Reno's Journey by Sable Hunter

CHAPTER ONE





What is meant to be –

is meant to be – no matter what.





2011 – Journey at 15





“I wish I could dress this way all the time.” Journey Stanton twirled in front of the antique full-length mirror, admiring her own reflection. “How do I look, Auntie?”

Myra Weiss glanced over to smile at her great-niece who was dressed in a full-skirted yellow frock made from the finest lawn cloth, complete with lace and ribbons. “The gown is a little big, but you look marvelous. If I didn’t know better, darling, I’d think you just stepped off the set of Gone with the Wind.”

Journey raised a fist, smirked in the mirror, then scrunched her face into an impassioned expression. “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

“Bravo!” On her knees, Myra continued to read labels on a stack of storage boxes. “Now, why don’t you lend me a hand?”

“Sure.” She lifted the floor-length skirt to come to her aunt’s aid. “What are you looking for?”

“I’m searching for…” Myra stopped speaking as she utilized all her breath to move the top box to one side. Once she managed to ease it to the floor without dumping the contents, she blew out a harsh sigh. “Genealogical records. My brother, Myles, is doing some research and I promised to give him the papers our father saved.” She lifted the lid, dug inside – then cursed under her breath. “Dammit, they aren’t here either.”

Journey didn’t really know what her aunt was referring to, but she turned to gaze around the room. Suddenly, her attention was drawn to a large trunk resting against the front wall of the attic. Beams of light were shining through the circular window, bathing the old trunk in an unearthly glow. “Did you look in here?” Still holding the skirt aloft, she darted across the room. Kneeling, she didn’t wait for permission. Journey lifted the lid to peer inside. “Wow…”

“I don’t think the records would be in there.” Myra moved across the room to join her. “This trunk belonged to my great-grandmother.” Settling beside Journey, she held the lid high while the girl began to reverently lift the items one by one to see what she could find. “Lace doilies, she made those by hand. Aren’t they beautiful?”

“Yes, they are,” Journey whispered as she gently opened a wooden box. “And what are these?”

“Brooches. Pins. She collected them.”

Fascinated, Journey delicately touched a few of the pieces. “A bee. A sun. A flower.”

Myra pointed at a worn book with an angel on the front. “This was her diary, sort of a cookbook, really. She wrote a bunch of recipes for herbal remedies. As much as you love anything set in the past, I bet you’d enjoy reading Great Gran’s take on things.”

“I would. Yes.” Placing the leather-bound volume on the floor, Journey returned to examine the treasures from yesterday. “I love these gloves. Look at the tiny pearl buttons.”

“Hmmm. Maybe we can treat them with some Woolite. They’re a bit yellow.” Myra smiled at the expression of wonder on her great-niece’s face. “What else do you see?”

Journey’s hand landed on something cool. Metal. When her fingers clasped the item to pick it up, she felt a strange tingle go up her arm. “What’s this?”

Myra leaned closer, stopping to inhale a whiff of Journey’s sweet scent. Love for the young girl made her heart swell with joy. Journey would never know the happiness and meaning she gave to an old woman’s life. “Let me see?” She held out her hand about the time Journey turned the item over so they both could see. “Oh, I remember him,” Myra muttered with a smile.

From the moment her eyes focused on the faded tintype photograph, Journey was captivated. At fifteen, most of her friends were totally boy crazy. Until this moment, she hadn’t understood what all the fuss was about. “What’s his name?” Her heart was racing as she studied the man’s face. He was beautiful. Long black hair. Dark kind eyes. There was such strength in his face.

“Reno Black.” Myra reached out to grasp the picture frame. Journey reluctantly let it go. “My father told me such stories about him.”

“I want to know them too. Tell me, please.”

Myra’s eyes twinkled at the urgency in the young woman’s voice. “Hmmm. Okay. I can do that.” She placed the tintype in Journey’s outstretched hands. “Give me a few more minutes to find those records for my brother. Once I do, we’ll go downstairs and have cocoa while l regale you with the exploits of a true cowboy hero who came to our family’s rescue when we needed him the most.”