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Checking Out the Town (Part 2) [MOVED]

Posted on Tue Dec 12th, 2017 @ 2:30pm by Kate Hale
Edited on on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 @ 6:20pm

Episode: The Legacy
Location: Kalispell General Store, Montana
Timeline: Early July 1875

Kathryn Hale slowed the team of big gray Percherons as the buckboard approached the general store. Normally, she would pull the team around back, but today she had the Harper twins with her and did not want to risk losing track of them near the loading area. Kate was usually able to keep the five-year-olds in line, but this was the first time they had been off the ranch since the deaths of their parents. Right now, Cody was easily spooked and tended to run and hide. Nettie was likely to go with him simply because they were twins. Ordinarily, she would not be worried about them not watching for horses and wagons, but she did not feel comfortable with taking chances.

After setting the brake, Kate hopped down from the wagon and secured the team's line to the hitching post. Walking back to the side, she lifted Nettie and then Cody down to the ground. Cody took hold of Kate's dark gray split-skirt and tucked himself close to her legs. Kate's heart broke for the small boy. She longed to bring back the laughter to his eyes and the engaging smile that was so like his father's. In that instant, she realized she had not completely dealt with her own grief either.

Nettie, her short-cropped golden brown hair ruffled by the wind, boldly led the way into the general store. She stopped just inside to wait for Kate and Cody while taking in the myriad scents within the shop. Kate had said they could have a small bag of rock candy if they were good. Nettie wondered what the criteria for being good was. No doubt she'd find out if the promised bag of candy appeared in Kate's shopping basket.

Kate began her usual routine in the store. She liked walking around to see what was new, check the prices and make a mental list of what she needed versus what she wanted. This was something she had done since she was a little girl and often buying anything was impossible. She and Ezra had had a few lean years as well.

Truthfully, the ranch was well stocked at the moment. She had come to town to pick up a load of feed from the Farmer's Co-Op to tide them over until someone could drive in with the big wagon later in the week. Her other objective was to get out and about town, show people that the twins were doing as well as could be expected. The Kalispell region was large, but there weren't that many people there yet. Those that lived in the region knew everyone else and news traveled fast, especially when it included rumors of an Indian attack on one of Kalispell's most prominent families.

The chime of the bell over the door distracted her from the rack of quilts she had been perusing. She looked up as a young girl entered the store followed by a man. He was just over medium height with dark hair. The man was not young, but she wouldn't consider him old either. Kate guessed the girl to be in her mid-teens. She seemed oddly self-possessed for a teenager, at least on first glance. Kate gave the strangers a welcoming smile, checked the location of the twins, and returned to her browsing.


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