Love Stands Through War
by S. Larabee Tanner
Disclaimer: Trilogy, MGM, and the Mirish Corporation own The Magnificent Seven characters. They are not mine. The only purpose of this story is for entertainment. No money is being made.
Thanks to Michelle for beta reading it for me.
Lynette stepped off the stage. She pulled the back of her navy blue skirts the rest of the way out of the door and brushed the dust from traveling off of her dress, with a small white-gloved hand.
"Miss, your bag." The coachman called down to her, when he saw that she was off somewhere in her thoughts.
The young woman turned and looked up at him. "Thank you, sir. Can you please tell me where I can find Mr. Buck Wilmington?"
The coachman smiled. He liked having her on his coach. She hardly talked, but when she did it wasn't to complain, and she had a very deep southern accent that was very pleasant to listen to. "You might find him at the saloon, Miss."
The petite blonde nodded and smiled up at him. "Can you kindly point me to a hotel, sir?" She watched him point across the street and nodded slightly, letting him know that she saw it. "Thank you very much, Sir." She picked up her bag, turned abruptly and headed over to the hotel, her blonde hair trailing behind her.
The coachman smiled as he watched her make her way across the street. She really was a sweet little lady.
After getting a room and cleaning up from the days of travel, she stepped out onto the boardwalk. Lynette looked around the town as she walked, becoming distracted by her surroundings, and bumped into someone. "Oh, I'm sorry." She turned and came face to face with a pair of deep blue eyes that smiled with laughter.
Buck smiled. "No, pardon me, Miss. Name's Buck Wilmington. May I be of any service?" Buck turned on the charm for the young woman.
JD rolled his eyes. "Buck, come on. I think she will be okay."
The ladies' man waved his friend off as he offered the young woman his arm.
Lynette nodded and took his arm. "Thank you. My name is Lynette, and I was looking for you, Mr. Wilmington."
"Well, darlin' you have found me. Now what can ol' Buck do for you?" Buck watched the young woman closely. He couldn't place it, but she seemed familiar to him.
Slowly Lynette removed a stack of letters from her skirt pocket, making sure the picture she had brought stayed hidden for now. "Do you remember a woman by the name of Kathleen Jacobs?"
Buck thought for only a moment and then gave her a nod. "Yes, I remember her. We meet during the war. Why do you ask?"
"She's my mother. My uncle sent me out here to live with my father after mama passed away six months ago." The petite blonde held out the letters to him. "I think these will explain everything. She never knew where to mail them."
Buck stopped as he took the letters. "I was hard...." He suddenly turned to the young woman on his arm. "Your father?" Lynette nodded. "Yes. Mama said my Christian name will prove who I am to him."
Buck nodded. He knew how a name could prove who you were. "What's your Christian name?"
"Lynette Geofferina Jacobs," the young woman said quietly.
Buck raised an eyebrow in question. There were only two people alive that knew his first name. He knew Chris would never tell. The other one was Kathleen or Kat as he had called her when they were alone. "Umm JD, go tell Chris I'll join you all later. I think Miss Jacobs and I need to talk."
JD looked between the two of them. "Uh Okay Buck" He shrugged and headed off toward the saloon, completely confused as to what just happened.
Buck watched JD disappear into the saloon then turned back to the young woman next to him. "Let's go talk at the church. It's more private."
Lynette nodded. "Alright. Did I say something to upset you, Mr. Wilmington?" She asked as she allowed him to lead her the church.
Buck patted her hand. "Well, yes and no darlin." He held the door open for her. "Would you please tell me where your middle name came from?"
Stepping into the church Lynette looked around. "It's my father's first name. Mama said only her and one other person knew it." She moved to one of the pews and sat down, looking up at him expectantly.
Buck took a deep breath as he moved to sit in the pew in front of her and turned to face her. "Have you read these letters?" He watched her shake her head.
"No. It wouldn't have been proper. They weren't addressed to me." She looked down at the small picture that she had pulled from her pocket. "Mama said, after the war, he would come for us, but she feared that he didn't make it."
The ladies' man looked down at the picture in her hands. "May I?" He nodded toward the picture, which she handed him. "She was the prettiest woman I had ever laid my eyes on." He handed the picture back to her. "Why did your uncle send you out here by yourself. You can't be more than what 12 or 13?"
Lynette quickly wiped at her eyes. "Twelve. My uncle said I was a disgrace to the family because I was the product of..." She buried her face in her hands and started to cry, unable to repeat the words her uncle had used.
Buck frowned as he quickly moved to sit next to her and put his arms around her. "Shh. You're not a disgrace. Your mama loved you, and you're livin' proof that the north and south can get along." He willed his anger down as he held the young woman close with one strong arm. With his free hand he slowly opened one of the letters and started to read it.
My dear Geoffrey
Today, early this morning, I brought our daughter into the world. She has your eyes, my love, and my blonde hair. I wish you were here to see her. I don't know if you're alive or dead, but I pray you're alive and well. She is so beautiful, my love. As I watch her sleep here next to me, I see you in her. She'll be waking soon to eat so I better close. I named her after you, Lynette Geofferina Jacobs. I miss you and dream of the time you will come back to us.
With all our love,
Kat and Little Lynette
He lowered the letter and looked down at the little lady in his arms, allowing his thoughts to drift back to that time during the war. He was brought back to the present when the young woman in his arms seem to quiet down some. The ladies' man looked down at her. "You're home now darlin. Your pa is here." He rocked her gently as her sobs turned to shuddering breaths and sniffs.
Lynette wiped her eyes. "You're my pa? Why didn't you come back for us?"
Buck smiled at her as he took out a hankie and held it to her nose. "Blow." He waited 'til she had done as she was told. "I didn't know about you 'til now." He held up the letter he had just read. "I did return for her after the war, but your grandfather said she was married to a gentlemen, and that I wasn't wanted or welcome around there."
He fingered a few strands of her blonde hair, his eyes taking on a wistful expression. "You look so much like her. It's amazing." He smiled when he saw her blush. "It's doesn't matter now, why I wasn't there. You're with me now, and as far as what your uncle said, he's wrong."
Lynette nodded. "Okay I'm sorry for crying like that. Mama taught me better manners."
Buck laughed and hugged her close. "It's okay, darlin'. You're free to be a child here with me to be my little girl. Now how about we get some grub?"
She nodded quickly at the suggestion of food. "Yes, I'm hungry." Lynette returned his hug and smiled up at him. "Mama never got married. She told me my father was the only one for her."
Buck struggled to hold back his tears, tears of both sadness and joy. "She had my heart from day one." He swallowed the lump in his throat before he added. "Come on. I want you to meet my friends." He stood and took her small hand in his.
As she stood, Lynette, smiled at him lovingly. "Okay Poppa." She followed him out of the church and over to the saloon, but she stopped just outside the door. "I can't. Mama said these places weren't for a lady."
The ladies' man smiled. "Normally, I would agree with her, but you're with me. I just don't want you in here alone. Okay?"
The small blonde nodded. "Yes, Poppa." She watched him smile when she called him that, and now she was glad she had been sent out here... here to her father.