Arabella wrinkled her nose at Frank's 'kind' offer of a glass of water, but 'uncle Ralph' knew what she liked.
"Yer welcome to a sarsparilla if you want one, Ara?" Ralph now suggested a more flavorful drink choice than water as she seemed upset.
"Oh, yes pleeeeeease, Mr. Flandry!" the girl oozed, giving him a simpering, sickly smile that was a little in-joke of theirs. This is what happened after a while of people working and living together, day in day out, often in pretty intense circumstances: they became a family, as Caroline was so often apt to point out, with all their own jokes, sayings, code words, taboos and traditions. That was the wall Mr. Fortner would need to break through, rather than any disputes about pay or conditions, he had to become part of the family. It was a process that would happen naturally in time.
Little funny incidents would happen; in fact, one happened now as Aunt Sally reached for her second glass of whiskey and Frank reached over, picked it up and, to Sal's visible horror, drank it himself. Even 30, 40 years later, if Arabella ever saw someone in possession of two drinks she'd remember that incident and chuckle.
As Caroline descended the stairs, more family traditions. As every morning, Cookie McMahon popped her head in the saloon and shouted up "You want toast, Miss Caroline?" and Arabella rushed to the piano and played a sort of rolling welcoming fanfare and announced excitedly "Ladies and Gentlemen, here she is, The Chicago Songthrush, Miss Caroliiiiiine Mundeeeeeee!" In fact, Arabella was always quite put out when the songstress actually did get up early enough to join the rest of them at the early morning breakfast table. It broke family tradition, see.
"Morning, folks! Gonna be another hot one I'll bet," she flashed one of her light up the room smiles.
"It's always a hot one with La Mundee in town!" Arabella concurred, before slurping the rest of her sarsaparilla.
"Hey, it's that girl who sings!" slurred Sal, who had now put on her seein' glasses. "...Caroline." Boy, this place sure looked funny in the morning when it was empty and the light was streaming in through the windows.
Arabella jumped up from the piano stool, bashed her empty glass down on the bar like the cowboys did after they'd downed a beer in one and threw her arms affectionately around the old bawd.
"Look Caro', Aunt sally's come in to see us!" she beamed, as if some luminary like President Grant or Queen Victoria had dropped by.