Brendan simply sat in the bed and listened to Caroline. That was the least he could do. But at least she was saying good things about him. He would have felt proud in any other circumstances, but right now he just felt guilty, as though he had somehow had a hand in Caroline's horrible fate.
His eyes widened in surprise as she kissed him. The kiss was not deep, but it was still affectionate, although not the kind of affection he had imagined when he had imagined being kissed by Caroline. But, in a way, this was better.
He lifted a hand and put it at the back of her neck. Doing that felt all right - to him, anyway. It was the natural thing to do when someone kissed you. He knew that if his hand slid down, it would be resting between her bare shoulder blades. Instead of sliding his hand down, he let his fingers slide off the back of her neck and down onto the sheets as she pulled away.
"I've never been so glad to get a consolation prize," he said in a light-hearted tone. Because that's what the kiss had been.
"Oh, Miz Addy doesn't scare easy," Weedy pointed out, "she even killed a bear that killed one of her horses!" He was real proud of her for that, even though she didn't make much of it. "Gave the carcass to the Piutes, but she kept a couple of the claws."
He led the way into the kitchen, where there was a table that (barely) seated four, although there were only three chairs, a small stove, pantry and a sink complete with indoor pump. "Here's some water." Carefully, Weedy used the pump to fill a tin mug that he handed to Isiah.
"We can put the horses behind the house, and you can just stay in here when she gets home." He looked up at the man with a grin. "Are you the brother who pushed her in the lake or left her in the tree to find her own way down?"
Lucinda smiled as Clara emerged from the kitchen. The girl was so young, and so solemn, even though the expression on her face was pleasant. She had been slightly nervous about asking the new Mrs. Lutz for work - never having asked anyone for work before - but how could she be scared of a woman as young as Clara was?
"Well, actually, I was hoping that I might be able to help you." She held her hat with both hands so that it touched her knees. "My name is Lucinda Dietrich. I don't know how much Emeline told you, but I'm new in town. I helped Emeline wash dishes one night and she told me that if I couldn't find work, to come back here."
She paused, unsure of what to say next. Up until now she'd just been filling Clara in, but now she actually had to ask for work. How did one do that?
"Could...could you use an extra hand in the kitchen? Or out here?"
"Hello? Who is there, please?" asked Frances, raising her voice that the stranger outside might hear.
"Marshal Speed Guyer, Miss Grimes," He announced.
When she realized that it was the Marshall, she let him in immediately. "Is this about my brother?" she asked, in a voice that betrayed the fact that she would be surprised if it was about anything else.
"I'm afraid so ma'am," He was not not surprised, "Perhaps you'd like to sit down." He gave her a moment before continuing, "I'm afraid that your brother Frank got into an argument with some men at the Stardust Saloon earlier. Unfortunately for him, he drew his pistol, and was killed." That did not come out the way he had intended. It sounded hollow and cold.
"I have what money he had on him, and some from the sale of his gun totaling thirty-five dollars." He added. "Also, there is the question of his horse and saddle. If you like, Miss Grimes, it can be sold and the money would come to you." He had hoped to make the delivery of Franks death much more smooth, but he felt a failure in that department.
Arabella listened with rapt attention to Mr. McVay's story about how he and his late wife had met and married. Oh, it was no heart-pounding tale of wild romance, as might be found within the yellow tinged pages of a dime novel; but neither was it the cold and stodgy retelling of some arranged twinning based upon financial dowries and settlements, as was so often the case. No, it was a nice, cosy, warm story: and Arabella smiled happily through the bulk of it.
But then came the dreaded and awful denouement.
"The winter of '74 Beth took a serious fall while I was at work. By the time I got home her leg was swollen, the house was like ice, and I was in a panic."
Arabella, who had been imagining Mr. and Mrs. McVay's idyllic life together so vividly, gasped, and her face fell.
He paused again. "I got her to the doctor who had her admitted to the hospital where they tended to her leg, but within days pneumonia set in. Not having the necessary strength to fight it, she succumbed."
"Oh, McVay..." sighed Arabella, leaning forward, eyes wide, her lower lip beginning to tremble.
He fained a smile, but his now red rimmed eyes were forming tears. "And, here I am."
The girl from Virginia, who was given to wearing her heart on her sleeve and crying at the drop of a hat at the best of times, now burst fully into great sobbing tears and running over threw her arms around the hard bitten reporter and wrapped him in a chaste and heartfelt hug.
"Oh poor Beth! And poor Mr. McVay!" she wept, before disentangling herself and wiping her nose on her sleeve. "and now you're here and... you're all... all alone in the world. Sniff."
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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