Old 06-27-2017, 09:18 PM   #1
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Paradise Falls (open)

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one before”

The man slumped against the barstool groaned in response unable to answer as blood poured from his body like a leaky bucket. The dead even though they were many and strewn about the room like discarded trash didn’t answer the man either. The double doors leading outside continuing to swing hitting an unlucky man who sported two bullet holes in his chest as a reward for trying to escape the madmen currently manning the bar.

“Our story is as old as time” The man at the bar said continuing to scan the selection of booze and liquors the salon boasted on its shelfs. Every so often he would pluck one up running his large rough hand across it as if he was caressing a lover before tossing it to a random corner of the bar.

“Two brothers, two wild crazy brothers whose father had the good grace to teach them the great truth of the world. That a man can be free as long as he has the drive and the courage to take it! Two brothers who kill said father kill him for beating their ma at the ripe old age of thirteen. Two brothers who throughout the years become the greatest outlaws the west has ever seen.”

The man paused his hands inches from a bottle of amber colored scotch. Suddenly he turned revealing a handsome yet feral face as he stomped over to the man slumped over the bar. The man recoiled his pale white face turning even whiter as his blue eyes widened in pure fear.

“We was the best” The man breathed his foul breath causing the man on the stool to gag and cough.

“We cut a bloody swath of destruction and prosperity from here to Kalamazo” The man insisted his jaw working up and down as if he was chomping on the words in rage.

“But the dear sweet bleeding heart my brother was got it in his FUCKIN head that being a rich filthy outlaw was too good for him. Can you believe that! The nerve!”

The man was working himself into a frenzy of anger and disgust. Spittle flew from his mouth hitting the man on the stool, his eyes were wild with rage and indignation. He reached for a bottle on the table this time wrapping his hand around the neck as if he was attempting to strangle it.

“And so, now we’ve come to the betrayal part of the story. Where my brother decides to “retire” from the outlaw life style. I protest of course and we end up fighting. He refused to listen to reason you see? It was my attempt to beat some sense into him NAY my duty!”

“The son of a bitch shot me!”

The man leaned back gripping the hem of his dirty white shirt. He lifted it up revealing his flat stomach and dirt covered skin. The bullet hole was scarred over sitting just a few inches above his hips.

“Oh, sure he said he was sorry” The man snorted shaking his head from side to side “As he took off with his half of the loot and rode off into the fucking sunset!”
He smashed the bottle of beer against the wooden bar. It shattered, pelting the wounded man on the stool and cutting him in several places. Fresh blood poured out of the wounds but the other man paid it no mind as he continued foraging behind the bar for another drink.

“When I came to he was gone absconding with his half of the loot! The asshole left me with my half and a bullet hole! And he thought he could fucking get away with it to!”

By now the man was in a frenzy. He paced back and forth his dirty and blood-stained fingers curling and uncurling into a fist. His mouth opened and closed several times as if he wanted to say something but was too angry to do so.
When he finally did speak it was with a surprisingly calm voice that said nothing of the anger inside of him.

“Big Brother didn’t realize just how far I would go to track him down. How….. Eager I am for a family reunion” He chuckled.

“The minute I was well enough to travel I packed my bags. I left those idiots that made up my crew back home and followed the sumbitch. Trail was six months cold but I’m not the type to give up. I’m getting close”

“I know it”
………………………

FIVE TOWNS AWAY
Paradise Falls
Marston Jones


He stood on the hill his jade green eyes sweeping across the ranch that lay before him. At first glance, it didn’t look like much. A simple one story building that had a patched over roof, a small barn right next to it, and a few wooden fences that were weathered and in need of repair. It was a mere 30 acres of land sitting just outside the small town of Paradise Falls.

It was perfect

For Marston every tuft of grass and wooden board was a reward and a promise of a much simpler life. There would be no more shoot outs, there would be no more crimes committed, and there would be no more of his dear deranged brother.
Marston was free

He was a tall man, tan from years out in the sun. He was a man who looked like he had spent his life working with large muscular arms and broad shoulders. He was a young man well young cept for the fact that his green eyes were tired and warry. His pointed chin was and face was covered in a rough five O clock shadow that matched the deep black of his short hair. The clothes he wore were simple a wide brimmed black hat, a long dusty brown overcoat, a white undershirt, a pair of simple trousers, and leather oiled boots.

He gave the farm one last look before he began to pick his way down the hill. He was halfway down when Shepard appeared her tail wagging as she bounded through the grass to get to him. Her brown fur swaying in the wind as she ran up to him.

“There you are girl” Marston murmured reaching down to scratch the dogs ear fondly as he entered the ranch. He made his way to the barn first opening the big double doors and crossing into the cool exterior building.

He paused at the threshold reaching out and touching the gun belt affixed to the wall. His rough fingers traced the stitching in the belt following the path until it stopped at the gleaming revolver snugly secured in the holster.

“Never again” He promised himself removing his hand from the six shooters. He walked away from it his step sure his eyes resolved as he gathered his supplies. Minutes later he burst out of the barn riding wild and free astride his black mustang. They led the buffalo in the barn out with Shepard following behind them as they moved to let the animals graze.

And the smile never left Marston’s face.

…………………………………………………..
Paradise Fall
Anthony Pickett


“What’d you two fucks do to my office while I was gone?”

He chuckled as his two “deputies” jumped out of their wooden chairs. Between the two of them they could scrap together a somewhat functioning brain. He would have loved to say they were strong and dependable….

But he wasn’t that good of a liar

“N-Nothing boss” D’Angelo said his eyes snapping back and forth as he tried to find anything amiss in the small office.

“Sheriff” he reminded him coming over and taking off his leather overcoat and draping it over the coat hanger.

“Right Sheriff….”

“The night shift was okay then?” he asked walking past Johnny boy and glancing over at the papers scattered on his desk.

“Usual drunks at the brothel who are sobering up as we speak” Johnny replied relaxing ever so slightly.

“They didn’t hurt the Madame did they?” he asked his eyes snapping up and zeroing in on them.

The two deputies glanced at each other fearful of how to answer. It was common knowledge that the infamous Madame of the brothel was special to the sheriff. Officially the two weren’t together however there was many a night when the sheriff would be seen going into the building and not leaving until the following morning. The Madame kept the whole thing shush shush as did her girls but that didn’t stop the town from talking….

“Uh she is fine” D’Angelo finally said looking sheepish.

“Mighty pissed though” Johnny interjected “They were out of towners didn’t realize what they were getting into… one of them broke her window”

“Shit” Anthony said rising up and pushing his chair back “Next time you tell me that the minute I fucking walk through the door”

He didn’t bother to wait for their reply. He waved off their excuses and left stepping out from the wooden building into the dusty street of Paradise Falls. He stopped for a second his sky-blue eyes surveying the town he was devoting the last leg of his life to. It was a simple town, but filled with good people trying to forge a life for themselves in a harsh environment.

“Good morning Mr. Pickett” Mrs. O’Neil called from her perch in front of the general store.

“Morning” He called back tipping his hat as he walked over to his horse a beautiful brown chestnut he had named Rosemount.

“Where’s the fire? I hope there isn’t anything going on in our sleepy town I need to know about….”

Anthony chuckled hauling himself up onto the saddle as he tried not to roll his eyes. What DIDN’T Ms. O’Neil know about? The women prided herself on knowing everything and anything going on in the town. With the ears of a rabbit and the nose of a bloodhound the women made it her mission to sniff out anything going on in the town.

“I’m sure you will be the first to know Ma’am” Anthony said tipping his hat at her before digging his spurs into Rosemount.

“Ya!”

He and the horse took off racing and weaving past a few carts on the road. The brothel was located in the center of the town, right next to the salon and the mayor’s office. Its owner the infamous Madame had styled it after a Tuscany villa not that her clientele even knew what Tuscany was. However its flowery exterior, vaulted curved roof, and colorful brick set it out and immediately drew in the eye.
Anthony slowed to a stop guiding the horse towards one of the hitching posts affixed. As he neared some of the girls from the brothel began to appear. They waved at him some even growing as bold as to blow him a kiss as he brought his horse to a stop and slid off of the saddle.

“Morning girls” Anthony called tying his horse to the hitching post and slowly moving up the steps “I hear yall had some trouble”

“Oh, it was no trouble” One of the lead girls Tilly said batting her eyelashes at him.
“Enough trouble to break the window” Anthony remarked gesturing at said busted up window.

“The Madame played a hand in that” Another girl said a new one Anthony hadn’t learned the name to yet.

“Oh she did?” Anthony said a smile crossing on his withered face as he stopped on the deck in front of the girls.

“Care to share?” He asked pushing his hands into his pocket and leaning against the door frame.

“She kicked him!” Tilly said striking an enticing pose as her eyes glinted mischievously “Kicked the drunk son of a bitch so hard he flopped over and crashed through the window!”

“Was enough to make him turn tail and run!” The new girl chuckled as the other girls laughed.

“I see” Anthony said shaking his head and resisting the urge to laugh “You ladies go inside now let your mistress know I am here”

They nodded flitting through the doorway as Anthony sat down on the wood carved rocking chair. He took off his hat running a hand through his long salt and pepper hair and trying to make it semi presentable. He shifted in the chair stretching his long lean body out as his large hand began to drum against the top of his hat. His iron hung on his hip glinting softly in the light as he waited and watched the town go by.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:43 PM   #2
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Rosalind Campbell

Rose smiled as she and her horse galloped away in the opposite direction from her family’s ranch. How anyone could be expected to have to be cooped up inside on such a beautiful day was beyond the young woman’s comprehension.

She wasn’t exactly dressed for riding, the fabric of her brown calico printed skirt bunching up slightly around her. Along with this she wore a plain cream colored button up blouse and well-worn brown leather boots. They were simple and modest clothes, but still couldn’t completely hide her shapely figure, the shirt tucked into the waistline of her skirt revealing a waist that was significantly smaller than the curve of her hips and bust. Her long fiery red waves were tied back in a thick braid running down her back, a few rebellious strands coming loose to frame a heart shaped face with delicate features and sparkling moss green eyes which were currently shaded by the cream colored wide brimmed hat that she wore to protect her fair skin.

Not that Rose was the type of girl to fret over her complexion, but if she added any more freckles to the few already dusted across the bridge of her nose and cheekbones she knew her mother would have a fit. Especially since she was supposed to have simply completed her morning chore of feeding the horses and mucking out their stalls in the barn before returning indoors to help her mother with the sewing, not taking her palomino mare Honey out for a ride.

She wasn’t worried though. No doubt Pa would help smooth things over for her. She was her father’s daughter after all, he having taught her how to ride and rope and fish and hunt just like he would have a son if he’d had one as she was growing up. Her mother had disapproved, preferring that Rose engage in more ladylike activities, but her father had insisted. It was the “wild west” after all, and he wanted his daughter to know how to be able to take care of herself.

Rose urged Honey faster and released a resounding laugh of pure joy as she felt the wind rush past her.

------------------------------

Isabella Austen, a.k.a. “Belle Dumont”

It didn’t take long before the sound of footsteps could be heard approaching and the Madame appeared in the doorway.

Belle was a beautiful woman. Beautiful enough that she could have demanded top dollar as one of the brothel's "soiled doves" and still had men lining up to be with her. She had creamy fair skin that was unmarred by the sun and free of blemish even though, unlike many women of her profession, she wore only minimal makeup if any at all and was currently without any powder or rouge on. Her long pale blonde hair was piled up in an elegant twist upon her head, and she was currently wearing an off the shoulder blue satin dress, the corset of which was pulled tight to show off her hourglass figure, and the shade of the dress precisely matching the deep sapphire of her eyes. She was a little older than many of the young women that she employed, though still fairly young herself, appearing to be somewhere in her late twenties or early thirties, though no one knew for certain.

Belle was very secretive of her past. All that was known for sure by the people of the town was that a few years ago she had arrived by train, her bejeweled and stylish appearance creating quite a stir among the residents of the sleepy little town. She had checked in to a hotel giving the last name of Dumont and claiming that she was a widow, and had spent the next couple of days walking about and surveying the town before purchasing a plot of land and building the stylish brothel that now resided there. There were rumors that she had acquired her wealth prior to arriving at the town by gambling at various casinos in New Orleans, but once again no one knew for certain where she was originally from…not even the sheriff, as close as they were.

One thing that everyone was in agreement with though was that Belle had "a heart of gold", giving generously to the poverty stricken and charities in town and always making sure that the young women at her brothel were well taken care of and treated well by the patrons and male staff. She was also a shrewd business woman however and had zero tolerance when it came to rowdiness in her establishment or rough handling of her girls, as the drunkard the night before had soon found out.

“Good morning Sherrif,” she said greeting him with a soft smile. “Judging by your unexpected visit this morning I’m presuming you heard about the little incident we had here last night then?” she added, nodding her head in the direction of the broken glass pane.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:28 AM   #3
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“Easy girl”

He was out in the open fields letting the cattle get some grazing time in. His mustang Shadow was tied to a tree relaxing in the shadows as Shephard ran around and tried to entice the powerful black horse to play. Ever so often Marston would walk around the perimeter making sure none of the cattle were straying before looping back to the shadow of the tree.

The field was calm and peaceful silent in that way only nature could be. The breeze was nice tipping Marston’s Stetson every once in a while and causing the trees to shake.

“I can’t think of a better day” Marston murmured to himself as he rested his back against the solid oak trunk. His eyes swept once more over the field taking it all in with a deep well-earned peace. Sometimes late at night he worried, worried that his brother was still alive and would one day find him but he did a good job of pushing that worry down. He shot him twice before he left leaving him to bleed out miles from help. It was the last time he used his gun a final bloody act to earn his freedom.

He felt bad about it… sometimes at least. His brother wasn’t a good person and the swath of bodies he left was enough to warrant some justice. Still he was blood which counted for something……

Marston ears perked up hearing a laugh off to his left. His hands dropped down to his hip at first reaching for his gun but coming up with empty air. Minutes later the fact that it was a girls laugh registered with him and he relaxed. He turned tipping his hat up and studying the black dot moving off to the left.

“Rosalind” Marston murmured smiling to himself. His neighbors daughter and in his opinion a class A beauty. If freedom was his main reward than she was a bonus he could never have expected. So far there hadn’t been anything more than some light flirting but he was seriously eyeing a courtship with her. They had yet to talk about it, nor had he asked her father but he was considering it all the same.

He stepped forward waving her over with his hand. He fixed his collar as she came up running a hand through his hair and making sure he was decent. By the time she reached him he was ready a charming smile on his face as he tipped his hat at her.

“Morning darling” He said to her “What brings you out to my neck of the woods? People keep seeing you like this they might get to talking…. Not that I would mind”
…………………………………………………

When she came out he smiled a big wide smile that stretched from ear to ear. He rose from his seat leaving the wooden rocking chair swaying ever so slightly as he reached out to take her hand.

“Came as soon as I heard” He told her helping her to sit down before taking his own seat “Would have been up sooner but my two thick headed deputies decided to tell me after I needled it out of them. Didn’t seem to think it was important”

He shook his head at that clearly frustrated at how they handled it. One of the girls came back with his drink and he thanked them taking a measured sip and sighing in pleasure before shooing them off. The girls “left” of course moving from their spot on the porch to gawking discreetly through the windows. He spotted them immediately and growled shaking his head even as a small smile appeared on his weathered face.

“One day your going to have to let me take you on vacation darling” He said his tone low enough so that they couldn’t hear “Get away from some of the prying eyes in your care! You know that philly Tilly was making eyes at me again?”
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:14 PM   #4
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“People keep seeing you like this they might get to talking…. Not that I would mind”

“Like what? ... Oh!” Rose commented in reply as she brought Honey to a stop near him and glanced down, noticing her windswept and rumpled skirt bunching up in a rather unladylike way around her legs and exposing some of her petticoat.

To her credit she did seem a little embarrassed about this and immediately moved to straighten it a bit. No doubt the rest of her looked just as disorderly after her ride, she realized. She laughed it off and looked down at him with a smile.

“Yes, well it couldn’t really be helped. If I’d gone inside to put on my riding skirt instead Ma would have caught me and then I would have been stuck inside all day helping with the sewing and practicing my needlepoint,” she said in explanation, her face scrunching slightly with distaste at the thought, “It’s much too beautiful of a day to be stuck indoors, don’t you think?”

She didn’t always mind the typical “women’s work” of cooking and cleaning and the like, and truth be told she was rather good at it when she put her mind to it, but on days like today she would have much rather been allowed to go help her father and the ranch hand that he employed with their work instead. She didn’t think Pa would have minded so much, but Ma had really put her foot down about that one.

“I needed to put some distance between myself and the house, and Pa has our herd grazing on the opposite side of our property from here today, so your ‘neck of the woods’ it was.”

Not that she had been opposed to the happy coincidence though. She’d actually secretly hoped that he might be nearby and they’d run into one another.

“Now stop standing there just gawking and come be a gentleman and help me down,” she teased.

----------------------------------------

Belle smiled at Anthony’s growl, having noticed the girls peeping out at them herself, and turned a bit in her seat to make a shooing motion at them with her hand until they had left completely. She sighed as she turned back around in her seat to face him again and leaned back in her seat.

“A vacation does sound nice…but then you’d be stuck leaving the town in the hands of your two deputies that you think oh so highly of, and I’d have to leave one of the girls in charge for me.”

She laughed at that thought.

“Lord only knows what we’d be coming back to.”

Her expression changed, turning more serious.

“Don’t give your deputies too hard of a time. Last night wasn’t that big of an issue, I promise,” she told him in a reassuring tone.

“The drunk had already high-tailed it out of here by the time they arrived. All that was left to do was sweep up the glass and place an order at the general store for a new windowpane… but what if it had been something worse. What if something serious happened and I wasn’t here to take care of it?”
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:43 PM   #5
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He laughed at her words and stepped forward.

“Your wish is my command darling”

Marston walked over to her horse taking the time to pet it and assure the beast he meant its owner no harm. Horses were sensitive proud creatures. The Native Americans Marston had met in his travels practically treated them like royalty! They seemed to have a special bond with their horses, a bond Marston tried to replicate with his own wherever he went.

Once he was sure the horse was okay with him he reached out to its owner. His hand gently but firmly grabbed her hips messaging them ever so slightly as he lifted her and helped her off.

“Hold on tight to me darling” He said his voice thick with desire as he brought her down “Would hate for you to fall and hurt yourself”

Once he was sure she had her footing he let her go. He stepped back his eyes taking her in and a pleased smile on his face. He moved with her as she went helping her tie her horse next to his.

“In all my travels I have never met a girl like you” Marston remarked smiling softly “I can’t imagine you doing much in the sense of “women work”. Your about as wild and free spirited as that horse you ride Ms. Campbell and I do mean that as a compliment”

“How is your pa and ma doing?” Marston asked watching the cattle closely “I haven’t seen them in some time I know your pa was a little under the weather last time we spoke. Of course, you wouldn’t know it by his words. I admire the heck out of your pa but he’s as stubborn as a mule with just as powerful a kick.”

………………………………………..
“You can’t always be here” Came Andrew’s reply. It was reply tinged with a little sadness and frustration.

How long had they done this dance? He idly thought to himself as a few passing carriages went by. Their romance was like one of those penny novels the girls found to be all the rage. The classic will they won’t they that everyone loved in a story but hated in practice. They flirted and danced around each other every so often spending a night with the other but never becoming anything more.

There’s was a romance halted by professionalism. Both of them were workaholics who rarely left their places of employment. For them both it was a full-time job more of a lifestyle than an actual job.

“Your girls seem capable of handling themselves” He reminded her reaching out to take her hand for a second “At the very least think on it a bit I was half joking about the vacation but the idea growing on me haven’t been outside this town since I moved in. Either way…. Are you doing anything tonight?”
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:03 PM   #6
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Rose had watched with curiosity as Marston’s hands took their time stroking and petting Honey until the mare had relaxed completely beneath their touch, his way with horses always having fascinated her since she’d known him. She felt her pulse quicken then as those same hands finally reached out for her and grasped her hips to lift her down from her mount.

“Hold on tight to me darling. Would hate for you to fall and hurt yourself.”

He certainly didn’t have to tell her twice. After all, it was the entire reason she’d asked for his assistance getting down in the first place, having been perfectly capable of dismounting on her own had she wanted to. A fact she realized he was probably well aware of as he let go of her and smiled at her for a moment before in a rare moment of shyness she blushed and moved to tie Honey to the tree with Shadow, Marston following and helping her.

“In all my travels I have never met a girl like you. I can’t imagine you doing much in the sense of “women work”. Your about as wild and free spirited as that horse you ride Ms. Campbell and I do mean that as a compliment”

She smiled at him then, glad that he’d said the words as a compliment and not a reprimand, like her mother and so many others in the town did. Normally she didn’t care what others thought of her, but for some reason when it came to him she did. She cared terribly.

Her ears perked up at the mention of his travels. She wished he would talk more about them. She’d never been outside of Paradise Falls and was curious about where he might have been. Instead he politely turned the conversation back around to her folks, asking about her father’s health. She couldn’t help but laugh at his comment about her father’s stubbornness though.

“He’d likely take that as a compliment,” she replied with a grin, removing her hat now that they were in the shade and hanging it from her saddle horn before walking away from the horses a ways and gazing out at his herd as he was for a moment.

“Yes he’d caught a bit of a cold, but he’s doing well now. They both are. Thank you for asking… I suppose now I should make some kind of inquiry about your about your own health, or comment on the weather, or make some other kind of polite small talk?” she asked, glancing back over her shoulder at him with a smirk.

----------------------------------------------

Belle nodded her head in agreement when Anthony asked her to at least consider the idea of a vacation, but her forehead furrowed slightly in worry.

She hadn’t been outside of the town since she’d arrived their either, but that was precisely how’d she’d wanted it… at least until recently anyways, and not just because of work. She had developed a certain sense of peace and safety in this sleepy little town, something that she hadn’t felt for a long time before coming here. It was her safe haven and she was reluctant to leave it even for a short amount of time, worried about what may happen if she did.

His question about her plans for the night broke her from her thoughts, causing a smile to spread across her rosy lips.

“Nothing that couldn’t wait for another day if it means I get to spend an evening with you, Darlin’,” she replied with a purr.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:30 PM   #7
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He laughed at her words and the dig at “idle small talk”. This was one of the many reasons Marston found himself enamored with the strong courageous women. She spoke her mind and didn’t hold back when it came to her opinion. He had meant it when he called her a wild woman, just like he had meant it when he told her there were none like her.

“Small talk is for others” Marston finally said chuckling and shaking his head “You and I are a bit different from others”

He reached out to the ground. His fingers sifted the whisps of grass aside gathering a single wild flower from the bunches on the ground. He broke it off with his thumb pulling it from the others before coming over to her.

“You are breathtaking” He told her sliding the flower against her ear and stepping back “There we go wild flower just like you”

He stepped back admiring her for a few seconds. Once he had his fill he stepped back a wistful look on his face as he looked out at the herds of cattle.

“You I might go see your pa sometime soon” Marston said his eyes on the cattle “It’s about right at this stage of our… relationship that I got see him and state my intentions”
…………………………………………………………………..
He shivered at her purr that seductive siren call that stirred his heart and body. Before her he had long given up on love believing it to be something for others. He was content to be the lone guardian, content to find pleasure in his work and not in the flesh or company of a woman.

Then she came along

She blazed across his sky a burning fireball of passion that effulged his very soul. It didn’t take long for him to become smitten to desire her intimate company.

“I was hoping you’d say that” He told her his smile growing wider on his face.

“The only question left is your place or mine?” Andrew said winking at her
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:45 AM   #8
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Rosalind felt her heart give a giddy little leap in response to Marston's compliment and she smiled in response as he tucked the wildflower behind her ear. When he stepped back to gaze at her admiringly for a moment she felt her cheeks flushing in response to the way he looked at her.

What was it about this man? She'd never had anyone make her feel such a way before. It was both exhilarating and fearsome at the same time. She wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

He turned to look out at his herds, and she had just turned to do the same when suddenly...

“You I might go see your pa sometime soon. It’s about right at this stage of our… relationship that I got see him and state my intentions”

Every inch of her wanted to jump up and down and hoot and holler with excitement, but somehow she managed to keep her exterior calm other than the faintest of smiles sneaking its way onto her lips, her gaze still fixed on he herd.

"Oh?... And what exactly are your intentions, Mr. Jones?" she asked, sneaking a sideways glance over at him.

----------------------------

Belle laughed lightly at Anthony's playful wink. She glanced back at the brothel window where the girls had been peeking out at them before for a moment as she considered his question.

"How about your place tonight then?" she suggested with a playful smile.

"It will get us away from those prying eyes here you were fussing about before, and you can consider it you taking me on a little mini vacation of sorts until I make up my mind about a proper one."
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:29 PM   #9
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Her coy question and smile brought another smile to his face. He pretended to think on it for a second his eyes glinting with delight as he took her in. This girl he thought to himself as he starred at her this girl is as bright and warm as the sun itself.

He knew he was being a foolish love-sick man but didn’t mind it one bit. His years of looting robbing and killing were behind him. Now was his time to be love-sick, now was his time to be a bit of a fool. He wanted her in his home and by his side.
“Oh you know” He said casually “Just courting stuff nothing TO serious”

He winked at her his eyes burning with love and desire. It was funny he thought to himself as they starred at each other under the tree. He bought the farm six months ago so they were still strangers in a lot of ways. Yet he felt he KNEW her, knew her in a way he had never known a girl before.

“Of course I’ve not been here that long” He remarked leaning against the trunk of the grand oak tree that stretched up to the heavens above “I’m not sure if some other no good git has beat me to it!”
………………………………………………
He smiled at her suggestion pleased.

“I think I can make that happen” He said to her rising up out of the frame and tipping his hat at her.

“I’ll come fetch you at around supper time” Anthony said leaning down to kiss her hand “Until then my love”

He straightened and turned tipping his hat at the girls smiling through the windows. He made his way down the steps and moments later he and his horse barreled down the trail. He made his way back to the sheriff’s office taking his time to stop and greet several prominent citizens. He reached his office at around noon guiding his horse to a stop outside and letting her graze for a few seconds.

“Seems you lot didn’t burn down the office while I was gone” Anthony said stepping in and eyeing the two deputies.

“Go on and get some rest” He told them jerking his thumb at the door “I’ll need you again tonight”

“Yes sir” They both said in unison. They rose making their way out of the building and leaving him alone with his thoughts. He spent the rest of the day getting the paperwork caught up. The sleepy town rarely saw any action except for the occasional drunken brawl. Not that Anthony minded one bit! His years as a marshal saw him in plenty of gunfights.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:01 AM   #10
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Rose's smile grew in response to Marston's jokingly casual reply to her question and the playful wink that he gave her, not missing the way his eyes burned as he watched her. Heaven help her. When he looked at her that way she could feel it all the way down to her toes.

At his comment about another suitor beating him to the punch she couldn't help taking the opportunity to tease him a bit in return, placing her hand to her chin and furrowing her brow as if she now was the one having to think things over.

"Hmmm... well William, Judge Baker's son, HAS been bragging to everyone in town for the past few years that he was going to get me to marry him one day... and I could tell ever since he started working for him that Pa's ranch hand Jim has been a little sweet on me..."

She let it hang in the air for a moment as she made her way over to where he leaned up against the tree.

"But there's only one man in town that I've ever considered actually saying yes to letting court me...once he got the nerve to FINALLY ask me that is," she eventually told him, her eyes shining brightly with happiness as an unconcealed smile spread fully across her lips.

William and Jim may have expressed interest in her, but she'd never once reciprocated their advances. When they looked at her, it was the same way she'd seen Jim look before at a new bronco on her father's ranch. Like she was some kind of wild thing that needed to be broken and tamed.

But not Marston. When he looked at her it was like he looked right into her, right into the very heart of her, and loved every bit of her just the way she was.

"So how soon until you can come and talk with Pa?

------------------------------------

Belle smiled at Anthony, her eyes sparking with desire and affection as he leaned down to kiss her hand and she felt the warmth of it spread up through her entire arm. She rose from her seat in the rocking chair as he made his way down the steps, stepping over to the patio railing and giving him a wave goodbye as he mounted his horse and rode away.

Turning around she couldn't help but smile once more in amusement as she spotted the girls gathered at the window there again.

"If you girls are going to stand there and gawk you can at least make yourselves useful! Tilly, go get my shaw for me!" she told them with a bit of a laugh.

"I need to go to the general store and place an order for a new window pane, maybe see if they have anything that we can use to cover it up with in the meantime," she explained.

"I want every thing up and running smoothly again by tonight. I'm going to be...visiting a friend, so you girls are going to be on your own for the evening."
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:00 PM   #11
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“Oh probably this week sometime” Marston replied his tone light and casual even as a smile played on his face. He winked at her finally moving from his standing position under the tree and walking to the edge of the shade.

“I might have to move up my time table now that I know there is TWO men after you” He joked chuckling “A ranch hand to boot! What’s a guy like me to do?”
He turned walking over to her and standing in front of her. He reached out gently cupping her cheek for a second as he regarded her. His eyes were alight with affection and warmth.

“I plan on making you a very happy girl Rose” Marston said a large smile breaking over his face “I mean that you know… now you best be getting onto the farm. I got to get the cattle back anyways. Perhaps tomorrow you would like to go on a picnic?”
…………………………………………………………………..
THAT EVENING

The sun was setting on the homestead casting the tree and wooden house in long defined shadows. Andrew stood on the porch taking in the beautiful splendor all around him. The weathered veteran basked in it enjoyed it in a way the other younger men in the town just didn’t quite understand.

“This is the life” He said to himself softly. He turned on his heel his heavy boots thumping against the porch as he walked back into his simple two-bedroom home. He moved into the kitchen checking the various fixing he was in the midst of preparing. A fresh chicken from Dave the butcher hung in the icebox ready and waiting to be cooked and served. For now he worked on the sides humming to himself as he carefully cooked. His years in the marshals had left him with a deep-seated respect for home cooking. He was by no means an expert but he fancied himself at least a novice cook.
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Old 07-13-2017, 10:59 PM   #12
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Seeing the large smile that spread across Marston's face Rose couldn't help but smile in return, her eyes mirroring the same warmth and affection shining from within his as he looked down at her and promised to make her happy. She silently vowed to herself right then and there that she was going to do the same for him. It made her heart glad to see the wariness that sometimes settled into his jade eyes lifted now as he looked at her. She wanted to always keep them that way.

She was reluctant to leave him now and return back to her family's homestead, but she knew he was right. They both had work to do. He had his cattle to tend to and she, unfortunately, had some sewing to do. She smiled again though at his suggestion of a picnic.

"I'd like that very much," she agreed with a nod, "Though you better go ahead and talk to Pa about it first. He'd be upset with you if he found out we'd officially gone a courtin' without his consenting first."

She moved over to Honey and began to untie the horse from where she'd been tethered next to Shadow, peering back at him and giving him a little smirk as she wordlessly waited for him to come and help her mount the mare.

---------------------------

Belle sat at her vanity, doing a little bit of primping in preparation for her visit with Andrew that evening. It was almost suppertime now so he should be arriving any moment now to come and fetch her.

She checked the mirror one final time to make sure that her hair was in place before dabbing her neck with a bit of perfume and then rising from her seat and running her hands over the skirt of her dress to smooth out any wrinkles from her sitting. It was finely tailored but rather conservative compared to some of the elaborate evening dresses she wore while working at the brothel. She had no doubt though that the sheriff would appreciate the black silken undergarments edged in delicate French lace hidden beneath it however.
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:48 PM   #13
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Her response made his smile grow larger. He had expected she was interested but hearing it verbally sent a rush of affection through his body. When she moved to his horse he followed her helping her back up with his powerful arms. Once she was settled on her steed he stepped back going over to shadow and untethering him from the old oak tree.

“I promise I’ll be there just as quick as I can” He told her leading his black mustang over to her horse and launching himself up it. He settled into it and whistled alerting Shephard that they were about to take off.
“Be careful getting back home darling” He told her tipping his hat as his gaze ran over the cattle “I would hate for anything to happen to you before I get to talk to your pa. I’ll be over to talk to your pa around noon tomorrow then we’ll go out for our picnic”

He reached out taking her hand and kissing it softly. He let it drop and gave her one final wink before nudging his horse with his spurs. Shadow took off his powerful muscles and legs flexing as Marston got to work rounding up his cattle. Once they were rounded up he turned waving at her one final time before guiding his horse back to the Marston homestead.
…………………………………………………….
Once Andrews preparations were done he went to fetch the Madame. He stopped into the sheriff station first making sure that his good for nothing deputies were doing their job. After scarring them and making sure they were appropriately focus on the job he said his good byes and made his way to the Madame’s house. The bordello was already in full swing by the time he got there. Piano music was playing out the broken open window and he could see the men and woman inside dancing mingling and kissing.

He slid off of his horse and walked around the back to the discreet entrance. He nodded at the body guard guarding the back and after conversing with him went inside to the kitchen. He slipped past the girls and cooks who were keeping the men and women in the parlor well fed and well inebriated and went up the wooden stairs leading to Belle’s private room. His heavy boots thumped up the staircase steady and sure as he reached the plain wooden door and rapped his knuckled on it.

“Your ride’s hear” He said calling out to her softly “You ready to go darlin?”
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Old 07-15-2017, 03:26 PM   #14
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Rose felt as if a thousand butterflies had suddenly set to dancing all inside the pit of her stomach as Marston lifted her hand and pressed his lips to it softly before setting it down again, her cheeks flushing slightly in response. She felt so silly. He had her acting like the girls in school that she had always though were so foolish before when they would flirt and fawn over a boy that they liked, losing their wits it seemed every time the boy did so much as glance their way. Yes, he had her feeling very foolish and love-struck indeed.

And she didn't care one lick.

She smiled at him as he winked at her and then held Honey in place as he took off on Shadow, a look of warmth and admiration on her face as she watched the skilled way in which he handled his mount and rounded up the cattle. She could have stayed there all day watching him, but when he turned and gave her a parting wave she knew it was high time she too headed home.

Smiling and giving him a final wave of her own, she urged Honey forward with her heels and headed off in the direction of home...though traveling at a noticeably slower pace than what she had been before.

-------------------------

Belle smiled to herself from within her room as she recognized the sound of the sheriff's heavy boots thumping up the wooden staircase just outside her bedroom door. Sure enough, it wasn't two seconds later that there was a knock on her door and she heard him calling out to her softly from the hall. Grabbing a small handbag laying atop her bed that she had already packed earlier that evening with a few things that she might need, she went over to the door and opened it for him, smiling brightly up at him as she did.

"Good evening Andrew, " she told him, standing up on her toes to give him a quick kiss in greeting before lowering herself again, "I'm all ready to go."
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:16 AM   #15
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Marston hummed to himself softly. Behind him the cattle moved following after him at a slow plodding pace. Every so often he would have to drop back rounding up any strays before they all continued as one.

To some people this would seem boring especially after a life of gun slinging and adventure. To Marston however it brought a deep-seated contentment and a smile to his face. The labor was good and more importantly honest. Be it the cattle or the farm he was making a living off of the land and the sweat on his back. For the ex-gunslinger and outlaw this was a peace he never thought he could reach.
He spent the rest of the evening getting the cattle turned in for the night. Once that was done he went into his simple two-bedroom ranch house and got to work fixing himself a small robust supper. Cooking wasn’t his strongest suit so he kept his dinner simple.

He and Shephard brought their meals outside and tucked in. Afterwards they stayed outside enjoying the sights and sounds of the land. From the cattle and their noises inside the barn to the grasshoppers and the animals calling out into the night. He took it all in with relish his hands scratching Shepherds ears ever so softly as the dogs furry tail thumped against the wooden porch.
…………………………………………………………..

“Good evening your self-darling” Andrew said back a smile forming on his older weathered face.

“Sounds good” He said turning and walking down the steps with her in tow “Got to get you out of here before one of your girls sets into you with some crisis”
Andrew escorted her down the steps and through the kitchen. He wasted no time guiding her through the simple bustling kitchen and out into the starry night sky. Once he was sure they were safe from any of her employees grabbing her and bringing her into some crisis he relaxed and his pace slowed.

“Much better” He said smiling at her “Beautiful night with an angel of a girl…. Man can’t ask for much more these days”

He brought her around to his horse and helped her up. His hands sure and strong ran over her body and her hips for several seconds as he “helped” her get onto the horse and saddled up. Once she was secure he clambered up after her and seated himself in front of her.

“You ready darling?” He asked her his tone soft as his horse snickered below them.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:49 PM   #16
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Upon arriving back at her family's homestead Rose had remained in a particularly cheery mood for the remainder of the evening, even despite her mother fussing to her about her sneaking out to go for a ride instead of coming back inside to help with the mending and practice her needlepoint as she'd been told. In fact, instead of commenting back about the absurdity of practicing needlepoint in the first place as she usually would have been inclined, Rose simply apologized and offered to take care of cooking dinner that night on her own so that Ma could have some time to sit and relax with Pa for a bit when he got home since she'd had to do extra work in Rose's absence that day. Her ma had looked at Rose like she'd just sprouted a second head, wondering what on earth had gotten into the girl, but she'd agreed.

After a pleasant dinner with her folks, Rose had excused herself upstairs to her bedroom for the night, drawing back the curtains of her window and letting the bright moonlight illuminate the room instead of lighting a lamp. Silhouetted in its silvery glow, she removed the wild flower still tucked behind her ear and examined it with a smile.

Tomorrow Marston Jones was going to come and speak with her pa about courting her. A shiver of excitement and delight ran through her. She had no idea how on earth she was ever going to be able to fall asleep that night.

Picking up the chapter book that had been resting upon her nightstand, she smiled at the flower for a final time before opening up the book and gently pressing the blossom in-between the pages of the book so that it could dry into a memento that she would be able to cherish always...which was just as long as she already knew she wanted to be with Marston.

--------------------------

Belle couldn't conceal the amused smile on her face as Andrew all but dragged her quickly down the stairs and through the kitchen, not even seeming to pause for a breath until they had reached the outside of the brothel with the evening stars shining down upon them. She did her best to conceal the way her smile faltered slightly when he called her an angel. That she most definitely was not, in more ways than he knew...but she wasn't going to think about that tonight. Tonight was for the two of them, not ghosts of the past.

Her loving smile returned as he came and helped her onto his horse, a warm surge of anticipation flowing through her veins as she felt the way his strong hands lingered on her form for longer than necessary as he assisted her. When he saddled up in front of her she was sure to return the favor, her arms snaking around his waist and her hands splaying across his abdomen and she cuddled up to him from behind.

"Ready, Sugar, " she replied.
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