Jump to content
Sagas of the Wild West
  • Forum Statistics

    148
    Total Topics
    4,482
    Total Posts

Just the Two of Us


Recommended Posts

Mature Content: No

With: Clara Redmond, Jacob Lutz, anyone in the diner
Location: Lick Skillet
When: May/1876
Time of Day: Late morning

 

content-divider.png

 

    Since the barn dance, and what a heady evening that had been, things had settled back down to normal again in Clara's world. Farm chores took up much of her time around home plus she tried to put in as many hours as she could at the town diner. She loved working for Emeline, from the very beginning they had hit it off so well. But one thing was proving to be an irritant for the young lady. She barely got to see much less talk with the young farm boy who had so impressed her at the dance. Why she even found herself thinking about him even as she did laundry or worked the vegetable patch.

 

They had, afterall, agreed to see each other again, as in spend time with each other. Oh, Jacob was at church services on Sundays with his grandmother even as Clara sat in a different pew flanked on one side by her father and the other, Wyatt. But that at best allowed them passing nods or simple hellos. To be sure, Clara did not much like Granny Miggins (well that would just be another name on what would be a huge list should she ever choose to make one) and imagined the woman did not like her either.

 

On occasion, Jacob stopped into the Lick Skillet to order a slice of pie and a cup of coffee. Clara made a point of course to wait on him but even then their conversation was quite limited, at least compared to what Clara desired. And his time there too short. Still, it was better than nothing she supposed.

 

But on this particular day, when her eye caught the diner front door opening and gangly farm boy enter and head for the same table he always went to, she was especially excited to see him. For she had excellent news, least she thought it was, to tell him.  She had just set down two cups and saucers before two older women and bade them enjoy their tea so that meant she could deal with the next customer. Jacob!

 

She needed to remain cool and collected though and first turned toward Emeline who was taking payment from another customer for his lunch, "Oh, I got this one."

 

Then it was off to march straight up to Jacob who was now comfortably seated and gazing up at the chalkboard menu on the wall. Naturally enough he spotted her arrival though. Clara actually smiled(!) as she greeted him.

 

"Good day, Jacob. What will you be having on this fine day?"

 

In reality  it was gloomy and drizzling outside, given the socked in cloud cover probably would be like that all day too. But for Clara, that was NOT why the day was fine!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He nearly hadn’t gone. That first time.

 

He’d been broke, not a red cent to his name, Granny having spent all the ready cash on Barbed Wire and paying the feller who helped them put it up, Ryker. That’d left a couple of pennies that went into the Church collection box – the “widow’s mite”.

 

Granny’s eyes were sharp at Church that day.

 

“I seen ya making cow eyes at that Redmond girl!” she’d admonished him on the trap ride home “Gives herself airs, that one! Well, she’s no better than she ought to be. Don’t you go messin’ around with girls like that, goin’ getting her in trouble or what not, we don’t want no shot gun weddin’s round here!!” she had nagged at him all the way home and, strangely, he’d loved it. Any conversation about her was music to his ears, even Granny’s scurrilous nagging.

 

But being broke, well, you couldn’t just march into a place like the Lick Skillet and just sit there and not order something. Stopping by the saloon that day, to deliver produce, the Reb had teased him. “Goin’ of to see Clara now Hayseed?” she'd chuckled, only to be met by Jacob’s silent mummery, pulling out his empty pockets to show them bare of brass. He’d sat and ate and snatched a few words of conversation with Clara that first time on the strength of the Reb’s hard earned tip money.

 

Today was different only in that the pittance jangling loosely in the pockets of his homespun trousers was his own. He took off his hat as he entered the Diner and looked nervously about: what if he’d managed to pick a time when Clara wasn’t there? He’d have to either beat a hasty retreat or waste his money filling his stomach without satisfying his heart.

 

But, God, there she was! He gave a little smile of relief and, as his usual table was occupied, had the novelty of picking somewhere different. He usually sat by the window, but today went a little further back where it was a little darker, somehow more intimate. There was also less chance of a certain someone appearing at the window and pulling funny faces at him.

 

She needed to remain cool and collected though and first turned toward Emeline who was taking payment from another customer for his lunch, "Oh, I got this one."

 

"Good day, Jacob. What will you be having on this fine day?"

 

The pause before he answered was imperceptible, but it was there: he just wanted to drink her in before he could say anything.

 

“Hello, Clara.” He said quite formally - but smiling with an intimacy that spoke volumes “The usual please:  whatever’s cheapest.” he said, perforce to make a jest of necessity. He pulled out his pennies and made a little show of counting them. “I think I can afford a glass of water with that, too.” He added, pretending to be pleasantly surprised at the amount in his palm.

 

“I can’t manage a tip for the waitress, though” he said gloomily “I’ll have to owe her a favor instead. I’ll leave it up to her to make her demands known.”

 

At least if he ever did get anywhere with the mousy haired little beauty, who was the light of his rough-hewn life, he’d know that she wasn’t interested in him for his money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Hello, Clara," Jacob replied, “The usual please:  whatever’s cheapest.”

 

 He then pulled out his pennies and made a little show of counting them. “I think I can afford a glass of water with that, too.”

 

"I believe the apple pie is on special, " she fibbed, it wasn't but she would give him a lower price then make up the difference from her own pocket, she didn't mind but she also was not going to cheat Emeline of her entitled profit either, "As for water, you know that is always free, silly."

 

“I can’t manage a tip for the waitress, though” he said gloomily “I’ll have to owe her a favor instead. I’ll leave it up to her to make her demands known.”

 

" I do not need a tip," she calmly informed him, "And while I have no demand of you I do happen to have an offer to make and am hoping you can take advantage of it."

 

She was not one to make the poor lad pull the details out of her but got right to it.

 

"Tomorrow, my father is going to the Coltrane place to help Mr. Coltrane clear some stumps from a new field he wants to use this summer. He will no doubt be gone for the entire day. And my brother will be in school of course. So that means I have the farm to myself as I do not have a work shift tomorrow."

 

Actually she was going to ask for the day off, she had yet to do such a thing and was confident Emeline would not begrudge her the request.

 

"You could come over and visit me," she stopped right there, now it was up to Jacob.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 “I can’t manage a tip for the waitress, though” he said gloomily “I’ll have to owe her a favor instead. I’ll leave it up to her to make her demands known.” 

 

" I do not need a tip," she calmly informed him, "And while I have no demand of you I do happen to have an offer to make and am hoping you can take advantage of it."

 

Jacob’s ears pricked up: perhaps they were giving away a free blob of clotted cream with the apple pie today! He tipped his head curiously, even if it wasn’t a good an offer as that, he could listen to her talk all day.

 

"Tomorrow, my father is going to the Coltrane place to help Mr. Coltrane clear some stumps from a new field he wants to use this summer.”

 

Oh oh! Thought the farm lad, who had enough stumps of his own to dig up, did she want him to go and help her Pa with this odious task? How awful! He’d have to say yes to keep in Clara’s good books and… but there was more, and much better news it was, too.

 

“He will no doubt be gone for the entire day. And my brother will be in school of course. So that means I have the farm to myself as I do not have a work shift tomorrow."

 

Jacob Lutz might be off the cob in many ways, but he was not unduly stupid. The import of this fact entirely eluded him, however. After his failed attempt to kiss her, he’d really got it into his head that Clara Redmond simply tolerated him, despite his homely looks, his gangly gait, and his empty pockets, as someone who could hold a moderately intelligent conversation and who complimented her rather than insulted her every time he opened his mouth.

 

Maybe she wanted him to suggest something she could do while she was stuck on the farm in her lonely vigil on the morrow? The frown that furrowed his brow drew forth more concrete elucidation.

 

"You could come over and visit me," she stopped right there, now it was up to Jacob.

 

Jacob stared at her for a fraction of a second and, without the frown leaving his brow, asked flatly: “What time does he leave?”

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clara had explained all the pertinent facts and then got right to the matter.

 

"You could come over and visit me," she stopped, now it was up to Jacob.

 

Jacob stared at her for a fraction of a second and, without the frown leaving his brow, asked flatly: “What time does he leave?”

 

Well.... it was not an outright eager 'yes' but then it implied he was leaning that way she figured.

 

"Oh, he will get up around six and have a hearty breakfast to fortify him for the strenuous task ahead of him and Mr. Coltrane. I anticipate he will well on his way around seven. But I certainly am not saying you have to come right away. You probably have at least some chores to do, as do I. So...." she paused.

 

"Does that mean you are inclining toward accepting my proposal?" 

 

Wait! That was a poor choice of words!

 

"Offer, I mean offer," she hastily corrected herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Oh, he will get up around six and have a hearty breakfast to fortify him for the strenuous task ahead of him and Mr. Coltrane. I anticipate he will well on his way around seven. But I certainly am not saying you have to come right away. You probably have at least some chores to do, as do I. So...." she paused.

 

“Chores … sure…” muttered Jacob distractedly, more concerned with working out in his head which way Pa Redmond would be heading out from his homestead that morning if he was heading to old man Coltrane’s. He knew where Coltrane lived all right, he’d sparked a little last year with the feller’s daughter, Joanna. But Joanna was nothing like Clara, not by a mile. To be fair, last year Joanna had been something of an ugly duckling; this year she'd blossomed into an ugly duck.

 

"Does that mean you are inclining toward accepting my proposal?"

 

“Proposal?!” Jacob broke out of his reverie. “Gosh Clara, I know it’s a Leap Year and all, but…”  

 

Wait! That was a poor choice of words!

 

"Offer, I mean offer," she hastily corrected herself.

 

“You bet your life I’m inclined!” he said vigorously “I’m as inclined as a tree blown over by a storm!” In his excitement he’d raised his voice and the young lady who was sitting in his usual table turned around. Oh Lor’ it wasn’t Joanna Coltrane was it?! Phew, no, that could have been embarrassing. He remembered his sister’s stern command: ‘when you are with the girl, no other girls can exist in the world: you mustn’t talk about other girls, you mustn’t look at other girls; you should try not to even think of other girls! – she’ll know!!’ Old Sis hadn’t steered him wrong so far, that was for sure.

 

“What would you like to do?!” he asked, excited enough to want to jump out of his seat and do cartwheels around the diner. He knew what he’d like to do, but again, his sister’s sage advice about not rushing things put the brakes on some of his wilder imaginings.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“You bet your life I’m inclined!” he said vigorously “I’m as inclined as a tree blown over by a storm!”

 

"I am pleased to hear it," Clara was indeed happy though outwardly remained calm and collected. Emotional demonstrations were just not her.

 

“What would you like to do?!” he suddenly asked.

 

Clara hesitated before replying, "Well....I was not even sure you would say 'yes' so it is not like I have a detailed intinerary  planned."

 

"I mean....we can talk about....things. And I can show you....things. Maybe some of my books and perhaps you might be curious and want to see something too?"

 

Specific it wasn't but it was all she could suddenly come up with. A part of her was now annoyed that this boy rattled her as easily as he obviously did.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clara hesitated before replying, "Well....I was not even sure you would say 'yes' so it is not like I have a detailed itinerary planned."

 

Clara’s almost shame that she didn’t have a complete list of activities mapped out made him smile: it was funny in a way, but it was one of the many things he found himself strangely loving her for.

 

"I mean....we can talk about....things. And I can show you....things. Maybe some of my books and perhaps you might be curious and want to see something too?"

 

 He knew exactly what he wanted to see, and what he’d like them to do together, but his sister’s words, and Clara’s own words on the night of the dance, kept him in check.

 

“’Things’ are a big favorite of mine!” he said nodding seriously, ribbing her only slightly. “And I’d really love to see what books you have!” he added more genuinely and enthusiastically. “Just make sure not to offer to lend any of them to me.” He added, remembering their earlier conversation about how fretful he got about having possession of other people’s things, especially sacred objects like books, always scared that something terrible would happen to them while they were in his possession.

 

In case she misread him, he added “This is going to be wonderful! I’m really looking forward to it!”

 

Just at that moment, God, or the Devil, or maybe some other mischievous deity, looked down and decided that this particular jar of ointment needed a fly or two flicking into it.

The girl who had been sitting at Jacob’s usual Stammtisch got up at last and came over to Clara. She was pretty, blonde, extremely well dressed, about Jacob’s age or maybe a little older, and just a tad taller than Clara.

 

“Here you are, girl, you may keep the change.” She said snootily. Most folks gave Clara a tip as a nice reward for good service, but this girl had the air of one who tips heavily to lord it over others.

 

“Oh, by the way, my name is Anaesthesia Orr, I understand that this place is baking my birthday cake. Please know that I only like Lemon Cake, and I only like it made with fresh lemons, not that cheap stuff from out of a can.”

 

It was almost as if she’d heard Em’ and Clara’s earlier conversation. To make things worse, she then looked down at Jacob, as if seeing him for the first time, and blurted “Why, Jacob Lutz! I haven’t seen you in an age! Fancy meeting you here!” she was all smiles for the homespun youth.

 

Jacob almost physically recoiled. So much for not talking to or looking at other girls when he was with Clara, this one was talking and looking at him!

 

“Oh. Hello Anaesthesia.” He said, trying to give an impression of supreme disinterest, treading a fine line between politeness and rudeness.

 

MV5BZDM5ZGZlM2UtZDhmYi00MDI2LThhYjMtNmEx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“’Things’ are a big favorite of mine!” he said nodding seriously, ribbing her only slightly.

 

One eyebrow went up, he was mocking her but then she did deserve it for that opaque answer of hers, Clara conceded.

 

“And I’d really love to see what books you have!” he added, “Just make sure not to offer to lend any of them to me.”

 

"Oh I shall not, I well remember what your views are on borrowing," she nodded.

 

“This is going to be wonderful! I’m really looking forward to it!” he now gushed but before Clara could chime in with her agreement...........

 

“Here you are, girl, you may keep the change," it was an earlier customer who now was ready to leave, Clara had no idea who she was.

 

"Thank you," Clara nodded as she accepted the coins. So far so good, but the stranger was not finished.

 

“Oh, by the way, my name is Anaesthesia Orr, I understand that this place is baking my birthday cake. Please know that I only like Lemon Cake, and I only like it made with fresh lemons, not that cheap stuff from out of a can.”

 

Clara's eyes sparked but that was the only visible sign of her sudden annoyance. Fresh lemons were in California, possibly some of the southern states, and maybe Mexico. Definitely NOT Montana. This girl was an idiot. Well, she could hardly say that to a customer though.

 

"How do you do, miss.  But I must inform you that we do not have any fresh lemons. If we were living in a railroad town then we might be fortunate to have them but of course Kalispell is not," Clara kept her voice well under control.

 

It only got worse from there though as suddenly this overdressed snot seemed to notice Jacob.

 

 “Why, Jacob Lutz! I haven’t seen you in an age! Fancy meeting you here!”

 

"Oh. Hello Anaesthesia.” the boy said, trying to give an impression of supreme disinterest, treading a fine line between politeness and rudeness.

 

Clara could not help herself, she was not happy with this intrusion, well even more she was not happy that the two seemed to know each other. That wasn't fair of her and she instantly realized it but one could not control one's feelings sometimes.

 

"Did you two go to school together?" she ventured forth with a sudden question, torn between curiosity and not wanting to know.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Did you two go to school together?" she ventured forth with a sudden question, torn between curiosity and not wanting to know.

 

“Yep.” Answered Jacob, trying to make it sound like having to share a classroom with the sniffy blonde girl had been a hellish ordeal “When I was a kid, Mrs Orr used to teach school. Anaesthesia there used to sit in the desk in front of me.” He raised his eyebrows to Clara, trying to indicate a look of ‘you can imagine how awful that was!’ but such a face could be interpreted a number of ways.

 

MV5BNGZlZjNkYmUtYmI5Yy00MzJmLWEyYjYtOTM2

 

“Oh, Jacob was by far the cleverest boy in the class” the posh girl fluttered “He could still be ever so naughty though. I used to have these silly little schoolgirl pigtails and … oh! Sorry!” she pretended to only just notice Clara’s practical braids. “Well, anyway, he used to pull on them all the time. I used to think you hated me Jacob, but maybe you were just trying to get my attention.” She grinned down at him.

 

“Oh, don’t worry, Anaesthesia, I wasn’t trying to get your attention.” Jacob answered, pleasantly enough, but without admitting anything of the sort, especially in front of the petite brunette he'd set his cap on.

 

Well, maybe he hadn't been trying to get her attention then, but the way she staring at him, he had it now!

 

Miss Orr turned again to Clara, now, looking down her nose at her.

 

“Well anyway, see what you can do about those lemons, girl: after all, you wouldn’t want to spoil my Eighteenth Birthday party now would you?” she asked rhetorically. “Bye, Jacob.” She smiled one last time to the seated boy, before flouncing off.

 

Jacob forced himself not to follow her swaying bustle with his eyes but instead looked up to Clara with a scowl “Fresh Lemons?! Fresh arsenic would be a better ingredient!” he said with a vitriol he didn’t really feel. It was a sin how little most men cared that a girl had an unpleasant personality, as long as she had a pretty face. He was lucky to have found in Clara a young woman with the soul as well as the face of an angel.

 

He put Anaesthesia right out of his mind, and concentrated on Clara.

 

Yes, Anaesthesia had been a pretty little girl at school, but he wasn’t interested in such things then. Boy, had she grown up! And the way she sashayed that bustle. It was just like jelly on a….

 

He realised that he was staring vacantly at Clara.

 

“I was just thinking … I know where you can get fresh lemons – that’d show her!” he said the first thing that came into his head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...