I do not own the copyrights to The Big Valley
NOTE: Number one: I played with timelines for the sake of the storyline. And number two: I wrote this story out of respect to all the ranches that were once flourishing, but now are either struggling to survive, or have completely died out. Also, it was a way to pay respects to those I have crossed paths with who are loyal to those they love, but; for whatever reason, have had no one pass anything onto.
(Families are Forever)
The business offices were grand, but a bit too overwhelming. At least, Cordelia thought so. Shiny chandeliers, multiple levels holding stores whose doors all opened up to one huge Verandah filled the place. All the offices in the building over looked the courtyard, and it felt like every single person walking through those offices was looking at her.
Okay, maybe not all, but one old man sure was. He wore a dark suit; whether it was blue, or black, she could not tell due to the distance between them. The one fact she knew was no matter if she'd been shopping for clothing, jewelry, or simply sheet music it had been the same face watching her. No matter his age, the fact remained someone of the male gender was watching her made it so she felt just a bit uncomfortable.
Unnerving or not, Cordelia glanced up and saw him again. He was giving her a faint smile. Ugh, who was he and why was he watching her so closely? Deciding she'd rather just high-tail it out of the area rather than to face some stranger she'd never met, she made a beeline for a exit.
"Hey, where do you think you're going?" Susan might as well have shouted at her friend for as loud as her voice carried. Cordelia flinched at the thought of the whole building being able to hear her loveable, but overbearing, cousin.
"Anywhere but here," The brunette turned around with reluctance and answered once Susan was close enough to give a reply without shouting.
"Good heavens, what for?" Susan couldn't figure out what had her favorite kin so jumpy.
"Because I can?" Cordelia spoke sharply. She knew she'd been rude, but was far too nervous to fix that particular hic-up. She then hurried out of the building with her cousin following close behind her.
The noise in the open court filled the air and Sir Kingston walked up to the old man who had been watching the visiting female. "Gene, what's going on? I mean really going on. You watched that customer the whole time she was here. Poor woman probably thinks you're a potential stalker." The visiting Englishman gave a half-hearted chuckle.
"That female is not just any woman; she's a lady, and her name is Cordelia Hansen. Go find her home and bring her to the mansion; not my parent's home which Audra and Heath now live in. That is, if she will come of her own free will." Gene shot out the address he'd been given without answering his friend's question, knowing if he did then his lifetime friend would probably have him committed. Heck, for what he was thinking to do maybe, just maybe, he should be. Oh, well, that wasn't something he was going to say out loud.
"I don't suppose you'd tell me why?" Sir Kingston asked with a quizzical look.
"No. But, I promise I don't intend to harm her in any way, nor would I dream of forcing her to stay." The old man's hand rested on the black rail in front of him.
"If you say so," Sir Kingston wished the man would open up, but everyone knew he'd grown silent in the past few years. Sir Kingston could only surmise it was for a few reasons.
One, because Gene had lost his brothers, Jarrod and Nick, in the past ten years; two, his brother Heath was starting to have some health issues; and three, none of the younger generation seemed interested in keeping the family ranch going. Sir Kingston sighed. If only Heath's son Morgan and Nick's son, Bradley, hadn't died in the influenza epidemic. Those two would have continued running it as they had been before falling ill. He then thought on Jake, Nick's oldest son, and sighed again. The man had a heart of gold, but he'd had an unfortunate accident which had left him paralyzed from the waist down. Jake's wife had insisted that the two of them accept their oldest daughter's invitation, one that put them living with her in Nevada. Sir Kingston shook his head; it had to be the future of the Barkley ranch that was weighing on his friend's mind.