Western Fiction posted April 26, 2009 Chapters:  ...8 9 -10- 11... 


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Leland asks the Colonel for Cindy's hand.

A chapter in the book THE TOUGH BREED

Jumping The Broom

by c_lucas



Background
Check Author's notes before reviewing.
Special thanks to BW. I appreciate your help.

The Peralt Land scandal led to violence pitting settlers against new arrivals that had fallen for the farce.

Lunch at the K-Bar-K was noisier than usual. Leland and Slim were having a discussion with the Colonel. The subject was the new horses; Amanda in particular.

Tea and his foreman, Ray, followed by the other three cowhands, were a little late. They entered the dining room and Tea walked over to the Colonel to introduce his men.

 “Colonel, I’ve introduced you to my foreman, Ray. These other three misfits are Bucky O’Malley, Sure Shot Henderson and Antonio Gomez.

The three men mentioned nodded at the Colonel, when each was introduced.

“I believe I met Mr. Henderson when I visited the Rocking R.”

Tea smiled, “I believe you did. He was getting over a gunshot wound in the foot.”

The Cup crew laughed good naturedly.

Sure Shot chuckled. “You gave me some good advice, Colonel.  If I remember correctly, you told me to make sure I wasn’t aiming at my foot when I fired my gun. My accident ended my desire to be quick on the draw.”

Ray joined in, “At least we know his brains ain’t in his feet. He’s still got them.”

The new guests sat near the foot of the table. Tea took his place next to K. D.

Within minutes, Cookie brought in a new pot of coffee.  She served everyone except Leland and Slim. “I wants you two in da kit’hen.”

Leland went to protest. “Can this wait?  I’m ….”  Seeing Cookie’s stern eyes glaring at him, Leland stood.  “Yes, ma’am.”  He followed Cookie to the kitchen with Slim tagging along.

Cindy excused herself and followed Slim. She wasn’t surprised when Leland began to unbutton his shirt. She joined Slim, who was standing behind the young foreman, waiting for Cookie’s orders.

Cookie unpinned the bandage and began to unwrap  it from Leland’s waist and chest.

Cindy gasped when she saw his whole left side bruised and discolored. She accepted the bandage when Cookie handed it to her.

Leland saw the ointment, steaming water, and towels. He stood perfectly still without commenting.

Cindy began rolling up the long bandage.

Cookie cleaned Leland’s side and glared at Slim, “Grab him lik’ ya did last nite.”

Cindy placed the end of the bandage at the top of the bruise and stepped back while holding it in place.

Cookie rewrapped the bandage around Leland and pinned it back in place.

Cindy helped him with his shirt.

Cookie dismissed Slim with a shake of her head and glared at the young couple with both hands on her massive hips. She waited for Slim to leave. “I’se tol’ da Col’nel ya two wanted to talk to him.”

“Why would you do that?” Cindy asked.
“Chile’, if’n I’se have to tell ya, ya too young!”

“You want me to ask for Cindy’s hand?”

“Dat’s rite!”

The young couple looked at each other. 
Cindy turned back to Cookie. “Don’t you think he ought to ask me first?”

Cookie increased her glare at Leland who was becoming uncomfortable.

“Uh, Cindy, will you marry me?”

“Now?”

“I mean, I’ll ask your father's permission after you agree.”

Cookie’s glare did not work as well on Cindy.

“I don’t know….”

“Wat ya mean, ya don’t know?”

“Cookie, don’t you think this should be done in private?”

“It is privat’. Jus’ da t’ree of us!”

Cindy looked from Cookie to Leland.  “I guess she isn’t going to let us out of here until I say ‘yes’”

“Good. Da Col’nel will see you two aft’r lunch.” Cookie picked up a bowl of potatoes and left the kitchen.

Cindy looked at Leland. “Do you really want to marry me?”

Leland smiled and kissed her. “Yes.”

Cindy put her arms around his neck, hugged and kissed him.

Leland ignored the pain in his chest and returned her kiss more passionately.
**
After lunch, the Colonel straightened his hat and retired to his office.

Slim, Tea and The Cup ranch hands went back to the horses.

Cookie took over Cindy’s chore of clearing the table. She glared at the young couple and nodded toward the Colonel’s office.

Leland took Cindy’s hand and knocked gently.

“Enter.”

The nervous young couple entered slowly.

K.D. smiled and stood. He motioned toward two chairs.

Leland released Cindy’s hand and took off his hat.

They sat down.

“What did you want to see me about?” The Colonel took his seat behind the desk.

Leland cleared his throat, “I’ve come to ask for Cindy’s hand in marriage.”

The couple stared at the Colonel, who did not reply to the request.

K.D.'s face was expressionless when he looked at his daughter. “Is this what you want?”

“Yes, Father.”

K.D. lowered his head so his hat would cover his smile. Once he had control, he looked somberly at the young couple, “When do you want to do this?”

Leland and Cindy exchanged looks of indecision.

The Colonel stated two well-known facts, “We are beginning spring roundup and I will be leaving in June to go to Santa Fe for Peralta’s trial.”

Leland, not knowing he was falling into a snare, opened his mouth, “We could get married on Sunday after church services.”

K.D. looked at his daughter, “Who would be your bride maid?”

Cindy smiled and answered, “Cookie.”

“Have you asked her?”

“No, but I’m sure she will be happy to do it.”

“What about a wedding dress?”

“I have that traveling outfit I wore when I returned home. Maybe Cookie can alter it.”

The Colonel smiled. “I still have your mother’s wedding dress in a chest in the attic. Maybe you would prefer wearing it?”

“I would love to wear it.” 

“Then, you have my blessings.” The Colonel and Leland stood and shook hands.

Cindy hugged her father and he kissed her on the forehead.

She turned and exchanged kisses with Leland.

“Cindy, you best go talk to Cookie, and Leland, I think you have some horses to examine.” The Colonel smiled as they hurried from his office.

**
After a brief discussion with Cookie, the young couple hurried to the corrals.   Dusty and The Cup’s cowhands were busy with the horses.

Leland noticed that Sidewinder was still saddled and tied outside of the corral.

Tea, mounted on Thunder, smiled at them and waited for them to join him. He looked at Cindy. “Are you ready to ride Amanda?”

Cindy glanced at Leland. 

He smiled. “Go ahead. I’ve got to check on the horses and cattle.”

She nodded at Tea and mounted Amanda.

The mare stood still and waited for Tea to lead off with Thunder. She followed and after about a mile, whinnied and tossed her head.

Tea laughed, “Amanda is challenging Thunder to a race.  They use to race all the time back home.”

“Who was the winner?”

“Why don’t you find out for yourself?” Tea whistled and Thunder took off like a shot.

Amanda was quick to follow and, after a while, caught up with the bigger horse.

Cindy didn’t notice that Tea was holding his horse with a tight rein, keeping Thunder from running at his full potential. 

Amanda took the lead.

When Amanda began to break away, Tea eased his grip and Thunder closed the gap, but he wasn’t allowed to take the lead.

The race ended at the creek. Amanda was a few feet ahead of Thunder.

Cindy jumped down and petted her horse. She loosened the cinch and removed the halter. Amanda stood there.

Tea did likewise with Thunder. Both horses, with heaving chests, stood still.

Cindy did her best to urge Amanda to the creek, but was unsuccessful.

“Drink,” Tea said and Thunder went to the creek for water, followed by Amanda.

“What is going on?” Cindy asked, puzzled by Amanda’s behavior.

“Would you drink before your father had a glass in hand?”

“No, but what does that have to do with the horses?”

“Thunder is Amanda’s father. She’s just showing respect and letting him drink first. Why don’t you thank her?”

“Thank you, Amanda.” Cindy was surprised when the horse curtsied. She laughed out loud and clapped her hands.

“Loosen your hat and ask Amanda what she thinks of it.”

Cindy did as Tea suggested. “Amanda, what do you think of my hat?”

The mare came to her and knocked Cindy’s hat off with her muzzle and snorted.

“How many tricks does she know?”

“More than you can learn in one afternoon.”

“How did you get her to kneel?”

“Rub your left hand across your knee.”

Cindy did and Amanda kneeled. Cindy laughed and petted her mare.

Tea handed Cindy a couple of sugar cubes. He fed one to Thunder while Cindy did likewise to Amanda.
**
For the next couple of hours, Tea showed how to put Amanda through some of her paces. Images of Rachel filled his mind, but he hid his sadness from Cindy.
**
Leland watched Tea and Cindy as they rode off. He turned his attention toward the corrals. He walked over to begin examining the horses, along with Dusty.

After a horse’s examination was completed, one of Tea’s cowhands would lead the horse to another corral.
.
When all the horses had been examined, Leland picked out a couple of geldings for himself.

Dusty made a mental note of his choices.

Satisfied that everything was going well, Leland left the corral and walked over to Sidewinder. He mounted and the horse began to unwind. Leland held on until Sidewinder settled down. The foreman took his first breath since mounting and winced at the pain. He was thankful he wasn’t riding the Sidewinder of old.

The horse’s movements caused Leland to press his left hand against his side. He took a more moderate breath and urged the horse forward. He kept the stallion at an easy pace as he headed for the box canyon.
**
Slim stopped what he was doing and rode out to meet the foreman. “We have gathered the Circle C cattle and herded them across the creek. We should be finished with the round up by tomorrow. You want to be here for the count?”

Leland nodded, “That’s good… The Colonel has given me his approval.”

“When’s the wedding?”

“Sunday, after church services.”

“I guess I best move my stuff into the bunkhouse.”

“For Cindy’s sake, I agree.”

“Do you want me to name the riders for the night herd?”

“Gather the boys, first. I’ll name them.”

Leland decided the three newest cowhands would guard the large herd. They could set up camp near the entrance to the canyon, which would keep the cattle from escaping. He would leave Pecos in charge. The rest would have part of Saturday and most of Sunday off.

Before most of the crew headed for the ranch, Leland told them of his forthcoming marriage. 

The ride back to the ranch was filled with good natured razzing. Leland did not notice Panhandle’s unusual silence.

The cowhands' dinner was waiting for them in the community dining area. It was part of Dusty’s  job to bring the prepared food from Cookie’s kitchen.

Once the meal was over and Dusty returned from his last trip to Cookie’s kitchen, Panhandle outlined his plan for kidnapping Cindy. After a brief discussion, her ransom price was decided on.

The cowboys knew the price would be far above the young foreman’s means.  Everyone laughed when Panhandle mentioned Leland would need help in paying the ransom.



Recognized


NOTE: I am still experimenting with Cookie's dialect.
The following is the authors notes. It is not necessary to rate it. The reader may use them to help with the character identification.
GUIDE TO TOUGH BREED

The Baron of Arizona
Addison Peralta Reavis played a dark role in the History of Arizona Territory. A former Confederate soldier turned real estate investor tried to steal a parcel of land from the United States Government.
He claimed to have acquired an old Spanish Land Grant giving him the rights to an area of land in Arizona and New Mexico Territories, the size of New Jersey.
He was a master forger and enhanced his claim with very good forged documents and by training a young Mexican maiden claiming she was a direct heir to the Peralta Land Grant. He married the young girl, giving him a stronger claim.
The fake claim lasted for twelve years and he made several millions of dollars by cheating railroads, mines and individuals. The twelve year farce was revealed in the Santa Fe Territorial Court. The Baron of Arizona spent a short time in jail for his duplicity. He was a true Arizona Legend.
THE STORY LINE
The land scam created by hostilities between early settlers and new arrivals to the West. This is a fictionalized account of one incidence. The story begins in 1895.


CHARACTERS
K-Bar-K

Leland Richards - Foreman - Twenty two years of age--Six foot-one hundred-eighty pounds-Brown hair-Birth date August 10, 1873--Son of the Colonel's deceased Sergeant and wife. Has lived on the K-Bar-K all his life. Been a ward of the Colonel since age eleven.

Colonel Kenneth David (K. D.) Johnston, Birth date December 19, 1826-Fifty-nine years of age-Five foot-nine--gray/white hair-two hundred pounds--Brilliance strategic who earned his fame as a Calvary Officer in the C.S.A.* -- Lost his wife (Kayla) when --Started the K-Bar-K in 1873. (Settled on the land-did not purchase it all the land he claimed)

* C.S.A.--Confederate States Of America.

Cindy Johnston-Only child of the Colonel???Birth date May 6, 1875-twenty years old--One hundred-fifteen pounds-Black hair.

Sergeant Jim Richards - Leland's father first foreman of the K-Bar-K. Served under the Colonel in the Civil War.

Alice Richards-Jim's wife and Leland's mother. She and Jim were died from fever outbreak when Leland was eleven.

Sidewinder - Outlaw horse on the K-Bar-K -has never been ridden. It is finally tamed by Tea McKenzie and Cindy.

Slim Martin Sheldon - Leland's assistant

Pecos Kelly Nelson - ranch hand.

Panhandle Pete Davis - forties - ranch hand

Dusty Jose Gomez - Ranch hand/wrangler in charge of the barn.


Cookie Johnston - the ranch's cook. Heavy set female - a former slave of the Colonel-raised Cindy when her mother died at childbirth.

Circle C Ranch
Jake Barker-Purchase the existing Circle C and surrounding area from Reavis. The land claimed by the K-Bar-K lies within that bogus sale of land.
Jake Barker Junior - Oldest son of Jake Barker and foreman of the Circle C.
Brett and Chet Barker - twins - late teens.
Clay Slade - assistance to Jake - hot head.


Characters of Interest

Thomas "Tea" McKenzie--Widower--Birth date unknown-Approximate age thirty eight--Five foot-nine--Dark Brown Hair-one hundred and seventy five pounds-Owns the Tea (pronounced "The") Cup Ranch-formerly the Double M. - Raises horses.
Tea Cup Ranch - Brand - Cup with the letters T C inside the cup.
Ray Marsh - foreman of the Tea Cup Ranch. Five foot - eleven. In his mid sixties. One hundred-eighty-five pounds. Worked with Tea and Coffee at the Double M.

Bucky O'Malley -late twenties--A cowhand at the Rocking R. Nineteen-five foot seven.

Antonio Gomez - late teens - Cowhand at the The Cup Ranch.

Sure Shot Cliff Henderson-worked for Tea at the Rocking R. Once shot himself in the foot while practicing his fast draw-Early forties. Tea named him "Eagle-Eye."

Joseph "Coffee" Harris - aka "Coffin Joe"Bachelor-Birth Date unknown--Five foot-eleven-Approximately Thirty seven. One hundred and ninety pounds. Blondish hair-Lost a gunfight with Tea over the hand of Rachel Morris. Job at time of story - gunman for the Circle C. Part of his job is to look after the twins.

Rachel Morris - Deceased-daughter of Mitchell Morris (owner of the Double M Ranch) Gave Joe, Tom and Pete their nicknames--Married to Tea McKenzie-Died from typhoid fever.

Amanda a four year old black mare with white stockings. Sired by Thunder

Thunder - Tea's horse.

Gentleman Pete Taylor--Date of Birth April 1, 1835-five foot two hundred twenty pounds-Partially bald-Black hair and trimmed beard-Former foreman of the Double MM-friends to Tom, Joe, and Rachel, who he treated like his daughter.
Doctor Jerrod Barnett

"Hogan's Hell Hole,"
Gentle Pete saloon owner "The Salty Dog"
Madame Opal owns bordello behind the Salty Dog-- Palace of Gems Bordello owned by Madame Opal
Mr. Joplin owns the General store
Sheriff Jim Graham
The Scarlett Lady saloon owner not mentioned
Peralta
Bartholomew T. Pettigrew Peralta agent.
Cyril Barratt Agent general representing Mr. James Perata-Reavis.
Marshal Ferguson Fake U. S. Marshal
Pecos Nelson rider for the K-Bar-K.
Santa Fe Territorial Court -The court that considered these claims and dismissed them.
Slim Jones -rider for the K-Bar-K, Assistant to Leland.
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