When Lexie accepted Chris’ proposal, she felt no doubt. At her father’s insistence they agreed to wait at least until she had finished college, especially if she planned to help Chris with his dream of one day owning a horse ranch of his own. Chris had opted for a trade and agricultural school, learning how to farm and breed horses. Perhaps if they had attended the same college, she might be Chris’ wife today, but the distance and the separations, and the new world that Lexie suddenly found herself in, was too much of a distraction. Suddenly there were handsomer and smarter young men who wanted to date her, despite the engagement ring she wore. After a while she grew tired of having to flash the ring in their faces, not to mention she wanted to date them. Her world now included a much vaster realm than the two ranches and small schools in which she had grown up. On the evening of her graduation, with her parents and Chris present, she broke off her engagement and broke his heart along with it.
Now, two years later, living in New York City and dating Jim, her boss’ son, Lexie has serious doubts about her present relationship. Faced with her mother’s discerning wit, she can no longer deny the truth. “Mom, I miss my home, the country, our way of life at the ranch, the snow-capped mountains, the wide open spaces, riding the fields, the prairies and hiking the rolling hills heavy with spruce. And I miss…”
Lexie’s voice trailing off on a pause, as though she’d stopped herself from saying more, did not escape her mother’s notice.
“And you miss…?” Leatrice asked gently.
Lexie’s eyes filled with tears, but she quickly lifted her free hand and brushed them away. “And,” she added shamefaced, “I miss Chris’ love and caring ways. I miss the good times, and the carefree fun we shared.”
Learice asked, “Chris’ love and caring ways, the good times, the carefree fun — but doesn’t Jim supply that?”
“Yes, but…Oh, it’s just not the same. He’s not Chris,” she said.. “Not by a long run,” she added, falling back on a childhood idiom.
“In other words,” Leatrice clarified, “You’re still in love with Chris.”
Lexie nodded. Hearing the words from. her mother who had always understood her better than anyone, even her father, as much as he cared for her, there was no escaping the truth. She had made a terrible mistake breaking off her engagement to Chris and splitting his heart in two. He hated her now….
(Also includes first two chapters of “Driscoll’s Lady”)