Authors: Lisa Day
Copyright 2014 Lisa Day
This e-book is a work of
fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events
or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents
are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or
dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely
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This acknowledgment is for The
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Table of contents
Town of Edenville
page five paragraph
Provision four :
Education of the young shall be provided by a
She shall be married to a long time resident of
good standing impeccable reputation from the town of
If the need arises for unforeseen or an immediate
filling of the position arises the unattached males of the
community will step up and perform their civic duty for the good of
One by one the men trudged
into the room as if they marched to their own execution or hanging.
Four of them would see a reprieve before this meeting of the minds
ended. From the chosen group one man's life as he knew it would be
It was one of the first
buildings constructed when the town of Edenville began to take
shape. Outside fair weather with gentle breezes and sunshine
created smiles on everyone not in the room.
Inside, however, five men
squirmed. They each had their own reasons, some good, some not so
A semi-circle of chairs
occupied by seven men. The councilmen of Edenville had business to
see to. They faced the uncomfortable five men sitting in front of
them. The desks of varying sizes had been pushed together into the
rear of the room allowing the space needed for the meeting.
Frederick Calhoun chairman began to speak.
Thomas cleared his throat and
glanced at his brother Keith Kincaid. Sam Weston watched the dust
dance in the sunlight as it filtered through the first of four
window frames on the south side of the room. Justice Foster sat
tracing the threads in his jeans. Calvin Horton picked at his
fingernails. Confirmed bachelors all.
All to soon it was time. Each
man picked a folded paper from the hat. No one could say the whole
affair wasn't above board.
Three of the five men sighed
aloud with relief. Sam and Thomas still hadn't found the courage to
open theirs slips of paper. One of them would soon be married and
that for most of the five men was worse than death.
Thomas mumbled, “For the good
of the town.”
He began to unfold the small
He didn't need to finish Sam
jumped from his seat yelling. “Thank goodness, thank goodness it's
A school marm? He'd knew
someday he'd find the right person and put his single days behind
him. Maybe when he was forty or even fifty, but never ever did he
think he'd be pressed into marrying a school teacher.
He repeated it was for the
betterment of the town.
“You all right brother.”
“Yea, Keith, I'm just
jolly.” Thomas watched his brother struggle to comfort him as the
room emptied. The relief on his brother's face that it wasn't him
who had to comply to the committee reminded
Thomas of the situation he was in, and his stomach
It wasn't until the next
day Thomas came to appreciate he at least had the opportunity to
find his own match. The only requirement was the future bride had
to be qualified for the position. The children of Edenville were
considered valuable assets as they were the town's future.
“So, that's your
plan?” Keith asked.
“Yes, for the
moment. I'm off tomorrow to St Louis and will place an
advertisement in two of that city's finest newspapers.”
Keith's smirk required a
comment as well as his question.
“Yes, I plan to
visit Miss Sally's place while there. You'd expect me to not to.
I'm searching for...” He groaned, “a bride. I ain't married and
certainly not dead. Yet.”
The first day in St Louis
he placed the ads, checked into a hotel, ate dinner, and headed for
Sue Ellen's brothel a home away from home for men. No matter which
girl entertained him, he usually had a good time and stayed well
into the early hours before leaving.
Tonight didn't follow the
usual routine. Thomas Kincaid did something he never did before as
soon as he finished with Sue Ellen he dressed and left without a
Why all of the sudden he
found himself full of discontent confused him.
Miss Southerly had a way
about her a snooty way, and he crossed her off the list. What list?
The list held only contented three names. He laughed silently. This
wasn't suppose to be hard. Where were the single women who had no
choice but to become the homely and respectable teachers of the
growing country? Surly one woman with qualifications to teach and a
likeable enough personality to marry existed in a city the size of
The next victim, er,
potential candidate, sashayed into the room. He didn't remove her
from the list when her cologne entered the room far too many
seconds before she did. He coughed. She fell from grace when she
opened her mouth. Her voice twanged setting his nerves on edge. If
they hadn't been 'his' hotel lobby, he would had stood and left the
area, he used to interview the women, leaving the woman to fend for
Pieces of the torn list
found it way to the red wicker trash bucket sitting beside one of
the lobby's writing desks. The last name on it sent a note
explaining she had accepted another position just two hours
Taking the stage coach back
to Edenville at the stations Thomas switched coaches several times
hoping to meet someone suitable. This strategy added two days to
his journey but added not one candidate for his consideration.
Thomas turned abruptly and sped up his steps. Frederick Calhoun
headed straight for him.
Thomas, wait up, Thomas.”
“Frederick, how are you?”
the search isn't going well.” There was genuine concern in his
voice. Which surprised Thomas for they hadn't been the best of
friends in the past.
Thomas nodded in answer to
the man's question.
don't give up. Not every qualified person will have a teaching
degree or experience. We just need someone educated who can put the
desire to learn in the small ones. Eh?”
He shook the councilman’s
hand when he'd rather had punched the man in the face. Why didn't
the man inform him of this before his went to St. Louis it might
have added more names to his list.
The shade on the
Cattleman’s Association door slowly covered the window announcing
the office was closed.
He needed to get out of
town. A smile crossed his face thinking of the widow Murphy filled
his thoughts. He wondered if she'd be open to a visit. Of the three
widows, he saw from time to time Anita was his favorite. He
considered a few years ago to offer marriage, however, before he
could the woman let him know under no certain circumstance would
she ever marry again.
She had no need for
widowhood left her financially secure. Of the four children, only
one remained in Edenville, and he lived in a cabin on the back of
her property. It was then Thomas learned she had other callers, and
she explained all her earthly needs were taken care. Thank you very
Anita always welcomed him
with a hot meal and an equally hot time in her bed. Her
administrations to Thomas' baser needs were what kept him from
pursuing a marriage partner sooner.
Anita your meals are always something special.” Thomas crooned
while thinking of the pleasure they'd be sharing in a little
Thomas was a man who liked
his sexual encounters. The idea of having a warm and willing
partner every night hid deep within his brain as soon as it
It surprised him when he
left early again breaking his normal routine. In the wee early
morning hours he returned home. Thomas sat behind his desk looking
out of the window as the first light touched the sky. The drink he
poured an hour ago still remained in his hand. The discontent, he
felt earlier in the week again covered him like an itchy wool
Finding out the thoughts of
waking everyday with someone caring about him was unsettling
enough. The rub was he seemed to like the idea and that scared him
to the point of breaking out in a cold sweat.
The mantle clock chimed the
seventh hour of the day. The drink forgotten sat on the desk's
blotter. Thomas moved to the doorway, reached for his coat that
hung on the hook and walked his way into the town searching out
The eatery was another one
of those buildings from the beginning of time. It felt more like
home than a business. Everyone new everyone else except when the
stage line stopped allowing its passengers a reprieve from the
jostling ride and offered them a chance for a hot meal.
Justice Foster sat across
from Thomas. He didn't even try to hid the happy fact that he
wasn't the one to be sacrificed on the alter of matrimony for the
good of the town.
where the forefather brains were when they wrote the town charter,”
were different back then. When the town had men four to one ratio
over the women. Just how much teaching do you think got done with a
single woman being courted night and day?” Justice smiled showing
the empty space where his two front teeth used to be. “And when the
woman a looker or homely as a cow picked one. They'd pack up and
move out of town.”
they got tried of finding new teachers time and again, but...”
Thomas' words were left hanging in the air. Justice turned to see
what caught his friend’s undivided attention.
Thomas stood, “Excuse
What ever Justice said
after that wasn't heard by the man who now moved toward the back of
Thomas cleared his throat.
The woman sitting at the rear table didn't respond.
Slowly as if the
interruption was definitely an interruption the woman raised her
head and stared.
me. But, are you reading a book actually written in French?”
Smooth Thomas smooth
berated himself. He was about to forgive himself for sounding like
an idiot when he now was stunned speechless by her eyes. He closed
his dangling open month so fast he teeth snapped shut with a