Romance Fiction Western

He took his seat and waited for the long black hunk of metal and gears to start on its journey. He was a people-watcher rather than a social butterfly, so that's what he did. He watched people, observed them. "Stop that, Mylo! Miranda, don't even!" He heard a blonde mother reprimand her blonde children.

"Mary! What're you doing, Darlin'? We're sitting..." The man was cut off by the dark-skinned conductor.

"All aboard!!! Train leaves in three minutes!"

"We're sitting here, not in the next car, Mary!" He watched as the red-skinned man took her slender pale hand and guided her to the seat.

"Mama!" A small Chinese child wailed in a nearby seat. Its mother hushed the kid.

"Maurice!" A woman a few rows back hollered. "You best come back here this second!" The Hispanic child blurred past him. Then his mother followed, grabbing his arm and dragging her protesting son back to their seats.

"James! Jessica! Pearl! Stop runnin' 'round! Sutton, stop squirmin' n sit still!" A widow, her two dark sons, and two tan daughters were three rows down.

A small family of five boarded the train. "Hurry up, Amy!" The tall male clad in a suit and tie rushed his wife.

"Albert Hayes! Stop that this instant!" The weary, middle-aged mother, around forty, sharply chided her son. "Mariella, stay close to your father!" She gazed at her oldest daughter. "Emma, darling, don't stray too far."

"Yes, Mother."

"And be careful. We don't need you associating with the wrong kind."

"Yes, Mother." He laid eyes on the most beautiful woman he'd seen yet, no more than twenty-four years of age. Her honey-gold eyes appeared to take in everything. Her cheeks held a soft rosy flush. Her copper hair flowed down her back, to her hips, begging for somebody to run their fingers through it and tousle her loose curls. Her tall figure sported a forest green dress that clung snug to her slim frame and made her sun-kissed skin practically glow. Her eyes locked on his, trapping him under her spell, an electricity he'd not felt in four years flew from her gaze.

She wove in and out of the wild, rambunctious children to find an empty seat, breaking the connection their gaze had caused. "Is this seat next to you taken, Sir?" He looked up into the most beautiful set of honey-gold eyes flecked with green, and that strange feeling was back.

"No, Ma'am." He slid over and pursed his lips. Unsure how to handle the strange feeling, he looked away as she sat down.

"Is there a problem, Sir? Have I somehow offended you in our few moments of acquaintance?" She clutched her small purse and placed her hands in her lap. "I am quite sure my father would let me sit near him if I am as much of a bother as your expression indicates." Her voice was silky smooth, so formal and proper.

"No, Miss Hayes. Ya ain't offended me none." He gave her a small smile. "I just ain't very social."

"I see." She turned her head to the window.

"All aboard! The train is ready to leave! Last call! All aboard!" The conductor hollered above the noise.

He could feel her watching him out of the corner of her eye. Subconsciously, he checked what he was wearing. He wore a blue button-down flannel tucked into his Levis that were held up by a leather belt. He didn't have a scratch, but did have a lot of mud and dirt, on his black boots. He knew he was tense, as if on the lookout for danger, but that wasn't it. He sported several days of beard growth and his black hair waved to the nape of his neck. Just above the collar of his shirt, part of a black tattoo peeped out.

"Seeing as you already know my name, may I ask yours, Sir?"

"Johnson." He let his grey eyes once more lock with hers. "Ryker Johnson." The whistle blew and the train began to roll on the tracks.

"What has you so tense, Mister Johnson?" Having pieced together who she and her family were, he knew her mother would have her hide if she knew her daughter was talking to a perfect stranger.

"I doubt that is of any concern to a proper young gal such as yerself."

"Ah, but you do not know me, Mister Johnson. You hear my speech, know of my family, and assume I'm proper. Perhaps, rightly so, but you judge too soon. I am a woman of many interests. Pray tell, what has you so tense?"

"Nothin', Miss." He looked forward, without giving her a second glance.

"But surely something is the matter, Mister Ryker." He longed to tell her to be quiet, that she was the reason he was tense. But, how could he when there was nowhere she could go? After all, they were already moving. So, he ignored her and soon discovered that ignoring her wouldn't work either, but would only cause her to keep chit-chatting on another matter. "So, have you seen the latest news? President James Jackson was assassinated just last night! Can you believe it?!" In the brief moment of his shock, he could feel her staring at him, waiting for a response.

"The president assassinated? Get outta dodge! Ain't no way!" He glanced at her as her face grew animated at having said something to shock him. "He's had the most security since President Foster's assassination forty years ago!"

"Well, I say it's a blessing President Jackson is gone. He was not good for this country anyway." She knew she had him at that statement. "If you want the truth, I think it was his no-good wife. She was always under his suspicion for threats. However, he was too weak to do anything about it."

"I couldn't agree more! He's taxed way too darned much from the poor of this country! Imposed too many harsh laws that put the poor at an even lower level of degradation! Hell! He started two wars during his seven years of office! Maybe we'll have some peace now." He could see the greenery whirring by as the train sped towards its destination, hear children wailing, people talking, and others snoring. "Always givin' more than we could spare to give to other countries. Why should we be carin' for them other countries when we got the poor of our streets we ain't yet cared for?"

"Indeed, Mister Johnson!" Her pink lips curled into a smile that met her eyes. "Rumors have begun to circulate already that his wife has fled the country."

"Rumors, Miss Hayes, are idle man's speech."

"Please, call me Emma. My sincerest apologies. If such is your belief then I will not speak of rumors." Her long delicate fingers tucked a copper lock behind her ear. "However, let us move on from such a dark topic. To where are you headed dressed such?"

"Wherever the tracks end."

"I see." She smiled again, flashing her white teeth. "A man of adventure. I like that."

"Miss Emma, ya really shouldn't associate yerself with me. Think of yer father's reputation. If ya knew who I was, you'd run the other way."

"Do you think my father's reputation is of my concern? Nay, Mister. I am not my father. I honor my father, but I love my mother." She placed a slender, tan hand on his leg and looked straight into his eyes. "My father is a hard man, one to be respected, Mister. He is a very resourceful man. He also knows who every soul on this train is, which also means I too know once I hear the name. Trust me, Mister, I know who you are."

"Then that either makes ya stupid or a wishful thinker, Missy. 'Cause, that means ya know I'm wanted in three states for the suspected murder of three men."

"Yes, Mister, I know this. However, I also do not believe that you committed either crime."

He gave a dry laugh. "Ya know nothin' about me then, Missy."

"That, Sir, is where you are wrong." She leaned in towards him and lowered her voice. "I know that you have an alibi for all three of those murders because you were in prison for six months due to the atrocious crimes that another man committed. I also know that you were once married for nine months and that your infant and wife died in childbirth." He pulled away from her, 'There was no way in hell's bells she should be able to know all of that about me.' "I know that you have no family left to rely on. I know that you are a loner in need of a woman's touch."

"That's where yer wrong. I don't need anythang from a woman anymore. I claim what I want, which has been nothing since my sweet Mary." Until now, he thought but didn't dare speak aloud.


"Mister Johnson? Ryker Johnson?" A voice he hadn't heard in over a year called out to him. He turned around in surprise. "I knew it was you!" Her copper hair flew out behind her as she hiked her skirts and jogged toward him. "You don't remember me, do you?"

"Only every other memory, Miss Emma Hayes! What can I do for ya?"

"I had nothing in mind, Mister Johnson. I just thought that we could talk. It has been eighteen months since we were last together."

"Emma, we've known each other five years. I've told ya to call me Ryker. You did that night we met." Her cheeks filled with a dark rosy shade. "So why do ya insist on callin' me Mister Johnson?"

"I do not know." She cast her eyes to the ground.

He lifted her chin. "Don't be ashamed of it, Emma. Ya wanted it as much as I did. Yer a beautiful woman who is free to make her own choices."

"You are right, Ryker." She met his gaze. "I lied to you. I did have something in mind."

"Oh?" He smiled. "What's that?"

"I want to go somewhere with you." She placed her small hands in his large ones. "I've thought about you every day since then. Somewhere during the course of the past five years, I fell in love with you. You're the one that will not leave, but I cannot keep you for myself. So, I want to go, just this once, somewhere in the middle of nowhere."

"Yer wish, my dearest Emma, is my command." He pulled her into a hug. "Anywhere ya want."

An hour later, they were back on the train to wherever the tracks ended. She fell asleep with her head on his shoulder and his arm around her. He watched her sleep, wondering how her timing could have been any better. "My sweetest Emma." He gently kissed the top of her head. "You don't know what you do to me." He glanced out the window at the trees blurring by. He whispered into the air, "Mary, I'm sure you'll understand. You'll always be my first wife and love, but I've got to move with my life. I want to marry Emma. You'd do the same if I'd have died. I've waited too long."

He knew that the next stop was coming up. "Emma, darlin'. Wake up, Sweetheart." He gently shook her awake. "Our stop's comin' up." She rubbed her eyes and looked out the window.

"Where are we?"

"A little place I like to call 'Earth's Heaven', Emma." He smiled and helped her stand as the train came to a screeching halt. "Let's go." She smiled and let him lead her off the train. They trekked through the countryside for about fifteen minutes, until they reached a small cabin on a cliff. "Welcome to my home, Emma."

"This is gorgeous, Ryker. All of this is yours?"

"Everythang ya see here is mine." He turned her towards him. "And yers if ya want it." She gazed up at him, her eyes wide.

"Miss Emma Hayes, I was an ass when we first met. I wasn't the best man to be around. I still ain't, but I'm tryin'." She laughed. "I know I ain't the high society ya grew up with. I know I ain't good at this stuff. I'll never be that, but ya are my whole world, Emma. Yer eyes are the stars that shine down. Yer hair is like fire in the hearth. Yer passion is unbridled. Yer emotions are raw n true. I wandered lost and alone for four years after Mary and my son died, then you came along and helped me find myself in you." She went as far as she dared to the cliff. His arms encircled her waist and turned her back around. He pulled out a small topaz ring "I love you. Emma Hayes, will ya marry me? Be my wife?"

"Yes!" Tears flowed down her cheeks as he slipped it onto her finger. "Yes, Ryker, I will marry you." He kissed her and turned her back around. She leaned into him, basking in the protective love that emanated from him. "I love you too." They gazed out over the edge. Rivers, blue as the sky, wove like snakes through the canyon below. Grass, lush, and many shades of green, expanded before them like a massive carpet. Clusters of orange tiger-lilies, pink prose-bushes, purple forget-me-nots, white azaleas, and blue hydrangeas grew all over the place. Does, fawns, bucks, cattle, horses, and sheep grazed in the fenced-in massive expanse of rugged beauty. Beyond that, they could see the majestic purples and blues of the distant snow-capped mountain tops.

April 20, 2021 18:45

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Angel {Readsy}
11:20 Apr 23, 2021

hat's off, very amazing story


E.C. Nickelson
11:37 Apr 23, 2021

Thank you! I started writing it in the first person, planning to go back and forth between perspectives, but that wasn't working too well so I changed the perspective, unsure how it'd actually turn out.


Angel {Readsy}
11:39 Apr 23, 2021

It is a first class, first rate, fine story with excellent flow of events


E.C. Nickelson
11:40 Apr 23, 2021

Thank you! That means a helluva lot!


Angel {Readsy}
19:48 Apr 26, 2021

Why I a. Getting this text. This site can’t be reachedhttps://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/i-am-a-happy-fairy-with-sprinkle-dust-for-all-here-is-it/ is unreachable. ERR_ADDRESS_UNREACHABLE


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Angel {Readsy}
11:20 Apr 23, 2021

Please comment at my story I need to talk to a fairy


E.C. Nickelson
15:32 May 18, 2021

Ummm....I'm fairly certain I did, but when I went to double-check that I commented on your story, it shows that you have not written any stories...Not sure if you deleted them all or if it's an error on my end or if you just haven't written any yet....


Angel {Readsy}
21:45 May 26, 2021

Ohhhhh thank you will much I highly appreciated you visited my blog


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