He dismounted in front of Val’s office, intending to barge in and shuffle through the Wanted posters, hoping against hope to find one in particular. That was his PLAN – at least, the beginning of one. But then, that would mean some explanation to give Val and he wasn’t READY for that. So, he changed direction and started to WALK down the dusty street toward the saloon.
With MURDER in his mind, he pushed the door open and strode to the bar, ordered tequila and downed the shot. He absolutely needed to calm down. As it was, Murdoch would certainly have his head on a platter if he knew he was drowning his sorrows right in the middle of the week when they had a guest at the hacienda.
His usual table was free so he took the bottle of tequila and his glass with him and sat down, with his back against the wall. How in Hell should he approach this whole fracas?
Damn, why the heck had Scott chosen that moment to go on a business trip, leaving him STRANDED and alone to deal with “their” problem? He snickered. Of course, Teresa had taken to the woman right away. Scott probably would, too. But him? Nah! No way, not when he knew what he knew.
When Murdoch had introduced her to them as a dear old friend, he had almost choked on his drink. He had left the hacienda abruptly, leaving a stunned Murdoch gaping, a Teresa near to tears, ready to FAINT, and a guest no doubt smiling in victory.
At the rate this was going, he could SWEAR he’d never be able to ESCAPE his past. And it sure HAUNTED him, rearing its ugly head at the most inopportune time. He felt ILL, as if he had received a PUNCH in his gut and it had taken his breath. Life was so COMPLICATED ever since he had come back home to DISCOVER that his mama had lied to him. He was still adjusting to his new life and now this?!?! What would she tell his father about him? He was sure she’d try to destroy what he had found the DAY he had come back home. Life was so unfair.
He was in such an AWKWARD position. What a DRAMA! How could his father think about gettin’ somethin’ goin’… and with her, of all women? Oh boy! If Murdoch knew how BAD she was. But then, he wasn’t exactly lily white himself. He sure had done a lot of SINFUL things in his short life. He of all people should know that it’s possible to change – he had, hadn’t he? Maybe that’s what she wanted. It was no SECRET who and what he had been, so who was he to point a FINGER at her? But then, knowing her as he did, it was more likely that she was looking at a WEALTHY MARRIAGE with one of the most prominent ranchers of California.
Thing is, she wasn’t WORTHY of his father – old friends or not. Why was he so AFFECTED by their friendship? What exactly MOTIVATED him to stop what he thought was a mistake? What did he WANT exactly? Could it be that he was just jealous, that he wished to keep his father to himself, sharing him only with Scott and Teresa?
Sally, one of the saloon girls, chose this moment to plop down on his lap, interrupting his thoughts and making him SPLATTER his drink. She gave him a long KISS and let her hand SLIP to his crotch, squeezing a bit. Normally, that would have been enough to arouse him and he’d have gone upstairs with her, but he wasn’t in the mood. He gently removed her hand and told her to leave him be. He filled his glass again, gulped down the contents and returned to his ‘problem’.
Thinking about what Scott would more than likely tell him, he decided to use his INTELLIGENCE and not jump to conclusions. He’d give the woman a chance to explain herself. He knew he couldn’t in all HONOR condemn her without hearing her story. He was a good judge of character, he’d know if she was sincere or not.
His decision taken, he drank one last shot of tequila and left the saloon. He briefly entertained the notion of stopping to see Val but chose instead to ride out to the ranch. As he neared the hacienda, he decided to stop by the small GRAVEYARD and review once more in his head how he’d go about the whole thing. He knew he needed to apologize for his earlier behavior and that would be the first thing he’d do. Then, he’d take Mrs. Elizabeth Kramer to the garden and talk to her – oh Hell, maybe he’d still be able to call her Lizzie.