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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
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    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
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A Sunday Ride


Barnabas Pike
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Mature Content: Nope

Author: Put your OOC username here ONLY if posting with a Shared NPC. 

With: Emeline Blakesley, Pronto Pike
Location: Add specific location information here.
When: Spetember /  1875
Time of Day: Late morning.

 

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It was a long wait for Sunday, well at least for one Pronto Pike. He had scouted the horses available to rent and picked a nice Sorel gelding for Emeline. He demanded the best saddle and tack because he wanted everything to be just right, and the best they had would be perfect for her.

 

A bath the night before, A clean shirt and trousers, boots brushed clean and waxed, his leather coat wiped down as best he could to remove what dirt and stains he could, especially the blood from the shoulder wound which was a stain that could only be lightened.

 

Lastly he shaved, removing his facial growth of three months. It struck him then that yes, he bathed, he shaved, changed clothes, just not as often as he might, and he realized if he was considering courting her there were some things that would have to change. The stopped him in his tracks.

 

The thought came as natural as the sunrise and it just gave him real pause, he would ave to think on that some. A bath and clean clothes did not change who and what he was, he knew that all well.

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Sunday Morning had arrived slowly, the sun peeking over the mountains to the east showing the sky to be clear for the day ahead, one to enjoy while one still could.  And it always had, the sun climbed into the cobalt blue sky waking the world under it.

 

But Pronto Pike had arisen before day light, as he usually did. Only, on this particular morning he stepped to the basin shaved and washed up. Then he carefully inspected what he was wearing, something he rarely did. He dressed, pulled on his boots and examined himself in the mirror. Satisfied he set the black flat brimmed hat on his head and pulled it down from behind. He was ready for the day.

 

He got the horses saddled and ready, then mounted and went back to the boarding house for breakfast, where he took a ribbing about his not having breakfast there anymore, and a good natured scolding about his not attending church. Linda Everson knew probably more about him than he knew and she genuinely cared for him.

 

By the time he rode to the café, the Sorrel in tow it felt like a week had passed since daybreak. He stepped down tied the horses and stepped up on the boardwalk, then moved to the door where he knocked...and waited.

 

Tag @Bongo

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All through church, and even as she was getting ready for the rest of the day, Emeline kept telling herself that she was anxious because she was excited to get out for the day, and that she was going to be riding a horse for the first time in a while and she hoped that she didn't make a fool of herself.  But there was really no denying that she was nervous about her companion.  Not that she thought there was more to his objective than a kind offer, but she hadn't been with a man socially for any length of time since Andrew had died, and she wasn't sure how to not make it feel awkward.

 

The best, she decided, was just to try to relax and enjoy it for what it was. 

 

With lunch packed in a small satchel, Emeline stepped onto the porch to await Mr. Pike's arrival.  She was wearing a simple brown homespun dress, pleated at the waist, with buttons up the front and close-fitting sleeves.  Over her hair that was pulled back in a braid, was mashed a wide-brimmed straw hat that had seen better days, but would well do its job of protecting her from the sun. 

 

When she spotted the rider ponying another horse, she walked out to the gate to meet him, smiling as she looked up, holding the brim of the hat to shade the sun.  "Good morning, Barnabas...or is it afternoon now?  Those are some fine-looking animals you have there."

 

@Flip

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“Miss Emeline.” He greeted, removing his hat.”This here sorrel’s ‘sposed to be the best of both, has spunk and a gentle side as well.” And then it dawned on him. “Maybe I should have hired a buggy, ‘course that might have persented a problem goin’ off the trail an’ all.”

 

Hind sight he thought, then again perhaps not. She was beautiful! He would have walked to the waterfall with her. He had been used to seeing in the café, apron and all, seeing her as she was dressed that day all but took his breath away.

 

“Well, reckon we oughtta get started, it is a ways, right?” He asked, for at that moment he almost hoped it was long, long way from Kalispell.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Barnabas."  Emeline smiled as he stopped the horses at the gate, looking over the mare.  "She's beautiful.  A buggy would be such a waste on a day like this."  Reaching out, she let the sorrel sniff her hand, then she patted the smooth neck.  "No, this is prefect!"  Honestly, she was really looking forward to riding, and maybe she'd get herself a horse one of these days.  "I believe the falls are a couple of miles."

 

"Can you hold this?"  She handed Barnabas the bundle with lunch, then gathered up her skirt and managed to swing up into the saddle.  It wasn't an elegant move, she was out of practice, but at least she had on bloomers with a lace border that would preserve her modesty.  She settled with an, "Ooof!", then started laughing as her hat dislodged and tumbled to the ground. "I'm afraid I'm not twelve any more!"

 

@Flip

 

 

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Pronto took the bundle with both hands, which left him unable to help her mount, much to his disappointment. He noticed she was wearing a skirt, not a split skirt, but a regular skirt which pulled up to nearly her knees. He stood gawking, then when she said she wasn’t twelve anymore, he laughed, not at her, but with her. He scooped up her hat and handed it up to her.

 

“No ma’am, reckon neither of us could make that brag.” He said, “That looks a mite uncomfortable. You might consider one o’ them split skirt what ‘er made just for this purpose. Either that, maybe a pair a’britches. Meanin’ no offense Miss Emeline.” At that point he felt he was in up to his knees and it was best he stop while he was still able. He handed up the bundle. “Well shall we?” He asked, grabbing his saddle horn and swing up on board, smoothly taking up the reins and waiting for her.

 

TAG @Bongo

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She hadn't really realized how much her skirt would bunch up, and he was right, it was uncomfortable.  Not only that, but there was some leg showing between the lace of her bloomers and the top of her boot! 

 

"I hadn't realized..."  Shoving the lunch pack at him, Emeline declared, "I have some of Andrew's old pants I can use."  They were large on her, of course, but she used them on occasion for gardening and repairs that were dirty, so she had a way to make them fit.

 

Swinging her leg over the back of the saddle, she started to jump to the ground, but her skirt got caught on the horn, stalling her descent until it ripped and released her, sending her tumbling to the ground.  She landed on her backside, showing far more than just the hem of her bloomers, but she was laughing too hard to notice!

 

@Flip

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Pronto, bundle and all, sprang from the saddle in an effort to catch her, but not quite fast enough. There she lie in the dust, laughing about it, the horses skittering nervously around as he offered his hand, still grasping the bundle tightly.


“You alright?” He asked earnestly, thankful the streets were all but deserted, and few, if any saw her predicament. “Here, lemme help ya up. Reckon them pants’ll jest have ta do.”

 

In spite of the situation he found great pleasure in the sound of her laughter, the fact being, he found great pleasure in her company. This disaster might delay the a bit, though he would gladly wait how ever long it took for them to be on their way.

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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"I'm just fine, thank you!"  Emeline was still laughing as she took his hand and scrambled to her feet.  "I have ample padding!"

 

And suddenly, her cheeks when bright red as she released his hand and darted  for the house.  "I'll just be a few minutes!"

 

Had she really said that?  Lordy, what would he think of her?  And why did she care?

 

Pushing that aside, she quickly rummaged through the trunk at the foot of her bed and quickly changed into tan britches that were held up with a belt and rolled at the cuffs.  An old blue satin bodice completed the odd outfit, making a very strange combination, and as she glanced at herself in the mirror as she headed back out, she stopped and frowned. 

 

No, she couldn't do this...couldn't let anyone see her like this, much the less Barnabas.  But he was waiting, he'd hired a horse, and...well, she was really looking forward to the day.

 

Sighing, she plopped her hat back on her head and marched outside, shaking her head.  "Well, I don't know that this is any better...if you're embarrassed to be seen with me, I understand."

 

@Flip

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Pronto stood, holding the reins of both animals as Emeline came out of her house in something of a unique outfit, but one that would do, and would certainly be more comfortable.

 

“Embarrassed, Ma’m? Why no, not at all. We wuz going fer a ride ‘n picnic, not no barn dance social.” He reminded her. “You jest climb aboard an’ we’ll be on our way an’ have us a high time of it.”

 

He had not given a thought to what she had said earlier, nor had it mattered. The chance to get out of town, see some of the country, and spend a day with Emeline Blakesley, well there was no way that he would pass that up, not for any reason short of not breathing. "Reckon we should start gettin' movin'."

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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This time, mounting was considerably easier, since she had had practice and was no longer inhibited by skirts, and soon, Emeline was back aboard the mare, much more comfortable this time, despite the inappropriate costume.  And she still had her hat on!

 

"I heartily agree, a high time shall be had!"  Giving him a nod, she grinned widely, enjoying the feel of being on a horse again, and having a fun companion.  "Your horse is quite handsome, have you had him long?"  The two animals were well-matched as they ambled side-by-side.  "Do you own the mare as well?"  Leaning forward, she patted 'her' horse's neck.

 

@Flip

 

 

 

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“Got him a ways back when I was in Arizona. The whole outfit was payment for helpin’ out a small spread.” He replied he comment about his horse. " Took a bit, but we come to an understandin' about who was boss. " With that he stepped into leather.

 

“Nope, man said he’d part with her though. Askin’ seventy dollars fer horse an’ tack. Purty fair deal, less than what the horse alone would be worth by thirty dollars at least.” Answering her question about the mares ownership.

 

He smiled as they turned the mounts north toward the edge of town. “Nice day fer this ride, might not be so many of ‘em left.’"

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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"Arizona?"  Emeline glanced at Barnabas, but her fingers were twirling through the bit of mane just ahead of the saddle horn.  "I hear it is arid and barren?  Have you seen the Yellowstone, then?  I can't imagine what it must be like to see a geyser, or even a bubbling pit of mud."  Honestly, she found some of the stories hard to believe.

 

In the mean time, she was contemplating buying a horse.  Today would give her a good feel for the mare, and she had the money set aside, at least some.  But it was coming into the Winter season, and business would slow down and income would be limited.  She could always try to barter with the livery man, offer meals as payment and boarding.  Of course, she could also just wait out Winter, likely the horse wouldn't be in danger of being sold in that time, and she could always ask the man to come to her first, should he decide to sell her.

 

"I've no doubt Winter will be here soon, and with a vengeance, and then we will all be trapped indoors for months at a time, can you imagine?"

 

@Flip  (sorry, couldn't resist!)

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“Nope, not rightly sure where that’d be. Yella’stone  I come in from the north-east, visited a friend on my way here in Oregon. Now there’s some pretty country, real green.” He explained as the rode along. I come inta Kalispell through Whitefish, but Yella’stone, now we outta ride on over there, if it ain’t to far.”

 

Being on the trail was always a pleasure for Pronto, but today was was much more, today he was with Emeline and he was willing to ride wherever she wanted to ride. With town dropping in the distance and open country ahead it gave the feeling that for the time being, they were the only people in he world.

 

“Yeah, winter. Reckon it could be a rough one. Had a taste of that when I was in Nevada, Virginia City. Got plumb nasty, it did. Snow drifts seven, eight feet high. Wind, swerlin’ snow, have ta dig out ever day. Reckon we’ll see that here. But folks in town’ll be able ta get out if’n they’re willin’ ta shovel out, keep the board walks clear.”

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Oh, well, I believe it's only a two week trip to Yellowstone, we can do that easily!"  Emeline laughed.  "We'd have to go sparing on the food, but I think we could do it!"  Of course, she was joking, she couldn't even begin to imagine something like a vacation, today was as close as she'd get, and for now it was enough.  "But then, we'd get caught in Winter and have to dig in for the season, live in an igloo and hunt buffalo..."

 

She laughed again.  "I've not been a Winter here, but in the Dakotas the drifts got so high that they reached the balconies on the buildings.  There were times that you could walk from one end of town to the other on a bright, sunny day, and it was like midnight on the boardwalks."  But it was funny, the snow actually caused some insulation, so that it wasn't quite so cold by the buildings.  "I always did like the sound of sleigh bells, though, announcing the coming Christmas season." 

 

Not that Christmas held the joy it once had, but even though it was still a few months off, she was planning some special offerings in the cafe to make it more festive.

 

@Flip

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“Not real sure about the igloo, and the injuns’d have a thing or two ta say about hunting buffalo, which they rightly consider theirs.” He commented almost without expression. “Then we’d find ourselves froze with no hair. Wouldn’t be much of a trip.” He looked at her soberly, then burst into laughter.


“Like I said, we seen some snow up ta Virginia City like thet. Danged cold, Folks actually did freeze to death, rest their souls. That Sun Mountain, she could be a year ‘round challenge what with the winters, and the mining, an’ the no-goods out to fleece an’ rob.” He described. “Some nine-ten thousand people on thet hill when I last rode out.”

 

"'course now, we could make the ride, that'd just take time. But what's become of yer bidness was you ta go traipsin' off like thet?" Pronto asked. He was thinking he should shut up because he loved to hear he talk. " You'll be hearin' them sleigh bells soon enough. We won't get us too many more chances to have a ride."

 

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"Well, then, I'm glad we were able to get out when we did."  She shook her head.  "Isn't it funny, that the first snow of the season is so pristine and beautiful after the long Summer...a relief from the brown of Autumn, but within a few weeks, it's the most horrid thing on the planet!  Of course, for children, it just changes the landscape of play.  I used to love skating and sledding...well, until I sledded right into a tree!!"  She laughed.  "I tell you, I had to put up my sled to spare the trees!"

 

But maybe acting like a kid now and again was a good idea, just letting loose and being carefree, even for a little while.  "I may be willing to take down the old sled this Winter, if the conditions are right.  And I'll be careful to avoid the trees!"

 

@Flip

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“Well now I ain’t seen no snow jest yet, but I gotta agree, thet first one, well you’re right. She’s a beaut! Smooth and pure, just like they say. But it don’r take long fer it ta get old.” Pronto agreed, thinking of the hills in Virginia City, steep streets that had to be negotiated during the snows.


“I’m real glad of this chance to get outta town, spendin’ time on the trail, takin’ in the country with you. Always better to share sometin’ like this with someone else.” He hadn’t meant to mention being with her, but it just came out before he knew it. “And gettin’ out a sled, well thet there sounds like great fun. There’s a couple slopes near by with few trees ta git in the way.”

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"Oh, well, it's hardly worth the trouble if there aren't any trees.  That takes all the sport out of it!"  She laughed, shrugging.  "Although I suppose even without trees, I'd tumble off and make a giant snowball of myself.  Then someone would plot a head on me and wait for the thaw!"

 

She found that she really was having a good time not talking business or day-to-day life, but just basic nonsense.  "I suppose we'll have to wait for the Spring thaw, won't we?  But that will give me time to put up preserves and make hardtack for the trip."

 

She laughed again, then looked around at the countryside.  "This really is beautiful, isn't it?  Not many people take the time to look where they live, they just take it for granted."  She shook her head.  "Can you imagine living in a place such as London or Paris and not thinking anything of it?"  But she added, "Of course, I can't imagine living anywhere so...big and impersonal.  I think I'd be lonely amid all those people."

 

Really, she couldn't imagine living in a place where it took hours to cross the city, or to get to open land like this.

 

@Flip

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Pronto watched her, watched how she laughed, the gesture she made, actually everything about her before he ever spoke a word. I ain’t one to sure about you turnin’ into no snowball. Leastways not if I could help it.”


“Never was much fer big towns, been in a few. Too crowded for the likes of me. I like a small tow, a place where a man can stretch out, be himself. I reckon maybe it’s the way folks tend to treat one another. Thet, an they know about ever-one in town.” He sort of nodded to himself.  “I guess I’m the sort that just preferes them lill ‘uns. Gotta mess of ‘em down thataway.”

 

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"Well, I can't say as like everyone knowing about everything," Emeline commented, "but it is good to know you have people to count in when you need it." Community could be good or bad, depending on the players.  Of course, she tended to keep to herself and out of scandals, so that put her in good standing, but she still wasn't happy with gossips.  "Kallispell seems a good size, and the people are mostly good.  I'm happy to have found it."  She sighed.  "I don't mind seeing new places, but it's good to have a home to return to.  I've even heard rumors of an actual hospital in town, although I don't know that it's large enough to support such a thing.  At least we have a doctor and school teacher, now all we need is a Grange Hall and Odd Fellows and we're set!"

 

Some growth was good, and it was nice to have some amenities, it was just a matter of balance.  "Of course, with growth comes more competition, so I'd have to enhance my menu, perhaps with exotic choices...but then, my garden has snails, so..."

 

@Flip

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“Looks like the towns growin’ up around us, ya might say. I ain’t heard of no hospital. But then I ain’t rightly listenin’ neither.” He replied. “Growth and competition, now there’s a combination for ya. ‘course it works most of the time.” He grinned, “Less folks decide to push it, then that’s a horse of a different color.”

 

Pronto was no stranger to change, no stranger to men getting pushy and trying to have their way, and there were plenty that got their way, even if that was some times short lived. But he wasn’t worried, there were too many good men on town for that to happen.

Yes there was this Elias Steelgrave, but so far he’d made no move on Kallispell, neither had


his son, the Marshal of Whitefish, but they would bare watching, because if there was to be trouble on the horizon it would come from that direction. Then he realized what a waste of time speculating on trouble was.

 

“So tell me, what's it you like to do above all else?”

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Oh, goodness!  I hadn't thought on that sort of thing in a long time."  Looking over at him, Emeline smiled, even as she turned the options over in her mind.  "I've been so busy with work...and I suppose the answer might change with circumstance."  She shrugged.  "I do enjoy the cooking, and knowing that I'm offering comfort and pleasure to others..."  Laughing, she shook her head.  "But that is my employment, I like it, but if I could do anything with no care of money or time, I suppose it would be travel."

 

Indeed, as she'd already mentioned, there were all sorts of places she'd love to see, all over the world, and she could easily walk away from what she was doing to do that.  But...

 

"That's not really practical, though, is it?  Maybe painting?  Or learning an instrument...I'm quite enjoying just riding like this."

 

She laughed again.  "I'm afraid I'm not being very specific.  But honestly..." her tone became a little distant and sober, "I loved taking care of my family, keeping home for my husband and watching my daughter play and discover life."  Her smile was bittersweet.  "But that is not to be, either."

 

@Flip

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“I suspect you’d be a traveler, gettin’ out and seein’ what there is ta see.” He paused when she talked of caring for her husband and daughter, and how that was not to be. “I’m sorry if I brung a sadness to you. That weren’t my intent.”

 

Pike was not sure how to continue, the question was right there, waiting to be asked, but he was hesitant, thinking and rightly so, that it was not his business to ask after whatever tragedy that had befallen her family. He sat like a lump in the saddle for a few minutes, then finally spoke.

 

“I’ll be honest, I don’t rightly know what to say along about now. I surely meant no harm in askin’. Not my affair, and dredgin’ up a sadness weren’t never my intent, not ever.”

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Oh, please, Barnabas, I didn't mean to..."  Well, she hadn't meant to ruin the mood.  "I know that wasn't your intention, and honestly, I don't mind remembering, because that is far better than forgetting."  In fact, she lived in continual fear that she would forget, especially her little Chloe, since they'd never had a chance to get a picture of her.

 

"It's funny, when I was a girl, I wanted a ranch, to raise Morgan horses, and I cringed when marriage and family was mentioned.  Babies!"  Laughing, she rolled her eyes.  "Crying and diapers!  But that changed, of course, and now it's what I'd like most."

 

For a moment, she was silent, but then she added, "But we can't always have what we crave, and the Good Lord knows what He's doing, and you take life as it comes and enjoy what you are given."  Her smile widened.  "Like a wonderful day on a picnic to a waterfall with a friend.  What else would you rather do to occupy your time?"

 

@Flip

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