A Lesson in Manners
This drabble contains lines from several Lancer episodes which have now been reassigned to a different character.
With lilac-scented air and the glow of a full moon, the courtyard at Lancer should have been the most romantic of settings. Unfortunately for Teresa, any possible ambience was completely spoiled by the presence of her companion, Arthur Worthington III.
Arthur and his father had been houseguests at Lancer for several days. The elder Worthington was an important businessman, and Murdoch was throwing this shindig tonight to introduce him to the local community.
Young Arthur—like Scott—had the advantage of an Eastern upbringing and had been educated at a fine university, but in Teresa’s opinion, the similarities ended there. This young man used his erudition only to belittle and ridicule. While his comments were snide, they were phrased subtly enough to make it difficult to accuse him of rudeness.
He was also subtle in another way. Teresa had been the target of more than one womanizing cowboy, but their actions were open, direct and seemed easier to deal with. Arthur’s most innocuous comments had a lecherous meaning just below the surface, and she could feel—rather than see—the lascivious intent behind those veiled glances.
Reluctant to make a scene in the midst of this business/social gathering and lacking any real evidence on which to base an accusation, Teresa had allowed herself to be maneuvered into this little tryst. Arthur seemed to be enjoying her obvious discomfort, smirking when his latest double entendre brought a vivid blush to her cheeks.
“Anymore cute remarks—I’ll have to teach you some manners.”
The disembodied voice seemed particularly unnerving—emanating as it did from the deepest shadows—so, at first, Arthur felt a bit of relief when Lancer’s younger son appeared. But that relief was short-lived.
Arthur couldn’t explain the sudden dryness in his mouth. Young Lancer had done nothing but walk sedately across the courtyard to stand before them.
“You have a fine, polite way about you, but you sure can get under a person’s skin,” Johnny’s smooth, relaxed drawl couldn’t have sounded less threatening, but the visitor—suddenly afflicted with a stammer—was unable to utter a coherent thought.
The dark-haired cowboy flicked a careless finger across the tip of Teresa’s nose, before giving her a gentle nudge toward the house.
Despite his shaking knees, Arthur lost no time in following her, but found his escape was effectively blocked by a tall, blond immovable obstacle.
“Why, Mr. Worthington, please don’t rush off.” That cultured Boston accent was deceptively friendly. “My brother is extremely anxious to demonstrate some of the skills we practice here in the west. You’ll find he’s very accomplished.”
“Just hard to shake a lifetime of training,” Johnny responded modestly.
Arthur swallowed hard and watched bleakly as Scott escorted Teresa out of the courtyard.
Teresa couldn’t suppress a slight giggle as she cast one final glance at her erstwhile tormentor—now truly repentant. “I think Mr. Worthington has learned one thing at least from this evening. Lancer takes care of its own.”