"A New Life in Good Hope"
With the dead bodies of Dock Tobin and his followers left in the deserted town of Lassoo, Link and I rode off with the wagon we had been travelling supposedly heading towards Good Hope, where Link had his family and his whole town waiting for him. During the journey, I had done a lot of thinking. These past few days I had experienced were some of the most traumatic in my entire life. Here I was, a young saloon singer wanting to be a teacher and it was during this few days that I was my own teacher. I taught myself to be strong and independent in the face of adversity and never let anything evil corrupt my mind.
"So, what will you do now?" Link asked.
"Do what I always do, singing," I replied, looking back towards Link. "Look, Link…"
"I know," he said, realizing what was going to be said. "We don't have a future for anything, I'm married and you're not."
"It doesn't matter," I sighed. "All my life, I have been wanting something, a man who would respect me for who I am and it doesn't matter if I marry him or not. It seemed that I found that someone and he is sitting right next to me."
Link chose to ignore my comment, but he felt like I was telling him the truth. After a few more hours, we made our way towards a small village and all the people came out to see us.
"This is Good Hope, Billie," he said as he climbed off and then helped me down. "These are the people that look up to me."
"Hey, Link!" cried a townsman. "We've been worried sick about you! Have you found a schoolteacher?"
Link was silent for a moment and then after a moment, he sighed and addressed the crowd. I could tell that he was going to say something important.
"I have found a potential teacher," he announced, turning his town's attention towards me. "Her name is Billie Ellis, and she specializes in singing. They call her the girl with the golden voice."
The townspeople oohed and aahed at me as they remarked at the fact that I was a singer. It seemed that maybe being a schoolteacher here wasn't going to be that bad after all. But, I had to accept the offer.
"I, um, am honored to be here," I said, trying to find words to say to all these people. "Mr. Jones has offered me this position and I feel that I can be more of someone who can teach children in this town to sing."
While it seemed that I was not going to get a sell on this idea, since they were looking for a regular teacher, a young boy came forward and placed his body around me in a hugging motion.
"I'd love to have you teach me to sing," he said, looking up at me. "My daddy wants me to learn. You pretty lady."
A small tear trickled down my face upon hearing those words. This moment had me sold on the idea of being a teacher here.
"I'd love to be your singing teacher," I said to the boy, who then hugged me tightly as the crowd of townspeople clapped and cheered as Link stepped forward, placing his hand on the boy's head and rubbing his hand through his hair.
"Bobby, my boy," laughed Link. "I guess you seem to enjoy Miss Ellis as much as I do. When shall we start?"
"Tomorrow, if that is all right with you," I said to the boy, who happily nodded while a young girl came forward and also hugged me tightly.
"Guess you might as well meet my daughter and my wife," laughed Link. "We might as well start to get to know each other very well, I suppose."
So, I settled into my new home with all these people of Good Hope. In the days that followed, many of the town's aspiring children became my music students and my lessons influenced them to becoming not only better singers, but better people as well. However, there was the matter of still finding a regular schoolteacher and after one of my lessons had concluded, I was greeted by the sounds of knocking at my door.
"Hi, Billie," said Link. "May I come in?"
"Sure, of course," I replied, allowing him inside. "I just finished up a lesson with the children."
"I see, my kids seem to enjoy you very much," chuckled Link. "Um, how have you been feeling since we escaped from Dock and his gang?"
"I still have nightmares about it," I sighed, sitting down in a chair. "Along with nightmares of my family disowning me because I became a music teacher instead of a school teacher, although I may be just be overreacting to all that had just happened."
"That's all it probably is," said Link. "But, the reason I came to you is because we still have not found a schoolteacher yet. Do you know of anyone who might want to come here?"
After a few moments of thinking, I came up with someone I knew that might be a decent teacher for this town. The problem was that she was in Arizona and it would take a while to get in touch with her.
"I think I do know someone who will want to be a schoolteacher here," I replied. "One of my sisters in Arizona needs a job and she can become a teacher here. I need to get in touch with her and see if she is interested."
So, I began to write a letter to my sister, Alice, who was a teacher in Arizona that was recently fired by her town. Little did she know and little did Link and I know of her own story that was about to be told.
But for now, my own story was now completed…