Taming the Tiger
Ed Peavey KNEW Gull Cottage was haunted, but he also knew a pretty widow like Mrs. Muir might just take the wind out of that sea dog's sails. A single woman wouldn't have done- wouldn't have kids to protect. A married woman would have a man along, so that wouldn't do either. A widow, especially a pretty widow, would have that tang of bravery in the face of tragedy to tame the old poltergeist.
As a teenager, Ed and some friends brought beer one night right into the cottage. Course they broke in, sowing wild oats and such, and the next thing they knew beer bottles were flying and breaking. Nothing was holding the bottles, they just flew through the air. They heard malevolent laughter, and they all ran. Ed never quite enjoyed the taste of beer after that.
That was a lot of years ago, but Ed was no fool, no sir. Once in awhile someone would rent the place and leave the night of arrival. He'd call the renters fools except he doubted that tightwad Claymore ever gave warning.
The Muirs and Martha sure settled the old sea dog, plus Ed got a lot of odd jobs fixing things at that wreck of a house.
He liked Martha's wry comments. They weren't things that made you laugh, but they made you smile. The cherry pie she'd bake was just about the best thing he ever tasted. It was kind of a shame that a woman like that worked like a servant or something.
Mrs. Muir was a writer lady, and he'd read one of her stories once- something about a girl being ganged up on by a bunch of sailors and a captain fighting them off. The other fellows at Norrie's got quite a bang about a pretty little widow writing about clothes being ripped, but he figured Mrs. Muir wouldn't be writing that stuff. He knew who that story came from, and he figured the old tiger must be near tamed, trying to impress with all that heroic claptrap.
He asked Martha to the movies, and she was good company. Course she didn't know Gull Cottage was haunted, which was a might awkward. He was kind of hoping to hear first hand how beauty tamed the beast. On the other hand, Martha kind of lingered on his mind. She was one of those kinds of people you might miss in a crowd, but if you spent any time with her, you might get to thinking about her a lot more.