|Family Ways Part One - Beau
Rating: PG13 for themes
Note: This is an idea that 's been poking me in the head for awhile. Just a short spec.The little girl and the family as a whole in the Benders creeped me out. I would like them to stop, please.
The characters and situations portrayed here are not mine, they belong to the WB. This is a fan authored work and no profit is being made. Please do not link to this story without appropriate warnings. Please do not archive this story without my permission.
He finds her where he expects to; sitting in the barn on a hay bale staring into the right hand cage. She's got Lee's old S&W in her hand, barrel gleaming, loaded but resting across her knees, muzzle pointed at the other cage.
He makes sure she hears him, coming up beside her and sees her eyes flicker toward him. The fella in the left cage snores and rolls over. The other one hasn't moved much. Could be Jarrod hit him a little too hard.
He sits down on the bale next to her, pulls off his jacket; it's a little chilly out here and she's got nothin' but her blue dress on and her mother's old sweater -- a worn old thing and still too big for her.
"You should come on in and go to bed, sugar. It's late," he says, quiet. He can be quiet around her, unlike the boys. He misses that sometimes. Her momma was a quiet one too.
"I will, in a little bit," she says but pulls his jacket up around her shoulders and smiles at him. She's got her momma's smile too.
"You waiting for him to wake up?" he asks.
Missy shakes her head. "Naw. Not really. I just…He's real handsome, ain't he, Pa? He's pretty like them men you see in the magazines."
He had to laugh at that, but he kept it low. Missy didn't much like being laughed at. "Well, I reckon he is, honey. I guess if you think so. Not like your brother's 'n me would know a good looking feller from an ugly one."
"Hmphf," she said and handed him the gun, getting closer so she could squat next to the cage. He moved up behind her, looking where she looked.
Boy'd been out for a good long while. He'd struggled some Lee said, but from the bruises both he and Jarrod had been sporting, he thought maybe this one struggled more than a little. Jarrod had hit him hard…might have broke his skull, which would mean he wouldn't be no use to them at all. But he seemed to be breathing okay; weren't blood leaking all over his cage, anyway.
"He's a big 'un, Missy. I'll give you that. Looks like he knows what hard work is," he said, offering his objective opinion. The boy had calluses on his hands, and they'd found a good scattering of scars and bruises when they'd stripped him down, taken his wallet. No more than a couple of dollars on him, though, which made Lee mad.
Missy reached in and let her fingers push his hair back. He almost jerked her back, but the boy really was out cold. He kept the gun ready though. She smoothed his hair, then her own. Smiled up at him. "I like him, Pa."
She made a face. "I know…I know we can't keep him. But you did say…you said," she said with that voice just like her momma's, "You said, when I got my blooding, that I could. I could pick one."
"I did, honey. I did promise you that…but…it's only been a few months--"
"It's been almost a year!" she said, exasperated, voice rising. The feller in the left hand cage stirred. "Ain't like I'm gonna meet me no boys in town. Won't even let me go with Lee for supplies no more."
That was more Lee's fault that anything, not looking after her, keeping an eye on her. Meant he couldn't go find him women or whiskey. Leaving Missy in the diner with a soda and ice cream -- anything could have happened to her. He about killed Lee for that and Jarrod weren't no better. Neither one of them with sense enough to know that Missy was special, like her momma had been.
"All, right…I know what I said, girl. And I keep my word." He scratched at his jaw, staring at the boy. He was young…good stock. "You sure? He's likely to fight."
She looked back at her chosen favorite. "Jarrod and Lee won't let him hurt me…and ain't like them two is going to be adding to the family any time, with them trollops they like so much."
He shook his head and chuckled, saw her smile. Yep, she had her brothers pretty well pegged most days. Still, Missy was young yet, but she did have her woman's blood flowing, and she wasn’t wrong that his two sons had yet to bring home either wives or grandchildren, though Lee had tried twice. But he tended to go for the feisty ones…and that one Jarrod had brought home...
Just as well. She was the devil's own, that one, killing herself and Jarrod's baby without a thought. If she'd been a month or two further along, they might have been able to save the baby. Wasn't no different than pulling out a calf. But they'd been too late.
"All right. You sleep on it and I will too, and we'll see if you still think he's the one when he wakes up…how about that?"
She wasn't all that happy, but she gave it thought, eyeing him. He met her gaze, Then she nodded. "Sleep on it. But I ain't going to change my mind, Pa. And that means Jarrod and Lee c'ain't hunt him. Not till I've got my piece of him. And you neither," she said seriously.
"You still feel the same way in the morning, you'll have my word on it, girl. That's a fact." He reached out, pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. She was a pretty one. Pretty as her momma, smart. Lida had said she'd be the smart one, the one who'd know what was right, do well by the family. She'd loved their sons, loved him, but she knew Missy was something special the first minute she laid eyes on her. "You go on in and get to bed, now."
She smiled at him, flung her arms around him. "I will, Pa. Thank you," she said and she was gone, looking back once at him and once at her beau.
Missy'd be the one to keep the family going. Be nice if he could find her a proper beau, a proper husband, proper addition to the family.
He got closer to the cage and stared down, chewing on his beard. Might be this one could be that. Maybe.
Jarrod said he'd come out with a bunch of books and papers, though. More maps and books in that car of his. This was a feller with some learning. More than his boys or Missy. In his experience, the ones with book learning didn't much care for the likes of them. Didn't understand family, didn't understand much of anything, living under laws and rules that didn't have nothing to do with the way God made a man to be.
But Missy was special. Maybe it'd be like that for her, like it was between him and Lida. If this boy thought his girl was special, maybe they'd give him a chance. See if he might…well, at least until the baby was born. Maybe that long. Even if he didn't stay, every man should get a chance to see his own child born.
He backed up, turned out the lights, glanced at he left hand cage. "Guess you'll be getting your chance first there," he said quietly and smiled. That'd settle Jarrod and Lee some. Let 'em get it out of their system. Missy had taken care of their women for 'em. Time they returned the favor.