Riley stood up. “Andi? Boy it's been a while since I saw you!” He reached out a hand to help her stand.
“It's good to see you, Riley, but I really have to find Justin. You can come with me if you want.”
“I think I will. What's the hurry?”
Andi explained as they walked. “So you see, I have to hurry. Jack will probably have already told Justin the problem so he'll be waiting for me. Say, are you here alone? What are you in town for?”
“I'm here alone. I am just passing through on my way to back to Idaho. I had to go down to San Francisco on business with my father. He went home alone but I told him I wanted to stop and see y’all first.”
Just then Justin pulled up in the buggy. “Come on, Andi , we've got to go. Riley! Good to see you! You come along too. We must hurry.”
Justin started off at a quick trot and they hurried home. Andi and Riley talked some on the ride home, but Andi was too worried about her mother to talk much. Soon they turned down the lane to the ranch.
“We didn't see anyone on the road so they must be at the house. We'll walk slowly and quietly and leave the horses here,” Justin said.
As they came in sight of the house, Justin motioned them to stay back. He walked up to the house. “Hello? Anyone home?” Silence greeted him. Slowly he walked in the house.
“Let's follow him,” Andi said. Riley hesitated, but followed her. As they glanced around the door of the house, they saw Mother tied and gagged as well as Luisa and the other house servants. Justin was standing with his hands in the air and one of the two men Andi saw in town was pointing a cocked gun straight at Justin.
“Quick! We must get Chad and Mitch!” She ran to the barn and saddled Shasta while Riley mounted Patches. “Let's split up since we don't know which way they went.” Riley suggested.
Andi nodded. “Let's hurry.”
Right away Andi spotted two riders coming toward her. Urging her horse into a gallop, Andi rode hard toward the riders. It was Chad and one of the ranch hands. Quickly she explained everything to him. Chad pulled the pistol from his holster ready for use and galloped on ahead with the ranch hand.
Andi went and looked for Riley, then they both started back to the house.
By the time they got there, Chad and the ranch hand had tied and gagged the two men, untied Mother and the servants, and was working on untying Justin.
“What did they want?” asked Andi .
“They were looking to kidnap Mother and get a ransom when Justin walked in,” Chad said grimly. “Thankfully, we were able to get here before they left. Mitch and I'll take them into town tonight.”
Just then Mitch walked in. “What am I going to do?” he asked.
Andi explained everything to him.
After Melinda came home and everything was explained, Mitch and Chad took the rowdies into town.
Andi and Riley caught up on old times. “How long are you staying?” Andi asked.
“Just until day after tomorrow.”
Andi sighed. “I was hoping you could stay longer. But it's good it’s Friday, I'll be here all day tomorrow.”
Just then a tired Chad and Mitch walked in. “They were wanted men. They have robbed banks across the State and have outwitted all the attempts to capture them. There is a reward also. $750 for whoever captured them.” Mitch handed her an envelope. “You are the owner of a third of $750, Andi .”
Mitch handed an envelope to Riley. “So are you. Jack is also and we gave him the money when we were in town.”
Andi grinned. “Think of what we can buy with this!”
Andi and Riley had a fun visit and when Riley left he promised to come again soon and bring his family with him.
The next month and a half passed quickly with the preparations for the coming holiday. One Friday, two weeks before Christmas, Andi burst into Justin's office. “Cory's coming Cory's coming!” she sang.
Justin laughed. “Slow down. When's he coming?”
“He'll be here on tomorrow. The whole town is having a welcome for him. We'll come, won't we Justin?”
“We will. Now, we better get home and tell the rest of the family.”
Everyone was exited and Chad made preparations with the ranch hands so he could be gone.
Andi finally went to bed but she knew she wouldn't be able to sleep she was so excited. “I can't wait till tomorrow!” Andi whispered as she climbed into bed.