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.


12. Chapter Twelve: New Discoveries

Chapter Twelve: New Discoveries



July 22, 1890

It's very early morning and I have not slept hardly a wink all night. My mind races as I lay in the bed of my hotel room, my thoughts swirling over my upcoming surgery this morning and over my leaving the ranch last night. I didn't have the heart to leave until after the children were asleep. I have only been here in Texas for twelve days now but it feels like it has been so much longer and not necessarily in a bad way. All though to be honest, it's not been exactly easy for me since I have arrived either. 

Yesterday I did my part by doing the wash, cooking meals, and spending some time with both Hope and Mrs. Cox. Now that Hope doesn't have her feet bandaged up, she was free to walk, play, and run around which was enjoyable to watch. She and I went swimming in the pond and the water was so refreshing on our hot bodies. We tried our best to coax Mrs. Cox to come in the water with us but she wasn't having it. One of the ranch hands passing by the pond saw us and yelled out a greeting saying, "Tallyho Little Chicken!" He took off his cowboy hat and tipped it towards me in a slight bow but he was not making fun of me out of menace, rather, he did it quite lightheartedly. That made Hope roar with laughter and I couldn't help but giggle along with her. Hope has not called me 'Ma' since the other day but hearing that only the one time made my heart sing after I got over the initial shock of it. I will really miss that little girl. As Mrs. Cox and I did the wash, I told her about me leaving the ranch again. She admitted to knowing about Travis wanting the marriage dissolved. She heard it straight from Travis's mouth and apparently Mr. Cox had talked with her about it some more since then. She said that her and her husband shared no secrets. I wish I could say the same about Travis and myself. I am harboring one hellava secret and only Dr. May and Elsie Prescott are aware of it. I swore them both to secrecy. At one point I almost confided into Mrs. Cox then decided quickly against it. She would surely tell Mr. Cox who would then tell Travis and I do not want him knowing about this! Not like that. Perhaps if he and I were in love or even better acquainted, I would feel comfortable doing so, but under the circumstances, I just don't feel it's something worth sharing. Now if he were Jeremy on the other hand, I would have done so in a heartbeat. Jeremy and I had that type of closeness. Heck, Jeremy is a doctor so he more than likely would have noticed something was wrong and insisted on me getting it checked out. Jeremy. My heart cannot seem to get over the loss of him as quickly as my mind wishes it to. Now I am married to Travis who doesn't want me either and that hurts my heart and soul really bad. I will be forced to start thinking about where I will go after our marriage has been dissolved. I know I cannot return home as my tarnished reputation will only bring shame down upon my family and I cannot do that to them. I love them too much to hurt any of them that way. No, I will have to start fresh somewhere new. Thanks to Mrs. Cox teaching me lots of homemaking skills, I think I will be able to manage somehow but it will be tough as I do not have much money to make that fresh start with. I only have the funds Father had sent me here with, and while it is a considerable amount, I am not sure how long that would last me after traveling expenses and finding a new place to live. I will certainly have to find a working position and a thought crossed my mind that perhaps I could be a Governess. I do love children but my only setback would be that I am not properly trained nor qualified. Hells fire, I am not even sure I need to be qualified. I never had to worry about looking for a paying position before, so I have no idea what to expect. 

Now that I am no longer a virgin, I cannot even begin to think of how I will start over a new life in a new place unless I claim to be a widower, which is lying. I have also been thinking about my lack of virginity now and how selfish Travis was to take that from me knowing full well he was going to be rid of me soon. What if I were to fall in love someday and wanted to get married again? Surely the new husband would know I was not a virgin, so how would I explain that unless I pretended to be a widower? Oh, just thinking about all of this gives me such a headache. Travis didn't put up much of a fight as I left last night but he did say he'd be in touch with me soon. I am not sure what that means exactly but I am guessing he's talking about the dissolution process. My heart actually ached as the carriage pulled away from the house. It was just beginning to feel a little bit like home to me and Travis just stood outside watching. He looked so handsome too, in that rugged way of his. I wished in my head he would have yelled "stop" or anything to prevent me from leaving, but alas, he did not. I am guessing he is most likely happy that I left willingly. 

I am sitting here, writing in this journal, so scared over so many things. What if Dr. May discovers something wrong with me? There has to be something wrong as the pains cannot be explained as normal. The surgery itself scares me. What if I don't survive it? Oh what a confounded mess my life has become! I long to hear word from my family and Maybelle as I am positively starved for news from back home. I have felt so alone since leaving to come out here. I wish nothing more than to pack my belongings up and head back to Wellington but I dare not to for the reasons I have already mentioned. This is a mess of my own foolish making and it's up to me and me alone to get it sorted out. This morning, I must bide my time waiting here for Elsie to come fetch me. She has promised to take me to the hospital and will wait there until after my surgery is over. I cannot even pass the time now by getting a cup of coffee or tea as I was given strict instructions not to eat or drink anything at all since last night. My pains haven't been so bad over the last week or so which may be a good sign. I will remain hopeful. I think I will enjoy myself a nice hot bath now before it's time to go.



     Travis saddled up his horse and headed into town intending to meet with Mr. Hartley, his lawyer, about the impending dissolution of his marriage to Sophia. Something had been tugging at his heart strings ever since his lawyer was at his house over a week ago questioning Sophia in regards to his claim against her for marriage fraud. Now that Travis had actually heard her version of the story with his own ears, and then seeing first-hand how hard she was trying to satisfy his requirements as a wife, he was beginning to feel a change of heart over going through with it. She was so openly caring towards Hope and seemed to get on well with Mrs. Cox. While he saw her try real hard with Mikey, it wasn't her fault he was slow to warm up to her. Mikey had been Hope's age when his Ma had passed away so he still remembered her. Travis could only guess that Sophia's presence around the ranch made Mikey feel scared, like his Ma was being replaced. He could understand his son's feelings, but felt that in time, he would eventually warm up to Sophia. Travis had to begrudgingly admit to himself that he felt a real strong attraction towards her as well, even from the very first moment he had laid eyes on her. She was not only proving to be hard working, but she was so damned beautiful and he genuinely felt a fair amount of lust for her. She hadn't been lying when she said she was a virgin; he felt her maidenhead tear when they made love the other night, and after that night he was even more convinced that he wanted her to stick around. Otherwise, he would never have taken her virginity like that. He may be a cad sometimes but he still had the honor that was instilled into him by his own Ma and Pa since he was young boy. He knew he wasn't in love with Sophia but there was something about her that told him he could possibly fall in love with her in the future. He tried real hard to fight those feelings which wasn't easy since he was still mourning the loss of Rebecca. Guilt ate him up over it still. But Rebecca was gone and he very well couldn't go on through life wrestling with the guilt like that. At the same time though, it was there and he couldn't easily ignore it either. 


     His conflicting thoughts continued to take over his mind as he rode his horse towards Dallas. Maybe this new marriage was a sign that he was meant to move on? Didn't Sophia say as much when she was talking to Mr. Hartley during their interview? She was left at the alter by her former fiancé for Christ sake's and said she felt that Travis's advertisement seeking a mail-order bride was meant to be in her opinion. Perhaps she was right. Maybe they were meant to be together. He felt so guilty over how he had treated her when she first arrived; how cold and distant he had been. Even during their marriage ceremony, in which she must have been so scared and feeling so hurt over how he had treated her. It took Mrs. Cox's blunt assessment of his more than unwelcoming behavior towards Sophia to get him thinking about it all. He also had to admit that he hadn't made life easy for her once she'd arrived at the ranch. But she had proved various times that she was a strong woman by persevering through all the bad since she'd arrived. Mr. and Mrs. Cox both lamented to him over his treatment of her and even had words with him about his desire to dissolve the marriage. Maybe they were right. Hell, he didn't know what to make sense of anymore! Two weeks ago she was still on the train on her way there and now it had seemed like in such a short period of time that she had thawed a tiny part of his icy cold heart. He knew he had to make things right with her. Maybe he could woo her good and proper this time. He could propose offering them both a fresh start. But either way, he wanted her back at the ranch as his wife, as much as he tried to deny it otherwise. His heart was telling him that much. Hell, he should have stopped her before she even left! He had wanted to but as he watched the carriage pull away, he became speechless. He was such an idiot sometimes. If he had stopped her, would she have even stayed? Travis honestly wouldn't have blamed her if she hadn't wanted to. Not after all the hurt he had caused her. But it had to be worth a try!



     Once he got into town, the bustling city streets slowed down his progress towards Mr. Hartley's office. He had grown up in this part of Texas his whole life and over the last two decades, Dallas went from being a smaller town to a full-fledged city. More than thirty thousand residents now made up the city of Dallas, making it the largest and most prosperous city in all of Texas. His Pa had always griped and moaned over how it was growing too fast but Travis saw many opportunities emerge as the city grew. It allowed his ranch to expand and prosper when the farmers all over the state had only lost more and more money over the years. His Pa had been sick and dying when Travis decided to turn his Pa's fledgling cotton fields into a cattle ranch, which his Pa had never agreed with. But once Travis had shown that he began turning a profit after the first year, his Pa decidedly had a change of heart, especially when all the farmers were now in debt or out of business completely. Many of them had even lost their land when they could no longer pay back their bank loans or rent payments. When his Pa had died, he entitled all his land and holdings over to Travis in his will with his blessing. No, his Pa might not have liked change, but change was inevitable and had given Travis the chance to make his venture in cattle ranching successful. Travis actually got the idea from Richard King himself, the most prosperous cattle rancher in all of Texas. Richard King was a close family friend and that was fortunate for Travis because that man was very cutthroat over his own operation. It was common to hear of bandits trying to steal cattle and Richard King was no exception to their thievery. Whenever anyone had tried to steal from Mr. King, he took vengeance on them with a chilling menace. Little did Travis know that these situations would be talked about throughout history. There had been many situations in the past where shootouts had occurred and more than one man had lost his life after trying to mess with Richard King. 


     Travis's train of thought was abruptly disrupted as he pulled his horse up short, catching a glimpse of his wife walking inside the entrance to the Dallas Memorial Hospital with Elsie Prescott of all people! He had only learned the other day that the two had been acquainted with one another during the last leg of Sophia's train ride to Dallas. Elsie Prescott was a well-known and sought after Dallas socialite and had run in the same social circles as Rebecca had when she was still alive. Many a man had set his sights on Elsie Prescott as her family came from a long line of wealth and successes in the railroad enterprise. Even though Elsie's father had successful investments in the railroads, he still ran his own farm because that was his true passion. He didn't care if the farm made any money; he just loved doing it. Travis's eyes narrowed with suspicion. Why were they walking into the hospital? Then his mind immediately thought back to the other day when Sophia had secretly met with Dr. May. She hadn't been aware that Travis saw her stay behind, nor was she aware that he saw the nurse bring her back to the examination rooms through the glass window. What in the hell was that woman not telling him now? He knew she was keeping some sort of a secret from him but figured she would tell him when she was good and ready to. Well, he would find out now what the hell was going on with her! He pulled his horse up to a nearby hitching post and tethered the reins securely. As he began walking in the direction of the hospital, he heard his name being called and looked over towards the dirt road to see Roger David, an old friend of his who was currently a Texas Ranger, sitting on his horse. His Ranger's badge was glinting in the sun. "Hells bells, if it ain't Travis Ewing in the flesh!" Roger said smiling down at his old friend. "Wait there. I'll hitch up my horse." Roger said, trotting his horse over towards the same hitching post where Travis had just tethered his own. A few minutes later, Roger was standing next to Travis. "Been a long time." Travis said with a smile as he shook hands with his old buddy. "Sure has. I heard you went and got yourself married again." Roger said, spitting a wad of brownish colored chewing tobacco spit onto the ground. Travis was secretly thankful that he never picked up that nasty habit. Most men had rotting teeth and mouth sores after years' worth of using chew. "You heard correct." Travis said smiling, "It's been almost two weeks now." "Well I guess congratulations are in order then." Roger said, "What's her name?" Travis laughed, "Sophia, and don't you be getting no idea's in that head of yours. She's mine." Roger David was a wickedly handsome fellow with his bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes and he always had an eye for the ladies who were drawn to him like a magnet. There were very few women who resisted the charms of Roger David. He had no qualms about bedding down with a married woman either, and had been the cause of many a fight over the years as jealous husbands throughout Dallas County had tried to beat Roger to a pulp for sleeping with their wives. "You know me all too well." Roger grinned, "Hell, all of Dallas knows me all too well! But I'd never stoop that low as to try and sleep with a wife of yours." "Uh huh." Travis remarked dryly. He knew full well that Roger had tried to put the moves on Rebecca years ago at the opera house one night, but she had quickly denied him by slapping him right across the face. "Hey," Roger said nodding his head towards the northern direction of the street, "Did you get a look at all the damage that fire did?" Travis shook his head no, saying, "What fire?" "Oooh wee, you didn't hear? The Texas and Pacific Railway headquarters caught fire back on the fourteenth of this month. Burned up most of the merchant's exchange and even hit the Henderson's building. As I heard it, someone over at the T and P left a candle burning in one of the back offices. Lots of damage though. Reminds me of the courthouse fire earlier this year." "Holy hell, no, I didn't hear a lick about it. Been pretty preoccupied lately." Travis remarked thoughtfully. His lawyer's office building was over in that vicinity. "Hey," Roger said, "I was just heading over to the Blue Moon Saloon to meet up with some of the other Rangers and Mayor Connor. You should join me for a quick drink before I head back out. We're going on assignment I am guessing. That's more likely my reasoning anyway as to why we're meeting up with the Mayor and all." Travis actually felt inclined to go for a quick drink, "Hell," he said chuckling, "it's quite early in the day for a drink being barely seven and all, but why not. Might even get me a meal while I am there."



     Sophia and Elsie was inside the Dallas Memorial Hospital, standing at a desk on the third floor as Sophia was getting checked in for surgery. The man at the reception desk informed her that the cost of the surgery would be twenty dollars. Sophia pulled some money out of her reticule and handed the man the exact amount, silently thanking her father for the money he had given her before she left for Texas. The man stamped her up a receipt of payment and handed it to Sophia saying, "Have a seat for a few moments and I will let them know that you are here Mrs. Ewing." Sophia and Elsie sat down on one of the many wooden benches. "You are positively white in the face right now." Elsie remarked, "Are you going to be alright?" Sophia's throat was beyond dry from lack of hydration. The heat was unbearably hot already and it was only a little after seven in the morning. "I'm not quite so sure." she answered honestly. "I am quite terrified if truth be told." Elsie patted her hand, "I will be here. Everything's going to be just fine. Don't you worry your pretty little head." But Elsie was only trying to comfort her new friend. She was actually really worried for Sophia herself and didn't like the fact that Sophia had sworn her to secrecy over the surgery. "I think you should let me inform Travis about what is going on." Elsie said bluntly. Sophia shook her head no very adamantly just as the man at the reception desk called out her name. "Mrs. Ewing, we're ready for you now." Sophia sat there for another few seconds, then stood up. She was visibly trembling now and Elsie gave her a quick hug of reassurance. Sophia handed Elsie her reticule saying, "If you could just keep this safe for me until I am able to go back to the hotel in a couple of days I would be ever so grateful." "Not a worry Sophia! I'll hopefully be able to visit with you later when you're allowed visitors. Good luck!" Elsie said to her as Sophia walked towards the man who would be bringing her back for the surgery. Sophia cast one last look over her shoulder at Elsie before the door closed.



     Sophia was led to a room further down the hallway, then the man from the reception desk opened the door for her allowing them both to walk inside. He went over to a cabinet then pulled out a white bundle that looked like a large sack with white ties. "If you can get completely undressed Mrs. Ewing, I will then help you into this surgical garment." Sophia hesitantly did as the man had asked while he turned around to allow Sophia a bit of privacy. Once she was completely naked, he helped put the garment on Sophia, then asked her to lie herself down onto the large rectangular wooden table in the middle of the room. Sophia did as she was instructed, laying herself flat on her back. The wooden table had a thin white sheet covering it and it was delightfully cooler in temperature which made the oppressive heat more bearable. The man said he would send in Dr. May and Nurse Morgan shortly, then left the room leaving Sophia alone with her thoughts. She was petrified and felt very nauseated. While she lay on her back staring up at the stark white walls and ceiling, she felt a terrible sense of dread in the pit of her stomach. She couldn't stop shaking; she had never been this scared in all her life! Dr. May and Nurse Morgan came into the room only a few short minutes later. "Good morning Mrs. Ewing. How are you feeling today?" he asked her. "I'm feeling terrified if you must know." Sophia answered him honestly. "I completely understand Mrs. Ewing but you are in good hands, I can assure you. I'm a very well-trained surgeon and have done hundreds of surgical procedures in my career. Now, we are going to put a small mask over your nose and mouth which will emit a gas that will put you into a very deep sleep. You will not be awake nor feel a thing during the surgery. Afterwards, you will be in quite a bit of pain and there will be a fair amount of stitches in your abdomen. I will give you medicine to help with the pain to make you more comfortable. You will be moved into one of the hospital rooms to recover for a few days. I will talk with you sometime later today after you are in your room and more awake to discuss any possible findings with you. There is always the chance that I may not see anything out of the ordinary. Now, I will begin to put the mask on and I want you to count backwards from ten after it's on." She nodded her head in understanding as he placed the mask over her nose and mouth. There was a horrible smell coming from it that made her want to instantly retch. "Now start to count backwards my dear." Dr. May instructed. It was hard to talk with the mask on and the smell was God awful but she began counting, "Ten, nine, eighsh, sev----" "That's it my dear, have a good sleep Mrs. Ewing." Dr. May said softly. Then she drifted off into a black nothingness, her eyes closing as the anesthesia did its job putting her into a deep sleep.



     An hour or so later Travis had just finished with his steak and eggs breakfast and bid farewell to Roger, who was indeed, going out on an assignment with the rest of the Texas Rangers that were called to assemble before Mayor Conner. He had overheard that there was a group of Mexican bandits down in southern Texas accused of stealing several hundred heads of cattle from a smaller ranch. The Rangers had been assigned to capture the bandits at any cost and to recover the cattle, returning them to the ranch they had belonged to. "Fare the well!" Travis said, downing his last sip of whiskey. He put his dusty Stetson hat back on his head and left the dimly lit saloon heading back outside. He wasn't one to drink but on rare occasions so the two drinks of whiskey he had in the short amount of time was more than enough to relax him which he was sorely in need of. He allowed his eyes to adjust to the bright sunshine, then with a smile on his face, he un-tethered his horse and jumped back on the saddle. Temporarily forgetting to check on why his wife was at the hospital, he headed over to his lawyer's office that was located ten blocks away which took him past the buildings that had caught fire just as Roger had said. There was a lot of damage done to the buildings and Travis thought to himself that the T & P headquarter offices would need to be completely be re-built from the ground up. Luckily the fire hadn't spread to the three story brick building where his lawyer's office was located in, just a few buildings down from the T & P headquarters where the fire originated from. Reconstruction was already taking place in order to rebuild and restore the damaged buildings so parts of the road were highly congested. Travis once again tethered his horse, but this time he found a hitching post with a bucket of water. With it being so hot out he was worried about his horse becoming dehydrated. He then proceeded to open the door leading up the staircase to the second and third floors of the building. 


     Only a minute later, he knocked on the door to his lawyer's office. It opened up fairly quickly and Mr. Hartley was surprised to see Travis standing there. "Come on in Travis and have a seat." Mr. Hartley greeted him. Travis walked in, took off his hat, and sat down in one of the leather chairs sitting in front of the lawyer's desk. Mr. Hartley sat back down in his desk chair facing Travis. "What brings you in here on a fine day like today?" Travis, still just a tad bit tipsy from the whiskey, smiled. "Glad that fire didn't get your office building." he commented. "Oh, yes, that is quite fortunate. The Missus and I was still at Exall Lakes resorts when that whole debacle happened. Imagine my surprise when I came back. Yes, that was a very fortunate thing for me. If the winds had been blowing in the other direction that night, I guess it would have been a whole other outcome." "I suppose so." Travis said thoughtfully, "Listen, I came here today to talk to you about my wife. About the dissolution." Mr. Hartley perked up, "Actually, I was going to ride out to your ranch this evening to talk to you about that." he said, "I had sent out some telegraphs to the Wellington Sheriff's office making some inquiries into the character of your wife and I got back a reply later yesterday evening." Travis's eyes widened in surprise, "That was fast. What did they have to say?" "Well," Mr. Hartley continued, grabbing a few sheets of paper that were sitting on his desk in which he began to read from, "it appears her story checks out. She's the oldest daughter of a Louis and Lucinda Lancaster. The mister is a prominent bank owner there in Wellington. The family is well off and very highly respected within the community. Sophia has a younger sister by a year or so named Rachel who is married. Your Sophia was due to be married this past June to a Dr. Jeremy Thompson who is a part owner of a medical clinic in that town. He's a well-liked doctor. Apparently he called off the wedding just before it was to start, telling Sophia that he was going to marry another woman by the name of Angelique Milton who is apparently carrying his child. Let me re-phrase that: Allegedly carrying his child. There is now some speculation about that matter which is still being looked into. I guess there is some doubt that she is actually pregnant. It seems as if she may have lied about that just to snag Dr. Thompson away from your Sophia. From the reports I got, both Sophia and Jeremy were deeply in love for over three years and this situation devastated the both of them. Now this part you may or may not like." "What is it?" Travis said, trepidation causing his brow line to furrow deeply. "Well, if the rumors are true, that Jeremy Thompson feller may be heading out here to reclaim Sophia. But that seems to work out in your favor since you are wanting a dissolution of your marriage and all." Travis sat there astounded, not quite sure of knowing what to say or how to react to that bit of news. He felt... could it be? Jealous. Yes, that was it. He was actually jealous! "There is no way in hell that man is coming here to reclaim her! She's my wife. Legally speaking that is." Travis said vehemently. "Well," Mr. Hartley said, surprised by Travis's reaction, "Yes, I guess she is. At least, until your dissolution is granted. You are suing her based on marriage fraud, remember?" Travis stood up in a flash of anger, "Hell yeah I remember but maybe I changed my mind about the whole damned thing! She's my wife, and she's going to stay my wife! Cancel my request dammit!" Mr. Hartley chuckled, which only made Travis's anger even hotter, "What do you find so funny about my situation?" he said, his deep voice rising louder and louder. Standing up, the lawyer walked over and clapped Travis on the back, "I was wondering how long it was going to take for you to realize she's worth keeping. I have a good gut instinct on people and once I met with her, I knew she was good people. I'm glad you realized it sooner rather than later, when the latter may have been too late." Little did Travis know that the last part of Mr. Hartley's statement would come back to haunt him down the road. "Send your bill to the ranch!" Travis declared before storming out of his lawyer's office. Mr. Hartley chuckled heartily, glad that his client had some common sense in him after all. It looked like his job there was done.



     Travis finally made his way over to the hospital and when he got to the reception desk on the first floor he asked if his wife, Sophia Ewing, was there. "Sir, I have no way of knowing that." the man at the desk informed him, "She is not on my list but each floor has their own departments. You will need to check each floor and ask for yourself." "How many floors are there?" Travis asked impatiently. "There are five floors sir." was the reply he received. Travis went over to the wooden staircase to the left of the desk and proceeded up to the second floor, once again going to the information desk and inquiring about his wife. He was again told that she was not on that list. Then he arrived on to the third floor but this time, he saw Elsie Prescott sitting on a long wooden bench not far from the reception desk. Walking directly over to her he said quite abruptly, "Elsie Prescott, is my wife here with you?" Elsie had been reading a gossip rag and was thoroughly startled at the sight of Travis Ewing of all people standing before her. Stammering and not knowing whether to lie as Sophia had made her promise to do, or whether to fess up, she quickly opted for keeping her friends confidence. "I-I, well, no. Um, she is not here." Travis narrowed his light green eyes at her, "I have some doubt as to what you are saying Madam as I saw my wife walk into this hospital with you not two hours ago." She took a moment to regain her composure. "Why yes, she walked in here with me, but then I sent her away." "Where did she go then?" Travis asked irritably. "Well," Elsie answered, "I don't rightly know. Perhaps she is back at her hotel room? Who knows? She could even be out shopping or what not." Travis whirled around and headed quickly for the steps, leaving just as quickly as he had come, and not a moment too soon. Dr. May appeared only minutes later into the waiting room and he called out, "Elsie Prescott. Is there an Elsie Prescott here?" Elsie stood up and walked over to the doctor, "I am she." "Please." Dr. May had said, "Follow me." Elsie walked back over to the bench really quick and grabbed Sophia's reticule as well as her own, then followed the doctor through the door. He led her down a long hallway which eventually led them to his office where he asked her to have a seat. As she did, Dr. May sat in his desk chair looking grim. Immediately, Elsie's stomach turned sour. "I am afraid I have some bad news." he said bluntly.



     Travis had gone to the hotel and found Sophia's room to be empty. Figuring she was just out doing some shopping, he scrawled out a quick note for her and left it on the small round table in her room. The note said:


Sophia, I will be back first thing tomorrow morning to pick you up. I have paid your bill in full for your room. We need to talk about our marriage. I want you to come home. Please. I called off the dissolution today with my lawyer. You're my wife and you are going to stay my wife. We all miss you.

Respectfully Yours,



He sealed the note into an envelope and scrawled her name on it, leaving it on the round table. He then went back to the front desk and paid up her bill. Having no other choice, he left the hotel to head back to the ranch, disappointed that he wasn't bringing his wife back with him. But he smiled anyhow knowing that tomorrow she would be coming back home for good. He had plans for the two of them tomorrow night. Oh yes, he had some plans.


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