Andi plunked down on her bed and stared out the window. The raindrops made pretty designs as they trickled down the windowpane. Andi sighed. Sitting down at her desk she looked at the pile of homework in front of her.
What a way to spoil a perfect Saturday, Andi thought to herself. But still, homework is better than sitting in the parlor with Melinda, listening to her go on and on about her suitors and teasing me about when I'll have one.
Starting on her homework with renewed vigor, Andi was soon finished.
Pushing the chair away from the desk, she gave a sigh of relief. “If graduating means all these tests and finals I wish I could stay in school forever!”
Andi muttered. But, at least Mr. Foster was going to be gone all next week, which would mean no school...and no homework. When Cory, who had graduated last year told her she wouldn't have time for anything else but studying, Andi hadn't believed him. “I guess you were right after all, Cory.” Andi laughed to herself. Of course, when was Cory ever wrong?
Just then, Andi heard a knock on the downstairs door.
Who would be out in such weather? Andi thought, hurrying down the stairs.
Entering the parlor, she saw mother reading a single slip of paper.
“Who was that, Mother?”
“That was Jesse. You know, the assistant telegraph operator. He's brought me a telegram from Chad.”
Chad and Mitch, along with some of the ranch hands were on a cattle drive, taking the cattle from the ranch to the market in Los Angeles.
“What's wrong, Mother?” Andi asked, anxiously scanning her mother's worried face.
Mother handed her the telegram. “Here, read it.”
Over half of heard stolen by cattle rustlers Stop Mitch badly wounded stop Being treated by doctor in Bakersfield. Stop. We will be here for a while Stop
Andi gasped. “Oh Mother! What are we going to do?”
“Well, we'll wait until Justin gets home. Then we'll decide.”
At the supper table, Mother and Justin discussed what to do.
“We need to get going after those cattle rustlers. I'd also like to make sure Mitch is alright. I think I'll go down to Bakersfield with a couple of men. That way I'll be able to check on Mitch and get the details from Chad,” Justin said. “Then we can get going after the rustlers.”
Mother agreed. ”That sounds like the best plan. When will you leave?”
“First thing tomorrow morning. If it wasn’t so urgent I would wait till Monday, but every minute counts.”
“Can I come along?” Andi asked.
“No!” exclaimed Justin Mother and Melinda at the same time.
“Why not?” Andi protested. “There's no school all next week so I wouldn't be missing anything.”
“Andrea, it's not safe. Who knows what you would danger you'd run into.”
“But I don't have to go after the rustlers. I can stay with Mitch. If he's wounded bad, as Chad said he was, I'm sure it would help for me to stay with him. Otherwise he'd be alone, since Chad will be off chasing the rustlers. Besides, Mother, I know what to expect. I've been on a cattle drive before,”Andi explained.
“Well, what do you think, Justin?” Mother asked.
Andi turned pleading eyes to her brother.
“You be ready by 6:30am tomorrow morning or you'll stay behind,” Justin said with a smile.
Andi jumped up and threw her arms around her brother! “Thank You, Justin! I'll be ready!”