Colorado- nuit 2005/pirates_cove13
*Subject: It is a story concerning Joe Byrne, and an OC called Sarah (and no, her middle name is not Mary Sue ;-)) It is set in the American West around 1885
*Rating: It is NC17 by the end
*Disclaimer: Did some one mention money? Well we don't have any, though if anyone wants to pay us to write please form an orderly queue..heehhe. Seriously Joe Byrne was obviously a real man, this is a work of fiction inspired by Orlando Blooms portrayal of him in the film Ned Kelly, and takes place in a time after those events which in reality led to his death. We have enormous respect for history and no harm is intended to the real Joe Byrne nor any one connected with him
*Feedback: Any comments, criticism, professions of undying love are acceptable and welcome. It is not beta'd, so please look upon mistakes as local colour..
Hope you like it.
Mata icon beauty today. One more chapter after this one..
“STOP!” She froze without thinking, she didn’t think she’d ever heard Jacob yell like that and she stared at him now in utter confusion. His hand was around her wrist and he gently up righted the bottle in her hand. “It’s the chili peppers, Sarah.” He looked at her just as uncomprehendingly, “It’s the chili peppers you are putting in the flapjacks – not the cinnamon next to it there.” Funny enough she looked at the shelf first to find that cinnamon before she turned her hand and whispered a word that made Jacob’s ears prick up.
“Right well that will be two secrets between us then, Jacob-and thank you…I seem to have a few things on my mind this morning I guess.”
He looked at her quiet and thoughtful for a few minutes. She looked back, sort of, but seemed far away still. Jacob’s eyes screwed up in concentration looking for clues and then opened wide in astonishment when he realized he knew that expression and shuddered. “You don’t think I could get it, do you? Is it only girls that get it or is it like the flux we had last summer when we was all pukin’..”
‘What are you talking about?”
“That look on your face- like my sisters got. That look when they talk about that new guy, Jake, and they get all stupid and they giggle.” And with a look that clearly communicated a sense of betrayal that his friend, with whom he’d been through everything, might suddenly get like his sisters – it was too much, and she idly thought ‘that needs oil’ as she listened to the kitchen door swing back and forth behind him.
It was still early, a shake of his head that was all about extra minutes that would never have been enough and Joe took a sip of the bitter coffee that dripped from the pot. Strong, to take the taste of her away. He had to get on with this.
No one was about talking much until noon at least when they stopped to eat some of the bread Mrs. Morgan had wrapped for them, the soft lowing of the cows making the serenade for a rustic lunch
“You really made Loretta mad.” Cain was attempting to chew on the frankly less than fresh crust “rushing off like that. What’s up with yer? We don’t have to watch our backs now do we?”, he had a coarse laugh.
Suddenly the others seemed more interested in the meal than it’s quality demanded, though it didn’t seem like they was doing much chewing.
There was just a click
“You might be needing to watch yer back mate, but it won’t be because I am about to jump yer. You are an ugly bastard and no mistake” Joe knew at least one of the others would laugh, a breath taken that eased the air and opened it up for him to lean forward, there was not even a hint of a smile on his lips though and his pistol weighed heavy in his hand
“My business is mine, be safest for you to remember that”
After that the afternoon didn’t yield much more in the way of conversation and Joe concentrated his mind on the cattle, shit they walked slow, he was of a mind to start a stampede. Two or three days, Christ every time he allowed himself back into that room he could feel a warm in the pit of his belly that spread down his legs and clouded his reason. If he made it back without riding off a ridge before the week’s end he’d be lucky.
Friday- it was Friday at last. If they got those cattle settled real quick, he would be asking the almost impossible of Chuchip, ah but she would give it anyhow. His hands tangled in her mane giving it a friendly pull and she raised her head, and if a horse could smile he thought she just did. He could feel a buzz now- not much longer and he would be inside her. Fuck, the thought of it was almost enough to undo him. She might even be in bed by the time he got there- these bloody cowboys having less than a reason to hurry; they’d even talked about ending up in Silverton for the night instead of going home. Wisely Cain had declined to refer to the proposed evening’s entertainment for fear that ol’ Mrs. Morgan might be able to afford that new hat after all on account of him not collecting his wages.
The others scouted round Joe now, he knew what he was doing alright, him and that horse it seemed knew where those cattle were about to go before they had put their bovine thoughts together, but well there was a sigh of relief that he wouldn’t be joining them in Silverton, that he had business back in Durango. He was just quiet. Their tales of conquests round the fire of an evening were nothing new- Christ a few weeks ago he might have topped the lot with a tale or two, well a tale of two maybe- those usually got him some wide eyes, approving mutters and the sort of shaking head respect that only men could give, as long as it wasn’t their sister he was talking about that was.
Now he was just listening- taking in those stories of quick fucks and getting away with it and wondering to himself what the faces of those women looked like, what they felt. Ah shit- he was no better, alright he made them smile but he still left the next morning, or the next week or the next month, well and maybe he made them cry more too. He had nothing to add to the cowboy talk, to share his women. Joe smiled, well they all had a bit of him, maybe that was the way to think on it, but to share them with these men seemed to him right now to rip at their hearts when he had no business doing so. So he kept quiet and drank too much and waited for the quiet of the night to see if he could hear her on the wind.
But today was Friday and it was a happier Joe Byrne that was now whistling and guiding the cattle, the grass in sight- and it was definitely greener on the other side.
“Someone put something in yer tea Joe?” Jed, the youngest of the men shouted across the herd “haven’t see yer smile since we started out and now you might frighten the cows with all that white”
“Yer cheeky Bugger- well now I know maybes I haven’t been the life of the party.” A guffaw from Wolf made Joe laugh “Aye alright then, well next time I might educate you on the ways of making women smile, since from what I heard you barely got them to notice you were there..” there was a few seconds before Wolf laughed loud and Joe smiled “If yer let me come herd cattle with yer that is” a wink at Cain made him release his shoulders for the first time in days. In the way that men seemed to go on that was just the end of the conversation, a done deal that none of them doubted for a moment, and the hooves went on pounding over towards the lush grass.
It was mid afternoon when the clouds came over the way they did in the mountains- one moment you were on yer back looking at azure blue the next moment the peaks were throwing hurling black into the sky. “Holy shit…” he pulled his jacket up round his neck as the first pound of rain hit the ground with the force of a bull. He could see it slipping, her bed slipping away from him just as the cows were now in the top soil that became a river almost immediately. But a crack of lightening sent all thoughts out of his head and the cattle into a spin of panic.
He had seen cows spooked before- their eyes had it, the sheer rising panic evident in those eyes.
“Jed! Get to the front of the herd!” he was struggling to get himself heard through the rain and the startled noise of the cows. The young man had his whole body battling against the rain, not long before Joe couldn’t even see him anymore for all the water that was washing over his face. Wolf he could hear bellowing to Cain, some of the cattle had left the main herd and were headed to nowhere that any of them could rightly see.
“Keep these together! Just keep them close!” And Joe galloped off into the mud. Herding cattle on the run was never easy, when they were going every which way with each new crack of thunder, it was nigh on impossible. Joe’s quick eyes scanned the group for the oldest cow. This was going to take some doing. Dodging flailing legs and hefty backs that even Chuchip would have had trouble standing a nudge from, he wove his way through.
“Christ” a whinny from his horse as she slid and Joe leant to pat her neck “come on lass.”
A mixture of putting himself in the way and herding them to rougher ground where their flight was impeded eventually had them slow and he turned them back to the pass, completely drenched and gasping for breath, his fingers scratched round Chuchips ears, she was as much as part of his body as himself sometimes.
There was no way he could leave- the cattle still wide eyed and the rains still threatening to drown them all, and Joe tipped his head back, she would be waiting for him, and he wasn’t going to be there, not today. Fuck it. That was the night, round and round as much as those storm clouds in the sky and by the time Saturday dawned he felt like he had been eaten up by something much bigger than him.
Her tea had gone cold and her shoulders slumped a bit. It was late and she’d have to get up at her usual time in the morning, her eyes would feel like they had half the mountain in them.
All of her was cold and she thought she might just manage one more cup and still keep her eyes open. Cheetie felt her restlessness and hopped off her lap before she even had to ask.
She put the water on to boil and grabbed a blanket from the bed before going out to the door again.
It was ice out here tonight. Spring seeming to have been a joke, but the sky so clear that each star was outlined with a diamond edge and it hurt just a little bit to breathe. If he wasn’t near a fire….a parade of wolves and big cats and bigger bears went through her mind like those ladies floated by on the Grand Canal – she and Saji had been out for a ride 2 Sundays ago and seen one, quite far away thankfully. Must have been 12 feet from tip to tail. She hadn’t even told Jacob in case he couldn’t keep a secret that was 12 feet long – next thing she knew there’d have been a hunt for sure, the idiots.
No No NO! She scolded herself as the kettle hissed. He’s not alone after all. And surely a big cat would go for a calf rather than a scrawny human any day. Who’d eat chicken when they could have veal? She laughed and had an urge to apologize; making a mental note not to tell Joe she’d compared him to a chicken. Who was she kidding – she’d tell him for sure as soon as he was back where he should already be by now.
She made the catmint this time, thinking it might help her sleep and it smelled like home and she heard her mother’s voice gently chiding her. “You’ve lived with white people too long, daughter. All their calendars and clocks. He is moving with the animals and they have there own time. He’ll get there.”
”I know he will” she started to argue and then caught herself up short. She did know. She could feel him burning and tender all at once when he’d come to say he was leaving and she knew he would be back, as soon as he could. The tea was a present for Cheetie as she crawled under the covers and closed her eyes.
The morning brought a clearer sky, enough anyhow for the cattle to be moved up to their corral and Joe breathed a sigh of relief when the gate was tied up, the heads counted and hands shaken. Could he go now?
“Wolf, you boys have a drink for me in Silverton and tell Ol’ Morgan to keep me wages for me would ya?”
It was going to be a good hard ride back to Durango, a couple of hours and Joe looked at the sky, pleading for good weather, not that he was going to need a wind at his back, Chuchip could feel his anxiety go on and stamped her hooves. A last goodbye to the men and Joe shifted his hips ‘let’s go lass” and they were almost flying. He had seen pictures of the constellations once, tried to find them in the sky too, lying on his back on hard ground letting his eyes be dazzled by the sheer numbers of stars there till you couldn’t really see a scrap of black between then. Anyway that was it - an archer on a horse, ah sure he had a pistol not a bow but the leaps Chuchip made over the ground were just like it and they were almost flying back home.
Ah, now home, well that might be a bit of a presumption- but whatever it was it was pulling him in, she was pulling him and wrapping him in a blanket. Jesus. He wanted to be in that bed.
It was noon by the time he came fast into the clearing. Breathless and blown by the speed he had been traveling Joe looked around and puzzled for a moment, there was no smoke from the chimney, the doors and windows all shut and he frowned before it dawned on him, ah sure she wasn’t going to be sitting there waiting- she had work to do. He allowed his body to sink before he slid down from Chuchip’s back and led her to the trough, his fingers slipping through leather and buckles to unsaddle her as she drunk. She was hot- a layer of damp covered her flanks and her back, she had got him here as fast as she could and Joe rubbed her neck. A peer through the window confirmed it she was gone, though the sight of that blanket draped over the cushions of the bed made Joe wince and shift around in his pants, Christ he’d not blame his cock for going on strike at this rate.
His legs were a little unsteady from the ride, well it might have been that, and he sat for a minute or two smoking a thin cigarette on the chopping block where he had first seen her, a smile gracing his mouth as he remembered. He didn’t have a clue where she worked.
Cook, he could cook for her make her a welcome home, a table like in those flash hotels he had seen in the big towns- they had flowers and all and a cloth with the forks all straight and gleaming. Aye that was it. There wasn’t a moment to loose, nothing short of perfect would be the thing, though he smiled at himself then too- sure she wouldn’t mind sitting cross-legged on the floor to eat no doubt either, nor maybe even in a tent made from blankets on her bed.
Christ he had to stop thinking about that bed otherwise it would be all done the moment she looked at him. His hand brushed over his hips, fuck he was aching, ‘Joe Byrne- will yer get a grip of yerself, ah no don’t do that” a small smile to himself as he sighed “go make the lass some food’ to which Chuchip whinnied her agreement and looked on at Joe who was up and in the barn searching for wire and the means by which to make a trap. Expert eyes scoured the surrounding hill until he found the trail, hidden entrances and droppings that were a sure sign of rabbits. She had to have some vegetables some place, some corn maybe and the traps set, Joe let his hand rest on the latch of her door.
The click made him swallow, Jesus he had walked into bars where he was likely as not be shot feeling less nervous, but the open door revealed something like heaven, and his eyes took it all in. A cup stood on the table from her morning many hours ago, it was just her, the smell and the feel of the air and Joe pulled the door shut behind him, breathing lightly he went to the hearth and sorted the scraps of wood into the makings of a fire, he’d light that once the rabbit was skinned. Turning round to reach the large pot his eyes caught a scrap of paper on the table.
He couldn’t quite dare look at it a moment, carefully fashioned script in a straight line-
“Make yourself comfortable. There is bread in the store. I finish at 2. Sarah”
By rights she ought to be ready to slide off Saji’s back and collapse right about now. Her back hurt in fact, Mr. Mac in a big rush at breakfast this morning to tell her he had some investors he’d gotten interested in a new venture – talked 'em into it over poker in town last night to come for a real barbecue. City fellas so they wanted it all done up right, show 'em a real cowboy time. Hate to ask this of you Sarah, but just this once might ya stay and for the first time ever she’d said no. Was expecting a guest, she’d told him – and more than she’d usually volunteer but under the circumstances – but she wouldn’t leave him in the lurch either.
So now there was beans to feed all of Southwest Colorado and a cabbage patch worth of coleslaw and there was nothing like moving around a whole side of beef to make a person dog tired and hell it had to be close to four. Had she gotten out at 2 she coulda walked home by now and it’d be Joe’s turn to worry. If he was there.
She heard about the storm when she got to the ranch this morning. Bad news traveling fast, seemed some family’s house had gotten washed clean away. She didn’t know she was holding her breath till they topped over the last hill but she could already smell it before hand, and the place wasn’t on fire. She was coming home to a fire and her eyes found him leaning up against the corral, Jesus a fire indeed flashed through all the tips of her, and she’d never been more awake in her life as she and Saji did their best to look like they weren’t hurrying down that hill.