When Greed Takes Over – Extended Epilogue

The grand bedroom was bathed in the soft glow of the evening sun, which reflected off the polished wooden floors. Butch and Evelyn were sprawled on the large four-poster bed, their legs entangled and laughter echoing around the room. It was a common activity for them, their playful banter and flirtatious teasing bringing warmth and light into their lives.

“Bet you can’t catch me,” Evelyn challenged, a mischievous glint in her eyes as she slipped from the bed and darted toward the door.

Butch laughed, deeply and heartily, as he launched himself from the bed and gave chase. “You underestimate my speed, my dear,” he called out, his voice ringing with mirth.

They dashed around the room, their laughter and playful shouts filling the air. Butch finally managed to catch Evelyn, sweeping her off her feet and spinning her around. Their laughter slowly died down, replaced by a comfortable silence as they collapsed onto the bed, their breaths coming out in short pants.

“Hard to believe this was Sonny’s bed…” Butch said.

Evelyn furrowed her brow. “Best not to think about it.”

The two lay in silence, letting their chests fall. For a moment, they said nothing at all.

Evelyn broke the silence, her voice soft and laced with a hint of worry. “Butch,” she began, her fingers tracing the intricate patterns on the bedspread, “do you think we can be happy with this quiet life?”

Butch turned to look at her, his brow furrowing in confusion. “What do you mean, Ev?”

She shrugged, her gaze focused on her hands. “I mean, everything was crazy for such a long time. Can we really be content with… this?”

Butch was silent for a moment, his mind racing. He had been harboring similar doubts, wondering if Evelyn, a woman who thrived in the face of danger, could truly find happiness in their peaceful existence.

“I’ve been thinking the same, Ev,” he admitted, his voice barely above a whisper.

She turned to look at him, her eyes wide with surprise. “You have?”

He nodded, reaching out to take her hand in his. “I have. But I’ve also realized something,” he said, his gaze locked with hers, “Adventure and danger don’t define happiness. They might bring a thrill, a rush of adrenaline, but they don’t bring peace. They don’t bring the kind of joy I feel when I see you laughing, or when our child one day takes their first steps.”

Evelyn was silent, her eyes welling up with tears. She squeezed his hand, a soft smile playing on her lips. “You’re right, Butch,” she said, her voice choked with emotion. “And I think… I think we can make our own adventures, right here. Adventures of love, of family, of building a home.”

Butch smiled, pulling her into his arms. “That sounds like the best kind of adventure.”

And so, they made a pact, a promise to each other and to themselves. No matter what life threw at them, they would face it together, seeking out the peaceful adventures that brought them joy and fulfillment. They would build a life, a home, filled with love, laughter, and the kind of happiness that only comes from inner peace.

After that, Butch rose. Tomorrow was to be a big day. He had to make sure they were ready.

He stood before his safe, the rough metal cold beneath his fingertips. The room was bathed in soft light from the oil lamp on the desk, and the sound of the safe’s lock turning seemed unusually loud, the clicks echoing in the quiet room.

Butch pulled the safe’s door open, revealing neat stacks of bills and coins. His gaze flitted over the piles of money, each one a testament to the hard work and diligence he and Evelyn had put in over the past few months.

He reached into the safe and pulled out a small leather-bound notebook. He flipped it open to the latest entry, his neat handwriting detailing the amount saved and the jobs he and Evelyn had done to earn it.

He looked at the last entry, his brows furrowed in concentration. He had just finished a job helping old Mrs. Ferguson with her creaky fence. That added another five dollars to their savings. Evelyn had been doing sewing work for the townsfolk, her nimble fingers creating beautiful dresses and shirts that had the whole town talking. She’d made another seven dollars that week.

Their savings were growing steadily, and the excitement of their plan gave them an extra push to work harder, to save more. Butch felt a thrill every time he added another entry to their savings book, the anticipation of their goal making him eager to see it come to fruition.

As he counted the money, his mind wandered to their plan. He could see it in his mind’s eye, the image so clear he could almost touch it. It was a dream they both had, one they had spoken of in hushed whispers under the cover of night, voices filled with a mix of hope and apprehension.

Evelyn’s eyes lit up every time they spoke of it, her excitement infectious. He couldn’t wait to see her face when they finally achieved their goal. The thought brought a smile to his face, contentment filling him.

He made a note of their total savings, his heart pounding with anticipation. They were close, so close he could almost taste it. Butch withdrew the money, looking at the figure at the bottom of the book and wondering.

Is it enough?

He blew out the oil lamp, plunging the room into darkness. He felt a sense of satisfaction. They were on the right path, their hard work paying off. Cradling the small sack of coins in his hand, Butch descended the worn wooden staircase. His boots echoed softly in the dimly lit corridor, the familiar creak of the floorboards beneath his weight a comforting sound. He moved through the house, each room filled with memories of the time they had spent there.

For two months, they had been calling Sonny’s abandoned ranch home. The once-bustling ranch had fallen silent after its owner’s untimely demise. The vast property, nestled against the backdrop of the sweeping Montana landscape, had been left untouched, the cattle sold off and the ranch hands sent away.

The house itself was grander than any Butch had ever lived in. Ornate tapestries graced the walls and handcrafted furniture filled the rooms. The high ceilings echoed with a past full of prosperity and power. But for Butch and Evelyn, it had become more than just a remnant of Sonny’s life; it had become a haven, a place where they could dream of a future.

Walking through the property, Butch could see the signs of their life together. The stable where he taught Evelyn to saddle a horse, the small garden they started near the creek, the fireplace where they huddled together on chilly nights. He could picture Evelyn’s laughter echoing through the vast emptiness, her presence filling the ranch with a warmth it had long been missing.

Yet, the shadow of uncertainty hung over their small piece of paradise. The ranch was up for sale and with each passing day, the possibility of having to pack up their life and move grew. The auction had arrived.

Butch had awoken early, his stomach in a knot.

He walked the boundary of the ranch, the money in his pocket a constant reminder of their mission. The morning light bathed the sprawling fields in a soft glow, the rustle of the wind through the grass a gentle lullaby. The ranch was quiet, peaceful, as if holding its breath for the promise of a new beginning.

Butch looked out over the land, his heart heavy with a mix of hope and dread. This was home now, and the thought of losing it twisted his gut. He clenched his fists, the coins in his pocket pressing into his palm. They had been saving, working tirelessly to gather the funds they needed. Now, all they could do was wait and hope it was enough. And if it wasn’t? Butch didn’t allow his mind to wander down that path. For now, the ranch was their home, their haven. And he would fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.

Butch stepped over to the place that was once his bunk. It was such a small room. The night he had first slept there, he remembered that he had carried with him only a small bag. All his possessions could fit inside. It was strange to think of how far he had come.

He turned his thoughts back to Sonny, the man whose desire for dominance had triggered it all. There was a bitter taste at the back of his mouth as he thought of the man, of a life given over to anger and a relentless pursuit of power. The man was dead now. He’d found it hard to get used to the idea.

Evelyn came to stand beside him, her hand finding his, their fingers intertwining in silent understanding. He felt a swell of gratitude for her, for the strength and determination she had shown throughout their ordeal. She was his rock in these turbulent times, and he found himself looking forward to their upcoming wedding, a beacon of hope and joy amidst the remnants of conflict.

A soft sigh escaped his lips as considered their future together. They were about to embark on a new journey, one that was fraught with uncertainty but held the promise of happiness. He knew he was ready for it. Ready to bid goodbye to his past, to leave the days of gunfights and outlaw pursuits behind him. As they made their way back to town, he took one last look at the ranch, a chapter of his life that was now coming to a close.

On the slow ride, Butch could feel the undercurrent of excitement mixed with apprehension in the town. The streets were abuzz with speculation and gossip, the townsfolk curious about who would be the new owner of the disputed land. Butch himself wasn’t immune to the nervous anticipation. He knew securing the ranch wouldn’t be easy—the competition would be fierce and the stakes were high.

Evelyn, however, remained a calming influence. She would often catch his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. Her confidence in him was unwavering, her belief in their future unshakable. It was this faith that bolstered his own resolve. He couldn’t let his fears get the better of him. He had a promise to keep, a future to secure, not just for him but for Evelyn, as well.

They would need to be strategic, to be patient, and most importantly, to not lose hope. As Evelyn laid her head on his shoulders, her hand clasping his in a show of solidarity, Butch felt a renewed surge of determination.

On Blondie’s back, the two arrived, setting onto the street, their money in hand. Butch sucked in a breath and noticed that Evelyn had suddenly stopped.

“What is it?” he asked.

Her eyes were steely. “He’s here.”

Butch looked on, seeing that her father awaited them outside the grand auction house. As they approached, the mayor straightened, trying to put on a brave face.

“Evelyn,” he began, his voice hoarse, “I…”

But she interrupted him, her own voice steady. “I don’t want your apologies, Father,” she said. “I want your understanding.”

The mayor faltered, taken aback by the resolve in his daughter’s voice. Evelyn continued, her words ringing clear in the silent morning.

“You tried to control my life, tried to sell me off to the highest bidder like some commodity. But I am not a piece of property to be traded.” She took a deep breath, her gaze unwavering as she held her father’s. “I am my own person, Father, and I will make my own choices. I will marry who I want, live where I want, and do what I want. And I choose Butch.”

The silence that followed was deafening. Butch could see the struggle in the mayor’s face, the battle between his paternal instincts and his ingrained beliefs. He stayed silent, standing by Evelyn’s side.

Finally, he nodded, the lines on his face softening. “I… I understand, Evelyn,” he said, barely above a whisper. “I may not agree with your choices, but I… I respect them.”

Evelyn gave him a small nod, her face softening for a moment before she turned and walked away, her hand finding Butch’s. Butch cast a glance back at the mayor, the older man looking lost and forlorn on his porch.

As they walked away, Butch felt a wave of admiration for Evelyn. She had stood up to her father and had spoken her truth without fear. He gave her hand a squeeze, a silent promise of his support, no matter what the future held for them.

They took their seats and waited. The crowd that had gathered for the auction was buzzing with anticipation, eyes flicking between the auctioneer’s stand and the two main bidders—Butch and Charlie. Everyone knew that both men had their eye on it.

The auction started off slow, the bids rising steadily as the ranch’s merits were described in enthusiastic detail by the auctioneer. Butch had been saving every dollar he could spare for this moment, and he felt a knot of anxiety in his stomach as the bids climbed.

Charlie, with his seemingly bottomless wallet, seemed to take pleasure in outbidding Butch at every opportunity. A smirk played on his lips as he raised his hand, his voice carrying clearly over the murmurs of the crowd. Butch gritted his teeth, keeping his expression neutral, his hand squeezing Evelyn’s in silent reassurance.

The bids continued to increase, each one a sharp spike of anxiety for Butch. He could see the end of his savings fast approaching, and he cast a worried glance at Evelyn. She gave him a soft smile, her confidence in him unwavering.

With a deep breath, Butch raised his hand, making his final bid. The crowd fell silent, all eyes turning to Charlie. Butch could feel his heart pounding in his chest as he waited for Charlie’s counter bid.

But to his surprise, Charlie simply leaned back, his smirk replaced by a look of satisfaction. “The ranch is yours, Butch,” he said, raising his glass in a toast.

A wave of relief washed over Butch as the auctioneer’s gavel came down, the sound echoing across the square. He had done it. The ranch was truly theirs.

The crowd erupted into cheers, clapping Butch on the back and congratulating him. Evelyn threw her arms around him, her eyes shining with joy. “We did it, Butch,” she whispered into his ear, “We have our home.”

As the sun set, painting the sky with hues of gold and purple, Butch felt content. He had found his place in the world, with Evelyn by his side. And he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Slim and Jed awaited them out the front of the auction house, their laughter blending with the sounds of celebration. Slim, having fully recovered from his injury, had a newfound zest for life that was infectious. He slapped Butch on the back, beaming.

“You got room for one more at that ranch of yours, Butch?” he asked, with a mischievous wink.

As they walked toward the saloon, Evelyn leaned in close to Butch, her eyebrows raised. “Since when is that little greasy fella going to be living with us?” she murmured into his ear.

Butch let out a hearty laugh, pulling her closer. “Since he helped save our hides,” he responded, grinning.

No sooner had they entered the saloon, Charlie appeared at Butch’s side. He extended a hand, an earnest look on his face.

“I’d like to propose something, Butch,” he began, “We could… work together on the ranch. Share the workload, share the profits.”

Butch blinked in surprise, but slowly, he began to see the sense in Charlie’s proposal. He took the man’s hand and shook it firmly. “I’d be a fool not to take you up on that, Charlie,” he said.

***

The day ended with Butch and Evelyn standing on the porch of their newly acquired ranch, looking out over their land. Butch took Evelyn’s hand in his, a happy sigh escaping his lips. He looked down at her, his eyes reflecting the beautiful sunset.

“We made it, Ev,” he said softly, “We’re finally home.”

And so, they began their new life, with the echoes of the past fading behind them. The journey had been long and arduous, but they had found their peace. With love and friendship by their side, they looked forward to the future with hope and anticipation. It was a new beginning, a chance to build the life they had always dreamed of. And they were ready to seize it with both hands.

The porch of the newly acquired ranch offered a panorama of the sprawling acres that now belonged to Butch and Evelyn. The vast expanse of untamed land spread out before them, mirroring the enormity of the future they now faced together.

Butch leaned on the wooden railing, his eyes tracing the rolling hills and the distant tree line. A sense of tranquility washed over him, a feeling he had yearned for but rarely experienced in his turbulent past. He felt Evelyn’s presence beside him, her arm brushing against his, offering a warmth that was both comforting and assuring.

He turned to look at her, her eyes reflecting the twilight, her lips curved into a serene smile. A sense of immense gratitude welled up within him, for the journey that had led him to her, for the battles they had fought together, and for the life they were about to embark on.

“We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?” he mused aloud, his voice barely above a whisper. Evelyn nodded, leaning her head onto his shoulder. “Yes, we have. And we have a long way yet to go,” she responded, her words resonating with the promise of countless shared tomorrows.

Their laughter and shared dreams filled the cool evening air, painting a picture of a future filled with hope and potential. They had overcome many hurdles, faced their demons, and emerged stronger. This land, this home was a testament to their resilience, a symbol of their shared victory.

The sounds of the night began to fill the air, a soothing lullaby to the end of a memorable day. In the quietude, Butch felt an overwhelming peace settle over him. This was home. This was where he belonged.

Standing here, with Evelyn by his side, he was not longer the gun-slinging outlaw. He was a man who had found a purpose, a man who had found love, and above all, a man who had found a home.

As the first stars began to twinkle in the night sky, Butch took a deep breath, the cool air filling his lungs. The journey had been long and challenging, but he was here now. And as he held Evelyn closer, he knew he wouldn’t have it any other way. He was ready for whatever the future held.

***

The next morning, Butch found Evelyn on the porch, perched on the swing, her eyes fixed on the sprawling fields that stretched out before them. He approached her, his boots thudding softly against the wooden floorboards. She turned at the sound.

“Thinking hard?” Butch asked, settling down beside her.

Evelyn shrugged, her gaze returning to the vast expanse of land. “Just about the future.”

Butch nodded, a wistful smile on his face. He turned the bag of coins over in his hand, the metal clinking softly. “About the ranch?”

“About us,” she corrected, turning to face him. Her eyes shone in the morning light, determination etched in their depths. “Butch, do you even know how to run a ranch?”

“Charlie will help with that,” He chuckled softly, a sheepish grin on his face. “Can’t say I’ve had much experience, no.”

Evelyn nodded, her fingers absently tracing patterns on the worn wood of the swing. “Well, we’re going to have to learn. Can’t leave it all up to Charlie.”

A laugh bubbled up in Butch’s throat. “We?”

“Of course. Did you think I was going to let you have all the fun?” Evelyn grinned, her eyes sparkling with mischief. “I’ve always fancied myself a businesswoman.”

“But this is a ranch, Evie, not a business.”

Evelyn shrugged, her grin unwavering. “A ranch is a business, Butch. It’s just a different kind.”

Butch tilted his head, considering. He’d always seen ranching as hard work, dirty and tiring. But Evelyn was right, it was a business. And if there was one thing he knew about her, it was that she could turn her hand to anything.

“So, what’s the plan?” he asked, leaning back in the swing.

Evelyn launched into an explanation, her hands moving animatedly as she described their potential cattle breeds, the best crops for the soil, the need for reliable ranch hands, and her ideas for improving the local cattle market. Her voice was full of excitement and anticipation, eyes alight with the prospect of their new venture.

Butch listened in awe as Evelyn painted a picture of their future, her words weaving a tapestry of possibilities. He had known Evelyn was smart, but listening to her now, he was struck by her intelligence and ambition.

They spent the rest of the morning on that swing, planning and dreaming, their laughter echoing in the cool night air. Their future might be uncertain, their dreams ambitious, but with Evelyn by his side, he felt invincible.

And as the sun began to rise, Butch and Evelyn remained there, their hands entwined, their hearts full of hope. Their dreams were ambitious, their plans grand. But they had each other and the will to make it work. And as they watched the hot Montana sun burning bright over their land, they knew they were ready for whatever the future held.

THE END


Readers who read this book also liked

16 thoughts on “When Greed Takes Over – Extended Epilogue”

  1. An awesome story by Derek that keeps you turning pages until the end, then you wish it would continue for several more pages. A follow up book would be awesome on Butch and Evelyn

  2. Hi, Derek. You have another wonderful book here. I was unable to write my recommendation to others because that window closed and I was unable to reopen it. If I could have, it would have gone like this:

    Read this if you like to finish a book convinced you are a better person yourself after having read it. It follows a proven approach. Have a Purpose. Develop a Plan that will attain that Purpose. And put together a Course of Action to make it happen. Be ready to change course to stay on track because stuff happens and that requires flexible effective shifting of Course. You do what you have to do to be where your Purpose lies. This book has all of that. Learn from it. You can do it!

  3. Derek, this was another wonderful read. I believe this is your best book to date. I sure wish that you could do something to correct the many grammatical errors. At any rate, it was a fantastic story with great characters. Keep us the good work and don’t stop writing.

    Btw, just below the epilogue link, there is still a link for one of your other books. Try to get the two to match please.

    1. I’m humbled, Seah!

      I’m really grateful for your support and kind feedback!

      I’m glad to hear that you enjoy my stories! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

    2. I’m humbled, Seah!

      I’m really grateful for your support and kind feedback! I’m glad to hear that you enjoy my stories! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

  4. Lots of action and suspense as well as a mystery to discover and solve. Enjoyed the book and will keep reading.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, Margaret. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

  5. I read this and loved it. I loved the action flowing through the story. I loved the message. I think that this and Under the Gunslinger’s Watchful Eye would make great movies. Keep up the talent. May God bless you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *