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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
JenEllen Fiction: Shenandoah and Beaver! (106* d) RE: Fiction: Shenandoah and Beaver! 10 Mar 06


Jack could live a hundred years on top of the twenty-odd he had under his belt already and not one day of it could be stranger than the day he had today.

Granted, he already felt strange having to return to the land of military might by going to the Barracks. The only reason he'd ever joined up in the first place was to keep ol' Bill's head attached to his body. He'd always felt like a guardian angel of sorts for Bill, and he didn't have any grand plans for this life as it was, so why not the Infantry? Still, he had no regrets. He was strong enough to pull Bill out of the fire when he had to, and Bill was smart enough to keep him interested in what was around the bend. They had a fine friendship.

They never had a cross word between them until Katherine came along. He'd heard about her, sure. Every evening after guarding the General's door, Bill would come back to the barracks and recount the antics of this crazy woman who'd practically taken up residence outside the General's door. He'd heard all about how she'd cried, yelled, pouted and pounded the door for hours, all to be turned away by the General. Frankly, she sounded like a pain in the ass, and Jack was glad it was his friend who'd had to endure the torment.

Even when he saw her sitting on that bay pony, fresh and ready to travel, Jack kept his wits about him. Sure, she was a fine woman, but he had very clear memories of other fine women who had the devil in them: the Senator's daughter and her fondness for throwing crockery at a man's head, the opera singer and her pinking shears, the blacksmith's daughter and her long-handled shovel, every last one of them prepared to wipe him off the map. He could have fun with this one, sure, but he wasn't about to start poking a hornet's nest either. At least that's what he told himself after each night's solemn talk around the campfire. She was dead set on finding this brother of hers, and Jack kept reminding himself "Buzz buzz, pardner, buzz buzz".

That all held firm until he'd set that preacher's dog up and heard her laugh. He knew in an instant that she wasn't too far off from ol' Bill. Maybe she was just a good soul that'd taken a lot of hard knocks, and he was probably strong enough to pull her out of the fire too. He chuckled to himself when he thought about it now, because it was a greased track from that moment on--nothing cemeted it more than when she'd run up today and kissed him. He was sure she'd felt it too, that was until they actually starting looking for that lawyer feller that the soldiers told them about.

He'd been a love-sick fool all afternoon, he could see it now. He'd followed her all over town, thrilled every time she'd let him touch her arm, brush a hair from her face, or put his hand on the small of her back. He'd thought she had willingly consented, but he knew now she was oblivious. When they had just about exhausted their search for the night and were walking back to the hotel, she'd seen that Huntington and ran out into the street. He'd had to wait for several carriages to pass by, and by the time he'd crossed the street, she'd already run up to that lawyer feller and was looking at him with that hopeful face of hers that he'd thought was reserved for him alone.

He'd stood silent while she talked to that lawyer. He wasn't sure just what to make of the exchange, almost feeling like he should wait outside, but he'd be damned if he was giving her up that easily. When the lawyer gave her that bundle of papers, she'd walked right past him and out the door. He might as well have been a ghost. When they got back to the hotel she'd rushed off and mumbled some excuse about it being late and her wanting to go wash up and go to bed. He'd half-jokingly nudged her as they climbed the stairs and asked if she needed someone to wash her back, but Katherine grimaced and shut the door in his face.

He thought Bill might be better company, but when he knocked on his door, he'd got no answer. Fine. He'd just lay in his quiet bed and curse the ceiling until morning. It wouldn't be the first time, and probably wouldn't be the last.

He had that fire in his belly for a solid hour before he heard the knock on the door, but when he opened it up and saw Katherine, it became a distant memory. She had been crying, and hard from the looks of it. She had an armful of her brother's papers with her. When she looked up at him with teary eyes and hiccuping gasps of breath, all she'd had to say was "I need your help" and Jack let her in.


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