story is based on the characters from Lancer and are not mine nor do I make
any financial gain. Purely for
sat in the chair by the window, not sure of the time; he just knew it was
either very late or very early. The
view below him was quiet; no brawls spilling out into the street from the
saloon across the way or lonesome stranger riding through on his way to
somewhere else. In fact, the
saloon was dark, the last vestige of the town to give way finally to sleep.
It appeared that he was the only one in this god-awful settlement who
was wide awake.
He glanced over to where his son lay sleeping, apparently very soundly. Murdoch had managed to quietly get out of bed, throw on a robe and light the lamp without disturbing him. A subdued glow from the lantern allowed him to silently make his way to the chair without bumping into an obstacle in the unfamiliar room. A slight detour to check the adjoining bedroom to make sure Ben had not slipped out again, verified that he was indeed sleeping as well. At least Murdoch could be pleased with that fact; he was not pleased with much else at the moment.
The lamp light moved soft shadows across Scott’s features, occasionally flickering to a brighter flame that highlighted briefly the golden strands of his hair. Murdoch sadly realized that this was the first time in 24 years that he watched his son as he slept. Oh, they’d been together on the trail around campfires while rounding up cattle from the far reaches of the ranch and even a trip or two to Stockton, but Murdoch had never really observed him sleep.
face was tranquil, which could in part describe the man himself.
Self-possessed, calm, composed were all appropriate adjectives.
He was also strong, confident, and honest.
Murdoch recognized that same honesty as the words of Ben came back to
him regarding his father, Morgan Price, a man the boy had never met.
“I won’t ever know if he’d even like me. I got a right to know that much, don’t I?”
Murdoch registered the words, and had not dared look at Scott after they were spoken. With a slap on Ben’s leg, he replied, “Yes, Ben, I guess you do.” But the questions hovered. Was Murdoch mistaken at the sharp look his son gave him? Had Scott ever wondered if his father ‘liked him’ as expressed so easily by a child? Was it too late to tell his son that he more than liked him, but loved him?
Studying his slumbering son, Murdoch noted that Scott’s sharp, angular features were softened by the hue of his sun-colored hair and the warm yellow from the glow of the oil lamp. His arm draped to the floor, long fingers curled in, relaxed, unguarded. He seemed defenseless and almost vulnerable. Like a child? But those were just the imaginings of a man who had never known that child, except for a short glimpse as a five year old; just wishes and speculations.
tomorrow Scott was going to
‘Will he wake,’ Murdoch wondered, almost wishing he would. But would it make a difference now? Scott wasn’t a young boy any more wishing for a father that never came. He was a man who had grown up without the love or guidance of parents that all children needed and deserved. Hatred for the man who had kept his son from him twisted momentarily, and he brought his hand to his brow, bowing his head in shame. ‘It was my failure, my failure,’ he thought bitterly.
He glanced over at Scott, blue eyes hooded tiredly from sleep.
“What are you doing up?” Scott’s voice was dazed, puzzled.
“Go back to sleep, Son,” Murdoch soothed softly.
“Sir, is there something wrong?” Scott rubbed the back of his palm against his eyes and came up on one elbow to study his father.
Murdoch could see the grey-blue sheen in the subdued glaze of the light. Murdoch felt tears pool as he saw Catherine looking at him; they were her eyes. She was still alive in the body of their son.
“No, Scott. Go back to sleep.”
“Murdoch,” his voice was stronger, fully awake now. “You are not sitting in the dark in the middle of the night without a reason. --- I’ll be all right tomorrow,” he hesitantly finished.
Maybe…maybe now was a good time. But could he say it right? Would the words be there? Well, even if he stumbled, as Ben stated, he had a right to know if his father would even like him. And Scott had a right to know why it had taken so long.
I think we need to talk.”
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