Between the priest and Cordelia, it was going to be a boring trip. Of course, I couldn’t blame the priest; he was just doing what priests do. But Cordelia sat there all sour and hateful. No wonder. Bob and Scott had made it clear they thought I was the prettier one. When Cordelia had run away four years ago, she had passed for a boy. She still could. She had practically no bosoms at all.
I could have had a beau by now if my aunts weren’t so strict. Me being too young to keep company with someone was the only thing they agreed on. As for Cordelia, she would probably end up an old maid like Aunt Hannah. Both of them saw men as the enemy and went to all those suffragette meetings, messing in politics, something both Aunt May and Aunt Hilda said was unladylike and beyond a woman’s sphere.
Beside me, Bob’s leg slid over and touched mine. I shifted away as much as I could, glad the six petticoats I wore put some distance between our limbs. I had wanted to wear nine like Aunt May, but Cordelia and Aunt Hannah objected, saying space in a stagecoach was limited.
“So where are you ladies headed?” Bob asked.
“Hidden Springs,” I answered. “But Cordelia’s going on to Denver City.”
Cordelia elbowed my ribs.
Scott’s eyebrows shot up. “What’s in Denver City?”
“A sick friend,” Cordelia said.
“Really?” I asked, the story being new to me. “Who?”
She crossed her arms and stiffened her back. “Miz Wilma, if you must know. She’s laid up with a broken leg.”
The coach hit a bump. Bob fell against me, then brushed a hand across my waist as he straightened. “And Hidden Springs? What’s there?”
“Her father,” Cordelia snapped. “A big, burly blacksmith who will break you in half if you dare come near his daughter. He expects her to marry well, and your life is in danger if you do anything to jeopardize that.”
“Cordelia,” I said, “that’s the first good word you’ve had to say about Pa.”
She looked at me, frowned, and showed me the back of her bonnet again.
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