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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
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • 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
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

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Mature Content: Probably not!

Author: Lorenzo Crabbe

With: Ben Simons, Bridget Monahan, any stray rubes.
Location: Outside the Milliner.
When: First Week of May, 1876
Time of Day: 11am.

 

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The better she became at speaking out loud, the more annoying, hot-headed and hard to ignore Bridget Monahan became. “Wanna go stores!” she insisted for the fortieth time that morning, until Crabbe threw down his copy of the Kalispell Union in a fit of impotent rage. He’d just been enjoying an hilarious account of some meeting of the Ladies Society that had become a drunken rout at the hotel some days back. “This is your fault!” he pointed a finger at the surprised Mr. Fa, who had been helping the ginger haired girl with a sort of speech therapy of his own inscrutable invention.

 

“She was a damn sight better when she could only whisper!” he grumbled, slapping a derby on his head and reaching for his cane.

 

“Wanna go stores!” repeated Bridget, stomping the boot of her wooden leg on the floor with a hollow knocking sound.

 

“All right, we’re going, we’re going!” Crabbe yelled back.

 

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It is beyond the powers of this author to accurately convey the mind numbing tedium that seizes hold of a member of the male gender when forced to sit for an hour in a milliner’s store, watching a member of the female gender try on every single hat and bonnet in the place. Let us just say that when Lorenzo Crabbe finally stepped out of the store, and back onto the boardwalk, a newly bonneted Bridget by his side, he felt like a man who had just been released from a twenty-year stretch in the State Penitentiary.  

 

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To add to his delight, he saw an old acquaintance headed their way.

 

“Jesus, first Mundee turns up here and now Bent St. Clair!” he yelped loud enough for the smartly dressed gambling man to hear his words and alert him that he’d been recognised. “Quick Bridg’ – run back home and hide the family silver!”

 

The joke was spoilt somewhat when Bridget turned on her heel and actually started to obey him, at which her guardian had to pull her back and explain it was just a jest.

 

“Well, what you doin’ here, Bent?” Crabbe peered at the slick, handsome card shuffler. “If you’re looking for business, you couldn’t have picked a more drearysome, dead and alive hole than Kallispell.”

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Ben frowned as he heard someone say the name he was known as outside of Kalispell.  He had chosen the Bent as it was a shortened form of his own name, Bentley and it sounded more like a gambler's name than Ben.  Ben was what his family and those he had grown up with had called him.  As soon as he left home to live the life of a professional gambler, Ben Simons was gone and Bent St. Clair had been born.

 

Turning to see who it was, he squinted a little and then a look of surprise came on his face.  Kalispell was the last place he would have expected to see the likes of Lorenzo Crabbe.  Then again, Kalispell was the last place he would have been in himself, if it weren't for that unfortunate incident.

 

Standing next to Crabbe, was girl of about 17 or 18 and definitely not the type that he had been with the last time they had seen each other.  Crabbe was more of a business acquaintance than a friend, hence the statement about Kalispell, which Ben had no problem agreeing with to a degree.  In his opinion, any dreary town could be made more livelier with a bit of work and imagination.  Kalispell had possibilities and maybe Crabbe might have some insight into what some of them could be.

 

Walking up to the man, he smiled, "Well, Crabbe it's been a while, not since that time in Denver a while back.  By the way the name's Ben here.  Bent has sadly been retired for the foreseeable future."

 

@Javia

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Walking up to the man, he smiled, "Well, Crabbe it's been a while, not since that time in Denver a while back.  By the way the name's Ben here.  Bent has sadly been retired for the foreseeable future."

 

Crabbe chuckled knowingly “Ohhhh. That name get a little hot for you did it?” he smiled “What was she a Blonde or a Brunette?”

 

There was no mention of redheads, but Bridget represented the breed by giving Crabbe a nudge and he, rolling his eyes, did the necessary. “Oh, this is Bridget.” He introduced her grudgingly, not even bothering with her surname.

 

As she had been schooled by Arabella, who had been the biggest expert in etiquette in the whole of Virginia, apparently, Bridget held out her hand palm downward for this nice looking gentleman to kiss, atop her brand new lace gloves. She was also supposed to do a low curtsy as the man kissed her hand, according to the Mudd girl, but in practice this had usually resulted in a spectacular tumble and a tangle of limbs, so she just made do with a little bob on her good leg.

 

“Say, best count that those rings on your fingers are still all there when you get that hand back, Bridg’!” joked Crabbe “IF you get your hand back!”

 

The real jest was that of all the professional gamblers that Lorenzo had ever met on the circuit, and he’d met a few, St. Clair, as he knew him, was the only one who didn’t habitually lie, cheat, steal and generally encourage Lady Luck to favour him by fair means or foul. Always said he had ‘Scientific’ methods, and that ‘Pure Mathematics’ was his ace up the sleeve. Not that Crabbe always cheated; he’d run Faro and Monte banks in more respectable gambling casinos where the odds were just always in the house's favor, and if some lucky son-of-a-gun was on a massive winning streak, why you’d just declare the house bankrupt and end the game: you never made a loss.

 

But Bent … Ben, sorry … was a poker man first and foremost; and as far as Lorenzo was concerned, there was no way to guarantee a win in that game without a marked deck or a healthy provision of extra royalty hidden about your person. For that reason, he’d always watched the man play with a certain amount of interest; admiration, even.

 

“Well, your best bet around these parts for a game is that Stardust Saloon yonder. Might find a few rubes in there. I’d treat you to a drink in there, but I’m barred.”

 

Suddenly, interrupting this conversation, Bridget poked Ben in the arm and pointed to her head.

 

“Got a hat!” she barked. To be fair, she had got a hat.

 

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@JulieS

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“Ohhhh. That name get a little hot for you did it?” he smiled “What was she a Blonde or a Brunette?”

 

Ben smiled, "It was a blonde.  Remind me to tell you about it sometime when we're not in the company of a lady."

 

“Oh, this is Bridget.”

 

Taking Bridget's hand, Ben bowed as he smiled, "It's a pleasure ma'am."

 

He wasn't about to kiss the girl's hand as he didn't know how impressionable the girl was.  The last thing he wanted was to have some young girl fawning over him.

 

“Say, best count that those rings on your fingers are still all there when you get that hand back, Bridg’!” joked Crabbe “IF you get your hand back!”

 

Ben just raised an eyebrow at this remark and let her hand go gently.  He turned to Crabbe, "You've been here longer than I have, is there any place you recommend that I take a look at for some excitement?"

 

“Well, your best bet around these parts for a game is that Stardust Saloon yonder. Might find a few rubes in there. I’d treat you to a drink in there, but I’m barred.”

 

"Barred? From the only saloon in town?"  For Crabbe to get himself locked out of the only place in town where he could make must have taken some doing.  Ben hoped that he would fare better.  At least it was probable that he would since he wasn't into the solicitation of women.  To him, women, no matter how low they were on the social rung, we're to be treated respectfully and not sold to the highest bidder.  That was one thing he didn't like about Crabbe but the man could be useful in other ways.

 

Before Crabbe could answer Bridget said something about a hat and Ben turned to her, "Yes, you have and might a say it is very becoming."

 

Looking at Crabbe, he asked, "I'm guessing that since you can't get into the Stardust, you've got no chance of getting into my cousin's establishment at the hotel?"

 

@Javia

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"Barred? From the only saloon in town?"

 

Crabbe chuckled at his own folly. “Yeah, I asked if they’d got any whores going spare before I tried to take their little girl piano player off their hands. They kinda got the wrong idea.” He held up his hands “Rube mistake, I own it!”

 

Before Crabbe could answer Bridget said something about a hat and Ben turned to her, "Yes, you have and might a say it is very becoming."

 

Bridget beamed and touched the flowery bonnet. “I look nice!” she said.

 

Looking at Crabbe, he asked, "I'm guessing that since you can't get into the Stardust, you've got no chance of getting into my cousin's establishment at the hotel?"

 

“I ain’t tried; tell the truth. See, I’ve got a few other irons in the fire besides the old Hearts, Spades and Clubs. Sold a whole store full of gimcrack mining equipment to a bunch of prospectors heading through from Canada, and now I’m in the photography biz. And do you know what the biggest money maker is? Dead folk, plain old dead folk. Why I can get five times as much per plate for a dead relative than I can for a picture of an annoying live one.” He confided to Ben, sotto voce. “And say, you know if you happen to shoot anyone while you’re in town, can you try and get ‘em in the chest, not between the eyes? Makes my job a whole lot easier.”

 

Talking of this gave him an idea, and he glanced from Ben to Bridget and back again.

 

“Say, Ben old pal, I don’t suppose you’d do a good old rounder a favor and take Bridget here off my hands for half an hour, if you're headed to the saloon or hotel? I got to step into the funeral parlor to organise a little job around that sort of thing, and I can’t drag Bridg’ here into that place!”

 

The strange redheaded girl stared Simons dead in the eye with a dead-pan expression on her face.

 

“See people there.” She murmured.

 

“Yeah, she’s sees God damn ghosts all over the place.” he glanced at her as if to confirm what he already well knew. “She ain’t quite right, y’ see.” He said, scratching his neck sort of nervously.

 

“See the people.” She repeated at Ben.

 

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@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Ben looked at Bridget.  In a way he felt sorry for the girl but then again he wasn't prepared to be stuck her while Crabbe went off  to conduct some business.  Still he didn't want to seem unwilling to help as he may need Crabbe's assistance some in the future.  It was always a policy of his to foster good relations.  He thought about it for moment when he suddenly remembered something or in particular someone who would gladly help out.

 

"I tell what, Crabbe, I may not be able to take of Bridget but I do know someone who can.  My Aunt Rebecca will welcome the chance to meet some of the ladies who live here in town as she has just arrived.  I had the job of escorting her to here to join my uncle.  You've probably met him since he owns the bank."

 

@Javia

 

 

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"I tell what, Crabbe, I may not be able to take of Bridget but I do know someone who can.  My Aunt Rebecca will welcome the chance to meet some of the ladies who live here in town as she has just arrived.  I had the job of escorting her to here to join my uncle.  You've probably met him since he owns the bank."

 

Crabbe just laughed gently at this. “Do you really think I’d trust my money in a bank, the blessed thing spends most of its time getting robbed!”

 

Bridget looked a little alarmed at this notion and Crabbe had to pat her hand to calm her down.

 

“Don’t worry, I think your three dollars and thirty two cents is safe.” He said and shook his head at Ben.

 

“No, this here’s the person in the family who has had the pleasure of meeting your esteemed uncle, Mr. Charles Wentworth Senior, and bless my soul, fancy you bein’ his nephew!” It was a small world indeed. He turned to the addlebrained Miss Monahan and explained what the Dickens they were talking about in terms that she could fully comprehend. He pointed to Ben.

 

“His Uncle is Mr Bank Owner, Mr Wentworth. You wanna go with him and meet his wife, Mrs Bank Owner? Mrs Wentworth?” having been abandoned as a child, the concepts of nieces and nephews quite eluded the pale crippled girl, but Crabbe often introduced himself as her uncle to avoid awkward questions, so she knew its meaning well.

 

At first, Bridget just goggled open mouthed to learn that this new friend was not just handsome and well dressed, but also connected to the nice Grandfatherly man she gave her filched and found pennies to, for she would never give her red cents to any clerk but always to the very owner of the bank, if she could help it.

 

Then she dropped Crabbe’s arm immediately, and like an army of turncoats changing sides in a battle, marched over to Ben and turning volte-face took his arm instead.

 

“See Granny Wentworth!” she decided out loud.

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Ben had to laugh a little when Bridget grabbed his arm.  It was awkward but a bit funny at the same time, "All right Miss Bridget, we'll go and see Granny...er Aunt Rebecca over at the hotel."

 

Turning to Crabbe, he smiled, "Nice seeing you again, Crabbe.  I'll drop in sometime to check your photography business out or if I need your advice on something."

 

Tipping his hat, he said, "Good day."

 

Looking down at Bridget, he gave her a warm smile.  "Off we go."

 

As they walked to the hotel, Ben wondered how Rebecca would feel with having a girl like Bridget left in her care.  He had no doubt his Aunt would endeavour to find out all she could about the girl.  Rebecca would no doubt take it upon herself to make sure the girl was well cared for and not in any physical or moral danger.  Another grin appeared on his face...poor ol' Crabbe was going to need all the luck in the world for what he was soon to encounter.

 

@Javia

 

OOC: Will let you reply and then we can move this over to the hotel for Rebecca and Bridget to interact with each other.

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Tipping his hat, he said, "Good day." 

 

Looking down at Bridget, he gave her a warm smile.  "Off we go." 

 

The conversation, as Ben walked with the monosyllabic Bridget, was not of the most scintillating, and was anyway soon disturbed, as they got to the Hotel’s grand doorway, by a shouting behind them.

 

“Hey you! Yeah you! Mr. fancy Pants! Where you takin’ my friend!?” It was Arabella Mudd, and dressed in her usual ‘going out’ rig of an old fashioned poke bonnet, shawl and basket, she looked like a little old lady. Her dowdy garb was in sharp contrast to the modish and fancy outfit that draped Miss Monahan’s doll-like frame. Arabella caught up with them panting.

 

“What’s the idea, draggin’ a respectable girl like Bridget off to some hotel room? Ain’t you got no shame?!” she chided the well-dressed stranger. “Who’re you, anyway?”

 

Arabella’s mother, on her deathbed, had explained to her ‘all about men’. Apart from the more grisly physical details, there had been some good advice along the lines of “A moustache never grows on any good friend” and “Never trust a young man in a fancy suit”: Arabella was applying this last adage liberally to the beautifully turned out Mr Simons.

 

@JulieS

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Ben stopped abruptly and stared down at the girl who had just come charging up to him and accusing him of planning something he wouldn't do even if he was paid.  Bridget was not his type but it wasn't because of her faults or her personality, it was simply because she was a redhead.  A few years ago, he had a bad experience with one redhead who would never stop pestering him and ever since then, he had been avoiding them like the plague.  Besides, Bridget was far too young for him and he was pretty sure he was safe with her.

 

After giving Bridget a reassuring smile, he addressed the dark-headed brat in a controlled but light-hearted manner, "My dear, I can assure that I have no bad designs on your friend.  In fact, I am escorting her, with her guardian's permission, to meet my Aunt in the hotel.  If you wish you can join us.  I'm sure my Aunt will be glad to be introduce you as well, Miss?"

 

@Javia

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After giving Bridget a reassuring smile, he addressed the dark-headed brat in a controlled but light-hearted manner, "My dear, I can assure that I have no bad designs on your friend.  In fact, I am escorting her, with her guardian's permission, to meet my Aunt in the hotel.”

 

“Oh yeah? I bet that’s what they all say!” replied the suspicious Arabella, threading her arm protectively though Bridget’s spare one, creating a sort of human sandwich, with the redhead as the filling. “How ‘bout I come along and meet this so called Auntie, too?!” she added, calling the obvious masher’s bluff.

 

“If you wish you can join us.  I'm sure my Aunt will be glad to be introduce you as well, Miss?"

 

“Mudd’s the name, Arabella Sumter Mudd. Miss. Oh, and I would just love to come along and meet this Auntie!” she said, clinging on to Bridget and suddenly getting worried that maybe he wanted her along too for his despicable orgiastic plans! She didn’t want to end up in a human sandwich of a totally different kind! Too late now, though, she’d burnt her bridges and her fierce Virginian pride wouldn’t let her back down now no matter how scared she was.

 

They walked into the hotel together, and Arabella looked around. The last time she had been in here was when Addy Chappel had dragged her out of the Ladies’ Meeting kicking and screaming. That seemed a lifetime ago, not days.

 

“Hmm, no sign of Auntie! Looks like you’ve been stood up, Mister!” said Arabella triumphantly, not realising that fine ladies didn’t meet their nephews in Hotel lobbies.

 

@JulieS

 

 

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A frown quickly appeared and then disappeared off Ben's face.  Did she honestly think that he was up to no good with Bridget?  If that were the case he wouldn't be dragging her here to the only up-market establishment in the whole town.  The only things he wanted to conduct here other than having a meal was to have some high stakes poker or blackjack games, providing his cousin Matt would let him, as well as the occasional business meeting.  If he ever had a dalliance with a woman it would be at her lodgings or his own, which he didn't have at the moment and finding it now was number one on his list to do here.

 

"No, my aunt would in the dining room have a cup of tea and probably visiting with her son.  Besides it wouldn't be proper for us to meet in the lobby," he paused for a moment as he looked at both of the girls.  Maybe neither of them of didn't know what the etiquette for meeting publicly entailed.  Crabbe certainly wouldn't have taught Bridget any of that and it was clearly that Miss Mudd had no idea either.  Aunt Rebecca didn't know it now but soon she would have something to do.

 

"Shall we go and see my Aunt," he said in a light-hearted, "I think you and Miss Bridget will be pleasantly surprised.

 

@Javia

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"No, my aunt would in the dining room have a cup of tea and probably visiting with her son.  Besides it wouldn't be proper for us to meet in the lobby,"

 

“Really?” hmphed Arabella, trying to cross her arms but, finding them entangled with Bridget’s, gave it up as a bad job. Bridget herself had never been in the grand hotel and just looked about in awe, her mouth gaping wide.

 

"Shall we go and see my Aunt," he said in a light-hearted, "I think you and Miss Bridget will be pleasantly surprised.

 

“We’ll be pleasantly surprised if she exists!” chided Arabella, but Bridget just nodded in compliance. The bellboy appeared and tried to take any hats, bonnets, shawls and so forth from the visitors to put in the cloakroom, for a generous tip, of course, but Arabella just shooed him away, like she was being bothered by a stray dog.

 

They walked through to the dining room and Arabella was interested to see a lady there who, she had to admit, looked like she might well be related to Bridget’s new ‘friend’. She wondered who his son was. The only man she could see around was Matt Wentworth, the hotel manager.

 

@JulieS

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Ben approached his aunt with Bridget and Arabella in tow.  He could see Matt talking to one of the waitresses and Rebecca sitting at one of the tables sipping on a cup of tea.  His aunt rarely drank coffee and he hoped that she wouldn't find it too difficult to get it here in town.  Kalispell was a long way from most places and so things would be harder to get here.  As part of his investigations into the town, he would be checking if any of his favourite foods and drinks were available here.  If they weren't then he would see if something could be done to make sure they were.

 

However, the first order of business was to leave the two girls with his aunt as soon as possible.  Smiling, he leaned down, kissed his aunt's cheek before turning to introduce the ladies to each other.  "Aunt Rebecca, may I have the honour of introducing you to two paragons of virtue...Miss Bridget Monahan and Miss Arabella Mudd."

 

He went over to his Aunt and stood by her side, "Miss Monahan and Miss Mudd, may I have the pleasure to introduce to you Mrs. Rebecca Wentworth."

 

@Javia

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However, the first order of business was to leave the two girls with his aunt as soon as possible.  Smiling, he leaned down, kissed his aunt's cheek before turning to introduce the ladies to each other.  "Aunt Rebecca, may I have the honour of introducing you to two paragons of virtue...Miss Bridget Monahan and Miss Arabella Mudd."

 

Bridget’s smile was warm and genuine, but Arabella’s was the narrow-eyed knowing grin of a cat. ‘Aunt Rebecca’ was probably the madam of some cat house that Mr Fancy pants was recruiting for. Yes, just look at her, dressed up all respectable now, sure, but, well, you could just tell that she was an evil old trollop underneath that veneer.

 

He went over to his Aunt and stood by her side, “Miss Monahan and Miss Mudd, may I have the pleasure to introduce to you Mrs. Rebecca Wentworth.”

 

WHAT?!! This was the Wentworth Brothers’ Ma?! Arabella’s knees buckled and Bridget, taking this as a sign she should curtsey, tried it and nearly took the pair of them down in a tumble. Somehow they righted themselves.

 

“Why, you’re Little Charlie’s Mama! O’ course!” grinned Arabella. “Oh, Mrs Wentworth, I know all your boys! Why, I’m the gal that helped Charlie come off the booze when he had his drinking problem, and I was just here with Matt the other day: you know he had this big party with all these ladies and they all got drunk on his spiked punch. I got dragged out o’ that so I missed the part where he started shooting holes in the ceiling.”

 

She stopped talking just long enough to take a breath.

 

“And Mike, he’s the one I been most intimate with, o’ course, after he did somethin’ for me which stopped me goin’ to Heaven, but I just dropped him after I caught him kissin’ and cuddlin’ with our saloon singer. I don’t know Sam too well, he don’t say much. Well, what do they say? ‘the quiet ones are always the worst’!” she laughed. Bridget smiled in silent agreement. That reminded the chatterbox Southerner of something:

 

“OH! And best of all, Bridget here is real intimate with your old man, 'Big' Charlie. Do you know, when she goes to the bank, she always goes straight into his office and stays in there the longest time chattin’ with him.” Again, the virtually dumb girl nodded confirmation. “You wouldn’t believe how much money she’s got in her account now, thanks to them little visits!” she added, informatively.

 

@JulieS

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