See Part 1 Here.
It was two months later that her parents arrived by stage. Mary met them at the hotel then brought them by Mrs. Estrada’s carriage to Mrs. Estrada’s. Three days later, the entire town turned out to Mrs. Estrada’s for the wedding.
“What changed your mind, child?” Mrs. Estrada asked in a quiet moment in Mary’s room.
“He told me how he felt.” Mary wiped tears from her eyes. “He’s a good man, Cassie.”
“I know he is, chick.”
“He hates the killing. He blames the gold.”
Cassie Estrada nodded. “I understand. But between you and Mr. Talbot?”
Mary chuckled. “I would never. Mr. Talbot was being polite. So was I. He’s a gambler. There would never be anything.”
“Would Zeke know that?”
Mary sighed. “I’m sorry for that. But Zeke was reluctant, I think. Never thinking he was good enough. He needed to feel that he’d won.”
Mrs. Estrada shrugged. “A close thing, that kind of game. You could have lost.”
“I know.” Mary wiped an eye. “It was close. But Zeke needed a push.”
That afternoon the local preacher married them in Mrs. Estrada’s flower garden. The party went on long into the night.
Two days later, Mary and Zeke waved her parents off on the stage back to Santa Rosa.
Zeke wrapped Mary’s arm in his. “The bank transfer is complete. Are we agreed on San Francisco?”
Mary smiled up at him. “I am. That’s where we need to be, Zeke. A nice ranch outside of the city. It’s green and full of water there.”
Zeke grinned back. “Yes. We’ll raise fine horses there.”
“And children!” Mary punched him lightly in the arm.
“And children.” He laughed and held Diva’s head while Mary mounted. Yes. California. Well away from the gold dreams. That’s what he wanted.
Thank you for reading this serial. I hope you liked it. By now it should be available as a paperback and ebook at the on-line bookstores of your choice.