Chapter 16

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"Steven Gilford will be here by noon. I want you to wear a dress and be a lady." Levi said to Faith as he sat on the front porch with her. "I mean it Faith. If you don't, so help me I will burn every pair of britches you own. It's time you started to think about getting married, or at least let the poor man court you. Please, for me."

Faith sat at the table watching her brother as he paced back and forth, going on and on. It had been almost three weeks since she and Cade had gotten caught in the storm. Not one word had been spoken between them, not even when he had come into her house to show her and John the proper way to clean their guns. Somehow, Cade managed to say everything that needed to be said only to John. Fortunately, she and Cade had not had a very friendly relationship before the storm, so no one thought it unusual for them not to speak.

"I," Faith stopped. What would it hurt to wear a dress again and let a gentleman court her? She has no intentions of ever getting married, but it would be nice to be treated like a lady again. "Okay."

"Okay?" Levi stopped, turning to face his sister. It was obvious he'd expected her to fight him on the subject.

"It will be nice to be treated like a lady again."

"Has anybody treated you like anything but a lady?" Levi's tone was low and slightly threatening, nobody was going to mistreat his sister.

"Oh no, you know what I mean." Her brother nodded his understanding. "Now tell me how my newest nephew and favorite sister-in-law are doing?"

Levi began to talk and again Faith's mind wandered. She could see Cade and John riding in from the north pasture. It seemed the two of them were together constantly. Automatically, her thoughts went back to "that night." If she had it to do over, would she? It was the singular most memorable day of her life, but would she do it again? Yes, she thought she would.

Levi followed his sister's eyes to see what she was looking at so wistfully, but all he saw were Cade and John riding up to the barn. Hmmm..... He was quite sure he didn't like the look in Faith's eyes. Jacobs was not the type of man to settle down, but then Cole hadn't been either until he met Grace. The only man more devoted to his wife than Cole, was him. Maybe he needed to talk to Hope. After all, Ellie did say they had been talking about Faith having babies with Jacobs or Gilford. God, please let it be Gilford.

Faith looked at herself in the mirror, then nodded her approval. It had been forever since she'd worn a dress. Thankfully, she'd lost a little bit of weight, so she did not have to wear a corset. She did have to admit, the silk petticoats did feel so luxurious against her skin. The pale blue dress made her eyes a brighter and more vibrant blue. She walked over to her dresser, opened the top drawer and withdrew a small red silk bag then emptied its contents into her hand. She fastened the black velvet ribbon around her neck and straightened her grandmother's cameo pendant so that it hung in the hollow of her throat. Nervously, she smoothed her skirts then made her way to the outside to wait for Steven. Why was she nervous? She'd known Steven for years.

Cade was standing in the shadows just inside the barn when Faith walked out of the house. He couldn't take his eyes off her. She was breathtakingly beautiful! He'd never seen her in a dress before but he kind of liked it, a lot! A buggy started down the drive and stopped in front of the barn as Cade walked out to see who it was. The driver jumped out and walked over to Cade, "Will you take care of my horse for me?" The man did not wait for Cade to answer before he turned and walked towards the house. He was wearing a dark suit and tie with a bowler hat and Cade disliked him immediately.

He began to unharness the horse but continued to watch as the man walked up to Faith, took her hand, and placed a kiss on the back of her hand. The two sat down in the rockers for a few minutes then Faith disappeared back into the house. A moment later she came back out with two glasses of lemonade. Before long the gentleman stood and extended his arm for her to take then they walked around the house toward the creek in the back.

Keeping Faith  (Book 3 in the Red Valley Series)Read this story for FREE!