Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, The Sullivan Company and to A&E. This is the sequel to "Blessed."Miracles Unbound
Chapter 1: New Friends
April brought many new changes to the town of Colorado Springs. The railroad had decided to start building through their tiny town, much to the chagrin of Sully. Michaela had been all for the construction of the railroad because of the benefits it could bring, but Sully had been opposed due to what it would do to the Cheyenne's food supply and land. Michaela understood why Sully was angry about the railroad coming, but she also had to explain to him that a train could bring medical supplies faster and help their town grow.
There had been quite a quarrel at the Sully homestead, but things were quieting down. Even though Michaela and Sully still couldn't agree on the railroad, they had agreed to disagree. Within the matter of a year, the first train to come through Colorado Springs would be rolling in. It was exciting to most of the townsfolk, and the very few that opposed, besides Sully, kept quiet so a feud wouldn't begin.
Cloud Dancing and Snow Bird had arranged meetings with Michaela and Sully in order for Early Sun to play with Connor and Daniel. Early Sun was thriving and seemed to be growing bigger by the day. Something struck Michaela each time she saw the little girl, and she knew it was her own desire to have another child, perhaps a daughter.
Colleen and Brian had already started talking about having a new baby around the house. While Michaela and Sully still said it was too early, both of them were starting to think it might be fun to have a newborn baby around again. They were both still very young and could withstand the constant early morning feedings and diaper changes.
Sully finally had a job to earn some sort of an income. He hadn't wanted to do it, but Michaela had insisted that perhaps it would be good for him if he had something to do other than to check his traps and watch the children all day. So, he had taken up a job offer given to him by President Grant himself. The officials in Washington had gotten word of Sully's dealings with the Indians and the white men, and after a few telegrams sent back and forth, Sully agreed to become the Indian Agent, making sure that the Cheyenne were treated fairly by the army and such. Unfortunately, the job was a bit more difficult than Michaela had anticipated. She was beginning to see why Sully had been uncertain about taking the job. He had to report to his boss named Hazen, and unfortunately the unfair treatment of the Indians wasn't being changed no matter how hard Sully tried.
Sully had been on the verge of quitting for the past week or so, but he was trying to stick it out for the sake of his family. They were so proud of him for doing this for the Cheyenne, and it also made him feel good that he was at least trying. At least now his words could have some sort of an impact, regardless of whether or not they fell on deaf ears.
Having Sully away at the reservation for most of the day caused changes in plans for Michaela and the children. For instance, the children would now take their old wagon into town to go to school after waking Michaela up in time to eat, get herself and the boys ready, and head into town. They would also make sure to be home right after school to help with the chores, since Sully wasn't around to do them all day.
Thankfully Grace and Robert E. were beginning to work through the grief caused by the loss of their daughter, and they even took the liberty to help watch the seven-month-old boys while Michaela had appointments or emergency surgeries with some of her patients.
The boys were beginning to become the center of attention when the ladies were around. Dorothy, Grace, and Myra would fuss over them, and even Miss Olive had taken to Charlotte's children's little brothers. Yes, Miss Olive was quite a character, but she and Michaela had somehow managed to become friendly toward one another. Sully wasn't sure what happened, but he was sure that it started a couple of weeks ago when Brian fell from a horse he'd been trying to ride on Olive's ranch, nearly breaking his arm. Michaela had yelled at her for a bit about that, but once Olive explained what had happened, Michaela had calmed down enough for them to actually have a civil conversation. It wasn't as if they were best friends or anything, but the two of them could at least spend five minutes together without quarrelling.
Michaela was sitting on the bench outside of the clinic, reading one of her medical books. She had been sitting inside, but she'd felt warm and decided to get a breath of fresh air. Connor and Daniel were inside napping while Colleen, Brian, and Matthew were at school. Pup was lazily stretched out on the porch of the clinic, waiting for Brian to return from school so they could go fishing or something. Sully had been at the reservation since before Michaela woke up, and she knew he'd be returning early today. Hopefully they would have a bit of alone time before the children got home from school.
The sound of a wagon rolling into town attracted Michaela's attention, and she looked up to see a young man and woman riding side-by-side in a rickety old wagon.
"We're lookin' for the doctor," the young man said quickly. "We ain't from 'round these parts."
"I'm a doctor," Michaela replied. The man tipped his hat to her and helped his wife out of the wagon. She stood on one foot, keeping the other one hovering above the ground.
"We just moved in from Soda Springs. We was takin' a rest, and my wife here took a spill from the wagon."
"I can talk for myself, Clayton," she replied, shaking her head a bit. It was obvious they hadn't been married for very long.
"Sorry Jenny," he replied quietly. Jenny smiled at Michaela.
"Doctor . . ."
"Dr. Quinn," Michaela replied, "but if you're planning on staying long, you might as well call me Dr. Mike. Everyone else does."
"I'm Jenny Baker," the young woman replied with a warm smile. "This is my husband Clayton."
"It's nice to meet you both. Clayton, if you'll help your wife into my clinic, I'll be in with you shortly." Clayton tipped his hat again, and the young man helped his wife into the clinic. Michaela smiled as she watched how careful and loving he was with her. Jenny looked at him with adoration in her eyes, and their love toward one another reminded Michaela of the way she felt about Sully.
She started toward the door, and a wave of nausea passed over her, causing her to become a bit dizzy. She gripped the doorknob for support, and Clayton Baker looked at her with a funny expression upon his face.
"Doc? Are you alright?" he asked.
"Yes. Yes, I'm fine," she replied with a forced smile. "I'll be right with you." She walked inside and shut the door. She went into the other room to check on her sons and to pour a glass of water. She drank it down quickly, trying to calm her stomach. She hoped she could make it through her examination of Jenny's foot before the nausea became too bad.
She put on her apron and walked into the exam room. Jenny's foot was a bit swollen and bruised, so she had removed her shoe and it was sitting plainly in her lap. Michaela began a tender examination of it. Clayton was holding Jenny's hand the entire time.
"You're in luck, Jenny. It's just a mild sprain. Nothing appears to be broken."
"Oh that's a relief," she replied. "I'd hate to start out on a new foot by breakin' it." Michaela laughed and began to wrap her foot up.
"You'll need to keep pressure off of it for a few days, but it should be fine by the end of the week.
"Thank you, Dr. Mike. What do we owe ya?" Clayton asked.
"Join my family for dinner this evening."
"That's it?" Jenny asked.
"Why not?" Michaela asked. She proceeded to give them directions, which they made careful mental notes of. She smiled, and Jenny looked at her husband. It was already obvious that Colorado Springs was going to be much better for them than Soda Springs.
Michaela watched the young couple leave to find their new home, and once they were gone, she closed the door behind her. She felt nauseated again, and put her hand to her forehead while she leaned against the door.
She slowly walked over to sit down at her desk. She had begun to keep a record of her monthly awhile back, and once she opened up her notepad, she realized that she was in fact two weeks overdue.
"Okay, I must have miscalculated," Michaela whispered to herself. "That's it." She nodded and began to count again. Sure enough, she was two weeks late. She hadn't paid much attention to her monthly, because she'd had other things on her mind with her father's recent passing. This had basically snuck up on her without any warning at all. Now she was suddenly getting the warning signs and everything. "I can't be. Can I?"
She hadn't expected this, and it was possible that she wasn't pregnant. This could just be a coincidence, but somehow, she felt it was true. She was feeling the same way she felt with Connor and Daniel. She sucked in a deep breath and closed her eyes. She stood and walked over to splash some cold water in her face. She was sure of it. She was pregnant. Now how was she going to tell Sully?
Matthew was upstairs working on an application to a college in Denver. He had locked himself upstairs as soon as he got home from school, and now that the children were home, Michaela was concerned because Sully hadn't arrived home from the reservation yet. He was supposed to be finished early. Perhaps he'd lost track of time or something important came up.
Brian was upstairs working on an essay, and Colleen was out in the barn milking the cow. Connor and Daniel had been fed and gone right to sleep afterward, much to Michaela's pleasure. She had told Colleen that there would be dinner guests that evening, so they would be starting dinner together within the hour. Michaela was proud of herself. She had been making great strides in her limited cooking abilities, and she knew that was a good thing considering the fact that Colleen wouldn't be around to do all of the cooking forever.
Michaela walked over to the window to look out over the land. Storm clouds were rolling in, so she prayed that Sully would get home before the rain started. She had given her situation serious thought throughout the day, and she was more than convinced that she was with child. She had to let Sully know. If she wasn't very certain, she would stay quiet about it, but she was quite certain; certain enough that he needed to know.
The sound of a horse approaching let Michaela know Sully was home. She also figured that with a storm coming in, the Claytons wouldn't be able to make it. Perhaps tomorrow would be more convenient.
When Sully took his horse into the barn, Michaela began to wonder exactly how to tell him. She didn't know what his reaction was going to be, considering the fact they were trying to wait for a little while before having another one. Apparently that wasn't going to be the case anymore. So what was she to do? Should she sit him down and tell him in a serious manner, or should she just blurt it out in the middle of an ordinary conversation? Yes! That was what she would do. That way he wouldn't have to worry when Michaela told him that there was something serious to discuss.
The front door opened, and Sully walked inside. He smiled when he saw his beautiful wife standing by the window. Her hair was down and curled. She looked like such a heavenly sight after being at the reservation for several hours that afternoon. He was glad that work was over for the day, and he could spend the rest of the evening in the company of his family.
"Evenin'," Sully said with a smile, walking over to greet her with a kiss. Michaela pulled Sully close to her, kissing him passionately. She caught him off guard, and when they pulled away, he took a quick breath to recover.
"Good evening," she replied. She took his hand in hers and laced her fingers through his.
"What's goin' on?"
"Oh, nothing," she replied. "Oh, I met some new people today. Jenny and Clayton Baker are from Soda Springs, and they're settling down here. They're young and married, but very much in love. I treated Jenny for a sprained ankle." Michaela was talking quickly, and Sully had to wait for her to pause so he could catch up. "I invited them to dinner, but I don't think they will make it this evening with this weather."
"Well, I'll meet 'em some other time. They sound like nice folks."
"Yes, they're very nice. What did you do today?" Sully proceeded to tell his wife what he had done during the course of the day. She felt guilty that she wasn't really paying attention. She was more or less stalling in order to think of a way to slip in the fact that they would have another child around Christmas. Sully noticed his wife's lack of interest.
"Hmm?" she asked with wide eyes.
"No," she replied. Sully nodded slowly.
"It's quiet," Sully said with a chuckle, looking around for signs of the kids.
"Oh, um, Colleen is out milking the cow. She'll be in shortly to help me prepare dinner. Brian's upstairs writing an essay, and the twins are sleeping. By the way, I'm pregnant. Matthew's upstairs filling out a college application, and dinner should be on the stove in an hour." Michaela crossed her arms and looked at the floor, sucking in a breath after having said that entire speech in one breath. Sully stared at Michaela as he tried to register everything she just said. It was all playing slowly in Sully's mind. Michaela finally got up the courage to look him in the eyes. A look of realization came over Sully's face and his eyes went wide.
"Michaela? What did you say?"
"The part after you said the twins are sleepin'."
"Oh, that? Um, I said I'm . . . pregnant," she said softly, biting her bottom lip nervously.
"Pregnant?" he asked, his eyes moving to her stomach. "As in we're having another baby, pregnant?"
"That's usually what pregnant means," Michaela pointed out. A smile slowly began to creep across Sully's face.
"Pretty sure. I'm having the same symptoms, and my monthly is two weeks late."
"But this has happened before," Sully replied. Michaela shook her head.
"I haven't felt like this since I was expecting the boys. I'm sure of it, Sully," she whispered, reaching out to stroke his cheek with her hand. "I wasn't sure how to tell you."
"How long have you known?"
"I became suspicious this afternoon," she admitted.
"A baby?" he asked again.
"Yes," Michaela replied, allowing herself to smile now as well.
"Around Christmas, I'm assuming." Sully swallowed hard and scooped Michaela up into his arms.
"Sully!" she exclaimed with a laugh. Sully kissed her lovingly, and finally put her down.
"I know we said we wanted to wait, but honestly I've been wantin' this."
"Honestly, so have I," Michaela said with a laugh.
"Do the kids no yet?"
"No, I thought we'd tell them together." Sully nodded. He kissed her again.
"A baby?!" Michaela laughed again and nodded. Thunder rumbled, followed by lightning, and Michaela looked out the window.
"Could you go out to the barn and tell Colleen to come inside?"
"Yeah. You sit down and relax. I'll help Colleen with dinner."
"Sully, I'm perfectly capable--."
"Ah," Sully cut her off. "I want the mother of my child to take the night off. You deserve it." Michaela saw that look in his eyes again, the same look she saw when she was expecting the boys. She bit her bottom lip again and sat down in one of the winged-back chairs. She watched as Sully hurried out the door with an extra skip in his steps. She shook her head and knew that Sully was happy. She was thrilled as well, though a bit nervous, but she knew they could do anything, because they were strong when apart, but stronger when they were together.
The table had been set, and Sully explained to Colleen that Michaela had had a long day, and he didn't want her to over do it. Colleen seemed to understand and was happy to fix dinner by herself.
Connor and Daniel were sitting in high chairs, eating the whipped potatoes Colleen had prepared for them, while Michaela and Sully sat across from one another, stealing glances and grins every few minutes. Matthew was busy inhaling his dinner, Brian was poking around at the potatoes on his plate, and Colleen was running her finger along the rim of her milk glass.
The storm was beginning to pass, but Michaela wasn't expecting her invited guests to show up at all. She figured she would see them soon anyway.
Wolf began to whine at the door, and Pup soon joined him. Brian got up to let the dogs out. Sully looked at Michaela, who hadn't touched much of her food. She didn't exactly feel like eating, and at the same time, she was deliriously happy.
"Ma? You feelin' alright?" Matthew asked after taking a sip of milk.
"Hmm? Oh, yes," Michaela replied, inhaling deeply. The aroma of one of the foods was a bit too much for her, and her face turned pale instantly. "Um, excuse me." She quickly stood and made a mad dash to the indoor toilet. The children all looked at Sully as they heard Michaela's sounds of discomfort. Sully wiped his mouth with a napkin and stood. He walked over and knocked on the door.
"Just a minute," she replied hoarsely. Matthew, Colleen, and Brian exchanged glances just as Michaela returned at Sully's side.
"You okay, ma?" Brian asked. Michaela nodded and sat back down in her seat. Sully took his seat too, and the children continued to stare.
"Sully, I believe we better tell them." Sully nodded and cleared his throat. "You do the honors," she insisted.
"Well," Sully replied. All eyes turned to him. "What would you kids think about havin' another brother or a sister 'round the house."
"You mean, ma's havin' another baby?" Matthew asked quickly.
"Yes," Michaela confirmed. Colleen practically leapt out of her seat to hug her mother. The children grew excited and immediately began to argue over whether or not it was a boy or a girl. The whole time, Michaela and Sully's eyes fixed on one another as if silently telling each other that this was going to be just another blessing to count each and every day for the rest of their lives.
Mary Bing sighed as she sat on the small bed in the room attached to the telegraph office. She was so happy that Horace had adopted her, because now she had a pa to take care of her. But she was missing something. She missed her mother terribly, but she also missed the relationship she'd formed with her. She wanted that again, and she was beginning to wonder whether or not Horace would ever find a wife and give her a stepmother.
The clicking of the telegraph sounded, and Mary sighed. Her father spent most of his day sitting there doing his job. Unfortunately he was on-call all day and night, and had to keep an ear out for the signs of an important telegram. Any telegram sent at night was sure to be very important.
Mary wanted desperately to outside and play, but the storm hadn't quite passed yet, and Horace warned her that she had to stay inside so she wouldn't catch a cold or get struck by lightning. Sometimes Horace was a bit over protective, but that was better than when she was on the orphan train, and being protected was a luxury.
She slowly stood from the bed and walked out to see her father after all of the clicking had stopped. She stood behind his chair as he wrote something that looked important down. Once he was finished, she reached out and tapped his back.
"Pa?" Horace turned around and smiled when he saw Holly's little girl; his little girl.
"What is it, honey?"
"When are you gonna get married?" Horace felt his heart start to break.
"When am I gonna get a ma?"
"Mary, I don't think that's somethin' we should be discussin'."
"But, why not?"
"Mary, your ma hasn't been gone too long at all, so it ain't fittin'."
"Ma wouldn't have wanted us to be sad," Mary explained. "I miss her, but I want a ma to do things with like Colleen does with Dr. Mike." Horace sighed and took Mary's little hands in his. He didn't have the heart to tell her that even if he did find love again, he couldn't be sure if a woman would want a child of Mary's color as a stepdaughter. He didn't want to even think of moving on after Holly just yet. She'd been the light of his life until the day she died. Now the only light he had was that of little Mary.
"I've got work to do. Go play with your doll," Horace said softly, kissing his daughter's forehead. Mary sighed heavily and went back to her place on the bed. She pulled open her locket to look at the picture of her real mother and father. She wished she could meet her real father, but he was gone now. Horace was a good father too, though he was busy a lot. But nothing could fill the void in her heart that had appeared the day Holly died.
A tear trickled down the eleven-year-old's face. She had just celebrated a birthday without her mother, and that hurt so much. She wished she could have had one birthday with her, but she hadn't even gotten that.
Mary silently pulled a shawl over her shoulders and snuck out the back door. She rushed down the muddy street as the rain gently sprinkled down into the dirt. The edge of her skirt was getting muddy, but she didn't care right now. She had to see her mother.
She stopped when she reached the gate of the cemetery. She slowly walked inside and stood at her mother's grave. She tenderly traced over the letters spelling out her name.
"Mama, I don't know if you can hear me. I miss you. Pa is real sad, and I want us all to be happy again. I want to have a ma again. She'll never replace you, but I need a ma. I don't wanna make you sad, so maybe one day, you can pick out a new ma for me, one you think is good enough for me and pa. I love you so much. I miss you ma." She kissed her fingertips and placed them against the headstone.
"What are you doin'?" came a young voice from behind. Mary gasped and spun around, coming face to face with a boy of about her age. His skin was a little darker than hers, and she knew who he was right away.
"Anthony?!" she asked.
"Yeah!" she exclaimed. She rushed over to him and threw her arms around his neck. They clung to one another, happy to see someone they knew. "What are you doin' here?"
"I ran away from home."
"But you were on the orphan train with me."
"Yeah, but once we left here, I ran away. I was stayin' with some folks in Shanty Town up until early this mornin'."
"You ran away? But, where are ya gonna stay?"
"I dunno. I s'pose I'll keep movin' on." Mary shook her head.
"You come home with me. My pa's real nice." Anthony drew away.
"No! Nobody can see me or they'll send me back to the orphanage. Promise me you won't say nothin'!" Mary was silent, not sure of what to do. "Promise!" Mary sighed heavily.
"I promise," she whispered. "Where are ya stayin'?"
don't know. I'll meet you tomorrow."
"I got school tomorrow."
"Behind the school house when you're done?"
"Alright," she replied. She hugged her friend again. "Are ya hungry?"
"Nah," he replied. "You best go home. It's gonna be real dark soon." Mary nodded again, not wanting to leave her friend, but knowing she had to get home before Horace got worried. Anthony ran off to hide, and Mary watched him for a few moments before she started off toward the telegraph office, hoping her friend would be alright.
Grace was fixing stew on the stove at home considering the fact that the storm had ruined business for the day. Robert E. was whittling away at a piece of wood, throwing the shavings into the fireplace.
Grace smiled when she looked at him. He had been so wonderful lately, helping her when she needed him to be there for her. They had started to lean on one another, and by doing so, they had started healing.
Robert E.'s lazy dog was sprawled out in front of the fireplace with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth as he slept. Grace laughed at the way the dog was laying. He kind of slept like Robert E. slept. Robert E. noticed a grin spreading across Grace's face.
"What?" he asked with an amused twinkle in his eye.
"Nothin'," Grace laughed.
"C'mon. Tell me," he replied. Grace finished stirring the stew and sat down in a chair next to Robert E.'s place on the floor.
"I was just think' 'bout how that dog of yours seems to have picked up your sleepin' style."
"I don't sleep like that," Robert E. said with a laugh.
"Well, you're right. You don't keep your tongue out like that, but the rest is pretty much true." Robert E. rolled his eyes and Grace laughed. It felt good to laugh!
A crash startled them from their laughter, and Robert E. jumped up to look out of the window.
"What on earth was that?"
"Sounded like it came from the livery. I'm gonna go check it out." He grabbed his rifle and a lantern and started for the door.
"Be careful!" Grace shouted after him. He shut the door and started over to the livery. Grace stood by the window and watched him, hoping that the wind had just blown something down. She knew Robert E. would be careful, but accidents happened.
She sighed heavily and walked over to the stove to stir the stew again. It had been simmering for a few minutes, so she turned the heat off and set the pot to the side as she started to dip the stew into bowls. She set the table and poured milk into glasses to wash it down with.
Robert E. still hadn't returned after five minutes, and Grace was becoming even more concerned. She was about to start out the door when it opened. Robert E. came through holding a young colored boy by the back of the coat collar.
"I found him at the livery, sleepin' in the hay." Grace looked at the young boy.
"Why, he can't be more than ten or eleven years old. What's your name, boy?" she asked softly. He hesitated. "Don't worry. We ain't gonna bite ya."
"Anthony," he whispered.
"Anthony," he spoke up.
"What were you doin' sleepin' in my livery, son?" Robert E. asked the boy, kneeling down beside him. The boy looked from Robert E. to Grace nervously. He started to run for the door, but Robert E. caught him. Grace knelt down beside her husband and put her hand on the young boy's shoulder.
"Don't be afraid," she whispered. "We ain't gonna hurt ya, Anthony." The boy was trembling with fright.
"Grace, can I talk to ya for a minute?" Grace nodded, and she and Robert E. stepped to the side a little. "Maybe we can let him stay here for the night. In the mornin', we can take him to Shanty Town, see if he belongs to anyone there."
"No!" Anthony interrupted, having heard Robert E. speak of Shanty Town. Grace and Robert E. looked back at the boy. "I don't wanna go back! Please don't send me back!" Grace looked at her husband.
"He's scared," she whispered. "Let's just let him stay here for awhile and find out where he came from. We'll ask around." Robert E. nodded. "I'll go get the bed upstairs ready." She started up the stairs, and Robert E. looked at the boy.
"Here, Anthony, you sit down right here and grab a spoon. Grace is the best cook in Colorado Springs." He passed the boy a bowl of stew.
"Thank you, sir," he replied. Robert E. smiled and watched as the boy began to eat hungrily. When Grace returned downstairs, she and Robert E. sat down to eat with him, trying to get him to talk about where he came from, but the most Anthony would tell them was that he didn't want to go back.