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Tumbleweed Dreams:Part 8
Welcome to the final part of the story! Thank you so much to those of you who have been reading so far! If you are new to the story or simply missed a part be sure to check them out! Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7. Thanks again to all you readers!
Despite his efforts to foil her plans, the train had carried Daisy away, back to the world she belonged in. Even if he had managed to stop her she would have gone away on the next one, no need to delay things and make it worse. Stopping her would have meant telling her the truth, and he had already determined that was not going to happen.
Daisy sat in the high back chair staring out the window at the carriages that drove slowly past. She had forgotten how different life in the city was compared to the country. The quiet more laid back reality she had grown up in was tiring to her now. She felt the need to be doing the chores she had done for the past weeks. Despite what she had probably implied, she missed seeing the everyday faces she had come to know during her time there.
"Daisy dear, you haven't touched your sewing. Are you not well?" Her eyes fell from the window and the activity outside, to the needlepoint that sat quietly abandoned on her lap. Raising her head to the woman who had voiced the question, she stared back, failing to answer. The gaze she met was one of concern with a slight hint of curiosity. Her mother had been wearing that look since she had arrived. "Are you thinking of that place again? Really dear, we spoke of this. It's best you let it go now. Those days are over." Sadly she had to admit that her mother was probably right. Her days on the ranch were over. She was back in her setting, a world that included fancy parties and gentlemen dressed to the nines. Several months prior she would have looked at this life as the best one any person could have. Her thought had since changed. Instead of seeing all the finery what she now saw was a life of lonely hours at home. Hours that did not include children running threw or a certain rancher bringing a gruff yet welcoming change to the atmosphere. Sighing she laid the half finished sewing project aside. Her mother had risen from her chair and was now insisting she rest before dressing for yet another party they were to attend. "You must look your best now Daisy. The mayor and his son will be present, you know how much you always enjoy seeing them."
The soft silks of the bedding reminded her how well off she was here in her current state of living, but Daisy didn't feel the pull for this life that she felt for the ranch. She had felt life there, and here.. she felt nothing. She had tried to fall back into place, back into world of standard she had grown up in. She had dressed the part, mingled with the wealthy, had even spoken to several eligible bachelors her mother had pointed out, but none of it seemed to be real anymore. Her second day back she had offered to help the maids clean and the cook to prepare the meals. Once word of her offers got back to her mother, things had taken a sharp turn. There was no more "welcome home my darling", it had instead become "Daisy, you must forget your travels. You are here now and must live your life as planned."
The train ran along the tracks at top notch speed, taking him closer to the city. Bradley had never really been this far before. Two days after her leaving he made up his mind to find Daisy and tell her his feelings. Weather she wanted to accept them or not was a different matter, but at least she would know the truth. He had felt it eating away at him, making him feel guilty for not saying anything when he should have. It had been clear that she felt at home on his ranch, a feeling he didn't want to see her do without. He just had never worked up the nerve to tell her until she had actually left. His way of thinking told him that if he told her those words, let them out in person, he would feel better about the entire situation.
The music from the orchestra filled the room with it's sweet sound, bringing many dancers to their feet. Daisy was one of those people dancing in the arms of the mayors son. He rattled on about something that she was sure was of importance to him, but she paid little attention. Her thoughts had drifted again to the ranch, to Bradley Miller and his sometimes amusing ways. He was far different than the men she encountered elsewhere. Comparing him to the mayors son hardly seemed fair, but she couldn't think of a time when Harold had given the impression of being capable of handling anything other than a stack of paper work. He would stand out poorly in the country, much as she herself had. She pictured Harold lifting an axe to chop wood and almost laughed at the sight. Holding it in she managed to pass it off as an amused smile.
"I'm sorry sir, but the party is for invitation only." Bradley had tried to reason with the man, but to no avail. His dusty attire and boots most likely played a strong role in the factor. Two days on a train did little to aid in his appearance.
"If you could just let me in, I'll be gone just as soon as I see-"
"Entrance is available to those with an invitation only."
Bradley sighed and slapped his hat against the side of his leg. This wasn't working out the way he had planned.
As she was gracefully being twirled in time to the music, Daisy caught sight of a slight commotion at the doorway. That was one thing about the city she had not missed. Parties like these always had a few guests who had indeed not been invited, but had simply walked in as if they had been. Some of them managed to pull it off quite well, but this one seemed far less skilled. "I'm not leaving here until I-" She didn't quite catch the last of it as a note of music combined with the spinning steps of the dance took away the sound. She tried to catch a glimpse of the one causing the disturbance. Dark hair and broad shoulders were all she could make out before she was whisked to the other side of the room, the music changing to a more lively number. She was just allowing herself to get carried away when she thought she heard her name. A shriek from some of the other ladies brought her attention back to the door where one of the gentlemen assigned to checking for invitations had been knocked to the floor, quietly groaning, his hands covering his nose. Her gaze quickly shifted and she heard herself gasp.
Bradley's eyes met Daisy's from across the room. He hadn't planned on using violence. He had in fact turned away, his mind settled on waiting until the party was over to speak with her, but on his way to do so he had caught sight of her. Even though she had been dancing among all the others she appeared to be the only one he could see, and seeing her in the arms of another had only made his determination that much stronger. He hadn't thought about his actions, he simply found a way in and took it.
Rushing across the room Daisy dropped beside the poor man assessing the damage. "How could you do this?" She turned a glare on Bradley who instantly looked sorry, before returning to the poor boy on the floor. Dabbing at a bit of blood with her handkerchief she tended to him as she would have done with one of the children. He looked grateful but also embarrassed to be seen with his head being cradled on a ladies lap while she tended to such a simple injury.
Bradley sighed and reached for her arm, pulling Daisy up from her position on the floor. "We need to talk." He felt her try to jerk away in protest, but he held fast, walking her outside in the night air where he knew they wouldn't have an audience full of prying eyes and ears.
"Let go of me!" She jerked her arm again and he let her go, standing in the way of her path back inside. "What are you doing here?"
He couldn't quite make it out in the dim light of the candlelight street lamp, but he thought he saw a glimmer of happiness mixed into her angry eyes. "I told you, we need to talk."
"And that required the act of ruining a party, hitting a poor boy in the face and then dragging a lady outside as if you are to carry her away? All of that was done in the name of a wish to speak?"
He had missed that fire, that spirit she brought with her to the ranch. Only hours after she left they had all felt the emptiness. "We missed you."
Despite the feeling of knowing she should be angry, Daisy was happy to see Bradley in the ruins of the night. She had missed those bright eyes and his rougher approach. Hear that they missed her was enough to send her running back, but she couldn't let him think he had won, not this way. "You could have written."
"You could have written." Bradley sighed again, she always thought of the more logical solutions. "Couldn't. It would take too long."
"What could possible take so long that you-" Explaining things was obviously not working out for him. Just as she started her return reply he moved forward and dipped his head to allow his lips to meet hers, cutting of the rest of her words.She flinched in surprise and he moved away before she could react. "That, would have taken far too long to send."
"I see." Her words were more of a whispered response.
"Daisy," For the first time he allowed himself to use her first name in her presence. On the ranch they had always been more formal about things. "we need you. The children miss you, the ranch just isn't the same without you there." She squared her shoulders, looking as if she would start her city girl protesting, "I need you."
Those three little words broke down the last of her resolve. Staring up into those dark blue eyes that she had come to love so much, she put words to what she had been feeling since returning home. "Then it's a good thing I need you too."
Two weeks later Daisy Mason became Mrs. Bradley Miller. Leaving her city life behind she moved to the ranch where she and her husband legally adopted the children. One year later they added another addition of their own, a little girl named Lily Rose. Jenny married shortly after, followed closely by her two of her brothers. The twins, Pepper and Polly, stayed close throughout the years, eventually living in side by side houses raising families of their own. Lily Rose grew into a beautiful young lady who stole the hearts of many before finally settling down with a young gentleman she met while visiting her grandparents in the city. Daisy and Bradley remained together for the remainder of their years, building a happy and wonderful life together.
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