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Joy's Legacy Chapter 23


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“What about me?” Joy asked quietly, trying to blink away the tears

that threatened to come in waves.


All eyes turned to look at her as a tear rolled down her face. Liz

got up and came to hug her, “Oh, honey!” She said as Joy buried her

head on her shoulder and allowed herself to cry.


It’s just not fair, Joy thought. Why did Dave have to die? I

wouldn’t be in this mess now if he hadn’t died. What was she going

to do now? She wondered. Even though she had just had an encounter

with God and she trusted Him, Joy felt lost and alone.


Ed got up and walked over to where Joy was standing and put his hand

on her shoulder. “Joy, I know this isn’t fair to you. Nothing of

this has been fair to any of us. But we can’t despair. We must do

what we can to keep faith. God will not abandon us. He has not yet,

and he never will. Look, we’ll figure something out, ok? We will. I



Joy smiled at her dad, knowing that he was doing everything that he

could to comfort her, and nodded her head. She knew he was right,

but it seemed like there really was no hope for her at all.


She dried her tears and smiled again. “Well, what are we waiting

for? We have a couple of weddings to attend!”


Ed gave her a quick hug and got back to where he had been sitting.

“Ok,” he said. “We are going to do this real quick and simple, then

we will do the real thing at a later time. Ok?” After everyone

nodded, he asked Liz to get his papers and the seal that the town

leaders had provided him with to make things official.


Once Liz came back with the papers, he had her give them to Joy.

“Ok, Joy, now as nicely as you can, I want you to write up some

marriage certificates. While you do that,” he continued as he turned

to the two couples, “who wants to go first?”


Ann spoke up, “I think Roger and Marie should. That way they can

always say that they got married before Leslie did.” She smiled.


“Ay, Ann! Who cares?” Juan said.


“Actually, I do,” Marie said. “Can we get married first?”


Ed nodded. “Sure. Step right over here.” Ed waited until they were

standing in front of him, holding hands and then said, “Okay. Roger,

do you?”


Roger looked at Ed with a blank stare. “Pardon me?” he asked.


“I said, Roger, do you? I figure we’ll fill in the blanks at the

‘real’ wedding.” Ed replied shrugging his shoulders.


Roger smiled and looked at Marie. “Yes, I do.”


“And Marie? Do you?” Ed said, looking at Marie.


“I do,” she said, smiling up at Roger.


“Ok, then. You can save the kiss for the ‘real’ wedding. Next!” Ed

laughed at their disappointed look.


Marco and Leslie came and stood in front of Ed. “Marco, do you?”


Marco nodded as he looked at his young bride, still dressed in her

pajamas. “I do.”


“Leslie, do you?” Ed continued.


“Yes, with all my heart.” She responded, squeezing Marco’s hand.


Just as they were about to kiss, Roger stopped them. “Hey, if we

can’t, then you can’t!” He said and everyone laughed, including Joy.


After Joy finished making up the marriage certificates, everyone

involved signed them, plus two witnesses on each.


“It’s late. Why don’t we pray and get to bed, and we will see what

tomorrow brings?” Ed said. They all nodded and bowed their heads. Ed

prayed that God would bless the marriages that had taken place, and

that they would find the right answer for Joy. That He would protect

her, and bring about His will in her life.


After the prayer, Liz sent the girls home with Juan and Marie,

saying that they were not allowed to sleep with their husbands until

the ‘real’ wedding took place. There were some complaints, but she

just hushed them up. Roger, Allen and Marco went back downstairs to

get some sleep.


Joy went back into the room she was sharing with Victoria and

brushed her hair back to see her face. She kissed her softly on the

cheek, and then lay down next to her, running her hand through her

hair. She could hear her parents talking, but couldn’t make out what

they were saying. She heard footsteps going towards the door, so she

quickly got up to see what was happening through the crack in the



Ed was dressed and was heading out the door. Where could he be

going? Joy wondered climbing back into bed, praying her heart out to

God, asking Him for more faith.



“Jack, Jack!” Ed knocked quietly on the cabin door as loudly as he

dared, not wanting to wake the kids up.


“Who is it?” Jack said, grabbing his pistol. He had heard commotion

at the farmhouse earlier, and wondered if they were now coming to

see him.


“Jack, it’s me, Ed!”


Jack went to the door, still holding his handgun, careful not to

wake the babies up.


“Is everything ok?” Jack whispered after he made sure that Ed was



Ed shook his head. “No, Jack, it’s not. Some men came to the

farmhouse tonight to get Joy.”


Jack looked shocked. “Joy? Why? Is she ok?” Jack felt a knot form in

his stomach. Where did that come from? he wondered.


“Look.” Ed said as he handed Jack the paperwork that the men had

brought. Ed held up the flashlight he had brought as Jack read the

new law.


“What? This is ridiculous! Who came up with this stuff? It’s gotta

be a joke!” Jack said, not being able to believe what he had just



Ed shook his head. “Well, maybe it is, but that man, Simon, sure

seemed to take it for absolute truth.”


“Simon?” Jack asked. “Are you sure it was Simon?”


Jack’s stomach tightened into all kinds of knots as Ed nodded his

head slowly. Jack shook his head. “Well, then what about Marie and

Leslie, and Bethany? Are they going to sell them off too?”


Ed shook his head. “We hope not. I just married Marie and Leslie a

little while ago.”


Jack looked at him and nodded his head. “That was smart. But each of

them has someone to marry, and Joy doesn’t”.


Ed nodded his head. “Can you help us?” he asked.


Jack nodded. “I’ll see what I can do,” he said. “If you stay here

with the kids, I’ll go talk to Mr. Bodaway. The twins shouldn’t wake

up for a while, but there is stuff ready to be made for them on the

counter if you need. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”


Ed nodded, “Thank you, Jack. You don’t know how much this means to

me,” Ed said, his voice cracking.


Jack nodded his head. “I can’t imagine what you are feeling, Ed, but

if anyone tried to touch my daughter, I know I’d do anything in my

power to rescue her, too. I promise that I will do whatever I can to

prevent anything from happening to Joy,” he said as he put his hand

on Ed’s shoulder. “I promise.”


Jack took off as Ed went in to the cabin and sat on the chair at the

small table to pray. Jack went across the lake quickly and then went

to the barn and got his horse ready. He rode as fast as he dared in

the dark, glad for the full moon. As he reached the Reservation he

knew that the tavern was still open, and that all the usual drunks

would be there, including Simon.


He slowed down, not wanting to draw any attention to himself. Just

then, the doors swung open, and one of Simon’s friends came out,

struggling to stay on his feet. As soon as he saw Jack, he yelled

back into the tavern “Hey, Simon, your friend the Vet is here!”


Jack rolled his eyes and held on tightly onto his grandfather’s old

Winchester. He waited for Simon to come out of the tavern, not

wanting to have his back exposed to him.


Simon came out, drunk as ever. “Hey, well, lookie who we got here,”

he said loudly, then laughed, thinking that he was real funny. “What

are you doing over here at this time of night? You ain’t come to out

bid me on that foxy lady, did you? Man she’s hot…I sure do look

forward to”- he never got to finish his sentence as Jack spoke up.


“So what if I am. It’s a free country, isn’t it? Well, it used to

be, anyway,” Jack said, wishing it still was.


Simon laughed. “You are so funny, man! You oughtta come in the

tavern and get a beer with us! We could have some fun together!”


Jack nodded, relieved that it seemed that Simon was drunk enough to

not be thinking straight. “Yeah, well, maybe another time,” Jack

said, as friendly as he could, wanting to get going.


“Well, boys, I got a game I need to finish beating you at. Let’s

go!” Simon yelled, going back into the tavern.


Jack sighed a heavy sigh of relief. He had never hated anyone, but

he was close to hating Simon. The way he had looked at Joy earlier

that night at the party made Jack’s blood want to boil.


Jack made his way towards Mr. Bodaway’s home as quickly and quietly

as he could. He didn’t want any more encounters, especially at this

time of the night. Once there, he got off his horse, and tied him to

the railing in front of the house. He knocked on the door softly and

waited to see if anyone answered. When no one did, he knocked a

little louder. This time, he could hear footsteps coming towards



“Who is it?” Mr. Bodaway asked nervously.


“Mr. Bodaway, it’s Jack. Jack Daniels.” Jack replied quickly,

wanting to put him at ease.


Mr. Bodaway opened his door, a pistol in his hand. “Jack! Are you

ok? Are your kids ok?”


“We’re all fine, Mr. Bodaway. I’m sorry for disturbing you this

late. May I come in? I promise to be real quiet,” Jack smiled.


Mr. Bodaway nodded. “Sure, Jack.” They sat on the couch as Jack took

out the paper that Ed had given him. “Do you know about this?”


Mr. Bodaway adjusted his glasses and squinted in the dim light, then

nodded his head. “Yes, I’m afraid I do,” he said sadly. “But, how

does this concern you?” he looked at Jack confused.


“Well,” Jack answered, “it doesn’t really concern me. It concerns

one of my friends, Joy. She lost her husband in one of the terrorist

attacks in the Twin Cities, and now she is considered ‘single’. Who

agreed to this stuff, anyway?”


“My son did, Jack. My son did. I tried to warn him that it wasn’t

going to work, but he went ahead and did it anyway. I know this Joy

you are talking about. There are several men that have already put a

bid in for her, including Wamblee. She is a beautiful woman, and

will raise a lot of gold,” the old man nodded thoughtfully.


“But why? Why do this? What’s the point?” Jack asked, trying to



Mr. Bodaway looked at him surprised. “Well, Jack, because men are

greedy, that’s why! There are more men in the Reservation than there

are women. They all want to make sure they can get a wife, or at

least secure a significant other. Some of them don’t feel like they

can compete, say, with someone like you. So they came up with the

idea of biding for them. I think it’s one of the most stupid ideas I

have ever heard,” he shook his head in disgust. “Your friend Joy

will probably end up with the likes of Simon, or even John Runt.”


“John Runt? But he is one of the elders of this tribe! Surely he

would not stoop this low,” Jack said angrily.


Mr. Bodaway put his finger to his lips and motioned Jack to keep it

down, as he looked around the living room as if someone were

listening. “Who do you think came up with the idea?” he whispered



Jack sat back and shook is head in shock. “This was his idea?” he

asked in disbelief.


As Mr. Bodaway nodded, “Do you think they will change their minds?”

Jack asked him.


“No, Jack, I don’t. Not until it’s too late for some of the women.

You see, not all men have gold. So it’s not fair to them. Sooner or

later, they are going to start complaining that the whole thing

wasn’t fair to them, and then, I’m afraid, a worse fate might come

on your friend, and women like her. The only ones safe will be the

ones that leave, but unfortunately, they probably wouldn’t be able

to survive outside of the Reservation. It’s a very different world

out there now, Jack. Women don’t stand much of a chance. Neither do

men, for that matter, unless they are in a group, like we are.” He

shook his head slowly.


“So what hope is there for her, then, Mr. Bodaway? What can I go

back and tell her father?”


“Hope?” Mr. Bodaway smiled sadly, “Like I said, Jack. Her only hope

is to escape, or to be married by tomorrow.”


Jack shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. What could

he possibly do? If she left, he knew she wouldn’t survive, possibly

not even a day. But if she stays, isn’t the fate that awaits her

here at the Reservation worse than death? He wondered.


Mr. Bodaway interrupted his thoughts, putting his old hand on Jack’s

back. “What about you?”


“What about me?” Jack looked at him startled.


Mr. Bodaway smiled, “Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about

marrying her yourself?” he asked.


Jack’s face blushed in the darkness. He was glad Mr. Bodaway

couldn’t see him that well. “Well, no, actually, I haven’t. But,

even if I had, where could I get any gold?” he stammered.


Mr. Bodaway laughed softly. “Jack, Jack,” he shook his head. “For a

smart man, you are pretty dense!” He looked at his old clock. “It’s

still the 2nd, my dear friend. It’s still the 2nd. If you hurry, you

still may be able to marry her. That is if you want to, of course,”

he paused. “This is the only viable solution I see to this dilemma,



The old man got up from the couch. “And now you must hurry, man. If

this is what you are going to do to save the young lady, then you

must hurry.”


Jack shook his head and stood up, offering his hand to shake Mr.

Bodaway’s. “Thanks Mr. Bodaway,” he said and then turned to go.


“Jack,” Mr. Bodaway stopped him by putting his hand on his arm, “are

you even remotely attracted to Joy?” he asked.


Jack knew why he was asking, but he really didn’t want to answer.

It’s as if Jack himself didn’t want to know the answer. For crying

out loud! They had both just lost their spouse! How could he be

attracted to her? But Jack knew the old man was right. He needed to

be at least a little attracted to her to make this work.


Jack slowly nodded his head. “I guess I am, Mr. Bodaway, and now I’m

off to find out if she’s in the least bit attracted to me.” He said

good-bye to Mr. Bodaway and took off as quickly and quietly as he

could back to his place.


Once there, he put the horse away, and made sure it was well taken

care of. He had the chore down pat and was able to do it quickly and

efficiently as he had done countless times before.


He got to the canoe again and went across the lake, back to the

cabin. He went in to find Ed still sitting at the table, praying.


Ed looked up at Jack and smiled. “Jack, you’re back!” he whispered.


The men walked out to the porch so they could talk, but still keep

an ear out for the kids.


“Were you able to work something out?” Ed asked, his voice full of



Jack shook his head. “No,” he said sadly. “I talked to Mr. Bodaway,

and he said this all started because of one of the elders. The elder

felt he couldn’t compete with some of the men to get a wife, so he

suggested they do this.”


Ed looked down and shook his head. “But why?”


“Well, it’s quite simply, as Mr. Bodaway put it, greed.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t think it will work.” Jack said.


“What do you mean, unfortunately? Surely you don’t agree?” Ed asked.


“No, of course not!” Jack went on to explain about the fairness of

the whole thing to Ed, and what that would mean to the women later



Ed sat down on the steps and buried his face in his hands. “Oh Lord,

oh Lord, what are we going to do?” He said, tears beginning to run

down his face.


Jack took a deep breath and squatted down in front of Ed. “There is

one more option, Ed,” he said quietly.


Ed looked up at him quickly, his eyes full of tears. “What?”


Jack looked down at the ground. “She could get married.”


Ed shook his head. “But to who? Who would want to marry a woman with

a four-year-old child? And would she want to marry him?”


Jack smiled and shook his head. “Believe me, Ed, there are plenty of

men lined up, all ready to marry her. None of which she would have,

I’m sure. Ed, we don’t have much time. I’d like to ask your

permission to ask Joy to marry me,” Jack finished quickly. He hadn’t

thought he would be this nervous about the whole thing, but somehow

the seriousness of it was kicking in.


Ed looked at Jack surprised. “You?”


Jack nodded and shrugged his shoulders. “I like her. She’s a good

friend. I can’t say I love her, but I care about her more than all

those other yahoos that have bid gold on her already. I think we

could make it work. She’s a great mother, and Luke loves her

already. He talks about her and Victoria constantly. And, I, I would

make sure Joy and Victoria wouldn’t lack anything they need. I

promise.” Jack felt his heart pounding. He was asking for Joy’s hand

in marriage and somehow it was much more important to him than he

had thought it would be.


Ed smiled as he put his hand on Jack’s arm. “You have my blessing

Jack, and my deep gratitude. Now we better get going. You go on

ahead, and once there, send Allen to come and stay with the kids.

Then I will come over and see what Joy has decided, ok?”


Jack nodded. He helped the older man up and watched him wipe his

tears away. “Go Jack, we don’t have much time!”


Jack went back into the cabin to grab his heavy shirt, wishing he’d

had it when he went into town. He trotted to the farmhouse, the wind

brisk on his face. It was a clear night, and the stars were shining

brighter than ever. There was a full moon that night, so he had no

need for his flashlight, but he brought one anyway. As he made his

way there, he prayed that he was doing the right thing, that the

Lord would bless his willingness to help Joy.


Once at the old farmhouse he knocked softly on the door and a few

seconds later, the door opened a crack. He was surprised to see Joy

standing there, her long hair pulled back into a braid.


“Jack, what are you doing here?” She whispered, holding up a candle

and opening the door a little bit more.


“Can we talk?” Jack asked quietly, noting that she had been crying.


Joy nodded and opened the door and motioned for him to come in. Jack

shook his head. “Do you mind if we walk a little?”


Joy frowned, but she felt Jack wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.

“Just a second,” she said as she closed the door on him. She went

back into her room, pulled on a pair of jeans and put on socks and

tennis shoes.


She went outside and found Jack sitting on the porch steps, wringing

his hands. He got up quickly, and they walked side by side toward

the lake. Joy had left her candle at the house since she knew Jack

had a flashlight, and now her hands had nothing to do. She stuck

them into her jean pockets and shivered as the cool wind blew

against them.


Jack glanced at Joy in time to see her shiver. He took off his shirt

and draped it around her shoulders, wanting to make sure she was

warm enough. “Here,” he said, “put this on.”


Joy thought about refusing but decided against it, grateful for the

warmth it provided. “Thanks,” she said as she turned to look up at

him, a little embarrassed.


“Your dad came to see me,” Jack started, not knowing where to start.


“My dad did? When? Tonight?” So that’s where he must have gone to,

she thought.


Jack nodded. “He showed me the paperwork to the so called ‘law’,” he



Joy’s eyes started filling up with tears again. “Yeah, I guess I’m

out of luck, huh?”


Jack paused to look at her in the moonlight, struggling for a second

to keep focused. He hated how beautiful she was, as he knew that it

was what was getting her in this trouble. Was there nothing she

could do about that? The tears that were forming in her eyes made

them look brilliant, and her soft skin looked pale under the light

of the moon. No wonder so many men had already bid on her!


“Look, Joy,” Jack said and then had to pause.


“What?” Joy asked him quietly, trying to figure out what he wanted

to say, but not wanting to push him. Why had he brought her out

here? She enjoyed his company, but at this hour of the night? In the



Jack cleared his throat, nervous at what he was about to say. “Like

I told your Dad, there is one solution to the dilemma that you are



Dilemma, Joy thought. What do you know about dilemmas? She almost

asked him, but decided not to. She knew that Jack also had his

share. She felt bad for feeling so irritable and taking it out on

him, and knew that she wasn’t being fair.


“So, what is it? Leave the Reservation and trust God to provide for

me?” She asked, a little sarcastically.


Jack shook his head. “No. You could marry me.”


Jack watched Joy closely to see her reaction. She looked at him

shocked, disbelief filling her eyes. “You want to marry me? Why

would you want to do that?”


Jack looked away. “I just don’t want you to end up being auctioned

off, that’s all!” He responded, feeling a little defensive.


Joy shrugged, even more irritated than she had been before. “And

this is the best idea you could come up with?” she asked, spreading

her arms wide, almost dropping his shirt. “Come on Jack! You’ve got

ties! Can’t you go talk to your friend, Mr. Bodaway? He could help,

couldn’t he?”


“I tried Joy!” Jack responded, trying to calm himself down, but it

was hard. Man she can be stubborn, he thought to himself.


“And what do you get out of it, Jack?” Joy asked eyeing him

suspiciously, wondering if in the end he really was like all the

other men.


“Nothing!” Jack raised his voice as he threw his hands up in the

air. “ARGH! Doggone it, Joy, I’m trying to help you! Look, do you

want to marry Simon or do you want to marry me?”


Joy turned so Jack couldn’t see her smile. For some reason she found

it humorous to see him so upset. ‘Doggone it’ was as close as she

had ever heard him come to swearing, so she figured she must have

really touched a nerve. Her smile faded as the seriousness of the

situation came flooding back. They walked in silence for a little

while, each deep in their own thoughts.


“Really, Jack. What would you get out of it?” Joy asked softly, her

eyes searching his face. She could tell he was really trying to help

her, but she needed to know what the motivation was behind it.


Jack looked at Joy and saw the fear in her eyes. He shook his head.

“Look, Joy, I know this is hard for you. It’s hard for me. Carol

died just a day or two before your husband did. So, in that sense,

we’re both in the same boat.” He paused and turned back to look at

her. “I’m not asking you to be my wife. I’m asking you to marry me.

I know it sounds stupid, but it’s the only thing I can think of to

get you out of this, this dilemma.”


“But why, Jack? If you aren’t asking me to be your wife, then what

will you expect from me?” Joy asked, trying to sound as neutral as

possible. Inside, her mind was racing and her heart was pounding.

She had only had one other proposal in her life, and that had been

Dave, because he loved her. She had not been one for casual dating,

and had not foreseen getting married again, at least not this soon.

But she realized she didn’t have a choice. She would have to marry,

and the only choice she had was whom she would marry. Joy knew that

Jack was doing what he thought was best for her. But what about him?

She didn’t want to be in a relationship where he was her savior.

What if he ever got tired of her? What if they didn’t get along?


Jack shook his head, and then paused. “Actually, Joy, if you think

of it, I stand to gain almost as much as you do.”


“What? How?” Joy asked, very interested in what he had to say about



“Well, I’m depending on you and your family all the time to help

with the twins, and most of the time even Luke. There is no way I

can be both father and mother to them. They will need a mother, not

just now, but growing up also. Especially Grace,” he said with

tenderness in his voice. Joy liked that about Jack. She could see

the change in his face and the sound of his voice any time he talked

about his children. “If we get married, you and Victoria could come

and live over at my new place, and we could be a family. You could

help me around the house and with the kids, and I will provide for

you and Victoria. We both win.”


Joy stopped and looked up to him to see if he was serious. Did he

really mean it? It sounded like he did. “Jack, you need to know

this, as it might change your mind about this whole thing,” she

said, searching his eyes. “I may be pregnant.”



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