by Lacy & Taz)
Lancer looked at himself in the mirror.
He had just cleaned up for dinner and wanted to be sure every blonde hair
was in place. His
was a handsome face—although he’d beg to differ.
He insisted that the reason certain women in Morro Coyo found him
attractive was because he was so different from the dark-haired, dark-eyed
variety so prevalent there.
That was certainly part of the reason for his popularity.
But, in truth, even in Boston, where blonde men were at least half the
population, Scott had been admired.
yellow hair, now longer than when he first came to Lancer, was thick and had a
slight wave, made more prominent when wet.
eye color ranged from a dark blue to a medium teal---depending on his mood.
They weren’t large eyes in a round way, but had a more oval shape, and
were surrounded by eyelashes any woman would envy.
Most emotions Scott experienced---happiness, anger, confusion,
sadness---were revealed in his eyes.
snorted; all he saw was the face he hid behind.
There were things about him his grandfather didn’t know…would never
have guessed. Most
of his life was still a mystery to his new family at Lancer.
He smiled derisively at his reflection---no, he was not an
Certainly not like either Murdoch or his grandfather had been.
Now, his brother was obviously handsome.
And Johnny knew it!
Scott smiled, surprised at how fond he had become of his brother.
His smile didn’t appear as easily as Johnny’s.
It was a shy, slow smile.
But, if he felt comfortable with the person and the moment, it became a
rich, open, beautiful gesture that transformed his serious face into one almost
as rascally as his brother’s.
heard someone shuffling up the stairs; he knew it was Johnny.
He left the mirror and quickly buttoned up his dark blue shirt.
are you doing in here, Boston?” he asked in his usual friendly manner.
I guess I was daydreaming.”
Scott was tucking his shirt in his black pants.
Murdoch hated holding up dinner for anyone.
“Is he mad?”
talking to John Parsons out front.”
Seeing Scott’s puzzled look, he smiled.
He had arrived at Lancer before his older brother by about two weeks, so
had a slight knowledge advantage.
“Parsons is Murdoch’s lawyer.”
Scott nodded; how had he forgotten that piece of information?
“He’s probably trying to convince him to stay for dinner.
Not that anyone should have to be convinced; between Maria and Teresa,
we’ve got the best cooks in the county!”
he want to talk over business?”
Ol’ Murdoch wants him around for support.
He’s still not too comfortable eating with us.”
Johnny grinned mischievously.
Scott had picked up on this before and, unlike Johnny, it bothered him.
“Don’t look so serious, Boston.
It ain’t our fault.
We came invited.”
guess it’ll work out eventually.”
right.” Johnny agreed.
He stepped in front of Scott’s mirror and beamed.
His black hair was combed, his red shirt was spotless, and his boots were
knew that before Scott came along, he was the one most women dreamed about.
At first, he felt some jealousy when some of his female following drifted
towards his brother.
Once he realized Scott did nothing to attract the attention, and sensed
his discomfort with it, Johnny’s jealousy vanished.
He felt kind of sorry for his older brother.
Johnny smiled at his reflection, checking out his white teeth while he
He did possess a winning and genuine smile, and used it
watched Scott in the mirror; he was looking through his drawers for some socks.
Granted Scott wasn’t as handsome as he was, but, still, he had his good
points; and Johnny was puzzled as to why his brother couldn’t see them.
He shrugged; there was no telling what Scott thought sometimes.
you ready yet?” he asked, feigning impatience.
Scott said, pulling on his boots.
They both hurried downstairs, figuring Murdoch was certainly at the table
waiting by now.
But they could see his tall form by the door, still talking to John
have you two been?” Teresa asked, hands on her hips.
was upstairs helping Scott dress,” Johnny smiled.
He had felt an attraction to the diminutive girl immediately.
But Murdoch made sure both his sons understood that Teresa was ‘off
During the following weeks, Johnny had begun feeling more like a brother
to her---much to his surprise.
snorted behind him.
“You were too busy preening in front of the mirror to be of any help to
that Murdoch was occupied, she slipped down the main hallway to peer into a
was petite, and 18, with long black hair and blue eyes.
She patted her hair down and straightened the collar of her rose-colored
in all, she was satisfied with her reflection.
She saw herself as an attractive girl, although there were times when the
sadness of her situation overtook her and her blue eyes filled with tears.
But those moments happened less and less as time went on and she was
assured of Murdoch’s support.
She pursed her lips disappointedly at her stature….if only she could
grow another three or four inches.
watched his friend ride down the road leading away from Lancer.
He sighed deeply.
Hearing one of the new horses whinnying in his stall, he walked over to
check it out. The
horse was fine, just looking for some attention.
He smiled as he passed a cracked mirror someone hung on one of the stable
was a name that had always filled him with pride, a name synonymous with wealth,
cattle, and land.
Now, he felt dissatisfaction with his name.
He looked at his reflection and saw an old man, a guilty man.
Deep down, he knew he had given up too easily on his sons.
That guilt made it hard for him to communicate with them, hard to look
them in the eye sometimes.
All of which translated to weakness and indecision in his mind.
Yet, when he looked at his sons, neither seemed to view the old patriarch
with anything less than respect and curiosity.
This pushed his guilt to new heights.
If they’d verbally accuse him, or demand an explanation from him, he
could strike back with the pent up anger he felt inside.
Truthfully, Murdoch Lancer was hiding just as much from himself as either
of his two sons.
He frowned at his face.
There were many lines, many wrinkles; much of his life had entailed
stress of some sort.
Jelly always told him he took on too much; he needed help with the ranch.
Well, now he had help.
He had expected that once the trouble was over, his sons would leave.
But they hadn’t; and now he was at a loss as to what to say to them
outside of giving them orders concerning the ranch.
His stomach growled and he stomped off, wondering who was holding up
dinner this time.
is everyone?” Murdoch roared, coming through the front door.
But, when he entered the dining room, everyone was seated at the table,
He snorted and sat down.
“I finally went looking for you,” he said to no one in particular,
but with enough bite to accuse everyone.
for Pete’s sake,” Jelly grumbled.
“We’ve been sitting here for hours!”
Murdoch’s head shot up and he glared at Jelly, who merely waved him
for us. You
never went looking for nobody.”
Johnny’s face broke out in a wide grin.
Teresa tried to keep a serious face, but ended up snickering.
Scott was puzzled at first, as he was brought up in a much stricter
they being disrespectful?
No, he decided and smiled hesitantly.
Murdoch glowered at everyone sitting at his table.
something funny?” he bellowed.
Scott cringed slightly.
Johnny said, shaking his head.
“You take yourself too seriously. Relax
and have some fun.
We all know you were outside talking to John Parsons.”
sat up straight in his seat and raised his chin a bit.
He looked closely at his ward, trying to hide her smile behind a small
hand; Jelly, looking positively put out, and Scott, nervously watching to see
what his father’s reaction would be.
Then his blue eyes lighted on Johnny and he couldn’t help himself; the
corners of his mouth began to tilt upward.
“Look at that!
Scott, you were wrong; our father isn’t full of sour
head snapped in Johnny’s direction as quickly as Murdoch’s faced Scott.
“I never said that!”
we ever going to eat?” Jelly asked heavenward.
was laughing so hard he didn’t see the biscuit Scott threw at his head.
Teresa’s shoulders were shaking and her face was a deep shade of red.
right,” Murdoch declared.
This is a dinner table.”
prove it by me,” Jelly mumbled.
“Don’t see any dinner in my plate.”
settled down to eating finally.
There wasn’t much conversation, but maybe tonight there didn’t have
to be. After
dinner, Teresa settled to embroidering; Johnny and Scott read.
Murdoch smoked a cigar, nursed a brandy, and pretended to be perusing the
Jelly went to his room to write a letter.
Passing the small mirror nailed over his dresser, he frowned, reached for
a rag and rubbed a spot off it.
burned piece of glass,” he grumbled, “don’t know how it gets so filthy!”