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    • Mr. Smith knew a stacked deck against him when it was presented to him. He wasn't surprised really, the men were sticking up for the pretty gal instead of justice. It was the way of things. But he would try and get at least something out of his misery.   "Oh alright, I won't press charges but only if she pays whatever the doc here is gonna charge me for this here treatment," he answered.   "Of course, Miss Mundee here, well, she’ll have to wait on Anderson to decide her immediate fate.” Speed said. “With those others awaiting trial, have to take her to the County Sheriff’s lock up. Just about looking at a full house, well except for the basement cells.” He smiled at her.   "Fine! Not like I got any say in this do I?  Just a kindly young miss defendin' some poor innocent dog from mistreatment. Yeah, incar....incar..ser..?" Caroline was stumped.   "Throw me behind bars and lemme rot then," she shrugged.   "Hey Doc, you seem like a nice man? Can you let the saloon know where I am, please? Maybe my boss can post bail or somethin'? She is gonna need her singer/dancer tonight," she now addressed Danforth.   She pointed to herself, "That be me! You should come and hear me sometime. I admit my dancin' ain't the greatest but everyone sez I can sing real fine."   ooc: Forgot about this when I came home from my trip! We should be close to finishing it soon anyhow.   @Flip   @Bongo    
    • The good reverend had the kindness to offer to write down justwhat  it was the couple were going to have to recite from memory and scribbled the words down as he said them too. Clara was grateful for that much. Her dripping sarcasm seemingly had failed miserably on Jacob so she was stuck learning this. Fortunately it did not seem too long or so bad. That is if her nerves didn't fail her. Well, she would just have to find out. Besides, even if she bungled the vows, it could be easily sorted, nothing was going to stop them from getting married!   Hearing that all present would have to agree to the marriage gave Clara a bit of a new worry. Unanimous? So it would take only one to ....to scuttle the whole thing? A new thing to be nervous about. Afterall there would be Granny Miggins present.......oh and Arabella too. So far Arabella had been most supportive about the young couple but it was afterall Arabella. Mercurial described the child to a tee.   Clara took her copy, "Thank you, Reverend."   Then Jacob began to recite the whole thing. Now? Both Redmonds turned their gaze to watch and listen to the little performance. Strange.   When he had finished, Clara could only comment, "You are a bit early. This is not the ceremony yet."   Since Aurelian could not help with the ring, he then turned to the minister, "What is the cost of the marriage ceremony, use of the church and such? I will pay for it. It is tradition the father of the bride pay for the expenses."            
    • "Oh, really? Congratulations, then, Mrs. Soon-to-be Pike!" Lucinda smiled warmly, but her smile was tinged with sadness, as were her thoughts. This woman had found someone she liked enough to marry again, but Lucinda doubted that she ever would. Out here, anyway. Back east was a different story.   "I would be glad of the company if you could spare a few minutes," she answered. Now the question was...what would they talk about? All Lucinda wanted to know was news from the east, but it wasn't likely Emeline would know any more than she did. And as far as news went, living by yourself for six months didn't give you a lot of news-worthy things to talk about.   "Could I also have some water? I don't know about you, but stagecoaches make my throat terribly dry."
    • "White... fish?" José repeated, a little incredulous at such a name. Not that Kalispell was much better, but at least it was a name, rather than a color of aquatic creature. "No, I wasn't headed there. Why?"   "Uh, jest that it ain't there no more, an' you'd be wastin' your time huntin' her up.  Wasn't all that much anyway. I mean there was people what lived there, they had stores and all, but it jest never felt right. You know, somethin' off about the place." Carson explained as well as he could.   "Nest for outlaws mostly, a man had ta be careful what he said, an' such-like. But now Kalispell? That there's a growing concern. Most folks 'er friendly, Marshal seems to be a fair man. Yeah, a good place. So, what sortta work you looking for?" It was easy conversation for a lengthy ride across the range, pushing through the cattle when they crowded up.   "You might wanna douse that there lamp. Moon an' stars shed plenty of light out here." What he was thinking was, that a moving light crossing the Evergreen might bring on problems neither of them wanted, or needed.  @boshmi    
    • "Clara, your response is the same, merely with the first line as; 'I, Clara Redmond, take you, Jacob Lutz, to be my husband,' of course."   Jacob smiled warmly at Clara, his heart filling with joy at the thought of it, and catching Aurelian’s eye a lesser, more respectful one.   He wrote out the vow once more on a separate sheet, though with said amendment.   "Just before the vows, you will both declare intent, and I will ask the greater family if they give their blessing, at which point, Mr. Redmond, you and others of the family present must reply unanimously with 'we do.'" he told Clara's father. "Once that is sorted, you may exchange rings, or items, and say a piece of your own, if you so desire. I will bless the items, then your marriage, and finally, you will be man and wife, given that we have signed the certificate, either before or during the ceremony."   Compared to many other undertakings in life, the whole thing seemed ludicrously simple: there seemed to be only one factor that could make it go wrong; the usual one; people.   The priest took the vows he’d written and moved down from the lectern to pass them to Jacob and Clara. “They aren’t too long, so it shouldn’t be all that difficult to memorize them.”   Jacob glanced down his script, and then folded the paper, and closing his eyes intoned in a sort of sing song voice he used for memorising poems and passages of prose he liked: "So… 'Inthe nameofGod,…. I JL, take you, CR, tobemywife, tohaveandto holdfromthisdayf’rw’rd, forbetterfor worse, forricherfor poorer, in sickness and in health” for some reason he said these words more distinctly, like they were less familiar or didn’t quite fit into his mnemonic process “…toloveandtocherish, untilwearepartedbydeath. Thisismysolemnvow.In the name of God… yeah, I think I got it." He opened his eyes to see everybody staring at him.   “What?” he asked, blinking.   @Wayfarer @boshmi

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Mature Content: No

With: Kate Bowen, Pastor and Mrs. Evans, Shade Thornton
Location: Kalispell, then Lost Lake Ranch
When: Saturday - mid September 1875
Time of Day: Morning

 

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Kate took one last look in the mirror and nodded firmly.  She was wearing a dark brown dress with navy blue  accents on the cuffs and collar.  It was not her favourite dress but it was one befitting her position as teacher.  She had wanted to wear one of her more colourful outfits but thought better of it.  After all, she had only talked to the man one and that was just before his encounter with the bear.  It was too early...well it was just too early.

 

Today's trip to Lost Lake Ranch under the guise of meeting the two young Thornton children would allow her to get to know him a little bit better.  When Pastor Evans told her that he was going to visit Shade Thornton to see how he was recovering and that Mrs. Evans was going to visit the housekeeper, she initially tried to think of way to join them.  Thankfully, Pastor Evans mentioned that it would be a good opportunity for her to see the countryside and to meet the children.

 

In a way, the ride out would be beneficial in helping her to know what the surrounding country was like and who lived where.  But, if truth be told she was more interested in seeing Shade again.

 

Once again, she stopped.  Her thoughts were getting way ahead of the reality of the situation.  For all she knew, he wouldn't even remember who she was.  With his injuries and running a ranch, he probably never gave her a passing thought.

 

A knock at the door alerted her to the fact that the Pastor was ready to leave.  Grabbing her coat and bag, she made her way out of the room.

 

To be continued...

 

(OOC: @Stormwolfe I will do another post about the trip to the ranch before arriving.  You can do a post if you want for Shade.)

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It was another beautiful Montana day. The sun was out, but the approaching fall could be felt in the air, making it very pleasant. Too nice to stay inside. Mary Miller, the ranch's housekeeper, had informed Shade that they were having guests. Pastor Evans and his wife were coming for a long-overdue visit. Shade did not know the reverend and his wife since he attended Mass at the abbey, as did most of the household.  Mary and Sage, her husband and night foreman, attended church in town, of course. Still, the visit was not untoward or unexpected. Shade had heard good things about the pastor and his wife.


Shade could not help the fact that his thoughts turned to the pretty young school teacher that he had met in town before the bear hunt. She had mentioned that she was boarding with the Evans'. So, that is not exactly what she had said, but it was inferred when she told him that he could send word to her there when a good opportunity for a visit presented itself. Mary's words made him wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Evans' boarder would be accompanying them. He could not help but hope so. He would like to get to know her better.


His rambling thoughts were interrupted by Cody and Nettie as they brought some elaborately folded paper animals to show him. Harriet Mercer's colleague and, probably, protector, had shown them how to make the paper animals at some point in time. Now, they were busy making their own paper animal ranch. Shade smiled and examined the little horse carefully, praising his nephew on how good it was. He pointed at the box of colored chalk, "Why don't you color them?" Shade delved back into his school memories when he actually did some landscape and horse sketches. "You can combine some colors to get another." It would make a mess because they would have to use their fingers, but it would be fun and a learning adventure for them.


The twins chattered excitedly at one another and started work on the project their uncle had suggested. Shade had never imagined himself so settled and so content with being settled. His duties as the twin's guardian and surrogate parent meant the world to him. It had also made his thoughts turn toward settling down in other ways. He had gone, almost overnight, from being a drifter and practically an outlaw to being a wealthy ranch owner and guardian of two five-year-olds. Would that change in status matter to...


Wait! Shade shook his head fiercely. He had only met Miss Bowen once and very casually at that. Still...would a genteel schoolmarm be willing to overlook some of his past exploits? Shade wouldn't mind finding out...
 

Tags @JulieS

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Kate listened as Pastor Evans and his wife pointed out various places along the way.  It was a little bit overwhelming trying to remember who lived where but at the least she now had a good idea on who lived on this side of town.

 

At the beginning of the trip, Mrs. Evans had asked her husband if the people at Lost Lake knew of their impending visit.  He had told her that he had sent a note back with Ben Hall, one of the ranch hands who did attend their church when he was able.  Ben had been in town collecting the mail and some supplies for the ranch.

 

Pastor Evans remarked that even though he hadn't met Shade Thornton, he had been impressed by what he had heard about the man.  Knowing that things needed to be settled at the ranch was one of the reasons why Pastor Evans had taken so long to go out there.  His wife, Jemima, who was good friends with Mary Miller, the housekeeper, bristled with excitement as she told Kate that she hoped to get a few of Mary's recipes to try out.

 

As they continued along the road that lead to Lost Lake, Kate also took all of the different colours and smells.  Summer was slowly turning into fall and some of the trees had already started to lose their leaves.  Today's visit might be the only chance she could get to come here before winter set in.  Teaching school during the week and preparing lessons on the weekends left very little time for going on long trips to the outlying ranches.  There were a few more ranches and farms on her list to visit.

 

Saddened by the thought that this might be her only visit to the home of someone who was starting to figure prominently in her life, she immediately vowed to make the most of it and to learn as much as she could about him.  Maybe a long winter would give her time to think and work out what she would do, if anything at all.

 

A comment from Pastor Evans, alerted her to the fact they were nearing their destination.  She would put these next few minutes in getting herself composed and hopefully hide how eager she was to see him again.

 

@Stormwolfe

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"Mr. Shade," Mary admonished firmly, but with an amused note in her voice, "they will get chalk dust all over their clothes." She shook her head and added, "I believe our guests have arrived." Mary headed toward the doors that faced out into the home's large courtyard.


Shade knew that Mary was not truly concerned. After all, it was Saturday, and the children were clad in their play clothes. "Come on," he said and held his hands out to the twins. "Let's greet our guests, then you can continue your coloring projects." Cody and Nettie were too well-behaved to show how little they wanted to be interrupted. Taking their uncle's hand, they went with him to the courtyard.


Fortunately, although he was still noticeably limping, Shade's leg was healing well. This was a good thing since he did not want to be the object of too much concern or sympathy. He was not used to being "fussed" over, and it made him more than a little uncomfortable. They reached the courtyard, and just as Mary had said, their visitors were arriving. Shade considered his sense of hearing to be exceptional. Mary, however, seemed to be able to hear as well as a dog!


While waiting for their guest to alight from their conveyance, Shade's eyes scanned the small party, unable to stop his eyes from lighting up when he spotted the person he was hoping would be with the reverend and his wife. The woman was every bit as pretty as he remembered, and he found himself impatient for the formal introductions to be said. Would he and Miss Bowen have an opportunity to converse privately? Probably not. Mary was a stickler for social etiquette.
 

@JulieS

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Kate had been too busy gawking at the house that she almost didn't see Pastor Evans come around to help her off the buggy.  Growing up in Chicago she had seen and lived in some big houses but never expected to see one out here.  Even when she was teaching in Avoca, the houses of the local ranchers were modest compared to this.  Whoever built this one must have had a great vision for what he wanted this place to be.

 

After getting off the buggy, she looked down as she straightened her coat and dusting it off slightly.  As she raised her head, her eyes went over to where Mrs. Evans was being greeted by a woman and that is when she saw him.

 

Her first reaction was to stand still.  She wasn't sure what to do next.  Knowing that it might seem odd, she began to move towards the group at the front of the house.  There were two children with Shade, as well as the woman, she now assumed as the one that Mrs. Evans had come to visit.

 

Mary Miller, seeing that the visitors were now all present, introduced Pastor Evans and his wife to Shade.  Pastor Evans then in turn, introduced Kate to Mrs. Miller and Shade.  Not knowing whether it was wise or not to say she and Shade were already acquainted with each other, she just smiled.  Besides she was a tad nervous at being so close to him that she couldn't say anything at all.

 

@Stormwolfe

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As the introductions were being done, Shade offered his own smiles and greetings in turn. When the pastor introduced Miss Bowen, his smile deepened, lighting the shadows in his dark blue eyes, "Miss Bowen, it is a pleasure to see you again." Shade gave the reverend and his wife a nod, "Miss Bowen and I met very briefly at the general store in Kalispell before the bear hunt," his explanation made it clear that their meeting had been fleeting.

 

Feeling a gentle tug on his hand, Shade looked down at his niece, "I am being informed that more introductions are in order. Pastor Evans, Mrs. Evans, Miss Bowen - these two imps are my wards and my niece and nephew - Cody and Antoinette, Nettie, Thornton." The twins murmured polite greetings, but Cody moved closer to Shade. He was still nervous about meeting new people.

 

Nettie, however, had no qualms. She loved attention and loved visitors, "Miss Mary made an angel food cake but says we have to have a real lunch first."

 

@JulieS

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Kate smiled at the girl.  "I think your Miss Mary cares for you very much.  You are very lucky to have someone to make angel food cake as it is only for very special people and their friends."

 

She turned her attention to the boy.  Seeing that he was a little shy, she just smiled and said hello.  Knowing that she would have to wait until the boy opened up a bit more.  Having lunch and spending a little time with him might do that.  One thing she did know was that she didn't want to give the impression that she was using him to get to his uncle.  A slight frown appeared on her face as she mentally chided herself at the thought that this visit was nothing more than getting to know a local resident and his wards, who were close to school age, a bit better.

 

Looking over to Pastor and Mrs. Evans, she replied to Shade's comment, "Yes, it was very brief and quite unexpected."

 

Turning back to Shade, she felt a bit awkward.  Not knowing quite what to say, she blurted out, "I was sorry to hear about your accident.  I had heard that the injuries were rather terrible.  It is good to see that you are recovering well."

 

@Stormwolfe

 

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Shade smiled easily, "Thank you. My injuries were not as severe as first feared, fortunately. Please, come inside. Mary thought we might like to have lunch on the front terrace." He was careful not to draw undue attention to Cody. He didn't have to worry about Nettie on that score.


Nettie took Katherine's hand firmly in her own, "I will show you," she stated adamantly and tugged the woman toward the house, all the while chattering about doing the paper folding and coloring. Shade smiled and fell in behind with Pastor Evans while Mary and Mrs. Evans chatted and followed.


Earlier that morning, Mary had gotten a couple of the ranch's hands to move the table they used for outdoor dining so that it caught the sun. With the leaves barely beginning to change to their autumn colors contrasting sharply with the intense blue of the lake, and the snowcapped mountains beyond, the view was spectacular. Mary mentally preened just a bit, proud of working in such a beautiful home and location. She then chastised herself for such prideful thoughts.


"I will get lunch laid out," Mary said and peeled off toward the kitchen. 


Shade nodded and gestured at the outdoor seating area, "Please, make yourselves comfortable." He separated his hand from Cody's and Nettie from Katherine, "Go on, get cleaned up for lunch." Both children made their polite excuses and darted off. "Oh...uh...Pastor, Mrs. Evans, Miss Bowen, do you want to wash the trail dust off?" Shade could not help a bit of awkwardness. He was not accustomed to hosting guests.
 

@JulieS

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After accepting Shade's offer to wash the trail dust off, Kate followed Pastor and Mrs. Evans to the room where they could freshen up.  Part of her wanted to stay behind to talk to Shade and get to know him better as it might be the only time they could be alone.  However, her own sensibility and etiquette made her decide not to.

 

When she and the Evans returned, the two children were already seated, and Mary had begun to place the food on the table.  Mrs. Evans delighted at the spread her friend was putting on, remarked that it wasn't very often that she got the chance to have a meal in such a genial location.  Pastor Evans quickly agreed before going over to the children and chatting with them.

 

Mary had come out again and when she had finished placing another platter of food on the table, she asked Mrs. Evans to come with her as she wanted her opinion on something...Kate couldn't quite hear as she had been occupied with looking at the scenery in an attempt to avoid talking to Shade.

 

Nerves were now starting to get the better of her.  She had no idea of what was going on.  One minute, she wanted to be alone with Shade and the next she wanted to be as far away as possible.  Now that they were the only two who were standing around doing nothing, well it was a bit unsettling.  Deciding that going into schoolteacher mode was the only thing she could do, she turned to Shade, "I am glad that weather has cleared after the rain we had the other day.  It would have been a shame to miss all of the wonderful scenery."

 

@Stormwolfe

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Finally, Shade and Katherine were alone for a few moments, and he could not think of a good conversation opener. His head was buzzing with things he wanted to say, questions he wanted to ask her. Shade wanted to know everything he could about the lovely woman standing near the terrace railing with him.  Why had she come to  Montana? Was it only to teach school, or had she been leaving something behind? Poetically, he wanted to believe it was fate.


Shade's mind had been on getting the supplies for the bear hunt when he met her the first time. He had felt drawn to her during their brief meeting, but it was only while he was recovering from the injuries he had gotten on the hunt that she had started to really occupy his thoughts. The more he thought about that meeting in the general store, the more he felt some elusive quality to it that had never happened to him before.


Now, here they were, and he was as tongue-tied as a schoolboy. Fortunately, Katherine broke the awkward silence. Shade sighed inwardly with relief and gratitude. The last thing he wanted was for her to feel as if he was not interested in talking to her.


"I didn't realize how much I missed this until I got home," Shade replied, waving a hand at the mountains and the deep lake below. "May I get you something to drink? A glass of lemonade?" He inquired politely.

 

@JulieS

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Kate thought about her answer for a moment, "Yes, a lemonade will be nice."

 

As she waited for him to get the lemonade, she wondered why it was so hard to talk to him this time.  The first time they had met, they were able to converse easily but this time she was at a loss as to why she was having so much trouble.

 

When Shade handed her the glass, their fingers briefly touched and what she felt surprised her.  The sensation was new to her.  It was both nice and a bit scary.  In order, compose herself a bit more, she took a sip of the lemonade.  "I must thank your housekeeper for making such a wonderful drink.  I think I've never tasted such good lemonade."

 

She smiled at him, hoping that a conversation about the lemonade would as least make it a little easier to talk to him.

 

@Stormwolfe

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"I'm afraid I've become spoiled to Mary's skills in the kitchen. When I have to eat trail grub again, I'm gonna be miserable," Shade answered and smiled. Their fingers had brushed briefly and, for whatever reason, that barest touch had set him at ease with her. 

 

Without thinking too hard about it, Shade asked, "The monthly town social is a week from today. I understand the first mayoral candidate speeches will be held the same day. Would you do me the honor of attending the dance with me?"

 

@JulieS

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Without a moment's hesitation, Kate replied, "Yes."

 

She smiled at him, happy with the fact that he had asked her out, which in turn made her more at ease.  Wanting to say something else she was about to speak, when Mrs. Evans and the housekeeper returned.  Seeing that his wife had returned, Pastor Evans rose from where he had been seated with the children and went over to his wife.

 

Mary after placing the platter on the table, looked, "Well, you can start when you're ready."  She was anxious to see what the guests thought of the meal she had prepared.

 

Following the rules of etiquette, Pastor Evans escorted his wife to the table, leaving Kate to Shade.

 

@Stormwolfe

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Shade felt his chest tighten. She had agreed to go with him. He wanted to say more but Mary was summoning everyone to the table. Shade smiled at Kate and gestured toward the table, "Shall we?" He saw her seated while Mary rounded up the twins and got them settled. Looking at the repast that Mrs. Miller had laid out, he said, "Sage is one lucky man, Mary. This looks incredible and smells even better." He took the seat that was left, which just happened to be next to Kate. Shade could not help wondering if the seating had been engineered by the ranch's engaging housekeeper and cook. If so, he had to say that he did not mind in the least.


Once everyone had filled their plates, Shade found himself at a loss for conversation. Finally, since Kate and having her agree to go to the dance with him was on his mind, Shade said, "How are the preparations for the Harvest Festival and dance going, Pastor?"

 

@JulieS

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As she listened to Pastor Evans tell Shade about the upcoming Harvest Festival, she ate slowly.  The food was very good and she wondered if she would have more opportunities in the future to come here.  Now that Shade had shown that he was interested in her by asking her to the dance next week, it seemed a strong possibility that there would be.

 

Stealing a brief glance at the man seated next to her, she felt a tug at her heart.  Having never felt something like that before, she wanted to know more but before she could get an opportunity to think about it more, she heard Pastor Evans mention her name and something about the school putting on a play.

 

In an effort to hide what she was really thinking about, she smiled, "I'm sorry, I was enjoying this wonderful meal so much that I missed your question."

 

Pastor Evans nodded, "Yes, the food is indeed delicious.  Don't you agree, my dear?"

 

Mrs. Evans finished her mouthful before replying, "Yes, Mary has outdone herself.  I will have to remember to tell her that before we leave."

 

Turning back to Kate, Pastor Evans asked her again about the school putting on play for the Harvest Festival.  Kate spent the next couple of minutes talking about the plans she had for the children and the school.

 

@Stormwolfe

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The longer that Katherine spoke, the more enraptured with her Shade became. It was clear that she loved her work and her students. She was truly dedicated to both. How would she take to the isolation of ranch life? Would she even consider it? Was it fair to ask it of her?


Shade put a brake on his thoughts. Whoa! They had only met once before, and that had been very brief. He remembered talking to Chance about Regina after they became engaged. He had asked his brother when he had known she was the one? This had been while Shade was contemplating eloping with Hannah Cory. Chance had told him that you just knew when you met the right woman. It might take a little time for your brain and heart to get on the same page, but instinctively, you would know.


Was this what Chance had meant? Despite the short, almost non-existent, time they had known one another, did he just know Kate Bowen was the woman he was meant to be with? Did she feel any of the same things he was feeling? Shade decided that he needed to find that out, and the only way was to spend time together. Kate had already agreed to go to the dance with him on Saturday. He would ask her there if he could call on her and also if she would spend the Harvest Festival day with him. Mentally, Shade grinned. He might be thirty years old, but this was making him feel sixteen again.


"We were going to bring the twins to town for part of the day. I'll have to make sure they get to see the play," Shade said and smiled at Nettie and Cody, who were being on their best behavior. He looked at Kate, although his next words were for the table, "Some of the hands that live on the ranch have kids, so they get to play with them some. Just not many kids their age close-by us." Who was he kidding? Lost Lake Ranch's boundary line might be within five miles of Kalispell, but the ranch house itself was closer to twenty miles away.


Before any of the adults could respond, Cody looked up and said, in a voice that sounded far older than any five-year-old's should, "We don't mind playing by ourselves, Uncle. Miss Clara sees that we have fun, and her lessons are interesting."


"I know you and Nettie don't mind just each other for company, Cody. But, you guys need some time with kids your own age, too," Shade told him gently. He understood Cody's reluctance to leave the safety of the ranch after witnessing the deaths of his parents and two older siblings. It had not been all that long ago. It would take time for Cody to regain a sense of being safe.


Shade looked over at Kate and added, "I could not ask for a better niece and nephew. Hope to someday have more just like them here."


@JulieS

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Kate turned her head to face Shade as he complimented his niece and nephew.  Being this close allowed her to finally see the colour of his eyes.  They were the bluest eyes she had ever seen, almost dark enough to...

 

A comment by Mrs. Evans about Shade not needing to worry about having more children around in the future, suddenly bought her out of whatever had just happened to her.  Quickly, she faced Mrs. Evans, who had taken a sip of her lemonade before continuing, "Now that you have settled down, you've become one of the most eligible bachelors in the area.  I don't think you will have any problems in finding someone."

 

Kate frowned at what Mrs. Evans had just said.  Shade probably would have a lot of women interested in them and a few who were far more beautiful than she was.  In fact, she could think of a couple of ladies she knew in town who would have no problems getting Shade's attention.  The thought of that saddened her.  She had only been in town for a couple of months and this was only the second time she had seen him.  The purpose of today's visit was to meet the children and to see the countryside.  It wasn't to start something that maybe would finish before it really began.

 

Since she had already accepted his invitation to the dance, it would be rude to throw it back in his face but that would be it.  She was here in Kalispell to teach school and nothing else.  With that in mind, she looked over to the children.  "What sort of things does Miss Clara like to teach you?"

 

@Stormwolfe

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Although Cody ducked his head shyly, Nettie had no problem with speaking up, "She is teach us our letters and sums. We are doing really well," the girl announced proudly. "Uncle Shade reads from his history and natural history books to us. We are always learning something new. Uncle Quentin tells us stories, but they are just that, stories about knights and ladies." Nettie's eyes danced with excitement. Cody was just as studious as his twin, but Nettie had embraced learning like a duck embraced the water. She was always the one asking questions and seemed to never get enough information on any subject.

 

Shade grinned at his lively niece before looking back at his guests, "Miss Clara is doing great with them," he echoed Cody's comments about Clara Redmond. We are luck to have her. Unfortunately, it is just too far into town to bring the twins to the school every day and, for now, I am not willing to board them in town."

 

@JulieS

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Looking at Nettie, Kate smiled, "I have yet to meet Miss Clara but she sounds like she is a lovely young lady.  I am glad that you are enjoying your lessons with her and your uncles."

 

Kate turned her attention back to her lunch.  The meal was very good and in a way it was helping her to focus her attention on something else and not the man next to her.  She was in such a muddle with part of her wanting to get to know him better and the other part was scared with the way she was beginning to feel about him.  It was way to early for this sort of thing.  For heaven's sake, it was only their second meeting.

 

As she the lunch progress, she listened to the conversation, interjecting with a comment or two when she was addressed.  Other the occasional glance at Shade, she mainly looked at her food or to whoever had mentioned her name.

 

When lunch was over, she wasn't sure what would happen next.  Pastor Evans was asking about having a quick tour of the house while his wife talked the housekeeper.  She had seen so little of the house so far, she thought it was a good idea but then she realised that the men might use this time to talk about things that didn't concern her, so she just sat there waiting.

 

@Stormwolfe 

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Shade nodded at the Pastor and smiled, "I would be happy to show you and Miss Bowen around the house," he said, "I need to put the twins down for a nap anyway."


Rising to his feet, he stepped behind Kate's chair to help slide it back from the table. "I hope you understand that I can't show you the occupied bedrooms. I want to respect Miss Mercer's and Quentin Cantrell's privacy."


"Let's start upstairs," Shade said and gathered the twins up with a smile. Both nodded sleepily. Cody scuttled up close to Shade's legs, but Nettie boldly took Kate's hand. She beamed up at the teacher as they all followed Shade into the house and across the main entryway to the grand staircase. 


The first stop was the rooms just across the landing on the second floor. Double doors opened into the combination of the schoolroom and playroom. Just beyond that was the twins' bedroom. This arrangement would have to be modified someday, once the kids were older. Right now, they took comfort in sharing the room, and Shade saw no reason to change it.


He let the pastor and Kate look around while he sent the twins into their bathroom, one at a time, to change into their sleep clothes. While waiting on them, he folded their clothes and put them on the chests that stood at the foot of each bed. It only took a few minutes to see them ensconced under their blankets. Both were asleep before Shade, and his guests left the room.


Outside the schoolroom, Shade gestured to his left, "This end of the hall is my study and bedroom." Shade could not help glancing at Kate as they stepped in that was now his private domain.

 

Upper Floor

Upper Floor

 

@JulieS

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)

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On 3/12/2020 at 6:13 AM, Shade Thornton said:

"Let's start upstairs," Shade said and gathered the twins up with a smile. Both nodded sleepily. Cody scuttled up close to Shade's legs, but Nettie boldly took Kate's hand. She beamed up at the teacher as they all followed Shade into the house and across the main entryway to the grand staircase. 

Kate was a little surprised when she felt the small hand take hers.  She looked down at the young girl and smiled.  The child pulled her gently towards the main entry and up the stairs.  Everything about this house seemed so big.  For a moment she briefly wondered who Miss Mercer and Quentin Cantrell were before being ushered in a a large room.  This was where the children probably did their schooling and as Shade took care of them, she had time to thoroughly investigate it.

 

The room seemed very adequate for teaching the two children.  There was also the required primers needed and she felt a bit of admiration for Shade for making sure that the children's early education would be taken care.  Maybe in a year or so they would be ready to go to the school in Kalispell but now what they had would suffice.

 

A few minutes later, Shade came out of the children's bedroom and showed them out back into the hallway.

 

On 3/12/2020 at 6:13 AM, Shade Thornton said:

Outside the schoolroom, Shade gestured to his left, "This end of the hall is my study and bedroom." Shade could not help glancing at Kate as they stepped in that was now his private domain.

A slight blush came on to Kate's face and it wasn't because she was embarrassed at the thought of the mere mention of a man's domain.  It was because of the quick glance he had given her and the fact he wanted her to know where he slept.  Why knowing this was so important to her, she couldn't rightly say but she was glad that he did.

 

Pastor Evans asked Shade about the timber the house was made of how long it taken to build.  As she listened, she felt herself wishing that this visit could go on for a lot longer.

 

@Stormwolfe

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Shade made sure to glance at Kate often to pull her into the conversation. It was important to him that she felt included and wanted on the tour of the house. As he led them around, he answered the pastor's questions regarding the house's age, explaining that it had taken several years to complete and there had been a number of renovations over the years. He pointed out that his brother, Chance, had gone to great pains to modernize it as much as possible. He also told the older man that almost all of the wood and stone had been sourced locally. It was mainly oak and pine. Shade prolonged the tour as long as possible, wanting to keep Kate at the house. Finally, though, it was time to return to the dining room for after lunch coffee and desert. As everyone settled in the informal dining room, Shade headed for the side table that held several decanters.

 

"Would anyone care for sherry with dessert?" He asked politely. Shade really did not care for the liquor himself and was content with coffee. Meanwhile, Mary was serving piping hot blackberry cobbler made with berries she had canned back in the summer.

 

@JulieS

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9 hours ago, Shade Thornton said:

"Would anyone care for sherry with dessert?" He asked politely. Shade really did not care for the liquor himself and was content with coffee. Meanwhile, Mary was serving piping hot blackberry cobbler made with berries she had canned back in the summer.

Kate shook her head gently, "No, thank you but some coffee would be nice."

 

As she waited for Mary to serve the pie and coffee, she sat down in one of the chairs.  Looking around the room and how nicely it was decorated.  She turned her head to face Shade, "I have to say Mr. Thornton that your family has created a beautiful home.  It's a shame that we have to leave soon.  I'm sure Pastor Evans would have liked to spend more time in your library."

 

Pastor Evans nodded his head in agreement, "Yes indeed.  If I get a chance before the winter comes, I would like to come here again...providing you are in agreement and not too busy."

 

Before she could get a chance to say anything more, Mary served her a slice of cobbler and some coffee.  After taking a bite and finding that it was very delicious, she complimented Mary.  Mary thanked her and went back to serving the others.  For the next few minutes, Kate concentrated on her dessert, all the while hoping that she might get a few minutes alone with Shade before she left.

 

@Stormwolfe

 

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"You are certainly welcome anytime, Pastor," Shade said as he settled with his coffee and cobbler. He smiled and thanked Mary for her wonderful lunch and dessert. "It would mean rising really early to make it back to town for Sunday services," Shade continued, "but you are welcome to spend the night here. We could certainly put you up." He ignored the slight tightening of his chest as he made the offer. It was hard not to look at Katherine to gauge her reaction.

 

@JulieS

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Katherine nodded.  The more time she spent with him the more her earlier uncertainty went away.  "i don't know about about the Pastor Evans and Mrs. Evans but if there is a possibility to spend more time with your niece and nephew to gauge where they are exactly in their schooling, I would like that.  I would be able to develop some lessons to give to the young lady you have teaching them."

 

Feeling that she should add more just in case the pastor and his wife got the wrong idea, she continued,  "This is something I plan to do with all the children who are unable to attend school on a regular basis especially during the winter."

 

She turned her attention back to her coffee.  If truth be told she was more interested in coming here to learn more about him.  That thought made her smile a little.

 

@Stormwolfe

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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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