I feel it only fair to give Dave’s side of the story. I can’t do it while in Isaac’s or Neil’s point of view. I have to do it from Dave’s point of view, so after Isaac and Emily finally eloped (at chapter 19 — I was beginning to think it would never happen since they took so long), I gave a scene from Dave’s point of view.
To set the stage, when Neil left Dave’s house, he saw Isaac and Isaac saw him. At that point, Isaac knew he was either going to marry Emily right away or risk his father making sure he didn’t marry her at all. So, he eloped with her. He didn’t tell his parents where he was going or what he was doing. He didn’t even go into the house. As soon as he saw Neil coming out of the house, he bolted for his horse and got out there. So all Dave (and Mary) knew was that Isaac and his horse were missing.
And yes, I’m aware that Dave’s going to have to overcome his fears before the story ends. While Dave may seem mean and unrelenting to Isaac, Emily and Neil, his real motivation is fear that Isaac’s going to end up hurt in the longrun.
That sets the stage for this post…
Dave knocked on Rick and Sally’s door, a feeling of dread welling up in his gut. This was the last place he knew where Isaac might be, and if he wasn’t here, he didn’t know what he or Mary was going to do. It wasn’t like Isaac to take off with his horse and not tell him or his mother where he was going. Something bad happened. He just knew it.
He knocked on the door again, this time his impatience made him use more force than necessary, but at the moment, he didn’t care if he bothered the neighbors. He was at his wit’s end, and he needed to find his son.
The door finally opened, and Rick secured the robe around his night clothes. “Dave? What are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry to bother you so late, but Mary and I haven’t seen Isaac since this afternoon. I checked with everyone else and no one’s seen him. Have you?” Dave prayed Rick had because if he hadn’t… Dave didn’t even want to think of the animals that might have gotten his boy or the possibility he fell off his horse and got hurt—or worse.
To his relief, Rick said, “Yes, I saw him. He was here about an hour ago.”
Dave released his anxious breath. Thank God! “Is he alright?”
“Yes, he’s fine.”
Sally, also in her robe, came up beside Rick and blinked in surprise. “David? What are you doing here at this hour?”
“He came to ask about Isaac,” Rick told her.
“Is he on his way home?” Dave asked, glancing from one to the other.
Rick slipped his hands into his pockets and nodded. “He went home after he left here.”
Further relieved, Dave’s body relaxed. “Good. Mary and I were worried that something happened to him, and when no one else had seen him… So many horrible things went through my mind.” He rubbed his eyes and ran his fingers through his hair.
Sally laughed. “No, he’s fine. You have nothing to worry about. He and Emily thought it’d be romantic to elope, so they came by here to get married. It was a lovely thing, really, but he should have left you and Mary a note explaining—”
“What?” Dave screamed, another kind of horror creeping up his spine.
Sally’s eyes grew wide and, for a moment, she didn’t seem capable of speech.
Rick smiled and shrugged. “It was impulsive of them, but anyone could tell they’re in love.”
“I don’t believe you!” Dave face flushed in anger. “How could you marry them?”
His smile fading, Rick said, “I’m a judge. I can—”
“No, that’s not what I meant. How could you agree to it?”
“Rick’s married plenty of people on a whim,” Sally pointed out, her eyes narrowing at her brother. “I seem to recall you and Mary having Rick marry you, and you didn’t bother telling anyone in the family first. No. You married her, and I had to find out from Rick, and then everyone else had to find out through me.”
“That’s different,” Dave snapped.
“Oh really?” Sally crossed her arms.
Dave glared at her. “Yes, it was. She came here as a mail-order bride.”
At the reminder, his skin prickled. “Well, Neil didn’t want to marry her, and I knew she’d make a good wife so I did. What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing. And nothing is wrong with Isaac and Emily deciding to elope. They’re old enough to be married, as you and Mary were when you married her. There’s no difference between what you did and what they did.”
“Are you kidding me? There’s a huge difference. I married a good woman.”
“And how did you know Mary was good? You didn’t know anything about her.”
“I knew enough from watching how she talked to people.”
“You only knew her for, what, ten minutes? Maybe fifteen? That’s hardly enough time to get to know someone.”
Dave gritted his teeth. “You know what? This isn’t about me. It’s about my son.”
“Who’s known Emily longer than you knew Mary,” she said with a pointed look.
Ignoring her, he turned his attention to a bewildered Rick. “We’ll just undo it. You can get the whole thing annulled. Hurry up and get dressed. We can still stop this thing.”
“No we can’t,” Rick firmly, but kindly, replied.
“We can if you hurry up.”
“Dave, they left an hour ago. He has an apartment in town, which is probably a few blocks from here. It’s night and there’s only one thing for them to do.” He shook his head. “You could be on your way to being a grandfather right now.”
Dave blanched. The absolute horror of what Rick was proposing was too much for him to take in. He stared at Rick, seeing him but not truly seeing him. A grandkid. A Craftsman for a grandkid? He’d have someone like Cassie or Neil for a grandkid. His family line was about to be tainted.
Rick glanced at Sally. “I think he’s in shock.”
Sally grunted and rolled her eyes. “This is ridiculous. Seriously, David, I’d swear you were a kid with the way you’re acting. You’re a grown man. Didn’t you know that sooner or later, your children would grow up and have families of their own?”
Snapping out of his thoughts, Dave looked at his sister. “Of course, I know they’re going to grow up and have families of their own. But I expect them to choose wisely when they’re looking for the person they’ll spend the rest of their life with.”
“What’s wrong with Emily?” she asked.
“She’s Neil’s daughter.”
“Don’t you remember who Neil Craftsman is?”
“Sure, I do. He’s brilliant when it comes to breeding and selling cattle. You should be glad about that. Emily’s probably as smart as he is, and when Isaac gets his own farm, I bet she’ll know how to breed their cattle so they’ll be good quality livestock. This could be a very profitable thing for your son when you look at their marriage from a financial perspective. They won’t have to worry about money.”
“I don’t care about any of that,” Dave said. “What good is money when she’s going to make him miserable? Neither Neil nor Cassie thought anything about sleeping around or taking other people’s spouses when they were married to each other. I raised my son to honor the marital vows, and he’s done the stupid thing and married someone who wasn’t taught the same thing.”
“Is that what all of this is about?” Sally sighed and shook her head. “Because Neil tried to run off with Mary? David, that was a long time ago. He’s not the same person he was back then, and Cassie left when Emily was young. Emily’s had Sarah for a mother, and I know of Sarah well enough to know she’d instruct Emily in how to honor the marital vows. You’re really overreacting here.”
“You know, Sally, if this was Greg, you’d be as upset as I am right now. But this isn’t about Greg, so what do you care?”
“That’s not fair,” Rick interjected. “Isaac’s our nephew. We care about him and what happens with him. I know a man who does business with Neil from time and time, and Neil’s not the same person he was back then. You can’t judge a person based on who they’ve been. You have to judge them on who they are now.”
“Are you going to tell me where Isaac’s at or not?”
“All we know is that he’s in an apartment.”
“We don’t know which one.”
Sally gasped. “Isaac’s a married man now. You can’t pull him out of his apartment and take him home like he’s a child.”
Fine. So they weren’t going to help him. Deciding he’d heard enough, he turned around and left. How could they understand? They weren’t there when Mary arrived in Omaha and Neil insulted her because she didn’t meet up to his expectations of how a woman should look. Then Neil made it a point in slip in snide comments about Mary’s undesirability whenever Dave had to go with his brothers to do something for Neil, like bring in his stray cattle or help with the harvest.
And then he had to put up with Neil and Cassie using Mary to make Cassie her fancy clothes, something that wouldn’t have to been so hard to watch if he hadn’t been aware of how they looked down at Mary. All the things Mary did for them, and it was never enough. The more she gave, the more they wanted. Dave finally had to put a stop to it. Just when he thought he was done with Neil, Neil kidnapped Mary. He’d never been more scared of anything in his entire life. And now he’d never been angrier.
He tried to explain the situation to Isaac, and Isaac didn’t listen. Isaac was too busy judging by appearances, just as everyone judged Cassie based on her beauty when she first came to Omaha. They all thought she was wonderful, and it seemed that he was the only one who wasn’t fooled by her smiles and fake kindness. But look at how it turned out. She not only used people, but she also slept around with other men. Was that what Isaac wanted for himself?
When Dave reached his horse, he scanned the buildings in downtown Omaha. Isaac could be anywhere. What was he supposed to do? Ever since Isaac was a child, he did everything he could to protect him from anyone who might hurt him, and now Isaac’s naivety led him to make the worst decision he could ever make. What was he supposed to do when Isaac ended up alone with a child to raise because Emily left him the same way Cassie left Neil? Just how was he supposed to prepare Isaac for something that devastating? And what if found out Emily slept with someone else and couldn’t be sure the child was even Isaac’s?
This was exactly why he didn’t want his son talking to Emily. And now what? Was he supposed to go home and wait for his son to tell him what he feared most had come true? Swallowing the lump in his throat, he untied the stallion’s reins and gave one last look at the downtown area. If only he knew which apartment his son was in… Shoulders slumped, he reluctantly got on his horse and headed home.