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Sparkling Bit of News

 
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Bridget McAlister
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 09 Jul 2016
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Can Be Found: Oakham Mount Ranch
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:07 pm    Post subject: Sparkling Bit of News Reply with quote

To go from virtual serfdom to being landed gentry was the kind of rags to riches ideal that was only possible on Rhy'Din. The fact that Sam McAlister had done it and was succeeding where his predecessor had failed, spoke volumes not only about his character, but about the character of the people he had around him as his closest friends and family. From his fiery wife to the friends who had rallied around to build a working team to lead the day to day of Oakham Mount Ranch, what Sam had built around himself was more a family than a business.

The yard rang with the sound of hammers today; the promised new build that would house the hands and their families was beginning to go up now that spring had officially sprung. The ranchers were preparing for the cattle drive that would bring in the profits for the year; the staff at the main house were airing every bit of linen they could find. The whole place rang with noise and bustle, with the sound of people enjoying their work, something almost unheard of at the Mount.

And in the midst of all this, Bridget came walking, standing beneath the bare bones timber-work of the new build to cup her hands about her mouth and amplify what was an already impressive vocal volume. "Samuel!"

Sam McAlister wasn't the kind of man who stood on the sidelines and shouted orders. He was the kind of man who rolled up his sleeves and got his hands as dirty as anyone, unafraid of a little hard work. His men respected him more for it, and he felt more like one of them, rather than the man who had come before him and who had ruled the ranch with an iron hand. As it happened, he was in the middle of sawing a hunk of wood when his wife called, but it was one of the hands who pointed it out, as his attention was focused on the task at hand. He paused in his sawing to look over at his wife, who thankfully had not yet put her hands on her hips or glared at him scornfully.

"Yes, dear?" he asked, brushing sawdust from his hands as he made his approach.

Luckily for him, he'd married a woman who preferred to get her hands dirty than sit around watching other people do it for her. Bridget smiled as he approached her, hugging her arms about herself in her shawl to keep off the faint chill of the breeze. "You know you missed lunch?" she pointed out to him in amusement.

"Did I?" he asked, looking around as if it was someone else's fault, other than his own, or maybe waiting for someone to defend him. What had he been doing when everyone else had taken lunch? Still working probably or doing some chore or other. He still couldn't quite seem to get used to the idea that he was the boss now, not just a hired hand. "I'm sorry. No wonder I'm so hungry!" he added with an apologetic grin.

"Thought you might be," she laughed, seizing his hand to pull him away. As far as she knew, Austin had tried to get him to abandon his work when the lunch bell went, but had given up after three tries. Just as well she knew her man as well as she did. "Come away inside and feed yourself. Can't have you fainting away when I talk."

"Oh, are you planning on talking a lot?" he asked as she tugged him along back toward the house. "Too much talking puts me to sleep, you know," he teased, that grin not fading from his face. He didn't recall Austin trying to get him to stop working, but that didn't mean he hadn't tried. It wasn't that Sam had purposely ignored him, so much as the fact that he'd just been busy.

She paused to slap him soundly in the stomach for that tease, laughing at how bold he'd become to tease her like that in the months since they'd been wed. He'd treated her like glass to begin with; these days, he was more likely to give as good as he got. "Try and stay awake, what I've to say needs your attention, husband," she informed him, pulling him up over the porch.

"Yes, ma'am," he replied obediently, though the hint of a smirk remained on his face. "But where's lunch?" he asked, boots thumping against the stairs as he followed her onto the porch. Now that she'd mentioned food, he realized just how hungry he really was.

"In your study, you ridiculous sausage of a man," she informed him cheerfully. Mrs Prudey had been quite insistent about setting a healthy portion aside for Sam; their cook had become one of the most mothering woman Bridget had ever met since they'd taken over ownership of the place.

"Sausage?" he echoed with a grin. "Is that what's for lunch or what you'd like to see later?" he teased further, waggling his brows at her, obviously in a good mood. And why shouldn't he be? He wasn't just in charge of the ranch; he owned it. He was surrounded by friends, some of whom he considered family, and he had the prettiest wife in all Rhy'Din. Sam McAlister certainly didn't have much to complain about these days, and every reason to be happy.

"Oh, you ..." She didn't have another fond insult to hand for him, blushing crimson to the tips of her ears at the way he had twisted her words into something she had definitely not intended. She was very much a product of her time, after all, and even the working classes wouldn't have teased like this so openly in 1912. "If I don't see it later, I'll be wondering why you're wearing your shorts in the bath."

"Oh, are we planning on scrubbing each other's backs later?" he teased back, sliding his arms around her as they came to a halt upon the porch, in full view of anyone who might be watching. Now that they were married and the master and mistress of the ranch, he didn't much care who saw what or what they thought.

"Well, there's certain parts of you I wouldn't take a scrubbing brush to," she laughed, easing into his arms as he drew his own about her. They'd seemed so unlikely to succeed when he'd married her - indeed, he'd married her only because Jem had told him to, just to give her a little more protection against the lecherous designs of a man now dead. "Like there's parts of me you've to be mindful of for a while."

"Just for a while?" he asked, assuming she was teasing him again and thinking nothing strange about her comment. They'd become comfortable enough with each other in the past few months to tease one another without risking any hurt feelings. Even the hands had noticed how much things had changed at the ranch since Sam and Bridget had taken over.

Her smile grew to a grin. "Aye, for about seven or eight months," she told him, almost gleeful in the fact that he had either not noticed something quite important not happening last month, or that he wasn't paying attention to what she was saying. "O'course, you'll want to be gentle after that, too, but you'll likely be too tired to care."

Sam McAlister wasn't the brightest of men, nor was he the stupidest, but from the look on his face, the wheels in his head were turning as he tried to sort out what she was telling him. "Seven or eight months?" he echoed, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

"Mmhmm." Bridget nodded, the sparkle in her eyes encouraging him to get there as he thought it over. "Remember a promise I made you when we were first wed, that we'd have a family within two years? Seems as though you're a little more virile than we thought."
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Bridget McAlister
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 09 Jul 2016
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Can Be Found: Oakham Mount Ranch
3398.58 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"A family?" he echoed, brows arching upwards, even as his gaze drifting downwards to the ares of her middle. He hadn't noticed anything different, nor had he paid too much attention to her cycles. As far as he was concerned, that was a woman's business; but now that she mentioned it, it had been a while since it had been her time of the month, at least as far as he could figure it. "Are you ... you know ..." he stammered uncertainly.

She watched the comprehension dawn on his face, laughing as his gaze tripped down to her waist. "Well, it won't show for a while yet," she admitted in amusement, her smile wide and warm on her face. "But aye. You're a father, Sam."

"I am?" he said, the implications of her news taking a minute to sink into his brain, before a wide grin spread across his face. With his arms already around her waist, he picked her up off the porch and spun her around, whooping with excitement, loud enough to wake the dead - or at least draw the attention of anyone within hearing range.

She let out a loud yelp as he hoisted her off her feet, clinging on for dear life as she was spun about, giggling along with his whooping celebration. They certainly drew the eye; even in the midst of the noise and bustle of the yard, people stopped to look over at their employers in amused confusion. It was rare to see Sam acting out like that; rarer still that Bridget let herself be carried along with him.

If she was hoping to keep the news a secret a while longer, she probably shouldn't have told him, as he was not only whooping now but shouting. "Did you hear that? I'm gonna be a father! Woohoo!" he exclaimed, whooping again, before at last setting her down on her feet, beaming a grin from ear to ear.

Congratulations poured in from across the yard and stables, shouts of "well done" and "good for you" mingling with cheers before the men and women of the Mount got back on with their work. They'd celebrate later, when the work was done. For herself, Bridget was breathless with laughter by the time he put her down, giggling as she leaned against him. "So ... you're pleased then?"

"Pleased?" he echoed, looking a little incredulous that she'd even think to ask him that. "I'm ... overjoyed, ecstatic, over the moon with happiness!" he said, trying to think of all the words he knew to describe his feelings about becoming a father. But that smile faded a moment as he realized she might not feel the same. "What about you?" he asked, uncertainly again, hoping she was happy about it, too. As unexpected as it was, as far as he was concerned, it was good news.

"Do I look unhappy?" she asked, showing him her bright smile. How could he possibly think she wasn't happy about this? When they'd married, she'd promised him a family of his own, and now they'd managed to create one, together. Oakham Mount would have a proper family in charge of its future, children raised within its halls the way he should have been in the first place. "I've been wantin' to tell you for a couple of weeks, but there's these test things now, and I thought I should check with one of those first."

"Test things?" he asked, not really knowing much about pregnancy or babies, in general, though that did little to deflate his enthusiasm. "Have you seen the midwife yet?" he asked, wondering she'd shared the news with Jem or Mrs. Prudey already. He wouldn't blame her if she had. This was women's business, after all.

She shook her head, laughing at his question. "I don't know any midwives around here," she pointed out through her laughter. "And you still need to eat lunch, you know." She poked his stomach fondly. "You're a da now, you need to keep up your strength."

"But is everything okay?" he asked, looking a little bit worried as he touched his fingers to her belly, which didn't seem to have changed much, at least as far as he could tell.

"Aye, I'm well," she promised him, letting him brush his fingers to her belly, still flat and showing no sign of the life within. "There'll be no sign for a good few weeks yet, love. I've only missed one month, after all." Her fingers stroked against his cheek tenderly. "You'll be holding your son or daughter by Christmas."

That frown turned to a soft smile, his arms going around her again to pull her close. "I can't believe it. We're really having a baby," he said, clearly not having expected this. Oh, he'd figured they'd start a family someday, but he hadn't been expecting to find out that day had already come. "I love you, Bridge," he told her, his voice gentling before touching an affectionate kiss to the top of her head.

She nestled into his arms, some part of her humming with delight at his pleasure in her news, at the words that meant so much to hear. To have love in her marriage was a dream she'd never thought would come true, and yet here it was. Here he was, her wonderful man who loved her. "Love you back, Sam," she promised him softly, squeezing her arms about his waist as he held her close.

"We're really gonna have a baby," he said one last time, incredulous and having a hard time believing it. His entire life had changed, ever since this sweet flower of a woman had come into his life. "Does Jem or Mrs Prudey know yet?" he asked, after a moment of quiet just holding her close.

Bridget laughed, tilting her head back to look up at him. "Well, they didn't know before you yelled it to the four winds," she told him cheerfully. "I asked Dani to get me a test I could do to make sure, since she's in and out of the city every day. She kept it a secret for me. I wanted you to be the first one to know when I was sure."

"Well, we best tell them then," he said, that grin back on his face, though it was likely they knew by now, as well as everyone else within hearing distance of his whooping and hollering.

"After you've eaten," she reminded him, drumming her fingers against his back. "I'll not give up on that just because you're grinning at me the way you do when you're about to throw me on the bed, you know."

"That's a different kinda hunger, darlin'," he reminded her with a grin, touching a soft kiss to her lips before pulling away so that he could satisfy the hunger that was making his stomach grumble in complaint.

She laughed softly, answering his kiss with her own before she let him go, tucking her fingers between his as she gave him a gentle tug inside. "Should it worry me that you grin at food the same way you grin at me, then?" she asked innocently, drawing him through the wide foyer toward his study.

"Not unless you're jealous of a sandwich," he replied, lifting her hand to his lips for a kiss in a rare gallant gesture. He was teasing, of course. The way he moaned over a sandwich was much different than the way he moaned over her.

"Ever you make me jealous of a sandwich, best be wary what's in the next one," she warned fondly, twisting her hand out of his grasp to bop a fingertip against his nose. She paused, pushing open the study door. "In, and eat, Mr. McAlister."

He laughed, though he wouldn't put it past her to make good on her threat. "Yes, ma'am," he told her, like the obedient husband he was. He swept the hat from his head and wiped his brow with a sleeve, before making his way into the study to enjoy a long-overdue lunch.
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Bridget McAlister
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Joined: 09 Jul 2016
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Can Be Found: Oakham Mount Ranch
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For once, she didn't abandon him to his meal, following him inside to settle down in the rocking chair she'd insisted on setting up by the window. It said a lot about her background that she considered owning a rocking chair a luxury, when they owned the entire house, ranch, and the land surrounding it. "Did you decide whether you're goin' on the drive with the lads?" she asked mildly, reaching down to exhume her knitting from beneath the chair. "Or do you trust Austin to do it for you?"

"'Course I trust Austin. That ain't the problem," Sam said, hanging his hat on a hook before sinking into a chair and taking up his sandwich. It only took a few bites before he'd almost gobbled it all down. "Problem is ..." he started, pausing a moment to chew and swallow. "... they 'spect to see me there." But only because he'd always been there before. Now that he was no longer merely a hand, no one would blame him if he stayed behind.

"Who expects it?" she asked curiously. "Won't be the hands, they know you've more than the cattle on your mind these days. Are you talkin' about the buyers, love?" Click, click went the knitting needles, and if he was paying attention, he'd realize how the garment she was knitting - and had been for about a week - was definitely too small for anyone they knew.

His brows furrowed thoughtfully as he considered that. Now that he was the ranch's owner and not just a hand, it was his job to pay salaries and make sure things were running smoothly, and he couldn't very well do that if he was off on a cattle drive with the boys. No, it seemed those days were over, though unlike his predecessor, he wasn't afraid of getting his hands dirty. "I reckon Austin can handle things well enough," he told her. In a way, he was going to miss it, and yet, he had more than enough to do here and more than enough reason to stay.

"Aye, and there's no reason you can't be in town for the auctions," she pointed out in amusement. "You just don't have to be a part of the drive. Dani'd give you a ride in that honking contraption of hers if you asked her nicely, I reckon." They had yet to convince Bridget that Dani's van, gifted to her by Austin and Jem when she'd got a job near the city, was safe to travel in.

It wouldn't be the first or last time Sam had traveled in something with wheels and an engine, though he preferred to travel on horseback. Horses, he'd observed, weren't likely to break down, get a flat tire, or run out of gasoline, but he had to admit that automobiles had their uses. "Maybe," he said, noncommittally. "But I don't want Austin to think I don't trust him."

Bridget raised a brow as she smiled at him. "So talk to him about it," she suggested. "He's your manager or whatever he is. Either you go, or you don't, but if you don't go, then Jem'll have to visit the auctions. I don't know much about business, love, but even I know the manager or the owner shows up to see how the profits are goin'."

"Why would Jem have to go if Austin is there?" Sam asked, turning to face her and glancing at last at the piece of knitting in her hands. He'd never paid too much attention to her knitting, as that was, once again, women's business, but it seemed to him that whatever she was knitting was a little on the small side.

"She is your business partner, isn't she?" Bridget asked, confusion flaring on her face. "Or is she not equal in the business? I don't understand these things, love. I'm just a maid who got lucky."

"You're right," he said, frowning again as he wondered what he was supposed to do while most everyone else was off auctioning off the herd. "Reckon I'll just have to stay behind and make myself busy here." It had only been a few months since he'd become the so-called boss, after all, and he was still getting used to the idea.

She watched his expression change, trying to school her own expression as her heart sank. She'd been hoping for a few days of his time, just to be with him and not worry about giving orders or feeding all the hands or mediating the inevitable arguments. But it meant so much to him to go. "Love, if you want to go, then go," she told him softly. "There's nothin' holdin' you here. You are in charge, after all."

What she had been hoping for hadn't occurred to him yet. He was still trying to sort out what was expected of him in his new role, and it wasn't always easy for him to hand out orders, when he was used to doing things himself. He looked over at her a moment, his gaze sliding again to the knitting in her hands, feeling torn between his duty as a ranch owner and that of a husband and father-to-be. "What're you knitting?" he asked, changing the subject, if only momentarily.

The clicking of her needles paused as she glanced up, a soft smile on her face as she straightened out what she was working on and reached into the basket for the other completed parts. It was a very small cardigan, only the back on her needles at present, but the sleeves were finished already. "Our little one is coming to us in winter," she pointed out. "Best they don't get cold, don't you think?"

Sam felt his heart skip a beat at the thought of them having a child. A little one of their own - son or daughter, it didn't matter which. He smiled again at the thought of that and realized that this was what he'd longed for more than anything else. More than owning the ranch, certainly more than going to a cattle auction. There would be plenty of auctions in the future. "Do you think it will be a boy or a girl?" he asked from where he sat at the table. There was far too much distance between them, but there was only one rocking chair.

"I don't know," she told him truthfully, bending down to tuck her knitting back into the basket as she smiled. "I'd like to give you a son, but there'll be others too. Could be we'll have a house filled with little ones in a few years' time."

"That's a nice thought," he said, that soft smile still in place on his face. A house full of children. He wondered what Jem and Mrs. Prudey would think about that. Before long, they'd make this house a real home. The only problem was that they might run out of room. "Come here, darlin'," he said, patting his lap, beckoning her to him. "You're too far away."

He still hadn't worked out that calling her "darlin'" was the most romantic thing he could do. There was just something about the way he said it - the fondness, the accent, knowing it was just for her. It was the one word guaranteed to melt his fierce wife, even in the middle of an argument. "How many d'you want?" she asked him teasingly, pushing onto her feet to go to him without a second thought, curling her arms about his neck as she brushed a kiss to his nose.

"One of each would be nice, but it don't matter so long as they're healthy," he replied, smiling at the way she kissed his nose. He didn't make any mention of the risk involved in having a child; after all, this was Rhy'Din, and there were plenty of ways to ensure her safety. "Yanno, I reckon Austin and Jem can handle the auction without me. What do you think?" he asked, his arms circling around her waist.

"Just one?" she teased, stroking one fingertip along the line of his jaw. "Where's that ambition that had you wantin' to buy a ranch of your own when we got wed?" Grinning, she nestled into the circle of his arms, nose to nose with him. "There won't be so many people left on the Mount while they're gone," she mused, feigning a need to consider it as her lips brushed his. "We might have to find a way to amuse ourselves all alone."
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Bridget McAlister
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 09 Jul 2016
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Can Be Found: Oakham Mount Ranch
3398.58 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That thought had occurred to him, too, and was part of the reason he'd changed his mind. "Shame," he said, with a brush of his lips against hers a moment before resting his forehead against hers. "Reckon we'll just have to make do." Of course, Mrs. Prudey would probably stay behind, but she was unlikely to do anything to discourage them from enjoying the solitude.

"Maybe we could send Mrs. Prudey off to visit her relatives for a few days," Bridget added in amusement. "Let me do the cooking for once." She grinned back at him, fond and comfortable. Ownership of the kitchen was an ongoing struggle, made worse by the fact that Mrs. Prudey insisted that the Brambles were going about it wrong, letting Marin and Evan use their own kitchen whenever they needed to.

Sam chuckled at the thought of that - not of Bridget cooking so much as sending Mrs. Prudey off, knowing they'd have to fend for themselves for a few days. "You reckon she'd be agreeable to that?" he asked, even though there wasn't much the woman could do if he insisted. After all, he had become her employer.

"She will if I use that telephone contraption and ask her daughter to invite her to stay for a few days," Bridget grinned wickedly. She knew a thing or two about manipulating busy women into taking a few days off - it had been done to her a time or two in the past, and she hadn't even had a grown daughter and grandchildren to take time off for.

"I reckon that's a plan, then," Sam agreed, smiling at the thought of having a few days alone with his wife without having to worry about anyone distracting them. There would still be chores that needed to be done, but with the hands and the herd dispersed, the two of them should be able to manage on their own.

"So long as your friends don't try to fill our time, thinking we'll be bored here on our own," she added with a faint smirk. She liked Evan and Marin a great deal, and the others from the Brambles, but Marin had a tendency to just show up and spend hours visiting, usually without warning.

"We'll tell them we're on our honeymoon," Sam suggested, since they'd never really had more than a half a day to properly celebrate getting married. He had a feeling if he told Marin what they had planned, she'd understand and maybe even help make it memorable.

"Oh, really?" The words might have been drawled in slow amusement, but the bright sparkle in her eyes proved that she liked the idea of that. People of her class didn't get honeymoons; she'd never felt the lack of it. But having the leisure to enjoy and celebrate being married, being in love ... that was special.

They didn't need a proper honeymoon with all the frills in order to celebrate their wedding, but he liked the idea of a few days alone, and he was pretty sure Jem and Austin and even Mrs. Prudey couldn't deny them that. "Someday I'll give you a proper honeymoon, Mrs. McAlister," Sam promised, touching his nose to hers with a playful sparkle in his eyes.

Her smile touched his tenderly. "Why do I need a proper honeymoon?" she murmured. "I've got you." And in just a few months, they'd have someone else to fill their time and their days, to remind them that being together was the best thing that could have happened to either of them.

What more could they really ask for?
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