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A Simple Tryst of Fate


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Mature Content: Hector hopes so, but we'll see!

Author: Hector Wigfall

With: Miriam Kaufmann
Location: Kaufmann's Fine Meats
When: Summer 1876
Time of Day: Sunday Morning

 

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He'd received the note all right, and he was as mystified as he was excited. Instead of meeting out in the open after church today, Miriam - ah, beautiful Miriam! - Miriam had let him know that she wanted to meet him in cognito in the building that would very soon be her father's new butcher's shop. It even described how to surreptitiously enter the property on the Main Street of Kalispell.

 

And now here he was. A little early, that was true, but still, being here alone amongst the hooks that were hanging down ready to greet their eventual burden of dead, slaughtered animals, he started to feel some misgivings. Maybe this was a trick. Maybe it was all a big joke on him and suddenly the door would fling open and there would be Miriam, and Jemima and maybe Arabella and Caroline Mundee and Anæsthesia and Nurse Leane and well maybe even the whole town, laughing and pointing at his gullibility. 

 

Even worse, maybe Miriam's pop had found out about their secret tryst and had sent the note to lure him to this place and dispose of him with a great big butcher's knife for daring to chase after his daughter! Hector gulped and eyed the bright steel hooks hanging from the ceiling. He wished he hadn't been named after some big hero from the olden days - it only made him more aware of his own cowardice in these sorts of situations.

 

Then he thought he heard a noise behind him and actually yelped out loud as he fair jumped out of his own skin. 

 

@Wayfarer

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Miriam could hardly believe she was doing this, a clandestine meeting with a boy she barely knew and one she instigated at that.  She knew this whole thing could go so disastrously wrong but still she was persisting. A part of her was blaming this on Arabella's influence but really that was unfair indeed. This was her growing curiosity, maybe brought on by Arabella's tales but otherwise the other girl had nothing to do with this rendezvous.

 

She had expected to be the first one into the empty shop or rather shop to be for it was still awhile and more construction before her father could open the business. There were no workers who would show up on a Sunday. They had the place to themselves. Well, that is if Hector even showed? He might not. Why this whole idea might just be too bold for the boy, afterall not everyone was as wild as Arabella.

 

Once she slipped in the back way though, there he was already present! She had with her a picnic basket and a blanket . The poor boy looked scared?

 

"Hello......" she almost said Mr. Wigfall but rallied, "Hector. I am happy to see you could make it. I hope this place does not ....bother you?"

 

God, she was nervous but forced a smile.

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"Hello......" she almost said Mr. Wigfall but rallied, "Hector. I am happy to see you could make it. I hope this place does not ....bother you?"

 

Hector's heart was thumping from the shock, but as it calmed down it started to thump again, just at the sight of the dark eyed beauty standing before him in a plain but pretty dress, toting a picnic basket and blanket of all things. Did that mean she wanted to leave here and go and sit in a field somewhere, or were they going to stay here? Weird though this place was, he liked the privacy of it.

 

"I thought you were your Pa!" he smiled, bashful at his jumpiness. He looked around. "No I like this place plenty. You Pa's done a good job on it" Damn, why did he keep mentioning her Father?! Move on, move on....

 

"You look very beautiful today, Miriam, did you make that dress?" Jesus, what a stupid thing to say! Of course she made it, she was a god-damn seamstress.

 

"What's in the basket?" Lord, could his conversation get any more inane? And was that sweat running down the inside of his shirt?!

 

@Wayfarer

 

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"I actually don't think we look at all alike, other than the color of our hair," Miriam smiled, suddenly amused.

 

"But no he spends enough time here during the week, he never wants to go near the place on weekends. Well especially, Saturday...but the work crew do not work on Sundays either," she explained to set his mind at ease.

 

At least he seemed quite content with the rendezvous she had chosen, she didn't know of any place better.  Well, without enlisting Ara's aid and that might well be a very bad idea.

 

"You look very beautiful today, Miriam, did you make that dress?"

 

"Oh thank you, but no I did not. I brought it with me when my family moved west," she answered promptly but then added, "You look handsome too."

 

She stepped closer to him then as he asked about the contents of  the basket, a most reasonable question indeed.

 

"Umm, I hope you are hungry? It's fried chicken....cold though. And a small loaf of freshly baked bread from the Lick Skillet. Do you ever eat there? Their food is superb. Your friend, Clara, works there but I suppose you already know that?"

 

 

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"I actually don't think we look at all alike, other than the color of our hair," Miriam smiled, suddenly amused.

 

It took a second for him to realise she was joking. Shy, beautiful girls could make jokes? He knew plain, loudmouthed ones could. And did. A goofy smile slowly decorated his face. 

 

"But no he spends enough time here during the week, he never wants to go near the place on weekends. Well especially, Saturday...but the work crew do not work on Sundays either," she explained to set his mind at ease.

 

Hector nodded, he sympathised. "Kinda like I avoid the Telegraph Office when I'm off shift" he agreed. 

 

"You look very beautiful today, Miriam, did you make that dress?"

 

"Oh thank you, but no I did not. I brought it with me when my family moved west," she answered promptly but then added, "You look handsome too."

 

He couldn't in all consciousness agree, that would look immodest, so he gave an embarrassed "Ahhh, get outta here!" Then hoped  she realised that was just an idiom, and she wouldn't think he meant for her to leave!

 

"Umm, I hope you are hungry? It's fried chicken....cold though. And a small loaf of freshly baked bread from the Lick Skillet. Do you ever eat there? Their food is superb. Your friend, Clara, works there but I suppose you already know that?"

 

She was close to him now! Thank Bob he'd had that bath, and put a clean shirt on! Gosh, she looked so pretty and so very close and he could smell the nice perfume of her hair, and, oh heck, he hadn't been listening to her! 

 

"Clara Lutz hates me!" he blurted out, just glad he'd listened to the last part.

 

@Wayfarer

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"Get out of here!" Hector seemed reticent to accept the compliment, so he was modest then? Nothing wrong with that.

 

"I meant it," Miriam assured him.

 

She then let him know she had brought chicken and bread in the basket, the food from the local diner. But apparently her assertion that Clara Lutz was a friend of the boy was way off.

 

"Clara Lutz hates me!"  Hector blurted.

 

"Oh, I'm sorry. I did not realize. Why ever would she do such a thing?" Miriam was surprised by that bit of info.

 

"Anyhow, the food is still good. Plus I also brought a bottle of wine. To drink....I mean we have to have something to wash the food down. Can you have wine?"

 

Even her parents let the girl have an occasional glass of wine, it was kosher of course. Not that Hector should care about that part being a gentile.

 

 

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"Clara Lutz hates me!"  Hector blurted.

 

"Oh, I'm sorry. I did not realize. Why ever would she do such a thing?" Miriam was surprised by that bit of info.

 

"I think she thinks I'm a big swollen headed braggart or something, I dunno." he looked at his feet. Actually, this was less embarrassing to talk about than hearing Miriam's compliments. Gee, you you went to all this trouble to impress a girl, and when it worked, it was kinda painful! Who knew?!

 

"I guess she's right in a way." he shrugged. He blamed Jemima: she had such a rambunctious personality, he'd always felt the need to go one better in loudness. He looked glum, but Miriam quickly moved them out of this impasse.

 

"Anyhow, the food is still good. Plus I also brought a bottle of wine. To drink....I mean we have to have something to wash the food down. Can you have wine?"

 

"Wine?! Well, no, yeah, I mean sure!" he stammered. Boy, Miriam Kaufmann was sure full of surprises. He was going to say something lame about 'already being drunk on your beauty' but thankfully refrained: instead he surreptitiously pinched himself to make sure this wasn't all just some crazy dream which he would wake up from sweating and moaning.

 

He drank beer in the saloon, but had only ever had wine on certain fancy family occasions. He couldn't hold his licker quite as well as his twin sister could.

 

"Are we eating here or somewhere else?" he asked like a lost child. in his dreams, he'd been calling the shots, but this quiet 'shy' girl with the darkly angelic looks seemed to have taken the reins of this particular little red wagon.

 

@Wayfarer

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"She is?" Miriam was surprised Hector would admit to being someone like that? He sure didn't seem to be that person as far as her admittedly limited conversations with him.  She didn't know Clara all that well but that girl seemed a bit ...well, reserved, solemn. Miriam was surprised she was already married really. Nevermind, she needed to concentrate on the here and now. She had a plan, she needed to focus on it.

 

So he could have wine, that was good though he seemed a bit uncertain about it at first.  Maybe he was just nervous? Well, so was she! But she plowed on.

 

"Are we eating here or somewhere else?" he suddenly asked.

 

"Yes, we have privacy in here and while it doesn't look like rain, even if it does we will be fine in here. I can just spread this blanket on the floor," Miriam answered.

 

"Is all this good with you, I don't want to do anything you do not wish to do," she added.

 

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"Yes, we have privacy in here and while it doesn't look like rain, even if it does we will be fine in here. I can just spread this blanket on the floor," Miriam answered.

 

This might, indeed, be all his dreams come true, but it was moving pretty fast for Hector. He had sort of imagined a walk around the town, a halting chat, and maybe a tentative attempt at a peck on the cheek at the end... if he was feeling brave enough! His usual bravado had deserted him and he was scrambling around the unexplored depths of his soul to find out what had always lurked behind it. 

 

"Is all this good with you, I don't want to do anything you do not wish to do," she added.

 

"Oh, I wish to!" he nodded and reached for blanket "Here, let me!" Not that he thought he would be a superior blanket-spreader than the surprisingly confident Miss Kaufmann, he just wanted to indicate how keen he was on this idea.

 

Soon they were nicely situated on the blanket, on the floor, and Hector considered the next hour. The prospect was actually pretty daunting: small talk, trying to eat without getting food all down his front, trying to say the right thing, always wondering just how far he might get.... it was all too much: he suddenly heard himself say something which would probably ruin everything:

 

"Miss Kaufmann, er, Miriam, listen... you... you look so beautiful today that... well.... can I give you a little kiss?? See, then I won't have to worry about if you're ever going to let me kiss you, and, well, I can get on enjoying talking to you and, er, eating this nice picnic you brought along!" he kicked himself even as he said it, impatient fool! 

 

@Wayfarer

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Hector was fine with her concept, much to Miriam's relief, setting down the blanket for their impromptu picnic lunch. Once seated the girl unpacked the basket. There were enough pieces of chicken for probably four let alone two of them. However Miriam knew boys had hearty appetites. The bread, a half loaf, should do just fine. As for the wine, Miriam had brought two tin cups, she had considered crystal goblets but if she broke one of those her mother would find out and be furious. It would also lead to questions. With a tin cup, you'd have to bash them with a hammer to damage them. They also held a lot of wine and she poured them to their brim.

 

"Miss Kaufmann, er, Miriam, listen... you... you look so beautiful today that... well.... can I give you a little kiss?? See, then I won't have to worry about if you're ever going to let me kiss you, and, well, I can get on enjoying talking to you and, er, eating this nice picnic you brought along!"

 

"Oh? I did not see that coming," she lied expertly, Ara was a bad influence there.

 

"I suppose you have kissed quite a few girls before, as handsome as you are? Well, I have an admission to make, I have never been kissed by a boy ," Miriam revealed.

 

"However that said, I am more than willing to experience new things....with boys," she added, maybe she shouldn't have tossed in the last two words.

 

 

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