Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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 These Foolish Things

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Lana Coombe


Posts : 33
Join date : 2013-09-27
Location : UK

PostThese Foolish Things

These Foolish Things

Standing on tiptoes and reaching up, she extended herself to full height and lifted her arms.  Using her fingertips she was able to manoeuvre the hatbox to the edge of the top of the wardrobe and slide it off far enough so that it dropped down, into her waiting grasp.

Carrying it over to the bed she twisted off the tight fitting lid and peered inside.  Nestled inside lay moments of her life.  Letting out a sigh she allowed a soft smile to crease her lips.  Almost tentatively she reached into the box and lifted out the item, which lay on top.

Carefully she unwrapped the soft, silk handkerchief to reveal a brooch, made of gold, with small, inlaid, green stones.  As it moved in her hands the stones and metal caught the light and twinkled.  She gently ran her over thumb the surface.  It was one of the few personal possessions left after her mother had died.  Her father had sold or even possibly given away the rest of his wife’s belongings.  

She had found the brooch tucked inside the pocket of a coat she had found at the back of a cupboard one day, when she had been much younger.  She couldn’t be totally sure it was her mother’s but had never dared to ask her father incase he took it from her, so she had hidden it.

Wrapping the brooch back up carefully she placed it on the bed besides the box.  She reached in once more, this time pulling out a pocket watch.  It had long stopped working but the fact her father had kept it close to his person for so many years gave it all the life she needed.  She only wished he was here to walk her down the isle the next day, not that he would have approved of the man with whom she would stand at the altar.

If she was being honest with herself she would agree with her father’s judgment but she was getting to an age where the options were becoming much fewer and farther between.  Bradford Wainright may not be an oil painting to look at and he had some decidedly strange ideas about the world but he was generous and kind and she knew she would be well looked after.

It was time to start a new phase in her life and leave the past behind – a past that had held so much promise but somehow had now passed her by, while she yearned for something she could not have.
With that thought in her head she delved further into the box, right down to the bottom, passed letters, pressed flowers and other assorted trinkets.  Lying on the base of the box was a yellowed folded envelope, tied with a red ribbon.  With pinched fingers she gripped one end of the bowed ribbon and slowly pulled to release the knot.  Lifting the satin strip to her cheek she remembered how it had been pulled from her hair when she was a girl several times.  She had pretended to be annoyed but really she had reveled in the attention.  As the envelope unfolded something slipped out and landed in her lap.

Gazing at the bullet her mind slipped back to that dreadful day.  She knew they lived a dangerous life but being confronted with it on her own doorstep had been a shock.  To see his face so pale and wax like, strewn with beads of fever induced perspiration, had given her a real fright.  She had done what she could but her knowledge in such situations was limited. Thankfully they had been able to remove the bullet and close the wound but for two whole days she expected the worse.  Eventually he had opened his eyes and her heart lurched in gratitude at the sight of those sapphire orbs, which she had feared she would never see sparkle with life again.

When they were leaving he had pressed the bullet into her hand, saying ‘a little thing like that wouldn’t stop him’ and he had been glad of it as it had given him the opportunity to see her again!  She had laughed at his words but her heart had skipped with joy at his flirtations and had all but leapt out of her chest when he had placed a tender kiss on her cheek.

Encasing the bullet in her clenched fist and holding it with her other hand, she placed a soft kiss on her closed fingers.

After carefully standing the bullet on end, on the side table, she opened the envelope and slid her hand inside.  It met the cool, smoothness of a playing card.  Sliding it out she gazed down at the queen of hearts.  It had been a memorable night.  They had wined and dined in the finest restaurant in San Francisco and then gone to a casino.  It had been lucky for all of them.  Her companions had won handsomely and she had been able to spend a joyous time with both.  

At the end of the evening the card had been produced, as if by magic, out of the air and he had proclaimed her to always be the queen of his heart.  Again she had laughed and even given him an affectionate slap on the arm with her gloves but the words had made her almost burst with joy.  The fluttering in her chest as he caressed the back of her hand with his lips was undeniable and she was rewarded further with a dimpled smile.

The last precious item to be brought out of the envelope was a picture – a photograph to be exact.  Three faces looked back at her, one being her own.  Oh how young she looked! A flush of shame caught in her face as she remembered how she had used the photograph to bully them into helping her expose the man who had framed her father.  She had always regretted her action and had understood their reluctance but she had been desperate.

Now it was just another reminder of what she had lost.  It may be foolish to hold onto these things but, like the men who had given them, they meant the world to her.  She loved both partners equally and could never have chosen one over the other.  So, she had told herself, she could have neither and would never have considered coming between them.  

Tomorrow she would become Mrs Clementine Wainright and she would pretend to be the happiest woman in the world but she would always love Heyes and Kid.  At least she had her memories to hold onto, stored away in a dusty, old box to remind her what it truly felt like to be in love – doubly in love in her case.

'If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor.'
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