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   Chapter 1 Odd Behavior

The Ranger's Daughter By LadyRosabella Characters: 7253

Updated: 2017-12-20 16:12


"That was a fine supper, darlin'." Garrett Lace said with a smile as he leaned back in his chair. "You would make your mother proud."

April Grace smiled at her Pa as she stood to clear their plates from the table. "You compliment me far too often, Pa."

A small from creased Garrett's forehead as he studied his young daughter. She was eighteen now. A grown woman. "Gracie, you- you've had a happy life, haven't you?"

"What?" she turned from the dirty dishes to look at her pa in confusion.

"I mean, even though your ma wasn't here to help bring you up. I've done right by you haven't I? You've been happy enough. Right?"

"Oh, Pa." Leaving the dishes, Grace dried her hands on her apron as she knelt beside her fathers chair and took his scared hands in hers. "Pa, of course I have. You shouldn't ever doubt that. I know I never had what most girls did, but you are the best father to me. "

"Even though I'm tied to this blasted chair?" Garrett shock his head in disgust.

"Pa, you may not be perfect but I never once expected you to be. You were injured in the most heroic way and I applaud you. I could never be more proud of my father." Reaching up, Grace pressed a kiss to her father's weathered cheek. "I love you, Pa."

"Gracie, your'e eighteen this year and well- things are gonna be a mite different around here."

"Oh, Pa. You don't have to worry about me marrying or something and leaving you." Grace laughed as she patted her father's hand and stood up. "You know you are the only man in my life."

"Now, Gracie, you settle down a minute and listen to me. I don't want you wasting your life catering to an old crippled man. I've served my purpose and raised you as your mama would've wanted."

A frown crinkled her brow as she frowned at her father. "Pa, what are you saying?"

Garrett paused and gathered his thoughts. He mustn't give too much away. He didn't want her to find out too soon or to worry about him. Although, she probably should be. Garrett missed his wife- missed her so much every drawn breath caused him pain in his heart and mind. Each breath he too was a breath without his Belle. "I'm saying that you shouldn't stay in the past. Each day is brand new and you need to move forward. Embrace each day. Make your life count for something. "

"You mean you want me to find a job in town or marry?"

"Or both if you want to. Gracie, you are a young woman now. A young woman exactly like your mother was. If your heart is anything like hers was, I know that you must long for a family of your own. You need babies to cuddle and a husband to dote on. Not your old pa."

"If it will please you, pa, I'll socialize more. "

"Gracie, socializing isn't exactly what I'm referring to." Pushing back from the table, Garrett rolled closer to his daughter. The daughter that so closely resembled her beautiful mother. "I want you to move on with your life and create a happy life for your husband and family. Promise me, Gracie. Promise me you will be happy. "

"I promise, Pa." Grace said, tears filling her eyes unexpectedly. She didn't know why her father was being so solemn this evening. Usually, he was a happy joyful type. Most evenings after supper, he would tell Grace stories of her mother. Or experiences he had when he rode as a Texas Ranger. Usually a smile was always upon his lips, a joke or teasing comment on his tongue. Tonight however he seemed very different, and it worried Grace.

"Good. Good. I'm gonna go to bed now. I'm a bit tuckered out tonight. Now, Gracie, " Garrett paused his chair at the doorway of his room off of the kitchen. "You reme

mber your promise now, 'ya hear? Don't you forget it."

"I won't" Grace promised. "Good night, Pa. I love you."

"Love you too my little April's Grace." Casting her a wink that was a bit more like his old self, Garrett wheeled his chair into his room and shut the door firmly behind him. It had been a long day and he still had a letter to write before bed.

Grace finished washing the dishes and stacked them neatly on the shelves above the counter, then she tiptoed off to her own bed. It had been a tiring day and her pa's odd behavior at dinner weighed heavily on her mind as she changed out of her work dress and into her white night dress. Kneeling alongside the bed, Grace folded her hands together and said a heartfelt prayer. "And please God, be with my pa. Give him the strength to go on. I know each day is a struggle for him without my mama, but if you could help him out just a bit I would be forever grateful. Through Jesus name, Amen." Rising quickly, Grace snuggled under her warm quilt. Her eyes were drooping shut almost before her head touched her pillow.

---

Grace was making breakfast the next morning when her father's bedroom door opened and he came out. "Morning Pa." Grace said with a smile towards her favorite father.

"Good morning, April Grace." Garret winked at his daughter and dramatically sniffed the air. " Ah good. You got my note." He said as he wheeled himself to the table.

"What note?" Grace giggled as she sat the stack on pancakes on the table before him.

"The note that said you better make my favorite pumpkin spiced pancakes or else I'll make you sleep in the barn."

Grace rolled her eyes as she took her seat. "You've never made anyone sleep in the barn, Pa. You had best think up a new note because i know your threats are useless."

"Aw well... I've always been better at eating pancakes than making up threats."

"Here." Grace said passing the maple syrup to her Pa. "We don't have much syrup left. I'll have to see Mr. Willis about that."

"Mmhhmm." Garrett said around a mouthful of pancake. "Him and his boys always did make the best syrup ."

"Yes sir." Grace said savoring her own bite of sweet spice pancake.

"I have to ride into town this morning. Talk to Tom about that rocking chair he's been fixing for me."

"I'm surprised he isn't finished with it." Grace commented as she took a sip of her milk. "He's usually pretty fast but he's had that chair for nearly two weeks already."

"True, but I heard he's been going back and for to the city. Something about his married daughter."

"Kate? I wonder how she's doing. I haven't heard anything from her since she married and moved away."

"Well, it can't be good news if her Pa has to go to the city four times within two weeks."

"Four times? I wonder if she's okay."

"I'm sure her Pa will get everything squared away. " Finishing the last swig in his glass, Garrett wiped his mouth and pushed away from the table. "I'd better be off. Anything I can get for you, Gracie?"

"I do need a few spices." Grace said standing up as well. "Why don't I go with you and I can pick them up while you see Tom?" She suggested as she piled the dishes on the counter and moved to fetch her bonnet.

"No, no. I'll get the spices."

"But Pa-"

"No, you just stay here. Air out the parlor's rugs like you've been wanting to do. I'll get your spices and be back faster then a hunting dog."

"Okay, but remember to take you hat Pa. I don't want you to catch a headache."

"Sun never used to bother me." Garrett grumbled as Grace returned from his room carrying his brown stetson.

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