Quick note: I just want to thank those of you who “rescued” my books on Goodreads and took the time to organize them according to series. I did get a notice from a friend and then Goodreads that they would no longer take their information from Amazon, and tonight I figured I’d go to Goodreads to rescue my books. To my delight and surprise, I didn’t need to do it because it’s already been done for me. I also saw where my old versions were incorporated into my new ones and the series designated. I don’t know if the people who did this work for me are reading this, but I want to thank you. You’re awesome! 😀
Now for the post:
I am tying in this portion of Bound by Honor, Bound by Love with what the chief told Citlali. The excerpt between Citlali and the chief with the first point of conflict is here: https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/point-of-conflict-in-bound-by-honor-bound-by-love/. I plan to bring that particular conversation into what might I have planned for Penelope, Cole, and the two orphan Mandan children they adopted in A Chance In Time.
In the scene below, Onawa hears that Citlali has returned from seeking the vision the chief sent him on. The scene sets the stage for the fate of the children, Penelope and Cole, and ultimately Gary, Woape and their children. Andn in the middle of all of it will be Citlali who is going to struggle to please the chief (a father figure) and Onawa (his wife). So there’s a lot of intersections with plot points happening at once in this scene, though it’s not obvious yet.
Enough rambling. Here’s the scene… (Oh, please keep in mind this is the first draft.)
Onawa’s heart raced when she heard Citlali had returned. She glanced at his sister in excitement and set the spoon down from the pot where she’d been stirring their food. “Where is he?” she asked Citlali’s brother who’d come into the lodge to make the announcement.
“He went to the chief’s lodge,” he replied. “He didn’t come alone. He brought a white couple with him, and they have Etu and Yepa with them!”
Citlali’s mother gasped. “Etu and Yepa? Motega and Takchawee’s children?”
“I think so,” he affirmed.
“Can it really be?” one of Citlali’s aunt’s asked in excitement.
“There’s only one way to find out,” his mother said. “We must see them.”
Nodding, Onawa joined his mother, brother, and one of his aunts in getting ready to leave while the others decided to stay in the lodge to finish preparing the meal. She wrapped the buffalo robe around herself to keep warm and followed them out of the lodge. More exciting than seeing the missing children, she couldn’t wait to see Citlali again. The week apart from him had been a long one.
His mother looked over at her and smiled. “You will please him when he sees you. You look lovely.”
“Thank you,” she replied, pleased by her words. His mother had always been kind to her, and even more so than before when she discovered she’d marry her son and live in their lodge.
As soon as they reached the lodge, she took a deep breath to calm herself enough so she wouldn’t run into her husband’s arms. He stood by the chief, looking much better than she remembered. Not that he didn’t make her weak in the knees in the past, but seeing him as her husband made her pulse race even faster. She hoped he got the answer he needed while he was seeking a vision.
She moved aside to get a better look at Citlali. The others around her were looking expectantly at the white man and woman who were with Etu and Yepa. She didn’t remember them very well, but she recalled the tragedy of their parents’ deaths and the time when the men searched for the children. It was amazing the children survived. She wondered how they ended up with the white couple, so she focused on what the white woman was telling the chief in the Mandan tongue.
She caught the words orphan train and adoption, but with the people whispering about her, it was hard to make out much more. After a few minutes, she gave up and focused, instead, on her husband who inserted comments from time to time as the white couple spoke with the chief. At one point, Citlali glanced up and met Onawa’s eyes. Blushing, she smiled at him. His lips turned up slightly before the chief spoke to him. He directed his attention back to the chief, and the momentary connection between them was broken. But she didn’t mind. He was back, and they’d be together soon enough.
The chief turned to face the crowd. “Where is Woape?”
Onawa’s eyebrows furrowed. Why would he want to talk to Woape?
“She is not here,” Citlali told him.
The chief gave a slight nod before his gaze fell to Onawa. “Woape is your sister. Bring her here.”
Onawa indicated that she would and hurried out of the lodge, clutching the robe tighter around her to brace from the burst of wind that swirled around her. She noted several people heading for the chief’s lodge, and others talking among themselves commented on the white couple who brought the two missing children with them. When she made it to Woape’s lodge, Gary was telling everyone that Penelope and Cole were in the chief’s lodge.
“When did they come here?” Woape asked as she stood up from the rug she’d been on with her daughters.
“Just now,” Gary replied. “That’s all I know.”
As Onawa stepped forward, everyone in the lodge turned their attention to her, so she said, “Woape, the chief wishes for you to go to his lodge.”
“I was about to go,” Woape told her and hurried to retrieve her buffalo robe.
“I’ll go, too,” Gary added and helped her get their daughters ready to leave the lodge.
“You’ve seen the white couple?” Onawa’s father asked her as he set down his pipe.
“Yes. They’re with Citlali,” she replied.
Gary glanced her way. “Citlali came here with them.”
“Yes. I heard. It’s why I went to the chief’s lodge.” Onawa waited until they were ready and then left with them. With a good look at Woape, she said, “You’re excited.”
Woape grinned and shifted her daughter Phoebe to her other arm. Beside her, Gary carried Penelope. She looked away from him and focused on Onawa. “The couple sounds like two people who helped me when I was running from Hothlepoya. I think they might be Penelope and Cole.”
“The Penelope you named your first daughter after?”
“Yes. She became my friend. I hope it’s her. I’d like to see her again.”
Surprised that this could be the same woman who took care of Woape before she returned to the tribe with her child, Onawa hurried her steps. When they reached the chief’s lodge, she led them through the crowd which parted for them. Her gaze fell on Citlali, and she offered him a shy smile as she approached him. Even with the swirl of activity in the lodge, she couldn’t help but be acutely aware of his strong, masculine presence.
When they reached the chief, she stepped aside so she was out of the way. Citlali glanced over at her and seemed to be ready to motion to her to join him, but the chief spoke, directing his attention away from her, so she refrained. She didn’t dare approach the chief unless she had his permission, and since he invited Woape and Gary to approach him, she understood she needed to stay with the crowd and watch what happened.
The white woman’s smile widened when she saw Woape, and the two women hugged. Onawa’s heart warmed at the reunion. Gary shook the man’s hand and introduced himself. Around her the people grew quiet so they could hear everything the people in the center of the lodge would say.
“Penelope explained how she adopted Etu and Yepa from an orphan train,” the chief told Woape.
Woape nodded at the children who clung to Penelope’s skirt. “Yes, I remember them, and I’m sorry it was my foolish action that caused their parents’ deaths,” she said in a voice so low Onawa barely heard her.
“There will not be more sorrow,” the chief replied. “This is a day of rejoicing. We learned that Etu and Yepa survived.”
“You adopted them?” Woape asked Penelope.
“Yes.” Penelope rubbed their shoulders in a comforting manner. “They didn’t have anyone to care for them and I spoke their language so it was meant to be.”
“There are no coincidences,” the chief agreed. “You finding Citlali and him bringing you here while he was seeking a vision is significant. We must not miss the meaning behind it.”
Onawa frowned, his meaning not clear to her, but she sensed this wasn’t something the white couple had anticipated. Her gaze went to them, and Penelope glanced at Cole who shrugged.
“Penelope and Cole have been good to them,” Woape said as she looked at the children. “They are healthy and happy.”
“The boy has questions and some nightmares,” Penelope commented. “We thought by coming here, he might find answers and peace.”
“A very good reason to be here,” the chief replied. “You were right to bring them. They must learn the ways of their people. A good way to start is for you to stay with the children in the lodge belonging to their aunts. They will want to see their lost ones.” His gaze turned to Etu and Yepa. “They can also tell the children about their mother and father.”
“We have room in our lodge,” Woape argued. “Etu and Yepa’s aunts don’t have enough room since they recently made a lodge smaller than the one they had before.”
The chief glanced at the crowd and saw one of their aunts. He motioned for forward, and she quickly obeyed him. In low tones, the chief and the aunt talked, and no matter how much Onawa strained to hear, she couldn’t make out more than a word here and there. Her gaze went to Citlali. It was hard to determine what he was thinking. She wished she could go up to him and ask what he thought of all of this, but she’d have to wait until they were alone.
When the chief turned back to Woape, he spoke in a louder voice. “They will stay with you.”
Woape and Penelope smiled, and the chief dismissed them. As the crowd in the lodge filtered out of the lodge to follow the newcomers, Onawa wondered if Citlali would remain with the chief. If he did, then it was his right. She would find Julia and tell her what happened since neither Julia nor Chogan were in the crowd, probably because they decided to have as little to do with the chief as possible.