Same story as In the Pines but when I posted the story it was late and I couldn't think of a better title. Oh ya, I do not own Bonanza, the original characters or songs in this story. Disclaimer: I do not own Bonanza or the originals characters.
"Hello," Emily smiled sweetly at a young girl about her age, she had just walked in the store with what seemed to be her mother. "my name is Emily. Are you new here?" She asked noticing the fancy clothes the girl was wearing.
"Yes," The girl frowned down at her.
"What's your name?" Emily pushed.
"My mother is waiting for me." The girl quickly turn and walked away, but bumped into Katie who had been sent to grab her older sister.
"I'm sorry." She apologized.
"Well, you should be. Watch where your going." The girl snapped.
"Why do you dress so funny?" Katie asked spitefully.
"What may I ask are you wearing, a potato sack?" The girl quickly shot back and walked away. Emily and Katie where both fuming inside, Emmy grabbed her sisters hand and practically drug her out of the store.
"What's got you two so riled up?" Little Joe asked at the expressions on their faces.
"The girl..." Katie started.
"Nothing." Emily cut her off and climbed up into the wagon. "Where's Daddy?" She asked noticing the absence of her father.
"He was talking to a lady, he should be around soon." Ben smiled back at the girls.
"Or not so soon." Joe added as he lifted Katie into the back of the wagon. "She sure was somethin to look at." Ben rolled his eyes, each knowing full well that Adam was not even close to being ready to see another woman. Emily gave her uncle a scowl and sat down with a "thump" looking away from him. "Hey, what's got your goat?" He asked leaning on the side of the wagon.
"Daddy loves Mama, he would never like another lady." She spat at him.
"Of course Adam loves your Mama more than anything, Ems, but..." Ben stopped little Joe knowing that Emily was not ready to consider her father remarrying.
"He can talk to other ladies just like I can." He smiled at Emmy and touched her cheek. Katie stood in the back, holding onto the wagon seat, her dark brown curls bouncing around as she bounced her grandfather's seat.
"There he is," Katie squealed. "and see no lady." She finished seriously as to prove her uncle wrong. Emily peaked over the wagon seat and smile with relief.
"Well, I see everyone is ready. Sorry you had to wait on me." Adam apologized and climbed into his seat in the wagon. Hoss rode up beside them with a large package in set in front of him.
"Got it, Pa." He smiled knowingly.
"Let's get home before Hop Sing packs up and leaves for China." Ben chuckled, Hop Sing had been on one of his rants when everyone left the house that afternoon, saying he was going back to China.
"Daddy," Emmy questioned as they headed for home. "Is Clint coming to my party too?"
"Of course." Adam smiled back at her.
"Good, I wish all the hands could come." She said sadly. Emily had grown close to her family's employees over the last month of working with her father. The men adored Adam's girls and had begun teaching them everything they know about ranching. Clint was closest with Emily as he had taught her how to play baseball in their spare time. She looked up to the man and all that he could do, little Joe had been jealous at first but realized there was enough room in that girls heart to love the world equally.
"We'll ride down to the bunkhouse after the party and say "hi" alright." Adam said.
They pulled up to the house about ten minutes later, everybody headed in separate directions to tend to their responsibilities before the party. "Daddy, me and uncle Joe can take care of the horses." Emily volunteered as her father started to bring the team into the barn.
"You need to get your chores done and then get dressed for the party." Adam said.
"Can I do that after I take care of the horses. Uncle Joe taught me, I can even do it all by myself, without help." She said proudly. Adam gave into the birthday girl, it was her special day, why not let her spend it how she wanted to.
"Alright," Adam looked between her and Joe. "but don't take to long. You still need to get changed." Adam touched her chin, smiled and left them to their task.
"Adam, come tell me what you think." Ben smiled from the doorway. Adam followed his father over to his desk and smiled at the pretty green dress laid on the back of his chair. Ben had noticed a few Sundays back how short her green dress was getting but knowing how much she loved that particular one, decided it would be best to replace it rather than get rid of it.
"I hope she'll like it enough not to have a cow about wearing a dress on her birthday." Adam chuckled, Emily had started to hate wearing dresses, which was probably due to spending most of the summer in a button up shirt and pants.
Back in the barn Emily and Uncle Joe were both hard at work, Emily loving every moment with the horses, and Joe just happy to spend time with his niece. "Uncle Joe, nine doesn't feel all that different from eight but it sounds so much older." Emily reasoned.
"It is your first day of being nine, Ann, you can't expect to feel to much older just yet." Joe chuckled at his niece. Emily smiled at him, she loved his pet name for her, and only uncle Joe was allowed to call her that.
"I wish Mama could be here, she loved parties." She said sadly, bringing one of the horses into its stall. She patted the horse lovingly and then headed to Duke, Hoss's rather large horse.
"Ya, she did. Especially her daughter's parties." Joe smiled at her. "You know, your Mama may not be here in person, but she is always in your heart. You always have a piece of her with you, cuz your a part of her." He finished Cochise and went to work on Hoss's horse with her.
"You really think so, uncle Joe?" She moved to the same side as him, so that she could see his face, he couldn't lie to her if they were face to face.
"I know so, Ann. You know the older you get the more you look like her." He patted her shoulder. "Your hair is the same, and your smile can light up the room just like hers did, even your facial expressions are the same." He chuckled at the thought, Sarah had been so animated and both of her daughters had inherited that.
"Thanks, I better get inside and get ready. Mama always liked me to dress my best for parties, I think she would like that this time too." Joe nodded at her and she ran off towards the house. She flung the door open and ran smack into her grandfather. He gently grabbed her shoulders and laughed.
"Whoa, slow down there." He smiled at the excitement in her eye.
"I can't Grandpa, I have to go get dressed up for Mama." She explained stumbling over her words, they came out so quickly.
"Really?" He was a little shocked at her willingness to get dressed up. "Well, in that case, I have something that you might need." He led her over to the office chair and pointed at a simple yet beautiful green dress. It was a bright forest green, the hem was flowy and ruffled, and the quarter length sleeves ruffled at the ends. A white pinafore lay over the rest of the dress with tiny flowers and leaves covering it and lace in a swooped design at the hem. The collar was the same color as the dress but had a little white lace design on it.
"Is that for me?" She questioned eyes glowing.
"Well, it was for Hoss but he wouldn't wear it, so I thought you might like it." He joked.
"Oh Grandpa, Thank you!" She hugged him tight. "Can I put it on?"
"Of course," Ben chuckled. "I've been dying to see it on you." With that Emily grabbed the dress and ran upstairs to her room, Ben decided to ignore the running through the house and just be thankful for her excitement.
Emily had been upstairs for a little over a half hour, Katie had left her sister to herself being completely bored and had joined the men downstairs. Now just fifteen minutes until people would be showing up, they all waited in the living room for Emmy to come down.
"Emily, hurry up." Adam called up to her.
"Just a minute." She called back, then with a a couple finishing touches she headed out the door. The family stood as she walked down the stairs and they all just stared at the little lady that stood before them. "What do you think?" She spun. "I tried tying my hair like Mama used to, to make it curly but it didn't really work." She explained. Emily's hair was slightly wavy and one side was gently pulled back in one of her mother's fancy hair clips, and the dress she wore hung perfectly on her thin frame. Adam had first noticed the clip that he had bought Sarah as a wedding gift, his immediate reaction was to tell her to take it off and put it back. But he knew that would break her heart, so he put aside his emotions, though he still didn't like how grown up she looked.
"You look pretty." Katie finally said, walking over to her sister. "Can you do my hair like that?" She asked.
"Maybe in a couple of years." Adam interrupted, not about to his six year old grow up so fast.
"Do you like it, Daddy?" She asked directly.
"Yes, you look so much like your Mama." He reached down and lifted her into his arms. "Your beautiful, but not just tonight, your always beautiful." Adam kissed his daughter's cheek and she wrapped her arms around his neck.
After a little while, the people began to arrive, just a couple family's that the Cartwrights were close to. They normally didn't have big birthdays, except for the special one's, but Adam had decided to make them a big deal this year to help the girls cope, it being there first birthdays without their mother. When Cecily arrived with her family, Emily immediately grabbed her and ran off to the barn to show off the horses. Katie found Mary and the two went off together. Jonathan, another one of Emily's best friends, came and headed to the barn to find the girls.
"Ems, Cece." Jonathan called as he came into the barn, he heard giggles but didn't see anything. He walked closer to the sound and was suddenly covered in a pile of hay, laughter erupted above him. "Hey." He yelled as he wiped the hay off of him. "Happy birthday." He grumbled.
"Thanks, you wanna come up?" Emily asked still laughing.
"No, your dad asked me to come get you both so we can have cake." He said as he watched both girls climb down from the hay loft, as soon as their feet touched the ground the were also covered in hay.
"Get 'im." Emmy yelled and they chased him out of the barn and through the yard laughing and yelling at each other. Emily had just about caught up to him when a large arm caught her around the waist and pulled her to a stop.
"Alright, that's enough," Adam chuckled as he held her feet just off the ground. "everyone is waiting on you, birthday girl." He smiled setting her down and began picking the hay out of her hair.
"I guess I'm just to fast for you." Jonathan chuckled as he walked up beside her.
"I woulda caught you and you know it." Emmy defended.
"Oh stop it, you two are worse than brothers and sisters." Cece stood in between them. "Besides Jay, boys are naturally faster than girls, so the fact that she almost caught you is pretty sad on your part." Cecily teased. Jay was Jonathan's nick name, since his mother wouldn't have anyone calling him John or Johnny.
"Come on, before Hoss eats the cake without us all." Adam chuckled, wondering how these three managed to stay best friends.
After blowing out the candles and making a wish, they passed out slices of the cake, and they all had a good laugh when Hoss tried to sneak off with the last half of the cake.
Emily was overjoyed with each of her presents, though most were small homemade treats or items, she let everyone know how thankful she was for each of them. Adam was very proud of her and let that pride show through the smile and gleam in his eye while he watched her. Cecily had sewn her a doll out of leftover material, it was flat and didn't have any stuffing but it was special. Jay had carved her name into a block of wood to set on her dresser. After a little while of saying thank you and fawning over her gifts, the kids went out to play while the adults talked. Before long everyone was heading home, when they waved goodbye to everyone but Clint it was now the families turn to give their presents.
Adam grabbed Emmy's hand, told her to close her eyes and he led her into the barn, the whole family behind him. He led her to the very back stall, stood her in front of it, and told her to open her eyes. Emily's face lit up at the sight of Flash standing before in a beautiful new saddle and bridle. "Is he really mine?" She asked in disbelief.
"Yep, all yours." Adam smiled proudly as he lifted her into the saddle.
"It's so beautiful, Daddy. Thank you." She touched the saddle.
"It's from all of us, we all chipped in a little to get you the saddle, bridle, riding pouch and the horse of course." He chuckled.
"But it was Grandpa's horse, why did he have to pay for his own horse?" She asked slightly confused.
"He didn't, he just sold it for cheaper, and he bought you that dress." Adam explained. Emily could have stayed on the horse all night but she swung down so she could give everyone a hug.
"I helped too." Katie put it.
"She did, your sister worked really hard to earn money and have it all ready for you." Adam swelled even more with pride.
"Thank you all, so much. This is the best birthday present ever." She smiled at them and then hugged the neck of her horse.
"Here, this is for you." Clint held out an object covered in brown paper. She took it, thanking him, and then open it. "It's a canteen, it's a good thing to keep filled and with you at all times."
"It's perfect." She said as she traced the cutout letters that spelled her name on the front of it and hugged him also.
"Come on, party isn't over yet." Adam smiled at her bewildered look and swung her back on her horse. They each headed over to their horses, saddled and ready to go, and headed out. Emily followed knowing the route they were taking but wondered what her father, how could this day get any better.
They came around the corner toward the bunkhouses and were met by a loud, "Happy birthday!" from all the ranch hands.
"We thought our star player would like to play a game of baseball." Clint smiled at her.
"Of course," She jumped off her horse. "But what about my dress?" She questioned not wanting to ruin it.
"Check your saddle bags." Joe nodded towards Flash. She pulled out a pair of pants and a checkered yellow shirt, then ran off to change. They had a great game, everyone joined in, the Cartwrights, Clint and a few others against the rest of the ranch hands. Of course, in the end they let Emily's team win, without letting her know that though. It was getting late, and soon they all headed for home. Katie rode with Hoss on the way back and Adam veered off the trail with Emily and headed to the outskirts of town. It was a long ride but Adam had decided it was necessary. They stopped in front of the graveyard.
"I think she would like to be a part of your birthday." Adam said quietly as he slid off his horse and lifted his daughter down.
"She already has been, Daddy. She's been with me the whole day, in my heart. But I'm glad we came here." She took his hand and began to lead him over to the grave site. Adam was a little shocked by the maturity of his nine-year-old, but was happy that she understood her mother would always be a part of her. They knelt beside the grave, Adam had his arm firmly around his little girl as much for her strength as his own. "I miss her a lot." She said simply.
"So do I." Adam admitted feeling as though he could share his feelings with Emily. "Everyday, but you know what? I see her in you and Katie, and it helps me go on." He leaned over and kissed her forehead.
"She is a part of you too, Daddy. She is in your heart, just like mine and Katie's because we love her." Emmy hugged him. Adam picked her up and carried her back to the horses but set her on his instead of on Flash. He swung behind her, grabbed his reins and Flash's, then headed towards home. Emily laid back against her father's chest and relaxed.
"Daddy, how many days are in a year?" She asked.
"365." Adam answered.
"Why does it take 365 days to turn a year older?" She asked.
"Emily, 365 days is a year, so to be a year older, it has to take a year." He chuckled.
"But why is 365 days a year, why not 265 then we'd get older faster, or 465 the it would take longer." She mused.
"Nope, you already had your one question for the day. Save that one for next year, maybe by then I'll know the answer." Adam chuckled and Emily joined in, and after a little while she was fast asleep.