Some Bodyguard of a Brother (episode #11) by Diana L. Pierce…..alias…Dee Grainger….No copyright infringement intended.

An early morning rain gave mist to the green grasses of the Adams three hundred acres of farm land that sat just, outside of Laramie. Tom Adams was busy building fence for a brand new sheep enclosure because the one being used now was nearly bare. Mary Adams and her new business partner Dee Grainger were busy with the Border Collies, cleaning the small barn where many of them slept and ate, and bathing those who needed it. Mary asks, "Dee, I don't know how Tom and I managed before you came to stay." Dee drying a dog with a rag, "I'm sure I'm not that much help, but glad I came. I love this kind of work." Mary smiles, "Still nice you're here. Tom should have the new enclosure done before long so we can herd them into it sometime today. Picking is sure getting scarce where they're at now." Dee dries herself from the bath she has taken washing the dogs. "I think I'm going to take a real bath after we get them sheep moved. I smell like one of the dogs." Mary laughs, "Well, don't worry about it. We don't care what you smell like. You're not expecting a gentleman caller. Are you?" Dee shakes her head, "A gentleman caller? Heck no, what would give ya a notion like that? Just cause I want to take a bath?" Dee thinks, Mary in her ragged attire and dirty blonde hair tangled in knots wonders why I don't want to look and smell like something the dogs dragged in. Mary grins, "Well, thought maybe that nice looking foreman from Shiloh would be back around to see ya. Didn't he say he'd be back in a few weeks to check on ya?" Dee nods her head, "He did say that, didn't he? Well, just cause he feared Johnny would be trying to find me again after his arms heal up." Dee is thinking I sure hope Johnny knows not to go back to Shiloh.

That evening after a long day, Dee finally gets her hot bath and is wrapped in a robe curled up with a book in her easy chair. There's a knock at the door. Her dog begins to bark. She goes to the door, "Who is it?" She hears a man's voice, "It's me, Stacy." She opens the door to find her cousin standing there with his bedroll and saddle bag. "Come in. Good to see you. What brings you out this way?" Stacy puts his stuff down near the door, sits down and pets Dee's dog, Chance, who demanded his attention. "Oh, I was passing through. Thought I'd stop here for the night and see how you're doing." She smiles at him, "So glad you did. Don't get much company. You headed home?" He says, "Yeah, thought I'd stay a few days with them. I haven't been home in a long time. Guess the last time was when I took Johnny there. Dee, I'm sure sorry I showed him where you were. I thought I was doing the right thing." She looks at him, "I know you did and maybe back then was the right thing. The thing is I don't want him and refuses to believe me. Now he thinks he can force me to go home with him." Stacy is concerned, "He can't force you to do anything, Dee. Nothing gives him that right." She knows he's right, "But he's been in Medicine Bow nursing two broken arms from being thrown from a mustang. Can you believe he thought that horse was my, Patches? The Virginian brought Patches here or maybe he would have taken her." Stacy says, "The letter I got from the Virginian said Johnny came after his horse and went back to Montana." Dee grins, "He went home?" Stacy yawns, "That's what he said. Guess I need to get some sleep." Dee says, "I've got a guest room." She shows him. He opens the door to the room, "Thanks, Dee. You wouldn't want to go with me tomorrow would you?" She nods, "I'd like to, but guess I'm worried about Johnny catching me there." Stacy says, "You don't worry about Johnny. I'll see he won't bother you. I think you need to go home as much as I do. I'll see you back here, too." Dee grins, "Stacy, thank you. I will go with ya. Good night."

A couple of days later Stacy and Dee arrive at Shiloh. Of course, their canine friend Chance is with them. As they pull the buckboard up in front of the house with their riding horses tied behind, they are greeted by Elizabeth and Holly who are standing on the porch. Holly is so excited, "Clay, come see whose home. You two don't know how happy I am to see you." She hugs them both and ushers them into the house.

In the living room the Graingers have a long overdue reunion. Clay opens the front door to let the Virginian and Trampas in. Holly grins, "I want all you boys to come up here for a party tonight." Trampas hugs Dee as he comes in the room. "A party sounds like fun, ma'am. Stacy it's about time you got back here. Glad you brought our milk maid home." He grins at Dee. Dee shakes her head, "Milk maid? Is that all I am to ya? A milk maid?" The Virginian looks at her with a smirk, "You know Trampas ain't going to let it go. You dumping that bucket of milk down my back." Trampas laughs, "No, can't forget that. Bust a gut every time I think about you standing there spitting fire with milk dripping off you and Dee terrified thinking she's gonna get a lashing." Stacy chuckles, "Where was I? Wish I hadn't missed that." Dee says, "Trust me it wasn't that funny. Somebody set me up to trip with that bucket of milk." The Virginian said, "Never could get any of them to fess up to leaving that leather strap on the barn floor."

Later they all enjoy music and food at the Graingers party. They hadn't had this much fun in a long time. Clay smiles at Stacy, "Thanks for bringing Dee with you. She really needs a brother figure, you know?" Stacy agrees, "I know. Hope her trouble stays away while we're here. Sir, I don't think I can control myself not to get even with him. I never thought he'd threaten her like that." The two are watching Dee across the room laughing and talking to Jim and Trampas. The Virginian approaches Stacy. "Did you tell Dee I asked you to stop to her place? I'd rather she thought you did it on your own." Stacy looks at him, "I would have done it on my own. I only told her you said Johnny went home." The foreman says, "Thank you, Stace."

The next day Elizabeth, Dee and Stacy go horseback riding. Elizabeth is riding the Patches look-a-like that had thrown Johnny causing him to break both arms. Dee is amazed how the two mares look so much alike. "What's her name?" Elizabeth smiles at her, "Trampas called her Miss Frisky. The name kind of stuck." Dee laughs, "She doesn't seem to frisky now." Elizabeth is looking ahead toward the hillside, "I think she's getting gentler every day. I've been taking her out a lot lately." Stacy who is also watching the hillside sees something, "Did you see that flash of light up there?" Dee looking now, "What was that?" They see another flash. Elizabeth follows Stacy who runs toward the hill with Dee not far behind, "You girls hang back. Someone's up there." Stacy quickly reaches the bottom of the hill. He ties his horse to a tree limb and walks up the hill. Then he sees it, a piece of a broken mirror on the edge of a rock, the sun was reflecting off. He thinks how did it get here? Just then he hears a gunshot coming from where he had just left his cousin and sister waiting. He hurries back to his horse. Elizabeth is riding fast toward him as he climbs in the saddle. "Stacy, Dee's been shot. Hurry!" They hurry to find Dee still on her horse but with blood seeping through her blouse. She took a bullet in her right shoulder. Stacy realizes he'd been tricked by the piece of mirror distracting him away from the females. "Did you see who it was?" Dee cries, "No, but it probably was Johnny." Stacy says, "Can you ride? You girls go to the house. Tell them I'm looking for him."

As the two women get to the house, Trampas and the Virginian are getting on their horse. Elizabeth tells them, "Dee's been shot. Stacy's out there looking for whoever it was." The Virginian says to Trampas, "Help get her in the house and run for the doctor and tell the sheriff." The Virginian rides out to help Stacy find the sniper. Dee looks at Trampas as he helps her down from her mare. "I think it was Johnny. But I didn't see him." Trampas gets her in the living room of the house where her aunt and uncle are. Elizabeth gets a basin of water. Trampas says, "I'm going for the doctor and the sheriff. Better stay in the house until we find out who we're dealing with." Dee moans, "I think it was Johnny, Uncle Clay. Would he do this?" Clay tries to calm his niece, "No, I don't believe Johnny would shoot you." Holly and Elizabeth are holding wet rags on Dee's wound and putting a pillow under her head. Chance is whining with his head on Dee's leg. "It's okay, boy. Glad I left you here."

In the meanwhile, Stacy is searching for the attacker and getting closer by the minute. He come through some rocky landscape and weaves in and out around the huge boulders. "Ping." An echo rings out as a bullet pierces a surface close to where Stacy is riding. He dismounts and takes cover. He catches a glimpse of the man above him on the side of the rocky incline and fires back. A shot is returned to him. The Virginian who has caught up to Stacy heard the shots and gets closer. As the attacker stands up to take another aim, the Virginian fires on him and the man falls forward. The Virginian and Stacy go to the man's side. The Virginian puts his gun back in its holster as Stacy checks the man's vitals. Stacy shakes his head, "He's dead. Who do you think he is?" The Virginian explains, "Cattle rustler I assume, found a dead steer not far from where I think Dee was shot."

Later at the house, the doctor is about to extract the bullet from Dee's shoulder. Holly is holding her hand. Then the doctor puts a rag in Dee's mouth, "Here, bite down on this and hold tight. Someone take her other hand." Trampas holds her other hand, "Squeeze, as hard as you can Dee. I can take it." The cowboy's face is flush at the sight of blood but he wanted to help. The bullet comes out and the ordeal is over. Dee sighs, "Never had anything hurt so bad, in my life." Holly wipes the tears and sweat from Dee's face, "I know, dear. You'll be alright now." She assures her niece. The Virginian and Stacy had just come in the living room. Stacy goes to Dee's side, "You alright. Thank God." She nods her head, "Did you get him? Who was it? Was it Johnny?" Stacy shakes his head, "We got him. No, honey, it wasn't Johnny. It was a cattle rustler." She sighs, "That makes me feel better."

A couple days later, Dee is walking with her dog, near the bunkhouse. A few of the cowhands are on the porch. Trampas and Jim approach her. Trampas asks, "How's the shoulder today?" She smiles at him. "It's fine now. Glad you were there to hold my hand." He grins, "Glad I was too ma'am. You sure were brave. Ya didn't even holler." She looks at him, "Kind of hard to holler with a rag stuffed down your throat." Trampas laughs, "Oh, yeah, guess it would be." Jim throws a stick for the dog to chase. "Glad you came for a visit, Dee. I missed you and your boy here." He takes the stick from the dog's mouth and throws it again.

A few days later, after the doctor gave Dee the okay to travel Dee and Stacy are preparing to leave. The Virginian helps her onto the buckboard, "Reckon, you'll dare come back more often now. Maybe Stacy will escort you again." She smiles at him, "I just might. Don't forget the road goes both ways." Everyone says their good-byes and the travelers are on the road again. Stacy tells Dee how sorry he is that he couldn't protect her better. "Some bodyguard I turned out to be." Dee could see how serious he is about it. "Stacy, I'm just so pleased you took time to bring me back here. You know you're the brother I never had. I don't want you to think I need you just to keep the demons away." Stacy grins, "I know. I feel guilty for not paying attention to ya. It took the Virginian telling me what to do to get me here." She shakes her head, "I thought so. Guess he'll always do that no matter how far away we move." Stacy agrees, "Yeah, guess we need him to."

THE END