Chapter 55 Epilogue
It took a week to get home to Little Bend. It was still hot and dry, even in winter, and Beauregard welcomed the change in weather. He never could understand how Jessie put up with the cold in Montana, and he was glad to be out of it.
He went to Bentley's for dinner and shared the news of Beau's engagement. Ben was concerned at first with the age difference, but Pappy assured him that 'his boy' had made a wise choice. Georgia was kind, thoughtful, charming and made a great partner for Beau. She was smart and a good businesswoman and she truly loved Beau, whatever his faults. Ben assured his brother that he would send his wife's ring to his son for the soon-to-be Mrs. Maverick.
Pappy felt at peace when he returned home but there was still something that needed to be taken care of. He found the box of important papers he kept and searched through everything until he found it. The one thing he had of Jessie's and what Jody Mayfield had searched so desperately for when the Maverick's first came to Silver Creek – Jessalyn Maverick's real will. Before she died, Jessie informed Jody that there was a will the Maverick's had. She told Jody to search for it, since the one left with Hiram Foster in Silver Creek was NOT the correct one. Jody assumed that when Jessie said 'the Maverick's' had it, it was with one of the nephews. That was her mistake and the reason she couldn't find the actual document. Beauregard Maverick, her big brother in Little Bend, Texas had it.
He opened the original set of papers and read through them. Then he read them again to make sure he'd understood everything. Jessie left almost everything, not to Edgar Pike or her three nephews, but to Jody Mayfield Maverick, her daughter.
Jessie sent Beauregard a letter with the document, and he unfolded that now and read it again:
My Dear Big Brother Beauregard -
I hope this letter finds you well. I wish I could say the same, the doctor fears consumption and it appears he may be right. I am sending you the will that I had an attorney in Denver prepare for me. It will take precedence over the will prepared for me locally by Hiram Foster, my attorney in Silver Creek. Please do not produce this actual will until Edgar has been dealt with, as I fear he will learn the true parentage of our daughter, Jody.
There are only three people on this earth who know that I am, in fact, Jody's real mother - Georgia Mayfield, me and now yourself. I could not ask for a truer and more loyal friend than Georgia, who gave my baby girl a home so that she would not have to grow up around Edgar. I can never repay the love and kindness that she has shown me over the years. I would be truly lost without her friendship.
Please send the boys to Silver Creek to deal with Edgar once I am gone. Don't tell them until you have to of the subterfuge that we have undertaken in order to protect Jody. I'm sure they are fine young men and will be able to handle Edgar and whatever trouble he attempts to bring their way.
I miss you and Bentley and Micah and long to see my family once more before I go, but I fear that is not meant to be. Please know that I have always loved my brothers, especially you and Ben, and you have always been and will always be in my heart. Bless you and our unwitting accomplices in this ruse, and may everything turn out for the best.
Your loving sister,
It had been a long time since Pappy read Jessie's letter, and as always, it broke his heart. How ironic that he had almost sacrificed his youngest son's life in order to protect Jessie's secret. He said a prayer to thank God that Bart had survived everything he'd been through and they'd all come out the other side. Jody owned 2/3 of the saloon that bore their name thanks to Bart and Bret's generosity. He had no doubt that Beau's share would someday be hers, too. And Jessie's house and the ranch was in possession of Georgia, who would also soon be a Maverick. It was no wonder that Bart felt such a close kinship with Jody; not only were they cousins but Bart finally knew of his strong resemblance to the aunt he'd never met, Jody's mother.
Pappy stoked the fire that he'd started for this occasion. Gently he laid Jessie's will on one of the burning logs and watched it go up in flames. The edges curled up and then the middle of the paper, and finally all that was left was a pile of ashes. Then he kissed the letter good-bye and laid it on the same log. It too burned to nothing.
Beauregard looked at the old photo that had sat for so long on Edgar Pike's mantel and sighed. Jessie Maverick was home at last, back among her kin where she belonged.
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