Author: rainiergirl PM
The family faces unforeseen challenges in the wake of a disturbing event. Set Season 3, after "The Grand Wedding" but before "Montana Territory."Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Family - Colin M. & Matt M. - Words: 9,643 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 02-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7847675
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's notes: The subject matter in this one is a little more serious than the show usually tackled, but I can still picture it as an episode. The dialogue is true to character, and it was interesting to explore a darker side to Colin. It is set in the narrow space after Matt and Kathleen are married, but before Colin and Emily move to town.
In town. Colin and Emily are walking down the hill from the church, Colin dressed in his suit and collar. They hear shouts of excitement coming from the yard outside of the stables. They move toward the noise and stand among a crowd of townspeople. A man is on a horse, trying to ride him while the horse bucks wildly. Men cheer, and it is obvious that a wager has been placed. Colin watches with concern. He turns toward Emily.
COLIN: This is no good. Dad's been after Custer to turn out that horse. He says he's gone bad. No one can break him. And everyone here knows that. To make money on this...
He shakes his head angrily and then suddenly climbs the rail and jumps over. The horse has thrown the rider, and Colin grabs the horse's reins and tries to get it away from the prone man. Mr. Custer has opened the gate and is in the yard. Colin gives him the horse.
COLIN: Get him out of here, George. You know what Dad said about him.
MR. CUSTER: This wasn't my doing, Colin. This bloke just came in and said he could ride him. Before I knew it, they had money on it.
Colin turns his attention to the man on the ground. Emily has come into the enclosure, and the two of them kneel next to the man. The man stirs and tries to sit up but is obviously dazed.
EMILY: It's okay. Just lie still for a minute.
She lets the man lay his head in her lap. He closes his eyes and then opens them again. He looks up at her. Someone has handed Emily a ladle of water, and she helps the man take a drink.
MAN: I'm fine now, miss. Thank you.
Colin helps the man to his feet. He helps him out of the yard. The man leans against a rail.
COLIN: You could have been killed riding that horse.
MAN: But I wasn't. It was a pretty good go, though, wasn't it?
COLIN: You make money on it?
MAN: Does it matter, Reverend?
Colin is silent.
MAN: Well, I need the money. And I figure I'll get it any way I can.
COLIN: You looking for work?
MAN: I'm headed out to a cattle station. I heard they were hiring on.
COLIN: They are. And they could use a good rider.
MAN: So it was a good go?
Colin smiles slightly.
COLIN: It's called Langara. The station you're looking for. It's about a half-hour's ride south of town.
MAN: Much obliged.
He turns toward Emily.
MAN: And to you too, miss.
Emily nods and she and Colin continue on their way.
The next day, at Langara. The family is seated at the breakfast table.
COLIN: The new hand working out okay?
COLIN: I never did get his name. Guess I should have asked before I sent him over here.
MATT: Rob hired him on yesterday afternoon. Seems okay. He says he can break horses. He's going up with us today to help get the brumbies into the north paddock.
Rob looks at Colin, who is wearing his suit.
ROB: I take it you're not coming.
COLIN: Not this time. Sounds like you have enough help without me, anyway.
Rob and Matt leave the table and Kathleen follows them to the door.
MATT: You going in to the paper today?
KATHLEEN: Soon. I'll drop Michael off at school.
She kisses Matt good-bye and Matt goes out the door.
Hanks is by the stable, waiting for them.
HANKS: I'm ready to ride, Mr. McGregor.
MATT: We'll be with you in a minute.
Matt and Rob go into the stable to get their horses. Colin and Emily come out of the house.
Hanks looks at them in surprise.
HANKS: Reverend. I didn't expect to see you here.
COLIN: We live here. Mr. McGregor's my father.
HANKS: Well, I'll be.
Hanks looks at Emily.
HANKS: Nice to see you again, ma'am.
Emily smiles at him and Hanks continues to watch her until Emily turns away uncomfortably.
Matt and Rob come out of the stable with their horses.
HANKS: I was looking around, Mr. McGregor, and noticed you have some loose side boards on that stable. Some posts on that yard fence look like they need shoring up. I was thinking, maybe I could do that for you today.
MATT: I thought you were ready to ride.
HANKS: Just noticed it needed doing, is all.
ROB: If he wants to, Dad. You know you've been after me to get that done for a while now.
MATT: All right. It's not help mustering that we need, anyway. It's breaking them in.
HANKS: You just leave the home place to me, then. I'll have the place spruced up in no time. Let me at it tomorrow, too, and you won't recognize her.
Matt and Rob mount up.
MATT: You've got it. Let's go, Rob.
Colin has gotten his horse from the stable, too. He kisses Emily good-bye and Hanks watches them carefully. He turns his gaze quickly away when the two of them look back up. Colin rides out and Emily turns to go back into the house. Hanks walks alongside her.
HANKS: That's a fetching dress you're wearing this morning, miss.
Emily looks at him uncertainly.
HANKS: I just mean you look real pretty this morning. When I was hurt and looked up at you yesterday, that's what I thought. That you were so pretty. I thought you were an angel.
Emily hesitates, then looks at him.
EMILY: I'm glad you weren't injured too badly, Mr. Hanks.
She goes inside the house and Hanks watches her and smiles.
Later that day. Emily is kneeling next to the house, preparing to take a plant out of a pot and put it into the flower bed by the steps. Hanks looks up from pounding down a board on the stable and comes over to her. He kneels next to her and Emily looks up, startled.
HANKS: Let me do that. No sense getting those pretty hands dirty.
He takes the pot from Emily, letting his hand touch hers. He doesn't move it, and Emily quickly withdraws her.
HANKS: You like flowers, do you? I bet a fine lady like you likes all kinds of pretty things.
Emily gets up suddenly.
EMILY: Excuse me. I...I forgot the other pot.
She leaves to go into the house and bumps into Danni, who is coming out the door.
DANNI: Did you finish already?
Emily doesn't answer her, but hurries into the house. Danni watches after her and then sees Hanks looking at them. She goes back into the house after Emily.
That evening, at supper. The family is talking as food is being passed around.
COLIN: How'd it go up there today?
ROB: It will take two more days to get them all in the high paddock, I think. Then we'll bring them down and start breaking them in.
MATT: Looks like things got done all right around here.
DANNI: Mr. Hanks even helped Emily plant some flowers.
COLIN: I saw those. It's nice to have some help around here, huh?
EMILY: Yes. Will Mr. Hanks go out with you tomorrow, Matt?
MATT: I don't think so. He seems so handy around here, I think we'll just let him do chores until the horses are ready to break.
Emily says nothing, but stares at the food on her plate.
The next day. Emily and Mrs. Tan are in the kitchen. There is a knock on the door.
EMILY: I'll get it.
She answers the door and Hanks is standing on the veranda, holding a bunch of wild flowers.
Hanks holds them out to her.
HANKS: You said you liked flowers.
Emily only looks at him.
HANKS: Go ahead. Take 'em.
EMILY: Mr. Hanks, I think...
Hanks peers around her shoulder, trying to see inside.
HANKS: I bet you got something real pretty in there to put those flowers in.
He starts to shove past her to get into the house.
EMILY: Really, you should...
Mrs. Tan comes into the room.
MRS. TAN: Company, Mrs. McGregor?
EMILY: No, Mrs. Tan. He was just leaving.
Emily shuts the door and Hanks turns away angrily. He throws the flowers at the closed door.
That afternoon. Colin comes riding up to the house and ties his horse to the rail. He comes up the steps and sees the bundle of wilted flowers on the veranda. He picks them up and goes inside.
Emily is sewing in the drawing room and rises to greet him. Colin sets the flowers down on the table. Emily kisses him, not noticing the flowers.
EMILY: You're home early.
COLIN: I finished what I needed to get done. In fact, I think I'll go out with Rob and Dad tomorrow. I'm pretty well caught up in town.
EMILY: Maybe you could stay home with me tomorrow.
COLIN: Dad wants me to help him mend some fence before they bring the brumbies down. We won't have much of a chance after that, we'll be so busy breaking them in.
EMILY: You need Mr. Hanks for that, don't you?
COLIN: That's why he was hired on.
EMILY: And after you're through breaking the horses, will you still need him?
COLIN: No. He's temporary help. Why?
EMILY: He's...I don't know. Oh, it's silly.
COLIN: What is it?
EMILY: He just makes me nervous, somehow.
COLIN: What does he do?
EMILY: Nothing. He's trying to be very nice. But he makes me feel funny. He tried to give me flowers.
Colin goes over to the table and picks up the flowers.
EMILY: I wouldn't take them. I think I made him angry.
COLIN: Do you want me to let him go? If he's making you uncomfortable...
EMILY: No. No, really. I told you, it's silly. And Matt needs him here. I'm sorry I said anything.
COLIN: I'm not. I'll go talk to him.
COLIN: It's all right. I just want to make sure he knows what his role is here.
Colin goes out of the house, the flowers in his hand. He goes into the stable, where Hanks is mucking out a stall. Hanks looks up.
HANKS: Reverend. And how are you this fine day?
Colin holds the flowers out to him.
COLIN: My wife said you wanted to give her these.
HANKS: I did. Just to show her a kindness for the other day, when I was hurt.
COLIN: She appreciates that, I know. But, well, I think it's best if you just stuck to your chores around here and didn't come up to the house.
HANKS: She wouldn't even take them from me.
Hanks is watching Colin carefully.
HANKS: I'm not good enough to come up to the grand house, is that it?
Colin starts to say something but stops when Hanks looks at him defiantly. Colin tosses the flowers onto the floor.
COLIN: Just keep away from her, that's all.
He turns to leave, and as soon as his back is turned, Hanks spits angrily on the flowers.
The next day, at Langara. It is late afternoon. Emily is gathering a wash from the line. Hanks comes up behind her.
HANKS: Grand day, isn't it?
Emily is startled and jumps, dropping her clothes basket.
HANKS: There now. I didn't mean to scare you.
EMILY: Is there something you wanted?
HANKS: You don't have to sound so worried. I'm just doing my job, that's all. There's a horse down in the stable. I couldn't find anything to dose it with; I thought you might get me something from the house.
EMILY: I'll go see what I can find.
HANKS: Well, you'll have to bring it into the stable when you get it. It seems I'm not to go up to the house any more.
EMILY: I'm sorry. I...I just...
HANKS: It's all right, ma'am. Just go get something for the horse.
Emily heads toward the house and Hanks goes into the stable. A short time later, Emily returns with a bottle of liquid.
Emily gives the bottle to Hanks.
EMILY: This is what we usually use, if it's nothing too serious.
She looks around but cannot find a horse that is ailing. She turns to Hanks.
EMILY: Which horse...
Hanks takes her arm and guides her to the back of the stable. He leads her into a stall.
HANKS: Just right back here.
Emily can see that the stall is empty and her voice is nervous.
EMILY: I think I'd better get one of the men to help you.
She turns to leave, but Hanks grabs her shoulders.
HANKS: No, I don't think you will. I don't think there's any men at home. They're out mending fences today, I believe. Even that devout husband of yours. Not at his church today, is he?
Emily tries to escape his grasp, but he holds her tighter.
HANKS: And no one else is here, either. The boy at school, the girl and the grand lady gone into town. And the China woman has the day off. Did I leave anyone out?
Hanks chuckles at Emily's surprise.
HANKS: Oh, I've been watching. For days now, watching and waiting. Waiting for a chance to be alone with you.
Emily spins from his grasp and begins to run. Hanks goes after her and easily catches her. He drags her back into the stall.
HANKS: Now, no good trying to run from me, little miss.
He stands in front of her, his hands on her shoulders pressing her against the wall.
HANKS: You're used to having all the power, aren't you? Power over men. I know women like you. You dole out your smiles like they're guineas. You wouldn't give me one the other day, would you? What would it have cost you? It would have cost you nothing and would have been everything to me.
Emily looks at him in confusion.
EMILY: I...I don't know what...
HANKS: Are you too good for me, is that it? The preacher thinks you are. Do you know what he said to me? "Keep away from her," he said. And I was doing nothing. Kindness, was all. I wanted a smile from you, nothing more. But now, now I'm going to take so much more.
HANKS: I've got the power now. Not you, and not him. He can't keep me from you now.
He keeps one hand on Emily's shoulder, pressing her against the wall, and with the other touches her neck.
HANKS: What a white, pretty neck. How could I have not noticed that before?
He puts his hand around her throat and Emily gasps.
HANKS: I could break that pretty neck with one twist. One small movement, and it's done.
Emily is really struggling and Hanks releases her.
HANKS: But don't you worry. I won't hurt you. You just do everything I say to do, and we'll get along fine.
Emily is doubled over, gasping for air.
Hanks bends over her and touches her hair.
HANKS: There, now. You just be a good girl, and we won't have to do that again.
He helps her straighten up and backs her against the wall again.
HANKS: Let's have a kiss. You're not too fine a lady to give the likes of me a kiss, are you?
Emily turns her face away and Hanks grabs her hair roughly and forces her face to meet his. He kisses her.
HANKS: That wasn't so bad, was it?
Emily squirms from his grasp and manages to escape under his arm. He grabs her and shoves her roughly back against the wall.
HANKS: No, no. You can't go yet. We're not finished yet.
He takes a knife from his belt and holds it in front of Emily. Emily instinctively puts up her hand, and the knife slashes against her palm.
EMILY: Colin! Colin!
HANKS: Stop it! Shut up!
Hanks holds onto her wrist and the blood drips from Emily's hand onto her dress.
HANKS: You do that again, and you'll really feel the point of this. You hear me?
Emily does not respond and Hanks presses the knife against her throat.
HANKS: I asked you a question. You hear me?
Emily tries to talk, but she makes no sound.
She begins to cry and closes her eyes as Hanks grasps the front of Emily's dress with one hand and with the other slits it with the knife from the collar to the waist. He grips the cloth and rips it down over her shoulders.
At the same time, Matt, Rob, and Colin are riding toward the house. They pause at a fence that has sagging wire.
MATT: Not time to call it a day yet, boys. We've got time to fix this. If we don't do it now, we don't get to it for another week. Those brumbies come down tomorrow.
Rob dismounts and gets a roll of wire from the back of his saddle.
ROB: We've got time, maybe, but not enough wire.
COLIN: You two get a start on it; I'll get some more and bring it back.
Colin rides to the stable and leaves his horse outside. He gets a roll of wire and then pauses as he hears muffled noises from the back of the stable. He puts the wire down and goes to investigate. He sees Hanks and Emily on the ground, Hanks on top of her. Hanks has his belt undone and is pushing up Emily's skirts. Neither sees him.
COLIN: Get off of her!
Colin hurls himself onto Hanks's back and shoves him off of Emily. The two fight on the floor, and Hanks tries to grab his knife, which is nearby on the ground. Before he gets a chance, Colin gets to his feet and stands over Hanks, then grabs him by the collar and pulls him to his feet.
COLIN: Get up!
Colin pushes him out of the stall into the main portion of the stable. He punches him, but Hanks fights back. The two continue swinging at each other, making their way outside. Outside, Colin punches Hanks in the jaw and Hanks staggers. Colin backs him up against the outside stable wall and continues to punch him, so much so that Hanks loses consciousness. Hanks sags to the ground and Colin kicks him continually in the ribs.
At the same time, Matt and Rob have unrolled the last of the wire.
ROB: Well, that's it until Colin brings some more.
MATT: He should be back by now.
The two of them look down the hill and see Colin and Hanks outside the stable.
MATT: What the...
They quickly mount their horses and ride toward them. Colin is still kicking the unconscious Hanks.
Matt and Rob try to pull him away, but it takes both of their efforts.
MATT: Colin! Get a hold of yourself!
Colin breaks from Matt's grasp and then again kicks Hanks.
ROB: Colin, stop it!
Matt and Rob grab hold of him and Matt pushes him roughly against a rail.
MATT: I don't know what's gotten into you, but that man is unconscious.
Colin looks at Hanks and then suddenly looks at the stable. He bolts and starts to run toward the stable. Rob catches up to him and holds him back.
COLIN: Let me go! I have to get to Emily!
Matt follows Colin's gaze toward the stable.
MATT: Let him go, Rob.
The three of them run into the stable, Matt taking the lead. Emily is huddled in the corner of the back stall, rocking back and forth on her knees. The three men stare at her a second, taking in her torn dress and the finger marks on her neck and shoulders.
MATT: Oh, Emily.
Colin starts to go to her, but Matt shakes his head.
MATT: Stay there.
Matt goes to Emily and crouches beside her. He touches her shoulder gently and she screams.
He starts to go toward her, but Rob holds him back.
ROB: Easy, easy.
Colin stops and they both watch Matt and Emily. Emily is screaming hysterically.
MATT: Emily, it's me. It's Matt. You're okay now. Shh. Shh.
Emily looks up at him uncertainly and then clutches his jacket and begins to cry. Matt holds her and then looks up at Rob and Colin helplessly. Colin crouches on the ground beside Matt.
COLIN: Let me take her.
Matt takes Emily's hands and tries to undo her clutch from his jacket. He notices the blood on her hand, which has left an imprint on his jacket. He takes the cloth from around his neck and wraps it around Emily's hand. Then he eases her toward Colin, who picks her up in his arms.
MATT: Get her inside. See if the blood on her is from her hand, or if she's cut anywhere else.
Colin stands rooted, as if he can't fathom what has happened.
MATT: Move, Colin! Take her inside.
Colin carries Emily outside to the house and Matt and Rob follow. For the first time they turn their attention toward Hanks.
ROB: Is he dead?
MATT: I don't know.
Matt kneels next to Hanks and feels for a pulse on his neck. His face is so beaten it is almost unrecognizable.
MATT: He's alive. Ride for the doctor, Rob, and while you're in town, tell Kathleen and the kids to come home.
Rob nods and mounts his horse, then rides off.
Later. It is dark and Matt, Michael, and Danni are in the drawing room. Kathleen enters and they look up.
MATT: How's Emily?
KATHLEEN: Sleeping. Colin's with her.
MICHAEL: Is she okay, Mum?
KATHLEEN: Of course she is. You heard what the doctor said. It was a simple job to stitch up her hand; she'll be fine.
Matt looks at her, but Kathleen carefully averts her gaze.
Matt goes out onto the veranda and Kathleen follows him.
MATT: Remind Danni and Michael not to go in the stable.
KATHLEEN: They know. I wish he wasn't in there, Matt.
MATT: So do I, believe me. But there was no other way. The doctor said he can't withstand the ride into town for at least a few more days. When he's ready, Rob and I will take him in. He can stay in the jail until a trooper comes to get him.
KATHLEEN: It's ironic, isn't it? After what he did to Emily, here we are nursing him back to health.
MATT: I wouldn't say keeping him in our stable is exactly "nursing him to health," Kathleen. What did you expect me to do?
Kathleen puts her hand on his shoulder.
KATHLEEN: I don't think there's anything else you could have done. But Colin thinks Rob and the doctor took him into town. You'd better tell him.
MATT: Tomorrow. He doesn't need to know right now.
He looks at Kathleen thoughtfully.
KATHLEEN: Kathleen, how did Colin seem to you when you were in there just now?
KATHLEEN: Quiet. Worried about Emily, of course.
MATT: I hope that's all.
KATHLEEN: What do you mean?
MATT: Have you ever seen something, something so unreal that even though you saw it, you have to convince yourself that it really happened?
KATHLEEN: You mean what happened to Emily?
MATT: No. Colin. I saw my son try to kill a man today, Kathleen. Hanks would be dead if Rob and I hadn't come when we did.
KATHLEEN: He was protecting Emily.
Matt shakes his head.
MATT: No. He went way beyond protecting Emily. He didn't just want him away from her; he wanted him dead. I couldn't have told you it was Colin, Kathleen. It was as if there was nothing to him but rage. And power. Rob and I together could barely stop him.
KATHLEEN: Oh, Matt. It doesn't sound to me like he even knew what he was doing.
MATT: Maybe. But what if he did? What if even the smallest part of him knew exactly what he was doing?
KATHLEEN: I don't know, Matt. That's something he's going to have to answer for himself.
The next morning. The family, except for Colin, Emily, and Rob, is at the breakfast table. Colin joins them.
KATHLEEN: How is Emily this morning?
COLIN: I'm letting her sleep in. She had a restless night. Is Rob up with the men bringing down the horses already?
MICHAEL: He's out in the stable. He spent the night out there.
Kathleen gives Michael a warning look, but he does not heed it.
COLIN: Why would he do that?
MICHAEL: Well, to watch the man.
COLIN: What man?
Colin quickly gets up and goes outside. Matt follows him.
MATT: Now just hold on a minute.
Colin spins around angrily.
COLIN: How could you let him stay here?
MATT: I had no choice. The doctor said the move into town would have killed him.
COLIN: Then I'll move him myself.
MATT: Do you know what you're saying? Colin, look at me. Do you know that you beat a man so badly that he is on the verge of death?
COLIN: Do you know that he held a knife to Emily's throat? That he tried to...
MATT: Now look, son, I know how you must feel, but...
COLIN: No. No, you don't know how I feel. You won't know how I feel until it's your wife who calls out in the middle of the night, and until she cringes in terror when you reach out to comfort her.
MATT: Colin...Colin, just stay out of the stable. Come back to the house, huh?
COLIN: Just leave me alone, Dad. I'm going to go finish rewiring that fence line we found yesterday.
Colin heads up the hill and Matt watches him with concern, then goes back inside.
Inside, Kathleen carries a tray to Emily's room and knocks on the door. Emily answers and Kathleen enters. She puts the tray on the dresser top. Emily is up and dressed.
KATHLEEN: I thought I'd bring you breakfast in bed, but I see I'm too late.
EMILY: I've already slept way too long. This is Mrs. Tan's baking day, and I'm sure she's counting on my help.
KATHLEEN: Emily, maybe you should just take it easy today. You know, relax. Let us take care of you.
EMILY: I don't need "taken care of," Kathleen. I'm not sick; I'm fine.
KATHLEEN: Of course you are. I thought...that is, I thought you should rest your hand. How is it this morning?
EMILY: It stings a bit, but it's fine, really. The doctor said I'm not to get it wet until the stitches come out, though. I guess that means no dish washing. Sorry.
KATHLEEN: Well, enjoy it while it lasts.
Kathleen watches Emily, who is putting up her hair. She speaks cautiously.
KATHLEEN: Emily, I want you to know that if you need to talk to someone, if you want to talk about what happened...well, I'm here.
EMILY: I know, Kathleen. But there's nothing to talk about. I've already told the details of what happened.
KATHLEEN: But...well, do you want to talk about how you feel about it?
EMILY: I don't feel anything about it. I just want to have a normal day. If you want to help me, then help me do that.
Kathleen smiles at her and the two of them leave the room.
Later. Colin is at the fence line digging a post hole and Rob rides up next to him, then dismounts.
ROB: I thought you were only going to replace some wire.
COLIN: Some of the posts need to be reset.
He looks at Rob.
COLIN: I thought you'd be up with the horses.
ROB: We're going to leave them up there until...well, until things settle down here.
Colin looks at him carefully.
COLIN: Who's watching the stable?
ROB: Dad is spelling me. Hanks is better, I think.
Colin continues digging.
ROB: I said he seems better.
COLIN: I never asked how he was.
ROB: Colin, I'm sorry about Emily. I wanted you to know that if you want to talk about anything...well, you can talk to me.
COLIN: I have nothing to say about it. Neither does Emily. We both just need that man off of Langara, and then it will all be behind us.
He hands the shovel to Rob and takes a post. He holds it in place in the hole.
COLIN: Tamp some dirt around that.
Rob looks at him, then begins to shovel dirt into the hole.
Same time, in the kitchen. Mrs. Tan measures the last of the sugar out of the canister, then dumps it upside down over the bowl, but there is no more.
EMILY: Oh, dear. I meant to go into town yesterday and get some more. I'm sorry, Mrs. Tan.
KATHLEEN: No matter. Why don't you two start on the bread and I'll go into town for the sugar.
EMILY: No, I'll go. It was my responsibility.
She takes off her apron and goes into the drawing room. Kathleen follows her.
KATHLEEN: At least let me go with you.
EMILY: Kathleen, you've been hovering over me all morning. I can go into town by myself.
KATHLEEN: You can't drive the sulky with one hand, Emily. Besides, I need to stop by the printery and check on Mr. Gleeson. I don't like to find surprises when I read the newspaper. I'll just ask Matt to hitch up the sulky.
Kathleen goes outside into the stable. She sees Matt bending over Hanks, giving him some water.
KATHLEEN: How is he?
MATT: Stronger. We should be able to move him in a day or two. The doctor's coming out tomorrow to check on him.
Kathleen surveys the man, his face badly beaten, one eye swollen shut, the other almost so. His lips are cut and bruised. His ribs are wrapped with strips of cloth.
KATHLEEN: Colin did that?
Matt takes her arm and leads her outside.
KATHLEEN: I'm going into town with Emily. Will you hitch up the sulky?
MATT: Do you think that's a good idea? Maybe she should stick around home today.
KATHLEEN: If I don't go with her, she'll go by herself. She's determined to put this behind her, Matt.
MATT: Well, just watch out for her. I can't believe she can so easily get over this. You should have seen her in this stable yesterday, Kathleen. She was hysterical. She didn't even know who I was.
KATHLEEN: Poor girl. I can't even imagine what she must have gone through. It makes me so angry, Matt, to think that anyone could have done this to her.
MATT: I know. Me too. And having Hanks here isn't helping. In fact, maybe it will do Emily some good to get away for awhile. But stick close to her.
Kathleen nods and Matt goes to get a horse for the sulky.
Later, in town. Kathleen and Emily enter the store. When they enter, all the voices in the store are hushed. Then, they begin again in low murmurs, with customers stealing glances at Emily. Emily looks around nervously, but Kathleen smiles at her and they go to the counter.
KATHLEEN: We need five pounds of sugar, Mrs. Harris.
Mrs. Harris gets the sugar and puts it in Emily's basket. She looks at Emily sympathetically.
MRS. HARRIS: How are you today, Mrs. McGregor?
EMILY: I'm fine, thank you. I think we'd better get some flour, too.
MRS. HARRIS: Mrs. McGregor, I want you to know that I think it's just terrible what has happened. We all do.
All the heads in the store nod in agreement. Emily looks at them, then hurries from the store. She bumps into Mr. Custer.
MR. CUSTER: There, now, little lady.
He sees that it is Emily and becomes flustered.
MR. CUSTER: Mrs. McGregor. Well...
He looks at the ground, then back up at her.
MR. CUSTER: You take care of yourself now.
He looks back at the ground and then hurries away. Kathleen, carrying a box of their purchases, has followed Emily out of the store and has witnessed this interchange.
KATHLEEN: Let's just go home. I don't really need to stop at the paper. Mr. Gleeson can manage nicely without me, but I wouldn't want him to know that.
They get in the sulky and Emily looks at the townspeople watching her. They all avert their gazes when she looks at them. Emily's eyes meet Montana Hale's, and Montana alone holds her gaze. It is Emily who finally looks away.
Kathleen signals the horse to move.
EMILY: How could they possibly have known?
KATHLEEN: When the doctor is called out, everyone knows about it. I'm sure he was asked questions when he got back.
EMILY: They were looking at me as if I was a circus attraction.
KATHLEEN: That's ridiculous. They're concerned. They care about you.
EMILY: They were embarrassed for me. The way you look at a man with half an arm
-sorry for him, but curious. Wondering how he got that way, but knowing you can't ask. They don't look at me the way they used to, Kathleen. No one has. Not anyone. Not you, or Matt, or Rob. And not...not Colin.
KATHLEEN: This isn't going to change the way Colin feels about you, Emily.
EMILY: He scares me a little. He always has.
Kathleen can't keep the surprise out of her voice.
EMILY: When I was a girl, and later, before I met Colin, I thought I knew how I wanted a man to look at me. I thought I wanted to look into his eyes and see that I was the only thing in the world that mattered to him, that I was the center of his universe.
KATHLEEN: All women want that from a man, Emily.
EMILY: Does Matt look at you that way?
EMILY: How does it make you feel?
KATHLEEN: Loved, wanted. Secure, I suppose. Maybe even powerful.
EMILY: Maybe that's what scares me. The power I have over Colin when he looks at me that way. The power to make his life fulfilled, or not. The responsibility for his happiness or his unhappiness.
KATHLEEN: We're only responsible for ourselves, Emily. We cause our own happiness or unhappiness.
EMILY: When you look in Matt's eyes, and you see your own image reflected back, is that what you say to yourself?
KATHLEEN: Well, no.
EMILY: I'm not explaining this very well. It's just that sometimes I think I would rather doubt Colin's love for me than have the responsibility for it. Sometimes he looks at me, and I say a prayer.
KATHLEEN: What do you say?
EMILY: I say, "Lord, don't let anything happen to me today."
She looks at Kathleen.
EMILY: And then I always feel guilty. When I'm with Colin, looking at him, shouldn't the prayer be for him?
KATHLEEN: I think it is.
Later, that night. Kathleen and Matt are on the veranda.
MATT: I guess everyone's finally settled in for the night.
KATHLEEN: No one's up but you and me.
MATT: In that case...
He kisses her and then looks at her tenderly. Kathleen looks into his eyes and smiles a knowing smile, then kisses him again.
Same time, in Emily and Colin's room. Emily is asleep and Colin is up, looking out the window toward the stable. Then he looks at Emily and pulls a chair beside the bed. He sits down and rests his chin in his hands, and he watches her sleep.
The next day. Emily is on the veranda, her sewing basket on the bench next to her. She has the ripped dress in her hands and is cutting away some material. Colin comes and sits next to her.
COLIN: Can you do that with your hand bandaged up that way?
EMILY: It's a little awkward, but I can manage.
COLIN: What are you working on?
Emily holds the dress up for him to see.
EMILY: I think I can just replace the bodice, and it can be repaired. I got the blood stains out.
Colin takes the dress from her and wads it up.
COLIN: Throw it away.
EMILY: No. I want to fix it. It's one of your favorites.
COLIN: Not any more. If you won't throw it away, I will.
EMILY: Please give it back to me.
Colin takes the dress into the house and Emily follows him. He goes into the kitchen and opens the firebox to the stove.
EMILY: Colin, I told you I want to mend it. Please don't do this.
Colin ignores her and shoves the dress into the fire. Emily looks at him angrily and then leaves the room.
That evening. It is sunset and Matt and Rob are standing outside of the stable talking to the doctor. The doctor gets into his buggy and drives away. Matt and Rob go into the house. Inside, the family is seated for supper. Matt and Rob join them. Kathleen carries a roast to the table and sits down. Matt begins to carve it.
KATHLEEN: You didn't invite the doctor to stay for supper?
MATT: We did, but he wanted to get back to town.
COLIN: Did he take Hanks with him?
Matt looks at him carefully before answering.
MATT: No. The doctor wanted him to stay here one more night. Rob and I will move him into town tomorrow.
MICHAEL: Shouldn't someone be watching him?
MATT: The door's bolted on the outside. Besides, in his condition, he couldn't go anywhere.
There is an uncomfortable silence, and finally Danni speaks.
DANNI: Did the doctor look at your hand while he was here, Emily?
EMILY: He said it's healing nicely. In fact, he said the stitches can come out in a few days, if someone here can take them out.
MATT: Well, Danni's getting pretty good at that sort of thing.
EMILY: I thought perhaps Colin could do it.
Everyone looks at Colin expectantly, but he doesn't answer. Colin and Emily look at each other briefly, then both look away uncertainly. Matt and Kathleen look at each other, then Kathleen speaks quickly.
KATHLEEN: I think we'd better start things around.
The family begins to pass food around the table. When Michael gets the meat platter, he takes the remaining three slices.
KATHLEEN: Michael, Rob and Emily haven't gotten any yet.
ROB: He's a growing boy, Kathleen.
Rob sets down the platter of meat between his plate and Emily's and takes the knife in his hand so he can cut another slice.
ROB: Thin or thick, Emily?
The knife catches the light from the lamps and Emily stares at it, motionless.
He leans toward her, unintentionally bringing the knife closer to her. Emily makes a small moan, then quickly jumps from her chair, knocking over her glass and spilling her drink. Colin gets up and stands in front of her.
COLIN: Emily? What is it? What's the matter?
Emily looks at him in confusion, as if surprised to see him standing there. Colin reaches out for her, and Emily watches his hands the way she watched the knife. Matt quickly gets out of his seat and steps in front of Colin, reaching for his outstretched arm.
Emily has pressed herself against the wall but sinks slowly to her knees.
He tries to go to her, but Matt blocks his path and shakes his head. Kathleen gets up and gently kneels beside Emily. The others stare wordlessly.
KATHLEEN: Emily, you're all right. Look where you are. See who's here. There's no one here but the people who love you. No one's here who can hurt you.
Emily finally looks at Kathleen and then at the others. She focuses on Colin and tries to hold back tears.
EMILY: I'm sorry. I don't know what happened. I'm sorry, Colin.
Colin only watches her, speechless.
KATHLEEN: Come on, Emily. I'll help you up.
She helps Emily to her feet and leads her away from the table and into her room. The others watch them leave, and while they are looking away, Colin takes the knife from the platter and leaves the room. Rob turns to see Colin go outside, and he motions to Matt. The two of them follow Colin into the stable.
Colin is standing over Hanks, the knife in his hand. He pushes it against Hanks's throat.
COLIN: How does it feel? How does it feel to be helpless and terrorized? How does it feel to know that at any moment this knife could slash your throat?
Matt and Rob rush to stand on either side of Colin. They each grab an arm and pull him back away from Hanks.
MATT: Think about what you're doing here, son. Give me the knife.
Colin looks at him, then hands him the knife.
HANKS: Keep that boy of yours away from me, McGregor. He's mad. After what he's already done to me, now this.
MATT: You shut up! If I keep him away from you, it's for his sake, not yours.
Matt looks at Rob.
MATT: You stay here.
Matt hands the knife to Rob, then takes Colin by the shoulders and guides him out of the stable. They stand by the yard fence.
MATT: Just how far were you prepared to go in there?
Colin shakes his head and looks at the ground. Matt puts a hand on Colin's shoulder, but Colin shrugs it off.
COLIN: I want him off this property. Now. Tonight. I'll take him into town myself.
MATT: You'll have to go through me to do it. The doctor said tomorrow, and tomorrow it will be.
COLIN: Why are you defending him?
MATT: Oh, Colin. I'm not defending him. After what he did to Emily, do you think I care about him? But I care about you. And I'm not going to let you do something in the heat of anger that you'll regret for the rest of your life.
COLIN: If he's not leaving, then I am.
COLIN: I'm going to spend the night in town. Either you can go into the stable and get my horse and saddle, or I'm going in there myself.
MATT: Is it that easy? You go away for a night and all this disappears? What about Emily? Don't you think she needs you now? I'm sure she's asking for you.
Colin ignores him and starts to go into the stable. Matt grabs his arm.
MATT: All right. I'll get your horse and you can ride out of here. And while you're gone, Colin, I think you'd better do some hard thinking.
He looks at Colin harshly and goes into the stable.
Later that night, at Langara. It is dark, and none of the lamps are lit. Emily is asleep, but she begins to move restlessly. She wakes with a start and calls for Colin. She reaches for him, but he is not there. She turns her head away from his side of the bed and begins to cry.
The next day. Matt and Rob are driving to town with the buckboard. Hanks is on blankets in the back. They pass Montana Hale riding on the road and greetings are exchanged.
Later, Montana rides through the gate of Langara and to the house. Kathleen comes out of the house to greet her.
KATHLEEN: Montana. What brings you here?
MONTANA: Something that's probably none of my business. I came to see Emily.
MONTANA: Is she home?
KATHLEEN: Yes. Come in.
Kathleen shows her inside and calls for Emily. Emily comes into the drawing room and greets Montana.
KATHLEEN: I'll make you girls some tea.
Kathleen leaves and Montana and Emily eye each other warily.
MONTANA: I'd like to talk to you, Emily. Can we sit?
EMILY: Of course. I'm sorry; I've forgotten my manners.
The two of them sit in facing chairs.
MONTANA: Manners don't seem real important these days, I suppose.
Emily watches her cautiously.
MONTANA: Look, I'm going to get right to the point. Ever since I saw you in town a few days ago, I've felt that I should ride out here.
MONTANA: Because you're someone that I sense would help people in need if you could, and I admire that. I think that I can help you, Emily. I'd like to help you.
EMILY: Oh, but, really, I'm fine. Everything's fine, Montana.
MONTANA: Emily, sometimes it helps to talk about things with someone that you're not real close to. Someone who's not going to judge you, or feel sorry for you, or rush to protect you. Just someone who understands what you're going through.
EMILY: I don't think...
MONTANA: What's the worst of it? The flashbacks that come when you're least expecting them, when you think you've got everything under control? Or is it the way people look at you, as if they don't know who you are anymore?
Emily looks at her carefully.
EMILY: This happened to you?
MONTANA: Before I came here.
EMILY: I'm sorry.
MONTANA: I've dealt with it. How about you? Are you dealing with this?
EMILY: I think that I am. And then something happens, something that a few days ago would have been ordinary, and I think I'm going to fall apart.
Kathleen has come in with the tea, but when she sees the two talking so intently, she puts the tea on the table and does not disturb them. She stands and listens.
EMILY: I always felt so safe here. Now, I look over my shoulder. And it makes me so angry that I should do that. At first, I was just frightened, but now I'm angry. Angry that someone could try to take by force something that I always thought no one could take from me. Something that I thought I had power over, that only I could decide to share. Like a gift, you know? It never occurred to me that it could be any other way.
Emily has tears in her eyes, and so does Montana.
MONTANA: I do know.
EMILY: You asked me what the worst part is. The worst part is that I can't explain this to the person who needs most to understand it.
MONTANA: Your husband?
Emily looks away in embarrassment.
Montana takes her hand.
MONTANA: And you're feeling angry about that, too, aren't you? And a little betrayed. Because the one person you counted on most to help you through this isn't here for you. He's off brooding somewhere, as if this had happened to him and not to you.
EMILY: You understand a lot.
Emily looks at her, obviously wanting to say something but holding back.
MONTANA: What is it?
EMILY: It's just that...Never mind. It's none of my business.
MONTANA: It's okay. What do you want to know?
EMILY: It didn't all turn out all right for you, did it? I mean, you left, and now you're here alone. Did you ever make the person you counted on most understand?
Montana turns away for a second and catches sight of Kathleen. Their eyes meet and Montana turns back to Emily.
MONTANA: No, I didn't. But there was a lot to it. It's complicated. But maybe I didn't try very hard, and maybe it really wasn't worth the effort after all.
She is silent and then squeezes Emily's hand.
MONTANA: But I'll tell you one thing. You have a loving family to help you, and I hope in me you have a friend who understands what you're going through. And a good man, Emily. You owe it to him, and to yourself, to let him know what you're feeling, what you need from him. You'll regret it if you don't, believe me.
Emily looks at her earnestly, then hugs her.
Later, in town. Hanks is behind bars in the police station, and Colin is sitting on a chair facing him. He is staring at him, saying nothing. Outside, Matt ties his horse to the rail and comes into the jail.
MATT: The troopers have arrived. They'll be here in a few minutes.
HANKS: Too bad, Preacher. I guess I live another day.
Colin stands up and turns his back to Hanks.
HANKS: She called for you, you know.
Colin turns to face him.
HANKS: Your wife. Your wife with the pretty, white neck. She called your name. Well, screamed it, actually. It was really quite touching.
Colin grabs the bars and shakes them, as if he is trying to get inside.
COLIN: If I have to put you there myself, I'll see that you rot in Hell!
Matt looks at Colin, then goes outside. Colin's horse is tied to the rail. Matt gets Colin's rifle from its scabbard and goes back inside the jail. He cocks the rifle and hands it to Colin.
MATT: Here. It's ready to shoot.
MATT: I can't look at you anymore and wonder who you are. If you want him dead, kill him. Then you'll know, and I'll know, what's inside of you.
MATT: You want to be judge, jury, and executioner, Colin, here's your chance. You always said vengeance belongs to the Lord. Do you believe that or not? Because if you don't, then what else don't you believe in? What you tell us in church on Sunday is one thing, but it doesn't apply to you when someone you love is involved, is that it? If you can't live your life by the tenets you've instructed, then I don't know who you are. And I don't think you know, either.
Colin looks at him but still holds on to the rifle.
MATT: If you want retribution, then point and shoot, Colin. It's that easy. But I won't watch you do it.
Matt leaves to go outside and stands in front of the jail. The troopers arrive, but Matt keeps them from going in. In a few moments, Colin comes from the jail. The rifle is not in his hands. He brushes roughly past Matt and the troopers and walks quickly up the hill to the church.
Inside the jail, Matt finds the rifle on the floor and picks it up. His gaze locks with Hanks's, until Hanks looks away.
TROOPER #1: I'd say this fellow was beat up pretty badly.
MATT: The doctor says he's okay to travel. You can get him on the train before it leaves.
TROOPER #2: We'll take it from here, Mr. McGregor.
Matt nods and leaves the jail. He puts the rifle back into its scabbard, then looks up the hill to the church. He watches Colin enter the church and close the door. He stands there a moment, then unties and mounts his horse and rides away.
That night, at Langara. Matt is sitting at his desk working on some ledgers, but he rubs his eyes and goes outside. Kathleen watches him, then joins him on the veranda.
KATHLEEN: Are you all right?
MATT: It's been a long day.
KATHLEEN: Do you want to talk about it?
MATT: I was cruel to Colin.
KATHLEEN: What did you do?
Matt shakes his head.
KATHLEEN: Oh, Matt. Whatever it was, I know you did it out of love.
MATT: I did. But it doesn't make it any easier.
Kathleen looks up at him and kisses him gently.
Same time, in Emily and Colin's room. Emily is in her nightgown, standing in front of the dresser and taking the combs out of her hair. Colin enters the room. He takes off his jacket and drapes it across the back of a chair. Emily sighs audibly and takes Colin's jacket.
EMILY: A chair and a wardrobe are not the same thing, Colin.
Colin takes the jacket from her and notices that her hand is not bandaged.
COLIN: The stitches are gone.
EMILY: Danni took them out.
COLIN: I thought the doctor said a few more days.
EMILY: I just wanted them gone.
Colin looks at her questioningly.
EMILY: It's fine. I'll bandage it back up tomorrow.
COLIN: Did it hurt?
EMILY: I wanted you to do it. Or at least to be there.
Colin holds her hand and looks at it. His voice is bitter.
COLIN: There's going to be a scar.
He lets go of her hand abruptly and hangs the jacket in the wardrobe. When he turns back around, he sees that Emily is sitting on the edge of the bed, crying. Colin sits down next to her.
COLIN: Emily? Why are you crying?
EMILY: I wished something away that I want back.
COLIN: What? What did you wish away that you want back?
EMILY: The way you look at me when we're alone together. The way your eyes shine when you look at me.
COLIN: Has that changed?
EMILY: Yes. Now when you look at me, there's concern. You wonder how I am, if I'm going to be all right. But there's something else, too. You look at me, but you don't see me. You only see what happened to me, like just now, when you saw my hand. And then you stop thinking about me, and you think about yourself. About how you feel. And I need you right now, Colin. I need you to think about how I feel.
COLIN: That's all I've been thinking about.
EMILY: No, it's not. When you left last night, and I needed you here, next to me, was that for me? Or when you burnt the dress. Was that for me? I needed to mend that dress, Colin. I needed to know that it could be fixed, that I could wear it again and not be afraid, that you could look at me in it and see me the way you used to. That's what I needed.
Colin is silent and Emily takes his hand. She places her hand in his, palm up.
EMILY: There's always going to be a scar here. And you're not always going to be able to turn away from it. How will you look at me every time you see it?
Colin has tears in his eyes. He brings Emily's hand to his face and holds it against his cheek, then holds her hand in his lap.
COLIN: Every day, Emily, including this one, I thank God for bringing us together. I love you. With all my heart. And nothing that happens to you or to me could ever change that. I'm not proud of who I've been these past few days, but I didn't mean to hurt you. That was never my intention, and I promise you, it never will be.
Emily does not answer him but sits silently beside him. Colin does not speak, either, or make any move toward her. He continues to hold her hand and the two of them sit closely together, but their eyes do not meet and they seem strangely distant. The scene ends.