Monday, March 9, 2015

Tuesday Tales writing to a word prompt Fun, FREE, Reads #ASMSG #IRTG

Welcome to Tuesday Tales

This week's word is Stairs

Too stunned to protest, she stood there and didn’t say a thing. Why in the world would this child claim to be hers? Things were bad enough around here as far as trust went. There was intelligence in Brian’s eyes and she had a feeling he knew exactly what he was saying.

“Well if you two are done eating, I’ll just get to washing the dishes.”

Patrick stood and he seemed taller than she remembered. “I’d like to talk to you, outside.”

“I’d be happy to as soon as my dress is dry.”

He looked her up and down then nodded. “I bet it’ll be dry soon.”

Swallowing hard, she nodded. “Yes, soon.”

She poured warm water into a basin and washed the few dishes and finally the pot—taking her time, trying to delay their talk. What was there to say? He didn’t believe her and it was the end of any conversation. Her word had always been good enough while her parents were alive, then suddenly she wasn’t to be trusted. None of it made sense to her at all. Hadn’t she been through enough? Sighing she dried her hands and grabbed her dress. She was lucky to be alive.

“Where shall I change?”

He blinked at her and looked around. “I guess we’ll just turn our backs.”

“Fine.” She waited until they had their backs to her and quickly changed into her dress. “I’ll need my coat.”

“That piece of cloth won’t keep you warm. Come on we can share mine.”

Her face grew hot. “I don’t think that would be proper.”

“Out here we work with what we’ve got. Come on.” He put the giant fur coat on and held his arm out for her to get under. “See not so bad.”

It was much too close but she didn’t utter a word as they walked outside in accord. He took her to the barn, which was almost as cold as the outdoors, but it kept the wind off them.

“What’s your horse’s name?”

“Ahearn, it means Lord of Horses in Gaelic.”

“I see.”

“Samantha you must know my confusion and my exasperation. There are too many things that don’t add up and I’m sorry but you come out at the losing end. I don’t know you but the child inside says you’re his ma and I believe him. I don’t know what led to you both being out in the forest but you didn’t even mention him once while I was rescuing you. What do you have to say for yourself?”

She tensed and her chin began to wobble. It was all too much. Her whole life had turned on end and now this. “All I know is the truth. He is not my son. I have never lain with a man. I have never tried to steal any woman’s husband and I have never tried to entice a man, ever. I am from a good, God-fearing family and I don’t understand any of this. If you want to put me out do it now before I begin to like you or something.”

“There’s not much to like. I’ll not be putting you out but I’ll not be trusting you either. I expect you to treat your son with care. Those bruises came from somewhere. Perhaps not from you. My best guess is they came from your man, Solomon.” 

“I don’t know why I even bother talking to you.” Quick as lightening she unwrapped herself from his coat and ran out into the blizzard. The light from the lamp led her back to the cabin stairs and by the time she got inside, she was chilled to the bone. She drew a blanket around her but she couldn’t get her teeth to stop chattering. 

The door slammed open. Patrick looked at her and began to mutter something about how people don’t use the brains God gave them. “Let me get you some tea.”

“You have tea up here?”

“I’m not much of a coffee drinker. Brian move over so I can put your ma next to you.”

Before she could object, he lifted her and tucked her into the bed next to her supposed son. As soon as she had Brian alone, he had a lot to answer for. 

The gentleness of Patrick surprised her as he prepared her tea, plumped up her pillow and made sure she was warming up. He handed her the tin cup and told her to be careful it was hot. He was a strange, contrary man to say the least. If it was going to be a long hard winter as Patrick predicted, she’d have to find a way to get along with him. It meant she was going to have to swallow her pride. She had a feeling it would involve a lot of tongue biting.

As she sipped her tea, she pondered her quandary. How had everything gotten so turned around? It hadn’t been too long ago she was helping her parents pack the wagon for a new start in Colorado. Her father already purchased land and made a deal with a rancher for some cattle. It was an exciting time. Then her mother died and she’d thought she couldn’t go on only to have her father die. She assumed she could drive the team herself and continue on. 

They all turned on her and no matter how hard she thought about it, no answers came. It started with Stinky Sullivan and Old Thomas and ended up with her elderly friend Eunice throwing the bag of food at her feet. They took her wagon and left her there. She sat up straighter and her jaw dropped. 

Patrick glanced at her. “What?” His impatience laced his voice.
“They stole my wagon and the money.”

Patrick stood up and walked to her side, taking the cup out of her hands. “What money?”

Running her hands over her face, she tried to take a deep calming breath. “No wonder Stinky was so insistent I leave with nothing. He started the rumors about me the second my father died. I hardly had him buried before others began to snub me. The deed to my papa’s land was in the wagon.” Her hands clenched and unclenched the fur covers. “Stinky even told me to be sure any papers weren’t on my papa before we buried him. I’m so stupid.”

“Stinky?” Brian giggled.

Her head ached. “Yes, Stinky Sullivan. He and my pa were making plans to ranch together. He had his eye on me but they don’t call him Stinky for nothing.”

Brian laughed louder. “I wouldn’t want that name.”

“He’s a polecat!”

This time Patrick joined Brian in laughing. The urge to cry left her. There was nothing she could do about it now. “At least I know why. My hurt by their actions grew daily and I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong. Dang, I even cared for their kids when they were sick. We spent a lot of time together and I grew to think of them as family.” A deep sigh escaped her and she lay back until her head hit the pillow. It hadn’t been her fault after all. They had her almost convinced she was a bad person. Peacefulness filled her soul and she stared up at the log ceiling hoping her parents were together in heaven and watching over her.

“Are ya all right, lass?” His dark eyes were filled with compassion and one dark brow rose.

“Yes. Lass? Might you have a wee bit of Irish in ya?” she asked in her best Irish Brogue.

“My da was born there, County Tyrone. He loved America but often longed to be back home.”

“My papa had lots of stories from when he was a boy there in County Mayo. He always had the same longing. He left a lot of family back there.”

When he smiled, he looked much younger. His grin was almost boyish and his eyes had a bit of sparkle in them. What a transformation from his brooding look his usually had. It was a very nice change indeed.
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  1. What a great story! Now I know what happened on the wagon train. I can't wait to read the book. Your writing is the perfect blend of setting, details, dialogue and emotion. Love it!

  2. Fascinating story! I love the twists and turns. Will they be attempting to restore her property? Can't wait to find out.

  3. There is hope for them, but I still want to know why Brian is lying. ;)

  4. Another great snippet. I'm getting peeved with him about not believing her. I want to smack him. I very much enjoyed the Irish part, too.

  5. Love the excerpt and your wonderful story. What a fabulous horse name too!

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  7. At least she has answers. doesn't mean it makes the confusing mess any easier...but at least her heart is right.