Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home
Lost Scene #3
While Chad and Mother are having their conversation, Andi is up in the meadow with Taffy, trying to sort everything out. She finally glances up and realizes the sun has dipped dangerously low. She's far from the ranch and if she doesn't get a move-on, she'll be late for supper, a "no-no" for the Carter family. She scrambles up on Taffy, jabs her, and takes off. But Taffy can't run as fast as usual since she's stuff on new grass. Andi resigns herself to being late for supper. Meanwhile, supper preparations are going on at home . . .
"If I hold la cena any longer, señora, it will be ruined." Luisa, the Carters' Mexican housekeeper, announced this grim news as Elizabeth entered the kitchen. “The beef was done to perfection twenty minutes ago,” Luisa lamented. “No doubt it will be dried out by the time I serve it. And the biscuits! Ay! They are turning cold. What is to be done, señora?” Her usually mild features contorted into an expression of dismay at the thought of her special meal turning into an inedible mass.
"I know," Elizabeth agreed, laying her hand on the woman's arm. She gave her a smile of understanding. "You've outdone yourself tonight in honor of our guest, and on such short notice too. I'm sorry, Luisa. I really wanted to give Andrea a chance to get here on time---especially since it's a company meal, but…” Her voice fell away in indecision.
“Of course, señora,” Luisa put in quickly, seeing the worried look on Elizabeth’s face. “I did not mean to complain. Perhaps a few more minutes will not matter so much.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No, Luisa. You’re right. We mustn’t keep Senator Farley waiting any longer." She glanced through the kitchen window. Twilight had descended. "It’s getting late.” She surveyed the kitchen and noticed Luisa’s careful preparations. “Serve supper now, if you would. I’ll have everyone get seated."
The woman brightened. "Si, señora. And the little señorita will surely come back soon. Perhaps she found one of the other children, and they are off playing, no?" The relief was evident in her voice. With an important senator dining with the family tonight, she clearly wanted everything to be perfect for her hosts.
Elizabeth entered the great room, a fixed smile on her face. "I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting, Senator." She motioned her family and the senator to take their seats in the dining room. “There was a slight delay, but supper is now ready."
"Perfectly understandable, Mrs. Carter." Senator Harper smiled. "I've been enjoying your lovely home. It's a breath of fresh air after Washington, I assure you. And the meal smells wonderful."
"Our own beef, of course, Jim,” Justin offered. He led the way to the table. "I hope you return to Washington with glowing reports of what's been happening out West during session."
"That's the only part I hate about this job, Justin." The senator shook his head. "I'm in Washington so much I forget about the beauty and greatness of the state I'm representing. I need to get out here for a tour more often."
"We can show you plenty, that's for sure,” Mitch added as he sat down across from a conspicuously empty chair.
The empty place was not lost on the senator. "Are you expecting another guest for dinner?" he asked. "I assure you I am not starving to death. I can wait."
"Don't worry about it." Chad waved it away.
The senator nodded then sat down between Mitch and Chad and placed a napkin in his lap. He had heard of the Carters, of course, and had become acquainted with Justin during a recent visit to Sacramento. But this was the first time he'd had the privilege to visit their ranch and meet the rest of the family. He appreciated their honesty and hard work. The sprawling ranch was the envy of every rancher in the valley, but the Carters were gracious landowners. They were honest and humble in all their dealings and treated everyone with respect and courtesy. Senator Farley found their attitude very refreshing after some of the social situations he was forced to endure in the nation's capital.
He glanced once more at the empty seat. He knew it was none of his business, but he couldn’t help wondering if perhaps something was not quite right.
Go HERE for Lost Scenes #4 and #5.
Go HERE for Lost Scenes #4 and #5.