Chapter 54 End of the Road
Two days later Pappy boarded a south bound stage. He'd arrived not knowing if his youngest son was alive or dead and he left knowing that, while not yet well, Bart was finally on the road to recovery. Bret would ride the stage to Dry Springs with his brother and might even stay awhile at the Crawford Ranch. Beau had taken his Uncle Beauregard aside and told him that he'd asked Georgia for her hand in marriage and the lady had said yes. He promised to get Abigail's ring from Bentley and get it back to Beau as quickly as he could. He kissed Jody and hugged her tight to him, looking in the pale blue eyes of his sister's doppelganger and knowing 'The Three Mavericks' saloon was where it belonged.
Georgia and Jody had a wonderful mother-daughter talk about Beau and everyone seemed to be at peace with the decision to marry. Sheriff Mort Bowman was informed by the mayor and town council that he was being replaced by Marshal Travis Cole, whom they'd hired away from Fern Creek. Marshal Cole was single. Hiram Foster informed Georgia that the JP Ranch was now hers. Edgar Pike had died intestate, and Jessie named Georgia as her contingent beneficiary.
Bret and Bart started making plans to leave Silver Creek within the next week. Bart was getting stronger every day and used the cane sporadically now; by the time they boarded the stage to Denver he probably wouldn't need it at all.
Doc Washburn decided to retire and sent for a new young doctor he knew that could handle the increasing populace in town. His name was Beckham Dooley and he, too was single. The possibilities for Jody seemed endless.
Beau and Georgia formally announced their engagement and Beau moved his belongings to Georgia's house. Georgia officially moved to the JP ranch and renamed it 'The Mother Lode.' She still spent most nights in town with Beau. They had to hire three more girls at the saloon and, as was Jessie's practice, looked for girls who needed jobs the most.
Packing day arrived and Bret packed for both of them. The Denver stage left at eight a.m. and they had to be ready to go. Bart promised to meet Jody for dinner and Harry escorted her up to the hotel dining room so that Maverick didn't have to go too far. She looked absolutely radiant tonight and even though she was sad to see Bart leave, knew in her heart that if she ever needed him, he would be there. Besides, some day she would marry and have babies and tell them all about their Uncle Bartley.
They had a pleasant meal and talked about anything and everything, and when it was time to go Jody kissed Bart on the cheek, waved good-bye and told him, "I love you, Bartley."
"I love you too, Jody Mayfield Maverick. I wish you all the happiness in the world."
The next morning Bret carried his and Bart's luggage to the stage and helped his brother board. Beau, Georgia and Jody along with Hiram Foster and Doc Washburn saw them off. And that was the end of their sojourn in Silver Creek, Montana this time.