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Authors: Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill

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BOOK: For the Love of Suzanne
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Besides, he’d promised her he would get her
back to her world. He intended to do just that.

Chapter 31

Suzanne stayed with Marda as she recovered, trying
to stay clear of Boris. With the help of Marda’s medicines, the
warmth of the cabin and the nice bed, she was better in just a matter
of a couple of weeks. The cough still lingered, but it was getting
better with each passing day.

While she healed, she helped Marda as much as she
could. She learned to make bread by hand and churn butter which gave
her a great appreciation for grocery stores. She’d taken that
for granted until now, but didn’t mind the work so much. It
kept her from worrying about Cody and the fact that her baby still
hadn’t moved. She was afraid he was dead. After what
she’d been through, it would be no wonder, but it still
saddened her.

Another storm was brewing and she began to worry
about Cody in earnest. He was already two weeks late and she was
thinking the worst. She wondered if Boris had killed him. He was
reckless with his guns and had it out for Cody, but she didn’t
ask. Boris didn’t like her, either.

He trudged into the house with a skinned animal of
some sort and snow pasted to his heavy buffalo coat and his tattered
old hat. He tossed the carcass onto the counter. “Here ya go,
Marda,” he said happily and gave his wife a friendly peck on
the cheek.

She smiled. “Stop that, you old coot,”
she teased.

He laughed and took off his coat and hat and sat
down at the wooden table.

Suzanne stole a glance at him, wanting to ask if
he’d seen Cody while he’d been hunting, but didn’t
want to get the man riled up. Maybe she would go out tonight and see
if she could find him herself. She was afraid he was in trouble and
knew she couldn’t count on Boris to help her find him.

Marda began to prepare the fresh meat, something
Suzanne had no stomach for, and talked to her husband casually. “Did
you see Cody out there?” she asked, giving her shocked friend a
comforting wink.

She gave her a smile of appreciation.

“Nope. Ain’t seen a sign of him since
he left, but them damn Injuns have a way of keepin’ theirselves
hid away, ya know,” he said roughly. “He’s around.”

“Is it very cold out?” Suzanne asked
him quietly.

“Yep. The wind is already comin’ up
and I ‘spect we’ll get us some more snow before too
long.”

She held her fingers over her mouth with worry as
she looked out the window. The wind was blowing and the snow was
beginning to fall, and Cody was out there alone. Maybe he had frozen
to death or been attacked by a wild animal. Or maybe he’d lied
and ditched her and was glad to be rid of her. She knew she wasn’t
an easy person. She’d been a problem to him from the minute
they’d met. It was the way of the world. If you have a problem,
get rid of it. Why would he be any different?

“Do you know the way to Arizona?” she
blurted to Boris.

“Arizona?” he echoed in confusion.
“Never heard of it.”

She realized that she’d said something she
shouldn’t have and, once again, wished she’d paid more
attention in history class so at least she’d know when Arizona
had become a state. “Um, it’s south of here. Yes, it’s
south of here,” she said confidently.

He scowled. “Now, why the hell would I want
to go south? It’s damn hot down that way.”

She swallowed her feeling of rejection and the
tears that came with it. “If you could point me in the right
direction, I think I could make it on my own.”

“Oh no you don’t, missy. You ain’t
leavin’ this house ‘til that big buck comes back for ya,”
he said with authority. “He’s around, I told ya.”

She shook her head and brushed away the lone tear
that was slipping down her cheek. “No, he isn’t.”

“Sure he is. Where would he go?”

“I think he dumped me on you,” she
said shakily.

“Excuse me?” Marda asked with
confusion.

She looked at her friend with sadness. “He
left me here so you would have to take care of me.”

“Oh no, that’s not true,” she
denied, putting her arm around her. “He’ll be back. Wait
and see.”

“He’s already two weeks late,”
she said more calmly. “I would think that would be proof that
he isn’t coming back.”

“Sit down here, darling,” she said
compassionately and pulled out a high-backed wooden chair then knelt
in front of her, taking her hands. “I’ve been around men
for a long time and I can see when they’re serious about a
woman. I can tell you that Cody is serious about you. I don’t
think he would run off and leave you or his child. He has too much
integrity for that. He’ll be back, Suzanne,” she said
confidently. “You have to believe that.”

She brushed more tears away with a soft sniff.
“I’ve been a pain to him ever since we met,” she
said morosely.

She pushed her hair back behind her shoulder.
“He’s going to come back for you,” she assured her.
“He would never leave you. He loves you.”

She shook her head. “Nobody does, Marda.
Nobody even knows I’m gone.”

Her eyes narrowed with suspicion. “Are you
telling me he stole you?”

“No, of course not. He’s been nothing
but good to me. He saved my life. I was in an accident and he helped
me.”

“Then what are you trying to tell me? I’m
confused.”

She covered her mouth with her hand and let the
tears go. “He isn’t my husband and this baby isn’t
his.”

She looked at her in shock. “What is going
on?” she asked slowly.

“My husband was killed in a construction
accident shortly after I found out I was pregnant.”

“Construction of what?”

“Roads. He was moving a big bunch of dirt
and the hillside collapsed and he was killed.”

Boris shot to his feet, knocking the chair over.
“You mean to say that you ain’t married to that breed?”
he exclaimed angrily.

She nodded with a soft sniff. “That’s
what I mean, Boris,” she said levelly.

“And you shared a bed in my house?” he
raged.

“Nothing happened,” she said fearfully
and gripped Marda’s hands tightly. “He’s never done
anything like that. He hasn’t even suggested it.”

“Damn it, Marda,” he hissed and
slammed his fist on the table. “I told you these two warn’t
nothin’ but trouble.”

Marda shot a cold glare at her husband. “We
don’t know the whole story, but if you know where he is, it
would be best to tell her now.”

“If I knowed where he was, I would go and
get him,” he declared. “I don’t want no damn whore
staying in this house.”

Suzanne had been called that so many times, it
didn’t bother her anymore, but she’d been hoping Boris
would get her started back to Arizona. She had to get back there.

“Don’t talk about her like that,”
Marda yelled back at him. “She was properly wed when the child
was conceived and her husband died. Didn’t you hear anything
she said? She had an accident and Cody helped her.”

He ignored that and pointed at Suzanne accusingly.
“I want this whore out of my house.”

“She’s going to have a baby and you
cannot send her away with the weather like it is. She stays,”
she said sternly.

“Okay,” he said defiantly. “In
the barn.”

“In the bed!” she shouted. “She
isn’t well yet.”

He was breathing hard with anger. “I’ll
give that no-good-for-nothing squaw chaser two more days to get here
and if he ain’t here in two days, she’s gone anyway.”

“Boris,” Marda said sharply. “How
can you do something like that? This woman is going to have a baby.”

“Hell, she probably lied about that, too.
She’s just fat and gettin’ fatter everyday on our food.”

Suzanne ran her hand over her round belly through
the dress that Marda had given her, knowing she had to go. She was
feeling a lot better and even if Cody had abandoned her, she still
had to get back to Arizona. She knew she could get there if she could
figure out which direction was which. She’d been buried under a
blanket and sick when Cody had brought her here and had no idea from
which direction they’d come or how to get back. She was
clueless and scared, but she’d make it. Besides, it wasn’t
fair to Marda and Boris to stay here and cause them trouble,
remembering how she used to hate to fight with Beau. He would get so
mean and abusive. She didn’t want that to happen to Marda.

She touched Marda’s arm with uncertainty,
getting her attention. “If you could just tell me which way to
go, I think I can make it back to where I came from.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, honey. Boris is
just being his normal, ornery self,” she said comfortingly.
“You stay and wait for Cody. He’ll be back.”

She shook her head. “No, he won’t, but
I can make it on my own if you just tell me which way to go.”

“There’s a storm brewing and you’re
just getting back on your feet. Why do you want to go out there and
get all sick again?” she asked with disappointment.

“I feel better,” she said
convincingly. “I really do.

“I know you do, but a few more days of rest
won’t hurt you. Think about your baby,” she said
convincingly. “He needs rest, too, you know.

“Get this bitch out of my house,”
Boris said angrily.

“Shut up,” Marda yelled back at him.
“She is not well.”

“She was well enough to bed down with that
dirty Injun,” he countered.

Suzanne lowered her head in shame. “But it
wasn’t like that. He didn’t try anything.”

“Then why are you pretendin’ to be his
wife?” he growled in disbelief.

She shook her head. “I don’t know.”

“What business is it of yours anyway?”
Marda snapped at her husband. “She is a guest in our home and
she will stay until she is one hundred percent well or until Cody
comes back. If anybody is going to stay out in the barn, it’s
you.”

He rubbed his beard, a sign that he was conceding.
“If that big buck comes back here, I’ll shoot him and eat
his gizzard for dinner.”

Suzanne had no doubt about that, but didn’t
think he was coming back so what difference did it make? For all she
knew, he was already dead.

“Show me the way,” she pleaded with
Marda. “I can make it.”

“The only thing you’re going to do is
sit down here and eat,” she ordered. “Supper will be
ready shortly. And you,” she spun to Boris, pointing a finger
at him accusingly, “will sit down and hush your mouth.”

He grumbled as he picked up his chair then sat
across from Suzanne, giving her a cold, hateful glare.

She looked away. She knew she couldn’t stay
another day. She had to leave before something serious happened
between Boris and Marda.

“That dumb Injun is probably runnin’
from the law,” Boris muttered.

“Enough!” Marda hissed at him and put
her arm around Suzanne.

“It’s okay, honey,” she said
compassionately.

Boris glowered at Marda, but said nothing more.

Chapter 32

Later that night, Suzanne lay awake in bed,
listening to the wind howl as she burrowed under the heavy quilts and
watched the fire dance in the fireplace. She had turned in early so
that she could get a little sleep before she left. She’d caused
too many problems for everyone. She just wanted to go home.

When her thoughts turned to Cody, tears began to
fall. Marda had said he loved her, but she knew that wasn’t
true. Marda was a kind person and was just trying to make her feel
better. Cody was gone for good. He’d left her just like
everyone else had. She did hope he was okay and wished him well.

She clutched his rosary to her heart and prayed
for him as she asked for strength to do what she had to do without
him.

She didn’t blame him for not coming back.
She knew from living with Beau that she was mean and hateful,
deceitful and lazy. He’d told her many times. She knew better
than to ask him for or about money when they’d come up short
and had bills to pay. She knew better than to ask him about his other
women or where he’d been when he’d stayed out all night.
She’d learned that the hard way. He’d beaten her severely
enough that she had to stay home from work for a week.

Nobody had ever suspected that she and Beau had
been anything but a happy couple. She’d lied to everyone when
they would question her about her bruises and had concocted different
stories to cover for his abuse. Even when he was out with other
women, she never complained to anyone and never brought it up,
despite her heartache.

When their child had been conceived, he had been
drunk and had forced himself on her. She’d fought him by
screaming, kicking, scratching and even biting him, but that had only
excited him more.

When she was having lower abdominal pain and a
strange discharge from her vagina a couple of months later, she’d
gone to the doctor only to be diagnosed with Chlamydia and found out
she was pregnant. The news had shattered her. She was upset about the
social disease, but she was more upset about the pregnancy not
because she didn’t want a baby, but because she knew Beau would
accuse her of cheating and blame her. She had been right.

As it was, he’d assaulted her and didn’t
remember doing it. He’d awakened the next day with a hangover
and in a foul mood.

She remembered sitting in a chair in their drab
living room dressed in her bathrobe, wearing a pad in her underwear
to catch the blood that was still trickling from the injuries to her
extremities. She had another black eye and her arms were bruised.

“What the hell is your problem?” he
grumbled as he buttoned his pants, coming out of the bathroom.

She shook her head with a heavy sniff and pushed
her hair out of her face, choking on a sob. He had never hurt her
this badly.

He lit a cigarette. “Well, do you plan on
fixing me some breakfast or should I just go back to bed and wait for
supper?” he said irritably. “God damn, you’re a
lazy bitch,” he muttered, running his fingers through his long,
dark hair.

“There’s some cereal in the cupboard,”
she said shakily.

He looked at her with disbelief. “You can’t
be serious. I work all day long, bring home the money and all we have
is a fucking box of cereal?” he rasped angrily and pointed at
her menacingly. “You get me some real food or I’ll kick
your ass.”

Before she was able to get up, he dragged her to
her feet by the hair, making her cry out with surprise and
immobilizing her.

He glared into her eyes and hissed into her face.
“Get moving.”

She stumbled when he shoved her, but didn’t
fall and shuffled into the kitchen to make him bacon and eggs. At the
same time, she was moving as fast as her body would allow.

BOOK: For the Love of Suzanne
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ads

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