“If you make a sound, you won’t be a mother for much longer.”
I swallowed hard and nodded, the tears running down my cheeks. It gave him a satisfaction to know he had rattled me. I had fought so hard to get myself to a place where I thought he couldn’t get to me anymore. I never should have come here with them. I should have stayed far away to protect them. He walked out of the room and I heard Mama walking towards me. We held onto each other and then she sat on the bed with Rosemary. She gestured to her to be quiet and we waited to hear who it was.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
The other man was not shouting, his voice was low but domineering. I recognized the voice from the saloon. It was the newcomer asking questions about her.
“A few people in town saw the man I questioned yesterday coming towards this cabin, said he looked a bit like the woman you asked me to find. I thought it might be her brother.”
I heard my husband laugh.
“She ain’t got no brothers.”
“Mind if I look inside?”
The man didn’t seem to wait for his respond, we heard his boots coming towards us, then a loud thud and everything went silent.
“Is anyone hurt?”
The man walked towards us and removed his hat before sitting on the bed. He untied me and checked my hands for any bruises. Rosemary came to sit on me and I hugged her for what seemed like an eternity.
“Mommy, why did daddy hurt me?”
I couldn’t stop myself from breaking down and crying, as Mama held us both close to her. The man looked at me and then Mama, trying to understand. I saw his eyes fill with understanding and he frowned.
“You are Elizabeth?”
I nodded and smiled.
“I should have seen it when I talked with you.”
He stood and walked out of the room. I left Mama with Rosemary and made my way to find him. My husband was tied to the kitchen table, slumped over in what seemed like deep sleep. I grabbed a pot and decided to make us all some tea, the man was sitting at the table, a strange look on his face.
“I do not know your name kind sir.”
He looked at me and smiled.
He tilted his head as he said it and held my gaze while I stood immobilized by his stare. I walked over and sat down beside him at the table.
“I am forever in your debt for saving my family.”
3 YEARS LATER
As I stood in the field, looking out at the wild flowers, I thought about the last three years of my life. My ex husband was in jail and he would be for a very long time. I didn’t have to worry about it for now and that made me happy. Rosemary, Mama and I could finally live together without fear dictating our every move. I was finally able to dress and act as a woman again, yet some things remained the same as when I was a man in disguise. I appreciated a glass of whiskey still and I met with Leeann weekly to just talk amongst women. The women of the brothel were so badly viewed outside of their work place, yet they were wonderful women who mostly just had bad luck and had found themselves in need of a safe place. Weirdly enough, the brothel was that place for them. Before my ex husband had been sentences to jail time, Boone had come around almost daily to check on us and make sure we were alright. At first is was very professional, talking only when Mama and Rosemary were in the room. As time when by, we rode our horses together and spent time alone to get to know each other. He was such a good person and I could feel it. He was not all fancy words and promised, he was sincere and always told me the truth even when I didn’t want to hear it. He got us through the mending of our hearts and I would forever be grateful to him. After a year had passed and he felt that we knew each other enough, he had gotten down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I said yes before he even finished, pulled him close and kissed him as I never had before. Rosemary was the flower girl at our wedding and Mama was of course my matron of honor. The four of us became a close knit family. As I touched my growing belly and smiled, I couldn’t help but think that the rest of our lives would be even happier.
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