Honor Series # 3 – The Most Important Job In The World (by the Tahoe Ladies)

Summary:  Season 15 – Episode 3. A continuation of The Honor Series

Rated: T  Word Count:  1734

Honor series:

Changes
Steps Forward and Back
The Most Important Job in the World
Broken Promise
Reclaimed Love
Whisper My Name
When Little Boys Grow Up
Romantic Interlude
I Do, I Do
Twenty Years
Old Shadows

The Most Important Job In The World

 

The old grandfather clock struck the hour of one as she slipped from the dark of the night into the huge living room. As quietly as she could, she closed the heavy door behind her, leaning against it, listening to the sounds of her home. Hearing nothing out of the ordinary, Honor Cartwright placed her black bag on the bureau and pulled off her gloves. The lamp still burned by her father-in-law’s chair, shedding a small amount of light to show her the way past the end of the table and on into the kitchen. There she went to the back of the massive cook stove and found what she knew she would: the reservoir full of piping hot water.

“Bless you, Hop Sing,” she whispered softly for there was nothing she wanted more at that moment than a hot bath.

“Missy Honor welcome” the old oriental whispered from the shadows, nearly making her jump clear out of her skin.

“I should have known you were awake. Don’t you ever sleep?” she asked softly, teasing.

“Maybe sometime. You want bath, yes?” and he had changed the subject and read her mind all in one instant. “I bring tub to you room?”

“No” she said, “I’ll use the washroom. There shouldn’t be anyone else up at this time of night to bother me there. I’ll get my things and be right out.” Then she started away then stopped, putting her hand on the old man’s bent shoulders.” The boys do okay without me this evening?”

“Which boys you mean? Big ones or little ones? Little ones miss mama. Big ones too, but for different reason. Babies no like eat from bottles.”

Honor chuckled. She had really meant her twin sons who at just four months of age were still nursing but the “big boys”, her husband and father-in-law probably did miss her just as much as the babies. She envisioned the squalling babies giving the men in her life a royal fit. Joe had taken to fatherhood well and Ben, “Father Ben” as she called him, had raised children, boys too. But they never had to deal with that aspect of babies did they? she thought then headed on into the dining room and then across and through the French doors that led to her and Joe’s room, her own breasts reminding her that she had needed the little ones just as much as they did her.

What she saw on the big bed made her pause and smile in secret delight. There, outlined in the pale moonlight, she could see her two little boys, one asleep on their father’s chest, the other on the bed but his father’s hand stretched out and covering the small back. She watched, knowing full well that Joe was also asleep just by watching A.J., their tiniest son, the one on his father’s chest, rise and fall in the rhythm she had come to know. His brother Hoss, as he was known to the family, squirmed just a bit as if sensing his mother near. Quietly, she slipped the infant from under his father’s hand and took him into her arms. She looked down only to see him staring back up at her, blinking.

“Okay, but just for a minute. And only because I need some relief too, you know.” Sitting quickly in the rocker by the bay window, she opened her shirtwaist. Hoss quickly found the long desired nipple and began to eagerly nurse. In less than ten minutes, he had fallen back asleep and she eased him into the crib he normally shared with his brother.

She gathered her gown and robe and slipped from the room, giving her husband and littlest son one last look.

Out in the sparsely furnished washroom, Hop Sing had filled the big copper tub with hot water. The lamp was lit but turned low, making dark shadows in the corners. She quickly checked and made sure the curtains were pulled across the single window before she striped herself, leaving her clothing in a small pile in the center of the floor. Just to be sure, she dipped one toe into the water then gratefully sank into the warm liquid. Heaving a hearty sigh, she pulled the pins that held her long auburn hair up and let it fall, curling into the water around her. She sank further into the water, letting it take her into its embrace.

This day had been a trying one for her. She had arisen early with just so much to do that she wasn’t sure that she could get it all done. But then the problems started cropping up one after another. With Cathy and Jamie being married in just a few weeks there was just so much to be done: invitations to be sent, arrangements made. Then Ann had wanted reassurance from her that the baby she carried of Candy’s was doing all right. Her skills as a doctor had been called upon late in the afternoon to set the leg of one of the ranch hands broken while training a particularly mean horse. Finally, just before she got home from the broken leg, one of the black children had caught her on the road, begging help for her mother. So it was well on towards midnight that she had started home.

She languidly looked at her hands floating in the warm water then closed her eyes, letting her mind drift away. It seemed like only yesterday that she had first come to this area, passing through. But then she had met and after a drawn out courtship, married Joseph Cartwright, the most eligible bachelor the State of Nevada had to offer. This past winter she’d given him twin sons that were the delight of the extended family.

“Haven’t I warned you about locking the door?” The sound of the male voice startled her from her reverie. Honor quickly sat up in the tub, water sloshing onto the wood floor, making huge puddles. She crossed her arms over her chest as if to hide her nakedness then realized there was no need. The voice was Joe’s and he was leaning against the doorjamb.

“How long have you been watching me?” she hissed then slid back down into the water.

“Not nearly long enough, Sweetheart.” As he moved on into the lamp light she saw he had just pulled on a pair of jeans for he was barefoot and bare-chested. He ran a hand through his hair, pushing it back as he knelt beside the tub.

“What’s the matter?” he asked softly, reaching out and catching a floating tendril of red hair.

“Nothing is the matter.” She answered quickly then rethought her position. “Nothing and everything.” She closed her eyes and tried to float in the water but it wasn’t quite deep enough.

“Well, that’s either a whole lot to talk about or not a thing to worry about. Which is it?” His hands moved over her face and she could smell the soap and feel the bubbles on her cheeks. She smiled but kept her eyes closed. He was washing her face and she marveled that the same hands that could handle a team of horses, heft an axe for splitting wood or cradle a child, could be so gentle on her skin.

Before she could answer, he told her to sit up so he could wash her hair. “Getting the royal treatment tonight, am I?” she teased, flashing her bright blue eyes.

“And why not?” he shot back and gathered her waist length tresses into those same hands. “Now, hush up woman and let me do this for you,” he commanded. Several long minutes passed as he washed and rinsed her hair for her.

When he was finished, she rolled to her side in the water and reaching for him, whispered “You aren’t finished yet, are you?”

He cocked his head to one side and winked at her. “Not on your life.” Instead of the harsh scrub of fabric, he used his hands to soap her body, each pass a caress all on its own.

“Now you gonna tell me what’s wrong?” he again asked softly, washing one long leg that he held extended from the warmth of the water.

“It’s just-” she started then stopped herself. What she had been about to say sounded to her like it would have been whining. And she hated women who whined.

“Just what?” he prompted, running his fingers up the sole of her foot.

“Just that I get so tired being everything to everyone, Joe. I just need some time to be me.” Yes, she thought, that did sound like whining.

He let one leg go and picked up the other one, intent on giving it the same treatment he had its mate. She wondered if he had even heard her.

“Like today. I had be the big sister to Cathy, the friend and confidant to Ann. Then when I am just getting around to being Momma to our boys, your father wants me to be the perfect daughter-in-law and arrange a dinner party for next Saturday for him. Then I get called away to be the doctor. Joe, I just get lost in all of it.”

With a plop, he let her leg drop back into the water. “You have only one job as far as I am concerned, Honor, and since I pretty much run things around here now days, I think you would be safe in just doing that one job and doing it well, young lady.

When she opened her eyes she found him focused on her.  A myriad of thoughts rushed through her mind and she sorted them with lightening speed. What one job? She settled on mothering their sons and said “I know I need to be a better mother to Hoss and AJ..”

He put a finger across her lips to silence her. Then he slipped one arm under her knees and the other under her arms, lifting her from the tub as if she were just a child herself. “The only job you have to do, Honor, is to be my lover.” With that, he pulled her wet body against his, letting her melt into him.

“I can do that.” And proceeded to show him that she could.

 

The end…for a while

 

Next Story in the Honor series:

Broken Promise
Reclaimed Love
Whisper My Name
When Little Boys Grow Up
Romantic Interlude
I Do, I Do
Twenty Years
Old Shadows

 

Tags:  Joe / Little Joe Cartwright, wife / wives

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Author: Tahoe Ladies

Many of you may remember a group of writers called the Tahoe Ladies who wrote some of the most emotive Cartwright related fan-fiction to date. Unfortunately for a number of reasons, their site containing all their work was lost a couple of years ago, leaving the bulk of their stories, as far as we know, only on one other Bonanza site. Sadly two of these ladies are also no longer with us, but one of the remaining Tahoe Ladies has kindly granted us permission and given us her blessing to add over 60 of their stories to our Fan Fiction Library. For those of you not familiar with the stories by the Tahoe Ladies…their fan fiction was sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes heart-warming. In other words you won’t be disappointed. The Brandsters are honoured and proud to be able to share the work of these extraordinary women with you in the Bonanza Brand Fan Fiction Library.

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