Author Topic: The Last Patrol  (Read 257455 times)

Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2006, 03:16:42 PM »
“Sure.” Scarlet replied not giving it a second thought. It was common she and Ella would sit and visit at times although like Ella said it had been awhile since they visited.

“When will you be there?” Scarlet said the halter and rope off of the peg and sliding it onto the buckskin mare’s head. She opened the door and led the mare into the breezeway giving Kitty her first look at something besides the foaling stall.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2006, 03:40:15 PM »
"I'm heading there after I harvest some things from the herb garden.  I've got tonics to put together before supper," replied Ella.  "Unless another telegram comes in, I'll be there when you are ready to take a break from here."
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2006, 10:40:14 PM »
Scarlet turned Kitty and her mother into one of the corrals then went back to the green broke horses. She untied the chestnut and did some ground work with him before climbing aboard.

The young horse was doing well until they passed the shrub, the noise spooked the horse. He spun to the side his eyes wide, slightly unbalancing Scarlet. The horse reared as the small furry horse eating creature ran at him from under the bush. Scarlet scrambled to regain her balance and control of the horse. When he came down he the horse jerked his head down pulling the reins through her hands than began to buck. Scarlet fought to pull his head up and stop him. Finally the horse came to a stop, both of them taking a deep breath.

Scarlet finished working the horse without further incident. When she stepped off her muscles ached and her hands were sore. Determined she was going to finish her chores before the hot bath that now sounded better than anything else Scarlet rubbed down the horse and put him away then put Kitty and her mother back in their stall.

Scarlet peeled her gloves off as she entered the infirmary mumbling something about rotten squirrels.

“I sure hope you have something to take the sting out.” Scarlet said showing her reddened palms to Ella.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2006, 11:14:51 PM »
"Of course I do," replied Ella, pulling a jar off the shelf.  She gently washed and dried Scarlet's hands, then rubbed the ointment into the reddened areas. 

She picked up a few sheets of paper and handed them to Scarlet, "I wrote out a diet and exercise program for you.  You should take a dose of this tonic at noon and at bedtime.  Since this is a high-risk pregnancy, the first priority is to build up your strength." 
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2006, 11:47:44 PM »
Scarlet stared blankly at Ella for a moment. She wouldn’t lie to Ella but she was less than thrilled that somebody suspected. Her cycles had not been regular for years; nobody would be able to guess by that. She had hoped she would just quietly miscarry before it became obvious she was with child.

“What makes you think I am pregnant Ella?” She asked uncomfortably.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #25 on: Today at 08:56:47 PM »

Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2006, 12:31:46 AM »
"We are talking about my specialty, remember.  The way your color is off and something in your scent tell me you are breeding," replied Ella calmly.  "I know from your medical history that you are unlikely to be able to carry to term.  So I want to build up your strength as much as possible now so that you will be able to recover quickly and completely from a miscarriage.  I won't prescribe bed rest for you, except to tell you to take an afternoon nap, especially if you have any trouble sleeping through the night.  If a miscarriage is inevitable, better it should happen sooner rather than later."

She paused, then continued, "I don't think Rose would be able to guess for at least another month.  Men folk aren't likely to figure it out for another two or three months.  It's up to you whether you want to tell Fritz.  The danger in not telling him is that you might damage your relationship with him while you are moody.  And you are going to be moody."
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2006, 10:36:11 AM »
Scarlet cast her eyes down then back at Ella. “I already am moody Ella.” She said flatly “Fortunately for Fritz and I it’s been the kind of mood we enjoy. Except the depression, which I never had with my last pregnancy because it was a happy occasion, and I am good at hiding.”

Scarlet looked past Ella for a moment then her eyes came back and met Ella’s, “I don’t want to sleep Ella. When I close my eyes I have dreams too. The ones of folks dying around me, I learned to deal with that along time ago. It’s the one of when I told Travis we were going to have a baby and he was so happy" Scarlet slightly shook her head, "which is normally followed by the one of me telling Fritz I have lost his child then he tells me he’s leaving me for someone who he can have a normal life and raise a family with. OR he accuses me of just plain not wanting to have his child and that is why I miscarry. That I haven’t quiet figured out how to deal with.” Scarlet clinched her jaw and took a deep breath.

Ella had known Scarlet long enough to read the very subtle signs Scarlet was angry with herself more than anybody around her.   

“After Fritz asked me to marry him I saw a doctor when I went to see my folks in California, over that Thanksgiving holiday. He confirmed everything the doctor told me when I lost my baby. Slim chance of getting pregnant, slimmer that I don’t miscarry and no chance either one of us would survive child birth. He was very sure about the last part.”

Scarlet’s gaze had shifted from Ella to the floor as she spoke. When she paused the muscles of her jaw twitched and her voice was just above a whisper. She wouldn’t let the rest of the emotion she was feeling surface. Scarlet learned along time ago how to hide those well, although she realized she needed to get better control over them now. She was out of practice.

Scarlet drew another deep breath. “I saw another doctor not to long ago to confirm my suspicions. He told me the sooner I get rid of it the better and gave me a different kind of tonic…. if that’s what we want to refer to it as.”

Scarlet’s eyes came back to Ella’s. Scarlet had somehow managed to fight off the mixture of emotions that had threatened to surface, her voice had evened out and she now sounded as if she spoke about somebody else.

“I’ve done a lot of…bad” It wasn’t the word she was looking for but it was all she could come up with at the moment, “things in my time Ella. Killed a lot of people, and while the answer that man gave me might be best for the problem at hand I just have not been able to bring myself to do it. I have thought perhaps talking to Fritz might be a good thing, but again, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. Now I know what folks mean when they say ‘I hoped if I ignored it it would work itself out and go away’.” 
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2006, 11:01:14 AM »
"I have the ingredients for that other tonic as well.  I wasn't going to offer it unless you asked for it," said Ella. "There are times when it is the best solution, but normally that's only the case when the mother is sickly and a pregnancy will weaken her even that even a miscarriage will kill her."

"By starting now to work on your diet and exercise, we improve the chances of you and the baby surviving childbirth.  We'll have Alan available, so that we can perform a Caesarian delivery.  Men doctors have a tendency to prescribe bed rest for the whole time of a difficult pregnancy.  That does make it easier to get the pregnancy to go full-term, but doesn't leave the mother with enough strength and stamina for a difficult dellivery."

"You need to sleep.  Afternoon naps are less likely to be disturbed by nightmares.  I've got some charms you can recite before you fall asleep that can help prevent bad dreams as well.  And we'll hang a dreamcatcher over your bed.  It sounds like we both need to talk to Fritz about the pregnancy.  You told him before the wedding that you couldn't have children, so he isn't going to leave you over a miscarriage."

"You also need to let your emotions out.  It might seem to be easier on those around you to keep everything bottled up,  but those bottled up emotions are causing your bad dreams.  Let's go for a ride now, before supper, and find a quiet place where you can scream and yell."
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2006, 03:48:18 PM »
Scarlet was emotionally torn. She was glad to have someone to talk to yet she wanted to be left alone too. Ella had suggested a ride, which was appealing. Scarlet always liked to ride. When she was in a bad mood it helped clear her head and bring things into perspective, when she was in a good mood she enjoyed it even more.

They rode in silence for some time before Scarlet finally spoke in the flat detached voice. “The doctors told me about caesarian deliveries. Apparently it is my only option with the injuries I have. The survival rate is less than twenty percent. I will not lie in some bed waiting for that while people stop by to visit trying to hide their sorrow or pity.”

“When I am ready I will talk to Fritz. I would appreciate it if you let me do that on my own and not mention it to him or anybody else. And yes, I told him before we were married there would be no children.” Scarlet left out any remarks about the comments he’d made about her being a mother. “As for the screaming and yelling I don’t do that in front of people unless it’s directed at them. So this is about the height I’m going to reach.”

“The fates seem to have a sick sense of humor and maybe alla that praying for death I did years back are finally being answered.”

They had ended up at the house Scarlet and Fritz shared. Scarlet slid off of Lucky’s back and went into the house followed by Ella.

Scarlet placed the telegram on the table so Fritz wouldn’t miss it then went to the chair that was near the fireplace and stood on it reaching the dream catcher that hung there.

“This one has always worked well. We should put it in the bedroom like you said.” Taking it down and heading for the bedroom. Scarlet stood on the bed, stretched and hung it from a peg that was in the ceiling.

From watching Scarlet Ella guessed that she had hung dream catchers about this place before.

Scarlet stepped off the bed. “There are a couple more in the barn we can bring one back in here and put it over the chair.”

Scarlet and Ella headed for the barn.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2006, 11:14:26 PM »
"The risk with Caesarian deliveries is infection afterwards.  The survival rate for Alan's patients is much higher than average because he almost always can prevent infection.  I assisted him on a dozen Caesarians while we were in Boston.  10 of those women survived the surgery, recovered from the surgery, and were busy raising their children when we left 3 years ago.  But we can deal about that later.  Let's get your condition built up now without worrying about trying to prevent a miscarriage.  The first step is to help you get the sleep you need.  When you talk to Fritz, you can tell him to see me if he has questions about the medical issues.  I won't bring the topic up with him or anyone else except Alan."

As they walked toward the barn, Ella wished she had Grammy's gift.  Grammy would have seen through Scarlet's emotional masks to find the core problem.  Ella saw the anger when Scarlet let it slip, but there was something underneath.  Why was she angry? 

Fear! Scarlet was afraid of dying and afraid of being an object of pity. 

When they got to the barn, Ella pulled Scarlet around to face her and put all the power she had into her voice,  "Look me in the eye, Scarlet.  This is NOT a death sentence.  You CAN survive this.  Alan and I will do everything in our power to make sure you LIVE!"  Then she pulled Scarlet into a protective hug, and said soothingly, "Cry if you need to, let the emotions out."
Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #30 on: Today at 08:56:47 PM »

Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2006, 10:02:01 AM »
“Thank you." Scarlet replied returning the hug, appreciation was about the only emotion Scarlet could muster.  The two women climbed the stairs to the room that was much like the one in the foaling barn at the Southern Starr. Not as elaborate inside, it had a cot, a small table and chair and a bowl and pitch in a stand. It was tidy but dusty from no use since the mares were at the Starr.

Scarlet pulled the chair over, stood on it and retrieved the dream catcher. She looked over and saw herself in the mirror that was in the stand. Scarlet stopped and studied herself for a long moment. She looked good, she thought anyway, except for the pale skin, most women wanted. Her eating habits could be better, she supposed. Picking at meals because she wasn’t really hungry she didn’t think was bad, but completely ignoring the hunger pangs because she was busy wasn’t good for her she knew.

Ella had mentioned exercises, which Scarlet hadn’t looked at, but between riding, chasing after foals, cleaning stalls and all the other running around she did she thought she was in pretty good condition. She thought she made a point of staying in good shape in case they had to go on the trail after some outlaw and it was much easier to stick to the bucking horses when one was in good condition.

“You keep talking about my condition Ella and I didn’t look at the exercises but if we were discussing horses I’d expect to be looking at some out of shape mare that had been penned in a stall for months. Oh and she smells funny too.” Scarlet looked at Ella. “I’ve been told I smelled before but never quiet the way you put it. All I can think about now is a lot of soap and very hot water followed by a lot of what ever scent I have the most of so somebody else doesn’t ask what that smell is.”
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2006, 11:58:31 AM »
"It's not really a smell for anyone to notice, just a slight change in your normal scent.  Trying to cover it up will draw more attention than you want," replied Ella.  "The exercises are for strengthening muscles you don't use as much for riding and working, and for stretching the muscles that you do use.  Diet and sleep are much more important.  I know you skip meals when you are busy, then just grab whatever is handy when you get around to it.  You don't get enough vegetables that way.  I wrote the diet plan with that in mind.  There's a list of foods to eat between meals.  Once you have them available, you can keep some handy to eat on the run."
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Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2006, 03:50:14 PM »
“Those women in town would kill for this paling skin.” Scarlet half smiled.

Ella knew it meant Scarlet was feeling somewhat better about talking to her. She had almost said nothing and when she first brought it up in the infirmary started to wish she’d stayed out of Scarlet private business. But they were friends and after all what were friends for.

Scarlet got off of the chair, replaced it in its spot then looked close in the small mirror.

“I told there is nothing to notice, I did just because it’s my specialty, much like you with the horses. You know the moment one of them is slightly off.” Ella remarked.

Scarlet laughed softly. “I’m lookin’ for the sign that says stubborn as mule.”

“Lift your bangs.” Ella remarked with a slight smile of her own.

Scarlet laughed out loud. “I knew it was there someplace.” She turned and looked at Ella again. “I promise to eat my fruits and veggies.”

Ella eyed her.

Scarlet grinned. “I promise to eat at least half of it on my own and tha horses will not get more than the other half and I will carry enough so I get my recommended daily amount…someday they will have pills er something for that.”

The women headed back for the house.

“I’m going to start looking real good in what you put on my plate when we are there for meals. I’ve been known to mix things I think are good for the horses in with their oats and such and I think you just might do the same to me.”
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2006, 04:09:26 PM »
Ella tried to look innocent, and failed with a giggle,  "Yes, the dishes and desserts that tempt you most are probably going to have some extra goodness in them.  But Rose does most of the cooking, which will make it harder, but not impossible, for me to put extras in there."
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1stSgt Fritz King

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2006, 08:57:59 PM »
Fritz rode back to the house.  He noticed two horses tied at the rail.  Scarlet and Ella maybe.  She did look a little tired of late.  He was sure one of Ella’s tonics would fix her right up.

Fritz dismounted and tied Buddy to the same rail.  Buddy nudged his pocket.

“Not this time pal.  Why don’t you talk to your stable mates instead?”

Buddy grunted in disapproval. 

There was a bucket of sudsy water on the porch.  He didn’t know if it was laundry soap or not. 

“Well, it’ll clean ‘em just as well," he said, and dumped his empty casings in.  He chuckled as he entered the house.

“Scarlet...I’m home!”  No one answered.  “They must be out at the barn,” he thought.  As Fritz headed towards the back bedroom, he noticed the yellow flimsy paper laying on the table.  Usually, telegrams went to the marshal’s office.  He set the Berdan on the table and opened the paper.  It was addressed to him.

“To: 1stSgt Frederick King
From: C.O. I Co, 2nd U.S. Cavalry

1stSgt King,
You are hereby recalled to active service.  You will report immediately to Fort Fetterman, where you will join the 2nd Regiment of Federal Cavalry, actively campaigning against hostile forces in the Dakota Territories.  Your arrival is eagerly anticipated.  Report with all possible dispatch.
Signed,
Your most obedient servant,
William Schurmann
Officer Commanding
I Company, 2nd U.S. Cavalry afield

P.S.  Welcome home Fritz.”

Fritz set the paper down.  He inhaled deeply, and set his back straight.  Emotions were running fast and furious in his head.  He was excited and terrified at the same time.  He never expected to be recalled this late in his career.  But this was different.  Bill Schurmann needed him.  He’d asked for him by name.  The 2nd Cavalry was his home...his unit. But what about Scarlet?  She was his home...she was his LIFE.  She was all that mattered.

What could he do?

"Orders are orders," Fritz said flatly.

He headed for the bedroom.   

         

Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2006, 11:27:44 PM »
“I probably shouldn’t tell you but it took us years to get her to stop putting vegetables in practically everything but deserts. But ya know misery loves company so everybody can eat the same thing.” Scarlet laughed softly knowing it wouldn’t be hard for Ella to get Rose to serve up more fruits and vegetables.

Her mind wandered to back to when she told the family there would be a new addition and drifted to the conversations that had taken place after the accident.

Scarlet stopped half way between the house and the barn and faced Ella again. “Tis not fear of death Ella, its hatred and anger you see. One who is afraid of death does not pray for it to come. I have Fritz to thank that I still don’t do that." She paused for a moment and took a deep breath.  "You said something earlier about being unwomanly. I would take the opportunity again to kill the ones who made me the way I am. I thought I had come to terms with that until recently. It all seems to have come rushing back.”

There was more about having to deal with the pity folks offered or the accusations that had been made at the time but Scarlet didn’t tell Ella that, instead she turned and started back towards the house. “This is supposed to be a happy time for most women I just wish it was over with.” She said softly.
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


Offline Butcher Bill

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2006, 12:29:55 AM »
The rider pulled up the big black stallion.The setting sun cast a long shadow of the horse and rider,and the two dogs."Well,it's time to camp pups." he says to the dogs. "We should be at the ranch in a couple of days...unless we get caught up in some trouble or another."

He got off the horse and tended to him,and made a secure camp on a shelf of rock that jutted over a stream."No varmint can get to us pups,only one way in,and certain death to try." "We'll have a nice fire tonight,and cook up that venison we got earlier."

The dogs took their place by the small crackeling fire,as the rider sliced steaks off a haunch of venison. "Feels good to camp like a human for a change,pups."

The man gazed into the fire. "Too bad it won't last....."
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1stSgt Fritz King

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2006, 09:06:44 PM »
He set the Berdan on the bed and closed the door.  There, on a hook, hung his campaign uniform.  It was old and faded, but still serviceable...like him. 

Fritz opened the dresser drawer and pulled out boxes of ammo.  First, he reloaded the prairie belt.  Once all the loops were filled, he pulled the converted Navy from its holster.  "No," Fritz said.  He couldn't take it.  It was a custom-made firearm now.  Parts weren't available where he was going.  And he'd never forgive himself if it were damaged...or lost...

He wiped it down with an oiled rag, and put it back in the presentation case.

The percussion guns would stay behind, as would his reloading gear.  He'd carry more ammo.

The obvious choice was the cavlary-issue Colt.  He checked the load, and slid it into the holster.  Fritz slipped the empty holster off the belt.  Even if the short-barreled pistol were around, he didn't want to worry about different ammo in a firefight.

The Trapdoor carbine was on the rack, but the Berdan was coming with him.  He knew what he could hit with that, and at what range.  It'd need a good cleaning before he left.

"A repeater," Fritz thought.  He knew that Sioux warriors favored the Winchester, when they could get one.  They'd have the advantage at close range.  He'd negate that advantage with one of his own.  The improved Henry was the best of the two.  He grabbed additional boxes of .44 Henry ammunition.

Now, off to the barn to clean his rifle.   

Offline Elegant Ella

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2006, 10:37:23 PM »
"I've got recipes for desserts that contain vegetables.  I'll have to share those with Rose," said Ella with a grin. 
Elegant Ella

Offline Scarlet Angel

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Re: The Last Patrol
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2006, 03:13:39 PM »
Ella and Scarlet rounded the corner, seeing Buddy tied to the rail Ella gave Scarlet the “now would be a good time.” look and mounted her horse.

Scarlet wasn’t even sure what she was going to say or how to begin as she went up the steps to the house. It shouldn’t be this hard, Fritz had always been easy to talk to. She figured she was having more of a problem with it that he would, but still what do you say?

Scarlet reached for the door knob just as the door came open. Fritz stood in the doorway with a preoccupied look on his face which Scarlet could only imagine had matched her own until it had changed to surprise.

The moment seemed awkward for a moment as they just looked at one another. 

Scarlet smiled, leaned in and kissed him. “Hi Sugar, how's your day been?”
"The Scarlet Angel, heaven and hell all rolled into one.... I’d hate to be the one on the hell side.” ~Patches McDuff

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."  Mark Twain


 

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