My sweet Clarissa,
How I hope everything is going well. Here at the Blue Willow Ranch life is just as exciting as ever. This baby is making us wait. Marc is convinced this is a boy and Katie-Annthinks it’s a girl. She strokes my huge belly and whispers promises to her new sister; it’s very sweet. I do miss having you with us here in Eloy, but once the baby is born, we will make the journey to visit you and Frank and your sweet twins.
My dear Katie just had her baby, the most adorable baby boy with his mother’s grin and his father’s dark, brooding eyes. Soon the town will be full of children! I have given your last letter a great deal of thought. Writing a book would be an exciting adventure, and your encouraging words made me smile. Marc tells me I should go for it, but I doubt… Well, when don’t I?
Although, I cannot help myself from writing down a few lines every time I have a spare moment. I hope you are enjoying life in Scottsdale and I ask you to hug your beautiful children and my dear brother.
Sending you all my love,
Olivia put down her letter and stood up, heaving as her pregnant belly weighed her down. When their Aunt Mary died three years ago, she left her house in Scottsdale to Olivia and her brothers. With the house came the publishing house that Aunt Mary’s late husband, Sigmund, had owned.
Clarissa and Frank decided that they wanted to honor Aunt Mary and take over the estate and the business. It was very difficult saying goodbye to them, but both of them seemed to thrive in Scottsdale with their twin girls, Emily and Jane.
A little girl, with blond curls that bounced with every step, came running inside the house.
“Mama,” the little girl called. “Rosie pushed me,” she complained.
“Now, now,” Olivia said sweetly, “I’m sure that was an accident.”
“I pushed her, but then she pushed me also,” her daughter said.
“Katie-Ann!” Olivia admonished. “You should not have pushed her.”
“But, Mama…” Katie-Ann objected.
“Come and help Mama outside,” Olivia said, and her daughter took her hand, and they walked out to the farmyard together.
“What are you doing?” Violet said, approaching Olivia. “You should be resting.”
“I needed to get up,” Olivia said, stroking her belly. She was going to have her and Marc’s second baby any day. They had been married for almost five years, and Olivia had never been happier. Their firstborn, Katie-Ann, named after hers and Marc’s mothers, was an energetic bundle of joy who had just turned four years old. Rosie Green and Katie-Ann had started playing again, their small brawl forgotten entirely.
“I will get the dinner going,” Violet said as she returned into the house.
Violet had become the housemaid of Blue Willow Ranch. O’Leary made use of the small shed behind the house and the Greens lived in the log cabin. Two years before, O’Leary sadly died leaving everything he owned to the family. Joshua took over more duties helping Red, who turned into a fulltime hand.
“Thank you, Violet,” Olivia said, enjoying the feeling of the autumn sun οn her face. Soon it will be five years since Marc and I became one, she thought, inhaling sharply as the baby gave her a sharp kick.
“Is he giving you a hard time,” Marc said as rode up to the farmyard, noticing Olivia clutch her stomach with a slight grimace.
“This baby sure is strong,” Olivia said sweetly, as Marc approached her and gave her a sweet kiss, stroking her belly.
“Be kind to your mother, son,” Marc said as he bent down talking to her bump.
“How are you so certain it’s a boy?” Olivia laughed.
“I just know,” Marc said, standing up again. “I know it as clearly as I knew Katie-Ann would be just as beautiful as her mother and that I would marry you when I saw you playing in church all those years ago.” Olivia chuckled and bent forward to give him a kiss, but her belly proved too large, causing her to stumble.
“Careful now,” Marc laughed as he held her. “I’m afraid I have to ride out,” he added turning severe, “first thing tomorrow morning.”
“I figured as much,” Olivia said sadly.
“We need to find them,” Marc reiterated.
“And I am sure you will,” Olivia said kindly.
A year after they married, Sheriff Blackwell approached Marc, asking if he would be interested in being hisdeputy sheriff for good. The remainders of Langston’s network were still working, stealing cattle all over Arizona, and Marc had a knack of following their footsteps. He had an analytical mind, and that would make him an excellent sheriff one day.
At first, Marc refused, as Olivia was about to have their baby, but she urged him to help Blackwell. Red became a full-time hand at the Blue Willow Ranch, and with Joshua getting older and stronger, he finally decided to go for it. He spent half his time at the ranch and the other with the Sheriff’s office.
It was hard, of course, with him being away so much. However, Olivia beamed with pride as he rode to town, with his Sheriff’s star pinned to his chest. With time Andy had begun helping out more and more, and the two ranches were almost one now. One day Blackwell will retire, and then I think it is imperative that Marc becomes Sheriff, Olivia thought as the two of them returned to the house.
Olivia sat down in the sitting room and folded the letter she had been writing. “Will you take this with you tomorrow?” Olivia said to Marc as he sat down next to her, showing him the letter. “I still have some lines to write though...”
“Of course, my darling,” Marc said sweetly. “Is it for Clarissa?” he asked.
“Yes,” Olivia smiled.
A knock on the backdoor brought her back from her daydreaming and Andy and Beatrice came in. They had celebrated their two-year wedding anniversary a month ago, as it took Andy a long time to ask Beatrice to officially start courting and even longer to pluck up the courage to ask her to marry him.
Beatrice held their little boy, Roy, that was his father’s spitting image except for his auburn hair. The river that separated the two lands was no longer the barrier it had once been. Soon after Marc and Olivia got married, Andy built a little bridge over the river to ease the trip between the two farms.
Now the children knew both farms as their home, as the two families spent much time together — frequently showing up unannounced and spending dinner together.
“How are you, Olivia?” Beatrice asked as they finished greeting each other. “It must be any time soon,” she said consolingly.
“Patience is a virtue, dear,” Andy said, but Beatrice and Olivia raised their eyebrows at him. “I will go see Marc,” he said backing away from the glare his wife sent him.
“This baby will come,” Olivia said but winced at yet another kick. “Hopefully very soon,” she finished.
“What about the potion Red made for Katie?” Beatrice asked. A year after Olivia and Marc married, there was a slight scandal in the town when Katie secretly married Red. They rode to Blackwater and got married, and returned a few days later.
“I told him I would not need it,” Olivia said, “but I might have spoken too soon.”
“I will make you some tea,” Beatrice smiled and put down baby Roy, next to Katie-Ann and Rosie who adored the little boy. In the kitchen, Marc and Andy were discussing the latest pieces of the case Marc was working on. Olivia watched her large family and smiled. I should write about you; our lives and our adventures.She picked up the letter again, and carefully unfolded it, writing below her signature.
“Sweet Clarissa. I think I will write! I want to write about my mother. I look at my life and my family, and none of it would exist if she did not choose to honor her family, not her heart. She loved my father, later, that I am sure of, but I cannot help compare our lives, and I feel so very fortunate. To honor my mother, I will write about her, and her journal. But that will have to come later, as my baby is coming – right now…”
Olivia folded the letter again and stood up. “Marc!” she called. He looked at her and immediately ran towards her.
“The baby’s coming,” Olivia smiled, and Marc grinned broadly, kissing her sweetly.
“I love you, Olivia,” Marc said as he helped her into their room, Violet ushering the children outside.
“I love you too,” Olivia said looking at her husband adoringly.
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