Friday, May 6, 2011

Ranch - Part 3

Good Morning FFFs,
Here I am at another conference. This time in Springfield. Set up went well yesterday. We'll see how today goes. Going to go eat breakfast in just a few minutes. I hope you enjoy this part 3 of the Ranch story. And I still need a name for the ranch.
What would you like to read next Friday? Another Ranch or something else? Let me know. Enjoy!

Part 3

For a long time, Norman sat with the letter in his hand, staring
into space. So, his grandmother had realized what she had done to
Orlena, yet it was up to him and Jenelle to try and help her. He
wondered how hard it would be. After all, he hadn’t even seen his
sister for over a year, and the last time he saw her was only for two
days. What would she think of living on a ranch? A slight smile tugged
at the corners of his mouth as he tried to picture Orlena milking cows
or feeding chickens. At last he roused and began to make himself
presentable for table. He had no dinner jacket, only his best Sunday
clothes which his wife had so carefully packed for him. These he
donned, wishing she were here with him and wondering what she was
doing. These pleasant thoughts were interrupted by the dinner bell.
Again, as Norman passed down the hallway, he paused before his sister’s
door. Was she already at the table? Shrugging, he made his way down the
broad stairway and into the dining room. There he found Mrs. O’Connor.
“I hope you had a nice rest, Norman,” that good woman said. “You
weren’t wanting anything, were you?” “Everything was quite comfortable,
Mrs. O’Connor. Thank you. But,” he raised an eyebrow and looked
questioningly at the housekeeper, “is Orlena--?” “That I do not know.
She won’t answer my knocks on the door. I even told her you had
arrived, but as well I might have been talking to the china cabinet for
all the reply I got.” Norman’s brows drew together. Then, as one of the
servants entered, he addressed her. “Go up to Miss Orlena’s room,
please, and say her brother awaits her in the dining room.” The maid
dropped a curtsy and departed. Softly drumming his fingers on the back
of a chair, Norman waited. Would Orlena come? He rather doubted it. But
he would wait a little while and see. In a moment, the maid was back.
“Please sir, Miss Orlena asks that you excuse her tonight.” Norman
nodded, though he sighed to himself. “I don’t think this will be very
easy.” Aloud he said, “Then, Mrs. O’Connor, you will join me for
supper, won’t you? I’m afraid it would be too lonely to eat by myself.”
His smile was bright and Mrs. O’Connor was happy to accept. The meal,
full of talk, of news and reminiscences, was a pleasant affair and
helped dispel the feeling of oppression Norman always felt in his
grandmother’s stately mansion. Hardly had the meal been concluded, when
Mr. Athey was announced. Norman led the way to the library and shut the
door behind them. It was late when Mr. Athey departed, and Norman,
after seeing the lawyer to the door, made his way through the darkened
house to his room where a light had been left low. Closing the door and
leaving the light dim, he slowly prepared for rest. His mind was busy
with all he had heard and the decisions which must now be made. It felt
like months ago that he had left his home. Surely it couldn’t have been
that morning! At last, turning out the light, Norman dropped to his
knees beside the bed. There, after spending much earnest time in
prayer, he was filled with peace and, dropping wearily into bed, fell
instantly to sleep. “I did get a response out of Miss Orlena this
morning, Norman.” Mrs. O’Connor was bustling around the breakfast room
preparing for the morning meal while the grandson of her late mistress
looked on. “Oh? And what did my sister have to say?” “That she would be
down to breakfast with you.” Norman’s eyebrows raised in surprise.
Perhaps things wouldn’t be so hard after all. Could Orlena herself be
wanting to change? Norman found himself, for the first time since he
had arrived, looking forward to seeing his sister. At that moment, the
door opened, and Orlena entered. Though she was only eleven, Orlena
Mavrich somehow managed to give the impression that she was at least
sixteen by the way she carried herself and the fine, young lady styles
she wore. At boarding school she, like the other young ladies, had been
made to wear a uniform, but here in her grandmother’s house where she
was allowed
to do much as she liked, she dressed as she pleased. This morning her
dress of rich black silk with the rows and rows of plaiting, ribbons
and lace, as well as a slight train, gave her brother a start. Who was
this? Surely not his little sister! What could their grandmother have
been thinking to let this child wear such ridiculous clothes? If the
truth be known, Old Mrs. Mavrich would never have allowed such a get
up, but upon her death, Orlena gave orders that she must have a proper
mourning dress. None dared go against her wishes and thus the dress
came to be. Mrs. O’Connor watched Norman’s face as he gazed in
unconcealed astonishment. She saw his brows draw together and his mouth
slowly settle into a frown. In the past this brother and sister had
clashed nearly as often as they spoke, but always Mrs. Mavrich had been
there to somehow smooth things over. At least, to smooth things for her
beloved granddaughter. In vain Mrs. O’Connor had offered suggestions.
Now, however, there was no one for Orlena to fly to if her will was
crossed in any way, and the good housekeeper could only wait, wondering
what would happen. She didn’t have long to wait, for Orlena broke the
silence. “So, Norman, you have decided to come for a visit after
Grandmother is dead.” She gave a sniff and dabbed at her eyes with a
fine, lace-trimmed handkerchief. Swallowing back a retort he knew he
would regret, Norman forced himself to smile and say calmly, “I wish I
could have come at a more pleasant time, but ranch life wasn’t made for
frequent absences.”

1 comment:

Abigail in WI said...

Looking foward to reading the next part of this story because I think this is as far as you posted it on Scribblers :)
ps. enjoyed the Western on Wednesday! :)