Adriana waited calmly as all the gossiping townsfolk made their way off the property.  Many stayed and visited for a while longer. The auctioneer was enthralled in a conversation with three ladies and a young man all talking about where they think the treasure might be.

Many of the people shook the cowboys hand and congratulated him on his purchase and welcomed him to town but he didn’t hold any long conversations and he disappeared into the house as soon as no one was paying attention. Or at least he thought no one was. Adriana snuck around and quietly walked up to the window of the house. She looked around, just as the cowboy had, to make sure no one was watching. She moved to the far side of the house out of the view of the auction goers and peeked through the window.

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She watched the man walk through the rooms, thoughtfully looking around. He picked up a photo of Jarvis and looked at it for a long time. He said something Adriana couldn’t hear and then placed it back on the shelf.  He took off his hat and Adriana’s heart fluttered slightly; he was very handsome with his blue eyes and dark hair. Suddenly he must have felt her looking at him because he looked right at her. She ducked as fast as she could and moved away from the house, hiding behind a tree, hoping he didn’t see her.

Her heartbeat pounded in her ears and she breathed as quietly as she could, hoping no one could hear it. She stayed there for a good five minutes before a large hand touched her shoulder. She screamed so loud the startled cowboy backed up a few steps.

“Sorry, ma’am, I didn’t mean to frighten you.” His voice was softer than she’d expected. “I would like to ask you why you were looking in the window, though?”

Adriana stared blankly at him for a moment before composing herself. “I’m sorry; I was just curious what it looked like. I didn’t know you were inside.”

“Well, why don’t you come in and see then.” He half smiled at her and held out his hand.

She bowed her head to hide her very large smile as she took his hand. As he walked her to the door he asked, “You are not from here, are you?”

“No, but how could you tell?” she raised an eyebrow at him.

“The people here all have a certain way about them, you are different.” He said.

”I am Adriana. I came from a city far from here. I grew up in an orphanage called Wilmark’s Home for Children.” She bowed her face a little. ”They didn’t really teach us a lot about manners or anything.”

“I find it refreshing.” He said, “All the politeness seems forced and fake. Now spying in a window out of curiosity, that is honest.”

Immediately Adriana felt a ping of guilt in her stomach but she swallowed and asked, “Where are you from?”

“I am from here and there. I’ve been most places but spent my time mostly out west.” He answered. “I’m Haily, Haily Blount.”

She nodded, “Nice to meet you, Haily.”

He opened the door for her and as they walked in, she was a little dismayed by the dinge of the place. She didn’t know what she’d been expecting but if she’d retired with a huge treasure, she’d have all sorts of luxuries she didn’t see in this place. The place hadn’t been kept and the things may have been nicer before but she thought a good bonfire might clean the place up nicely.

“It doesn’t have much of a lady’s touch, does it?” Haily mentioned.

Adriana just smiled because she couldn’t think of a nice way to describe it.

“So what brings you out here?” Haily asks.

Adriana

Tells the truth

Makes up a tale

Go to the Beginning

Priscilla Du Preez

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One thought on “Follow the Stranger

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