Alright, Chapter 2 is up. Glad everyone likes it so far! I know it may get kind of confusing as Blackjack since I refer to him as both a He AND a She. I do this in a way to sort of Symbolize what he's feeling. When he's feeling like Blackjack, he refers to himself as a he. When she is feeling like Annie, she refers to herself as a she. I'd say people to give this a bit of a chance before being turned off by the fact Blackjack isn't what they thought. You won't be upset at all. ;)
The Angel of Kansas
Blackjack frowned at the sky, trotting ever so quietly on his horse. The horse gave a whinny, shaking its mane. Blackjack looked down and patted a gloved hand on the horse's neck.
"Don't worry Carol; I'm sure there's a town up ahead if I'm correct. You can rest there sweetheart."
The horse gave a frustrated noise, almost like saying 'There had better be a place to rest.'
Blackjack only shook his head and clicked his tongue. Life out in the old West was hard, but not if you were Blackjack. Well, minus the wanted level. Wanted in four states, Blackjack was an insane outlaw of the west. Jack of Blades, Sigmund the Wicked, The Cole Train, all were simple charlatans in Blackjack's eyes. He was the real deal… or he really should say, she. Blackjack could be killed or caught by no man… because Blackjack was a woman. Antoinette Nicolette DuPont, to be precise. Left home at seventeen, because she just wanted to be herself.
When her job at the saloon was not making what she wanted to, she got a brilliant idea. She turned to a life of crime and just rake on in the dough.
There have been hard times, but she had always been one-step ahead and pulled trough. Two steps ahead on her best time. If they didn't know her name, she'd make them know and fear Blackjack. She was invincible, powerful, feared, everything she could not be when she was just Annie. A woman, a second-class citizen or whatever you would call them. Annie was a simple nothing. Blackjack demanded power and most of the time, he got it.
A grin crossed his lips as he moseyed into town. The town quite and ready for its nightlife. Which, if you know where to go, could be exciting. Then again, it was Kansas. Nothing happens in Kansas. That's why Blackjack is so found of it. Small town law, nothing big. Stuff easily one person could take on. Usually, he would spend a week or so. Planning and plotting his big heist. Tonight, was a night of no exception. For now, it was time to plan and where better to plan then in the saloon.
The center of every town was its saloon. If you knew who to talk to, you would be surprised in what you could find out. While this particular town looked quaint and charming, its saloon held its darkest secrets. An underground world, so to speak. Stopping Carol by a water trough, Blackjack tied the horse up. Carol had a habit of doing things she wanted. Like if she was pissed off at Blackjack, she would become unruly. Just a little insurance that when Blackjack came out of the saloon there would actually be a horse waiting for her. Blackjack fixed his hat as he went inside, no bandana today. He could pull of the man vibe; she did not have to work at it for now.
She walked through the saloon doors, looking around at what everyone was doing. Some were playing cards, others were socializing or drinking. Blackjack put his hands in his pocket and went over to the bar, sitting down on a stool. He leaned against the bar and looked to the bartender.
The bartender looked over, but complied. Sliding a glass of whiskey across the counter, Blackjack caught it and took a sip.
"Eh… not bad. Local place?" Blackjack asked, swirling the cup around.
"Yes sir, everything here is made here." The bartender smiled proudly.
Blackjack only gave a nod, as long as they made good whiskey how could she complain? Now, she just listened in, to any conversation she could get a hold of. Eavesdropping, so to speak. The more she listened however, the more she wanted to leave. God, this place was boring as hell. How could any good man stand being here?! Minus a bitchy misuses tying you down. This place should be called Sleepy Plains or something. It was then Blackjack remembered, nothing happened in Kansas.
Some person was talking about how his horse gave birth. Another was talking about the misuses at home. Blackjack just rubbed his temples. Maybe she should start bashing her head against the bar. It was probably more fun that this anyways. It was then her ear caught a sound of excitement… or was it boredom… Hell she could not even tell anymore. Something about, 'The Angel of Kansas.' What in the hell was that? Some sort of urban legend shit to make things interesting around here? More people started to mention this 'Angel.' Blackjack was just about ready to leave… either that or get really drunk. It was THAT bad.
All of a sudden, the lights went dim, and everyone in the bar went quite. Blackjack frowned and looked at his drink. With a roll of those silver eyes, she took another sip of whiskey. It was then, a voice came out of nowhere and the piano started up. Blackjack held his face in his hand. Great, there was going to be a troll in a dress, whoring it up and acting all sweet and innocent. Going to take another sip of whiskey, she stopped dead when a sweet and delicate voice filled the saloon.
" Dearest friends, dear gentlemen, listen to my song. Life down here's been hard for you, Life has made you strong. "
She wrestled with herself to look; it was probably a troll... However, that did not sound like a one. She looked over, those silver eyes going wide. There, on the stage was practically the most beautiful girl Blackjack has ever seen. Long black hair in flowing locks, only pinned up on the side with a purple rose hairclip. A black choker with a fake diamond hanging from her neck, black lace gloves up to a little past her elbows, a purple and black corset with a floral design, with a long flowing purple and black dress. Such a tiny little thing, but the curves and chest the girl had. Not enough to topple her over, they were just right. Oh and Blackjack liked. He liked a lot.
This was the Angel of Kansas… fitting name, oh so very fitting. She had the whole room in the palm of her hand, even Blackjack.
" Let me lift the mood, with my attitude~! "
The Angel then grinned as she walked over to the piano. Jumping on it. She started to kick her feet daintily, like a child on a swing just singing her song. Everyone was hanging on every note, every motion, and every bat of her eyelashes. Practically a smile coming to everyone's face. Blackjack jus stood there, watching. His eyes wide as she looked at the girl. How old was she? She looked practically 16... 18? Around there, no older than twenty. It was like watching a dream, most defiantly, an angel. However, something brought Blackjack to reality quite quickly. The bartender.
"Huh?" Blackjack answered lazily, glancing over. She was still in a trance.
"You're spilling your drink, sir."
Blackjack looked down. Indeed, she was spilling her drink. She must have been going for a sip, and then saw the Angel. Great, she was to busy being under a practically spell to notice she was spilling her whiskey all over her.
"Ah shit… uh… thanks." She said sighing, putting the drink on the bar counter.
Well shit, that was embarrassing, she thought to herself. She frowned as she looked back over to The Angel. She just watched in awe, no one could be this beautiful. As the notes she sang swirled around the saloon, so did the ideas in Blackjack's mind. Everyone seemed to like this girl, this angel. Maybe he should spice things up. Throw in some chaos here, little turmoil there, a dash of screams, broken limbs… oh the thought of it just tickled Blackjack.
The angel reached over to take the pianist bowler, placing it on her head with a grin. That bright smile practically filled the room with a lighter tone. Blackjack even found himself smiling. He just blinked at this. Why was he smiling? Maybe he was getting that buzz from the drink; it could not have been the girl. That would make him…..her… no, that wasn't going to happen. She was run out of town for a silly rumor; she wasn't going to let Jenny Lee get to her that easily.
The angel gave a smile as she went back on the stage, throwing the bowler back on the pianist head. It was during the time she looked back to the audience her eyes locked with Blackjack. If not for just a second, Blackjack's eyes went wide. Those beautiful bright green eyes looking at him with curiosity and innocence. Not the fake innocence the rest of the girls in the bar were trying to pass off, real innocence. Blackjack couldn't help but grin a little. Slinking her way to the back of the stage and just as she was there, she was gone. The song stopped and the audience erupted in cheers. Blackjack had to control himself, just giving a light applause. He still stared in awe, still under the angel's spell. Once again, it was the bartender to bring him back to reality.
"Heh, that's Victoria. Always leave them wanting more." He chuckled.
Blackjack looked over, curiously, "Victoria? So the angel has a name… Interesting."
The bartender smirked, cleaning a glass, "Course she dose. She ain't no angel. You and I both know that."
Blackjack frowned, "Yea... I do… still she looks like one."
"You and about every man in Kansas think that."
Blackjack only raised an eyebrow, "Everyman in Kansas you say? She seems to be well liked."
"You have no idea; she's one of my biggest crowd pleasers."
Blackjack just gave a nod as he finished his drink. Looking around the saloon, there was a mixture of pathetic longing and true desire. It was extremely pathetic, for grown men at least. Sitting around like little school boys, waiting for the girl they have a crush on to come out with her girlfriends. Some men went back to what they were doing. Others continued to stare into their simplistic fantasies where Victoria would come out and profess her love to the said man. Blackjack took out a few dollars and placed them on the counter, much more than the drink was worth anyways. Blackjack had enough money and after all, come later this week; he will get his money back.
The bartender did not question the generous offer and went to go place the money in his register. It was then the bartender gave a curious look to Blackjack. He had never seen the man before… maybe he should know about the Auction? Blackjack stood up and went to leave as the bartender called out to him.
"Hey, you. You new 'round here?" He asked.
Blackjack turned around and nodded, "Yea just came in this afternoon. Was looking' around and everything."
"You gonna be in town for the next week?"
"'Course," Blackjack answered. "I got plans for later on down the line this week."
"Well, why not stop by the auction?"
Blackjack raised an eyebrow. An auction? For what… furniture? Seems about right in this lazy town where nothing happens. But she'll humor the man.
"What kind of auction?"
The Bartender gave a wicked grin, "An action where you could have one of my pretty ladies for the night. Only time of the month where Victoria dose anything… heh… casual and fun for the men folk round here. Happens once every month, special time too. I've had a man come from Georgia to get in with one of my ladies one time."
Blackjack's eyes went a bit wide… Could anything be more perfect? Did God want things to just align in the right order for once? Seems he did. He was smiling down on Blackjack this week. With a bit of luck and hope, things will work JUST the way he wants.
"You don't say? Well, I'll be there." And with a tip of hit hat, he quietly left the bar. He had to hold his giddiness in as he walked over to Carol. The chestnut horse giving a small whinny to her master. Blackjack just patted the horse's nose and jumped on her back. With a simple click of her tongue, horse and master were back off. This time, heading on the outskirts of town, far away from human eyes.
Blackjack's gears were turning. More often than not, that was not a good thing for anyone, except Blackjack himself. Everything he has done has been relatively small. A robbery here, a bank heist there, kidnap some girl, shoot up some people, but none of them were ever… grand, so to speak. He needed something and he needed something big. Make his name known and feared across the west. Victoria seemed liked a well-liked woman. Every man in this place practically adored her. Why not kidnap the town's favorite girl? The money he could make off of her would be astounding. After he has had his pay, he'll simple return her. No harm done to her, fat hunk of cash in his pocket!
Blackjack just gave an evil smirk, thinking of his evil deed. With that auction coming up, there would be no way in hell he would let a chance like that slip by. A simple way to get the girl. Victoria…. Oh, he would not mind her staying around. A pretty face like that he would not mind all to himself at all. Then he frowned. He was doing it again, think of a woman. Last time something even… remotely happened, it was too close for comfort. He, no, she would have to behave around the girl. Stay in control and be strong. An angel. More like a devil in disguise. Nevertheless, Annie knew of what a saloon girl must do. She had that type of lifestyle for a while, but gave it up. She did not want to be no mans plaything. Why work for your money when you can simply take it? Oh and take it she did.
It was like a drug, at best. The power she commanded when she walked up to man and ordered him to give her all that he had. Blackjack was starting to make a name for himself, and things were smooth as silk. Soon, the plans got ballsier. Storming in and demanding money, even threatening lives. She could kill a man with cold hard precision and just laugh it off. Life in the west was far from easy. However, some have it easier than others do and some just know when to fold or stay. Blackjack was one of those people. She did not get her nickname for nothing.
After Blackjack felt he was far enough away from people, he began to set up camp. Dinner was especially tasteless, but food was food. A bowl of baked beans and an apple for desert. She frowned as she looked through her pack. Maybe she could get some dried pork before heading out again. Carol looked over to Blackjack, giving her a look. Blackjack looked at the horse and frowned.
"What? Is there something on my face?"
Carol just went closer and nudged her, almost wanting something.
"What? What do you… oh… I know what you want…"
Blackjack gave a grin and reached into the pack, pulling out an apple. Carol's ears seemed to perk up as Blackjack placed the apple on the ground.
"There ya go. No complainin', okay?"
Carol just munched happily on the apple as Blackjack stood, stretching out. Night was upon them and he had many things to finalize before the week ended. She patted Carol's neck as she went inside the tent. She began to strip down as a small frown came to her face. Powerful, independent, and carefree. That how you would describe Blackjack. Annie however, was missing something.
God it was so cliché and she knew it, but there was a hole in her heart. She loved the power, she liked the attention, she craved the way she struck fear into people's hearts, but for once she wanted someone to take change. For once to take the reigns on this free bird. A free bird. Someone back home in Naw'lens said her spirit was that of a bird. She wanted to dream big and fly high. Freedom was what she wanted most. Now she has it, all the freedom any man could ask for. She was lonely, however, terribly so. She wanted someone to take charge for once, instead of her always calling the shots. Challenge her even. She gave a hard frown as he hands gently graced the bandages across her chest. She only frowned harder as she pulled them off, tossing her dusty hat to the side.
Who could love someone that lives in a lie, breathes lies, all to make themselves feel better? Blackjack was confident, handsome, smug, fearless, everything that Annie wanted to be. Annie was not confident. She fumbles over her words like a schoolchild. She was not handsome. Yes, she had a pretty boy face, but that is all she had going for her. Annie was not smug. She hated everything about herself and more. Fearless? Not even close. She dreads every time she plays around with a woman it would get too far. She fears that one day someone would find out. There was also one thing Blackjack was, that Annie could never be. A man. Someone who was treated like an equal. Not just looked at as another child bearer. Annie hated kids. No, she just wanted to belong, be one of the guys, feel something… anything.
She gave a sigh as she curled up on her cot, holding a pillow to her chest. God messed up. Things would have been a lot easier if her father had a son. But no, he got Annie. Strange Annie. The one who hated dresses and preferred pants, the one who would go to the brook with the guys and catch toads, the one who learned how to fight instead of going to the library as she said she would, that strange Annie. She wondered if someone could cage this free bird. Get it to sing for a bit. She glared ahead of her and turned over mumbling. No such person probably existed, but it was nice to dream.