WINDING DOWN THE YEARS, Part Four
Repairing the Legacy, Chapter Fifteen, Part Four
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With this segment of Chapter Fifteen of Repairing the Legacy, we continue the serialization of Repairing the Legacy. This is a rough draft work in progress and may not reflect the final form. Time period: set after the ending of The Martiniere Legacy main trilogy. I’m breaking longer chapters into sections for readability. This is the fourth part of Chapter Fifteen. There will be four parts to this chapter.
New to the series? Chapter order:
Return of the Prodigal Son (2 parts)
Conversations and a Dinner (2 parts)
Dancing into Change (2 parts)
Sisterly Compromises (3 parts)
Conspiracies at the Rodeo (3 parts)
Passing the Baton (4 parts)
Research Complications (3 parts)
Chasing After Shadows (3 parts)
Fifth Anniversary Present (3 parts)
Mariah (5 parts)
Shadows, Redux (3 parts)
Accidents Happen (4 parts)
Maternal Memories (4 parts)
A Voice…Weeping for their Children (6 parts)
Star colicked and died in mid-June, without warning. Ruby found the big dark bay stallion in the field, with his mares and foals gathered around him in silent tribute.
“I’m burying him myself,” Gabe insisted.
“Gabriel.” Her voice sharpened, and she almost inserted a command tone. “Your knee, and the shape you’re in—”
“I’m not a fucking invalid, damn it!”
Ruby flinched. He wasn’t hesitating about using a tone, and even though she wasn’t programmed, the resonances hit her hard. “Damn it, Gabe! You’re also not in the best condition.” She used a slight tone on him.
He glowered at her, lips tight, eyes hard. “I owe it to the old man. God damn it, I wanted to get one last ride on him but I’m so fucking weak—” His voice quavered and he blinked. “Damn it. Another thing my health has taken away from me!”
“We’ll both do it,” she said. “Together.”
God, this was awful. Especially since Gabe’s eyes glimmered with unshed tears. Star had been his horse, more so than any other on the ranch.
They buried Star in the field where he died. Ruby did the hard part of the work.
“No need to trim mane and tail hair,” Gabe said. “That’s just sentiment.” But his voice caught and he blinked hard. “He was romping with his foals just day before yesterday.”
Ruby managed to sneak in and clip enough hair to braid into a bracelet for Gabe. Despite his tough façade, he had loved the big stallion, and the two of them—
Gabe and Star. The big dark bay stallion had been Gabe’s preferred saddle horse. Lords of the Double R, she supposed. The Man of the Place and his stallion. Neither Gramps nor her long-dead uncles had been horsemen. She had to go back to the turn of the nineteenth century into the twentieth to find an equivalent to Gabe and Star in the ranch’s history. Her great-great-grandfather David Ryder had been a horseman, with his own stud, Blue. David Ryder and Blue had been famous amongst Thunder County ranchers, for Blue’s ability to work cattle and outrun just about any horse put up against him. Legacy was a Blue descendant, as were a lot of Thunder County-bred horses.
Gabe Martiniere and Star had earned a similar regard.
End of an era.
She hoped that was the only thing ending.
Gabe seemed somewhat diminished after they buried Star. For the first time ever he appeared to be frail, hands trembling as he used utensils over dinner, slightly hunched over and slumping instead of sitting tall. He went to bed early that night.
Ruby had a hard time getting to sleep because she kept startling awake, to check on Gabe.
Is this an omen?
She hoped not.
At last, when sleep refused to come, she got up and went down to her office, where she had placed Star’s hair to dry after washing it.
Keychain and bracelet, she decided, and began to rummage through her storage closet for her jewelry kit. The familiarity of the braiding preparation process calmed her thoughts—it was something she had done since her teen years, both for herself and for friends, to create a remembrance of special horses. Gabe’s bracelet would include green and gold beads, a commemoration of his preferred Martiniere colors.
Several days later, she presented Gabe with the keychain and bracelet.
“You didn’t have to do it,” he protested, as Mike hid a smile.
“I wanted to do it,” she said as she fastened the bracelet around his wrist.
Gabe didn’t say anything more. He touched the bracelet, eying it with a wry smile. Then he kissed Ruby.
She noticed that the bracelet stayed on Gabe’s wrist, except when he showered. And afterward, it went right back on.
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