A Matter of Trust

Another little story with the Adler family.  This story follows the one where Stamford gives Schuyler the journal.  It was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth: trust.

**

Schuyler couldn’t understand why people didn’t think that he should talk to Mr. Stamford.  They frowned when he would peek into the saloon early in the day and call to his friend.  They whispered behind their hands when Mr. Stamford would take the time out of his day to teach Schuyler how to ride.  They frowned and shook their heads when they saw Mr. Stamford teaching him how to play cards.

“Why don’t they like you?” he asked, as he tried to decide which cards to keep and which to discard you.  He tugged out two cards and slide them face down to Mr. Stamford.  As he took the two new ones, he said, “The townsfolk, I mean.”

“It’s less that they dislike me,” Mr. Stamford said, as he discarded three cards and took three new ones.  “It’s more… a matter of trust.”  He shrugged.  “I’m a gambler and I own a saloon.  They trust me to follow the pattern they expect of such people.”

The look on Mr. Stamford’s face was somewhat hurt and bitter.  “They think that you’ll teach me to be a gambler and that I’ll grow up to spend all my time in a saloon, the way you do,” he said, his voice soft.

“I’m a bad influence on children,” Mr. Stamford said, shrugging.

Schuyler shook his head.  “You’re teaching me how to tell when someone is lying to me,” he said, his voice soft.  “You’re teaching me… how to not be so shy and to speak my mind.”  He met Mr. Stamford’s eyes steadily and added, “I’d say that you’re a very good influence on me, sir.”

Mr. Stamford chuckled softly and he nodded.  “Let us hope that your brother and sister agree,” he said, his voice soft.  “I confess… I enjoy passing time with you and I’d hate to have our time together end because of a few wagging tongues.  At the same time… I’ll have to bow to their wishes, since they are your legal guardians.”

“Which just goes to prove how wrong those people really are,” a new voice said.  Schuyler looked up to see Konrad standing in the doorway.  He noticed that his brother was smiling.  “You’re a good person, Mr. Stamford,” Konrad said.  “You aren’t perfect, but no one is.  At least you’re honest about your faults.  Not everyone in this town can say that.”

As a flush of color stained Mr. Stamford’s cheeks, Konrad looked away from him.  Meeting Schuyler’s gaze steadily, he said, “Finish your game with Mr. Stamford and we’ll head back home.  We need to get the sheep bedded down fro the night.”

“Yes, Brother,” Schuyler said, nodding.  He looked at Mr. Stamford and frowned.  “I… call?” he said, putting a few chips into the center of the table.

Mr. Stamford chuckled softly and laid out his own cards.  He laughed when Schuyler’s hand was just slightly better than his own.  Ruffling his hair, he said, “Good evening, Schuyler.  I look forward to seeing you again very soon.”

“I’ll look forward to it too,” Schuyler said.  Then, he hurried out of the saloon to join his brother.  He grinned as Konrad climbed into the wagon.  “So… does that mean I can still be friends with Mr. Stamford?”

“Absolutely,” Konrad said, nodding.  “He’s someone that I think we can trust.”

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