"Dealing with the Aftermath"
The Turning Point

Sandy Marek

Logline: Nick has to deal with his conscience over his treatment of the newcomer Heath Thomson. A continuation of "Saying Goodbye"

  Inside the barn Heath is showing Chrissy Gal who asks “How come her name is Gal?” while petting her.

“That was the name she had when I got her,” Heath mentions.

“Where did you get her from?” Chrissy asks.

“Mama,” Heath answers, “Gave her to me.”

“Where is your mama?” Chrissy wanted to know.

“Not here anymore,” Heath informs her.

“Where is she?” Chrissy asks.

“Up there,” pointing to the ceiling, “In the heavens with the angels,” Heath says.

“That’s too bad,” Chrissy answers, “You must miss her.”

Replying “I do yes,” Heath asks her, “Would you like to give Gal some sugar?”

As Chrissy answers, “Okay,” Heath hands her a cube of sugar in which she takes it from him who directs her, “Now Chrissy, you do what I do okay? It’s important you do what I do, so Gal knows that you are a friend okay?”

“Okay,” Chrissy nods her head and watches as Heath holds his hand out letting Gal take the cube of sugar from him he then says, “See how she did that?”

“Uh-huh,” Chrissy answers.

“Then do what I just did okay?” Heath tells her who replies, “Okay,” and holding her hand out she patiently watches as Gal takes it from her. With a big smile on her face “She did it” Chrissy gleefully lets out “She must know I am friend now.”

“She does,” Heath then tells her, “We better get back now.”

Replying, “Okay,” Chrissy goes outside with Heath and upon catching sight of them exiting the barn while making idle chat, “Hey Mark,” the first one asks, “Is that who I think it is?”

Taking a second look, “By Deak it is,” Mark replies, “At least it looks like him.”

“I wonder what he’s doing here,” Deak says.

Mark replies, “Maybe came for the service.”

“It’s possible,” Deak says, “Come on; let’s go see if he remembers us.”

“He wouldn’t forget us Deak,” Mark replies, “We are old friends.”

As the two men approach the barn Heath and Chrissy freeze. Deak with a wicked grin on his face “Well, well, well, look who it is” says.

“It’s the bastard,” Wheeler brings up, “Do you remember us?”

While he stands there frozen in shock, “Of course he remembers us Mark,” Deak says, “We go way back, don’t we?”

Still mesmerized at them standing before him Heath remains frozen not making a sound just staring at them with Chrissy besides him breaking the silence and tells them, “You leave us alone.”

“Who’s your little friend there?” Wheeler asks as Heath continues to stand there not making a sound, “What’s the matter Bastard? You don’t speak?”

“Oh, that’s right,” comes from Wheeler says laughing, “You don’t speak. Remember you’re not to open your mouth? Remember the fun we had?”

As Heath continues to remain silent while glaring at them, “Come on Heath,” Chrissy takes him by the hand and begins leading him away from them.

Replying “Come on Chrissy” Heath glances down at her and tries to walk around them.

“We didn’t say you could leave,” Wheeler says.

Still trying to avoid trouble Heath continues to maneuver around them with Chrissy besides him but they keep blocking his path and starts shoving him back. As he falls to the ground on his backside, “You leave him alone,” Chrissy tells them as she comes from behind them; shoving them with all her strength.

“You little” Wheeler says as he brings his arm up and about to take a swing at her.

“You keep away from her,” Heath says as he gets up quickly shoving him away from her.

“Well, well, well,” Wheeler says, “The bastard has a voice. Come on boy,” laughing as he eggs him on, “Show us what you got,” motioning with his hands in which he quickly goes towards him. Bringing up his right arm he takes a swing at Wheeler. Wheeler manages to duck and coming up from behind Deak takes a swing at him.

As he hits him Chrissy watching in horror yells at the top of her lungs with Heath telling her, “Chrissy run, get out of here.”

Hearing her voice, “What was that?” Bill asks of Ed as they are reaching the gate.

“Chrissy,” Ed calls out, “Come on,” and running they head towards the paddock.

Jumping onto Deak, Heath and Deak land in the trough with both holding onto the other with Heath hitting Deak in the face and Deak returning the hit and Heath hitting him again. As Heath climbs out of the trough Wheeler comes in from behind and as Heath catches sight of him takes a swing at him which never connects. Ducking from it Wheeler punches Heath in the back of the shoulder blades in which he drops to all fours.

Deak coming in from behind takes his two hands together and pounds Heath in the back with Heath spinning around kicking his foot at Deak. As Deak drops backwards Wheeler comes in and as Heath sees him takes his legs and kicks at his midsection. Chrissy running as fast as her little legs could go screams at the top of her lungs and missing her footing cries as she falls to the ground, “My elbow,” she continues saying as she rubs her left elbow with her right hand that is now bruised and starting to bleed.

As Heath is getting up Deak punches him in the face again making his nose bleed and hitting the ground; dropping to the ground his head hits the dirt hard and is now lying there on his back dazed with several prominent bruises on his face two on the left side, one near the mouth and one to the cheek bone on the right.

Crying, “Daddy,” Chrissy calls out as Ed is approaching “Daddy.” Quickly lifting her up off the ground, “Oh Chrissy,” he says, taking her into his arms.

Coming from the other side of the barn and noticing Heath on the ground, Nick asks “What the devil is going on here?”

“Daddy,” Chrissy crying in Ed’s arms says, “My elbow. Heath! Daddy! Daddy!” glancing down at him lying there who is slowly bringing his hand to the back of his head as he is starts to sit up. Walking away from there,” Come on baby,” Ed says to Chrissy in his arms still crying, “Daddy! Daddy! Heath!”

“What happened?” Nick asks again.

“We came around the corner,” Deak says, “And saw him hurting the little girl.”

“Take him,” Nick orders, “Lock him in the springhouse I’ll deal with him later.”

“Right away, Mr. Barkley,” Wheeler replies as he and Deak grab hold of Heath by the arms and take him to the springhouse.

As they leave, “Is that your brother Heath?” Bill asks of Nick who barks, “He’s no brother of mine. Excuse me,” walking away.


Opening the door to the springhouse Deak and Wheeler shove Heath roughly inside it and as he drops to the floor, “Bye, bye,” Deak says “Hey Bastard, haven’t seen you around here before. Do you work for the Barkleys now?”

Not responding and just lying there Wheeler asks, “Do you work for the Barkleys?” in which he slowly nods his head. Wheeler says, “That’s better. Have you told Mr. Barkley you worked for my father’s ranch?” as he shakes his head.

Wheeler then asks, “Have you been put in your place yet?” Once again shaking his head, “At least,” Wheeler says, “You remembered to keep silent. Bastards don’t get to speak do they?”

Shaking his head again, “Well,” Deak says, “Seeing none of the Barkleys have put you in your place yet maybe we should. Would you like to be taught a lesson?” As he just lies there, “What you think Mark,” Deak asks, “Should we?”

“No we’ll let Mr. Barkley do it” Wheeler replies “After all this is his ranch, it wouldn’t be right.”

“Good point,” laughing wickedly, “And he will, he will” Deak then says, “Mark, why don’t we give him a sneak preview of what will happen if he gets out of line?”

“Now that we could do,” Wheeler replies sternly, “Okay boy, go on, unbutton your shirt,” glancing up at Wheeler in fear he slowly begins unbuttoning his shirt “That’s good” he tells him “You remembered, it’ll make it easier when it’s time for you to know your place here and be taught but for now” as he is closing the door behind him “We’ll leave you be.”

Locking the door from the outside, “That should take care of him for now,” Wheeler mentions, “He won’t be getting out of there anytime soon.”

Coming over to them, “Did you lock it?” Nick wanted to know.

“We did,” Deak informs him.

“And we must tell you,” Wheeler says, “You’re doing the right thing by keeping him locked up.”

“Oh?” Nick asks, “You know of him?”

“He worked for my father several years back,” Wheeler notes, “And he had a tendency of becoming very violent at times; we had to discipline him at times.”

“He also,” Deak joins in, “Has a habit of being very sneaky.”

“You may think he’s okay,” Wheeler adds, “When you’re watching but the minute your back is turned you better look out, we had to keep him confined at times.”

“Thanks for the information,” Nick says, “It’ll be very helpful.”

“Anytime Mr. Barkley,” Wheeler replies, “Just glad to be of some help” then bidding Nick a good day he says to Deak, “He believed us,” as they head for the bunkhouse, “Of course he did,” Deak replies, “Why shouldn’t he?”

Seated on the floor of the springhouse Heath remains in a state of shock over what happened with his shirt still unbuttoned and then seeing himself now inside of four walls without windows and no way out, he begins trembling with tears going down his cheek and blood pouring from his nose as he wraps his arms tightly around his drawn up knees quietly crying.

Coming out the front door, “What happened?” Jean asks of Ed as Chrissy is crying in his arms.

“Don’t know it all,” Ed replies, “But Chrissy hurt her elbow.”

“Mommy,” Chrissy cries, “Got a boo-boo,” showing her.

Taking her from Ed, “Oh, come with me,” Jean says, “Let’s go take care of it,” kissing her on top of her head, “Make it better, okay?”

“Okay,” Chrissy nodding her head says as she continues to cry in Jean’s arms. Hearing the sound of Chrissy crying, “What happened?” Victoria asks as she and Jarrod quickly exit the gun room. Chrissy answers, “Fell down; got boo-boo,” showing them her elbow.

“Let’s go upstairs and get it cleaned up okay?” Victoria says to Chrissy replying, “Okay,” and leading the way Victoria escorts Jean and Chrissy upstairs.

“What happened?” Jarrod asks of Ed walking in replying, “Don’t know Jarrod. Went out to look for Chrissy and Duke said she was with your brother Heath and as I got closer to the paddock I heard Chrissy screaming and when I got there she was on the ground and Heath was fighting with two of your men.”

“Where is Heath now?” Jarrod wanted to know with Bill answering, “In the springhouse,” as he walks in behind Ed.

Jarrod then says shocked, “What?”

Bill replies, “Nick heard the men saying he tried to hurt Chrissy and had them lock him up in the springhouse. As Nick walks in, “Nick,” Jarrod says, “You locked Heath in the springhouse?”

“I did,” Nick admits, “And he is staying there until either we send for the sheriff or he is tossed off this ranch.” Jarrod then asks, “Why?”

Coming down the stairs, “What happened?” Victoria inquires overhearing the conversation to which Nick explains, “He tried to hurt Chrissy. If it weren’t for Deak and Wheeler she could’ve been hurt far worse than she was. They said he could become violent and is sneaky and the minute your back is turned you have to look out.”

“You can’t be serious Nick,” Jarrod says raising his voice.

“I am,” Nick states, “And he is finally showing his true colors.”

“What true colors?” Audra asks standing in the doorway of the study with Rosie and Mary behind her with Gene and Henry next to them overhearing.

“We leave him alone” Nick says “And he takes Chrissy and tries to hurt her. Luckily for us Deak and Wheeler were there and to stop him before he could.”

“You can’t be serious Nick,” Audra replies, “Heath wouldn’t hurt Chrissy. He wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“Well he has,” Nick argues, “And I learned another thing from Wheeler.”

“What’s that?” Jarrod asks.

Nick replies, “He worked for Wheeler’s father several years back and became violent so they had to keep him confined at times and said he seems harmless in front of you but the moment you turn your back…” stopping when Jarrod cutting him off says, “I don’t believe it Nick, I think you lost your mind.”

“Better my mind,” Nick replies, “Than waiting too long before we got rid of him.”

“Who is Heath?” Rosie asks with Gene replying, “Our brother.”

With her mouth opened in surprise, “Your brother?” Rosie says.

“He’s not any brother of ours,” Nick snaps.

“He is so,” Audra argues, “I don’t believe anything you’re saying Nick. Heath is not violent, he wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“Did you talk to Heath?” Victoria asks of Nick who answers, “No.”

“You assume that he’s violent and can’t be trusted,” Victoria brings up, “But yet you don’t even talk to him to hear his side? How could you Nick” placing her hand on her hip waving it at him, she then says, “Now Nick, you go and get him out of that springhouse and bring him back here.”

“He’s staying there,” Nick balks, “I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Nick,” Victoria reiterates, “I am telling you to go and get him. Now!”

While Nick continues to stand there, “Mother,” Audra watching from the doorway says, “I’ll go get him.” Victoria replies “Go ahead dear.”

“Where’s the key?” Audra then asks. Jarrod answers, “In the drawer,” and after retrieving the key to the springhouse Audra immediately goes out the door.

“Mother,” Nick says, “I don’t think you should be letting her go to set him free.”

Raising her voice, “Nick,” she replies, “When he gets here we will talk to him. I want to hear from him what happened out there. Do you hear me Nicholas?”

“I hear you Mother,” Nick responds.

Seconds later Jean comes down the stairs with Chrissy beside her who says, “Look Daddy, Mommy put a bandage on it.”

Going over to her Ed asks “Is it better now?” as he gets down on one knee to her.

“Uh, huh, much” Chrissy then says, “Where is Heath?” looking around the room for him. Ed informs her, “He’s not here at the moment.”

“He’ll be here shortly,” Victoria mentions.

“Chrissy,” Ed asks, “Did Heath hurt you?” Chrissy replies, “Uh-uh, Heath didn’t hurt me, he told me to run.”

“Run?” Ed inquires. Chrissy repeats “He told me to run.”

Listening to Chrissy, Jarrod looks over at Nick giving him a, “What do you say for yourself now” look and returning the look, Nick looks down at the floor and moving about moves his hands into a fist, opening and closing them. Victoria then insists the family finish the conversation in the study.

Going into the study Victoria has Chrissy sit on the sofa with her sitting on one side of her and Jean sitting on the other with Ed and Bill standing next to one another nearest the sofa and Nick and Jarrod on opposites sides of them and Gene, Henry and the girls each taking a seat.

Running her hand over the back of Chrissy’s hand Victoria asks her what happened to which Chrissy explains, “Heath and I went to look at the horses.”

“Then what happened?” Jean asks of her who replies, “He said we better get back. Walking out of the barn the two men came. They would say do you remember us and as we tried walking around them they kept stopping us. Heath told them to leave us alone and I told them to leave us alone but they kept coming. Heath tried to leave but they shoved him back. He got up and tried moving away again but they shoved him again, then getting up he shoved him back. Then the men pushed him again and they started fighting. He told me to run I fell and hit my elbow.”

“And that’s what happened?” Ed asks of her replying, “Uh-huh, then you came,” looking over at him.

“Now Nick,” Jarrod says, “What did they say he did?”

Nick replies, “They said they came around the corner and saw him hurting her.”

“And that’s it?” Jarrod inquires.

Exhaling deeply, “I guess it was a mistake,” he mentions.

“Just a mistake Nick?” Victoria says, “You keep trying to find any excuse to have him thrown off this ranch.”

“I guess,” Nick brings up, “I should’ve looked into it more but when I heard and saw what I saw, I just wasn’t thinking.” Jarrod retorts, “That’s for sure.”

Ignoring Jarrod Nick continues, “And seeing Deak and Wheeler worked here for over a year now I thought what they said was accurate.”

“Yes I know” Victoria says “And Heath has been here less than a week and you don’t want to have anything to do with him. The minute the littlest thing happens you go off the deep end” looking into his eyes “I don’t know what has gotten into you lately Nick, but I just don’t like it. When he gets here, you owe him an apology.” Walking out of the room, “Fine,” Nick mumbles.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him; I just don’t get it,” Victoria replies. Putting his arm around her, “Mother,” Jarrod says, “Everything will turn out alright.”

“I just feel so bad for Heath,” Victoria brings up, “He’s been through so much and I’m the only one who could see it.”

“No,” Jarrod says, “I see it too; Nick is the one who has to.”

“And how do we get him to do that?” Victoria wanted to know.

“Not sure,” Jarrod states, “It’s up to Nick right now, but he won’t come out and admit it.”

Reaching the springhouse door, Audra takes the key and unlocks the door to where she catches sight of Heath in the middle of the floor with his shirt unbuttoned and his hands wrapped around his legs with tears going down his battered face and blood running from his nose, “Heath,” she calls to him as she goes over to him who is in a daze sniffling. Getting down on her knees and facing him she places her hands on his arms and wipes the tears from his eyes and cheeks saying, “Heath, it’s okay.”

Taking hold of his left hand, “Everything will be alright,” she tells him as he continues shivering and trembling, “Come on Heath,” she then says, “Let’s go back to the house,” and helping him on his feet she leads him out of there and shutting the door behind him heads back to the house.

Walking in the front door, “Mother,” Audra calls out and coming out of the study, “Heath,” Victoria asks, “Are you alright?” as she goes to place her arms around him he replies, “Yes um,” while looking sheepishly down at the floor.

Audra then says, “Mother, he was crying.”

“Heath,” Victoria then brings up, “You’re soaking wet,” seeing him soaked from head to toe, “And you’re bleeding,” noting the blood trickling down his nose to his mouth, “What happened?” she asks taking his hands into hers soothing them.

Coming from the study after saying hello to Heath, “I know what happened,” Chrissy then says as he continues staring down at the floor.

Victoria asks “What Chrissy?” Chrissy replies, “He and the man fell into the waterbowl.”

As Jarrod offers to take him upstairs Victoria tells him, “No that’s alright Jarrod, I got it,” and placing her hand on the right side of his face, “Come with me, Heath,” she then says softly to him, “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

Replying, “Yes um,” Heath goes with Victoria up the stairs still in a daze.

Nick seated in the gunroom stares at the flames coming out of the fireplace, sipping at his drink he has in his hand. “Nick,” Jarrod coming over to him says, “Sometimes, “I just don’t understand you, you have a good heart most of the time but right now your head is in the clouds or something,” shaking his head in disbelief, “I don’t really know what, but right now you owe him an apology.”

“He’ll get it,” Nick vows, “He’ll get it.” Jarrod replies, “Good,” as he walks out.

Taking Heath upstairs to the bathroom Victoria helps with removing all the blood and dirt from his face. Once she’s finished she has Heath going into his room to change into some dry clothes and tells him to come downstairs when he’s done. After replying, “Yes um,” Heath closes the door behind him.

Going back down the stairs and walking in the gunroom Victoria sees Nick seated before the fireplace and calls out sternly, “Nick, that boy is soaking wet. If he should get sick or come down with pneumonia you will be the one taking care of him do I make myself clear?” Nick responds, “Yes Mother.”

“I just don’t get you Nick but right now I am too steamed to let you know what I feel; when I’ve calmed down we’ll then talk,” Victoria then says, “Just so you know tomorrow, you and Heath will be here by yourselves. Jarrod, Audra, Gene and I will be going with Nettie and the kids. While we’re gone I want you to be on your best behavior with Heath. I don’t want to come back and hear you did something to make him leave here. Do you hear me?”

“I hear you,” Nick replies, “And I won’t do anything to make him leave. I will keep my distance from him.”

“If that is what you must do,” Victoria says, “So be it. I just wish you would change your mind and at least try getting to know him. Maybe with some miracle when I return that will happen” as she exits the gunroom.

Heading for the study Victoria sees Heath coming down the stairs and asks “Heath, how do you feel?” Replying “Fine” Heath has a dry pair of clothes on and socks on his feet. Taking hold of his hand Victoria escorts him into the study.

Upon walking in Chrissy is the first to greet him who in turn returns the greeting. Ed walking over introduces himself followed by the rest of the Sempleworth family with Henry being the last. Victoria then urges him to sit down in one of the empty chairs in which he quickly complies. Noticing the time and speaking for the family Ed decides it’s time to leave. The Barkleys minus Heath walk them out.

Before Chrissy goes she gives Heath a big hug who doesn’t budge from the seat he is in. Peeking in the doorway of the gunroom Bill informs Nick he is going who then gets up and walks him out.

Outside near the two buggies the families bid one another goodbye with them exchanging hugs, kisses and thank yous. Bill making his departure says to Nick, “Well Nick, this is it.” Nick replies, “Yes, this is it.”

“I sure wish you were coming with us,” Bill says, “It would be great spending some time together, I miss your company.”

“Perhaps one day we’ll get together again,” Nick states, “Under better circumstances. But for right now I do have a ranch to take care of.”

“I know,” Bill after exchanging hugs with Nick climbs into the driver’s box next to Henry. Once the families are settled into their seats Ed and Bill grab hold of the reins and saying goodbye to everyone drives away from the ranch. As they continue past the gate the Barkleys stay there waving to them as they go. Once they are out of sight, “Let’s go in,” Victoria suggests and they go back inside.

Returning to the study the family sees Heath is still in the chair he was directed to. Bringing him over a drink, “Here Heath,” Jarrod says, “Take this.” Taking the glass, “Drink it,” Jarrod tells him, “It might help you feel better.”

Replying, “Yes sir,” Heath drinks from it and watches as Nick comes over to him.

“Heath” Nick says “I’m sorry that I lost my head earlier and thought the worse. I was wrong about that.” While Heath remains silent as he looks up at Nick, Nick walks over to the desk and sits at the edge of it. Going over to Nick “That’s a start” Victoria tells him.

“Heath” Jarrod asks “Could we ask you what happened?” as he sits alongside of him on the arm of the nearest chair “You could” Heath answers.

Jarrod asks “What happened? From what Chrissy said you took her to see the horses.” Heath answers, “I did.” Jarrod then says, “Then when you were heading back the two men came by and started the trouble with you.” Heath admits, “They did.” Jarrod then inquires, “Heath, do you know them? Chrissy mentioned that they said something about them remembering you.”

Nodding his head while staring down at the floor, “I do,” he replies.

Did you work for one of their fathers?” Jarrod asks. Heath replies, “I did.”

“How long ago was that?” Jarrod asks. Shrugging his shoulders, “Don’t know,” Heath replies, “Sir.”

“They said you were violent,” Nick joins in with, “And they had you confined is that true?” Heath replies, “Yes sir.” Nick then says, “And you do know them, Wheeler and Deak?” Heath answers, “Yes um.”

“Could you tell us anything more?” Victoria wanted to know.

“No,” Heath replies. Victoria then says, “That’s alright Heath, you don’t have to say anything more,” running her hand up and down his back, “Do you like cake?” she then asks of him. Heath replies, “Yes um; I like.”

“You didn’t have any earlier, did you?” Victoria asks of him who replies “No.”

After Victoria has Audra taking Heath out of the room and closing the door behind her she faces the three brothers gathered who exchange glances amongst themselves.

Going into the kitchen Audra takes the glass from Heath and tells him to take a seat. Glancing around the table he asks “Where?” She informs him “Anywhere” as he selects the first chair in front of him he asks, “This okay?”

Responding “Yes Heath” Audra says “Go ahead” as he sits in the chair Audra places the glass in the sink and going over to the cakes “Which one would you like?” she asks of him.

“Don’t matter,” he replies. She asks, “Do you like chocolate?” Heath answers, “Yes um,” she slices him a piece of chocolate cake.

While Nick is still at the edge of the desk and Jarrod and Gene are seated on one of the sofas each one fully attentive to Victoria who is standing before them Gene asks, “Mother, what is it?” innocently.

“I want to talk to you about today,” Victoria says. Gene asks, “What happened?”

“What didn’t happen,” Victoria says, “Heath is new here and no one bothered to properly introduce him to any of the guests that came here. Audra introduced him around a bit but none of the rest of you did. I know that you Nick,” glancing over at him, “Don’t approve of his being here but that doesn’t give you cause or the right to forget that he is now a member of this here family in which I hope he continues to be and should be treated as such.”

“I didn’t want to say anything in front of Nettie or Laura or their families because they have enough on their minds with Frank and Harry and their moving away from here. Now Gene,” she then says looking over at him, “I know you’re only thirteen but you could’ve introduced Heath to your friends and Jarrod,” looking over at him, “You are the oldest and Nick,” looking over at him, “You are next in line. The two of you are old enough to know better.”

“No one acknowledged Heath at all,” Victoria mentions, “And the only time anyone did was after that little incident that took place.”

“What incident?” Gene asks. Victoria replies, “It seems a couple of the guests were saying bad things about Heath which I knew would be coming.”

“What kinds of things?” Gene inquires.

“I won’t get into them right now,” Victoria says glancing over at Nick, “But whether you like it or not he is your brother. Nick you may not want to admit it but there is no denying the fact that he is. I see it in him as do many of the older guests who came today that knew your father when he was younger.”

“Each one of you was so busy with what you were doing that no one had any time for him except Chrissy” she mentions “She was the only person in this house that went over to him and befriended him. She managed to get him out of the house and he took her to see the horses something which I believe he does enjoy.”

“Then,” looking over at Jarrod then at Gene and finally back at Nick, “Two of the men,” she says, “That work here for you Nick came by and whatever was said to you, you got the wrong idea and instead of talking with Heath and learning all the facts you just assumed the worse. All you saw is what you wanted to see and heard from them and just figured he did something when in fact he didn’t. And instead of investigating the situation you just took it upon yourself and had him tossed into the springhouse. He was left there bleeding and soaking wet, you didn’t even bother to find out if he was alright. I just don’t get you.”

“Right now,” she says, “I am ashamed, so ashamed and very disappointed with each one of you. My sons! The respectful Barkleys! The Barkleys have a generous heart they say. Everyone just loves the Barkleys. And yet this Barkley family had time for everyone that came here today but they were no where to be found when it came to Heath. You were all too busy but mostly,” glancing back at Nick, “You Nick. You promised me yesterday that you would be good today and yet you didn’t exactly keep your word; but” sighing heavily “We will talk when I get back.” Nick asks, “When you get back?”

“Yes” she replies “Maybe by the time I return I will have calmed down and really think of what I want to say to you but for right now I will tell you that if this family did a little more caring and thinking about him and tried giving him the right time of day maybe he will loosen up. Each one of you needs to take a hard look at yourself at who you are and who we are as a family. Right now, I am so livid that I can’t even think straight and I am sorry about that. Now I can’t think of anything more to say on the subject so excuse me” moving towards the door “I have to go upstairs and pack” opening the door she heads for the kitchen.

Leaving the brothers to think over what she said, “Boy,” Gene says as he gets up out of his seat, “Mother is really upset. I think it’s been a long time since she’s given us any kind of lecture on anything.”

“She had good reason Gene,” Jarrod admits, “And I too am not completely blameless here. I am just as guilty as the two of you are and she is right we do really need to think about what she said,” leaving the study he heads upstairs.

While Audra and Heath are eating their cake and tea at the table Audra brings up, “You didn’t like being inside that springhouse.” Heath answers quietly, “No.”

“It won’t happen again,” Audra mentions, “And Nick shouldn’t have done that.”

Coming into the kitchen Victoria checks on Audra and Heath; finding out they are okay she leaves them alone going up the back stairwell to pack for her trip.

Finishing their cake and tea Audra places their dishes and silverware into the sink and has Heath going with her into the study. Meanwhile, upstairs Victoria is inside her bedroom grabbing her suitcase and begins filling it with what she will need for her trip. Jarrod down the hall is doing the same in his room.

Back downstairs Heath and Audra are keeping themselves busy by playing a hand of gin in the study. Winning the hand, “Gin,” Audra calls out, “I won the hand,” glancing over at Heath, “Your turn to deal.” Picking up the deck Heath begins shuffling them. Walking in Gene asks to join them in which Audra tells him he could and grabbing a chair Gene fixes himself around the table and as Heath is beginning to deal out the cards Jarrod comes and joins them.

Jarrod asks of Heath, “How you doing Heath?” to which he responds, “Fine sir.”

While he looks away and concentrates on the cards he is dealing out, “It was just a big misunderstanding,” Jarrod tells him, “It won’t happen again Heath.”

“Yes sir,” Heath responds.

Gene asks, “Jarrod, are you packed for tomorrow?” Jarrod replies, “I think so.”

“What about Mother?” Audra asks.

“You know Mother,” Jarrod answers, “She needs to make sure she has everything with her. What about you two?” As they both tell him they are, Jarrod then says, “Heath,” looking over at him, “Will you be alright while we’re gone?”

Heath replies, “Yes sir.” As Jarrod informs him, “It will be only for a couple of days,” Victoria walks in and asks who’s winning.”

Picking up his hand “No one so far” Jarrod announces “We just started.” While Audra tells her she won the first game Gene asks if she’d like to join them in which she says “Not tonight. I am rather tired. I am thinking of turning in early.”

Jarrod suggests, “Why don’t you? It has been a long day.” Thinking it over, “I think I might,” Victoria answers.

Glancing over at Heath she asks him how he’s doing in which he responds, “Um, fine.” She asks him, “How were the cake and tea?” Heath replies, “Um, good.”

“Mother,” Audra asks, “Are you all packed?” Victoria replies, “Yes Audra, all packed. Where’s Nick?” Jarrod answers, “He must’ve gone for a walk.”

Victoria then says, “Heath, you should be alright while we’re gone. If you should need anything Silas is here to assist you, okay?” Heath replies, “Yes um.”

Deciding to turn in she gives each of them a goodnight hug and kiss with Jarrod informing her, “I’ll stay up until Nick comes.”

Responding “Thank you” Victoria tells Gene and Audra not to stay up too late, in which they vow “We won’t” and while she walks out they finish the card game.

While Nick is idly walking around the outside still thinking over everything that has happened with Heath; Jarrod, Gene, Audra and Heath are in the midst of their card game. Catching sight of Heath’s eyes beginning to close Jarrod suggests that he turn in. Responding, “Yes sir,” as Heath gets up the three Barkley siblings bid him goodnight and resume the card game while he heads up the stairs.

After finishing his walk Nick heads for the house. Meanwhile the game between Jarrod, Gene and Audra continues until they hear the sound of the door opening to which Jarrod excuses himself from the table and exits the room. Seeing who it is Jarrod asks, “Where did you go Nick?”

Replying, “Just for a walk,” Nick then inquires, “Where’s Mother?”

“Turned in already,” Jarrod informs him who in turn decides to do the same and upon bidding him goodnight heads up the stairs. Returning to the study Audra asks, “Was that Nick?”

Replying “It was,” Jarrod realizes its getting late and opts for them to resume the game later; taking that as the cue to turn in the three of them agree and go up the stairs together. Reaching the top landing they head for their rooms bidding one another goodnight as they close their doors behind them.

Once again Heath listens for the silence to come. Then getting up he goes down the stairs and out the door to the barn where he says goodnight to Gal and lying down next to her he looks straight ahead until he manages to finally go off.