Summary: A missing scene for the episode.
Rating: K+ (900 words)
The Lady from Baltimore – A Missing Scene
Adam stuffed a swiftly assembled selection of trail clothes into his saddlebags and topped them off with a few personal possessions that he wouldn’t want to be without: his razor, hair brushes and the book of poems he was half way through and very much enjoying. He was sure that there were things that he had forgotten in his haste, but he would just have to stop and buy them along the way. Right then, his insides were all of a flutter: his thoughts kept slipping back to the confrontation with his brother outside the barn. Joe was hot-headed, and it was never easy to anticipate which way he would react, but his fury at finding Melinda Banning hanging from his brother’s neck, her mouth locked on his, was totally unexpected. The only way of avoiding violence had been for Adam to walk away. Adam could still taste the young woman’s lips and the evocative scent of her perfume filled up his head.
The news delivered by his father, that Joe intended to marry Melinda, had come as a complete surprise ~ in fact, Adam paused, wondering, it might just be the other way around; Melinda might have set herself on marrying Little Joe Cartwright whether he liked it or not. Joe, famously, was attracted to anything wearing a skirt and fell in love regularly three times a month. To be sure, their father seemed as bemused by the situation as Adam himself. In any event, Adam was sure that he had made the right decision ~ best to get away for a while and give things time to sort themselves out. Certainly, it was no use talking to Joe. Adam finished his packing and took one last look ‘round his room. There was nothing else that he needed to take. He hefted the saddlebags onto his shoulder and turned to the door.
Morning sunlight spilled down the passageway from the square paned window set in the side of the house. It cast interesting patterns of light and shade and brought to life the brilliant colours of the rag rugs that covered the floor. The upper hallway smelled of bee’s wax polish and the rich aroma of ginger nut cookies that rose up from the kitchen below. One thing was sure; Adam was going to miss Hop Sing’s cooking. He closed the door of his room behind him and turned towards the stair.
“Adam.” The soft voice was Melinda’s. She stepped from the doorway of the guestroom where the shadows lay deepest. She had changed the torn skirt and now wore a lightweight gown of lavender and grey with violet ribbons trimming the neckline and sleeves. Her eyes swept over him. She noted his clothes and the gear that he carried. “You’re going away.”
Adam turned to face her, aware that his expression was grim. “I think it’s best that I get out from underfoot for a while. I wouldn’t want to get in Joe’s way.”
“Joe!” Melinda pouted ~ an expression intended to bewitch and beguile. “Joe’s just a boy. I’d rather have a grown man like you.”
Adam had visions of an interesting triangle: himself, Melinda and Joe. It wasn’t attractive. Melinda took a step forward and reached out to touch him. He smelled again that provocative mix of perfume and warm womanhood. He stood his ground. “It’s not going to work, Melinda.”
“It could if you let it.” Her tone was low, eager, cajoling. “Just say the word and I’ll tell Joe that I made a mistake. You and I can be married. Mother would still be well pleased.” Her fingertips brushed the front of his shirt and toyed with his buttons. “It would be just you and me.”
Then it became crystal clear to him ~ the length and the breadth and the depth of the conspiracy. Deborah Banning had come to the Ponderosa with the sole intention of ensnaring a Cartwright as Melinda’s husband. She had selected Joe as the most easily manipulated of the younger men. She had reckoned without Melinda’s own preferences.
Adam reached out and gathered Melinda’s two small hands into one of his large ones and held them both tightly. He leaned forward and kissed her mouth cruelly, bruising her lips with his teeth. It was just a small taste of revenge.
Melinda’s eyes opened wide in surprise. She started to struggle, to fight against his greater strength. Adam lifted his head but still held her hands. He looked at her coldly. “You’ve got to learn that you can’t fool with a grown man’s emotions.”
“But Adam, I…”
The door of Hoss’s room opened and the big man came out. He carried his own saddlebags and a sack full of extra clothes. He looked the two over, aware that something had happened but not knowing what. Their eyes were still fixed on each other. Hoss shifted uncomfortably and pulled a face. “C’mon, Adam. It’s a heck of a long way to Tucson. We’d better get started if we’re gonna go.” He had no doubt at all that his brother would tell him all about it somewhere along the trail.
Adam let go of Melinda and turned away. His expression was somewhere between bleak and angry. “You’re right, let’s get going,” was all that he said. He stalked off towards the head of the stairs. Hoss gave Melinda an uncertain glance and followed after…
Potter’s Bar 2003.
Other Stories by this Author
- The Artist – A Missing Scene (by Jenny G)
- Escape to Ponderosa – A Missing Scene (by Jenny G)
- The Stranger – A Missing Scene (by Jenny G)
- Badge Without Honor – A Rewrite (by Jenny G)
- The Just and the UnJust (by Jenny G)