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   Chapter 3 NO.3

The Sommersagan's By madairifa Characters: 8179

Updated: 2018-01-12 12:46


Mack woke up at four in the morning to feed his chickens. He played with his loyal hounds that he trained and he picked some fresh eggs from the kitchen coop. By the time he finished with his morning chores, it was already five in the morning. Then it was time to get ready for the last round up of the year. He had to gather a big herd if he wanted to survive the winter. The cowboys in town were going to join forces for the upcoming cattle drive and they had to meet in the outskirts of town. He gathered his horses and proceeded to saddle the one he was going to ride for the roundup, the other two were trained to keep the herd together, he grabbed his chaps and examined them for any tears.

"Morning."

He looked up and found Joanne leaning on the door frame, looking completely refreshed. "Morning. You slept well?"

She nodded. "Yes, thank you. You have a beautiful house."

"Thanks, " he replied grabbing a wool blanket from the clothesline.

"Father kept asking me how a cowboy such as yourself came to obtain such a house. I must admit, I'm also curious."

"Why? You don't think I could afford it?"

"Well, not after the war."

He wiped his face with his bandana and replied, "It was my father's."

"You grew up in this same house?" she asked surprised.

He nodded.

She looked at her as if seeing it with new eyes. "How about your brothers or sisters? They didn't want the house?"

"I was an only child."

She nodded again as if piecing everything together.

"I also realized you don't have appliances that other houses would have."

"What do you mean?" he asked as he tied the rolled blanket on the saddle.

She shrugged. "Well, your wood oven, it can be updated to a new model. You won't even need wood."

"Yeah, I've heard of that."

"I can fix it if you like."

He shook his head. "I'll keep it how it is."

She nodded biting her lip as if forcing herself to not question his decision. "Where are you going?" she asked after watching him binding a canteen at the side of the saddle, his loyal horse waited patiently without any sign of distress.

"Cattle roundup, " he replied without looking at her. He wasn't used to having company, having someone asking about his whereabouts was something strange, he never had anybody to report to since his father died while he was out fighting in the war. "Is the doctor up yet?" he asked, mainly to fill the silence.

"Yes, he left early to El Paso to gather some instruments."

"For your toy?"

She straightened at his comment but replied calmly, "Yes, for Athena."

"Good-mornin', " a voice from the right side of his house made Mack turn. Isaac in his chaps walked up to Mack, the spurs of his boots clanging against the dirt. "Miss Sommersagan, " he said confused by seeing her on the porch. "What a pleasant surprise."

"Good morning, Mr. Garrison."

He tipped his hat and grabbed Mack by the arm pulling him away, once they were far enough from Joanne, he whispered harshly. "What the hell is wrong with you? Why'd you get those lunatics in your house?"

"They needed a place to stay, " he replied.

"Did it not bother you that those two are in cahoots?"

"Sure. But Miss Sommersagan was kind enough to come looking for us to apologize for their strange behavior."

Isaac stared at him. "I don't recall that."

"Yeah, well, she found me at the bar and we talked."

Isaac nodded understandingly. "You like the girl."

Mack shook his head. "They were going to camp outside, Isaac."

"Alright. Sure."

The front door of Isaac's house opened and his wife, a lively, red-headed woman stepped out. "Good morning, Mack! Ready to head out?"

"As ready as I'll ever be, " he replied tipping his hat.

She smiled. "Howdy!" she yelled past them, towards Joanne. "I didn't know Mack had guests, " she turned to Mack with a smile he knew too well.

Now that she had been discovered, Joanne approached them.

"I'm Hanna Garrison, nice to meet you."

"Joanne Sommersagan, likewise, " she replied, and Mack could see her cheeks turn slightly red.

"Miss Somm

ersagan and her father are staying with me for a while, " he explained.

"Is that so?" she turned to her husband who raised his eyebrows. Mack watched their silent exchange and knew he had told her about their discovery from the day before. "My husband and Mack will have to go soon; would you like to come over and keep me company?"

"I would love to but I'm waiting for my father to arrive, we have some work to do, " Joanne replied politely.

Hanna looked disappointed but her face brightened as another idea came to her. "Tell you what, why don't you and your father come over for dinner."

Isaac's head shot up at his wife's request. Mack brought his hand to his mouth trying to hold back his laugh.

"Oh no. We don't want to intrude, " she replied softly.

"None sense, " said Hanna. "We'll make a night of it, to celebrate the last roundup of the year. Mack will accompany you, won't you Mack?"

It was Mack's turn to look up. "Of course, " he replied as he turned to Joanne.

Joanne gazed at him for a moment before replying, "I'll ask my father."

Hanna's face beamed as she turned to her husband, Isaac didn't find amusing the little plan she had concerning Mack and Joanne. "Great!" she replied ignoring Isaac's somber expression. "I'll see you tonight, " Hanna said as she walked back inside her house. Isaac gave Mack a nod and took after her, surely to express his disfavor.

Joanne turned to Mack as soon as the Garrison's were out of sight. "You'll excuse my absence, won't you?"

Mack turned to her confused. "You're not gonna go?"

She shook her head. "I can't go. My father loves meeting new people, he'll go for the both of us."

"Why can't you go?"

"I just can't."

Mack took a step towards her and watched her. "What's the matter?"

She looked back at the Garrison's and back at him. "I don't own a dress."

"So, what?"

She rolled her eyes. "So, what? You saw what Mrs. Garrison was wearing."

Mack nodded as it dawned on him. Hanna wore extravagant dresses all day, every day. Too extravagant for Salt Water as far as Mack could tell. "I got dresses."

She furrowed her eyebrows. "You do?"

He nodded and started back to his house. He heard her soft footsteps behind him. He arrived at a door and unlocked it. Once inside he opened his mother's armoire. He held his breath as he opened the doors slowly. It had been years since he last opened her beloved armoire. He could still see her organizing it every morning, treating its contents with so much care.

He stepped aside allowing Joanne to look inside. She ran her hands over the clothing gently as if not wanting to damage them.

"Whose are these?"

"My mother's."

She shook her head as she dropped her hands. "Forgive me, but I can't."

"What do you mean you can't?"

"I can't wear your mo..." she became quiet as her voice cracked.

He stood before the armoire and grazed his fingers on the different fabrics. His mother had made them herself, he remembered. She had put so much work into every single one of them.

"Well, they're not doing much good in here." He spotted the light blue dress he only seemed to remember his mother in. It was a simple dress, but it had some very endearing memories attached to it. He extended it towards her.

She studied it carefully and accepted it. Her soft eyes moved up and down the dress admiringly, she ran her delicate hands down its long sleeves. It was hard to believe that those hands were capable of constructing weapons.

He cleared his throat as he caught himself staring. "Alright, I better go. I'll see you tonight." Before she could reply, he left the room and straight outside. The fresh air helped him clear his mind and refocus on the task at hand.

Isaac waited for him on the porch. "Why did she have to invite those people to my house?"

"They're not so bad, " Mack found himself defending.

"Is that so?" Isaac scoffed.

Mack could feel his eyes piercing his skin. "Come on, let's get out of here."

Isaac chuckled as they stepped down the porch steps towards their horses.

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