Andrea Prescott gazed from the porch of her home on Memory Creek Ranch out to the vast open spaces. What a wonderful morning it is, she thought to herself. Andi lost herself in the beauty of the morning, hardly noticing that her husband, Riley, had walked up beside her.
“Beautiful morning isn’t it?” Riley asked. Andi jumped waking up from her daze. “Penny for your thoughts?” Riley asked when Andi didn’t answer.
“I was just thinking about when Felicity came a few weeks ago.”
Riley gave her a questioning look, “And?”
Andi mumbled “I don’t know. It’s just the way she talks about Mitch. It made me wonder if he likes her the same way she likes him.”
Riley laughed “Yes, they would make a great couple wouldn’t they.”
Andi rolled her eyes and started to walk to the door when she smelled burning chicken. “Oh no, I forgot about the chicken!” She ran into the kitchen and took the chicken off the stove. Andi groaned. Dinner was ruined. She looked up as Riley walked in.
He smiled, “Is dinner ready?” “It smells great.”
Andi looked at him. Can he be serious? She thought. “Well, it isn’t quite finished,” Andi replied aloud, but the tone was a bit icier than she had intended.
Riley gave her a confused look and responded, “I’ll go wash up.”
As he was walking away Andi whispered ‘sorry’ under her breath, then turned to the chore of scraping the burnt skin off the chicken. As she was scraping off the skin she returned to her thoughts from earlier. I can’t believe that Felicity came here a few weeks ago. Well, at least it was for a good reason.
They ate in silence for most the meal. When Riley asked how the house was working out for her, Andi responded with a shrug and it was silent again.
“Well, better get back to work,” Riley grinned to help lighten the mood.
“Ok,” Andi replied.
“Are you ok, Andi?”, frowned Riley
“I’m fine,” Andi replied sharply.
Riley shrugged and left.
Andi let out an exasperated sigh. She just couldn’t get Felicity out of her mind. What if Mitch really did like her. Mother told me that Mitch went calling on a ‘fine young lady’. What if she was that ‘fine young lady’?
She tried to push Felicity out of her mind by looking at the new cloth her mother gave her as an early birthday gift. But sewing was never her interest. Well, neither was cooking or cleaning, but it had to be done.
So, Andi set herself on the task of sweeping, dusting, and scrubbing the house from top to bottom. By the time she was done and had supper cooked, she was satisfied but dog tired.
During supper, Riley chatted away about cattle, horses, and every other animal. Riley asked a few times if Andi was ok, but she waved it off with a shrug and a ‘I’m fine.’ After supper, Andi went to bed and since she was so tired she fell asleep immediately.
The next morning, Andi was still tired but put on a bright smile for Riley. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. After breakfast, Riley told her to take the day off and relax.
“You’ve been working hard. You need a break. Besides, it’s your birthday,” Riley suggested when Andi said she was fine.
“Ok, I’ll take today off, but only today off,” Andi finally relented.
After packing some food for dinner, she headed out to the barn to saddle Shasta for a nice long ride. When Andi entered the barn, she found Shasta already saddled with a note stuck to the saddle that read, ‘I thought you might want to go for a ride.’
Andi smiled. Riley knew her all too well.
After Andi had ridden around some fields to warm Shasta up, she barely touched his sides with her heels when he leaped forward and took off. Andi rode only for a little while at this speed.
The sun was at about high noon when she stopped to look around the landscape to see where she was. The scenery looked familiar, but she couldn’t place it. Andi found a nearby tree where she could sit down and eat. She had just opened the bag that held her lunch when she heard hoof beats nearby.
“Hey, Andi, I see you found my get-away spot.”
“Hey Mitch, it’s been a while. Would you like a sandwich?” Andi hollered back.
“Sure, and maybe you can explain why you’re all the way up here,” Mitch answered.
As Andi handed Mitch his sandwich he looked at her and asked, “So, are you going to explain why you’re all the way up here on Carter land?”
Andi felt her face turn red. “Well, I was riding Shasta. I let him run and he brought me here. That’s it.”
“Ok,” Mitch acknowledged and bit into his sandwich.
After Mitch finished his sandwich Andi asked, “Would you like some pie?”
Mitch grinned, “Sure.”
A little while after Andi and Mitch had finished their pie, Andi thought she should seize this chance to talk to Mitch. Andi looked over at Mitch “Mother told me that you’ve gone calling on a fine young lady recently.”
Mitch just shrugged his response.
Andi took a deep breath and decided she should just ask Mitch. Andi took a deep breath and the words came tumbling out, “Do you mind telling me who?”
Mitch gave Andi a nervous look and responded, “Felicity.”
Andi tried to hide her surprised anger. So, he does like her! Oh no! Andi tried to keep her voice steady, “Ok.”
Mitch got up and stretched, “Well, it’s getting late. Better head back home.” Andi just nodded still shocked. “Hey, Andi.” Andi looked at Mitch “Mother wanted me to tell you and Riley she’d like you to come over for dinner tomorrow after services.”
Andi nodded and started to walk over to Shasta “Tell mother we’ll be there.” Andi climbed on Shasta’s back and rode him home as fast as she could.
By the time she reached the barn, the sun had set, and the stars started to come out one by one. After she had unsaddled Shasta and put him in his stall with some grain she started walking to the house but was taking her time. She needed some time to think.
Felicity! Why did it have to be Felicity? There are a million other girls out there and Mitch chose Felicity.
By the time Andi had reached the door, she had reasoned with herself that it was Mitch’s choice and that Felicity had changed. But she still couldn’t fight off all the old memories of Felicity. Walking through the door, Andi smelled amazing food.
“Surprise! Happy birthday!” Riley yelled as Andi walked into the kitchen. “Nila dropped off some food for your birthday” Riley explained.
Andi gasped. In the confusion about Felicity and Mitch, she had forgotten it was her birthday. All the food was set out on the table. There was fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, and biscuits with jam, her favorite meal. But the dessert was the best, because there was peach cobbler and an extra bag of cookies.
As Andi and Riley were eating, Riley asked, “So, how was the ride?”
Andi looked down at her food. “It was ok. I got to talk to Mitch.”
“And?” Riley urged.
Andi bit her lip unsure of whether to tell him or not. “Mitch is courting Felicity,” Andi whispered under her breath.
Riley stared at her, “So?”
Andi let out a long breath. “Well, he likes her, but I wish she would have stayed an ‘old friend.’”
Riley shook his head as if he couldn’t understand what Andi was saying. “Why? Why don’t you like Felicity? She’s nice, polite, and for whatever she did, she apologized!”
Andi felt her temper rising. He has no idea what it’s like to watch your horse being whipped and being whipped yourself. Andi was about to shout something back at Riley, but instead changed the subject. “After services tomorrow mother would like us to come over for dinner.”
Riley took a deep breath, but didn’t say anything.
Andi got up and set her plate on the counter, “Well, if that’s all. I think I’ll head to bed.” And with that she walked out of the room.
The next morning as Andi and Riley were getting ready for services, Andi found a nice straw hat with the cloth her mother gave her. With the hat and a beautiful blue dress with matching slippers on, she was ready to leave. Once Riley got the buggy hitched, they left for church.
They rode in silence most of the hour-long ride, but finally Riley broke the silence, “I’m sorry about last night. I guess I just don’t understand.”
Andi interrupted, “No, you were right. Felicity did apologize. I just can’t get the memories out of my head. They flash by like pictures. Her yelling at me. Her whipping Taffy. Her whipping me. It’s just painful memories.”
Riley stayed quiet, but his eyes got wider and wider as she retold the story.
As they arrived at the church, Andi saw Justin and Lucy’s buggy pulling up, too. Andi looked over at Riley, “Let’s go over and say hi to Justin and Lucy.”
Riley nodded, “Ok.”
Justin waved them over just as they were starting to walk over. “Well, howdy little sister. How have you been?” Justin drawled.
Andi was about to reply when Sammy let out a squeal from behind his mother, “Andi!” Sammy ran up to Andi and grabbed her skirt. Andi picked him up and turned him toward Riley, “Aren’t you going to say hi to your Uncle Riley?” Sammy just starred at Riley.
Justin took Sammy from Andi, “We better head inside.”
“Yes, we should,” Riley agreed.
After the service, Elizabeth approached Andi, “Hi, Andrea. I was wondering if you would like to come over for dinner today?”
Andi grinned, “Yes, mother. Mitch asked me yesterday.”
Elizabeth looked right at Andi. “So, I expect to see you there.” Elizabeth turned and walked to her buggy.
When Andi climbed into her buggy, Riley asked, “So to Memory Creek or Circle C?”
“Circle C,” Andi replied cheerfully.
By the time Andi and Riley arrived at Circle C not only had Elizabeth, Chad, and Ellie gotten there before them, but also Justin and his family. And someone else’s buggy was there, too. After they went inside and were seated at the table Andi knew who the buggy belonged to.
Mitch had invited Felicity to join them.
After dinner was finished, Nila brought out a cake. Everyone looked at Andi.
“Happy birthday!” they all shouted. Andi blushed at the fact that everyone was looking at her.
After everyone had settled down to eat his or her piece of cake, Mitch and Felicity stood up to say something. Mitch cleared his throat and continued, “Everyone we…” Mitch paused as he grabbed Felicity’s hand “…have an announcement to make.” Mitch smiled “We have set a wedding date. June 30.”
Everyone at the table clapped and cheered. Andi tried hard to clap but she couldn’t cheer. She felt like someone had knocked the air out of her. Andi tried to eat her cake, but it just tasted like sawdust. She ate a few more bits then asked if she may be excused. Elizabeth nodded, and Andi got up and left the room.
After Andi left the dining room she didn’t know where to go. She didn’t live here anymore. She ended up going to the library. When she entered the library, her eye fell on a stack of books.
Dime novels. She thought, Probably Mitch’s. Andi sighed.
Deep in thought she didn’t notice Mitch walk in. “Andi, are you all right?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” Andi lied. “Great, never better.”
“So, no,” Mitch asked. “Is it Felicity?”
Andi turned to her brother, “I forgave Felicity a long time ago. But there are memories that keep coming back. Ever since she came to Memory Creek I’ve been lost in this nightmare of memories.”
Andi looked away as her eyes started stinging with tears.
Mitch pulled her into a hug, “I know. I’ll never completely understand what you went through. But you haven’t fully forgiven Felicity until you’ve put all the memories in the past.” Mitch let her go and left the room.
Andi fell back into an overstuffed chair after he left. Haven’t fully forgiven her? I forgave her before she came here. What did he mean by ‘put all the memories in the past’?
Andi let the tears stream freely down her face. After a moment she wiped her face as best she could and went to find Riley so they could go home.
The next morning was over cast and cloudy just like Andi’s mood. What Mitch said yesterday didn’t set well for her. Next month is the wedding. I don’t know if I can bring myself to go.
Andi knew in her heart she was being selfish. But she just kept seeing the memories in her head that kept her mad.
By the time June 20th rolled around, Andi had shut out almost everyone and only talked to Shasta most days. Andi grumbled as she poured some grain in to Shasta’s stall. June 30th. Why did it have to come?
Andi rubbed Shasta’s nose. “Sorry boy, can’t ride you today. Today is Mitch and Felicity’s wedding day. I wish I couldn’t go, but I know they’d be disappointed if I didn’t show up.” She rubbed Shasta’s nose one more time and then left the barn.
After Andi had gotten dressed in a beautiful blue dress with sandals, she got into the Buggy with Riley and they set off to the wedding. Andi grumbled as they walked into the church. But when Andi saw the joy and happiness on Mitch’s and Felicity’s faces, she knew she had been selfish all along. She understood that she needed to forgive Felicity. She needed to forget the pain in the past and have joy in the future.
After the wedding Andi looked everywhere for Mitch and Felicity. She found them by the food table.
As Andi walked over to them, Felicity waved her over. “Hey, Andi I know I hurt you in the past but…”
Andi cut her off, “No, you need to forgive me.”
Felicity gave Andi a confused look. “Please forgive me for living in the past and not thinking about how happy you and Mitch are. So, please forgive me.”
Felicity took Andi’s hands into hers, “If you can forgive me, then I can forgive you.”
Andi smiled, about to say thank you when Mitch interrupted “Ladies, why aren’t you dancing?”
Andi laughed, she truly laughed, which she hadn’t done in a long time.
As she laughed, she stopped and looked up to heaven to thank one more person. “Thank you, God. You helped me forgive Daniel and Felicity, thank you!” Andi walked away to go find Riley, leaving behind her anger and selfishness.