Prompt: There is a new arrival in town
“Look, Cousin Randall. We can easily explain ourselves,” Jean started.
“Why do we need to explain anything to him?” Jane interrupted, pulling away from him. “You’ve already told him enough as it is.”
“I barely said anything!”
“Oh,” she lowered her voice, “telling him we’re engaged isn’t enough, is it? Next you’ll be telling him my family name.”
Randall cleared his throat.
Jean glanced at him. “Come on, Jane. Be reasonable.”
“Reasonable! About what?”
“About the gun in his hand?”
“He won’t shoot. Will you, Randall?” she fluttered her eyelashes at him.
“Well. Now. Why don’t you tell me what this is all about?” Randall said, lowering his gun.
“We just got engaged a week ago,” Jean said, ignoring Jane’s glares. “And Bill’s a new hire.”
Randall tugged at his collar. “Well, congratulations again then, but how could Bill not know? Population about Roundeli is probably much less than our three hundred and thirty three in Renaissance and I’m sure an engagement in the Johnson family would be a pretty big do…”
“Ah, that’s because, we didn’t exactly…”
“Look, Cousin Randall, let’s be reasonable,” Jane glared at Jean. “I made a mistake. Jean here has cleared it up. Can’t we leave it at that?”
“We could, I suppose,” he said slowly. “But there seems to be a lot of confusion about here.”
“Oh, no one’s confused,” she said brightly. “The coach belongs to Jean, and I didn’t recognise his new coachman. Jean here, and the coachman, of course, will follow you back to your place, where I’m sure they will have a wonderful stay in all the comforts of Renaissance. I will have to be heading back to Assart. Have to return the horse, you know. Is that all settled?”
“As settled as can be,” Randall finally said, throwing Jean a look that clearly meant ‘you had better tell me all about it when she is gone’.
“Wonderful. I’ll be on my way then.” Jane made her way to her horse, Jean trailing after her.
“Stay out of trouble,” Jean said wryly, as he gave her a peck on the cheek.
“You better keep your mouth shut,” Jane warned him as she mounted the horse.
“Will you be in Assart when I head back to Roundeli?” he asked.
“I don’t know yet. We will have to see the situation then. I will try to write to you as soon as I can settle things.”
The four of them turned as the pounding of hooves carried over the wind.
Randall squinted in the hot sun. He could make out two riders coming in with speed.
“Plenty of visitors to Renaissance today,” he commented.
Jane leaned forward, her mouth tight. “Time to run for it,” she hissed even as she spurred her horse and galloped away.
Jean watched as one of the riders peeled away, turning to follow Jane’s tracks.
The other rider rode up to the post office.
“What was Jane Heriot doing here?” he asked roughly.
“That wasn’t Jane Heriot. I think you were mistaken,” Jean said. He gripped the railing tightly to keep his hands from shaking.
“Don’t lie to me, boy. I can recognise that redhead from more than a hundred paces. Is her pa here?”
“Nope, no one called Heriot in this town, right Randall?”
Randall nodded. “Those kind stay over in Heriot’s Pass where they belong.”
The man rumbled with laughter. “Outlaws never stay where they belong, mister.”
Randall stared at Jean speculatively. The young man had a lot of explaining to do.
And we are done!