(A piggy-back story from another Lancer story, Healing of the Heart, AJ. Not mine and I don’t mean to offend the original Lancer writer. Loved reading those stories. They are some of my favorites. My mind just kept going after I finished reading them for the second time. I do not or cannot do the original story any justice. Just wanted to share my part and include the challenge for using Johnny’s phrases.
Excuse the mistakes. Just writing for fun.)
Riding back on the train after a long stay and unforeseen incidences just left him emotionally drained plus he was just plain flabbergasted at how a man with so much would chance losing it all and did, even his life. An absolute need to control mixed with hate is a dangerous combination to carry in your pocket, but to initiate a plan, making him a target, that would deeply affect one that was loved by the culprit was beyond any moral decency.
He just sat there staring out the train’s window in deep thought softly tapping his fingers on his thigh. He still felt a bit of physical pain, but felt relieved that it was only a small discomfort. That was the only distraction he allowed himself while in deep thought. Then he’d sigh softly as he continued to reminisce on the events he considered more nightmares in his life. He felt awful for his brother who now faced the blunt of the emotional turmoil having lost his wife, an unborn child and now his grandfather. He admired his older brother, who was still compassionate, regardless of the tragedies and sorrow that tested his life.
Then he’d shake his head in disbelieve. It seemed as if death was not good enough for Harlan; he deserved more, much worse. Johnny would tighten his fist remembering the senseless need to want to control and manipulate other people’s life.
Thinking back to his sister in law, whom he loved for giving Scott the happiness he deserved, he fought back some tears and his breathing was becoming erratically faster. Unexpectedly, he felt some hands clutching his knees.
His attention was now on those hands when he heard a firm voice. “Look at me brother.” Scott spoke.
Johnny breathing was rapid and he just kept looking down, fighting the urge to get up and run.
“I said, look at me!”
As Johnny closed his eyes, he felt a tear escape and that angered him. He clinched his fists tighter. He then felt those same hands gently cup his face and a forehead was being pressed against his.
“You… are… not… to blame… for… any of this. You are… not… at fault. You… were a victim as well. Do you understand? Look at me!”
Johnny swallowed hard but opened his eyes. All his restrain was released and the tears just flowed, uncontrollably. He sobbed and his words could not come out.
His brother hugged him hard and kept whispering in his ear. “You were a victim. You are not to blame for any of this. Imprint that in your head brother. I need you to believe this. You were a victim not the cause.”
Finally, he managed a whisper, “I know. It’s just that I learn my lesson, Scott, the hard way and I didn’t want the same for you. You’ve suffer the lost of, well, I just wish that…
“Nothing, Johnny, you just wish nothing… we care about each other and I know that you would never purposely allow anything to happen to me. We have to move on by helping each other cope. Do you understand this little brother?”
He sniffed in a breath and nodded. “Too much happened in such a short time. It’s just rattling around in my mind. Need to sort it all out.” He leaned back against the seat. “Give me a minute.”
Lowering his face and discreetly wiping his cheeks, he nodded at his brother that all was fine. He leaned back against the seat with his eyes closed smiling at the fact that his brother had comforted him, yet again. He relaxed some and slowly fell asleep with the lull of the train.
They finally made it home. Riding under those arches made all the difference in the world to him. He felt safe and warm being home. Standing on the veranda was their father anxiously waiting the return of his three grown children. Seeing them in the wagon gave Murdoch a chance to finally breathe.
Teresa was the first one down from the wagon and she ran into her guardians waiting arms. He did not let go and held her tight, placing a soft welcoming kiss on her forehead. Next was his eldest son, who calmly walked up to his father. Smiling, he reached out for a handshake, but received an enormous hug instead along with a small peck on the cheek. “Welcome home son and thank you for brining them back.” Then there was silence. “Son, I am so very sorry about your…”
His condolences were interrupted. “Thank you sir. I appreciate your concern, but I’d rather wait to discuss my grandfather demise after dinner or another day.” Murdoch nodded his acknowledgement and with that they just stood next to each other watching Johnny having a good time jousting with Jelly.
Murdoch patiently waited for his turn. Johnny turned and saw his father staring at him with a glimmer of delight in his eyes. He smiled and bashfully walked up to his father. Johnny looked up at him and was surprised to see tears forming in his father’s eyes. He murmured, “Murdoch, you going to shed a tear for me?” Then it came, the hug.
Murdoch wrapped his long arms around his youngest and did not let go. Johnny just sank into the embrace. His father moved back a bit with his hands still resting on his son’s shoulders; then looked into those beautiful eyes. Finally, Murdoch’s fingers caressed Johnny’s cheeks and his thumbs caressed those eyes.
“I have you back Johnny. You can’t imagine how scared I was that I would not get you back.” He hugged again and kissed him. “I love you son.” Then he stepped back and quickly placed his arm around his youngest waist while wiping his eyes.
Johnny did the same as discreetly as possible. ‘Johnny Madrid, you are getting yourself in a pucker.’ He softly chuckled. ‘A man my age getting so upset.’ They walked off arms wrapped around each other waist.
Passing Scott and Teresa, who were standing near the door’s entrance, Murdoch’s long arms stretched out and guided all three into the house. “Let’s eat and drink in celebration of family. “ He turned and yelled at Jelly. “Come on Jelly, you too.”
Jelly skipped a step and wiped his eyes. “Dang this windy day. I got dust in my eyes.”
Maria had prepared a fabulous dinner and
everyone ate till his or her hearts content. They shared laughs and jabs,
but mostly they shared their love and that made all the difference in the