Valentine's Day Party, Episode Two

OOC Note: These events should be read as happening in the same timeframe as Episode One.


suzanna_icon.jpg ohls_icon.jpgAbigail_icon.jpgjed_icon.jpg


* Zachary Sinclaire, silverminer's son. Jonah Bluett and Max Campbell, his friends.

Summary: Jed and Suzanna come to the party. Things are not as festive as they could be, when Jed is assaulted.

Date: 15 February, 1884

Valentine's Day Party, Episode Two

Silver Dollar Hotel

Looking rather shy and hesitant, Jed Balcombe, obviously /attempting/ to be romantic at least, squires the lovely widow, Suzanna McGiveney to the party. Suzanna's young daughter Hope darts forward as soon as they come in, and begins to mix with her school friends, laughing and clapping and whispering about the adults.

Suzanna comes in on Jed's arm. The tall, dark haired woman looks around with dancing hazel eyes. "Oh Jed..doesn't it look lovely! So bright and cheery, even though it's dreary outside! And look! Cupcakes!", she says, smiling still. Dressed in a modest white shirtwaist and blue broadcloth skirt, she none the less is nicely put together, even wearing earfobs..and a ring on her left hand ring finger.

The party seems to be in full swing, with more than a few people moving around at the crafts tables, both purchasing pre-made gifts and, mostly children, but a few adults, making cards and pretty things to be given out to friends and sweethearts.

Frank Tate is settled in at the piano, playing a lilting little tune, as he waits for contestants for the singing/wooing competion, and over at the kissing booth, Jasmine, having replaces Sweet, once again, has her line of suitors for the evening lining up for a kiss for charity.

Arden is just making her way in from the cafe, carrying out another tray of cupcakes, these topped with white icing, the cakes themselves a deep red. "Abigail, do you have room for these on the table there? Sarah Matthews," that would be one of the rancher's wives, a sweet, but rather homely thing from south Georgia, "just brought them by. She says they're her speciality."

Abigail rubs her hands together and then strokes them over the lower flanks of her hips before holding them out to receive the tray of cupcakes from Arden. "Give me two seconds and I'll have enough room for another set of these, Arden," replies the blonde before taking a moment to look from one end of the room to the other. "They look good." She nods once, continuing, "Think we should be greeting folk?"

The gunsmith's hand tightens on Suzanna's ,and he edges closer as he takes in the crush of people, wide eyed, leaning over to his paramour and whispering, "I ddid nnot know there were to be so many!" his attention is diverted as Hope grabs his other hand, tugging, "Come on Daddy Jed! I want you to meet my friends." the cute girl grins up at him, her two front teeth missing as she tugs harder.

Jed blinks, pales and taeks a deep, ragged breath, looking to Suzanna for guidance, "Will we not Missus McGiveney?" he asks squeakily.

Suzanna flashes a brilliant smile at Jed and nods. "Go ahead, dear. She wants to show you her friends so much. And I should put these goodies with the others..", she says, holding up the basket on her other arm.

Arden hands off the tray, checking her hands to make certain she's not covered in anything sticky, before she nods, "I think I see someone I know, Mr. Balcolme, the gunsmith." Laughter, from the blacksmith, "As if you aren't doing enough already, keeping all of these children in line. Why don't you ask Doreen if she'll help them, until Evalyn gets back and go and mingle? Greet people if you like, I'll get the rest of the cakes." With that, Arden turns back, heading back towards the cafe. She does lift a hand to greet Jed, offering a nod, and a, "Ma'am," to Suzannah.

Jed allows himself to be pulled from Suzanna by the insistent Hope, and is soon surrounded by a veritable horde of school aged children, his discomfiture growing by the moment, until an older lad asks him a question about Remingtons. Sitting with a piece of colored paper and a pencil, Jed begins to sketch the inner workings of the piece in question, explaining all the while, while Hope sits in his lap, clinging.

"Oh?" Abigail starts to speak up further but then presses her lips together into a thin smile and looks over her shoulder to try and see who exactly the gunsmith is. "I can try. I mean, I don't mind, not at all, but I can try." By then, she has directed her gaze back to Arden and nodded once before beginning to slip away with the tray of delicacies and fineries. She'll mingle and converse after she delivers the treats. Once she has, she's heading to the arts and crafts area to speak briefly with the other chaperones and supervisors, Doreen in particular, and then she's moving in the direction Arden had left in.

Suzanna watches Jed and chuckles. She shakes her head and sighs before looking to Adran. "How do you do? I"m Suzanna McGivney…", she says. "I..brought some cookies that Hope and I made. For the party."
Long distance to Abigail: Ohls has tried to segue that pose into you introducing yourself to Suzanna.

Arden stops her forward momentum, turning to face the woman, a friendly smile lighting her expression, as she answers, "I don't think we've met, but I've heard your name around town. You running the newspaper, if word serves me correctly?" A glance away, as Abigail approaches, and a hand reaches out to motion the woman over, "I'm Arden Ohls, I just reopened the blacksmith's. This is Abigail Hayes, she's apprenticing me as a farrier. It was very kind of you to bring something for the party. I hope you didn't go to too much trouble."

"Another one coming up to try his luck at beating Llewellyn..come on son, let's see what you can do." The young man, perhaps twenty, if that, settles up onto stage, and brings a sheet of music with him, handing ot to Frank, who sets it on the piano top and gets ready to start the music.

Abigail comes to a neat and clean stop before the group and she wears a crisp, polite smile upon her features as well. There's a bow of her head as she's introduced and she shifts her hands into being clasped gently together before her waist. "Evening, sir, ma'am," the smile briefly deepens before she relaxes into one more neutral and natural. "Enjoying yourselves?"

One cowboy, perhaps a bit more into his cups than was proper, and angry at being spurned by his best girl tipped into Jed and the group of children. Belligerently, he shoves the slighter man out of his way, "Whyn't you watch where yore goin' you bugger!", planting his hands on his hips and glaring at his hapless victim.

Jed's mouth drops open in surprise, his blue eeys going round and beginning to fill. "I'm sssorry, I did nnot mmean to be in your path," he stammers covering his face with hsi hands.

The cowpoke bellows laughter, and poitns, "Looks like we got us a nancy-boy. y'all."

Zachary, having long since abandoned his hopes at getting a kiss at the kissing booth, none of the girls seem bold enough to step up, has been settled in wandering the hotel ground floor with a few of his friends from the silverminer's camp, catches sight of the altercation going on, and they trio of boys start to head in Jed's direction.

"How do you do? The blacksmith and the…" Suzanna says before she stops and overhears what is goi gon. "Oh…dear…", she frowns, moving in that direction. "Now boys..boys…this is a party, isn't it? No need for hitting and such. It was an accident, really.", she says, moving to intercept.

Arden as well, looks to be moving in Jed's direction, the boys calling out to her, Zachary's friend Max in particular, "S'alright, Miss Ohls, we won't let him ruin the party, he shouldn't been drinking so much to start with." Arden nods, but she looks over to Abigail, "I really had hoped nothing like this would happen tonight."

Hope, perhaps braver than the diminuative gunsmith, aims a kick at the cowboy's leg. But it was a weak, ineffectual eight year old girl's girl, and the man brushed her aside like a gnat.

Seeing this, Jed tries to catch the wailing girl, jostling the man in passing, earning, "Get off me, you damned queer!" from the cowboy, and a chopping blow to his back.

Abigail looks up and over as well. The bridge of her nose wrinkles and lines crease into her features with a moment of thought just before a sighed breath escapes her lips; the blonde nods once to Arden, in agreement, and moves to flank her far side on approach to the altercation.

Pulling Hope close, Jed just curls into a shaking, trembling ball on the floor, covering her with his own body while kicks rain on him before the man is pulled away by his friends. Long after the kicks stop, he remains curled up, even after Hope squeezes out and pulls at his arm.

Suzanna frowns and comes up to the cowboy who is kicking her intended. "STOP IT!", she says, growling at him. "Or I'll shoot you with one of his guns!", she proclaims! Then SUZANNA starts to hit the cowboy as hard as she can. And she is -not- a little tiny woman. At 5'9", she's quite tall and packs a relatively strong punch. Hmmmm.

Arden and the boys reach the cowboy just after his friends pull him off, and the boys take over for his friends, holding the man up, and trying to get him out of the hotel, the commotion having caused quite a few people to start looking afraid that all hell might break loose in the Silver Dollar. But funny thing that, the boys actually make sure they bring the man out in such a way that Suzanna can keep wailing on him, his arms pinned down so he can't do anything to fight back. "Mrs McGiveney, let them handle this, you're needed."

Suzanna frowns and nods. She gives the cowboy a distinct GLARE and then moves over to Jed. "'s's over…", she ays gently, crouching down next to him. "Come on…let's go home and patch you up, alright?"

Abigail places her hands on her hips as she watches after the boys taking care of the drunkard. She's still a touch miffed but she doesn't go chasing after the group; instead, she turns about and begins to head back toward Suzanna and Jed, giving a glance towards Arden. At least the party isn't wholly ruined.

Finally yielding to Hope's entreaties, and Suzanna's impassioned plea to get up, Jed slowly rises, head hanging. Picking at his shirt, and tucking it in where it had pulled out, he pulls away from anyone that tries to tocuh him, the big sapphire blue eyes brimming.

Not even Hope can console him, clinging to his leg. Looking up at Suzanna, his lower lip trembling, the shorter, slighter man says, "I am sssorry to have gggotten in his way," his thin, nimble fingers wringing worriedly.

Zachary, Max and the third boy, Jonah, run interference, both for the cowboy, now sporting a rather nasty looking bloody nose (Nice shot, Suzanna!), and anyone who might stop them taking him outside. None of the boys looks terribly happy, and knowing the reputation the silverminers have for fighting, it's likely said cowboy won't escape the night with -just- a bloody nose.

Arden shakes her head, not approaching the man, but she does hear his words, "You didn't get in his way, he was drunk and angry, and he surely deserves everything the boys are going to give him." Yes, she likely knows exactly what's about to happen outside, once they boys and their 'charge' as it were, are far enough from the hotel not to be seen or heard.

A few spectators trickle out from the hotel…apparently they know what's going to be happening too.

Nodding her agreement with Arden, Suzanna turns her big hazel eyes to Jed. "You didn't get in his way. He's a..well..there's not a polite word for it..", the woman says in her crisp English accent. "Shall we..have some tea and..try to regain the party spirit? HOpe, dear, Jed will be fine. Go play with your friends, please."

He sniffles, blows his nose into a too white, too pressed handkerchief, and dabs at his eyes, "As you wish, Mmissus McGiveney" Abashed, he follows her to a seat, pulling hers out before seating hismelf, his fingers still twisting together, and not meeting her eyes.

Reluctantly, Hope returns to her friends, but is soon giggling and playing in her irrepressible manner as the kids dart about in an impromptu game of tag.

Arden allows the couple to take their seat, turning towards the coffee and tea station, and gets a cup for both of them, tea, as she's not sure if coffee would be too strong. She also fills two plates, two cookies, and a red velvet cupcake each, and carries it over towards their table, setting the tray down and serving both of them, "I'm very sorry that happened, Mr. Balcolme. If there's anything I can do to make it up to you, I will."

Suzanna takes a deep breath and settles into a seat. She only smiles at Jed, reaching out to hold his hand. "Thank you for the tea, Miss Ohls. And for this lovely party. Why, i haven't seen anything quite like this in years in this town."

"You're welcome, Missus McGivney. As for the party, it would never been as much as it is without the help of the other people in town. Emma, Evalyn and Abigail did most of the decorations. And everyone's pitched in to offer what they could. I think everyone is grateful for something to take their mind off of the winter and the other events in town." She looks towards Jed, and then back to the other woman, "If you'd prefer…there are a few private tables in the cafe, and George has been keeping the kitchen open." Not that she wants them to leave, but Jed does seem uncomfortable with the crowd, and, understandably, is rather distraught.

Giving Arden a tremulous smile, Jed thanks her in a soft voice before fixing his gaze on his plate, his fingers limp and damp in Suzanna's grasp. Loud shouts from outside cause his shoulders to hunch, and he withdraws into himself deeper, casting small, nervous glances from side to side.

Finally, he ventures to pick at one of the cookies, and try a sip of tea.

Suzanna tries her best to keep the happy demeanor. After all, she'd talked Jed into coming. For Suzanna did love parties and socializing and the like. "Ms Ohls. You said you are the new blacksmith? I will admit that I have never met a lady blacksmith before. It must be -most- fascinating"

Arden returns Jed's smile with one of her own, her voice friendly, and she keeps the conversation, well, conversational, and hopefully distracting, to take Jed's mind off of the recent altercation, though, well, it's a long shot, at the best, "It is. I apprenticed with my father. And I can count on one hand, the women who I met who were even associated with blacksmithing. And never as a smith themselves. I suppose I take after my mother. She refused to do women's work all the days of her life."

Hope, her face screwed up comically, wiggles her way into his lap, and plants a wet kiss on his cheek..stealing a cookie in the process-a trick straight from Finnegan Llewellyn's book- and says too loudly, "You're not queer Daddy Jed, maybe a little funny because you help Mommy with the dishes and cooking and cleaning and no other father does that, 'cept sometime Finn's Da." She plants another wet smooch and curls up against him.

Jed's face turns three shades redder as hope proclaims this news to the room, and hunches even lower.

"Hope McGivney! That is not a word to use and I don't want to ever hear it again from your lips." Suzanna says, chastising her daughter. "Jed is a good man and a fine gunsmith..", she says to those lookin gher way. "And all of you have bought from him. Now go back to your cookies and punch." She looks then to Ohls and nods. "I will admit it is most unusual to see a woman do such work but I find it quite interesting. Many don't see women running newspapers either but I find it fulfilling! And Jed's cousion, Isolde Balcome, was the gunsmit here previously. Women do many things most do not expect out ehre in your American West!"

Abigail had excused herself for just a bit; enough to make sure that any more wandering spectators wanting to look in on the fight were well-taken care of. She turns about and heads for the group, slowing down near to the table and folding her arms over her stomach. The blonde looks from Arden to Jed to Suzanna to Hope and then back to Arden, posing a small question but doing such boldly enough, "I take it the whole of everyone is all right then?"

There seem to be few in town who would go up against the newspaper editor, particularly after the fine showing she offered against the cowboy, and people are soon going back to their business, and Arden, for her part, chooses to overlook the girl's comment, instead, offering, "That's seems a fine thing, Miss McGivney (that would be Hope), there are few men in this day and age who would show such consideration to their family." A shake of her head, "It really is an amazing thing, to have the kind of freedom that we're afforded here. Though I don't know that I would call it quite my American West, though I've lived here for quite some time, I was born and raised in Quebec." She turns her attention to Abigail, for a moment, but allows the editor and the 'smith to answer the question.

The wiry gunsmith finally takes a deeper drink of his tea, and drags a finger through the icing on the cupcake, sticking the digit into his mouth to suck the sweet creamy stuff off, content to let Suzanna make his replies.

Finally, he gives his intended a soulful, puppy-dog look, and asks, "Do you feel as he did?" A furtive glance at Ohls and Abigail seem to ask the same question, though he remains silent.

"We are alright, yes…" Suzanna says. "And you are…I know Miss Ohls told me your name but I seem to have forgotten your last name. Abigail, correct?" She smiles at Ohls again and nods. "It is not my American west either. ANd it is a -far- cry from London. " She smiles as she watches Jed taste the icing..bu tthenthe smile falls at his question.

"Feel what exactly? Slighted, because there was a man at this party who had more decency and good manners in his little finger than that loudmouth buffoon probably has in his entire body? No, I don't, but then, my father was french, and he taught me good manners along with how to wield a hammer. He was wrong to say what he did, and I would never condone it. You have been a good friend to me, and to my business and you are a skilled craftsman," she lifts a hand to indicate Hope, "And obviously a good father."

"Abigail Hayes, ma'am," the woman inclines her head with a short nod and she accents the gesture with a lightened smile. She pauses with a brief pressing of her lips together in a thoughtful moment, thinking over the other question posed. There's a look to Arden for some friendly support before she lifts her shoulders. "It's not my issue to question what another does, at least not at the moment, but by looks alone I would say that you're quite the loving family. That's said without a doubt, so no, I don't feel as he did. Unless we're not talking of that bastard over yonder with the boys."

Hope gives the blacksmith a gap toothed, cookie crumbed grin, "He's not my Daddy yet, but Finn's brother Liam said he will 'shate or get off the pot soon enough'. She lays her head back on his shoulder, and yawns, "Mommy, will we stay much longer?"

Jed waits for Suzanna's reply, his face slowly falling with her hesitation. "Perhaps, Missus McGivney, we should get Hope to her bed, and it has been a most trying day for us all." he says in his soft voice, "But if you wish to remain, I…can find her a place to sleep.".

Suzanna just pales at first Abigails choice of the word 'bastard' and then at her own daughter's repeating of Liam Llewelyn's words. She blinks a bit as if confused. She looks to Jed for just a moment and cannot seem to find her voice.

"There is a sleeping area for children set aside, and some of the older women are watching them," Arden offers, still kindly, still trying to focus on something aside from the negative. But perhaps that's her way, "But it has been a trying evening, and I would understand if you wished to go home and rest. We can see if Evalyn will visit the house to look in on you."

He shakes his head, pushing back from the table, replying, "It will not be necessary, I have not been injured." Setting the girl on her feet, he gives Suzanna that lost child look again, "Will you wish me to return for you later, Missus McGivney? I would not wish for you to walk alone, even for such a short distance."

Suzanna frowns softly and looks a bit longingly at the dancing copules. But she then semiel and nods to Jed. "Of coursse. I will walk with you. And put Hope to bed. Thank you gain, Miss Ohls and Miss Hayes. It was truly an honor to meet you both. Perhaps we could sit and have lunch one afternoon? I would like to get to know you better."

"You are quite welcome, Missus McGivney. I am hoping that we might do something else like this party once the spring comes. And lunch would be welcome. I'd be glad to get to know you better. I've never been to London, I'd enjoy hearing all about it."

Abigail retains her relative mood of silence for a bit longer upon answering the question, but given the time of year and the festivities to be had around them she isn't surly for long. In fact, it passes more quickly than it had arrived. "You're welcome, ma'am, and of course." She's agreeing when it comes to lunch as well. "I look forward to it."


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