Author: Kathryn Claire O'Connor PM
1884:Josephine's last chance at happiness turns out to be less than ideal. Can she find happiness despite everything? And can that happiness come from a mysterious journal and a murder? Includes romance if you want to squint at it. THIS WAS CO-WRITTEN WITH SABRINA JENNINGS AND IS COPYRIGHTED!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery/Spiritual - Chapters: 20 - Words: 11,926 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 04-20-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3015222
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The days past swiftly, full of what to pack or not to pack and where to go. Sarah secured a job in town as a seamstress in town. James was hired as a store clerk, both positions effective as soon as they moved to town. Still, Josephine's future hung in the balance.
She didn't dare mention that her birthday had passed.
As the days sped forward toward May 12th, the day of their eviction, Malcolm and Carfinsson slid back on their list of priorities. It was on the eleventh, while they were in the midst of packing up the last of their belongings, that Ben burst through the door of the house.
"Have you heard the news?" he asked between gasps for air. He had apparently ran the whole way from his starting point.
"What news?" James asked.
"About Malcolm and Carfinsson?" Ben returned a question with a question.
"What about them?" Sarah asked warily.
"Carfinsson left town. Folks say he was heading towards Indianapolis. They said he's up to his shady little eyes in cash, too."
Josephine looked over at James. He looked back at her, grinding his teeth.
"What about Mr. Malcolm?" Sarah asked.
"I was at the mercantile when I heard all of this, and it was from a reliable source, too, mind you. His wagon overturned."
"What happened?" Sarah asked.
"It happened last night, during that terrible storm that came through. He was going home and his wagon tongue was struck."
"Struck?" James asked, incredulously. "As in by lightning?"
Ben nodded eagerly. "I saw the wagon myself. He was thrown from the thing. He died of course. And that's not even the best part!"
"Ben!" Sarah objected, even as her eyes sparked with hope.
Ben was too caught up in his story and didn't hear her. So Sarah, James, and Josephine just stared at him as he continued telling his tale.
"I looked into Father's will again. It stated that if anything happened to a person before his inheritance was claimed, whatever was to be his became mine."
"That's great for you, Ben." Sarah said softly, leaning over a half-filled crate.
Ben was suddenly solemn. "James, uh, Josie was it, can you give Sarah and me a minute alone?"
"That's not proper." Sarah murmured.
"We'll be right outside the door." Josephine promised, taking James' wrist and dragging him behind her out of the house.
"Sarah's right." James told Josephine, jerking his wrist out of her grasp. "Why did you do that?"
"Because even if my ending to this isn't a happy one, hers should be."
Josephine sighed in exasperation. "Just wait and see. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes."
"Figure it out for yourself, James."
"It doesn't matter, whatever it is. Can you believe Carfinsson got away? That isn't fair!"
"You should know by now that life isn't fair." Josephine brushed him off.
"We should get justice!"
"What you want is vengeance."
"Is there a difference?"
"I still think it's wrong that he got away with it."
"Did he, really? I don't think so. God gets His perfect justice in His perfect time, and we just have to trust 'that all things work together for good'."
"You really believe that?"
"What about Ben? Since he gets the livery and house, we still have to move into town. And what about you? We all still lose."
"That's what I've been trying to get you to see!" Josephine sighed at him again.
His mind was suddenly too taken up by Carfinsson and Malcolm to see the obvious answer staring him in the face. So James went off to moan by himself and Josephine stayed sitting in the grass, watching the house intently.
James was right about one thing. Her circumstances hadn't changed, but she did sincerely wish that Sarah could get the happiness she deserved.
A few minutes more and Ben came to door. He looked especially happy. That was a good sign, right?
He called out, "James, Josie, come back inside! Sarah and I need your help unpacking."
Josephine had been right! She was sure of that now. She and James came running.
"Her name is Josephine." James told Ben.
"Really? She looks like a 'Josie' to me."
James opened his mouth to object, but Josephine waved it aside. "He can call me what he likes. I don't expect to stay much longer as it is."
"And why is that?" Sarah asked. She perched her hands on her hips and raised her tawny eyebrows. She looked a dozen years younger all of a sudden. "You'll be staying right here. I'll need the help of a daughter to keep both a son and husband in line."
"Husband!" James squawked.
"I tried to tell you." Josephine said. Her gaze, though, rested upon Ben. "Are you sure?"
"Ben!" James was still catching up.
"Yeah. James likes you, and you've proven yourself to Sarah in a very short amount of time. I'd say you're worth a shot."
"Thank you." There were really no words to express her relief.
"You're marrying Ben." James asked Sarah.
She nodded, apparently finding the situation amusing.
"It's about time!" James practically yelled. "Wait." He stopped and turned to Ben. "Josephine is staying."
It was Ben's turn to nod.
"She doesn't have to leave or marry somebody's grandpa?"
"Goodness, no." Sarah said. "She's a part of the family now."
And so Josephine became just that. With James' help.