Dangerous Liaison: The Countess (by BluewindFarm)

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Summary: The Cartwrights had pulled it off; successfully defended the Ponderosa without firing a single gunshot. Yet, the triumph was overshadowed by a persistent question; was anyone truly a winner or a loser when it came to a bittersweet memory from the past?

Rating: G (655 words)

 

Dangerous Liaison: The Countess

Without any grace or decorum, Adam collapsed into the chair set to the right of the massive fireplace. Pushing his legs forward, heels sliding across the floor, he inhaled deeply, “Thank goodness she’s gone.”

Having stabbed the blackened and glowing logs in the fireplace, Hoss slipped the poker into its resting place, “And we can totally forget about all of it.”

“Not quite, Pa still has to payback our friends.”

Shaking his head while raising a booted foot onto the stones and placing his hand on his knee, “Just think, she coulda been Little Joe’s momma.”

Canting his head to look up to his larger brother, “But then Little Joe wouldn’t be the Little Joe we know.”

Eye’s glinting, “That coulda beena good thing, right?”

“It also coulda beena bad thing.”

“You shore you want to say that? Shortshanks might be eavesdroppin’ at the top athe stairs like he does.”

“No, if he was, he’d already be spewing fighting words and blustering down the steps.”

With the corners of their mouths turning up, brotherly eyes caught each other; knowing their brother was caught somewhere in the land of slumber, both huffed a laugh at the imagined scene.

Not questioning, but wanting confirmation, “Adam, there weren’t no title when she knew Pa.”

Interlacing his fingers, resting his hands and tucking his thumbs over his belt buckle, “No, no title.”

“And the Ponderosa was just beginning.”

“Pa had plans for the ranch, involving a lot of hard work.”

“Back then, Pa done a lot of tradin’ and barterin’, and what money there was was tight.”

“You’re right, there wasn’t a whole lot of money, at least not for anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.”

“That why she chose Lord Chadwick, ‘cause he had money?”

“And a title.”

“Do you think she loved him?”

Eyebrows arching, “Pa?”

“No, her late husband.”

“Who knows.”

“Guess you could say this were a dangerous… ummmm.”

“Liaison, a dangerous liaison. You’re right, Hoss; in more ways than one.”

Turning his backside to the fire, Hoss slipped his hands into his pockets until his thumbs caught. “If she loved Pa as she said she once did, how come she tried to ruin him? I mean, she rejected Pa, and to come here and do what she done, that don’t sound like love to me.”

Sitting forward, elbows on knees, fingers still interlocked, “Somewhere along the line, she changed. People change, and not always for the best.”

Sitting onto the hearthstones, Hoss heaved a heavy sigh, “Still, she came here… did she have it all planned?”

“Probably. I’d say even before Lord Chadwick’s death she was probably a lonely woman. Now with a title and money, she wanted to rekindle the past, only a past as she chose to remember.” Resting into the back of his chair, “To her, love equated power and vice versa. She used her relationship with Pa and set the stage to destroy the Ponderosa, thus allowing her to ‘save the day’ – voila! Power.”

“But Pa said he’d never put the Ponderosa above the love of a woman.”

“True, now as well as twenty years ago.” Standing and stretching his full height, “I think, deep down, Pa knew that she wasn’t what you or I needed in a mother. And he tested her love.”

Hoss gulped, “Ya mean when he proposed all those years ago?” 

Adam nodded.

“Adam? Ya think Pa’ll get over it?”

“Lady Chadwick? Yes. Will Pa get over almost losing the Ponderosa? In time.” Slowly walking to the staircase, “Speaking of time, it’s time for me to head upstairs, my bed is calling my name.”

Hands to knees, Hoss pushed himself to stand and follow, “Yeah, mornin’s gonna come early.”

 

~The End

 

Author’s note:  A shorter version of this story was originally posted in the Brand forums, and has since been expanded to include more visual details that were lacking.

The May 15, 2019 Pinecone Challenge was to include the phrase ‘Dangerous Liaison’ in a story.

Bonanza, The Countess (Season 3, Episode 9)
Director: Robert Sparr
Writers: William R. Cox, William Powell

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Author: BluewindFarm

A dressage rider who's a cowgirl at heart.

Though I wasn't old enough during the heyday of Westerns on TV, with the introduction of cable and satellite services in the 1980's, I fell in love with Bonanza, Lancer, The Big Valley, The Rifleman, and The Wild, Wild West, among others. Through syndication and fan fiction; our heroes will live on forever.

I hope you enjoy reading the stories I've written, and look forward to reading your comments.

9 thoughts on “Dangerous Liaison: The Countess (by BluewindFarm)

  1. Hoss is always more astute than folks give him credit for – he asks the questions that he probably, deep down, already knows the answers to. But an older brother can reassure and guide, and show he’s on the right path. I’ve said it about a million times – I love these two guys together! Nice wee tale, BWF!

  2. Ben’s sons had to have had questions after that whole business with Lady Chadwick. Adam would be the one who would have had some perspective. Enjoyed your take on bringing things to a close.

    1. H4B, I’m sure they all did, but for some reason only these two ended up speaking with my muse. Thank you for reading and taking a moment to leave a comment.

    1. wx4rmk, I imagine that these two would have had plenty of conversations over the years. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment.

  3. The Countess was a dangerous woman with an agenda, and she proved the lengths to which she was willing to go to achieve her goals. (When I think of that creepy painting of her and Ben…ewww). Dangerous liaison thankfully averted; no doubt the brothers would have much to mull over in the aftermath. I always like seeing Hoss and Adam together. Great job voicing their dialogue! 🙂

    1. JC, after reading the Pinecone challenge, my mind immediately though of the Countess, and there was no choice in who was going to have this envisioned conversation; as I believe they would have spent many times discussing their troubles. And I agree with your sentiments about that picture…ewwwwww! Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. 🙂

  4. Yes that is just like Hoss to seek answers to a situation that threatened his family, to understand the nuances of human nature, and for Adam to patiently give what answers he could. A wonderful brother moment and a natural epilogue to the tumultuous episode.

    1. Hi AC, thank you for reading and taking a moment to leave a comment. As good natured as Hoss was, I can see him questioning the choices some people make, and Adam was the perfect choice to ease his brother’s concerns.

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