Promises Kept, Promises Broken
by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
It was peaceful in the barn, with only the sounds of rain
hitting the roof and the animals in their various stalls moving
about. Lestrade, on her favorite perch, forced herself to clear
her mind and relax.
Ever since deciding to find C.C., the day had gone downhill.
First, Laurie had caught her stomping through the house and asked
-- which was more like demanding for normal people -- that she go
pick up a few things from the store with Artemis. That in itself
wasnít too difficult. Ever since Artemis had moved in, Lestrade
had found a big sister in the woman. She was supportive and kind,
and even if Lestrade disagreed with some of her ideas, she still
was a good friend. Not that Laurie wasnít supportive, it was just
that Laurie had her own ideas about how the world should work,
and quite often they didnít agree with Lestradeís own opinions.
This of course meant that Lestrade was quite often wrong.
As she had expected, the trip to town was uneventful, and the
two of them had quite a discussion about the recent crime wave
(Holmes wasnít the only one who could sneak information from the
unsuspecting) though she didnít learn much except that odd items
had been stolen and that none of the items related to one
another in any way, shape or form. This was somewhat familiar
information, and the first name that came to mind was Moriarty.
Of course, she was sure that he wouldnít play the same hand
twice, because it hadnít worked the first time. That didnít mean
that he couldnít have something else cooked up.
Unfortunately, Deputy Zachary Cupps caught them just as they
were headed into the store and pulled her aside. Lestrade,
knowing what it was going to be about, adamantly refused. There
was no way she was going to take responsibility for her brotherís
actions anymore. That was his problem -- everyone always taking the
consequences for his actions. He needed to learn that he had to
take care of himself. Of course, Zak didnít want to hear that and
tried to have her arrested for not cooperating with the police.
"I donít think so," she had said. "I may not know much about
the law, but I do know that it isnít written anywhere that I have
to take responsibility for my above legal age brother. Now,
unless you want to tell Sheriff Johnson that his office is going
to be sued, I suggest you leave me alone. Got it?"
Zak had frowned at her and left her alone then, muttering
something to himself. If she werenít so upset, Lestrade might
have grinned. As it was, she had marched after Artemis into the
store, where she was accosted by the last person on earth that
she wanted to see. Justin Jeffries, while handsome, athletic and
filthy rich, was a complete jerk. He thought he was Godís gift to
women, and any female who he hadnít got into his bed was just in
denial. No matter how many bruises he endured.
Thankfully, Artemis was paying attention to her surroundings
instead of off on one of her tangents, and quickly got rid of him
by telling him that she thought she saw Elisa -- his wife.
They got home without further incident, but upon reaching their
destination, Lestrade wished she were back with Jeffries. Daron
had brought the kids over and was arguing with Laurie about child
support. They had obviously been at it a while because they were
both shouting. Katy and Colin were nowhere in sight, but C.C. was
listening with rapt attention. No doubt to inform Katy on the
first chance she got. So, while Artemis went to stand in support
of her friend, Lestrade had dragged C.C. off.
Once she had the girl alone, and out of earshot of the
argument, she had broached the subject of Katyís boyfriend. After
several minutes of frustration trying to get to the truth of the
matter, Lestrade had found out that C.C. had just seen some boy
she hadnít known on Katyís vidphone and assumed it was her
boyfriend. Which meant that C.C. had expected Katy to get in
trouble by having Lestrade tell Laurie.
And now -- well, now Lestrade was trying to relax. Every one of
those incidents were inconsequential, and normally she could have
ignored them. But she had been extremely irate ever since coming
back for a visit. Maybe it was because she actually had an
existence outside of her family now, and was resentful of the
boundaries they put on her. Or maybe she was just PMSing.
Either way she realized that she needed to get a grip on herself.
This was her vacation and there was no way she was going to let
them ruin it for her.
Raven snorted beside her as if in agreement, and all irritation
fled with her amused laughter. She reached out and gently tugged
on his forelock. "Thanks buddy, you always know just what to
She leaned back against the post again and closed her eyes.
Maybe a quick nap would do, now that she didnít have to worry
about Katy. She was shortly interrupted, though, by someone
opening the barn door. A gust of wind blew in, making the animals
shuffle about nervously, and Lestrade to growl in annoyance. She
glared at the figure standing just inside, letting the rain pour
"Well, donít just stand there like an idiot," she grumbled when
the figure made no move.
"Sorry, maíam," he said, the voice quite obviously male. He
still didnít move, though, and she jumped down from her perch.
"Look, the hay's gonna get all wet if you donít shut the door."
She shoved past him and shut it. Then she turned and looked at
him, her eyes narrowed. He was slightly taller than she was,
wearing a wrinkled denim shirt, faded blue jeans and a black
Stetson whose brim covered his eyes. He was also dripping wet.
"Well? Whatdaya want?"
"Sorry, maíam, I was just...admiriní...the horses."
Lestrade sighed again and shook her head. There was something
familiar about this guy, though she couldnít put her finger on
it. Still, she wasnít really in the mood to deal with slow-witted
cowboys. No matter how good-looking they were. "Look, mister,
either tell me what youíre doing here or get out."
"Right, maíam. Are you Beth?" he tilted his head quizzically.
"ARGH!! Yes! Now spit it out!" She glared at him with her hands
on her hips, ready to physically throw him out of the barn if he
"Well," he paused and looked down, contemplating the toes of
his boots. "Iím a hand. A new ranch hand, that is. They said I was
to talk to you. Them people out there arguiní, that is."
"Zed," Lestrade muttered, then gestured for him to follow her.
She led him towards the back of the barn, where stairs led up
to an efficiency apartment that had been built when Laurie had
first bought the place. It was so she could be nearby in case of
complications during the late pregnancy of her precious goats.
Now that they had been moved closer to the house, the apartment
was used for the various drifters who came through town looking
for a job. Again, Lestrade wondered what her family did without
her, since she was always the one to show these guys around.
"Whereís your stuff?" Lestrade asked, once she had given him
the tour of his new home.
"Donít got none..." The man began rifling through things,
"Figured Iíd have ta wait till I got paid."
"Okay, so whatís your name, so I can tell Laurie to put it down
for the books?"
He turned around, doffed his hat and grinned engagingly.
Lestrade blinked at him for a few moments, startled. Then she threw up
her hands and growled.
"Zed it all, Holmes!"
On to part 4!
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