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   Chapter 3 Giving Away Pain

The Ranger's Daughter By LadyRosabella Characters: 7182

Updated: 2017-12-20 17:30


Gracie hurried from the house to the cellar. She would fetch some preserved fruit and make a pie for dinner. Her pa would be thrilled. He adored peach pie. Of course, Grace loved pie too but this pie was for her pa. Today was his and her mamas anniversary and Grace knew how difficult it was for her pa. How much he missed and loved his wife. Perhaps this pie will help to cheer him up a bit, Grace thought as she returned to the kitchen and began the pie preparations.

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Mary Anne rode faster then she ever had in all of her adult life. Normally it took nearly two hours to reach town from the Lace's farm. Mary Anne was riding hard, she was determined to cut that time down to a quarter. She had to! Garret's life depended on it. Though she'd never ridden astride before, she adapted quite well and was able to better focus on the speed she needed. 'Oh I wish this horse had the wings of an angel.' She mumbled to herself. "Please, please Lord!"

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Grace sat at the tabled and peeled potatoes, she smiled as the cooking pie began to fill the small kitchen with warm spiced aromas. The kitchen window was open, and Grace was sure it wouldn't belong until her Pa smelled his favorite pie and came to the kitchen. That was one thing about him, although his legs didn't work properly, his nose made up for the lack! He was always wandering to the kitchen where he smelled something good baking. Sometimes he would come to the kitchen just to suggest she bake something good. He was a man that throughly enjoyed the fine arts of baking. He enjoyed eating them, that is!

Grace took the pie from the oven and carefully sat it on the window sill to cool. He would smell it for sure now.

She returned to her potatoes then quickly tidied up the kitchen. The pie was warm to the touch and still her Pa hadn't left the barn. Silly man, Grace thought as she untied her apron strings. She would simply have to fetch him. He enjoyed the pie so much more when it was still warm from the oven. Opening the kitchen door, walked the short distance from the house to the barn. "Pa?" She called a she entered the cool interior of the barn. It took several second for her eyes to adjust to that darkness or the barn, when they finally adjusted so she could see she wished they never had. She stared at her fathers body dangling from a rope looped over the beam in the barn roof. His face was as black as coal.

Grace ran from the barn, she barely made it outside before she collapsed to the ground sobs shaking her body. Her mind shut itself down, she couldn't think at all. She could only ... Feel. Harsh sobs continued to wrack her body, she wrapped her arms around her middle and best over, attempting to hold herself together. She was past that point however.

Mary Anne galloped into the yard, she halted the horse and slipped down quickly. Running to the collapsed Grace, Mary Anne knew that she was too late. Far too late. Kneeling down beside the crying girl, Mary Anne wrapped her arms around Grace. Grace turned in the embrace and clung to Mary Anne as she continued to cry in pain. Mary Anne rubbed the girls back and murmured soft unintelligible words to the girl. There was nothing that could be said to comfort Grace. By killing himself, Garrett had taken his pain and passed it to his daughter. She was an orphan now, first her mother and now her father.

Neither Grace or Mary Anne were aware of how long they sat on the ground in front of the barn. The sky was fully dark when Mary Anne finally helped grace to her feet and led her to the house. Mary Anne seated Gr

ace at the kitchen table and went to fetch the kettle. "I'll make us a cup of tea." She murmured to the grieving girl. Grace made no comment and several minutes later Mary Anne was sitting at the table with Grace, each one cradling a warm cup of tea between there hands. "Grace, " Mary Anne whispered into the stillness of the night, "I'll stay with you tonight if you want me to."

Numbly, Grace nodded and offered Mary Anne what she hoped appeared as a small grateful smile. She was sure it fell short however. Grace didn't think she would ever be able to smile again.

After a fitful sleep, Mary Anne rode into town to fetch a few men and the preacher to assist with the body in the barn. Grace had gotten up and cooked breakfast, but Mary Anne was sure it was more from habit than hunger because though Grace filled a plate for herself, she hardly touched any of it.

Mary Ann returned several hour later to find Grace sitting one the porch. She wasn't crying, she was just sitting there staring off into the distance. Mary Anne walked up the few porch steps and knelt done beside the girls chair. "The preacher and the men will be here soon, darlin'. The preacher says under the circumstances, your daddy wonder be able to be buried in the graveyard in town."

"I want him to be buried with mama, here at the farm." Grace's voice was rough fro her many tears and lack of use. But using her voice seemed to break her free from her imprisoned mind. "Oh Mary Anne, why? Why? I don't understand. What did I do wrong?"

"Oh baby." Mary Anne pulled grace close in a hug. "You didn't do anything. Not a single thing. My ours daddy loved you so very much." Grace pulled back and forced Grace to look at her. "He left a letter for my Tom. He said it was Important and to make sure Tom got it. I opened it though and that's how I knew to come. I'll let you read the letter of course if you want to."

Grace nodded slowly, "I want to.. But not-not just yet."

"Of course, darling. Any time you're ready you let me know." Mary Anne stood and pulled Grace to her feet as well. "Come on, we need to make a meal for the men, they're gonna be hungry and tired after- after everything." Grace followed Mary Anne into the kitchen and the two began preparing a meal.

It wasn't long before they heard several horses and a wagon roll into the yard.

Later the evening found Grace and Mary Anne in the parlor. Mary Anne was knitting. Grace was fast asleep in her chair. "Poor thing." Mary Anne whispered to herself. "She's so tuckered out. Lord, please help her. Help her get over this, don't let this mistake be the one that trips her up. Please, help her." Ending her prayer, Mary Anne put her knitting away and stood. She put a hand to Graces shoulder. "Come on, Grace. Go to bed. You'll be more comfortable in bed."

Grace mumbled unintelligibly but moved toward her bed room. "Good night, Mary Anne." She mumbled when she got to her door. "Thank you."

"You're welcome, sweetie." Mary Anne said, but the tired girl had already collapsed on the bed fast asleep. Grabbing a quilt from the end of the bed, Mary Anne covered the girl and left the room.

---

Vance Mcvone stepped down from the train. His usual frown was firmly in place as he studied his home town. It had been many years since he had run away from here. Now he was back, older, more tired, and less trusting but he was back all the same. He turned toward the general store. His ma would be glad to see him at least. Grabbing his saddle bag, the tired, weathered cowboy walked towards the towns general store.

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