Chapter 40

Where do the weeks go?  I surely don’t know.  Perhaps if I only knew how to sew, I could stitch myself to the days, and then they’d go ever so slow…

None of that has anything to do with why you are here.  So, let’s get to it!

(For catching up purposes, all prior chapters can be found here.)


“Good afternoon Miss Marsch.”  My god, but she is lovely.

Emmalou was tilling the garden behind her small home, her hair was pulled into a pony tail, and she was wearing a striking sun dress protected by an oversized apron that hung loosely so she could re-position it as needed.  The sun seemed to shine only on her.  His field of vision shrunk and Brig was struck by a disconcerting sense of everything else but Miss Marsch in her little pool of sunshine fading away.  He was floating, and dizzy, and weak, and elated all at the same time.

Suddenly, the sight in front of him shifted and Emmalou was no longer kneeling in her garden.  She was rising to greet him, smiling, racing towards him with her arms outstretched…

Brig had to look away to clear his head of the vision.  Brig Coyle, you are a fool.  What are you doing?  And what are you thinking?

“Well, good afternoon Mr. Coyle,” she responded.  “It’s good to see you on this side of the bars for a change.”  And all cleaned up too.

He chuckled.  He couldn’t help it.  “It’s good to be on this side of them.”

Kneeling on the apron, her right hand holding a small trowel and her left hand still holding the last weed she had pulled, Emmalou looked at Brig expectantly, curiously.  Why had Brig Coyle come calling?  She thought she knew but wouldn’t allow herself to presume anything.  Until she heard it from his lips she would keep herself, her thoughts, and her emotions in the dark.

Her unflinching, uncompromising, confident gaze unnerved Brig.  He had stared down the wrong end of countless firearms, held by the scourges of the world who’s glares would send children running to hide in their mother’s skirts, would send normal men scurrying in the opposite direction, but he could not hold hers.  Brig cleared his throat and turned away for the second time in quick succession.

He chuckled again, at himself this time, at the fool he was being.  She was beautiful, he definitely felt some sort of stirrings for her, but those were not reason to turn away.  Those were all the more reasons to find her gaze, hold it, and drink in every last glorious second of being in her presence.  And find more opportunities to be in her presence.

”I was wondering if you’d care to join me for dinner this evening?”  He didn’t stammer or stutter, but he did keep it straight on point.  No need to muddle things up with extra words.

Emmalou tilted her head ever so slightly to the left and appraised the man who stood before her.  He was not who she had first seen him as when he went walking down her street.  He was not who she had remembered encountering all the years ago.  Who is Brig Coyle?

On the inside she was in turmoil, uncertain about her own feelings and uncertain of how to proceed.  Would it be a slap in the face of the people from my past who were hurt by this man if I took an interest in him?  Can people truly change that much?  Does it matter either way, as just thinking things over like this means I have already taken an interest in him?

The seconds ticked by, Brig never looked away, and she didn’t budge from her spot.  The sun continued to shine down on them both, but it did seem to take special interest in her.  The light played with her hair, danced on her skin, and encased her in a warm glow.

Brig smiled at her.  Again, he couldn’t help it.  The smile was warm, inviting, and honest.  You may be thinking that’s an interesting way to describe a smile, but think about it a bit more and you’ll understand.

“Alright, Mr. Coyle, what did you have in mind?”

Brig’s smile deepened, and then twisted a bit at the corners as a small amount of playfulness, mischief, crept in.  Emmalou scowled at him, and then they both laughed.

“Well, I think I’ve found a spot that will be pretty nice for a picnic style meal, if you are up for a bit of an adventure.”

“First you are asking me to dinner, and now you are changing it to an ‘adventure.’  I do believe I’m going to have keep my eyes on you.”

That’s only fair.  I’ll be keeping my eye on you.  Have been actually, and will continue to do so.  Brig almost said these thoughts out loud but, uncertain of how they would be received, he managed to keep them to himself.

“I just need to finish up here,” Emmalou continued, “and then get cleaned up a bit.  If you come back around in an hour I should be ready for this adventure.  But don’t you dare come a minute early or you will certainly get an earful, understood?”


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