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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1354515-The-Unknown-Horizon
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Western · #1354515
A daughter of a small town sheriff falls for her fathers new deputy.(Work in progress)
She awoke early that morning, like she always did, just before the sun began to peek its head over the eastern horizon. Mornings usually make her happy- a new start to each day- but today was different, this morning the 22- year old beauty awoke with a feeling she’d never quite felt.  Unsure what brought the uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach; she walked down the wood paneled hallway, past the bedroom of her sleeping younger siblings, past the Sheriff and her mother’s bedroom and into the main living room. Hoping to start a small fire in the fireplace and perhaps put on some coffee for the Sheriff before he went into town, she was startled to find a figure already hunched in the pit, the small flames of a freshly built fire offering an angelic hue to the face now looking back at her.
         “Good morning, Mother.”
         She looked at her mother in the glow of the rapidly growing fire. She had always thought that her mother was a beautiful woman- despite years in the family garden tending her herbs and vegetables, the skin on her face and hands was smooth and creamy- not wrinkled and tanned like that of the other women around the area. Only recently had the lines around her eyes and mouth begun to develop, as if drawn in with a pencil. Likewise, her mother’s golden hair had begun to take on a whitish hue reflecting that of her 40 years.  Though the face staring back at her had just begun to change from that of her childhood, in the light of the fireplace, she realized that she had never seen her mother looking more beautiful.
“Good morning, my dear. You are awake earlier than usual. Could you not sleep well?” Her mother looked at her, her smile fading into a look of gentle concern.
         “Oh no, I slept fine. I just have butterflies in my stomach for some reason this morning. And I thought that I would get up and make coffee for the Sheriff before he wakes up and goes to town.” She said with a stretch and a smile.
         “Are you sure that that new deputy your father hired has nothing to do with the butterflies?” gently nudging her eldest child on the arm with a smile.
         “Mother! I only met Mr. Jackson one time, why would he make me have butterflies?” said the younger of the women, with a bit too much emphasis, which only supported her mother’s claim. With this the young girl gave her mother a gentle nudge, though with a bit more force than the joking nudge offered to her by her mother.
         “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because he is handsome, smart, respectful, your age, and works for your father?” said her mother from behind a wry smile.
         “And just who are you two talking about?” mumbled a deep voice from behind the two women with a poorly veiled hint of all- knowing expectation.          
Both women smiled as their eyes followed the sheriff to the fireplace and to the coffee they both knew he would want. The sight of her father in his daily uniform: boots, long pants, old long- sleeved maroon shirt (stitched by her mother when her parents were first married), and long leather coat proudly bearing the silver sheriff’s star, shining brightly on the left lapel of the coat; though still half asleep and groggily stumbling around the kitchen made her smile.  Adding to his air of distinction were his two pistols, holstered tightly around his waist, both of which belonged to his father, (the girl’s grandfather) and which would surely be passed on to her younger brother, whom at 7 years old was already being groomed to be the next in the long familial line of sheriffs in their small Kansas town.
         Slowly, the sheriff turned around, his inquisitive nature and inability to curb his need to be the overprotective father that he, his family, and all young men in three counties knew and feared. Trying to emphasize the inquisitive part of his interest as opposed to the protective, he asked again “Just what, or who, are you two ladies talking about? I know you well enough to know that if you are laughing and then get quiet when I walk into the room, that you were talking about something I will definitely not be happy about” he said narrowing his eyes on the two women looking back at him, faces red from trying to hold back their laughter.
         “Nothing Daddy, we weren’t talking about anything, or anyone, that would make you upset,” said his daughter with a coy smile, quickly piping up before her mother could divulge the truth about their conversation. As the words escaped her mouth, deep down, for the first time, she realized that her mother may very well have pinpointed the exact reason why she woke up with a feeling of anxiousness she’d never felt before. The realization calmed her eyes and pulled her forced, innocent smile down at the corners, making it into one straight line from one dimpled cheek to the other.
         Skeptical, the sheriff raising his eyebrows toward his wife, the partner in this conversation, indicating that he wanted to hear the truth and wanted to hear it now,
“Vivian?” 
         Taking this cue, Vivian, stood up, walked to her husband and threw her arms around his neck.
         “Now, now, you know that Adele is of a tender age, dear. And with that, of course she is taking notice in young men and thinking about courting and getting ma-“
         “Now you just stop right that there! She is too young to be thinking about men- young or old! And under no circumstances should she be thinking about getting mar-” said the Sheriff unable to even say the word “married” in relation to his daughter and rapidly growing more and more agitated,  though more at the thought of his beloved daughter loving and having a man in her life that is, inevitably, not him. Deep down, he knew that his eldest was verging on “too old to not be married” according to common standards, and he knew that he and his own wife had been married five years by this time and the child in discussion had just begun walking when her mother was of the same age, following the loss of their first child. 
         His wife, sensing her husband’s escalating tension, tried to settle the sheriff down before he slipped into the certain argument the couple slipped into every time a young man showed any interest in Adele, calmly by saying, “Virgil. Stop, calm down before Mr. Jackson and Mr. Gusterson get here. Didn’t I hear you men discussing that you would ride in together at the social last night?”
         Hearing the name of the one she was thinking about, though drifting in and out of the conversation between her parents and the thoughts floating around in her head, said “What? Mr. Jackson is coming here? NOW?! Mother why wouldn’t you tell me that?” Both her mother and father looked at the girl, slight traces of annoyance on their faces- her mother’s stemming from the fact that her efforts to calm the sheriff were now wrecked and her father’s stemming from the fact that her daughter was visibly concerned about his new deputy.
         Again, as if on cue, the family members in the kitchen were startled by a guest rapping on the front door.
         
         
                   
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