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    • "Maybe, fer this special occasion," Addy suggested, "we can try a little'a each?  That way, we can get a taste'a everything, so next time, we know what our favorite is."  It was a plan that appealed to her, so she didn't have to decide which she wanted!   "Never turn down help," she declared, "but seems ta me yer th' one needs help brushin' them horses down."  She glanced at Weedy and Josh, considering for a moment if it was safe to let the boy go up into the loft, but then, his father could stop him, and, after all, he was a Chappel!  He'd grown up around horses, and was of hardy stock!   With them all working together, it wouldn't take too long to get the horses settled, and then they could be on the way to treats!   @MD
    • "We'll get on."  Addy was determined, and once she grabbed hold of the crude rope halter, she had control of the animal.  "Here..."  Cupping her hands, she made a step for Caroline, to give her a boost up.  "Just grab his mane."   TBC   @Wayfarer                    
    • Mature Content: Doubt it With: Tyrell Garret Thornton Location: Add specific location information here. When: Mid-July 1876 Time of Day: Encompasses a couple of days     Place holder
    • Anæsthesia wasn't exactly convinced by all these homilies about falling out of trees, breaking arms, and sleeping in the mud: she smiled politely, if a little tightly. Truth to tell, she felt a little bit 'got at' - the snobby girl was getting a taste of her own medicine in the form of the inverted-snobbery of these rough frontier folk.    She suddenly blurted, rather defensively "I have learned to shoot a gun!"   "I have a 1858 model Lefaucheux double action revolver, and really am rather a good shot with it." she said proudly. Now maybe they'd stop telling her that she needed to fall out of a tree to be able to claim that her life had any meaning.    Of course, the hypocrisy was that she was quite willing to tell others what they should be doing with their lives: like learning to read.      @Bongo @MD
    • Mr McVey was chattering away as Arabella grabbed her non-packable items: two dresses, spare bonnet, basket and three large round circles made of bamboo. These were very hard to carry and to manoeuvre through the doorway.    "You and I disagree on a number of things, yet, we agree on others. Mister Reeve is certainly one to keep an eye on. And I would say, he is dangerous in another way, to the political atmosphere in Kalispell. He is an odd fellow, yet, so is Mister Pettigrew. Perhaps the goal of him running is to slit the vote? I'm not exactly confident on that assumption."   "Now don't you be mean about Mr Pettigrew, Mr McVey, he's been right nice to me: teachin' me all about how to speak proper and act like a lady." she objected. Pettigrew had taught her something else, too, something more important than those surface embellishments, something at her very core.    He hoisted the trunk that was surprising lighter than he would have expected. "As time moves on, we'll have a better idea of Pettigrew's purpose in the grand scheme of the elections this fall." He added, then, "I'm following you, Arabella."   "Hold on, I'm all tangled up!" she yelped, the three bamboo circles seemed to have minds of their own and were doing their darndest to stop her getting through the doorway. "I'm takin' these hoops with me, in case crinolines come back in!" she informed him.    Eventually she got herself through the door and down the stairs, with a shout of "I'm goin' now, I'll be back at seven!" at Caroline's door. When the two of them reached the bar, there was a ragged cheer from some of the rounders who were regulars "Don't worry, I'll be back at seven, boys!" she assured them.   "Oh damn!" one of them joked.    "You movin' in with him?!" another joshed. Arabella laughed and didn't say yes and didn't say no: well, Phin had said he didn't care if people talked!   @Flip
Clara Redmond Lutz

An Official Visit

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"On my word, and God's, child." he said firmly.

 

Exactly what Clara wanted to hear, her spirits buoyed though her outer expression remained serene.

 

“Clara, if Father Thomas is taking a leaf out of the Catholic book, then he has to keep his peace, it’s the sanctity of the confessional. All right, the truth is that Clara and I are going to have a baby. It’s also the truth that even if we weren’t, it would still be our ardent wish to be wed," declared Jacob.

 

Well, it was out now, not that Clara was upset with Jacob saying it, she was of the same mind by the time he uttered the words aloud. She simply nodded, for the moment, waiting to see if the reverend really would keep up his gentle and indeed friendly manner or would their sin (for that is what it was) change things?

 

"That must be frightening for you, Clara," he told the teenager softly. "and daunting for you, Jacob. A child is a responsibility like no other. I will not lie to you, it will be difficult, likely more so than anything either of you have faced, but if you support each other, and love each other, the reward will be worth it. Believe me, I know. You will care for your child more than anything, more than yourself, and their success with bring you... such... unimaginable joy..."

 

Clara was not sure how he would know of such things but did not disagree with anything he said, he expressed her views, her feelings quite exactly.

 

"The circumstances involved which led to this were unplanned, a product of youthful enthusiasm and carelessness, we were in the wrong - but.... it does not change the way we feel about the baby, we want this child, of that you need not worry," Clara now had her own say on the matter.

 

"Like I said, I will marry you. I believe in your love, but I would strongly encourage you to talk to each other's parents. If you do this without telling them, you will likely lose that support and sever a connection. I know it may seem frightening, but like so many of the challenges ahead of you, it will be worth it." he advised, maintaining his kneeling position. "They'll find out eventually, and it will be better to hear it from you two. I'll even come with you, should you want me present." 

 

Now that the fear of being turned down for the marriage was past them, Clara could concentrate on the other issues of which there were many still. And Father Thomas hit the biggest one immediately.

 

"Oh, well Jacob's family knows. His parents are deceased but his older sister fainted, she is already in poor health, and his grandmother immediately attempt to take charge and run everything, all the while bullying Jacob and his sister then trying to bully me too. Only I refused to countenance such behavior," Clara was far more willing to be open now on all this.

 

"As for my family, my mother was murdered by Indians in the act of saving my life but I have a father and a little brother, whom I have helped raise.  My father is a wonderful man and we get along well but so far I have not mustered the courage to face him. Not because I fear him, he is gentle enough even when angry but because I do not want to see the hurt on his face because of my sinful behavior," Clara could be quite eloquent most times and also seldom emotional but a tear trickled down her cheek.

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"The circumstances involved which led to this were unplanned, a product of youthful enthusiasm and carelessness, we were in the wrong - but.... it does not change the way we feel about the baby, we want this child, of that you need not worry," Clara now had her own say on the matter.

 

Jacob nodded his head and tried to look as contrite as he could. But… if he was able to go back to that fateful, wonderful day by the lake, would he do anything different? With the temptation of Clara’s naked and beautiful body next to his? He doubted it.

 

"Like I said, I will marry you. I believe in your love, but I would strongly encourage you to talk to each other's parents. If you do this without telling them, you will likely lose that support and sever a connection. I know it may seem frightening, but like so many of the challenges ahead of you, it will be worth it." he advised, maintaining his kneeling position. "They'll find out eventually, and it will be better to hear it from you two. I'll even come with you, should you want me present." 

Now that the fear of being turned down for the marriage was past them, Clara could concentrate on the other issues of which there were many still. And Father Thomas hit the biggest one immediately.

 

Jacob was about to explain about his sister, grandmother and, oddly, their farmhand knowing, but Clara beat him to it, describing his Grandmother in no flattering terms while she was at it.

 

"Oh, well Jacob's family knows. His parents are deceased but his older sister fainted, she is already in poor health, and his grandmother immediately attempt to take charge and run everything, all the while bullying Jacob and his sister then trying to bully me too. Only I refused to countenance such behavior," Clara was far more willing to be open now on all this.

 

Jacob gave a little cough. No point in putting the dirty laundry out on the line for everyone to see. He was going to add in a quick word about old Ned, but thought they’d talked quite long enough about his family. Somehow, he didn’t think Clara would be quite as harsh about her side of the new baby's genealogical tree. He was right, the angelic bunch were described in glowing terms.

 

“As for my family, my mother was murdered by Indians in the act of saving my life but I have a father and a little brother, whom I have helped raise.  My father is a wonderful man and we get along well but so far I have not mustered the courage to face him. Not because I fear him, he is gentle enough even when angry but because I do not want to see the hurt on his face because of my sinful behavior,” Clara could be quite eloquent most times and also seldom emotional but a tear trickled down her cheek.

 

He couldn’t hug her in front of the holy man, so he reached out a hand and squeezed hers. She seemed to have finished her hagiography of her saint-like father. He  just hoped the reality turned out to be like Clara’s starry eyed version what the ‘Old Ma’ found out what he’s done to his daughter. He offered up a prayer more real that the ones that he usually mouthed in this place.

 

Arabella had come tip-toeing in with the drinks meanwhile and broke the silence with a jolly “So, you’ve told him we’re having a baby then?!”

 

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"As for my family, my mother was murdered by Indians in the act of saving my life but I have a father and a little brother, whom I have helped raise.  My father is a wonderful man and we get along well but so far I have not mustered the courage to face him. Not because I fear him, he is gentle enough even when angry but because I do not want to see the hurt on his face because of my sinful behavior."

Thomas watched a tear fall from her eye, and the look Jacob subsequently gave her told him all he could need to know about their feelings for each other.

 

"The Holy Book teaches us to forgive, Clara, but forgiveness cannot come without pain. No doubt your father cares about you, and I believe he will forgive you, even if it hurts him. So too, if his hurt hurts you, must you forgive him. This is how we, as God's children, come to love, respect, and help one other. Should you two remain true and raise your child proper, well, I'm sure he will come to love them just as much as you will." he said with an encouraging look.

 

“So, you’ve told him we’re having a baby then?!” came a familiar voice from the rear of the room. Thomas paused, turning around and rising from his place in front of the pews. "Yes, Arabella. Jacob and Clara have informed me that they intend to raise a child, and I..." he looked back at the couple. "...have agreed to marry them."

 

He turned his attention back to Arabella and moved to where she stood, taking two of the drink cups from her overfilled hands. Not that he didn't trust her not to spill them, merely that she had an indelicacy about her which... well... he didn't trust her not to spill them. It was an emotional moment, after all. Hot drinks in hand, he crossed back to the pews and handed one to Jacob, then Clara in turn.

 

"Drink. Something hot always makes one feel better, I find."

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"The Holy Book teaches us to forgive, Clara, but forgiveness cannot come without pain. No doubt your father cares about you, and I believe he will forgive you, even if it hurts him. So too, if his hurt hurts you, must you forgive him. This is how we, as God's children, come to love, respect, and help one other. Should you two remain true and raise your child proper, well, I'm sure he will come to love them just as much as you will." 

 

This man sure knew how to say all the right things, it all sounded so correct, so reasonable the way he said it too. It gave her hope but then wasn't that what clergy were supposed to do?

 

"Emeline Blakesley said pretty much the same thing when I talked to her about all this, the baby, the marriage, my father," Clara nodded, "She is my employer, she owns the Lick Skillet diner. A wonderful woman, a widow but soon to be remarried."

 

Arabella was back and stated almost happily, "So, you’ve told him we’re having a baby then?!”  

 

"We? What is this 'we'?" Clara  looked askance.

 

"Yes, Arabella. Jacob and Clara have informed me that they intend to raise a child, and I..." the reverend corrected just WHO was actually having the baby, "...have agreed to marry them."

 

Arabella had brought the drinks so Thomas passed them on to the teenagers, "Drink. Something hot always makes one feel better, I find."  

 

"Thank you, Reverend...oh and thank you, Arabella," Clara acknowledged them both then sipped at it. Bit too hot at the moment.

 

"You know, Reverend, I think we should take you up on your kind offer to accompany us when we tell my father. For I realize what you said is absolutely correct and something I.....we must do," she solemnly declared.

 

She glanced at Jacob, "You had mentioned going to talk with him and asking for my hand. Well, perhaps you should?"

 

 

 

 

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"Emeline Blakesley said pretty much the same thing when I talked to her about all this, the baby, the marriage, my father," Clara nodded, "She is my employer, she owns the Lick Skillet diner. A wonderful woman, a widow but soon to be remarried." 

 

Jacob was starting to wonder if he was the only person in the world whose family and friends were a bit … well, what was the word? Ramshackle? In fact, his only ‘friends’, he guessed, were kids he’d known at school and kicked around with years ago: the bumptious and obnoxious Hector Wigfall and his cave-woman like sister, the snooty Anaesthesia Orr and the plain (but ardent) Joanna Coltrane. Quince Quarternight had been his real pal, but he was a long time long gone from Kalispell.  

 

Arabella was back and stated almost happily, "So, you’ve told him we’re having a baby then?!”   

 

"We? What is this 'we'?" Clara looked askance. 

 

“Well, you know, as bridesmaid and godmother and kinda auntie to be, I’ll feel like right part of the family!” she beamed. Jacob shrugged, he didn’t know the pot girl was going to be Clara’s bridesmaid; news to him but then the groom was always the last to know about anything. ‘Groom’! Oh heck, would he have to find a best man?!  

 

"Yes, Arabella. Jacob and Clara have informed me that they intend to raise a child, and I..." the reverend corrected just WHO was actually having the baby, "...have agreed to marry them." 

 

Arabella had brought the drinks so Thomas passed them on to the teenagers, "Drink. Something hot always makes one feel better, I find."   

 

The kindly and helpful churchman needn’t have worried about spilt drinks, if there was one thing that Arabella was sure good at, it was carrying drinks around: that’s what she did half the evenings at the saloon. Why she could carry four glasses of beer in those long piano-players fingers through jostling crowds and never spill a drop.  

 

"Thank you, Reverend...oh and thank you, Arabella," Clara acknowledged them both then sipped at it. Bit too hot at the moment. 

 

“You’re welcome!” she replied. 

 

“Yeah, thanks.” echoed Jacob. 

 

 "You know, Reverend, I think we should take you up on your kind offer to accompany us when we tell my father. For I realize what you said is absolutely correct and something I.....we must do," she solemnly declared. 

 

 She glanced at Jacob, "You had mentioned going to talk with him and asking for my hand. Well, perhaps you should?" 

 

“Say, maybe I should come along too!” suggested Arabella “I could explain to him what happened, you know – I know all about the birds and the bees: don’t be shocked brother Thomas!” she sort of assumed that he didn’t know about the birds and thebees, although if he’d read the bible all the way through he’d have learned a few things. “I’ll just explain to your Pa that when a beautiful  woman like Clara and a irrepressible young scamp like ol’ Hayseed here get together...” she sort of ruffled his hair good naturedly at this point, like he was a slightly out of control but cute puppy dog “... well, no tellin’ what might go off!”  

 

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Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"Emeline Blakesley said pretty much the same thing when I talked to her about all this, the baby, the marriage, my father. She is my employer, she owns the Lick Skillet diner. A wonderful woman, a widow but soon to be remarried."

"Oh! I have heard talk of dear Emeline. It's good to hear that she's soon to be remarried. Why, this old chapel might see more than one marriage in the coming weeks." he said, in a subtle attempt to heighten the mood. The news of Clara's employment bode well for the future of their marriage too - an income would be invaluable in raising a child.

 

After handing the couple their drinks, Thomas stepped back to where Arabella now was, giving the two a little space.

"Thank you, Reverend...oh and thank you, Arabella," said Clara.

“Yeah, thanks.” echoed Jacob, to which Arabella, in typical fashion, gave a cheerful “You’re welcome!”

 

"You know, Reverend, I think we should take you up on your kind offer to accompany us when we tell my father. For I realize what you said is absolutely correct and something I... we must do."

"I'm very glad to hear that, Clara. Family is important, and a supportive family doubly so. I would be more than happy to lend my presence."

 

“Say, maybe I should come along too!” Arabella interjected. “I could explain to him what happened, you know – I know all about the birds and the bees: don’t be shocked brother Thomas!”

"I'm not..." he began, but she was already off again.

“I’ll just explain to your Pa that when a beautiful  woman like Clara and a irrepressible young scamp like ol’ Hayseed here get together... well, no tellin’ what might go off!”

 

"I think Jacob and Clara might want to explain themselves for themselves, Arabella." Thomas told the overexcitable girl. "Though it's very kind of you to offer."

Arabella was certainly an acquired taste, and Mr. Redmond might not appreciate her comments in a tense moment. "It would be up to them, though." he added, so as not to take the wind out of her sails prematurely.

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"Oh! I have heard talk of dear Emeline. It's good to hear that she's soon to be remarried. Why, this old chapel might see more than one marriage in the coming weeks."  

 

"Yes, you should go there to eat sometime, the food is very good, I can vouch for it as I help make it. Her baked goods are amazing," Clara always gushed about her employer and not just because of her culinary skills.

 

The reverend immediately accepted the now personal invitation to visit her father. She smiled at Jacob, things were going amazingly well so far. Arabella had something to say on the matter too.

 

“Say, maybe I should come along too!” Arabella interjected. “I could explain to him what happened, you know – I know all about the birds and the bees: don’t be shocked brother Thomas!”

 

Clara gave a pained look. NO! NO! A thousand times NO!

 

"I'm not..." Thomas began but...

 

“I’ll just explain to your Pa that when a beautiful  woman like Clara and a irrepressible young scamp like ol’ Hayseed here get together... well, no tellin’ what might go off!”

 

"I think Jacob and Clara might want to explain themselves for themselves, Arabella." Thomas told the overexcitable girl. "Though it's very kind of you to offer."

 

"It would be up to them, though."

 

There was an opening and Clara jumped in feet first!

 

"No, Arabella, this is purely a family matter. You are a good friend but this has to be between Jacob, myself, and my father with Rev. Thomas to help."

 

"Surely you understand?  Right, Jacob?" Clara turned to her husband to be for moral support.

 

***

 

Aurelian had met an older negro man also driving a wagon as he was heading for the Miggins place to pick up his daughter. The negro was a sharp one, he hailed him and surmised that he was Clara's father. Once Aurelian stated that was indeed the case, the old fellow informed him he had taken Clara into town already, he also was sharp enough to not mention the Lutz boy was with her. Just in case. Thanking the fellow for saving him some time (and left unsaid, a possible reluctant meeting with Granny Miggins), Aurelian then headed for town. Kalispell wasn't a big place, he should have little trouble finding her. In fact he imagined she was probably in the Lick Skillet diner, it's owner was just about her favorite person in the world it seemed to him. He understood, Mrs. Blakesley was an excellent mother figure, something the girl needed.

 

Setting the brake, Aurelian clambered off the wagon now parked near the diner and figured he would start there. Never for a moment did he think to go check out the church. Clara was devout enough on Sundays but not quite the sort to go pray in church on other days.

 

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"I think Jacob and Clara might want to explain themselves for themselves, Arabella." Thomas told the overexcitable girl. "Though it's very kind of you to offer."

 

Arabella shrugged “Well, you’re missin’ out, then, I’m the best person in the world fer breakin’ bad, er, unexpected news to people. Like this one time when Mr. Flandry bent down and ripped his trousers and…”

 

"It would be up to them, though."

 

There was an opening and Clara jumped in feet first!

 

"No, Arabella, this is purely a family matter. You are a good friend but this has to be between Jacob, myself, and my father with Rev. Thomas to help."

 

The girl looked crestfallen and pouted “Well, that’s not nice, if I got mah tin roof rusted, I mean, y’know, a bun in the oven” she translated for these yankees “I’d let you come along and tell my Pa. ‘Cept he’s dead.”  

 

"Surely you understand?  Right, Jacob?" Clara turned to her husband to be for moral support.

 

Jacob wasn’t so sure, after all his brave ideas about marching up to Mr. Redmond alone, man to man, and telling him straight that he was going to marry his daughter, he was now getting cold feet and liked the idea of safety in numbers. Still, there was one person whose opinion of him mattered to him more than Aurelian, and she was asking for his support.

 

“Yeah, keep your nose out, Reb.” He cut to the chase.

 

“Oooh!” frowned Arabella, putting her hands on her hips and wishing she’d spit in his coffee now. She was little consoled when, making sure Clara wasn’t looking, he mouthed a plaintive SORRY to her. After all, he did still owe her money.

 

The Virginian girl was not to be appeased. She pulled a face that was supposed to indicate ‘hurt dignity’ and, with a cry of “Well I know where I’m not wanted”, swept out of the church.

 

The gesture would have been more effective if she’d gone straight out and hadn’t stopped and turned around at intervals declaring “I’ll go then, shall I?” “Sorry if I’ve been a burden” and one final one near the door “This is me going!” After a pregnant pause her bonneted head popped back through the door. “See you all tomorrow then!” she yelled.

 

“See ya!” waved Jacob.

 

 ***

Setting the brake, Aurelian clambered off the wagon now parked near the diner and figured he would start there. Never for a moment did he think to go check out the church. Clara was devout enough on Sundays but not quite the sort to go pray in church on other days.

 

Arabella turned the corner just then, still juggling her disgruntlement about not being invited along to tell Granddaddy-Father in Law Redmond about his new station in life, and her need to keep friends with the happy couple so she could wheedle herself into the position of bridesmaid cum godmother cum midwife?! Well, she’d helped Auntie Rosie pull her brother out, legs first! Slippery little bugger he’d been, too.

 

Her shock at coming face to face with the big man himself was not just visible in her skidding to a halt, but audible in the startled “Urgghhh!!!” she let out, which drew the attention of everyone on the street, not just Aurelian.

 

“Mr. Redmond!!!!!” she cried when he looked at her. “What you doing here?!!!” she couldn't help but yelp. By ‘here’ she didn’t so much mean ‘here at the diner’ as ‘here in front of me when I just been jawin about ya!’

 

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Clara gave a pained look. "No, Arabella, this is purely a family matter. You are a good friend but this has to be between Jacob, myself, and my father with Rev. Thomas to help. Surely you understand?  Right, Jacob?" she discerned.

“Yeah, keep your nose out, Reb.”

 

Arabella gave a hurt look, or a look that might have seemed hurt if she wasn't intent on drawing it so far out.

“Well I know where I’m not wanted”

“I’ll go then, shall I?”

“Sorry if I’ve been a burden”

“This is me going!”

“See you all tomorrow then!”

 

“See ya!” Jacob cheerily added, quickly dismantling any of her remaining theatricism.

Thomas glanced at the other two, having not actually said anything to prevent her departure. Arabella would be Arabella, and very little seemed to change her mind about anything.

"Is she always like this when she doesn't get her way?" he asked with a chuckle, though he suspected that he already knew the answer.

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Arabella took Clara's refusal to allow her to go along very badly, as Clara figured she probably would.  The girl meant well but she lacked tact and in fact had an almost alarming lack of maturity in some ways.  Clara just stood there and let her go, despite several last second attempts by the girl to gain a reprieve. It did not come and finally she left the building.

 

Thomas glanced at the other two, having not actually said anything to prevent her departure.

"Is she always like this when she doesn't get her way?" he asked with a chuckle.

 

"She is ....well, different, Reverend. I really do like her but I must confess, I can only take her in small doses. She will be alright though, do not worry," Clara replied.

 

"So, when might you be available to go see my father? He is not at the farm now but...." suddenly she thought of something and turned to Jacob, "I wonder if he returned to your place to pick me up already? I hope your sister or your grandmother do not mention.........our secret."

 

Then it was back to Thomas, "You see he had dropped me off so I might visit Jacob's family in a social setting. It was something Jacob's sister and he had agreed upon after a meeting in the diner awhile back. So he certainly is quite aware that Jacob and I were seeing each other."

 

 

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Aurelian had paused before entering the diner, glancing in thru it's large bay window to see if he could catch a glimpse of his daughter. He didn't see her but that didn't mean she wasn't in there, she might well be in the back either helping or chatting with Mrs. Blakesley.

 

“Urgghhh!!!”

 

Aurelian was startled and turned to see it was Arabella, that girl who his family had cared for in their home back when Whitefish died. She had looked quite sickly back then but this was quite the improvement.

 

“Mr. Redmond!!!!!” she cried when he looked at her. “What you doing here?!!!”

 

"Arabella, at the moment I am looking in this window. Just seeing if Clara is within," he gave a somewhat bemused answer.

 

"It's been awhile....you look nice and healthy I'm glad to see.  Clara tells me you are happy at the saloon," he smiled, "Wyatt misses you."

 

That last part was a lie but a white one.

 

 

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“Mr. Redmond!!!!!” she cried when he looked at her. “What you doing here?!!!”

 

"Arabella, at the moment I am looking in this window. Just seeing if Clara is within," he gave a somewhat bemused answer.

 

“Ooh! Right! Her!” answered Arabella nervously glancing back up the far end of the street where Clara, Jacob and Brother Thomas would appear were hey to exit the church anytime soon.

 

“I’ll just see if she’s 'within' too!” she yelped, pressing her face against the glass so close that she left a greasy smear on the glass where her nose touched it. She goggled at the poor customers who had unwisely chosen the table near the window to ‘enjoy the view’.

 

“Nope, she ain’t ‘within’ in there!” she confirmed, peeling her sticky nose off the glass.

 

"It's been awhile....you look nice and healthy I'm glad to see.  Clara tells me you are happy at the saloon," he smiled.

 

“Oh sure, I mean they treat me like a slave o’ course, but I can’t complain.” she informed the amiable but somehow, in the circumstances, terrifying man, scared that, somehow, she was about to blurt something that would let the cat out of the bag. “How’s Ol’ Wyatt?” she thought to ask, willing herself not to turn around and check out the street behind her and glancing up at where Aurelian was looking.

 

"Wyatt misses you."

 

“Ah, he’s a good ol’boy.” She replied absently, before having an idea. She started to stroll past him, stroking her chin as if in deep ponderment. “Now then, Clara, Clara, Clara, where can she be?” she wondered out loud, hoping his eyes were following her and being drawn away from the direction of their actual location.

 

“Hmmm, well they won’t be at the Church, that’s for certain.” she added cleverly “Definitely not the Church! I mean, Clara’s pretty keen on the place but ol’ Jacob’s only ever dragged there by his Granny every Sunday. So let’s rule out that silly old church once and for all, shall we? Hmmm, saloon? No. Funeral parlour? No. Ermmm”

 

In one fell swoop she had given away the fact that she knew Jacob and Clara were together, and so had seen them recently, and that they were probably at the Church. It was about the worst bit of lying ever attempted in the history of the Territories, possibly even the entire United States. Arabella would later tearfully admit to Clara and Jacob that Mr. Redmond, that wily old fox, had tricked the truth out of her.

 

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"Is she always like this when she doesn't get her way?" he asked with a chuckle.

 

"She is ....well, different, Reverend. I really do like her but I must confess, I can only take her in small doses. She will be alright though, do not worry," Clara replied.

 

“Yeah, she’s just highly strung.” Added Jacob. Some people thought she should be strung up high, too. Jacob wasn’t one of those, he guessed that she had some issues and problems that she masked with her loud and interfering personality. He was especially empathetic to people with issues and problems these days.

 

"So, when might you be available to go see my father? He is not at the farm now but...." suddenly she thought of something and turned to Jacob, "I wonder if he returned to your place to pick me up already? I hope your sister or your grandmother do not mention.........our secret."

 

Jacob shook his head “Granny was dead against telling him, remember? And Lee’s probably locked in the fruit cellar by now.” he reckoned. He looked up and smiled sheepishly at the vicar “She’s kinda highly strung, too.”

 

Then it was back to Thomas, "You see he had dropped me off so I might visit Jacob's family in a social setting. It was something Jacob's sister and he had agreed upon after a meeting in the diner awhile back. So he certainly is quite aware that Jacob and I were seeing each other."

 

Jacob had to wonder how much of this complicated soap opera the poor old reverend was taking in, he probably didn’t know who half these people were from his short time as Pastor Evan’s co-preacher.

 

“We might still find him in town.” Jacob added his 5 cents “He was going to see the blacksmith and boy is that feller a slow worker!”

 

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"So, when might you be available to go see my father? He is not at the farm now but... I wonder if he returned to your place to pick me up already? I hope your sister or your grandmother do not mention... our secret."

“Granny was dead against telling him, remember? And Lee’s probably locked in the fruit cellar by now.” Jacob replied. "She’s kinda highly strung, too.”

"Well, if the infamous Mrs. Miggins was agreeably disposed, I'd say that was half the battle." Thomas declared. He had in fact heard of Jacob's granny, though really, who hadn't?

"As for your father, Clara, I should be available most of the week, except Sundays of course." he told her. "I'd recommend getting it done sooner, rather than later, but so long as it is done..."

 

“We might still find him in town. He was going to see the blacksmith and boy is that feller a slow worker!”  Jacob chimed in.

"Oh, well." Thomas said, giving the couple another heartening look. "If you both think you're ready, I propose we go and tie this up, as it were."

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Jacob shook his head “Granny was dead against telling him, remember? And Lee’s probably locked in the fruit cellar by now.” he reckoned. He looked up and smiled sheepishly at the vicar “She’s kinda highly strung, too.”

 

"True but she may well be furious for me walking out on her and looking to gain her revenge," Clara pointed out but then stopped, perhaps the good father did not to know all the particulars.

 

"Well, if the infamous Mrs. Miggins was agreeably disposed, I'd say that was half the battle." Thomas declared. He had in fact heard of Jacob's granny, though really, who hadn't?

"As for your father, Clara, I should be available most of the week, except Sundays of course." he told her. "I'd recommend getting it done sooner, rather than later, but so long as it is done..." 

 

""Sooner the better, I agree, Reverend," Clara nodded.

 

“We might still find him in town. He was going to see the blacksmith and boy is that feller a slow worker!”  Jacob chimed in.

"Oh, well." Thomas said, giving the couple another heartening look. "If you both think you're ready, I propose we go and tie this up, as it were."

 

"Very well then," it was agreed by all, they quickly finished their tea, actually Clara had barely touched hers, her stomach was roiled by all this tension and excitement.

 

Leaving the church they then stepped out onto the boardwalk of what passed for main street on the small town. Clara gazed toward the blacksmith's shop but her father's wagon was not parked there.

 

"I suppose we could take a walk and look around, " she suggested.

 

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The girl now announced she was treated like a slave at the saloon, that was rather unsettling to hear but Aurelian remembered her tendency toward the dramatic and Clara had told him more than once to not believe a lot of what the girl claimed.

 

Arabella now pressed her face against the bay window glass to see if she might have better luck than he did in spotting Clara. Which she did not. Aurelian exchanged a shrug with her.

 

“Now then, Clara, Clara, Clara, where can she be?” she wondered out loud, hoping his eyes were following her and being drawn away from the direction of their actual location.

 

“Hmmm, well they won’t be at the Church, that’s for certain.” she added cleverly “Definitely not the Church! I mean, Clara’s pretty keen on the place but ol’ Jacob’s only ever dragged there by his Granny every Sunday. So let’s rule out that silly old church once and for all, shall we? Hmmm, saloon? No. Funeral parlour? No. Ermmm” 

 

Aurelian frowned. Why did she keep mentioning the church? And was she hinting Jacob was along with her? It made no sense. It was supposed to have been a simple cordial visit at the farm and then he would pick her up.

 

"The church? So Clara AND Jacob are visiting the church?" he asked aloud but didn't expect any real clarity in the girl's answer.

 

"Reckon I can go see if........" he paused in his statement, down the street he suddenly noticed Clara with the Lutz boy at her side and ........that new minister seemingly replacing Parson Evans?  Strange.

 

"Oh there she is," he announced, he'd have his answers now of course.

 

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"The church? So Clara AND Jacob are visiting the church?" he asked aloud but didn't expect any real clarity in the girl's answer.

 

“Uh?” gawped Arabella “Course they ain’t visitin’ the Church! Let’s try the haberdasher…” but it was too late.

 

"Reckon I can go see if........" he paused in his statement, down the street he suddenly noticed Clara with the Lutz boy at her side and ........that new minister seemingly replacing Parson Evans?  Strange.

 

"Oh there she is," he announced, he'd have his answers now of course.

 

Arabella screwed up her eyes and peered down the street.

 

“No, I reckon that’s that girl that looks just like her, er, Claire Redford, Clara’s probably in the haberdash… oh, shoot!” She kicked herself for giving the alleged doppelgänger a name that sounded exactly like Clara’s, otherwise her Pa would have been totally fooled by the fib. But now he was off down the street and she would look like the big-mouth who’d told him where they were. She decided that discretion was the better part of valor and high tailed it in the other direction.

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Leaving the church they then stepped out onto the boardwalk of what passed for main street on the small town. Clara gazed toward the blacksmith's shop but her father's wagon was not parked there.

 

"I suppose we could take a walk and look around, " she suggested.

 

"Oh oh!" Jacob heard himself say. "I think he's found us!"  and, indeed, there was the Redmond Patriarch himself, heading full sail toward them. All of Jacob's fine speeches and carefully chosen words fled his mind, the cowards! and he was left standing, he felt, dumb and numb. 

 

Still he had Clara by his side ... no, that was worse! He wanted to impress her with the way he handled this - meaning that this could be a double disaster. Only God could save him now - or, at least, the rangy looking Father Thomas! He took his hat off - all the better to be punched in the head, perhaps!

 

"Mr. Redmond, Sir." he nodded, politely.

 

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Exiting out onto the main road, Thomas accompanied the couple towards the blacksmith, though it only took a few steps for them to realize that the Redmond wagon was nowhere to be seen.

"I suppose we could take a walk and look around." Clara suggested, to which Thomas nodded, glancing around the main street. He'd hardly have to look long, though, when Jacob suddenly said; "Oh oh! I think he's found us!"

 

Thomas paused, standing back so that Jacob and Clara might take the lead. He was there for support, after all.

"You can do this, Jacob." he whispered, giving the boy an affirmative pat on the shoulder. If things turned sour, he would step in, but for now, it was up to the children.

 

"Mr. Redmond, Sir." Jacob politely managed, taking the hat from his head.

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Clara also saw Arabella making a mad dash away from her father, had she told anyhow despite her word she wouldn't?  She wouldn't put it past the girl, she never saw such a busybody. But Arabella was soon forgotten as her father came closer, he had a look of confusion to him.

 

The good reverend fell back but remained just behind them, Clara glanced and saw how nervous Jacob looked. Given his easy intimidation by his grandmother, she was worried if he could do this? Well, she would help him out as much as possible and if it all fell apart surely the minister would step in. He seemed to know all the right things to say.

 

"Father," Clara greeted him solemnly, that wasn't so unusual though, Aurelian was used to her serious demeanor most of the time. Smiles on occasion, laughs almost never, that was Clara.

 

"Daughter," Aurelian nodded, very curious and becoming more worried by the second that the clergyman was with the two of them.

 

"Mr. Redmond, Sir." Jacob politely managed, taking the hat from his head.

 

"Jacob," he acknowledged the lad and even nodded toward the minister but then couldn't wait any longer.

 

"What is going on? Is it about Wyatt? Is he alright?" was his first worried thought now voiced.

 

"Oh no, Wyatt's fine. Everyone is in good health, but we ....Jacob and I ...need to talk to you about something very important," Clara started then realized they were on the boardwalk. This was no place to hold this discussion.

 

"Father, can we go someplace more private than a public street?" she asked.

 

Aurelian frowned, "Well....of course. Of course. Where do you want to go? And why the need for all this secrecy?"

 

"Please, you will understand real soon, we promise. Let's go talk ...in church, away from passersby," Clara strongly suggested.

 

"Fair enough but you got me nervous now, all of you," Aurelian fully admitted as he fell in with the odd little party for the short jaunt to the church.

 

By now though it was dawning on him it had to be something to do with Clara and the boy. He wasn't stupid.

westrpghusband.png

 

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"Fair enough but you got me nervous now, all of you," Aurelian fully admitted as he fell in with the odd little party for the short jaunt to the church.

 

By now though it was dawning on him it had to be something to do with Clara and the boy. He wasn't stupid.

 

They filed into the modest sized church, and a terrified Jacob glanced briefly up at the Cross. It was just a plain cross, two pieces of wood dovetailed at right angles and nailed to the church wall. But it made him remember the Cross on which Jesus died. Jesus, who went to the most painful and humiliating of deaths for the sake of the whole of mankind, and here was Jacob, worrying about, what? Not even the physical attack that might ensue as the consequence of their sin, but the verbal and emotional reaction Mr Redmond would now give them. There was no comparison. Whereas Father Thomas’ manly slap had made him more nervous, the feeling that He was nearby and touching him gently on the shoulder calmed the farm boy enough for him to talk.

 

“Mr Redmond” he said as soon as they were in the church, looking Aurelian straight in the eye, standing tall and speaking in a firm voice that amazed himself; he felt like he was floating outside of his own body just listening in, as it were. “The plain fact is that Clara and I want to get married, in fact intend to get married, and as soon as possible. And before you say anything about being too young and waiting and … well, the plain fact is … we’re in the family way and I intend to make an honest woman of her and if you want to take it out on anybody then take it out on me, cause it was all my fault and I’ll defend Clara till my dying day and I know we’re in a church but if you want the take a swing at me or go home and get your shotgun and shoot me then I wouldn’t blame you and...”

 

He looked at Father Thomas and Clara, who seemed both about to intercede and in a unexpected, testosterone filled bit of firmness added “… and you two keep out of this, this is between me and Mr Redmond!”

 

He swung round again to face Aurelian again, and again was surprised to hear his own words welling up from not his brain, that thought of clever things to say, but from his heart, which provided words of truth.

 

“I love her, Sir. I love her more than anything in the world.”

 

No slippery arguments about why it couldn’t be helped or why a quick marriage was best for the family and the baby and how it could all be arranged discretely and respectably. Just the one word that had got them here in the first place, love.

 

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Thomas smiled and gave a little wave to Mr. Redmond in turn, though left the talking to the teenagers. Clearly it was not something that either of them wanted to air in the open though, and so it was raised that they return to whence from they had come.

 

Back into the church they marched, at Clara's suggestion. She was strong-willed, that girl, enough so that she commanded authority over her own father, who was certainly a large, strong sort of man.

 

"Fair enough but you got me nervous now, all of you."

"Oh, nothing to be nervous about, Mr. Redmond." Thomas reassured him as they passed back towards the side door of the chapel. "As Clara says, everyone is fine."

 

It would seem that Jacob needed no encouragement, though, for no sooner had they crossed the threshold than he spoke, calmly and authoritatively; “Mr Redmond. The plain fact is that Clara and I want to get married, in fact intend to get married, and as soon as possible. And before you say anything about being too young and waiting and … well, the plain fact is … we’re in the family way and I intend to make an honest woman of her and if you want to take it out on anybody then take it out on me, cause it was all my fault and I’ll defend Clara till my dying day and I know we’re in a church but if you want the take a swing at me or go home and get your shotgun and shoot me then I wouldn’t blame you and you two keep out of this, this is between me and Mr Redmond! I love her, Sir. I love her more than anything in the world.”

 

He'd hardly known the Lutz boy very long, nor could he claim to have really played a role in his surge of courage, but Thomas found himself proud of the strength that Jacob had displayed. It would no doubt be a defining moment, and hopefully one that Jacob too would come to reflect on with pride.

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By the time they filed into church, Aurelian was apprehensive and studying the pair of teens, one of them his beloved daughter. She wouldn't have done anything rash though? Not his Clara. She had been about as close as one could get to the perfect child. Oh she had her small flaws, everyone did but she had always been wise beyond her years and so dutiful, hard working, all without complaint. But - but something was going on.

 

Young Lutz now turned to face him directly and even look him back in the eye. The boy seemed to be steeling himself up for...........

 

"Mr Redmond, the plain fact is that Clara and I want to get married, in fact intend to get married, and as soon as possible."

 

"What?" Aurelian was definitely taken aback.

 

Clara prepared to jump between them if necessary but this was Jacob's moment, it is what he wanted.  She had to have faith in him.  Well, and in a way, in her father too.  That he would not do anything rash.

 

Jacob went right on, "And before you say anything about being too young and waiting and … well, the plain fact is … we’re in the family way and I intend to make an honest woman of her and if you want to take it out on anybody then take it out on me, cause it was all my fault...."

 

Aurelian's eyes were now narrowed, the emotion in them obvious. Was it anger or maybe hurt? His mind was racing to take this all in even as Jacob continued. Family way? So they...? His Clara?

 

Clara had to jump in on that though, "It was not! It was my desire too."  Father had to know that detail !

 

Jacob did not skip a beat,  "...and I’ll defend Clara till my dying day and I know we’re in a church but if you want to take a swing at me or go home and get your shotgun and shoot me then I wouldn’t blame you and...”

 

"Oh, don't tempt me, boy!" Aurelian snapped, he had always prided himself on his self-restraint but everyone had their breaking point.   

 

"Now Father!" Clara took a step closer but Jacob noticed.

 

“… and you two keep out of this, this is between me and Mr Redmond!”

 

Clara froze in place though her eyes were on her father, silently pleading.

 

“I love her, Sir. I love her more than anything in the world," declared Jacob.

 

Finally the lad seemed to have said his piece or simply run out of steam. Clara was standing there, speechless (unusual for her he noted) and yes, looking fearful. Also unusual. But then there was nothing usual about this whole thing! Aurelian took a deep breath.

 

"I believe you, boy. Or....at least you THINK you love her now," his tone was surprisingly calm.

 

Then he met Clara's gaze, "This is so not like you. What were you thinking? You are too young for this."

 

"We were not thinking. We got carried away, the both of us. It all happened so fast..." Clara admitted bluntly.

 

"And are you sure? Are you positive you are with child?" Aurelian asked.

 

"Yes Father, I am. I am certain. And another thing, now that I am, I am happy and excited to have this baby. Jacob is too. It was not planned but we want the child. And like Jacob said, we want to get married," Clara assured him.

 

Aurelian bit his lip, then sighed once more and for the first time looked at the clergyman behind the couple.

 

"And you are going to let this happen? Two ....kids ..get hitched because they want to or think they do? And what would you do if I, the father, refuse to give my permission? She is not a legal adult yet. You going to toss that aside?"  he rounded on the man with some emotion.

 

claragif2.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Redmond was not pleased, that much was sure - but of course they had figured as much. All things considered, the couple were taking it well. Jacob seemed mostly uncowed, and Clara was just as stalwart, even jumping in to defend and connotate her lover's admission.

"If you want to take a swing at me or go home and get your shotgun and shoot me then I wouldn’t blame you and...”

"Oh, don't tempt me, boy!"

"Now Father!"

 

Thomas considered making a move to avoid any devolution of the situation, but Mr. Redmond seemed to take a breath and grow a little calmer after his initial shock, and the priest held his tongue.

 

"I believe you, boy. Or....at least you THINK you love her now. This is so not like you. What were you thinking? You are too young for this."

"We were not thinking. We got carried away, the both of us. It all happened so fast..."

"And are you sure? Are you positive you are with child?"

"Yes Father, I am. I am certain. And another thing, now that I am, I am happy and excited to have this baby. Jacob is too. It was not planned but we want the child. And like Jacob said, we want to get married."

 

He sighed again, and this time addressed Thomas, admittedly with the least scathing of accusations yet;

"And you are going to let this happen? Two ....kids ..get hitched because they want to or think they do? And what would you do if I, the father, refuse to give my permission? She is not a legal adult yet. You going to toss that aside?"

"Well, Jacob and Clara are repentant, and I believe the Lord will forgive them. Furthermore, they clearly care for each other, enough to risk the ire of their families and community. They might have kept this all a secret, and run off together - it speaks to their dedication to one another, and respect for you, that they would stay, seeking approval and a union in the eyes of the town and God." he said, keeping his voice level and inoffensive. "As for your refusal to acquiesce, I can only hope it will not come to that."

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Now that his big dramatic speech was over, Jacob felt a little awkward just standing there, although there was a tinge of pride that he had said what he had wanted to say without fear, when it came to it, and a glow of happiness that Clara had pitched in and shown her love for him in such a forthright manner. He felt genuine pity for her, too, he knew that she was ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place’ in all of this. He hoped she wouldn’t have to chose between her Father and himself, it would kill him if he were the cause of that.

 

Luckily, Mr Redmond, perhaps not knowing himself what to do or say next to the pair of them, turned his attentions to poor old Father Thomas

 

He sighed again, and this time addressed Thomas, admittedly with the least scathing of accusations yet;

 

“And you are going to let this happen? Two ....kids ..get hitched because they want to or think they do? And what would you do if I, the father, refuse to give my permission? She is not a legal adult yet. You going to toss that aside?”

 

“Well, Jacob and Clara are repentant, and I believe the Lord will forgive them. Furthermore, they clearly care for each other, enough to risk the ire of their families and community. They might have kept this all a secret, and run off together – it speaks to their dedication to one another, and respect for you, that they would stay, seeking approval and a union in the eyes of the town and God.” He said, keeping his voice level and inoffensive. “As for your refusal to acquiesce, I can only hope it will not come to that.”

 

Jacob had to admit to himself that ‘repentant’ wasn’t exactly the right word. Had he the choice now to erase having known Clara, both that first delirious, exciting first time, and the second time, this very day, when it was more than just pure animal lust but something deeper and more significant, a union of hearts not just bodies, he would have had to say ‘no, I have to keep that’ and damn the consequences.

 

And, scary as all this was, running off, leaving behind all they knew and loved, would have been scarier still. They were no saints, they were two people in love, following their hearts and just hoping for the best. Jacob reached for Clara’s hand, that touch, that made all this awfulness worthwhile. It made anything worthwhile.

 

It was out in the open now. Before, the pressure had been on Jacob and Clara and anybody they told. ‘What are we going to do?!!’ now, oddly, it was on Aurelian. They all peered at him, hungrily waiting to see or hear the next thing he did or said, like some kind of manic audience at the theatre.

 

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Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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