Fiction:Taking Chances on Lost Men (2)

William Weldon sobers at the prospect of Thankful Crenshaw spending the night after her SURPRISE VISIT

“I’ll just wash my face at least,” Thankful said, moving toward the wash basin in William’s filthy room above the saloon.

“Let me go fetch fresh water.” William grabbed the basin before she could see the contents. He took a while to scrub it clean in the yard near the water barrel. The saloon keeper had pity on him so William brought back a lemonade drink, on credit, for Thankful and found her sifting through the drawings and maps he had hidden.

“Thankful, those are nothing. Please, take this drink.”

She glanced up at William with her big eyes but wasn’t listening. “Willy, when did you get so good at people?”

“Thankful, you’ve come all this way to snoop? Let me have those back. The colors are off. My paints aren’t very good.”

“They’re wonderful. Will you sell them?”

William tried to pry them away from her. “I do sell some to magazines. Now let me have them.”

“So why were they crumpled behind a table? Aren’t you afraid of ruining them? And look at this lovely map—what’s it for?”

“Oh, that was just something Captain Bourke wanted from me, but it’s too late now.”

“You mean the officer who invited you here asked for something and you didn’t deliver it?” Thankful shook her head and clicked her tongue at him with deep concern. “What will that say about you?”

“Hey, I don’t give a damn what it says about me! And what business is it of yours? Are you sure my parents didn’t send you?”

“No one sends me anywhere, Mr. William Weldon. I’m surprised at you. Drinking in the morning and leaving promises undone. That’s not the Willy I know.”

“First off, it’s almost 12 o’clock and a man can drink when he wants to.”

“A man finishes his work first.”

“I have finished my work! It’s not a regular thing . . .”

“Maybe it would be if you gave in your assignments on time.”

William scratched his head again, trying to hold his temper. “You’re not my teacher! That stupid map took me weeks and it was never right—and I thought—I should check the place names again and well, it just didn’t get done. The army has its own cartographers, anyhow.”

“You’re all rough around the edges now, William, but I know you’re just afraid Mr. Bourke won’t like it much. I’ll take it to him.”

William pulled it from Thankful with force this time. “Bourke isn’t here at the moment, and he’s less than happy with me over some foolish things.”

“Oh, so you were thrown from the army like your poor father?”

“My father wasn’t thrown from the army—though he should have been. I was NEVER in the army, you remember. Only for a visit. No one wanted to know me so . . . say, what are you smiling about?”

“You paint yourself as a right and true martyr. It tickles me.”

William glared at her. “How long have you been here? It feels like years and I’ve got— “

“A headache, I know. I know you better than you think, Willy,” Thankful laughed in adorable smugness.

“It’s Bill, I told you,” William said admiring her.

Thankful shook her head and went back to perusing the drawings and came upon a landscape. It was the prairie after a storm in late summer.

“I did that on the way out—for my father.”

“Why didn’t you send it? I don’t know much about real art, but it’s lovely and melancholy all the same.”

“So you think of it as real art?” William asked.

“Why, of course! Not like those awful paintings of bowls of peaches Mama buys up. Sometimes I feel I’ve grown up in a rotten fruit market.”

William nodded with a grin, remembering how his father used to make fun of the still life paintings at the Crenshaw home, but then his father knew nothing of art.

“Willy, your father would love this, I bet.”

“No, it’s too sad, and he likes to be happy all the time now,” William said, mocking his father’s tone.

“Is that a bad thing?” Thankful continued to admire the drawings until she found the nude prostitutes in acrobatic positions.

“William Weldon, so this is why you move to town? To frolic with filthy whores? I am so ashamed of you! What would everyone at home say? You’ve turned so bad. And why would you let me see these horrible drawings?”

“I didn’t! You took them. You Crenshaws try to run other people’s lives. I thought I had escaped that. How did you find me anyway?”

“Your father, he told me when I asked.

“He knew you were coming?”

“No, of course not, you scalawag. I told him I’d write you now and again so you wouldn’t be lonely.”

“I’m not lonely. I have friends enough,” William replied rubbing his scruffy chin.

“You just told me that no one liked you—unless you consider low women with their legs spread . . .”

“Thankful, don’t talk like that!”

She laughed. “I’ve had brothers to educate me. I’ve seen a woman’s body—I have one, you know.”

William pulled the papers away from her and tore them apart. “I don’t want to hear this. This whole day has me on nerve’s end.”

Excerpted from WEARY OF RUNNING. Read more about Buck Crenshaw and his misadventures when you buy the book today!

“The second installment in The Tenafly Road Series definitely did not disappoint. With the introduction of new characters and the return of familiar ones, Weary of Running made for an exciting read. The protagonist, Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. The story ranges from love and romance to questions of faith and morality. It does all this without being preachy and explores many angles of different aspects of life. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.” Amazon Review

“Buck Crenshaw is my favorite dysfunctional lovable character.”

PART ONE HERE

PART TWO HERE

PART THREE HERE

PART FOUR HERE

PART FIVE HERE

PART SIX HERE

PART SEVEN HERE

PART EIGHT HERE

PART NINE HERE

PART TEN HERE

PART ELEVEN HERE

PART TWELVE HERE

PART THIRTEEN HERE

PART FOURTEEN HERE

PART FIFTEEN HERE

PART SIXTEEN HERE

PART SEVENTEEN HERE

PART EIGHTEEN HERE

PART NINETEEN HERE

PART TWENTY HERE

PART TWENTY ONE HERE

***Featured image from Pinterest.com

3 thoughts on “Fiction:Taking Chances on Lost Men (2)

  1. This might be my favorite chapter, Adrienne. It’s a well rendered vignette of the characters and the time period. Having been an art teacher for many years, I especially like the reference to art. Well done.

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    • Having been an art student for years that part was easy. 🙂 Thankful goes through a lot in the series. It’s funny, readers really respond to her but at first I didn’t. I have a feeling the series will be extended to include Thankful after 40 🙂

      Like

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