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   Chapter 5 Helping Fate

The Ranger's Daughter By LadyRosabella Characters: 8527

Updated: 2017-12-20 17:31


??????Special thanks to Scoonydoo for suggesting the name for Vance's wife! Thanks! ??????

Vance fastened his belt and pulled on his boots. Slinging his shirt over his shoulder, he opened his bedroom door and peered out. Miss Lace's door was still shut as was his mother's. Ladies needed more beauty rest than men required so Vance was sure neither of them would stir until eight o'clock at least. Just the same, he tried his best to tiptoe down the stairs. Truth to tell, it wasn't really the ladies he was worried about disturbing. It was his own peace. Oh, he didn't

Mind his mother so much, but if he was gonna protect himself from any more hurtful women, he would have to avoid Miss Lace. That was the real issue here. Vance could still hear his wife's hateful words. He could still see- Shaking his head to dispel the distressing thoughts, Vance stepped into the kitchen and immediately stopped.

Sitting at the table wearing a blue calico dress was none other than the Miss Lace he was so determined to avoid. She hadn't noticed him yet. She sat at the table, her hands wrapped around a tin coffee cup. She stared into the coffee intently, as if she was searching for something. Vance's eyes paused as saw her lips. They were no longed the heart shaped or smiling lips. They were pulled down into a deep frown. Her lower lip trembled slightly and Vance wondered if she was about to cry. Feeling suddenly self concious, Vance realized that he had intruded on the girls private moment. She needed this time to herself. He would leave, go to the restaurant and have a cup of coffee there. Vance was just about to turn when he saw the girl pull her lower lip into her mouth as she bit it. Vance barely resisted a groan. Why waste torturing him like this? Didn't she know how much he wanted to taste her heart shaped lips? Didn't she realize he wanted to pull that same lower lip into his mouth? She is a siren. That's all. Like the old folklores about the siren mermaids that lured seamen to their death. That was all there was too it, Vance decided. Olga had been the same way, all sweetness and roses. Her blonde hair was always worn as a braid circling her head like a halo. Like an angel. That was before he'd married her. Before they'd made their home in the Wild West. That's when it began, she let her mask of perfection slip and Vance learned the terrible truth of the woman he wed. He thought that courting her for a year would be enough time for him to learn the real Olga, see what she was like in not just in love but in life. How she treated her parents and siblings. How she handled problems and quarrels. No year of courting had prepared him for the monster that met him at the alter. No, it was at trait of all women, he decided, to make themselves appear kind and sweet. And only those in their families would ever know or see their real personalities. Vance had no desire to belong to a family again. He was a loner. A widowed man. And that's how he would stay, so help him God.

Just then, Miss Lace looked up, she looked at Vance without saying a word. Several seconds passed without either one moving or saying a word. They just watched the other, each one seeming to take the others measure without discrimination from the other. Miss Lace finally blushed and turned her eyes away. She stood and moved toward the pot of coffee she's made.

"I'm sorry if I disturbed your solitude." She murmured. "Sit down and I'll pour you some coffee."

Vance moved toward the table and just then realized that he hadn't put on his shirt. No wonder Miss Lace's cheeks had turned an adorable shade of pink. Vance considered putting on his shirt as she poured his coffee but on second thought he decided not to. If she discomforted him with her... Well everything, then Vance would leave the shirt off just to keep her off guard. It serves her right for being so darn appealing. "Looks like I disturbed your solitude, seeing as you were here first." He mumbled as he watched her.

"Cream or sugar?"

"Black."

Grace set the steaming cup on the table in front of him.

"Thank you." He mumbled as he wrapped his hands around his hot cup. There was something soothing about cradling a hot cup between your hands, Vance enjoyed holding t

he cup almost more than drinking the hot beverage.

Grace picked up her cup half full with coffee and moved towards the door.

"You run from the kitchen." Vance said.

"I'm not running." Grace protested, though in truth that's exactly what she was doing, she thought as she was careful to keep her eyes only on his face. Oh, the man was something, that is for sure. Grace had never really seen men without their shirts. Not up close that is, but Vance Mcvone was a sight for sure and certain. His broad muscular shoulders looked big enough to take on the world without the slightest stress. His strong chest was splattered with dark hair, his perfectly sculpted stomach left Grace wondering how he got it to look like that. Every inch of him, from his face, chest arms and stomach was a dark tan color leading Grace to believe that he spent a lot of time outside without his shirt. It was so disconcerting. How did he expect her to stay in the kitchen- to even look at him when he was so improperly unclothed!

"You act like you're running." Vance grumbled. "Sit down and finish you coffee."

It wasn't a question, Grace realized. These were words spoken by a man that was used to being obeyed. It never even crossed his mind that she would disobey him. Grace didn't want to, because even though Vance Mcvone was a dark intimidating man, even though he seemed to wear sadness and anger as a cloak, something in Grace called to him. A part of her heart seemed to sympathize with him and longed for his friendship. Although, Grace wasn't exactly sure this was a type of man who had friends.

"Sit down." Vance repeated looking up at the girl. He could tell that he had entirely rattled her first by his appearance and then by his lack of clothing. He was glad, if he must be around her he must keep her rattled. For then she won't have time or a mind to try and win him. "Sit down, I will keep my hands to myself." Vance said nodding to the chair opposite him.

Grace carried her cup to the table and sat down, and that is where Mary Anne found the couple nearly twenty minutes later. They both sat silently, sipping their coffee, each one seemingly content with the silence.

Mary Anne shook her head as she studied the pair. They were a very handsome couple, she decided. They would have some adorable babies, Mary Anne smiled to herself. Yes, indeedy. These were two people who needed each other, Mary Anne just needed to help them see it.

Mary Anne walked into the kitchen and poured herself some coffee. " Vance Pants, what are your plans today?"

"Mother!" Vance growled. "Don't call me that." He cast Grace an irritated look when she giggled.

"What? Vance Pants?" Mary Anne shrugged innocently, "I've always called you that, honey." She cast Gracie an exaggerated wink causing Grace to giggle even more.

"It isn't seemly." Vance mumbled. "I outgrew that name long ago."

"Well, " Mary Anne said, "I'll try to think of a more mature nickname for you.. Since you're so grown up." Mary Anne took a sip of her coffe then returned her gaze back to Vance. "You never answered dear. What are your plans today?"

"Don't really have any."

"Well good!" Mary Anne exclaimed. "Then you can accompany Gracie back to her farm and help her gather her belongings."

"I thought you were going with me."

"Why can't you can't go with her?"

Mary Anne smiled as both protested the new arrangement. "I'm sorry, dears. But Susan asked me to help at the des shops, she has so many orders right now and Gracie really does need her belongings, Vance." Mary Anne stood up and smiled broadly at the unhappy pair. "Get your shawl, Gracie and for gracious sake Vance put a shirt on!" She moved toward the door. "I'll hitch the wagon for you, don't be long!" She called over her shoulder as she shut the door.

Vance sat silently staring at Grace after his mother left the room. Grace finally gathered her courage enough to look at the extremely attractive half naked man. His gaze was unwavering, a small muscle in his jaw was twitching. "I can take myself." She offered. "I'm good with a wagon and then you can go about your day."

"My mother would never let me hear the end of it." Vance sighed. "Get your shawl and meet me outside."

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