This next lost scene takes up exactly where we left off last time. There is a scene break and a scene switch to later that same afternoon. While Andi is up at her special spot having a conversation with Taffy, the following scene is taking place at home. Enjoy!
Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home
Lost Scene #2
"Do you happen to know where Andrea is?" Elizabeth Carter’s voice greeted Chad late that afternoon as he sauntered through the foyer on his way to find something to eat. He spied a bowl full of apples on a nearby table, picked one up, then turned to his mother.
"Someplace where she can't get into trouble, I hope," he muttered, still irritated at how the morning had begun. He tossed the apple into the air and caught it with his other hand. He headed for the large, open great room that served as a place to rest and relax or entertain guests as the occasion arose.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Elizabeth asked, frowning. She followed her son into the great room and put her hands on her hips. "Weren't you making sure she got those stalls cleaned? After all, it was your idea."
Chad let out a long, frustrated sigh. "The stalls didn't get cleaned, Mother." In a few clipped sentences, he related the early morning incident. Elizabeth frowned in concern.
"Then she took off on Taffy,” Chad finished. "I haven't seen her since." He smiled to relieve his mother's serious expression. "Don't worry. You know Andi'll come back when she gets hungry. Nothing can hurt her on the ranch. She's no doubt up at that special place of hers."
"Nothing can hurt her on the ranch?" Elizabeth looked surprised at that statement. "You just related an incident where she was very nearly killed."
"You know what I mean." Chad took another bite of the apple and slouched in the chair, worn out from the day's work. He propped his feet up on the footstool and sighed. "All right, Mother. I'll send somebody after her if you’d like---"
"I doubt she'd appreciate being dragged home by a ranch hand like a stray calf.”
Chad chuckled. "You have a point." He looked at his mother's worried face. "I'll fetch her myself if you're concerned. I need to talk to her anyway.”
Elizabeth shook her head. "I'm not too worried. I only wanted to make sure she was home this afternoon. A telegram from Justin arrived just before lunch. He'll be home in time for supper. He's bringing Senator Farley with him." She sighed. "I knew Andrea would be pleased to hear the news, since we weren't expecting Justin for another week or two."
"I think it'd be a good lesson for Andi to find out the hard way. If she misses Justin's homecoming this evening, it'll be her own fault."
"You're not very sympathetic, Chad."
"I haven't time to be sympathetic,” came Chad’s impatient reply. He whirled around in the chair. “In case you've forgotten, Mother, this is a working ranch. I have too much on my mind to be continually checking up on that girl day in and day out, redoing her chores, pulling her out of all the dangerous situations she's managed to get herself into these days." He paused and took a breath. “You remember what happened last week, don't you? Sid McCoy had to drag her home after he almost ran her over with that group of geldings he was bringing in. And what she was doing out there, I'd like to know! We never did get a straight answer out of her for that---"
"Chad . . .” Elizabeth warned, but her son continued to vent his frustration.
"This incident with the stallion is the last straw! She's been around horses all her life. She knows better. What in the world has gotten into her?"
"Try to be patient, Chad. You think your sister gets into scrapes and forgets her chores? Well, you might remember yourself at that age. It brings to mind the time you got trapped in that old, abandoned mine for almost a full day. You know the one. You'd been told to stay away from it, of course, but you were sure there was a hidden vein of gold, and nobody could convince you otherwise."
"Yeah,” Chad replied sourly, "I remember it well. And I got what was coming to me from Father, if you'll recall, after he pulled me out of the mine. That's what Andi needs, I suspect---a good, old-fashioned spanking."
Elizabeth folded her arms across her chest and sighed. "And just what would that accomplish?"
Chad looked uncomfortable. "I don't know exactly, but I promised her one if she goes near that horse again."
His mother shook her head wearily. "I'm sure your threat went a long way toward solving the problem."
"Actually,” Chad admitted, looking around for a place to toss his apple core, "she didn't take it too well. She---"
"Spare me the details, if you please." Elizabeth cut off her son. "Give her a little understanding, Chad. It can't be easy being the youngest---caught between childhood and adulthood. Too old to be spoiled and petted, and too young to be given the freedom she sees in everyone else, but hasn't earned herself." She waved her hand to cut the conversation short. "Just pass the word around that if anyone sees her, they should tell her about the company dinner tonight, and not to be late."
"Right." Chad pulled himself up from the chair. He gave the apple a careless toss into the huge fireplace that took up a good portion of one wall. It made a quiet thud as it hit the cold ashes. "It's been a long day. I'll check the barn and around the yard before cleaning up. Maybe by some miracle Andi returned to clean those stalls."
"I hope so,” Elizabeth murmured softly. She frowned slightly as she tried to think of some way to help her youngest daughter adjust to all the unfortunate circumstances she seemed to have stumbled into over the past couple of months. Andrea was usually so bright and cheerful, forever running and laughing---so full of life. Her blue eyes always sparkled with delight, and she was usually on good terms with her older brothers and sister.
Lately, however, she'd managed to rub everyone the wrong way with her careless disregard for her chores, the trouble at school, and the normal restrictions on where she could ride and what she could do. Elizabeth was more than a little concerned. The defiance Andrea had shown today regarding Chad's instructions about the stallion could not be ignored.
Elizabeth made her way toward the kitchen to check on the dinner preparations, all the while trying to think back to the time when Melinda was Andrea’s age. She came to the conclusion that Melinda had not experienced the same difficulties Andrea seemed to be facing these days. Of course James had been alive when Melinda was eleven, and probably made the difference. Andrea was the only one of the children who hadn't had the benefit of having a father around during the crucial times of her childhood.
Elizabeth shook her head, at a loss. Well, she decided finally, Andrea’s got Justin. Perhaps he can step in and do something with her...
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