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    • 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.
    • He tried to make it sound important enough that she should be interested in local politics but really what good did being interested do her? She could not change anything. She could not vote so to hell with it. The people she lived with, worked with were what was important to her. But she wasn't going to argue with him about it.   "Sure, I reckon," Caroline shrugged.   Then handsome young soldier...correction, officer now launched into a nice long tale of his family roots. It was fascinating really he knew all that much about his family history and those who came before. She didn't know a damn thing about such things in her own life. She was pretty damn sure the woman she called Ma had been the one to give birth to her but she was not positive. And there was even more doubt about her father or step father. No matter, they had been a family and stuck together til two out of three died. So now it was just her. Well, her and her saloon family.   "Interestin'," she nodded, enjoying the way he told the story as much as the actual story.   "So you see, in a hundred years time... the president of the United States will be tracing his roots back to a beautiful saloon singer in old Kalispell and a tramp in the street'll be vaguely aware that he is descended from the once great Greenes of Vermont." He shrugged. "Who cares, rich man, poor man, beggar man thief." he looked into the depths of her blue eyes "... or lady, baby, gypsy, queen."   "Not gonna happen that way. I'm never gonna get married and I ain't gonna have any children so no one is descendin' from me, hon. But I liked yer tellin' of it," she liked him, this dinner date had turned out better than she had figured it would.          
    • "Ah yeah, the mayor's election. Why should I care who wins? I can't even vote in it, "Caroline waved it off. Oh she would clap for and cheer on Mr. Priest whom her boss was pushing to win but she personally did not give a damn.   Greene shrugged. "Maybe not, but the person who's elected could make your life a lot better or a whole lot worse. You ever hear of a abomination that goes by the name of a 'dry county'? The poor b... er, denizens of a place like that probably didn't realise until too late what they were voting in." he laughed, although it was no laughing matter: reformers and prohibitionists were even in these early decades starting to make their voices heard.    He then mentioned being interested in listening to her and Ara perform.   "Please do. I don't want to sound like I'm braggin' but most folks say I've got a real nice singing voice. I admit my dancing is not that special but I just show them a little leg.......or more than a little...and they clap alright," she informed him.   "I can imagine!" he smiled. But it was a nice smile. A friendly smile. Not the sort of lascivious smile that indicated that he already had been imagining... frequently.    They talked of the famous Dance.   "Yeah, must have been before I arrived in town. No local dances for me yet...besides I got a feelin' my sort would not be welcomed at any such town affair. Those things are for proper folks."   Greene frowned. He didn't like to think of this beautiful woman being denigrated in any way: though he was not unaware of the snobby often hypocritical attitude of those who felt them selves a cut above the type of folks who worked in certain professions, including soldiers - at least the non-commissioned kind. Sometimes with good reason, often times not.   "You know, one of my aunts once had our family tree drawn up, just like the noble families of Europe. The fellow who did it even drew it like a tree, leaves, and apples, and all. We're real Vermont blue-bloods, you see, despite the green name. Aunt Mary-Anne expected our forefathers to have come across on the Mayflower, or with Captain Smith to Jamestown."   He smiled happily at the memory of it.   "Imagine her delight when the feller delivered our family tree and revealed that the first Greene to set foot on American soil was an indentured servant, a virtual slave, who'd been transported here for, get this, stealing apples from some rich lord's orchard!"    He enjoyed the memory of his snobby aunt's discomfort for a moment then returned to the present.   "So you see, in a hundred years time... the president of the United States will be tracing his roots back to a beautiful saloon singer in old Kalispell and a tramp in the street'll be vaguely aware that he is descended from the once great Greenes of Vermont." He shrugged. "Who cares, rich man, poor man, beggar man thief." he looked into the depths of her blue eyes "... or lady, baby, gypsy, queen."   @Wayfarer        
    • "Debate, you dumb bitch, it's called a debate," Caroline mumbled under her breath but the woman figured it out just then too.   Priest wasn't going to be rushed though. He would reveal all later was all he would promise. In that way the man was a true politician, promises a whole lot, she'd see if he actually delivered on anything. The politicians in Chicago had been crooked, the mayor of Helena had been well meaning but a bumbling fool, and the one here in Kalispell was ......well, she didn't even know who the hell that was, he was pretty much invisible. The town seemingly had been run by that one council member before he lit himself on fire.   Just then they got themselves a trio of new customers, rough looking lot but a customer was a customer. Fortner invited them to have a drink and they promptly bellied up to the bar. Of course Ralph was there, waiting to hear what they'd like.   "Three whiskies," one of the men said, after reaching into his coat and putting down some coinage.   "Sure nuff, comin' right up," Ralph nodded and reached for one of the cheap bottles, he was a pretty good judge of customers' taste and proclivities. He poured three shots of the powerful liquor.   Caroline swung into saloon girl mode too, sashaying up to the one lined up at the bar closest to her, gifting him with a bright smile, "Welcome! Have a long ride, did ya, hon?"    
    • He gazed up at the domed ceiling and was awe struck at it's beauty. He was taken aback by the obvious talent that it took to create such a beautiful thing. "Dang near as pretty as you, Em." was his comment. "Took 'em a while to get that done. Never seen the like."   And that was a fact. There had been nothing that he had seen before to compare to the glass domed ceiling, nothing. He suddenly felt out of place, something odd for him to feel, at any time, in any place, but it struck him here in this place. The sheer beauty of it touched him. What man could accomplish given the opportunity   "Now 'at's somethin'. Best we see what other marvels they got in this place. May not have time ta see everything." He pointed out. @Bongo

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Mature Content: Possibly?

With: Brendan, Arabella, Bridget, Crabbe, and maybe Charlie Fa
Location: Stardust Saloon/the old funeral parlor
When: July 28, 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

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Brendan's conversation with Caroline had stuck with him for the past three days. All of it, but especially the parts about Bridget. Even though he knew deep down that she was right - he shouldn't marry Bridget - something kept him thinking about the redhead.

 

Finally he decided he needed to talk to her...or at least try to. He clomped down the stairs and peeked into the saloon, searching for Arabella. What with all the recent changes in ownership at the saloon, he had tried to draw less attention to himself. Since the staff was all staying, and Caroline was part of the staff, he felt pretty secure, but you never knew.

 

"Arabella!" He finally spotted her and waved her over, already second-guessing himself. He must really be desperate if he was asking Arabella for help. Even though he had finally forgiven her for the things she'd said about Caroline, was she really the best person to ask? But she knew Bridget, and would know when a good time to talk to her without Crabbe around would be.

 

@Javia

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The saloon dogsbody and general drudge (as well as star piano player) was very pleased that Brendan was talking to her again: but now, really? When she had an armful of crumpled and less than fresh smelling clothing which needed her immediate attention? 

 

"Howdy, Cowboy? What's the story? You wanna help me with this here dirty laundry? I tell ya Mississippi, if I lay in and give Mr. Flandry's inexpressibles the treatment they really need with that old washboard, I'm gonna go right through 'em, and then I'll be up all night darnin' the darn things!" she expressed herself on the condition of Ralph's trapdoor union suits quite freely. 

 

"And Mr. Fortner might look pretty fancy on the outside, but these here socks of his could just about stand up and walk to the washtub on their own, I reckon."

 

She carried on walking to the scullery, where a washtub, washboard and mangle awaited her attentions. If Brendan wanted to talk, he'd have to follow her in there.

 

@Bailey

 

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"I ain't keen on doin' laundry." Brendan brushed off Arabella's request for help, softening his refusal with a grin. "You'll do a right good job of it, though."

 

Actually, he wasn't keen on doing any sort of work right now, but that was beside the point. It was nice to be lazy, and he'd been being lazy since he'd started living at the saloon, but there was always the nagging feeling that he ought to be doing something to make money. He couldn't stay in Caroline's room forever.

 

He followed her into the scullery and leaned against the wall, prepared to stand and watch her work. "You know Bridget pretty well, right?" he asked with no preamble.

 

He couldn't just come out and say "Crabbe asked me to marry Bridget," because if he told Arabella that, it could very well be all around town before the day was out. What he needed was to fish for information discreetly, which wouldn't be too hard. This was Arabella, after all. He just needed to prompt her, and then all he would have to do is stand and listen.

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If Arabella seemed completely unaware that Brendan was following her around the place for no particular reason, it was down to good acting on her part. He was up to something, or wanted something, or... well... something! Oh God! No! He wasn't going to ask her if he should ask Caroline to marry him, was he?!! In fact "Oh God! No!" would be her answer.  

 

He followed her into the scullery and leaned against the wall, prepared to stand and watch her work.

 

She started getting together the hot water and the washtub and the washboard and the soap flakes and ordering what needed to be washed first. She felt sort of tense.

 

"Guess you like watchin' girls do the laundry, huh?" she laughed nervously. Say, he wasn't going to try anything was he?! She was sort of aware that he was blocking the entrance to the narrow scullery room. She started scrubbing. Funny, she never got nervous round a mob of men, like in the bar-room, but all alone like this... No, hold on there, partner, she knew how to handle men. That was her proud boast. What was she worried about? Why if he....

 

"You know Bridget pretty well, right?" he asked with no preamble.

 

All Arabella's tension flowed right on out of her and, presumably into the washtub.

 

"Oh!!!!" she sighed gratefully. Phew. Is that what this was all about? She enjoyed the relief for a second, then let the sadness flow in. Bridget. She took a deep breath and from her kneeling position turned her dark blue eyes up to Brendan's brown. 

 

"Yeah. Why?" she asked simply. 

 

@Bailey

 

 

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As Brendan slouched against the wall, he rolled his shoulders to try to get rid of the odd tension he was feeling. But it wasn't his body, it was in the room. Arabella wasn't quite as carefree as she'd always been, and some of the tension in the room must be from her.

 

He tilted his head to one side, debating whether or not to answer her question. Sure, if the girl was shapely like...well, like Caroline, he'd enjoy watching her do laundry. But even though Arabella was filling out a little, he wasn't watching her in that way. He'd never in a million years think of her that way. She was just plain old Arabella.

 

His "hook" didn't exactly land the way he wanted it to. Instead of going on a ramble about Bridget, Arabella stopped what she was doing and asked him why. Why? How could he answer that? Should he answer that?

 

He cast his eyes over the rest of the laundry equipment while he thought of an answer. At first his words didn't come out right, but as he continued, he regained control of his thoughts. "Well...uh...well...you know we wrote letters to each other. 'Course you do. You wrote those letters yourself, didn't you? Well, I can't...can't stop thinkin' about her. And...I was hopin' you'd tell me about her."

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He cast his eyes over the rest of the laundry equipment while he thought of an answer. At first his words didn't come out right, but as he continued, he regained control of his thoughts. "Well...uh...well...you know we wrote letters to each other. 'Course you do. You wrote those letters yourself, didn't you?"

 

Arabella shook her head innocently as she scrubbed. "Uh-uh, I just translated is all. Ever' little idea in that letter come out of Bridget's sweet lil' noodle." If she had known what was coming next, she might have said something different. 

 

Well, I can't...can't stop thinkin' about her. And...I was hopin' you'd tell me about her."

 

Plop! The soap dropped into the water. Shlump. Followed by Mammy Cookie's unmentionables. "You can't stop thinkin' about her?!"

 

In the blink of an eye she was at his side and dragging this previous 'threat' into the scullery with her and hissing in his ear.

 

"You mean like in 'you can't stop thinkin' about her'?!!" she popped her head out of the door to make sure no one was about and then whipped it back in to continue her urgent whispering to the handsome cowboy.

 

"What about Caroline?!" however, she immediately waved that away "Nah, you're right, she good fer a fumble but not exactly marryin' material. But Bridget.... oh, Brendan, where do I start?"

 

She frowned. The obvious objections came to the surface and fizzled. The true one eventually was left there floating, like the last apple in the water in an apple bobbing competition. She looked at Brendan and his sad, lovelorn face. He was like a God damned lost puppy.

 

How could she ever have been scared of him? He was sensitive, he saw something in the dumb, crippled, mysterious, beautiful redhead which nobody else saw. Nobody else, she fancied, except herself. She looked at him and smiled and straightened his braces (well, he didn't have a collar or a tie).

 

"Listen, Mississippi... can I tell you a fairy story?"

 

@Bailey

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“Really?” Brendan was just a tad bit skeptical about all the contents of Bridget’s letters being original, especially the stuff about Bridget being a red-hot kisser. Just the same, his heart skipped a beat.

 

Arabella seemed very surprised that he couldn’t stop thinking about Bridget. She repeated the phrase and grabbed his arm, seeming almost appalled at his revelation.

 

”Yeah, I can’t stop thinkin’ about her! And what about Caroline?” He demanded. “I know she ain’t the marryin’ kind.” Arabella was right about that, and about Caroline being “good for a fumble”. 

 

He regarded her suspiciously as she straightened his suspenders. The last story he’d heard about a girl’s childhood - Caroline’s - hadn’t been pleasant, and he had a sneaking suspicion that Arabella’s story was just what he’d heard from Crabbe and Caroline. 

 

“Does it have a happy endin’?” he said finally.

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Arabella slid her back down the wall of the scullery until she was seated on the hard stone floor and patted the place next to her for Brendan to sit by her side and hear her 'fairy story' or whatever it was.

 

“Does it have a happy endin’?” he said finally.

 

"That's up to you." she answered, with an air of foreboding. 

 

"See, onct upon a time there was this here Knight, like a knight in shinin' armour: cept this knight's armour was a kinda rusty colour" she couldn't help adding, patting the material of the brown tinged trousers of the cowpoke sitting next to her. 

 

"And he was out doing errands one time, a-ridin' through the woods and the forest, and he came upon this great big ugly old tower, as tall as anything and with thick walls and a locked portcullis. That's a type of door they had in them days. And that knight, he looked up, and do you know what he saw? He saw a window high up and he just caught a glimpse, just a little magical glimpse of the most perfect, prettiest, clever, wonderful princess you could ever imagine."

 

She patted his hand absently.

 

"Anyhow, that knight, he just fell in love with that princess right there and then, just from that little glimpse of her at the window. And he decided he would wait until that princess reappeared again or popped her head out or come on out through the portcullis and then he'd ask her to marry him and they'd live happy ever after."  she continued, holding his hand now. 

 

"Well, he waited and he waited and he waited. And that Princess, she never come out through the door, and she never poked her head out the window, he'd just hear her tinklin' laughter, real quiet, far far away, or see a glimpse of her at the widow every now and again. Well, he waited and he waited, and eventually he just died of old age sittin' right there on his horse, waiting for that princess to show herself. See, she never could get out of that tower."

 

She was squeezing his hand now.

 

She craned her neck to look at him. 

 

"I see her, too. Now and again. Sorta out the corner of my eye: the girl that Bridget should've been, but for all them horrible things as happened to her. And she is lovely. Ever' thing you could ever want in a... in a lover. But that girl... she's like that princess. She ain't ever comin' out, she's locked inside a broken shell. You gotta leave Bridget behind you, you gotta forget her and live your life Brendan." she said, sadly.

 

@Bailey

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Brendan stared at the knees of his trousers as Arabella began to tell her story. It did begin like a fairy tale, but it didn’t have a happy ending. He hated sad endings. 

 

“I can’t just forget about her!” He burst out, jerking his hand away. “Arabella, she’s like a…a little puppy you’d find on the boardwalk! I can’t forget about her. I’ve gotta do something ‘cause…well, ‘cause Crabbe said he’s dyin’!” 
 

With that spectacular piece of news spread, he balled his hands up into fists and stared at the space between his boots.


If it weren’t for the fact that Crabbe was dying, he might have been able to countenance forgetting Bridget. She’d be well-off with the smooth-talking man, even if he didn’t really care about her very much. But Crabbe’s possible death meant that Bridget would be alone in the world, and might end up in the situation Crabbe had found her. Unless Brendan, Caroline, and anyone else who cared about the redhead could find a solution. 

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“I can’t just forget about her!” He burst out, jerking his hand away.

 

"Well you just gotta!" she countered, grabbing it back again. 

 

“Arabella, she’s like a…a little puppy you’d find on the boardwalk! I can’t forget about her.

 

"But there's stuff you don't know about her" Arabella said vaguely. She didn't know that Brendan already knew the horrible truth about the waiflike girl and the terrible injuries that scarred her body. She felt that if he knew, he would give up the idea of being with her... in that way. But she also felt it was not her place to reveal her secret.

 

"And, you don't have to be the one to look after her, she's got Mr. Crabbe and..."

 

"I’ve gotta do something ‘cause…well, ‘cause Crabbe said he’s dyin’!” 

 

Now it was Arabella's turn to let go of Brendan's hand, and she did so like it was diseased.

 

"Lorenzo?!" she gaped. 
 

With that spectacular piece of news spread, he balled his hands up into fists and stared at the space between his boots.

 

Arabella stood, dazed.

 

"Lorenzo?" she repeated. She took a couple of breaths. Her head span and spots danced before her eyes. "I think I'm gonna be sick!!" she cried and threw herself down on the floor, getting her head over a pail just in time for it to catch the full return of her breakfast as she made the most horrendous heaving noises. "Huuuuurrghghg!!!" [pause] "Huuuuuurrghghg!!!" [pause] "I think that's all... Hurrgghghhh!"

 

She eventually lifted her face from the bucket, looking a ghastly shade of pale green and the acrid smell of vomit filling the room.

 

"Well, thanks! Don't bother holding my hair outta the way!!" she chided Brendan. Another girl would have thought to have done that for her, she reckoned.

 

So, Lorenzo was dying? What would happen to Bridget? It was a poser all right: but in her heart of hearts, she couldn't see how a footloose and handsome cowboy like Brendan could look after a crippled and irreversibly simple-minded girl like Bridget for the rest of his, or her, life. With the best will in the world that adorable lost puppy would become a weight and a burden; Crabbe had said exactly that a heap of times; and a man like the handsome Mr. Connolly would attract other women, then what would become of his poor, half-form of a wife. 

 

"Sorry, that twern't nice for you to see!" she grimaced. Good job she wasn't trying to impress the cowpoke with her charms!

 

@Bailey

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“I know what happened to her, Arabella,” Brendan said quietly. 

He knew, and that was the reason he couldn’t stop thinking about Bridget. Anyone who’d been through what she had didn’t deserve to end up back on the streets. 

 

His news about Crabbe’s supposed death was an even bigger shock to Arabella than he’d thought it would be, and it shocked the breakfast out of her. He looked away while she vomited, trying to block out the horrible heaving noises. 
 

Finally she was finished. He looked back at her. “Huh? Oh, sorry.” He hadn’t thought about her long hair getting in the way. 
 

“No, it weren’t nice.” He grinned a little bit. “Arabella, your face looks like green cheese.” 
 

Maybe green cheese didn’t actually look like her face, but her face was green. Now was the time to make his move. He stood up.


“I’m goin’ to talk to her. I want you to come with me.”

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Arabella's head was, frankly swimming. Lorenzo dying? Brendan in love, it seemed, with Bridget? Well, he couldn't stop thinking about her, that spelled l.o.v.e. in her book. Phew! 

 

At least he did his best to make her feel better. 

 

"Arabella, your face looks like green cheese.” 

 

Not that his best was that great. 

 

"Thanks!" she said sarcastically. "And yours looks like... ah, let's face it, it looks all stupid and handsome like it always does!" she shrugged. Even she had to admit that.
 

 He stood up.


“I’m goin’ to talk to her. I want you to come with me.”

 

She jumped up. She had mixed feelings about this, everything had gone topsy-turvy and was moving way too fast. The only thing more unsettling than the idea of going with the good-looking cowpoke to see her half-witted, crippled friend was the idea of him going on his own, and her not knowing what happened between the two of them. 

 

"Wai-wai-wait! All right Mississippi, I'll come with, just hold on and let me get decent." she implored him. 'Getting decent' didn't take too long, as it involved pulling on her poke bonnet and shawl and grabbing her shopping basket. "Don't want folks thinkin' we're walkin' out together" she muttered. She swilled out her mouth with water, too, to remove the sick taste. 

 

She found Brendan ready to go. 

 

"Listen, she won't be at home this time of day" she told him "She'll be all gussied up and wanderin' round town lookin' through folks windows by now" Arabella calculated. The act of 'getting decent' had given her time to reflect.

 

Gosh, if Brendan knew 'all about' Bridget, he must also know about the surgical corset that kept her up straight during the day. And the terrible scarring on her body. He was so handsome, she reflected, he could have had the most beautiful girl in town - scratch that, he DID have the most beautiful girl in town, Caroline. She couldn't believe he was that way about Bridget, it... why, it was so noble. She was welling up inside, she could feel it. It was all so romantic, and she just felt so proud of Brendan: proud of him for him seeing the beauty, the real pure beauty, in her idiot friend.

 

"All righty. You ready?" she asked.

 

@Bailey

 

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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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