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Joy's Legacy Chapters 21-22


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Posted 10 January 2007 - 12:51 AM

CHAPTER 21

The water was cold and the sound deafening as the rain and hail hit
the lake around Joy. The sky had gone black with the sun nowhere to
be seen, and as she slipped back into the water it was almost as
dark as it had been when she had gotten stuck in the elevator.

Joy struggled to go back up for air, her face barely clearing the
surface. “Help!” She yelled as loud as she could. The only response
that she heard was of loud thunder and the roaring rain before the
milfoil that had her trapped pulled her down again.


Jack looked out the cabin’s window, a look of concern on his face.
Luke and Victoria had both fallen asleep, and he was glad that they
didn’t seem bothered by the storm. The twins woke up and he took
care of them, looking out the window time and time again for Joy.
They were now lying contentedly on his bed, staring at the ceiling.

He went out, got some wood and started a fire in the fireplace,
knowing that Joy would be soaked when she returned. He put water on
to heat, hoping that she would be back soon. He pulled a towel from
one of his boxes, and set it near the door, ready to be used when
Joy arrived. He peered expectantly through the window once more, and
was disappointed to not see her coming.

Jack looked through the stuff that she had brought, and was happy to
discover that she had packed some tea. At least now she would be
able to have some flavor in the hot water, he thought.

He saw another lightning strike through the corner of his eye,
lightning up the sky. Maybe she stayed at the house, Jack hoped. He
knew that it was dangerous to be out on the water in a thunderstorm,
and didn’t want to think of what could happen to her.

Jack sighed and put his hands on the counter, lowering his head.
“Lord,” he prayed softly, “please protect her!” His heart was
racing, and his gut told him she was in trouble. He walked over to
the fireplace and poked it, making sure it kept the cabin warm. The
temperature had taken a remarkable drop, but that wasn’t uncommon
for this far up North.

He checked on each of the four kids, and made sure that they all had
blankets on them, keeping the chill off. The twins had fallen asleep
on their own with out crying, much to Jack’s amazement and relief.


Joy kept struggling to get free from the milfoil and get another
breath of air. Her lungs were getting tired as was the rest of her
body, and she felt that she was losing the fight.

“Joy.”

Joy shook her head and kept struggling in the dark. She recognized
the voice inside her head, as she had heard it many times before.
She refused to listen.

“Joy, relax.”

No! She wanted to shout. Joy was able to come up just enough to get
some air, but not enough to call out for help again. It seemed that
the time she went underwater was longer than the time she spent
outside, and she was beginning to feel weak.

“Joy,” the voice said again, “trust Me. Relax.”

I don’t trust you! I can’t! You let Dave die! Joy shook her head
under the water again, determined to win this fight by herself.

“You cannot do this without Me, Joy. Relax.”

Joy could feel the tears of frustration coming down her cheeks, even
in the water. But I’ll die!

“Trust Me,” came back His reply.

Joy finally gave in allowing herself to relax, sinking deeper into
the water. At the same time, the milfoil around her released its
grasp. As she realized what was happening, she calmly, but quickly,
took the milfoil off her arms and legs, freeing herself to go back
up for air.

As she reached the surface, her lungs received the much-needed air
that she had been deprived of. She looked around for the canoe and
swam to it, careful not to get caught again. She wrapped her arms
around it, glad to have a place to rest, even in the middle of the
storm.

Joy allowed herself to float for what seemed to be for hours, when
in fact it was just a few minutes. She cried her heart out to God,
her Maker, her Savior, and Friend. She allowed the tears to run
freely, glad to know that God was indeed on her side. She would
probably never understand why Dave had had to die, but she would
trust that God would use it for His purposes. She determined that
she would also allow Him to use her life for the same thing. What
had Dave prayed for that last time they were together? That above
all, for God to be glorified and for His will to be done in their
lives, whatever that may be. She closed her eyes and as the tears
continued to flow freely, she made Dave’s prayer her own, feeling
the peace of God, the one that passes all understanding, flooding
her heart once more.


Jack almost jumped when he saw Joy coming. He opened the door and
stepped out onto the porch as she ran through the rain, her clothes
cold against her body. He held out the towel he had prepared for her
and wrapped it around her shoulders.

“Are you ok?” He asked, leading her back inside to the warmth of the
fire.

“Yes,” she replied quietly, her eyes filled with joy, “I am now.”

Jack smiled down at her, relieved that she was ok. “I want to know
what happened, but you need to get out of those clothes, or you’re
going to catch yourself a cold.”

“But I didn’t bring any extra, and I’d really rather not go back out
in the rain.” She responded.

“Well, I guess you’ll just have to use some of mine. I’m sorry, Joy.
I should have known the storm was coming with the humidity being so
high.” He said as he pulled out a pair of clean sweatpants and a
t-shirt. “Here, put these on. They’ll probably be a little big, but
it’s the best I’ve got”

Joy nodded gratefully and took the clothes. She closed the door to
his bedroom behind her and quickly changed into the dry clothes,
appreciating the warmth they brought to her cold body. Joy picked up
all of her clothes and placed them near the fire to dry, except for
her undergarments.

Jack handed her a cup of tea and made her sit near the fire, putting
a light blanket around her shoulders. He took a chair and turned it
around, crossing his arms on the back, resting his chin on his
hands. He looked at her expectantly, waiting to hear what she had to
say.

“Where are the kids?” Joy asked, taking a sip of the hot tea.

Jack nodded towards Luke’s room, and Joy could see them through the
halfway opened door. Luke was sprawled out across the floor and
Victoria was lying on the bed that she had just made that day for
Luke. It almost seemed like a lifetime ago to Joy, and the scene of
her daughter sleeping peacefully made her smile.

“I had a fight with God, Jack.” She stated simply.

Jack raised his eyebrows and nodded, encouraging her to go on.

“He won.” She smiled. “And I’m glad He did, or I’d probably be dead
right now, meeting Him in person, trying to explain why I was
holding such a grudge against Him.”

Joy related the events that had happen, going into details about how
she had finally allowed God to enter her life once more. Jack
listened intently, his eyes never leaving her face, not wanting to
miss a word.

Tears formed in her eyes again as she retold of her struggle in the
water. “Once I gave in to God and relaxed,” she said, “I remembered
seeing something in the news about a guy drowning because he had
panicked under water. The more he tried to free himself, the more he
got tangled up. They told the viewers that if they were ever in a
similar situation, that they should just relax and calmly take the
milfoil off So I did, and here I am.”

Jack let out a deep breath and smiled at her. “Well, I’m so glad you
are ok,” he stated simply.

Joy smiled back. “Thanks Jack. And Jack,” she paused, not quite
knowing what to say next.

Jack looked at her with the same intensity he had before, wanting
her to know that he was still available to listen.

“Thank you.”

“For this?” he asked, a little confused. “You would have done the
same for me.”

Joy nodded. “Yes, for this,” she said, nodding at the fire. “But
also for being my friend. I treated you so badly the day we met, and
I’ve felt horrible about it since then. Will you forgive me?”

Jack smiled at her, making her relax. “Of course I will. I’m sorry
for assuming that you were in trouble. It’s just that that man,
Simon, gives me the creeps.”

“I was in trouble,” Joy confessed. “I was just too proud to take any
help. By the way, Simon was at your barn today, while I was there.”

“What?” Jack asked surprised. “Why would he be there?”

Joy recounted what she had seen, and was surprised at the troubled
look that came over his eyes.

“And you say he had a piece of paper?” Jack asked, the sound of his
voice matching his eyes.

Joy nodded and stood up, leaving the blanket behind. “You think
about that and I’ll get supper started.” She said, patting his
shoulder as she walked by him.

“Are you sure you are ok now?” He asked her, concern still in his
voice.

“Positive.” She replied, pulling out what she had prepared the day
before. It was all ready to just put together so that it would still
be fresh.

She busied herself preparing the spaghetti and warming the French
bread she had made. She put the salad together and soon the cabin
was filled with the wonderful smell of the tomatoes, together with
all the other spices. She hummed as she worked, oblivious to the
fact that she was doing so.

As Joy worked on the meal, Jack helped by setting the table. He
couldn’t help but notice her humming, and was pleasantly surprised
at the sound of her voice. He looked up to watch her, and stood
there almost entranced at her beauty. She was beautiful on the
outside, but the beauty that Jack was witnessing came from deep
within her heart. He worked quietly, not wanting to miss hearing her
voice.

Joy washed her hands and came to join him, putting glasses and
silverware on the table. Jack reached to take some of the
silverware, and their hands touched, making Joy blush. She turned
away quickly so that Jack wouldn’t notice, not wanting to think
about the feelings that were arising in her.

Soon Luke and Victoria woke up, and joined the adults in the main
room. Then the babies awoke too, and Jack offered to watch the kids
and keep an eye on the meal while she took care of them.

Joy took each baby and took care of them, feeling like she was doing
it for the first time. She was still a little week from struggling
in the water, but she felt fresh, like she had a new lease on life.
After she put Victor down, she paused and pulled her hair out of the
braid she had made earlier in the morning, allowing her hair to
cascade down over her shoulders. She figured that this would allow
it some time to dry, and laughed when Grace grabbed hold of a lock
of hair tightly.

After Joy was done taking care of the babies, she gave Grace to
Jack, and laid Victor on the bed. She got the food on the table, and
after Jack gave thanks for the meal, she went to pick up Victor, and
they all ate their meal, Jack and Joy with a baby each. The kids
enjoyed slurping the noodles, and Jack and Joy enjoyed laughing at
them.

The rain had stopped and the clouds had moved on. The sun was
shinning bright again, and Jack allowed the fire to die. After they
were done with supper, Joy put the babies down for one more nap
before they were put down for the night. Jack and the kids cleared
the table, and as Joy washed the dishes, they enjoyed a game of
Candy Land that Joy had brought over.

Joy laughed with the kids as Jack pretended to be in deep sorrow
over loosing the game. The kids asked to play another game, and then
another, until Joy finally said it was time for her and Victoria to
go home.

“But I don’t want to go home!” Victoria whined.

“Well, we’ll see Luke and Dr. Jack again tomorrow, ok? They are
going to come over to our place to the party that Auntie Bethany is
preparing.” Joy said, gathering some things to take back.

“A party? Yeah! Luke, do you want to come over to my house tomorrow
for a party?” She asked excitedly, jumping up and down.

Luke nodded, but didn’t exactly mirror her enthusiasm. “Dr. Jack, do
you want to come over too?” She asked, still excited.

“I sure do!” He exclaimed.

“But, who will take care of the babies then?” She asked, her eyes
clouding over.

Jack and Joy laughed, and Jack responded. “Don’t worry. They’ll be
there too!”

Joy knelt and gave Luke a hug. “Good night, Luke, I’ll see you
tomorrow.” She said, kissing his cheek lightly. In the few days that
she had really gotten to know him, Joy had grown attached to the
little boy.

Luke looked down, a little embarrassed that a girl had kissed him.
“Good night,” he replied quietly.

Joy smiled and stood up. “Good night, Jack.”

“’Night, Joy.” Jack replied, feeling a little awkward. Should he hug
her too, he wondered?

He didn’t wonder for long as Joy reached up and gave him a quick
hug. “Thanks for listening,” she whispered in his ear before turning
to go.

He smiled at her and held the door open for them. She was still
wearing his clothes, and had taken all of hers so that she could
wash them once she got home.

Jack and Luke watched as Joy and Victoria made their way back to
their home, following them as far as they could with their eyes.

Luke turned to look at Jack, and put his little hand in his big one.
“I like her,” he said softly, looking back out the window.

“Who, Victoria?” Jack asked, turning to look at him.

Luke shook his head. “Miss Joy.”


Joy and Victoria made their way back to the farmhouse and were met
at the porch by Liz, Bethany and Ann, worried looks on their faces.

“Joy! Are you ok? We were worried about you!” Liz said giving her a
hug, and then bending down and giving Victoria one.

“We’re fine,” Joy reassured everyone. “I do have a story to tell,
though” she said, her eyes shinning.

“Why are you wearing Jack’s clothes?” Bethany asked accusingly.

“I’ll tell you all inside,” Joy responded. Not even Bethany could
take away the joy she felt in her heart now.

They all went into the house, and Joy allowed Victoria to play in
her room while she and the other adults talked about her experiences
of the day. They were all thankful that she was all right, but Joy
noticed that there was even a deeper satisfaction in Ed’s smile, and
she knew that it was because he was rejoicing in the fact that she
had returned to the Lord.

They spent the evening talking and catching up on all the events of
the day. Bethany announced the plans for the next day, and Joy was
happy to hear that it involved some games and outdoor activities, if
the weather cooperated, of course.

Joy took another long bath that night, but this time put a towel
over the window. She spent time talking with the Friend that she had
ignored for so long, thanking Him for His hand of protection on her
life.

The next day started out a little later than usual, with everyone
sleeping in, even Ed. Soon the hustle and bustle of the activities
started, and Joy and Victoria joined in. Victoria played with her
second cousins outside while Joy helped in the kitchen, getting
breakfast ready and putting in some pies to bake.

Jack, Luke and the twins soon joined them, and he came into the
kitchen to see if he could help, only to be told to wait outside
with the rest of the men.

They all enjoyed their breakfast outside, after Ed had given thanks.
Joy had not been too excited about the “party day”, but it was
turning out to be a lot of fun. After the dishes were done, she
followed the ladies outside to see what Bethany had planned for
them. They played a bunch of games, some even childish, but they had
a lot of fun. Joy laughed like she hadn’t in a long time, even when
Jack and Bethany’s team won at tug of war, sending her team through
the mud.

After lunch Bethany made the announcement that there was going to be
a co-ed game of Tackle Football for whoever was interested. Everyone
decided to join, except for the older and younger crowd, aside from
Linda offering to referee. Bethany assigned teams, trying to make it
fair. Jack and Joy again were on opposite sides, but Joy failed to
see that Bethany made sure that she and Jack were on the same one.
When Bethany came to Joy to let her know what team she was going to
be on, she laughed at her quietly, and then teased her that this
would maybe prove to be to tough of a game for her.

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll break a nail?” She asked sinisterly. “It’s
bound to get rough, maybe you shouldn’t play.” Bethany laughed and
glanced at Jack for approval, who was oblivious of what was
happening.

Joy tilted her head slightly and raised her eyebrows. “Bring it on!”
she yelled in the best macho voice she could come up with, clenching
her fists near her sides.

Bethany went over the rules quickly, making sure that everyone knew
that they had to count to five Mississippi before rushing the
quarterback for each team. Seth was the quarterback for Joy’s team,
and Jack had been assigned as the quarterback for his team.

A few minutes into the game, Joy’s team had the ball and they were
close to scoring a touchdown. In the huddle, Seth called a play for
Roger and Joy to go out for a pass. He told them that he expected
they would cover Roger and let Joy go free. “Be ready, Joy,” he
said, “I’m going to look for you first.” When the ball was snapped,
the other team yelled their five Mississippi’s and Seth dropped back
to pass. He saw that Joy was open and threw the ball to her. She was
excited when she caught the ball, only for her face to drop when she
saw Juan and Jack running towards her, followed close behind by
Bethany.

She ran for all she was worth, laughing hard as she went. She knew
that the other team was not too far behind and she wanted
desperately to turn and see how far they were, but knew that it was
probably going to cost her. So she kept running, the ball tucked
tightly in her arms. Jack did catch up with her, and tumbled her to
the ground, his body halfway landing on hers.

She turned to see who it was, and grinned when she realized it was
Jack. “Fooled ya, didn’t we?”

Jack smiled at her, aware of her closeness and the sweet smell of
her perfume. He looked at her eyes intently, wondering why they were
greener today than they had been the other day, and why he had even
noticed. He shook his head, more to clear it than anything, then
stood up and held his hand out to help her up. “You sure did,” he
mumbled as she took his hand “you sure did.”

Joy’s team came running and gathered around her. “Joy! You did it!
We got our first touchdown!” Roger held her hand up in triumph. They
cheered, but it would soon prove to be premature. Jack’s team proved
to be too much and too fast, and Joy knew they would probably lose
the game. She was not too competitive, but had gotten in the spirit
of the sport, and really wanted her team to win.

Jack’s team had the ball, and they all took their places, getting
ready to make their play. Jack called out the snap count and Juan
hiked the ball to him. Joy’s team started to count loud enough for
all of them to hear.

“One Mississippi, Two Mississippi…” Joy joined them, but then at the
last minute changed her mind, skipping the counting and rushing
Jack, taking him by surprise. She wrapped her arms around his waist
and turned him around, finally wrestling him onto the ground before
he was able to throw the ball. Joy stood up quickly and laughed as
Jack struggled to get up, trying to figure out if he had missed
something.

Jack realized what had happened, and went after Joy, making her run
for all her might when she saw him coming for her. He was too fast
for her, though, and soon caught up, putting his arms around her
waist from the back and picking her off the ground.

“You little cheater,” He laughed, swinging her around in the air.

He finally put her down and everyone laughed as she walked around a
little dizzy, trying to find her footing. Jack laughed and held her
steady, hoping that he hadn’t over done it. Everyone soon joined
them, and Bethany declared the game won by her team, due to Joy’s
cheating and the fact that they were five touchdowns ahead. The game
died down, with everyone wanting to get a bit of rest before they
went on to other things.

Joy walked back with the others to the porch, where some of the
older crowd was playing dominoes. She was surprised that Mr. Bodaway
was there, playing with them.

“Hello, Miss Joy. How are you today?” He asked with a big smile.

“Good, Mr. Bodaway, and you?” She answered with a smile of her own.

“Good, thank you. I came by to invite all of you to a party the
Reservation is holding tonight, hoping that you aren’t too tired
after all the playing you have done today.”

Joy nodded looking at her dad. “Are we going to go?” She wondered.
None of them had been back to the Reservation since the last meeting
they had had there. Joy thought it might be fun, and was excited at
the prospect of going.

“Yes, I think so,” Ed replied, much to both Mr. Bodaway and Joy’s
delight.

“Good!” Joy said, leaning in to give her dad a kiss. “I’m going to
take the paddle boat and go swimming, ok? Victoria and Luke are
outside, and Aunt Linda is taking care of the babies, so they should
be ok. I’ll be back later to help with supper. Send someone to get
me if I’m taking too long, I promise I won’t go far.”

Joy’s started blushing as she realized that she had assumed that
Jack’s kids were her responsibility. She was grateful that the two
men didn’t seem to notice, but Joy caught the look of concern in her
dad’s eyes.

“After yesterday? Are you sure, Joy?” He asked her.

Joy nodded her head firmly. “Yes. I’m getting back on the horse dad!
I promise to be careful, ok?”

“Ok. But I’m sending someone out looking for you from time to time
to make sure you are ok.” He replied, his voice serious.

“Ok, Dad. And I will be careful. I promise.”

Joy made her way back into her bedroom where she put her swimming
suit on, and pulled a pair of shorts on over it. She made her way
down to the paddleboat, this time putting on a life jacket. She went
into the lake, enjoying the warm breeze, marveling at the difference
in the weather from one day to the next. It had been just yesterday
that Jack had had to have the fire going to keep her warm, and here
she was, swimming again in the lake. This time she was thankful that
she had a lifejacket on, just in case. Joy had seen Allen coming to
check on her while she was out swimming, and had waved to let him
know that she was ok.

After she had swam for a while, she went back to the paddleboat and
paddled to the dock. She tied it back onto the dock and left the
life jacket there, taking her towel and shorts with her. She walked
to a small sandy beach, surrounded by the trees and spread out her
towel, lying down on it and enjoying the sun.

She was close enough to the others to hear their voices, and yet far
enough to be able to relax. She closed her eyes for a while, glad
that she was able to enjoy some time alone.

“Joy? Joy!” Joy heard Allen calling for her.

“I’m over here!” She yelled, standing up and picking up her towel.
As she bent over, she heard a noise through the trees and looked up.
Standing there, behind one of the trees was Simon Little. He smiled
at her, not taking his eyes off of her, then turned and walked away.

“Allen!” Joy yelled, running to where she had heard Allen’s voice
last.

She finally met up with him, her hands shaking. “Are you ok?” Allen
asked her, helping her climb over some bushes.

Joy nodded her head, not wanting to worry him. At only fifteen years
old, Allen seemed to be a lot more mature for his age. She had found
him to not only be a fun companion, but a faithful friend as well.
Joy knew that she should probably tell him about the incident, but
he interrupted her thoughts.

“Grandpa says that we need to get ready for the party. I’m going to
wear my cowboy hat.” He said proudly.

“You brought it?” Joy asked and then laughed as he nodded. “Well, I
think you’ll fit right in, then!”

They laughed as they made their way back to the house, arm in arm.
Once there Joy discovered that Jack had gone to Seth’s place to
shower and get ready there, and had taken his kids with him. Part of
her was disappointed, but she focused on getting herself ready for
the party. She took her turn in the shower, glad to see that her
sisters had already showered and were getting ready in Joy’s room.
Liz had given Victoria a bath, and they were helping her get pretty
for the event as well.

After they were all ready, they climbed up on a horse drawn wagon
that was normally used for hayrides in the fall. They all sang and
clapped, enjoying each other’s company. Bethany wasn’t with them
either, since she had gone to Seth’s as well, and instead they had
John. He and Allen led the group in singing, laughing along the way
until they got there.

Once at the party, Joy heard the sound of music, and saw lights all
around the center of the town. At first she was confused, but then
figured out that they were using generators. The food smelled
wonderful, and the ambiance was very nice. All the men seemed to be
wearing western clothing, while all the women were dressed in pretty
dresses.

The music that was playing was mostly country. Joy had never danced
country, or danced much at all, but gave in when Allen pleaded with
her to dance with him. And he sure knew how to dance! He gave her a
few tips before they sat back down, only for him to pull her back up
a few minutes later when they all started line dancing. Most of her
family joined in on this one except Ed and Liz, who where content
sitting back and watching everyone else.


Seth and those with him finally arrived at the party in time to join
the line dancing. Linda had again offered to baby-sit the twins, but
they had brought them to Mr. Bodaway’s home so that they wouldn’t be
alone at Seth’s. Jack and Luke joined the dancing right away,
followed by Bethany. She made sure she stayed close to Jack, with
the excuse of learning how to dance.

Jack felt very uncomfortable. She had sat next to him on the way to
the party, and had about landed on his lap when they went over a
bump. He had moved over to give her some space, but she had slowly
inched herself towards him again. When they got to the party,
instead of taking his hand that he had offered her to get down, she
put her two hands on his shoulders and jumped down, making him
almost loose his balance. She had looked up to him with the same
expectation again in her eyes, but he still couldn’t read what she
was trying to tell him.

After the line dancing ended, the crowd dispersed, allowing those
who stayed to dance for the next song to have some space. Joy was
making her way back to the table her family was at when someone
pulled her hand back and jerked her around.

Simon gathered Joy into his arms, holding her close for the slow
song. Joy could smell the liquor on his rancid breath and tried
desperately to pull away.

“Ah, come on, darlin’! Let’s dance!” He sneered, allowing his hand
to go further down her back.

“Knock it off, Simon!” Joy said in a loud voice. “Get your hands off
of me!”

Simon lifted his head back and laughed as he danced her further away
from the people, his hands holding her tight.

--------------------


CHAPTER 22


“I believe the lady said to let her go,” a voice behind Joy said.
Joy looked over her shoulder and was relieved to see Jack standing
there. She didn’t care what he thought of her at this point, she
needed his help!

“Jack!” Both Joy and Simon said at the same time, although the tone
of their voice was definitely different.

“Look, Jack, I got to her first. You are just going to have to wait
your turn, and that won’t be until my turn is over.” Simon said,
then turned away and spit, still holding on tight to Joy.

“Well, it sounds as though she thinks your turn is done, so back
off. If you don’t, I will certainly be glad to make you.” Jack said,
grabbing Joy’s arm gently and one of Simon’s arms not so gently.

Simon lifted his hands and backed away, shaking his head. “Now, now,
Jack. Nothin’ to git upset about. Soon we will all be on level
playin’ field, and we’ll see who comes out on top then!”

Jack looked at him a little confused, but didn’t let go of Joy’s
arm. “Well you just make sure you stay away from her, do you hear?
If I see you bothering her, or any of the other ladies here, you’ll
have me to answer to.”

Simon spat again and looked at Jack with hate-filled eyes. “Don’t
mess with me, Doc. I swear I will have her if it’s the last thing I
do. Mark my words, one way or another, she’ll be mine!”

“What’s going on here?” Andrew Atsidi, the chief of police, asked.
“Are you in trouble Ma’am?”

“No trouble, Officer. Jack here just couldn’t wait his turn to dance
with the lady. But that’s all right! I have a forgivin’ heart. We’ll
all get our chance soon enough, right?” Simon said as he winked at
Andrew and laughed again, sending chills up and down Joy’s back.

“I’m fine, now, thank you,” Joy answered, scowling at Simon as he
walked away.

“Alright, then. Jack. Ma’am,” Andrew said, tipping his hat and
making his way back to the dance floor.

“Are you really ok, Joy?” Jack asked, his eyes searching her face
for any clues of how she was feeling. He was afraid that she might
get angry with him again for intervening, but was more concerned
about her well being than anything.

“Yes, I am. Thank you for helping me, Jack. I won’t be as foolish as
I was the last time and yell at you for helping me. I’m not sure
what he would have done if you hadn’t come along. Now, if you would
be so kind as to let go of my arm, maybe I could get some feeling
back in to it.”

Joy grinned at the look on Jack’s face when he realized that he had
not let go of her arm yet. He let go immediately, embarrassed that
he had held on so long.

“I’m sorry, Joy,” he said quietly, looking down at his feet. “I
didn’t realize, I hope I didn’t, I mean I…”

Joy laughed and locked her arm in his, leading him back to the dance
floor. “Come and teach me how to cowboy dance, Jack.” When he
hesitated, she pulled on his hand with both of her hands, smiling
and batting her eyelashes as big as she could. “Please?” she teased.

Jack smiled and gave in, pulling her closer to him to dance. “I
haven’t danced in years,” he admitted to Joy.

Joy smiled up at him and responded, but Jack didn’t hear her over
the music. He leaned his head closer to her, waiting for her to
repeat what she has just said.

“I said you could have fooled me!” Joy responded and laughed when
she stepped on his foot. “I’m sorry!”

Jack laughed too, and tuned her around like a ballerina. “You are a
dangerous woman, Joy. Not sure I’d trust my feet around you!”

Joy gave him a playful shove with her hips, laughing when he
overcompensated for it. They continued dancing until the music
stopped, and they waited for the next song to be played. Jack looked
at Joy, wondering if they were done.

“Do you want to keep dancing?” Jack asked, wondering if he wanted to
himself. Something about Joy deeply moved him, and yet he refused to
allow himself to look at her as anything other than a friend. The
encounter with Simon had stirred some deep emotions in him that he
hadn’t felt in a long time, and he had to fight himself from wanting
to pound the guy for even looking at her, let alone touching her.

Joy looked up at him and nodded eagerly, fully enjoying the dance.
“I’ve never danced this much in my life,” she said excitedly, her
eyes shining in the dark.

Jack reached over and put his hand on her waist, noticing her
stunning figure as she drew closer to him when the music started. It
was a slow song, and Joy felt her cheeks growing warm at the touch
of his hands. She turned her face from him as she reached her hand
up to his shoulder, feeling the strength of his arm, and allowed him
to lead her around the dance floor. Jack was quite a bit taller than
she was, and she felt almost powerless in his arms. She was glad
that it hadn’t been him that had threatened her, or she really
wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Jack looked down at Joy, disturbed by her beauty. Her eyes were
shining and her hair was gleaming in the lights, making her face the
most beautiful sight he had ever seen. She looked up at him and
smiled, her lips full and tempting, and for a moment, he felt like
it was just the two of them dancing under all the lights and
candles.

It was only for a moment, though. Jack’s eyes went past Joy to
someone standing behind her, his face showing a little concern.

“Hey, can a girl cut in?” Bethany asked, tapping on Joy’s shoulder.

Joy looked back at Bethany and blushed, feeling as though she had
been caught. “Um, yes, of course. That is, if Jack’s okay with it. I
mean he’d be the one doing the dancing.”

Joy took a couple of steps back, embarrassed to now be left standing
alone on the dance floor. She looked at the couple as they danced
away, catching Jack’s eye. He shrugged and rolled his eyes, letting
her know that there wasn’t much he could do. Joy smiled at him, more
to reassure herself that she was fine than anything else.

Just then a very well dressed man approached Joy, smiling at her and
offering his hand. “Would you care to dance?” he asked. Joy nodded
her head and took his hand, a little uncomfortable with not knowing
who he was. She noted that her family was watching her, so she felt
better about agreeing to dance with him.

“You are Ms. Wilson, right? Joy Wilson?” he asked, his mustache
hiding a slight smile. He was an American Indian man in his late
forties, his long black hair pulled back into a braid. He was a good
looking man, and seemed to know exactly what he was doing, at least
on the dance floor. His hands were large, yet soft, not at all like
Jack’s. Joy noticed that Jack’s hands were not only large, but used
to work, and hard work at that.

Joy nodded and looked at him a little surprised. “Yes, I am. And you
are?”

The man smiled and nodded. “Forgive me. I thought perhaps you would
have remembered. I’m Wamblee Bodaway, the chief of the town,” he
said with obvious pride.

“Oh, yes! Now I do remember. I’m sorry,” Joy said apologetically. “I
saw you the first day we got here, at the meeting at your father’s
home.”

Wamblee nodded, his eyes full of pride. “I’m sorry I haven’t been
able to come to your new home to see you and your family. We are
glad you are here, that you have decided to stay. I trust you are
settling in okay?”

Joy nodded, and smiled. “Yes. And we are very happy and grateful to
be here. I’m not sure what our fate would have been had we not been
able to come and live here. Thank you!”

“Well, I’m glad you are doing well. Do you like the town?”

“Oh, yes, very much! It has such a warm feeling to it, and it seems
like everyone knows each other and gets along well,” Joy responded,
looking around her.

Wamblee nodded and looked around himself. “Yes, most everyone gets
along well. We have some issues, but we are working those out for
the good of the Reservation. Are you aware of what is happening
outside the area?”

Joy looked at him in all seriousness and shook her head, expecting
him to continue.

“Well, it’s not good. At all. Things are falling apart, especially
in the cities, as if there was no way for the government officials
to control what is going on. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but
it’s all over the country. The Government had to bring more than
half of its troops back from all around the world just to keep order
around here, leaving the countries they were in at the time in a bad
way. Did you know that the Government has gone bankrupt?” Wamblee
asked, amused at how little Joy really knew. After she shook her
head, her eyes wide with fear, he continued.

“Yup. I’m not the best at all the foreign policy stuff, but several
countries, including China, decided to collect what they were owed
all at once, throwing the American economy down the hole. It’s a
whole different world out there, Ms. Wilson. A worse one, I’m
afraid. Not many people would make it out there, especially ones
that didn’t know how to defend themselves.”

Joy looked at Wamblee, wondering what he was saying. She had been
okay dancing with the man, but was glad that the song was now over
and she could go back to her family. She felt uncomfortable still in
his arms, but he had not let go, and looked like he had no
intentions on doing so.

“It’s good you are here, Joy. We are glad to have you. Do you mind
dancing with me again?” Wamblee asked, not waiting for an answer.
Joy looked back at her family, but none of them seemed to notice
that she was uncomfortable. Jack and Bethany had gone back as well,
but neither of them was looking in her direction.

“Mr. Bodaway, are you trying to tell me something?” Joy asked, a
little irritated.

Wamblee looked at her, surprised by how direct she was. He laughed
and squeezed her hand. “No, no. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you
feel uncomfortable. Not at all. I do think it would be good if you
could learn how to shoot. I guess that is what I was getting at. Are
you familiar with guns?”

Joy felt herself relax, glad that he wasn’t kicking her out of the
Reservation. She wasn’t sure why she thought that, but he had made
her feel like she was somehow in trouble. She shook her head to
answer his question.

“No, not at all. I’ve never even touched one,” she admitted, feeling
a little foolish.

“Well, that will be no problem. There are several men on the
Reservation that would be happy to teach you, and your family of
course, me included. We have things set up in a way that you
shouldn’t have to worry about the outside world for a long, long
time, Ms. Wilson. Not until it’s safe to go out there again, that
is. But it’s always good to be prepared. If we had not listened to
my father about any of this, we would not have been able to provide
this protection, to be this organized in time. Now, although things
are changing in the Reservation, we are in a place where we can rise
from this whole situation and come out on top.

“I will have a talk with your father soon, and ask permission to
come and teach you to handle a gun. I don’t think you will take much
time in learning, and you might even come to like it.” He smiled at
the confused look on her face, but wasn’t able to continue.

“Ask my father?” Joy asked.

Wamblee nodded. “Yes. One of the changes that we are making in the
Reservation is that all the women need to have a man that will be
responsible for them. I know that sounds like we are going back to
the Stone Age, but it could be dangerous for the women, especially
beautiful ones like yourself, even here in this protected
environment. We feel like the best way to protect women is to have
someone that will be responsible for them, and will defend them.”

“You don’t think women can defend themselves?” Joy asked
incredulously.

“Can you?” Wamblee retorted kindly. “Look, Ms. Wilson, we aren’t
trying to be condescending. But we can’t afford to have single women
in the Reservation to be taken advantage of, or worse. By having a
man with them, well, it would at least give them more protection. We
want to protect the women, and yet be fair to the men in the
Reservation as well. We are still trying to figure all that out, and
I have a feeling it will be a late night for the members of the
committee and I. We will be taking a vote on some suggestions and
passing the laws tonight.”

Joy let out a sigh, not knowing what to think. “How,” she stopped to
clear her throat, “how will this affect me and others like me?”

“Oh, I’m sure it won’t be anything too bad, Ms. Wilson. It will be
something that we can all live with, I assure you,” Wamblee said in
his most reassuring voice. “How ‘bout we change the subject? I
didn’t mean to put a damper on your evening,” he said, putting his
hand on her chin to raise her face to look at him.

Joy looked away, uncomfortable with the way he was looking at her.
It wasn’t like Simon, but she knew that he still enjoyed his hands
on her body.

“I’m fine, thank you. But if you don’t mind, I think I’m a little
hungry and would like to get back to our table.” Joy said, letting
go of his hand.

Wamblee nodded, and put his arm around her shoulder. “I’ll walk you
back, Ms. Wilson, and then maybe we can practice some shooting
tomorrow after the service, if you’d like.”

Joy nodded absentmindedly and walked faster, hoping that his hand
would not follow her. It did. When they got to the table where her
family was, Joy noticed that her parents had already left, and that
it looked as the others were getting ready to leave as well.

“We are getting ready to go home,” Ann said when she saw Joy. She
noticed the look on her face right away, and held her hand out to
Joy. Joy took it immediately, pulling away from Wamblee, glad to be
out of his embrace.

“Is the Reverend gone?” Wamblee asked Juan and Ann.

Juan nodded. “Yes, they left a little a while ago. Did you need
him?”

Wamblee shook his head, and tipped his hat. “No, thank you. It can
wait until tomorrow. Juan, ladies.”

As Wamblee walked away, Ann put her arm around her baby sister. “Are
you okay?” she asked her in Spanish.

“I am now,” Joy answered. “He is a strange man. He told me some
things that I’m not sure what to make of, and I really didn’t like
him hugging me like that.”

“I’m sorry, Joy, we were all keeping an eye on you, but you seemed
to be doing fine. Then when Seth and his family left it created
quite a commotion, trying to get everyone back into the wagon they
had come in. Bethany has gone there to stay over night, and they
took Jack and Luke home as well. We thought that it was getting
late, so we should get back too, especially since there is going to
be church tomorrow. Mom and Dad have gone to get the wagon, and
Roger and Marie went with them. Every one else I think is still
dancing, but Juan is going to get them now, right Juan?”

Juan smiled back at her and stuck his tongue out at her. “Yeah, I’m
going, I’m going.”

Soon they were all on their way back, with Victoria fast asleep in
Joy’s lap. Joy told her family about what Wamblee had said, and they
all discussed at length what they thought it meant.

“Well, we will pray about it and trust the Lord,” Ed said, careful
with the words he was choosing. “We have come a long way, and he has
not let us down yet. We’ll take all this one step at a time, and ask
Him to help us cross that bridge when we get there.”

Joy smiled at how simple he made it sound. Just trust the Lord. She
realized that they were now in a time that those words would be have
to be practiced often, if not every day. They traveled the rest of
their way home in silence, each into his own thoughts. John had gone
home with his parents, and Joy noticed that she and Allen were the
only ones without a partner.

She reached over and patted his leg, smiling up at him. Here he was,
her little nephew, tall and strong. She admired him for how well he
was handling everything, and was glad that they had been able to
remain close through it all. Allen reached over and put his arm
around her arms and gave her a squeeze.

“It will be okay,” he whispered in Spanish, his voice calm.

Joy nodded and smiled again, glad for his comfort. Once home, Joy
got Victoria ready for bed and then said goodnight to her family.
She got ready for bed herself, tired from the active day they had
had. She climbed into bed quietly, not wanting to disturb Victoria.
She pulled the covers up to her chin and shivered, wishing that she
had put another blanket on the bed. Even though they were in the
middle of summer there was a cold front going through, and Joy was
sure that it was sixty degrees outside or less. She tossed and
turned for a while, trying desperately to fall asleep.

It had been a long day for Joy, but she had really enjoyed it. She
almost laughed out loud when she thought about pushing Jack over and
the look of surprise that had crossed his face. He’s such a good
sport, Joy thought and blushed when she remembered his arms around
her while they danced. She pushed the thought far in the back of her
mind, not wanting to think about it. She still missed her husband
terribly, and wished that he could be there now, holding her and
comforting her. She didn’t realize how much she was going to miss
just having a man. She reasoned with herself that that was why she
had enjoyed dancing with Jack so much, having his strong arms
embrace her. It had nothing to do with him personally, she told
herself. It’s just that I miss having a husband. He was turning out
to be a good friend, and she was glad for that.

Just as her eyes started to close, she heard someone knocking at the
front door of the farmhouse. Who in the world could it be at this
time of the night? She wondered. The sun had set a long time ago,
and Joy knew that it meant it was late. The knocking turned into
pounding, until she heard her dad yell out “Who is it?” from their
room. There were some loud shouts, and then Joy could hear her dad
heading to the door.

“Ouch, ouch,” he whispered as he tripped over something in the dark,
making Joy smile.

Ed peered out of the front door. “Yes, can I help you?” Joy heard
him say.

“Sure ya can, Preacher man! Now, it is common knowledge that you
have a single girl over the age of 18 living here with ya, ain’t
that right?” A man with a high-pitched voice answered.

Joy shot up in bed. She recognized that voice. Simon! What was he
doing here? She shivered even more when she remembered his arms
around her at the dance. If Jack hadn’t shown up when he did, Joy
shivered again, not wanting to think about what had happened.

“Yeah,” Ed responded, “what of it?”

“Well, there is a law right here that says that she needs to come
with us.” Simon said, triumph in his voice.

“What? Why? Did she do something wrong?” Ed sounded confused. Joy
knew his best time wasn’t at night. He was easily confused during
this time, and she knew that lately it had been worse, especially
with everything going on.

“No, no, sir,” Simon continued. “She’s fine, mighty fine, actually.”
He paused and looked back at his friends as they laughed at his
joke. “No, she just needs to come with us. Right now. Chief’s
orders, see?” Joy could hear him shuffling papers.

“But, but she’s married!” Ed said, skimming the papers before him.

“Oh, no she ain’t! I know for a fact that she ain’t. She just lost
her husband a while ago, and that makes her single. Even if she does
have a kid.”

Joy’s face started to flush in anger as she realized they were
talking about her. This whole time she thought they were talking
about Marie!

She got up and went to the door of her room, thankful that her
sister wasn’t there. She looked through the crack of the edge of the
door and saw that there were more men than just Simon. And they all
had weapons. Ed had just started to learn how to use the one Seth
had given him, but against these many men, he didn’t stand a chance.

“Well,” Ed said, “you can come and get her in the morning. I’ll have
her ready for you then.”

Joy could see the small man eyeing Ed carefully. “Well, I guess one
more night won’t hurt. I can wait one more night. All right people,
let’s git goin’! The tavern’s awaitin’,” Simon shouted as the men
filed in behind him, his voice cracking in mid sentence. This seemed
to give the men a good laugh, and they all walked away, with Simon
swearing at all of them loudly, making them laugh all the more.

Ed closed the door with the paperwork still in his hand and leaned
against it. Joy could see his tired face as he studied the content
of the papers in the dim light of his candle. When Joy was sure the
men were gone, she carefully opened the door.

“Dad? What was that all about?” She asked as she came to him and put
her arms around his waist.

He put his chin on her head and wrapped his arms around her. “Oh,
Joy,” he said, his voice quivering.

“Is everything ok, Ed?” Liz asked as she entered the living room and
spotted the two.

Ed shook his head. “Joy, get Allen to go get everyone. We need to
talk.”

Joy could hear it in his voice. It was a sense of panic. She had
hardly ever heard it in her life, and she didn’t like the sound of
it at all.

Joy got Allen to go get his parents, sister and Marie. Roger came up
from the basement he was sharing with Allen, and then Joy checked on
Victoria. She was still fast asleep. Joy bent to kiss her on the
forehead and then headed back into the living room, after softly
closing the door behind her.

Liz had turned the oil lamps on and had sat down, looking at the
papers that had just been delivered. As Joy stu

cat.jpg

Where words and actions disagree, the heart is revealed.

Look how often the unexpected happens... and we still don't expect it.


#2 Cat

Cat

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 09:54 PM

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cat.jpg

Where words and actions disagree, the heart is revealed.

Look how often the unexpected happens... and we still don't expect it.



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