Word count 825
The tall gray-headed man sat at his immense desk in the leather chair. He was waiting. Waiting for his sons. One he hadn’t seen since he was five years old, and then only briefly. The other not since he was two years old. He stared at the pictures of their mothers, wondering what they looked like now. Would they resemble him at all? Would he had been able to pick either of them out of a crowd? Sadly, he thought not. These were questions he had asked himself many times over the years, these and so many more. Like, where was Johnny? Why couldn’t he find him? It didn’t seem like such a difficult task. Until he found out who his youngest was, that is. Then he understood why it had been nearly impossible to locate the boy. When he finally was located, it was with seconds to spare. He shivered at the thought of his dark-haired, blue-eyed toddler standing in front of a firing squad. How did all this happen to him? To them? He hated to admit it but he was nervous. A gunfighter was about to walk into his home and he had no idea what the man was like, if he was so hardened and cold that nothing would reach him. Was it too late, was redemption impossible for them both? Then there was the eldest. Fair-haired, blue-eyed and … and that’s about all he knew. He had been in the army during the war, had been captured. That much he knew. He had gone to Harvard, that was at least something. At least Garrett supplied him with an education. He couldn’t picture Scott now. The little boy he had seen was so proper, so polite and distant. He wondered what kind of childhood he could have had with Garrett, the cold and vengeful man who had stolen his son.
He stood up and looked out the picture window, watching as the surrey rolled in. He had heard the vaqueros yelling, announcing their arrival. He tried to get a look at them but the surrey drove out of his view too quickly. Both of them! At the same time?! He hadn’t planned on that. He was hoping to meet them one at a time so he could get the chance to size them up. But now there wasn’t time, that was always the problem, not enough time. He needed their help, things were getting worse, fast. He knew they would think he only wanted them here to help save the ranch but it wasn’t true. He wanted them desperately, just as he had for so many years, since their births. He knew he wouldn’t be able to tell them that. He had said the words in his head a hundred times and every time it was sorely inadequate to how he felt. He was not a man given to emotions which he attributed to his own father’s coldness. He was worried they wouldn’t understand and he knew he would not be able to find the words when he needed them.
He sat back down in his chair and looked at the pictures of his wives then placed them back in the drawer as he heard the knock at the living room door. “Come in,” he called and stood up to meet his grown sons face to face for the first time that either could probably remember seeing him. He wondered what they would think of him. What their first impressions would be. Well, it didn’t matter what they thought of him at first, did it? They walked into the room. Scott stepped into the middle of the room, Johnny stayed back. ‘Doing some sizing of his own, no doubt,’ he thought. He was tall and thin, too thin maybe. Blond hair, pale blue eyes…his mother’s eyes. He stood straight and proud and Murdoch felt his own sense of pride for the boy. He was well-dressed, too much so for this country, but Murdoch knew he was a greenhorn out here. Johnny slumped in the back of the room, raven black hair and …. my God those eyes! He was looking at him with … almost like a deep need in those startling eyes. Dressed in Mexican clothes, Murdoch did not miss the way he wore his gun, slung low on the hip just like a … well, a gunfighter. He briefly wondered what they thought of each other and almost smiled. Handsome, both of them and so different. “Drink,” he clipped.
“No, thank you,” Scott answered.
“You drink,” he turned to Johnny and pointed his cane toward him for a second.
“When I know the man I’m drinkin with,” Johnny replied softly.
“Well, I want a drink,” Murdoch said as he turned, thinking he needed more than wanted a drink.
“You got somethin to say old man, say it,” Johnny said, his voice was as soft but cold and hard-edged.
‘Oh boy, this one is going to be trouble’, Murdoch thought. He had never been so right in his life.
Comments: We don’t have this author’s current email address. If you leave a comment below, if she reconnects with the fandom, then she will see how much her work is appreciated.