posted on 28-Jul-2002 5:19:59 PM by applebybehr
title: Headed West.
author: Gracie Panszczyk.
Mail: gracie_p⊕msn.com
Rating: PG-13 at the moment, no higher than R (I think).
category: AU/CC, heavy M/L....also this is an R fic- R for religious.
disclaimer: I own nothing, but you can sure as hell take my whole life if you'd want to- I really don't!LOL! you know the drill, I don't own the charactors, only the idea for this.*big*
summary: The Evans' are Headed West. Will their transition from town life to the untamed west, be a smooth one? What twists and turns will they encounter? It's about a family putting their faith in God, and trusting in him to lead them on the right path.


Prologue:



May 21st 1847.

I can't help but smile at the sight around me. My husband is up ahead driving our set of team horses-, which are in turn, leading a wagon packed with all our earthly belongings.

My son, Max, is riding alongside the wagon sitting a top of his horse- a hat on his head to shield his eyes from the burning sun. He's just barely nineteen years, and he continues to make Philip and myself utterly proud of him.

Walking next to me is my daughter, Isabel. She struggles with the many layers of skirts she is wearing- we're all dressed in our Sunday best, wanting to start our new life in the best that we have. Isabel is fifteen years of age, and a loving younger sibling to Max. They are four years apart- but I can see the bond that they share, is far beyond their years.

It has not been an easy life for us, not that we were poor- but we struggled everyday in the lives that we were leading. And then Philip saw the advert in the National post: advertising the offer or free land, land that we could make our own, call our own. He was down the nearest land office and staking a claim. now we're here, breathing this fresh air and beginning a new chapter in our lives...I am quite sure we were made to live here.


We plan to set up a homestead with our old friends the Valenti's. My childhood friend friend, Amy- a loving wife to Jim and a devoted mother to her children, Kyle and Maria. We have kept in touch by post for many years and both decided- with our husbands of course- that we would join up and start a new life together. Our children have never met- our husbands only once, and we both hope families will join and firm friendships made. We plan to meet up with them two days from now at the last outpost before we walk on- into our new lives.

We have been travelling for six days ourselves, Isabel and I spend most of the time on foot as there is limited space on the wagon. We had to leave our grand piano behind two days ago- just leaving it lying on the grass. I only wish that someone else can enjoy it as much as we have.


I reach over and grasp my daughter's hand; she looks over at me with gratitude in her eyes- I think she is more worried then any of us. We're all scared and apprehensive about what awaits us over in the free lands; if the scenery is as beautiful as it currently is, I know in my heart that I will be content.

May God give us strength and bless us with his love, as we take part in this wondrous journey. I have a feeling that we will be calling on Him more often than once in the months to come. I'm sure we will face many twists in our road- and I only pray my family can survive.



We're Headed West.


tbc.

[ edited 7 time(s), last at 12-Sep-2002 5:48:23 AM ]
posted on 30-Jul-2002 4:18:02 PM by applebybehr
Headed West.
Part one:

Another two days of exhausting travelling, the Evans family finally reached Ridgeway, excited to meet with the Valenti's at the agreed location. Philip tied up the horses, Max and Isabel would stay with the wagon: a saloon was no place for a young lady like Isabel, and Max was more than happy to stay with his sister.


Diane stayed close to her husband as they both made their way across Main Street, there were many people about- being only early evening, saloons, boarding houses and stores were still open for business. The sun was setting over the horizon and it cast an eerie glow over the darkened streets. The tall wooden buildings towered over the dusty tracks, and Diane couldn't help but be a little afraid. She was gripping her skirts in a firm grip, before Philip pffered his arm to her-, which she took gfratefully.

"Calm down, Di." He soothed her. She wasn't sure how he could remain so calm and stay so unafraid. They had never been city folk- and she quickened her pace when they passed some questionable looking men.

The saloon was tucked away on a side street, light was spilling out it's many windows and the main doorway. She could hear a piano playing some show tune, men talking and shouting loudly. As they were approaching the steps, Philip pulled her to him and they watched as a man was flung out of the doors, his hat following seconds later.

"I would leave you out here, Diane, but I think it would be safer inside." He told her, sounding amazed at his own thoughts, and she had to agree with him.

They carried on up the steps, reaching the porch at the top. They both stood there for a moment, preparing for the sights they would no doubt meet on the other side. Suddenly they heard a woman's skriek and she was pulled into a firm hug. At first she froze, before realising- and with some relief- that she knew this person.

"Diane!"

"Amy!" They both called, stepping back holding each other at arms length, tog et a better look at one another.

Amy pulled her in for another hug, "Oh, I've missed you." She told her, squeezing her shoulders. They finally parted, smiling at both of their husbands- who were shaking hands and raising hats.

"Jim honey, we should get back to Nancy." She said, and they joined arms and walked behind their men.

"Amy, I thought you only had two children?" Diane asked, a little confused at what she'd said.

"Oh, I do dear," She reassured her friend. "We have another family with us too. When they heard we were headed out here they were almost desperate to join us." Amy explained.

"I see." Diane said trying to process this new information.

"Let's see," Amy muttered to herself. "There's Jeff and Nancy, with their daughter Elizabeth- she's the same age as Maria, seventeen. Oh and jeff's nephew, Michael is also travelling with them. You're not angry, are you?" She asked worriedly.

Diane offered her a smile, "Of course not, Amy. Just surprised, I'm sure the kids will love being together."

They had nearly reached everyone and Diane was intorduced to Jeff and Nancy- the Parkers, she had learnt. Maria and Kyle both greeted her with hugs, Michael offered a tip of his hat, and then she was introduced to Elizabeht. Her face was partially hidden under a bonnet; but she was struck with the grace in which the young girl held herself.

Then they were off again, to meet with Max and Isabel.

Back at the wagon...



"Isabel?" Max called to his sister.

"Yes, Max?" She asked back.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm praying." She stated, indicationg that he should have worked it out for himself.

Max bit back a grin, "What are you praying for?" He asked, amused.

"Protection!" She hissed at him.

This really did make him laugh...he jumped and all laughter died, when he felt a hand crudely caress his shoulder. He looked to his sister, and saw the 'I told you so' look in her eyes.

"Excuse me?" He addressed whoever it was, his voice stern.

"Don't go all shy on me now, handsome." He heard a voice sweetly coo in his ear.

He stepped away from this mstery person, turning round to face them. He should have known. It was one of those girls.

"The names, Tess. You are?" She asked him, standing provocatively before him- chest jutted out in invitation.

Just as he was about to bid a firm farewell, she was yanked back by her hair. He looked into the eyes of his saviour- a fiery green.

"This one bothering you, Max?" She enquired.

How did she know his name? He was too shocked to speak, so he just nodded his hand, watching as this green eyed girl pushed 'Tess' away from him.

"I'm Maria Valenti. Nice to meet you, Max." She said trying not to laugh, she held out her hand for him to shake.

"Hi...." He cleared his throat, he sounded like Isabel. "Nice to meet you too," He said, taking her hand.

He could hear someone laughing behind Maria and he turned to see a petite girl trying to hold in her giggles. He watched on as a woman grabed her arm roughly, pulling her close and talking near her ear. A second later and the girl nodded her head- she looked like she was about to cry.

"Max?" He heard his mother now and he pulled his gaze away from the beautiful girl, and met his mother's instead. He walked over to join her, "Max, this is the Valenti's- Jim, Amy, Maria and Kyle." She rattled off the names; he shook hands with the men, tipped his hat at the ladies.

"And then the Parkers-, Jeff, Nancy, Elizabeth and their nephew, Michael." She introduced, so the pretty girl had a name.

"It's Liz." he heard Maria tell him, and then he met Liz's eyes ad smiled.

"It's a pleasure to meet you all." He told them, going through the necessary motions of politeness. His eyes lingering on Liz as she curtseyed to him, she lowered her head to the ground as she returned to her mother's side.

He felt a frown mar his face when he saw first hand, how the light dimmed in her features. Something was obviously wrong and he ound himself growing increasingly worried about her.

Liz. he loved her name, the simplicity of it...the way he was sure it would roll off his tongue.

"Well, we'd better return to the boarding house so we can get a head start in the morning." Jim said, atking charge of the situation.



He watched silently as Maria and Liz bid everyone good night, he felt a new found admiration for Maria- not that she hadn't already made a huge impression on him- as he saw her pull Liz into an almost sisterly embrace as they walked away.

He looked over to Michael and kyle, seeing the same looks on their faces. They new something, and as much as he was aching to know what it was- it really wasn't his place to meddle in other people's business.

He caught the contempt on Mrs Parkers face as she looked at her daughter-, also the way that Mr Parker's eyes shone with fatherly love. How could both parents have such different feelings towards their own? He wondered.

"There's a lot you don't know." Michael uttered to him, their eyes met in a strange uderstanding.

Kyle agreed, "A lot."

Max felt the breath whoosh out of his lungs, his head snapped up at the click of the girl's door. he'd have to wait to find out.

***********




Two days later and Max was woken in the night. He'd chosed to sleep outside- as had Michael and Kyle- while everyone else was sharing the canvas tents they'd pitched up the evening before. He triend to figure out what had interrupted his sleep, sitting up in his make shift bed he glanced at the horses about 50 feet away. They seemed fine, no spooked mares. And then he heard it again.

A faint sobbing, and the most upsetting thing was- he felt sure of who it was.

He stood, grabbing his blanket as a last thought, and walked towards the sound. He found her on the other side of the tents- dressed in only a cotton nightdress. He knew it was wrong to talk to her when they were alone, even more so when they were both in such a state of undress. But he felt his feet disobey his logical mind, and found himself move towards her.

"Liz?" He called out to her first, not wanting to scare her by sneaking up.

The sobs stoppped momentarily in her surprise, and she turned to him. "Max, what are you doing here?" She asked, hurriedly wiping her face of tears.

"I heard you crying, I was worried." He spoke truthfully to her.

"I'm sorry I woke you." She said regretfully, she hadn't been as quiet as she'd hoped. Liz felt tears flood her eyes again and then the strength of his arms wrapping around her. She sobbed even harder, breaking down at the strong comfort of his embrace.

Max was talking soothingly in her ear when he heard a twig snap a few feet away. He looked up and net Maria's face; she didn't seem at all shocked to find them out here together. In fact, she looked close to tears herself.

"Come back to bed, Lizzie." She said, touching a hand to her shoulder.

He felt Liz squeeze him tightly one more time, before she was gone.

He couldn't get to sleep now even if he tried, so he spent the rest of the night thinking about Liz- and the secret she was hiding.

*********



He smiled at her shyly; they were on their way again, Max opting to lead Isabel while she sat up on his horse. He had offered the seat to Liz, but just as she was about to except- Mrs Parker had grabbed her arm and pulled her away.

The men were scattered about, Philip driving his team horses and wagon in front, Jim and Mr Parker following behind in their own.

Aside from the teasing he'd received from Michael and Kyle about staying behind with the women, he was happy to be near his mother and sister, Liz and Maria. He wasn't sure about Mrs Parker; he knew he shouldn't think badly of her- but he was between being afraid and outraged at the way she kept treating Liz.

'Thank you,' He saw Liz mouth to him behind her mother's back.

'Your welcome.' he answered, smiling at her still.

This was getting even more intriguing. He was quick to wipe the goofy smile of his face before his mother could see it.

tbc??


I'm really sorry if there are a lot of typo's. I've been up since 4am and I'm about ready to drop now (it's nearly 9.30pm) anyway, I'll fix them all tomorrow morning. thanks for all the feedback*big*
hugs, gracie***

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-Jul-2002 4:21:19 PM ]
posted on 31-Jul-2002 5:44:19 AM by applebybehr
I'm fitting alex in for future parts...I haven't forgotten!LOL!
gracie***
posted on 26-Aug-2002 10:48:57 AM by applebybehr
thankyou all for the bumps and feedback*big*
I'm sorry for not updating this sooner, but I have the next two parts written already- I have to finish typing the first one up, so I hope to update sometime today or early tomorrow*big*
thanks for waiting so nicely!LOL!
see you soon*happy*
gracie***
posted on 5-Sep-2002 11:29:53 AM by applebybehr
I've just got in from work (it's about 3.15pm) and it was a really long day- so after I type this up I might go take a nap!LOL! I start college next week too...not sure how to feel about that*tongue*
um....I'm not really impressed with this part (the next one is much better), but let me know what you think*big*
gracie***


Headed West.
Part three:



"More supper, Max?" Isabel asked her brother. The women were taking care of the evening meal and it was the same as the pervious two nights- oatcakes and beans.

"No thank you, Isabel." Max told her, he wasn't sure if he could hold it down.

It was early evening and nearing the end of a successful day. They'd reached the plot of land to be their home; there would be three separate homesteads- one built for each family. A creek was only a short walk away, which could be included in their land, acting as the main supply of fresh water.

The canvas tents were pitched again- their horses were grazing with the cows-, which had been purchased from a farmer around 30 miles back.

Everyone was seated around the fire, the ladies had been preparing food while the men got everything settled for the night ahead. Max and Kyle were chosen to tend the horses, Michael was on duty for the rest of the animals.

now though, the fathers sat togther going over the plans for the new cabins. It would be a huge job and it was fortunate that there was plenty of woodland surrounding them. Work would start the next morning, clearing the sites for the cabins, felling the trees, chopping and priming the logs and so on. Max could feel his shoulders ache just thinking about all the lobbing.

He hadn't really come to any new conclusions concerning the Parker family. Mr Parker seemed to dote on his only child, while Mrs Parker seemed to harbour a strong distaste towards Elizabeth.

He was aware of the effort Maria went too in making sure Liz was in her company as much as possible. That task had been easy with all the women working together- but he was worried about what would happen once the group was split up in separate families. There was no doubt that the womenfolk would join together to work on daily chores though- Max could already imagine the many clothes lines what would be put up- he figured there would be a fair amount of washing.

Max could hear his fathers voice in the background, letting Mr Parker and Jim know his plans for the cabins. After all, his father had been thinking about this for weeks.

The homesteads would be quite far away from each other- not that any of the families wished to distance themselves from each other- but they would need room for the farms.

***************


Liz could feel a blush stain her cheeks at the sight in front of her. It was another burning hot day and Max had taken his shirt off a while ago- so had the other men, but she really couldn't keep her eyes from the play of muscles of his upper body. He was beautiful and strong all in one, and if she was brave enough to admit it, Liz was a little scared of the feelings he was invoking in her.

They had only met a little over two weeks ago and already she felt a pull towards him, a strong desire to make him happy and to be the cause of one of his rare grins.

The Evans' cabin was the first to be worked on and it was a fairly large structure, Liz had heard Mrs Evans and Isabel talking about a porch and she thought it sounded lovely. Her father was off with Mr Evans and Mr Valenti lobbing and felling trees. She was sure they had enough wood for the Evan' cabin already, but had concluded that they were now working on wood for the other two.

Kyle was off to the right of the cabins foundations, stuck with building the outhouse. She'd heard him complaining loudly to Max and Michael about what a horrible job it was. Not so much the work involved, but the firsthand knowledge of what it would be used for, which was the main reason for his gripe. The girls had all shared a laugh over that particular comment.

"Elizabeth, keep you attention" Her mother told her sternlg.

Liz knew that tone, had come to fear it even. She turned back to her work biting her lip in anguish. She glanced around for Maria and saw her some way off, preoccupied with helping her own mother; she felt her panic spike.

"Sorry mother." She uttered, knowing that it would be apologize for her behaviour.

"I should think so, young lady. There's no time to stare at young men when you have plenty of work to be done. Insolent child, do you disappoint me on purpose?" She asked, angered now.

"I'm sorry, of course I..." Her words were cut short with a forceful slap across her left cheek, tears burned in her eyes as she fought the unexpected explosion of pain.

"Do not answer me back!" Nancy faily shouted at Elizabeth. Upon seeing that she'd gained an audience from Max, Michael, and also Diane and Isabel- Mrs Parker quickly gathered her things and walked away- leaving Liz on her own.

Liz relished this new development; although she'd suffered the pain and embarressment of another outburst, but her mother had actually just left her- which was a relief. She looked up her eyes instantly locking with Max's, she could feel her heart jump in her chest-, he had such a wild mix of emotions dancing across his face. Anger, fury, worry, concern...it was all for her she realised, and Liz took comfort in his quiet strength. After holding his gaze for a moment Liz turned away, holding her shoulders in defeat.

Then reality hit...did Max feel the same disgust that her mother did for her? Everytime she felt someon looking at her, she felt as if a huge weight of judgment was placed on her shoulders. She could only imagine everyone wagging their fingers at her- looking on in revulsion. After all, she had not only disgraced herself...but her family too. Her mother was a force to be reckoned with and Liz could only stand there, and feel the growing fear for how furious she would be with her, later on. Liz would once again be put through the humiliation of hearing how much she'd disappointed her parents, how no man would ever want her, would be able to bring himself to touch her...the same lecture she'd been hearing for weeks now.

It was always the same cycle-, she would find something that made her happy, and then her mothers voice woudl ring out in her mind, whispering words of hate in the background.

Liz had hoped it would be different once they'd reached their new home, hoping that her mother would be mroe at ease with her. But it wasn't to be. If anything, being in such a small group of people only served to anger her mother more.

Feeling the tears well up in her eyes once more, Liz could onle be angry with herself for being so foolish. She desered everything she received.

Yes, she'd stay away from Max. He wouldn't want to know her when he learnt of what she'd done.

****************



"Maria, quit splashing me!" Isabel shrieked, almost choking on her laughter. Maria, Liz and herself were bathing in the creek; it was early morning and the girls had gained permission to take a wash (being excluded from their chores).

She reached down into the cold wated, gripping the hem of her slip as she prepared to make a run for it. "Oh, Isabel, I'm just helping you wash!" She heard Maria say, before another wave of water hit her face.

She wasn't really upset; in fact Maria's actions were managing to bring some light relief to them all.

things were tense between the Evans', Isabel knew somehing was bothing her brother; he'd been stomping around one moment and quiet as a mouse in the next breath. This had been going on for days and she felt her patience growing thin. If there was one thing she loathed, it was when Max wouldn't speak to her properly. They'd hardly spoken in three days and Isabel knew her parents had noticed the change in his mood as well, but each of them had been rebuffed in any effort to gain knowledge as to what was upsetting him.

Isabel's eyes were drawn to the other side of the creek; Liz was getting out of the water her long hair sticking wet to her head, as her slip was to her body. The cotton gripped her skin, uncovering bruised on her upper arms-, which were normally hidden under clothing. She had been worried about the dark haired girl ever since witnessing he slap from Mrs Parker, and now it seemed it was worse than just the odd scolding.

But the marks on her arms weren't the only thing causing Isabel to gasp in surprise.

It couldn't be....right?

Isabel was roused from her frantic thoughts when she saw Maria advancing on her, a mischievous grin on her face.

She made one last dash for the banks, screaming all the way.





He had kissed her.

Maxwell Evans had actually kissed her. Liz was sure the dazed expression was back on her face...after all, it had been plaguing her all day.

He had walked over to where she was- picking wild flowers in the small group of trees by the Evans' cabin- they'd talked about silly thigns at first, and she'd just taken the time to watch him. He had such an amazing smile, and burning eyes- eyes burning with shyness and determination, which was a strange mixture. And then before she'd even figured out what was going on, Max caught her shoulders, turning her body towards his own. he had lookedinto her eyes for a second- then swooped in and boldly kissed her full on the lips.


There was that smile again. Would she even dare to bask in the glorious feelings that told her, Max felt the same way she did? Liz could only hope that she hadn' dremt the whole encounter up! Lord, knows she'd been thinking about kissing him for long enough! she'd just about given up on her promise to stay away from him...he pulled her in too many times.

He had run off after the kiss and then she was called back to where Isabel and Maria were, Liz had felt Isabel's eyes on her for most of the afternoon and she wasn't sure what to make of it. Did Isabel know what had happened between her and Max? Had he talked to his sister about her? Liz simply brushed her thoughts aside over the course of the afternoon, Diane had asked to speak with her in the cabin, which was where she was going now.


Liz smiled looking ahead of her- the first cabin was finished and the Evans' had a wonderful home. There was no front porch as of yet, but Liz was sure it wouldn't be to long before one joined the wodded structure. She knocked on the door seeing Mrs Evans sitting at the table writing.

"Come in, Elizabeth." Diane told her, smiling fondly.

Liz offered a smile in return and sat down in the chair next to the older woman.

Diane looked at her for a long moment; an intense look on her face and Liz squirmed in her seat. Diane then set a comforting hand on her shoulder, "Liz, are you baring a child?" She calmly asked.

Liz felt her pulse quicken almost immediately, she even thought about wildly denying the whole thing for a second- tears came to her eyes as soon as she met the other woman's gaze. "Yes." She managed to choke out, the tears spilling over and leaving tracks down her red cheeks. Liz sobbed even harder when she was enfolded in a tender embrace.

Her tears finally slowed down and Liz reached a hand to her face, wiping the tears from her skin.It felt as if such a huge weight had been lighted from her- someone else knew her secret and she could finally speak about it. When she looked over Diane's shoulder over at the doorway, her heart started pounding at an almost alarming rate.

Max was standing just inside the door, one foot having made it over the threshold. Hurt and diebelief were etched on his face, shining in his eyes.

"Max." She called to him.

He looked at her once more, and then bolted from the cabin.

tbc...



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Oct-2002 12:18:20 PM ]
posted on 6-Sep-2002 6:58:01 AM by applebybehr
Christian, if all goes to plan, you should find out who the father is in the next part*big*

thanks for the feedback guys*happy*
gracie***
posted on 6-Sep-2002 7:44:08 AM by applebybehr
I'm almost afraid to ask!LOL! (j/k)*tongue*
posted on 11-Sep-2002 3:35:49 AM by applebybehr
http://hereisnewyork.org