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A Room with a View, and you.


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Mature Content: Sadly, for Hector, no.

Author: Hector Mark Wigfall

With: Miss Aoife Leane.
Location: Wigfall Boarding House.
When: Mid-May, 1876.
Time of Day: Late afternoon.

 

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His sister was at work, Ma had gone to the stores, Pa was at the Telegraph Office where they both worked, and all the boarders were gone for the day. Hector Wigfall was all alone in the house, at last! He would be able to indulge himself in the thing which gave him the most pleasure in the world. He made his way to his sister’s room where there was a full length mirror (what a waste!) He stood before it and slipped his thumbs behind his braces.

 

He drew himself up to his full height as he gazed admiringly at himself in the looking glass.

 

“Gentlemen of the Jury, I put it to you that this beautiful young woman…” he pointed dramatically at an inanimate wardrobe “… could NOT have been present at the scene of the murder! For at that exact time, she was in the arms of I … no, shit… in the arms of ME! Hector M. Wigfall! For Miss Blank is my secret fiancée, and I further propound that…”

 

Bap! Bap! Bap!

 

His fantasy oration was cut short by a sharp rapping at the front door.

 

“Shit, shit, shit!” He was just getting to the good part. He ran out of Jemima’s room and down the stairs, cursing. The one time he had the house to himself and he had to run down to answer the door some rotten, no good, dirty, low-down… he pulled open the door … beautiful girl!!

 

He stood staring with an open mouth, which he closed just to be able to say a flat and dry-mouthed “Hello?”

 

@boshmi

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Several hours later, and here Aoife stood; Kalispell at last. Her jaunt with Robert in the woods might not have been an entirely negative experience - if anything it informed her she'd not be only Gael this side of Montana - but after all her traveling, she was, admittedly, looking forward to the prospect of a rest and a hot meal. She certainly felt quite disheveled at the least, and time to recuperate would have been very welcome.

The town itself was large, considering how far west it was situated, but all the more options she would presumably have, and the first thing she had done upon arriving on the outskirts was to look for a hotel or other lodging. A fairly well situated, innocuous building advertised itself as the 'Wigfall Boarding House," suiting her purposes well enough, and so Aoife, still dragging her trunk, had marched her way up to the front door, and placed three short knocks upon it's frame.

 

There was a clattering of footsteps and nondescript muttering from behind the boarding house door as a figure moved about within, but within the space of a few moments the door swung wide, to reveal yet another boy, funnily enough of similar age and appearance to Robert.

“Hello?”

He managed, wide eyes and shocked expression. He wasn't Irish, at least there was that discernment, and though it certainly wasn't the warmest welcome, at this stage, Aoife cared very little about her host's disposition.

"Hello." she repeated evenly. "D'you have any rooms?"

@Javia

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“Hello?”

 

"Hello." she repeated evenly. "D'you have any rooms?"

 

“Hello.” He repeated, staring at her like he’d never seen a woman before. Her accent was curious, clearly Irish, but a little ‘harder’ than he had ever heard before: but just as lovely, nonetheless.

 

“Do we have any rooms?” he frowned “Do we?”

 

He shook his head: not in answer but in an attempt to clear it. “You want a room! Yes. YES! Yes, Miss, we DO have a room, er, come in, I’ll get your … oh! I’m all alone! I mean, is it all right? Don’t beautiful young ladies always need chaperones when they’re alone with a boy, er, MAN!?”

 

He, who usually prided himself on his mastery of words, didn’t know if he was coming or going.

 

“I mean, not that you need a chaperone with me, I’m totally harmless! I mean, not harmless, GOD! No, not HARMLESS! Oh, ‘scuse my French, but, well, you know!” he grinned like a loon, coming down the step and hovering over her trunk to see if she wanted him to carry it in.

 

Come to think of it, had they got a room free? Who knew? The boarding house was boring. Oh well, she could have his room, he’d be happy to sleep on his sister’s bedroom floor if it meant getting to look at this stunning Rose of Erin over the breakfast table every morning. Even better, Jemima could sleep on the floor.

 

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Only standing marginally taller than herself, the boy (doorman?) seemed quite unbecome. It would have almost been funny, if not for the fact that Aoife really just wanted to shut herself away and rest.

 

“Do we have any rooms? Do we?”

 

He began to ramble, though through the babbling and bubbling, Aoife was able to discern that there was, in fact; a room available. Probably. Something struck her as odd about the whole situation, for she'd never heard of any boarding house that would open with the line; 'do we have any rooms?'

 

"Come in, I’ll get your … oh! I’m all alone! I mean, is it all right? Don’t beautiful young ladies always need chaperones when they’re alone with a boy, er, MAN!? I mean, not that you need a chaperone with me, I’m totally harmless! I mean, not harmless, GOD! No, not HARMLESS! Oh, ‘scuse my French, but, well, you know!”

 

Aoife said nothing, watching the boy with critical eyes. His grin and general sense of overbearing energy was tiresome, and tiresome was not an accolade she wanted attached to her evening.

 

"Never mind." she mumbled, gripping her trunk firmly and stepping down from the porch. Perhaps there would be somewhere else to stay, or perhaps she could wait until there was a less oppressive presence here.

@Javia

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"Never mind." she mumbled, gripping her trunk firmly and stepping down from the porch. Perhaps there would be somewhere else to stay, or perhaps she could wait until there was a less oppressive presence here.

 

It was as well for Aoife that Mrs Wigfall appeared on the scene at this juncture, her daughter Jemima in tow. The busy woman frowned at the sight of an obvious traveller being turned away, as it seemed, from her boarding house: especially as she had a room to let. An empty room was a dent in the family income.

 

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“Young lady, young lady!” she cried bustling up to the disconsolate looking girl “What is all this? Are you looking for bed and board? Why my dear, you look exhausted! Did you just come in on the stage?” she fussed.

 

The poor waif looked like she’d walked a hundred miles and then been dragged through a hedge backwards, and no doubt lugging that baggage all the way. Jemima looked at the girl suspiciously, and then at Hector, standing there dumbfounded at the effect his ‘magnetic personality’ had had on the pretty colleen. Well, magnets could repel as well as attract.

 

“Hector’s probably scared her away!” Jemima pronounced spitefully. "Trying to be all charming!" There was an evil smile on her lips, the look on his red face told her she'd hit the bull's eye.

 

@boshmi

 

 

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“Young lady, young lady! What is all this? Are you looking for bed and board? Why my dear, you look exhausted! Did you just come in on the stage?”

A voice to the side, and the sound of hurried footsteps presented two women; one fairly old, and another closer to Aoife's age. Her timing was impeccable, if indeed this was the ubiquitous Mrs. Wigfall, for her fussing was admittedly a preferable alternative to the boy's charged rambling.

 

“Hector’s probably scared her away! Trying to be all charming!"

 

Aoife glanced between the younger girl and the boy, immediately picking them out to be siblings. Ruthless teasing was quite the staple of any brother-sister relationship, as she well knew.

Managing a friendly smile, she regarded the three in turn, ending on Mrs. Wigfall, who seemed to carry the most authority.

 

"I, ah, well, I walked. From the pass up that way." she said, indicating the forest in the distance. "Do you have any available rooms?" she repeated her question from earlier, hoping for a more straightforward answer.

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Managing a friendly smile, she regarded the three in turn, ending on Mrs. Wigfall, who seemed to carry the most authority.

 

"I, ah, well, I walked. From the pass up that way." she said, indicating the forest in the distance.

 

“Oh, my dear young lady, all that way … alone?! Oh, dear, dear me, you must be quite worn out! Oh, and the danger, with all those redskins about and on the warpath!” she declared, approaching Aoife and waving her hands in the air at the thought of what might have become of the poor girl out in the wilds.

 

“They like to torture women and do other things to them!” piped up the frowsy looking daughter scuttling at the older woman’s side, helpfully. Jemima always looked on the bright side.

 

"Do you have any available rooms?" she repeated her question from earlier, hoping for a more straightforward answer.

 

“Yes we do! Now, let’s get you inside and off those feet with a nice cup of cocoa and get you settled in a nice comfy room!” said Mrs Wigfall in a comforting but decisive and commanding manner which would have done any nursing sister, in Aoife’s chosen profession, proud.

 

“Jemima! Help the young lady with her luggage and you!” she pointed a vicious looking parasol at Hector “get inside and out of the way! We women have business to conduct!”

 

Jemima trudged over to the large and heavy trunk “What do you want me to take?” she asked first, rather than just laying hands on the other girl’s things. "So, what's your name?" she asked.

 

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“Oh, my dear young lady, all that way … alone?! Oh, dear, dear me, you must be quite worn out! Oh, and the danger, with all those redskins about and on the warpath!” declared Mrs. Wigfall, waving her hands in the air. "Now, let’s get you inside and off those feet with a nice cup of cocoa and get you settled in a nice comfy room! Jemima! Help the young lady with her luggage, and you! Get inside and out of the way! We women have business to conduct!”

 

In the space of a few short moments, an entire 180 degree turn had been performed, almost entirely absent of Aoife's personal input. Mrs Wigfall did seem more archetypal of a boarding house matron, however, and the young woman was inclined to go along with things, so long as they maintained their present course.

 

“What do you want me to take?” asked the girl at Aoife's side, already having relocated herself over her belongings.

 

"I can manage." Aoife said with what politeness she could muster, for what seemed like the hundredth time today. She picked up the trunk and ambled through the doorway, giving Hector a cursory nod as she went.

 

"So, what's your name?"

"I'm Aoife. And you?" she asked, though more customarily than by way of true curiosity.

@Javia

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“What do you want me to take?” asked the girl at Aoife's side, already having relocated herself over her belongings.

 

"I can manage." Aoife said with what politeness she could muster, for what seemed like the hundredth time today. She picked up the trunk and ambled through the doorway, giving Hector a cursory nod as she went.

 

Jemima shrugged, it was no skin off her nose. The Irish girl had missed out though, although the cleaning girl looked dumpy, she was solid brawn and could have lifted the heavy trunk with ease. She followed her inside.

 

"So, what's your name?"

 

"I'm Aoife. And you?" she asked, though more customarily than by way of true curiosity.

 

“Jemima” answered Jemima “Eeeee-fuhhh. Like Eve-uhr. Is that Irish for Eve?” she asked [it wasn’t] “Eve was the first woman to sin, that’s why we’ve got the curse.” Only Jemima Wigfall could manage to get the subject of menstruation into her first conversation with someone. “When she sinned she saw Adam’s nakedness and he saw hers.”

 

That was one of her favourite parts of the Bible.

 

Mrs Wigfall led Aoife into the parlour and bade her put her trunks down for now. She ordered Hector to the kitchen to make some hot drinks and indicated that the Irish girl should take a seat. Jemima stood there like a spare part.

 

“Now, my child, my name is Mrs Wigfall. I offer a decent bed and board for a decent price, no gentlemen callers. I usually set a curfew for young lady borders, but that’ll depend on what you do for a living. Might I ask that, do you already have a position here in Kalispell or are you looking for work, Miss…? Sorry, dear, I didn’t ask your name.”

 

“Eeeee-fuhhh!” intoned Jemima.

 

@boshmi

 

 

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“Jemima. Eeeee-fuhhh. Like Eve-uhr. Is that Irish for Eve?"

Aoife frowned, moving down the hallway. "I... don't think so."

“Eve was the first woman to sin, that’s why we’ve got the curse. When she sinned she saw Adam’s nakedness and he saw hers.”

Her frown quickly shifted to an expression of incredulity, not that Jemima would have been able to see. "Uh huh." was all she said.

 

Entering the parlor, Aoife set her things down at Mrs. Wigfall's command and moved to sit. Hector disappeared off into a far room and she almost expected Jemima to follow, but no, the peculiar girl stood like a sentry at the rear of the room.

What an odd family, she thought, though for the time being fixed her attention on the Wigfall matriarch, seemingly the most well-adjusted of the three.

 

“Now, my child, my name is Mrs Wigfall. I offer a decent bed and board for a decent price, no gentlemen callers. I usually set a curfew for young lady borders, but that’ll depend on what you do for a living. Might I ask that, do you already have a position here in Kalispell or are you looking for work, Miss…? Sorry, dear, I didn’t ask your name.”

Aoife opened her mouth to speak, but Jemima beat her to it.

“Eeeee-fuhhh!”

 

"Uh, yes. Aoife. Leane." she said, glancing up at Jemima. "I don't have work just yet, but I have money, no need to worry about that Ma'am. As for the ah, gentlemen callers, I am in complete agreement with you."

The last sentence she spoke rather firmly, a precaution against the overzealous Hector.

@Javia

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