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Brendan Connolly

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Mature Content: No


With: Wayfarer's NPC Evergreen ranch hands
Location: Bunkhouse
When: August, 1875
Time of Day: Morning




Brendan yawned sleepily and rolled over in bed, clumsily kicking the covers down toward the foot of the bed. It was about time to get up, but he didn't want to. He never wanted to. But it had to be done if he wanted to eat. And he most definitely wanted to eat. His stomach growled as if his thinking about eating had made him hungry all of a sudden.


He propped himself up on one elbow and peered over the edge of his bed. He'd taken the top bunk since the bottom was already occupied by another Evergreen hand. Until he could get a feel for how the ranch worked, he wanted to tread carefully around the other hands. No one else seemed to be awake yet.


He groaned inwardly and pushed himself up, climbing down the ladder carefully and avoiding the one creaky slat, then stepped first into his trousers and then into his boots. He let his suspenders hang down for the time being because there was really no need for them yet.


He quietly opened the door to the bunkhouse, then looked back inside at the still-slumbering occupants and slammed the door loudly. Biting his lip to keep from smiling, he sat down on the stoop and looked out at the ranch. So much for treading carefully.

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From inside the bunkhouse, Brendan probably heard a few gripes and cursewords from a few of the hands who might have awakened from the door slamming like that. But most slept right thu it, when you work as hard as a typical cowhand you get tired and it takes a lot to disturb one's sleep. The newcomer was wrong though in his assumption everyone had been asleep.  As Connelly sat there pondering, the cowhands' outhouse door creaked open and out came one of the cowpokes.


Billy was buttoning his trousers, the lone item of clothing he had on, he was also barefoot. But then it was August and certainly wasn't about to sleep in the long underwear he wore during colder times. He had gotten up a bit earlier than Brendan but had been more quiet about it. He had learned not to irritate some of the hands, a wise habit considering his youth compared to the other men. Billy was eighteen but didn't even look that, he still hadn't even needed to shave thus far. Which didn't bother him none, seemed like a mess of effort. And Billy had always been a bit on the lazy side.


As he then padded back toward the bunkhouse, he couldn't help but notice the jasper sitting there on the front steps. The newest hand....he had heard the foreman mention the guy's name but in all honesty forgot what it was. Nonplussed though, for Billy was - especially for Evergreen cowhands - a good natured friendly sort, he lifted one hand in a 'hi' gesture.


"Mornin', gonna be another scorcher I reckon, still beats to hell a Montana winter don't it?" he grinned.



(ooc: Ignore the blood trickle, best pic I could find that fit. He's in fine health  :)

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Brendan was still grinning at the curses he heard when the door to the outhouse creaked. He looked up to see who had woken up before him. It was Billy. Or was it Benny? Somethin' with a B at the beginning, like his name.


Whatever his name was, Brendan was struck once again by how young the man looked. Looked like he shouldn't be working on a ranch by himself. But at least he was friendly, waving and making a comment about the weather. Brendan raised two fingers to the side of his head in a sort of salute and scooted to the edge of the stoop so he could see the sky.


"Think you're right about the scorcher, but I don't got ex-per-i-ence with Montana winters. This'll be my first." He broke the big word up into little bits so they would come out easier. 


He glanced at Billy's bare feet and lifted one side of his mouth. "Brave walkin' across the yard like that. Don't you know snakes like to hide in outhouses?" His tone was light and teasing so his words wouldn't come across the wrong way. It didn't matter how tough a man's feet were; they were no match for a rattler's fangs.


Billy chuckled, "Oh yeah. Well, you are in for a real unpleasant surprise when the cold starts rushing in and the snow piles on us. I hate the winter and I was born in Montana."


Billy listened to the warning, unsure if the man was serious or not but if the point was to scare the kid, it didn't work.


"Rattlers? I been here a couple years now, this was my first job and never saw no rattlers around the outhouse. Why they're probably too smart to stand the stink of the place. Speakin' of which, you don't wanna go in there for a bit...well, you know," he smiled.


He moved closer then, itching one armpit as he did so, "Hey, sorry but I forgot yer name. I'm Billy. I got a last name too but no one ever cares about that."


Brendan didn't like the sound of Montana winters. Being buried in snow was not something he wanted to think about this early in the morning. His grin faded a bit, but grew again when Billy warned him away from the outhouse for a while.


"Much obliged. I'll steer clear for a bit." He started to pull one suspender over his shoulder, but let it slide back down lazily.


And there was the answer to the cowboy's name. Billy. Brendan chuckled. "Billy, huh? I'd forgotten yours, too. Mine's Brendan. What's your last name?"


Edited by Bailey (see edit history)
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It didn't surprise Billy none that the man had forgotten his name, most of the ranch hands didn't pay him much heed or treat him with much respect, probably because they viewed him still a boy.  He wasn't though, he looked younger than he was, not that he could control that. Least this one seemed nice enough so far.
"Brendan...huh ... first person I ever met with that name," Billy declared, now a bit puzzled why the man wanted to know his last name? He was positive there were no warants out for him. Even though he had done a few thiings already in his life which would justify such a thing.  But then working for the Steelgraves, most of the others could say the same thing. That family was as crooked as they come. But a job was a job.
"It's Taylor.... Billy Taylor," he decided to answer though.
"Hey, you get assigned any job yet for today? Me n' Greer are gonna go ride the property line lookin' for strays and seein' nobody is trespassing on Evergreen land. You should go with us. You are gonna have to learn where the the property lines are, ya know?" he offered.
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"Billy Taylor. Well, I'm Brendan Connolly."


Brendan flashed a grin. Billy reminded him a little of his younger siblings, and he was drawn to him because of that. It had been lonely, working his way west and not having any connection to his family back in Virginia.


His grin changed to a thoughtful look as Billy suggested riding the property. It was a good idea, learning the property lines. And if he went with Billy and Greer, there'd be less chance of him accidentally crossing the property lines before he knew who owned what. 


Even though he didn't much like Greer from what he had seen of the man, it would be nice to get to know the hands better. There wasn't much you could tell from seeing a bunch of men sleeping in bunk beds, which was about all he'd seen so far.


"Nope. Not a thing, so far. I'd be glad to come with y'all. We've gotta get Greer up first, though. And maybe get some coffee in us, too."


He'd become nearly completely dependent on coffee during his time as a cowhand, and rarely started a morning without it.


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"Just call me Billy though, I don't use my last name much," the young man asked with a shrug of bare shoulders.


Brendan accepted his idea so Billy nodded, "Good! As for Greer, you let me get him up. I know how to handle 'im. He's kinda touchy sometimes."


"Plus, I best be puttin' some clothes and boots on - especially if yer seein' rattlers," Billy chuckled, he obviously wasn't too concerned about that news.




It was about a good hour before the trio had eaten, saddled their horses, and headed on out of the ranch proper. Brendan would easily notice the difference in the two other riders. Whereas Billy had been openly friendly, good natured, Greer sullenly nodded when they were introduced and about the only statement he had to make to the newcomer was,  "And you better do what we tell ya to. We know the ropes around here, you don't."



That only brought a laugh from Billy.


"Didn't I tell ya," he glanced at Brendan.


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Brendan chuckled, even though the idea of taking orders from Greer and Billy was not an appealing one. Billy because he was younger, and Greer because...well...something about Greer just got his hackles up.


"Sure, you know the ropes," he agreed lightly, winking at Billy.


He was fine to go along with the two cowboys for now, as long as they didn't make him do something stupid or humiliating. They wouldn't be the first two hands to try that on a new hand. But he thought he was experienced enough to sniff out any trouble before they got him into it.


He inspected the ranch as they rode, trying to spot places were strays might like to hide. Evergreen was a fair-sized property, from what he could tell. It would be important to know the property lines so he didn't end up trespassing on someone else's land.


"You mentioned trespassers?" he asked after a bit. "You get a lot of those 'round here?"

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The ride was uneventful for quite some time, Billy doing most of the talking but that was normal, Greer was not very social even at the best of times. He explained locations of certain landmarks to help the newcomer get acclimated to boundaries and such.


"You mentioned trespassers?" Brendan asked after a bit. "You get a lot of those 'round here?"


"Nope, most folks ain't that stupid. Evergreen has a reputation ya know?  The Steelgraves are fearful sorts to tangle with," Billy answered, he wondered if the newcomer had noticed yet that a sizeable number of the Evergreen hands could easily be taken for gunmen, much more so than your usual cowpoke ranch crew. A few of them wouldn't be able to rope or brand a calf or many other typical duties.  It was those men which made the Steelgraves a family to be feared.


"I kilt a trespasser once," Greer announced suddenly.


Billy smirked, "You did not, you took a shot at one. You missed."


"You don't know that now," Greer glared.


"He rode off, didn't he?" Billy pointed out.


"Probably bled out later. Like when ya hunt deer, they don't always go down right off," Greer contended.



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"Uh-huh..." Brendan nodded slowly, thinking about whether he fit with the reputation of the Evergreen ranch. He'd met more of the hands than the actual Steelgraves themselves so far, but the hands definitely had a reputation. He wasn't sure that he liked it, but he would stick around and see if things looked up.


Brendan smiled at the back and forth between Greer and Billy. Even though they were talking about a human being, it was humorous. Suddenly he was glad he was here. Maybe someday he'd have a good enough relationship with one of the hands that they could go back and forth like that.


He inserted himself into the argument, pushing his hat back on his head a little and raking his fingers through his forelock to banish a few drops of sweat from his forehead. Billy had been right: it was going to be a scorcher.


"Well, if ya didn't see 'im go down and ya didn't track him, ya can't really say you kilt him, can you? Winged 'im, maybe."


Acknowledging that Greer probably hit the guy was a good step in his mind, but like Billy, Brendan doubted the trespasser had actually died. It might not help Greer's opinion of him, but that couldn't be helped.


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Greer did not appreciate the new hand disagreeing with his version of the event, figured that he would take up with Billy.


"You weren't there so you can't have no say in it. I know what I saw, I hit him right between the shoulders. He would never have lasted very long. I hit what I aim at," Greer snapped.


Billy laughed "Sure ya do, pard."


"Let's talk about something else goddammit!" Greer insisted, "besides trespassers."


Billy figured he had razed the man enough so decided to do just that - change the subject. And that gave him an idea, hopefully Greer would go along with it. He turned to Brendan.


"Well, we do have us a farm comin' up soon. Borders the lake and right between the Evergreen property and the Lost Lake land.  The people there are squatters but so far Mr. Steelgrave has allowed 'em to stay there out of the goodness of his heart," Billy explained.


"We get along with 'em just fine. You should meet 'em actually."


Greer got it, amazingly enough, and nodded, "Yeah, you should. Be right neighborly it would."


They just needed the new man to agree. This could turn out to be quite the joke alright.

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Brendan shrugged, letting Greer's irritation roll off him like water droplets off a duck's back. The man was clearly in a permanent bad mood. Only he seemed to perk up a little when Billy mentioned going to visit the farm that "belonged" to the squatters Mr. Steelgrave was letting live on Evergreen.


Brendan was intrigued, his natural curiosity aroused by the idea of squatters. He squinted ahead to try to see the farm, then looked back at Billy. "Letting squatters live on your property don't seem like good business. But what do I know? Sure, let's ride over there."


He yawned and rolled his shoulders. In the heat, it was easy to get drowsy. But the prospect of meeting these squatters would be enough to keep him awake, he thought. That and the knowledge that he needed to keep his eyes open so he could start learning the terrain.


"How long've they been livin' here?" He asked, referring to the squatters.

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"Well you got me why Mr. Steelgrave don't do somethin' about it," Greer meant the squatting, "But he's the boss and he don't explain nothin' to people like us."


They were almost within sight of the farm now, Billy was feeling a might nervous  but answered Brendan's question, "Not rightly sure. Seems they bought the place from a couple around close to a year ago.  That's just what I heard in town once though. Maybe you can ask 'em when you meet 'em?"


The three riders pulled up on a low rise and sure enough, there was the farm. A smallish farmhouse, a barn, some fields, and the beginnings of a fence. A closer look and one could make out a chicken coop and an outhouse. There was a figure hanging up washing on a line at one side of the farmhouse.  Billy knew who that was alright and smiled.


"Well, there it be. Not much really but home sweet home for those folks, right?" he remarked as he leaned on his saddle horn.


"See that gal there hanging out the wash? We met her  before, right friendly too. In fact some might say a little too friendly if ya know what I mean? She practically threw herself at me one day in town. Who knows, a handsome buck like yerself, she'll probably take a quick fancy to you too. If you're in a mind for it, you might just get lucky."


Greer didn't get it at first but then it clicked and he shut up and let Billy set their new hand up. This could be real fun to watch - at a safe distance of course.


"Go on then, introduce yourself so that she knows yer part of the Evergreen crew and not one of those troublemakers from the Lost Lake spread. Oh and mention swimmin' too, that filly loves swimming. She's a regular fish in the water that one," Billy grinned.





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Brendan perked up as Billy mentioned a gal. He squinted at the figure. She looked kind of skinny and short from this distance, but maybe she would look better closer up.


"Really? Looks like you did a good job of escaping her," he said lightly, leaning on his saddle horn. Not that Billy would have wanted to escape a girl that threw herself at him.


And the girl liked swimming? That was kinda odd, but to each his own. Or her own, in this case. Anyway, it would give him something to entice her with. An invitation to go swimming with a cowhand from Evergreen ranch? He was sure a girl as "friendly" as Billy made her out to be would accept.


"Swimming? Maybe I c'n get her to go swimming with me sometime. Sometime at night." He grinned and nudged his horse forward, glancing back at Billy and Greer. He did find it a bit strange that Billy wouldn't want to come along with him, but maybe he was just being nice to the new hand. It was downright neighborly of him.


He pushed his hat back on his head further as he rode down the rise, leaving Billy and Greer behind. As he approached the farmhouse, he watched the girl's shape become clearer. She wasn't getting any more curvaceous. Maybe it was the sun in his eyes?

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Billy grinned, "Yessirree, swimmin' at night...yer a real devil, you are. Bet you a silver dollar you can't convince her though but give it a shot!" 


  He'd have made the wager higher given his confidence what Brendan was actually in for but it would look suspicious. Greer only cackled away, not so much from what either of the others said as in expectation of the coming spectacle. And - IF mind you - IF that Redmond gal shot the new cowpoke that would give Mr. Steelgrave the perfect excuse to burn this bunch out of their place.


Clara had just finished putting up Wyatts long johns on the line and was now was ready to start on some of her clothing when she spotted movement up ahead. A focused look now showed there was a man on horseback coming straight for the farm. Like a man on a mission. A cowboy too. It wasn't Shade, she knew him too well besides he'd never visit anymore after casting her aside for that Jezebel school marm. No, she never saw this jasper before in her life.  However, he was approaching from the direction of the Evergreen spread! That pretty much cinched it!


Ever since that day the two Evergreen hooligans had surprised her at the lake, she had vowed she would never be taken by surprise again. As the man closed the distance, she gave a grim almost triumphant smile then reached down into the wash basket.  ' Pick on a young lady, will you?'


The clothes on the line partially broke up the man's line of sight and she kept her one hand, now gripping her little surprise for him, behind her back while she stepped past the clothes line and let him close to easy speaking distance.


"You realize you are trespassing on private property?" she called out a simple question as she looked up at the man.






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The girl didn't look all that friendly as Brendan rode up. She sure wasn't flinging herself at him like Billy said she had done. Maybe she thought he was Greer from far off. The thought made him chuckle to himself as he neared the girl hanging out the washing.


But her next words stopped his laughter in his throat. He was trespassing? That was an odd thing for a squatter to say. And the fact that such a little bitty gal could speak so confidently to him was an odd thing, too. Because she was little bitty. Why, her hair was still in braids instead of up on top of her head!


"Eh...I think you're confused, missy." Confused or ornery? Brendan scratched his chin and leaned over in the saddle. "But I'll overlook that. I just come to inter-duce myself. I'm a new hand over at the Evergreen spread. Brendan Conolly's my name."

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"Eh...I think you're confused, missy."


Gosh! He was either awfully stupid or just brand new to his job. Or.... and this was also very possible, it was all an act to get her to relax her guard. Fat chance of that happening!


"I assure you I know exactly what I am saying," she declared fervently, still sizing him up as they spoke. He had a gun but she was confident she could...already did have the jump on him should he try pulling it.


"But I'll overlook that. I just come to inter-duce myself. I'm a new hand over at the Evergreen spread. Brendan Conolly's my name."


So  now he came right out with it. He was one of those Evergreen thugs! Just as she suspected.


"Well, I am Clara Redmond, daughter of Aurelian Redmond, owner of this farm. And if you know what is good for you, you will heed me and get off OUR property before I make you regret it!" she tried to sound as fierce as she could make it. Somehow though her fearsome act was not always taken that serious by the men she tried it on, much to her dismay.



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"Owner?" Brendan burst out laughing, throwing his head back and letting a flash of sunlight stab his eyes. This gal was too funny. First of all, she thought her father owned this farm. Second, the way she talked made her seem like she was older than she really was. This gal was too big for her britches. Not that that was hard to do, seeing how skinny she was.


And she wasn't scary at all. There were some women who could put a scare on a man with their eyes, but Clara was not one of them. Not yet, anyway.


"Listen, Clara," he said, still chuckling, "I think you've been out in the sun too long. Let me hold that there laundry basket for you while you hang the rest a' those clothes out."


Still not able to wipe his grin off his face, he swung his leg over his horse's back and started to dismount. Girls liked it when men helped them out with chores, and Clara needed his help badly. This sun was addling her brains.

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He laughed at her?! The nerve of this jasper, so he thought it was funny, her warning? It was because she was a young lady, he was giving her no credence because of that, Clara was certain and it only made her all the more angry.


"Listen, Clara," the man declared, still chuckling, "I think you've been out in the sun too long. Let me hold that there laundry basket for you while you hang the rest a' those clothes out."  


"Miss Redmond to you!" she snapped back then went wide eyed to see him actually dismounting? Had she not given him very fair warning to cease his trespassing and get out of here?


Time to put the fear of God in this one, she reckoned then made her move. Suddenly the gun concealed behind her dress was brought out into full sight as she swung the heavy horse pistol up and steadied it with her other hand, assuming a firing position. The Dragoon Colt was leveled right at him.



To show she meant business, if the idiot still didn't get it, she cocked the piece back with one thumb, it was now quite ready to fire and she had her finger on the trigger.


"You come any closer and I will shoot you!"

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Brendan had tossed his reins over his horse's head and had been about to offer Clara an invitation to go swimming sometime when she...pointed a gun at him? And cocked it?!


"You come any closer and I will shoot you!"


It was almost laughable, those words coming from a girl, but Brendan was looking down the barrel of the Colt and he wasn't laughing anymore. Well, something about what he'd just done had pissed her off. Since she corrected him on how he had addressed her, he assumed that was it.


"Miss Redmond, then," he said, eying the gun and keeping his hands level with his horse's back, palms outstretched. "But there ain't no call to go gettin' so hel...uh...heckfire touchy 'bout that. I might'a been too forward. But I didn't think you'd mind, seein' as how Billy said..."


He trailed off, suddenly realizing that everything Billy had told him about Clara didn't match up with the girl who was holding a gun on him.




Edited by Bailey (see edit history)
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Once he saw her gun pointed right at him, he stopped alright. Maybe at last he realized that she was certainly not bluffing. He would find out for certain if he tried anything alright!


"Miss Redmond, then," he said, eying the gun and keeping his hands level with his horse's back, palms outstretched. "But there ain't no call to go gettin' so hel...uh...heckfire touchy 'bout that. I might'a been too forward. But I didn't think you'd mind, seein' as how Billy said..."  


"Billy? Billy said what? That low down skunk behind this? Should have known. He must be too afraid to come down and face me himself so he sends you to do his dirty work?" Clara was getting madder by the minute.


"I could shoot you down right now, right this second. I would have it within my rights as you are trespassing on our property," she seethed.



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"Don't know what you mean by dirty work. He told me you were right friendly, so I wanted to come down here an' meet you," Brendan said, trying to seem calm. He moved his hand a few inches to the right until his fingers touched his horse's bridle, then he pulled his horse in front of himself. The girl wouldn't shoot a horse.


"And I don't know what you mean by trespassin'! I'm sure Mr. Steelgrave wouldn't like it if he knew you squatters were gettin' so uppity."


He scowled a little, upset that this had gone so differently from how he had imagined it would go...and from how Billy had hinted that it would go. But it still didn't click in his mind that Billy might have stretched the truth...or completely turned it on its head.

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"Oh, so Billy told you that? And you just believed him?" Clara snapped, though in fairness if the man was new he probably would believe Billy with that baby face angelic face of his. He was a perfect example of not judging someone by their looks.


The man was clever though, he suddenly manuvered himself so he was using his horse as a shield, banking that she wouldn't shoot an innocent animal. Well, he was correct on that assessment, that was not in Clara. In truth, despite her fierce words thus far, it was highly unlikely she would pull the trigger on this Evergreen hand unless he went for his own weapon or lunged for hers.


As for his squatters assertion she felt she needed to set him straight on that too, "That's also a lie. We are not squatters, we bought this land fair and square from the original owners. Mr. Steelgrave has never nor will he ever own a square foot of this property."


"So would you like to hear my side of the story then? Especially about Billy?" she suddenly offered, even if he didn't believe her at least she would have tried.

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"Yeah, I believed him," Brendan said shortly, peering at Clara over his horse's saddle. It seemed like maybe he had been wrong to believe Billy, though. But he couldn't think about that right now. He had to focus on not getting shot.


He felt his jaw drop as Clara stoutly defended her family's right to the farm. It almost made his head hurt. Who was he supposed to believe? Billy, who had showed every sign of being friendly but had let him come down here by himself? Or Clara, who was supposed to be friendly but was certainly not?


But she did offer to tell him the story from her point of view. Brendan didn't want to hear a sob story from a girl - he was sure it was a sob story - but she was the one with the gun.


"Eh...sure, why not? Go ahead an' tell your side. Just maybe...put the gun away?" He rose up on his toes so she could see all of his face over his horse's back, revealing a charming, pleading smile.

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"Eh...sure, why not? Go ahead an' tell your side. Just maybe...put the gun away?"


Well, Clara figured she wouldn't be able to hit the man anyway like this, what with a whole horse in the way, and she did not shoot innocent animals. He also did have a nice smile. But she would not drop her guard completely, he still could be a varmint.  He worked for the Steelgraves didn't he?


"Fine, I will lower it but you step out so I can see you better and whatever you do - DO NOT - go for your gun or make a lunge for me," Clara agreed to his request but with certain stipulations.


Gun lowered, she then started her side of the story.


"I first met Billy and another jasper, ugly bald ruffian when I was swimming in the lake. I had thought, wrongly of course, I was enjoying myself in privacy.  I had my clothing and this Dragoon Colt piled up on shore. Along came those two ....well, I certainly cannot call them 'gentlemen'. They told me to get out of the water. I refused and told them such a thing was not proper. Billy admitted he had a desire to see me ...naked. Again I would not compromise myself in such a fashion and refused point blank. So he took all of my clothing and my Papa's gun - thinking it all a big joke, then they rode off and left me out there like that.

So there .....that is your friend, Billy. Now you come along like I am supposed to be happy to see another Evergreen .....hooligan?"



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Brendan nodded, resting his arms on his horse's back so she could see his hands. The way this girl talked, it was bound to be a long story. It wasn't as long as he thought she would make it, but the words she used! Ruffian, desire, compromise, and hooligan. Honestly, she sounded she was trying to play schoolteacher, which annoyed him a little, but he tried to focus on the humor of the story. And it wasn't hard.


And there was the mention of swimming. His eyes lit up a little, but he didn't interrupt her since she still had her gun in hand. As the story unfolded, he grinned, then chuckled. At first he propped his chin on his hand and dug his fingers into his cheek, trying not to laugh. But when Clara got to the part where Billy and Greer had ridden off with her clothes, he couldn't help it anymore.


He burst out laughing, even though she was obviously still upset about the incident. "I would'a loved to have seen that!"


He stopped laughing abruptly as he realized she might take his words the wrong way. "Them ridin' off with your clothes, I mean, ma'am. Miss." He wasn't sure what to call her. Her height and size made her a miss, but the way she talked made her a ma'am.


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