But here is Triple Creek Ranch. :)
“It wouldn’t be far away if you moved to the city. You said there were several reasons, what other reasons do you have?”
Should he, dare he tell her the entire reason? He didn’t want to, for he was afraid. Not of his sister’s temper but of his own. “Always speak the truth, Norman, always!” The words of his uncle Hiram echoed in his mind. Very well, he would tell the truth, but he sent up a swift cry for help from the One who always hears.
“That is one reason, Orlena. Another is the cost. That school is very expensive, not including the train fares to and from town for vacations and holidays. But the biggest reason is that I have seen graduates from that school and . . .” here he paused and drew a breath. “I have no desire to see my sister act or look like one of them.” There, the whole truth was out. Norman braced himself for an explosion.
“You would rather see your sister, the granddaughter of one of the most respected families in Blank City brought up as a country drudge instead of an accomplished young lady?” Orlena’s voice had risen to a shout. “I told you you only cared for yourself! All you want is a slave to do your bidding. Well, I won’t be a slave! I won’t! I won’t!” Springing to her feet, the spoiled, pampered, outraged girl hurled her book across the room at her brother. “Bring down my trunk at once,” she screamed, looking wildly around for anything else to throw. “You don’t love me! No one loves me!”
Norman crossed the room and grasped his sister’s shoulders. “Orlena!” He gave her a light shake to get her attention, “Stop that screaming,” he ordered sternly. “It is because I do love you that I won’t let you go back to that school. Now that is enough. You’re acting like a baby.”
At that Orlena stopped her screaming and stood still at once. “Did you call me a baby?” she demanded furiously.
“No, I simply said you were acting like one.” Or like a spoiled brat, he thought to himself.
Twitching away from her brother’s hands the irritated girl turned away. “I want to go home,” she pouted.
Feeling exasperated by Orlena’s constant selfishness, Norman knew he had to end this conversation quickly or he would lose his temper. The room was now quite dark, for the sun had set, and after a hard day of work, the master of Triple Creek Ranch was tired. This did not help any.
Then, into the darkness a light sprang on and a quiet voice spoke. “Aren’t you two ever going to stop talking and get to bed?”
Norman and Orlena both looked up startled. There in the doorway stood Jenelle. Her light hair was loose about her shoulders and she smiled. Seeing Norman open his mouth, Jenelle gently shook her head and beckoned to Orlena. “Come dear. You must be tired. Would you like a glass of milk before going to bed?”
Like one in a daze, Orlena nodded and followed her sister-in-law without a word.
Left alone in the room, Norman dropped exhausted into the chair Orlena had vacated and leaned his head wearily on his hand. Would this be life for the next ten years, he wondered. Why was this job of helping Orlena left to him? And Jenelle wasn’t feeling well, and they needed rain soon and . . . Norman Mavrich groaned.
“My poor Norman. Why did you try to talk to her now when you were already tired and so was she?” the gentle chiding of Jenelle’s voice sounded sweetly at his elbow.
“What are you doing up?” he asked, putting out his hand and drawing his little wife to his knees and ignoring her question. “You should be in bed.”
A soft little laugh was the only answer and Jenelle laid her head on her husband’s shoulder.
“What did you do with my sister?” he asked at last.
“She’s my sister too,” his wife quietly reminded him. “I gave her a glass of milk and let her go up to bed. Poor girl, I feel sorry for her, Norman.”
“Sorry for Orlena?” And Norman peered down into his wife’s face.
“Yes, sorry. She doesn’t know what she really wants. She thinks she wants to be in society because she thinks that is what is going to satisfy the longing of her heart.”
“What longings does she have besides for fine things and her own way?”
“Didn’t you hear her cry?” Jenelle sat up, her face troubled and the tears in her eyes gleaming in the gas light. “She wants love. I heard her from upstairs, Dear. That is what she is missing.”
The rancher’s face was puzzled. “But Darling,” he protested, “she had Grandmother’s love. She was given everything she wanted.”
“That is just my point. She had a sort of love. No doubt your grandmother thought she was giving her all her love, but true love doesn’t give you everything you want, but what you really need. The problem with Orlena is that she doesn’t know what true love really is and so when she doesn’t get her way, she thinks that love is missing.”
“And it doesn’t help if I lose my temper with her either,” Norman sighed.
Jenelle leaned her head once more on Norman’s shoulder and closed her eyes. Her head still ached and she was tired.
After a few minutes Norman spoke quietly. “Let’s get up to bed instead of falling asleep here in the chair.”
Leaving the light off in her room, Orlena undressed quickly and flung herself onto her bed. Never did she remember being so miserable. Her head ached and her heart ached. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted, but she knew she didn’t have it. The lump in her throat grew bigger and at last she let the tears come and cried herself to sleep.
Thoughts or Ideas?