows what is good is all.”

Johnny and I sat entwined on the couch, watching the fire going. His warm arms were wrapped around me and I layed my head on his warm chest, hearing his heart beating steady and strong in his chest.

My eyes were slowly closing, and I was having a hard time keeping them open. My husband noticed and leaned his head down. A soft warm whisper caressed my cheek as he said, “Let’s go up to bed Querida. You are falling asleep lying here.”

I smiled and sat up. Johnny stood up and held his hands out to me and he helped me stand up. Arms around each other, we headed to the stairs.

” Good night you two.”

We both said goodnight to Scott and Murdoch, and Johnny said he’d see them both in the morning.

We went up the stairs and down the hall to our room. Johnny opened the door and I walked in and waited for the door to shut. When it did, I turned to see my husband with his back against the door and a sort of half smile graced his lips.

He slowly walked to me and when he stood in front of me, he gently took me in his arms and pulled me to his hard body. My arms slid up to go around his neck, feeling his soft silky hair caressing my hands.

Johnny lowered his head, and I felt his lips, warm and seeking, covering mine. There was a hunger in Johnny’s kiss and I pressed against him more.

ALERT

I felt how excited Johnny was becoming, and I gently swayed my body against his. I felt excited as he tore his lips from mine.

” You are playing with fire doing that Elizabeth.”

I smiled sweetly at my husband and I slowly moved out of his warm loving embrace. I turned to face Johnny, and I began to unbutton my dress, very slowly.

The smile that came to his lips was slow and demonic, and I saw the gleam in his eyes spark to life.

He stood and watched me for a good three minutes. I only got my dress unbuttoned and then stopped.

Johnny cocked his head and softly said, with a voice deep with longing and need, ” Oh don’t stop now Querida. ” I smiled at him, a little bit on the demonic side, and slid the dress from my shoulders. It pooled around my ankles.

I stood in my chemise and long silk nylons and Johnny walked to stand in front of me. He slowly untied the tiny bows on the top of my chemise. When it fell open, I felt his warm fingers caressing across my chest.

Johnny’s fingers caressed over my nipples and I felt them harden under his touch. My breath began to deepen and I could feel it was beginning to get very warm in our room.

My fingers lifted to his shirt and they flew over opening his buttons. When they were opened, I pulled his shirt from the top of his pants. As it fell behind him, I ran my fingertips across his chest, feeling his nipples instantly harden.

I slid my nails across them and I heard the instant gasp. I lifted my eyes to look at Johnny, and I saw his eyes slowly darkening. His breath was beginning to quicken, and it looked like he was going to start panting, with every breath he was taking.

His voice, deep with his rising need and desires, whispered softly, ” Oh my Love, you are making me insane with wanting you.”

In answer, I slowly pushed him back on the bed. Once he was on his back, I bent to pull his boots off, being careful not to cut myself on his spurs. Then I moved up to his pants. The buckle for his gunbelt was easy, and I slid it from his body and put it on a nearby chair.

However, that double buckle on his pants was a pain in the ass. As I struggled, Johnny’s soft laugh swept over me.

He gently batted my fingers away and opened it for me. I smiled down at him and quietly said, ” Lift your hips up.” As I slid his pants down his hips and long legs, my lips began to kiss his chest. All over, little soft kisses, almost like butterfly wings against his hot body.

I felt his hands, moving into my hair and I felt the few pins sliding out of my hair. Soon, the cascade of golden blonde hair fell around me and caressed his chest.

When he was totally naked on the bed, I slid up his body. I could see how excited he was and he slid his hands to my shoulders and they slid my open chemise down my arms.

When my chest came into view, I heard Johnny’s small gasp of approval. He ran his fingertips over my nipples, and they hardened under his touch.

My head fell back and a soft sigh came from my lips. I felt Johnny moving under me, and the next thing I knew, I felt my back hit the cool sheets of the bed.

Johnny was now in control. He slid the chemise off me and caressed down my body. When he came to the tops of my stockings, one by one, he slid the silky material down my legs.

Caressing my body and touching inside of me, creating an increasing volcano, just waiting to explode.

The more he touched me, the wilder I felt. I moved my hand to his and tried to push his fingers inside of me deeper, but he gently pushed them away.

” No Baby, not just yet. I want you insane with desire. Your desires make me wild Baby!”

Johnny’s hard body caressed mine, and I felt the heaviness as he layed across me. His hands sliding down my sides, slowly lifting my legs up and laying them on his shoulders.

He moved his body closer to mine and I felt the tip of his hardness gently quivering against me, begging for entrance to my body.

Johnny moved over me and very very slowly he entered my body, pushing as deeply as he could. My eyes began to close and I sighed softly.

” No Elizabeth! Keep them open and look at me!”

My eyes slid open and I saw the intense look on Johnny’s face, as he moved against me slowly and deeply.

I lifted my hands to caress over his chest, and his hands stopped me. He pushed them above my head. One of his hands clasped both my wrists. The other hand caressed and swept over my body, keeping me on just the edge of exploding.

His rhythm would change from fast to slow, to shallow then deeply. My head arched back against the pillows and my gasps were becoming louder. The sounds I was creating, and my gentle struggles was getting to Johnny, and his desires and wants only grew in intensity.

He had let my hands go, but I was so into the changing of the motions, I didn’t even notice. At one point, I felt his lips on my neck, and he gently bit my skin. That would send tiny electrical bolts thru my body.

” Jesus Johnny! What are you doing to me!? You’re driving me insane!”

Johnny’s soft laugh caressed over me and his right hand slid down my body in between our bodies. His thumb touched that spot inside of me and I saw a white hot flash before my eyes.

The more he caressed that spot, and kept the pumping movements of his hips against me, the harder it was to concentrate.

Against my cheek, his soft words softly slid over me.

” Release Baby. I can feel you need to. Do it Baby!”

His fingers left my body and he moved closer to my body. His hardness went even deeper, and when he moved, he now hit a spot inside of me that he rarely aroused.

My body began to tremble, and that only made Johnny move harder and deeper inside me. Despite me wanting them to remain open, my eyes closed. My head arched back and I uttered a cry of surrender as my body released the pleasure Johnny had given me.

As I hit my peak, Johnny’s body released itself into me. Together, it was an explosion that neither of us had ever felt before.

My legs were gently moved from his shoulders, and then Johnny’s body fell onto mine. He tried to keep his full weight off me, and I felt his strong arms trembling.

The warm caress of his breath against my sweaty skin was loving and reassuring. I felt his lips reaching for mine, and as they covered mine, I felt them trembling against mine. Actually, I didn’t know who’s lips were trembling.

Johnny rolled off my body to his back and gently pulled me to his chest. I layed on his sweaty chest and slid my arms across his sweat slick belly. Soon, I felt the cover being pulled up over us.

END ALERT

We fell asleep soon after that. I heard his soft even breathing and it lulled me into sleep. We layed entwined in each other’s arms and that was how we woke the next morning, when the sun creeped over the mountains around Lancer.

Johnny woke before me and as he quietly dressed, my mind was waking up.

I was remembering the day after we had married. Johnny woke me with tiny kisses all over my face and body. Some of them tickled, as his silky hair caressed and tickled terribly.

The more the memory took over, the more I squirmed in the bed. Soon, I woke up, to see my husband of ten years watching me with a soft smile on his lips.

As my eyes opened, I saw the smile on Johnny’s face. I smiled back and he leaned over and I felt his lips covering mine gently. His tongue slid over mine, asking for entrance. I opened my lips and Johnny deepened his kiss.

” What were you dreaming of Querida? You were softly moaning and squirming all around the bed.”

Smiling, I said, ” Was remembering the way you woke me up, the morning after we were married.”

Laugh lines deepened around Johnny’s eyes and he said, ” You mean like this Honey?”

And he bent his head and started to kiss tiny kisses all over my body. Once again, his soft silky hair, longer than before, was tickling me. As I started to giggle, I felt the covers being pushed away. Johnny’s kisses slid lower to my belly and then my legs.

Five minutes later, I was laughing so hard, I had tears coming from my eyes. Johnny kissed those away and as he caressed my cheeks, he said, ” Now you have another memory to keep.”

Smiling, I said, ” Yes, I’ll store it with all my others.”

I got up and got dressed, as my husband sat on the bed, his back up against the headboard, and a soft slow smile on his face.

As I slid a pair of boots on, he said, ” You planning on going for a ride Lizzie? “

” Yes, I haven’t ridden Eclipse much lately, and I’m sure he’s getting antsy.”

We went downstairs to the kitchen, to eat breakfast. Scott and Murdoch were already there. Johnny piled his plate full of scrambled eggs. I only ate a little bit. Everyone noticed.

” Elizabeth, are you okay? You aren’t eating much, my dear.”

I looked up, startled and said, ” I’m fine Murdoch. Just thinking of stuff.”

Murdoch shot a glance to his youngest son and Johnny smiled slyly.

” Lizzie is just collecting more memories Murdoch. “

” Memories?”

Slowly, I looked at Johnny, then Scott and then Murdoch.

Smiling very softly, I quietly said, ” Just remembering things, my memories of all that’s happened in the ten years I’ve been here.”

Scott wiped his mouth with his napkin. ” That’s a lot of memories, in a span of ten years Lizzie. I hope they are good memories.”

I cast a sideways glance to my husband, who had a very sly smile on his lips.

” For the most part, they are good. But there are sad memories too, and they come when I don’t want them to.”

Johnny reached his left hand up and caressed the back of his fingers across my cheek.

” We only will remember good memories Honey. Sad ones will fade away.”

I ate a few forkfuls of scrambled eggs, only because Johnny lifted his fork to my lips with eggs on it. I saw only love in those sapphire eyes, not a sign of anger because I wasn’t eating.

Soon breakfast was over, and we all stood up. Johnny put his arm around my waist and I slid mine around his. Scott and Murdoch were ahead of us and reached the door before us.

When Johnny and I walked onto the porch, I saw four horses saddled and waiting. I pulled my hat up onto my head and walked to my horse. A black, very spirited stallion I named Eclipse. He was the dark equal of Johnny’s golden Barranca. Both powerful stallions.

As I was helped up into the saddle, I felt Johnny’s warm hand laying on my thigh. I turned bright eyes and locked onto his deep sapphire eyes. I smiled and he quietly said, “Be careful riding, he’s not been ridden for three weeks, he might be too much to handle.”

I put my hand out to caress his warm cheek and leaned out of the saddle and gently kissed his soft warm lips.

” I’ll be careful Johnny. I know all of his moods.”

As I turned Eclipse to head up the hill behind the barns, I saw the almost worried look on my husband’s handsome face. I lifted my hand and waved and galloped up the hill, heading to my favorite place on all of Lancer.

Johnny, Scott and Murdoch stood in the courtyard, and watched me heading to the hill. Slowly, all three Lancers mounted up and Murdoch said, ” I’m heading into Morro Coyo. I’ll be back by dinner.”

Johnny and Scott turned their mounts and headed to the stream they had to clear out. Johnny was pensive the whole ride to the stream. Scott noticed his little brother was worried and he quietly said.

” She’ll be okay Johnny. She’s a great horse woman. You don’t have to worry, she knows how to handle that animal.”

As they rode, side by side, Johnny finally spoke.

” I know she can Boston. I just have a very bad feeling that something is gonna happen.”

Boston turned his silver blue eyes to his brother and softly said, “What could happen Brother? She’s on Lancer, not going far from the ranch. She’ll be fine. If she gets hurt, all she has to do is send Eclipse back. When he comes into the courtyard without her, then we will go get her.”

Johnny felt a bit better with his brother’s words, but that nagging feeling was still deep in his gut.

Meanwhile, I was just coming into the meadow and soon, I stopped Eclipse. I loosened the cinch and he trotted off towards the water.

I went to a large tree and sat on the soft green grass. I leaned my head back against the tree trunk, and I watched Eclipse as he trotted around in the tall grass.

Soon, I was lost in my thoughts and I had a memory of being here with Johnny, three days after we had married. We sat on a soft blanket, and Johnny gently caressed my body, thru my clothes.

My mind wandered to that day ten years ago, when Johnny made love to me on that blanket. I could feel his touch on my body, as he slowly began to open and remove my clothes.

I lifted my hands to his chest, and I slowly opened the tiny buttons on his favorite pink shirt. When it was opened, I ran my fingertips across his chest, feeling his nipples harden instantly.

When both of us were naked, lying on the soft blanket, Johnny moved over my body and I felt his body trembling above me, and soon I felt his hardness entering my body and we made love for hours.

As I sat against the tree trunk, my eyes closed, and I could feel his touch on my body. I could feel that tingling inside of me. I lost myself in that feeling, and I suddenly heard a noise behind me.

**** ALERT ****

As my eyes opened, I saw a dirty Mexican squatting by my side, a rather large knife held against my neck. I swallowed hard and tried to talk, but it came out as a whisper.

” Who are you? What do you want? This is private land!”

The man moved closer to me and I could smell a foul odor when he opened his mouth to snarl at me.

” Enrico Pablo Montoya. I used to run with Johnny Madrid. And I’ve come to collect a debt, a promise I made him when he rode off and left me to face them rurales.”

I was in an awkward position, sitting down as I was, so I couldn’t even think of a way to get away.

He reached for my wrist, and yanked me to my feet. He pushed his body against mine and I felt his lips all over my face, as he began to kiss me.

His hands began to roam over my body and I tried to keep from shuddering. I had nowhere to run to, and I tried to keep my mind focused to find that one little place I could escape.

This creature, that was pawing over my body, must have come to a decision. A decision I would carry with me forever.

He put his hands on the neck of my shirt and ripped it off my body, gaining better access to my chest. His fingers were rough and hurt as he pinched and pulled at my nipples.

He didn’t stop there. No, the next thing I knew, his knife was cutting my pants off of me. He rammed his fingers in between my legs and I cried out for him to stop.

His laugh was ugly and demonic as he pushed me down to the ground. He pulled the rags of my clothes off of me and I soon was naked. I began to tremble because I knew what he was going to do to me.

He opened his filthy pants and pushed them down a little bit.

His heavy dirty body fell on top of me and his legs pushed mine apart. I felt his body enter mine, with pain and hatred.

My eyes closed and I felt tears of pain and humiliation falling down my face to pool in my hair.

This horrible man grunted and moaned as he pushed in and out of my body. Soon, he took his pleasure and as he shuddered with his release, I felt as tho I wanted to crawl under a rock, to hide.

He was not thru with me, not by any means. His mouth clamped onto my breasts and I felt the sharp pain as he bit my soft skin. I didn’t see it, but I knew he drew blood.

The whole time he was abusing my body, his hand and fingers that were not holding the knife towards my neck, were once again being rammed into my body. He drove his fingers deeply into my body and then he wiped his seed and my blood onto my body.

My cries and tears were soon overwhelming me, and I kind of zoned out. I no longer sensed what he was doing to me. I layed on the grass in a stupor, my eyes big and fixed on absolutely nothing.

” I guess I took revenge on Madrid now Bitch! Maybe I’ll leave him something more!”

He moved the knife from my neck, and I felt the cool blade touch my belly. He began to push the blade into my skin and he deliberately cut me.

I didn’t know what he had cut into my body, but he sneered at me as he stood up from my body. As he pulled his pants up, he leaned over and wiped his bloody knife on my thigh.

” I hope Madrid likes my gift to him. It will be a reminder that I took his wife.”

END ALERT

He turned and walked to his horse, and in my mind I could hear him leaving. I was shaking, and cold inside. I knew I was going into shock, but I couldn’t move to help myself.

As I layed there, I could feel my blood running down my sides.

As much as I tried, my eyes slowly closed and I went into a dark place, away from the pain.

I had no idea how long I layed there, but somewhere in my mind, I heard two horses barreling towards me. I felt a blanket being wrapped around me and I was held in strong arms, offering me comfort.

I felt a hand pushing my sweaty hair from my face and then I was being lifted up off the ground.

A voice, a soft kind voice, was saying, ” Grab Eclipse Boston. We have to get her home. Looks like she’s lost a lot of blood.”

I was handed to another man, I could only assume was Scott.

When Johnny had settled into the saddle, he reached for me and held me tightly to his chest as he started Barranca off towards the ranch.

I felt warm loving arms around me, but I didn’t open my eyes. I was trying to say something, but my voice didn’t want to get loud. Finally, Johnny stopped Barranca and softly said, ” Lizzie, it’s Johnny Baby. Talk louder Honey. I can’t hear you.”

Slowly, I said just one word, ” Montoya.” And I turned my head and buried my face into Johnny’s shirt. I was crying, and Johnny felt the wetness on his shirt, going thru to his chest.

Johnny started Barranca again and Scott saw the look of absolute hate on his sibling’s face.

” What did she say Johnny?”

Johnny tried so hard to rein in his hate and slowly thru gritted teeth, he said, ” Enrico Pablo Montoya. I used to run with him around the border towns. I escaped the rurales, he was captured. He always swore he’d get even and he did.”

As the brothers got closer to Lancer, Scott galloped towards the arch, shouting for someone to get Sam.

As Scott pulled his horse to a stop, he handed both sets of reins to a ranch hand, calling for Murdoch.

Murdoch came out of the house and Scott said, with a certain amount of anger himself, ” We found her Murdoch. She was savagely attacked. I sent someone for Sam. I’m worried about Johnny. He’s angrier than I’ve ever seen him.”

As Johnny came to the porch, he only gripped his wife tighter as Murdoch reached up to take her from his son.

” John, Son, I only wanted to take her while you dismounted.”
Johnny lowered his head and layed his cheek on top of my hair and sighed softly.

” I’m sorry Murdoch, I just found her. Wasn’t thinking clearly.”

As Murdoch reached up, Johnny still was reluctant to release me, even to his father. As Murdoch took me, Johnny slid from his horse’s back. He took my broken and bleeding body back and held me close to his hard chest.

As all three Lancers headed inside, Murdoch bellowed for Maria to clear the table and get hot water and bandages.

” John, lay her down on the table and let me see how bad.”

Johnny very carefully layed me on the hard wooden table. He gently brushed the hair from my face. The blanket was slowly moved and I heard all three of the Lancers softly gasp.

Scott took his brother to the Great Room, getting a drink into his hands.

” Let Murdoch clean her up a little bit Johnny. Let him see how bad she’s hurt.”

When Murdoch gently wiped the blood from my belly, I cried out. That noise freaked Johnny out. He bolted the drink and raced from the house.

He raced to the barn and walked to Eclipse’s stall. He saddled the black stallion and said, ” We both owe her some revenge boy.”

Johnny tore out of the compound and Scott could only stand on the porch and watch his sibling’s anger take control of him.

Johnny headed the majestic black stallion to the site of my attack. He got down and looked for tracks. After fifteen minutes, he found what he was looking for. Anger sparked brighter in his sapphire eyes. He mounted up and began the journey of tracking the monster who hurt his wife so severely.

He saw the tracks were heading towards Morro Coyo, but he also knew Montoya wouldn’t go into a town, he’d make a camp outside of town.

Being on a black horse was to Johnny’s advantage, he wouldn’t be easy to spot. He rode around Morro Coyo and headed out into the desert. He saw, in the distance, what looked like a campfire. He slowed Eclipse to a slow walk, his eagle eyes locked on that small flame in the distant horizon.

It took Johnny almost an hour and a half to get near that flame. He dismounted and tied Eclipse to a bush. He slowly walked towards the campsite, his Colt in his hand. He was breathing hard, and tried to calm his senses.

It was a good ten minutes, before Johnny made his presence known. Montoya sat wide eyed as he stared down the barrel of Johnny’s Colt.

ALERT…..violent and graphic scenes of torture

” I knew I should have kept going. Well Madrid, I guess you saw my little present to you. Did you like it?”

There was a thundering sound as the Colt spit it’s fire at Montoya’s right arm, shattering his wrist.

The cry of pain that came from Montoya’s throat, was the primal scream of a wounded animal. He looked down at his destroyed wrist and lifted almost defiant eyes to look at his attacker.

Screaming, Montoya said, ” You had it coming! You bastard! I was in that prison for five years Madrid, you owed me!”

Johnny stood as still as a statue. His sapphire eyes gleaming with a flame of hatred that no one had ever seen.

Softly, in that quiet deadly voice, Johnny said, ” I owe you? You took your hatred of me out on my wife! The only thing I owe you, is your death!”

Once again, Johnny’s Colt sang in the darkness. This time hitting Montoya in the elbow of his left arm. Now, he was helpless with two arms that wouldn’t save him from Johnny’s wrath.

The anger in Johnny’s heart still raged in an unstoppable fury.

He knew Montoya was in pain from both arms being destroyed, but he wasn’t done. He wanted Montoya to feel the pain Johnny knew his wife felt when he cut into her flesh.

He started to pace, like a caged animal, and thought of what he was going to do to finish Montoya off. He needed to get back to his wife.

” You know Montoya, you should have died in prison. Because when I’m done with you, you are gonna know pain like you’ve never felt before.”

Montoya picked his bleeding lips and he said, ” What more can you do?! I’ll never be able to use my arms again!”

Johnny turned and fixed a Madrid stare on him, and he visibly shook. It was like he was staring at the devil.

” Then kill me already Madrid! I’m tired of this game you are playing!”

The laugh that slid out of Johnny’s mouth sent instant chills up Montoya’s back. He’d never heard such an evil laugh.

” Oh, I’ll be done with you in a few minutes, but I won’t kill you. I’ll leave you broken and bloody, like you left Lizzie. She will live, but you won’t.”

Johnny turned and walked to where he found Montoya’s horse tied. He searched thru the saddlebags, finding nothing of interest, he threw the saddle onto the ground and untied the horse. He pulled the halter off and the horse turned and galloped off into the darkness.

” What the hell! How am I gonna get any help with no horse!?”

Johnny’s smile was demonic as he softly said, ” Who says you are gonna leave.”

He lifted his right leg up to a nearby log, and pulled out a knife that was deadly and sharp……….just like the man who was going to wield it.

He slowly walked over to Montoya. He looked, for a moment, like be would simply cut his throat. When Johnny lowered his hand and Montoya felt the sharp blade slide into his gut, he knew he was definitely in trouble. He couldn’t even try to stem the flow of blood, as he couldn’t move his useless arms.

Johnny leaned down and wiped his knife on Montoya’s pants. He listened for a few minutes, to the whimpers of pain coming from his lips. He felt instant disgust at his weak and pitiful display.

He turned away from the bloody and weak man and then went to unteether Eclipse. He walked back into the light of the now dwindling flames.

” You deserve to die, and I hope you feel every moment of pain Montoya.”

Just before Johnny mounted the huge stallion, he once again pulled his Colt from the holster.

Weakly, Montoya said, ” Kill me Madrid. Don’t leave me like this!”

Johnny checked his Colt and then he slowly and silently aimed right at Montoya’s crotch and simply pulled the trigger. He shot a glancing shot, but it was enough to explode the appendage and a fresh flow of blood began to flow.

Without another word or look at Montoya, Johnny slid the Colt back into the holster and mounted up on the black stallion and slowly began to move away from the campsite

END ALERT

He rode away, hearing Montoya’s pleas for mercy and help. About five minutes of that, Johnny kicked the horse’s sides and began to canter away.

Johnny rode steadily and soon he found himself in Morro Coyo. He dismounted and went into the saloon, that was just beginning it’s day of business.

” Good morning Johnny. My, you are in here real early today. What can I get for you?”

Thinking Johnny would ask for coffee, he turned towards the pot of hot coffee.

” Morning Jake. A big glass of whiskey will do it today.”

Jake, to say the least, was rather shocked. But he got Johnny his drink, and watched as he drank it down in one huge swallow.

Johnny’s eyes closed and his left hand on the brass rail, gripped it tightly.

Just as quickly, Johnny turned and said, as he walked to the swinging doors, ” Thanks Jake. See you around.”

When he was by the black stallion, Johnny simply layed his head on the saddle and came so close to crying. He got his emotions under control and he mounted up, and began the long ride back to Lancer.

As Johnny rode, the white hot anger was slowly leaving his soul. He just wanted to be calm for when he saw Lizzie.

As he passed under the arch, he noticed Sam’s buggy was there, and he prayed Sam could help his wife.

He handed Eclipse’s reins to Frank, a ranch hand, and slowly walked back into the house. As he walked in, he saw Scott and Murdoch in the Great Room.

Murdoch looked up first and he saw the utter sadness still evident in his youngest son’s eyes.

” Did you find him John?”

He leaned tiredly against the door frame and softly said, ” Yea, I found him. He won’t be hurting anyone anymore.”

Murdoch closed his eyes for a moment and stood up and walked around his desk. He stood in front of his son and reached for him, and pulled him into a warm embrace. Johnny’s eyes closed and his arms slid around his father’s waist.

Johnny stayed in his father’s embrace, just relishing the contact he’d missed all those years ago.

At that moment, Sam slid the door open and walked into the Great Room, sitting heavily in a chair.

Murdoch’s usually gruff sounding voice, was now soft as he said, “How is she Sam?”

Sam took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. He put them back on and sighed heavily.

” Sit down Johnny, Murdoch. I can only say this once.”

Johnny sat on the couch, Scott on one side, his father on the other side, ready to offer whatever support Johnny would need.

Johnny held his breath and Sam began to talk. Softly and slowly Sam told them what my injuries were.

” I’ve done what I can for her injuries John. I stitched those vulgar letters on her belly and the bandages should be changed every day. I gave Maria a jar of salve that she can put on k. There is one thing I must stress to you all. The next couple months will be critical. She maybe pregnant. Watch for signs. She has already told me if she is, what she wants done. She will heal inside John, but go slow. She may move away from you, get angry at you and say horrid things to you. Don’t take them seriously, she is dealing with it in her own way. Be patient, show your support. And above all, don’t turn away from her.”

Johnny’s head lowered and giant silver tears fell onto his hands, in his lap. He felt his father’s arm around his shoulder, pulling him over to his hard chest.

Johnny’s eyes closed and he quietly said, ” She could be carrying this bastard’s hell spawn, Pa. How can we want her to carry it?”

” I’m sure she’s told Sam what to do if she is carrying his seed. Don’t concern yourself with that. John, just offer your support and love. Treat her as you always have John. She’s gonna need all of your love and comfort to make it thru this nightmare.”

Johnny slowly wiped his cheeks of the sign of tears and then stood up. He took a deep breath and said, ” Can I see her Sam?”

Sam gently smiled and said,” Yes, I’m sure she’s been settled into your bed John. But remember all I’ve told you. If she gets angry and turns from you, please don’t force her back. Let her come to you John.”

He nodded quickly and slowly turned to go up the stairs. He walked as tho he was going to his death, his head bowed. Both his father and brother felt their hearts break for his sorrow.

Sam looked at Johnny’s dejected posture and he quietly said, “He’ll be fine Murdoch. He loves her fiercely and while she’s hurt and will carry those damn initials forever, she does love him.”

When Johnny got to the bedroom door, he put his head against the door. His hand froze on the door knob. He took a huge breath and then opened the door and walked in.

Maria was fussing, as she always did, when one of her ‘ chicks’ was hurt.

” Lizzie, can I come in and sit with you Honey?”

I turned my dull hazel eyes towards Johnny, and I quietly said, ” Yes Johnny.”

As he came towards the bed, I turned away from Johnny’s face. I could feel the tears filling my eyes. I closed my eyes and tried to keep them from Johnny. But he knew.

He leaned over me and he moved his hand very slowly. I felt his rough work callused fingers gently wiping my tears away.

” Querida, please don’t cry anymore. It’s over. He won’t hurt you ever again. I made sure of that. Honey, please look at me.”

Softly, my voice a mere whisper as I said, ” I’m so ashamed Johnny. I can’t. I’m afraid I’ll see disgust in your eyes.”

Gently, and with the utmost care he could find, Johnny turned my face to look into his eyes. I saw only love and comfort in his sapphire eyes. Despite seeing how his eyes sparkled with his love, two silver tears slid down my cheeks.

” Oh my love, come here.”

He gently pulled me to his hard chest. My cheek fell to his chest and I could feel his warmth. My eyes closed and I did feel safe in Johnny’s arms. They wrapped around me and held me close.

Johnny held me in his arms like that for the better part of thirty minutes. Softly, I said, against his shoulder, “You really don’t see a difference in me Johnny? You aren’t disgusted?”

I could feel the sigh building in his chest, and as he leaned me back against the pillows, he caressed my wet cheeks. I saw Johnny’s beautiful smile and he softly said, ” I could never be disgusted Honey. Everything will vanish, with time. Things will be just as they were. You’ll see. We will get thru this nightmare Lizzie, I swear this to you.”

I took a deep breath and nodded my answer to him. Johnny seemed to let his breath out, slowly. In his heart, Johnny knew I would be okay, with time and love.

Johnny gently pushed me back against the pillows and said to get some rest. As he stood up to kiss me, I reached for his hand.

” Stay with me Johnny. Let me sleep in your arms. Please.”

I saw what looked to me, to be a panic attack. But he took a deep breath and said, ” Are you sure Honey? You might be sore still.”

” I’m sure Johnny.”

He stood up and reached for the buckle on his gunbelt. He slid the gunbelt from his hips and layed it on the table. Then he slid his boots off and kinda kicked them into a corner of our room.

He started to get onto the bed and I said, ” No Johnny. Under the cover so I can feel your body against me.”

I saw the soft smile start on his lips. As I looked at his handsome face, I saw that sparkle I loved began to grow in his eyes.

As johnny slid into the bed and I moved to his side, I felt his arms wrap around me. I layed my head on his chest, and I heard the drumming beat of his heart.

My eyes closed and I tried to bring a memory to my mind.

Smiling against Johnny’s warm chest, I heard his soft laugh.

” What’s the smile for Baby?”

” Just thinking and remembering the last time we layed like this. One of us in a nightshirt, the other in clothes. That time you were in that cross fire attack outside of Green River. You were really sick when Barranca finally got you home. I remember lying in your arms as you fought off that fever. I don’t have a fever, but I still like being in your arms.”

” I’m glad you can still think of good things, Lizzie. We’ll make all new memories, I promise. Each one better than the one before.”

” Hmhmm.”

I could feel myself falling asleep and Johnny layed in our bed and held me while I slept. His mind began to travel back to what had happened to me, the way he dealt with Montoya. Everything.

He thought of the depth of anger and hate that was in his heart before he rode away from Montoya. He had never felt such anger. That had scared Johnny in a way.

But what was really tearing Johnny apart was, did he want to see the extent of what Montoya had done. Or did he want to just leave it and chance having his wife wear nightgown forever. Never letting him touch her warm body, except thru her clothes.

Then there was the fear that she could be pregnant with that bastard’s spawn from hell.

Johnny waited until I was deeply asleep, then he got up from the bed. He picked up his boots and gunbelt and quietly left the room. He put them on and went in search of his brother or his father.

Johnny found his father in the Great Room, sitting behind his desk. He looked up and smiled at his youngest.

” Everything okay John? You were up there a long time.”

He smiled back and walked to the edge of the desk, where he picked up the colorful paper weight on the corner of the desk. He tossed it back and forth and his father smiled.

” What’s on your mind, Son?”

Johnny lowered his eyes and he very softly said, ” Pa, I been thinking about a lot of strange things, and I really don’t know what I should do.”

Murdoch took his glasses off and leaned back in his chair.

” What are you thinking about Son? Maybe I can help you with an answer.”

Johnny slid the weight back to it’s place on the desk, and walked towards the fireplace.

” I know Lizzie was hurt bad, inside and out, I could figure that out by all the blood. And I know what Sam said about looking for signs she is pregnant. I understand all that.”

He stopped talking and Murdoch stood up and walked to Johnny. He put his hand on Johnny’s cheek and very softly said, ” What is it that is really bothering you Son?”

For a frozen moment in time, Johnny closed his eyes and leaned into his father’s warm strong hand. That would be a memory he would hold dear to his heart.

Softly, with his eyes still closed, Johnny said, his soft voice catching in his throat, ” I want to see what he did to her body, but I’m afraid if I tell her this, I’ll make her recovery even harder.”

Murdoch got a very fatherly look on his face and he said, “You were up there with her for a long time John, how did she react to your presence?”

” She was easy about it. I even sat on the bed and held her. But I think I need to see what he did, so I can help her with her concerns and questions. Sam can give her a medical answer, but I’m her husband, Pa. Shouldn’t my thoughts be given to her as well? I love her, and I want to help her.”

” If you love her, as much as you say Son, wouldn’t it be better, for Lizzie, to wait until she heals a bit before you ask her that question.”

Johnny lifted sapphire eyes that held a small look of hurt. He lowered his head and said, ” I guess you are right. I didn’t really think all of that thru. Thanks Pa.”

He turned to go to the stairs and Murdoch looked at his youngest, with a look of pride. His thoughts in his mind were simple and easy to do. ‘ I’m proud of you John, you have certainly grown into a fine young man.’

Johnny slowly walked to our room and he very carefully opened the door, trying not to wake me up. When the door opened, he saw that I was out of our bed. My nightgown was lifted up and the white gauze bandages were in a pile around my feet. I was looking at the swollen knife wounds that were red and angry looking. I was lost in my thoughts and before I could lower my nightgown, Johnny looked in the mirror and he saw the marks.

It wasn’t until I heard Johnny’s soft gasp of surprise, that I knew I wasn’t alone. I quickly let my nightgown fall, but not before I saw his eyes pool up with moisture.

” Johnny! I had to see. It’s ugly Johnny. I’m so sorry I didn’t fight him!”

Johnny walked to my side and took me in his arms.

” No Lizzie, don’t ever say that. If you had fought him, he would have killed you. It will fade Baby, I promise.”

” You don’t find me ugly now Johnny?”

The smile lit up his eyes and his face and he softly said, ” You will never be ugly to me Mi Amour. I love you forever.”

I flew into his arms and he wrapped them tightly around me.

” Thank you Johnny, for saying that. I just want to heal and be able to put it all behind us.”

” Oh Baby, that’s all I want too. We’ll get over this, I’m sure of it.”

During the next two months, our lives were in limbo, waiting to learn if I was indeed carrying that bastard’s spawn.

Johnny and I went into Morro Coyo after the two months unfolded. We stopped at Sam’s office. He was pleased to see us and ushered us into his tiny office.

” What can I do for you kids?”

Johnny held my hand kinda tightly, and said, ” I guess we need to do a test Sam. We need to know Sam.”

Smiling, Sam ushered me into a small exam room and told Johnny it would be a few minutes. So he sat in a chair, his hand tapping his hip in a staccato beat.

Twenty minutes later, Sam came out and called Johnny back to the small exam room. He saw that I was on the small table, clothed and waiting.

” Sam?”

He turned around and had a smile on his face. Johnny relaxed as he quietly said, ” She’s not pregnant John.”

Johnny’s eyes closed and he said a small silent thank you to the powers that be. He then reached for me and swung me around in his arms.

” John, be careful! I just took her stitches out, but any rough play can rip them open. They look okay, so don’t worry.”

We left Sam’s office and Johnny had Zanzibar moving at a good clip. I was sitting almost in Johnny’s lap, I was so close.

I layed one hand on his thigh and the other I layed on his forearm. I noticed the side way glances that Johnny kept giving me and I laughed softly.

I thought for a few minutes and bit my bottom lip. Finally I said, so quietly he almost stopped the horse to hear me, “Johnny, I want to make more memories with you. Good memories.”

Johnny smiled, a full blown smile, that would have lit the whole state of California up and he said, ” Anytime you’re ready Mi Amour. The more good memories we make, the more we will heal and grow together.”

I put my head on Johnny’s shoulder and said, ” Yes, good memories. They will make us whole again.”

Johnny leaned his cheek to the top of my head and sighed softly, and happily that he didn’t lose his wife to the nightmare we just went thru.

Thinking about it, memories were a good way to keep things fresh…… Yeah good memories were the best.

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