After what felt like hours they finally arrived at the house. Sarah was surprised, it was a beautiful country ranch home and it rivaled her beloved plantation home. The house was white, two stories with a porch wrapping all the way around. There were several rocking chairs and a large hanging porch swing and the house had large windows to let in the sunshine. The grass around the house was greener and there were bushes of flowers hearty enough to endure the Texas heat. As they walked into the home it was just as beautiful inside. Wood floors with warm colors and furniture. To one side was a sitting room with French doors in the back that she could see led to a study. The other a dining room. A door in the back of the dining room led to what she assumed was the kitchen. Past the staircase she could see large doors that took you outside to the back side of the house.
As Sarah walked up the stairs she could see the doors to several bedrooms and she wondered which one was hers.
Brick led her down the hall, “This one is yours and Sterling’s.” Sarah looked at him with wide eyes. She had almost forgotten they were married.
Sarah gulped, “Oh, yes, thank you Papa Brick.”
He placed a hand on her shoulder and with a warm smile left her to the room.
She entered and looked around at her new place. The room was large, this must be the master bedroom. There was a large four-post bed in the center of the room. The walls were a light green color which lightened the room because of all the rich woods. There was a large armoire with a changing screen next to it and a boudoir painted white with a mirror and a chair. There was a door to the side that led to the powder room. It was a nice room she thought to herself before there was a tap on the door.
“We have your things, Miss Sarah.”
Sarah walked over to the door and opened it.“Come in,” she said, smiling sweetly. “Thank you for bringing all of those up.”
“It’s no problem ma’am.” The man held out his hand, “I’m Garrett, Mr. Evan’s head rancher. You’ll probably see me around the house quite often.”
Sarah took his hand, “Glad to meet you, Garrett. Are you married?”
“No ma’am,” Garrett chuckled, “not too many women interested in a ranch hand, but I’ll admit I was surprised when I heard you and Mr. Sterling got hitched up. I thought for sure.. oh never mind. Please to meet you ma’am.”
Sarah gave him a confused look before finally giving a small wave. After unpacking all of her things Sarah headed downstairs and out onto the front porch. She thought she was alone before hearing some clanging in the back of the house. She found her way back to the kitchen to find a young woman banging away in the kitchen. She was older than Sarah, maybe early thirties.
The woman turned around startled. “Oh my! You must be Miss Sarah. I’m so glad you are here. There’s only one other woman, the old lady Anne who comes from town once a week to do the cleaning.” The woman wiped her hands on her apron and held out a hand, “I’m Martha.”
Sarah took her hand and smiled warmly, “I’m Sarah, so glad to meet you.”
Martha smiled, looking her up and down, “Aren’t you hot in that massive dress?”
“I’m just about dying but I can’t seem to reach the top lace.” Sarah laughed, “Could you come help me out of it when you’re finished?”
“Oh goodness, come on.” Martha took her hand and pulled her back through the house.
“I don’t want to interrupt your work, I can wait, honestly,” she stammered as she was rushed up the stairs.
“Oh nonsense, I’m practically done. Us girls need to stick together. We’ll get you changed and then we can go sit on the back porch with some lemonade and I’ll tell you all about the place.”
Sarah smiled, glad that there was a friend here.
After she changed into something lighter they made their way out back and sat in some oversized rocking chairs, lemonades in hand.
“I’m surprised how beautiful it is out here,” Sarah said, “the train station was so horrible.”
Martha laughed, “It’s God’s country out here. Sunny, open fields and hills that go on forever.”
Sarah watched Martha, she could tell she loved her home here.
“So what do you want to know?” Martha asked.
Sarah thought to herself, “Papa Brick gave Sterling and I the master bedroom, does that mean that Mrs...”
“Mrs. Evans passed away some time ago.” Martha lowered her head, “That woman was all fire and light and joy. She was the kindest soul I’ve ever met.”
“Poor Brick...” Sarah whispered.
“That man doted on her. She was the love of his life. And Mr. Sterling was everything to her.”
Sarah and Martha sat in silence for a minute, mourning the woman Sarah wished she had known.
Martha ran her hands through her hair, “Well, anything you don’t like to eat? Any requests?”
Sarah shook her head, “Not really. Oh! Martha how are your grits?” Sarah wasn’t about to live the rest of her life with grits like the ones she had on the train.
“Honestly I’ve never made them before. I’d have to order a bag from the store.”
Sarah beamed, “If you like I can teach you. They’re easy to make, and if you make them well then they’re the most delicious thing!”
“I’d love that. Make something these men will eat other than hot cakes and biscuits.” Martha and Sarah both laughed.
Marth stood up, “Well, I better get started on dinner.”
“If you show me where everything is I can set the table,” Sarah offered.
“Oh no! You’re the lady of the house, no need.”
Sarah rolled her eyes, "Yes, and as lady of the house I can help with whatever. Just show me where it all is.”
Martha laughed and showed her to the dining room.