Hi! I've got loads of BV stories planned, so keep an eye out! I wanted to add another sister to the family, so I've actually included a character that is named after (and based on) me – Rachel Barkley! As I am home schooled, and as it suited some of my storylines better, I have decided that Rachel Barkley is also going to be home educated in my stories.

I hope you like my BV stories. I have some exciting plots planned, which I hope you enjoy. As a first story, I wanted to rewrite the first episode to show how Rachel Barkley accepted Heath. I have taken out the fighting the railroad theme that was in the episode, as it didn't fit in with the rest of my story. Enjoy!

Jarrod: 32 Nick: 28 Heath: 24 Audra: 18 Eugene: 17 Rachel: 14

YEAR: 1876

When Heath Came Along

Chapter 1 – Another Barkley Son


Rachel Barkley had long chestnut-brown hair, unlike anyone else in the family. Her eyes were hazel, like Nick's, and were wide and expressive. She had a few freckles which she had earned from pure carelessness on her part in never wearing a hat when out in the hot Californian sun! Rachel was rather like her sister Audra, in that she could go from one minute being the bell of the ball, attired in a beautiful dress, to being clad in pants and shirt, riding astride like any one of her brothers. She had a strong disposition, and adored horses like Heath. She had a little of the Barkley temper, too, which though didn't often flare up, when it did, could be almost as bad as Nick's! She was fourteen years old. She liked nothing better than to be off riding her horse, Blazing Star. He was named after one of the beautiful flowers native to their valley, and also for his great blaze that ran down his face.

Rachel Barkley was proud of her family. She was proud of their name, of their ranch, of who they were. Perhaps that was a little weakness of hers, too, for she had a stubborn pride. Nick admitted to being stubborn, so maybe she got it from him! What's more, she could be daring at times. But she did so love excitement, so what was the harm in being audacious?

Mother said she was wild; Jarrod, that she was frightfully stubborn. Nick said she was brave, but too enterprising, and Audra said she was just like her. Eugene had always called her his mouse, because she used to be shy, and though she had outgrown that over the years, the nickname had stuck. As for Heath, ever since he had arrived he had always shown a special love for his little sister. He was kind, and caring, and understood her love for horses, which she had nurtured in her heart from a very young age.

Perhaps she was stubborn, and maybe she was wild, but she was a Barkley, and was loved dearly!

Rachel ran down the staircase eagerly, and was on the porch in an instant. Eugene was not far behind.

"Jarrod!" Rachel cried excitedly, running into her older brother's open arms. "Jarrod, you're home! I missed you so much!"

Jarrod put his arms around his little sister and swung her around in a circle. "My, my, little sister, you've grown!" he said, smilingly. "I missed you, too, honey."

Eugene stepped forward, and clasping his brother's hands, shook them heartily.

"Gene!" Jarrod cried. "How are you?"

"Fine," replied Eugene. "The house has been empty without you, Jarrod."

"I'm glad I've been missed," Jarrod said. "Hey, where are Audra and Mother?"

"Mother's having a nap," Eugene informed his brother, "and Audra's out riding."

"And you didn't go, too?" Jarrod asked Rachel in disbelief. Rachel almost always was out on her horse, Blazing Star, and loved to go riding with her sister.

"I didn't want to be out when you got home," Rachel said. "I missed you too much!"

Jarrod put an arm around her shoulder, and squeezed her closer to him. "I'm glad to be back," he said.

"Nick, you look a mess," Rachel declared reproachfully, looking back at her other brother who had ridden in with Jarrod.

"Well, thank you very much!" Nick cried. "It so happens, on my way to pick up Jarrod, I had a sudden bathe without intending to do so."

His siblings looked at him with questioning eyes.

"There was this boy on his horse on the bridge; he refused to move, and the bridge gave way."

Jarrod laughed, and clapped Nick on the back. "Is that so, Nick?" he said. "And I expect you weren't too quick to move, either."

Nick grumbled quietly to himself, making Jarrod smile, his eyes laughing merrily. He put his hands on Eugene and Rachel's backs, and the three walked into the house, followed by Nick.

"Silas!" Jarrod cried, tossing his hat to the family's butler. "Good to see you, Silas!"

"Mista Barkley! My, my! It's good ta see you 'gain." The older man fondly shook hands with Jarrod. "Mrs. Barkley's sleepin' jest now."

"That's fine, Silas," Jarrod replied, "just fine!" He turned back to his siblings. "Now, what's happened since I went away? I want every little detail!"

Everyone walked into the sitting room, and sat down.

"Nothing much," Rachel said. "In fact, it's been rather dull."

"Is that so?"

"Yes," said Rachel. "But I guess that's because I missed you so much! I do wish you'd take me with you to Frisco some time!"

"You're a mite bit young for that I'm afraid. What would you do whilst I'm working? You're too young to go around the city by yourself!"

Rachel slumped back into her chair. "That isn't fair," she said, in a moping tone.

"Maybe not little sister, but I'm afraid, fair or not, that's the way it is."

Rachel couldn't sulk long, not now that Jarrod was home, so she was soon bubbling away with small events that had happened during her brother's absence.

"And how have your studies been?" Jarrod inquired.

"Oh, they've been fine," Rachel informed him. Rachel had always been educated at home, and Jarrod would often help his little sister out with her studies, and showed a great deal of interest in her progress.

Suddenly, horse hooves sounded outside. Rachel jumped up from her seat. "That must be Audra!" she cried. She hurried over to the front door, and stopped in surprise when she saw a young cowboy siting on a horse.

"Afternoon," she said. "What do you want?"

The young man smiled at her blunt tone. "Afternoon, I'm looking for a Nick Barkley."

"That's my older brother," Rachel said. "What's your business with him, stranger?"

"Well," he began, a slight grin creeping up his right cheek, "I was told by a Miss Audra Barkley that Nick is the one that does the hiring."

Just then her three brothers entered the porch.

"What is it Rachel?" Jarrod asked.

"He's looking for work," Rachel replied, insinuating towards the rider. "Says Audra told him to see Nick."

Nick looked up at the cowboy, and recognized him at once as the man whom he had met on the bridge earlier that day. "So, we meet again," Nick said, his face breaking into a smile of recognition. "What's your name?"

"Heath," the man replied.

"What do you do?"

"You name the job, and I can do it," Heath said coolly.

"Whereabouts are you from?" Nick asked.

"The Western Divide," Heath answered.

Jarrod smiled at Heath. He also recognized him. He had won him a bet when he had raced the train Jarrod had been riding from San Francisco. "Hire him, Nick."

Nick turned on Jarrod, "Why?" he asked. "We've no room!"

"Hire him," Jarrod repeated with a nod of the head. "He did me a favour today."

Nick looked at Jarrod quizzically, but turned back to Heath. "Alright," he said. "Take your things to the bunkhouse. Tell them to sign you on."

Heath nodded his head in acknowledgement, and led his horse away. Rachel, leaning against the post on the porch, stared after him with her arms crossed over her chest. There was something about him, but she wasn't sure what! It was as if he had some resolute purpose mapped out in his mind.

"Ah, well," she sighed, shaking off the feeling of uncertainty that had crept over her. She was sure they'd find out soon enough.

"Jarrod! Jarrod you come down here this minute!"

Jarrod wasn't the only one to come to Nick's bellowing cries. Eugene and Jarrod ran down the staircase, and Audra and Rachel, both pulling on their dressing gowns, stood together at the top of the stairs to listen.

They heard a crash of glass, and could just see the new hired hand, Heath, standing in the doorway to one of the rooms downstairs, with a smashed up bottle in his hand.

"Now you're gonna listen to what I've got to say!" he was saying, holding the bottle in a threatening position towards Nick.

"Alright," Jarrod said slowly. "What do you have to say?"

Heath walked up to the picture of Thomas Barkley that hung on the wall, and forced a laugh. "Well, lookee here! There's the man himself! Man? To leave my mother like he did! No man would do a thing like that."

Eugene stepped forward to show his objection, but Jarrod held him back.

"What are you trying to say?" he asked.

"That I'm Heath Barkley, your brother, and Tom Barkley's son!"

Up on the staircase, Rachel looked wildly at Audra to discern whether she knew what this man was talking about, but Audra's face revealed nothing. Rachel couldn't stand it any longer, and ran down the stairs.

"You filthy liar!" she screamed at Heath.

"Rachel," Jarrod said, not turning to look at her, but still watching Heath with those piercing eyes of his. "Go to bed."

"No, I won't!" Rachel cried. "You can't let him get away with those lies! Nick, knock him galley west!"

"To bed!" Jarrod had now raised his voice meaningfully. Rachel hesitated. It wasn't usually wise to tell Jarrod 'No' twice, so she slowly turned around and walked back to the stairs. She stopped when half-way up where Audra was now standing, so that she could hear the rest.

"Twenty-four years ago," Heath continued, "I was born at a mining camp – at a little town called Strawberry. My mother was the sweetest, gentlest, warmest creature that ever lived on God's earth, but a month ago she died. They buried her in a pauper's grave, like she was nothing; but she deserved more than that!"

"So?" Nick said angrily. "Why do you come to us with your stories and lies? What do you want from us?"

"I want the name, my heritage; I want what belongs to me!"

"And what makes you think that our father is yours?" Nick demanded. "There were a lot of men in those mining camps! Why pick us?"

"The night my mother died, she told me to go and get her Bible, and to turn to the very last page. She had never told me who my father was, but she knew she was dying, and now wanted me to know. This," he reached into his pocket, and drew out a newspaper clipping, "fell out, and I picked it up, and read it."

Nick took it from him, and scanned it. It had a picture of Thomas Barkley and the words: THOMAS BARKLEY KILLED FIGHTING THE RAILROAD

"This it?" Nick asked, snorting with contempt. "This all the proof you've got?"

"You may not believe me, but I know he was my father! And, boy howdy, I'm gonna get what I'm entitled to!"

"Alright," Jarrod said, in a remarkably calm voice. "You want something, here's some money. Take it, and don't come back."

"I don't want your money," Heath said. "I want what's mine!"

"A name?" Nick asked. "The name of Barkley will never be on liars like you!"

"I'll go," Heath said. "But I'll be back. Back to claim what is every bit as much mine as it is yours!"

With those words he walked steadily out of the house.

Audra put her arm around Rachel, "Come on Sweetie," she said. "Go back to bed."

Rachel shrugged her sister off. Audra hesitated, and then left her and retired to her own room.

The three brothers walked out of the room slowly, with pondering steps. Eugene's hands were in his pocket, and he was staring at the floor. Nick, whose bruised face showed that he had had a fistfight with Heath before they had come into the house, was looking vacantly about him as though his mind was elsewhere; and Jarrod's eyes were distant and thoughtful, whilst his brow was gathered into a studious frown.

"Jarrod," Rachel cried. "How could you let him get away with those lies?"

Jarrod's head snapped up, as he was called out of his thoughts. His brow creased into a deeper frown. "I thought I told you to go to bed."

"How could he say those things?" Rachel cried desperately. "How could you let him?"

Jarrod walked up to Rachel and put his arm around her. "Don't let it bother you now," he said. "There, there, I'll see you into bed, and I want you to get some sleep."

"I couldn't possibly sleep!" Rachel exclaimed. She turned back to Nick, "Why didn't you punch him for saying those things? Why?"

Nick didn't answer. Perhaps he didn't have one. But maybe it was because, although he didn't want to believe Heath's story, he knew in his heart that it was true.

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I have only just started watching BV, so I hope I manage to capture the characters in my stories. Please let me know your thoughts! Thankyou!