My Rewrite of the Scene Between Dave Larson and Neil Craftsman in Isaac’s Decision

After going through some rearranging of Isaac’s Decision, I decided to remove the original scene between Dave Larson and Neil Craftsman which took place right before Isaac and Emily eloped.  Here’s the scene if you want to refresh your memory:

So now I’ve decided to have Dave and Neil talk after Isaac and Emily get married.  There’s not as much time given to Dave and Neil as there was in the original scene, but at least they didn’t nearly kill each other.  😉

This scene takes place after Mary talked Dave into giving Emily (and Neil) a chance.  I’ll be honest.  Before I wrote this book, I had no idea how much influence Mary has when it comes to Dave.  She’s about the only person he’ll listen to.  (And to think husbands usually don’t listen to their wives.  LOL)

Anyway, this scene starts where Neil and Sarah are getting ready for Dave and Mary to show up for supper, something arranged by Mary and Sarah.  The scene is also in Neil’s point of view.


A month later, Neil groaned as he failed his second attempt to get his tie done right.  “Forget it,” he muttered and threw the tie back into the armoire.

            What did he need a tie for anyway?  He wasn’t going to church.  Dave most likely wouldn’t be wearing one.  He sighed and trudged out of his bedroom, almost running into Stan who was chasing Luke down the hallway.

            Peering into their bedroom where they were observing something small, he asked, “What are you up to?”

            With a startled look, Luke hid something behind his back.  “Nothing, Pa.”

            For a ten-year-old, Luke did a lousy job of lying.  Neil crossed his arms.  “You better get that critter out of here before your ma sees it.”

            His cheeks turning bright red, Luke bowed his head and headed out of the room.

            Neil stopped him as he passed through the doorway.  “You’re washing dishes tonight.”

            His jaw dropped.  “But that’s a girl’s chore.”

            “You should have thought of that before you brought a mouse in here and then lied about it.  And you,” he added, turning to Stan, “will dry the dishes.”

            “I didn’t bring the mouse into the house,” Stan protested.

            “No, but you were eager to keep it a secret.  Go before I make you clean up the parlor.”

            Gasping, the boys scurried down the steps.  Even if they’d been caught lying, Neil couldn’t help but chuckle at their antics.  What boy didn’t like playing with critters that would make a woman scream?

            At least laughing helped him relax a bit.  Exhaling, he went down the stairs.  When he entered the kitchen, he saw that Sarah and Elizabeth were setting the table.  He noticed there were only seven places set for the meal.  “Shouldn’t we have more plates out?”

            Sarah set the pitcher of milk toward the place where Luke, Stan and Elizabeth would sit.  “No.  Mary said her mother-in-law will watch their children tonight.”

            “That’s a shame, too,” Elizabeth said as she placed the utensils by each plate.  “I hoped Rachel could come over.  She and I are friends, you know.”

            “Yes, I remember you saying that,” Sarah replied with a grin.  Glancing at Neil, she asked, “Where are Luke and Stan?  I thought I heard them running around the house.”

            He walked over to the cook stove and picked up the coffee pot so he could set it close to where the adults were going to sit.  “Oh, I sent them outside to get rid of something.”

            “Really?  What?” Sarah asked.

            “You don’t want to know.”

            “I don’t?”


            She seemed as if she was going to insist he tell her but then grimaced.  “Is the upstairs clean?”


            “Alright.  Then I won’t ask any more questions.”

            The kitchen door opened and their sons took off their shoes.

            “Wash up for supper,” she told them.

            As they went to obey her, someone knocked at the front door.  Neil steeled his resolve and squared his shoulders back.  Maybe if he acted confident about the evening, he could act that way.  “I’ll get it.” Before Sarah could answer, he strode out of the kitchen and made his way to the front door where Dave and Mary waited for him.  Forcing a smile, he moved aside and motioned to the parlor.  “Welcome.  Won’t you come in?”

            Mary entered the house first.  “Thank you.”

            Though he nodded to Mary, his focus was on Dave who followed her and helped her out of her coat.  Clearing his throat, he said, “Supper’s almost ready.”

            Once her coat was off, Mary turned to him.  “Is Sarah in the kitchen?”


            Her gaze went from Dave to Neil.  “I’d like to help out, if I may?”

            A shiver of panic crawled up Neil’s spine and he wanted to ask Mary to stay with them, but Dave told her to go ahead and turned to put her coat on the coat tree before he took off his coat and hung it up as well.  Neil thought to protest while she headed for the kitchen but decided the sooner he talked to Dave, the better.  Just like medicine.  It might be unpleasant but it wouldn’t kill someone.  And he’d do this for Emily.

            “I suppose we better wait until the women want us to join them.” Neil motioned to the parlor.  “Care to sit?”

            Dave waited for a moment and then said, “Yes, though I must admit, I never thought I’d see the day when I sat down in your house.”

            Surprised by the joking tone in Dave’s voice, Neil went with him to the parlor and sat in a chair across from him.  He wasn’t sure what to say, and as he searched for possible topics to discuss, he heard the women laughing.  How much easier it would be if he was in the kitchen right now.  Drumming his fingers on the arms of his chair, he finally ventured, “Isaac’s a fine young man.”

            “Thank you.  Emily’s a good woman, too.  You did a good job raising her.”

            “Thank you,” he replied, surprised that Dave would ever compliment him.

            He glanced around the room and took a deep breath.  “My son plans to get some land when he turns twenty-one.  At that time, my brothers and I plan to help him build a house.  I was wondering if you’d like to help?”

            “Yes, yes I would.  Thanks for thinking of me.”

            Dave nodded.

            Another span of silence passed before Sarah came into the parlor and announced the supper was ready.  Relieved, Neil got to his feet and went with Dave to the kitchen.  Even if the situation with Dave was still awkward, at least things were better than he thought they’d be.  It was a start.  He doubted he and Dave would ever be friends, but as long as they could manage a pleasant discussion when they were together, then everything would be alright.  It would make the situation easier for their children, and in the end, that was what mattered the most.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to or check out
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