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    • "Just when I was thinkin' this was a cake-walk!"  Justus' grin didn't show under the bandanna, but he was trying to take it all in stride.  But he did realize that either way, it was going to be miserable.  The wind stirring up the dust was annoying at best, but if it got bad enough, it could make vision next to impossible.  But if it started to rain...well, there was a whole mess its own issues, none of them pleasant.   Funny thing was, it sounded like the worse conditions got, and the harder they had to work, the more the chances of a good, hot meal and decent rest went down.   Not much to do about it but take it as it came, unless he just bugged out, but it would take something far worse than weather to get him to quit!   @Flip
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Mature Content: No

Author: Isiah Chappel

With: Adelaide Chappel
Location: Millegan Stage Co
When: August 1875
Time of Day: Morning

 

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It was almost two months ago that I'd left home, Pigeon Forge, TN, with my 5 year old son Joshua for Montana, in search of my sister Addy.  My wife had recently passed from cholera and I was heartbroken.  She and Joshua were the reason I got up every single day with no complaints to go out and put in hard work so that I could provide for them.  Since the day she died everywhere I looked I could see her.  Everything reminded me of her and I felt like I was slowly going crazy. So crazy that I had to get out of there.  I couldn't take it anymore.  My Pa tried to convince me to stay, saying I was acting on emotion and that I would regret it. Well I'd have to find that out for myself.

 

Josh and I had set out on our horses. Sure, there were other ways of getting there but this was my preferred method.  It would give me some time alone, well besides the boy, to try and clear my head, get myself right.  Nature and being outside was always good for my soul.  It had taken us longer to get here than if I'd traveled alone, but finally I could tell that we were getting close.  Had I known, the night before, that we were so close to Kalispell I would have kept trekking, but Josh was tired and hungry and well so was I.  I'd done a pretty fine job of keeping us sheltered, fed and warm on the trip, but he sure was missing his Ma in many ways, and there wasn't much I could do to help him with that....that because I was hurting too. 

 

When the sun rose the next morning we had traveled only about 2 hours when I first caught site of town and Josh and I's excitement couldn't be hidden.  He hooped and hollered, waving his hat in the air and I laughed. I laughed.  Well that had to be the first time I'd done that in a while. 

 

We made our way into town and finally found Millegan's staging company.  Tying our horses up outside I helped Josh down off his and we made our way in.  It was bustling inside as I grabbed one of the workers and asked him for Adelaide.  He'd informed me that she was out at the moment but would be back before long he supposed and we could just wait for her.  After waiting almost two months for this day, waiting a bit for her to get here would be no problem.  Josh and I made our way back outside to wait for her with our horses all the while Josh was begging me for something to eat.  I had nothing at the moment to offer him and figured maybe we could find some food with Addy.

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OOC:  There is a place with the sign hanging on the outside  Lick Skittle Diner just on the other side of the street of the stagecoach office.  

 

More OOC:  Lickskillet, not Like Skittle!  See what happens when I leave for a couple days!

 

my OOC:   Hey I was close! I got most of the letters right! 😇

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School was finally out for the day, and Weedy had run home to drop his books on the table -- he'd pick them up later, before Addy got home -- then headed to the barn to get his chores there out of the way before he tackled his homework...he'd much rather be mucking stalls than doing math and writing 'papers', and he wanted Addy to know that he would do his chores, even without her or Jay to make him.

 

When he got to the barn, he noticed the man out front with the little kid and he nodded as he came up to them. 

 

"Hey!  Can I help you with something?"  After all, the man looked kind of lost.  On the other hand, Weedy was ready to run if it turned out he was looking to take him away from Addy, although he doubted he'd bring a kid along with him.

 

@MD

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It wasn't long that Joshua and I were waiting when a young boy made his way over to us.  I could see Josh's eyes light up at the sight of another kid.  I inclined my head towards him, touching the brim of my hat as I did, smiling slightly.

 

"Just waitin' on Adelaid Chappel." I say to the young man, raising my brows as I spoke. "You know her?"

 

I had no idea that yes, he knew my sister very well, nor did I know that my askin' for her might make him nervous...make him think I might be here to take him away from her. 

 

"I was told by someone inside that she'd be around soon, she was runnin' errands." I reach down and rest my hand on top of Josh's head as he stands beside my looking the boy up and down.  I had no doubt he wanted to speak to him, but Josh was always slow to warm up to anybody new.

 

@Bongo

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"Adelaide?"  Weedy's nose wrinkled up, but then he remembered that that was Addy's real name, but no one used it because when they did...

 

"Call her that, Mister, and she'll deck you one!"  The boy grinned.  "Everyone here calls her Addy...and yes, she's out on a delivery, reckon she'll be back some time this evening."

 

Maybe that would make the man leave?  But then, he seemed nice enough, and even a little familiar, and he didn't think a bad man would have a little kid with him.

 

Oh, right, he needed to be polite.  "Oh, I'm Weedy, Miz Addy's my Ma.  I guess you can wait here at the barn if you want to.  Oh, and can I get you water or something?"  Maybe he could get them some lemonade from Miz Jemima?

 

@MD

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This kid made me smile and I laughed outright when he said that Addy would deck me had I called her by her full name.  I wasn't sure what she was going by in these parts but we too called her Addy back home.  "I s'pose you're right about that." I chuckled imagining my sister doing just that....god I have missed her.  Yes...yes this trip out west was a good idea.  Even just this conversation with the young boy had me thinkin' of other things besides my late wife, Daisy.  "Though I doubt she'd want to deck her big brother." I raise my brows as if to question if she would deck me; a smirk playing at my lips, as I let the young boy know who I was to Addy. "I'm Isiah and this is Joshua." I introduce us both.

 

Then the boy goes on to do the same and reveals that Addy is ....what!?  his Ma??  I was normally a straight faced man, keeping a hold on my emotions, but havin' not heard from Addy is so long....had she gone off and got married and had a youngin'?!  My mouth dropped open.  "Your Ma?!"  The shock showed on my face and in my tone.  Addy had always been independent, fending for herself...I wasn't sure if I'd ever see her tied down to a man and a child. 

 

I couldn't even respond to his offer for water as I stood there playing over in my head my little sister havin' a kid....that until Josh tugged on my arm. "I'm thirsty, Pa." I shook my head some...oh, right.... "Yea, Weedy...yea, we'll take some water." I nodded, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind of something so fine as lemonade to cross our lips.  That would be a real treat, and a fresh cooked meal...it's a wonder Josh and I weren't skin and bones after this two month trek.

 

@Bongo

 

 

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"Brother?"  Weedy's nose wrinkled up as he looked more closely at the man, then he broke into a huge grin.  "That's why you look familiar!  Come on, we can go to the house.  She just bought it a couple months ago so we could have a real place, now that I live with her all the time."

 

Suddenly, Weedy rushed forward and hugged the man, then stepped back and looked up at him.  "Miss Addy's going to be real happy to see you, she said you're her favorite, even if you did push her in the crick that one time!"

 

Maybe Isiah was going to be his uncle?  But he'd wait to ask about that.

@MD

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I was taken off guard by the hug, but I managed to lower my hand onto his shoulder and pat it a couple times before he moved back after his offer to take me to Addy's and his home.  He seemed a delightful kid which was no surprise given my sisters personality.  I was still trying to put all the pieces together with this but I just couldn't.

 

"Great, then you lead the way." I agree to go with him to Addy's.  I reach over and untie my horse from the post and do the same with Josh's.  I give Josh, who was still very quite, a lift up onto the saddle and look over at Weedy. "Need a ride?" I ask as I mount my horse.  I couldn't help but ask almost immediately after. "Is your Pa at the house?" Maybe I shouldn't have asked.  I know very well that there were any number of circumstances that could bring Weedy into my sisters life, but this seemed the most straightforward. She'd gotten married and had a kid! 

 

@Bongo

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Wow, Josh had his own horse?  Weedy was hoping to have his own one day, but Addy kept saying he didn't need one in town, and if he went out to visit Wyatt, he could take Arabesque. 

 

"Yes, sir, it's not far."  He let Isiah help him onto the saddle behind him, then shrugged.

 

"Is your Pa at the house?"

 

"My pa's dead," he answered matter-of-factly, "at least that's what ma always told me, but I don't know for sure.  After she died, I heard Miz Addy talking with the sheriff and she was worried Pa might come and take me." 

 

It was all a lot for him to try to process, and now that Addy and Speed had decided that Addy was going to be his ma.

 

"Oh, unless you mean Jay...he's sorta my Pa, but he and Addy didn't get married yet, and he's gone doing something."

 

@MD

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As soon as the boy started to answer me I realize I should have just kept my mouth shut and not tried to get into his business.  I feel terrible for him that both his ma and his pa were gone...well he thinks his pa is dead.

 

"I'm sorry to hear that Weedy."  We start out on our horses once we are all in place.  Josh rides along side me and I head in the direction that Weedy gives me.  "I just lost my wife and Josh his ma." Of course I couldn't go long without her coming up in my conversation.  Addy didn't even know of course, because neither of us could read nor write...not really.  The only communication between us was whenever the other would visit. 

 

Weedy goes on to mention a man in Addy's life named Jay...but he's gone off doing something.  "I can't remember the last time I've seen Addy, Weedy." I say as I glance over my shoulder some towards him. "Sounds like you two have quite the story." My sister was always easy to get along with, she loved animals and kids the same and they loved her right back.  He was lucky to have run into her; sounds like she's taken him under her wing. "I can't wait to hear more about it." That is if either of them wanted to tell me.

 

@Bongo

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When he heard that Josh had lost his ma, Weedy looked back at him with sympathy...seemed they had that in common, although he hoped Josh had had a better ma than he had. 

 

"Miss Addy's been real good to me," Weedy commented, "even when Ma was still alive, she made sure I had meals and a place to sleep if I needed it."  Well, that made his own ma sound pretty bad, and even though she hadn't been much of a mother, she's still been his mother.

 

Before he had to explain more, they were at the little house that Addy had bought for them, only a block or so from the barn.  "That's it!"  He pointed to the small house nestled along the tree-lined street, separated from its neighbors by a short picket fence.  It was in need of a coat of paint, but the stairs and porch were new and solid.

 

"Come on in, we can wait for her there."  Weedy swung down from the saddle and ran up the front steps.  "I'll get you some water, and there's some bread."  The boy grinned widely.  "Ma got it from the cafe, she didn't make it herself, so it won't poison you!"

 

@MD

 

(LOL< no sheeps or lady, but this is the house:)

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@MD

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I pull my brow together as I listen to Weedy explain about his ma and how Addy had been there for him through everything.  She would have to give me more details.  While Weedy seemed open to talkin' he wasn't going into much detail either.  Before I really got to say anything about it we were arriving at the house. 

 

The ride was much shorter than I had anticipated.  If I didn't ride a horse again for another year I wouldn't complain! I was so ready to get off of her for a while!  I slide off after Weedy and then help Josh who stays right beside me.  I tether the horses and to Weedy's offer for water and bread both our eyes light up.  We hadn't had something so nice as bread in a long time.  I chuckle when he talks about her cooking and Josh and I make our way into the house. "We'll take you up on both offers, Weedy.  I'm glad to hear we won't be poisoned." I step inside the house and glance around.  I'd been looking forward to seeing my sister for quite some time and now that we were here and waiting on her an idea popped into my head.  Josh walked in and sat down in the floor kicking off his shoes. "Hey, Weedy." I follow behind him. "What do ya say that we surprise Addy?" I raise my brows. "She has no idea I'm comin'." I motion towards the horses. "Maybe we could hide those girls somewhere and you could hide me n Josh." I tilt my head a bit. "Or do you reckin' she'd have our hides if we scared the bejesus out of her?" I ask with a light laugh.

 

@Bongo

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"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?"

 

@MD

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Well from the sound of it my sister was doing just fine for herself.  Not that I doubted she was.  Being raised by all us brothers she would surely be able to fend for herself.  I smile in satisfaction as he tells me the story and laugh a bit. "Well I ain't havin' nothing to do with that there Weedy.  I'd hate to know what she'd do to me if I did successfully scare her!" I chuckle as I go to the table and I take a seat, taking the water from him. "Thanks." I mutter and take a sip as Josh jumps up into a seat and takes a water for himself as well. 

 

Then Weedy goes on and he brings up some mighty fun memories from when none of us had any worries in the world.  I sigh as I think back, remembering both instances clear as day.  I really liked this kid, he knew how to make a grieving man smile, how to take my mind off it all. "I was the one to push her in that lake.  But!" I hold up a finger as I lean in towards him and I narrow my eyes. "Did she tell you why I pushed her in said lake?" I question as I tilt my head to the side a small smirk playing at my lips.

 

@Bongo

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Weedy's eyes widened as he shook his head vigorously, suddenly realizing what  a good resource one of Miss Addy's brothers could be!  He could get all kinds of stories!  "She just said you 'waz onery'er 'a a possum what tangled with a prickly pork-y-pine that got woked up early on Sunday mornin'!'" 

 

The lad adored Addy's way of speaking, but knew it wasn't 'proper', and wasn't allowed to do that, except when he was quoting her, so he found chances he could do just that!

 

"Tell me all you can!" he encouraged as he clamored onto a stool to get into the cabinet for the bread, and finding a stash of cookies he hadn't known about!  "Here!  I knew she had them somewhere!"  Hopping down, he put the cookies on a plate on the table.

 

@MD

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  • 2 weeks later...

And when the boy started speaking like my sister I couldn't help but chuckle and I swear my heart warmed up.  I had surely missed her!  I already knew that Weedy and I were going to get along just fine. 

 

"She just said you 'waz onery'er 'a a possum what tangled with a prickly pork-y-pine that got woked up early on Sunday mornin'!'" 

 

"Oh is that right?" I ask with a smirk on my lips as I watch him bring over the cookies.  They barely hit the table when Josh is reaching in and grabbing one, stuffing it in his mouth.  I was hungry too! I reach and grab a cookie taking a bite.  Pushing it to the side of my mouth I chew and start talking.

 

"Well don't you think that's reason enough for me to have thrown her in there?" I raise my brows as I laugh at our simpler days. "I had good reason to be dragging my feet getting back home that day.  Addy herself had caused me to get my nice clothes, that I'd worn to church that day, dirty on our way home." Clothes that weren't all that nice but as nice as we had. "We'd stopped by the creek and were having a good ole' time when she came over an' tried to scare me.  Caused me to step right in the mud by the creek!" I shake my head as I leaned forward. "I was only being slow to leave because Pa was sure to whip me good for getting my clothes dirty.  Because Addy never did any wrong in his eyes." I sit back in my seat laughing some. "I'm pretty sure I got it even worse that day after I threw her in that lake." I chuckle at him and reach for another cookie.

 

"Bet she didn't tell you that part of the story did she?" I raise my brows, lips pressed together, shaking my head some.

 

@Bongo

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If she had, Weedy couldn't recall, and he didn't much forget her tales, as they were usually more interesting than any classic ones he'd heard.  And he knew from experience that Miz Addy had a way of exaggerating and bending the truth to make things more exciting, not that he minded one bit!  He loved her stories, they were what had caught his attention when he first started loitering around the barn, and now he had a new source for stories.

 

"No, she didn't say that part, just that she was an angel when she was a little girl!"  The boy grinned, eager for more.  "What else?"

 

What he didn't notice was the back door opening...

 

+++++++++

The day had been far longer and more complicated than Addy had wanted so that by the time she'd put her wagon up and tended the horses, all she wanted to do was go home, wash up and drop into bed.  She'd send Weedy over to the Lickskillet to get them something for supper, and, of course, pie.

 

Then she spotted the horses tied in front of the house and frowned.  Had they come for Weedy?

 

She couldn't take that chance, and slipped quietly around to the back door, drawing her pistol as she slipped into the kitchen.  The man's back was to her, and she could see that he was talking to Weedy.  She wasn't sure where the second man was, but that didn't matter, she needed to keep Weedy safe, and, well, keep Weedy.

 

"Hold it right there, mister, or I'll blast a hole in ya so big ya can drive a mule team through it," she snarled.  "An' ya leave that boy alone."

 

@MD

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Weedy continued to prove what fun he was and he showed me in just this short conversation that my sister hadn't changed at all!  A perfect angel?! This made me laugh out loud, throwing my head back as I did.  I parted my lips ready to tell him more just at his request, but as soon as I started I heard the sound of a familiar voice, but it won't quite what I was hopin' for!

 

I had no idea why anyone would be here wanting to take the boy away from my sister, but I knew that she was a protective Mama Bear to him.  She had always been protective over her family, even if she was the youngest.  I also knew that she was a good shot with any gun because our brothers had taught both of us at the same time and there had been a many a time she'd been more on target that I could have wished for!

 

Immediately I threw my hands up in the air, keeping my back to her not making any sudden movements.  I'd come all this way to see her not get shot in the back.  While I had hoped I'd be running up to her, swallowing her up in a hug when she arrived, things had proved different and I had to take measured movements.

 

"It's me! It's me!" I let her know quickly not making another move; holding my hands frozen in the air. "Isiah....Addy ... it's me 'n Josh...right there!" I say as I motion towards my son who sat there wide eyed and frozen as well seein' that gun pointed at me.

 

@Bongo

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As soon as he spoke, Addy recognized the voice, and the gun was quickly back in its holster as she rushed forward and jumped into her brother's arms.

 

"Isiah, ya ol' badger, whacha doin' here?"  Stepping back, she glanced at the boy, keeping her distance so as not to frighten him.  "Is this Josh?  He's th' spittin' image a' his pa, ain't he?"

 

It had been so long since she'd seen any family, and she'd never met any of her nieces nor nephews, so this was a great treat. 

 

"So, how long ya here fer?  Where's Daisy?"  She'd known the young woman when they were younger, and approved of her marrying her brother, but hadn't seen her for nearly ten years.  What a great reunion, though!

 

@MD

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  • 5 months later...
Posted (edited)

As soon as he heard her pocket the gun and heard her feet rushing towards him he was up and out of his chair, arms open, he wrapped his arms around her and twirled her around before putting her back down on her feet.  He already felt right at home.

 

She spoke quicker than he could answer and he smiled as he looked down at Josh, but then the moment she mentioned Daisy the smile faltered and the sadness flashed through his eyes.  If this wasn't a moment where he felt torn with emotion....so happy to see his sister but so sad to tell him why he was here.  He'd of course had much rather been bringing Daisy here to meet his little sister properly.

 

"Addy....she uh..." he reached up and slid the cowboy hat atop his head down and rested it on the center of his chest, his other hand resting lightly on Addy's upper arm.  He stared down at the ground before he looked back up and found his sister's eyes.  He couldn't bring himself to say she'd died.  So he said enough and he knew she'd figure it out...he reckoned she would. "Cholera." 

 

@Bongo

 

Edited by MD (see edit history)
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The tone of the reunion changed quickly, and the single word, 'cholera', told all he needed to say.

 

"Oh, Isiah..."  Sick to her stomach, she managed to smile at Weedy.  "Weedy, why doncha take Josh here an' show him yer room?  Th' two'a you'll be sharin'."

 

Once the boys had run off, Addy took her brother's hand and squeezed it tightly.  "Oh, Isiah, I'm so sorry."  She hugged him, on the verge of tears.  "I'm glad ya come here, an' you can stay as long a ya need."

 

Daisy had been such a sweet girl, from what she had heard, perfect for her bestest brother, and they had been happy.  It just wasn't fair...

 

@MD

 

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Isiah could remember when he was the kid being excused so the adults could talk and boy that used to make him so mad.  He wanted to know what they were talkin' about, but now...now he knew he wanted nothing to do with those adult conversations.  He wished he could tell his kid self to just go out and play and have fun and be a kid like he was asked and not go out and sulk because he'd been excused from the conversation.

 

He watched as the boys jumped up and ran off to the room and wrapped his hand around his sisters, placing his hat back on his head.  Her gentle words and warm touch were just what the doctor ordered. "Yeah." He said softly as he stepped into her embrace and hugged her back, closing his eyes as he did. "Me too." He whispered into her long hair.  He pulled back and looked down at her, not wanting to stay in this state of mind any longer than he had to.  He hadn't allowed himself to before and he wouldn't now.  He hadn't come here to bring Addy down.  He forced a smile for his little sister.

 

"Well I think yer stuck with me." His smile widened some at the words, excited to be back with his sister,  in a new town, to start fresh! "I ain't goin' back." He let her know shaking his head as he spoke of their home town.  "Josh 'n I are movin' here, stayin' fer good!" He shook his head once in confirmation.  

 

@Bongo

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Addy let him hug her for as long as he needed, understanding that blubbering wasn't his way, although there would come a time and a place, but that was his choice. 

 

"Well, me'n Weedy'll be happy fer th' company."  She had her own tales to tell, but that could wait for a bit.  "Sit on down here an' have some coffee.  Ya eaten recently?  Might hafta bunk ya on th' floor fer a bit, but I know ya done that before."

 

There were certainly logistics to work out, but that would come with time, and in the mean time, they'd do what they always had...make it work!

 

Impulsively, she hugged him again.  "It's good ya come here, Isiah.  An' havin' Josh here, too...he'n Weedy'll get on just fine!"  Weedy was one of those things that needed explaining!

 

@MD

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Posted (edited)

He hugged her back as she came into his arms again and squeezed her good an' tight.  With so much distance between them and never knowing when he would (of if you would) get to see her again he had never allowed himself to stop and realize just how much he missed her.  But now being here with her again he realized he had missed her somethin' fierce!

 

"It's good to be here, Addy, thanks fer havin' us." He said with a smile in his voice as he stepped back from her and took the seat she offered him.  "I ain't gonna turn down no coffee or food." He hadn't taken a bite of the cookies that Weedy had offered them earlier, wanting Josh and Weedy to be able to have 'em.  

 

"You sure we won't be imposin' on you two?  I know you won't expectin' us and I don't want to put you two out, but you know that I don't mind sleeping on no floor and Josh there won't either." 

 

Isiah was itchin' to know about his sister, what had happened with her since she'd arrived here and since she'd been gone from home and how in the world she'd ended up with a kid!?  Had she married?  Was she widowed too?  It could be plum near anything!

 

@Bongo

Edited by MD (see edit history)
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"Here now, sit on down an' we can figure things out.  Might hafta move things around a bit, but we'll manage."  She poured them both coffee, then set out a plate of cornbread, butter and honey.  "Gemme a minute, I'll take th' boys some food."

 

It only took a couple of minutes before she was back, sitting across the small table, taking a sip of coffee.  "Weedy...boy's name is Porter James, he's 'bout ten or so."  That needed to be sorted out first, since Weedy was a part of her life now.  "His ma...she loved him well enough, but not herself...she was more often drunk, usin' laudanum an' whatnot.  He wandered inta th' barn one day an' just started helpin', an' soon enough, he was with me most'a th' time an' just..." she shrugged, "here."

 

Shaking her head, she got up and pulled a bottle of whisky out, along with two shot glasses.  "Help yerself."  She poured herself a glass, then continued.  "Just this past winter there was a big blizzard, hit a little town up th' road real hard.  Turned out his ma had gone there ta marry th' mercantile owner, an' they were both killed.  No idea who th' boy's pa is, so we're family now."

 

Well, it wasn't all legal on paper, but there were more important ties than what a judge said.

 

"Just bought this house, we were livin' in a room in th' barn before."  She took another swig of whisky.  "Reckon I should shut up an' letcha catch up."  Her brother certainly had questions.

 

++++++++++++

"We just moved in here," Weedy explained as he led Josh into his room.  And here he'd thought he'd have his own room, but now he'd have to share, although, in truth, he'd been kinda lonely at night when Buster decided to go roaming, so he was sort of glad to have some company for a while.

 

The room wasn't much, a bed with a colorful patchwork quilt, a washstand, a chifferobe and a small table and chair.  Pink curtains covered the window.

 

"The bed's big enough to share," he declared, then Addy came in with food and cups of canned milk.

 

"Here ya go, boys, have some supper an' let me'n my brother have a bit ta talk, all right?"  She gave Weedy a wink.  "Then we'll run over t' th' Lickskillet an' have some pie."

 

@MD

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