It is the false shame of fools to try to conceal wounds that have not healed. ~ Horace
It was the first letter he had recieved from his brother in six years. The first letter and all good news.
Calhoon was dead. Jake was comfortably situated on a ranch. He was breeding horses, something he had always wanted to do. And to top it off he was getting married. This wasn't just an informatary letter. It was a wedding intivation.
A hand on his shoulder made him fold the paper and look up.
"Bad news?" She asked him. He shook his head.
"No, good news. I received word that Calhoon is dead. It's over, June, we can go on with our lives without his constant threat."
"Oh, that is good news!" Her face lit up and her eyes shone. She gave a sigh of relief and kneeling down, put her arms around him. "Any news of Jake?"
He hestitated for a moment. "Nope," he lied.
"Pity," she sighed. "It's a shame he had to disappear like that. Does he know Calhoon is dead?"
"I wonder how he is gettin' along whever he is," She kept on musing. "Any news of Rachel?"
"Negative as well," he replied, this time truthfully. "There's no way to find her and tell Momma it's safe to come back."
"Oh well," she sighed once more. "Now that Calhoon gone we can finally get around to raising'a family. We've been married for, what? Two years and still no children. Momma is startin' to get worried...I'm starten' to get worried. What if somethin' is the matter with me?"
He laughed and stroked her worried face. "All in good time, June, all in good time. Maybe it was fate's way of protectin' us. Just you wait, now that we're no longer at constant threat of danger the kids will start comin' and we won't know what to do with them."
She laughed, kissed his cheek and went off, saying something about lunch. When she was gone he opened the letter once again and after reading it a fourth time, pulled out a match and struck it across his boot.
"Sorry, Jake," he said, putting the letter to the little flame "But if you knew the truth about me, you wouldn't be invitin' me to your wedding. I'm glad you're happy and that things have turned out so well and wonderful for you, but I can't meet up with you. Not yet. Still, I finally know your whereabouts, so don't worry, if I'll ever need you, I know where to find you."