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    • "It's just to your right.  Would you like some help?"  There!  An offer, but Frances' choice.   Miss Grimes flicked her stick to the right and struck the package, bending down to retrieve it. "Oh, thank you, Mrs Pike, I have it." she smiled picking up the package and feeling it over for tears. "I hope none of it is peeping out, it is some undergarments and an old dress that needed repairs. I can sew but it's a laborious process for me, and we will be on our way to Kalispell tomorrow."   She managed to bundle up everything in one arm, packages, stick, and stuck out the other to somewhere near Emeline again.   "Goodbye, I hope to see you in Kalispell when you return" she did not shy away from using the 'S' word "And I shall certainly look up Mrs Connolly at the Diner."   @Bongo 
    • "Oh..."  Emeline gasped as the girl dropped her package, and started to bend down to get it, but then hesitated, wondering if perhaps she even wanted help, or might feel insulted at the offer, that it would imply that she couldn't do for herself.   "It's just to your right.  Would you like some help?"  There!  An offer, but Frances' choice.   @Javia        
    • He took Frances' hand and gently shook it, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Grimes."   "And you, Mr. Simons." she smiled sweetly.   "If you are interested in joining the ladies group my aunt Rebecca Wentworth will be running, I can get her to send you an invitation or she can personally come to see you."   "Oh, that sounds wonderful, I shall have to see if, er..." stammered the blind girl, and Crabbe could guess why.    "And it doesn't cost anything to join, does it, Ben?" Lorenzo put in.   "It sounds absolutely wonderful Mr. Simons" said Frances, now much more firmly "Please, just an invitation, I mean, just knowing when and when your Aunt would be holding the meetings would be all I need. I shall find it with no problem. What a kind thought, thank you, Mr. Simons."   At the sound of Ben munching, she decided that she had probably outstayed her welcome at his tableside and said "I shall leave you to your repast, Mr Simons, thank you again."   @JulieS    
    • "First off, proper grammar, it is 'like a blind person' not people," Clara pointed out , "And secondly we are here in this kitchen to cook proper meals for paying customers. That is a responsibility I take most seriously. Kindly be more....adult."   "Ain't it funny, Clara, I'm always makin' mistakes like that when I talk in my regular voice, but when I do 'personations of folk, I can speak right if I needs to. Listen to this:..." the gangly, scruffy teenager suddenly stood up ramrod straight at the frying pan and repositioned the spachelor in her hand like she was holding a dainty quill, then started to speak in a refined, maybe even pretentious voice, very unlike her own, with no trace of a southern accent:   "Arabella, would you please desist from precipitating those most distastful and less that utilitarian anecdotal confabulations. I find them most distressing!" All right, the words might not make sense, but anyone who knew Clara would have recognised the rhythm and tone of her voice.   @Wayfarer
    • "There ain't no 'we', Ara, this is between me n' the cowpoke here. You did not knock and I did not say you could come in," Caroline now pointed out as calmly as she could.   "I know..." replied Arabella sadly "An' I know I promised to do all them things but..." she shook her head a little "when I heard all them terrible horrible rotten things what happened to you, I was just so shocked and sad and angry that some low down bastard could do that to my sweet, pretty, lovely little Caroline, I just... well my soul kinda flew out to you, and my big ol' feet foller'd right along behind it."   She reached across and hugged her again and kissed her on top of her head again. Brendan then put in his two cents' worth.   From there, he looked down at Caroline. "Hey. What I was tryin' to say...goin' to say...is that...I understand."   "Good ta know, hon. Just wait a minute and we can continue this conversation once Ara leaves the room, shuts the door, and assures me she won't be listening in anymore. Got that?" Caroline eyed the teenager.   Arabella nodded compliantly enough, but then twisted in the bed so she was face to face with Brendan, whom she stared straight in the eye.   "But before I go, Brendan Connolly, you gotta tell me that you forgive me for all them silly things I said before and all them silly things I did cause even Caroline's forgiven me and she's the one I did and said them things to and we gettin' on all right now and I found out some stuff which made me change and I'm a better person now and it just ain't fair that you're still treatin' me so mean and, and..." she gulped down a sob and a lone tear appeared in the corner of her eye.   "... I really want you to be my friend again..." she wiped away the tear "... please."   @Bailey @Wayfarer

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Just then, Mary came in and unconsciously echoed Shade's invitation for their guests to remain overnight, "Weather is coming in," she pointed to the windows that revealed a darkening sky. Sudden storms were not uncommon in the Chogun Mountains where the bulk of the ranch was located. "I suggest that you plan on staying over," Mary said to the Pastor, "you don't want to try to make it back to Kalispell in this. I can roust you out early so you make it back for your services in time. We can lend you anything you need."

 

Many people carried small overnight bags with them when visiting the far-flung ranches and properties around Kalispell. However, more than one person had found themselves stranded at Lost Lake Ranch without having an overnight kit with them. The family had gotten in the habit of keeping spare items for people to use when that happened. Everything from nightshirts to soaps, and even clean clothes were kept in stock.  Which was a good plan because just as Mary finished speaking, a tremendous clap of thunder shook the house.

 

Shade smiled at his guests, "I have to be up and out early as well so I can get myself and the twins to the abbey for mass. The rain will make the drive through the gorge dangerous tonight." He did not add that an opportunity to spend more time with Kate was a bonus to the treacherous weather.

 

Tags @JulieS

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At the sound of thunder, Pastor Evans nodded, "It looks like we have no choice in the matter."

 

He turned to his wife,  "My dear, you no doubt will now have more time to spend with Mary and if Shade will allow me, I can spend some time in his library."

 

Kate was not sure what to make of the change in plans.  Part of her was happy at being able to stay here longer but part of her was also nervous at the prospect of being here with him.  The house was very big and they were few in number there was bound to be a time when she and he would be...

 

She shook her head a little and took a deep breath.  Hoping to divert her mind from the track it was going down, she addressed the group, "I am sure we will be able to put our time here to good use.  When the children awaken from their afternoon nap, I will be able to find out what their educational needs are.  It will save me a trip later on."

 

Turning to Shade, she continued, "I hope it won't be too much of a bother for you having us stay the night.  We are woefully unprepared for this turn of events."

 

@Stormwolfe

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"It is no bother at all," Shade assured Katherine. "In fact, why don't I go ahead and show you to the guest rooms while Mary gets some overnight kits for you? After that, Pastor, feel free to examine our library for as long as you like. I will be playing nanny and keeping the twins out from under Mary's feet."

 

Shade rose to his feet. He was not totally comfortable with playing the part of wealthy ranch-owner and host. Still, he was managing to pull it off better than expected. It helped that he really wanted more time, private or chaperoned did not matter, with Katherine. Of course, it also made him uneasy. There were things in his past that might make her decide to have nothing to do with him. He mentally shook himself. Shade would have to wait and cross that bridge when he came to it.

 

@JulieS

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After Shade had shown them to their rooms, Mrs. Evans went back to the kitchen to join Mary, as she, Pastor Evans and Shade went to the library.  As she listened to Shade tell the Pastor a few things about the books, she casually investigated the room.  There was plenty of things to take in.

 

After a while, they interrupted by the two children waking up from their nap.  Nettie, happy to see that the teacher hadn't left, quickly took her hand and led her back to the playroom, eager to show off some of her dolls.  They were followed by Cody and Shade.  The four of them, in Kate's opinion, spent an enjoyable afternoon getting to know each other better.

 

During this time, Kate felt herself becoming more attracted to Shade than she already was.  It made her a little sad to know that she have to leave in the morning and then wait nearly a week to see him when he would be coming to take her to the dance.  It made her a little bit more determined to make this time worthwhile and give her something to remember during the long week ahead.

 

@Stormwolfe

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Even with the unexpected guests, Mary outdid herself with the evening meal. Fried chicken, creamed potatoes, gravy, and fresh green beans cooked in the chicken broth left everyone groaning when they finished eating. Shade was determined to help her with the clean-up, but Mary shook her dishtowel at him, suggesting that maybe he wanted to take Miss Katherine for a walk. He couldn't help but think that was an excellent idea. It would, she said, allow her to relax and visit with her friends for a bit before bedtime.


The twins were sent to their playroom with a promise that baths could be skipped for that one night. Once they had offered hugs and kisses, Shade turned to Katherine, "Would you care to walk to the waterfall with me? It isn't far." He suddenly realized that he was holding his breath, waiting for her answer.

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When she heard Mary suggest the walk, Kate knew when Shade asked she would say yes, so she had a little bit of time to compose herself while the children were saying goodnight.

 

13 hours ago, Shade Thornton said:

"Would you care to walk to the waterfall with me? It isn't far."

 

Hoping that she looked calm and in control, she slowly nodded, "Yes, I think that would be nice.  It will give me an opportunity to talk to you about the children and their education."

 

The last bit was for the benefit of the Pastor and his wife.  She didn't want anybody seeing more into the situation then there really was.  It was still early days and this flurry of excitement could dwindle away quickly.  There was also the question of why Shade was paying so much attention to her.  Was it because he was just being a good host or was there something more?

 

Her own feelings throughout the day had gone up and own so many times, ranging from caution to wanting to fully embrace what was happening to her.  All this was happening very quickly and what she wanted to do was to make sure of his intentions.  Hopefully, the walk to the waterfall would answer all her questions.

 

@Stormwolfe

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Shade smiled, hoping his expression wasn't as dopey as it felt. Just as he was about to head for the door with Kate, Mary handed him a beautifully made knitted shawl, "The rain may have stopped for now, but the wind is still blowing," she told him.


Taking the garment, Shade draped it around Kate's shoulders. "We won't be outside long," he assured Mary and held up his hand to forestall the older woman's next spate, "and we will stick to the walkway."


Shade led Katherine toward the main stairway but bypassed it in favor of taking her out the back door to the side courtyard. If they turned to their left, they could see the guest wing where Quentin lived. Instead of heading in that direction, Shade turned right and through a wrought iron gate and onto a cobbled walkway. Already, they could hear the sound of the waterfalls. They were louder than normal due to the recent rain.


Once they were in the shelter of the forest, Shade offered his arm. The cobbled walkway had been carefully engineered for water drainage, but some of the stones could still be slick. "I hope I didn't put you on the spot when I asked you to the dance this weekend," Shade said. "I know you barely know me."

 

@JulieS

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Kate smiled, "No, you didn't put me on the spot.  Even though it was unexpected, I am glad that you did ask me and as me barely knowing you, I can say the same thing about you barely knowing me."

 

As she waited for his response, she walked a few steps ahead of him.  The sound of the waterfall was very loud but the thoughts and emotions running through her now were even louder.  Now that she was out here alone with him, she didn't want to be too bold but she didn't want to be too missish either.  She still wasn't certain if this was just some of sort of game for him or if it was something more.

 

She turned to face him, "I guess what I'm trying to say is that during this visit, we have gotten to know each other but in a way, we still have a long way to go and I'm not sure where it is leading us."

 

@Stormwolfe

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Shade glanced over at Katherine as they walked along the cobbled walkway. For a moment, he was mesmerized by her loveliness and felt tongue-tied. He gave himself a mental shake. It wasn't like he had not met beautiful women before, even romanced some of them, broken their hearts and had his broken in turn. However, this was different...very different. Shade felt his emotions far more engaged than he would have expected for such a short acquaintance. Katherine's allure was not in just her looks. He felt an odd connection to her, like someone was weaving a fine strand of silk between them.

 

"We do have a lot to learn about one another," Shade said in response to her statement. "I don't know where this will wind up, I only know that, if you are willing, I want to see where it goes." Shade offered her a gentle smile that lit the depths of his eyes. "In fact, I am hoping that after Saturday's dance, you will be amenable to me calling on you when I can come to town?" 

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Kate smiled, "I'm willing," she answered.  The fact was that she was more than willing.  Now that she knew that he felt the same as her, she wanted more.

 

Taking a step closer to him, she nodded, "And yes, you can call on me whenever you can."

 

Hopefully, she had told him what he wanted to hear and now all she had to do was wait for him to make the next move.

 

@Stormwolfe

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img_0321-2.jpgHaving Kate that close to him was a heady sensation. He inhaled her subtle fragrance, wondering how she managed to smell as clean as the recent rainfall. Without hesitation, Shade reached for her hand, astounded at how small it was. Who said that spring was for romance had never gone for a walk after an autumn thunderstorm with Katherine Bowen!


As they walked toward the waterfall, Shade would point out items of interest. Trees that were native only to Montana, the tracks of animals coming out after the storm to forage, and where the lodge's mountain home dropped away to the vast crater lake below. Speaking about these things brought home the love he felt for this land, and it showed as he played tour guide for the lovely Kate.


Finally, the cobblestone path ended in a natural grotto of stone. A small circular area had been cleared, and the natural rocks polished to make a level surface. Two stone and log benches were set to either side of the outdoor courtyard. Before them lay a large, quiet pool surrounded by a towering cliff of rough granite. On the far side of the pool, a sparkling waterfall dropped from the cliff above. Just past the 'courtyard", the pool narrowed into a wide creek that plummeted in a series of cascades to the lake far below.


Shade smiled, "It's probably still too wet for us to sit on the benches. The creek that makes this waterfall forms several more going back into the mountains as far as you can travel. In fact, I was at one of the other falls with the twins and Miss Redmond when we ran across that killer Grizzly the first time."

waterfall.jpg

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Kate felt a little bit disappointed at the mention of Miss Redmond.  She knew that the girl was young, so it wasn't jealousy.  It was more envy due to the fact that the girl was able to spend a lot of time with Shade when she had only been with him on two occasions.  However, there was a silver lining in the fact that Shade was interested in getting to know her more.  Maybe in the future she would be able to spend as much time, if not more with Shade than Miss Redmond.

 

She gave her a head a little shake.  It was way too early to think of things like that.  Later on down the track her feelings towards Shade would change as she got to know him.  For now, she would be content in spending what time she could with him.

 

As she listened to Shade talk about the surroundings, she could hear the pride in his voice.  To feel that way about your home must be wonderful feeling and she wondered if she would ever feel that way about any place.  Her previous homes had all been temporary and so she never really took the time to enjoy them.  Even her time here in Kalispell would be temporary especially since she had her teaching contract for only the current year.

 

Looking at Shade, she realised now was not the time to think of such things.  Here she was in beautiful surroundings with a man she had started to feel deeply for.  Smiling, she looked at the benches he had just mentioned, "Yes I think you are correct, they are too wet."

 

Facing him, she continued, "I want to thank you for being such a nice host, showing me your home and making me feel welcomed."  Then on impulse, she reached up and kissed him on the cheek.

 

When she finished, she felt a bit embarassed, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so forward.  It's just that I am very grateful and I..."

 

@Stormwolfe

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Shade felt an odd tingling in his cheek after Kate gave him the quick, light kiss. It was a good feeling, and he would have liked to hold on to it. Her embarrassed apology made him smile.


"I don't consider you forward at all," Shade replied. "Although we have a lot to learn about one another, in some ways, I feel I've known you forever. Not sure that makes sense. Maybe it's feelings versus facts."


"Thing is, Kate, I love this place, this land, even the lodge. At the same time, I am glad the house goes to the twins when they are old enough to take the reins. I want to build my own place, make my own mark on the ranch. My brother set his will and the property legacy, so that will be possible someday."


Shade stopped talking suddenly, afraid that he had said too much. He was assuming quite a bit, considering they barely knew one another.  In fact, once Katherine Bowen learned about his past, there was a good chance she would prefer no more contact. Immediately, his heart dropped at that thought. Nevertheless, he would someday have to tell her everything. Keeping such secrets was no way to treat someone you cared deeply for. 

 

@JulieS

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Kate frowned a little when Shade stopped abruptly.  It was nice listening to him talk about his home and future plans.  She was also glad that he didn't think she hadn't overstepped the line.  Whatever it was that made him go quiet, she knew she couldn't ask.  It was up to Shade to tell her when and if he wanted to.

 

No really knowing what to say next, she wander aimlessly around grotto listening to the sound of the waterfall.  After a few minutes, she turned to look at Shade and smiled, "It is such a lovely place.  I would like to come again another day to see what it looks like in the daylight."

 

"I would like that too," Shade said quietly, "in fact, I would like that a lot." Although his voice was quiet and low, there was a depth of feeling in his tone. "I would like to share all of this," he waved his hand at the landscape, "with you."

 

Kate stood there, briefly shocked by what he had just said.  In a way it was unexpected but in another way it was what she was waiting to hear.  It was still early days but the promise that this could lead to something else making her feel all warm inside.

 

"Yes, I would like it a lot as well," she answered hoping that her voice conveyed what she was feeling.

 

@Stormwolfe

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Shade took a deep breath and reached for Kate's hand. He raised it to his lips and lightly kissed the palm. Hopefully, the action would not get him slapped.


"I know we have only met twice and known one another for a few short hours," Shade told her. "I am not taking our exchange here for a done deal. We have plenty of time to get to know one another. I'll come to town as often as I can and, with proper chaperones, of course, maybe you can spend occasional weekends here."

 

The tingling sensation she felt when Shade kissed her hand made her feel warm all over.  As she listened to him, she could understand what he was trying to say.  How many times had seen and heard about the first blush of romance fading away to reveal a darker reality.  However, now was not such a time for thoughts like those.  She would enjoy the journey no matter where it would take her.

 

"Yes, I would like to see you when I can and I will take you up on your offer to spend more weekends here."  She smiled, "Although, I'm not sure about the chaperones.  We seemed to be doing fine without one now."

 

Shade grinned at her, a mischievous light appearing in his dark blue eyes, "I'd rather not always count on me being able to remain a gentleman in your presence, Kate. Fortunately, except for a couple of nights a week, Harriet Mercer is in residence. Mary is also usually here, not to mention Cody and Nettie." He pulled her arm through his for the walk back to the house. It got dark earlier now and he did not want them stumbling about or being out if more storms came in. As if to punctuate his thoughts, a rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. "We should go back now."

 

Kate was feeling a bit disappointed that their walk would be over soon.  Back inside, Shade would have to go back to being the host and not the relaxed man he had been out here.  The thunder didn't help matters.  She sighed, "Maybe, the next time we come here we won't have to go back in so soon."

 

"I will make sure of that," Shade said softly.

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)

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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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