Author: rainiergirl PM
Colin's increasing frustration with the difficulties of his life causes him to make a startling decision. Set Season 3, after "The Grand Wedding" but before "Fire Boy."Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Family - Colin M. - Words: 10,445 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 01-29-12 - Published: 12-11-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7627772
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's notes: This one takes place after Colin and Emily move into the rooms behind the store, before they have Josh. I wrote a dozen of these, but this is one of my favorites. It sure was tempting to rebuild that church bigger in the final scenes. Never could figure out why they built a church that could only hold two dozen people when the old one was four times that size.
In town. It is raining hard and people are scurrying for shelter. Colin is hurrying toward the store and passes Montana Hale. They seek shelter underneath the awning of the store.
COLIN: Hello, Montana.
MONTANA: Colin. I guess I picked a bad day to come into town for supplies.
COLIN: I think it will let up soon. In the meantime, you'd better wait it out. How about coming home with me? Emily should have morning tea ready about now.
MONTANA: Thanks. I'd like that.
The two of them walk into the store and enter Colin's rooms at the back of the store. As soon as they enter the room, they are blocked by clothes which are drying from a line strung across the room. Colin holds some clothes aside to make a path for Montana.
He looks around for Emily and calls for her, but he does not see her.
COLIN: Have a seat. I'll just see if I can find Emily. Excuse me.
Colin goes into the kitchen and finds Emily sitting at the kitchen table, her head down on her arms. The kitchen is a shambles, with jelly jars all over and a syrupy mess on the stove and floor. Colin puts his hand on Emily's shoulder.
COLIN: Emily? Are you all right?
Emily looks up, her hair disheveled and her face streaked with tears and berry juice.
EMILY: Oh, Colin. It's the most terrible thing.
COLIN: What? Tell me what's happened.
EMILY: I can't regulate the heat in that sorry excuse of a stove, and it was so hot all of the jelly boiled over. And now I can't get it hot at all, and the jelly won't jell.
Colin looks at her a moment and then breaks out laughing. Emily gets up and stands in front of him. She looks at him harshly.
EMILY: I'm in no mood to be laughed at, Colin McGregor.
COLIN: I'm sorry. I'm not laughing at you. I'm just relieved. I thought it was something serious.
Emily glares at him.
EMILY: It might not be serious to you, but it is to me.
COLIN: Look, do you think you could...uh...make some tea?
COLIN: Well, the thing is, I've invited Montana for morning tea. She's in the front room.
EMILY: How could you?
Montana, who is looking at a newspaper, looks up toward the kitchen when she hears raised voices. She listens.
COLIN: Well, I didn't know the jelly wouldn't jell. Or that you'd have so much laundry hanging that we could barely get in the door.
EMILY: Where did you expect me to put it? I can't hang it out in this weather, and it's not like I have a place here to hang it.
COLIN: I know. But...well, can't you just...just clean yourself up a little and come and say hello to her?
EMILY: You invited her, you take care of her. But there's no hot water for the tea. And there's no jelly for the scones.
Montana stifles a laugh and hides her smile behind the newspaper as Colin enters the room.
COLIN: Sorry to keep you waiting. Well...
Montana looks out the window. It has stopped raining.
MONTANA: You were right. The rain did let up. If you don't mind, Colin, I really need to finish my errands before it starts up again. I hope Emily won't mind.
COLIN: No, I'm sure she won't.
Montana smiles and Colin ushers her out the door, then breathes a sigh of relief.
The next morning, in Colin and Emily's bedroom. Emily is in bed, just waking up. Colin comes in with a tray and sets it on the night stand.
COLIN: Good morning. I've brought you breakfast in bed.
Emily stretches and smiles at him.
EMILY: You're just trying to make up for yesterday.
COLIN: If I were, I could do better than milk and cold biscuits.
He comes and sits next to her on the bed, then leans over and kisses her.
COLIN: You're beautiful in the morning.
He kisses her more passionately, then lies down on the bed next to her and holds her.
Emily pushes him away.
COLIN: What's wrong?
EMILY: It's late.
Colin smiles playfully.
COLIN: Never too late for this.
EMILY: I can't, Colin. Mrs. Berkowitz is in the store. I can hear her.
Emily gets up off the bed.
Colin props himself up on an elbow and looks at her.
COLIN: Emily, you're being silly. Come back to bed.
EMILY: I said no.
She puts on a robe and leaves the room. Colin watches her go, then shakes his head in frustration. He follows her to the kitchen. Emily is taking a jar of coins from the shelf next to the stove. She dumps the coins on the table and begins to count them.
EMILY: Is this all the spending money we have left?
COLIN: It will have to last until the end of the month. Why?
EMILY: We're out of bread. If I can't get this stove hot enough to bake some, we're going to have to buy some.
COLIN: You're not going to spend another day fighting with that stove. Emily, let's just get away for a while. It's Saturday; I don't have anything I need to do today. Let's go out to Langara and spend the day there.
He puts his arms around her and kisses her on the cheek.
COLIN: Go on. Get dressed and have your breakfast. I'll go over to the livery and get the sulky.
EMILY: Bring your horse, too.
EMILY: Because I know you. If you want to go to Langara, it's to chase cattle with your father and brother.
COLIN: We don't chase them, we muster them.
He kisses her, then leaves the room.
Later, at Langara. Emily and Colin drive up in the sulky, Colin's horse tied behind. Michael, Danni, and Kathleen go to greet them. Colin helps Emily down.
KATHLEEN: What a pleasant surprise. We didn't expect you today.
EMILY: It was a bit impetuous. I hope you don't mind.
DANNI: Are you joking? It's wonderful.
COLIN: Are Dad and Rob about?
MICHAEL: They're mustering on the north ridge. Matt thinks the weather's going to turn soon; he wants to bring the cattle lower.
COLIN: He's probably right. These fall rains will be snow in the high country soon.
KATHLEEN: At least they have a pleasant day today.
MICHAEL: I wanted to go with them, but Mum said I had to finish my chores here first.
COLIN: What do you have left to do?
MICHAEL: I'm finished, but now Mum won't let me ride out by myself to look for them.
COLIN: I'll tell you what. You help me unhitch the sulky and then we'll both ride out and find Dad and Rob.
Michael looks at Kathleen.
MICHAEL: Can I, Mum?
KATHLEEN: All right. As long as Colin rides with you.
Kathleen takes Emily by the arm.
KATHLEEN: Come inside, Emily. There's something I want to show you.
Inside, in Kathleen's room. Kathleen is holding up a silk dress. Danni and Emily watch her.
EMILY: Oh, Kathleen. It's beautiful. Is it really silk?
DANNI: Dad brought it back from Melbourne last time he went. Isn't it romantic?
Kathleen and Emily laugh, and Emily touches the fabric.
EMILY: May I?
Kathleen nods and Emily takes the dress and lays it out on the bed.
EMILY: It doesn't look like it's hemmed up yet.
KATHLEEN: Matt didn't think he should have it done until I tried it on.
EMILY: I could do it for you.
Kathleen is about to answer when Danni looks outside the window.
DANNI: It looks like Colin and Michael are just about off.
Outside, Michael has brought his horse out and gets into the saddle.
MICHAEL: Let's go, Colin.
COLIN: Hold on. I just want to say good-bye to Emily.
Colin goes inside and looks around. He sees Kathleen's door open and looks inside. He stands in the doorway and watches.
KATHLEEN: I don't know, Emily. It's a lot of work. The sleeves need to be fitted, too.
EMILY: Oh, please let me. It will be wonderful to work with such fabric. And it will be a pleasure to finish a dress instead of start one. You know, I haven't had a dress I didn't make myself since Colin and I got married.
DANNI: I remember your wedding dress, Emily. It was beautiful. You didn't make that.
EMILY: No, I didn't. But I lost it in the fire.
Danni and Kathleen look at her sympathetically and Colin frowns in the doorway. He enters the room.
COLIN: Well, we're off. I'll take good care of Michael, Kathleen.
KATHLEEN: I know you will.
EMILY: Colin, look at the dress Matt got for Kathleen. Isn't it beautiful?
COLIN: Yes, it is.
He looks at Emily strangely, then leaves the room.
Later that day. Matt, Rob, Michael, and Colin are riding with the cattle.
MATT: We'd better split up. We've still got a mob on the other side of the ridge. Colin, you can help me over there. Rob and Michael, you start bringing these down.
Colin and Matt ride away from the others. They hear a calf lowing from the gully.
COLIN: I'll get him.
He rides to the edge of the gully and then dismounts. He takes a coil of rope and puts it over his shoulder, then climbs down the slope. He picks up the calf and puts him on his shoulders, holding the front and back legs together. Colin begins to climb up the slope, but is forced to put a hand down when he loses his balance. The calf struggles and kicks when Colin loosens his grasp on it, and Colin lets him down. He takes the rope and ties the legs together. Matt is watching him.
MATT: You should have done that in the first place.
Colin brings the calf up and unties him. He puts the rope around the calf's neck.
COLIN: I can't seem to do anything right these days.
Matt dismounts and stands next to Colin.
MATT: What's that supposed to mean?
COLIN: Nothing. I'm just a bit out of sorts today, I suppose.
MATT: Anything you want to talk about?
COLIN: I thought I could get my mind off things if I came out here. I just needed to get away from town.
MATT: Things aren't going well in town?
COLIN: Oh, it's...never mind. It's not worth complaining about.
MATT: You're entitled.
Matt ties the calf to a tree, then gets a package from his saddle bag and hands it to Colin.
MATT: Here. Sit. It's lunch time, anyway.
Colin and Matt sit on a log and unwrap sandwiches.
COLIN: I wanted to be closer to the church and my congregation, but living behind the store isn't the ideal solution. It's hard on Emily. It's cramped and in disrepair. And there's not enough privacy.
MATT: You know Kathleen and I never wanted you to leave Langara. If you're unhappy in town, you're welcome back here any time.
COLIN: That won't solve anything. The reasons we moved away are still there. You and Kathleen need your space, and Emily and I need to be close to the church. And we need to be alone together, too. You know, I never fully realized how much the fire changed our lives. When I married Emily and brought her to that little house next to the church, everything seemed perfect. I could see our future spread out in front of us filled with so much promise. I thought we'd make a home there, raise children there. But we've just had our third anniversary; there's no house, there's no child.
Matt puts his hand on Colin's shoulder.
MATT: Colin, things take time. You're so young. Your mother and I started out with very little, but in time we made a nice life for ourselves. You and Emily will, too.
COLIN: That's just it, Dad. We won't. With what I've chosen as a profession, I'll never be able to give her anything. Not the simplest of things. Not a stove that works, or a place to hang laundry, or a new dress.
Colin looks at his unfinished sandwich.
COLIN: Do you know I don't even have enough money to buy a loaf of bread right now?
MATT: Oh, Colin. I didn't know things were that bad. Look, I can loan you...
COLIN: No. That's not it. I'm not asking for anything. I'm just telling you the way it is. Most of everything that Emily and I have is borrowed or donated. We have little of our own, and we never will. And I knew that when I chose to be a member of the clergy, but I don't think I thought it through enough before I got married. This life I've chosen just isn't fair to Emily. Maybe if she'd known how hard it's going to be, she wouldn't have married me. Maybe I had no right even asking her.
MATT: You can't mean that.
COLIN: I do. Think of who she is, Dad. She's beautiful, gentle, loving. Anyone would have been lucky to have her. Maybe someone else should have.
MATT: Maybe someone else could give her more material possessions, but no one could love her more. You can't question that, Colin.
Colin gets up and puts his sandwich wrapper in his saddle bag. He gets on his horse.
COLIN: Maybe that's not enough.
That night, in town. Colin and Emily are in their front room. Colin is writing at the desk, and Emily is sitting on the sofa, sewing on Kathleen's gown.
Colin gets up and sits next to Emily.
COLIN: Do you have enough light to do that? Maybe you should wait until tomorrow.
EMILY: You're probably right, but I just couldn't wait to get started on it. Look how the fabric catches the lamplight, Colin. Can't you just imagine this at a grand ball in Melbourne?
COLIN: You'd like to have a dress like that, wouldn't you?
EMILY: Every girl dreams of having a dress like this.
COLIN: What else does every girl dream of? What did you dream of when you were a girl?
Emily continues sewing and answers absently.
EMILY: Oh, I don't know. Sometimes I dreamed of grand things, fairy tale things, like this dress. But mostly I dreamed of simple things, I suppose. A house with flowers on the window sill, a husband and children inside, warm and safe. The things most girls dream, I guess.
Colin looks at her silently and Emily puts down her sewing and looks at him.
EMILY: What about you? Don't I get to know what you dreamed when you were a boy?
COLIN: Whatever it was, it can't compare to what I have now.
He kisses her.
The next day, at the church. Colin and Emily are standing on the church porch, saying good-bye to the parishioners. Matt and Kathleen leave last.
EMILY: Do you want to stay and visit for a while?
MATT: I'd like to. But I don't like the looks of that sky. I think we're in for a storm. We'd better get home and batten things down.
Matt and Kathleen get into their buggy, with Michael and Danni in the back. Rob gets on his horse and Emily and Colin waive them off.
KATHLEEN: Colin's sermon was a bit grim, don't you think? He doesn't usually do the fire and brimstone routine.
DANNI: I think he scared some children. Little Georgie Allen started to cry.
MATT: Well, I guess it reflects Colin's mood these days. He sure was in one yesterday.
KATHLEEN: Anything the matter?
MATT: Nothing we can help with, I'm afraid. Or, actually, nothing he'll let us help with.
Kathleen starts to reply, but Michael leans forward.
MICHAEL: Do you really think it's going to storm, Matt?
MATT: I'd count on it. The wind's already starting to kick up.
DANNI: It's a good thing you moved those cattle yesterday.
MATT: Yeah, but we didn't get up to the south pastures. We'll hope for the best, I guess.
Later. Matt drives the buggy up to the stable and everyone gets out. Rob dismounts from his horse. It is raining hard and the wind is blowing. The sky is dark with clouds.
MATT: Rob, you and Michael stable these horses. Then I want you to go out into the yard paddock and the lower paddock. Muster up the best of the horses and bring them back to be stabled. Get some men to help you. Danni, you'd better start gathering up wood and bring it inside. Enough to last until tomorrow morning. I'm going to ride out to the south pasture and see if the hands managed to move any cattle down.
KATHLEEN: What can I do?
MATT: Get out of the rain, like the sensible woman you are.
He kisses her quickly, then goes into the stable.
Later, at Langara. The family, except for Matt, is in the front room.
ROB: It's really howling out there. I sure hope Dad got some cattle into the lower pasture. Otherwise, we're going to be chasing strays for days.
Matt comes into the room and Kathleen goes to greet him.
KATHLEEN: Oh, Matt. I was getting worried. Is everything all right?
MATT: Well, we did what we could, but it was so dark out there we could barely see what we were doing. We only got a third of them moved.
MATT: We'll just have to wait and see how this shakes down. We'll check on them tomorrow.
Same time, in town. Colin and Emily are standing at the window in their front room.
COLIN: I'm going over to Custer's to see if he needs any help.
EMILY: And to check on your horse.
COLIN: That, too. I won't be long.
He leaves and goes to the livery stable. The wind is blowing so fiercely that he cannot walk a straight line. Debris is blowing across the street. Colin goes in the stable and finds his horse. He pets it and talks to it soothingly, then shouts for Mr. Custer.
COLIN: George! George, where are you?
Mr. Custer comes into the stable, leading a horse. Colin helps him get it into the stall.
COLIN: Any more out there?
CUSTER: Two. The most skittish of them. They were so flighty in this storm, I couldn't get hold of them. I could use the help of a good horseman.
COLIN: You've got it.
Colin goes outside to the yard. He approaches a horse, but it rears up. Colin manages to soothe it and grab its halter. He brings it to the stable and Mr. Custer takes hold of it.
CUSTER: Well done.
COLIN: I'll get the other.
He goes back out and tries to get the remaining horse. He backs it into a corner, then grabs the halter. As he does so, a huge boom is heard and the horse rears up. Colin loses his balance and falls to the ground. Mr. Custer has come out of the stable and hurries under the fence. He helps Colin to his feet before the horse rears again.
CUSTER: That was a close one.
COLIN: Thanks. What was that noise?
CUSTER: A tree came crashing down somewhere, I'd say. A big one, by the sound of it. With the ground as wet as it's been and this wind, there's going to be trees pulled up all over as easy as plucking flowers from a pot.
COLIN: I'll get the horse.
The next day, at Langara. It is a bright and clear morning, with no wind. Danni is in her nightgown on the veranda. Kathleen is dressed and standing next to Danni. They survey the yard. There are branches and some barrels scattered around, but it doesn't look too bad. Matt and Rob come from the stable and climb up the steps to the house.
DANNI: Everything okay in there?
MATT: Seems to be. We'll have to pound down some tin on the roof, but I'd say we got off lucky. At this end, anyway. We still have to check the cattle.
KATHLEEN: I'd like to go into town, Matt, and see how things have fared there. The tin on that printing office roof wasn't too secure to begin with.
MATT: I don't want you going in alone. There could be trees across the road. I'll take you.
KATHLEEN: What about the cattle?
MATT: Rob can be boss on this job. Okay with you, Rob?
ROB: Sure, Dad.
Later, in town. Matt and Kathleen drive up in front of the printing office. Mr. Gleeson is sweeping the walk. There are people all over town sweeping or carrying debris and putting it into barrels. Matt helps Kathleen down.
KATHLEEN: How'd we weather the storm, James?
MR. GLEESON: Not too badly, thank goodness. A window in the upstairs room was blown out, and we'll have to replace some tin on the roof, but it could have been much worse.
Matt looks around town.
MATT: It doesn't look like anything was damaged too badly.
Mr. Gleeson doesn't answer, but he takes his broom and continues to sweep.
Kathleen puts her hand on his arm.
KATHLEEN: What is it, James?
MR. GLEESON: Well, there was one badly damaged building, I'm afraid.
He looks up the hill and Kathleen and Matt follow his gaze.
KATHLEEN: Not the church.
MR. GLEESON: I can assure you, Kathleen, that no one was hurt.
Matt takes Kathleen's arm and helps her into the sulky.
MATT: Let's go.
They approach the church and stop when it is in full view.
KATHLEEN: Oh, no. Oh, Matt.
A tree is on the roof. It has caved in one half of the roof, as well as one side of the church. The shattered glass from the windows on that side is on the ground. The wood is broken and splintered. It's as if one wall of the church has been scrunched down to a fourth of its original size. Almost half of the front and back are also demolished.
Matt signals the horse to move. He stops in front of the church. Emily is standing outside. Kathleen goes to her and hugs her.
EMILY: Colin won't let me go in.
MATT: You two stay here.
Matt pushes aside some splintered timbers and enters the church. There is shattered glass everywhere and splinters of wood. The branches of the tree are hanging down into the sanctuary. The altar is gone, buried under the tree.
Colin emerges from some branches, the silver cross in his hands. It is flattened and mangled.
COLIN: It could survive a fire, but not this, I guess.
He sets it on the floor, but Matt picks it up.
MATT: Maybe Custer could reshape it. He's good at that sort of thing.
COLIN: No. It's ruined.
He sits down at a pew that has not been damaged. He stares wordlessly at the front of the church, where the altar had been.
Matt puts his hand on Colin's shoulder.
MATT: I'm sorry, son. As soon as we get things squared away at Langara, I'll get Rob and we'll help you clean up.
Colin shakes his head.
COLIN: You don't need to. Not this time.
COLIN: Take Emily home for me, will you? She's been looking at this long enough.
MATT: I'll look after her. But aren't you coming?
COLIN: I'll come by in a bit and pick up some things. I'll be away for the night. I need to check on some of my parishioners-see how they fared in this storm. Some of them are pretty isolated.
MATT: You need some help?
COLIN: No. I know you have things to do at Langara. Ask Emily to gather some things together for me. Tell her I'll be there soon.
MATT: You take care, huh?
Matt squeezes Colin's shoulder, then leaves. He is still holding the damaged cross. Kathleen looks at him questioningly, but Matt shakes his head. Emily looks at the cross, then takes it from Matt.
MATT: I'm sorry, Emily. Do you mind if I hold onto it for a while?
Emily shakes her head and hands the cross back to Matt.
KATHLEEN: Let's get you home.
EMILY: No. I'm staying with Colin.
MATT: He wants you to go home. He's going to ride out and check on some families soon.
EMILY: Then I'll stay until he's ready to leave. You and Kathleen don't need to stay here and fuss over me. I know you need to get back to Langara.
MATT: If you and Colin need anything, anything at all, you just ask.
EMILY: We're fine, Matt, really.
Matt helps Kathleen into the sulky and they drive away.
KATHLEEN: Are they fine, Matt?
Matt looks back over his shoulder at the church. Emily is making her way inside.
MATT: I'm not sure.
Inside the church. Colin is getting up to leave and meets Emily in the doorway.
COLIN: I told you I don't want you in here. It's not safe.
EMILY: I'll be careful. I just want to see.
Colin puts his arm around her and they look at the damage.
EMILY: Oh, look, Colin.
She moves toward the front of the church and Colin helps her over the debris.
She goes to the organ and touches the keys lovingly.
EMILY: There's not a scratch on it.
Colin looks at it also.
COLIN: No, I guess there's not. I hadn't even noticed. I'll get some men to help move it into the office before I leave. We don't want it rained on.
Emily looks at the office.
EMILY: The office isn't damaged?
EMILY: Then we were lucky, weren't we?
Colin looks at her and shakes his head. He kisses her.
COLIN: I really love you, you know.
Emily smiles at him.
The next day, at Langara. It is morning. Danni comes out to breakfast in her nightgown. Kathleen is eating breakfast, but no one else is there.
KATHLEEN: Good morning, sleepy head.
DANNI: Where is everyone? Did I sleep that late?
KATHLEEN: No. They got an early start. Your dad and Rob are out with the men mustering cattle. They're still scattered on the south ridge.
DANNI: Michael, too?
KATHLEEN: Michael, too. They wanted to finish by noon so they could go into town and help Colin cut the tree up at the church.
DANNI: I've been thinking about the tree smashing the church. Kathleen, isn't it strange that the only building in town that was badly damaged was the church? It seems like it should have been kept safe.
KATHLEEN: You mean God should have been watching over it?
DANNI: Well, yes.
KATHLEEN: Are you certain He wasn't watching over it? God does things in His own way, Danni. Just because it doesn't make sense to us, doesn't mean that God had His back turned. Colin would tell you that.
DANNI: I suppose. Kathleen, are you going into town this morning?
KATHLEEN: I was going to wait for your father. Why?
DANNI: I think I'll ride in and see Emily and Colin. Maybe there's something I can do.
KATHLEEN: I'll tell you what. You eat breakfast and get dressed, and then we'll both go. I'll leave a note for Matt.
Later, in town. Kathleen and Danni are in the front room of Colin and Emily's home. Emily enters from the bedroom with Kathleen's gown on her arm.
KATHLEEN: I didn't expect you to finish so quickly.
EMILY: It was such a pleasure to work on, my fingers just flew.
She hands the gown to Kathleen and Kathleen looks at the hem.
KATHLEEN: I don't think anyone in Melbourne could have done finer work. This is beautifully done, Emily.
EMILY: Thank you.
KATHLEEN: Emily, I'd like to pay you for this.
EMILY: Oh, no, Kathleen. I couldn't. It just wouldn't be right. I did it as a favor to you. I wanted to do it.
KATHLEEN: I know. But I was prepared to have it done for hire. And you've done such fine work. Please let me, Emily. I wouldn't feel right if I didn't.
EMILY: I...I guess it would be all right.
She opens her bag and gives some coins to Emily.
EMILY: So much? Are you sure?
KATHLEEN: It's what I would have paid to have it done, and I wouldn't have been nearly as pleased with the results, believe me.
Emily goes into the kitchen and the others follow her in. Emily puts the money in the jar on the shelf. Danni sets a kettle on the stove.
DANNI: I'll make us some tea.
She looks inside the firebox.
DANNI: Your fire's out, Emily.
EMILY: Oh, I'm sorry. If I'd known you were coming, I would have tried to get it going. It's not drawing right. I can't seem to get it hot enough to do anything-even boil water. With Colin gone this morning, I didn't even try.
KATHLEEN: It's not important. Why don't we go over to the printery and you can meet us there, Emily? Mr. Gleeson should be having his morning tea about now.
EMILY: All right. I'll be along soon.
Kathleen and Danni leave and go out onto the street.
DANNI: I'm glad you paid Emily for the dress. Did you see when she put the money away? There was barely anything else in there.
KATHLEEN: I know. I hope it was the right thing to do.
DANNI: What do you mean?
KATHLEEN: Nothing. Let's go tell Mr. Gleeson he's going to have company.
A short time later. Colin comes home and sees Emily put on her shawl.
She kisses him.
EMILY: I missed you. Is everything all right?
COLIN: I spent the night at the Logans'. They lost their barn in the storm. They're going to have to get another one up quick before winter sets in.
EMILY: It must be hard on them. They were struggling as it is.
COLIN: I told them the Church would get them the lumber they need.
EMILY: How can we do that?
COLIN: We've got the money left over from the shooting contest. I didn't expect to have to give it away so soon, but that's what it was meant for.
COLIN: What's wrong?
EMILY: It's just that I thought that's what we would use to repair the church. How are we going to pay for the lumber for that, Colin? We can't ask anyone to give more to the Church; they've already pushed themselves to the limit.
COLIN: I know. I'm going to have to cable the diocese in Melbourne and ask for some help.
EMILY: It took them ages to give you the go ahead after the fire. They don't seem to take much notice of you up here.
COLIN: What is it you want me to do? I'm doing the best I can.
EMILY: I know that. I didn't say you weren't. What is it, Colin?
COLIN: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm just tired. Tired of everything about the Church being so hard.
He looks at her and touches her shawl.
COLIN: Are you going out?
EMILY: Kathleen and Danni asked me to go over to the printing office for tea.
COLIN: Wouldn't it make more sense to have them here?
EMILY: I didn't light the stove this morning. I'm not sure I can get it hot enough to boil water, anyway.
COLIN: I'll see what I can do with it.
He goes to the kitchen and Emily follows him in. Colin takes off his jacket and puts it over a chair. He opens the firebox and puts in some kindling. He stands up and reaches for the matchbox on the shelf. It is next to the money jar. He picks up the jar and looks at it. Then he dumps the money on the table.
COLIN: Where did this money come from?
Emily sweeps the money back into the jar and puts it back on the shelf.
COLIN: Emily, where did you get that money?
EMILY: I earned it.
COLIN: What do you mean, you earned it?
EMILY: Well, Kathleen was so pleased with the work I did on the dress, she paid me for it.
COLIN: You took money from Kathleen? She paid you wages? What, like she pays Mrs. Tan, or the way Dad pays the hands?
EMILY: Colin, it wasn't like that. I didn't want her to. She insisted. Besides, I've been thinking. We could use a little extra and I've been thinking of asking Mrs. Berkowitz if she'd refer some of her customers to me for alterations, or maybe even I could make them dresses. I could sew here at home, and...
EMILY: But, Colin, I want to, really. It's how I would have supported myself if I hadn't married you.
COLIN: But you did marry me. And I said no. You're not going to hire yourself out to our friends and neighbors. And certainly not to our family.
EMILY: Colin, you're not being reasonable. Kathleen works and that's fine with Matt.
COLIN: She owns the paper, Emily. She's not doing the bidding of anyone else. She works because she wants to, not because Dad can't support her.
EMILY: Oh, Colin. I never said you couldn't support me.
COLIN: You didn't need to. I know I can't.
He takes the jacket from the chair and puts it on.
EMILY: Where are you going?
COLIN: To do something I should have done a long time ago, after the church burned down.
COLIN: You'd better get going. If I can't manage morning tea for you, at least Kathleen can take care of it.
He leaves the room and Emily watches him go, then leaves also.
Later, in the post office. Colin finishes writing on a piece of paper and hands the paper to Mr. Perkins.
COLIN: This needs to go to the diocese in Melbourne, Mr. Perkins.
MR. PERKINS: Informing them of the damage to the church?
COLIN: Among other things. I'd appreciate it if it could go out right away.
MR. PERKINS: I'll see to it right now.
Colin leaves and Mr. Perkins begins reading the paper. He watches after Colin and shakes his head.
That afternoon, at the church. Matt and Rob are sawing the tree into segments. Colin and Michael are clearing away branches.
ROB: I think that's all we'd better do if we're going to get back home before dark.
MATT: I think we can put in another thirty minutes or so.
Rob begins to answer, but he is interrupted by Mr. Perkins.
MR. PERKINS: I've just closed up the office. I thought I'd come by and see if I could lend a hand. I'm not too good at this sort of thing, but...
MATT: We're grateful for the help. You can help Colin and Michael haul branches outside.
Mr. Perkins looks at Colin, who is putting branches onto a pile outside of the church.
MR. PERKINS: He's a hard worker, our young reverend. I was a bit worried he wouldn't have the heart for this, but I guess he's dedicated until the end.
MATT: What does that mean, "dedicated until the end"?
MR. PERKINS: Oh, dear. I thought he would have told you.
ROB: Told us what?
MR. PERKINS: This is a very uncomfortable position, Matt. You know I pride myself on keeping the contents of a telegram private. People trust me and I take that trust very seriously.
MATT: I know you do. But I take my family very seriously, and if there's something concerning Colin that I should know, you'd better tell me.
MR. PERKINS: He'd have to tell us all soon, anyway. He sent a telegram to his superiors in Melbourne this morning. Asking them for funds to repair the church, but also...well...
ROB: Come on, Mr. Perkins.
MR. PERKINS: He's asked to be placed in another parish. He asked them to find him a position in Melbourne.
ROB: He wouldn't have done that, Dad.
MR. PERKINS: I can assure you, young man, that he did exactly that. I sent the telegram as written.
ROB: Something's not right. He'd never leave these mountains.
He starts to go after Colin, but Matt holds him back.
MATT: Leave him alone, Rob. He'll tell us when he's ready.
ROB: But, Dad. He must have just done this because he was upset about the damage. I'm sure if we talked to him, convinced him that we could all work together to repair it...
MATT: No. I think there's more to it than that. Let's just call it a day, okay?
Rob and Mr. Perkins look at each other and shrug, then begin to collect tools.
Matt goes outside.
MATT: That's enough for one day, Michael. Get on down to the printing office, will you, and tell Kathleen and Danni we're on our way home.
Michael starts down the hill and Matt goes to stand next to Colin, who is raking broken glass into a pile. Colin stops when he sees Matt and leans on the rake.
COLIN: Thanks for your help, Dad. At least now we can rig some tarps over the roof and missing wall. We're going to lose the flooring and the pews if it rains.
MATT: I'll bring something out from Langara tomorrow. Looks like we've got a clear night tonight, at least.
COLIN: Then we're lucky, as Emily would say.
Matt looks at him carefully, noticing the bitterness in his voice.
COLIN: Dad, I hate to ask you this, but could you take Emily back to Langara tonight? Mrs. Berkowitz had Custer come get our stove to see what he can do with it, and I'm afraid a hot meal is a bleak prospect at our place right now. Breakfast doesn't look too promising, either.
MATT: I'd be happy to.
COLIN: It seems like all I do is ask you for things.
MATT: That's not true.
COLIN: I've been thinking about it lately, and it is true. When the church burned we lived at Langara and contributed nothing.
MATT: Is that what you think? Emily kept that household going. You know that. And you. You're better on a horse than any hand I've got.
COLIN: Even if that's true, look what else you've done. The lumber and labor to rebuild the church after the fire, the help you're giving me now.
MATT: I'm not sure where you're going with this. Do you want me to stop helping? Because if that's it, it's just not going to happen, Colin.
COLIN: No. I don't want you to stop helping. I just want to stop needing it.
MATT: It's been a long day. Let's go get Emily, and the two of you can settle in at Langara for the night. Or for as long as you want, Colin.
COLIN: No. I'll stay in town. I don't think Emily wants to spend the night with me tonight anyway.
COLIN: It's nothing. An argument. It will pass. It all will.
MATT: Come to Langara, Colin.
COLIN: No. I'll come after Emily in a few days. Thanks for taking care of her, Dad.
MATT: I'll bring the tarps out tomorrow morning.
He gets on his horse and Colin resumes his raking.
That night, at Langara. Emily is standing on the veranda, looking out toward the drive. Kathleen comes out and stands next to her.
EMILY: I keep on thinking Colin is going to come riding up. But I guess he'd be here by now if he were coming.
Kathleen puts an arm around her sympathetically.
KATHLEEN: Emily, if you want to talk about anything, I'll listen.
EMILY: Thanks, Kathleen. It's nothing serious, really. It's just that...why are men so stubborn and prideful?
KATHLEEN: I don't have an answer for that. I can only tell you that I've never met one who wasn't.
EMILY: Including Matt?
KATHLEEN: Especially Matt.
EMILY: Well, I'd say Colin inherited his fair share.
KATHLEEN: Come on inside. I'll make you some tea and we can share our troubles together.
The next day, at the church. Matt, Colin, and Rob are just finishing tying down a tarp over the damaged portion of the roof.
MATT: That should do her.
COLIN: Thanks, Dad. I guess all we can do now is wait until I get word of funds from the diocese. Looks like it's back to services in the town hall.
Mr. Perkins comes up with a telegram in his hand.
MR. PERKINS: This just came for you, Colin. It's from Melbourne. I knew you'd want to see it right away.
ROB: Maybe you won't have to have services in the hall, after all. They sure got back to you quick on this.
Colin takes the telegram from Mr. Perkins. Perkins stands expectantly, waiting for Colin's reaction.
Colin reads the telegram, then puts it in his jacket pocket.
COLIN: Thanks, Mr. Perkins.
MR. PERKINS: Is there a reply?
COLIN: Not right now.
MR. PERKINS: But surely you're...
COLIN: Thanks for bringing it up.
Mr. Perkins turns dejectedly and heads back down the hill.
ROB: Good news?
COLIN: Yes. It's what I was hoping to hear. Dad, is your offer still open for me to spend the night at Langara?
COLIN: Good. There's something I need to talk over with Emily.
MATT: We can go now. Looks like we're finished here. Now it's your turn to work for me. There's some damaged fencing I need you and Rob to repair tomorrow.
COLIN: You've got it.
Later that day, at Langara. Emily and Colin are in the stable. Colin is brushing down his horse and Emily is sitting on a stool, watching him.
COLIN: I'm sorry we argued yesterday.
EMILY: I'm sorry, too.
COLIN: I was lonely last night.
EMILY: So was I.
Colin puts down the brush and takes Emily's hand. He pulls her to her feet and kisses her.
COLIN: Let's take a walk.
They leave the stable and walk hand in hand down the drive.
COLIN: I got a telegram from Melbourne today.
EMILY: That's good. I didn't think we'd hear about the funds for repair so soon.
COLIN: We haven't. It was something else.
Colin stops walking and looks at Emily.
COLIN: They've offered me a parish in Melbourne.
Emily looks at him in surprise.
COLIN: It's very sudden, I know. It surprised me, too.
EMILY: How did this come about?
COLIN: You remember Reverend Thomason, don't you?
EMILY: Of course I do. He has that pretty brick church toward the center of town.
COLIN: That's right. Well, it seems his wife's sister in Ballarat has been taken ill and his wife is needed to care for her. She's a widow and has no one else.
EMILY: What does this have to do with you?
COLIN: Reverend Thomason was considering retirement soon anyway. He's going to move to Ballarat.
EMILY: And you've been offered his parish.
EMILY: So they do notice what a fine minister you are, after all. I'm so proud they would offer it to you.
COLIN: That's not quite the reaction I was expecting.
EMILY: Why not? You've worked so hard and done so well. You deserve the recognition. You should be pleased you were asked.
COLIN: I am. But now we have a decision to make, Emily.
Emily looks at him in confusion.
COLIN: What is it?
EMILY: I thought...I thought you were just sharing with me what they said. I didn't think you were considering it.
COLIN: I am considering it. But it's a decision we'd need to make together. What would you think about it?
EMILY: I'm not sure. I've never thought of us leaving Paterson's Ridge. I never thought you'd want to.
COLIN: I know. But it would mean a whole new way of life for us, Emily. My salary would be larger there. We wouldn't have to struggle so much. You'd have the advantages of living in the city. And we'd have a lovely home-the one Reverend Thomason has now. You've seen it.
EMILY: Yes. It's beautiful.
COLIN: And no more pastor rounds, Emily. No more being apart for a week at a time.
EMILY: I can't say I wouldn't like that, but that's a part of your job I know you've always enjoyed. Are you sure you want to give that up? And what about your family? Wouldn't you miss them?
COLIN: Yes, I would. But Dad comes to Melbourne often, and we'd see him when Parliament sits. He'd probably even stay with us. And we could come here on holiday to visit.
EMILY: What about your congregation here?
COLIN: That's the part that tugs at me. I'd like to stay until they find a new minister, but there's not enough time. They've asked me to cable them with a decision tomorrow, and if I agree, they'd want us down there in a few days to firm things up, and then we'd move in another week.
Colin takes Emily's hand again.
COLIN: Well, what do you think?
Emily looks around at the property.
EMILY: It won't be easy to leave this. But you need to go where your career takes you. It will be exciting for you to have a larger congregation, more responsibilities.
COLIN: And what will it be like for you?
EMILY: I just want to be with you and to support you. As long as we're together, it doesn't matter where. I want to go where you'll be happy. Are you sure this is what you want?
COLIN: Yes. It's what I want. It's what I want for both of us.
EMILY: Then we'd better go tell the others.
They begin walking back toward the house.
That night, at Langara. The family is eating dinner.
ROB: How much fence is down, Dad?
MATT: I'm not sure. I just checked part of the line. You and Colin will have to ride the entire south boundary. That seems to be where the wind hit hardest.
COLIN: After tomorrow, you and Rob may have to find other part-time help.
ROB: You going to be busy repairing the church? At least they're going to give you the funds.
COLIN: No. The cable I got this morning wasn't about that.
Colin and Emily look at each other and then Colin looks back at the family.
COLIN: Dad, everyone, Emily and I are moving to Melbourne. I've been offered a parish there.
Matt looks at Colin evenly, but the rest of the family looks stunned.
DANNI: You mean you'd leave here?
COLIN: It's a wonderful offer, Danni.
Danni looks at Emily, unbelieving.
EMILY: It's not like we won't see each other, Danni. You could come visit us any time you wanted. We'll have lots of room. You could stay as long as you like.
Danni turns to Matt.
MATT: Danni, Colin and Emily have their own lives to lead. We can't be selfish if this is what they really want.
He looks at Colin carefully.
MATT: Is it? What you really want?
COLIN: It is. We're leaving the day after tomorrow for a visit, and then we'll be moving soon after that.
Danni begins to cry and leaves the table. Colin looks after her with concern.
MATT: She'll be all right. It's just going to be hard to get used to, that's all.
COLIN: I know it will be. For all of us.
The next day. Rob and Colin are riding along a fence line. Colin stops and Rob stops next to him. Colin looks out over the land.
COLIN: It's so beautiful, it's almost haunting.
ROB: Yeah, it is, isn't it? You know, you have a way of saying things, of making me look at things a little harder than I would. I'm going to miss that. I'm going to miss riding up here with you.
COLIN: Me too.
ROB: Are you sure you know what you're doing? I just can't believe you'd leave this. I never thought you would.
COLIN: Neither did I.
ROB: Then why?
COLIN: I want it for Emily. I want her to be happy. I want to give her things that I can't if I stay here.
ROB: But you love it here.
COLIN: I love Emily more. It's not hard to understand, Robbie. You know, even you are going to find something-or someone-more important to you than this someday.
COLIN: And when you do, you'll have my support. I'd like yours.
ROB: You've always had mine. But that doesn't mean I have to like it, Col.
COLIN: I know. Come on.
The two continue riding.
The next day, at the church. Matt, Rob, Michael, Mr. Custer, Mr. Perkins and several other men are repairing the church. There is much activity, and the job seems to be nearly finished. Michael is working alongside Matt.
MICHAEL: Do you think we'll have it done before Colin and Emily get back from Melbourne?
MATT: Guaranteed. They won't get back until the day after tomorrow.
MICHAEL: When they see it, maybe Colin will change his mind.
MATT: I don't think so, Michael. You know, it's quite an honor for him to be offered this new position. He needs us to be happy for him. We can't be badgering him to stay. You'll just make him feel bad.
MICHAEL: I don't want him to feel bad. I'm just going to miss him.
MATT: I know. Me too. But at least if the church is finished, that's one less thing he and Emily have to worry about before they move.
Michael nods and they continue working.
A few days later, at the train station. Matt meets Emily and Colin at the platform as they get off the train.
COLIN: Dad. I didn't expect to see you here.
MATT: I have something I want to show you. How was the trip?
COLIN: It went well. We met some members of the congregation. I'm a little younger than they had in mind, I think, but I'm sure I can win them over.
EMILY: I know you can.
MATT: Can you get your luggage later? I have a surprise for you.
COLIN: All right.
MATT: It's at the church. Come on.
Later. Matt, Colin, and Emily are standing in front of the church.
EMILY: Oh, Matt. It's beautiful. You can't even tell anything happened to it.
MATT: It didn't take long to repair. It was just a matter of tearing out the splintered boards and putting up new, then fixing the roof. And finishing the inside walls, of course. But there's no glass in the windows yet. It's on order from Melbourne.
EMILY: I'm going to see the inside.
She goes into the church and Colin turns to Matt.
COLIN: Dad, you know I didn't want you to do this.
MATT: Well, son, you didn't have a choice. And if you think moving away will mean I'll stop being there to help, you're wrong about that, too.
COLIN: That's not why I'm moving.
MATT: I think that's part of it. I think you're trying to prove how independent you are, how you can take care of things on your own.
COLIN: I can take care of things on my own. But when I move to this new parish, I'll be able to take care of things better.
MATT: And will you be happy?
COLIN: Emily will be happy. That's all I care about.
MATT: I know you love her and you'd do anything for her. But you know as well as I do that she's not going to be happy unless you are. Colin, maybe you can convince everyone else, even Emily, that this is what you really want. But you can't convince me. I know you. I know what these mountains mean to you, what this place means, this church, these people. And I know that no one else can step into your job here and replace you. There's no one else who's going to understand the needs of the people here the way you do. This has always been enough for you. You've always said you have work to do here. Are you just going to walk away from that?
COLIN: How can you see it that way? I thought you of all people would support me in this. You've always told us we need to lead our own lives, make our own decisions. I don't understand why you sound so angry with me about this.
MATT: I am angry. I'm angry that you're letting your pride get the best of you. I thought you had more sense than that. I know about pride, Colin. I know it can lead to decisions you'll regret for a very long time.
Colin looks at him, but he doesn't answer.
MATT: Does Emily know that you requested this position? That it wasn't just an offer out of nowhere?
COLIN: How'd you know that?
MATT: Does it make any difference? Emily thinks you're doing this because you want to advance your career, because you're unhappy where you are. If that's not the reason, she has a right to know. She has a right to know before you do something that's going to change both of your lives.
Colin starts to answer but stops when he sees George Custer walking up the hill. He is carrying something wrapped in cloth.
MATT: I'll see what he needs. Talk to Emily, Colin.
Colin looks at him as if he is going to say something, but he turns and goes into the church. Emily is sitting in a pew and Colin goes to her and sits next to her.
EMILY: They did a beautiful job with the repairs.
COLIN: Yes, they did.
EMILY: It seems so small compared to the one in Melbourne.
COLIN: It is small.
EMILY: I'm going to miss it.
COLIN: So am I. Very much.
Emily looks at him questioningly.
COLIN: Emily, tell me the truth. Do you really want to move to Melbourne?
EMILY: I want what you want. I told you that.
COLIN: That's not what I asked you. Do you want to leave here?
EMILY: I thought I did. When you first told me about it, I was excited. Excited for you and your career, excited to have a bigger church and to live in the city. But when we got there...I'm not sure I liked it, Colin. The house and church are lovely, but you've always said a church is the people, not the building. I felt uncomfortable with the people there. I didn't have anything in common with the women of the congregation. I felt like they were patronizing me. But mostly, even though we were gone for just a few days, I was homesick.
Colin looks at her knowingly, and she continues.
EMILY: I've always loved going to Melbourne on visits. But I've always known that home was waiting. I always knew that I'd be coming home to the way it smells here, to the way the air feels on my cheeks, to the way it is so quiet in the morning I can almost hear the fog roll in. I'm sorry. I wanted to be happy for you. And I can be, Colin, honestly. I just need to get used to it. The important thing is that we'll be together. If this is what you really want, it's what we should do.
COLIN: No. I wasn't happy there, either. I tried to hide it from you.
EMILY: But why?
COLIN: Emily. I asked for this transfer. I cabled after the storm and requested it. The only surprise was that an offer came so soon.
EMILY: You asked to leave here?
COLIN: I wanted it for you. I wanted you to have nice things, to not work so hard. I wanted you not to have regrets.
EMILY: Regrets about what?
COLIN: About marrying me. Being my wife. Do you...do you regret it?
Emily gets up and turns her back to him. Colin stands next to her and puts his hands on her shoulders. He turns her towards him. Emily has tears in her eyes.
EMILY: Oh, Colin. How can you ask me that? What have I done to make you ask me that?
COLIN: Nothing. I promise you, you've done nothing. It's what I've done. What I didn't do. I want so much for you to be happy. To give you the things that will make you happy. And I can't. Even if we go to Melbourne, I can't really. I never will. You're married to a very poor man, Emily.
Emily touches his face gently and looks at him earnestly.
EMILY: I'm married to a very good man. An honest, strong, compassionate man. A man I love with all my heart. Please tell me you don't doubt that.
COLIN: If I did, I was a fool.
EMILY: You have given me the things that will make me happy, Colin. I didn't marry you because I want expensive things. I married you because I want to be your partner and help you when you need support, even if that means contributing to our finances. I married you because I want to share my life with you, and because I want to share in yours more than I've ever wanted anything. And I don't care where or how. It doesn't matter if it's in a two-story house in Melbourne or in rooms behind a mountain store. I just want you. If I have you, I'll be happy.
Colin kisses her softly.
COLIN: You'll always have me.
They kiss again, this time more passionately. Matt stands in the doorway and clears his throat. Colin and Emily break their embrace and meet him at the door. Matt is holding the silver cross. He hands it to Colin. Colin takes it and looks at it reverently.
COLIN: How in the world...
MATT: I told you Custer could fix it. I thought you might want to take it to the new church with you.
Colin sets the cross on the altar.
COLIN: No, it belongs here.
He turns back to Matt.
COLIN: And so do we.
MATT: You mean...
COLIN: We're not going anywhere. We're staying right here.
Matt looks at Emily, and she nods and smiles. Matt hugs her and then hugs Colin.
MATT: I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that. Come on. Let's go get your things. We'll go out to Langara and tell your brother and sister. I have a feeling there's going to be a celebration tonight.
The three of them walk out of the church, Colin last. He glances back at the cross on the altar, then shuts the door behind him. The scene ends.