Johnny Lancer was worried and he couldn’t stop pacing. His brother Scott had left hours ago to take his grandfather, Harlan Garrett, to catch a stage. Scott should have been back a long time ago. Normally Johnny wouldn’t have been concerned but Scott had suffered a recent head wound and he was with Harlan Garrett and Johnny did not trust Harlan Garrett. He had lied to and manipulated Scott and Johnny knew his brother had been hurt in the process and not just physically. Johnny sighed with relief when he saw the buggy pull up outside the French Doors. That relief turned to concern when Scott entered and Johnny took one look at his brother’s face. His eyes were red rimmed and he looked like he had just lost his best friend. Scott’s shoulders were slumped like he had the weight of the world on his mind. His face was pinched and pale which probably meant he had another headache and he looked deep in thought.
“Scott! What’s wrong brother?” Johnny asked in a worried voice. “Where have you been so long?”
Scott smiled at his brother indulgently. “I had a little conversation with Grandfather. The rest of the time I’ve spent thinking.” Scott said sadly. “Johnny, I’d like to talk to you and Murdoch. Where is he?”
“Sure Scott. He is in the study” Johnny answered as he watched Scott pour himself a large measure of brandy. Johnny could not shake the feeling of uneasiness that washed over him.
Scott and Johnny entered Murdoch’s study after knocking and Murdoch bidding them inside. Murdoch was seated at his desk and Johnny sat in one of the two stuffed chairs in front of the desk. Scott sunk into the other one. He regarded his father silently his face impassive except for the sadness in his slate blue eyes. Murdoch gazed at them expectantly.
“Thank you for meeting with me Sir, Johnny” Scott said in a cool composed voice. “Murdoch some of what I am about to tell you deals with my feelings, something which I am usually loath to discuss. But in this instance for my emotional health, I feel I need to. In expressing these feelings, if in your eyes, Sir I seem less of a man or a Lancer then I apologize. I’d like to say my piece before any response.
Scott turned and looked at his brother first. “Johnny, I want to apologize to you for my grandfather. From certain comments he made while he was here, I’ve surmised he is a bigot. You shouldn’t have had to be subjected to his small way of thinking in your own home. For that, I am sorry, brother.”
Johnny nodded. His brother was being so formal and cold it worried him. He had no idea what Harlan had said to Scott but he doubted it was good.
“Murdoch.” Scott continued. “Grandfather and I had a conversation on the way to Morro Coyo. Apparently he felt the need to confess everything to me. He told me of your agreement the very day he arrived that neither of you say anything to me to sway my decision on whether to return to Boston or not. Is that correct, Sir?”
Murdoch met his eldest son’s gaze. “Yes son, it is.”
Scott took a deep breath. When he spoke his voice was calm but forceful. “How could you Sir? How could you make such an agreement with Harlan Garrett? Did you really think he would honor that agreement? My God Murdoch I’m your son. I came to you for answers, answers I needed to make an informed decision. You turned me away Sir because of some misguided pledge to my grandfather!? You splayed me open and left me vulnerable to the Deegens and my Grandfather’s manipulations!”
Scott took a long drink of brandy. Murdoch had his eyes down and Johnny had a look of horror on his face.
“Grandfather brought Julie here by threatening to bankrupt her father’s company. She told me loved me. I…I asked her to marry me and live at Lancer. I was such a fool.” Scott said giving a bitter half laugh. “I guess she felt sorry for me and told me the truth. I was introduced to the Deegens, Grandfather’s back-up plan. Perhaps I would have asked you about them Murdoch had you given me any sign you wanted me to stay. All you had to say is you didn’t want me to go. Everyone else did. I didn’t know what to think, Sir.”
Scott stood up and began to pace. “Grandfather told me you came for me when I was 5 and he threatened you with dragging me through the courts. That should have come from you, Sir when I asked for the truth. I am your son Murdoch!! You didn’t fight for me then and you didn’t fight for me now.” I’m tired of being the prize in some sick game between my Grandfather and yourself. My Grandfather broke my heart by blackmailing Julie to come here and by manipulating me to leave here. But you broke my heart too, Sir, by turning me away when I asked for the truth and not fighting for me this time, for letting me leave my home without a word. In truth, I don’t know where I belong anymore.”
Scott turned to Johnny. “I want to thank you Johnny for fighting to keep me here. You saved my life brother. Without you the Deegens would have probably robbed and killed my Grandfather and come back and finished me off.”
Scott sunk back into the chair and finished his drink. He couldn’t meet his father’s eyes.
Murdock cleared his throat. “Scott, I’ve always wanted you son.”
Scott shot out of his chair and pounded his father’s desk with both fists. “And I would have known that on what basis, Sir!!?” Scott shouted. Scott turned and strode out of the room and the hacienda.
Johnny looked at Murdoch in shock. “Murdoch.is what Scott said true?” Johnny asked not wanting it to be.
Murdoch looked at his youngest son and nodded his voice breaking. “It’s true Johnny. Every bit of it is true.”
“Oh my God.” Johnny breathed. “Murdoch, how could you make an agreement with that old bastard? And how could you have turned Scott away when he asked you for the truth? Murdoch, do you know how hard it was for him to come to you? He’s right, you set him up to fall for Harlan’s lies.”
Johnny hung his head. He wanted to cry for his brother. Scott was really hurting. He knew Murdoch hadn’t meant to hurt Scott but he had used bad judgment. Murdoch should have fought harder this time.
Murdoch and Johnny both looked up at a knock on the door. Jelly came in at Murdoch’s beckoning. “Boss, what’s wrong with Scott? He took outta here on a full Calvary charge. I’ve never seen him ride like that.”
Both Murdoch and Johnny stood up “He’s not supposed to be riding yet.” Murdoch said his voice filled with worry.
“I’ll go after him, Murdoch.” Johnny said not waiting for an answer.
Johnny found his brother several miles away sitting on a dead tree trunk. His head was bowed with one hand over his face and his other arm cradled against his chest. Charlie was nuzzling the back of Scott’s neck.
Johnny dismounted noting his brother’s disheveled appearance. “What happened Scott?”
Scott looked up at his brother and smiled ruefully. “I got a little dizzy and took a fall. My head still aches something fierce.” Scott turned and gently pushed Charlie away. “Damn Charlie, cut it out. I’m fine boy.”
“Hurt your arm, huh?” Johnny asked shaking his head. Scott nodded. “Well come on we’ll ride double back. Get up on Barranca.”
“I can ride” Scott said stubbornly.
“No you ain’t. You could get dizzy again.” Johnny said firmly. “Now get on.” Scott sighed and came over. He let Johnny help him mount. Johnny swung up behind him and started back. Charlie came trotting behind them.
When they got to the hacienda Johnny sent a hand for Sam and got Scott up to his room. Johnny helped his brother undress. “I think your shoulder’s dislocated and your wrist is really swollen. Might be broken.” Johnny told Scott.
Scott wearily slid between the sheets and shut his eyes. “I don’t want to talk to anyone right now, Johnny.”
“Sure Boston, you get some rest.” Johnny said quietly leaving the room.
Murdoch was downstairs waiting expectantly. “He doesn’t want to talk, Murdoch. He got dizzy and fell off Charlie. His left arm is banged up. I sent for Sam.”
“I failed him again, didn’t I son.” Murdoch asked sadly.
“Find a way to make it right, Murdoch.” Johnny said to his father putting his hand on the older man’s shoulder.
Later Sam manipulated Scott’s shoulder joint back into place and splinted his wrist. “Scott I’m going to give you some sleeping powders. It should help with the headache.” Sam said mixing it in water and handing him the glass. He watched as Scott drank it. “Murdoch wants to see you Scott.”
Scott nodded. “Send him in, Sam.” Sam went out and motioned Murdoch in. Scott looked up at his father. “I’m sorry I lost my temper, Sir.”
“I should have told you the truth when you asked, son. I’ve always wanted you Scott. You were right, I should have fought harder. I’m sorry son” Murdoch said sincerely. To Scott’s amazement Murdoch leaned down and pressed his lips to Scott’s forehead.
Scott grasped his father’s hand as the sleeping power began to work. “What we have is now and the future, Sir.” Scott whispered as sleep overcame him.