Disclaimer: I don't own anything Tinman.
Adora pushed the hair off her forehead with the back of her hand. Sweat dripped down her back. It had taken several hours of hard, back-breaking work, but finally she had their new home put to rights.
She looked forward to their new life in Central City. For the past two years, she had held down their country home, while Wyatt worked the border country as a roving Tin Man.
It was not an ideal situation for the newlyweds. Adora spent many a night alone in the cabin. When they had married, Wyatt had offered to give up being a Tin Man and become a horse breeder/farmer like his father. But Adora wouldn't hear of it. She had firmly told him, "If I had wanted to marry a farmer, I would have married Elmer Judge at sixteen, instead of waiting four years for you to finally notice me."
She remembered Wyatt's soft, shy grin at the statement. Her cheeks reddened in remembrance at how he thanked her for allowing him to continue his Tin Man career. Though those first two years were lonely, they were now finally together. Wyatt's new career as part of the Tin Man brigade in Central City meant no more lonely nights for her for days on end. He would be home every night, and they could finally have the type of marriage she had always dreamed of.
Shaking her head, Adora glanced at the clock. It read a quarter to three.
'Just enough time to bathe and go to the market for tonight's supper,' she thought.
She sorted through her meager wardrobe. Her nose wrinkled with distaste at every dress and skirt that touched her hand. Finally, she had wasted enough time, so she put on the first thing that hit her hand.
Looking in the mirror, Adora couldn't help, but feel bothered by her appearance. Everyone back home had said that her honey blonde hair and silver blue eyes made her the most beautiful girl in the country. But compared to the women she had seen on the streets, Adora felt dowdy and small.
She wanted Wyatt's eyes to shine with possessiveness as he introduced her to his comrades. She wanted the other men's wives to envy her slim figure and delicate features. Alas, she didn't have the wardrobe, nor the money to measure up to the standards set by Central City denizens.
Adora ran through a mental grocery list as she walked to the outdoor market. Tonight's supper would be reminiscent of their honeymoon supper. A flash of color caught her eye. Slowing her steps, Adora paused to watch a familiar duster-clad man step forward into the darkening doorway. Her eyes crinkled in confusion as a slender, pale arm drifted down his shoulder and hurried him inside.
Adora stopped in the middle of the road. 'That was Wyatt!' She thought.
She moved toward the small shop only to be deterred by the name appearing on the front - "Madam Neries' Social Club".
Adora's eyes widened at the name. 'Wyatt had gone into a whore house,' she thought. 'Why would he go in there?' Her face cleared a moment later realizing that as a Tin Man, Wyatt would be required to administer the law in all places, even the local whorehouse.
Looking forward to teasing her easily embarrassed husband later, Adora continued on her way to the market with a slight skip in her step. A few minutes later, Adora selected a few items for their supper before turning to return home. She turned directly into a pair of muscular arms that quickly enfolded her into a hard embrace that prevented a tumble to the ground. Gasping at the suddenness of it all, Adora looked up to thank her savior when her breath caught in her chest.
Before her stood a man with the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes. She felt caught by his intense gaze. Her stomach fluttered in excitement. His long eyelashes caressed his high cheekbones. Adora could feel his broad muscular chest press into her own softness as he held her close.
It was only a matter of seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Then he was gently setting her away from him.
"Are you all right?" His deep voice broke her stillness.
"Oh, my goodness. I am so sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going." Adora stammered out. She could feel her cheeks heat up with embarrassment.
The handsome man smiled broadly. "I am afraid I can't let you take all the blame, since I wasn't watching either. I didn't ruin anything in your basket did I?"
Adora swallowed harshly. Her cheeks heated up even more. She glanced down at her basket. "Everything is fine. It is just supper for my husband and myself."
The stranger's eyes dimmed momentarily. "Why am I not surprised that a beautiful woman such as yourself would be spoken for all ready? May I ask the name of your husband?"
"Wyatt Cain. He is a Tin Man with the Central City Brigade."
The man frowned for a moment in thought; then he laughed out loud.
"Do you mean stoic Wyatt Cain? The man who never smiles or speaks? There is no way someone as lovely and vivacious as you could be married to him."
Adora pursed her lips in annoyance. "Wyatt is not stoic and somber. He is a gentle, generous man whom I happen to adore."
The man raised his hands in supplication. "I am sorry. I happen to admire and like Wyatt immensely. It's just, I don't see that side of him."
Adora raised her eyebrows. "You know my husband?"
The man stuck his hand out for her to shake. "I am Davis Reinhard. Wyatt and I are on the same brigade beat."
Adora smiled prettily at him. "Oh, it is so nice to meet you. I just arrived here, so I haven't had an opportunity to meet any of Wyatt's comrades. You must come to supper one night with Wyatt."
Davis regarded the young beauty in front of him. He knew now why Wyatt had been so mysterious the past few days. If he had such a woman waiting for him, he would hurry after work too.
Davis looked around the market place. "By the way, where is Wyatt? We got off work an hour or so ago. I thought he might be here with you."
Adora breathed in sharply at the news. "Surely you are mistaken. Wyatt gets off work around 6:00, and gets home by 6:30."
Davis shook his head and smiled. "Naw. Wyatt and I both work the 7:00 – 4:00 shift, have been for the past three weeks."
Adora's mind returned to the image of Wyatt entering a darkened doorway, and the slender pale arm that embraced him. Blood leached from her face. Davis quickly wrapped an arm around her.
"Hey! Are you all right?" He asked as he felt her knees buckle beneath her.
"I don't feel well." Adora whispered.
Davis bent down and swept Adora into his arms. "I'll carry you home. Wyatt should be there by now."
For a moment Adora rested her head on his broad shoulder, her mind awash with torturous images of Wyatt and a faceless woman. Davis's words reached her.
She struggled out of his arms. "No!" She harshly said. She took a deep breath and composed herself even more. "No, that is all right. I am feeling much better. I should probably head home. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but I am fine."
She took a few steps away. "It was nice meeting you. I will remind Wyatt to ask you to supper sometime. Goodbye."
Davis watched her quickly walk through the crowds. He was puzzled by her sudden discomposure, but after a few minutes, he shrugged and continued home.
Once Adora arrived at home, she methodically put away the market items. Her mind was awhirl with the realization that Wyatt had been lying to her.
'Now, wait a minute.' Her conscience spoke up. 'He never said he got off earlier, you just assumed he got off late. Don't go borrowin' trouble.'
A part of Adora listened to the little voice, but a in the back of her mind, she remembered looking in the mirror earlier and seeing how bedraggled she'd looked.
She decided to continue on with her romantic dinner, and casually bring up meeting Davis, and exactly what Wyatt's hours were, and why in the witch's pit was he going into a den of ill repute.
Wyatt Cain hummed quietly under his breath, his even, measured trod touched with a certain lightness. He had no idea of the maelstrom that awaited him at home. As he neared his house, he paused for a moment to brush the dirt from his tan pants and green duster. A faint sweet smell drifted from his clothes. He brought one arm up to his face.
'Damn!' He thought. 'I got too close to one of Miss Neris's girls.'
So far he had escaped getting any evidence from his previous encounters on his person. He could only hope that he could take a quick shower before Adora could really get hold of him.
Spying a patch of mud nearby, Wyatt's blue eyes gleamed with mischief. This was perfect. Just a few well placed splashes, and Adora would be none the wiser. Walking over the mud patch, he knelt down to grind one knee into the once spotless pants. He then dropped a rock into the muddy hole causing mud to splash up and over his duster, vest, and white shirt.
He surveyed the results with mixed feelings. He was happy that Adora wouldn't find out about his after work excursions, but he hated making more work for her. He had hoped that with their move to Central City, he could finally give her the life she deserved.
Adora stiffened by the stove as the front door opened. The moment of truth was here, and she didn't know what to do.
Adora's knees melted at the husky tone in her husband's voice, but only for a moment. She reminded herself that he had lied to her and was continuing to lie to her.
She pasted a slight smile on her face. "Hello, dear. You're just in time. Supper should be on the table in a bit, and what in the world happened to you?"
She had finally gathered enough courage to face her two-faced lying husband and immediately noticed the mud ground into his once pristine clothes.
Wyatt's conscience twinged for a moment at the look of horror on his wife's face.
"Sorry, Dora. Had some trouble catching someone who really didn't want to be caught."
He shuffled nervously at his wife's continued stare. "Um, I'll help you get the dirt out of them, if you, um, will tell me how."
Adora gritted her teeth in anger. Didn't he have any idea how long it took her to get the dirt off his clothes? Most Tin Men wore dark clothes just for that very reason!
But not her vanity-stricken husband. Noooo. He insisted on those stupid, tight, tan pants, white and blue striped shirt, and the ugliest green duster on this side of the OZ.
She shook her head. "It's fine. Just take them off, and I'll get them to soaking."
Wyatt stilled momentarily at the unaccustomed anger in her voice. He was a little surprised by her irritation. Normally, Adora was pretty level-headed and not prone to fits.
'Maybe it was that time of her cycle?' He mused. 'That would explain her unusual behavior.
Satisfied with his explanation, Wyatt strode toward the bedroom. A few minutes later, his clothes thwapped on the floor.
Adora growled softly under her breath. She needed to remain calm. There was no sense in going off half cocked. She needed to give Wyatt a chance to explain what exactly was going on and why in the witch's pit he was at a brothel!
The sounds of the shower coming on drew her out of her reverie. Sighing at the sight of the stained clothes, Adora picked them up and headed for the laundry room.
Overall, Wyatt had picked them out a nice place. It was small, but it had most of the modern conveniences. Biting her lip, Adora thought about all Wyatt had done for her. He really was a good man, and she had been too hasty in thinking he had been lying to her.
Hanging her head in shame, she silently apologized to him for her suspicions. She had no right thinking Wyatt would be untrue to her. A wave of love swept over her.
She pulled his clothes close to her body and inhaled his unique scent. Sunshine and pine comforted her as she thought about their courtship. Inhaling one more time, Adora paused.
'What was that?' She thought.
She brought the shirt closer to her nose. Yes, it smelled of Wyatt, and…gardenias! Now one could argue that the smell was from Adora, but she hated the smell of gardenias, ever since she discovered that Wyatt's old girlfriend Erinima wore that very scent.
Fire flew through her veins once more.
Unfortunately, Wyatt took that moment to come through the bedroom doorway in his towel.
"Hey, 'Dora? Where did you put...humph!"
Adora blindly reached for his other boot to throw at him.
"I can tell you where to put it, you mobat spawn of the witch."
Wyatt ducked as his other boot flew by his head. He couldn't decide if he should retreat behind the door, or go after his wife. Maybe retreat?
He heard the sugar bowl break against the bedroom door.
Through the door, he heard her yelling. "I can't believe that I wasted two damn years in that hell-hole waiting for you, when all this time, you've been living the high life."
Wyatt shook his head in confusion. 'High life? What in the world was she talking about?'
The door shuddered underneath her blows. "Come out here and face me like a man."
Now, Wyatt was known for his stoic behavior and being calm, cool, and collected. However, he was also a man, so being challenged by his tiny wife to act like a man raised Wyatt's not-to-be-taken-lightly ire.
Throwing on a pair of pants that were partially buttoned, Wyatt stomped out the door. Adora unleashed the bag of flour at his chest. She smiled with satisfaction as Wyatt doubled over as the heavy bag hit him.
However, her victory was short lived as the bag broke and flour filled the air. Adora turned away from the plume of thick particles. Wyatt took this opportunity to go after his shrewish wife.
He rushed forward and threw her over his shoulder. Immediately, Adora began to wiggle and beat on Wyatt's back.
"Put me down. Wyatt Jebadiah Cain, you put me down this instant!" She demanded.
Her voice cut off sharply as Wyatt quickly slapped her squirming backside.
"Now, that is enough!" He roared.
Shocked by his tone, and the surprise spanking, Adora quieted down, but inside she still seethed.
Wyatt gripped Adora by the waist and planted her on the dinner table. He poked out a finger at her.
"Now, what is going on with you, woman?" He demanded.
Adora threw back her blond hair and sniffed delicately.
"I am quite sure, you know exactly what my problem is."
Wyatt huffed and gripped the bridge of his nose. "Adora, I have had a rough day, and am not really in the mood for your games. Now, what is the problem?"
Adora smiled nastily. "I finished the house today. Did you notice? Then I went to the market around 4:00 to get dinner."
She jumped down from the table and, not too gently, patted Wyatt's bare chest. Her countenance troubled him.
"I met the nicest man. He bumped into me. He told me that I was beautiful and vivacious." She paused to look seriously at Wyatt. "When was the last time, you told me I looked pretty?"
At hearing that some man had made a play for his wife, Wyatt's blue eyes turned to ice. He snarled lowly, "Exactly who was he, dear?"
Adora widened her eyes in mock innocence. "Why I believe you know him, Wyatt. His name was Davis Reinhard, your partner."
She whirled away from Wyatt and stared at him with hard eyes. Wyatt began to feel sick in the pit of his stomach. "He also had the most interesting things to say. Of course I didn't believe him when he said that you didn't smile and talk, but I couldn't help but be concerned when he told me that you've been lying to me all week about what you've been doing." Her voice ended in scream.
Wyatt winced as he realized that the jig was indeed up. He had been caught red-handed.
Adora's face crumpled as she realized that Wyatt was not denying the facts. A single tear slid down her face.
Not noticing his wife's distress, Wyatt began pacing the length of the room.
"I am sorry Adora. I shouldn't have tried to hide it from you. I didn't want you to worry anymore than you normally do, and well, I thought if you didn't know, then it wouldn't bother you."
A sob shook Adora's chest. He was killing her with every word.
She stared blankly at him. "You thought my husband cavorting with a hooker wouldn't bother me?" She demanded hoarsely.
"Hooker?" Wyatt's voice squeaked out. "What hooker?"
Adora jumped off the table and planted one sharp fingernail in the middle of his chest.
"I saw you go into Madam Nerie's Social Club this afternoon, and then you come home smelling like gardenias. That hooker!" She glared at him.
Wyatt stared at his furious wife in consternation. He then started laughing. It started out small, but soon he was in a full belly laugh.
Adora glared at Wyatt.
He finally calmed down enough to gasp. "I can't believe that you actually think I am visiting a hooker." He actually giggled at the idea.
Adora was confused by Wyatt's behavior. This was not the behavior of a guilty man.
"I don't understand. I saw you go in there, and Davis told me you have been leaving work at 4:00."
Wyatt reached out and pulled his wife's unresisting body to his. He smiled down at her, brushing the flecks of flour of her hair.
"I've been working an extra shift for the Tin Men Brigade. I was trying to get a little extra money together to buy you that wedding ring you've always wanted."
Adora's eyes widened in understanding, then flooded in tears. "Oh, Wyatt! I've been such a fool!"
He pulled her closer to him. "Oh, 'Dora. You aren't a fool. We just got our wires crossed. We've been apart too long, and we forgot to share with each other."
She sniffled into his chest. "Do you forgive me?"
"Only if you forgive me for being such a jackass."
Wyatt moved his head down to kiss his teary-eyed wife.
"Oh Wyatt, I do love you so." Adora looked up at her husband, then her eyes widened in disbelief.
"MY KITCHEN!" she wailed.
Wyatt closed his eyes and said, "I'll get the broom."