Christmas in Flames

by Caitlyn B.

Circle C ranch 1882                          

 9:00

Chapter one-  time for Shasta.
Andi Carter stepped into the cool grey morning of Christmas Eve, and walked briskly to the barn, Small Cracks in the barn let the warming rays of sunshine come through. Andi sighed, this year was never going to be forgotten , it's Christmas this following day.
"Life is  Perfect." Andi Told Shasta,
Shasta snorted as if saying yeah right, like I should believe that. Andi grunted.
" Andi! Miss Elizabeth called for you."  
" Thanks!" Andi said quickly to the ranch hand. I wonder what Mother has to say.

                                            ****************************

         No No No!! A ball? in Sacramento? that is 1...2...3...4...5... almost Six hours to ride the train to Sacramento!!!    Andi tried not to talk back... But failed "Mother! I can't go, I feel sick already!" Andi let a fake cough sneak out.
"Andrea... Your not sick, Doctor Weaver checked you only a week ago... So Go, get dressed."


       4:00                   THE TRAIN DEPOT 1882

        Andi dragged her feet onto the train. "Melinda? Why do I have to be on this train?" Andi made a face, Knowing it was a wrong question to ask at that time at that moment.
"Well Andi... Its rude to decline an offer to go to... To a ball, one hundred miles away." Melinda said;
Andi shrugged, she was wanting  to say: That didn't really answer my question in the way i Wanted it. But Andi kept her tongue back from saying that rude reply, instead, she said "never mind Melinda."                                    


CHAPTER TWO - One narrow escape

     Andi put the carpet bag onto the floor of the hotel room, "Well at least i have my own room" She said.

                                     ********************************
 (the same day)
Two hours later

    Hmm should I wear my green dress or my blue one? Or my Red one? "i think I should wear my green one , and Why do I have to go to a Fancy ball?" Because the Carter family is the richest in the state. and very important. Andi groaned at the thought "I sometimes wish we were dirt poor... I wouldn't  need to go to school." Andi said aloud.
             ****************************************************
8:00
       Ball music played and 14 old *Andrea* was not enjoying it. Jack moved his way towards Andi, Andi tugged at Chads shirt  "Chad? Mitch? please please dance with me?! Jack and  others are coming!"
      "Sorry Andi i'm busy" Chad answered.
       Oh Lord Jesus Please... i am not dancing with Jack. How can Chad be busy drinking punch?!!?!?
       "Sure Sis" Mitch answered and the other boys turned around in disbelief , as Andi danced with Mitch She looked around the Ballroom there are so many faces I Know... but...wheres Cory?
        Well Actually I think i like that he did not come...
        Cory attempted many times to take  their friendship to the next level... Andi would not let herself fall in love with Cory, He gave in to her reckless Ideas way to much.. Okay well he did it all the time... Andi knew Cory would not be a good husband for her...
           But I am fourteen! I do not care about... marriage... I want to be a rancher!   Andi let go of Mitch on the second Waltz . Because Andi did not care at all for the next waltz, "Cory?" Andi ducked under the people who were dancing  and finally reached Cory "Howdy- i mean...
           Hi Andi, guess what?..."  said Cory
         "wha..."
          but Cory didn't let Andi finish. "Jenny decided to visit, here she is." Cory backed away.
         "Jenny? you really came?" Andi asked. "
          Sure Andi" Jenny answered.
          Andi gave her friend a hug, Maybe the night will turn alright. Andi thought.
          Jenny pushed her way to the punch bowl and dipped the large spoon into a cup She took a sip and scrunched up her face
          "what's wrong?" Andi asked innocently.
           "Taste it." Said Jenny  as she threw the last remaining drops of fruit punch out the open window, "You're going to get in real big trouble;" Andi mouthed, Then Andi took a sip and spluttered "ugh!" she swiped a hand across her face and threw her cup out the window as well.
          "Whats going on over here my lady's?"
          "Huh?" Andi and Jenny both questioned at the same time, George Perkins Stood behind them, there is something wrong about him... i'll reveal it. Andi thought .
            Another waltz played,
            George Perkins stood up tall and proud "May i take this dance m' Lady" Asked George Perkins in a  smooth deep tone,
             "who?" Andi asked innocently
             "Whoever, i do not care much!" George Perkins said in a annoyed and rather loud tone
            "How dare you speak to my best friend that way!" Jenny yelled. Everyone stopped, the music stopped. After five minutes everything went back to normal, George Perkins grinned, " You Ruined yourself" George stepped closer to Jenny and Grinned  
             "Jenny run away!!!"    Andi screamed in her head.
             Jenny scrunched up her Face and And threw her fist into Georges Nose...
            He spluttered "Wha.. What.. was that for?"


**************************************************************************************
The Day afterward

            "Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Andi screamed...
             Mitch appeared in the room, "Sis why did you hafta' Scream that ear piercing scream???"  
              "Excited" Andi replied in a  small voice. Mitch can be the nicest person around but when he gets irritated, it can go bad... like with  that Jeffrey Sullivan. Jeffrey had been wiggling his way into the family, until I caught him... He had been going out with Linda and most likely two other girls, until i caught him in an dark corner standing WAY too close to Libby Flanders.... I caught that no-good-rat!  He would have ruined the Carter respect and Melinda. Nope that would NOT happen. Andi hid a smile,
              "Cm-on' Andi mother is keeping breakfast waiting" Mitch smiled and walked out the door
             "What should- i mean... what shall i wear" Andi giggled to herself copying what Melinda always giggled to herself... Andi rolled her eyes as she put her red dress on... Aunt Rebecca did a *surprise visit* every year! Mother was not thrilled.
             Andi carefully brushed her long dark waves of hair, Got a ribbon and tied it around her hair.. "All i have to do is pass her approval" Andi whispered to herself... Andi walked down the stairs and Aunt Rebecca was sitting at the table wrapped in a conversation with Melinda.
           "G-Good morning Aunt Rebecca." Andi said sweetly,
           "Good morning Andrea." Aunt Rebecca Smiled And dabbed her napkin against her Pursed lips.
            Andi took her seat between Melinda and Aunt Rebecca, Aunt Rebecca passed the heaping plate of eggs to Andi, Andi served herself three eggs and the passed the plate to Melinda. Andi had six sausages, three eggs and two pancakes. "Whoa i'm stuff- May i be excused Mother?"  
               Elizabeth Carter looked at Andi, Her eyes told what she thought, "Has my Andrea Grown up? acting like a lady with grace and loveliness?  Andrea has never shown this much respect to Rebecca!" Elizabeth kept her thoughts to herself.  "Yes Andrea you may be excused." Elizabeth smiled a forced smile... what if Andi really did snap out of being a little girl? What if she Snapped out of the notion of being a rancher? Elizabeth closed her eyes. secretly Elizabeth preferred Andi being wild, like how I used to be.
               Elizabeth smiled.


Chapter three, Aunt Rebecca's Promise.
The day after Christmas
                                                                    THE TRAIN STATION
             Auntie Rebecca pulled Andi aside "Andrea... I have seen that you do not like my surprise visits... But today..." Aunt Rebecca Did not finish but pulled out a hankie from her skirt pocket and said through tears " I love you Andrea."
               "I love you to Auntie Rebecca."  Andi gave her a heart filled hug...  Andi really loved Aunt Rebecca...   And for the first time ever... Andi said... " Please come again?"
                "I will Andrea... I promise." Andi gave Aunt Rebecca one last hug and as Rebecca turned around to step onto the train... Andi thought  I love Aunt Rebecca, And I think I like it when she visits.... One day i'll miss her... hoping If I could get five more minutes to tell her i love her... I should enjoy the time I can be with her because one day... This will change.
            The train made a loud CHOOO!!! And pulled Andi out of her wool gathering, Andi smiled and waved good bye to Aunt Rebecca Until Aunt Rebecca Was a small dot...  
              "Hey Andi... You got all sweet... and kin-"
              "Chad...." Mother said in her warning voice... that meant, Leave your sister alone. Chad lost his cocky grin and tugged Andi's Braid...
           "Hey cut it out!" Andi ducked, Chad laughed... Everyone got into the wagon... And Andi Sat chatting with Melinda until they became a small dot on the Western Horizon.

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