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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

It's Just Temporary


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Mature Content: Yes.

With: Arabella and Caroline with possible appearances by other saloon denizens
Location: Stardust Saloon
When: Late April 1876
Time of Day: Late evening

 

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Caroline was grand spirits, just as she had hoped...no, expected - she had gotten the job. Her new employer, Matilda Devereau, had negotiated with her for quite a spell before agreement was reached on wages.  Also included was room and board, so she would live right in the place, more specifically up on the second floor. The amiable enough bartender had convinced a young well built cowpoke to help him lug her trunk up those tall steps and right after the other luggage followed. Matilda promised her she would get her own room once she could make the necessary arrangements such as obtaining a bedframe and mattress. Caroline was to have the far room down the hallway right across from Arabella's room.  That is - once all was made ready, might be a few days minimum.

 

"No problem though, you can stay in Arabella's room," Matilda had declared. When Caroline voiced reluctance to have the young girl kicked out of her very own room, Matilda corrected her, "Oh no. That wouldn't be fair. No, you two an share the room until yours is ready for you to move into."

 

Caroline had her doubts about the wisdom of that course of action but knew better than to argue with her brand new employer. That's when Ralph and volunteer ended up hefting her luggage into Arabella's room. Now the room the girl stayed in was small but adequate for what it had been intended for - a place for the child to sleep. There was a bed and a few chairs and one small table upon which rested a water pitcher and wash bowl.  It had a closet not that young Arabella had much to hang in it. Matilda took one look at the bed and pronounced it roomy enough for the two to sleep together then left the ladies to their own devices.

 

The brand new entertainer opened the lone window in the room to let some fresh air in then decided to start the process of unpacking. Not everything of course but the necessaries for a few days and nights accomodation. Matilda had told the two of them they had this night off but starting tomorrow she expected Caroline to commence earning that new wage of hers. Matilda had plans to put up a big sign on the morrow just next to the front doors announcing the establishment now would be offering on stage entertainment.

 

"I got a real kick out of yer cook, very jolly and plus she does know how to cook alright," Caroline stated as she opened one of her carpet bags.

 

"So which side of the bed do you prefer, hon?"

 

 

Edited by Javia
It got rude. (see edit history)
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After she had finished her scrubbing, Arabella had stomped off bad temperedly to the kitchen to help Mammy Cookie prepare some vittles. She had completely ignored Mr Flandry as she’d passed: that’d teach him!

 

Messalina had managed to calm the girl down a little with cuddles and hair-stroking, a sympathetic ear to Arabella’s long rant about the whole a affair, and a story that the plump cook had made up on the spot about how a similar thing had happened to here when she was a girl ‘just your age’ and how she had maintained a quiet and brave dignity throughout the ordeal and come out on top in the end. This seemed to mollify Arabella and gave her the resolve to endure her martyrdom with all the quiet, admirable calm of Joan of Arc when faced with the flaming pyre. Clara had told her all about Joan of Arc, and she seemed a good role model for Arabella in this present crisis.

 

So, when she opened her bedroom door and saw the shambles that the newcomer had already created with all her luggage, she was able to calmly step over the various items of baggage and give Caroline a tight, close-lipped smile.

 

“I’ve moved all my stuff along to make room for yours” she said. All her stuff! Item: One Vivandière outfit, including barrel and kepi, (homemade); One Sunday Dress (faded); one pile of black woollen stockings (darned); one pile of underthings (heavily mended); some wads of cloth that Cookie had given her to cope with her newly arrived and very unwelcome menses (inadequate); one stack of newspaper clippings about Tom Love’s outlaw gang; one bible (James I, including Apocrypha).

 

The bible was a gift from Pastor Evans who, although his sermons were about the most boring in recorded history (especially for Arabella, after witnessing the charismatic preachers of the Southern Camp Meetings) and whose knowledge of theology seemed woefully inadequate to answer Arabella’s many, many questions about the bible, and who was, unfortunately, the wrong denomination, was a kindly old soul who had given the devout girl the tattered old tome to replace the one which she had lost at Whitefish.  

 

She stepped over to the open window, made a great show of shivering with cold and let out a loud “Brrrrrr” before closing it.

 

“We don’t wanna catch cold.” she said primly. The Caroline creature was talking to her now.

 

"I got a real kick out of yer cook, very jolly and plus she does know how to cook alright," Caroline stated as she opened one of her carpet bags.

 

“Yes, me and Cookie are very close. What with us both being from Virginia. I suppose that makes us both ‘traitors’ but we like each other well enough.” Sniped Arabella, still with a false smile on her face, but clearly not forgetting that Caroline had sung out loud that verse in John Brown’s body that anyone with any taste would forgo if they knew there was a Southerner in the room. But the floozie seemed unconcerned and moved on to talking about the sleeping arrangements.

 

"So which side of the bed do you prefer, hon?"

 

“The middle, usually.” Replied Arabella. “But seeing as we’re stuck together, I’d better take the window side, so I can keep an eye on things!” she declared, moving over to the window, which faced onto a blank wall a few feet away. By sitting on the window ledge and sort of squidging her face sideways on, you could just get a glance at the passing traffic on the street in front of the Saloon. It was unclear what ‘things’ she needed to keep her eye on.

 

Hon, hon, hon, hon, hon!!!!

 

Caroline had only called it her twice, but it was already grating on her nerves. She tried to be calm and dignified in offering an alternative.

 

“Please, call me Arabella, Caroline.” She said. “My friends call me 'Reb'” (by friends, she meant some of the drunken men in the bar and Hayseed) but then it popped out. “But no-one’s ever called me a traitor before.” She growled, still staring sideways out of the window, not wanting to look at the girl whom she felt had deliberately insulted her.

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Ah there was the girl with a completely unconvincing smile. Caroline gave her one right back. Such smiles did nothing to alleviate the tension in the room between these two.

 

“I’ve moved all my stuff along to make room for yours”  the child announced.

 

"Oh you didn't have to, I'm not even going to be stayin' in here all that long. Matilda .." Caroline already was addressing the saloon 'family' by their Christian names, she was never much for formalities, "said they would get the room up and ready right across from you."

 

Wouldn't you know it, the girl went straight to the window and immediately shut it, "We don’t wanna catch cold.”

 

Whatever, Caroline decided it wasn't worth arguing over a stupid window and brought up how much she liked the cook and her food too.  It was obvious to her the girl liked the negro woman so maybe that was one thing they had then in common, well besides music. The scrawny sour-puss was having none of it though.

 

"Yes, me and Cookie are very close. What with us both being from Virginia. I suppose that makes us both ‘traitors’ but we like each other well enough.”

 

Traitors? Caroline had said nothing of the sort but decided to ask about the bed. Let Arabella pick which side of the bed she liked.

 

“The middle, usually.” Replied Arabella. “But seeing as we’re stuck together, I’d better take the window side, so I can keep an eye on things!”

 

"Fine and dandy, you take that side then," Caroline had no idea what the child would be watching for outside?

 

“Please, call me Arabella, Caroline.” She said. “My friends call me 'Reb'. But no-one’s ever called me a traitor before.”

 

Caroline sighed, "I didn't call you or Cookie traitors. If you mean the song - those are the words in it. Since your family were abolitionists  that don't make you a traitor. And as for Cookie, she was a slave. It was the traitors who wanted slaves not Cookie's doin'."

 

"You know quit yer pouting and grow up. What happened to you tellin' me 'sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me'?"

 

Caroline was on a roll now, "I can tell you haven't been here all that long in this here saloon cuz you gotta learn to be tough in this trade. A lot of bad things can happen to folk like us and believe me, it can be a whole lot worse than supposedly bein' called a 'traitor'."

 

"You wouldn't believe the names I been called - Jezebel, whore of Babylon, bitch, cock sucking cunt, trash and I could go on. Plus I been slapped, punched, choked, shot at, stabbed too.  So pardon me if I can't feel all sad and sorry for you cuz you think you got called a 'traitor.' "

 

"I like to think we saloon folk gotta stick together thru thick n' thin. Well, so you didn't get yer wish, you don't want me here, I get it. But I'm here now and I sure as hell ain't going away. So the sooner you learn to live with it, the better off you'll be......Arabella," she stressed the name at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caroline sighed, "I didn't call you or Cookie traitors. If you mean the song - those are the words in it. Since your family were abolitionists that don't make you a traitor. And as for Cookie, she was a slave. It was the traitors who wanted slaves not Cookie's doin'."

 

“Oh, thanks for tellin’ me! I didn’t know that!” said Arabella sarcastically.

 

"You know quit yer pouting and grow up. What happened to you tellin' me 'sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me'?"

 

“That don’t mean it’s nice to say nasty words, though!” spat back Arabella, jumping off the window ledge so she was standing facing Caroline with her hands on her hips.

 

Caroline was on a roll now, "I can tell you haven't been here all that long in this here saloon cuz you gotta learn to be tough in this trade. A lot of bad things can happen to folk like us and believe me, it can be a whole lot worse than supposedly bein' called a 'traitor'."

 

“Well maybe you ain’t never been called a traitor so how would you know?” They weren’t really very good comebacks, but Arabella always had trouble thinking on her feet during confrontational moments like these.

 

"You wouldn't believe the names I been called - Jezebel, whore of Babylon, bitch, cock sucking cunt, trash and I could go on. Plus, I been slapped, punched, choked, shot at, stabbed too. So pardon me if I can't feel all sad and sorry for you cuz you think you got called a 'traitor.' "

 

Arabella literally stepped back in shock at this tirade and the shocking words the saloon singer was using, some of which she didn’t understand, but could tell were very bad! Her lower lip trembled and she glanced toward the window, wondering if she opened it, and clambered out and sort of dangled down, she could jump to the street and escape. But she remembered what had happened to John Wilkes Booth and scratched the idea.

 

"I like to think we saloon folk gotta stick together thru thick n' thin. Well, so you didn't get yer wish, you don't want me here, I get it. But I'm here now and I sure as hell ain't going away. So the sooner you learn to live with it, the better off you'll be......Arabella," she stressed the name at the end.

 

Tears beginning to well in her eyes, the recipient of this vehement speech stumbled back around the bed and into her bedside table, her hand coming to rest upon the bible. Arabella looked down at the comforting tome, then snatched it up, muttering “Oh Lord Jesus Christ, help me in this, my hour of need!” As per usual, her Saviour came through; why, just the thought of His bravery gave her courage, and she mustered a counter attack, running back around the bed, holding the Good Book to her chest like body armour and pointing an accusatory finger at Caroline.

 

“Now listen here, you! I’m right sorry them people called you them bad names and did them awful things to you, an’ I dare say you only deserved the half of ‘em, but that don’t give you the right to come in here and tell me how to feel about things. Bad things has happened to me, too:  My Mama died, an my little brother died, and then Daddy died, an’ then them folks left me out on the prairie all on my own, like they didn’t like me or sumthin’; and then I near froze to death, and then a house fell on my head, an’ then I got put in that barn with all them dead folks and I got haunted by a ghost, an the other day this man got all shot dead in front of me, an’ … an’ … my best friend don’t even like me!”

 

She frowned. “I know that last one ain’t exacly that bad, but the … where was I? … oh yeah … but … you just don’t tell me how to feel and what to cry about and what to laugh about or anything like that!” she looked almost manic as she stomped back to her side of the bed.

 

“You already stole my dreams, don’t you dare tell me how t’feel about it!” she declared, looking sideways at Caroline, in case she rallied for another round. Arabella’s dander was up now, and if it came to a cat fight or a pillow fight or any other kind of fight, she was ready for it!

 

“I’m going to bed now ‘cause I gotta get up a whole hour before everybody else to light the oven and get the breakfast things ready, and that ain’t fair neither, and I might have a cry about that, too, if I want to.” She informed her temporary room-mate.

 

She got ready for bed, her toilet being neither a long nor complicated affair. She pulled off her lace up boots, took of her smock and threw it on a chair. She pulled a rumpled looking night dress out from under the pillow and put it on over her stockings and underthings, and then got into bed, shivering again, like she had never quite got over nearly freezing to death in Whitefish.

 

She was facing the window at first, but then feigned a ‘tossing and turning’ motion in bed, so she faced Caroline as she prepared for bed, and half opened her right eye, nearest the pillow, so she could spy on her.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Though it sure sounded by her retorts that the girl wasn't having any of Caroline's harsh lecture though she did notice hints of tears in Arabella's eyes  as she retreated and picked up a Bible. What was the child gonna do with that, throw it at her? Caroline braced for whatever was coming next. And it came alright, in a torrent.

 

Well, turned out Arabella's life so far had been no bed of roses, she had gone thru her share of misfortune and tragedy. IF....and that was a big IF what the girl said was true. Caroline wasn't gullible to believe everything she heard after all.

 

"And I'm sorry for your family dyin' on you like that. No one as young as you should have to lose yer folks," Caroline meant every word. It was not all that surprising though that apparently even the girl's best friend did not like her? She sure was an ornery cus.

 

Well, Arabella backed off after that speech of woe without using the Bible as a weapon but instead retreated to her side of the bed.

 

“I’m going to bed now ‘cause I gotta get up a whole hour before everybody else to light the oven and get the breakfast things ready, and that ain’t fair neither, and I might have a cry about that, too, if I want to," she whined.

 

"Shouldn't that be the cook's job?" Caroline wondered out loud but actually since Arabella was living here, she really should expect to work for her room and board.  Caroline hardly found it unfair.

 

"But anyhow....good night....Arabella," she left it at that.

 

While she unpacked one of the carpet bags, the girl undressed and prepared for bed. Caroline eventually started on doing the same, removing shoes and stockings first then her dress. Suddenly she muttered a barely audible curse followed by a sigh. The corset, she could use help undoing the stays from behind.

 

"Excuse me. I wonder if you would be willin' ta help me with my corset?" she voiced her request half expecting a defiant 'no'.

 

"I'd appreciate it, hon," she added in a plaintive tone, "The day'll come when you have to wear one of these contraptions and you'll be glad for help getting it on and off."

 

 

 

 

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"But anyhow....good night....Arabella," she left it at that. 

 

“Good night.” Said Arabella flatly, her head on the pillow, still watching Caroline like a hawk while she undressed. Just to make sure she didn’t do anything … bad, she told herself.

 

Hmmm, interesting: bare legs huh? She watched Caroline balance her legs one by one on a chair to peel off the fancy silk stockings. ‘I bet Mr Flandry’d like to swap places with me right now!’ she couldn’t help thinking. The Mundee thing was a Yankee, brought up in the North, that’s why she didn’t feel the cold, Arabella reasoned with herself.

 

"Excuse me. I wonder if you would be willin' ta help me with my corset?" she voiced her request half expecting a defiant 'no'.

 

“Huh?” jumped the girl, like someone surprised peeking at a keyhole, she’d almost forgotten that Caroline knew she was there.

 

"I'd appreciate it, hon," she added in a plaintive tone, "The day'll come when you have to wear one of these contraptions and you'll be glad for help getting it on and off."

 

After a lifetime of being a general dogsbody around the home, and now the saloon, it never actually occurred to Arabella to say no to any job, but she made sure she gave the biggest sigh possible as she clambered out of bed and dragged herself over to Caroline, like she’d just been rudely awoken from the deepest slumber.

 

“Well all right, face away from the lamp” she told the fancily dressed young woman, shortly. The two lamps they were undressing by didn’t throw much of a light for close work or reading. Corsets, and their fastenings, came in all shapes and sizes, and Arabella had often had to help grown women with them: her Mama and Ms. Devereau especially. “Oh, it’s this kind.” She said abstractedly as she undid the garment that sat above the blonde girl’s slip.

 

Even though Ms Devereau was only 25 years old, she was already inclining toward the plump; her corsets were for squashing things in. But as she removed Miss Mundee’s foundation garment, and took in the slim girl’s almost perfect shape, she couldn’t help letting slip a questioning “What d’ya need this for anyways? When you got such a beautiful figure?” She immediately kicked herself, she’d accidentally complimented the hated creature, dagnabit!

 

Ohhh! It must be to push things up and out, she realised, and wondered if she could … nope, nuthin’ to push up, yet, she frowned sadly. Mother nature was playing nasty tricks on her this year: all the drawbacks of womanhood, and none of the assets.

 

Caroline gave her the corset to hold, and as she fingered the beautiful silky material and the firm but pliable whalebone beneath Arabella couldn’t help thinking on what she’d witnessed earlier that day: all them men in the bar, Ralph and the two old fossils at the poker table, they’d looked on Miss Mundee with a sort of misty eyed greed for her, like, … like they didn’t just want to kiss and cuddle her like men did to attractive ladies, they seemed to want to absorb her somehow.

 

What was it that made two equally pretty girls have a completely different effect on men. What we would now call ‘sex appeal’ – Caroline had it in spades. Was it her looks? The way she acted? Her smell even?! But this was the days before any scientific understanding of pheromones, and the whole thing was a puzzle to the simple pot girl as she stood in a sort of daze next to the girl she wanted to hate so bad.

 

She heard herself say “Anything else?” in a weary voice, but strangely hoping there would be some other service required. Arabella was only dimly aware that she wanted to ‘have her cake and eat it’: she wanted the luxury of getting to hate Caroline, but have the newcomer actually like her, all at the same time.

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Caroline knew Arabella wasn't asleep yet, no one could fall asleep that fast but the girl made a show of it anyhow. Though at least she got out of the bed and was willing to help, that was in her favor.

 

“Well all right, face away from the lamp” Arabella directed and Caroline complied, putting her back to the devil child. Well, as spiteful as she was there was no way Caroline believed she was in any danger of being struck from behind. Caroline couldn't say that about every saloon gal she had dealt with in the past. But this one was young and basically a scrub girl. Well, except for the piano playing.

 

"Sure," Caroline nodded and remained still. The girl had done something like this before maybe even for Matilda? She recognized this style of corset, that was useful and Caroline could feel the short tugs of the garment being worked open. It didn't take long at all, the girl knew what was doing and the corset was loose so she could shuck it off with relief. That left her light chemise only which she could untie from the front and then pull it over her head to remove.

 

“What d’ya need this for anyways? When you got such a beautiful figure?” Arabella suddenly asked.

 

Was this a trick? That was a compliment from her? 

 

"You think I do? Why, thank ya, that's kind of ya to say," Caroline quickly responded then shucked the last of her outfit and was stark naked and not at all shy about it either. They both were females after all, not that shy was something Caroline ever was.

 

"But it's to make these look bigger, hon," she turned and revealed her small but perky breasts, "Some men like'em big and this makes 'em think...oh, just maybe she's one of them gals. It's another trick of course. A lot of what I do in my job is trick folks...meanin' the customers of course."

 

Having given the girl an eyeful and hopefully answered the question, the latest addition to the saloon staff shook out her folded nightgown and began to put it on.

 

"Anything else?" Arabella asked.

 

"Nope, get a good night's sleep, hon. Tomorrow  it' ll be better, you'll see," this time Caroline's smile was warm and genuine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"You think I do? Why, thank ya, that's kind of ya to say," Caroline quickly responded then shucked the last of her outfit and was stark naked and not at all shy about it either. They both were females after all, not that shy was something Caroline ever was.

 

“Well, it’s true, and I always tell the truth!” snapped back Arabella, annoyed at herself for accidentally complimenting the devil woman, but trying to at least salvage something from it.

 

"But it's to make these look bigger, hon," she turned and revealed her small but perky breasts, "Some men like'em big and this makes 'em think...oh, just maybe she's one of them gals. It's another trick of course. A lot of what I do in my job is trick folks...meanin' the customers of course."

 

Arabella’s face was a picture, she stared at Caroline’s boobies for a second then, realising what she was doing, looked down for shame. What she saw there was even more shameful, so she ended up staring at the hussy’s feet and her little finely formed toes. Arabella’s feet always seemed far too big for her skinny body, and when she stood sideways to Ms Devereau’s big, full length posing mirror, she always reckoned that she resembled a capital letter ‘L’.

 

She inadvertently crossed her own arms across her chest, each hand grasping the opposite shoulder and hanging on for dear life: she was full of vicarious shame for the other girl’s nakedness: again, she couldn’t stop imagining what if she’d been a man looking at this disgusting and lewd display: this, this harlot grabbing her own .. her … bumpy parts and squeezing and thrusting them in her face… she actually felt dizzy as she stared at Caroline’s beautiful feet, and then her own shamefully boat- like clodhoppers in their smelly woollen stockings, black as mud except where a spud allowed her big toe to peek out pinkly. What a contrast!

 

  • And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.

 

“You… you’d better get dressed. Mr. Flandry might come in!” Arabella pointed out, knowing that he never would, but again, secretly imagining the effect on the man if he had done.

 

Having given the girl an eyeful and hopefully answered the question, the latest addition to the saloon staff shook out her folded nightgown and began to put it on. 

 

"Anything else?" Arabella asked, glancing up now that the Mundee creature was decent, or as decent as such a succubus ever could be.

 

"Nope, get a good night's sleep, hon. Tomorrow  it' ll be better, you'll see," this time Caroline's smile was warm and genuine.

 

Arabella flinched more at Caroline’s soft tones than when she was harsh.

 

“Hmpphh!” was all that Arabella could manage at that particular promise, she marched back to her side of the bed and this time she got in and stayed facing away from her bed partner. She lay there awake, eyes open, alert, waiting for … what? She didn’t know what she was scared of happening, just that there was a palpable air of sin in the room. She reached over and turned her lamp down, and let her hand caress the cover of her bible as she withdrew it.  Maybe she should take the bible into bed with her for protection? But then there was that time she’d wet the bed one night, what if she did that again? Oh God! What if she did do that again, tonight?!

 

Now she thought about it, she desperately wanted to pee. She thought longingly of the potty under the bed, but no way she was going to do that with Mundee in the room. She felt ashamed enough already, although she couldn’t have told you exactly why she should feel ashamed about anything.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Caroline saw the look on the girl's face when she showed off what there was of her assets. Didn't seem any big deal to the veteran saloon gal but it was quite obvious Arabella was mortified to see breasts. Maybe the kid never saw an undressed woman before? Anyhow in retrospect Caroline now realized that might have been a mistake on her part. Oh well, she weren't gonna apologize for it.

 

The girl was back in bed fast enough and this time turned so she facing away from her new roommate. With a shrug, Caroline took a moment to extract the hidden derringer she always carried with her from her dress and lifted up her pillow then laid it carefully upon the mattress and replaced the pillow on top. One last thing then and she would join the girl in bed. She reached yet again into her carpet bag and this time produced a shiny tin flask. Unscrewing the top, she then took a nice long swig of the flask's contents. The whiskey warmed her throat going down. Recapping it she set it on top of the side wall shelf. It was almost empty, she would need to refill it in the morning.

 

And with that she crawled into bed, turning her back to the girl's still and prone form, she closed her eyes. It had been a long hard journey and an exciting though successful quest for the job, she was tired and sleep would come quickly.

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And with that she crawled into bed, turning her back to the girl's still and prone form, she closed her eyes. It had been a long hard journey and an exciting though successful quest for the job, she was tired and sleep would come quickly.

 

Because she never tasted a drop of alcohol in her life, Arabella, now lying open eyed and somewhat terrified of the lascivious creature crawling under the covers right next to her, had got quite good at recognising the various whiffs of the limited types of licker that they served in the Saloon. Even back to back, she caught the ever so slight but unmistakable aroma of whiskey in the air. The idea of a ‘drink problem’ as a chemical dependence wasn’t something that was really prevalent at the time: more common was the idea that bad people did bad things: like drinking to excess, or drinking as an accompaniment to other evil doings. A drunk and lascivious … she rehearsed some of the words that she had heard Caroline herself used … Jezabel, trash … then she allowed herself to dwell on the even more deliciously shocking and rude epitaphs: whore, bitch, … and finally, how had it gone… cock sucking cunt. Urgghhh! A frisson of excitement ran up and down her back, her tummy lurched and a tingle of excitement thrilled her even just thinking of the phrase. Ew, such disgusting language!

 

It was outrageous that she had to share a bed with such a person! It was so small a bed too, Arabella ruminated as she tossed a little to get comfy, her behind accidently touching against Caroline’s, which she could feel was warm and soft, even though the about twenty layers of cotton that she was wearing in bed. The poor but good and chaste potgirl, closed her eyes and, despite everything eventually managed to doze off into a loudly snoring slumber.

 

The dream she had that night was a variation on her usual waking fantasy about being a beautiful young Princess in olden times; being tied to a stake for a nasty old dragon to eat by her wicked stepmother (who looked a lot like Ms Devereau) and finally being rescued by three knights in armour: the white, blue, and black knights, who happened to look a lot like Mr. Flandry, Captain Barlow and Mr M. Wentworth respectively. Poor old Whitey and Bluey usually got burnt to a crisp or mashed up in the dragon’s sharply toothed maw, but Black always won through, killed the dragon (and the wicked stepmother, while he was about it) and kissing her hand, married the princess. That was how it ended. It was entirely Innocent.

 

In this dream, though, it all went topsy turvey: Caroline, completely naked and heavily made up, sat upon the thone, the dragon sleeping pet-like, at her side; the three knights were kneeling at her daintly, pretty little feet. Arabella, for she could see herself in the dream, was standing before her, dressed in tatty rags and hole filled stockings, dirt on her face and a ball and chain arrangement attached to her somehow. Like all dreams, the details were indistinct.

 

“Will you obey your Queen?!” shouted the naked figure at Arabella, standing up to show her full figure. Then she spake unto her knights three. “Look at her, she’s been living in the pig pen for a week where she belongs! Which of you will execute her for me?”

 

The three knights stood and turned. Sir Ralph Sneered “Not me, she stinks of pig shit!” Sir Benjamin just screwed up his face and spat at her: in her dream Arabella felt the gobbet of phlegm hit her clean in the eye and dribble down her cheek, leaving a clean line in the filth. Finally, Sir Michael, the Black knight, strode forward. “Aye! I’ll be glad to be rid of the annoying wench.”  He growled and approaching her, grabbed a handful of her hair, and forced her to her knees on the cold stone castle floor. “This is no place for silly little girls” he heard his voice declare in cold anger. “Prepare to die, you annoying little pest!” he spat as he lifted an enormous two-handed axe above her bare and grubby neck. As she looked up, Caroline was fully dressed now on the throne, wearing Arabella’s own white phantasy princess gown, Arabella herself was naked, skinny, cold and realised that, as they all pointed and laughed and spat at her, that she had peed herself in terror at her imminent beheading, and was kneeling in a yellow puddle of her own shameful filth…

 

She woke with a start and instantly felt about the bed to make sure she hadn’t wet it. Phew! Caroline stirred a little. Arabella thought about the nightmare. When she had nice dreams, she always carefully went through them in her head, step by step, so she could remember them later and enjoy them again, she usually tried to forget nightmares. But she found herself going through this one in her mind over and over. It was so horrible and disgusting and foul, it ought to be remembered, … she’d work out the reason later.

 

Dawn was starting to fill the black of night with softer hues of blue, it was time for her to get up. Caroline breathed gently in sleep. Compared to the version of her in the dream, she seemed soft, gentle and harmless. First things first, she found the potty and had to stop herself sighing out loud at the relief it brought. The tinkling noise didn’t wake the snoozing girl. Arabella gently opened the window and threw out the night water which sploshed audibly below and replaced the porcelain vessel back under the bed for Caroline to use when she woke, then started to the door to go downstairs and start her chores.

 

She turned before she went and headed back to the bed, gazing down on the sleeping terror of her nightmare. Even in the quarter light of early, early dawn, her golden hair shone as it cascaded over the pillows. ‘Hmph! All that glistens is not gold’ Arabella said to herself as she reached down and stroked a strand of it. ‘It’s fool’s gold’ made to lure men with no brains! She reckoned, daring to stray her hand a little higher to touch the hair actually upon the sleeping head.

 

Mundee grunted and Arabella ran, she ran like the very Devil was chasing her.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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