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Sagas of the Wild West

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Tidings of Comfort

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Addy had already explained her stance on the thing, although Jay wasn't the first person she'd run into who found it odd, or flat-out felt differently, and she did have to allow as how folks had their reasons for feeling the way they did.  But when he asked if he could kiss her...


She laughed and felt his forehead with the back of her hand, then shrugged.  "No fever, so ya ain't delirious!"  She was grinning, but there was a definite red tinge to the cheeks he was requesting to kiss, and it was a very unsettling, yet thrilling sensation, which, in itself was unsettling!


"Sure, ya may."  Only just, she wasn't sure how, exactly, one went about that, and since he was the one requesting the kiss, she just looked up at him with a goofy grin.



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At first she was cracking a joke and Jay thought she'd leave it at that. All sorts of lines about fever ran through his head.

'No...you cured my fever.' or 'You make me feel feverish.' They were all tacky and inappropriate so he swallowed them, when Addy suddenly agreed to the kiss.

She even turned her head enough for him to lean forward.

It had been a while and he had never kissed a girl on a horse, that was walking, so he carefully moved closer until his lips brushed up against her cheek. His beard tickled her soft skin. But he let his lips linger there for a moment and soaked in her presence.

Briefly he closed his eyes but as soon as he opened them again, Jay pulled back.

It was a bit strange.

Jay had kissed a few girls before...in much dirtier ways, sucking long and hard on their lips, tongue sliding into their mouth.

But this one felt real.

He cleared his throat and smiled to himself.


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She was joshing, sort of, at first, but then Addy saw the look in his eyes, and it gave her a little chill just as his lips brushed on her cheek.  It was a small gesture, simple, almost chaste, but it carried far more impact than if he'd caught her lips full-on.  She smiled, shifting and leaning her head against his shoulder, finding that she was having feelings that she'd never really had to deal with before, and finding that she didn't want to fight them, nor question them.


"That was right nice, Jay.  Good Christmas tradition!"  Maybe she wanted him to do it again, maybe she thought that would be really nice!



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He wished that kiss could last. But at least she was leaning her head against his shoulder in a familiar gesture, which warmed his heart.

"Good.." He mumbled with a smile and he gave her another brief one on top of her head.

"Merry Christmas.'

Secretly he wished it could be more than just a Christmas tradition. 

He liked and respected Addy and the kiss made him get butterflies in his stomach, that he hadn't experienced like this in ages.


Together they rode home where they onloaded the tree and deer.

First Jay helped her set up the tree so she could decorate it and then hung the deer up.


The whole time he had a silly grin on his face and couldn't stop casting glances at her.

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The ride back was comfortable and companionable, the kiss lingering, but idle chatter, mostly on her part, dominated the ride and helped her to settle her unfamiliar feelings.  Once back at the barn, she set about decorating the tree with strings of cranberry and popcorn, pine cones, leaves, feathers, and a few ornaments made from colorful paper.


In the mean time, the fire was going in the stove, where potatoes were roasting, and soon the venison would be frying.


Outside, where Jay was preparing the deer carcass, he was approached by an older man, bundled in a bulky coat, who handed him a telegram.  "This is for Miss Addy, can you see she gets it?"




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Naturally a stranger approaching him startled Jay at first but soon he noticed that the old man didn't want anything from him but had a telegram for Addy, so he nodded and promised. "Yes, I will, sir."


He watched the man leave and wiped his hands on his pants to have a brief look at the telegram but decided against reading it. After all it wasn't for him. So he shoved it in his pocket to give to Addy once he was done.

Silently he wondered what was written, though. Was it about him or for Weedy...maybe from his mother?


Jay started cutting open the deer skin to get to some of the meat without having to wait for the whole animal to be ready to be prepared. He made sure not to damage the skin too much so it could still be used.


Then he finished his job by placing and old metal bucket under the deer. With a large slice of meat, which he had cleaned off with snow, he walked back to the barn room.

He knocked the snow off his boots and then made his way to her room. Inside it was nice and warm.

"There you go."

He handed her the meat and then washed his hands in a bowl before he pulled the telegram out.

"That arrived for you...I didn't read it."

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The fire was burning hot in the pot-bellied stove, and Arnie already had potatoes tucked around the edges, cooking.  She had talked to Emeline at the cafe earlier and learned some tips on cooking the venison, so she had an idea on what to do, and a borrowed cast-iron pan, that she now put chunks of the meat into.


"Rest'a that can go out in th' snow 'til we need it," she commented, then nodded to the telegram.  "Reckon if ya can read, yer better off'n me.  I can read a bit, but not so good, so if ya don't mind..."


While he read, she would salt and pepper the meat before putting it in the stove.



Miss Adelaide Chappel, Millegan Stage Co. Kalispell, Mt


Miss Chappel,

 Regarding Porter James, it has come to our attention that you sometimes care for the boy.  If you know his whereabouts, please contact local authorities regarding his disposition following the tragic death of his mother, Mrs. Chloe Porter, in Whitefish, Mt this week past.)





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Jay wasn't keen on reading her personal message but since she'd asked him, he took the note back and sat down on a chair. He took his hand knit hat off because inside it was nice and warm, then his gloves.


He studied the writing for a moment before he started reading out loud.

"Miss Chappel,

 Regarding Porter James, it has come to our attention that you sometimes care for the boy."

At first Jay didn't know who Porter was but then put two and two together.

 "If you know his whereabouts, please contact local authorities regarding his disposition following the tragic death of his mother, Mrs. Chloe Porter, in Whitefish, Mt this week past."

He had slowed down as a deep frown spread on his features.

"Oh no..." The bandit looked up at her feeling a little helpless and also bad for Weedy...what a terrible message just before Christmas.

"Just before Christmas...you can't tell him that now."

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At first, Addy was a little confounded when Weedy's proper name was used, but then, as Jay finished, she felt the color drain from her face, and she sat heavily on the cot.


"Says what?  Ya sure?"  Of course, Jay wouldn't have any reason to lie about such a thing, and it explained why no one had heard from the woman for some time.


"Christmas," she murmured to herself.  Why, of all days, Christmas, but then Jay spoke up.


"Just before Christmas...you can't tell him that now."


"Uh....right..."  Numb, she looked up at him, glad that he was here, that she wasn't alone, even if it was just moral support.  Standing, she took the telegram, then nodded.  "Yer right, no need ta ruin his Christmas."


She looked up at Jay, on the verge of tears, but then muttered, "Is it sinful of me ta be glad it's finally done?  Now he won't need ta wonder where she is no more, nor why she isn't home."  She couldn't deny that it would actually be easier on the lad not to fret over where the woman was, and it wasn't as if the rest of his life was going to change much, if any...Addy and others in town had been looking after his welfare for a couple of years now.





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Addy looked heartbroken and sad when she processed what it all meant for Weedy. She looked like she was about to cry, which made Jay want to hug her. She was usually so strong but she had a big heart and loved the boy.

"I don't know. I'm surely no saint and don't know much. You shouldn't ask me." Of course that wasn't the answer she wanted to hear.

In an instinct Jay stepped forward and hugged her tight.

'I think whatever you think or do is fine. You're such a great lady."

For a monent he held her, then stepped back.

"Let's have Christmas and in a few days we tell him together. Will you let him stay here?"

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