It almost took a crowbar to finally part the two young ladies from their sobbing, sniffing embrace. Miriam was so relieved and her mood had went from the deep pit of depression to now where she almost felt like she could soar among the clouds (well, mood wise - let's not get carried away).
Arabella didn't waste any further time though now that this whole crucial matter was settled and departed after one further hug then even as the girl was leaving, Miriam stated her name once more and waved goodbye as she exited the shop.
"Miss Kaufmann, may I assume that you wish to break off your association with Mr Wigfall? Perhaps it would be better if you would allow me to talk to the young man - I can hardly use the term gentleman - and let us only pray that there are no further consequences!"
"Oh no need, sir, thank you for the generous offer though," Miriam shook her head, "Hector and I had a fruitful and frank discussion over a picnic lunch. We agreed that neither of us had any actual long term interest in a relationship. We parted quite amiably."
"That was wrong...sinful of us, I know that, but it was just a spur of the moment thing, we got carried away until one thing led to another. It will never happen again."
As for those further consequences Pettigrew was referring to, Miriam fully knew what he meant but she was just desperately optimistic that nothing would come of it.
"Now then, ladies!" her about to be ex-employer boomed in stentorian tones as the three of them lined up, "I CANNOT have these goings-on in MY store and I WILL know what this is all about! Who will tell me?!" he demanded.
Miriam was too distraught to say anything, tears rolling down both cheeks.
However to no ones surprise, Arabella piped up immediately.
"Well... see, me and Miriam is in love with each other, y'know, like that 'love what dare not speak its name' what you told me about that time, Mr. Pettigrew. And then it turns out I loves her more'n she loves me cause she went and had 'that love what does dare speak its name' with her brother..." she pointed at Jemima almost accusingly "... and I come in here and was bein' all horrible to Miriam because, well, I don't know why, cause I love her more 'n anything in the world an... an..."
Miriam was just standing there like one awaiting the firing squad to finish her off when she heard those words come from Aar. She did? She still did? It wasn't over? Miriam turned wide eyed, snatching at hope and hanging on for dear life.
Then Arabella burst out into tears "I'm sorry, Dolly, I'm sorry I made you cry!!!" she bawled and threw her arms around Miriam with great heaving sobs.
Miriam did the same and never before had she ever hugged any person so hard in all her life. She was still crying but now it was tears of relief, joy even, "I'm sorry too. This was all my fault!"
"Lord, I think I'm gonna be sick." commented Jemima obviously disgusted.
Like Miriam cared, she didn't even care anymore if Mr. Pettigrew fired her. She had not lost the most important person in her life. Whatever would come of all this, she could survive, endure because she wasn't going to be alone.
Miriam was crying so hard while she rushed out the shop that too late to notice she plowed straight into a wide form coming her way on the boardwalk, about to enter the very place she was leaving so hastily. Both of them went down, the victim onto his back and her just to the side onto all fours. Only then did she realize just who she had collided with - her employer!
Well, if she wasn't going to be fired for abandoning her shift at the store, this would certainly seal her doom. Besides, did it even matter at this point? Her life was over - she was going to lose everything - job, reputation, the love and trust of her strict parents, and most of all, Arabella.
From behind her she heard the girls laughing! Well, Mr. Pettigrew certainly wasn't.
"Good Lord!" he shouted from the boardwalk "Get me up, get me up I say! What the Devil is going on here?"
Miriam turned her face toward the man, who was red with apoplexy. Hopefully he was injured other than his dignity. Tears streaming she sobbed, "I'm so sorry sir."
No sooner had she got that out but all the stress and emotion not to mention the sudden jolt of the collision was too much for her constitution. Turning her head away from him, the girl then vomited up her morning's breakfast.
Meanwhile the two more functioning young ladies had indeed yanked and tugged the rotund businessman up to his feet.
"In all my born days..." he rumbled as he regained his feet and pulled his comb-over back into place. "Inside, all three of you!! I will know what this is all about!!"
Oh god! Yet another person was about to know....at this pace by nightfall the entire town will have become aware. Along with the sadness and yes, guilt, something else came over Miriam then, a sense of total crushing defeat. Though still crying, she got up, ignoring a sizeable sliver in the palm of her hand from the wood of the boardwalk, she obeyed the man's orders because that was the more usual Miriam, meek, obedient, and proper. Who that was the other day with Hector, that person had been someone else quite different, an abberation.
So the four of them ended up back within the shop, Miriam looking quite miserable.
"Most important? That's a laugh, you've broken my heart Miriam Kaufmann, we're through!" Arabella was crying now.
"I'm telling you the truth!" tears were welling up in Miriam's eyes too, one trickling down a cheek. This was a nightmare!
Just when she thought it couldn't get any worse, there had been a noise in back but it was not her kindly boss, it was...........oy vey! Hector's sister!
"It isn't Pettigrew, it's me!" roared Jemima as she flew through the curtains and goggled at Miriam.
Her first sentence already indicated to Miriam she knew what had happened between her and Hector. That was it.............her life was ruined. It was crumbling right there and then. She half expected Jemima to physically attack her. Maybe Arabella thought the same?
Arabella grabbed some pinking shears, threw herself in front of Miriam and yelled "You keep away from her. Go away, this ain't nuthin' to do with you!"
It was all too much for the once shy mousey girl (before she had met Arabella that is) and at this very moment Miriam did not even think about something as mundane as her job. Sobbing aloud now, she raced from the behind the counter straight for the front door, flung it open, and exited this scene which she simply could not deal with!
"Well, here's your chance." the usually verbose Arabella said, baldly.
"Here? Right now? I'm working and at any moment some customer might come waltzing into the store. This is the sort of conversation which should be just between the two of us. I promise I do want to tell you...tell you everything," Miriam explained.
"Nothing has really changed ....honest, you still are the most important person in my life, Ara. Just because Bridgette peeked into a window for a moment does not mean she knows what all happened and the reasons why."
There was some sort of faint noise in the back, Miriam turned to look before reverting to facing her best friend.
"That might be Mr. Pettigrew now. Please....Ara," she pleaded.
"Oh, what do you mean?!!" Arabella imitated Miriam's feigned innocence "I'll tell you what I mean Miss Miriam Kaufmann! What I mean is I been talkin' to a certain little dickie bird. I ain't sayin' who it is, but Bridget Monahan's who it is. And... and long time Sunday mornin' she was goin' about - as is her wont - pokin' her big freckled nose up against folks's winders, and she looked through the back winder of your Papa's new butcher store..." Arabella folded her arms and tipped her head like she knew that the next question would be the killer:
Miriam now was certain the jig was up as the old saying went. She pretty much knew the next question coming up too. It showed in her wide eyes.
"... and what do you suppose she saw?"
Miriam had never been a good liar, well even more she almost never attempted to lie. And plus, this was Arabella who she would be lying to! No, she could not do it.
"Oh....I'm sorry. I was going to tell you, I was going to explain everything but I had not gotten a chance to get over to the saloon yet. Honest. Besides, it's not what you think. I can explain if you just give me a chance," Miriam now began her desperate defense.
It was a normal enough work day, Miriam was working at the sewing machine per usual. She actually enjoyed it, her employer was a most kindly fellow who had been unstinting in his attempts to teach her the tricks of the trade and also keeping her appraised of the latest fashion news from the East. Miriam's confidence had grown by leaps and bounds.
So she was in one of her usual good moods when Jemima, who had answered the door, informed her "You'd better get behind the counter while I go in the stock room. We got a queer lookin' customer out front."
"Huh? Alright, if you say so," Miriam stood up and did as Jemima had asked. Why it was just Arabella, a smile lit up Miriam's face.
"Good morning!" Miriam waved but apparently it was not for her best friend.
"Hello, Miriam." That had a stern sound to it. Arabella was definitely not smiling.
"Have you got something to tell me?"
Then it hit her. Arabella knows! How, Miriam had no idea but she knew alright. The young Jewess went pale and froze in place. (So much for playing dumb.)
"Ummm, tell you? I...what do you mean?" Miriam stammered.
Hector was fine with her concept, much to Miriam's relief, setting down the blanket for their impromptu picnic lunch. Once seated the girl unpacked the basket. There were enough pieces of chicken for probably four let alone two of them. However Miriam knew boys had hearty appetites. The bread, a half loaf, should do just fine. As for the wine, Miriam had brought two tin cups, she had considered crystal goblets but if she broke one of those her mother would find out and be furious. It would also lead to questions. With a tin cup, you'd have to bash them with a hammer to damage them. They also held a lot of wine and she poured them to their brim.
"Miss Kaufmann, er, Miriam, listen... you... you look so beautiful today that... well.... can I give you a little kiss?? See, then I won't have to worry about if you're ever going to let me kiss you, and, well, I can get on enjoying talking to you and, er, eating this nice picnic you brought along!"
"Oh? I did not see that coming," she lied expertly, Ara was a bad influence there.
"I suppose you have kissed quite a few girls before, as handsome as you are? Well, I have an admission to make, I have never been kissed by a boy ," Miriam revealed.
"However that said, I am more than willing to experience new things....with boys," she added, maybe she shouldn't have tossed in the last two words.
"She is?" Miriam was surprised Hector would admit to being someone like that? He sure didn't seem to be that person as far as her admittedly limited conversations with him. She didn't know Clara all that well but that girl seemed a bit ...well, reserved, solemn. Miriam was surprised she was already married really. Nevermind, she needed to concentrate on the here and now. She had a plan, she needed to focus on it.
So he could have wine, that was good though he seemed a bit uncertain about it at first. Maybe he was just nervous? Well, so was she! But she plowed on.
"Are we eating here or somewhere else?" he suddenly asked.
"Yes, we have privacy in here and while it doesn't look like rain, even if it does we will be fine in here. I can just spread this blanket on the floor," Miriam answered.
"Is all this good with you, I don't want to do anything you do not wish to do," she added.
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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