The General's Daughter

somewhere west of Colorado Springs, Colorado

Plains Nation

next morning

"Hey, um, my mom wants to talk," Charlie came up to Jason, who was finishing packing up his tent and supplies. "If you see Miles, can you tell him we're going down to the stream?" She pointed toward the stream bordering their campsite.

"Yeah, sure. Something wrong?" he asked.

"I don't know. Something's up anyway, but when isn't it?"

"Okay. You want me to come along, hide in the bushes in case you need some support?" Jason smiled.

Charlie laughed, "No, I'll be fine, it's just my mom. She won't hurt me."

"Seriously, I could come, my stuff is all packed up for moving out." he offered again

She shook her head. "Nah, I'll be fine. I'll be back in a few minutes anyway, I'm sure."

"Okay." he shrugged and gave in, "Just give a shout if you need me."

"Jason, it's my mother, okay? Besides, I can take care of myself, thank you very much." She gave him a quick smile and went to meet Rachel, who was standing a few yards away.

"Yeah, so why do I keep having to rescue you?" he muttered, watching her walk away.

"Who's that?" Rachel asked when Charlie joined her.

"Jason."

"I know that much. I also know he's Neville's son."

"He's not Neville."

"Obviously."

"I'd have shot him by now. Or else Miles would have."

"Okay. Wait up. " Rachel walked faster to catch up with her daughter. "Jason means something to you, doesn't he? You go off with him sometimes, just the two of you."

"I don't know." Charlie turned to face her mother. "You didn't really as me to come down here to give me dating advice, did you? Because I get enough hints from Nora, who doesn't understand why I haven't slept with him yet, and looks from Miles, who doesn't like me going off with Neville's son, which is exactly how he sees it but I don't think he'd like it much no matter who it was."

Rachel listened to the outburst without saying a word.

Charlie continued, "So unless you're finally going to tell me what is going on between you and Miles, I don't think you get to give dating advice or any other kind of advice! I don't want to hear it from you about me and Jason!"

"You know about me and Miles?" Rachel asked, softly.

"There is definitely something between the two of you that neither of you will talk about." She crossed her arms and glared at her mother.

"You're right, there is. I think it's time you know a few things."

"Really?"

"Yeah, really." They sat down together on a patch of grass. Rachel sighed. "This may take a while."

"We don't have a long time, Miles is going to want to get going soon." Charlie warned.

"I know. This is harder then I thought it'd be. I didn't think I'd ever have to do this."

"It's really that bad?"

"You're smart enough, you've figured out that Miles and I were together."

Slowly, Charlie nodded, she knew that. It was kind of hard not to, the way Miles avoided talking about Rachel and vice versa.

"It was before I married Ben. It was a stupid affair, one that I still regret happened. However, one good thing came out of it." Here Rachel stopped and looked directly into her daughter's eyes. She had, after all these years, finally gotten her child back and now, she knew as well as she knew her name, that this was going to complicate things even more between them. "You did."

Charlie's eyes widened and her mouth fell open as the pieces fell together in her mind. "No." she whispered and shook her head. "No, no, no, no!" she shouted. She tried to get up but Rachel held onto her.

"I'm sorry."

She pulled away, not even hearing Rachel and ran up into the campsite, into Miles' tent.

He looked up from studying a map at her sudden entrance. One look and he knew Rachel had told her. "Aw, crap."

"Did you know? All this time, did you know?" she demanded.

"No, Charlie, I didn't." he answered, wearily.

Some of the fire left her eyes, but anger still flashed. "How do I know you're not lying to me? You have before, haven't you? I have to get out of here, away from her, away from you, away from everything!" She ran out the door, as quick as she'd come in.

"What happened?" Jason had nearly been knocked over by her in the doorway. "Charlie went off with Rachel and that's the only thing I know."

Miles studied him a minute. "Go after her, will you? I think you're probably the only person she'll listen to right now."

Jason hesitated. "What should I say?"

"Figure it out! Just go before she disappears!"