The Hurricane that Burned Down Texas
By Gene Haynes 
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Chapter 46) RobbieB claims Cheneen
Bobber was dropped by Cheneen the year before the fire and RobbieB took over as main straw.
RobbieB was a planner and forceful on his wants.
He wanted Cheneen.

Six months after she took up with RobbieB, she sent word asking Bobber to meet
at the stand of small Sycamores growing in a pocket valley about mile north of Red Lake.
LeoJ cautioned against it.
She was trouble.
Her family was pushing her to gain advantage.

Bobber was conflicted. He still loved her yes, but that was part of the reason.
He was angry but flattered that she still thought of him, glad she revealed the truth about herself and innately curious what she was doing. He had to go.
There was something compelling about Cheneen but he didn't trust her.
He told LeoJ, it's better to know than guess. She’s not claimed. They can't call dirt against a Property contract.

Bobber slipped out the secret back door before dawn. And traveled farther out so he could come in the back way.
Using every sense honed from raiding days, he moved cautiously to a cluster of cedars overlooking the Sycamores and waited two hours. The sun was coming strong. It was going to be screaming hot.

A man can see through dense brush using eyes, nose and ears, just like a coyote.
If the instinct tells you to run, just run and don’t wait to see why.
Using senses can be tricky: if senses are more strong than keen, especially your eyes, then others can see you before you see them. The trick is to empty the mind of who you are, grow small, and become the land. Watch what your eyes want to know and
you can know things you can’t see.

He heard them before he saw them.
Girls were coming up the dry creekbed. One of them must have fallen and the others helped her up.
They were too noisy for any purpose.

She came with two other girls. Bobber was relieved. A girl standing alone would be a trap.

Bobber felt the land around him. A person following the girls would travel on the slope that lay below Bobber’s position.
The most likely spot for a person to sit was just above the Sycamores.
He felt the area with his mind and watched the girls react to their own senses to see if someone was there.

He felt RobbieB very strongly.
If he was there, the girls didn’t know.
If they felt somebody, they would be glancing toward a certain spot.

Bobber waited. RobbieB would not come alone. He needed others to confirm his stature.
If more than one man was there, they would be no less clever than farm boys walking with big shoes.
RobbieB was big-armed and walked heavy. He was not a prowler. He would be locked inside at night because he couldn’t tell when somebody was behind him. And that’s why he needed others around him.
Bobber tried to guess who he might bring. Some of the boys about town were quite good trappers and hunters, but none of RobbieB’s friends. They were just pushers.

After a while the image of RobbieB faded. He wasn’t there.
Bobber crossed over and slowly came down the slope where somebody might be hiding.

He was close before the girls saw him.
His presence startled them, but his smile disarmed the group immediately.
He sat down on a rock ledge and laughed, what a beautiful day, implying of course that he was talking about the girls. The girls knew he was a charmer.

They wanted Cheneen to pick him. But it was not to be. Cheneen’s family controlled the contract, and Bobber was too busy for a girl with Cheneen’s disability.
Coming from incest, the world was hard-thrown backwards.

The other girls walked away so Cheneen and Bobber could talk.
He walked close but stopped short of touching.
She started to cry, wanting to draw his heart out from behind a man’s normal weakness.

What a girl.
Hey Cheneen, what is going on?

She said her family agreed Property contract with RobbieB.
Bobber said, well, he’s a strong man.

She looked down.
So that was it.
They couldn’t have children.
Her face told it.
RobbieB must be unable in some way, or Cheneen was infertile. Can’t imagine that girl being infertile, more likely RobbieB.

Bobber had to find a way to say what he knew without getting knee deep into personal lives.
He looked away, and felt the air around him.
The other girls knew. They weren’t far away. Their faces said the same thing.
They remained in sight and that revealed they were true friends.

Bobber asked, why would your family agree to contract if the two of you are not right for each other?
It was the most delicate way to talk about it without knowing too much.

She was unable to say.
Bobber was puzzled. Why wouldn’t Cheneen know?
Why would her family contract their daughter to a man who was unable to have children? Especially a family of incest where the prize is introducing young children to relationships above their ability to resist.

They were merciless with Cheneen. He hated her family and what they did to that special girl.
Snap out of it. He slapped himself in his mind.

Then it struck him like a bolt.
They were going to use Cheneen to bait him, and probably other men too.
Maybe he already swallowed the bait?

Hold on.
He could still back away quick.
But wait. The girls with Cheneen were clearly her friends.
They came so she could ask for help.
This was real.
Cheneen was trying to escape the family.
Bobber realized that she was telling all she knew.

Bobber asked, when is the contract going to happen?
Cheneen said, this week.

Are they going solo, or coming to the Box.
NOW this was the most telling question. Solo meant no Bludworthy reprisal, which meant Bobber would be exposed to continual side assault from her family.
On the other hand, Bank contract meant direct confrontational assault ... which would be easier to see coming, but would carry legal risk.
Either way, Bobber was in danger. Or he was about to change the world. Or both.

She said the Box.
So it would be a Bank contract.
Bobber said he would gladly write the contract.
She turned and looked at him. ‘Gladly write the contract?’

Bobber said, think about it Cheneen.
He turned his body directly toward her.
She couldn't tell if Bobber refused to help, or offered to help in a way she didn’t understand.
One answer was true, and he didn’t know either.

They never touched. They never kissed. She left crying and her friends gathered her into their arms and turned away. Bobber stood his ground before moving carefully up another slope to return home after dark.
Nobody saw them together except her true friends who never told.

The following week Bobber wrote the Property contract for Cheneen and RobbieB.
Bobber was very good at contracts that protected his client. His client was Cheneen.
He used his standard Property contract, the same one he wrote for all her friends.

Cheneen’s family and RobbieB signed it. Cheneen was not permitted to see it.
LeoJ said, wait until they find out.
Bobber said, maybe.

Six months later a fire burned down Texas, and Windrock told Bobber that RobbieB and Cheneen would take the Box.
The stage was set.
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