Maria Montero sat in the buggy, the tears rolling down her cheeks. She felt she had made the biggest mistake in her life. Her father had told her that if she picked the young man that had come to live with the Barkleys that it would pollute the Spanish bloodlines in the family. Maria didn't know how marrying Heath Barkley would pollute the family's bloodlines.
It was worse that she had to make a choice family over love. But she was 17 she was sure that she would find a husband to love her. The next time she wouldn't let her father tell her that the man was all wrong by just his bloodlines.
5 years later Jarrod Barkley was in San Francisco when he met Maria Montero. Jarrod was walking in the park when he stepped on someone's foot.
He noticed then that it was a lady. "Ma'am, I'm sorry,"Jarrod was quick to apologize. It was then that he recognized her.
"Maria Montero!"Jarrod exclaimed.
"Counselor Barkley, what are you doing here?"Maria asked.
"I just came down from Stockton to settle a case,"Jarrod said.
"How is Heath?"Maria asked.
"He's fine. He just got married 4 months ago. What about you? Aren't you married?"Jarrod asked.
"No. My father is against every man in the world. Every man, he says, is like your brother. Doesn’t have the proper bloodline,"Maria said.
"You are 22, aren't you, Maria?"Jarrod asked.
"Sí. What has that got to do with anything?"Maria asked.
"Your father doesn't have any control over you. If your 22 you are old enough to pick your own husband,"Jarrod said.
"You don't understand Spanish aristocracy do you, Jarrod? Nobility always picks out the marriages in the family,"Maria said.
"Why don't you decide with your heart? The Spanish aristocracy is close to dying out here,"Jarrod said.
"I'll do that, Jarrod. I have to go back home now. My father would worry,"Maria said.
"Would you like to join me for lunch tomorrow, Maria?"Jarrod asked.
"My father would not approve of you anymore than he did Heath,"Maria said.
"Does he have a problem with my family?"Jarrod asked.
"Yes. Since your family accepted Heath he thinks all of you are not any good,"Maria said.
"Well, I'll leave that to you, Maria. You’re old enough to decide if you want to eat lunch with me tomorrow,"Jarrod said.
Jarrod and Maria went their separate ways. At that moment Maria decided that she wanted to marry Jarrod with or without her father's permission. She then decided that she would eat lunch with him tomorrow somehow.
Maria met Jarrod the next day for lunch without a hitch. Her father usually didn't question her activities during the day, so she was able to sneak out of the house without being caught by her father or the servants. Maria said a swift prayer to Santa Maria for getting her out of the house.
Jarrod was waiting at a sidewalk cafe for her. Since he met her the day before he realized she was the most beautiful young lady he'd ever met. No disregards to his wife, Beth, who had died 3 years back.
Maria walked past the cafe. Jarrod stood up and called after her. "Maria,"Jarrod said.
Maria turned to Jarrod, her dark eyes lighting with joy over seeing him. He was so handsome with his dark hair and blue eyes. She had forgotten how tall he was. Maria's head came just underneath his chin.
She rushed over to him and shook his hand before he pulled out a seat for her. "Was it hard to get away?"Jarrod asked.
"No. My father didn't catch me. If he knew I was meeting you, he'd give me the same lecture that I got when I loved Heath,"Maria said.
"Do you still love Heath, Maria?"Jarrod asked.
"I thought about it last night, Jarrod. I think all I had was a silly schoolgirl crush when I met Heath. And anyway you said he was married now. So that releases any guilt I felt about hurting him,"Maria said.
"You did hurt him though, Maria. He moped for days after you left,"Jarrod said.
"I know. I did too. I cried as I rode away that day. I won't let that same mistake happen again. If I love someone and they ask me to marry them, I won't let my father tell me about bloodlines again,"Maria said.
"What if I told you that I loved you?"Jarrod asked.
"I'd say that I love you too. I thought of it all last night and I realized that if I married I'd like him to be someone like you,"Maria said.
"Maria, would you marry me?"Jarrod asked.
"Of course. But we'd have to do it when father goes to Stockton,"Maria said.
"When is he going to Stockton?"Jarrod asked.
"In 2 or 3 months,"Maria said.
"That sounds all right,"Jarrod said.
"Yes. And I can go out to dinner and lunch with you. Father never questions my activities,"Maria said.
"In the evenings I can take you to the opera and then take you home,"Jarrod said.
Jarrod pulled a small case out of his jacket pocket and opened it. He pulled out a small engagement ring and placed it on her left hand.
Jarrod kissed her hand gently. Maria rested her hand on his smooth face and ran her thumb along his jaw line.
After they ate their meal, Maria had to leave, but not without giving Jarrod a quick kiss goodbye.
It was easy for Maria to sneak out to meet Jarrod for the opera or dinner. Jarrod would always pull her chair out for her or hold her hand as she alighted from a coach. Maria grew to love Jarrod more than she did Heath.
One day in August Maria burst into Jarrod's office excitedly. Jarrod was busy with briefs from his last case the day before.
Jarrod looked up in surprise as his fiancee burst in. "Maria, I've never seen you like this,"Jarrod said.
"Jarrod, Father is going home in two days,"Maria said.
"Did he tell you this?"Jarrod asked.
"Yes. He expects me to join him there this weekend,"Maria said.
"We can get married before you have to go,"Jarrod said.
"Jarrod, I have been wondering something since you proposed. Do you want children as much as I do?"Maria asked.
"Of course I do. I love children,"Jarrod said.
"Do you want boys or girls?"Maria asked.
"Doesn't really matter to me as long as they are healthy. They'll also be accepted among my family. Heath's name was Thomson when he came to the family but anyone with the name "Barkley" is always accepted as one,"Jarrod said.
"Will they respect me? I hurt Heath and they may hate me,"Maria said.
"As long as you bear my name, you'll be accepted in my family,"Jarrod said.
"My father is going to protest when I get back and he finds out that I got married. He'll protest more when he finds out I married a Barkley,"Maria said.
"I won't let your father guilt you. If he can't accept me or any of the children that you and I have that's his problem, not yours or mine,"Jarrod said.
"Are you going to go to the justice of the peace soon?"Maria asked.
"Yes. Later this afternoon. The day your father leaves go to the justice of the peace two doors down from here. I'll be there and so will 3 or 4 witnesses and the man that will perform the marriage ceremony,"Jarrod said.
"Jarrod, I'm scared. What if Father catches me? He may take me to Stockton with him,"Maria said.
"He won't. Just think that in two days you’ll be my wife, Maria Montero Barkley," Jarrod said.
"I love you, Jarrod,"Maria said.
"I love you too, Maria,"Jarrod said.
Maria threw her arms around his neck and cried on his shoulder. Jarrod kissed her wet cheek and looked into her dark eyes. "Maria you'll have to go home now. I'll see you in two days,"Jarrod said.
He kissed her goodbye and then she left.
Maria felt a nervous tension as she watched her father leave bright and early two days later. So far he hadn't suspected that she would be marrying Jarrod Barkley in 2 hours. After Don Alfredo's buggy turned the corner, Maria threw a light shawl over her head and ran down the back staircase.
To Maria's relief no one caught her sneaking out. She ran all the way to the office that Jarrod told her about. The door was locked as Maria tried to push it open.
"Miss Montero?"A voice asked behind her.
Maria pivoted sharply on her heel. It was Jarrod's secretary. "Louisa, you frightened me," Maria said, breathlessly.
"I'm sorry, Miss Montero. Mr. Barkley told me to tell you that he'd thought about it last night and he said he'd rather get married in the Catholic church if that's all right with you,"Louisa said.
"I'm fine with that. What church did he go to?"Maria asked.
"St. Peter's. I can take you there. It's the church Mr. Barkley goes to when he's here in San Francisco," Louisa said.
Louisa and Maria walked to St. Peter's and went into the huge building. Two ministers, one of Spanish descent, the other of Irish descent was talking to Jarrod.
"Jarrod!" Maria squealed and ran to her fiancee.
Jarrod kissed her forehead and looked into her dark brown eyes. "I decided it would be best if we married Catholic. Your father won't be ready to disown you if he knew you were married in the Catholic Church," Jarrod said.
"No, he wouldn't. I spent all last night wondering what the eloping would mean to my father when he finds out. Jarrod, you know Catholics don't elope. So this is the Christian way if we marry like this,"Maria said relieved.
"Maria, this is Father O'Reilly. He's my pastor when I come to San Francisco. And this is his assistant Padre Manuel,"Jarrod introduced.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Montero," Father O'Reilly said.
Padre Manuel spoke to Maria in Spanish the same thing Father O'Reilly had just said.
"Now Jarrod, is it important that you and Maria get married today," Father O'Reilly asked.
'Sí, Padre. You see, my father does not like the Barkley's and I love Jarrod. You see, after my father and myself were to go to Stockton, he wanted to go on a trip of Spain. And it might be a few years before I could marry Jarrod if I did that,"Maria said.
"And as long as you marry in the Catholic Church he can't disown you?" Padre Manuel asked.
"He might. My father holds the Catholic clergy in very high regard," Maria said.
"I suppose that's a good reason to marry you. Miss Montero, Mr. Barkley, in one hour you'll be married before God and Man.
Maria was in the priest's chambers putting on a wedding veil. The hour had dwindled down to a few minutes. In a few minutes She would be married to Jarrod Barkley, the most handsome man in the state of California.
Maria took a deep breath to control her nervousness. One of the altar boys knocked on the door to the pastor's study.
Maria opened it. "Miss Montero, we're ready,"The boy said.
Maria walked out of the study, pulling the veil over her eyes. At the altar stood the two priests and Jarrod. Jarrod smiled at her and walked to her. He took her hand and both walked to the altar.
A few witnesses were in the pews. Some people to say that the marriage really did take place.
"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here together in the sight of God and man to witness the marriage of this man and this woman. Who gives this woman away?"Father O'Reilly asked.
"I do," Padre Manuel said.
Father O'Reilly nodded to the Mexican and continued his speech on marriage. Before anyone knew it, it was time for the marriage vows.
"Jarrod Thomas Barkley, do you take Maria Montero to be your lawful wedded wife? Do you promise to love her, honor her, and forsaking all others as long as you both shall live?"Father O'Reiily asked.
"I do," Jarrod said.
"Maria Montero, do you take Jarrod Thomas Barkley as your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to love, honor, and obey him as long as you both shall live?"The priest asked.
"I do," Maria said.
"The rings, please,"The priest said.
Jarrod took the ring from the minister. "Jarrod, say with this ring, I thee wed,"The priest said.
"With this ring I thee wed," Jarrod said, slipping the ring on her index finger.
"Maria, say with this ring I thee wed,"the Padre said.
"With this ring I thee wed," Maria said, slipping the ring on Jarrod's finger.
"As much as Jarrod and Maria have consented to marriage, what God has brought together let no man put asunder. By the Catholic Church and the state of California I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride,"the priest said.
Jarrod kissed her. and smiled. The two thanked the priests and paid them. The priests gave them their marriage certificate and the newlyweds left to buy tickets to Stockton the following day.
The next day, bright and early, Jarrod and Maria left for Stockton. The whole way there Maria had a hard time believing that she was married to Jarrod. Once her father saw how much the couple loved each other he wouldn't protest to the marriage. Maria was sure of that. He would love it even more when Maria had a baby. Because even if he didn't like the bloodlines of the Barkley's he wouldn't shun an innocent baby.
Jarrod sat in the seat across from her, looking over some notes for a court case when he got back to Stockton.
Yes, Maria thought, I have married the most handsome man in California.
Maria and Jarrod arrived in Stockton late that afternoon. Heath and his wife Dora met the train at the exact time it arrived. In the 5 years that Heath had lived in Stockton he had earned the respect of everyone in Stockton as a Barkley. No one questioned his parentage or called him illegitimate to his face any more.
Of course if they did Nick would beat them into next week, Heath thought, amused at the fact that his big brother would always try to protect him as if he were a child.
Also Heath had gotten the respect when he married Dora Hamilton. Dora was the prettiest girl he had ever met. When Heath met her she was arriving in town with her twin children, Patsy and Isaac. When the twins were two years old, their father had died in a logging accident. Dora instantly fell in love with the blond Barkley. He was a perfect gentleman and loved her children. The four-year-olds liked Heath too. He was fun and they always sat on his lap even when he was tired from a hard day's work on the range or fixing a fence.
The train stopped breaking Dora and Heath's thoughts. Jarrod came out of his compartment, Maria out of sight behind her tall husband.
"Jarrod!" Heath greeted his older brother.
"Hello, Heath. And how are you, Dora?" Jarrod asked, his blond haired sister-in-law.
"I'm fine, Jarrod. Welcome back," Dora greeted her husband's brother.
"How are Patsy and Isaac? Well I hope," Jarrod said.
"They're fine, Jarrod. Jarrod, I wanted to ask you if you could arrange papers so I could adopt them. In the year that I've known them I've grown to love those children like they were my own. Also the children have started to call me "Papa," Heath said.
"I think that could be arranged, Little Brother," Jarrod said.
"Thank you, Jarrod," Heath said.
"I'll settle it tomorrow, Heath. I promise," Jarrod said.
"Why won't you settle it today, Jarrod?" Heath asked.
"Heath, I got married yesterday and I figured the family would want to celebrate as soon as I got back," Jarrod said.
"Jarrod, you didn't!" Dora exclaimed.
"Jarrod, congratulations! Who's the lucky girl?" Heath asked.
Jarrod hesitated slightly. He didn't know how his brother would react to seeing his wife again. He knew that Heath loved Dora now, but the memory of a girl who'd broken Heath's heart might be too painful.
"Heath, it's someone you know," Jarrod said.
"Who is it?" Heath asked.
"Heath, its Maria Montero," Jarrod said.
Heath felt shock for a moment. "You married Maria?' Heath asked, his voice close to breaking.
"Yes. Heath she's sorry that she hurt you and she understands about how much you and Dora love each other," Jarrod said.
"Do you love her Jarrod?" Heath asked.
"Yes. I've been seeing her for the last 2 months. We've gone out to dinner and to the opera. Heath, I love her and she loves me. I promise you, Heath, I never wanted to hurt you," Jarrod said.
"I suppose I can live with that. I'm happily married with a wife and two children. I wish you and Maria all the happiness in the world, Jarrod," Heath said.
Maria stepped out from behind her husband and smiled at Heath sweetly.
"Hola, Heath. I heard you had gotten married. You're very pretty," Maria said, to Dora.
"Thank you. Your very beautiful yourself," Dora said to her new sister-in-law.
"Gracias. You are very kind," Maria said.
"Well, let's get these two home. Mother would be furious if we don't show up at the right time. The twins are rambunctious and Mother will be worn to a frazzle if we don't come home to rescue her," Heath joked.
Jarrod, Maria, and Dora grinned at the thought of Victoria Barkley worn to a frazzle by hyperactive twins. Maria grinned at the thought as the wagon carried her and her husband out to the ranch. What none of them realized was that a Spanish vaquero had heard everything.
Don Alfredo Montero was enjoying the cool of his mansion when one of his vaquero's entered the house.
"Senor, I just saw Senorita Montero in town," the young man said excitedly.
"Maria? I wasn't expecting her until tomorrow. What was she doing here?" Don Alfredo asked.
"She was with the Barkley's," The boy said.
"Why was she with them? She knows how I feel about that family since they welcomed that young man into it," Don Alfredo asked.
"It appeared she married one of them," the boy said.
"Which one? She couldn't have married the young man. He married earlier this year," Don Alfredo said.
"She married the lawyer. The young man, who's not a true Barkley met them there with his wife and the lawyer told him that he married the Señorita yesterday," The boy said.
Don Alfredo felt shock. His only child had married against his wishes to one of his enemies. While he had to admit that Jarrod was a gentleman, he was still a part of a family that would accept a man not of the proper bloodlines. That made every Barkley not of the proper bloodlines.
If his daughter had Jarrod Barkley's baby, he decided, he would never accept this baby as his grandchild. He decided at that moment to go to the Barkley's and tell his daughter that she wasn't his daughter anymore and if she had any children they were not his grandchildren.
Heath pulled the wagon into the yard of the Barkley mansion. Dora talked excitedly to Jarrod and Maria. It took all Jarrod's self control not to laugh at her excitement.
"Oh, Maria, I'm so glad to have you for a sister-in-law. And the children would love having you as an aunt. They already love having Jarrod, Nick and Eugene as their uncles and Audra as their aunt. Tell me are you and Jarrod going to have any children?" Dora chattered.
"We hope so. I love children and Jarrod has agreed that if we do have children that they'll be raised Roman Catholic," Maria said.
"That's good. Whatever child you have they'll learn to go to confession and Mass and learn all the names of the saints," Dora said.
"Have you two decided on any names for any children that you have?" Heath asked.
"Jarrod said that if we have a girl I could name her Katalina Maria Isabel Barkley. But if we have a boy Jarrod said he wanted to name him Thomas, after your father," Maria said.
"Where do you get the name Katalina from?" Dora asked.
"That was my mother's name. Of course Jarrod said that if we call her that, he has to be able to call her Katie," Maria said.
The four Barkley's got out of the rig as two small people came running down the walk to Heath. Heath picked up his two stepchildren and hugged them.
"Those are my children, Maria," Dora whispered.
Victoria came out of the house. She looked tired. "I'm glad you're home, Heath. The children were very rowdy today and broke a window," Victoria said.
"I'll fix that immediately, Mother," Heath said.
"Hello, Pretty Lady," Jarrod greeted his mother.
"Oh Jarrod," Victoria said. She walked up to her oldest son and hugged him.
"I'm glad to be home, Mother. Mother, you remember Maria Montero don't you?" Jarrod asked.
"Of course I do. How do you do, Maria?" Victoria asked, her voice a little chilled.
Maria flinched slightly at Victoria's coldness and looked at her husband with sad brown eyes.
Jarrod took pity on his wife and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "Mother, I married Maria yesterday," Jarrod said.
Victoria's reaction was the same as Heath's, only there was a little more anger in her tone. "Jarrod, how do you know she won't leave you?" Victoria asked.
"I couldn't leave him, Mrs. Barkley. We were married Catholic and Catholics can't divorce. And anyway I love Jarrod and I won't let my father break us up like the last time, " Maria said.
Victoria felt this girl was genuine and hugged her new daughter-in-law as a mother would a daughter. "This gives us reason to celebrate. "Welcome to the family, Dear," Victoria said.
"Gracias, Victoria," Maria said.
"Please call me Mother," Victoria said.
"All right, Mother," Maria said.
Victoria took her sons and their wives into the parlor and they had afternoon tea together.
The Barkley family was eating a sumptuous supper in the Barkley dining room in celebration of Jarrod and Maria's marriage. Jarrod would often look at his wife with love in his ice-blue eyes and kiss her hand, gently.
Maria laughed at her husband and would kiss his soft hand in return. Once she leaned over to whisper in his ear. "I love you, Jarrod Barkley," Maria whispered softly.
"I love you too, Mrs. Barkley," Jarrod said, using his wife's new last name.
After dinner, after the twins went to bed, the adults talked about ranching and what Don Alfredo's reaction to Jarrod and Maria's marriage would be. They didn't have long to find out.
A hard knock on the door interrupted the family's talking. Silas, the family's butler answered the door. Don Alfredo Montero stood there, cold determination all over his face.
"I am here to see Jarrod Barkley and Maria," Don Alfredo said to the colored butler.
"Of course, Mistuh Montero. They be in the parlor," Silas led the man inside to the parlor.
Jarrod stood behind his wife and placed his hand on her shoulder in a restraining gesture. Maria twisted her wedding ring on her left hand. Her father had always intimidated her as a child. He would glower at her in a way that made her feel like a guilty child.
Don Alfredo entered the parlor and looked around at the Barkley's. When his eyes fell on Heath, his eyes turned cold. After 5 years this creature was still with the Barkley's.
He moved his gaze to the couch where Maria sat, twisting her wedding ring nervously, Jarrod Barkley's hand on her shoulder, his wedding ring out in clear sight.
Don Alfredo looked at his daughter, the anger clear in his dark brown eyes. "Maria, how could you!" Don Alfredo hissed.
"I fell in love, Father. I love Jarrod," Maria said.
"HE'S STILL A BARKLEY! THESE PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THE PROPER BLOODLINES! I THOUGHT I MADE IT CLEAR 4 YEARS AGO THAT YOU WERE NOT TO MARRY ANY OF THE BARKLEY MEN!" Don Alfredo yelled.
"Don Alfredo, may I remind you to please lower your voice. We have 2 four-year olds sleeping upstairs and you might wake them up,” Victoria said.
"By the way, Father, I don't care any more. When I lost Heath I said that I would marry if God told me to. God led me to Jarrod," Maria said.
"If you stay married to this man, you are no longer my daughter. Also your children won't be my grandchildren," Don Alfredo said, in an attempt to make her see reason.
Maria saw that as a threat to scare her into leaving Jarrod. "I will not. I love Jarrod. I'm Catholic and we cannot divorce, remember? This family will love also whatever child we have, him or her. If you do not wish to be involved in its upbringing that's your choice. I'm sorry that I disobeyed you, but I'm not a child any longer," Maria said.
Don Alfredo looked at Jarrod, a look of pure hatred in his eyes. "Very well then. You are no longer my daughter. I hope you're happy with whatever life you have from now on. I never wish to see you or the Barkley's again," Don Alfredo said.
Don Alfredo stalked out of the parlor. Maria buried her face in her hands and cried. Jarrod sat next to her on the sofa and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Maria buried her face in Jarrod's chest and cried. Jarrod pushed her face up and wiped her face with his thumb.
Jarrod was battling a case in court a few weeks later, when Maria slipped into the room. A week or two ago Maria had started to feel sick to her stomach. Jarrod, feeling concerned, sent her to the doctor.
Maria smiled at her husband's convincing arguments in the courtroom. Whatever could be said of her husband as a lawyer he was a formidable force in the courtroom. His arguments could sway a jury to see his way about any client he defended or prosecuted.
At the call for the recess Maria walked up to her husband and kissed his cheek tenderly.
"Well, Maria?" Jarrod asked.
"Jarrod, the doctor says that he thinks that I'm going to have a baby," Maria said.
"A baby? I'm going to be a father?" Jarrod asked, his eyes widening. A brilliant grin spread over his features.
"Sí. I am going to have a baby," Maria said.
Jarrod kissed his wife’s cheek and hugged her.
"I'm just so happy. A baby. Are we still going to keep the names we decided on?" Jarrod asked.
"Sí. I promised my mother that if I had a girl I'd name her Katalina," Maria said, placing her hands on her husband's shoulders.
Jarrod kissed his wife's lips, gently. "Mrs. Barkley, would you do me the honor of letting me escort you to lunch?" Jarrod asked.
"Of course, Mr. Barkley," Maria said, playing along with him.
A vaquero in the courtroom raced out as soon as he saw Maria and Jarrod leave the courtroom. He raced to the general store where Don Alfredo was sending a letter.
"Señor, Señor, I just saw Señora Maria," The vaquero said.
"Well how is she?" Don Alfredo asked.
"She's going to have a baby! She just said it to the lawyer. He seemed pleased. He picked her up and swung her around and then put her down again. He was smiling," the boy said.
"Well, that is good news. I won't be there for the child, but you can look out for it and tell me if the child is happy and healthy," Don Alfredo said.
"Of course, Señor. I'll be happy to protect Señora Maria's baby. But won't Señor Barkley be protecting it? It's his baby too," The vaquero said.
"Probably. I wouldn't be surprised if that lawyer will treat the child like a spoiled, pampered prince or princess when it's born," Don Alfredo said.
From that day on Maria and her unborn baby had an unseen watcher to protect her and the baby if any danger came. As Maria got bigger, Jarrod started planning things that his child would have. Heath, Nick, and Jarrod started to paint and decorate a nursery for the baby until the time came that the baby would be born.
Maria woke up early on the morning of the 23rd of April the following year. She dressed quickly and went downstairs to where her husband was eating his breakfast.
Maria flinched slightly as she leaned down and kissed Jarrod's cheek.
"Maria, this is surprising. Usually you are asleep when I leave the house in the morning," Jarrod teased his wife.
"I just wanted to eat breakfast with you for a morning before I feel sleepy again and decide to take a nap," Maria said, her brown eyes shining.
Her youthful smile changed to a look of pain. She laid a restraining hand on her stomach and grimaced as a small contraction came.
Jarrod grabbed his wife's free hand and squeezed it gently. "Maria, are you all right?" Jarrod asked
Maria gasped and squeezed Jarrod's hand so hard that Jarrod felt as if she was going to break it. Victoria stood beside her daughter-in-law.
"Jarrod, I think Maria's going to have that baby today. Audra, Dora, I'm going to need your help. We need to get Maria back upstairs to her bed. Dora, grab one of her arms. I'll take the other one. Jarrod, stay down here. We'll tell you when the baby's born," Victoria said.
Victoria and the four women left the dining room, Maria crying, her breathless sobs filling the air.
Jarrod turned to Heath. "Heath, I need you to go to town and tell the judge that I need an extension. Tell him my wife is having a baby and I can't come," Jarrod said.
"Of course, Jarrod," Heath said.
That began the longest afternoon of Jarrod's life. It was hard for Jarrod to sit still in the parlor with Nick and Heath. Jarrod stared at his watch every 5 minutes. Jarrod would also keep taking out a cigar. By the time the baby was born, Jarrod was pacing the parlor when he heard the baby's cry.
Victoria came down the stairs a small bundle in her arms. Victoria looked at her oldest son and smiled at him.
"Jarrod, you have a healthy baby daughter," Victoria said.
Jarrod felt tears come to his eyes as he took his small daughter in his arms. The baby hardly weighed a thing. He pulled back the cloth covering his daughter's face and looked at her. She was beautiful. She had dark hair and her mother's olive complexion. She opened her eyes sleepily and stared at her father for a few minutes. She had bright blue eyes, the exact color of her father's. Jarrod knew that this daughter would look just like him when she grew up.
Jarrod cried as he held her and kissed her soft baby cheek. "How's Maria, Mother?" Jarrod asked.
"She's fine, Son. She was awfully tired when I left with the baby. I need to take her back upstairs to her mother. The baby will start crying soon to be fed. She needs to be there with Maria," Victoria said.
Jarrod felt a near shock of parting with his daughter. He felt that if he parted with her he'd never see her again. He held the baby out to his mother and felt his heart lurch when Victoria took her upstairs.
Don Alfredo was in his study when the vaquero entered. "Señor, she had the baby! I stood outside the sala window when Señora Barkley came in with the baby. She had a baby girl," the boy said.
"She did? Did you see the baby?" Don Alfredo asked.
"Sí. Señora Barkley handed the baby to Señor Barkley and he pulled back the cloth covering the baby's face. She had dark hair and a dark complexion," the vaquero said.
"A girl. Is she pretty?" Don Alfredo asked.
"Sí. She's very sweet, very angelic. She slept the whole time Señor Barkley and Señora Barkley held her," the vaquero said.
"That's good. I'm going to go to the child's christening. I need to see what my daughter's baby looks like," Don Alfredo said.
Katalina Maria Isabel Barkley's christening passed quickly. Besides a faint cry when her father handed her to the priest, she was quiet.
In the week that she was born Jarrod was already taken in by his baby girl's sweetness. She would look at him with intelligence in her vibrant blue eyes. Jarrod often liked to hold her and the baby would drool with charm.
Jarrod smiled at his baby as he stood next to his wife. Katie was an angel, pure and simple. The priest handed her back to Jarrod and the baby cooed with pleasure.
In a week Katie would scream if anyone besides her father held her. Even when Maria held her she'd yell until Jarrod came into the room and would pick her up.
Maria tried not to feel hurt that her baby quieted down for Jarrod, but not for her. Don Alfredo sat unnoticed in the congregation, watching the ceremony.
The baby was adorable, but the problem was that it was still a Barkley. The child may grow to be a lovely and sweet child, but her bloodlines would be polluted.
Heath and Dora were called forward as the godparents, much to Don Alfredo's anger. This boy, with his impure blood would be a godfather for his granddaughter. Jarrod placed the baby in Heath's arms; the baby picked up a high-pitched scream. The priest said the words over Dora and Heath and Heath handed the baby back to Jarrod.
The Barkley's went out of the church preparing for this whole new adventure of having a baby in the house.
Jarrod woke up in the middle of the night at the sound of Katie's crying. Since her christening a month ago, she cried more than normal for a baby.
Jarrod walked into her nursery and picked her up. Jarrod sat in Maria's rocker and gently rocked her. The baby's tears fell on Jarrod's nightshirt. Jarrod kissed her cheek gently.
"What's the matter with my baby girl?" Jarrod asked.
The baby whimpered slightly. Jarrod decided in the morning to take the baby to doctor. This crying was not natural. If he and his family wanted to sleep at night, the baby needed a doctor.
Jarrod looked down at the baby. She had fallen asleep and was breathing deeply. Jarrod put her back in her crib and settled in the rocker planning to be there if she woke up screaming again.
The next morning, after Maria dressed the baby, Jarrod took Katie in his arms and carried her outside. Heath and Nick were going to town in the wagon and agreed to drop Jarrod and the baby off at the doctor's. Jarrod handed the baby up to Heath and got up in the wagon next to his brothers.
Katie started to cry again and Jarrod took her into his arms. Katie stopped the tears and went to sleep for the duration of the trip.
Colic. The baby had colic. No wonder she was in crying so much. Jarrod picked up his baby and held her close to his chest. This time, though, the baby didn’t stop crying. The new father looked toward the doctor with a near panic in his eyes.
"Doctor, what should we do to help Katie get over her colic?" Jarrod asked.
"Jarrod, I'm going to give you a new type of milk that's just been invented for this reason. It comes from soybeans. It's sour, but babies drink it. Also Katie's going to feel lonely in the next two or three months, so hold her and rock her a lot," Dr. Merar said.
"Colic lasts that long, Doctor?" Jarrod asked.
"Yes. You’re going to lose a lot of sleep with her crying, but you want Katie well don’t you?” Dr. Merar asked.
"Of course I do. She's my baby and I love her," Jarrod said, bouncing the baby lightly in his arms to calm down her wails.
"Well Jarrod, if you want a healthy baby, you'll do what I tell you. And come see me if something happens," Dr. Merar said.
"How much do I owe you, Doctor?" Jarrod asked.
"For the formula and examination $10.00," Dr. Merar said.
Jarrod paid the doctor and walked outside with the baby still crying. Jarrod kissed Katie's wet face gently and sat down on a chair. He bounced her gently and whispered in her ear. In a matter of minutes the baby quieted considerably and fell asleep in her father's arms.