High Chapparal - a sequel
The Cannon family sat at the breakfast table. After his first cup of coffee John Cannon held a letter in front of him. "Our cousin Eugen asks if we would like to have his daughter Mildred staying by us for another period. It seems it was good for her."
Buck, who just had put a piece of bread in his mouth, began to cough. Victoria, who was standing behind him holding a tray, asked "Is it Mildred who wants to come or is it her father who wants it?" John looked at the letter. "It doesn't say."
Buck cleared his throut. "I don't think that is a good idea. We had an understanding, Mildred and I, that it is good as it is. It would not be good for her to come back. Perhaps it will give her false hopes." Blue faced his uncle. "I thought you liked her. It could be interesting having her as an aunt."
Now Buck was irritated. "First, she is family. Second, she is too young.." – "And third" was heard from the door, as Manolito entered, "do you not have any plans what so ever to tie yourself to a woman." He smiled as he entered the kitchen. "Not after what I have heard lately anyway." The others looked at him, but he said no more and sat down to have breakfast.
I little later Buck approached Manolito in the hall. "What have you heard lately?" he asked. "It's not that you were discreet in any way" his friend said. "There were many to see you leave the saloon together and go shopping in town. You haven't met her since?" Buck wiped his mouth and looked down. "I have not. I don't know who she is either. But sometimes I think of her. And well – I can feel her, if you understand. She was.." he stopped talking and his cheeks were red. Manolito put an hand on his shoulder. "I understand, my friend, I do. And I can find out who she is, if you really want to." –"Well yes, it would be nice."
Mariana sat on her bed and tried to apply red colour on her toe nails. The door flew open. "You are a disgrace for the family, I say only that" a young man said, entering. He was long and wiry, unshaved and wearing dirty clothes. Mariana looked up at her brother. "The only one who was a disgrace to our family was our father" she said. "Leaving us to a life like this.." He shrugged his shoulders. "Not so bad, really. If we work real hard we could finally put aside enough money to buy back the farm." – "You think so? I doubt it."
He looked at her. "What are you doing? Where did you get that?" She smiled. "Nice, isn't it? I got it from Alice, the upstairs maid, who got it from senorita Montoya, senor Montoya's niece. Fine ladies use it, you now." – "Yeah, you don't want to look like a whore, do you? Not like you don't behave like one." She dropped the colour and rose. "What do you mean?" – "You were seen, weren't you, leaving the saloon with that Cannon guy. Do you know his reputation among the ladies?"
Mariana smiled. "He's the younger brother of the wealthy mr John Cannon. Mr Cannon who is the son-in-law to our employer." Derek smiled too. "Well, you could use that then. Make him give you a necklace and then we can sell it." Mariana sat down again. "I don't know. I like him, I really like him" she smiled to herself and caressed her arms. Derek didn't look pleased.
Buck met Manolito by the corral. "Now I can tell you who she is" Manolito said. "I'm all ears." – "She's the daughter of a small farmer, Doug Wayne. It's a sad story really. When his wife died Wayne began to drink. He lost the farm and eventually he died. The children, Mariana and Derek were alreay grown up then, but they had to make a living. Now they both work for my father. I have never seen them at the estate, but Alice, one of the maids, know of them. He works as a ranch hand and she in the kitchen. But perhaps she does other things at the side." Buck frowned. No.. "It didn't seem to you like the first time, did it?" Manolito put a finger at his friend's chest. "Well no.. but.. she was so sweet at devoted.." – "and you thought she loved you?" Buck took a step back. "I don't want to discuss this." – "Did you buy her anything?" – "No." – "That's a good thing."
"Tonight at ten o'clock down at the corral" Manolito whispered to Buck after dinner. "What?" – "You heard me. I happened to visit Alice – one must keep the interest up, you know – and had her pass on a message. I did'nt tell Alice about you, but Mariana will understand. Will you go? You can't let a poor lady wait in vane, can you?" Buck frowned again. "I can't. But for all that you have said, I begin to mistrust her." – "Then go find out. You have nothing to loose."
When it was dark Buck left the house without being noticed. The moon was up and the landscape was black and silver. At the far end of the corral he spotted a tiny figure. When he came closer he saw that she wore a long shawl around her head and shoulders. Like last time she wore a wide skirt. Against his will he felt warm and excited, he longed to touch her again. She stood still and when he came near she smiled. "Hello" she said quietly. "Hi". He put his hat up with his thumb. "So now you know who I am" she said. "No mystery any more. I wanted to be your mystery girl." She smiled. She was irresistable. "Have you missed me?" she asked and took her shawl away from her head. "Of course" he said in a hoarse voice. Then his hand disappeared amongst her hair as he draw her face to his and they kissed hungrily. She took his head between her hands.
His hat fell down on his back as he kissed her shoulder. She held him tight. "I wasn't sure I was going to see you again" she whispered. "I still don't understand how I dared approach you then, in town. We don't share the same world. But I had got you on my mind.." – "But you must have been aware of my appreciation. Didn't it show?" She giggled and let her hands touch his chest, up and down. Unfortunately his shirt was buttoned almost all way up. "Of course. But then a man always appreciates a beautiful woman at such occasions." –" I have thought of you and longed for you – my nature girl.." He put his hand around her breasts, lightly, outside the blouse. "Is this wise?" she said. "Perhaps not now. But we can meet again, can't we?"
She looked around. "Or perhaps now? You do have a barn, don't you?" – "I don't know if we are safe there. The glade under the trees over there?" he pointed. "No.." – "I know. We have a secluded part of the stables, with boxes for horses that are injured. Nobody is there now, nobody will find us." He took her hand and started walking and she followed. Soon they entered a small stable with three empty boxes, scarcely lit. One of the box doors was open and the floor was filled with dry and clean straw. She went there and spread her shawl over the straw. "Look, what a nice bed." She sat down, took off her sandals, lay down and leaned on her elbow. He was still standing. She looked at him. "Well, you could take off your hat, your boots and you gunbelt and come to bed." He smiled a little embarrassed but did as she said. He sat down beside her. She began to unbutton his shirt all the way down. "You are not afraid of me, are you?" she whispered. He shook his head. "No. Now I can feel you again." His lips touched her neck and then her shoulder. "I'll make it easy for you" she said and pulled her blouse over her head. Now he just had to remove her light chemise to find her beautiful breasts. He admired them for a while before he kissed them.
Mariana rested her head against Buck's naked chest. He caressed her hair, his eyes resting at something high above. "I can feel you in all of my body" he said. "I don't think I have felt like this for a long time." Her hands touched his chest, twining the curly blond hair between her fingers. "I never have. I knew it would be like this when I saw you." She was quiet for a while. "But then?" – "Then?" – "Can we meet again? As I said – we are different worlds. You don't want to be seen with me? Can I ever come to your house?" He didn't have an answer.
The first three stories about High Chapparal I wrote a long time ago. This is a new one. And I don't know what is going to happen next.