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Madison’s eyes were glued to the clock. 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… 2 o’clock! Her shift was finally over. “Bye, mom!” she called over her shoulder as she ran out from behind the saloon’s dusty counter. “Come on, Katie,” she coaxed holding out her hand.
As soon as she was holding her sister’s pudgy hand, Madison ran out the door with her strawberry blonde hair flying behind her. Dust was flying through the hot, Nevada air. The sun pounded down on the two of them as they exited the saloon. It was like walking into a furnace. “He’ll be here soon,” Madison promised as they plopped down on the front porch.
“Then cwan we gwet some ice cweam?” questioned Katie with a sigh.
“Then we can get some ice cream.”
“Actually, we should go now,” Katie declared, climbing up.
Madison was about to reply when she saw him. “Matt!” she cried out. “Matt! Over here!”
“Why if it isn’t Madison!” The cowboy replied.
“Where are the cows? What about the other cowboys? Where are you staying? How long are you staying? Did you get my letters?” she asked in one breath.
“Slow down!” He exclaimed, laughing. “The cows are in a corral about a quarter of a mile away. I’m staying a week in Mrs. Smith’s hotel. And of course I got your letters!” Madison beamed. “Is this little Katie? She’s grown so much!”
Katie glared. “You’re making me have to wait.”
“Wait for what?”
“My ice cweam! First, Maddie can’t play because ‘she has to work’! Then, I have to sit out here waiting for you! And now your making me wait for my ice cweam!”
Normally, Madison would have snapped at her sister, but not today. She was to happy to see Matt! It had been two years since she had seen her oldest cousin.
“I sure am sorry about that. How ‘bout you two come over to the hotel for dinner?”
“Ok… I’ll have to ask my mom, but I’m sure it’ll be okay. I better go get Katie her ice cream before she tears my head off,” Madison said, picking up Katie.
“Great! See you then!” Matt turned down the road.
“I’d sure like to go on a cattle drive one day,” Madison told her little sister.
“I’d sure like to get my ice cream.”
“Come on, Katie! Let me put your bows in!” Madison exclaimed that night around 5.
“No! I’m not going!”
“Oh yes you are!”
Once Katie’s bows were in her curly, golden hair, Madison lugged a kicking and screaming Katie down the road to the hotel.
“Hello, Matt,” Madison smiled.
“Hi. I got something for you, Katie,” Matt replied, handing Katie the most gigantic ice cream cone Madison or Katie had ever seen.
Katie swallowed it in about two seconds, and they entered the small hotel’s restaurant.
Immediately after they had ordered their food, Madison ordered the conversation. “Do you think I could with you on a cattle drive?”
“Aww… Sorry Madison, but your only 12.
“I’ll be 13 next month!”
“Even if you were 14 you still couldn’t come.”
“Not a full one! Just maybe a week or so!”
Matt shook his head. “Oh well… Oh no! We’ve got to go! We were supposed to be home five minutes ago! Bye, Matt! Come on, Katie.” She ran out with Katie at her heels.
They arrived at the saloon and ran upstairs to the house part of the building like roadrunners. “Hi, Mom. Sorry we’re late.”
“You should be! Go straight to your room while I close up the shop.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Madison replied.
“Okay, Miss Katie, bedtime,” her mom said.
“Okie Dokie!” Katie cried and toddled out of the room with Madison.
That night, was reclining on her bed when she started thinking, ‘I’ll show them! Who cares what Matt says! He’s just stuck up!’ That’s when she thought of her plan.
A week later, Madison woke up at 2 a.m. She opened the window and was about to climb out when she heard a small, “Maddie? Where are you gwoing?”
“Why are you leaving me?”
“I’m not. Now shut up, and go to sleep.” Madison then jumped like a monkey the ground and hid in the back of a wagon.
It was about 10 a.m. before anyone noticed her. “Hey! There’s a kid back here!” They all crowded around her.
“Madison!” Matt cried. “I told you to stay at home!”
“Well, we’re taking you back!”
“But…” It was too late. They had already turned around.
They arrived back home. Matt grabbed Madison’s arm and pulled her into the saloon. “Oh! Madison!” her mom cried. “Where were you? I was so worried!”
“She snuck into the wagon. We were half way to the slaughter house before Jim noticed her.”
Madison lowered her big, blue eyes. “Well,” her mom started, looking at Madison. “That was very foolish. But for now we’ll leave it be.”
“Good bye, Katie. We have a lot of time to make up,” he exited the saloon.
She was about to walk away when she felt a tug in her heart. Madison ran outside. “Matt! I’m really sorry! I just wanted to come so much! I know I was stupid, but please forgive me!” she cried in one breath.
For a moment, it looked like he was going to yell. But then his face broke into a wide grin. “I forgive you.”
Madison knew everything would be ok.