Fellow Travelers by Sharon

Word Count 514

Lancer Writers 2008 First Impressions Challenge- Episode Tag to High Riders

“Mr. Lancer?”

“Yes? Yeah.”

The inquiry from the feminine voice sounded so hesitant —-well, that was the problem with young ladies nowadays, Alma thought disapprovingly. No gumption, no backbone. The grey-haired widow smoothed her skirts as she sat with her eyes closed in the dim interior of the stagecoach, relishing the absence both of the unpleasant company and the jolting movement that had been almost constant over the past several days.

“I’m sorry, which one of you said . . .”

“Land’s sakes,” Alma thought irritably. There was really no need for the girl to be so tentative. The man in question was probably still standing just outside the coach.

“I did.”

Alma’s eyes flew open.  No longer “resting,” she sat upright. There was no doubt this time that two different voices answered.  Through the window she could see a blond head reaching almost to the same height as the opening; probably that overdressed dandy who’d kept his nose in a book instead of reciprocating her efforts at polite conversation.

Curiosity caused the elderly woman to scuttle across to the opposite bench seat. Leaning back against the curved wall, she was well out of sight. The position afforded her a view of two of her recent travelling companions, as well as the child asking the questions, a mousy little thing attired in a frightful bonnet that surely had to be her “Sunday best.” Even at this remove, Mrs. Tinkham could see the girl’s puzzled expression give way to dawning awareness.  Then, to Alma’s utter astonishment, the ill-mannered girl actually pointed —pointed!!! —–past the self-styled gentleman to the scruffy cowboy who had clambered aboard the stage some ten miles outside of town. 

“Oh, well, we didn’t expect you on the same stage. You must be Johnny, and you must be Scott Lancer.”

Alma Tinkham sat in the shadows, avidly watching the scene unfold as “Johnny,” the insolent drifter sauntered towards “Scott,” the arrogant Easterner.

“No, ma’am. He ain’t no Lancer. My mother only had one kid, and that was me.”

“Likewise,” came the quick retort.

“It was Mr. Lancer who had two,” the girl pertly informed them.

“Two what?” Alma wondered, just as the Easterner posed the same question.

“Two wives, and two sons. You two.”

Alma shook her head. Good Lord. Half-brothers, then. And they didn’t know it? Neither one looked like he believed it.  Well, who would?

When he’d crowded into the coach, that young ruffian had deliberately rumpled the fancy suit.  After a mocking apology, coolly dismissed, the two young men sat shoulder to shoulder, pointedly ignoring each other. She’d noticed though, as the stage rumbled into motion, one abandoning his book to stare pensively out the window, the other lowering his hat over his face, feigning sleep.

They’d had good reason for worry, on their way to some strange sort of family reunion. But where was their father? Heaven help him, he’d better have some answers.

And just what kind of man was he, to send that girl?

End
July 2008/ Archived July 2022

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Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment. You can do so using the ‘reply’ box below, or, if you prefer, you can email Sharon directly.

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7 thoughts on “Fellow Travelers by Sharon

    1. Thank you! I like Teresa but she was a little mousy in that scene. And you have to wonder what they talked about on the ride out to the ranch when it’s clear they didn’t know about each other. Awkward.

      Like

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