special thanks to my BETA Terry, you make me flow better, thousand thank yous
Story of Madison Cooper
In the 1850s, some towns were in the grip of gold rush fever. The only means of transportation was by horseback and the six shooter at your side kept you safe.
Early one afternoon, a stranger rode into the small, dusty country town. The rider dismounted next to the stable and handed over the reins to the stableman along with a few coins. The stranger took the bag from the horse and walked towards the nearest saloon, pulling the broad rimmed hat down lower over wary eyes, face shielded from the prying stares of the people walking by.
The stranger entered the bar and looked slowly around the room. Tables and chairs for patrons filled the room and a small piano that looked like it hadn't been used in years, stood abandoned against the far wall. A staircase to the second floor accommodations was visible in the dim light. A few patrons were drinking, playing cards, laughing. Some glanced up at the stranger, but never gave a second look.
The stranger stood at the bar and pulled out a small black and white picture of a young lady, showing it to the barman. He took a close look at it and then glanced over the stranger's shoulder.
"Hmmm, could be Chastity, she's over there," he pointed.
The stranger looked in that direction, seeing a woman sitting on the knee of a gentleman playing cards. Walking over, the stranger hovered next to them. The woman laughed and played with the man's cards. She looked up at the stranger hardly acknowledging the sudden presence.
"C'mon doll," says the man waiting on her reply, "should I play or fold?"
The stranger shuffled and cleared a dry throat.
Glancing at the newcomer, the woman mutters "I'm busy," and returned her attention back the cards at hand and the men around her.
The woman kissed the man's nose and took a chip from the stack in front of him.
"He plays," she announced confidently to the other men at the table.
He laughed as his money dwindled, but he didn't care, his busy hands all over her.
The stranger lingered, this time tapping a foot out of annoyance. Chastity looked up again.
"I said, I am busy. That means go away," her tone more insistent.
The stranger went back to the bar.
"Whiskey, " a low, but gruff voice mutters as some coins were thrown onto the counter. The stranger took a seat and waited.
After an hour the man stood the woman up and took what little money he had left.
"Well my dear, I must go, but thank you for your time."
He rolled up some money, stuck it down the front of her cleavage and kissed her. She wrapped her arms tightly around him.
"Ohhh already?" she pouted. "Well we must play again soon," she said all happily.
He left, as more people came in. The woman looked over at the waiting stranger and stared. She then looked down as if pondering what she was to do. Deciding, she walked up as the stranger was downing the drink and leaned on the table.
"Well, I guess you better follow me then."
The stranger picked up the bag and followed the woman upstairs and into the room she offered. The room was small, containing a bed near an open window. A trunk sat at the end of the bed, A small cupboard, fireplace and a metal bath completed the room. It wasn't much, but Chastity called it home.
The stranger faced Chastity, noticing how her dress clung tightly to her, displaying her cleavage to all who wanted to see. The stranger lifted the hat a little to get a better look.
"Well if it isn't Madison Cooper," Chastity spit with distaste.
Madison removed the hat, revealing a young, feminine but very dirty face of a woman.
"Hi...." she said cheerfully.
"Ohhh don't you hi me,......you.... you.... " Chastity groaned in frustration at seeing her.
"Ummm, why do they call you Chastity?" Madison asked.
"Because that is my name, " she growled back.
Madison snapped, "No it's not, it's Chantelle."
"Look here, I don't have to explain myself to you."
"I know you're angry, but.." Madison tried to explain.
"Angry, no I'm not angry... not anymore, not after 4 years since you abandoned me. I don't even know why you are here Madison and you know what, I don't care either!"
She moved to the further part of the bedroom, looking out the window at the people coming and going in the street.
Madison could see she was hurt. "I'm sorry, I said I would come back once....."
Chantelle voice shrieked again, "4 years Madison!"
Madison moved towards her, "I know, I know, just let me explain."
"Explain the note that says I'm sorry, but I will make it up, I will be back, that was... " her voiced rose again.
Madison rolled her eyes finishing her sentence, "Yes, I know, 4 years ago, but you didn't want to go."
Chantelle scoffed, "I didn't want to be left alone either, but as usual you did what you always wanted to do."
"It's not like I left you with nothing," Madison replied, trying to defend herself.
Chantelle's eyes narrowed, "Yeah, thank you for leaving me 5 dollars," she said sarcastically.
"Well, it was all I had. I knew you would be fine, you're a smart, intelligent woman, Chantelle."
"It is Chastity," she corrected.
"It will never be to me, and what's with the name change?" Madison put her bag in a corner and went to sit on the bed.
Ignoring the question, Chantelle quickly shrieked. "Don't you dare sit on my bed in those dirty, disgusting clothes! When was the last time you had a wash?" She screwed up her nose.
Madison giggled, "Sometime this year..."
"Well I'm not having anything to do with you until you've had a wash," her tone adamant.
"Chantelle, " whined Madison.
Chantelle pulled the small metal bath to the centre of the room.
Madison groaned and backed away. "But........but it's the middle of the afternoon."
"I don't care," she hissed. "You are going to have a bath."
Chantelle half filled the tub and barked at her to get in.
Madison just stared at the water then back at Chantelle shaking her head.
"Get..... in.... that ...bath.... now or so help me I will drown you in it!" growled Chantelle menacingly.
Chantelle waited, her foot tapping in annoyance. Madison screwed her nose, then started to obey. As Madison took off her long jacket, Chantelle's eyes widened with surprise.
"When did you start wearing a gun?" she asked, pointing to Madison's holster at the side of her hip.
Madison unbuckled her holster putting it around the bedpost.
"It comes with the territory," she said, trying to sound noble and tough.
Madison slowly, begrudgingly stripped and stepped into the bath. She sat, pulling her knees up and shivered.
Chantelle handed her the soap and wash cloth and paced the floor in thought.
Madison soaped up the cloth and started to wash herself.
"So you moved towns on me. I had a real hard time trying to find you."
Chantelle glared, "You left me in a flea-bitten town cooking and washing clothes for some drunken, lazy miners. What makes you think I ever wanted to be left there?"
Madison nodded, "You could have left a note," trying to lighten Chantelle's mood, but that just made it worse.
"Don't be funny with me Madison, you left me alone. I was 17 and you left me alone to fend for myself. It's alright for you, you're used to fending for yourself, but I left my family and followed you.... you promised, you.." Chantelle turned away, afraid she was going to break down and cry.
Madison dropped her head in shame. "I know.... I'm sorry," she whispered in a low voice.
Quickly changing the subject, she announced "Right I'm done, all clean."
Chantelle looked at the water which was now dirty.
"You didn't wash your hair, I've never seen it this putrid. You were never like this with me."
Madison started to get up but Chantelle forced her down, "Sit!" she commanded.
"No.... don't, I don't' like it," whimpered Madison.
Chantelle grabbed a water container and poured the cold water over Madison unceremoniously, enjoying its affect. Madison cussed from the shock.
"You bloody rat, " hissed Madison who tried to get out again, but Chantelle knelt next to her putting a hand firmly on her shoulder.
"Stop being such a baby."
Chantelle soaped up the cloth and washed it through Madison's hair, ignoring her snivelling. She rubbed her hair and face hard to get rid of the last bit of country dust from Madison.
Chantelle stood up pleased that Madison's hair had turned from dirty brown to slightly blonde in colour.
Madison sulked for a moment, not speaking or looking at Chantelle. She eventually raised her eyes at Chantelle who was drying her hands.
"Ummm....so you obviously have a good job, living in accommodation like this. What are you doing, bank teller, or ummmm."
Chantelle replied quickly "Whore."
"Now you don't need to be calling me names I was just asking," Madison hurt by Chantelle's response.
Chantelle shook her head.
"I am a whore, Madison, I make money by sleeping with men. That is what I do, that is what I am good at. You ran off and I became a whore, are you satisfied? "
Madison looked away, shocked at what she heard. Chantelle had always been the smart one, could do anything, talented, popular and pretty.
"Chantelle.." Madison said quietly.
"Don't.... say anything," said Chantelle in the same quiet tone.
Madison got from the bath and wrapped a towel around her. Both of them lifted the bath and empty the water out a window into a vacant alleyway. Nothing was said for a moment.
Madison went to her bag in the corner and grabbed something out. She hid it in her hand and went to Chantelle.
"Chantelle, I did it, I found gold. I staked my claim and now.." Madison voice got excited.
"Bull dust, stop lying to me. I can't do this anymore, " Chantelle sputtered, almost in tears.
Madison grabed Chantelle's hand and put two small stones in it.
"Look.... look at them."
Chantelle stared at it.
"That's not gold, " she scoffed back at Madison.
Madison rolled her eyes, "Yes it is."
"No.... it.... is ...not!" she argued.
It was Madison's turn to get angry.
"Damn you woman, do you even know what gold looks like? I'm telling you, that is gold. That in your hand is 500 dollars, or over the border more like 800."
Chantelle moved it around.
"Are you sure?" she asked, now in disbelief. She had never seen gold before.
"Yes... it is gold, and it's not the first I found. Chantelle I own a mine."
Chantelle for the first time smiled and looked into Madison's eyes.
"Oh my god, Madison, you did it... you said you would, and you did."
Madison smiled at the praise, "And I gave my claim a name."
Chantelle was still looking at the pieces, moving them around in awe.
"I've called it Chantelle Mine. After the girl who inspired me to follow my dream."
Chantelle eyes widened, "You named it after me?" she whispered the question.
Chantelle went to hand back the gold pieces.
"Don't think this makes it alright. You left me alone. I was so frighten, I didn't know what to do."
Madison nodded, "I know, I know and I am sorry."
Madison took Chantelle's hand and closed it around the gold pieces.
"It's yours, you earned this just as much as me."
Chantelle eyes glistened, "Ohhh Maddy, I don't know what to say", she responded, putting her hand to her mouth to catch her excitement.
Hearing Chantelle call her by her pet name was enough for Madison.
"Say that you are not angry we are ok, that you still......"
Chantelle threw her arms around Madison, "Yes, I do."
Madison relaxed on Chantelle's shoulder momentarily. Suddenly, there were loud voices and a gun shot from the street. Madison panicked, grabbed her gun from the holster and headed to the window peering out.
Chantelle looked at the gold pieces and shrugged, "Don't worry, someone's always yelling and shooting off their guns, you get used to it."
Madison looked out, satisfied it was nothing and put back her gun. She faced Chantelle, eyes trailing over her body. She was thinner than Madison could ever remember.
"C'mon we are going out to celebrate tonight. I'm going to take you out for a nice meal, not in this place, the tearooms across there, " she pointed across the street.
"I don't think so, " Chantelle shook her head.
"Nonsense, I'm taking you out..... I owe you 4 years of dinners."
Chantelle nodded, "You know what, you're right."
Madison clapped her hands together and hooted.
"Finally you agree with me on something. Right, I want you to wear something really nice."
Chantelle smirked, hey eyes playing with Madison.
"Is that right?"
Madison nodded, "Absolutely."
With a grin on her face, Chantelle went into her wardrobe.
"And I have the perfect dress for you my dear, " and as she expected, Madison exploded.
"I am not wearing any god-damn dress, so you can put that out of your dainty little mind Chantelle Robertson. I cannot even believe you would make such a suggestion!" Madison sputtered, chest puffing up.
Chantelle continued to tease Madison.
"Well you're definitely not getting back into those dirty clothes."
Madison sat on the bed, folded her arms and sulked.
Madison always believed she should have been born a boy. She always dressed like one, was happy when people thought she was, and she liked getting dirty. The few times Chantelle had seen Madison in a dress always ended in disaster. Madison's appearance was thin and youthful, she didn't have the curves of a woman like Chantelle, so she was often mistaken for a man.
Done with her fun at Madison's expense, Chantelle went to her trunk and pulled out some clothes throwing them on the bed.
"Here you go. These were left behind when one of my customer's wives chased him out of here naked."
Madison put the shirt and pants on. Chantelle went over and unbuttoned the top button, opening her shirt up a little. She ran her finger along a faint scar by her neck. Chantelle didn't disapprove of Madison's style, or that people thought she was a man. She liked it just as much as she liked seeing some of Madison exposed.
Madison pushed her hands away and buttoned up her collar up so nothing was exposed.
"Spoil all my fun, " laughed Chantelle.
Madison rolled her eyes. She liked it when Chantelle touched her skin, although deep down she knew it was wrong, she still liked it.
Chantelle donned her best dress. Madison watched Chantelle struggle with the laces in the top. Madison turned here around and laced the front of her dress, as she had done many times before.
"There you go, pretty as a bow."
Chantelle touched Madison arm, "Thank you."
Madison grabbed her gun belt and put it around her.
"Oh Maddy, I don't think you need that, " she said, still concerned at why she would even own one.
"These are dangerous times Chantelle, can't take any risks."
Chantelle shook her head and scoffed, "Of course it is, so nobody messes with Madison Cooper, or she'll gun you down dead."
Madison frowned, her eyes narrowed at Chantelle's comment.
"What's wrong? I was only joking."
"Yeah, well let's not keep discussing it."
Madison went to the corner where her bag was, opened it up and reached in. The bag contained lots and lots of money all in their packaging. Madison grabbed a few notes and put it in her pocket quickly. She put the bag in the cupboard.
"Lock your room" ordered Madison.
"What, why not like anyone...."
"Just do what I ask, " reaffirmed Madison.
"Fine, c'mon then."
Madison puts her hat on and pulled it down over her eyes. They both left the room and walked downstairs.
"I'll be back later, Joe, " Chantelle yelled to bartender.
He nodded. "You look after her son, " he said in a deep, gruff voice.
Madison just nodded, and Chantelle could see her smile and laughed.
"Ohhh, c'mon you," she said and pulled her to the street.