Sammy was chatty on the ride into town. He told Henry all about the animals they had and about his “secret places” on the property.
“Sammy, why don’t you go on into the mercantile and pick out some candy. I’ll be along in a minute,” Henry said when they got into town. He stayed in the wagon, taking the envelope that held the message he wanted to send to his brother from his pocket, while his nephew got down.
“You gonna tell my Pa he’s no good for nothin’?” Sammy asked.
Henry was shocked. “Why would I do that?”
“Because he is.”
Henry was baffled by Sammy’s honesty. “Uh…well…I’ll meet you inside in just a bit.”
Fifteen minutes later, Henry could hear Sammy’s voice carrying to the mercantile entrance as he walked in.
“So you see, Miss, that’s why molasses is better. It’s the flavor.”
“Oh, I see,” the girl standing next to him said.
“Sammy,” Henry called as he walked toward him, “I hope you aren’t bothering anyone.”
“Oh, he’s fine. He’s been entertaining me with his thoughts on the different candies.”
Henry looked at the girl speaking to him, only she wasn’t a girl. She was one of the saloon girls he had shared a meal with two days ago.
“Hello. Still not feeling well?” Henry asked, seeing Lucy’s cheeks were red like they had been that day.
She put her hands up to her cheeks. “H-hello. Oh, no, I’m fine. I…uh…I need to get back to work.” Lucy rushed past Henry, forgetting her package on the counter.
“Lucy,” Mr. DeWitt called.
Henry grabbed the bag and went after her. “Lucy. Hey, Lucy,” he called out. “You forgot your package.”
Lucy stopped just down the walk, where he caught up with her. “Thank you. How did you know my name?” she asked.
“The merchant said it as he tried to catch you before you left.”
“Oh, well, thanks again,” she said as she turned to go.
“My name is Henry,” he reminded her. He could see the red on Lucy’s cheeks had darkened and could see she was nervous.
“Nice to meet you, Henry. I’m Lucy, as you know. Staying in town longer this time?”
“No, I’m not staying at all. My brother’s place is about fifteen miles out. My nephew and I just came to town for a few things.”
“Oh, who’s your brother? Maybe I know the family.”
“Sam Bower. I doubt you know him though.” Henry tried to hide the agitation in his voice.
“Thank you for getting my package to me. Have a good day,” Lucy said and walked off. Henry watched her go, wondering what had gone wrong just then.
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