It was an ordinary day in Colorado Springs. A lonesome rider, with a hat well drawn down so you couldn't see the face, was coming into town. The rider was barely staying in the saddle. Matthew was just unlocking the sheriff's office when a voice said: "Hey sheriff!" He turned to the rider. "It is the sheriff's job to make sure that nobody gets hurt in this town, rigth?"
"That's right," Matthew said not quite following.
"Then you better catch me before I fall down from this horse and hurt myself." The rider had barely finished before he started to slide down. As Matthew caught the rider in his arms the rider's hat fell off and her long curly hair fell out. When Matthew discovered she was unconscious he ran to the clinic.
"Dr. Mike! Come quick!" he cried.
"What's that matter? Oh my godness. Put her here. What happened?"
"She ... she told me to catch her and then she fell off her horse."
"Did you chatch her?"
Matthew ran a hand through his hair and nodded.
"So she didn't hit her head as she fell?"
Dr. Mike started to examine her.
"Did she say anything about who she was?"
"No. But I could look in her saddlebags and see if there is anything there."
"That's a good idea." Matthew put his hat on an went out, running in to Sully in the doorway.
"What's happened here?" he asked.
"I don't know. Matthew brought this fainted girl in."
"Do you know what's wrong with her?"
"No, I can't say." Dr. Mike got some smelling salt and put it under the girl's nose. The girl slowly woke up.
"Don't try to sit up. Do you remember what happened?"
Rigth then Matthew came in with the girl's saddlebags.
"Well howdy sherif, I hope I didn't scare you."
"It's OK. How are you?"
"Tired. Is there anywhere I can get a room?"
"You can sleep here at the clinic."
"Thank you, ma'am." She sat up, but started to sway, she put a hand to her forehead.
"Here, let me help you," Sully took her in his arms and carried her up the stairs, put her in a bed where she immediately fell asleep. Back down stairs Dr. Mike opened one of the saddlebags.
"Do you think we should do this?" Mathew asked. "I mean can't we just wait 'till she wakes up?"
"Matthew, I need to know if something is wrong with her so I know how to treat her." Matthew nodded understandingly and started to look in the other saddlebag and pulled something out.
"What is it?" Dr. Mike asked.
"It's a picture of a man and a girl. Names on the back say Hans and Margrete Lausenstrom."
"Hans Lausenstrom? Isn't that Hank's real name?"
"Can I see the picture?" asked Sully who had just returned. After a look at it he said: "That's Hank allright."
"And the girl does look like the one who fainted," Matthew said. Dr. Mike look at them both in amazement.
"Do you think it's his sister or ... daughter?" she asked.
"There's only one way to find out." Sully took the picture and crossed the road to the saloon. Inside Hank was counting his money.
"Hey Sully, how may I help you?" Sully tossed the photo in front of Hank who slowly took the cigar out of his mouth.
"Where did you get this?" he asked.
"Do you know the girl?" "Where did you get this?"
"Matthew brought a fainted girl to the clinic and we found this in her saddlebags."
Hank let go of Sully and ran to the clinic. He flung open the door.
"Where is she?" he demanded to know.
"She is upstairs sleeping. Come, I'll show you where." Hank followed Dr. Mike. When Hank saw the girl he stopped for a minute but then walked to the bed and kissed the sleeping girl on the forehead. Dr. Mike wached him as he gently caressed the girl's forehead. Suddenly he stood up.
"What's wrong with her?" he asked.
"I don't know. Maybe she's just exhausted. I'll examine her properly when she wakes up." Hank nodded. "Who is she?" she asked.
"My sister," Hank answered. Mike tried to conceal her shock.
"She's beautiful," Mike said. Hank nodded smiling clearly showing how much he loved her. "What's her name?"
Hearing her name Margrete opened her eyes.
"Hans?" she said and reached out for a hug. Hank sat down and hugged her. Dr. Mike bowed her head smiling, to give them a bit of privacy. When she lifted it again they had let go of each other.
"Miss Lawson, I .."
"Margrete, please," Dr. Mike nodded. "Or rather Maggie, as I prefere people to call me."
"Allrigth, I'm Dr. Quinn, or Dr. Mike as people prefere to call me."
"Don't worry, Maggie, she is a real dokoter, eventho' she is a woman," Hank said smiling at Dr. Mike.
"Oh, I didn't doubt that for a minute. I've met a lady doctor before,"
"You have? Who?" Dr. Mike asked.
"Dr. Emily Brown."
"I've met her. I heard a paper by her once. But why did you see her? She's a heart specialist."
"Why does one see a heart sepecialist?"
"Maggie, what are you saying?" Hank asked concerned.
"I have a heart problem. That's the main reason that I fainted. I don't rember exactly what's wrong, but I have a paper with it in the bags, but ... I ..."
"Hank, I've got two more years to live in," she blurted out.
"WHAT?!? That can't be!"
"I'm sorry, Hank."
"This lady doctor must be mistaken,"
"Hank, I've been to several doctors, men. Why do you think I came riding in, I've spend all my money on doctors. They all said the same. That's why I came, to say goodbye, and to get you to help me get money so I can go to Norway,"
"I want to see the land of my ancestors, I want to die there."
It was all to much for Hank he jumped up and stormed out of the room and down the stairs. Dr. Mike felt sorry for the young girl who looked helplessly after Hank.
"He didn't take it well, did he?" Maggie said still looking at the door.
"Well, you didn't give him much chance to anything else."
"I guess not, but I have been wondering how to tell him ever since I was told for the first time, and I didn't come up with anything good so when I got the chance I jumped at it. Have do you tell somebody who you know loves you so much that you are dying?"
Dr. Mike nodded.
"What do you think I should do? I don't have enough strength to run after him." Maggie bit her lip and looked at the door with at glance that showed that that was what she wanted to do.
"I'll go find him."
"You will? Thank you soo much. I really need to talk to him, to get him to ...I don't know..."
Dr. Mike looked at her for a moment and then said: "I'll find him."
Maggie smiled happily.
Dr. Mike closed the door behind her and started down the stairs, wondering where she should look for Hank, but she didn't have too, at the end of the stairs Hank was sitting with his head burried in his hands.
"Hank!" Dr. Mike hurried down the last couple of stairs and sat down beside him. Slowly Hank lifted his head.
"Oh, Michaela what am I gonna' do?" But before Michaela could answer this question he continued: "I love that kid so much. Except from Nana she was the only one that loved *me*. She's part of me. Remember the letters I wrote to Nana, telling her I was the town tailer? Well, to Maggie I wrote the truth. She didn't mind, that I ran a saloon, it didn't make any difference to her." Tears appeared in his eyes and ran gently down his cheek, but he didn't pay them any attention. Dr. Mike who didn't know what to do or say, put her arm around his shoulders. "Maggie had the bluest eyes when she was a kid, and now that kid is dying," his voice cracked and he put a hand over his eyes. Dr. Mike put her hand in the other one.
"Michaela," he look at her. "What am I gonna' do? If she dies, part of me dies too."
"Go talk to her, she needs you right now."
Hank nodded and squeeshed Mikes hand before letting it go and standing up.
As he went up the stairs Dr. Mike watched him in amazement, the thought of Hank caring for a child seemed so far fetched. When Hank stood beside the door to the room where Maggie was he dried his eyes and took a deap breath before he opened the door. Maggie was lying on the bed looking out the window. When she heard the door open she turned her head. Hank came in and sat down beside her. For some time neither of them said anything, but suddenly they trew their arms around each other and cried.
"Hank, I'm so sorry for the way I told you about my heart, but I didn't know how to. Ever since I was told for the first time I have been wondering, but I just could't come up with any good way so when I got the chance I grabbed it." Hank let go off her.
"I understand, and I'm sorry for the way I acted," Hank said.
"Don't be, I didn't give you much chance."
"What this about Norway?"
"Hank, I'm very tired right now, and the doctors told me to get my rest, so why don't we meet after I have slept a little and we can talk it all through. I'm actually starting to get hungry so we could go to ... Grace's cafe and have something to eat. Have does that sound?"
"Great." Hank kissed her on her forehead and went to the door.
"Hank." He turned. "I really missed you." Hank smiled at her.
"I missed you too."
End of part 1
Any comments, good and bad, can be send to Nina at firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy.
By Nina Tondering
When Maggie woke later, she got up and changed from the trousers she had been wearing for riding into a dress and fixed her hair up on her head. She studied the young woman in the mirror and smiled, she was proud that one could easily see her Scandinavian inheritance.
When she stepped out from the clinic Hank jumped up from the bench where he had been sitting.
"Have long have you been sitting there?"
"I don't know."
Maggie smiled fondly at him, she knew how long he had been sitting there.
Hank took both her hands and stepped back to admire her.
"You look more and more like your mother every day that passes."
"I know, but I'm not like her! I ain't a quitter like she was."
"No, you're not, you're a fighter." When Hank had said that and saw the way see look at him he understood. She had never quitted, and she wasn't going to start now, but this was bigger than any thing she had ever been op against before. She needed his help and support and most of all she needed his love and understanding. Then and there he promised himself - like he had promised himself so many years ago, never to let her down and always help her whenever she needed it - that he would keep an open mind to whatever this dying girl might ask of him.
"You're hungry?" he asked.
"Starving!" she answered smiling.
At the cafe they sat down and Grace came over to them. Grace wondered who this new girl was, but minded her own business and brought them their meal.
"Everthing is just like you described in your letters. It's wonderful."
"I'm glad you like it, now tell me why you wanna leave it?" Hank said.
"Ok. As you know after you went out here I spend the holidays I was away from boarding school with Nana. She taught me about Norway, the culture, the history, the language, everthing, and I loved it. Remember how I told you I didn't feel I fitted in, didn't feel at home? Well, I did in Norway!"
"But you have never been there!"
"Hear me out, Hank. I know I've never been there, but I started feeling something for the place Nana told me about."
"Those were just stories."
"No, they weren't, Hank, and you know it. I fell in love with Norway and I found out that I at heart wasn't American but Nowegian. I want to go to Norway! Please understand, Hank." Hank looked at her for a long time without saying anything, but then: "I understand, Maggie, I really do. I'm not saying that I feel the same way, but I understand what you're trying to say." Maggie smiled happily.
"I almost forgot. I got this for you." Hank reached into his pocket and pulled out something wrapped in brown paper. He handed it to her with a smile.
"What is it?" she asked curiously.
"Open up and find out." Hank repeated, still smiling mysteriously. Surprised Maggie unwrapped the parcel.
"OOh!" she exclaimed when it was open. "Hank, chocolate, and my favourite kind, you remembered. Thank you so much." Hank smiled with an expression on his face that was supposed to say: "It was nothing," but really said: "Anything for you!" Maggie took a piece of the chocolate and closed her eyes.
"MMH!" When their eyes met they both bursted out laughing. Maggie could see that there was something on Hanks mind, something that was important for hin to say, but the inportence of the matter didn't make it any easier, so she didn't push him, but calmly went on eating her meal.
"Why didn't you write me about your heart problem?" Hank suddenly asked her. Ah, so that was it.
"I wanted to tell it to you to your face and I wanted..- needed to see you again." Maggie put her hand in his.
"Maggie, I'm scared."
"You don't have to tell me about being scared, Hank, but you've got to learn to live with it."
Right then Loren and Jake spotted them and wondered who the new girl was, so they diceded to go over and find out.
"If this is your new piece of entertainment, Hank, I'll sure be coming in more often," Jake said and sat down beside Maggie who put her hand over her mouth to hide a smile.
"You watch what you say," Hank said and grined when he saw the look in Maggie's eyes.
"What?" Jake didn't get it. Hank opened his mouth, but before he could say anything Maggie turned to Jake and put her hand out.
"Have do you do, I'm Maggie/Margrete Lawsen." She made sure to use the last name that Hank had told her he used. Jake droped his jaw together with Loren.
"You mean, she is your sister?" Loren asked.
"Well, she sure as hell ain't my daugther," Hank said still grinning, boy, he loved getting the better of those two.
"I didn't know you had a sister, Hank," remarked Grace who had just come up to them.
"Well, he does," Maggie replyed smiling. She got up and put out her hand. "Have do you do, I'm Maggie Lawson."
Knowing the way that Hank look at her and her kind Grace was surprised of the open way Maggie had greated her. Her smile and the fact that she had stood up to shake her hand instead of just giving her a nod from her seat showed that in her eyes there wasn't any difference between the two of them. Happily Grace took her hand.
"I'm Grace, pleased to meet you."
"Grace, I must say you're an excellent cook."
"Thank you. Would't you try my applepie fresh from the oven?"
"I would love to," Maggie said decidedly.
"I'll bring you some."
Grace went to get the pie and Maggie sat down again.
"Maggie, this is Loren Bray," Hank introduced. Maggie reached across the table and shook his hand. "And this is Jake Sliker."
"Oh, the mayor," Maggie smiled shaking his hand. Grace returned with the pie. "Grace, this look truely intriging, and it smells just as good."
When Maggie had finished the pie she asked Hank to show her his saloon.
"What do you think?" Hank asked reasting his head in his hands with his elbows on the bardesk.
"I'm afraid I don't know very much about saloons." Maggie said apologeticly.
"GOOD!" Hank said grinning. Maggie grinned back and took a bottle out from behind the bardesk. She pulled the cork out and smelled the contents. Her head quicly shot back.
Hank laughed and reached out for another bottle.
"This is what I serve my non-drinking costoumers." He poured her a glass.
"Sasparilla," Maggie said after having tasted it.
"Hank what's going on out here?" One of Hanks girls appeared in the door.
"Who's this, Hank?" Maggie asked.
"This's Nellie, she works here."
"Oh, what does she do?" Maggie knew exactly what she did there, but she had always liked teasing Hank due to the way he always had tried to protect her innocence. This was a question Hank had no idea of how to answer. Eventually she felt sorry for him so: "How do you do, I'm Maggie Lawson, Hank's sister."
"Maggie, while you were sleeping I rented a room for you at the boarding house," Hank hurried to change the subject.
"Thank you." This came as no surprise to Maggie. Every time she had visited Hank, before he had gone out west, she had always stayed in a boarding house.
"Hank, we soon have to open," Nellie reminded him.
"I know, I know."
"Hank, let's go and get my things from the clinic and get me settled in at the boarding house," Maggie suggested.
"Ok, let's go."
At the clinic they met Dr. Mike.
"You run up and get your thing," Hank said. "I'll stay here and talk to Dr. Mike."
Maggie nodded and ran upstairs to the room where she had been sleeping.
"Did you want to talk to me about something, Hank?" Dr. Mike asked.
"Well ... em.. I feel a bit guilty about just letting Maggie sit all alone in her room all night but she can't be at the saloon either, so I was thinking maybe ..."
"We would love to ask her to dinner," Dr. Mike understood what he was trying to say. Hank smiled thankfully.
"I've got it all." Maggie joined them again.
"Maggie," Dr. Mike came over to her. "I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me and my family tonight?"
"I would love to, thank you!"
"Great. Come on, Maggie, I'll walk you over to the boarding house."
"See you soon, Dr. Mike."
The dinner was a hit. Maggie made great friends with the Cooper kids. Colleen wasn't home.
Later that night after Matthew had driven Maggie back to town as Mike and Sully was getting ready for bed.
"I really like Maggie. It's hard to belive that she's related to Hank." Mike said with a smile as Sully took off her shoes.
"I don't think so, I could clearly see the resemblence."
"You could? Oh. It was unbeliveable how fast she bonded with the kids."
"Yeah, it was."
"Both of them really smeemed to like her. I'm just worried ..." The sentence was said more to herself than to Sully.
"About what?" Sully asked as he started to unbutton her blouse.
"I sorry, I can't tell you."
Sully nodded understanding and kissed her.
End of part 2
Any comments, good and bad, can be send to Nina at email@example.com Enjoy.
Part 3 of 7
By Nina Tondering
When Maggie was walking down the street the next morning after having send a very sleepy Hank back with the words: "I can take care of myself and have for years," and after some breakfast at Greace's cafe she saw Dr. Mike loading the wagen with help from Sully, Matthew and another man she didn't know.
"Goodmorning everyone," she said and had a smil to go with the greeting.
"'Morning Maggie, have did you sleep?" Dr. Mike asked and Maggie understood the conscerned look in Dr. Mike eyes, and knew that what she was really asking was how her heart was.
"Great, thank you, better than I have for a long time." She said reasurringly and Dr. Mike understood. She looked at the man she didn't know and then back at Dr. Mike.
"Oh, I'm sorry." She climbed down the waggon. "Maggie, this is Dr. Andrew Cook, who is helping me out at the clinic. Andrew, this is Maggie Lawson, she's Hanks sister."
"How do you do, miss Lawson," Andrew said putting out his hand with a smile.
"And you, Dr. Cook. Well, two doctors, this town is prospering, isn't it?"
"Well, I'm not really ready to have a practise of my own, so I basicly just helping Dr. Mike out," Andrew answered. Maggie nodded.
"You're ready, Michaela?" Sully asked.
"Where're you going, Dr. Mike?" Maggie asked.
"I'm going out to the Indian reservation," Dr. Mike said as she took the reins.
"That sounds interesting. Would you mind if I tagged along?"
"No not at all."
Maggie lifted up in her skirts and with a helping hand from Sully, she climbed up and placed herself beside Dr. Mike.
"Matthew, when you see Hank will you tell him where I am?"
"..... and now Sully never goes out to the reservation any more," and with those words Dr. Mike finshed the tale of Agent Sully.
"I think is admirable what he did for his friend. I shall like to meet this Cloud Dancing."
"You're going to in a little while, after all he lives at the reservation."
"There's just one part I don't understand."
"Which one's that."
"Why the goverment is doing this to the Indians. That's not true, I know why they're doing it, I just don't understand it. Maybe they're afraid, maybe stupid or plain mean. I just don't understand why some people should be less than others."
"Neither do I, Maggie." Dr. Mike looked at Maggie with wondering eyes.
When they got to the reservation Dr. Mike introduced Maggie and Cloud Dancing.
"Well, I better get to work," Dr. Mike said.
"Let me know if you need any help," Maggie replyed. She took another look around the reservation. "When I decided to go to the reservation I didn't picture I'd see houses. It's looks like a pioneer town."
"They are trying to make os in to white men." Cloud Dancing's eyes grew sad. "They forbid os to talk our languages, pratice our traditions and medicine."
"It's terrible." Her eyes drifted around the small wooden houses
. "This is not where we belong, but now that they have taken away our land we don't belong anywhere."
"This may sound like I'm a hypercrite, but I partly know how you feel." She turned and faced him. "I'm not an American at heart. I don't belong in this land, like you don't belong in this reservation. My family comes from a land far from here called Norway. Through my granmother I learned about this land, it's traditions and the launguage. In my heart I know that that is my homeland and not this. But still I'm able to fit in here, I'm not forced to live like this. It's not fair."
Cloud Dancing looked into Maggies eyes.
"I hope some day you will go to this Norway." Those ten word felt like a bond between them.
"Let us go and see if Dr. Mike needs help."
They found Dr. Mike putting bandage on a young women's wrist. "Don't use it for a couple of days."
Suddenly they heard a noice behind them. They turned around and saw three Indians beating someone.
"What's going on?" Dr. Mike asked Cloud Dancing.
"He is a halfbreed who has come here to be with his mother's people, but he is not accepted."
"Why doesn't anyone stop them?" Maggie asked.
"Now and then the soldiers are pretty blind," Dr. Mike said with contempt in her voice. She ran to the nearest soldiers and made them breake the fight up. Together with Maggie and Cloud Dancing she bend down over the halfbreed who was lying on his back with closed eyes.
"They beat him up pretty bad," Maggie said worried.
"I better get him to the clinic, I can take better care of him there, and besides he's not safe here."
"I'll get the soldiers to help os get him on the waggon."
Maggie got up and returned not long after with to soldiers who helped them put the halfbreed up on the waggon. He moaned.
"Maggie, sit in the back with him and talk to him. Make sure that he dosen't faint."
Maggie nodded and got up beside the wounded man. Dr. Mike got the horses going.
"Now, don't you leave me, stay with me." Maggie pleaded. The man opened his eyes slightly and moved his hand a bit. Maggie understood the motion and took his hand. "Stay with me, please do, please don't faint." Maggie was terrified. She kept talking to him all the way back to town.
Andrew came and helped them get him into the clinic. As they put him on the table Maggie was still holding his hand.
"Maggie, why don't you wait outside?" Dr. Mike asked as she put on her apron. Maggie nodded, and unwillingly let go off his hand. When she did he opened his eyes and look at her.
"Is he going to die?" she asked when she saw the look in his eyes.
"We don't know yet. It depends on how bad the knock on his head was and whether or not he has any internal bleedings. We'll tell you as soon as we know." Gently she pushed her out of the door. Maggie placed herself on the bench outside the clinic where Hank a little while later found her.
"Hey Hank. Have did you sleep after I send you back to bed?"
"Very well, thank you. When I woke up I went looking for you. I met Matthew who told me that you had gone with Dr. Mike out to the Indian reservation. Maggie, I don't like that you're going there."
"Hank, what could happen? Nothing's going to happen to me, I'm white, the soldiers wouldn't want anything to happen to a white woman," Maggie said with disgust in her voice. Before Hank could reply Dr. Mike came out of the door. Maggie jumped out.
"It wasn't as severe as I feared, but he is quite badly beaten up. His left arm is broken, he took a bad blow on the head, his ribs are damaged and bruised all over, but he'll live."
"That's a relief."
"Yes, but I would like him to stay here a while just to keep him under observation. He's resting now."
"Would somebody mind telling me what's going on."
Quickly Dr. Mike gave Hank the story.
"A HALFBREED?" Hank shouted.
"Yes, a halfbreed," Dr. Mike snaped back.
"Hank, why don't you show me the rest af the town, we didn't get to do that yesterday?" Maggie asked.
"I'd love to, Maggie."
"I'll see you later, Dr. Mike." Maggie and Hank walked away.
After having seen the town Maggie returned alone to the clinic.
"Hallo, Dr. Cook, where's Dr. Mike?"
"She's upstairs with the patient you brought in this morning."
Maggie went upstairs and found the room where the halfbreed was lying. She knocked on the open door. Dr. Mike, who was sitting by the bed, turned her head.
"Hi, Maggie, come on in."
"You ARE real!" the halfbreed exclaimed.
"Yes, sir, I am," Maggie said not quite understanding.
"I thought it was an angel from Heaven that talked to me during that long ride, but here you are in the flesh." He reached out his hand for her to take, which she did.
"Yes, I am. I'm sorry I can't live up to the angel part."
"What're you saying? I'm quite content that you're God's angel here on Earth."
"In that case I shouldn't rob you of your illutions."
Dr. Mike quietly sneaked out of the door as Maggie placed herself on the bed.
"How's your head?" she asked.
"Not very well, I'm afraid. And what do you know, it has even affected my manners: my name is Richard Thomsen, but I shall be honored if you would call me Dick, since that is the name that the people who care about me use, and I hope you do care about me just a little."
Maggie could't help laughing.
"I shall be honored to have the priviledge of calling you Dick. Do you have an Indian name too? I sorry, that is none of my busines. I just wondered since I met you or shall we say found you at the reservation, and I'm afraid you can't run from your inheritance."
"It's quite allrigth for you to ask. I understand your curiousity. Yes, I do have an Indian name. It's Lone Wolf."
"Is there a story connected to it, like so many other Indian names?"
"Yes, there is, but not a very good one." "I shall like to hear it sometime, if you would like to tell me."
"I'll tell you if you will tell your name."
"Oh, of course, where is my head?"
"Beautifully resting on your shoulders."
Maggie smiled flattered.
"My full name is Margrete Solveig Lausenstrom, but the last name has been shortened to Lawson, and I would be honored if you would call me Maggie, only people who don't despise me do."
"I didn't like that last part, I hope sometime in return for my story you'll tell me the one that made you say that."
"I'll do that. I'm going to leave you now." She got up.
"Maggie!" He reached out and grabbed her wrist. Maggie looked from their hands to his face and smiled.
"Don't worry, I'll be back. And besides, you need your rest."
Slowly he pulled his hand down from her wrist and took her hand, looked at it. Squeezed it a little and then let go.
"I woundn't be going any where," he said with a grin when Maggie turned and left the room.
When the door was safly closed behind her Maggie leaned against the wall, let her head fall back and closed her eyes. She stayed like that until her heart had stopped pounding it's way out off her chest and she had her breath back under control. She sighed happily and went almost dancing down the stairs.
"Dr. Mike, when does Brian get off from school?" she asked as she entered the office.
"Any minute now I suppose. Why?" she aksed rising her head from the paperwork she was doing.
"If it's all right with you I'd like to go frog hunting with him. If you don't think he's too old for that?"
"I doubt it and even if he is he wouldn't mind doing it just to please you."
"In that case I'll kidnap your boy for a while."
Dr. Mike smiled as the door closed behinde the excited Maggie. Slowly her smile turned bittersweet. It didn't seem fair that a girl that loved life so much as Maggie obviously did was to be robbed of it so soon.
end of part 3
Any comments, good and bad, can be send to Nina at firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy.
Part 4 of 7
By Nina Tondering
Brian exited the school house together with some of the other boys. They were talking about the new girl who was together with Hank.
"Maybe it's a new saloon girl," one of them suggested.
"That stupid, she isn't dressed like his other girls," another one of them argued.
"Maybe it's his girlfriend," a third one tried.
"You're all wrong," Brian spoke up. "It's his sister and her name is Maggie. She had dinner with os last night." The other boys looked at him, then at each other and then cracked up laughing.
"Yeah right, and the Queen of Sheba had afternoon tea with me yesterday," one of them mocked him.
"Look, there she is!" a boy said when he spotted Maggie as she made her way towards the schoolhouse.
"Whoever she is, she sure is sweet," someone said and the others didn't argue. Maggie wasn't a beauty, but she was related to Hank so there had to be some good looking genes in her somewhere. The thing that made her sweet was her appetite on life. She enjoyed every day, ironicly enough, as if it were her last. It was the contagious smile, put there by succes in finding the bright sides of life that made her sweet.
When she spotted Brian she waved.
"Oh my goddness, she's waving."
Brian rolled his eyes and went down to meet her.
"Hey Maggie." The boys from school made sure to stay within hearing distance.
"Hey Brian, how was school?"
"Fine, where's Hank?"
"Oh, I left my brother -" "Brother?" all the boys frowned with surprise "- to do some business. He's watering down the whiskey," she whispered conspirately. "And even though I love my brother very much I like being without him now and then."
"I know what you mean," Brian said.
"Well, Hank has showed me the town, but I would like to see something that's not in the town, and I figered that you were the man for that job."
"Sure, what would you like to see?"
"I don't know, how about the best place to catch frogs?"
"SURE!" Brian said grinning. Maggie put her arm around his shoulders and as they walked off together Brian turned and waved as the other boys looked sheepishly after them.
After a wonderful afternoon with Brian down by the creek Maggie returned to the boarding house. Passing by the saloon Hank spotted her.
"Maggie, what happened?" Quickly Hank was beside a wet Maggie. She smiled happily at him and said: "I had the most wonderful afternoon with Brian down by the creek."
"But you're driping wet?"
"Oh yes, well there was this big frog that we just had to get, and then ..." She looked up at Hank as a little sister looks at her big brother when she is caught in a akward situation and hopes that he'll let her go, but he never does and Hank was no exception.
"I fell in," she said in a meak voice. Hank desperetely tried to hide a smile.
"And the frog?"
"Welhrme," she mumbled.
"We lost it."
Hank threw his head back and laughed with all the love he posessed, but he suddenly stopped.
"Maggie your hea..."
"I'm fine," she interrupted him. "I'm going over to the boarding house and change, then I'll be back."
When she had changed she went over to the saloon where she helped Hank wash his glases. Everything was just like before he left.
As the customers started to arrive Maggie quietly slid out. Walking down the street she met Matthew.
"I'm hungry, how about having dinner with my at Grace's?"
"I'd love to."
"Great, let's go then."
Mathew offered her his arm, which she giggling accepted.
After dinner Maggie returned to the clinic to redeem her promise to return to Dick. Inside she found Andrew asleep at the desk with his head resting on his arms.
"Dr. Cook, are you alright?" Maggie asked worried as her hand ran over his head. Andrew raised his head.
"Actually no, I feel quite poorly."
Maggie put her hand on his forehead.
"Your'e warm," she stated. "Why don't you go home?"
"Someone has to stay with Mr. Thomsen."
"I'll stay with him," Maggie offred.
"You'd do that?"
"Thank you!" Andrew showed her what to give him if his pains became worse or if he was having trouble sleeping.
"Goodnight Dr. Cook," Maggie said as he was leaving.
"Andrew," he smiled at her.
"Goodnight Andrew, feel better."
"Goodnight..." he answered hesitantly.
"Maggie," she offered.
When the door had closed behind him Maggie went up the stairs to the room where Dick was lying. She pulled a chair up and sat down beside the bed. She ran her hand through the sleeping man's hair. "I told you I'd be back."
The first thing Dick noted as he woke up the next morning was that he wasn't alone. Maggie was sitting beside the bed with her head in her arms resting on the side of the bed. He gently caressed her face. She opened her eyes.
When Maggie went downstairs to go to Grace's to get some breakfast for Dick she met Dr. Mike in the door.
"Maggie, what are you doing here?"
"When I last night came over to here to se how Dick was doing I found Andrew with a fever, so I offered to stay here so he could go home."
"I hope Andrew's alright."
"I'm sure he's going to be, but I was thinking, why don't I just stay here instead of at the boarding house? Then I can stay with Dick and you can stay home with your children."
"That sounds like a great idea. You sure you won't mind?"
"I'll rather stay here than at the boarding house." And that was settled.
Hank didn't like that Maggie was staying at the clinic to look after a halfbreed, but he didn't feel it was worth getting into an argument over.
"Hi Maggie." Dick's face light up when he saw Maggie later that day.
"Hi Dick. I've come to remind you of your promise."
"The promise to tell me your story."
"Oh yeah. Have a seat. Well, here we go. My mother was an Indian and my father a succesful Indian agent. They met at a reservation and fell in love. They were lucky enough to find a clergy that would wed them if only she was baptized. She was, and my father always told me that that was the greatest declaration of her love he ever got."
"So do I. I hope my mother knew what she was getting into because it wasn't easy for an Indian woman to be married to a white man. When I was born they both agreed that I should know the Indian ways as well as the white ways and I do, but that is also one of my greatest problems."
"I don't know wheter I'm Indian or white. I've had good schooling mostly by my father. My mother died when I was fifteen."
"I am sorry."
"Thank you. I've always had problems with being a halfbreed, I was different and that I learned is a crime in this world. My real problem started about five years ago when my father died. Suddenly no one wanted to know me anymore. The ones that had been nice to me turned out only to have been so to be nice to my father. I realised I didn't belong in the white man's world so I decided to go to my mother's people. It was worse to be a halfbreed, becours neither the Indians nor the white men wanted me. You asked about my Indian name Lone Wolf. My mother gave it to me because she knew I was alone and always would be."
"You're not alone anymore," she said stretching out her hand.
"No I'm not," he said taking it. He gently let his thumb caress the back of her hand.
"Your turn," he suddenly said.
"What?" His thumb had distracted her so much that she hadn't heard him.
"Your turn to tell your story."
"Oh, there's nothing grand about my story. My parents were Norwegian. I had a very close relationship with my brother, but he left. When I was send to a bording school, I was thrilled, now I wouldn't have to be with my parents."
"You didn't like them?"
"NO! And they didn't like me, I'd go as far as to say they despised me. In the holidays I was with my brother, but he moved here so I started to spend them with my Nana. She taught me about Norway, and like you I don't belong here. Well, at least not in my heart, they don't mind my looks."
"And now you're here visiting your brother?"
On her way out the next morning she met Dr. Mike, who immediately recognized the smile on her lips, the twinkle in her eyes, the slight blush, the glow and especially the way she talk of him.
"My godness, Maggie, you're in love with him!"
Maggies blush grew and so did her smile. Dr. Mike put her arm around her shoulders and desided it could wait till another day telling her about the problems a relationship with a halfbreed would involve, and enjoyed the smile on her face.
"Don't tell Hank," she begged.
"I wouldn't dream of it."
End of Part 4
on to part 5
Part 5 of 7
By Nina Tondering
After a few days Andrew was back on his feet, so Maggie was free to take Hank with her to church.
After church Dr. Mike asked them to join them on a picnic. They gladly accepted. Dorothy and Loren joined them too.
"Nice to see you in church to day, Hank," Dorothy said sweetly.
"Isn't this great, Maggie?" Brian said. "If you stay here it can be like this all the time."
Hank, Dr. Mike and Maggie exchanged glances.
"Brian, there is something I have to tell you, something I have to tell you all."
"What?" Brian asked.
"The reason I came here wasn't to find out if I wanted to move out here, it was to say goodbye to my brother."
"What do you mean?"
"There is something wrong with my heart and the doctors presume that I only have two more years left to live in." A loud gasp sounded among the little party. "And as soon," she continued without paying any attention. "I have raised enough money I'm moving to Norway, to die in the land of my ancestors, in the land where I feel I belong."
When she finished there was a sort silence, where Maggie looked around on their faces. Dorothy looked aghast. A dark cloud had pulled over Mathews face. Brian jumped up.
"I don't belive you! You're lying!"
"Brian, I ..." She reached out to take his arm, but he ran. She got up and ran after him. Dr. Mike was about to run after them, but Sully held her back. Due to her longer legs Maggie quickly caught up with him and grab his arms.
"Brian, it's the truth you gotta' belive that. I didn't wanna' belive it at first either, but.."
"I hate you!"
"You come here and are so nice, and now you say that you're gonna' leave me and die!"
"Brian, please ..."
"I HATE YOU AND I NEVER WANNA' SEE YOU AGAIN!" Before Maggie could say anything he ran again. She got up and ran a few steps, but suddenly her knees gave way under her and she fainted.
Brian stopped, not knowing why but he could feel that something was wrong. He turned around and saw Maggie lying in the grass.
"Maggie!" he cried out scared. He ran back to her. "Oh Maggie, don't die, not yet. You've two more years to live in. I'm sorry, I didn't mean the things I said. Please don't die, Maggie." A tear ran down his cheek.
Slowly Maggie opned her eyes.
"Hey Brian," she said in a wispering voice.
"I've got two more year to live in and I intend to make the most of them."
"What happend? Why did you faint?"
"It's my heart. I get tired very qiukly and if I exhaust myself then I faint, but I'm alright now. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, I just couldn't."
"It dosen't matter," Brian said shaking his head. "I'm sorry I just .... can't face it, don't understand it." His tears were still running.
"Life is like a rose. It is created and slowly it blooms." Her hands formed the rose. "Then the rose withers, dies and is cut off. My rose is just going to be cut off while it still blooms. I'll never grow old."
Brian threw his arms around her neck and cried with her.
"Let's go back to the others," she said when there were no more tears.
When they returned Mathew wasn't there.
"Where's Matthew?" Maggie asked worried.
"He said he had some work to do." Loren answered. Maggie nodded, but in her eyes you could see that she wasn't convinced. Sully looked at her with a worried look in his eyes, he knew why Mathew had left.