Word Count 446
For the regrets challenge – March 2021
An episode tag for Buscaderos
No one heard him come in. He appeared, and the power in the room shifted when he spoke.
“It’s right here.”
It was a simple response to his brother’s question about the money, yet it came off as a challenge—not the words but his presence. The hard confidence in his easy stance somehow intimidated the roughest outlaw in the bunch.
“Johnny Madrid.” Drago’s eyes made a quick-study from Johnny’s head to his boot tips, then landed back on his face.
Ignoring Drago, Johnny took off his hat and looked toward his brother.
Concern momentarily forced the hardness from his face. A glimmer of the Johnny Violet remembered surfaced.
“Scott.” His voice soft, tender-like and inquired more than stated.
The way he said his brother’s name and in the meeting of their eyes, a world of words passed between them. The moment being so private, Violet had to turn away; but not before she glimpsed the love of family, protectiveness—things she’d longed for all her life. “Here’s your money.” Johnny tossed the tax money, the cash to ransom his brother, to Drago.
“Johnny! look out!” Drago yelled.
Chapel aimed at Johnny’s back; Johnny turned, took him down faster than flash lightning.
“Drop it, Johnny.” Drago’s hand shook as though Johnny’s speed rattled him.
Johnny tossed the gun. His lack of concern made Violet wonder if he had a hide-a-way.
“I been waitin’ a long time to get one up on you, and now I’ve done it.”
Drago grinned at Violet, kinda nervous-like. “And I ain’t never gonna let this woman forget it.” He hid his fear well.
Johnny’s eyes went to Violet, confused by Drago’s words. She wanted to run to him and explain how this happened, but she couldn’t. She had made her choices.
Drago reached for Violet’s hand. She smiled at him, intertwined her fingers with his, and they ran out the door.
Hard bumps in the road were almost welcome as they bounced along in the wagon. The rigid boards she sat on were reminders of where she belonged, and that the right man rode beside her. Still, Violet remembered a time when she loved Johnny Madrid. And a girl could always dream…
Violet sighed out loud. Perhaps she moaned just a little. Mmmmm, Johnny Lancer, he sure would be someone she’d like to get to know.
“Violet.” Drago stared at her with a frown on his face.
“You still thinking about Johnny Madrid?”
“No. Drago, I promise, I won’t be thinking about Johnny Madrid anymore.”
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