A/N - This is something I've been thinking about writing for a while now, I'd planned it as a one shot at first but now i've decided that it's going to be a short story, only three to five chapters long. Sorry for any spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors and I do hope that you enjoy! Thank you for checking it out.
Warnings: Sexual Content, Minor Violence, and Coarse Language
She stepped into town, her leather boots dry and dusty from her travels and her head hanging forward in her weariness, a leather bag hanging on her back, mostly empty but for a few of her belongings. Her mind swished thoughts absently in circles as she began her trek into the town to take her first look around.
It was late night but it seemed that everyone was still wide awake, moving around through the dirt streets without a care, hootin' and hollering. She concluded that this must be a fairly rowdy place if the sheriff let this sort of thing happen on a regular basis.
Kate, the girl, turned past a few buildings until she reached the building in which had the loudest of laughter and shouts raining from it. Her head tilted a little, lips pursing as she watched a couple of men stumble out, holding onto each other and trying to stand up straight.
She cringed when they stumbled down the stairs, surprised when instead of falling on their asses they straightened themselves out and continued on their merry ways.
Cautiously she walked up the few stairs and through the saloons swinging doors.
A man nearly came barreling into her body and would've too if someone hadn't quickly pulled her out of the way, saving her from a painful collision and fall. Her head turned and her eyes met the light blue eyes of another woman, an older woman, maybe one that was in her early to mid thirties.
She was pretty.
"Gotta watch where you're movin' girl." The woman spoke teasingly, a smile on her bright red painted lips. She batted her eyelashes a little and looked Kate over slowly. "Well hey you're a lovely looking thing, and look at that figure, you popular with the men?" She asked curiously, eyes sparkling thoughtfully.
Kate blinked and took another quick look around the rowdy saloon, spotting a rather risque looking women leading a drunk, excited looking man upstairs and into a room, the door had a small gold plate on it and it was engraved with the word 'Sugar'.
It suddenly dawned on her that this place wasn't only a saloon but it was also used as a brothel or cathouse.
Of course the first building she decided to walk into would be a brothel, it was just her luck.
She blushed a little and cleared her throat, "No, never been popular with the men. Anyways m'am-"
"Call me Belle." The woman interrupted.
"-Belle," She agreed and continued, "you know of any available work in town?"
Belle hummed and thought for a moment or two before giving her head a slow shake. "Sorry honey, but I ain't heard of no work, not unless you're willing to work here as a serving girl or know how to play the piano." She finished with a laugh when she saw the look of repulsion that showed on Kate's face at the offer of becoming a serving girl.
The younger women tightened her lips, in deep thought, she did know how to play the piano, but did she really want to work in a place like this? She scanned around again, looking at all the men and harlots and biting down on her bottom lip. This could be the only job opportunity that she'd get , it wasn't often a woman could come across employment, and if she turned this down there was a high chance she'd be shit out of luck.
She sucked in a deep breath and made up her mind.
"I do know how to play the piano." Kate informed Belle cautiously, her dark brown eyes meeting sparkling, light blue ones once again.
Belle grabbed Kate's hand immediately and grinned, quickly dragging her around tables and through the crowd of rowdy people.
Kate bumped into several men and women, quickly apologizing and trying her best not to knock anyone's drink over, suddenly she was feeling as if maybe she should have thought this through a bit more.
Belle stopped and Kate bumped into her back and blurted out another apology before glancing around Belle to see a very dirty, beat up piano shoved against the wall.
"Now, what was your name?" Belle asked and let go of Kates hand, turning to face her, a wicked smile on her red lips.
"U-uhm, my name is Kate." She introduced, blinking dumbly at Belle once more, this was all becoming very overwhelming.
Belle's smile only widened, "Well alright, Kate, how bout we make a deal? I'm gonna let you play this old beast tonight, and if all goes well then I'll let you work here, how's that sound?"
"That... It sounds great, I'll do my best, I'm a bit rust-"
"Great! Play us a lively tune then, let's get these boys drinking!" The women clapped her hands excitedly before straightening out her very revealing, maroon dress and corset. "And don't you be scared girl, i'll be right over at the bar, servin' the fellas if any of 'em decide to get feely." Belle winked before sashaying off, taking Kate's bad and leaving her to stand in front of the piano bench with a heavy feeling of dread in her stomach.
Slowly she seated herself, patting down her, dirty, plain light blue dress skirt and pushing her dark brown hair back behind her ears. Her hands trembled over the keys for a moment before she pressed down, immediately hitting a sour note.
She winced as it rang out and all the patrons around suddenly seemed to go silent, eyes penetrating the back of her skull, as she sat there frozen, mouth dry.
"Hurry up and play sumthin, girly!" Someone yelled at her and she jolted into action, immediately forcing her hands into playing a loud and lively tune she'd learnt a few years back.
After a few moments everything was back to life, cat calls and clinking glasses, boots stamping and men hollering at one another.
Kate sighed in relief and kept playing, closing her eyes and keeping her head down, if she made it till the end of the night without drawing any more attention to herself, everything would be fine.
Something told her she may have already screwed that plan up, particularly the feeling of a pair of eyes burning into the side of her face.
She turned her head just slightly, letting her eyes wander over to where she'd felt the stare coming from, the heavy feeling in her stomach suddenly gained a bit of weight as her gaze landed on a man sitting by himself in the darkest corner of the room.
He wore a dirty leather cowboy hat pulled slightly down over his face, shadowing his eyes, and shaggy dirty-blond hair stuck down from the side, reaching just below his ears. He seemed tall from what she could tell, and he was unshaven, a very short layer of hair coating his chin and jaw.
He lifted his head slightly and Kate's fingers nearly faltered as her dark brown eyes met his piercing grey ones, they seemed to smile wickedly at her and she quickly looked away once again, trying not to let herself be put-off by this stranger.
She played for over an hour, forcing herself to ignore everyone around her, especially the still-leering man in the corner.
There was suddenly a thump on top of the piano and Kate flinched, looking up to see Belle standing there with a mug of beer and a big grin on her beautiful face.
"Take a breather, have yourself a drink, you're doing fine." Belle explained and Kate relaxed, pulling her fingers from the keys and stretching them out, she looked at Belle shyly, inspecting the older woman a bit jealously.
Kate was pretty, but she was plain, no make-up, unflattering dresses, tanned skin and rough hands from working outside, she was taller than the average woman, around 5'9" and she always had a very weary look in her eyes that seemed to put men off.
But Belle, she was another story, she was curvy with ivory skin and golden curls all gathered upon her head and around her cheeks, her eyes were a soft, enchanting blue, and her dress was extremely eye-catching and very, very flattering, pushing her bosom up for all to see. She had long red-painted fingernails and a cheeky smile that showed that she'd been around, and she'd seen and done things that Kate most certainly had not.
"Thank you, Belle." Kate finally said and took the mug, holding it in both hands and taking a deep drink, she smacked her lips at the hoppy flavour and smiled tiredly.
"Seems you already have yourself an admirer." The blonde woman pointed out rather slyly as she took a seat next to Kate on the piano bench, leaning forward and looking past Kate to eye up the man in the corner, who still stared without fail.
Kate, who had been in the midst of taking another deep drink, spluttered and swallowed hard, wiping her mouth quickly, "W-wha... I wouldn't say, not an admirer, he's just been watching, to tell you the truth, errm..." She trailed off, feeling like a small frightened child.
"He's bit o' the intimidatin' type, aint he?" Belle asked, smiling gently at Kate. "People call him Colt, he's sumthin' of a bounty hunter, he's round here a lot, picking up outlaws, for some reason criminals flock to this place..." She commented innocently, curling a lock of blond hair around on dainty finger and giving Kate a curious look.
Kate blinked, her brows furrowing at the look she was receiving before she finally understood, she blushed, "Oh, no no, i'm not a criminal or anything, i'm just, just... i'm-"
"Don't worry 'bout it sweetie, I wouldn't have minded even if you were, just curious is all." Belle cut her off kindly and patted her shoulder. "I'm gonna start showing these men out, you finish up that drink of yours and get back to playing."
With that Belle stood and walked off, leaving Kate to sit meekly on the bench, holding her ale and trying her best not to look at the man she now knew as 'Colt'.
This was turning out to be a very strange evening, she certainly hadn't thought it'd be this easy to find herself a potential job, and she definitely hadn't thought it would be in a... well a brothel. Nor did she think she'd be having a bounty hunter staring at her, which didn't really make all too much sense seeing as she wasn't a criminal, and she didn't have a bounty on her head, at least she didn't think she did.
She frowned and glanced at Colt, he had his glass in his hand and when he saw her look at him he grinned, flashing her a malicious smile and raising his glass at her cockily.
Kate drained her beer and set it back down on the piano top, pointedly looking away yet again and beginning to play, enough was enough, she'd ignore him until he got tired of her.
"Alright Gents! Been a pleasure as always but now it's time to get the hell out!" Belle cried out, standing up on the second floor balcony that hung over the saloon floor. She had her hands on her hips and a cheeky smile on her face, eyes scanning the room, "Now pay up and get a move on!"
Kate took this as her cue and stopped playing, standing up and straightening out her dress while giving a careful glance over to the right where the man had been sitting. She let out a content sigh when she saw he wasn't there anymore, he must've left while she'd been busy playing, she grinned.
She knew if she just ignored him he'd get bored and-
"Looking for me, sweet heart?" A husky voice growled into her left ear and Kate all but leapt right out of her skin as she whirled around to face him, nearly tumbling backwards into the piano.
There he was, standing less than a foot away from her, staring her down with a wolfish grin and grey-green eyes. He was taller than her, as she'd suspected, but only by four or so inches. She could smell a faint cologne coming off of him, and his warm breath smelling of whisky and ale. Her eyes scanned his face, noting his facial hair yet again, and then a rather large, X-mark scar on the right cheek of his tanned face.
His grin widened and his eyes sparkled as he leaned in a bit closer, "Ya scared, honey? Don't be, I just came over to tell you how much I enjoyed your playing."
Kate eyed him warily for a moment before giving a sharp nod, "Thank you, sir."
"What's your name, honey?"
She frowned, swallowing her fear and setting him with a sharp stare, "Well it's certainly not honey, sorry sir, but I've got to help clean up, have a good evening." With that, and the bit of courage she had left, she snuck past him and sprinted away over to the bar where Belle was now standing, watching the patrons leave.
Colt was still standing near the piano, chuckling to himself and looking over his shoulder at her, he gave his head a shake and made toward the door and stopped in front of it, pausing to send Belle and Kate one last grin, "G'night ladies, and i'll be seeing you, 'honey'." He winked and sauntered out of the saloon, the doors swinging shut behind him.
Kate huffed and plopped down on a stool and looked around, watching the ladies and few men that worked there begin cleaning up the tables and chairs.
"He certainly did take a quick liking to you, Kate." Belle commented and set another glass of ale next to the girl, whom picked it up and took a grateful drink. "He's never been the talkative type." She added on, pursing her lips and eyeing Kate up once again. "You sure you ain't a criminal?"
The girl nodded earnestly, "I'm positive! I mean... I haven't committed a crime, so I'm quite sure..."
Belle gave a twinkling laugh and patted Kate affectionately on the shoulder.
"I believe you, now let's get you over to your room, it ain't much, you'll be sleeping with the dogs." Belle explained as she latched onto Kate's arm again, dragging the uneasy girl along with her as they navigated through the saloon and through a door that lead into the kitchen, there was a room in the corner that didn't have a door on it, just a ragged sheet hanging from over the doorway.
Kate held in a deep sigh, she supposed that's where she'd be sleeping.
Belle caught Kate's expression and smiled sheepishly, "I told you that it wasn't much."
"No, it's fine, I really appreciate this, Belle." Kate replied, genuinely grateful. "You don't know me at all and you've already given me a job and a place to sleep, it means a lot."
The older woman seemed to shine at her words, her smile bright and positively beaming.
"I couldn't let a sweet girl like you wander around this town, it's dangerous after all." Belle pushed the sheet out of the doorway and walked in, letting Kate go so that she could find the oil lamp and light it.
The room was small, just big enough to fit a dirty single bed and a night table.
And two dogs, two HUGE dogs.
One of which had it's large, shaggy black body sprawled across her bed as it snored while the other, a reddy-orange mix, laid on the floor, licking its paw and looking lazily at the two women that had invaded the room.
"That's Bullet," Belle pointed at the dog on the floor, "and that's Trigger."
Kate nodded her head slowly and continuously, taking everything in. Of all things that could have happened to her when she arrived in town, she had never expected any of this, but it was happening and she was going to accept it no matter what. It was good thing that she liked dogs, it seemed that she'd be living in very close quarters with them for some time to come.
"They're both big sweet hearts, you can just shove Trigger off the bed, but he'll probably jump back up their and try to get a cuddle with ya once you're sleeping." Belle informed her happily. "Now, i've got to get my beauty rest, you settle yourself in here and we'll talk in the morning."
Kate opened her mouth but Belle was already skirting past her and out of the room, "G-... Good night."
She finally sighed, shoulders slumping forward for the hundredth time as she once again reminded herself that at least nothing seriously bad had happened to her, and that sleeping with the dogs would certainly keep her nice and warm in her drafty little room. Kate stepped over Bullet and moved to the bed, staring down at Trigger who now had one eye open, looking up at her doubtfully, "Excuse me."
The dog grunted and closed its eye again, ignoring her.
Kate huffed and sat on the very edge of the bed and pushing the dog over till it was next to the wall, exerting quite a bit more energy than she'd expected.
"You'd better fix that snoring problem of yours or else you're going to be living on the floor with your friend over there." She gestured to Bullet and then carefully laid down on the little amount of space that she had, she hadn't relieved just how exhausted she was.
Her arm lifted and stretched over to the night table and she lowered the lamp light till all that remained was a small glow.
"G'night boys..." Her voice trailed off and she sunk quickly into sleep, her last thought of a man with grey-green eyes and a wild smile.
A/N - Hope you liked that small glimpse at a few of our leading characters, I'll try to get the next chapter up as soon as possible, until then happy readings!