Welcome to Tuesday Tales- this week the word is catch
“Why do you keep insisting I’m your Ma? You know it’s not true.” She tried to keep her voice gentle but she wasn’t feeling so nice now. She’d been at it for at least a quarter hour but Brian wouldn’t budge.
Crossing her arms in front of her, she tapped her foot. “You’re afraid of this Solomon guy I get it. It’s understandable but you can’t go around calling me your ma. I’ve never been married for Pete’s sake. Patrick didn’t think too highly of me before you came along and now he thinks I’m an awful mother on top of it all. I don’t know what to do or say.”
Brian refused to look at her. He kept his gaze on the floor, barely blinking as though he didn’t hear her.
“Brian? Answer me please.”
The door opened and Patrick came in with a rush of cold air. “He has no respect for you. He’d answer you if he did. Can’t say I blame him.” He set a pail of water on the floor then walked to the fireplace and dropped the wood beside it. He took off his winter gear and his brow arched when he finally noticed her glare.
“I’m only telling you the truth of things.”
“You wouldn’t know the truth if it was right in front of you. How far is it to town did you say?” She couldn’t stay anywhere near Patrick and his judgmental gazes anymore.
“A couple days by horse, maybe a week walking.”
She huffed and put breakfast on the table. “You have laid in a lot of supplies.”
“Living up here, I get snowed in.” He sat down and Brian quickly followed suit.
She waiting for Patrick to offer her the chair but the offer never came. So much for him being any type of gentleman. “We seem to be one chair short.”
“Never had a need for more than two.” He helped himself to a biscuit, bit into it and smiled. “You’re a fair cook.”
Ignoring him, she filled a plate and sat on the bed. She had to admit it was the best food she’s had in a good while. Her ability to cook over a fire came in handy. “Do you think there is any way I can catch up to the wagon train? I’d like to get back what’s mine.”
He cocked his head and gave her a sad smile. “No, lass. Either they are still traveling or if caught in the snow, they could be anywhere. There is no guarantee they’ll survive. Your group must have gotten a late start and with the early winter they may not make it.”
His words saddened her. She’d made good friends who turned against her, but she would never wish them harm. The wind howled loudly. “We left early enough. The group was full of complainers and we didn’t get very far before someone insisted we stop and rest. My parents were concerned but the wagon master, Chigger Graham didn’t seem to care.”
“Chigger? That’s a whole different story. He’s been known to rob people and ride off. Bet he’s sitting in a nice warm cabin somewhere in these mountains right now. The murdering Bast—”
“There is an impressionable child here and you need to watch your language.”
His jaw dropped, tempting her to laugh.
“It’s not the first time he’s done something like this. Did most of the folks already have property bought?”
A chill went through her. “Yes, why?”
“Aw Hel..Heck. There is no property. He took your money and handed out phony deeds.”
A lump formed in her throat. “He had a map. We picked our property. It was all official.”
“I’m sorry, lass. It’s a hard blow and I bet that feller Stinky was in on it too.”
Tears formed in her eyes and she turned her head away. She’d hoped to find her property and confront Stinky Sullivan. They’d been taken for everything they had including lives. If only her papa hadn’t been so keen on going out west. The tears began to flow down her face. How? Why?
Brian took the plate from her hands and set it on the bed. He climbed onto her lap and hugged her. Don’t cry Ma. I hate it when you cry.”
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