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Christmas Eve 1875


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Mature Content:  Nope

With: Barnabas and
Location: In Town & On The Trail
When: December 24,1875
Time of Day:  Afternoon Into Evening

 

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It was a rare day of late, with the sun out, shining bright, glistening as it reflected off of the snow, which in places reached the hammerhead roan’s belly, but for both it was refreshing to be away from what seemed at times like the confines of town. Oh, Pronto was more than happy at his dish washing job, and the roan was thoroughly enjoying the warmth of the stall, and the regular feed. That was evident in his earlier behavior when Pike climbed aboard. Rebellion to the bit was not unusual for the Roan, especially when he was not ridden regularly. But he smoothed out as they left town at a canter.

 

He rode a ways out from town, perhaps a mile, mile and a half, enjoying the crisp air then he left the trail, climbed to the crest of the hill then turned the animal and together they looked over the valley, blanketed in snow with only the trails to the Redmond spread and the Lost Lake Ranch showing signs of travel. But nothing marred the white blanket beyond that. There had been no movement from the Evergreen Ranch.

 

Pronto needed to think. And for him, sometimes that was best accomplished in the saddle. Now, he was not a man given to feelings about the birth of Christ outwardly, of course that was hardly truthful, just how he let on. Since he had lost his family after the war, both by death and disappearance, and then when he lost out with Valentina Calderone back in Lampasas, Texas to no account Dooley Leddbetter in ‘65, the birth of the Savior, New Years, whatever, was to him, just another day, and nothing more. So he let on. He was not given to the celebrations, or the traditions of the season, any season.

 

But, this was Em. And that made this different. So, he needed to ponder just what it was that Barnabas 'Pronto’ Pike was going to do about it. Because, as he admitted to himself, she was all he could see, if that even began to explain his feelings for her. Yet it seemed to him that this was somehow bigger than that, his feelings for her. It was Christmas, it was Christmas with Em, not that they were exactly together, but that they were close, or so he liked to think, and if that did not make it special then there was nothing that would!

 

Of course, this was confusing for him, because he had no idea what she would say, for just last week he accepted Speed Guyer’s offer to be his deputy come the spring thaw.  And, there was the offer the same morning from Leah Steelgrave, which he had not made up his mind on, even though he and Em had spoken about it.. Women can be downright skittish about things like that. But he needed to do something.

 

He wheeled the roan and looked at nob where the house would sit, their house. Scanning the adjacent land, visualizing the out buildings, where her garden would be, the corals. Then he looked to the partially frozen falls, where the water had forced it’s way through the ice flow, not to be denied.  Pronto pike reined the horse around and down the hill they went.

 

TBC

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The ride back to town had been faster than the ride out, two things were settled, he would take her the present he had in mind, and, he would follow through on a plan he had, but the present would come first, there was no rush on the plan, other than the need to get it finished. There was a quick stop at the General Store before it closed. The Diner was still open so he quickened his pace.


He reined in at the hitch rail and stepped down, walking to the boardwalk and to the door, opening it he stepped inside, hearing the sounds of closing up. Closing the door gently behind him he called out. “Man get a cuppa coffee in this place?” knowing there was none to be had.

 

Tag @Bongo

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Christmas Eve...Emeline was closing the cafe up early, and of course would not be open for Christmas.  Already some preparations had been put out, she'd had evergreen garland swags and wreaths around the dining area, decorated with holly berries, popcorn and batting made to look like snow.  And she had prepared some special foods for Christmas day, even though it was only going to be herself and Barnabas, but still, she had the beginnings of a yule log cake, and there was a little cooking to be done in the morning, but she had opted for a day of not-cooking over a sumptuous feast.

 

When she heard someone call for coffee, she set aside the biscuits she was working on and headed out of the kitchen, answering back, "I'm sorry, we're closed for..."  And at the same time, the voice registered in her head and she laughed.

 

"Happy Christmas Eve, Barnabas."  Quickly crossing the room, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.  "I ran out of coffee a bit ago and haven't had a chance to make more yet.  But come in, of course.  You'll join me for supper?  It's just going to be leftover stew and I'm making biscuits."  She grinned.  "And the dishes are done already, so you don't need to worry about that."

 

@Flip

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He laughed at the dishes remark. “ Yes Ma’am, glad of thet. Was a good ride, needed ta get a few things worked out, an’ the best place fer thet’s in the saddle, least ways fer this hombre it is.” He paused.

 

“Would ya step on outside a moment, Em?” He asked.

 

Pronto openened the door for her, and tied to his saddle horn was was a lead rope to the horse she ridden on that Sunday they shared, with a large red bow in it’s mane, saddled and ready in the fading light. “A mite early, but the feller at the stable said he’d not be gettin’ outta bed come daylight fer me ta fetch it.”

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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“ Yes Ma’am, glad of thet. Was a good ride, needed ta get a few things worked out, an’ the best place fer thet’s in the saddle, least ways fer this hombre it is.” He paused.

 

"Good, I'm glad you had a chance to get out."  It was hard enough for her to be essentially stuck inside for so long, and she could only imagine how much worse it would be for a man who was accustomed to being on the trail.

 

“Would ya step on outside a moment, Em?” He asked.

 

"Certainly."  Emeline smiled, removing her apron and setting it aside from habit, then she followed him to the porch, noticing the horses there.

 

Pronto opened the door for her, and tied to his saddle horn was was a lead rope to the horse she ridden on that Sunday they shared, with a large red bow in it’s mane, saddled and ready in the fading light. “A mite early, but the feller at the stable said he’d not be gettin’ outta bed come daylight fer me ta fetch it.”

 

"Oh!  That's the mare!"  Of course she remembered the horse, she'd been such a fine mount, and Emeline was delighted to see that she hadn't been sold.  She looked at Barnabas with as smile.  "A Christmas morning ride?  How delightful!"  She would have to rearrange some of her plans for cooking, but that was easy enough to do, especially with the prospect of a ride in the snow.

 

But why would the horse have a ribbon on it..?

 

Her eyes widened as Emeline looked at Barnabas, then to the horse.  "You didn't..."  Grinning, she ran out into the snow, heedless that she had no coat and was in her household boots.  In an instant she was out the gate and was hugging the horse around the neck as she glanced back at Barnabas.

 

"Really?  She's mine?"

 

@Flip

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Her eyes widened as Emeline looked at Barnabas, then to the horse.  "You didn't..."  Grinning, she ran out into the snow, heedless that she had no coat and was in her household boots.  In an instant she was out the gate and was hugging the horse around the neck as she glanced back at Barnabas.

 
“Yes Ma’am I did.” He said, with a wide smile. “Woman needs a good horse so she kin git around whenever she wants, not dependin’ on livery ta have a rental.


"Really?  She's mine?"


“Merry Christmas, Em! Figgered she’d be better’n a new apron.” Barnabas explained. “Hope she’s to yer likin’.” As they stood there, the snow began to fall again. “Need ta git these two back to the livery afore they freeze out here. You kin surely ride along if yer a mind to.”

 

Tag @Bongo
 

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"Of course!"  Even though it was just a short ride to the livery, it was a ride, and she was thrilled to be on her new horse.  She excitedly tightened the cinch, checked the stirrups, then started to mount.

 

"Oh, I guess I should put on boots and a coat!"  Laughing, she shrugged, then ran into the cafe, quickly pulling on the items, feeling like a school girl.  It had been a very long time since she'd let herself not be grown-up and serious, and she liked it!

 

Running back out, she launched at Barnabas, giving him a big hug before stepping back.  "Thank you so much!  Oh!  We can just keep her here, in the cafe, no one is here now!"  Of course, she knew that wasn't possible, but maybe they could build her a small shed and corral.

 

@Flip

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"

"Oh, I guess I should put on boots and a coat!"  Laughing, she shrugged, then ran into the cafe, quickly pulling on the items, feeling like a school girl.  It had been a very long time since she'd let herself not be grown-up and serious, and she liked it!

 

 “Good idee.” He could not help but smile after her and her exuberance over the animal. The scene made him happy, the idea that he had pleased her with the gifted horse reminded him that it was really how he made people feel in the end, and it was shaping up to be a full time task with Emeline.

 

Running back out, she launched at Barnabas, giving him a big hug before stepping back.  "Thank you so much!  Oh!  We can just keep her here, in the cafe, no one is here now!"  Of course, she knew that wasn't possible, but maybe they could build her a small shed and corral.

 

“Ya might oughtta settle down a touch thar, Em. She’s yer horse an’ you’ll be havin’ her a long time. So keepin’ in the diner ain’t the best of plans. Not when thet livery takes top notch care of the horses they tend to.”  The he added, “Meby to the end of the street an’ back.”

 

Tag @Bongo

 

 

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"You sound like my parents now.'  Emeline laughed.  "They told me I couldn't keep a horse in my room, nor an elephant!" 

 

She patted the horse's neck, then swung easily up into the saddle.  The mare was just the right size for her, and the saddle comfortable.  Between the gift itself and the circumstances, she couldn't remember a better present.  What she had gotten Barnabas was rather pale in comparison, but gift-giving wasn't a competition.

 

"She needs a name."  Grinning, she leaned forward to pat the horse's neck, then she suggested, "How about..Noel, for Christmas?" 

 

@Flip

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 "You sound like my parents now.'  Emeline laughed.  "They told me I couldn't keep a horse in my room, nor an elephant!"

 
“I do? Shucks, I thought there was some law ‘bout animals in a eatery.” He replied straight faced.


"She needs a name."  Grinning, she leaned forward to pat the horse's neck, then she suggested, "How about..Noel, for Christmas?"  


“Ya know I never named an animal,” He almost added the reason being you never name anything you might have to eat. “But thet was jest me, you name ‘er anything you want an’ Noel’s good as any an’ right nice too.” As he stood there looking at her and her horse and the happiness it brought her he realized that his life before and after the war had been hard, with not a lot of joy.

 

There had been Julia Dey in Virginia City, and there had been Valentina Calderone in Texas, two bright spots in what had been mostly a fight for survival. This could be different.

 

Tag @Bongo

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