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Late Nights


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Rating: PG-14
Content: N/A

Mature Content: Yes.

With: Brendan and Caroline
Location: Caroline's room
When: July 26, 1876
Time of Day: Night, after Caroline's shift ends

 

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Brendan adjusted his pillow under his head and turned on his side, feeling the floor beneath his hip. He made a face. It wasn't the first time he had slept rough - the beds in the Evergreen bunkhouse weren't exactly cushy -  but sleeping on the floor started to wear on you after a while. He had been able to sell off Billy, Greer, and Black Jack's horses and tack, and with that money had bought himself two new shirts and a bedroll so he wasn't sleeping just on the hard floor.

 

It wasn't so bad living above the saloon: there was always something going on, and he'd had the opportunity to win some money playing poker. It wasn't much, but it made him feel like he was doing something useful even if half the time he was just sat on his ass at a corner table.

 

He was always around when Caroline sang. At first it had been out of hopes that she'd take a fancy to him and he wouldn't end up sleeping on the floor at least for a night, and then it had been out of their friendship that had grown and out of a wish to help keep Arabella from pestering her. Not that Caroline needed any help with that. She treated Arabella with extreme coldness, or at least she had. They seemed to have mended things recently, but he just couldn't let it go. He didn't normally hold grudges, but his one he held for Caroline's sake.

 

He wasn't watching her tonight, however. He had too much on his mind. Bridget and Crabbe were at the forefront of his mind as the snatches of Arabella's piano playing, Caroline's singing, and the audience's applause drifted up through the floorboards. He turned and turned again but couldn't get comfortable and couldn't go anywhere with his thoughts.

 

By the time he heard Caroline's step outside the door, he was fed up with thinking. When she opened the door and came into the room, he sat up. "Good crowd tonight," he said conversationally. "Could hear whoopin' and hollerin' all the way from up here." Not that that was different than any other night Caroline sang.

 

He got up and lit the lamp on Caroline's bedside table, then went back to his bedroll and leaned against the wall, one leg straight out in front of him and the other bent so he could rest his elbow on it. He'd taken to sleeping in just his jeans rather than his long johns because...well...he would rather Caroline see his bare chest than see him in his long johns.

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"Hey hon," Caroline was used to this scene, she had a cowpoke sleeping on the floor of her room, though she had offered him extra blankets to soften his nightly sleep. She was even used to seeing him half dressed, he was a handsome devil, and yeah, he had a manly chest and biceps alright. But she had let Brendan stay because he was a friend. Besides it seemed pretty soon he would sleeping with that youthful half-wit  crippled Bridgette. And she liked Bridgette, those weren't insults but the sad truth of her life.

 

"Good crowd tonight," he stated, "Could hear whoopin' and hollerin' all the way from up here."

 

"Yep it was and also, yep, I wowed him, I did. What I get paid for, it's my job," she plopped down on the bed and bent down to start untying her shoes while he lit the room lamp.

 

"I could undress in the dark ya know, I pretty much know how ta do it," she quipped dryly.

 

Truth of the matter was by now he'd pretty much seen her in various states of undress, though the most was her bare back and a few glimpses of her shapely rear end too, nothing frontal.  The issue was not that Caroline was shy, hell she'd never been shy.

 

@Bailey

 

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Brendan grinned at Caroline's simple yet proud assessment of her performance that night, and in general. It was one of the things he liked about her: she wasn't afraid to say when she was good at a thing.

 

"I know. I was tired of sittin' in the dark." He stretched both his legs out and then drew them up restlessly to his chest. He watched her take off her shoes, debating whether or not to bring up what was on his mind...or rather who was on his mind.

 

Finally he cleared his throat. "You think Crabbe's really dyin'?" he burst out. "He ain't just sayin' that?"

 

The more he thought about the whole thing, the more suspicious he became, and that was the part of the story that nagged at him the most.

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Shoes tossed carelessly to one side, Caroline's talents obviously did not include keeping a neatly ordered bedroom, she now pushed her voluminous dress up then began to strip off her stockings.

 

"Sorry life is so boring in here. You coulda been downstairs and watch me perform?" Caroline had no sympathy for his complaint.

 

"You think Crabbe's really dyin'?" he burst out. "He ain't just sayin' that?"

 

"Geezus, I don't really know," Caroline sighed, that news had really bothered her, he'd been a friend to her. Wait! Hell, he still was, he wasn't dead yet.

 

"I hope he aint lying about that cuz if I find out he lied to me about such a thing then I will go ahead and kill him," it was a joke of course but she said it with real serious conviction.

 

Now she stood up to start getting out of her clothing, "Hey Bren, mind undoing me in the back?"

 

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"I've seen you perform," Brendan said dismissively, then quickly added with a grin, "but I can never see you too many times. You're that good." Compliments never went amiss with Caroline, and he really did enjoy watching her, but he just hadn't been in the mood for watching her tonight.

 

"So either way, he's screwed, is what you're sayin'." He grinned, but his eyes were worried. Even though he knew Caroline's threat was a joke, there was still the question of Bridget's welfare. If it weren't for Bridget, he would already have decided to just let Crabbe die and be done with it.

 

He rose at Caroline's request, grumbling a little bit, and came to stand behind her. He began to undo the buttons on the back of Caroline's dress, squinting at the fabric. Buttons were a nuisance and they made women's clothes so hard to get off. If he was going to go through all the bother of undoing a woman's buttons, he wanted to get something out of it. Of course there was no getting anything from Caroline.

 

Theirs was an odd friendship: a cowboy and a saloon singer who shared a room but not a bed. Whatever Caroline's unnamed reasons were for her strange and - if Brendan was being honest - absolutely godawful frustrating - boundaries, she had proved herself to be a true friend. It was the least he could do to help her get undressed without drooling over her. That didn't mean he didn't enjoy the glimpses of her legs or arms he got to see, but he knew they were off limits.

 

"Corset, too?" he asked after undoing only two buttons. "Wait, have you even got on a corset under this dress?" She had to have on one to fill out the bust of the dress, didn't she? He unbuttoned a few more buttons to find out the answer to his question if she chose not to answer him.

 

And, anyway, he had more to say. "Bridget don't need to be on her own if Crabbe croaks. But I'll be damned if I can figure out some way to help her." There. He had said it. Even though he felt the need to protect Bridget - and yes, some strange sort of attraction to her - there wasn't a way it could work. Even if Crabbe's stipend scheme turned out to be true.

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Brendan moved in close to help as she had requested though he didn't seem all that enthused about it. Caroline stood motionless and let him start on the buttons.

 

"Corset, too?" he asked after undoing only two buttons. "Wait, have you even got on a corset under this dress?"

 

"Yes, of course I do. So yeah, when I get this dress off you can be a dear and undo the stays for the corset. Damn, it's been hot lately. I'm roastin' in this damn thing," she grumped.

 

He talked about Bridgette then. Caroline didn't mind. It was a fair topic.

 

 "Bridget don't need to be on her own if Crabbe croaks. But I'll be damned if I can figure out some way to help her."

 

"Look, if Crabbe goes n' dies, which I hope he won't, him bein' a good friend of mine,  I will not let that poor dear have to try and make it on her own. It's obvious you feel the same way too and that's a good thing. Together then the two of us will take care of her. I don't know the details yet but she won't be all alone in this world," Caroline then finished extracting herself out of the dress, leaving it pooled on the floor as she stepped out from it. 

 

Then it was onto the corset. Brendan proved to have pretty deft fingers, maybe he had done this enough for other women he'd had? Caroline didn't know and frankly didn't care.  Soon that restrictive thing was off of her then and that was followed by her very last of the layers of her outfit until she was completely naked.

 

"Thanks,  oh and Brendan...." she paused mid sentence then spun about so he got himself a full frontal view of her in all her glory.

 

"Well, don't go tellin' me you weren't curious. Yer a man ain't ya?" she let him look, utterly unphased by it all, at least outwardly.

 

Her breasts were small, her nipples dark pink against pale white skin.

 

"I'm sure you've seen better but I can only work with what I got, hon," she smiled.

 

 

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"You mean it?" Brendan had moved on to undoing Caroline's corset, which was easier to undo than her buttons. "You think we could take care of her somehow?" It was mind-boggling to consider taking care of Bridget in any manner, but doing it with Caroline would at least make the job a little easier. The question was, how would they manage it? Like she said, there would be details they needed to work out.

 

He loosened the corset enough for her to step out of it, and found himself distracted from his thoughts of Bridget by the sight of Caroline's bare back. And then it wasn't just her back he was staring at, it was her whole naked self. When she turned around, his eyes widened. One of his hands twitched slightly as he made a small, abortive movement as if to reach out and touch her and then pulled his hand back. He had imagined what Caroline might look like from the glimpses he'd seen of her body, but having his curiosity fulfilled and satisfied was not something he expected.

 

"Ain't seen much better than that," he said as soon as his voice would work, still staring. The room seemed stuffy now - it was hot outside, but now the air in the room felt thick with heat and tension - and he wanted nothing more than to slide out of his jeans the way Caroline had slid out of her undergarments.

 

"Why?" he asked huskily after a second. "Why are you doin' this?" Standing here looking at her, but knowing he couldn't have her, was almost physically painful. He tugged at the waistband of his pants and swallowed

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"Ain't seen much better than that," he said as soon as his voice would work, still staring.

 

"You're bein' nice now, don't wanna go makin' that a habit," Caroline smiled.

 

"Why?" he asked huskily after a second. "Why are you doin' this?"

 

"Ain't this what you always wanted from me? It's fuckin' hot up here, I'm goin' ta bed now," she turned and did exactly that, tossing the cover aside leaving one thin sheet then slipped under it.

 

"If you want, you can join me?" Caroline offered.

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Brendan stood speechless as Caroline got into bed, still stark naked. What in tarnation had just happened? What had started off as just another normal night had turned into an abnormal night, and he wasn't sure what had caused Caroline to act this way. Not that he really minded, but he wasn't sure what it meant.

 

He finally moved toward the bed slowly, wary of Caroline's reaction. If this was some sort of test, he was going to fail it...miserably. He couldn't help himself. "I wanted somethin' different. More," he said as he rested both hands and one knee on the bed in preparation to get on the bed. "You know that."

 

He eased himself onto the bed like he was walking out on thin ice. "Before I come any closer, tell me what's goin' on. I don't wanna find myself lookin' down the barrel of your derringer."  

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As she figured, Brendan approached the bed then.

 

"I wanted somethin' different. More," he said as he rested both hands and one knee on the bed in preparation to get on the bed. "You know that."

 

"I do. With me though, hon, you'll get what I give ya and when I give it to ya," Caroline smiled, "And you should know that."

 

He eased himself onto the bed like he was walking out on thin ice. "Before I come any closer, tell me what's goin' on. I don't wanna find myself lookin' down the barrel of your derringer."  

 

Caroline smirked, "Jeezus! Does it look like I got a derringer on me? You think I'm hiding it up my ass?"

 

She got more serious then, "You really think I would shoot you? Friends don't shoot friends and I certainly think I've proven myself as a friend to you by now?"

 

"Maybe it's high time you prove to me we're friends."

 

@Bailey

 

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