Anthony Bonham

Episode 47: Twinkle, Twinkle | Scryer's Gulch

By the time the piano lesson was ending, Annabelle had a headache; Lily Bonham was a very bright child, but she was also a very indulged child. Luckily for everyone, indulgence did not encourage a native spite, but rather a native impatience, a desire to skip the preliminaries and move straight to the action no matter how important the preliminaries were.

In this, Annabelle supposed, Lily resembled her father. Lily assumed sitting down at the piano and making her fingers look like they were playing would be enough to assume familiarity with the keyboard. Bonham was assuming familiarity without preliminaries, too--but with Annabelle herself, not the piano. That presented some serious difficulties.

Episode 46: The Piano Lesson | Scryer's Gulch

Jedediah Bonham strolled into his son's hotel with his daughter's confiding little hand in his. The LeFay was understated for his tastes; too much white and not enough red, though the giltwork was nice and there was a great deal of gold bullion fringe on the draperies that he approved of. Someone--Miss Duniway, most likely--was running through a series of exercises on the piano several rooms away. He waved his fingers at Charles behind the front desk, and the man returned it with a respectful-enough if sour nod, followed by a genuine smile for the girl.

"Hello, Charles!" chirped Lily. "Miss Duniway's going to teach me how to play the piano!"

"So I've heard," replied the desk man. "She's in the salon. Best that piano's sounded since it got here."

Episode 40: Duchess Soup | Scryer's Gulch

The little dinner party was rapidly slipping from Charity's fingers, and they hadn't even sat down to the meal yet. The cook had spoilt the soup and had to make up a new one, the greenhorn--er, butler--was clumsy, and worse, that schoolteacher was monopolizing both John Runnels and Tony.

How could it be? Duniway looked like a blue-eyed crow in that black dress, while she was resplendent in feathers and plum-colored silk that set off the green of her eyes. She'd ordered the feathers all the way from San Francisco--what luck that they matched her new dress so well, even if they were shedding a bit. It was to be expected of ostrich.

And Jedediah was late. Damn him for not even bothering to show for a dinner he forced her to throw!

Episode 39: Indigestion | Scryer's Gulch

There were times Annabelle regretted having used schoolteacher as a cover. Would that there were enough women in town to have come as a dressmaker, or a milliner. If she'd been either of them, she wouldn't have to be at uncomfortable occasions such this one. She tried not to fidget on the horsehair sofa in the Bonhams' stuffy front parlor as they all waited on Jedediah Bonham's arrival to his own dinner party.

Charity had done herself and her household up a little too fine. A down-on-his-luck greenhorn in ill-fitting formalwear had been pressed into service as butler; he presented Annabelle with a glass of sherry she desperately wished were something stronger. Bourbon. She liked that now and again, but wouldn't get any until she went back home. She probably wouldn't need it then. Might she bolt down the sherry? Not here, no matter how tempting. John and Tony looked as if they wouldn't have minded a snort, either.

Episode 38: Escort Service

Tony Bonham walked into the Hopewell Hotel like a man walking into a garbage dump. He looked around the stolid building, built for utility not gentility, and didn't bother to repress a sneer in the direction of the front desk.

Julian Hopewell caught the sneer and its meaning, and came around the desk in a hurry. "What do you want, Bonham? What are you doin' here?"

"I am only here to escort Miss Duniway to dinner at my father's house." He sniffed at Ralph, hovering in the door of the dining room. "I hope to escort her soon to better company and lodgings at the LeFay to boot. Rest assured I will leave this...place as soon as possible." Hopewell gave him the evil eye, but stomped upstairs to get the schoolteacher.

Episode 35: An Invitation | Scryer's Gulch

Tony Bonham's first thought when he woke the next morning was that he'd overslept. His watch, the treasured reminder of his mother, had not chimed the morning alarm as it usually did. He sat up, yawning; something furry had crawled into his mouth to whelp during the night, and he poured and drank a glass of water to drown it. The smell of coffee approached down the hall, probably on his man's tray. Won't he be surprised to see me still abed, Tony thought heavily.

He swung his legs over the edge of the bed. No, he won't be surprised. The morning fire had been lit in the grate, so Graham must have been in already. Disconcerting; the Bonham men had the habit of sleeping with one eye open, and yet Tony had slept through Graham's entry. Had he really drunk so very much last night? But there on his dresser next to the water glass sat the near-empty cut crystal decanter of brandy; it had been full at the beginning of the night. He'd drunk more than he'd thought, apparently. At least it had served its purpose; he'd gone the night ghost-less, or if he hadn't, he'd been too drunk to notice.

Episode 32: Hands All Around | Scryer's Gulch

In the hours after Miss Duniway's discovery of his perfidy, Simon suffered much and slept little. He longed for the chance to express the fullness of his regrets, but none came. It was left to him to make his own chance, and he took it the day after the horrible scene at the jail. He saw her on the street after school, threw on his coat, closed his office and hurried after her. "Miss Duniway!" he called, and she halted.

"Mr Prake, how can I be of assistance?" she replied, in tones warmer than he felt he deserved but cooler than he wished.

"I wonder if we might speak for a moment in my office? There are one or two things I wish to convey to you that I'd rather not say in the street."

Miss Duniway paused, and for a sickening moment Simon thought she might refuse. "Very well, Mr Prake, I have a short moment to give you, as long as it can be supposed I have business at your office," she added in a low tone. Simon gave her his humble thanks, and she followed him through his door and into his back office.

Episode 27: No Offense Intended | Scryer's Gulch

"I suppose we'd better sit down if I'm going to tell you why I'm really here," said Annabelle, taking the chair in front of John's desk. "Where do you want me to start?"

John kept his seat on the corner of his desk, bracing himself on the desk edge with both hands. "Well, we've squared away your fatherless childhood."

Motherless, too, if it matters, she said to herself; aloud, she said, "I was thinking of a more recent beginning to my life, if it's all the same, though I'm expecting you won't believe me."

"I'm listening."

She straightened in her seat, raising her chin to a proud angle. "I'm a Treasury Agent." John's already intent gaze sharpened further, finally resolving into the incredulity she'd anticipated. "I said you wouldn't believe me."

Episode 14: Waste Not the Hour | Scryer's Gulch

From the front window of the Hotel LeFay, Anthony Bonham watched Miss Duniway and John Runnels exchange pleasantries. He knew the look on the man's face; Miss Duniway had fallen afoul of the Sheriff's crime-fighting instincts. What could he suspect the schoolteacher of, besides being beautiful, and that was no suspicion. Outwardly, Tony eyed her dispassionately. But within him, he formulated plans. A young woman, all alone in a town like this--she was bound to be lonely. He could use that.

Episode 6: One-Way Cat Fight | Scryer's Gulch

While Misi stood on the windowsill at Hopewell's worrying about Annabelle, she herself was still visiting students. She'd met Jamie Runnels and the Prake twins, and the two children of L.L. Lockson, publisher of the Voice of the Gulch. Now she walked back up the boardwalk toward the great mansion on the hill to acquaint herself with Lily Bonham.

Just past Prake's Hardware, her detector bracelet buzzed and pricked at her wrist. She returned to the store, masking her excitement as she pretended to windowshop; the sensation faded. She strolled back up the street until the pricking became nearly unbearable: it came from the ethergraph office.

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