Hello readers. Since I've started getting traffic to this story again, I want to say this version of AtC is no longer a thing. If you want the updated version, go to my Wattpad. THANKS!

Summary: He was meant to teach her their ways; He wasn't supposed to fall in love. It's the Roaring Twenties and "the way of the Indian" is practically dead. Two young Native Americans who struggle to find their identities and a place in this world will turn to each other for the answers.

Colton: Half-Breed. Bastard. A young Mvskoke man whose time in a boarding school and on the battlefield had nearly destroyed everything good and innocent inside him. Then he met someone he swore he'd love forever. When he loses her, he loses hope once again. Until one day a dying Seminole woman reaches out to Cole for a not so simple task: Find her granddaughter, Hachi, and bring her home.

Katie: Raised by whites, Katie Richmond, never knew the ways of her people, the Seminole tribe, but then again, she never thought much about it. Her adoptive family gave her all the love she thought she needed until he came into her life. Now she longs for the family and culture she lost all those years ago. As he teaches her the ways of his people, a friendship between them grows and so does Katie's feelings for Cole. Will she be the one to heal his wounded heart?

Against the Current

Chapter 1:

The Richmond Ranch


I am a Seminole and Creek woman who was raised by a white family. When I was a baby, my Indian mother was dying from an unknown illness and my Indian father had died before I was born... at least that's what they told me. The family that raised me never told me anything beyond that, but I never once questioned them. They showed me love and kindness, never once making me feel like an outsider. The day they adopted me, I lost my Mvskoke name and became Katie Richmond.

At the time of my adoption, Ma already had a child of her own, Julian. Julian and I were only three months apart and the best of friends growing up. I can imagine it was hard on my ma to raise two small babies, but she somehow managed it.

I had three siblings from my adoptive parents. Julian, as mentioned before, was roughly my age. He caught Spanish Influenza in 1918 and never fully regained his strength back. From then on he was ill a lot. He was also on the scrawny side and couldn't do much work around the farm, but Ma, being a former schoolteacher, made my brother focus on his smarts. So he became the bookworm of the family. My brother, Travis, came along in 1911. Travis was a pesky little brother, who played pranks on us, tattled on us when we were caught breaking the rules, but I always got him back. Both Julian and Travis looked a lot like my pa. Same muddy colored hair with eyes to match, tall and on the lanky side. They also had hawk like noses.

Then in 1914 my little sister, Tonya, was born. She was the opposite of me in almost every way, but we remained close. She was girlish while I was a tomboy. She wanted to get married and have a bunch of kids; I wanted to work the ranch forever and wasn't worried about marriage. She was pretty and took after my ma. Same blonde hair, green eyes, porcelain-like skin, and a heart-shaped face. The only difference was, Tonya had freckles. Travis picked on her a lot, but if someone in town spoke ill of her, he was the first to give them a beating.

Even after I figured out I wasn't kin to my folks it never changed my love for them. We all got along fine, even when Travis behaved like a horse's ass. However, there was one thing that got in between my family and I and that was a young man named Colton Wolfe. Their disapproval didn't surprise me, but I still thought it was important for them to accept him.

They had to. After all, they were never completely honest with me and he was the one who told the truth...

It was mid-May 1925 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and I was seventeen, soon-to-be eighteen. I was in the barn one evening, mucking the stalls when Travis told me he saw a dog out on the west end of the fields. I set the pitchfork aside and followed him outside. Sure enough, he was right. Out in the fields was a lop-eared, thick-furred, brown and white mutt. He didn't mess with our horses or much of anything; he seemed in his own world. I once had a dog named Hock a few years back, but one day a snake bit his neck and he died from it. It devastated the whole family. Anyway, I could've used a good ranch dog. Maybe Pa would let me catch and keep him. Not that I planned on asking him. I was practically an adult, and I really wanted another dog.

I thought about getting my lasso but changed my mind. If I wanted this dog, then it was going have to come to me willingly.

"Should I get my gun?" Travis asked.

I turned to face him with a glare. "You won't shoot that poor dog. If you do, I'll rope you and drag you behind my horse!" With that, I walked away from my brother and hopped the fence.

I was careful not to step on horse shit as I walked out there. The dog was trotting away into the trees as I got closer. I worried he'd run from me, but I don't think he knew I was there. I whistled, and he stopped and faced me with his ears pricked. I knelt down and spoke to him in that voice people use when they talked to animals and babies. He slowly crept towards my extended hand. He sniffed, then gave my fingers a lick. I carefully moved my hand under his chin and gave him a scratch and he responded by kicking his leg. Once I stopped he wagged his tail so hard that it shook his entire hindquarters. This was off to a good start.

But just when I thought the dog was mine, he suddenly stopped wagging his tail, pricked his ears, and looked around. I reached out to pet him again, but he shrugged me off. He slowly moved for the bushes. I glanced over my shoulder for a moment to make sure no one was watching me. When I turned back around the dog had already slipped into the bushes and was a good distance from me. I stepped into the dense forest and went after him. I rarely went into the woods during the spring and summer, especially this late in the day. The forest was thick this time of the year and it was too dark to see at times, but I really wanted a dog. An eerie forest wasn't going to stop me.

But despite the density, I knew my way around. Julian and I had marked the woods and when we had the chance, we remarked our trails. My brothers and I carved markings into the trees with our initials in case one of us lost our way. It was as though we were guiding each other home. Tonya would tie brightly colored ribbons on the trees. I came across of a few of her ribbons and one of Julian's markings as I followed the dog through the forest. It was when I came across my own carvings that I realized we were heading for the creek.

Once the creek was in my sight, the dog barked happily and crashed into the water. Great, now I had to drag home a wet dog.

"You're not making this easy, you mutt!" I said aloud.

The dog stopped, looked over his shoulder, and gave a defiant cuff before continuing on his little journey. We continued making our way down the creek. Occasionally, he'd jump out of the water and give himself a shake, then immediately jump back in. I was thinking this dog was more trouble than he was worth.


The dog and I froze at that moment. Someone was in the woods with me and it was getting dark. He could have been a crazy person for all I knew!

"Charlie!" the mysterious voice called out again.

The dog ran for the direction of the voice. Against my better judgment, I went after him. As I approached the source of the voice, I could smell and see a campfire. Someone really was living out here! Even though he was just outside the bounds of our property, I could still run them off if I wanted, but I didn't know how many people were there and I was without my Winchester. I know it doesn't make much sense, but I decided to investigate who was out here.

Slowly I moved through the forest, careful to make as little noise as possible. That was when I found him. His back was turned to my direction, so he didn't see me right away. He was shirtless, deeply tanned, with shaggy black hair, and wearing faded jeans. Most likely he was an Indian. He knelt down by the fire with the dog now by his side. Close to his camp was a beautiful palomino mare hitched to a low-hanging branch without her saddle.

He patted the dog on the head and then quickly withdrew his hand. "You're all wet!" the stranger scolded the beast.

I quickly ducked behind a large oak tree and took another peek at him. His shoulders were broad and his arms lean. He seemed to be a little on the thin side too, but he wasn't puny. No, he had seen his fair share of hard work.

"You were playing in the creek again weren't you, boy?" he continued speaking with the dog. So much for him being mine.

The dog responded by licking the stranger's arm. He gave a small chuckle and tossed the dog a hunk of raw meat. He filled his tin plate with some cooked meat. The smell of his kill roasting over the fire filled my nostrils, causing my stomach to growl. I ducked behind the tree again. I placed my hand on my stomach to silence it even though I knew it would not work.

After a moment or two had passed, I took another look at the stranger. The dog gnawed at his dinner and the horse lazily chewed away at some grass. The dog or Charlie, glanced my way as he ripped the meat. His tail thumped the earth. The stranger noticed this and glanced over his shoulder. I quickly to duck behind the tree once again.

"What is it, Charlie?" at this, Charlie thumped his tail harder.

My mouth went dry, my heart slammed in my chest, and my underarms were damp. I was frozen, not sure if it was safe to run or not. I carefully looked out from my hiding place once more and saw he'd turned his attention back to his meal.

It was getting late and soon the forest would be too dark to navigate through. I slowly backed away until I was at a safe enough distance before turning on my heels and running home. I crashed through the trees, momentarily forgetting about the markings.

When I made it to the open fields, I let out a sigh of relief and slowed my pace. I jumped the fence just as Ma called my name. I stopped at the barn for a moment and saw that someone had finished my work for me. Great, that meant I owed Travis. I continued to the house where the smell of chicken and dumplings and my worried folks were there to greet me.

"Where on earth did you go?" Ma asked as she passed the butter to Tonya.

I looked down at my dumplings and stirred them in their broth as I tried to figure out a believable story to spin for my folks. My siblings all looked to me as I struggled to answer. Travis was the only one who knew what I was doing.

"Katie, I believe your Ma asked you a question. Don't you think you ought to answer her?" Pa said.

"Well..." I began. "I uh, I was trackin' an animal." It wasn't a complete lie.

Pa raised a brow. "I see. What kind of animal?"

"That's what I was tryin' to figure out, but I didn't find 'em."

He eyed me skeptically before turning his attention back to his meal. The rest of our dinner was in silence that evening.

Afterward, I stepped outside and looked to the west of our property. As I listened to the night peepers singing, I thought about that stranger hiding out in the woods. What was he doing out there and why so close to our property? I should have told my folks about it, but I didn't and that wasn't the wisest choice to make. At the same time, I was curious about him. I figured I'd spy on him in the morning once my chores were through.

Inside I could hear my folks talking about Terrance Roberson. Terrance was a boy in town that they wanted me to marry. The Robersons were my folks' only friends, and both families saw it fit that I marry their son. Terrance didn't seem too keen on the idea either. He was rude and arrogant anyway, so even if he wanted to marry me, I would have said no. His parents and little sister were nice, though. I wanted to storm inside and tell them I had no intentions of marrying him, but it would have fallen on deaf ears as always. I waited for them to go to bed before I went inside.

I changed into my nightgown as Tonya and I were getting ready for bed. She sat in front of the mirror counting each stroke as she brushed her long blonde hair. I never understood the purpose of this. I always gave my hair a quick brush before pulling it back into a braid or a bun. I rarely wore my hair down unless Ma made me dress up and I hated it. I guess she equally hated that I dressed more masculine than my sister.

"Katie," Tonya said, quietly.

"What is it?" I replied.

"Do boys like freckles?"

I was a little surprised by this. My sister never cared what boys liked. Hell, she never cared about boys in general, but here she was asking me if boys liked freckles. "How should I know what boys like? I never had no one tell me differently." I laughed, which Tonya hated. I could see her pouting in the mirror. "Oh, don't be like that. You know I'm just as clueless about boys as you are."

She set her brush aside and turned in her seat. "Mama said you're a woman now. Doesn't that mean you're experienced with men?"

"I don't have any experience. Who would teach me these things?" I said, feeling my face heat up.

"Terrance Roberson. Some girls at school said you kissed him at the fall dance back in October."

I became sick at this. In October, Terrance forced a kiss on me after I told him no. The most disgusting part was when he tried to shove his tongue down my mouth. I punch him in the nose and kicked him in his balls. That's why he hates me and since then has had no intention of marrying me. Needless to say, both of our families were disappointed. Oh, and did I mention my parents punished me for hitting him?

"Those girls are liars! You shouldn't listen to such gossip."

"Don't worry, I told them you weren't like that," she said as crawled under the covers. She liked sleeping by the wall. It made her feel safe.

I smiled. "Thanks," I laid down next to her and snapped off the kerosene lamp. "and don't you worry about what boys like. You're too young to be sniffin' around boys."

As I was drifting off to sleep, I heard her mutter, "I ain't sniffin'."

The next morning I woke up to a cold morning. This was always my least favorite part about spring: the mornings were cold, but the afternoons were hot. Tonya was already awake and getting dressed for the day. She wore a butter yellow dress and her hair was tied up in a bun. I sat up and looked at her with sleepy eyes. She had a pitcher of warm water and a basin ready for me. I closed my eyes and sunk back down into the bed.

"Get up, lazy," Tonya said.

I pulled the covers over my face, but she yanked them back down, so I huddle up for warmth.

"You need to milk Annabelle or she'll have a fit," Tonya warned.

I groaned and sat up again, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. My feet hitting the cold wooden floor was enough to wake me up a little. I dressed for the day and went downstairs for breakfast. Ma already had the eggs and biscuits ready and was frying up the sausage for the gravy.

"Katie, I can't make the gravy unless you milk the cow." Ma said without turning to face me.

I was too tired to think straight and had forgotten about Annabelle. I sighed and rose to my feet.

"Maybe you should have gone to bed sooner."

"I went to bed on time, I just couldn't fall asleep."

It was the truth, too. I couldn't sleep at all thinking about the stranger in the woods, but I would not tell Ma about him. At least not yet.

"Well rested or not, you have chores to do. Now get to it."

I muttered a "Yes, ma'am," and left the house with the screen door slamming behind me.

In the barn, Annabelle was in her stable waiting patiently. She looked at me lazily and slowly blinked as she chewed her cud. I put the rope around her and lead her to the corral. I grabbed the tin of bag balm and rubbed the sticky substance on my hands before milking Annabelle.

As I milked the cow I had a strange feeling I was being watched. I wasn't afraid or anything; it was just a funny feeling I had. Once I finished, I poured what we planned to use in a large mason jar and dumped the rest in a jug for the milkman. I gave Ma the jar, and she started on the gravy.

By this time, my siblings were at the table waiting (not so) patiently on me.

"Someone took their time," Travis commented.

"Oh sorry, next time I'll just ask Annabelle to open the floodgates for her udders," I replied.

"You two behave," Pa added.

"Sorry, Pa," I said in a monotone voice.

I seated myself next to Julian, who had his nose stuck in a book. My folks used to lecture him about reading at the table, but I guess they gave up over time. Same with me dressing like a boy.

As the previous night, we had our meal in silence. Pa wasn't one for talking, Ma was too tired, and my siblings and I would only argue much to my parents' annoyance. Once breakfast was over my pa, my brothers, and I went back outside to finish our morning chores.

I fed the animals, collected more eggs, and tended to the vegetable garden. The morning wore on as I did my mundane tasks. By lunchtime, I was ready to saddle my horse, Wilbur, and ride out into the woods. I was lucky that my folks never tried to weigh me down with endless chores like some other of the children growing up back then.

Once lunch was over, I crept into the barn and saddled Wilbur. Wilbur was a dark bay gelding whose previous owner was not very kind to him. It took a while, but eventually, I gained his trust. He was still touchy and skittish, but I couldn't have asked for a better animal. Even after all these years, I still miss him.

As I was placing the bridle on him, I heard footsteps quickly approaching the barn. I froze and held my breath, but once I saw it was Julian, I let out a sigh of relief.

"Where are you going?" He asked.

"Nowhere," I replied.

He crossed his arms and eyed me skeptically. "Oh really? So why is Wilbur saddled?"

I couldn't lie to the person who I considered a brother and a best friend. "I'm going for a ride. I did what Pa asked me to do for the day."

"You've been acting strange since yesterday and Travis mentioned you saw a dog."

"It's true, but I've given up on the dog. I just want to go for a ride." He didn't believe me, but he didn't question it, either.

"You want me to join you?"

I shook my head. "I want to be alone for a while."

I saw the disappointment in his eyes and I felt guilty, but I wasn't ready to tell him about the stranger in the woods. Not yet, anyway.

"Oh… okay then. Do you still want to hear me read a book tonight? I was thinking The Castle?"

"Sure, I'd like that."

Minutes later I was riding along the horse trail that leads me to the creek. Wilbur splashed through the shallow part of the water as we continued on towards the makeshift camp that the stranger had. Once we were close enough, I dismounted and hitched Wilbur on a low-hanging branch.

I carefully moved through the brush until I came across the camp. I noticed the embers on the logs were steadily dying and hoof prints around the campsite. He had been here recently, but there wasn't any way to know how long he was gone or when he would be back. His tent was still standing, but the bedroll was rolled up and tied.

I walked around the surrounding area and didn't find any signs of Charlie or his owner. Maybe he knew I was here yesterday and left? But that didn't explain why some of his stuff was left behind. I walked back to the camp and thought about waiting for him there, but the thought was a little terrifying. I didn't know a damn thing about this man and once again I had forgotten my rifle.

I was ready to turn around and go back to the safety of my home when I stumbled across a duffel bag. I cautiously made my way towards it and knelt down. I picked it up and gave it a shake. I heard metal clanking around and felt relief. If it had been something heavy and solid, I would have ran for the hills. I opened the bag and dug around inside. I know looking back it wasn't a smart idea or very polite, but my curiosity got the better of my senses. I had to know who this man was and thought maybe the bag held the answers.

The first item I found was a golden locket. I tried to pry it open, but it wouldn't budge so I gave up and placed it back where it belonged. I found a few cans of food, an empty mason jar that looked to have something in it at one point, a bag of jerky, some fruit preservatives, a few pairs of jeans, and shirts neatly rolled up. I dug around a little longer for clues as to who he was but found nothing.

The next thing I remember happened too fast for me to react. I never heard footsteps behind me, I never heard hoofbeats, the dog never barked or ran up to me, but I felt a large hand wrap itself around my wrist. Before I could do anything, they hauled me to my feet and spun me around to look into the golden eyes of the stranger. They burned with a justified anger as I tried desperately to free myself from his grasp, but his grip only tightened the more I struggled.

"Who are you?" he growled. "Why were you going through my things?"

For most of my life, I had always considered myself tough. I thought I could take on any man who dared to stand up to me, but as I stood there before this man alone in the forest, I knew I would die or probably much worse would happen.