Disclaimer: If you had not already read Th Golden Opportunity, I highly suggest you read it. Otherwise, you may see somewhat lost in this story.
I'm so happy to see that my viewers loved The Golden Opportunity so much that they voted on my poll for both a sequel AND prequel. What? Oh you guys are spoiling me ;-)
So I apologize if these two chapters are quite jumpy. I had a whole background story thought out for Woody, Jessie, and Bo but I realized that if I put the whole story up the story would just move too slow. So yeah, yet again sorry if they don't make any sense.
He couldn't stand it. Her sobs seemed to stab through his heart like a blade. Worst of all, he didn't know how to soothe her. Rubbing her shoulder in comfort, the woman turned to look at Woodrow Pride; her eyes were welled with sorrow and her forehead creased with pain.
"Mom," he whispered, "It's alight. I-I'm sure they are fine." Reaching for the newspaper Bonnie Anderson clenched, he slowly pulled it out and unfolded it. The headline burned into his memory and sight. 'Thousands are Killed on the Way of the Oregon Trail' the black, bold letters read.
"It's impossible for them not to have died," Bonnie cried, burying her face into her hands. She sheepishly turn to her son and wiped her eyes. "I'm sorry that you have to see me like this, Woody. You're only a child."
"Mom, I'm eighteen. I'm practically an adult."
"Barely an adult," she joked. She paused and searched his face with her brunette eyes. "I can't believe how much you've grown…" She started to cry again when she remembered the last vital conversation she had with her husband:
"I'm not allowing it!" Bonnie shouted, stomping her feet. Her husband stood in front of her in complete, mellowed silence.
"This can be a great opportunity!" her husband defended, "Bob and I can set up a coalmining business in Oregon! Can you imagine all the money we can make? If you're grandparents were lucky enough to strike it big with the gold mining business, what makes us any different?"
"What about the children? They can't travel all those miles!"
"Then it can be just Bob and I."
"And I'll go to maintain domestic life," cut in Estelle Peterson. "Besides, since your husband and my husband are already employees, they can make very good business partners. Isn't that right, Bob?"
"Sure," Bob agreed. Bonnie exchanged skeptical looks with the three adults.
"And, since they are building a railroad as we speak, once when our business is thriving, we'll send you and the kids."
"Why can't you just wait until the railroad is finished?" asked Bonnie.
"Well, we want to be the first immigrants there," answered Bob Peterson.
Giving a small grin, Bonnie Walked up to her husband and gave him a kiss. "This can be a great thing…," she commented, poking his nose playfully. "Fine. I let you go with the Petersons."
"Don't you mean Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead?" teased her husband.
"Please," she added, "Be safe."
Approximately it was a week ago that the adults shared that discussion.
"You're going to have to excuse me, Woody," Bonnie hastily informed, rushing to her room. Just then, the twelve year old Jessica Pride skipped it, her pigtails jumping up and down after every skip.
"Hey, Woody," she greeted, "I'm goin' on a horse ride. Wanna come with-" Noticing her brother quickly folding the newspaper and hiding it under his arm, Jessie raised her eyebrow in curiosity. "Whacha got there?"
"Nothing," he mumbled. Sliding into the couch, the girl tried to snatch it from him.
"Lemme see it!"
"Quit it!" After grabbing the newspaper and letting out a laugh of satisfaction, her smile faded away instantly.
"W-weren't, weren't they heading to Oregon? Dad and the Potatoheads?" she questioned, rereading the title.
"Yes…" Stillness surrounding them, a lone tear fell from Jessie's face, darting onto the title page of the newspaper. "Please don't cry, Jessie."
"Why not? Don't I got every reason to be sad?"
"I'm sure they're still-"
"-alive? How do you know? It's more probable that they're dead than a live so we might as well get use to it."
"Don't get hysterical, Jessie," Woody warned, placing a hand on her shoulder, "Mom is already in bad shape…"
"Yeah. It makes sense, Woody, doesn't it? Her husband and closest friends…dead."
"Quiet down, Jessie. I don't want Bo to hear…" The redhead's shoulders dropped.
"That's right. Both of her parents are…gone. Woody, how are we gonna break it to her?" The teenager shook his head slowly, clearing his throat.
"I don't know, Jessie, I don't know."
When dinnertime came rolling around, the Pride siblings were silent. Murmuring to herself, a habit she had ever since she could talk whenever she had sadness or anxiety, Jessie cursed the causes of the Oregon immigrants according to the newspaper: natural disasters and diseases.
"I hate what happened to them," she breathed angrily, "Earthquakes and…and starvation…" Suddenly, Bonnie emerged from the back; her face was pale and her worry lines appeared on her visage.
"I just finished breaking the news to Bo," she alerted quietly, bringing her hands up, "Now I don't want you two to say anything to her. If she doesn't want to have dinner with us, let her be."
"Can we just not have dinner as a family tonight?" asked Woody, clutching the plates in his hands tighter. "I-it's to painful to see that the empty chairs here will never be filled…"
"I'm not hungry, either," Jessie added. Bonnie wrung her hands pensively, deciding what action she should carry out.
"I'll tell you what," she finally announced, "Well go on a horse ride. Each of us gets a horse."
"I'll get them ready in the stables," notified Jessie, setting down her cups on the counter.
"Wait a minute you two," Bonnie interrupted extending out her arms on either side of her body, "C'mere." As the brother and sister placed themselves under their mother's arms, Bonnie kissed them both on top of their heads, standing of her toes to reach Woody. "I'm very proud. Both of you. For staying so strong about this."
"Of course," Jessie concurred, trying to distract herself from the tragedy she just experienced, "We're Prides. Were strong."
"Especially the man at the house here," teased Woody.
"Man?" Bonnie lightheartedly interrogated.
"Yes. After all I am eighteen years old. I'm practically an adult." The mother smiled at their inside joke and poked his nose with her finger.
"Barely an adult," she finished, tilting her head forward as she looked up with her hazel eyes.
What a depressing way to start, huh? I'm sorry, things will get more chipier. I promise ;-)