All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
I walked down the dusty street, my skirts moving as I trundled along. No matter how many times I insisted to Mother that we were living in the West now (courtesy of Father), she still made me wear these ridiculous layers upon layers of fabric. “You are a proper eastern lady,” she would say, pursing her lips, “not a tavern maid.” And the argument would be closed. I continued to the general store to buy some more sugar.
“Miss Cassandra,” Old Jim (the storekeeper) acknowledged me with a tip of his head. I nodded primly and went over to inspect the bags. They were large, so I always picked the smallest one. Doubtless, this was also why I was always sent back for more. I finally selected one and hefted it to the rough, wooden counter.
“This one,” I told him, plunking several coins onto the counter. “I trust this will be enough?”
“Perfect, Miss Cassandra,” he replied, humming a little tune as he pulled out some nickels and pennies for my change. “Here you go. Try not to strain your back too much when you carry it home.” He winked, and I smiled in response. Mother refused to let me ride the horse down here to carry the sugar back, and Jim knew it.
“I ’ppreciate your concern,” I winked back. In town, I tried to keep a balance between the abbreviations they used and my polished eastern speech.
“Why Jimmy, am I seein’ you lettin’ her do her own work? I thought even you would know not to treat a lady like that,” a smooth voice drawled behind me; and I instinctively stiffened.
“I can take care of myself, thank you very much.” My voice was hard and tight, hopefully he would get the message.
“Now, now, claws away little lady;” he chuckled, and as I turned around to glare at him, several things hit me. First, that he was gorgeous. Secondly, that he was a cowboy. And third, him. I gasped as he shoved me down, falling on top of me and pulling his gun out. There had been several new people moving into Buffalo Flats (my small town) lately; but in a glance, I could tell that this man was a bandit!
“Old man,” he growled, “give me your money and that dame there; and I’ll leave you alone. If you don’t, I might get a little twitchy.” He wiggled his finger in the handle of his gun so his meaning was understood.
“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that,” said my crazy rescuer. “I happened to take a fancy to this lady, and I don’t think you’d do right with her.” It was normally very hard to make me blush, but that did it. I slowly slipped my hand into my hidden skirt pocket (I’ll admit that the voluminous masses had some use,) and surreptitiously pulled out a small knife. I made a slit in the sugar bag, (all the while slowly easing myself into a kneeling position) and flung myself at the bandit. He wasn’t nearly so brave with a bag of sugar covering his head, my hands clutching his neck, and a gun pressed to his chest.
“That was some fancy footwork back there, lady. I’m Jack, and your name is?” Jack asked me while handing me my knife. I wiped the sugar on a bag of horse feed and watched the sheriff lead bandit boy away before I answered.
“It’s Cassandra. Miss Cassandra to you,” I said, jabbing my finger into his chest. Turning to Old Jim, I tried to weasel my way into another bag of sugar. “I saved you money; if I hadn’t done what I did, you’d be pretty poor right about now,” I frowned.
“Yeah…” he dragged out, “But if Jack there had just shot him then it still woulda turned out all right.”
“I’ll settle this since I seem to be in such high regard,” Jack said, sliding next to me on the counter. “I’ll ask for a new sugar bag, and you’ll give it to me free because either way I saved you some cash.” His smile was teasing, but his eyes held a warning.
“Fine,” the shopkeeper sighed. “A poor old man like me couldn’t argue with that. Here ya go.” And he handed me my new sugar bag. Jack escorted me out into the sun where I spun around and poked him once more.
“Now, don’t you be thinking that just because of what happened back there I’m gonna be treatin’ you special because my heart is mine.” I jutted my chin out, and flounced off.
“Good,” he called after me. “I enjoy a challenge.”