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Dreams (A Foley Episode Addition) By Joan M.

Word Count 3,326

Originally appearing in the 2007 Great Room Bookshelf Vol. III


Chapter 1 – Scott’s Dream

Scott sat up abruptly, gasping for breath. He tossed back the covers and quickly climbed out of bed. The polished floor boards felt cool and somehow comforting under his feet. His bare chest glistened with sweat, the fine, golden hairs curling tightly against his fair skin. Grabbing a towel from the wash stand, Scott slowly wiped it over his face and torso.

The dream was still crystal clear in his mind; he hoped it would fade soon. In it he had been unable to protect Polly Foley, and he had awakened just as her baby was being torn from her arms by her unrelenting father-in-law. But the thing he remembered most vividly was the fact that his family had not been there. He had been alone to face the enemy.

Scott knew he had no reason to dwell on the dream. Polly and her infant daughter Martha were sleeping down the hall – though he had to admit to a strong temptation to go check they were really alright. Murdoch and Johnny were also safe in their rooms.

He tried to analyze the causes behind the dream. He was sure if he could just understand it, the dream’s hold on him would be broken. He had found the whole experience with Polly quite unsettling. He knew that Johnny believed he had been deceived by Polly, but he had known she was lying – though she was indeed very good at it. He smiled slightly at the thought. He wasn’t exactly sure how much had been truth and how much lies, but he had been sure of one thing. The girl was afraid and needed his help.

Johnny had been surprised that Polly hadn’t taken the money and sold her baby to her violent inlaws. It made Scott wonder about her past, and just how that past had intersected with his younger brother’s.

Now Polly didn’t seem to want the money at all. She had finally accepted Murdoch’s suggestion that the funds, all three thousand dollars, be deposited in the bank and only used when and if they were needed to guarantee a secure future for baby Martha. And it was Murdoch who had helped Polly decide on what would be best for her and her baby. Scott had been surprised at how much effort his father had put into ensuring the future prospects of the Foleys, but on reflection he decided it wasn’t so unexpected after all. Scott didn’t know much about Johnny’s childhood years with his mother, but he had a feeling that it was a time filled with poverty and instability. Murdoch would do anything to ensure the new life under his roof had a sound start and never suffered from want or neglect.

Polly and her daughter were heading to Sacramento, where the lovely young widow would work in a dressmaker’s shop that catered to a well-to-do clientele. Sometime he would have to ask Murdoch just how he knew the wealthy older woman who ran the store and who had agreed to take on a new assistant. Scott chuckled to himself. He was sure Murdoch had gotten the idea when they had witnessed Polly’s excitement as Teresa had helped her put together a few nice dresses. It was clear she loved pretty things.

Scott pulled open the top drawer of his heavy mahogany dresser and lifted out a scarf and silver pin that he had purchased in town earlier that day – a going away present for Polly. Was it too extravagant? He suspected that it was the longing for beautiful things that had led to Polly’s ill-fated marriage into the Foley family. He set the items carefully back in the drawer and closed it firmly. Polly and her daughter deserved beauty in their lives and Scott intended to do his part to provide it. He hoped Murdoch’s friend would write now and then to let them know how Polly was getting along. He was sure he wouldn’t be the only one thinking about her. Again he wondered about Johnny’s relationship with the former saloon girl.

Moving slowly back over to his bed, Scott smiled to himself. It had felt good to help Polly Foley, and even better that he and his family had stood together against the enemy. He felt that his brother had come to respect his ability and his judgment. Johnny had admitted that his big brother had been right about Polly. Scott felt a prick of conscience that he had accused Johnny of wanting to sell the girl out in exchange for their father’s safety. He knew Johnny would have helped her, for the sake of the child if for no other reason, even if he had continued to doubt her.

Now Polly was about to move on to a new life, just as he had done; and she had a family to care for, just as he did. He hoped she would be as happy in her new life as he was in his. With a contented sigh, he swung his feet back up on the bed and pulled up the covers.

Chapter 2 – Johnny’s Dream

Johnny leaned back against the headboard. He could hear Scott moving around in the room next door, and wondered if he too was having trouble sleeping. A frown creased Johnny’s forehead. He knew that Scott had been deeply affected by their run-in with the Foleys, and although the experience had brought them all closer as a family, it had left him with a lingering sense of unease. He suspected the situation was the same for his older brother.

Polly would be leaving them tomorrow morning. Johnny wasn’t sure if he was glad or sorry to see her go. He had worried some about Scott’s obvious interest in Polly; he just couldn’t quite figure out exactly what that interest was. Scott clearly felt protective of her, as if his job was not complete. Maybe once she was settled in Sacramento, Scott could relax and move on.

Although Johnny had admitted to misjudging her, he felt sure that Polly was not the woman for Scott, and he took comfort that Polly herself seemed to feel only gratitude for all that Scott had done for her. Not that he would let himself be guilty of judging her again; Johnny was well aware he did not have that right. He knew how it felt. There were a good many fine citizens of the Green River area who would not want their daughters to show too much interest in a man with his background. The fact that he was Murdoch Lancer’s son kept them from prohibiting a date for a Saturday night dance or a church social, but he suspected it would be a different story if there was a hint of a serious romance.

He knew Scott wouldn’t have that problem. His attentions to any local beauty would be welcomed by her family. But he also knew Scott might have trouble finding the right girl out here. He would surely want a well educated woman, one who was his intellectual equal. Johnny felt a sudden bolt of fear. What if his brother decided to return east when the time came to settle down and start a family?

No, he wouldn’t sell his brother short. Scott was fully committed to Lancer and the surrounding area. He was already talking about helping to start a school in Green River. Johnny felt a surge of pride that was beginning to be very familiar where his brother was concerned. A grin slipped across his dark features. A school could mean a smart and pretty teacher lady, perfect for Scott, provided Johnny didn’t meet her first. No, and the smile left his face as quickly as it had come, like does better with like, he thought.

He found himself wondering about his own parents. Had that been the problem? Had Murdoch and Maria been too different to ever be happy together? And what about Scott’s mother? Had she been a better choice for their father? Johnny viciously squelched his runaway thoughts. He knew that was the road to divisive jealousy, and he was determined not to envy the love and respect he believed Murdoch still held for Catherine Garrett. Besides, Catherine had been rich and educated, and she had chosen a man who at the time must have been a common laborer. He knew his father loved books. His bookshelves were full to overflowing with well-worn copies of what Scott called classics. But had he been an educated man in his native Scotland? That his father had not been born and raised a California rancher had come as a shock to Johnny. There was just so much he didn’t know, he thought sadly.

 He forced his mind back to the present situation. He and Polly had finally had a good talk the night before last. They had been alone in the great room that evening, as the rest of the Lancer family had been attending a special church service in Green River. Johnny had studied her dark head, bent lovingly over her baby. It was still hard for him to reconcile this woman with the one he had known before, but he was sure she loved Martha. He was worried for Martha though. His mama had loved him too, but it had not always been enough. Many times she could not look after him; often he had gone to bed hungry and often he’d had nothing to wear but rags. He knew his family wondered about his flamboyant taste in clothes, but how could he explain it was a need rooted in his past, a time that as Murdoch said was “past and gone”.

He had been proud of the way Murdoch had stepped up to help Polly settle her future. He knew part of the reason had to do with his own childhood, but he also knew Murdoch’s innate sense of compassion had much to do with it.

 Johnny thought about the gift he had made for Martha, braided leather that could be used to decorate the crib Murdoch planned to buy in Sacramento. He hoped Polly would like it. She had often admired the braid work he wore on his jacket.

He had been surprised when Polly had asked him if he wanted to hold the baby. He had accepted the offer though, recognizing the importance of her show of trust in him. As he had carefully cuddled the sleeping baby snuggly to his chest, he had felt her warmth seeping into his soul, and had to acknowledge (only to himself, of course) a hope that one day he would have a child of his own.

He tried to concentrate on the conversation that he and Polly had while he had held the small bundle rather awkwardly in his arms. He wondered how Scott had looked so natural holding her the day she was born. It seemed unlikely that he’d had much contact with babies in his social circle in Boston. Johnny would have to ask him about that.

Again he yanked his wandering thoughts back into focus. The two of them had talked about their shared past. Polly had always been perceptive and she was aware of his discomfort at having her there, at his family knowing they had been acquainted in days gone by. It wasn’t that he resented her exactly. It was that unexpected nudge from his past that made Johnny so uncomfortable.

Not that he was ashamed of his past, not really. There were some things he would change if he could, but wouldn’t everyone say that? And he was proud of his skill with a gun. There was just so much he did not want to share with his newfound family, not yet. He had to hand it to them though – no one had asked him how he knew Polly Foley. Not that she had been Polly Foley then. In fact he had no idea what her last name had been. She was just Polly, saloon girl and singer at a bar down south. He used to stop in there every month or so, as long as business in that area was good, which it usually was.

People always found something to fight about down around the border. They had struck up a friendship of sorts, as much of a friendship as he had dared to have with anyone. He knew she had stretched the truth a good bit back then, especially if there was a chance he had some extra dollars to share, but he found himself believing her now, believing that she planned to work hard and do everything she could to justify the Lancer family’s faith in her. He knew she was doing it for Martha, and he was satisfied that her intentions were good. But he knew from experience that good intentions weren’t always enough. He would have to remind Murdoch to ask the friend who had agreed to hire Polly to be sure to send them regular updates on how she and Martha were getting on.

Johnny sighed and wondered if he could get back to sleep. He hadn’t had that dream since his first night at Lancer. Having a home he could call his own seemed to have driven many of his demons away. Life was good now that he had a family to trust and who trusted him. He swallowed hard as he thought again of his mother and the day she had died. How often had he dreamt of kneeling helplessly over her still body, weeping for her and for his younger self? Only this time the dream had changed, and it was Polly lying there, and the crying child whose eyes he was seeing through was undoubtedly Martha. He shook his head angrily. So much for his childhood being past and gone! There was no need to relive all that now.

Resisting the temptation to get up and pace the floor, he scooted down in the bed, and snuggled under the covers, wriggling slightly to find the most comfortable spot, determined to get some much needed rest.


 Chapter 3 – Polly’s Dream

Polly sat in the comfortable chair that Mr. Lancer had kindly placed by her window. She had spent many happy hours here since her arrival at Lancer, cradling her baby in her arms and watching the activity of the courtyard. She smiled as she recalled seeing Johnny thrown from the horse he was trying to break – though at the time she’d been afraid he’d been hurt – and watching Scott repair the barn roof. She had been surprised at how comfortable Scott had seemed at such a height. His explanation when she asked him about it, that he’d had some practice escaping through upper story windows, had puzzled her. Had he run away from home often as a child? He didn’t seem the sort. Perhaps he had been unhappy living in Boston, although it had certainly sounded wonderful in the stories he had told her about attending fancy balls and the theatre.

 Her smile faded as she remembered why she was sitting here in the dead of night, Martha sound asleep in the cradle by her side. Mr. Lancer told her he had made that cradle for Johnny. She still found it hard to believe that Johnny Madrid had been born in such luxury. Oh, she knew it wouldn’t have been quite like this back then, but it was still so much better than anything she had known. Of course, she now understood that it was much better than anything Johnny had known as well – he couldn’t remember his brief early life in this place.

She looked around her. In the glow of the full moon, she could clearly make out the lovely wallpaper, the pretty floral bedspread, and the intricate lace runner on the dresser. It was the nicest room she had ever seen, let alone stayed in. And tomorrow she would have to leave all this. She wished she could stay. She felt cared for here, a new experience for her. Even in her earliest childhood, she couldn’t remember her parents worrying about her. They were too busy fighting with each other to care what she did, so she had run at the first opportunity. But the young man had soon left her and her only means of support had been working the saloons. She had been little more than a child then. She sighed. She would ensure a better life for her precious Martha, she swore to herself yet again.

She knew that in order to do that she had to move on and make a fresh start. She had quickly sensed Johnny’s discomfort at having her there, a reminder of his past, a reminder he did not need as he tried hard to succeed at his own fresh start. She wondered about Scott – was he uncomfortable with her too? He had been very kind to her, very protective, but she could not lean on him forever. She would have to make it on her own, make good at the job and the new life Mr. Lancer had arranged for her. And it was more than a job, it was a home too. He had told her that the store owner, Mrs. Matheson, lived in a roomy flat above the shop, and that Polly and Martha would have adjoining bed and sitting rooms of their very own. Polly was excited over the prospect of a real home. Due to the Foley family’s criminal activities, she and Frank had been constantly on the move, and she craved the stability of putting down roots. Martha needed the security that a home would bring. She had worried about furnishings, but Mr. Lancer had assured her that between him and Mrs. Matheson that problem would be looked after. She was still rather offended that he had insisted on accompanying her to Sacramento, to “help her get settled” he had said. She couldn’t help but feel he didn’t trust her to actually go there. She ruthlessly stifled the thought. All the Lancers had been nothing but kind to her. For everything to work out, she had to continue to trust in them.

Polly was truly grateful for the Lancers’ help. They had all done so much for her, but without making her feel like a charity case. She was scared though, not just for herself but for Martha, especially for Martha. What if she failed?

She thought again of her dream, the one that had driven her from her bed, to seek the peace and comfort she found sitting in this chair. A nameless, faceless Foley had wrenched a screaming Martha from her arms and she had been helpless to stop it. She had called for help, but no one had come. She had been calling desperately for Scott and Johnny when she had awakened, and then hoped just as desperately that she hadn’t been calling their names out loud. But no one had come, and her heart rate had slowly returned to normal. It was just a dream, wasn’t it? Even so, she thought she’d sit up and watch over her beloved Martha just a little bit longer.




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10 thoughts on “Dreams (A Foley Episode Addition) By Joan M.

  1. Carol just commented on Dreams (A Foley Episode Addition) By Joan Miller.

    Great story of what happened next. Thanks for sharing


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