“This here rifle's gonna change the war, I say! Our boys ain't gonna stand still and let them farm boys whup 'em. Not with these Henry rifles. No sir!”
Colgan Harrison had heard about all he could stand from this tobacco-chewing Yankee gun runner. He had arrived in New Haven just in time to secure a shipment of arms destined for the Union troops. New Haven Arms Company was supplying lever-action repeater rifles to further the Yanks victory. Colgan's orders were to intercept this shipment; he had just enough gold to get it done.
After making the arrangements for secret transport by rail to where the Confederate troops were camped, Colgan found a room for the night. He knew New Haven well. West Point cadets were often invited to parties and dances where lovely young ladies made their debut. That's how he first met Silver.
Silver Wentworth had walked right up to Colgan and stolen his twenty-year-old heart. Three months later she left him reeling from a quick marriage and an even quicker annulment. It seemed so long ago. Now, at thirty-eight, Colgan was mature, hardened...and still angry.
“Sir. Excuse me, sir.”
Colgan looked up at the fresh young girl who was pouring his morning coffee. After waking this morning, he had found a seat in the dining room. “Eggs, bacon. Whatever you have.”
“Yes sir. Right away. The lady asked me to give you this.” She put a white note on the table and started to walk away only to have Colgan grab her arm.
“What lady? Where?”
“The tall lady seated there...” Colgan looked to see an empty table.
“Well, she was there. She's gone. I'll be right back with your breakfast, sir.”
Colgan stared at the note. If someone knew him, his cover was blown and his life was in danger. Opening the note, he read, Come to the house. I must see you. Gloria Wentworth
Silver's mother. Silver's cold-hearted, no-one-is-good-enough-for-my-daughter mother . Making demands. Nothing's changed.
Colgan finished breakfast. He considered not going to see Mrs. Wentworth. But, what if Silver needed him, what if...
Before he took the heavy brass door-knocker in his hand, the door swung open. Gloria Wentworth pulled it back without a word and motioned for him to enter.
Colgan removed his hat and pushed back his black hair to glance around the room. It was much as he remembered. But, Gloria Wentworth had changed. The years had taken her from a vibrant, bold woman to a stooped, subdued one.
“Thank you for coming, Colgan. You look well.”
Colgan stared at her. Does she think this is a social visit? After all she had done.
“I can see you're still angry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Colgan.”
“You're sorry? That's what you called me here to say? You're sorry? I guess Silver's sorry, too? Just forget and forgive? You don't know what you're asking, lady! Where's Silver? Oh yes, I forgot. She's Mrs. Charles Alexander! The ink wasn't dry on the annulment. How could you?”
“Colgan, I thought you knew. Silver's dead. Years, now. You're hating...a ghost, a memory.” She reached over to pick up a note. “This is yours. She never knew I kept this telegram from being sent. I deeply regret it.”
Colgan reached for the note.
Tearing it open, he read... My darling, we can make it work. My parents forced the annulment of our marriage, but they can never force me to stop loving you. Please, come get me. I'll go with you anywhere. We'll start again. No matter what happens, I will always love you and your baby I carry.
Gloria Wentworth jarred him from his thoughts. “That's why I asked you to come, Colgan. I couldn't believe it when I saw you in the hotel. I've been praying for an answer.”
“Answer to...what? I have no answers, Gloria.”
“You have a son. Bolt. He's nineteen and determined to fight in the war. I can't lose another child, Colgan. He's been more than a grandson to me; Charles never accepted him. He grew up here, with me. He's angry, like you. He's feeling rejected and hurt. Take him far away from this war. Start over, for Silver's sake. For Bolt's sake. For your sake. As father and son. Go west and don't look back.”
Colgan looked up to see the dark-haired young man leaning against the doorjamb grinning ear-to-ear.
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