Disclaimer: Own them? Nope. Wealthy due to 'Bordertown' royalties? Nope. Is the opposite true in all my fantasies? Yep.

Une Conversation

by Linda Bindner

A/N: Both Marie and Suzanne Dumont speak French, obviously. When alone together, it makes sense that they would slip into their native language. I could try to write this story in French for the sake of authenticity, but then anybody who reads this story and speaks French would spend the rest of the day laughing hysterically. For my sanity as well as yours, I'll write this in English and we'll just say that they're speaking French. That way, we'll all be a lot happier.


Marie closed the door behind her, firmly shutting out the cheery light from the kitchen of her house so that she and her mother-in-law were surrounded by darkness. As a testimony to that darkness, Suzanne's eyes were irresistibly drawn to the sky overhead.

“I envy you the bright stars you have in Bordertown. We never see something this beautiful in Montreal.”

“There are too many lights, I suppose.”

“I do wish you and Jacques had stayed in Montreal.”

“Jacques had no wish to live in a large city, and neither did I - you know that.”

“But to come all the way out here, at the end of civilization? You are so far away!”

“Not so far. From what I hear, the new rail system travels all across Canada. That will make visiting very simple. You'll see.”

“But then you will be married soon to your Marshal, and have no time for old people like us.”

“I will always have time for you. Just because I'm getting married doesn't mean I'm vanishing. You'll see me more than you want. And Lucy needs a Grandma.”

“That's what your Marshal said. I didn't believe him, but to hear the same from you - it fills my heart with gladness. Now, where are we going?”

“To the church, where the town's women want to give me a party for getting married.”

“A party? I thought you would just get married and be over it, as the Americans say.”

“If it were up to me, I would marry Jack tonight while everyone is sleeping.”

“Do you mean enfuir?"

“Wouldn't that be a surprise? But then the townspeople would feel cheated out of a good wedding. And I did say that I would marry him as soon as they put walls on the church. I must keep to what I said.”

“Something tells me that your Marshal would not mind marrying tonight.”

“Perhaps you're right. But he's not 'my Marshal.'”

“He protects you when you are there, and is lost when you are not. He is your Marshal.”

“Perhaps, but he's everyone's Marshal.”

“No. I watched him all day - he was most... how do you say?... unhappy - cranky - irritable...”

“Grumpy?”

“Yes, that's it!”

“Some say Jack is grumpy all the time. Today was no different.”

“Really? I found him to be quite charming.”

Jack? Are you sure you aren't confusing him with Corporal Bennett?”

“Ah, yes, if I had to choose between them, I would have expected you to marry him.”

“Why is it that everyone thinks I should marry Clive?”

“I said that I expected you to. I did not say that you should.”

“Then you're the first.”

“But you do not love Corporal Bennett.”

“How do you know?”

“A mother knows. Just like I could tell that you did not love Jacques.”

“What? I never said...”

“Of course you didn't. And neither did he. But it was why I worried so much when you left Montreal to live here.”

“They needed a doctor here. That's why we came.”

“Yes, I remember. But we were speaking of your Marshal. He is good to Lucy, very respectful, and he loves you very much. Ah, you smile. You blush too?”

“Yes, I blush. I... did not... think to love him.”

“Yet you do. It will be good, and you will be very happy.”

“I worry about his job. Being Marshal is dangerous. It's why the people pay him so well.”

“Jacques was always surrounded by sick people. Did you worry that his job was too dangerous?”

“No, of course not. I was there, too.”

“I worried about you both. You would die out here in the wilderness, alone, and I could not reach you. But the trains change that, as you say.”

“Do you worry now? I am the town's doctor.”

“My dear, I do not worry, because I know your Marshal will not let anything happen to you.”

“My Marshal... don't let him hear you say that.”

“It would be worse if your Corporal heard me say that.”

“Don't tease. He's no more my Corporal than Jack is my Marshal.”

“You have both men wrapped around your finger, my dear.”

“I don't want them wrapped around my finger.”

“That is where men are meant to be... but don't tell them I said that. Charles will never forgive me.”

“Charles... Is he always as stubborn as he was yesterday?”

“Yesterday, he was more unhappy than stubborn.”

“As Jack would say, 'Ya coulda fooled me!'”

“Yes, Charles can be hard to live with. He was unhappy because you will marry again.”

“Why? I thought he would be happy for me.”

“Charles likes you, my dear. You are the daughter we never had. If you marry, you go away - he's afraid of losing you.”

“He shows it very strangely.”

“Your tone is so unforgiving! I thought the idea of a medical clinic pleased you.”

“I am pleased about the clinic, but Jack doesn't have time to help build a house. I'm afraid that I put too much on him.”

“If you did, he would say so.”

“I'm not sure he would.”

“But this does make you happy, yes?”

“Ye-es.”

“You hesitate. What is it, my dear?”

“I sold the house to Clive so that neither Charles nor I would own the house. That seemed fair. But now I worry that by selling the store, I just cut my salary by half.”

“But you said that your Marshal is well paid. Won't he make enough for both of you?

“He will, but he is so generous that I'm afraid he will give it all away, and we won't have any money when we need it.”

“Ah. Then save some, but make sure to tell him. I saved money. When Charles accidentally found it, he was certain I was saving it to leave him. It was the biggest fight we've ever had. So make sure to tell your Marshal what you are doing right away, but don't tell him where you are keeping it. He can't spend what he can't find.”

“He won't spend it, he'll give it away!”

“He's generous then. It could be worse, my dear. He doesn't drink?”

“No.”

“He cares for Lucy.”

“Yes he does.”

“Your Corporal says he is good with his gun: 'The best I've seen,' he said.”

“Clive said that?”

“He did. Then he made me promise to walk on nails if I ever tell anybody. But you don't count. You made me tell you.”

“I made you?”

“Please indulge an old woman. Now, how far is this church, did you say?”

“Right over there. The building with all the lights.”

“Ah, all those lights. I thought that was the saloon.”

“Don't tell Joanna Radway you thought that! She will cut you with an ax for calling her Temperance Society Meeting a saloon!”

“A temperance meeting? Perhaps I should not have had that glass of wine.”

“I'm glad you did. She will squirm when she smells the alcohol.”

“Ah, Marie! You are a naughty girl!”

“And you are naughty old woman!”

“I am a dirty old woman. Never forget that.”

“A dirty woman who drinks wine!”

“Yes, I like my wine.”

“There will be no wine at the party tonight.”

“Pity. What is a party without wine?”

“We should serve wine at the wedding party?”

“Getting married is a good reason to celebrate.”

“Then I will be the next person in Jack's jail!”

“You could keep company with that lovely gentleman with the headache.”

“I will tell Artemus that you think he's a lovely gentleman! No, I will tell Charles!”

“My dear, husbands just think they know everything. It's the wives who really know.”

“I'll laugh about that all night!”

“Secrets often make one laugh.”

“We're here. Be careful of the third step - it's loose.”

“The walls go up as the steps fall down.”

“Welcome to Bordertown!”


The End


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