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  1. James smiled back, forgetting again that she could not see it. Truthfully he would be hard pressed to stop himself from doing such things even in her presence but for those who had sight, they would struggle to imagine how she lived as well as she did without it. It was as ingrained in him as it was for her doing without. Because he’d been raised at all-male boarding schools, the young British man had very limited experience with the fairer sex, this was simply a fact, one that James had no trouble acknowledging. When she joked with the Marshall regarding being weighed down with metal coins, James chuckled at her jest, stopping suddenly as something occurred to him. “I say!” He exclaimed, then rushed on, “Have you ever given thought to folding each kind of bill in a different way so that you can tell which is which?” He caught his breath then, waiting to see what she or the Marshall thought of his latest idea. If she needed his assistance in the folding, he'd be happy to help her. As she suspected, James was obvious to the fact that she was gently flirting with him, taking everything at face value, his inexperience with the fairer sex once again rearing it’s head. He caught something of the heat that colored her cheeks, and the errant thought passed through his mind that she might be falling ill. Not uncommon so soon after the passing of a loved one.
  2. This wasn’t the first time James had been accused of being too serious or of being unable to take a joke. “I did study geology in school.” James told the older man with a shrug since it had not been his focus as law ultimately ended up being. “I did not however study animal husbandry so I know next to nothing about cattle.” Or horses he thought, suppressing a shudder since he wasn’t comfortable at all around the big animals. The younger man nodded in response to his companion’s enthusiasm. “Geology actually.” James told her when she bounced her way back up to them, a bright smile on her face. He smiled down at her, since there was something very appealing about the way she approached life
  3. When Ada asked how he was dealing with people, men specifically, the color leached from James’ naturally fair complexion, leaving his face very nearly white. “Training?” he stammered, his stomach churning within him. “You mean I will have to teach them what they’re going out to look for?” Getting people to listen to him had never been James’ strong suit. In school, he’d been a good student and his thin gawky build had not endeared him to the majority of the men he’d encountered since his arrival in America. He felt that paperwork no matter how troublesome was preferable to trying to train people to do anything. Especially the rough and ready types that were so prevalent here in the United States. He did understand the concept of selling merchandise at a profit. “That makes sense.” he murmured in reference to her last bit of information. ”Though I am curious about one thing. Where do you store the lumber?” James was new to the town, that was certainly true, but he didn’t remember seeing anywhere big enough to store raw lumber.
  4. James’ gaze dropped instinctively to her feet before returning to her face, laughing along with her little joke. At least he assumed it was a joke since there was nothing on her shoes to indicate that she had stepped in anything on her way over? James blinked, suddenly envious of the confidence that she displayed. It was something that he lacked. Standing up for himself hadn’t gone well the few times that he had dared when his brother and his cronies had tormented him at school. Though in James’ defense Henry and his chums had been bigger and older. It was hardly a fair fight. “To be fair I think it’s more important that you’re used to them rather than me.” He stopped before adding any more inane comments. Pen in hand, James listened carefully as she explained what it was that she needed to be done in regards to her late brother’s estate. He asked a few questions when there was a point that he needed clarification James nodded, then realized what he’d just done in front of the blind woman and spoke, “I’d be delighted to assist you in any way that I can Miss Grimes.” He hurriedly assured her. What the Marshall said made sense once he thought about it. She could feel coins and tell one from after based on size but would be unable to tell one bill from another without the ability to see.
  5. James blinked, a slow smile spreading over his lips, though there was a wistful air about it. He might not be married or feel that he was much of a prospect for a wife being young and still unemployed. But he always assumed that he would one day marry a nice respectable girl. How and where he’d meet her James hadn’t a clue, especially now in his land so very far away from where he'd been born and raised. “I err.. Well… I studied law at university.” James told Pettigrew, his cheeks once again slowly getting bright red. “Didn’t have much call to study geology I’m afraid.” He said feeling as if he’d done something wrong. Not that he’d had much choice in what he ended up studying. As the son of a noble, James had few options open for him. Manual labor wasn’t considered an option, not even for the second son of the poorest of noble families. Law was about the only acceptable field for someone such as himself to work for a living.
  6. “I’ll do what I can to help you Miss.” James assured her, though he was not hardly a detective. Not that she seemed to need that, or she would have gone to the marshall rather than to him. A burst of laughter erupted from James’ lips at the image her words conjured up. “I do have hair, a rather dull shade of brown I’m afraid, but my head is covered with it.” He ran his fingers through his rather shaggy mane since he hadn’t had it cut in far too long. “Not like yours which has warmth and depth. Hints of red and gold woven through it.” James blushed, his voice trailing off awkwardly since he’d spoken without thinking. Clearing his throat he changed the subject praying she would say nothing in response to his unexpected comments. “My pleasure.” He said, as their hands slid slowly apart so he could do what he needed for her comfort while she revealed what she wanted from him. James had never thought much about how a blind person lived or if they dreamed of when it came to marrying. He’d never really had much life experience to be honest. He was still young and barely out of the classroom. As a younger son, his prospect had always been dim and now, robbed of what he’d once had seemed bleaker than ever. For now his sole focus was finding a way to support himself in the frontier. The notion of supporting a wife had yet to seriously cross his mind, But when it did, he would think less of what she looked like, since he was hardly a prize, but that she would prove to be a helpmate. Able to tend to the house while he worked outside of it to support them. Alarm made James’ eyes go wide, fearing he’d somehow offended her. “I’m sorry if I somehow offended you MIss Frances.” He stammered quickly, his cheeks going red again. “That was not my intention.” For the next few minutes the only sound that came from James was the scratching from his pen as he took quick notes based on what Frances was telling him about her deceased brother. He frowned, thinking that her brother reminded him of his own older brother, Henry. Who’d stolen the bulk of his inheritance from their father, leaving James unable to complete his studies.
  7. James gave a shy smile, nodding in agreement to the older man’s words. He had no trouble believing what Mr. Pettigrew said about how a polished stone might need to be watched out for rather than the rougher uncut ones. He took the other man’s hand, giving a firm shake. The way the words rolled so smoothly off his tongue had James blinking in some surprise, an errant thought crossing his mind that he must have practiced that many times in the past. “I dare say that I will have no need of your services.” The young man said with a smile, intending no insult, “Or at least not any time soon.” He amended since the services that Pettigrew provided were for ladies, not men. “I… Thank you.” James accepted the card, his hand twitching towards his pocket before he stilled it since what cards he still had were tucked away in one of his trucks, rather useless since they bore a title that he didn’t use here. It didn’t help him stay clothed and fed so he’d stopped using it while he’d been in Boston, well before making his way out to the wilds of the frontier.
  8. When the young lady rose, thrusting her hand in his general direction, James moved forward, his own hand reaching out towards her smaller one when she spoke, directing him to take her hand. “Yes of course.” James said, his tone apologetic for not realizing it sooner. When her other hand came to rest against the back of his hand, James gave a gentle squeeze, not wanting to hurt the delicate fingers in his grasp. James didn’t consider himself particularly strong by any stretch of the imagination but her slender fingers made his hand feel big and rough in comparison. “Oh….” James breathed, faintly relieved by her request. “I can certainly guide you through handling his affairs. Though I should tell you that while I did study law I was not able to complete my studies so I fear that I may not be the best person for prosecuting anyone.” He laid his other hand atop their still clasped fingers. “That being said, I know the law well enough to help defray the cost of an actual practicing soli… err lawyer.” When the marshal announced that he had to going, commenting that he was leaving the young blind lady in James’ capable hands, James flushed, touched by the confidence shown him by the marshal. “Yes sir.” He murmured, then turned his full attention back to Frances even though she couldn’t tell. “Shall we sit?” He suggested, “My desk is back here.” James looked at the distance between where they stood and the location of his desk. “Um… I think I’ll need a moment first. To bring the other chair to my desk. Wait here?” He eased his hand free of hers, then hurried to move the chair over to the other side of his desk. Then he returned to her side, “Here.” He said so she would know he’d returned, then took her hand again, guiding her to the chair he’d moved for her. Once she was seated, James took his own seat, drawing a piece of paper and a pen towards him. “Tell me about your brother’s affairs.”
  9. His errand done, James waited on the edge of the street for the stagecoach to pass down the road before he started across back to the surveyor’s office. Once he reached the door, James paused a moment, smoothing down his hair before he turned the knob and walked in. The sight of the young woman with the cloth tied over her eyes, sitting in one of the chairs. “Hello.” James said, his words betraying his origins, even as he gave a slightly puzzled look at the Marshall and Miss Ada. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m James Vaughn.” Raised to be polite, he started to offer his hand, flushed when it hit him that she must not be able to see, and clasped his hands behind his back, watching her with a slight smile on his face. James hadn’t had any real experience with the blind before, so he did his best not to stare. She might not have been able to see him, but it felt rude to the young man. Rather like the way that his schoolmates had treated him back at boarding school. He’d hated it so doing anything of the like to someone else was out of character for him.
  10. A tiny smile curved James’ lips went she used his term for work that the men scouting out the new territories did, secretly glad that he would not have to do anything of the sort. “How often do you have to purchase land?” He asked, turning to look at the maps on the walls again, trying to hide the flush of pride when she called him too valuable. “Forgive me.” He said with another of his long slow smiles. “I dearly love to learn and I can not tell you how many times my teachers despaired of my impatience. Where shall I sit?” He asked, shrugging out of his jacket, and folding it over his arm awaiting a reply from his new employers. When directed to his new work station, James took a seat and dove into the task at hand.
  11. At Ralph’s muttered words, heat flooded James’ cheeks yet again. “Indeed they do.” He murmured back, “When they planned to enter an establishment like this one.” Not that he had much money left from the meager inheritance from his tightfisted elder brother, after his journey from his native land to the frontier. There was a certain amount of truth to Ralph’s opinion of James, though when he had the coin he’d been very generous to those who waited on him. Now, however, he didn’t have much to spare. A fact that he hoped to remedy when he secured employment here in town. James hadn’t meant to confound Arabella, but when she’d asked him for a song, he’d simply blurted out the first thing that had come to mind, His former nanny had sung it to him at bedtime before James had gotten old enough to be sent gone off to boarding school. James sang along under his breath, too shy to join in properly, but unable to resist the urge. He’d loved Moira as he would’ve the mother he’d never had the chance to know. Guilt for his empty pockets colored James’ face, but he swore to himself that when he found a job and had money to spare he would brave the tavern again to buy a drink for the old Irishman who’d given him a bit of his childhood back. James managed, barely, not stammer how he’d no intention of courting the young lady. Instead he nodded somberly, “Thank you my good man for the warning.” He looked over at the young lady in question, a hint of affection in his eye. “She has a good heart.” He murmured as if to himself. Since this was true, James was gladder still that he’d managed to prevent the girl from doing harm to herself. He’d never dreamed of doing what he’d done but he now knew that if given the choice he’d do it again without a thought.
  12. James closed his eyes for a moment, mentally chastising himself before turning to study the map mounted on the wall the Marshall indicated. He stepped closer, nodding slightly as the older man explained what each of the colors of the various parcels of land meant. “Who does the exploration?” James asked curiously, though he hoped that did not fall to him. He suspected that those areas were some distance away and he didn’t ride. In fact, James was rather afraid of horses and did his best to stay well clear of the huge animals. “That makes a great deal of sense,” James inclined his head toward Ada, tearing his gaze from the map to the woman once she spoke up. He smiled warmly at Ada, “I’m relieved to hear it as I’m sure I will have questions while I’m learning your system.” That the green areas didn’t change made sense to him, given the fact that most estates in England had been held by the same noble families for countless generations back. His own family had owned and lived on their lands since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
  13. The contents of her pockets reminded James just how young she was. When he’d been in school his own pockets had been full of similar items, though heavier on the rocks and twigs than bobbin, crochet hooks, or the like. Like Arabella, James went crimson over the response to his gentlemanly treatment of the young girl at his side. “It’s just the way a gentleman treats a lady.” He stammered in Arabella’s wake. “At least back home.” He concluded, rather wishing that the floor would open up and swallow him whole. The only thing that kept him from bolting outright was the nagging feeling that the one who would suffer for his cowardice was Arabella. Arabella’s worry about him having fallen in love with her was utterly groundless since they’d only just met. James wasn’t looking for a relationship at this stage of his life, his sole focus being finding his feet so to speak in this strange, new country. Unaware that he was the focus of her whirling thoughts, James simply smiled warmly down at the small girl at his side. He was glad however that she wasn’t going to have to spend her coin on a drink for him that he hadn’t really wanted in the first place. “You are too kind Miss Arabella.” He murmured softly, for her ears alone. “Jennie, the Flower of Kildare.” James blurted out the first song that popped into his head, heedless of the fact that it was a song Arabella wasn’t likely to know. They were in America now after not, not England.
  14. James opened his mouth intending to repeat his earlier statement about how he would not let the marshal down but he caught himself a bare second before ding so. “The map sir?” He asked, eyes lit with curiosity, since he had always loved drawing. "I do have a fair hand with drawing. I assume that there is someone who can describe the terrain to me." This seemed a way he could use his skill in a practical way. Which was something he'd always been told would never amount to anything worthwhile. “Honestly Marshall, I'm not looking for excitement. I merely wish to earn a fair wage so I can survive out here.” He said, with a little shrug. The mention of bonuses was certainly a welcome one and his eyes brightened at the notion James smiled back at Ada, though if he’d known what she was thinking he’d likely have laughed and corrected her since he’s never really been much of a runner. Not even as a young lad, but he’d certainly walk the documents anywhere they needed to go.
  15. Since she was dragging in out of the room and away from the disapproving Caroline, James went along readily enough. But his steps stowed as he realized where exactly she was leading him. “Really don’t need to put yourself out on my account Miss Arabella.” He tried to tug his hand free without causing her harm, but his polite manners towards a lady meant that he was stuck, trailing along in Arabella’s wake. His attempts to speak and to free himself were lost beneath her rapid fire chatter, about whores? James’ flushed again, shocked by her knowledge of and reference to such matters. She was so young and while he knew that there were women who sold their bodies he was much older than she. “That’s…. Good.” He said faintly, his cheeks hot with embarrassed blood. “I should love to hear you play Miss Arabella.” That was true, but the idea of so young a lady setting foot in a saloon did not sit well with him. Still caught firmly in Arabella’s grasp, James gave an awkward nod in response to her shouted introduction, the ear nearest his young captor ringing slightly. He hadn’t expected her to do that and was surprised by the volume she managed to produce from so slight a frame. James’ eyes widened at Arabella’s offer to buy him a drink, “No need to trouble yourself with that my good man.” He told the burly bearded man standing behind the heavy wooden bar. He turned to Arabella, “While I do appreciate the offer Miss Arabella. It’s really not necessary.” He smiled gently at her, lifting their joined hands, twisting so he could lift her knuckles to his lips, pressing a kiss to the back of her hand. “No gentleman could ever accept payment for helping a lady as I did for you.” Wishing that he were anywhere but here, James missed the quick glance that Ralph sent his way, the bulk of his attention was on the young girl who still had a death grip on his arm, “It’s alright.” He whispered, intending his words to only reach Arabella’s ears. "I'm not much of a drinker anyway."

About Sagas

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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