Read part 1 HERE
"That was a close race, but I think you won," Andi said as she began brushing Taffy down. Chad was leading Sky into his stall.
"Maybe, but it looked like a tie to me," he called over his shoulder.
Five minutes later, they were both washed up and sitting at the table. Mashed potatoes, chicken, gravy, biscuits, and jam . . . Andi's favorite!
Justin was still in town. Andi felt better after the race. Chad prayed, then they all dug into the food. Halfway through the meal, a knock sounded at the door. It was Sheriff Tate. He stepped inside and nodded to Chad.
"Howdy, Chad. Hi, Mitch. I came to tell you the latest on last night's incident."
"Well, don't keep us waiting! What's up?” Chad wanted to know.
"Cory isn't in jail for now, but I might have to put him there, just to keep things calm. There's a good bit of excitement in town."
"That's not good." Chad frowned. "Poor Andi's been awfully . . . Ow! What did you do that for?"
Andi scowled at him. She reached out her foot to stomp his toes again, but he pulled his feet under his chair. A smile tugged at the corner of Sheriff Tate's mustache, and he said, "It's okay, Andi. Things will calm down once people realize how unreasonable this is." And with that, he tipped his hat and left.
Justin came home later than usual that evening. And he had news. "Well, on the way out of town, a fellow stopped me. He said he was a relative of Mr. Jones, and he knew something really important about this case. But he doesn't want it to be public knowledge. So, he wants me to come alone, unarmed. He's scared, poor fellow. He wants me to meet him in Al Jones' old shack outside town on Wednesday, day after tomorrow. I guess I'll go. He looks trustworthy, and I need to know whatever it is he has to say." Justin sat down and pulled his boots off. "Some folks in town are not very happy about the fact that Cory isn't in jail. Sheriff Tate might need to put him there, 'just for safekeeping', as he said.
Andi turned down Mitch's offer for a game of checkers, even though she knew he was doing it to make her feel better. He didn't really like checkers, and she always beat him anyway. But she was too tired tonight. She undressed slowly and crawled in bed. "Oh, God," she prayed, "Please prove Cory innocent. Make everything turn out alright. Thank You. Amen." And with that, she fell asleep.
The next morning, Justin informed Andi that Mr. Foster was well, and there would be school today. She groaned.
"Andi, could you buy me some thread at the mercantile after school? I need some if I want to finish my dress before this weekend," Melinda asked before Andi left for school. "I have the money here."
"Alright. What color do you want?"
The girls discussed the thread and Melinda's dress while Justin hitched Pal to the buggy. "Andi, let's go!" Justin called.
Andi slipped the coins Melinda handed her in her pocket. "Bye, Mother! See you after school, Melinda!" she called, and stepped into the buggy. Justin slapped the reins, and they were off.
At school, everyone was talking about Cory, who had stayed home. Andi didn't blame him one bit. None of the other kids seemed to suspect him, either. The day dragged on for what seemed like forever to Andi. She wanted to see Cory. Finally, school was out. Andi went straight to the mercantile for the thread. She bought it, and then started on a run for Cory's house.
She was in such a hurry, she didn't even give a second thought to taking a back-alley shortcut. But halfway through, she paused. She heard someone inside a doorway, talking in low tones. The door was cracked open. Andi listened.
"I told him to come alone and unarmed, so he'll be easy. Afore he knows what’s happening, he's gonna be where he'll never be nobody's stinkin lawyer. Ever." He chuckled menacingly. Andi's eyes opened wide. They had to be talking about someone else. Not... "Better shut that door, Jake." A new voice broke in. "If someone hears us, our plans would all fail, and we'd be—" Before he could finish, a curse was followed by a muffled scream.
Andi was caught.