Promise Of Love (Four Historical Romances)
2017 Quietly Blessed & Loved Press
The Past Die With Him
an Arrangement Into Love
& Gavin’s Story
By The Cowboy
The Past Die With Him
Let The Past Die With Him - An abused woman and her mentally
challenged adult brother flee their home when she finally manages to
escape, and she takes the train to Montana. Lucky to find a job
immediately, their life starts to turn around, especially when the
woman meets and begins to fall in love with a kind stranger who is
well off and owns a ranch outside of town. Some secrets about her
past start to emerge and she fears that their new life will be blown
shut the window so she would no longer hear her brother hollering
from the back yard where he had planted himself for the morning. She
felt sure it did it to irritate her and the neighbors who constantly
complained about him and his doings. If it wasn’t yelling like
this, it was turning over garbage cans, or pulling up people’s
flowers or, in general, making an ass of himself in anyway his
garbled mind could invent.
wise, he was seventeen, but mentally, he was only about seven or so.
Things would never change for Bob, either, lost as he was in a world
of childhood, make-believe, and anything that he could manage to
invent to entertain himself. The one thing Marie knew for sure,
though, was that Bob loved her to the highest standard the word could
She had helped their mother care for him since he was born, and she
had cared for him alone since their parents died three years before.
When she married her husband, it was only a few months when Bob had
come to live with them.
she was in no mood for his antics as she had other problems to deal
with. Namely, an abusive husband who had taken his anger out on her
the evening before. Commonplace and daily, the hits just kept on
strolled across the kitchen and into the hallway, taking another look
at her black eye and puffed lip, markings of the recent blows he had
landed because he was angry at his boss. No fault of Marie’s, but
her fault in his mind, just the same. She had to get herself away
from him, but that would mean taking Bob, the crazy brother, with
her. A rock and a hard place - the phrase fit her life perfectly. She
often wished her husband would just disappear and give her peace.
went to the back door to quiet Bob down some.
please don’t holler so loud. The neighbors can hear you easy
turned to face her and smiled that lost smile of his.
they?” he asked with his mindless innocence. “I can holler
no, don’t do that. You want to come in for some lemonade?”
rose from the rickety yard chair that he had claimed years before as
his own and headed toward Marie, smiling the same smile. He came
inside and went to the kitchen where he stood until she joined him.
ahead, you can get your own.” With that permission, he got a glass
from the cabinet and poured it full from the pitcher on the counter.
Then, he joined her at the small table.
eye is black,” he said in a matter of fact voice. “Did you bump
that door again?”
she answered, almost proud that he continued that association between
her bruises and the door story she had told him long ago when the
hits first started coming. He thought her face was always showing
those same door signs.
it hurt?” Poor Bob. The only thing he could imagine was that pain
that comes from a boo-boo or slight falling down injury. He had no
concept of what she went through, or that anyone would actually hit
another person. He didn’t know that many of her bruises came
because Bob lived with them, a sore spot with her husband and the one
thing that Marie would always defend with her life. The brother would
stay with her, no matter what grief it brought to her.
talked for a little bit about whatever subject came to Bob’s mind.
Then, she heard the front door close and her husband walked into the
kitchen. Home early - that wasn’t a good sign at all.
I’ve been fired,” he said, throwing his lunchbox onto the wooden
counter. “Now, there’s no job.”
happened?” Marie asked, sure that his temper had finally done him
in with the boss.
matter. I don’t have a job. Don’t ask stupid questions.” He
poured himself a glass of lemonade and drank it straight down. Bob
turned to face him.
does fired mean?” It was an innocent question and one that Bob
would never understand, but he asked anyway.
the rest of her life, Marie would remember what happened next, but it
would always come to her mind in slow motion, and the quickness of
the actual event only brought her the shame that she could never have
out of nowhere, her husband drew back his fist and slammed into the
side of Bob’s head. A nasty hit that sent his lemonade glass flying
and pushed a look of such shock into his face that his eyes bulged
from their sockets. Her hand went out, but the blow struck, and hell
flew into her body.
was out of her chair and swinging at her husband before she knew what
came over her. Bob was the one thing in the world that he wouldn’t
maim and maul the way he had done her over the years and months they
had been married. She would kill him before he would hurt Bob.
it had happened, and she didn’t stop it.
screamed like bloody murder as the pain of the hit registered with
him. He grabbed the side of his face and rolled out of his chair onto
the floor, shielding himself under the table as Marie did her best to
kill her husband with bare hands.
she was no match for the tall man with factory hands and an evil
mind. He swatted her to the floor like he would have done a fly and
she fell close to Bob. Her brother laid on top on her and protected
he said to his brother in law. “Don’t you hit her no more!” He
was like a little child playing with a doll, but there was a resolve
in his voice that made the older man stop, turn and leave the room.
The brother and sister listened as the front door slammed shut and
the house got quiet again.
two of them lay there for a few minutes before Marie spoke.
have got to get rid of him,” she whispered, more to herself than to
Bob, but he heard and he listened and he understood.
helped him up, led him to the bathroom and cleaned the small wound
that was on his cheek. “Keep this wet cloth on it for a few
minutes, honey,” she said. “You’re going to have a bruise
there, but it will go away if we cool it down now.”
held the cloth against his cheek and smiled his slow smile. Marie
wondered if he saw that mark as a badge of courage or a medal of
honor. She just hoped he didn’t see it as a preface to what may
had their dinner and finally went to bed. Sometime in the late night
or early morning, Marie heard her husband stagger into the house. She
knew he was drunk and wouldn’t come to bother her. Navigating the
stairs while drunk was not an easy task for him, so he usually would
just pass out on the sofa. She liked it that way and never tried to
change it. She fell back asleep with relief knowing he wouldn’t be
pawing at her.
next morning, Marie went through the living room on her way to the
kitchen. He was lying on the sofa, arms stretched in either
direction, one foot on the sofa, the other rested on the floor,
bracing his body from falling completely off the couch. She left him
like that, knowing that he would awaken shortly and ruin her whole
made her coffee and drank a cup sitting alone in the quiet at the
little table. An hour or so passed and neither Bob nor her husband
came to join her. Thinking that was strange, she tiptoed upstairs,
again past her husband, to check on Bob. She opened his door just a
tad and heard him snoring away, telling herself that he was resting
from the medicine she had given him to ease the pain she knew he
would feel in his jaw that morning.
closed the door tightly and went back downstairs.
her husband, she stepped closer to him, the smell of liquor almost
stifling her. It was then that she saw a black handle between his
side and the couch, it was coated in drying blood, her husband’s
heart beat wildly in her chest as she leaned her ear against his
mouth from which she heard no breath. She moved down to his chest,
but there was no heartbeat either. He was dead.
knew who put the knife in him and killed him.
first, she panicked, not knowing what to do. She knew what she should
do, but Marie had no intention of calling out for help and certainly,
she would not go to the police. The blame would only fall on her or
her brother for this crime, and there was no one to save either of
them, no one to look after either of them. She had to do what she had
back to the kitchen, dug through the jars and boxes where she had
been hiding money over a long period of time, and knew instinctively
that this day would eventually come; a day when she would take her
brother and steal away from this miserable life and the man who was
counted the money and was completely surprised at the sum of it. A
hundred dollars in all, comprised of coins and bills, large and
small, and even a little gold piece that someone had given Bob at
some point in time. She had thrown it in as his contribution to a
life of peace - if they ever found one.
was thrilled. She had no idea it would all add up to that. It would
be enough for the two of them to get out of town and away from their
nightmare life. It would be their salvation, or at least she prayed
it would be.
went upstairs and carefully packed herself a bag of necessary
clothing, sticking some personal mementos into the bag along with
them. Particularly, she pulled the advertisement for a mail order
bride from underneath old clothing that filled her bottom drawer.
Marie had taken the flyer from the general store just a week before,
but then, she didn’t know why she was moved to do it. Now, she
understood that reflexive action and knew that God had planted the
solution there for her to grab onto.
to Montana,” the ad
read, “and find a
husband. Women wanted for all types of
and locations. You will be put onto a list from which men select the
woman of their
felt sure that she would fit the bill for someone, somewhere in
Montana. It obviously didn’t matter which town she went to as the
shortage of women there upped the ante in her favor. Plus, she had
faith that happiness was going to find her. Finally.
she went to Bob’s room and found him up and dressing.
to take a little trip with me?” she asked, pulling clothes from his
closet and dresser.
he wasn’t fully awake, he answered her with delight. “Yes!” he
said, and clapped his hands together. To Bob, anything was a trip
because he had no perception of travel. A trip to the corner market
was a trip to him.
gonna ride on a train. Think you’d like that?”
hands clapped harder and he began to help her fold his clothes and
put them in a small suitcase Marie had pulled from the closet.
have to hurry, and I need for you to be quiet when we leave, okay?
He’s still sleeping downstairs and we don’t want to wake him up,
now, do we?”
is sleeping?” Bob asked, furrows of skin wrinkling up on his
forehead as he processed conflicting thoughts.
Bob, he is sleeping.” Marie didn’t want Bob to know he had surely
killed the man. If he thought the husband was sleeping, that is all
that he would ever say. Just that. And Marie would probably need for
him to say it, long into the future. But she prayed his muddled mind
would gradually forget.
gathered the two suitcases and made their way to the train station
through a back way that Marie often used to go to town, and a
shortcut in the long journey on which she was now embarking.
they reached the ticket counter and the man asked, ‘Where to?’
she calmly and firmly said, ‘Montana.’
give you and open ticket to Montana,” the dispatcher said, and
neatly printed out a form. “You can get off the train anywhere you
you,” Marie said as she paid the money and took the two tickets to
a new life. She and Bob boarded the train within a half hour. As it
chugged out of the station, Marie left her mind there and started a
new life, which was as clear as the water that ran through the
stream. Things had taken a new turn and she was riding the winding
road for whatever would come with it - along with her crazy brother.
And in her heart, Marie felt that a new husband would come her way,
bringing a new hope for happiness with him.
took seven days of hard travel to get to Montana; hard because the
train weaved back and forth on the tracks, stopped at every station
they passed and because Bob was quite unruly with excitement and
anticipation, both emotions he didn’t know how to control.
the first day, many of the passengers in their car pretended sleep or
changed cars or just rudely shunned him away when he tried to talk to
them. His constant banter and babble was also about to drive Marie
crazy. She discovered that taking him off the train for a little
stroll every few stations seemed to quiet his anxiety, so she did
that as well.
they finally got to the first stop in Montana, which was Butte, she
gathered their bags and got off the train. It seemed as good a place
as any to start over.
got a room for them at the local hotel and paid for two nights,
enough time, she thought, to secure a job and a more permanent place
to live. They had a light meal and took a long nap. When they woke
up, it was early afternoon and she was ready to take a look at where
their ship had landed.
walked together, holding hands, through the main street and wandered
down a couple of smaller streets where the businesses gave way to
houses where people lived. It was a quiet town and seemed peaceful.
saw the mail order bride agency in a small, brown building and pulled
Bob in that direction. First things first, she thought. Fifteen
minutes later, she walked back out the same door, registered as a
woman interested in marriage to a local man. The list of women she
signed her name on was long, but hopefully the wait wouldn’t be.
Marie took Bob’s hand, walked out the door and continued her
self-tour of Butte.
turned one corner to find a large, two storied house with a wide
veranda porch furnished with rocking chairs. On the porch column was
a handwritten sign that read: Help
Wanted. Ask Inside.
Marie led Bob onto the porch and through the large screen door that
kept out the ever-present summer flies.
she went straight to the small counter that was placed critically in
front of the door where no one could get past it unless they should.
A male clerk was writing into a long journal.
I help you?” he asked, rising from his chair.
I wanted to inquire about the help wanted sign out front,” Marie
clerk’s eyes traveled to Bob, his hand tightly clutched in Marie’s
and his eyes wandering around this new place.
We need a chambermaid,” he said. “Do you have any experience?”
Marie lied in a manner of speaking. “I am a good cleaner and I work
you new to Butte? I don’t recall seeing you around here.”
We just came in from the East. Relocating, sort of. Do I have to be
from Butte to get the job?”
clerk chuckled. “No, no you certainly don’t.” He produced a
couple of forms and a pencil. “Here, fill these out. I keep very
good records of people who work here, so that would be the first
order of business. You can sit at the desk by the window.”
took the form and led Bob over to the designated place. He took the
chair opposite her as she filled out the form.
is pretty,” he said, still looking around him.
looked up and saw what Bob was enthralled with. The large room was
filled with upholstered couches and nice tables. Lamps with silk
shades donned the tables and the mantle was covered with greenery.
Off in one corner was a nice mahogany bar, bottles of liquor on a
table behind it. In another corner were two or three tables for four,
probably where the guests had dinner or drinks or played cards.
Altogether, it was a beautiful room.
finished with the paperwork and took it and Bob back to the front
desk. She handed them to the clerk. He looked them over and stuck out
his hand for her to shake.
aboard, Marie. You’ve got the job.”
was so startled that she almost fainted. “I do?” she asked. “I
got your job?”
clerk chuckled again. “Not my job, Marie. Your job. You are hired.
When can you start?”
stammered a minute. “Well, we have two days at the hotel which I
already paid for, and I have to find a place for us to live,” she
nodded her head toward Bob. “Ah, I guess in two days? Will that be
really need someone today,” Mark said. “I don’t have anyone to
clean two rooms that left this morning and some more guests are
coming in later this evening. Could you work to do them? It would be
a big favor to me.”
was very used to thinking on her feet. “Well, I can try,” she
said. “But Bob will have to stay with me. I don’t know anyone
here so he has to stay with me.”
fine. He can help you if you like. I don’t have any problem at all
with that. My name is Luke, by the way. I own the place.”
was dumbfounded at the niceness of Luke. Not only had he given her a
job, but he had also accommodated her brother. What more could she
want or expect? Nothing.
okay, Luke. Show me what to do.”
placed the ‘Back in a few…’ sign on the desk and led the two
new employees to the back of the boarding house. He showed her where
all the cleaning supplies and linen were located and helped her
gather what she would need to clean the two rooms.
there, Luke too her up two flights of back stairs to the rooms, Bob
bringing along the stack of linen with a smile on his face.
Luke opened the first door, Marie was surprised at how well appointed
the room was, complete with a washstand and fine porcelain pitcher
and bowl. Luke explained all that she was to do, handed her a master
key and left her to do the cleaning.
and Bob made a great team, Marie quickly assessed. Her brother was
very adept at gathering the soiled linen and taking it down the
stairs to the laundry area where two older women washed and ironed
it, readying it for the next use. All in all, it wasn’t a hard job
at all. Marie was beside herself with happiness. Life had finally
taken a good turn for her. Finally.
she was through with the two rooms, she went back to tell Luke.
here,” he said, and off he went up the main staircase to check her
work. He returned shortly, smiling broadly.
sensed you were the right one,” he said, “and you certainly
didn’t let me down. They are perfect.”
Marie said with a sigh of relief. “I do love to clean and take care
of a house.”
this job is made for you. Look, I was thinking. Out back I have a
one-room building that is fully furnished. It even has a small stove
and two beds. Would you be interested in that? I could give it to you
as part of your pay.”
much will it cost us?” she asked, knowing that her money was
dwindling quickly and she had to buy food for the two of them.
Luke said. “I’ll consider it as part of your pay. You won’t pay
anything extra for it. But you’re responsible for food and other
Marie said, offering her hand to shake on the deal.
Can you work tomorrow and move into the room before work?”
can. I’ll be over first thing tomorrow morning, right after we eat
your meals are included here, Marie. Two per day for each of you.
Come early and I’ll introduce you to the cooks and show you how and
where your meals are taken.”
couldn’t believe her ears.
at seven the next morning, Marie and Bob came to the boardinghouse
where Luke led them to the kitchen and saw that their breakfast and
lunch were accounted for. From there, he showed them the room out
back and she was thrilled with it. Cute as a button and large enough
for what they needed.
unpacked their bags and headed back into the boardinghouse to do
their jobs, which were finished by early afternoon. She went to the
desk to tell Luke they were through if he wanted to check behind her.
sure they are as perfect as the rooms yesterday,” he told her.
man was standing by the desk, listening to the conversation.
Randy,” Luke said. “He stays with us when he is in Butte, but he
lives quite a ways out in the country. Got a big beef ranch out
there. Randy, this is Marie, my new housekeeper.”
took her extended hand and kissed it like a gentleman. “Nice to
meet you,” he said in a soft voice. “And who is this fine looking
didn’t miss the tingle that shot through her as their hands met.
Bob,” Marie said, a warm smile on her face. “My brother. He is a
little challenged, so he stays close with me.”
offered his hand to Bob, who squeezed it, then hugged the man as if
that was his standard greeting.
likes people,” Marie said. “Please don’t be offended by his
quite the contrary,” Randy said. “I loved it.” He hugged Bob
again just to make his point.
then,” Marie said. “We’re going to leave. If you need us, you
know where we are.” Luke nodded as she and Bob walked back through
the hallway and to their new place.
days later, as she and Bob sat in their little private palace, a
knock sounded on the door. She answered it, completely surprised to
find Randy standing on her doorstep.
what pleasant surprise,” Marie said. “Please, come into our
humble little house.” She stepped aside and Randy comfortably came
into the room. Bob’s eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. He ran to
the man and hugged him.
my buddy doing today?” Randy asked him, holding a small bag in his
Bob answered in his childlike voice, and kept holding onto him.
go,” Marie said, a laugh in her voice. “Let Randy sit down.”
Bob released him and pulled out one of the two chairs for him to sit,
after which Bob promptly took the other one. Randy handed Bob the
brought something for you.”
face was aglow as he opened the bag and pulled out several licorice
sticks and pieces of hard ribbon candy.
he said, delighted but clearly showing that it was a very rare treat
Randy,” Marie said, encouraging manners on her brother.
you,” he said, putting a piece of the striped ribbon candy into his
mouth. “I love candy,” came the muffled voice around the delicate
you for doing that,” Marie said. “It is a very rare treat for
him. And your attention to him is even more rare.” She almost said
that her husband couldn’t stand him and she almost launched into
everything else that had been bottled up inside her for years. Randy
made her so comfortable that she just wanted to talk.
like him,” Randy said, as if reading her thoughts. “Where are you
from?” he asked, turning his attention to Marie.
East,” it was all she would say because she was cautious. She knew
what had been left on that couch the morning they had run away.
really? I have some businesses there. What part?”
wasn’t going to be easy, Marie realized. “In Virginia,” she
lied. “What kind of businesses?”
mostly. I buy it from prospectors who pass through here, and then
resell it for a higher price. Don’t make a lot of money off it, but
it gives me something to do rather than just clean up beef crap all
laughed at the word that he knew Marie wouldn’t let him say.
interesting. How many head of beef do you have on your ranch?” she
asked, wanting to steer the conversation well away from herself.
I don’t even know, but a lot. Probably close to a thousand, and
several pregnant ones that will give birth in the winter. I sell them
every week, but they multiply as fast as I sell them.” He chucked
and it sounded very pleasant to Marie just to hear a happy man.
you married?” she asked out of nowhere, not even understanding
where the question came from.
Was, but she got a bad case of pneumonia a couple of years ago.
Passed away and I just haven’t taken the time to look for someone
else. How about you?”
Marie lied, hoping that Randy would put two and two together and
assume that Bob would be the reason why she was single.
too bad,” Randy said. “I believe you’d make a wonderful wife
statement was innocent enough, but it was a clear path to what Randy
would eventually lay out for consideration. He had a keen interest in
the young woman and her challenged brother.
became a ritual that Randy visited them every time he was in town.
Once or twice, he took Bob and Marie to dinner at the local café,
bringing stares from those around them. Marie mentioned it one time.
stare at us being with you,” she whispered to Randy across the
cares?” he answered her. “I could buy this whole town with one
check. They’ve always whispered about me, no matter what I’m
doing. But, I figure, as long as they are talking about me, they are
giving someone else a rest.”
laughed aloud at his comment. She liked Randy for many things, but
this show of his frankness without anger was one of the best traits
she had found in him. They all three fit well together, and Marie
felt very comfortable with letting Bob go fishing or just walking
with Randy. Over the weeks, they became almost inseparable.
day, he knocked on their door when both of them were off for a day.
ready,” he said. “I’m taking you two out to the ranch. It’s
time you saw how I lived and meet some of my people.”
Marie got Bob ready and they set off with Randy in his nice buckboard
wagon. The ride to the ranch was wonderful in the sunshine and a soft
Montana breeze. It took almost an hour to make their way there
because Randy stopped to let Bob pick some blackberries, his first
time ever doing so. He gathered quite a large basket of them.
have Wilma make you a cobbler with those,” Randy promised. “She’s
the best cook in the whole state.”
enough, as soon as Wilma saw them, Randy handed her the berries and
told her to make it. Then, he took them on a tour of his house, his
garden and his stables. Bob was beside himself and Marie was
enchanted with all of it. She had never been in a rich person’s
house before, and she strained to keep her eyes from bulging out of
the settled into large rockers on the front porch and Wilma brought
lemonade and crumpets out to the three of them.
like it here?” Randy asked Bob, who was stuffing his third crumpet
into his mouth.
he managed to say around the pile of delicate pastry he was trying to
you?” he pointedly turned to Marie.
it is beautiful and so relaxing. I can see why you live here and not
in Butte where it is so busy all the time.”
would never be able to live there,” Randy said. “I like my peace
and quiet. When I come back here from being in Butte overnight, it
takes me two days to get calmed down. This is heaven on earth to me.”
agree with you about all that, including the heaven on earth part,
and I don’t even live here,” she answered him, taking a long
swallow of the cool lemonade.
could be,” he said. His comment was slow, calm and reassuring. So
much so, that Marie had to ask.
did you say?”
said ‘you could be.’”
could be living here?” she asked, pressuring him for more.
That was what I said and what I meant.”
blushed without being able to stop it. She knew what he meant and she
knew the baggage she brought with her was an obstacle to what Randy
hinted for. So, she said nothing. Finally, she broke the spell of
silence during which Randy wanted her to say what he wanted to hear
and Marie tried to sort out her lies, wishes and her heart’s
guess we really should be getting back to Butte. It’s getting on in
time, and Bob needs his rest. He is often hard to manage when he
doesn’t get enough of it.”
was hoping you’d stay for dinner,” Randy said. “You’ll miss
some good food. Home cooking!”
know, but really we should get back.” She got up from her rocker
and went to get their things.
ride back to Butte was nice, but very subdued. Something about
Randy’s comments had stirred things in Marie that she had never
felt before, and other things that she wanted desperately to forget.
they were back at their little house, Bob hugged Randy goodbye and
felt awkward as if she should say something to him, but words escaped
her. He made it easier.
what I said out there,” Randy began. “I apologize for springing
it on you like that, but please, think about it, Marie. You’ve got
a big responsibility on your hands with Bob and I believe I can help
you with him. He’d be happy there and I think you would be, too.”
I’ll think about it. I know you’re right, Randy, but there are so
many things to consider.”
just things. Things I need to sort out, that’s all.”
your time and think about it. That’s all I ask, Marie. I’m not
leaned over and kissed her on the cheek and left. Marie stood outside
watching him walk away while her heart turned over in her body. She
went inside, her hand on the spot where he had kissed her. It was the
first kiss she had gotten from a man in many moons. Many, many moons.
it was planted on the spot where her husband had last hit her.
went through the motions of her evening the same as she always did,
but her mind whirled away with thoughts, good and bad. She could
envision living in the beautiful home with Randy, Bob neatly tucked
into their lives like a baby. He would love having the freedom of the
wide open spaces, the horses to love and help with, the cattle to
watch give birth.
she, Marie would love the touch and comfort of Randy, a man who
already cared for her and would love and respect her. Why did life
give so many questions and not enough answers? But she had a past and
she was very, very afraid of that past.
believed in ghosts.
the time she got up the next morning, Marie had a plan.
next afternoon when their work was done, Marie led Bob down the
street to the local dispensary and bought a newspaper, a handwritten
two-page bit of news from back East, much of it local to her own
previous world. She scanned it for anything about her husband as the
news was always months old.
a week, she would walk into town and buy another paper that had been
dropped off by the train, but the dated news hadn’t even caught up
with when she had left there on this journey. Consequently, she did
not find out anything about her husband. But, Marie decided to take
her chance and accept Randy’s implied offer of marriage. She owed
it to herself, and most of all, to Bob.
to his word, he came by to see them at the end of the week. The three
of them went to dinner as had become their habit, then returned to
the little house in the twilight of evening.
go inside and get ready for bed,” Marie said to Bob. “I want to
talk to Randy for a minute.”
hugged Randy bye and did as he was told.
felt awkward and bashful, not sure how to broach the subject with
him, so he did it for her.
this about my comment to you last week?” he asked her in a quiet
yes it is,” she began. “There’s something I need to tell you.”
He led her to a table and chairs placed on the brick patio area of
the boarding house. “Let’s sit down over here and talk.”
loved his gentleness and his open air; Marie thought she could tell
him anything in the world.
cleared her throat.
asked me if I was married, and I said that I wasn’t. Well, that is
a lie. I was married to a man who was very abusive.”
sorry to hear that,” he said. “You deserve better in life. All
women do. I don’t hit women. Never have and never will. Marie, I
promise you that will not be a concern for you with me.”
realized that he was clearing up her doubts; doubts about him that
she didn’t even have.
believe you,” she said softly, letting him think that was what she
was leading up to, but it wasn’t.
I don’t blame you for lying about it either. I would do that
would?” she asked, very puzzled by that, but feeling even better.
I would never want anyone to know that I was in such a relationship
with the person I married. It is an embarrassment and nothing to be
talked about. In fact, it happens around here all the time, but you
won’t hear anything about it. I see the women, I see the bruises
and scars and the fear in their eyes. It is obvious. Trust me, you
are not alone, Marie.”
felt even better, courage building inside her with every word he
spoke. She felt so comfortable with the man who had simply walked
into her life unexpectedly and quickly, too. She would never have
guessed this would happen when her husband hit Bob in the face. She
remembered him suddenly.
sorry, but I need to check on Bob. He often forgets what I send him
to do. Or doesn’t want to remember is more like it. I’ll be right
quickly walked over to the room door and opened it. Just as she
expected, Bob was sitting at the table eating a piece of his candy
that Randy bought him, still completely dressed. He smiled broadly at
he said very simply. “Want some?”
I told you to get ready for bed while I talked to Randy. Look at you.
Still in your clothes, never washed up and eating candy! What will I
ever do with you?”
answer was short, simple and heartfelt.
me to Randy’s house.”
couldn’t believe her ears! In his own world, Bob had figured out
what Marie could only suspect. And that was that God had sent Randy
to her, to her world for a reason. That reason was to take care of
her and Bob for the rest of their lives. It all fit together
miraculously and sensibly! Of course that was it. She had prayed for
an answer and God had given it to her - and Bob had put it into
see about that,” she said. “Now get yourself ready for bed when
you finish that one piece of candy. Okay?”
he said, his seven-year-old mind sorting it all out into that one
went back outside and joined Randy.
is such a beautiful evening,” he said softly. “Really makes you
think about all our blessings, even through the hardships and
disappointments of life, the sun shines, the flowers still bloom and
the morning always comes. A new day dawns every twenty four hours,
and we take all that for granted.”
understood what he was saying behind the words all of which brought a
new realization to Marie and to her life. He was right.
are so right about that, Randy. I am one who fails to see. I realize
turned to face her, taking both her hands in his.
I know I’m older than you by several years. And I know you see Bob
as your responsibility and no one else’s. I can also see that you
have reservations about becoming involved with anyone else in your
lifetime, and I certainly don’t blame you there. But all men aren’t
like your husband. Some actually take care of their responsibilities,
whatever that might be or mean.
am one of those men.”
couldn’t bring himself to tell her that he had found her name
midway down the list of women who were mail order bride hopefuls.
Thankfully, her place of residence was relisted as the boardinghouse
owned by his good friend, Luke. Just in Marie’s neat handwriting,
Randy saw something more in her besides the need or want for a
husband. She was genuine and kind and perfect. Marie would love.
don’t doubt that for one second,” she said, feeling the warmth
projecting from his hands into hers and running through her body.
Instinctively, she knew that this would be the story of her life if
she married him.
please, marry me and come to live at the ranch. Bob needs it and I
believe you need it even more than he does.”
looked deep into his eyes and saw his heart floating there and she
knew that he meant every word he said.
will,” she whispered. “I certainly will.”
weeks later, Randy and Marie were married in a simple little ceremony
at the boardinghouse with only them, Bob and Luke attending.
Afterwards, Luke produced a cake and some punch as a little
celebration for them. It was probably the happiest day of Bob’s
life as he hugged Randy again, not as a friend, but as the father
figure he had long missed. It was a good day.
their move to the ranch would be delayed for a week in order for Luke
to hire Marie’s replacement and for her to train the person. She
promised Luke and told Randy that she wouldn’t leave until that was
taken care of. After all, she owed her new life to Luke who had saved
her from hardship and introduced her to Randy. Marie paid her debt in
respect to her job and to her dear friend, Luke.
day of their move was an exciting one. Bob was up earlier than Marie
and pestered her until she got up, too.
up, Marie. Randy is coming to get us today!” He was busy packing,
such as that was, his clothes and things into his one suitcase.
rubbed her eyes awake since she hadn’t slept much either. She had
too much on her mind, not the least of which was her dead husband.
She knew that if anything legal ever came up about it, her marriage
to Randy would be okay since the other piece of garbage who had said
‘I Do’ to her was dead. But that didn’t leave open the fact
that she had no way of knowing that fact unless she was there when it
was one thing to run away from him, and she was okay with saying
that, but how would she ever explain knowing that he was dead? The
problem bothered her, and she would be restless and worried over it
until there was some proof that would save her. It had probably been
wrong to marry Randy under those circumstances, but her heart
wouldn’t rob her of happiness a day longer than it took her to say
her vows to Randy.
she got up and began to sort out the mess that Bob was making in his
refold these,” she said. “Then I’ll get my things together.
Randy won’t be here for another hour. We have plenty of time.”
will come early,” Bob said. “I know he wants us to get there
loved his small mind and the way Bob could add the little bits of
pleasure to almost anything. It was all so different now. He was more
relaxed and very much more happy than she had ever seen him, or at
least since their parents had died. Marie also knew that Randy was
going to be an important part of the young man’s life because Bob
loved him unconditionally, and the feeling was mutual.
it was a good day.