Authors: Rebecca Tilley
When Daphne woke in
the morning there was a flutter of excitement in her stomach. It had been
years since she had cooked breakfast for a man. She quickly dressed,
adjusted her hair and scurried out to the kitchen. When she got to the
kitchen, however, there was no sign of Micah in the house. She found a
note on the kitchen table that read,
Wanted to get an early start this
morning. I made myself a couple of eggs and some coffee. Leftover
coffee is on the stove. I will be visiting the neighbors until around
lunch-time, then I will come back home before I head to town. I am sorry
I missed you this morning. I look forward to seeing you when I get back.
settled in where the excitement had been earlier. But she didn’t have
time to feel sorry for herself now; she had to set about doing her
chores. She had a house to maintain. Even though she had no
intention of marrying him, she wanted Micah to think of her as a good
homemaker. Her excitement returned when she set down the note and saw a
vase full of fresh flowers sitting in the middle of the table.
early does this man wake up? If he keeps trying this hard I might just
have to give in to him.
She had been going
about her business around the house for a few hours when she heard the sound of
a horse. She knew better than to get excited because of her experience
the day before. To her horror it was Mr. Gantry again, and he was on the
war path. “Come on out here Ms. Haynes.” His voice had a nasty edge
to it today.
Daphne walked out
the door with her head held high. She had nothing to fear from this
coward today. Her savior had arrived yesterday and would be paying off
the farm in the afternoon. “What is it Mr. Gantry?”
“What, no, how are
you Mr. Gantry?”
What is it Mr.
“I am here to
inform you that your property has officially been foreclosed upon.” He
let these words hang in the air a minute and smiled. “You have until the
end of the day to vacate the premises Ms. Haynes.”
must be some mistake. I have until day after tomorrow to pay it
off. I have someone coming in to make a payment today.”
“No mistake Ms.
Haynes. The foreclosure was expedited. You have until sundown to be
off this property or we will remove you by force. Anything of value must
be left in place to be sold for cash.”
With that he
mounted his horse and was gone. Daphne felt as though she had been kicked
by a mule. How could this have happened? Where was Micah? Why
did she have to deal with this on her own? She became angry. If
Micah had been here instead of traipsing about the countryside
’ who knows what, she would not have lost her
farm. Why didn’t he go make the payment this morning? She couldn’t
believe she had started to let herself have feelings for him. He was just
like all men, lousy. She walked back inside the house, sat down at the
kitchen table, and began to sob.
When Micah had
finished his morning errands he galloped as quickly as he could back to the
small farmhouse. He was excited to see Daphne, and see how she had liked
the flowers. When he arrived home, however, there seemed to be some sort
of storm brewing around the place. Things were thrown haphazardly around
the outside of the home, and he could hear a horrible ruckus coming from inside
the place, like someone was screaming and throwing pots and pans around.
opened the front door to peek around the corner. As he did a glass dinner
plate whizzed past his head and crashed against the wall behind him. He
was thanking his lucky stars that it hadn’t hit him when two more came
following right behind, both barely missing him again. He threw up his
hands in surrender shouting, “Please no more. I give up. Let me in
so we can talk about what’s got you all riled up.”
“I don’t want to
talk to you;
are upsetting me.”
“What have I
done? I haven’t been here all morning.”
been here all morning. You got it on the first guess.”
Certainly she could
not be this upset over him being gone for one morning. It was their first
morning together, but she had been abundantly clear that she had no intention
of being his bride. Why then would she be so upset if he went about his
business as if he were a single man. If she was this emotional about him
being gone for a couple of hours, he was sure he did not want to be tied down
to her for the rest of his life.
“I’m sorry, but I
don’t understand what’s going on here.”
“Just like all
men. You never will get what’s going on, but maybe you will get this, I
“Let’s slow down a
minute and talk. Maybe you can give me a few details about why you’re so
“I would be glad
. While you were out and about this morning,” she spoke in
a very sarcastic tone, “my good friend, Mr. Gantry from the bank, stopped by.”
I’m sorry I
“Oh yes, I’m sorry
too. He let me know they had ‘Expedited’ my foreclosure, and I needed to
be gone from this property before sun down. I can’t help but think that
if you had gone to the bank before you went sightseeing this would not have
happened.” She shouted this last part as she hurled a coffee cup toward
Micah, forcing him to duck behind the door. It smashed into little bits
that scattered at his feet.
The vein in his
neck had reappeared and was beating furiously. He spoke in a low
deliberate tone, “He did what?”
“He evicted me!
He told me to leave all of my belongings for the auction and get
out. I don’t know what they’ll do when they see the mess I’ve made, but I
really don’t care. The worst part of all was that the one person that was
supposed to be on my side in this thing was missing, so I was just all
A deep look of
shame stole over his face. Her last shot had hit him directly in the
heart. Shame was soon replaced by steely determination and fury as he
walked over to Daphne. Placing his hand under her chin, he tilted her face
upward to meet his gaze. His eyes were tender and caring, but ablaze with
rage at the same time. “Daphne, I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you this
morning. I’m sorry you have been subjected to the shame put on you by Mr.
Gantry and his cohorts. I wish I could take all that away, but I
cannot. What I can do is try to make it up to you. I’m gonna’ ride
into town right now, and I will have a conversation with the folks at the
bank. I think we may be able to work
“You don’t know
these people, Micah. They make all the rules ‘round these parts.
They have all the money, and all the power. I’m just gonna’ leave; I’m so
tired of fighting it.”
I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” He walked across the sitting room to
his bedroom and pushed the door open. He slipped inside the room and came
out a couple minutes later strapping a pair of holstered six-guns to his
waist. He tied the holsters down to his legs with a small leather
string. Micah looked like the kind of man who had used these guns in the
past and it scared Daphne. As much as she hated Mr. Gantry she did not
want to see anyone get hurt. What good would that do?
“What are gonna’ do
with those, Micah?”
All I am
going to do is talk with the folks at the bank. You stay here and I’ll be
back in a couple of hours.”
Micah walked out
the front door, mounted his horse, and rode away. Daphne walked out the
front door to watch him as he went. She was nervous about what may happen
between him and the bank, but she was excited because no one had every stood up
for her like this before. She felt like this was the kind of man that
could take care of any situation no matter how big or small. This was the
kind of man she wanted…she wanted him bad.
When Micah arrived in
town he went directly to the bank. He tied his horse to the hitching post
out front and walked in the door. He spoke to the first person he saw
that seemed to be employed by the bank, “Excuse me sir, who is the manager of
A thin man wearing
a dark grey suit answered, “Mr. Albertson, sir.” His voice was nasally,
and he had an air of superiority about him. He looked Micah up and down
and seemed to disapprove. Micah couldn’t believe the arrogance with which
this bank was operated.
“First name,” Micah
did away with the pleasantries. He figured if a man was going to treat
him like dirt he would return the favor.
The man, taken
aback, answered, “Alvin.”
Typical banker name.
“Yes sir, what
you have the wrong idea about what’s happenin’
here. When I ask a question I expect a direct answer. What is Mr.
Gantry’s first name?” Micah spoke in an even and calm voice that conveyed
the fact he was done with any and all games this gentleman wanted to
play. His eyes were fixed directly on the other man’s eyes challenging
him to smart off one more time.
“Lonny,” the man’s
voice cracked. He was not used to being treated in such a brusque manner,
especially by a man of such enormous size. Micah decided to let him off
the hook, he had made his point.
“Where might his
office be?” The man pointed to a door at the back right corner of the
bank. “Is he here?” The man nodded yes.
The man pointed to the opposite corner. “Is
Another affirmative nod.
you.” Micah started walking toward the office that he had been told
belonged to Mr. Gantry. He knocked on the door and patiently waited for a
“Who is it?” a
haughty voice came from the other side of the door.
“I am far too busy
to see any customers at the moment. Go see one of the tellers, I am sure
they can assist you with any needs you have.”
“I’m here to see
“I cannot see you
now. Make an appointment and I will see you in a couple of days.”
Micah opened the
office door and walked in. Mr. Gantry’s face registered alarm. He
was unaccustomed to his wishes being ignored—especially by customers.
“Are you Lonny?”
Lonny regained his composure
somewhat to reply, “I am Mr. Gantry and I would appreciate if you would address
me as such.”
“I’m sure you would
Lonny. I would like to have a meeting with you and the bank’s manager,
“You and a lot of
other people, but as I said earlier I am far too busy, and I don’t believe Mr.
Albertson is in at the moment.”
“Is Alvin in the
habit of being out of his office at two o’clock in the afternoon?”
Lonny was becoming
flustered. “No, Mr. Albertson is not typically out at this time of day,
but he mentioned that he would be visiting customers this afternoon, and not to
expect him back.”
“Let’s go see,”
Micah said with a wink and a halfcocked smile.
“I won’t go with
you. If you wish to have a meeting with either Mr. Albertson or myself,
you will need to make an appointment with our secretary for next week.”
Micah reached out a
large hand and caught hold of Lonny’s suit jacket and started pulling him
toward the manager’s office. “Sir,” Mr. Gantry continued, “This is no way
to treat a civilized man. We have guards on staff that will stop you by
force if necessary, so I suggest you let me go right now.”
As Mr. Gantry was
speaking, a guard caught sight of the scene and started to reach for his
gun. Before he could draw his weapon, however, Micah looked at him, put
two fingers to the brim of his hat, and gave a small salute. The guard
tried to suppress a smile as he turned his back on Mr. Gantry.
Outraged Mr. Gantry
said, “I can’t believe he just did that. I will have his job today.”
“I’m sure you will.
Let’s go see about that meeting with Alvin.”
Mr. Gantry started
to shout loud enough for the whole bank to hear, “MR. ALBERTSON IS NOT
HERE. YOU CANNOT SEE HIM.”
Micah saw the
secretary that was posted outside of the manager’s office, jump to her feet and
scurry through the door. When Micah and Mr. Gantry arrived a few seconds
later, Micah tried the door knob, but found it locked.
“I told you sir,
there’s no way for us to have a meeting today. Mr. Albertson is out, and
I’m far too busy with pressing matters.”
like finishing up the illegal foreclosure on the Haynes place?”
Mr. Gantry’s eyes
widened and his mouth fell open. At the same time Micah took a step back,
lifted his right leg, and slammed his foot into the door near the handle.
The door flung open and broken pieces of the door frame flew into the
room. Alvin and the secretary were cowering behind an enormous solid oak
desk. Micah threw Mr. Gantry against the desk saying, “Alvin stand up you
coward.” He nodded toward the secretary and said,” Ma’am, no lady should
have to witness this. Would you kindly oblige me by closin’ the door on
your way out?” He turned his attention back to the task at hand, his
anger beginning to boil over. Once the secretary was gone, and the door
closed, Micah turned an intense stare on the two men.
“Now, as for you
two, I have a problem. Do you two like to pick on widows and poor folks?”
Mr. Gantry spoke
up, “No sir. We try to be as fair and generous as possible with all of
our clients. Ms. Haynes has fallen behind reconciliation on her loan so
we were forced to foreclose.”
“I am under the
impression she has two days yet to make a payment…is that correct?”
but she has demonstrated a callous disregard for due dates in the past, and we
felt it was in the best interest of the bank to be done with the situation once
and for all.”
Is that what Ms. Haynes is to you, a situation? Let me ask you this; is
it the habit of this bank to break the law in such a reckless manner every time
they perform an eviction?”
“We have not broken
the law!” Alvin chimed in.
“You have broken
the law at every turn, Alvin. You have denied Ms. Haynes her full time to
make full payment of her debt.”
The two men looked
sheepishly at one another trying to come up with an answer that would satisfy
Micah. It was in vain, however, because Micah would not be satisfied with
any answer. He continued his tirade, “Did either of you gentlemen receive
a letter informing this bank not to make any moves on the Haynes property
because payment in full was on its way?”
“Yes,” they said in
“Why did you
disregard that letter?”
“It seemed like an
attempt by Ms. Haynes to put off the foreclosure,” Mr. Gantry said.
“Well that letter
was from me. I am a man of some means, and I am in love with Ms.
Haynes. The fact that this bank has been involved in the mental torture
of her over the past eight years makes my blood boil. You two gentlemen
are the cause of my anger, and therefore, will receive the brunt of my
wrath.” Until this point Micah had been speaking in a civilized tone with
Mr. Gantry and Mr. Albertson, but his voice took on an angry edge as he
continued. “I am a patient man, and have never been one for vengeance,
but when it comes to those I care about I will not be lenient in the least.
I would inflict bodily harm to you, but I don’t think that would change
your ways, although, it would make me feel better. I think you two would
be hurt far worse if I hit you in the pocketbook.”
The two men looked
scared and curious at the same time. “What do you mean? We don’t
have any of your money on deposit here.”
“According to my
sources you received a substantial deposit here today around 12 o’clock.”
The men went slack jawed. Micah was enjoying this moment; he had taken
these boys by complete surprise. “It should have been a two million
dollar deposit delivered by an armored stagecoach. Do you gentlemen
receive that sort of cash on a regular basis, or does that ring a bell.”
The two men could
not speak. They were horrified that they had disrespected the man that
was now the bank’s single largest depositor. The smile on Micah’s face
was growing wider by the second and he was not about to let Alvin and Lonny off
the hook. “I have here,” he produced a paper from his pocket, “a signed
receipt with two signatures on it. One appears to say Alvin Albertson and
a little smudged, but is that Lonny
Gantry?” He dangled the paper in front of their reddening faces.
Their eyes danced around as they tried to read the two names. They knew,
however, that the marks were their own. It had not been two hours earlier
that they had received the cash and placed it in their vault.
“I also received
word from the foreman of the delivery team that he personally handed a note to
Mr. Gantry along with the deposit. Did you see this note Lonny?”
Lonny nodded his
head yes. He pulled from his jacket pocket an unopened envelope.
Micah shook his head in disgust. “In all the excitement of the moment I
forgot about the note.”
“Please open it and
read what it says.”
opened the envelope, unfolded the paper, and read, “Dear Sir, please deduct all
necessary cash from my deposit to cover any and all debts owed by the Haynes
farm. I appreciate your quick action, and will be by at my convenience to
pick up the deed.” The note slipped from Mr. Gantry’s trembling fingers.
narrowed. “And to think, I thought you fellas’ just had a devil-may-care
attitude, but it turns out you run a shoddy operation. I have a mind to
call back the armored coach and withdraw every last cent I put into this
Mr. Albertson found
his courage as he was faced with losing the two million dollar deposit.
“No. Please sir, what can we do to keep your business?”
“Now that is caring
for the customer, Alvin. If only you gentlemen would care that much for
all of your customers, I would not have had to come down here in such an
unpleasant mood this afternoon. I will tell you what you can do for me.”
The men leaned forward in anticipation. “You can give me the deed to Ms.
Gantry reached into his pocket and produced the document.
“Johnny on the spot
I see,” Micah chuckled and shook his head. “You can give that to Ms.
Haynes when you two come out to her farm to apologize this afternoon. I
have also heard some unpleasantness about Ms. Haynes heirloom
candlesticks.” The color drained from Mr. Gantry’s face. “I see you know
what I am talking about, Lonny. Tell me about that.”
“That was a legal
sale of collateral put on deposit with the bank by Ms. Haynes. The board
approved the sale of the items.”
“Well did the board
know it was not their right to sell the candlesticks?”
“It was within the
rights of the board to make that decision.”
“Boys, I know a
little something about banking, and I know what you have done is against the
law. I am done talking about who had the right to do what, and
when. I am going to tell you this once, so listen carefully. I
don’t care what you have to do to get those heirlooms back, but I don’t want to
see your sorry faces on her farm until you have Ms. Haynes’ candlesticks.
And I expect you there in an hour.”
The two men nodded
in agreement, and watched Micah walk out the door. As he left he held up
one finger to emphasize the one hour time limit. He mounted his horse and
galloped away in a flash.