I do not own Big Valley or any of the characters.

September 4th.

The wind had been working hard all day and now a storm was beginning. The sky was a dark grey and thunder echoed in the distance. The ground was slick from the rain that had poured down for last three days. The creeks were so full that the sound of rushing water was heard from the house. It had yet to rain this morning, but everyone knew it was the calm before the storm.

Nick Barkley had finally been able to go to town and was now hurrying home. Nobody from the ranch had been to town in the last three days due to all the rain and the storms due to come. When the rain had stopped earlier that morning, Nick decided to go to town because he was expecting a telegraph from Heath. Now with the telegraph safely tucked away in his pocket, he was almost home, but it looked as though he was going to get wet. Nick was growing tired of the slow pace, but for the safety of him and his horse, he didn't ask the animal anything faster then a walk.

It was only a couple more miles to the house, but the rain decided not to wait. Lightning struck the ground and was soon followed by the sound of thunder. Coco spooked at the sound, but Nick quickly calmed the animal.

The rain began as a light shower, but soon became a downpour. Nick was glad that he had thought ahead and was already wearing his slicker.

A few minutes later, Nick could see the house. When Coco saw it as well, he began to walk faster. Finally they stopped in front of the barn. Ciego came out of the barn and took Nick's horse. Neither man bothered to say anything because it was impossible to hear over the pouring rain.

Nick ran to the house, holding his hat down to keep it from blowing away. He hurried inside and yelled, "Mother! Jarrod, Audra!" He took off his slicker, hat and boots while he waited for them to come.

"Nick, must you yell?" Victoria questioned, although she knew he would never stop yelling. It was something he had done from a very young age.

"Sorry Mother. Heath sent a telegram." He handed the piece of paper to Victoria and waited for her to read it to Jarrod and Audra.

" 'Leaving today, be home in three or four days. Love Heath.' " Victoria folded the piece of paper and set it on the table.

"That means he should be home by tomorrow since he didn't make it today," Nick happily told them.

"I can't wait to see the horses he got!" said Audra.

"He told me that he was pretty sure he could get that stallion at a good price," Jarrod told them.

"I hope so!" Audra sounded excited.

Silas walked into the room. "Lunch is ready Mrs. Barkley."

"Thank you, Silas. Nick, go wash up," Victoria told her son.

Jarrod offered both arms and Victoria and Audra looped their arms through his. The three chatted as they walked to the dinning room.

Nick climbed the steps three at a time and went straight into the bathroom to wash up.