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An Official Visit


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Rating: PG-14
Content: N/A

Mature Content: Only in words not actions

With: Clara, Jacob and Lorena Lutz, Granny Miggins
Location: Miggins Farm
When: Early June, 1876 (before Clara and Jacob's wedding)
Time of Day: Mid afternoon

 

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When her father had suddenly informed her that if she wanted to see Jacob more often, he would agree but those times needed to be chaperoned. Clara was stunned and not happy about it, least at first. But then she thought she would at least be able to see and talk with Jacob more often. But the lack of privacy....well, lest she get too upset, she had to admit her father and Lenora Lutz had legitimate reasons to for this decision. Thing is it was too late! They had shut the barn door after all the horses were out of the barn! But she could hardly protest that to her father so she meekly agreed to the new conditions.

 

Now this afternoon, the girl was going to visit the Miggins place for the very first time. She was of course delighted to see Jacob, but this also meant she would be formally introduced to Jacob's older sister and far far scarier, none other than Granny Miggins who had a town wide reputation as .........anyhow might be charitable to just say  'formidable'.

 

Aurelian had driven her there in the family wagon but informed the girl he was not even going to get off the vehicle but instead ride off and pick her up four hours from now. He told her to tell the Lutzs and Miggins that he was really busy and needed to get to town. He confided in his daughter though that the real reason was he wanted nothing to do with Granny! Clara understood. Honestly she felt the same way but this was going to be unavoidable in her case. Hopefully Jacob would protect her.

 

Dressed in a clean sober colored brown dress with shoes cleaned and wearing a head covering as polite society expected, the girl then approached the front door of the place and knocked.

 

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Dressed in a clean sober colored brown dress with shoes cleaned and wearing a head covering as polite society expected, the girl then approached the front door of the place and knocked.

 

The door to the Miggins’ homestead creaked open immediately and there stood Jacob looking as pleased as punch to see her. He must have been there all the time – waiting for her Pa to leave and for her to knock. He offered his arms for a quick cuddle before they entered, he knew by now – even despite their intimacies – not to just go ahead and hug her. She had to chose to hug him.

 

In the back somewhere, two female voices could be heard: one old, croaky, but strong and resonant; the other younger, warmer, milder.

 

“Who the Hell’s that a bangin the door down?! Get my shotgun!”

“Oh Granny, that’s just Jacob’s young lady visiting with us!”

“Christ, not that ugly Coltrane creature!”

“Oh no, it is Clara Redmond, Mr. Aurelian Redmond’s daughter. Mr. Aurelian Redmond and I have arranged this little social visit.”

“Oooh! Mister Aurelian Redmond this, Mister Aurelian Redmond that, why don’t you just marry the feller?! Well is he comin’ in? I wanna ask him why he refused my God damn Barbed wire!!”

 

Jacob nodded encouragingly to Clara.

 

“We’re in luck, Grandma’s in a good mood today.” He assured her.

 

As they entered the sitting room, the Miggins Place was big enough to have separate sitting and dining rooms, the old lady in her rocker tipped her head up so she could  examine Clara through her spectacles and Leonora put her embroidery down and gave the newcomer an encouraging smile.

 

“At least this one’s pretty enough!” declaimed Nellie Miggins “Well sit down, girl, sit down! You’re makin’ the place look untidy!”

 

“Did your Father bring you, Clara?” asked Lee in a friendly voice.

 

“Mr. Aurelian Redmond!” reminded Granny, mimicking Leonora’s adoring way of saying the name.

 

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The door opened and her heart skipped a beat at the mere sight of him. She also smiled, actually smiled.

He held his arms open for a hug? Reluctantly she shook her head 'no'. This was not the time or place for such emotional displays. His sister and the dreaded Granny Miggins were inside.

 

"Good day, Jacob, thank you for inviting me," Clara stated formally. She already hated this whole chaperone claptrap.

 

Sure enough womens' voices. Goodness gracious, Granny wanted her shotgun! She would shoot an invited guest? She well understood why her father had not wanted to go in with her.

 

Jacob nodded encouragingly to Clara.

 

“We’re in luck, Grandma’s in a good mood today.” He assured her.

 

Clara frowned, "I would hate to see her bad moods."

 

The young pair now braved the interior of the home.  There were the womenfolk. The younger smiled but Granny surprised her with a sort of compliment. Until...

 

“Well sit down, girl, sit down! You’re makin’ the place look untidy!”

 

"Thank you , ma'am," Clara nodded meekly and took the open seat furthest from the old woman.

 

“Did your Father bring you, Clara?” asked Lee in a friendly voice.

 

“Mr. Aurelian Redmond!” reminded Granny, mimicking Leonora’s adoring way of saying the name.

 

Clara winced just slightly but only addressed his sister, "Yes he did, ma'am. And he wanted me to tell you that he did not escort me all the way to the door because he had important matters to attend to....at the bank. You know how early those banks close."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“We’re in luck, Grandma’s in a good mood today.” He assured her, slightly let down that she hadn’t given him even the briefest of embraces, but also understanding that she must be feeling a little on edge visiting their somewhat unusual family set up. Sometimes he felt nervous coming back here himself!

 

Clara frowned, "I would hate to see her bad moods."

 

“You and me both!” he joked, nervously as they went in and Granny ordered Clara to sit while Leonora enquired after Mr Redmond.

 

Clara winced just slightly but only addressed his sister, "Yes he did, ma'am. And he wanted me to tell you that he did not escort me all the way to the door because he had important matters to attend to....at the bank. You know how early those banks close."

 

“They’re NEVER open when you want ‘em!” exclaimed Mrs Miggins “And as soon as they DO bother to open, they go and get themselves ROBBED! Your Pa put money in that bank … um…”

 

She frowned, and for one horrible moment both Jacob and Lee paled, thinking Granny might call Clara ‘Joanna’ by mistake, the name of his last girlfriend.

 

“… Clara? Well, he’s a braver man than me and that’s saying something!” she finished. “Oh well” the old harridan glanced over at Leonora derisively “Looks like you put your best frock on for nothing!”.

 

“Oh Grandma, you know I wear this old thing all the time.” Replied the Lutz girl, her cheeks blazing bright red again. For someone with a weak heart, she sure managed to pump that blood up to her face at the slightest intimation of her interest in Clara’s father.

 

Granny next turned her attention to Jacob, still standing in the room by the door. The chair Clara was occupying was more of a small settee, and the Matriarch of the household now looked at the lad and pointed to it. “What you standin’ around like a bean pole for? Go and sit next to the poor girl. She’s come all this way here to see ya!”

 

Jacob perched gingerly next to Clara, feeling bizarrely ill at ease.

 

Lee, feeling the awkwardness of the ensuing silence tried to make conversation, smiling at Clara and saying “Oh Clara, I have been telling your Father all about my plans to start up again the local Farmers’ Union!”

 

Granny Miggins muttered something under her breath that sounded very much like “The poor bastard.”

 

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“They’re NEVER open when you want ‘em!” exclaimed Mrs Miggins “And as soon as they DO bother to open, they go and get themselves ROBBED! Your Pa put money in that bank … um…”

 

“… Clara? Well, he’s a braver man than me and that’s saying something!” she finished.

 

"To be accurate, it was an attempted robbery and it failed miserably. No one lost their deposits," Clara risked an interruption and then correction also.

 

“Oh well” the old harridan glanced over at Leonora derisively “Looks like you put your best frock on for nothing!”.

 

"Oh Grandma, you know I wear this old thing all the time," Miss Lutz asserted in some embarrassment.

 

"It looks nice," Clara complimented the woman.

 

Now the old woman turned her verbal fury on her grandson “What you standin’ around like a bean pole for? Go and sit next to the poor girl. She’s come all this way here to see you."

 

Clara could not help herself but instantly came to Jacob's defense, "I beg to differ, he is not a beanpole."

Then the subject of Granny Miggins and Clara's disagreement took a seat next to her. A part of her wanted to reach out and hold his hand but that would only make things worse. And then they all sat there.

 

      Lee, feeling the awkwardness of the ensuing silence tried to make conversation, smiling at Clara and saying “Oh Clara, I have been telling your Father all about my plans to start up again the local Farmers’ Union!”

 

Granny Miggins muttered something under her breath that sounded very much like “The poor bastard.”

 

"Yes, he mentioned that," Clara simply nodded and left it at that. Her father had also told her there was no way he was going to get himself and thus the farm involved such a thing  given their precarious location.

 

Clara had not been in favor of this chaperone arrangement from the moment her father revealed it. And what was now going on was exactly why. She had come to spend time with Jacob, they truly had a lot to talk about but it had degenerated (as she suspected it would) into a forced conversation with the ladies. Poor Jacob could never be himself anywhere close to the domineering granny. She made a mental note she would not be visiting a second time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 
 
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"To be accurate, it was an attempted robbery and it failed miserably. No one lost their deposits," Clara risked an interruption and then correction also.

 

“Yeah, but what about that Whitefish Union Bank job last October?!” countered back Granny Miggins in a flash. “Tom Love’s boys, got away with the who safe-full! Killed a man too, in cold blood. Course, not Tom Love himself, he’s a gentleman, but his half mad sidekick ‘English Fred’. Oh, he’s a bad one. Not like that nice Englishman, Mr. Ryker, who helped us put up our barbed wire fences.” She lied happily, knowing full well that Jay Ryker and “English Fred” were exactly one and the same man.

 

“Granny shot one of them!” said Jacob, a little proudly.

 

“Missed one, you mean. That was when they came back a month or two later. Burnt Whitefish to the ground. I’d ‘a plugged him too, if ‘n I’d had the right specs on! Forgot ma shootin’ glasses at home.” She grumped.

 

“Oh well” the old harridan glanced over at Leonora derisively “Looks like you put your best frock on for nothing!”. 

 

"Oh Grandma, you know I wear this old thing all the time," Miss Lutz asserted in some embarrassment.

 

"It looks nice," Clara complimented the woman.

 

Lee smiled happily at Clara. She didn’t get many compliments.

 

Now the old woman turned her verbal fury on her grandson “What you standin’ around like a bean pole for? Go and sit next to the poor girl. She’s come all this way here to see you. 

 

Clara could not help herself but instantly came to Jacob's defense, "I beg to differ, he is not a beanpole."

 

“Oh! Beg to differ, do you Missy?! Well, beg away, if you think that boy ain’t no beanpole you need glasses worse than me!” the ancient crone countered. “Hmmph! Begs to differ!” she grumbled to herself as she rocked back and forth on the chair in a sort of mesmerising frenzy.

 

Lee, feeling the awkwardness of the ensuing silence tried to make conversation, smiling at Clara and saying “Oh Clara, I have been telling your Father all about my plans to start up again the local Farmers’ Union!”

 

Granny Miggins muttered something under her breath that sounded very much like “The poor bastard.”

 

"Yes, he mentioned that," Clara simply nodded and left it at that. Her father had also told her there was no way he was going to get himself and thus the farm involved such a thing given their precarious location.

 

“Come on!” Suddenly Granny Miggins was hefting herself out of her rocker and motioning Leonora to do the same. “Let’s go fix some vittles’!” she said, making her way to the kitchen.

Leonora looked confused. “But I thought Ned…”

 

“Come on ya big Gooseberry!” chided Granny, as Lee stood up tentatively, put her embroidery down on the chair and followed the matriarch in a sort of daze, looking back at Clara and Jacob with a worried look like she thought they would jump on each other in a fit of carnal lust as soon as they were left alone.

 

Instead, Jacob just let out a sigh of relief and flopped back in the settee.

 

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Granny Miggins went on to discuss the goings on some months back in Whitefish, focusing on a far more successful bank robbery. Clara shrugged but held her ground verbally.

 

"Whitefish is not...was not I should say, Kalispell. Our town bank is safe and secure," she replied calmly.

 

“Oh! Beg to differ, do you Missy?! Well, beg away, if you think that boy ain’t no beanpole you need glasses worse than me!” the ancient crone countered. “Hmmph! Begs to differ!” she grumbled to herself as she rocked back and forth on the chair in a sort of mesmerizing frenzy.

 

Now Clara certainly did not need glasses, her eyesight was sharp, and the realist in her knew that indeed Jacob was quite thin. But to her nothing wrong with that. She had been up close and personal that day with his body and found it a most pleasant experience. But she could see how agitated the old bird was so decided not to respond.  There was just a smattering of further small talk when Granny Miggins stirred.

 

“Come on!” Suddenly Granny Miggins was hefting herself out of her rocker and motioning Leonora to do the same. “Let’s go fix some vittles’!” she said, making her way to the kitchen.

 

Jacob's sister seemed both surprised and a bit alarmed even but obediently followed and then it was simply her and Jacob. Clara waited a moment, eyes fixed on where the women had gone. When it seemed they were indeed doing what Granny had said they would, Clara then turned to Jacob and stood up to lean over for a quick kiss of the boy on his smooth cheek.

 

"I miss you," was her simple and yet ardent admission.

 

 

 

 

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Clara waited a moment, eyes fixed on where the women had gone. When it seemed they were indeed doing what Granny had said they would, Clara then turned to Jacob and stood up to lean over for a quick kiss of the boy on his smooth cheek.

 

Jacob was more than pleasantly surprised, especially after Clara had been to reticent about hugging him at the door when she had arrived at the more far flung Miggins homestead.

 

"I miss you," was her simple and yet ardent admission.

 

He grinned, which didn’t match too well with his reciprocal “I miss you, too.” But he was too overjoyed to be alone with her for the first time in an age to do otherwise. “But pretty soon we’ll be able to be together forever!” he added, looking forward to their future.

 

“Can I … take your hand?” he asked “How are you?” he asked, meaning the obvious. He was assiduous in mentioning how he wanted to marry her and for them to live together before asking if she was still pregnant.

 

He somehow knew she was, anyway. He had heard talk of pregnant women ‘glowing’ (as well as puking in the morning, apparently: he had been fortunate not to have witnessed that) and she certainly fit that bill: there was something rosy about her beauty today.

 

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Jacob was quick to assure her that he missed her also, she believed him. Clara had total trust in the boy by now. She was going to need it too given what was staring both of them in the face for the future.

 

“But pretty soon we’ll be able to be together forever!” he added.

 

She nodded, "I do hope so."  Sadly she lacked his confidence.

 

“Can I … take your hand?” he asked, “How are you?”

 

"You may," Clara held it out but did sneak a worried glance toward where the women left the room. She had no idea how much time they'd have together alone like this.

 

"I am good but if you mean about ....." she didn't need to voice it, "Yes, I am virtually positive. We need to make all our plans assuming we will indeed be having a baby....our baby."

 

 

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"You may," Clara held it out but did sneak a worried glance toward where the women left the room. She had no idea how much time they'd have together alone like this.

 

Jacob took it gladly. Clara’s hand; he studied it closely, like it was the deepest, most important book he could ever read. He felt her warmth and imagined that warmth extending up her arm and filling the whole rest of her body. He wanted to be with her, naked, warm, cocooned together all alone some place. That couldn’t be, not yet, but the feel of her warm hand in his was like a small tangible part of that future paradise.

 

"I am good but if you mean about ....." she didn't need to voice it, "Yes, I am virtually positive. We need to make all our plans assuming we will indeed be having a baby....our baby."

 

Jacob nodded, that confirmed what he already knew, and had accepted weeks ago.

 

“I haven’t told anybody yet” said Jacob, looking into her eyes. “I’ve thought pretty hard about how to tell your Father. Come up with a dozen different ways of saying it. Tell him outright, ask for your hand and just hope he says ‘yes, and let’s make it tomorrow’, all sorts of different ways and means and… I don’t know that any of them will make it easier for him, or us…” he looked at her brown eyes under those beautiful straight eyebrows that always made her seem even more serious than she usually was.

 

“I might tell Lee first, just to see how that goes. Then go see your Pa. Might be better if it’s when you’re not there. I want him to … well, I want to take the first assault, if you get what I mean?” Although this was a difficult subject, it felt so good just to be able to talk about it with Clara. So far, he’d only had the farm animals to unburden himself upon. Buttercup the horse had lost count of the number of times she’d been told ‘Congratulations, Mr Redmond, you’re going to be a Grandfather’! this week.

 

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