Word Count 3,868
I don’t own the characters of Lancer, I just like taking them out for a gallop around the ranch every so often.
I looked down at the dark haired man lying so still in the bed. His face, flushed with fever, every breath he took causing him agony that I couldn’t bear any longer.
I wiped a cool cloth against his sweaty brow, down his neck and arms to his chest, where the stark white bandages around his mid section were a stark reminder of the troubles he was having.
My tears simmered in my huge green eyes once again, and as I had for the past 2weeks, I blinked them into surrender.
A soft knock on the door heralded someone coming i
in and my eyes turned slowly to the door. A tall slender blonde man came in. Worry and concern for the young man lying so still in the bed, fighting for every breath he took.
“Laura, any change sweetie?”
Without taking my eyes from the face of the man I was tending to, my voice, soft, quiet and scared said, “No Scott. Sam said if we can’t get this fever down, Johnny won’t be able to fight against the infections from the bullets. I don’t know what to do Scott. I can’t lose him. He’s all I have!”
I felt Scott’s hands on my shoulder and I turned.
“No Laura, you have Johnny’s family. We’re your family too. Let us help you where we can. You need to rest sweetie. Let me sit with my brother. You need a break.”
My tears, slowly slid down my cheek and I felt Scott’s soft caress to my cheek as he gently wiped them away. He picked me up and said,” Go down and lie on my bed. It’s the room at the corner. I’ll sit with Johnny. You’re on your way to collapsing and you’ll be no good to help Johnny if you do. You need to rest and then eat something. When you wake up, I’ll have Maria bring you her soup. It will help. Now go, lie down sweetie.”
I felt his soft kiss to my cheek and he gently steered me to the door and watched as I opened the door and slowly walked out. I went down the hall and you found Scott’s bed, which I practically collapsed into. I was in a world of tears and my own pain of trying to help the one man I loved beyond all reason. My dreams, troubled, were of how I had met the you g gunslinger 3years previous.
Johnny had taken me from a father who beat me regularly. Johnny and I left Texas and he and I were married. At first, I thought his name was Johnny Madrid, only to find as we were in front of the Justice, his name was actually Johnny Lancer.
After we were married, Johnny told me if anything ever happened to him, go to Lancer Ranch in Morro Coup. Talk to Murdoch Lancer and tell him I was his wife.
That was exactly what I did. Johnny. Had been ambushed one night. My father he always wanted to kill the man who stole me away. He almost succeeded.
Johnny’s black horse, Spitfire, had somehow carried Johnny to our cabin. As he fell into a small broken heap at the door, he quietly said “Take me home to Lancer. They can protect us Laura. I won’t be any help like this. Hitch the wagon tie Spitfire and Midnight to the wagon and get us to the Joaquin Valley and Lancer.”
Then he’d passed out. I patched him as best as I could. I pulled him to the house and got him to the bed. I counted 3 gunshots, one in his back already looking infected. As I raced around getting the wagon and horses ready, I packed the few things he that meant the most to me. I filled the canteens with cool water and got provisions made. Threw old mattresses and blankets into the wagon to make Johnny as comfortable as I clu
Before I moved Johnny, I grabbed my medical supplies, including the laudanum and morphine, knowing Johnny hated them, but knowing it would ease the journey.
I loaded his rifle and mine and put his gun belt on the side of the seat and pulled Johnny into the wagon.
I saw he was unconscious, but breathing , and I started to move the wagon. I looked back at the tiny cabin where Johnny and I lived for 3years, and tears slid from my eyes.
It was a slow agonizingly painful for Johnny, but he gritted his teeth and told me to keep going and don’t stop. Finally, after a week of travelling, I whispered to Johnny that we were finally at Lancer.
As I rolled the wagon to a stop, an older man and a tall slender blonde came out. When the blonde saw Spitfire, his soft voice said, “Johnny.”
He raced to the wagon and called out ” Murdoch! It’s Johnny and he’s hurt bad!”
I heard a loud booming voice telling a ranch hand together Sam, NOW! A few more hands came and they carried Johnny into his old bedroom, and started to get him as taken care of as they could before Sam got there.
I stayed in the Great Room where the blonde had told me to sit. After awhile, an older man came in a racing buggy and he raced up the stairs to Johnny. The older man stayed with Johnny , the blonde came to where I was.
He gave me a soft look and a glass of water and then asked me what happened and who I was. My jade eyes lifted and I softly said, ” I’m Laura, Laura Lancer. I’m Johnny’s wife. My father’s men ambushed Johnny and he told me to get him here to Lancer, that you all would protect us.”
I saw the stunned look and he quietly said ” His wife?”
I saw his eyes lower to my hand, and he saw Johnny’s silver ring on my finger. I knew he recognized that ring as his brothers.
Suddenly, there was an earth shattering scream from the rooms above.
I rose and before Scott knew it, I had raced up the stairs and opened the door. I saw Johnny struggling with both men, shouting my name over and over in a pain filled voice.
I ran to his side and I leaned down, my voice trying to break thru his pain.
“Johnny, I’m here my love. We’re at Lancer. I got you home Johnny. Let them help you please Johnny.”
My soft caress to his sweaty face caused his sapphire eyes to open. It took only a second for him to focus. When he saw me, he instantly calmed.
“Yes I’m here Johnny. We’re at Lancer. We’re safe Johnny. Let them help you. I won’t leave you. I’ll be here every minute.”
His eyes closed and when again, he saw Murdoch.
” I’m here Son. Papa is here now. You rest. Sam is gonna get you thru this. Papa promises. “
“Papa? I hurt so much.”
” I know John. Let Sam help you. Don’t fight us Son.”
Johnny relaxed a little bit, but held tightly to my hand. As I knew he had again lost his war on remaining awake.
I watched as the Doctor took the bullets out, wrapped his ribs and began the long battle of fighting Johnny fevers and infections.
That was 2 weeks ago. He remained unconscious, but his grip on my hand remained firm.
Now, I was in Scott’s bed trying to sleep and stay strong for Johnny. I layed in the bed and looked out the window. I saw rolling green hills and knew this was where we needed to be.
I heard the door open and my head turned and I saw Scott coming in with a cup of tea for me. I sat up and he softly asked if I had slept.
I looked at the tea and I said that I had gotten a little rest.
” How is he Scott? Any changes yet?”
I saw a slow smile come to his lips and he held out his hand and said, ” Come on, you can see for yourself.”
I walked back to Johnny’s room and I saw him slowly turn to the door.
I raced to his side and fell to the floor by the bed, my hand reaching for his, and softly caressed his face with the other. I saw his sapphire eyes lock on me and he softly said, ” Laura. My Laura. Are you okay?”
Smiling, I said, ” Always worried about me Johnny. I am fine now that you are awake. I was so scared I would lose you Johnny.”
I saw his eyes close and he softly said, ” LoSiento Querida. I didn’t want to worry you.”
Then he lifted my hand and gently caressed my cheek. I leaned into his caress and my eyes closed. Smiling softly, Johnny said, ” I guess you’ve met Murdoch and Scott already.”
Smiling, Scott said, ” Yes little brother, we have met. She’s a remarkable woman. I never thought I’d see the day when my little brother would be tamed.”
Johnny shot him a look and said softly, ” I’m not tamed Boston.”
I saw Johnny and I still saw a wild unbroken stallion, wanting to still run wild without binders. I knew he would never truly be tamed, because I loved the free spirit that he was. I knew about his past, and I didn’t cringe away. I accepted it. That’s who Johnny was and is.
Johnny looked at me and I saw the soft look that swept over his eyes.
” You haven’t tamed me have you Querida? “
His soft caress to my cheek and my eyes closed. ” How can I tame a wild spirit Johnny?”
It was then that Scott saw the level of love we had for each other. Finally, he breathed, his little brother could have a life, maybe free of Johnny Madrid and the past it entailed.
As Johnny grew stronger, I began to settle into a new life. I slept next to him in his bed, holding me in his arms and my worries that my father would find us slowly faded.
After Johnny was up and moving, a larger bed was brought in for us and my few possessions found places in his own sparsely furnished room. I adopted wearing jeans and a shirt, and I would sit on the porch with Johnny for hours while he recovered.
One day, Johnny had a buggy hitched and we went for a ride. He stopped at the crest of a hill and he looked out.
” As far as you can see Laura, that’s Lancer. 100 thousand acres, the best herd of cattle ever and the biggest ranch this
valley has ever seen. “
I heard the pride in his soft words and when I looked at Johnny, he had a soft smile on his lips and his eyes had a sparkle I’d not seen in a !ong time.
” This wasn’t first look at Lancer when I first came here. It took my breath away then as now Laura. This is our home. Yours and mine. We’re safe here and we can be happy as I told you in the beginning, when I made you my wife “
I looked out at all that made Johnny’s eyes sparkle and I felt that maybe Johnny could be right. Maybe we could be safe from my father.
As the weeks turned to months, Johnny returned to full work, and I began to be accepted by Maria. She marvelled at my cooking and she smiled when she saw that I always made special sweets for her Juanito.
” I learned early on Maria, about Johnny and his chocolate cake.”
We laughed and she saw that I truly was the one for Johnny, that I brought a sense of calm to his otherwise chaotic life.
One day, as Johnny and I sat on the porch, feeling the cool breeze of the night as it blew across us, Johnny turned to me.
” A storm is coming in, you can feel it in the air.”
I layed my head on Johnny’s shoulder and I felt the gentle rocking of the glider we sat in. Johnny’s arms around me, caressed up into my long blonde hair.
I could sense Johnny wanted to talk about something. I closed my eyes and waited for Johnny, knowing he would speak when his thoughts were in order.
After awhile, I heard Johnny’s voice, soft and quiet, as he began to talk.
” Laura, been thinking on this for awhile now. I think it’s time now. You’re settled here, we’re happy and safe and I know you want……. I know you want a child too. I want a child Laura, with you. I want someone to grow to love Lancer as I have. Laura, Querida, I want and need us to have a baby.”
I looked at Johnny and his eyes had locked on mine. I saw a hopeful spark that I would say yes. When I softly did, I saw the look come over Johnny’s face that was the most beautiful look I’ve ever seen in his eyes. His whole being fell into a look of supreme joy and then I saw the sudden evil glint in his eyes.
” Will be a lot of fun trying to make a baby Querida.”
Smiling, I softly hit Johnny’s chest and I felt his arms wrap around me tighter. We were still wrapped in each other’s arms when Scott came out to the porch. He seemed to sense a change in his little brother. He didn’t say anything, just smiled because his brother was happy, perhaps happier than he’d ever seen him before.
When we were settled in for the night, the storm finally rolled down the valley. I felt my eyes snap open and then Johnny’s arms tightened on my body.
Softly he said, ” Snuggle closer honey, I’ll hold you all night.”
Johnny knew of my fears of loud severe storms, and he slowly opened his eyes.
” Laura, I’m here. I won’t let anything happen to you ever. Relax in my arms and we can watch the lightning together.”
I knew Johnny would remain awake until I relaxed. I tried so hard to relax so he could get some sleep, but as the storm raged outside, my mind would not let me relax enough.
I layed on Johnny’s chest and I could feel the soft caress of his fingers down my arm.
Just before dawn, the storm began dying down and I finally relaxed enough to fall asleep. Johnny signed and got up slowly and got dressed. He gently leaned over and kissed my cheek and left to begin his work day with his brother.
When I finally woke, it was almost midmorning. As I went down stairs, Murdoch greeted me.
” Johnny said you didn’t sleep well and that you were still sleeping. Did you get enough rest sweetie?”
” I think so. I don’t like storms. I’m afraid Johnny didn’t either. He stayed awake with me all night.”
Murdoch smiled and Said, ” John will be fine Laura. Why don’t you get some tea and wait to eat. Johnny and Scott will be back for my lunch. “
I smiled and walked into the kitchen, where Maria made me a cup of tea and slid her hand under my chin. She lifted my face and said, very quietly, ” Did not sleep well did you Chica?”
” No, I didn’t, I don’t like storms much Maria.”
I waited for Johnny and as he came in, he saw me and leaned down and kissed me.
” You sleep enough honey?”
” Yes I did Johnny. I’m sorry you didn’t get much sleep because of me Johnny.”
Johnny lifted his fingers to my lips and soft ” Shh,” as he smiled at me.
” Its okay honey. I know what you are like when storms come. I didn’t mind at all.”
I felt the soft caress of his Lips on mine and I knew he really didn’t mind.
I tried to eat but was still not awake. I saw the mounds of food both Scott and johnny ate and I just smiled and shook my head.
” I never knew anyone could eat that much food and not burst!”
Johnny and Scott laughed and I even saw a smile co.e to Murdoch’s lips.
” John, can you take a wagon and go into town. The order for the supplies is in.”
” Sure thing Murdoch. “
Johnny turned to me and said, ” Wan go with me? Can introduce you to some nice people in town.”
My eyes sparkle and I said, ” Yes, I would love to johnny. I think I’d like to get out of this house for a bit.”
After lunch, I walked with Johnny to the barn and I watched as he hitched up a wagon. He helped me up into the wagon, and I settled next to him on the seat. As we started out I felt the smile cone to my lips.
When we stopped at the mercantile, we walked in. Johnny introduced me to the owner and he said, ” Your wife Johnny? Well, pleased to meet you Miz Laura. Hope you keep thus one in line, he’s a wild one! “
I saw the soft pink blush crawl up Johnny’s cheeks. He told the man we’d be back for the supplies in a bit.
We walked to the Sheriff’s office and as I saw the grizzled sheriff, johnny said, ” This is my wife Val. This us Laura.”
Vals eyebrows shot up and said, ” Wife?! Well Johnny boy, ain’t you full of surprises!”
Johnny introduced me to a few other people, all if whom were happy that Johnny finally found someone who would keep him in line.
As we walked to the wagon, I had a smile on my lips. Johnny saw and said, ” They make it seem like I’m a wild man!”
I wrapped my arms around his waist and my eyes sparkled up at Johnny and I said, ” They were just kidding Johnny. They all are very nice and I like them.”
Johnny’s lips came to mine and I felt the soft caress and he said gently, ” That’s all I want. For them to accept you as they have me Querida. “
As Johnny laughed and moved to lift me up into the wagon, there was a voice behind us, tinged with hatred.
” Well, I see I must have missed Madrid! Next time I won’t!”
He leaped onto the back of a pinto and sped out of town.
Johnny turned to watch and I saw he was sweating, pale and shaking.
” Johnny, was that one of them who ambushed you?”
” Yea. I guess your father knows were went. Dammit!”
He reached for my hand and we walked back to Vals office.
When Val saw the condition Johnny was in, he knew something was up.
” Val, one of the guys who ambushed me is in town. It’s a good bet her father knows where she is. He just hightailed it outta town.”
Val got up and told his deputy that he was gonna go check something out and he’d be back in a bit.
” If I find out anything Johnny, I’ll come to Lancer. Take Laura back there Johnny, before something happens.”
While we had the ride back to Lancer ahead of us, Johnny was on high alert and I watched his eyes scanning everywhere.
When Jelly came to deal with the supplies, Johnny and I went into the house. Johnny found his father in his study and said, ” It’s a good bet her father knows where she is Murdoch. Just saw one of my ambushers in town. Val went to trail him, see where it leads.”
Murdoch got up, went to the door and yelled for Jelly.
” We got trouble Boss?”
” Don’t know Jelly. Find Cipriano and have him come to the house.”
Ten minutes later, Cipriano came to the door.
” Cipriano, I want everyone armed and I want guards posted. Johnny saw one of his attackers in town and we need to keep this place safe.”
Cipriano nodded and left to get the men stationed where they needed to be.
” Johnny, you and Laura, I want you both to stay in the house. Until we see what Val finds out. Stay away from windows too.”
Johnny paced like a caged panther and I knew he hated being shut in like this.
This went on for a few days until one evening after supper, as the family was sitting in the den, bullets ricocheted from the windows. Johnny pulled me down to the floor, and I saw his gun in his hand.
Scott and Murdoch had grabbed rifles and got to positions at the windows.
” See anything Scott? “
” Nope, too dark Murdoch. “
Johnny made sure I was okay, then bolted out the door. He was covered by Scott and Murdoch and the ranch hands. Johnny watched to see it he could see anything.
Slowly, Johnny came upon who he was looking for…..my father.
” Drop the gun. “
Johnny’s voice was !like raw silk and my father dropped the gun. Johnny grabbed him and dragged him into the house and all but threw him to the floor.
When my eyes fell to my father, my pain and anger came bubbling to the surface.
” How dare you come here! I left you and the pain behind, why did you follow us? Why did you almost kill my husband? Why??!!”
Before he answered, Johnny’s sapphire eyes locked on me.
Quietly Johnny said, ” Baby, let me handle this. Go on upstairs. Please.”
I glared at my father and I felt Johnny’s gentle kiss and I saw my father was seething inside. I went up to our room, and sat on the bed and waited.
I didn’t hear any gun shots, so I figured Johnny was fairly calm. I saw Val coming a few hours later and he took my father away in cuffs. I heard johnny’s spurs in the hall. He opened the door and I saw his soft smile, as he strode across the floor to my side.
I felt Johnny’s arms gathering me against his body.
” Don’t have to worry about him anymore Querida. Val arrested him for attempted murder. We’re free baby, finally free.”
I felt Johnny’s lips caressing mine. I moved away and lifted my eyes to his, and I saw the love that swirled in those sapphire orbs. The love I saw coming thru his eyes to hold me in his heart.
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