This is the third of a 5-part fan fiction short story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures and Circle C Milestones. This story details the courtship of Chad Carter and Ellianna Coulter. Enjoy!
When Ellie came down for supper, she met Chad in the dinning room. He nodded a greeting and sat down at the table. Ellie glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, but didn’t receive a response. Her heart skipped a beat. And not in a good way. Chad’s face was clouded and grim. Ellie felt a little scared. What if he didn’t forgive her? Could she really live in Fresno if Chad ended their courtship?
Supper was awkward. Andi was quiet, and worried. Mitch tried to keep up a cheerful conversation, but only Elizabeth helped. Chad ate quickly and excused himself. Elizabeth nodded to Ellie who followed him out to the barn.
“Chad?” Ellie asked faintly.
He turned. The look on his face was not encouraging, but Ellie went on quietly. “Your mother thinks we should talk about it.”
Chad shook his head. “I’m sure she does.” He sat down on a bale of straw and rested his elbows on his knees. “Those blasted stunts are driving me crazy. Every time Andi does one I see father’s accident all over again. You don’t understand what it was like to lose him. During spring roundup it comes back clearer than any other time.”
Ellie leaned up against a stall door and looked at the floor. “I lost my mother, Chad.”
“When you were young. You can’t remember her that well.” Bits of straw floated to the ground as Chad broke a piece between his fingers.
“Yes I can.” Ellie skipped past the ache that lived in that part of her memory and came back to the point. “The fact is, Chad, you can’t let that hurt your relationship with Andi. If you do want her to stop doing something, ask nicely. Chances are she’ll listen.”
Chad frowned and shook his head. “You don’t know how stubborn she is.”
Ellie felt herself getting frustrated. “You aren’t kind to her. Justin never has to tell her something twice, and its because of the way he tells her to do it. You rub in the fact that you’re the boss, and it stings.”
“So it’s all my fault.”
“I didn’t say that, all I said was-“
Chad stood up. “That’s what it sounded like, Ellie.”
“Chad, listen to me, please! I’m not pardoning Andi, she has her faults; all I’m saying is that there are some things that you could work on too.”
He grunted. “You know, I thought I’d left school behind me when I turned sixteen. Now you’re trying to cram another lesson down my throat.”
Ellie lost all patience. “Turning sixteen and graduating doesn’t seem to have made you any less ignorant than that stubborn heifer you were working with today!”
“That’s quite the compliment.”
Ellie untied the livery stable horse and swung onto it’s back. “Don’t bother coming to see me for a while.”
Chad grasped the horses bridle. “Are you ending our courtship?” The tone of his voice made a shiver go down Ellie’s spine.
As angry as she was, Ellie wasn’t going to do that. “No. But we both need time to think. Let go of the bridle.” He stepped back and Ellie trotted out of the barn.
Next Wednesday I’ll post more!