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Authors: Susan Leigh Carlton

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BOOK: Yankee Mail Order Bride
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“You’re insatiable,” he said.

 

“It’s your fault,” she answered as the slow movement of her body continued.

Chapter 12:  Tell Me About The Indians

 

“Josiah, tell me about the Indians,” she said in a troubled voice.

 

“Well,” he said, “there are several different tribes in the state, generally all peaceful. Individually, they are too small to do more than harass. Sitting Bull is the chief of the Lakota Sioux. They are relatively small in number also. If the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe ever joined together, they would be formidable. So far, that hasn’t happened. In 1875 there were some harassing raids, a wagon train got wiped out. That was the worst. You shouldn’t worry. They’ve mostly been after cattle out on the range. There’s always a few cowboys around here and we could handle a raiding party. The worst time for them to hit would be during roundup, and there would only be the house staff here.”

 

“I guess you should teach me how to shoot a rifle, then,” she said.

 

‘That’s probably a good idea,” he said, “if for nothing more, it might make you feel better. We’ll do that one day soon and certainly before roundup.”

 

“I know it sounds dumb, but I’m not familiar with your terms. What’s roundup,” she asked.

 

“In this area of the country, we have free range. That means we don’t have to feed the cattle during winter, saving a lot of money on feed. They forage for their food. We lose a few to the weather but not enough to hurt us. Most calves are born in the spring and taken to market in the fall. In the spring, we round up all the cattle on our land, cull out the ones that aren’t our brand and give them back to their owners. We put our brand on our new calves. Our brand looks like this.” He drew a rough picture of a devil’s head. “It’s one of the more complicated brands and would be hard to alter.

 

“In the fall, we have another roundup and take them to market. During roundup we are almost all out on the range. We have chuck wagons that feed us and we sleep on the ground. It’s hard work, but the cowboys mostly enjoy it.

 

“We have a contract with Fort Laramie, and they get most of our cattle, the rest satisfies Cheyenne and Laramie’s needs. Did you keep up with all of that?” he asked.

 

“I think so,” she said.

 

He said, “By the way, this afternoon, when they finish up, the hands will be here and I’ll introduce you to them. You’re their boss just as I am. We’ve got a good bunch. Some of them have been on the ranch all of their lives.

 

“In time, I’ll get Doc Williams to teach you some basic things so you can take care of minor injuries.”

 

Later that day…

 

“I asked you to come over here this afternoon, because I would like to introduce my wife to you. Honey, the distinguished man with the gray hair is Jud Pierce, our foreman. Jud, this is Anna. If you want to know anything about ranching, Jud is the man to ask. Next to Jud is Clayton,
then Cody, Tom, Chung Woo who is the trail cook. Next is Preston, and Trace. The best ranch hands in all of Wyoming. This is Anna. Anything she says comes from me. That was all I had. Thank you for a good day.” The men began to straggle away, except for Jud. He came over.

 

“If you’re going to try to straighten him out, Miss Anna. You’ve got your work cut out for you. I’ve tried for these past eighteen years and you see the result. Welcome to Diablo. I hope you’re happy here.”

 

“Thank you, Jud. I appreciate it and thank you for the warning, but I think I’ll leave him the way he is.” She threw a smile at him that would have blinded most men. “It has been a pleasure meeting you. I’ll try to stay out of your way so you can do your job.”

 

“Anna,” Josiah said, “Do you feel up to a short walk? There’s someone else I’d like for you to meet.” A troubled look flitted across Jud’s face. Josiah ignored it. He took Anna’s hand and led her on a path that wound up a hill toward a copse of trees. When they got close, she could see a white picket fence surrounding a group of headstones. It was the Moore family cemetery. “If this makes you uncomfortable, please say so. My grandparents are over here, and my parents are here. This was my little brother. He died shortly after he was born. This is Caroline.” He spoke as if she was there. “Caroline, this is Anna. She is going to be taking care of Rebecca and me now.” He knelt, and closed his eyes. Anna could see him mouthing a prayer. He heard him say “Amen,” then he stood and took her hand and said, “We can go now. I just wanted you to know the family you are joining. They were good people. All of them.”

 

She squeezed his hand. “Thank you for that. It was very touching and emotional. I’m glad you brought me up here.”

 

They walked back down the hill and into the kitchen. “Papa,” came the cry as Rebecca rushed into his arms. He picked her up and swung her around.

 

“How’s my girl today?” he asked.

 

“Hi, Mama,” she said to Anna.

 

Anna picked her up. “Hello sweetheart. Did you have a good day? Have you decided which story you want me to read tonight?” Josiah noticed the tears in her eyes and the catch in her voice when she spoke. He looked over at Beulah, who was hovering in the background. “Thank you,” he mouthed. Beulah just smiled and turned away.

 

“I want Thumblelina,” Rebecca said.

 

“Thumblelina it will be,” Anna said. She put Rebecca down. As Rebecca hurried off to do whatever it is little girls do, Anna turned to Josiah and said, “That was really special. She’s a precious little girl.”

 

“Yes she is,” agreed Josiah.

 

“She needs a little brother,” Anna said.

 

“Are you, uh… with child?” he asked.

 

“How would you feel if I were?” she asked.

 

“I think I would rather wait until we get to know each other better,” he said.

 

“It’s way too early to tell, but I doubt it,” she said.  “Are you saying you don’t think you want to have another baby? “ she asked. “If you are, then I want to know about it. I want to have a baby, and would be very disappointed if you don’t.”

 

“You are misunderstanding what I am saying. I simply mean I would prefer not to have another child at this time,” he said. “I think we are an extremely good match for each other. Rebecca likes you too.

 

“I can respect that. I just want you to know, at some point, I want another baby,” she said.

 

“Well, it would probably be interesting to have a son. Being an only child, I never had anyone to play with, when I was growing up.”

 

“I need something to do. Other than spending time with Rebecca, I don’t have anything to take up my time. Do you have any suggestions?” she asked.

 

“Have you ever had a garden?” he asked.

 

“No I haven’t and neither did my mother,” she said.

 

“Beulah has a garden and grows most of the vegetables we eat. They don’t have many vegetables at the general store. Ranches typically grow most of what they eat. You might talk to her about it. Ma always had a garden, but then she did the cooking for the family and the ranch hands.” He said. “After Beulah started doing most of the cooking, Ma sort of let the garden die away.”

 

“How often do you go into Cheyenne?” she asked.

 

Josiah replied, “Whenever it’s necessary to pick up supplies, I’ll take the wagon in, and usually one of the hands will go along to ride shotgun.”

 

“What does that mean,” she asked, “Ride shotgun.”

 

“It’s just for safety. You can’t very well drive a wagon and use a rifle at the same time.”

 

“I don’t remember seeing anyone when you picked me up at the depot,” she said.

 

“He was there. You just didn’t see him. He rides off to the side, so he isn’t so easily seen. He can see someone before the man handling the wagon, and join up if need be. Actually, if there was anything, he could defend better from the side than with the wagon. That way, we could establish a crossfire. We haven’t had an incident in a long time,” he quickly added.

 

“So, there really is an Indian threat,” she said.

 

“A small chance, I guess,” he allowed.

 

“I would like to go, the next time a trip is planned. I need to write Mama a letter to let her know how I’m doing,” Anna said.

 

“Okay, I’ll ask the folks what they need and we’ll go in. It will be a nice break in the routine.”

 

Chapter 13:  Cheyenne

 

Cheyenne…

 

The streets of Cheyenne were uneven and bumpy. Churned up by wagon wheels, herds of cattle driven through town to the cattle pens where they would be sold, and possibly loaded. Dust swirled around and coated everything and everyone with a layer. Ladies crossed the streets holding the hems of their dresses out of the dirt and mud.

 

Anna and Josiah went into the general store, where Josiah introduced Anna to the storekeeper, Asa Johnson, and then gave him the list of supplies he needed. Meanwhile, Anna walked around the store, looking at the bolts of cloth, buttons and other items of interest. She spied something in the corner that caught her interest. She went back to the storekeeper. “Is the piano for sale? Would it be all right if I played it?” she asked.

 

“The Blackjack Saloon had that shipped in, but they went bust before it got here. Sure, go ahead and play. No one has touched it since it came in,” he said and went back to gathering up the order.

 

Anna went back to the corner, and pulled the bench to the front of the Steinway upright piano. She sat, arranged her dress, intertwined her fingers and bent them back to stretch them. She began to play a relatively new hymn,
Blessed Assurance,
her eyes closed as her hands moved gracefully over the keyboard. She then played one of Tchaikovsky’s latest compositions, the likes of which had never been heard in Cheyenne. Not until she had finished the piece was she aware of the several patrons of the store that had gathered to hear her play. They clapped, and several were heard to say, “Beautiful”.

 

She went to the storekeeper and said, Thank you for allowing me to play. It’s been so long, and I do enjoy it.”

 

“Believe me, it was my pleasure, Mrs Moore.” Anna then looked at the toys, and picked something for Rebecca and then into the candy case, where she asked for jelly beans, for Beulah and Rebecca.

 

When she moved away, Josiah asked if the piano was for sale. “I can make you a really good price on it. It has been here nearly a year and no one has taken any interest in it.” They negotiated a price and Josiah paid to have it delivered to the Diablo.

 

“Anna, I don’t really know, but do you sew? Do you need any dresses or other clothing. You only had the one trunk, and surely you could use other things.”

 

“I do sew. I’m fine, I don’t want to be an expense to you. I’m okay,” she said.

 

“Anna, what I had is now ours. If you need or even want anything, just give it to Asa,” he said.

 

“If you insist, I could use some unmentionables, and I could get a pattern or two, and some cloth. I could make Rebecca a dress too.

 

“Somewhere in the house, Ma had a Singer sewing machine,” he said. “She used to make all of our things. I can remember her sitting in front of that machine, just singing to the empty room.”

 

“Since Papa had a clothing business, we always had sewing machines in the house. Mama and the housekeeper both sewed,” Anna said. She went back to the bolts of cloth and found some she liked, along with lace and buttons. She bought two patterns for herself and two for Rebecca. “Now,” she told Josiah, “I’ll have something to do. I would bet your Ma also had some patterns. I’ll have to go looking. I really don’t know what’s in the house.” She raised on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you, Josiah.”

 

They had a light lunch in the cafe, sitting at the same table they had when she arrived. “Have I only been here a week?” she asked. “It feels so normal, I feel at home here.”

 

“Anna, you are home. Cheyenne and Diablo. They are your home, and blessed to have you.”

 

“What a sweet thing to say,” she said and squeezed his hand in promise of things to come.

 

Back home…

 

They walked into the kitchen, where Beulah was hard at work as usual. “Beulah, I picked up a little something for you at the store”, and handed her a new head scarf and the sack of jelly beans. “You don’t have to share with Rebecca because she has some also.”. Then she called out, “Rebecca, we’re home. Come see what we brought you.”

 

Rebecca came running into the kitchen, dutifully hugged both of them and asked, “What did you bring me?”

 

Anna handed her the small doll, and then handed her the sack with the jelly beans. “Now don’t eat them all at one time. I don’t want you to spoil your appetite for supper.”

 

Rebecca said, “Thank you, Papa.”

 

“Thank your Mama. She’s the one that got them,” he said.

 

“Thank you, Mama,” she said.

 

Two days later…

 

A wagon carrying two men and something with a quilt covering it and tied down with heavy rope, pulled into the yard at the Diablo ranch. Beulah came to the door and greeted the men/ “Where do you want this?” one asked.

 

“What is it?” she asked.

 

‘It’s a piano,” the man said.

 

“My land, I don’t know. Let me ask Miss Anna.” She turned and went back into the house and called out, “Miss Anna, you need to come out here.” She returned to the porch.

 

“What is it?”she asked as she came through the door.

 

“These gentlemen want to know where you want this here piano,” Beulah answered.

 

“Piano, what piano?” she asked.

 

One of the men removed the blanket and untied the ropes. “This one,” he said.

 

Now, beside herself with the unexpected gift, she was having trouble coming up with words to answer. Josiah came around the corner of the house. “What’s going on out here?”

 

“You bought me a piano. You actually bought the piano,” she said through the tears coursing down her cheeks.

 

“Oh yes, I guess I did.” Turning to the men, he said. “We’ll put it in the parlor. Do you need any help?”

 

“Yes sir, it’s kind of heavy,” the wagon driver said.

 

Josiah called for one of the hands at the corral to come over and give them a hand. The four of them turned the piano on its side and easily carried it up the steps and into the parlor. Beaulah moved one of the chairs already there to make room. After it was in place, Josiah thanked the men, who then left.

 

“What do you think?” he asked.

 

“I think you are wonderful. I haven’t done anything to deserve something as extravagant as this, but I love it,” she said.

 

“Play something for us,” he said.

 

She sat, flexed her fingers and began playing one of Chopin’s concertos, her eyes closed, a rapt expression on her face. Josiah picked Rebecca up, and holding her on his lap, they sat and listened to the impromptu concert.

 

Anna took Rebecca to bed and read her a story from a new children’s book she had also purchased in Cheyenne. After the traditional “happily ever after” ending, Anna tucked Rebecca in. Rebecca said, “I love you, Mama.”

 

Anna said, “And, I love you my darling,” and kissed her good night. When she left the room, her eyes were glistening with tears.

 

When she returned to the parlor, Josiah looked at her closely. “Are you all right?”

 

“Yes,” she answered, “It’s a girl thing. Now take me to bed and make love to me. It has been a wonderful day and I want to end it just right.”

 

She undressed him, and while he unbuttoned her dress, she clasped his member and pumped it vigorously. “Careful there. It might go off in your hand.”

 

“It had better not. I want it inside me when it goes off.” Removing the rest of her clothes, she sank back on the bed, pulling him on top of her and his head for a long, wet, and passionate kiss.

 

After kissing the tender skin on her neck and chest, he massaged the nipple on her left breast, then took it in his mouth. Groaning with passion, she looked into his eyes. “Do you think you can find that spot again?”

 

“I don’t know. Let me look for it.” He moved his head down her belly kissing and caressing every inch with his tongue. He reached the hairs guarding the entrance and parted the folds. Tracing the outer edges with his tongue, he moved his hand and then placed his mouth on the core of her being.

 

A long “Ohhhhhhh” escaped her mouth as she realized he had inserted his tongue and was exploring her inner being. He found the magic spot and began manipulating it with his tongue as the onrushing climax hit her. Exploding beneath his ministrations, she begin thrusting her hips strongly against him. Holding her hands on either side of his head, she pulled him down and pushed into his face again and again. Finally the wave ebbed and she released her hold on his head. Pulling him up, she kissed him. “I can taste me on your tongue,” she said, wonderingly. With the last bit of strength she had, she clasped his member and moved it into her chamber. He began moving on contact, but not before she wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled them down, forcing all of him deep within her body. Tightening and loosening the muscles in her lower abdomen, it was as if she was pulling him even deeper. Undulating her hips against his shaft, she tightened as the beginning of a climax came rushing from its hiding place. She continued moving, feeling him tighten and then she felt the initial spurt of his juices. He pumped harder, hammering her into the mattress as he emptied himself into her. Neither noticed he had not used protection. Neither cared.

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