::I hope everyone enjoyed Etched. This is our final chapter! It was a lot of fun to write and gave you a bigger peek into what Serra and Grace were like growing up. These girls are close to my heart, so I love giving them as much "screen time" as our favorite Boys. Thank you so much for reading and coming up, we've got our next installment of Winchester Ranch, War. Things are heating up (again!) and I hope you join me in the adventure.
lots of internetty love and hugs,
Truman glanced over at his sleeping daughter as he passed another mile marker on the dark Kansas highway. They were about fifteen minutes from home, finally, and he couldn't wait to take a long, hot shower and wash the last seventy-two hours down the drain. Serra would be happy to be back in the house as well…he already knew that if Grace wasn't there when they arrived, Serra would be sleeping in Grace's bed until the elder returned.
She shifted in her seat next to him and woke suddenly, lifting her head from the window. "Grace?" she gasped, sitting up.
"Hey," Tru soothed, reaching out for Serra's shoulder. "You're okay. We're still driving."
Serra seemed confused, glancing at her father and shaking off his touch. "I know," she said, defensive. "I'm fine."
"Okay, Sass," he chuckled, withdrawing his hand. Changing subjects, he gripped both hands on the steering wheel and stared forward. "I'll bet you Emery is home," he said. "What do you think she'll make us to eat?"
Serra rubbed her face and stared out the front windshield. "Pancakes," she replied without hesitation. "She always makes breakfast when we get home from a hunt."
Tru nodded at the accuracy behind the statement. "Maybe she'll have some bacon, too."
Smiling, Serra agreed. She rested her hands on the twin forty-fives that sat on the seat beside her. "They're the most beautiful guns I've ever seen," she whispered, still touching them carefully. "I mean, I thought The Judge was pretty, but she's got nothing on these two."
"They are pretty weapons," Truman answered, glancing down. "But remember; they're just that. They're weapons, Serendipity. They stay in lock-up when we're at home. You don't talk about them at school. This is exactly the kind of thing Social Services would love to get their hands on."
"I know, Daddy," Serra countered. "Grace went through all of that with me already. I'm not gonna do anything stupid."
"When we get home, I want you to shower and get to sleep so you can go back to school tomorrow."
Serra nodded once, staring out into the night. "You think Grace is home yet?"
"I don't know, kiddo," he answered, sighing heavily. "I'll bet she is. She wanted to take that Algebra test."
"That was yesterday."
"She's a fast traveler," Tru argued. "Even hitching."
Serra was silent as they pulled into the driveway minutes later, passing Emery's C10 truck as they parked. Serra wasted no time and hopped out of the Chevelle, taking the three porch steps in one jump. Emery was sitting on the couch, drinking her nightly tea and flipping through a magazine when Serra ran in. She smiled up at her and opened her arms for a hug.
"Hi, Em!" Serra greeted. "Is Grace here?"
Emery smiled and brushed auburn hair out of Serra's hazel eyes. "Yes, my renegade. She's upstairs, sleeping, I think."
Serra gave her a quick peck on the cheek and took the steps two at a time to greet her sister. Slowly, she opened Grace's bedroom door without knocking and tiptoed in, moving silently across the carpet. Grace was sleeping, but it was restless. She was mumbling quietly and flailing against her blankets. Furrowing her eyebrows, Serra sighed and walked out of the room, jumping into the shower and rinsing off before changing into pajamas and rejoining her sister.
Grace was still in the throws of a nightmare, so Serra reached and gently pulled down the covers and climbed into bed next to her. As soon as she made physical contact with Grace, she calmed and took a deep stuttering breath, rolling closer to Serendipity. Reaching out, Serra put a hand on her arm and held her hand. Nestling close, Serra almost instantly fell asleep next to her favorite person in the world. Their world was safe as long as they were together.
Downstairs, as Tru and Emery unloaded the Chevelle, Serendipity's twin, silver-on-black engraved Colt forty-fives rested on the tabletop, sitting happily on the microfiber cloth they came with. They were home and safe, ready and waiting for the next time their one true owner would need them for protection.