The Final Goodbye By: J.L. Jacobs © 2015 (Full Length Book)

Out of sheer desperation, Sophia Lancaster flees her small town of Wellington, Ohio in order to become a mail-order-bride. Naive and full of hope, her world is shattered once again as she is quickly wed to Travis Ewing who seems to despise her from the moment they meet.

Over time, they fall madly in love with each other but Fate has other plans in store for them. This is a suspenseful and very emotional love story that is set in the 1890's where history comes alive. You will laugh and cry over Sophia's journey through hell and back as she fights for the only thing she truly believes in: Love.

*I love to hear your comments and feedback but please DO NOT POST ANY SPOILER ALERTS OR GIVE AWAY STORY INFO. This ruins the reading experience for others.* This is a rough draft version. This book is for mature readers over the age of 17 only. It does contain some profanity and a few graphic love scenes. The synopsis will be re-written, and I will be updating the book with edits.

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18. Chapter Eighteen: Expect the Unexpected

Chapter Eighteen: Expect the Unexpected

 

 

     Sophia stared at Dr. May who left her utterly confused. He certainly gave her some news all right; some good and the other bad. Either way, how would she cope with either of them? She had never, ever, expected this to happen at all. In fact, the thought never even crossed her mind. As if the cancer diagnosis wasn't bad enough, now this? Good lord, what was she to do now? To both her doctors' knowledge, this matter was a first for them in either of their medical careers, and Dr. Halsted especially became intrigued by this information from a medical perspective. He was mumbling incoherently and taking notes about following her case to write a medical journal regarding her outcome. Her case, as he called it, would be a historical documentation for the medical community for all future medical students and doctors who will be able to read his findings to use as reference point for future patients worldwide. She decidedly had mixed thoughts on the subject, and since she already did not plan on telling Travis about her cancer, how could she face this new bit of information? Her web of lies was becoming larger than life. This was one particular secret she wouldn't be able to hide from him. She couldn't. Eventually he was going to need to know, but that did not make her feel any better one bit. In actuality, it made her even more anxious. Hells fire! Why this? Why now? She left her appointment with a very strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. That examination had felt very violating to her, and now with the current news and state of affairs, she just felt awful. She sighed. Since she had already posted mail to Rachel, Maybelle, Nellie, and her parents back home just before she went to her appointment, she really didn't have a good reason to stall here in town. Except she couldn't go back just yet. It was an overly warm day with no breeze, and she began to feel perspiration in many areas of her body. She needed to get indoors somewhere that had an electric fan. Lunch at The Blue Moon sounded like a good idea, so she told the carriage driver to take her there, and then gingerly climbed into the stuffy and humid carriage to take a seat.

 

     It did not take long to reach her destination, so she climbed out of the carriage and made her way inside The Blue Moon. At this time of the day, which was nearing the noon hour, the bar had quite a number of patrons already there to eat lunch and partake in their spirits. Even her carriage driver came in for a drink and a bite to eat. Sophia sat down at a smaller table with two chairs on each side of it which was located towards the back of the establishment. The interior had very dim lighting and the room itself was smoky from various men smoking pipes, cigars, and cheroots. Her driver, who chose to sit on a bar stool at the bar, was served first. Within seconds the barkeep handed him a small glass of whiskey per his request. After five more minutes, he was then handed a bowl of something that he began to eat with gusto. Sophia was still waiting to be served. She knew that the tavern wenches had saw her, so after another five minutes her irritation got the best of her, especially since four men who had just came in and sat down got to place their orders straight away. That was it! Sophia got up and walked over to the barkeep and said, "What does it take to get served around here?" Her narrowed eyes looked sharply into the eyes of the barkeep. He gave a similar look to match her own. "Well, Ma'am, truth be told that this here establishment is for men only. You want service, I suggest you take your business somewhere else." he replied icily. Sophia became instantly irate and bent her small framed body over the bar to grab the man by his shirt. The look of shock was quickly replaced by one of horror as she began to scream at him. "You had better get me a drink and some food straight away or the next time I have to ask I won't be as pleasant about it!" She loosened her grip on his shirt and it only took a few seconds for the man to raise his voice at her. By this time, all the patrons in the bar, including her carriage driver, was looking at the exchange with rapt attention and bemusement. "I done told you that we don't serve women folk here. Now you can leave on your own or I can physically show you the way out!" He snapped back at her. Since the carriage driver worked for Travis, he came quickly came to Sophia's defense. "Look mister," he began saying to the upset bar keep, "This here is Mrs. Travis Ewing. You may not want women in here but I think it would be a foolish move to ask her to leave. I highly suggest you serve the lady or else I may have to mention this little incident to my boss when I get back." The bar keep continued to look quite angry but knew at that point he had no other choice than to serve her. "What will you be having today Madam?" he said to her sarcastically. "I'd like a bowl of the stew and a mint julep if you please." Sophia retorted with a false smile. Without another word, the bar keep went to the kitchen to give the cook her order. He returned a few minutes later and handed her the mint julep by slamming it on the hard wooden counter, causing some of the drink's cold contents to spill over. "That'll be ten cents." he said after handing her the drink. Sophia reached into her reticule and gave the man the exact change that did not include a tip. She sat down on the bar stool next to the driver and took a long sip of the cold beverage. It was very refreshing and helped to quench her dry throat. "That guy is a bastard half the time. Pay him no mind." the driver said to her apologetically. "Well, I owe you a big thank you for coming to my rescue like that. I don't know what his problem is. I came here only because Elsie Prescott told me she liked the place. She's a woman, so why doesn't she get hassled like that?" "Well Mrs. Ewing, Elsie Prescott comes from one of the richest and oldest families in Dallas. There isn't one place in this town that she and her money is not welcomed at. Money makes doors open when they are normally closed. To be honest, that's why you finally got served. Your husband's pockets are deep and he is both well-known and very respected in this city." Sophia pondered on that for a few minutes until her bowl of piping hot stew was brought to her along with a thick chunk of buttered bread. She didn't bother to say thanks to the barkeep, but instead, grabbed her bread and dunked it into the hot gravy and took a ravenous bite. She was famished and her stomach had been growling for the last hour. That bite tasted so good! Not even five minutes later, the whole bowl was gone and she used the last bit of bread to sop up the last of the gravy to finish off her meal. Not long after, they headed back to the ranch. She'd needed to get there right quick in order to feed the children and Travis their luncheon meal, which she almost completely forgot about and would be served way late. But after such a good meal and that bit of drink which calmed her nerves down, she now felt ready to face her family.

 

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     Later that night, after some vigorous love making between her and Travis, she laid in his arms mulling over what to tell him or not tell him regarding her visit with the doctors earlier. As her husband, she felt he needed to at least know part of the truth. She rolled over onto her side ever so slightly in order to look up at him. Her face was now near his chest and the smell of him was so very manly. He smelled slightly of sweat, but he also had this natural musky scent about him that she was coming to know and love. "Travis, I need to talk to you about something." she said simply. His half-closed eyes were drowsy from his hard work on the ranch earlier that day, combined with their lovemaking and him just being flat out tired. He gave a sleepy smile and kissed her forehead. "Do tell me whatever it is love." he replied in his huskier-than-usual southern drawl. "I have been thinking about some things. First, I'd like to start by saying that my sister Rachel is having a baby that is due sometime in early January. At first she thought it would be at the end of that month but her doctor indicated otherwise as I learned in a letter she had recently sent to me. I promised her before I left to come out here that I would go back up there to visit so I can be with her when my niece or nephew is born. She and I are only a year apart in age, and she and I have been very close our whole lives. It would mean a lot to me if I could be there." Travis smiled, "I am sure we can make that happen. I believe Mrs. Cox will be back here in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner, so I don't see any problem with you going. It's still a few months away and she usually stays here for the holidays." Sophia smiled herself. He really was so good to her. "There's something else though. I would really love it if you and the children would go with me. I want you to meet my family and that is the perfect time for you to do so." Once again he smiled down at her, "I would love to go but I am not sure I can work a trip like that out. There is just too much work here for me at here at the ranch to attend to. That's the time of year when we are preparing the livestock for the spring cattle drive. Many of the cattle give birth around that time. I just don't see how I would be able to leave." Sophia couldn't help but feel disappointed. Then a thought came to her which might help in changing his mind. "Well, I can certainly understand that. I just figured since, well, in my condition, that you would want to go with me is all." Travis laid there for several moments feeling content until what she said to him finally registered in his brain. His eyes took on a look of confusion at first as he looked down at her. He scrambled to sit himself upright in the bed, then pulled her up onto his naked lap. "What do you mean about in your condition?" he asked her brusquely. He was very aware of the fact that something was going on with her health, and it instantly caused him to panic. She put her hands on each side of his face and drew him in for a deep and sensual kiss. Seconds later she could feel his manhood rise up against her bottom. She then leaned in to whisper softly in his ear, "That means that I am having your baby." A look of total shock froze his facial features. He stared at her not saying a word for many moments which made Sophia feel quite perplexed. She imagined that he would be thrilled about this bit of news. "Travis," she urged, "please... say something!" He drew her in closer so that he could wrap his arms around her in a tight hug. "You're having our child? A baby? As wonderful as that sounds, I have to be honest in saying that I am scared to hell about it as well. My last wife died after giving birth as you already know. That's not an image that will ever stop haunting me and I cannot bear it if that happened to you as well." The last part of his declaration ended in a choked up voice. She pulled herself out of his arms to look at him square in the eyes. "I wouldn't be honest if I said I wasn't thinking about that as well, or that I am not somewhat scared myself. But we are going to have a baby and I promise I will do my best to not die on you." she said, partially trying to inject a tiny bit of humor into the conversation. "When did you find out?" he inquired softly. "I found out late this morning when I went to see Dr. May." she answered solemnly, "Oh please Travis, let's not worry. This is my first child and I want to savor every moment of it. I'll admit that I was shocked when I found out, but after having some time to think about it today, I have to declare that I am really excited. I have always dreamed of the day when I would be able to have a baby. Having your child only makes me all the more happier. So this is also why I would like you to go visit Wellington with me in late December. It would only be four to five weeks or so that we would have to be gone. It's a ten day trip there and back unless we take an express train. Then we could all be there in five or six days. That will cost more money of course, but it would save on time which might be well worth the extra cost." Without any further words, he slowly pulled up her thin satin night gown from her sleek body, drew it over her head, and threw it down to the ground. She was now completely naked and he basked in the sight of her. He looked down at her firm belly with the ugly scar just below and traced it lightly with the tip of his index finger. The touch made her tremble slightly. He then placed his right hand over her belly and smiled. "A baby." he commented. He leaned forward to kiss her passionately on the mouth as his hands toyed with her ample breasts which were decidedly fuller from her pregnancy. His kiss weakened her whole body as it grew hot with anticipation. When they had made love just a short while ago, he hadn't even bothered to take off her nightgown that time; he had just pulled it up while he had his way with her. He gently lifted her up just far enough so that he could ease his throbbing shaft inside her. She was wet, hot, and felt so damned good. He gently lowered her down so that she once again cradled his lap with his rock hard penis deep inside. She began to move in small circles, then rocked herself back and forth against him hard enough so that her bud created friction from those movements. Her pleasure began to build almost immediately and it didn't take long before she began to feel her climax coming on very strongly. Her hands, which were wrapped around his neck, began to dig their fingernails into his skin from the overwhelming amount of pleasure the climax was evoking in her. She moaned loudly and rubbed her bud against him even more strongly as his hips rocked back and forth, going faster and faster. She could barely contain herself when the climax had reached its peak which made her cry out in profound ecstasy. At the same time he had heard her cries of joy, Travis felt his own orgasm beginning and he rocked her faster back and forth, and pushed inside her as deeply as he possibly could. She was so wet. So blessedly alluring. She felt so damned good when his cock was inside her. His climax came with a startling amount of pleasure as he, too, cried out. He had never experienced such wondrous lovemaking with another woman in his whole life. Sophia made his other sexual encounters feel lame and dull in comparison. He decided right in that moment that he would be taking that trip to Wellington with his wife come hell or high water. There was no way he could go that long without her. It was just that simple.

 

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November 13, 1890

Life in Texas with my new family has been such a wonder that I oftentimes have to pinch myself to make sure this isn't just some dream. Before I had arrived here I knew next to nothing about being a rancher's wife. With Mrs. Cox's kind tutelage and patience, I can now do anything around here that she used to do before I arrived. She still comes to help out every day since Mr. Cox is always busy in the cookhouse, so that leaves her with the time to spend with me and the children during the day. I really enjoy her company and we have settled in to a nice routine over the last few months. She is like a second mother to me and I cherish having her here to help me out. She receives regular posts from her daughter that updates her about her grandson which she gushes to me about. I truly enjoy her enthusiasm and seeing the love she feels for her first grandchild. Just last week I felt the first few flutters of the baby growing inside of me. I am now four months gone and my stomach is starting to grow a little rounder now. Every night Travis makes it a point to feel my stomach. He is so very excited about the baby, as am I. Even Mikey and Hope ask every single day when the baby will get here, and each time I laugh and tell them not until sometime in April which is what Dr. May told me. I have had no more pains as of yet since I have been pregnant and fully recovered from my surgery. Dr. May thinks I was already pregnant when he did my surgery and is amazed I did not miscarry the baby in that early stage. If that's the case, then I conceived this baby the very first time Travis and I have ever made love. I am so very thankful to God that I didn't miscarry after everything my body has been through. It really is something short of a miracle.  

I still have my weekly visits with both Dr. Halsted and Dr. May, and Dr. Halsted takes many notes down during my appointments. He considers this pregnancy to be a miracle in itself considering the cancer and all. He says that oftentimes a pregnancy will compensate for other ailments as the body adjusts and grows to accommodate the baby. He is quick to remind me that just because I am not feeling any pains that it doesn't mean the cancer has gone away. I am the first woman that he has ever heard of to be pregnant and have cancer. I still have not told Travis about the cancer situation yet. I fear that the longer I wait, the worse he will take the news. We have grown so close to each other in such a short amount of time, and I do not want our marital bliss to end. He is already very protective of me by making sure I do not do anything that can jeopardize the baby or myself. If he knew about the cancer.... well.... I just don't know what he'd say or do. 

Late next month we will be leaving here to visit my family in Ohio and I am so eager to see them all and have them meet the love of my life. I have not told any of them yet about my news. When I arrive I would like to tell them in person if I can conceal my  ever-growing belly by that point. Since it will be much colder in Ohio at that time, the concealing part shouldn't be overly hard since I can legitimately layer my clothing to compensate for the much colder climate. Mikey and Hope are very eager for the trip (I still cannot believe that they have never seen snow before!), and I even believe that Travis is excited in his own way. Life is just so darned blessed for me right now. I feel like I have truly made this ranch my home and couldn't ask for a better husband or step-children. Oh! I just felt the baby move again! What an exciting feeling that is!

 

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     "Well I'll be damned woman, you sure did out-do yourself this time!" Travis exclaimed after he walked into the kitchen to see a fully set and decorated table with the fine china that Sophia's parents had sent to them as another wedding present only months before. That present had taken longer to arrive than the other one since it had been shipped in crates. This was the first time Sophia had fully unpacked and used it, and it was absolutely beautiful! Hope and Mikey, along with Mr. and Mrs. Cox, were already seated and eagerly anticipating the wonderful smelling food that Sophia had labored over all day to prepare and cook for them on this Thanksgiving evening. Mr. Cox had cooked a separate spread for the ranch hands in the cookhouse a little bit earlier that the hands were now enjoying. Travis took off his denim jacket and hung it on the coat rack near the back door, then walked briskly over to his wife in order to scoop her up in his arms as he planted a deep kiss on her lips. As he set her down ever-so-gently, he took a quick little pinch at her firm bottom which made her squeal out loud. "Travis!" she laughed in shock while quickly taking off her apron to roll it up. As Travis was headed for his seat, he felt a swift smack at his own bottom from her rolled up apron that cracked in the air as it had made contact. The children laughed in delight at seeing their more and more common antics towards each other like that, and Mrs. Cox couldn't help but to think about how Sophia brought out a playful side of Travis that she had never really seen before. Well, perhaps before he married Rebecca. But after, well, things were just... different. When Rebecca was alive, her and Travis were always much more formal and reserved towards each other. There was never any show of affection between the two of them, at least, not like Travis and Sophia showed each other regularly. It was more than obvious to anyone who observed the two of them together that they were deeply in love and were very much enjoying the honeymoon phase of their marriage. 

 

     Sophia put her dirty apron on the counter and walked over towards the table, taking a moment to delight in the vision. Nellie had always made a pretty table for all the holiday meals back home, so using her skills as an example, Sophia had tried really hard to make it just as beautiful as Nellie would have done. She hollowed out gourds and mini pumpkins to pour in some candle wax to make some festive looking candles, and even made a garland of the pretty falls leaves in their colorful array of reds, oranges, and yellows. She had purchased orange cloth napkins to use along with a pretty brown and beige laced tablecloth. On top of the table, along with the pretty decorations, sat a big fat turkey that was cooked to a golden perfection which accompanied various dishes of honeyed yams, whipped buttered potato's with a boat chock full of thick turkey gravy, homemade buttered rolls, and a savory dish of stuffing. Cooling on the counters were three pies; pumpkin, pecan, and a dutch apple. Sophia had made good use of the recipe book that Nellie had made and sent to her months ago, and she had even made Nellie's famous butter to use in all the dishes. If truth be told, the work was grueling even with the help of Mrs. Cox and the children. Sophia was downright exhausted but all her hard work surely did pay off. She had never been so proud of herself in her entire life! She sat down as Mikey said excitedly, "Pa, say the blessing please so we can eat!" "Yeah Papa, hurry it up already! I am positively going to die of starvation!" Hope proclaimed with an impish smile. Just a few days ago she had lost her first tooth, so when she smiled, it was cute to see the obvious gap that she was so proud of. Travis chuckled as everyone held hands and bowed their heads in prayer. "Heavenly Father, we ask that you bless this meal, the hands that prepared it. Bless all of us sitting here tonight as we enjoy our lovely feast as one big happy family. In Jesus's name we pray, Amen." Travis said solemnly. Everyone else chimed in their own "Amen's" and Travis began to carve the turkey as Sophia passed the other dishes of food around. She helped herself to a generous amount of food as her appetite never seemed to cease. When the meal was finished, she instructed the children to gently rinse off the china while Mrs. Cox cleared the rest of the table so that Sophia could serve coffee and pie to everyone. Travis didn't budge. He watched his family work as a team with a smile on his face. He had never felt so happy until Sophia came into his life. She had changed him from a bitter man whose cynicism became quite profound after Rebecca's death, partly out of guilt, and partly out of rage. But now he looked forward to working hard each day knowing that he could come home to a wife who loved him as much as he loved her.

 

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     Later that night, after Sophia had tucked the children into bed and read them each a bedtime story, she headed for the bathing room in order to take her customary nightly bath. Most of the time Travis would join her, so she wasn't surprised to see that the bath had already been drawn when she walked in the room. She could smell the light scent of roses which meant that Travis had put in some of her essence oil into the steamy warm water. Knowing that she loved using the essence oils, he had purchased several bottle just for these occasions. "Well it's about time you arrived." he said to her in a sultry voice. He was already undressed in all his naked glory which made Sophia smile in appreciation at the display before her eyes. He helped her undress and as he eased the dress over her head, her sore muscles retaliated causing her to moan slightly in pain. "What is it?" he asked her as his eyes beseeched her own in worry. "It's nothing to fuss over. I am just plumb worn out and sore is all." Sophia smiled as if to re-assure him, "Really, I am quite fine. That bath is just what I need." He got in the tub and held out his arm for her to hold onto while she got in just after him. They both reclined back, her on top of him. "Ahhhh." she murmured in delight as the deliciously warm water began to work its magic on her worn out body. As usual, Travis's manhood grew and poked her side and it never ceased to make her giggle just a little bit. Travis gently massaged her arms and shoulders and she laid there in contentment, her eyes closing of their own accord. Several minutes later he stopped the massage so that he could cup her growing belly with both his palms. "How much longer do you think before I will be able to feel the baby move?" he asked her quietly. Just on the brink of falling asleep, she murmured, "I am not exactly sure. Maybe another month or so?" They continued to lay there quietly as she fell into an exhausted sleep. Unsure of how much time had gone by, she was abruptly awoken with Travis's urgent cries, "Sophia, wake up!" She groaned; she did not want to comply with his insistent shaking of her shoulders. "Let me be just a few more minutes Travis. Please. I am so sleepy." "No, Sophia, you have to get up. Now! Something's wrong!" Hearing the urgency in his voice she quickly opened her eyes and sat up to look behind at him. From the look on his face, something was indeed very wrong. "You're bleeding." he said, pointing a finger at the water near the apex of her thighs. Turning back around, she saw blood in the water and it caused her heart to lurch. She quickly got up and out of the bathing tub as blood seeped its way down her legs. "Oh my God Travis, we have to get to the hospital. Now!" she cried out in a choked sob. He was out of the water in an instant, drying both him and herself as quickly as he possibly could. They quickly dressed and Sophia placed a towel in her pantaloons to help soak up the blood. Twenty minutes later, after he had woken up one of the ranch hands to drive the carriage, he had helped Sophia inside and climbed in right after her. He held her tight the whole way there while she sobbed. "Please God," she begged out loud many times, "Please don't take my baby!"

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