Rosie and Inger were engrossed in choosing candy as Genny placed her order,
and Beth was looking through some dress fabrics. All seemed peaceful. She began carrying
things out to the buckboard as soon as they were ready and she had just packed the first load when a voice at her elbow startled
“Mornin’ Genny. Ain’t seen you in a while.”
She turned to see Cal Devlin leaning on the rail, making no effort to assist. She took in his unkept
appearance and drawn face and guessed that he still wasn’t working. She hadn’t seen him since
he came out of prison and she didn’t care if she never did.
“Hello, Cal,” she
turned to go back into the store.
Cal stepped quickly in front of her. “Hey, ain’t you got a few words for an old friend.”
Genny sidestepped and made it inside. When she came out again with more parcels she had Beth with
grinned and stepped back. “Beth ain’t it? Growing fast, my girls both grown up now. I don’t
see much of them. Julie don’t let ‘em visit.”
Genny ignored him and continued packing the buckboard.
Her indifference angered him.
Cartwright had it all, money, ranch, wife and children and he had nothing.
All thoughts of blackmail went out of his head, all he wanted was revenge on those who had been friends and now ignored
him like he was dirt.
think you’re somethin’ special, don’tcha? Just like that husband of yours.
Too high and mighty to give me the time o’ day, never mind a job.”
Genny drew in a breath and then let loose. “He
offered you a job, and so did Hoss, but then you got too drunk to remember when to turn up. Your brothers
have tried to help you, but you just drink and carouse your days away. As for Julie, maybe if you’d
ever said one kind word to her instead of beating her, she’d still be with you and you’d see your girls.”
Cal laughed, to Genny it
sounded evil, as he leered at her. “Your man ain’t above a bit of carousing. Seen
him in town a few times since the old man died. Spending his inheritance on whiskey and women.
Real close with Nonie Wells while her man’s been in prison.”
Genny stepped back in shock. Her heart
told her that it was just Cal being obnoxious, but one look at his face told her that there might just be a grain of truth
in there somewhere. Hadn’t Hoss said that Adam had been drinking since Papa Ben died?
In her heart of hearts she no longer considered Nonie as a rival for Adam’s affections, but drink could do strange
things to a man. Adam had been hit hard by his father’s death and if he was drinking in Carson City,
what was to say he hadn’t run into Nonie. But no, he’d have told her, wouldn’t he?
“Guess he never told you about his little visits. Saw him handin’ over the money, bold
as brass, right there in the saloon.”