Authors: Paige Powers
Leap of Love Series,
Global Village Publications
(Leap of Love Series, Book 2)
Copyright 2014 Paige Powers, Global Village Publications
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Table Of Contents
Brent hauled the hay onto the wagon. The heat from the South Carolina sun was scorching on a day like today. It was the dead of summer, but work still had to be done. No matter how much he wiped the sweat from his brow, more poured down on him. This was the next to the last haul for the day, and the end of the work day could not come too soon.
Getting back home to his son was at the forefront of Brent's mind. Adam was the light of his life and everything he did, he did for his son. That was the main reason why Brent wanted to move away. Any chance at a better life was worth taking.
Brent Abbott was one of ten boys. Part of the Abbott clan, he had been born and raised in a little town outside of Charleston, South Carolina. His parents did not have much and they did the best that they could to provide for ten children. Life was not always easy, but there was a lot of love in the Abbott home.
Making a living off of the land was all that Brent knew. He and his brothers worked on their parents' land and sold produce at the local market. His father also made and sold furniture as well. Whatever helped them to make a living. The entire family worked together.
Brent's younger brother Ben was one of the first brothers to break the mold and go off on his own. Ben now lived in San Francisco with his wife and children and worked as a Pinkerton Detective. It was a respectable job and Brent admired the fact that Ben had gone off on his own and branched out from the family.
The train ride across the country to Ben's wedding had been a true eye opener for Brent. He had never been anywhere out of the county, so riding across country had certainly opened Brent's mind up to more possibilities.
And when he saw the flyer for the Texas Rangers, it completely blew Brent's mind. He did not let anyone know that he had an interest in leaving South Carolina and he definitely did not want anyone to know that he had been walking around with the flyer in his possession for the past few months.
Brent sent a wire to the Sheriff Samuel Dyer listed on the paper, and if nothing ever came of his correspondence, Brent did not want to go through discussing his rejection with his family, especially with his mother. It was best to keep it to himself for now.
He was not sure anyone would understand his desire to leave South Carolina. Not many people left the place where they were born and raised. Family was there and there would be no other reason to go into unchartered territories.
The trip across country made Brent truly think about what life would be like for himself and Adam if they lived elsewhere. There in their small corner of the world, he had his mother as a proper female figure for his son since the death of his wife. Adam's mother had been the love of Brent's life.
They were married young and as far as he was concerned, they had the rest of their lives together to dream. But she died in childbirth five years ago, leaving Brent a widower raising their child on his own. Everyday that he looked at Adam, his saw his loving wife's eyes. Adam was caring and funny like his mother, and Brent was thankful everyday that he got to see that piece of his wife live on.
But being in South Carolina seemed to be a firestorm of trouble. The state had seceded from the Union and there were talks of a war starting. Brent did not want that kind of life for his son and when they went to California, he recognized that no one talked of war or slavery or any of those other things that permeated their lives in the south.
That made thoughts of going to Texas that much sweeter. It would be a great way to start over. Here in South Carolina, without his beloved Caroline, life never failed to remind him that he was a widower. His mother was always trying to arrange for him to meet some young woman and when he showed no interest, Brent could tell that it broke his mother's heart.
In his mind, Texas would be a great place to live as he always wanted. He would not have to worry about people's pity and their desires to pair him with some woman that did not measure up to his dear Caroline.
Brent gathered the rest of the hay and tied the bundle before throwing it in the stack with the rest.
He breathed a sigh of relief that his labor was complete for the day. Using his handkerchief to wipe the sweat from his brow, Brent stood looking at all of his hard work for the day. He took a deep breath, inhaling the familiar scent of the farm.
It was a scent that he knew so well. He was pretty sure it permeated his entire being. He had been a farmer his entire life and did not know anything else. Therein was another challenge: completely starting over with another career. It dawned on him that he would have to find a nanny for his son because he was sure that working as a ranger, he would not be working conventional hours.
Being in Texas meant no family as well. They had never lived anywhere there was no family and until taking the train ride to California, Brent had never thought to live anywhere else.
That train ride taught him that there was truly life outside of South Carolina. To see the expanse of the states was amazing. It was unlike any experience he had ever had. Deep down, he had always wanted to travel outside of South Carolina, but when he was settled down with Caroline their home was their world. And when she was with child, carrying Adam in her womb, there was no other place he would have rather been.
Moving seemed an impossible feat. But there was not much to it he supposed. They would need to pack very little. He did not want to bring much with them if they got the opportunity to leave.
A clean break was what they needed and Brent planned on starting over in every sense of the word.
"Mama, tell me that story again."
Adam sat on the floor perched near his grandmother's feet. Brent's mother rocked slowly in her chair.
"My dear boy! How many times do you want me to tell this story?" She stroked the dirty blonde hairs on his head.
"You are just like your daddy. Always inquisitive. He could listen to me tell the bear and the ranger story over and over again. I think it is time for bed."
Brent stood in the doorway, watching the interaction between his son and his mother. It was a relationship that he treasured. There was so much appreciation for all that his mother had done for him, stepping in to help with Adam. She always told him that she would do whatever she could to be there for the both of them because that was what family did for one another. Brent, on the other hand knew that his mother had gone above and beyond her call of duty as a grandmother and he never wanted her to feel taken advantage of.
"Aww, Mama. Please. One more time," Adam begged.
"Listen to your grandmother. How many times has she told you that story tonight alone?" Brent spoke as he stepped in the room.
The light from the kerosene lamp danced softly against their faces.
"Maybe two," Adam answered and giggled as he held up two fingers.
"Okay, well two times is more than enough tonight, buddy. Say goodnight."
Adam kissed his grandmother and then jumped into Brent's arms.
Brent's mother smiled. "Goodnight dear."
Brent walked up the creaking stairs and took his son to his bedroom. They lived with his parents. After Caroline died, his mother had thought it best so she could keep an eye on Adam full time while Brent worked the farm. She thought that it did not make sense for them to travel to her home everyday when she had a few extra rooms where they could lay their heads.
It was not something that Brent wanted to agree to at first. The idea of being a grown man living with his parents was not appealing. But it worked out for all of them. He got to help out at the farm, his son had his grandmother at his disposal twenty four hours a day, and Brent's mother could do what she did best, nurture her boys.
"Now, you lie down and get some rest, Adam."
Adam smiled. "Okay, Daddy." He turned over and snuggled under the covers.
Brent watched as his son slept. The feeling of peace that settled over them was comforting. He pulled the door shut and went downstairs.
"Is he sleeping soundly?"
"Yes. As soon as he laid down."
Mrs. Abbott nodded and rocked slowly in her chair. "Good. Sit down. It looks like you have a lot on your mind, son."
Brent sat in the chair next to his mother.
"Your father has gone up to bed already. Tell me what's on your mind."
Brent thought quickly if he should tell his mother what his plans were. He decided against it. There was no need to get her upset if things did not pan out.
"Nothing much, Mama. I just worry about Adam is all."
She reached her hand over to touch his gently. "Don't you worry. That is a good boy there. And you work hard for him. The Lord will provide for the two of you. And you are welcome here as long as you would like. As a matter of fact, I kind of like the company. I have not had a young un’ 'round here in some time. I think he's keeping me youthful."
Mrs. Abbott jokingly raised her chin and showed Brent her profile. They laughed.
"I must agree," Brent replied.
"Good. I do worry about you as well, Son. I know that Caroline, sweet Caroline, has been gone now for five years. How do you feel about moving on?"
Brent shrugged. "Hadn't really thought about it." He moved his hand from hers and sat back in his chair, his posture rigid.
Mrs. Abbott just nodded. "She was a good woman. A sweet woman. And I know she would be proud of how you have raised Adam. When he smiles, I see so much of her in him."
That comment softened Brent's heart. "Me too, Mama."
"Just think about it. That's all I'm telling you. You are a strapping, handsome young man. You do not have to live this life without companionship. But I know that will come when the time is right."
For a moment, there was nothing but the creaking of the rocking chairs and the crackle of the fire.
"Well, I think I will retire for the night. Don't stay up thinking too hard, Son."
They said their goodnights and his mother retired to her room, leaving Brent to sit and think.
For a brief second, doubt crept into his mind. He was not sure if leaving would be the right thing to do. To move away and leave his parents, taking Adam from everything and everyone that he knew and loved to go live out west seemed risky and daring. It seemed like something that a responsible parent would not do unless he absolutely had to. But Brent needed a change in his life and that much he knew was necessary.
He closed his eyes and sat there before the fire hearth, contemplated what would be best. The answer to these kinds of things never came easy. But then and again, life had not thus far been easy for him anyway.
It had been over a month since Brent sent the wire for the Texas rangers. He did not want to worry himself going back and forth to the telegraph office waiting for the response. It had been at least a week since he last went into town. This morning he had no choice because he had to settle some accounts for his parents.
A stop by the telegraph office would be in order. He was not sure what he would do if he did not hear any word. It would be great to get a response either way. At least then he would not be lingering around waiting for something that would never happen.