This is the first, unedited, chapter in the upcoming third book of the Stoney Creek Story series. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to comment! I will update weekly with chapters from two of my WIP’s.
Cassidy Jane stared out of the train window as their destination came into view. She was relieved to be home in Montana but her heart was still in New York with the Winston family. Beulah and Rose sat chatting across from her, excited over Beulah’s plans to return to the city and open her own seamstress shop.
Joshua sat beside Cassidy Jane and took her hand. “We are nearly home, my dear, but your expression is not as joyful as I imagined it would be.”
Cassidy Jane mustered a smile for her beloved. “Oh Joshua! I was apprehensive to meet your family but now that I have, I wish we might have stayed a while longer.”The smile on Joshua’s face reminded her so of his mother. “We shall return to Winston House again, never fear. My mother made me promise before we left.”
Mrs. Winston filled a hole in Cassidy Jane’s heart, a longing for the mother she lost so early in life. Determined to maintain contact with the Winston’s, she reminded Joshua that they must send a telegram before they left for Stoney Creek. The train rolled to a slow stop at the station and the ladies hastened to secure their hats and reticules before leaving their train car.
Beulah became nervous as they stepped from the train onto the platform and the expression upon Rose’s face betrayed her emotions. “I miss the city more than I thought possible,” she whispered, her words carrying only to Beulah and Cassidy Jane. Joshua and John escorted them to the waiting carriages and helped them inside while their trunks were loaded. Joshua left to send the promised telegram and John supervised the loading of the trunks to be sure they were secure before the party set out for Stoney Creek.
Beulah took her sister’s hand as they awaited Joshua’s return. “Haven’t we stories for Myra?” she said and laughed as Cassidy Jane smiled. “We do, and she’ll never rest until we’ve told them all. I expect a long night ahead sister.” Joshua appeared a short time later and climbed into the carriage, signaling the driver to begin the last leg of their journey home to Stoney Creek.
The carriage carrying Joshua, Cassidy Jane, and Beulah turned down the lane as John and Rose’s carriage continued toward town. A crisp breeze swirled the dust behind them and moved across Stoney Creek.
Papa sat on the porch with Myra, for today was the day Cassidy Jane and Beulah would arrive home from their trip to New York. The sound of hooves and wheels reached them and Papa stood as Myra ran out to the gate, hoping to see them first. She had missed her sisters desperately after their first week of absence.
Cassidy Jane moved to her window, the sun glinting from her fiery tresses as she leaned out and waved to Myra. The driver stopped the carriage and hopped down to release the horses, for Joshua would remain at the Dunn farm for a few hours yet, before making his way home. Joshua helped the ladies from the carriage and stood back as the sisters reunited, their chatter and affection overflowing. He helped the driver take the horses into the field by the stable and then joined the family on the front porch.
Cassidy Jane jumped into her Papa’s arms and he twirled her round before releasing her. “I am so happy to be home!” she exclaimed and kissed him on the cheek for good measure. “Myra and I were a might lonesome for the two of you, I must say.” Papa allowed as he took Beulah by the hand and pulled her to him for a hug.
“The trip was a grand one, Papa. You would have enjoyed the train, I believe,” Beulah remarked as she stepped back, gauging his expression. She hoped to return to New York in a few weeks time. Papa nodded but did not wish to bring up the subject at this their moment of homecoming.
The heavenly aroma of dinner carried on the breeze and Myra bid them all to come inside where they might freshen up and get a home cooked meal. “Myra, something smells heavenly! I believe it is peach cobbler and unless I am mistaken, you’ve never been able to master that dish.” Beulah smiled as she teased her sister.
“Oh, welcome home!” Maybelle Rivers said as she appeared from the dining room. “That isn’t Myra’s peach cobbler, dear, it is mine. My grandmother’s recipe, to be sure.”
Cassidy Jane and Beulah stopped suddenly and glanced at their Papa. His face was red as a beet and he cleared his throat nervously. “Girls, Maybelle has been a great help to Myra and myself these past weeks. She wanted to be here to welcome you home.”
Cassidy Jane spoke before Beulah might say things she would regret. “Why, thank you Mrs. Rivers. We are most grateful for your consideration. I do love some good peach cobbler, don’t you Beulah?” Papa glanced nervously at Beulah and she smiled. “I certainly do sister. And I too am happy to know that Myra and Papa were kept company while we were away.” Beulah figured she may as well wait and see if Maybelle and Papa were courting before she lost her temper. Besides, being home again was comforting and she did not wish to upset their reunion. Myra and Cassidy Jane exchanged glances, slow to believe that Beulah had calmly addressed the fact of Maybelle Rivers joining the family celebration.