Family Portrait
by  EJ


June 2012 Story Challenge

“I am so nervous, I don’t know why, this is silly.  All right Samantha, just calm down, take a deep breath you will be fine.”  She continued to wring her hands while she talked to herself. “Murdoch and Scott were very kind and seemed very happy with the painting so far.”  She looked at the portrait and the empty spot reserved for the younger son.

Samantha looked out her window, the Lancers would be here soon, and she would finally meet ‘him’.  Mayor Higgs was so adamant about Murdoch’s younger son, Johnny, and to be very careful when around the gunfighter.  “Okay, but I won’t be alone, he will be with his family.”  She flexed her fingers and picked up a paint brush.

California is so big and wild compared to Atlanta, but it is also so very beautiful.  Most of the people in Green River had been kind to the transplanted Southerner, even the transplanted Yankee Scott Lancer had been polite.  She had been concerned at first when she learned that Scott fought in the war and was in a Confederate prison but he was a gentleman and talk of the war was avoided. 

Well, now it was time to meet Johnny.  She put the paint brush down before her nervous fingers broke it.  Johnny was on some stock buying trip so she would be adding him to the painting when he returned, now he was home and she was a nervous wreck. 

When Mayor Higgs gave her a book about Johnny Madrid and insisted she read it, she was shocked.  Now Samantha was not sure she wanted to finish this painting. 

She never met a gunfighter before and according to the Mayor and that awful book, Johnny Madrid is a legend and dangerous.  Samantha nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard the knock at the door.  “Get a grip, you’re not a silly child afraid of the bogey man.”

Samantha opened the door and faced the mountain of a man that was Murdoch Lancer.  “Good morning Mr. Lancer, please come in.”

“Good morning, Samantha.”  He reached around a pulled a dark haired man into the doorway, “I’d like you to meet my younger son, Johnny.”



Samantha faced the finished portrait, and thought about what it meant.  It was a loving family, a man content with his life now that his sons were home.  The way the boys each rested a hand on their father’s shoulders, like they wanted a visible connection. 

The gunfighter she so feared turned out to be the exact opposite of what she expected.  He was a gentlemen but in a rustic way not like the refined manner of Scott.  She loved listening to the brothers banter while she painted.  Thankful that she was blocked by the canvas she laughed when Murdoch would tell the boys to calm down.  The easy comfort she felt with the three men was amazing.

The Lancers were a family, and like all families they laughed, argued, teased, and most importantly they loved. 

Samantha hoped she had captured that in the portrait.

The End





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