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    • James smiled back, forgetting again that she could not see it.  Truthfully he would be hard pressed to stop himself from doing such things even in her presence but for those who had sight, they would struggle to imagine how she lived as well as she did without it.  It was as ingrained in him as it was for her doing without.  Because he’d been raised at all-male boarding schools, the young British man had very limited experience with the fairer sex, this was simply a fact, one that James had no trouble acknowledging.   When she joked with the Marshall regarding being weighed down with metal coins, James chuckled at her jest, stopping suddenly as something occurred to him.  “I say!”  He exclaimed, then rushed on, “Have you ever given thought to folding each kind of bill in a different way so that you can tell which is which?”  He caught his breath then, waiting to see what she or the Marshall thought of his latest idea.  If she needed his assistance in the folding, he'd be happy to help her.   As she suspected, James was obvious to the fact that she was gently flirting with him, taking everything at face value, his inexperience with the fairer sex once again rearing it’s head.  He caught something of the heat that colored her cheeks, and the errant thought passed through his mind that she might be falling ill.  Not uncommon so soon after the passing of a loved one.
    • He tried to make it sound important enough that she should be interested in local politics but really what good did being interested do her? She could not change anything. She could not vote so to hell with it. The people she lived with, worked with were what was important to her. But she wasn't going to argue with him about it.   "Sure, I reckon," Caroline shrugged.   Then handsome young soldier...correction, officer now launched into a nice long tale of his family roots. It was fascinating really he knew all that much about his family history and those who came before. She didn't know a damn thing about such things in her own life. She was pretty damn sure the woman she called Ma had been the one to give birth to her but she was not positive. And there was even more doubt about her father or step father. No matter, they had been a family and stuck together til two out of three died. So now it was just her. Well, her and her saloon family.   "Interestin'," she nodded, enjoying the way he told the story as much as the actual story.   "So you see, in a hundred years time... the president of the United States will be tracing his roots back to a beautiful saloon singer in old Kalispell and a tramp in the street'll be vaguely aware that he is descended from the once great Greenes of Vermont." He shrugged. "Who cares, rich man, poor man, beggar man thief." he looked into the depths of her blue eyes "... or lady, baby, gypsy, queen."   "Not gonna happen that way. I'm never gonna get married and I ain't gonna have any children so no one is descendin' from me, hon. But I liked yer tellin' of it," she liked him, this dinner date had turned out better than she had figured it would.          
    • "Ah yeah, the mayor's election. Why should I care who wins? I can't even vote in it, "Caroline waved it off. Oh she would clap for and cheer on Mr. Priest whom her boss was pushing to win but she personally did not give a damn.   Greene shrugged. "Maybe not, but the person who's elected could make your life a lot better or a whole lot worse. You ever hear of a abomination that goes by the name of a 'dry county'? The poor b... er, denizens of a place like that probably didn't realise until too late what they were voting in." he laughed, although it was no laughing matter: reformers and prohibitionists were even in these early decades starting to make their voices heard.    He then mentioned being interested in listening to her and Ara perform.   "Please do. I don't want to sound like I'm braggin' but most folks say I've got a real nice singing voice. I admit my dancing is not that special but I just show them a little leg.......or more than a little...and they clap alright," she informed him.   "I can imagine!" he smiled. But it was a nice smile. A friendly smile. Not the sort of lascivious smile that indicated that he already had been imagining... frequently.    They talked of the famous Dance.   "Yeah, must have been before I arrived in town. No local dances for me yet...besides I got a feelin' my sort would not be welcomed at any such town affair. Those things are for proper folks."   Greene frowned. He didn't like to think of this beautiful woman being denigrated in any way: though he was not unaware of the snobby often hypocritical attitude of those who felt them selves a cut above the type of folks who worked in certain professions, including soldiers - at least the non-commissioned kind. Sometimes with good reason, often times not.   "You know, one of my aunts once had our family tree drawn up, just like the noble families of Europe. The fellow who did it even drew it like a tree, leaves, and apples, and all. We're real Vermont blue-bloods, you see, despite the green name. Aunt Mary-Anne expected our forefathers to have come across on the Mayflower, or with Captain Smith to Jamestown."   He smiled happily at the memory of it.   "Imagine her delight when the feller delivered our family tree and revealed that the first Greene to set foot on American soil was an indentured servant, a virtual slave, who'd been transported here for, get this, stealing apples from some rich lord's orchard!"    He enjoyed the memory of his snobby aunt's discomfort for a moment then returned to the present.   "So you see, in a hundred years time... the president of the United States will be tracing his roots back to a beautiful saloon singer in old Kalispell and a tramp in the street'll be vaguely aware that he is descended from the once great Greenes of Vermont." He shrugged. "Who cares, rich man, poor man, beggar man thief." he looked into the depths of her blue eyes "... or lady, baby, gypsy, queen."   @Wayfarer        
    • "Debate, you dumb bitch, it's called a debate," Caroline mumbled under her breath but the woman figured it out just then too.   Priest wasn't going to be rushed though. He would reveal all later was all he would promise. In that way the man was a true politician, promises a whole lot, she'd see if he actually delivered on anything. The politicians in Chicago had been crooked, the mayor of Helena had been well meaning but a bumbling fool, and the one here in Kalispell was ......well, she didn't even know who the hell that was, he was pretty much invisible. The town seemingly had been run by that one council member before he lit himself on fire.   Just then they got themselves a trio of new customers, rough looking lot but a customer was a customer. Fortner invited them to have a drink and they promptly bellied up to the bar. Of course Ralph was there, waiting to hear what they'd like.   "Three whiskies," one of the men said, after reaching into his coat and putting down some coinage.   "Sure nuff, comin' right up," Ralph nodded and reached for one of the cheap bottles, he was a pretty good judge of customers' taste and proclivities. He poured three shots of the powerful liquor.   Caroline swung into saloon girl mode too, sashaying up to the one lined up at the bar closest to her, gifting him with a bright smile, "Welcome! Have a long ride, did ya, hon?"    
    • He gazed up at the domed ceiling and was awe struck at it's beauty. He was taken aback by the obvious talent that it took to create such a beautiful thing. "Dang near as pretty as you, Em." was his comment. "Took 'em a while to get that done. Never seen the like."   And that was a fact. There had been nothing that he had seen before to compare to the glass domed ceiling, nothing. He suddenly felt out of place, something odd for him to feel, at any time, in any place, but it struck him here in this place. The sheer beauty of it touched him. What man could accomplish given the opportunity   "Now 'at's somethin'. Best we see what other marvels they got in this place. May not have time ta see everything." He pointed out. @Bongo

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“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” - Helen Keller

 

Mature Content:  Highly unlikely!

With: Speed Guyer
Location: Rented apartment above the Hardware Store.
When: July 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon.

 

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Had she sight and the wherewithal to do so, Frances would have provided a hot cooked feast for her brother to come home to. Not because he deserved it (many would say) or because it was her sisterly duty (she had only known him, what? three years this Fall, he was not a person she had grown up with, he hardly felt like a brother to the blind girl, although people told her that there was a strong family resemblance). She would have done it because she would have been able to. This new place took some getting used to: there was a stove, but she did not yet trust her way around enough not to set the place on fire, or herself on fire for that matter! like this poor Mr. Orr she had heard about.

 

So Frank would have to make do with a cold collation. Probably just as well, he was never back when he said he would be: and then he was usually drunk, often to the point of insensibility. 

 

But lo! A creak at the bottom of the outside stair that ran up the side of the hardware store and terminated at the top to the door of the pokey little apartment the two of them rented. Not Frank, though. A heavier step. She stood, a vague feeling of apprehension kneading at the pit of her stomach. A man. A man with a purpose. She walked the route to the door. Funny, Frank was always tripping over the foot stool, kicking the small table with the aspidistra on it, knocking the antimacassar off of the back of the armchair. He seemed less able to see the furnishings of the place than she. She knew where everything was; she learned it first with her hands and her mind, but now, after a couple of weeks, her whole body knew it. 

 

She stood by the inside of the door, the man was at the top now. He was fit, it seemed, she could not hear him breathing heavily through the crack in the door, but somehow she did not expect him to be a young man, not Hector, for instance.

 

@Flip

 

 

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Speed had led Grimes' horse to the livery and handed him over to Gunther, explaining the situation to the smithy, then turned and headed for the hardware store where he would deliver the news to Francis Grimes.

 

There were times in every mans life where there was a task he simply did not relish doing, but understood it was his task to perform. This was just such a situation. He had no idea what the situation between the siblings was, though Frank Grimes seemed to be the caretaker for his sister, his reputation in town was was far from sterling. Drunkenness, fighting, gambling, whoring, all the things that were frowned upon when done to excess or done at all.

 

He climbed the stairs, steeling himself for the task at hand, until he reached the door. He rapped on the wooden portal, almost holding his breath, but forcing himself to breath normally.

@Javia

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"Hello? Who is there, please?" asked Frances, raising her voice that the stranger outside might hear. 

 

When she realised 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.

 

@Flip

 

[OCC: bit short, but not much else she can do!!]

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"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.

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"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.

 

Frances experienced that stomach lurching feeling that everybody, sighted or not, experiences when they are invited to 'sit down' before being told something. She was not the fainting sort, but did as she was bidden, moving seamlessly to a beat up looking armchair and gently seating herself upon it, only a slight wringing of her hands betraying her angst at the forthcoming news.

 

"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 see" said Frances with that odd calmness that manifests itself when someone is in the first throes of terrible shock "Thank you for coming to tell me." 

 

The ensuing silence gnawed at her somehow, she needed to fill it. "I shall have to arrange a funeral" she suddenly blurted "I don't even know how much they cost." She felt guilty to be speaking of pecuniary matters immediately after being told such shattering news, but thanks to Frank's ways, such matters were never far from her mind.

 

"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.

 

"Oh, yes please, that is very kind of you, Marshall." Frances said gratefully: her calm voice masking the whirl of emotions and thoughts coursing through her mind and her heart. On one hand there was worry: Frank had been an unreliable spendthrift, but he had also been a pair of eyes she could use, he had done certain things for her, usually grudgingly, that she herself would have found impossible; then there was a feeling of guilt because, in an odd way, she was glad to be free of him! That was an awful, terrible, unchristian thought, and she thrust it away immediately, brushing it under a mental carpet.

 

Like many people in her situation, she was torn between coming to terms with her real feelings and projecting those that she thought would be expected of her. Suddenly, she felt like she should doing something about all this.

 

"Marshall, may I offer you a drink? I think Frank has some spirits hereabouts." she asked, taking refuge in the familiar niceties of social intercourse while she tried to process what she had just been told. 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Honestly Miss Grimes, I never touch spirits when on duty, though I thank you for the offer. Have you friends in town? Folks that might stop by from time to time to help out if need be?" He asked. Perhaps someone you would like me to contact for you?"

 

This would naturally be a rough time for her, made even more difficult with the loss of her sight. He realized that he had no real idea what that would be like, to be unable to see, to rely on his other senses to get by. To need another person to serve as his eyes.

 

On the other hand, as it were, he would learn the layout of his home, how to get around in it, where the privy was and how  to reach it when the need arose. It also dawned on him that over time, by trial and error he could learn where business' were, in which direction, how may steps, and turns to would take to reach his destination.

 

He was suddenly overcome with admiration for her and her strength to get by, where sighted people took it all for granted.

 

"Is there anything I can do for you?" He offered.

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"Honestly Miss Grimes, I never touch spirits when on duty, though I thank you for the offer. Have you friends in town? Folks that might stop by from time to time to help out if need be?" He asked. Perhaps someone you would like me to contact for you?"

 

"Not really, I was recommended to a Mrs Connelly, but I have been unable to find anybody of that name in the town." she sighed. "There is a Mr. Wigfall who got me some work playing music at the... I think it was a boxing match. But it would hardly be right to have a young unmarried man calling on me, you understand." 

 

While Speed ruminated on how he himself would cope with the loss of his sight, Frances, who had never known the light, ruminated on the practicalities of life without her unreliable brother in a still relatively unknown place. And the guilt she felt at the lack of real sorrow at losing him: maybe that would come later, but right now, it was just shock and a sort of loneliness about the place.

 

"Is there anything I can do for you?" He offered.

 

She was about to say 'no'; that he had done enough; was doing enough. But she stopped herself. She had to face a new reality now, and get help: however so much that went against the grain.

 

"I need your advice, Marshall. I need someone to act as an agent for me in certain matters. I have always striven to be as independent as possible; indeed, the Institute I attended in New York trained me to be so, but I must face facts. Is there some trustworthy person in Kalispell who might, for a modest recompense, undertake some little legal and practical arrangements on my behalf?" she asked. 

 

@Flip

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"I am Town Marshal, Miss, but I also have my own business, mining and resources." He began, "I have a bright young man in my employ who has a legal background. A Mister James Vaughn, I would certainly approach him on your behalf.  He's English, I believe, and quite proper."

 

He looked at her, and thought that perhaps James would enjoy the legal side of such a association. Keeping himself involved legally with more than claims, deeds, and forms. he would find him and see what he thought of helping her out.

 

"I realize you'll want a bit of time on this, but I will see Mister Vaughn at some point today and present him with your offer. How does that sound?" He asked.

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"I am Town Marshal, Miss, but I also have my own business, mining and resources." He began, "I have a bright young man in my employ who has a legal background. A Mister James Vaughn, I would certainly approach him on your behalf.  He's English, I believe, and quite proper."

 

"English?" repeated Frances "Well, I daresay we must excuse him that." she allowed the useful sounding man that boon.

 

"I realize you'll want a bit of time on this, but I will see Mister Vaughn at some point today and present him with your offer. How does that sound?" He asked.

 

"Please do, Marshall, I trust to you judgement" nodded Frances. "If he is willing, I would like to meet him as soon as possible: I hope he might arrange the funeral and the payment of any debts my brother has... had incurred." she gulped a little and felt suddenly dizzy, the initial shock was wearing off now, now she was oddly aware of her own breathing. 

 

"He cannot come here, of course: do you have any place... an office, where I could meet Mr... Mr Vaughn." she remembered his name. 

 

@Flip

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"Thank you for your trust Miss Grimes." The statement allowed him a smile in an unsavory situation of bearing bad news. "In fact I do have offices, just down the street a ways. And I dare say that my office is where I'm likely to find Mister Vaughn." He offered, "I can escort you there if you like. It's not far."

 

Perhaps that would be best, after all, Vaughn coming to her apartment would certainly get the tongues wagging in fine fashion and that was not what the young lady needed at this, or any other time. At least it would not reach Mister McVay's readers, it seemed that he had no use for that type of story.

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"Thank you for your trust Miss Grimes." The statement allowed him a smile in an unsavory situation of bearing bad news. "In fact I do have offices, just down the street a ways. And I dare say that my office is where I'm likely to find Mister Vaughn." He offered, "I can escort you there if you like. It's not far."

 

The thought of leaving the apartment - now! - made her realise how deep in shock she was, the idea seemed horrifying somehow, and she was about to demur for a later time, but she also realised that she had to live now by the old adage  "Gather your rosebuds while ye may." Guyer was here, now, offering help: she must immediately take him up on it.

 

"Yes, thank you Mr. Guyer." she said resolutely, standing. Her steps toward the peg that held her shawl were practiced and firm, she also took up her stick. Apart from that wanton, Caroline Mundee, and the crossdressing Addy Chappel, Frances was about the only full grown woman in town who eschewed the wearing of a respectable bonnet when out and about in public. There was too much danger of upsetting her eye bandage in pulling such a head-dress on and off.

 

"Shall we?" she asked the Marshall. She knew he had stood up.

 

@Flip

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"Yes, ma'am, we shall." Speed agreed, "May I get the door?"

 

As a man with vision the landing and stairs looked to be a challenge, considering her condition, but he was there to support her if in fact she needed to be supported. It was clear she had made both the descent and ascent many times since she came to town, so he relied on her asking for his help without verbally offering it.

 

Once to the bottom and the boardwalk he guided her across the street as that was where his office was, and for the moment traffic was light, and easily traversed to the opposite boardwalk. they made their way to his office without incident, Speed opening the door and ushering her inside, as he stepped through behind her and closed the door.


"Miss Ada Fetterman, Miss Francis Grimes. She is here to see Mister Vaughn about his legal expertise."

 

"Welcome Miss Grimes. Mister Vaughn should be back in just a few minutes. If you'd like to have a seat?" She offered, having seen her on the street before she was not taken aback by the cloth over her eyes. "He's just across the street."

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Frances felt strangely 'on the spot' and under scrutiny, with Marshall Guyer walking along side of her and occasionally helping her. To be honest, the only really useful parts of that were when he helped her across the street: she usually just had to rely on listening out and making it clear she was crossing to any silent approaching horsemen (vehicles she could usually hear coming, no matter how well oiled their springs and how jangle free their harness) and, of course, he knew where exactly they were going.

 

The room they finally reached, she knew she had never entered before: it had the faint odour of the bookshop she had sometimes visited back home where a pitiful few titles produced in 'New York Point' braille could be purchased, along with a hardly discernible smell of some feminine perfume.  


"Miss Ada Fetterman, Miss Francis Grimes. She is here to see Mister Vaughn about his legal expertise."

 

With no point of reference, Frances had to content herself with saying "Hello" to the room at large.

 

"Welcome Miss Grimes."

 

"Thank you" Frances smiled to the area where the small but firm female voice had come from. 

 

"Mister Vaughn should be back in just a few minutes. If you'd like to have a seat?" She offered, having seen her on the street before she was not taken aback by the cloth over her eyes. "He's just across the street."

 

Another "Thank you" and then "Could you lead me to the chair please? I don't know this room yet." It was the sort of polite but firm request for help that she was used to making... when she needed help.

 

Once she was seated, she asked "What is the name of this office, please. I might have to ask someone for directions, if I need to come here again." Because the Marshall had led her here, she had not been able to try and memorise the route as she normally would. 

 

@Flip @Nova

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"Mister Vaughn should be back in just a few minutes. If you'd like to have a seat?" She offered, having seen her on the street before she was not taken aback by the cloth over her eyes. "He's just across the street."

 

Another "Thank you" and then "Could you lead me to the chair please? I don't know this room yet." It was the sort of polite but firm request for help that she was used to making... when she needed help.


"Of course, please excuse me, Miss Grimes, I forget myself sometimes. Here," He led her to a chair and assisted her in locating the armrests. He was glad that the chair had arms and was not just a perch with a back

 

Once she was seated, she asked "What is the name of this office, please. I might have to ask someone for directions, if I need to come here again." Because the Marshall had led her here, she had not been able to try and memorise the route as she normally would. 

 

"You are in the offices of Wood and Guyer Mining Company. My business, that Miss Fetterman pretty much holds together while I'm occupied with my job as Marshal. Mister Vaughn is new to my employ, but has good deal of legal knowledge, hopefully the type that you need."

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Frances nodded her understanding of this information.

 

Then there was a bit of a strained silence. It was a little more difficult for Frances to make small talk than for others: she couldn't ask about a curious map on the wall or say 'nice little place you've got here'.

 

"He's English, you say?" she asked of Vaughn, not that it really mattered. It was just the only thing she could think of to say. She was also a little self conscious, should she seem more upset than she was about Frank's shocking demise, should she be more the grieving sister?

 

Actually, she was beginning to feel a tremendous amount of relief and freedom and she, somewhat guiltily, started to worry that there might be some mistake, and she might suddenly hear his voice drawl "Ha ha! Joke's on you Sis! Me and some pals were just havin' some fun with you, don't worry, I ain't dead at all!!"

 

Frank often played tricks and practical jokes on her, his favourite was to move the furniture around, so she would trip over things. That really used to make him laugh. 

 

She certainly wouldn't miss that.

 

@Nova

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His errand done, James waited on the edge of the street for the stagecoach to pass down the road before he started across back to the surveyor’s office.  Once he reached the door, James paused a moment, smoothing down his hair before he turned the knob and walked in.  The sight of the young woman with the cloth tied over her eyes, sitting in one of the chairs.  “Hello.”  James said, his words betraying his origins, even as he gave a slightly puzzled look at the Marshall and Miss Ada.  “I don’t believe we’ve met.  I’m James Vaughn.” Raised to be polite, he started to offer his hand, flushed when it hit him that she must not be able to see, and clasped his hands behind his back, watching her with a slight smile on his face.  
 
James hadn’t had any real experience with the blind before, so he did his best not to stare.  She might not have been able to see him, but it felt rude to the young man.  Rather like the way that his schoolmates had treated him back at boarding school.  He’d hated it so doing anything of the like to someone else was out of character for him.

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Convention dictated that a lady receive a gentleman seated: but Frances stood and thrust out a hand in the direction of the softly spoken 'hello' : she relied as much on the feel of a hand as the tenor of a voice, when it came to getting to know a new person: especially important in one who might figure large in her life as she tried to settle her late brother's tangled affairs. 

 

To the softly spoken man, out there in the darkness somewhere, she said exactly the same thing that she had said to the Marshall: "Please take my hand, I can't see yours." 

 

She always said that. It was an invitation to come in: come in to her world of touch, smell and sound, and it disposed of the elephant in the room that people often skirted in the most elaborate of ways to avoid mentioning: her blindness.

 

When James took her hand, she clasped it with the other, too: and felt. It was soft, yes, this man worked with his mind, not his hands and he was diffident in his manner: but his hands were dry and with an underlying strength that perhaps he himself did not realise he possessed, she fancied.

 

"I am hopeful that you will be of great help to me, Mr Vaughn. I have just been informed by the Marshall that my brother has been killed. I wish to employ your legal talents in tidying up his affairs..." a mundane if messy task, in Frank Grimes' case. But the next part was not so straightforward "... and investigate whether I cannot prosecute the killer for damages."

 

The Marshall had declared that it was a pure case of self defence, but she had come across this live-and-let-live complicity between the law and more well to do miscreants in new York, Denver City and Portland: everywhere she had lived. She did not expect Kalispell to be any different.

 

@Flip @Nova

 

 

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Speed listened to the opening of her discourse with James, and felt comfortable that he would be able to help her. He wished that Dutton Peabody was on hand for this situation, to offer his advise to the young man, then too, having Peabody in town would have been a boon for James, as he could have worked for both he and Dutton. But here he would find himself handling Miss Grimes matters on his own, which Speed had great confidence he would do well.

 

He had other matters to attend to, for one, to deliver those confiscated guns to Oskar Winter, see what he could get for them, either outright or, on consignment. How ever that went, the money would go to Miss Grimes for her support. Then too, the matter of the horse and tack. The proceeds of that too would be rightfully hers and Gunther Schmidt would do the best he could.

 

"You'll excuse me, I've some pressing matters to attend to. If I may, I'll leave you in Mister Vaughn's capable hands." Speed said. No need to explain for the moment.

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When the young lady rose, thrusting her hand in his general direction, James moved forward, his own hand reaching out towards her smaller one when she spoke, directing him to take her hand.  “Yes of course.”  James said, his tone apologetic for not realizing it sooner.
 
When her other hand came to rest against the back of his hand, James gave a gentle squeeze, not wanting to hurt the delicate fingers in his grasp.  James didn’t consider himself particularly strong by any stretch of the imagination but her slender fingers made his hand feel big and rough in comparison.
 
“Oh….”  James breathed, faintly relieved by her request.  “I can certainly guide you through handling his affairs.  Though I should tell you that while I did study law I was not able to complete my studies so I fear that I may not be the best person for prosecuting anyone.”  He laid his other hand atop their still clasped fingers.  “That being said, I know the law well enough to help defray the cost of an actual practicing soli…  err lawyer.”
 
When the marshal announced that he had to going, commenting that he was leaving the young blind lady in James’ capable hands, James flushed, touched by the confidence shown him by the marshal.  “Yes sir.”  He murmured, then turned his full attention back to Frances even though she couldn’t tell.  “Shall we sit?”  He suggested, “My desk is back here.”
 
James looked at the distance between where they stood and the location of his desk.  “Um…  I think I’ll need a moment first.  To bring the other chair to my desk.  Wait here?”  He eased his hand free of hers, then hurried to move the chair over to the other side of his desk.  Then he returned to her side, “Here.”  He said so she would know he’d returned, then took her hand again, guiding her to the chair he’d moved for her.  Once she was seated, James took his own seat, drawing a piece of paper and a pen towards him.  “Tell me about your brother’s affairs.”

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“Oh….”  James breathed, faintly relieved by her request.  “I can certainly guide you through handling his affairs.  Though I should tell you that while I did study law I was not able to complete my studies so I fear that I may not be the best person for prosecuting anyone.”

 

She smiled reassuringly. "I only need you to find out the truth, Mr. Vaughn. Once I have that, I can make certain... decisions." she announced confidently.

 

He laid his other hand atop their still clasped fingers.  “That being said, I know the law well enough to help defray the cost of an actual practicing soli…  err lawyer.”

 

Frances nodded and smiled some more. "I think you will find that we are less fussy about titles in our Republic, than in your Island home. And you will not have to wear a wig... unless you are bald, of course." she explained. She had heard about English Judges and certain lawyers - barristers or Queen's Councils or something - who had to wear powdered white wigs like George Washington.  
 
“Shall we sit?”  He suggested, “My desk is back here.”

 

"Thank you." agreed Frances, letting go of James' hand only reluctantly. People made assumptions: she was blind, therefore she was inert to any feelings, those very normal longings that any young woman might feel. Feelings of romance... a hope to find true love... to marry well. You could almost hear them say 'But how can she fall in love? She cannot see if a man is handsome or ugly?' But there were other senses: she could hear the wonderful lilt of a voice, an intriguing foreign accent; she could feel the touch of a hand: soft, diffident, but undeniably male; she could smell the musk, the pheromone laden scent beneath the usual embellishment of soap cleaned skin, shaving lather and pomade. These jigsaw pieces added up to a picture in her head that needed not sight to complete it.
 
James looked at the distance between where they stood and the location of his desk.  “Um…  I think I’ll need a moment first.  To bring the other chair to my desk.  Wait here?”  He eased his hand free of hers, then hurried to move the chair over to the other side of his desk.  Then he returned to her side, “Here.”  He said so she would know he’d returned, then took her hand again, guiding her to the chair he’d moved for her.

 

"Mr. Vaughn, you need not worry so, I am not made of china." she smiled modestly: but she liked his care of her.

 

Once she was seated, James took his own seat, drawing a piece of paper and a pen towards him.  “Tell me about your brother’s affairs.”

 

"That I do not know." she started simply enough "My brother: Francis Grosvenor Grimes Junior:   all I do know for sure is that he seemed always to be short of money: yet able to acquire items, very expensive items, I might add, out of the blue, on occasion. Did he borrow, did he steal? If he owed money, then I feel it incumbent upon myself, as his next of kin, to repay those debts or to right those wrongs" she proclaimed, with noble resolve.

 

@Nova

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“I’ll do what I can to help you Miss.”  James assured her, though he was not hardly a detective.  Not that she seemed to need that, or she would have gone to the marshall rather than to him.  
 
A burst of laughter erupted from James’ lips at the image her words conjured up.  “I do have hair, a rather dull shade of brown I’m afraid, but my head is covered with it.”  He ran his fingers through his rather shaggy mane since he hadn’t had it cut in far too long.  “Not like yours which has warmth and depth.  Hints of red and gold woven through it.”  James blushed, his voice trailing off awkwardly since he’d spoken without thinking.  Clearing his throat he changed the subject praying she would say nothing in response to his unexpected comments.
 
“My pleasure.” He said, as their hands slid slowly apart so he could do what he needed for her comfort while she revealed what she wanted from him.  James had never thought much about how a blind person lived or if they dreamed of when it came to marrying.  He’d never really had much life experience to be honest.  He was still young and barely out of the classroom.  As a younger son, his prospect had always been dim and now, robbed of what he’d once had seemed bleaker than ever.  For now his sole focus was finding a way to support himself in the frontier.  The notion of supporting a wife had yet to seriously cross his mind,  But when it did, he would think less of what she looked like, since he was hardly a prize, but that she would prove to be a helpmate.  Able to tend to the house while he worked outside of it to support them.
 
Alarm made James’ eyes go wide, fearing he’d somehow offended her.  “I’m sorry if I somehow offended you MIss Frances.”  He stammered quickly, his cheeks going red again.  “That was not my intention.”

 

For the next few minutes the only sound that came from James was the scratching from his pen as he took quick notes based on what Frances was telling him about her deceased brother.  He frowned, thinking that her brother reminded him of his own older brother, Henry.  Who’d stolen the bulk of his inheritance from their father, leaving James unable to complete his studies.

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A burst of laughter erupted from James’ lips at the image her words conjured up.  “I do have hair, a rather dull shade of brown I’m afraid, but my head is covered with it.”  He ran his fingers through his rather shaggy mane since he hadn’t had it cut in far too long.

 

She laughed, too. "I'm sorry. I do sometimes rather put my foot in it." That was actually literally true, as well, annoyingly.

 

“Not like yours which has warmth and depth.  Hints of red and gold woven through it.”  James blushed, his voice trailing off awkwardly since he’d spoken without thinking.  Clearing his throat he changed the subject praying she would say nothing in response to his unexpected comments.

 

"Really? Thank you." Frances reached up and touched her tresses, which most people would frankly describe as a boring mousy brown: that James was able to find such poetry in its hues would have buoyed her significantly, had she known it.
 
“My pleasure.” He said, as their hands slid slowly apart so he could do what he needed for her comfort while she revealed what she wanted from him.  However, Frances soon let him know that she was no fragile china doll.


  “I’m sorry if I somehow offended you Miss Frances.”  He stammered quickly, his cheeks going red again.  “That was not my intention.”

 

She shook her head and calmed his fears. 

 

"Do not fret, Mr. Vaughn. That is just my way, I have been taught to speak up for myself, lest I be moved around like a piece of mindless furniture, as I was as an infant. To speak out boldly, to be heard, that was instilled in all of us at the Institute for the Education of the Blind. But enough of my infirmities, you will soon grow used to them, I hope."

 

She then described all that needed to be done.

 

"Perhaps, tomorrow, you could escort me around the various businesses where my brother may owe money. I imagine the Saloon should be our first port of call." she ventured. In fact, it was the one place she was pretty sure he'd have a tab. 

 

@Nova

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Speed stepped up on the boardwalk and paused as he watched the traffic go by, town did seem to be busier than normal, which was good for businesses along the street. He strode to his office door and opened it to find Miss Grimes, and James Vaughn in conversation.

 

"James, I wonder if you would escort Miss Grimes to the bank and exchange these 'greenbacks' for coin. I believe that it will be easier for Miss Grimes to deal with silver than paper." He began. "We have one hundred dollars here. There will be a bit more when Frank's horse and tack are sold. this should help a good deal. Now, I'd not be telling you what to do, you could deposit the money or hang onto it, your choice, and advice is what Mister Vaughn can offer.

@Nova@Javia

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James’ gaze dropped instinctively to her feet before returning to her face, laughing along with her little joke.  At least he assumed it was a joke since there was nothing on her shoes to indicate that she had stepped in anything on her way over?
 
James blinked, suddenly envious of the confidence that she displayed.  It was something that he lacked.  Standing up for himself hadn’t gone well the few times that he had dared when his brother and his cronies had tormented him at school.  Though in James’ defense Henry and his chums had been bigger and older.  It was hardly a fair fight.  “To be fair I think it’s more important that you’re used to them rather than me.”  He stopped before adding any more inane comments.
 
Pen in hand, James listened carefully as she explained what it was that she needed to be done in regards to her late brother’s estate.  He asked a few questions when there was a point that he needed clarification
 
James nodded, then realized what he’d just done in front of the blind woman and spoke, “I’d be delighted to assist you in any way that I can Miss Grimes.”  He hurriedly assured her.  What the Marshall said made sense once he thought about it.  She could feel coins and tell one from after based on size but would be unable to tell one bill from another without the ability to see.

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“To be fair I think it’s more important that you’re used to them rather than me.”  He stopped before adding any more inane comments.

 

Frances smiled: not so much at the words themselves, she had always been what other people termed 'blind' whatever that meant, of course she was used to it. It was just her world. It was hard to imagine what 'sighted' even meant. She knew that most other people had some extra sense that meant they didn't have to feel for things the way she did, and that they could differentiate between two things that felt and smelled and tasted the same to her: it didn't seem any great gain, expect that the world was designed for people to use this extra sense to get around and do things. 

 

No, what made her smile was the sentiment behind James' words. He was sensitive, nervous, empathetic, he was trying to say the right thing while not knowing the right thing to say. He heart reached out to him. 
 
James nodded, then realized what he’d just done in front of the blind woman and spoke, “I’d be delighted to assist you in any way that I can Miss Grimes.”  He hurriedly assured her. 

 

Again, the man's essential goodness warmed her. 

 

"I only hope I can carry all this scrap metal, Marshall!" she joked. But the more elderly voiced man was right. Oh, Frances could feel the difference between notes which looked about the same to a sighted person, the problem was the plethora of different notes issues by different banks at different times: even the National Currency was far from uniform: printed by different printers in different places, but all backed up by the Federal Reserve. It was a problem that would puzzle blind people for a long, long time.

 

Then she felt a pang of guilt. Her brother, only a few hours dead, and here she was... flirting! The nice Mr Vaughn probably didn't realise it, he sounded rather innocent of such things, but she suspected the more experienced Mr Guyer might be observing it somehow: a flush of her cheek, the way she leant into Mr Vaughn when he spoke, a stupid, sloppy look on her face! Oh Dear! Things she couldn't always monitor and correct!

 

@Flip @Nova

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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About Sagas

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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