Southern Heritage


Companion Stories

Ezra, Buck, OFC

The scene opens on Vin and Josiah lifting a badly wounded Nathan up off the boardwalk, as a rider comes up.

"What happened?" Samantha questions, jumping off her horse.

"Bandits rode in, tried to shoot up the town, Nathan got shot and I'm riding out to get Rain," JD says, all in one breath, as he finishes tightening his saddle.

"Where are you going?" she asks the leader, Larabee, as he ties down his saddle bags.

"Going after the bandits. Josiah will stay behind and take care of Nathan until JD and Rain get back," the man in black responds.

Samantha nods her head in understanding and says, "I'm gonna try and help Josiah. Be careful."

The leader nods his head and turns his horse to head in the opposite direction of JD, followed by Ezra and Buck.

Samantha turns and begins to jog down the boardwalk to the clinic to catch up with Josiah and Vin.

+ + + + + + +

"Anything else I can do?" Vin questions, after he helps Josiah place Nathan on the bed.

"What can I help with?" Samantha asks, as she enters the room.

"Go on Vin, catch up with Chris," the ex-preacher tells him. "We'll do just fine."

The Texan nods his head, then turns and heads out the door.

Josiah grabs a cloth and holds it to the bleeding area on Nathan’s left shoulder which causes the healer to cry out in pain.

"You can hold this right here on the wound," Josiah tells the girl.

Samantha steps over and puts pressure on the cloth.

"I'm gonna have to get the bullet out," Josiah states, looking at Nathan's table of instruments.

"I'll. . .help you out," Nathan says, wincing in pain.

"You know, this is suppose to be the other way around," the girl whispers to Nathan as Josiah readies a few things.

Nathan looks at her in question.

"It’s supposed to be you patching them up instead of them patching you up," she says, with a small grin.

The healer smiles as Josiah walks over.

"Ready?" the big man asks him.

"Yeah," Nathan responds, his voice a little shaky. "Just get it over with."

+ + + + + + +

Samantha looks up as someone taps on the door. She gets up and walks over, opening it to see Rain and JD.

"How is he?" Rain asks, peeking over the girl's shoulder.

"Better. Josiah got the bullet out, but he needs you," Samantha tells her.

Rain nods her head and walks past Samantha, who walks out, closing the door behind her.

"Is he gonna be okay?" the youngest peacekeeper questions.

"I think he'll be fine," she responds. "Let's get something to eat."

JD nods his head and the two head towards the saloon.

+ + + + + + +

"They're not too far ahead," Vin states, looking at the tracks on the ground.

"Eagle Bend's close by, reckon they'll stop to have a drink?" the ladies man asks his friends.

"Of course. They just accomplished shooting up our town so they're going to want to celebrate," the southerner states.

"Well then, let’s go ruin their fun," the leader says, with a grin.

+ + + + + + +

Josiah walks down the boardwalk and stops in front of Samantha and JD as they play checkers.

"How is he?" the girl questions.

"He's gonna be fine. Rain's with him and he's sleeping right now. I'm going to get her some lunch," the ex-preacher tells them. "Oh and thank you for your help earlier."

"Don't mention it. I didn't do much and besides, Nathan's helped me before too, so thought I could return the favor. And Josiah, since you're headed to the saloon, is there a chance you could stop and give this to Mary for me?" the girl asks, holding out a folded sheet of paper.

"Of course," the ex-preacher responds, then heads on his way.

Samantha looks back to the checkerboard and smiles, moving her game piece a few places.

"I win again," she laughs.

JD lets out a huff of exasperation and shakes his head, resetting the board.

They both look down the street as the stage pulls into town and watch as two nicely dressed older women step out. Noting that the ladies didn't seem to need any help, the two turn back to their game.

"Why don't you go first this time?" Samantha tells him, with a grin.

"Doubt that will help my chances of winning any," the young man smirks.

"Uh, excuse us," a southern voice calls, breaking into their game.

Samantha and JD look over to the two women who had gotten off the stage, standing in the street near them.

"We were wondering if you could tell us where we might be able to find a Miss Samantha Dunnison?" the second woman asks.

JD glances over to Samantha with questioning eyes.

"That would be me," Samantha replies. "How may I help you?"

"Oh Lord," the first woman states, putting her hand to her chest.

"Hmmm. . .will take some work," the second one responds, looking Samantha over like a prized piece of cloth.

"She does look a little like Melanie though, doesn't she?" the first woman asks the second and gets a nod in response.

Samantha glances to JD, confusion written on her face.

"May I ask, just who are you and what you are talking about?" Samantha asks of the women.

"Well, my name is Mrs. Roberts," says the first woman and then gesturing to the second woman she says, "and this is Mrs. Turner. Your aunt sent us to find you," the woman named Mrs. Turner says.

"My aunt? I don't have an aunt," the girl replies.

"Oh yes, you do. Melanie Brooks is her name and her husband, John Brooks, is your uncle. Melanie is your mother's sister. Your mother was Rachel Dunnison, right?" Mrs. Roberts asks.

"Yes, but. . ." Samantha starts to say, but stops when Mrs. Turner produces a picture from her handbag and hands it to Samantha.

She looks at it for a few moments, no one saying anything.

"What is it Sam?" the young peacekeeper questions, watching as the girl pales slightly.

"My family," Samantha replies quietly, handing the photograph to JD.

JD looks at the picture; it shows a man and a woman, dressed nicely, standing behind a young boy and little girl, who resembles Samantha.

"Isn’t that you?" JD questions.

Samantha nods her head and looks to the women.

"I suppose you want me to go back with you?" she asks.

"We were hoping you would consider going back. Your aunt wishes to see you," Mrs. Roberts tells her.

"Why now, after almost two years? Why didn’t she come looking for me before?" the girl questions.

"She only recently found out that you were alive," Mrs. Turner tells her.

Samantha looks down and then stands up. "I’ll have to think about it," she says.

She then turns and heads for the saloon, leaving the two women with JD.

+ + + + + + +

A few hours later, Nathan wakes up and looks at Rain, giving her a weak smile.

"How are you feeling?" she asks.

"Better," the healer responds, as Josiah walks in.

"Here," he states, handing a fresh newspaper to Rain. "Read this aloud."

Rain looks at the paper and begins to read:

The Magnificent Seven

Out here in the west, everywhere seems to be a lawless territory. Everywhere but our quaint dusty little backwater town known as Four Corners. Everyone around these parts knows of the seven men that protect this town. Not lawmen, just seven absolutely diverse men that banded for one cause; protecting one small town from the bad elements of the west. Are they perfect? No, but who really is? If doing things by the law won't get answers then they resort to doing things their own way.

Brothers by heart, outlaws by nature, and peacekeepers by conscience. Amazing you might call them? No, let's just call them "magnificent".

Samantha Dunnison

Nathan looks over to Josiah, who nods his head.

"Sam sent me over to Mary's with a letter earlier. This must have been it. Wanted it to be in today's paper, I guess," the ex- preacher tells them.

"Well, she seems know what’s right," Rain responds, with a smile.

+ + + + + + +

"Well?" JD questions, as Chris and the others walk into the saloon.

"Turns out once they rode into Eagle Bend, the sheriff and his deputy locked ‘em up, cuz they were wanted for horse thievin’," the long-haired Texan responds, with a shake of his head and a chuckle.

"Yeah, talk about havin' bad luck," added Buck, with a big grin. "Sure made our job alot easier."

"How are you feeling?" Chris asks Nathan, who is sitting at a table with JD and Josiah, his left arm in a sling.

"I’m gonna live," the healer replies.

"Hey y'all, listen to this," JD states, pulling the paper over where he can read it aloud.

The Magnificent Seven

Out here in the west, everywhere seems to be a lawless territory. Everywhere but our quaint dusty little backwater town, known as Four Corners. Everyone around these parts knows of the seven men that protect this town. Not lawmen, just seven absolutely diverse men that banded for one cause, protecting one small town from the bad elements of the west. Are they perfect? No, but who really is? If doing things by the law won't get answers then they resort to doing things their own way.

Brothers by heart, outlaws by nature, and peacekeepers by conscience. Amazing you might call them? No, let's just call them "magnificent".

Samantha Dunnison

JD looks over to his fellow peacekeepers and says, "Fresh off the press too."

"Well, she’s got us pegged," Buck smirks, then turns to look at the stairs when he hears someone walking down them.

They all watch as Samantha comes down the stairs carrying two bags.

"Where are you going?" the leader questions, noticing the somber look on her face.

"To Atlanta," the girl responds.

"Georgia?" the gambler questions.

Samantha nods her head in agreement.

"Why?" Buck asks.

"Turns out I have an aunt, my mother’s sister, and she wishes to see me," the young girl replies.

"You just going to up and leave?" the tracker questions.

Samantha smiles a little and says, "It’s not like I’m going to stay gone forever, I’ll be back."

"And you’re going alone?" Larabee asks.

"Well, yes, my aunt’s two friends left on the earlier stage," the young girl informs them.

"Do you know how dangerous it is traveling alone?" the ex-preacher asks her.

Samantha looks around at the seven men and smiles at them.

"I’m just going to Atlanta. Any of you are welcome to come if it’ll make you feel any better," Samantha replies, her voice sounding hopeful.

"It will and that’s why Buck and Ezra are going with you," the leader states.

Buck and Ezra look over to Chris in surprise.

"Why us?" Buck asks.

"Well, Ezra will fit in well, and you, well, think of all the beautiful women you’ll get to meet," Chris responds, with a grin.

Buck begins to smile and stands up.

"All those southern belles," he says, rubbing his hands together, "Reckon I’ll just have to go and get packed."

Samantha smiles and shakes her head, as Ezra walks past her, heading upstairs to pack as well.

In Atlanta:

Samantha steps out of the stage and looks around, as Ezra and Buck exit right behind her.

"There you are," Mrs. Turner states, walking up.

She looks to Ezra and Buck and raises an eyebrow.

"Oh, these are my friends, Ezra Standish and Buck Wilmington. They didn’t want me traveling alone," Samantha tells her.

"Well alright. The carriage is waiting for you over there," the woman points to a beautiful black carriage sitting across the street. "The driver will take you to your aunt’s house and Mrs. Roberts will be there to help you get ready."

Samantha looks at the woman in confusion.

"Ready for what?" she questions.

"The ball tonight, held in your honor. Melanie is so happy she found you," the woman replies.

Samantha nods her head a little, and then watches as the woman leaves. She turns and shrugs her shoulders at her two friends and heads for the carriage.

"A ball tonight, held in your honor," Ezra states, as he and Sam begin walking to the carriage.

"Yeah, different from home ain’t it? Come on Buck," she calls over her shoulder to the ladies man.

Buck snaps out of his gaze at the town scenery and turns to follow them to the carriage.

+ + + + + + +

The carriage slowly rolls to a stop in front of a large, white, plantation style house.

"Whoa, nice place," Buck states, looking up at the house.

Samantha’s eyes widen in amazement at the size.

Buck steps down as the driver begins carrying the luggage to the house.

"Come on dear," Ezra states, helping Samantha down.

"I’m not so sure about this anymore," the girl says, hesitantly.

"It’ll be okay, you’re just meeting a few people, it’ll be alright," the southerner says, trying to calm her.

"Yeah, besides, me and Ezra are with you," the ladies man responds.

The three walk up the large set of steps and Buck knocks on the huge wooden door.

The door opens and a young girl waves them inside.

"Oh dear," the woman called Mrs. Roberts states, looking at Samantha, who is dressed in a button up shirt and riding pants.

"Pansy, show Miss Dunnison’s friends to their rooms," Mrs. Roberts states, then looks back to Samantha, "Come on dear, we’ve got some work to do."

Samantha watches as the young girl, Pansy, who opened the door, leads Ezra and Buck across the huge front room to the large staircase.

Samantha nods her head and follows Mrs. Roberts.

+ + + + + + +

"Thought we'd never get all that dirt off," Mrs. Roberts states, as they stand in a big room with a four-poster bed.

"Now, suck in," Mrs. Roberts tells her.

Samantha takes a deep breath, and wraps her arms around one of the posters, closing her eyes tightly as Mrs. Roberts pulls the laces of the corset and ties them tightly.

"Why do I have to wear all this nonsense?" Samantha asks, as she steps into the hoop skirt.

"Now dear, people around here judge folks by the way they present themselves, and you want to look good for your aunt and uncle don't you?" Mrs. Roberts asks her.

"Of course," Samantha responds.

"And I know deep down inside you, there's an accent, do try and bring it out," the older woman states.

Samantha nods her head in agreement then continues to finish dressing.

+ + + + + + +

"I'm telling ya Ez, I just don't feel like myself," Buck states, fiddling with his dress clothes, as the two stand downstairs in the ballroom.

"Well, you look like you've been digging through my closet," the southerner responds, as he watches the people dancing around, "and the ladies down here, they like men who are clean and nicely dressed."

Buck shakes his head a little and watches the dance floor for any and all pretty ladies.

+ + + + + + +

"Are you ready?" the older woman asks Samantha.

"Yeah, I mean yes," she responds, as she takes one last look in the mirror.

Samantha's hair is pulled half-way up in a green bow, the ends of her hair being slightly curled. The dress is white with a green flower design, which hangs on the shoulders, and a green belt that wraps around her waist and ties in the back.

Giving herself a nod of approval in the mirror, she walks from the room and begins her descent down the staircase with a plastered-on smile.

Buck looks up and sees Samantha and takes a second glance, before nudging Ezra who looks up as well.

"Is that?" the ladies man questions.

"Samantha," the gambler states.

Samantha stops at the bottom of the staircase and smiles as a photographer takes a picture.

"You look so much like your mother," she hears a voice say, and turns to look at a beautifully dressed woman.

"I'm Melanie," the woman states.

"Pleased to meet you," Samantha says, heavy on the accent and curtseying.

Melanie walks over and hugs Samantha then holds her by the shoulders to look at her.

"I'm so glad to have you home," Melanie tells her.

Samantha smiles and nods a little.

"Well, this ball is for you, so go and dance and have fun, we can talk later this evening," Melanie says, then turns and walks to a group of people.

"Miss Dunnison, would you care to dance?" a young man asks, walking up to her.

"Why, yes," Samantha responds, then follows him to the floor and begins to dance.

She changes partners three times and keeps a plastered smile on her face, before Ezra intervenes.

"Bout time," she tells him, losing the accent.

"Sorry, but it would appear that you are the belle of the ball," the gambler tells her, with a grin.

"Actually, I'm so tired, I'm about ready to fall over. Is that Buck over there?" the girl questions, as Ezra walks her away from the dance floor. "I hardly recognize him all cleaned and dressed up like that. Why he almost looks. . .handsome," she says, with a laugh.

"Yes. He is quite a sight isn't he," the southerner states, his grin widening.

Samantha nods her head in agreement.

"Well Sam, I never would have dreamed I'd ever see you like this," Buck states, giving her a smile, as the two walk over.

"And me of you," Samantha smirks, as she looks him over from head to toe, trying not to look directly at the two women adorning his arms.

"If I could have your attention please," a gentlemen calls, from the staircase, as the music dies down.

Everyone turns to look at him and Melanie joins him on the staircase.

"Samantha dear, please come up," Melanie states, motioning for her to come and join them.

Samantha looks to Ezra and Buck and smiles, and then she heads to the staircase.

"As you all know, this is our niece, Samantha Dunnison, for whom this ball was given. She has finally come back to us, and we hope she intends on staying here with us," her uncle states, with a smile, as the band starts up again.

Samantha's smile fades as she hears his last line and she looks at Melanie.

"May I have a word with you?" she asks of her aunt.

Melanie nods her head and follows Samantha up the stairs, stopping at the very top.

"Aunt Melanie, I've just now met you and Uncle John, and you seem very nice, but I can't live with you," Samantha tells her haltingly.

Melanie looks at her with confusion on her face. "But why not? We're your family."

"You see those two gentlemen down there," Samantha states, pointing to Ezra and Buck.

"Yes," Melanie nods her head in approval. "I was imagining that the shorter of the two was perhaps your beau."

"I guess you could say that, but along with him and the man with the mustache, there are five other men back where I came from and they have become my family, along with some of the rest of the townsfolk," Samantha tells her.

"But..." Melanie tries to say.

"I'm not trying to disown you or Uncle John, but this," Samantha waves to the dance floor, then to her dress, "and this. They're not me. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Melanie smiles sadly and nods her head.

"I understand my dear. Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered you, should have left you alone to your own life," Melanie says.

"No, I don't want you to feel bad. I'm glad to know I have some family, and I want you to write me, and I'll write back, I promise. I'd like to even come and visit once in a while," Samantha tells her, with a smile.

Melanie nods her head, and with tears in her eyes gives Samantha a hug.

"Now if you don't mind, I think I'm gonna go now. Could you have someone tell my friends for me?" the young girl asks.

"Of course," the woman replies, then watches as Samantha makes her way to her room.

+ + + + + + +

Back at Four Corners:

JD sits up as the stage comes into town.

"Well?" Chris questions, as Samantha steps out.

"Well, my aunt and uncle were very nice, but we all agreed that this is where I belong," Samantha tells him, with a big smile.

"I wish you could have seen the size of that house," Buck tells JD, with a big smile.

"Big huh?"

"Huge," Buck says, as the driver sets their luggage down.

"You left before we had a chance to tell you how much we enjoyed your article," Josiah tells her.

"Thanks, I'm glad you liked it," Samantha tells them, with a grin.

"Yeah, the way you write, you could start something. . .like dime-store novels," the youngest says, nodding his head, liking his own idea.

Samantha smiles and shakes her head. "Oh, I don't know guys..."

"This just came in the mail for you Sam," the healer says, handing Samantha an envelope.

Samantha opens it and pulls out a letter along with a photograph.

"Thought we'd send this to you in order to remind you of your heritage," she reads aloud.

Buck snatches the picture from Samantha.

"Oh, and here is our dear Miss Dunnison, the belle of the ball," Buck states, with a grin, handing the picture to Josiah.

Josiah looks at it and smiles, passing it to Nathan, out of Samantha's reach.

"I'm sure they don't want to see that," Samantha states, trying to get it back.

Nathan passes it quickly to Chris, with a smile. Chris looks at it and holds it out of Samantha's reach as he passes it to Vin. Vin grins and quickly passes it to JD.

"That's a real good picture of you," Nathan states, grinning.

"Yeah, Mary might want to put in the paper, maybe even an article on the trip. Don't you think that's a good idea, Buck?" JD asks.

"Sure, I'd be glad to tell her all about it," the ladies man says, with a smirk.

"No!" Samantha tells them. "JD, give me back the picture."

"Nope, I think I'll take it to Mary, for the paper," the young man says, teasing her.

"Oh no you won't," the girl states, grabbing for the picture but missing.

JD takes off down the street, Samantha hot on his heels yelling, "John Dunne! Give me back my picture!"

The other six peacekeepers grin at one another as they watch the chase.

"Miss Dunnison, our Southern Belle," Ezra states, with a smirk, as Samantha tackles JD to the ground and a plume of dust rises up.

"Yeah, a real lady," Buck adds, laughing, as the men all head to the saloon.


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