New Beginnings

Michelle Denson 1998

Dawn rises over Patterson's Ridge, the sounds of the morning train break the silence in town. The McGregors patiently await the return of Danni from her trip to Adelaide. She left a month ago to visit her long time friend, Paige. She and Danni grew up together and had many fun adventures in Patterson's Ridge until her family moved to Adelaide for a bit of city life. The train stops at the station, passengers start to roll off.

A familiar voice calls out "Dad." It's Danni, all dressed in fine clothes.

Matt: Danni, let me take a look at you! (He takes a step back and looks at how much she has grown). My you sure look nice. Did you have a good time?

Danni: Oh yes Dad, Paige looks wonderful, you know she is getting married this summer?

Matt: You can tell us all about it when we get back to Langara.

Danni: Alright Dad. (She turns to the rest of the family) It's wonderful to be back. So anything happen while I was away?

Emily: Katie turned over on her stomach.

Danni: Oh that is wonderful. She'll be grown up and going to school soon.

Josh: I got an A in history.

Danni: That's wonderful Josh. I'm very proud of you.

Colin: Where are your bags at?

Danni: They are in the last car.

Rob: I'll get them.

Rob heads off to the last car of the train. The rest of the McGregor's fuss over Danni's arrival. A young woman comes off the train as Rob passes by. About his age, long brown hair and eyes as blue as the sea. She stops at the station and takes a look around, and then heads towards the end of the train. Meanwhile, Rob has come to the last car. A rustling and grabbled voice is heard inside.

Rob: I'm looking for my sister's bags, Danni McGregor.

A man in his late thrities pops his around the corner.

Man: Sure, but first I must get this horse out of here.

Rob: Would you like a hand?

Man: Sure would, this horse is half mean. I can't get near her.

Rob: Let me give it a try.

Rob enters the car and walks slowly, hand outstretched to the horse. A young mare, grey in color with dark brown legs, mane, and tail. She starts to lift her head up and down, becomeing more and more aggitated. She starts to rear up and kick at the walls. The comtion has gained attention from all the people around the train.

Rob: Whoa now, easy girl.

Rob keeps repeating, but has no luck in calming the horse

Man: Well I guess that leaves only one choice, we'll have to shoot her.

The lady with long brown hair enters the car.

Lady: You'll do no such thing.

Man: Miss, you best get out of here, this horse is crazy. She could kill you Miss.

Rob: (Looking at the horse as to watch every movement answers) He's right Miss, this horse has gone crazy from the trip.

Lady: Your scareing her, step back and leave her alone.

The lady becomes impatient and pushes her way past the man and starts by Rob. Rob outreaches for her arm, but misses. The woman walks right up to the horse and grasps the halter. The two men look amazed that the horse has calmed.

Lady: (Looking back at the two men carrying a chesishire grin) Well she's my horse, she would never hurt me. Now please move out of my way so I can get her out.

The lady leads the mare out car and down the street.The man and Rob look at each other.

Man: (Stratching his head) Well, I'll be.

Rob: Yeah, she's beautiful.

Man: Who, the horse..or the lady?

The man turns and laughs, but Rob just watches the lady walk. The man walks back into the car and retrieves the lady's bags and the bags for Miss McGregor.

Man: Hey, here's those bags you asked for. Oh and I brought these other bags too, they belong to that lady.

Rob: Really.

The man goes back into the stage car laughing all the way. Rob grabs the bags and heads over to the sulky that has been awaiting his return. He rushes to put the bags in the sulky and never letting his eyes lose sight of the beautiful lady.

Matt: What took you so long?

Rob:Ah sorry, I'll um catch up later. (To Danni) Welcome back, sis. (He leaves a kiss on her cheek and rushes towards the lady with the bags under his arm)

Danni: What was that all about?

Matt:(Grinning) I don't know, but I think it may have to do with that lady.

He points their eyes in the direction of the lady Rob has just caught up to.

Kathleen: I wonder who she is?

Danni: (In a gossipy type voice) Her father bought Belmoral.

Matt: (Surprisingly) Belmoral? I didn't realize it was bought by anyone?

Kathleen: That should make for a nice story.

Danni: Yeah, well her father should be arriveing later tonight, at least that's what she says.

Emily: What's her name? Oh I would love to hear more about her. Where is she from?

Danni: Well I don't know much, except that she is from America and her mother died when she was younger. Oh and her name is April, um, April Marshall.

Matt: (Laughing) Maybe Rob can tell us more about her later. Let's get back to Langara.

Everyone laughs and leaves. Rob has finally caught up to the young woman.

Rob: Miss, you forgot your bags.

April: Thankyou, could you tell me how to get to Belmoral?

Rob: (stunned) Belmoral, why would you want to go there? No one lives there anymore.

April: I do and my father.

Rob: Well it's about eight miles out of town.

April: Oh, then I guess I should ride out there. Do you know where I can rent a buggy?

Rob: A buggy? (He ponders for a second) Oh you mean a sulky. Yes but I would be happy to show you the way.

April: I thankyou kindly, sir.

Rob: Oh I'm sorry, my name is Rob. Rob McGregor.

She sticks her hand out to him and she takes it in his hand.

April: I thankyou again, Mr.McGregor. My name is April Marshall. (She takes her hand back and pats the horses neck). And this is Breeze. I raised her from a filly. Her mother died giving birth to her. I guess you could say I'm her mother, well in a way.

Rob: She's an arabian?

April: Yes, (with an excited tone) you know the breed.

Rob: Yes, very well.

April: Well Mr.McGregor,(she flashes him a soft smile) if you wouldn't mind I would like to head out to Belmoral. I have a lot to prepare before father arrives tonight.

Rob: I'll be right back with the sulky. Does she drive?

April: Breeze, drive?(Laughing) Heavens no. She is a riding horse.

Rob: Oh, alright and please, call me Rob.

April: Alright Mr.McGregor, I mean Rob. Please call me April.

Rob heads over to the stables and hitches up the sulky and returns to pick up April.

Back at Langara Danni is unpacking and filling Emily in of all the newest fashions and gossip.

Emily: Your kidding! (She is laughing so hard tears flow from her eyes)

Danni: Yes can you believe it..a frog! (Danni joins in on the laughter)

Matt and Colin enter to hear the end of the story.

Colin: A frog? (Obviously confused)

The words only bring more laughter to the two girls. Matt pats Colin on the back.

Matt: Colin, I wouldn't even ask.

Colin turns to Danni.

Colin: So did you meet any city guys?

Danni: A few. (She smiles and gives Emily a quick grin)

Matt uncomfortable with this conversation of his beloved little girl dateing changes the subject.

Matt: What of this April girl?

Emily: Yes, it seems Rob has taken a likeing to her.

Danni: She's very nice. We didn't talk to much on the train, but I did hear her father will be coming in the evening train. It seems her father was a very prominant cattleman in America. She's from Florida. Can you believe she has never seen snow or mountains?

Kathleen: (Walking in the doorway) Well I certainly hope she is careful while explorering the land.

Emily: Well I don't think she will have any trouble with Rob around.

Colin: Emily remember this is Rob we are talking about.

Danni: Yeah, trouble is his middle name!

Everyone joins in on the laugh. Rob and April are coming up to the Belmoral property. Throughout the ride Rob would glance over to take in the view. He was a great guide pointing out all the exotic wildlife to April. She had never seen such beautiful and unique creatures.

April: Now what could that dog possibly be doing so far away from town?

She points over to a small wooded area where a dog, cream in color and nicely built stands, watching the sulky ride by. Rob noticing the dog reaches for his rifle.

April: What are you doing? You can't possibly want to shot that poor dog!

Rob: April, that's no dog, that is a dingo.

April: Nevertheless, please don't hurt him. He's not bothering us.

Rob lowers his rifle, still unsteady with the thought of a dingo so close to April's home.

April: Thankyou, I just see no reason to harm a creature that is causing no problems.

Rob gives a smile and clicks to the horse to get moving. A short time has passed and they arrive at the house. Rob helps April from the sulky. The once spotless and perfect kept house, was now covered with weeds and had a run down appearance, but yet still had the charm of the old place. They both stood there for a few minutes, Rob remembering his younger years trying to catch Victoria's eye and outwitting her crazy brother Franks' jealous rages. April broke the silence and started heading towards the house.

April: Well are you coming?

Rob: Oh, yes.

Rob follows April breeze through the house, going from room to room.

April: This place is beautiful. (She starts to laugh)

Rob: What's so funny?

April: I was in such a hurry to get here, I forgot I would need supplies. (She laughs more, Rob joining in). I suppose I will have to go back to town later to at least buy some food.

Rob: I have to get back to Langara, I have some work to do. If you like I will come back later today and take you to town or better yet would you like to have dinner with my family tonight?

April: That is very kind of you Rob, but I think I will ride over. If you wouldn't mind giving me directions.

Rob: (Smiling) Alright I'll see you this afternoon. I'll put your horse in the barn and give her some water.

April: I'll see you tonight than, Mr.McGregor. (She smiles)

Rob give her directions and leaves the house to tend to the mare and head back to Langara. April turns after he leaves and begins going over the layout of the house, looking at all that will need to be done for her father's arrival in the morning. She takes a sigh and begins the long cleaning that should keep her busy until dinner time. Later Rob has returned to Langara and goes inside to find his family enjoying a special lunch and still catching up on all of Danni's city gossip.

Rob: So what did I miss?

Matt: Just Danni tell us about her adventures in the city. We were begining to wonder if you would be joining us this afternoon.

Rob: I'm sorry I was taking April to her home.

Emily: So tell us about April.

Rob: Well I don't know much, I'm sure she can fill us in tonight. I invited her over for dinner.

Danni: (Teasingly) Did you now Rob!

With Danni's gently teasing the group laughs lightly. All aware that Rob is interested in getting to know April, they kept the jokes sparingly and easy. The day seemed to pass on quicker after lunch. Danni, Emily and Kathreen set off for town to buy the supplies for tonights special dinner. Josh entertained himself with Patch as he watch Colin work out some horses. Rob was rushing from one chore to another always checking the time and looking to see if April was coming up the road. Matt sat back and would give a quiet chuckle with the ongoings of his son. After a few moments a horse could be heard coming towards the house. Rob almost tripped over himself with excitement, but quickly went back to work after he noticed it was the ladies returning from town. When the buggy pulls up Matt goes to its side and welcomes home his wife with a soft kiss. With that they grab their baskets and head into the house to prepare the feast for tonight. An hour later the aroma of dinner fills the air. The once hard working men begin to unwind and prepare for dinner. One by one the guys come out in evening attire. All dressed neatly, but not overdone.

Danni: Why Rob your all dressed up. (In a whisper voice) I wonder why. (She giggles)

Emily, hearing Danni's quiet words, has a little laugh herself. As Danni begins to start hassling her big brother again, the sounds of an approaching horse catches Rob's attention and he heads out the door to meet his guest.

Rob: Good evening April, did you have any trouble finding the place?

April: No Rob, you gave me wonderful directions. I have to admit though I did take a bit longer than I should. This land is just so beautiful I had to take in the view.

Rob: I'm gald you enjoyed the ride.

Rob helps April down from her horse. Their eyes meet and twin smiles errupt as April is released on the ground.

April: Thank you Rob. This place is just so beautiful.

Rob: If you'd like I could show you around.

April: I would like that very much. Maybe in a few days? Father will be arriving tonight and there is so much I still must do.

Rob: I see you brought Breeze with you.

April: Yes I thought she would enjoy the ride.

Rob: You must be hungry.

Rob shows April to the house where upon entering all eyes focus on the young lady before them. All were excited about the prospects of Rob courting again, but also weary by all his past loves that did not work out. Rob had been hurt so many times they just hoped this would not be like that again. Just maybe Rob would find the love of a woman to spend the rest of his life with. After introductions the family sat down and enjoyed their dinner. April told the family about her long trip and how excited she was to be in this beautiful country. Colin and Danni teased Rob with stories of his childhood and mishaps.

April: What time does the evening train arrive?

Matt: Should be here shortly.

April: Then I should be on my way. Dinner was wonderful and I thankyou kindly for having me here.

Matt: Your welcome anytime.

Rob quickly rose to his feet to see April back to her home. As they headed to the door the sounds of a fast approaching rider was heard.

Matt: Wonder who that could be?

A knock at the door came. "Matt...Matt McGregor" a voice cried from outside the door. Matt went to the door quickly and opened it to find a young man covered in dust and in the condition that the devil was on his tail.

Matt: I'm Matt McGregor

Man: Mr.McGregor there has been a horrible incident. The train was held up and a man was killed.

Matt: Oh no that is terrible. What can I do?

Man: The men responsible were caught and turned over to the troopers. I was told by some people in town that your son was with a lady named April Marshall who arrived earlier today?

Matt: Yes that would be Rob and that is April over there with him, why?

Man: The man that was killed was her father.

The group turned to April as the tears fell from her eyes. A screaming Noooooooooooooooo as she ran out the door. She mounted Breeze quickly and in seconds was at a full run towards town. Rob quickly followed.

Matt: Oh no.

Kathleen: Oh Matt what is she going to do?

Matt: I don't know.

Rob had no trouble catching up to April, but he was having trouble trying to find the right words to say. As he approached her she had fallen from her horse and clutched herself on the ground.

Rob: April I am so sorry.

April: He can't be gone. He just can't be.

Her tears came faster. Rob made his way to her and embraced her allowing all her pain to pour onto his chest. They sat there embraced for a long time. Slowly April's cries began to deminish and she fell asleep shortly afterwards. Rob slowly lifted and started to carry her back to Langara, but stopped shortly on his way when he was met by Matt and Colin. Without any words Colin went for the horses and Matt dismounted to help Rob.

Matt: How is she?

Rob: I don't know. She feel off her horse but I don't think she is hurt.

Matt: Well we better send for a doctor in case.

Colin arrived back with the horses. Rob handed April to Matt as he mounted his horse. Matt gave April back to Rob's arms and mounted his horse.

Matt: Colin can you ride for a doctor?

Colin: Yes I won't be long.

With that Colin headed off to town and Matt and Rob headed back to Langara. When they arrived at Langara they brought April to Danni's room and left Danni, Emily and Kathleen to tend to her. Colin and the doctor arrived shortly and after a quick exam they were all relieved she was okay. Colin began to make arrangements for the funeral the following day as Rob sat queitly watching April sleep. Within a few hours he was sleeping in the chair he had been watching from. As morning came sorrow filled the household. Today April would say goodbye to her father. She awoke and found Rob sleeping in a chair across the room. Through all her sorrow it did make her smile at the sweet gesture he made.

April: Rob

Rob started to stir as he heard his name. When he realized it was April he went to her side.

April: Rob can you take me home? I need to get ready for my father's funeral.

By mid-morning Rob had taken April back to her home to prepare for the funeral. He waited patiently outside the house for April to return. It was not long before they were on their way to town. Rob felt uneasy as he headed towards town and saw the dingo watch them leave. He would feel much better to have the creature destroyed or at least scared from the area, but he knew now was not the time to worry about the dingo. The ride to town was quiet only the steady sounds of the horse's hooves hitting the ground. As they passed through town and made their way to the church April felt so touched to see so many people she had never met or that even knew who her father was. After the funeral the townspeople offered their sympathies and offers of help to the young lady. As the remaining townspeople went back to their homes April turned and walked to the freshly covered grave. She kneeled to the ground by the grave and started to weep.

April: Oh daddy what am I going to do without you? I never even got to say good bye. You were my family, I have no one now and know no one in this country. The people here are very nice and seem very sincere, truely a blessed place. My only wish is that you were here with me to enjoy it. I love you so much daddy and I will make your dream come true.

April regained her composure and returned to the man who was waiting a short distance from the grave. She was so happy that she met such a nice person who she felt would become a great friend and possibly more. He was very kind and compasionate, she enjoyed her time around him even more each time they were together.

April: Rob, would you mind taking me home.

Next on Snowy River, April starts her new life in Patterson's Ridge and deals with the loss of her father. Colin and Emily face a new challenge.