Monday, July 30, 2007


That afternoon Will tracked Diana to the pasture, where he found her in a pink dress, her hair loose down her back as she wandered among the goats.

When she made no move to come to him, he vaulted the fence and walked toward her. By the time he got to where she stood, she was feigning absorption in the way one of the little goats gnawed a weed.

Without looking up she said, “How long do you plan on staying?”

"I haven't decided."

"There's no need for you to stick around here. I'm not leaving."

"But you have to come back. Lone Star gave us a lead on Strecker. Mother and I confirmed that it's him. We need to train and make plans."

“Right now?” She looked around at the goats and the pasture full of waving grasses and yellow flowers. “It’s spring.”


“There’s a lot to do on a farm in spring.”

“And in summer and fall, and. . .come on, Diana. After all these years together on the road, this is what you want? Dresses, chickens and goat cheese?”

Diana turned away with a shrug. “Why not?”

“You’re being ridiculous. Don’t you want to get Strecker?” When she hesitated he added, “Don’t forget he’s the reason we live the way we do. You owe your family this, or have you forgotten already, buried out here on this farm?”

“I haven’t forgotten. It’s just—

He came up behind her and pulled her into his arms. "Are you okay? Is there any reason you think you need to stay here?" He rested a hand on her flat belly. "You can tell me. We've never kept secrets."

Diana ducked her head, too ashamed to speak the words.

“It’s not Sputnik’s, is it?”

"What?" She pulled away from him in confusion. “Robert and I never—”

He caught her hands in his. "Then marry me."

"You’re kidding, right?"

"A woman who is going to have a baby should be married. No one would dare talk about you if you were my wife. After we kill Strecker, we’ll go away somewhere. I’ll take you where there’s peace, and where no one would have to know how this happened."

"You act like I intend to keep this child."

"Then I'll take care of you until you have it, and whatever you decide afterwards is your business. But you won’t have to worry about a thing. I’ll provide for you."

"How would you do that? We don't provide for ourselves now. Unless we're killing or guarding someone, we're nothing."

"We could go back to Valle Redondo. All we need is money to buy seeds, tools and livestock. The land belongs to us."

"I couldn't go back there. Too many memories."

"Mother is talking about teaching school at Miguel's place. We could go with her. I'll find a job and get us a house in town. Wouldn’t that be nice?"

"It’s not that easy. You say you want me to marry you, but you're my brother."

"Stop that. You're no more related to me than to a Pueblo chief."

"But we were raised together. It feels like—"

"Don't you love me?"

"Of course I love you, but not like that."

"Love is love. There aren’t different types of it, like beans."

There was something wrong with Will’s arguments, but Diana’s foggy mind couldn't pin it down. "There's still a chance that my cycle is just late."

"I came here to ask you anyway."

"Then why—"

"Quit asking questions." He held out his hand. "Tell me you'll marry me. I don't care if we raise children or just raise hell. Does it have to be complicated?"

"I guess not."

"Come on then." He grabbed her hand and began pulling her along the path to the house. "I'll help you finish your chores and pack. We'll leave in the morning."


Alice Audrey said...

Love is love? I don't think so. She isn't really going to let him railroad her into marriage, is she? Guess I'll just have to keep reading.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Diana is scared, confused, and still traumatized. She has buried herself in farm work for the past three months as a way not to have to deal with any of her issues. Will has helped her out of every difficult situation she's been in since the day she saw her family killed. She's isolated from wiser counsel, so she's vulnerable to manipulation. Will knows this at an instinctual level, but he truly doesn't believe he's doing anything wrong.

To Will's way of thinking, he's helping her. He's not an original or creative thinker, so it will never enter his head that there could be other ways to help. Besides, he's wanted her from the day he met her on her family's farm. When Will wants something, he goes after it with frightening persistence.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

As an aside, "I don't care if we raise children or just raise hell" is one of my favorite lines ever. Yes, technically I wrote it, but you know how it is when everything is flowing well. It's more like channeling than creating, and all the coolest bits come from that place outside the brain where the words are flowing from.

Alice Audrey said...

LOL. I've got a bunch of my own lines like that. And yeah, it's a seriously cool line.