From Round the Bend, Where Dreams Go, Going Home, comes the fourth book, Love Waits, bringing back to the family the youngest of three sisters. This is a strong family, staking their claims on love and healthy living, as they protect their land from those who would take it. This scene shows some of the relationship between the sisters, Amy, Loraine, and Belle. I like writing family in my books. If they aren't blood kin, they are chosen and become as bonded as if by ancestry.
Loraine came in with Jesse in her arms. “This was a long night.”
“I appreciate your taking a turn with Rand,” Belle said as Loraine settled Jesse into a crib, handing him a rattle and a carved animal, which seemed to fascinate him if his cooing sounds were any indication.
“Since it appears he’s going to be one of the family,” Loraine said, “it’s important to get him healthy again.” She smiled at Belle’s look of uncertainty. “That is if you want him to be in the family.”
“That’s not decided.”
“Oh that sounded like our Arabelle,” Amy said as she entered catching the tail end of the conversation. “Never make things easy.”
Another time Belle might have felt annoyed, but this time she had to agree. “What can I do to help with breakfast?” she asked rather than spit back a sharp response.
“Gathering the eggs would help,” Loraine said as she looked in the cupboard. “I think scrambled eggs might be good for Rand this morning.”
“Where is the hen coop?” She liked that idea. Getting out of the house would be good for her nerves.
“I’ll show you.” Amy pulled on boots and a jacket and handed Belle a basket.
The coop had been built sturdily, which was essential, given all the varmints in the region. It had an equally impressive wire cage around the outside. “Matt dug the wire deep,” Amy said as she showed her the door in the back. Inside they could access the egg boxes from a room that stored grain in tight barrels. One hen, unwilling to give up her egg, had to be pushed off. The rooster looked at them suspiciously.
“There are two dozen laying hens, half a dozen pullets, and four hens that Mama is saving for stewing. If more of us end up living here and as the children grow, we will need more.”
“This is an impressive yield.” She had two dozen full sized and one tiny one in her basket.
“When men work hard, they eat heartily. This place takes a lot to keep eight men fed as well as children growing up so fast.”
“I can imagine. Well,” she laughed. “I can’t but will take your word for it.”
“We process a lot of vegetables and now have several fruit trees beginning to produce. Mostly though we have bought the fruit from a farm down in Kimberly, beyond Monument.”
“When I was in Canyon City, I studied the map to get an idea of where I’d have to go if I had to leave fast. I have a general idea of the country here.”
“You have been quite the adventurer.”
Belle looked over and saw only a smile on Amy’s face. “There was a time you wanted adventure,” Belle said as they put the feed out for the hens and then secured the door to head back to the kitchen.
“And I have lived one.” Amy’s smile widened. “It wasn’t what I expected. I married this man, who had been my friend since as far back as I could remember. I adore him and find every moment with him exciting even in the mundane ones. It’s about getting to know more about him through the stages of life, having children together—it’s been an adventure such as I never dreamed.”
“It’s what most women want, I guess.” Belle sighed as they stepped up on the porch.
Amy reached out to stop her. “Everyone has to find their own adventure, Belle. Maybe this place isn’t it for you. Maybe it’s not Rand. Don’t let anyone push you into what isn’t right for you.”
Belle looked at her with surprise. “I thought you’d be the one most wanting me to marry Rand. Haven’t you always said I was selfish?”
Amy laughed. “Did I say that? Well, maybe, baby sister, I am just as feisty as you are, and we butt heads. Might that be the case?”
Belle smiled and felt a sense of relief. “I would love it if we could be friends.”
“We are sisters. Isn’t that enough for you?” Amy giggled.
“Sisters you don’t have a choice about. Friends though, those you choose. I always felt a little apart from you and Loraine, being so much younger, but now it doesn’t seem there is that difference.”