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Anything Could Happen

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Scarlet Angel:
Originally posted by Scarlet

Sept 1, 1874

“Put something on!” Rose yelled after Rebecca who bounced out the door.

Rose could only smile as she shook her head back and forth. “You suppose Tensleep will put a stop to that once they are married?” She said looking at Ella who was starting to sew the hem on Rebecca’s wedding dress.

Ella raised her eyebrows in question. “Try, possibly, succeed, I doubt.”

Rebecca picked up her saddlebags grinning as she went out the front door.

The ranch hands she passed stopped what they were doing to admire the green eyed brunet dressed in  frillies and boots, who was making her way to the corral.

Becca slid quietly up behind her soon to be husband, who was watching his two deputies work the young horses, and put her arms around him. “I think Rose is enjoying seeing if she can keep us apart until our wedding night. Ten more days gonna drive me crazy.” She whispered so he could feel her warm breath on his neck.

Rose was the closest to a mother Rebecca Valentine had since her own mother had died many years ago. Rebecca considered Scarlet her sister and since Rose was Scarlet’s mother it had come naturally. Seemed to Rebecca there were a lot of folks on the Southern Starr that considered one another family, closer than friends yet not related by blood. The small group of people that had come with Scarlet to visit for New Years and had stayed on to work with Marshal JB Ross had become part of her family.

Rebecca kissed Tensleep on the neck then stepped next to him and leaned against the fence watching Scarlet and Fritz work the two horses.

Scarlet’s back was to her and Fritz had only glanced to see who it was that came to the fence. He was busy watching and listening to what Scarlet was telling him, resulting in the two horses nearly making mirror movements of one another.

When they weren’t working for the Marshal, Scarlet had been working with Fritz showing him how to train the horses from start to finish. She was impressed how fast he learned and happy that he seemed to enjoy it. They were nearly done with the group of horses Mr. Whirly had paid extra to be finished by the time he picked them up.

Unbeknown to Fritz, Scarlet had bought Bo’s half interest in the horse Fritz was now working with and planned to give him to Fritz on their wedding day. She figured while Strider was his main mount he should have a second mount he could call his own. 

She had known they would be a good match when the herd was brought in and the horse seemed to take to Fritz right away. The horse held a special place in her heart since he was one of her stallion’s first foals and she’d been trying to figure out she wanted to do with him. The dam had belonged to Bo, making them partners in the colt. Mr. Whirly had offered them top dollar for him every year since his birth and Scarlet had just told him she would consider the offer. Bo had just laughed and told her she couldn’t keep them all.

Scarlet knew she’d made the right decision when she’d heard Fritz asked Bo about the horse. Bo had simply told Fritz he was sorry but the horse had been sold. When she was asked Scarlet had promised Fritz the horse was going to a good home to someone who would care for him and all the time and training Fritz was doing would be appreciated.

She smiled now as she watched Fritz work with the horse.

“Hey Scarlet.” Rebecca called. “ya should put some trail time on that one yer riddin’.”

“Think so?” Scarlet chuckled.

“Yep. I think that horse needs trail time and I need to escape before Rose an’ Ella think I need to put the dress on again. Sides it’s been months since we blew off some steam.”

“Months?” Scarlet laughed thinking about the parties held at the Ace of Hearts Saloon.

“How many bottles you got in them saddlebags?” Scarlet said as she turned her horse to face Rebecca.

“Enough, got something to eat too.” Becca grinned.

Scarlet turned in her saddle and looked at Fritz. By the look her face he could tell she felt guilty about running off when there was work to be done.

“Go and have a good time.” He said with a smile causing her to smile back at him.

Scarlet moved her horse against the fence where her gun belt hung, picked it up and buckled it on, then turned him towards the gate.

The speed in which Fritz moved his horse to cut her off surprised her but her smile told him she was impressed.

“Very nice move Sugar, but what are you doing?” She asked.

“You can go but you must pay to pass milady.” His eyes danced mischievously.

She moved her horse next to his, placing her hand gently on his chest Scarlet smirked.

“Pay to pass huh?” She said tracing her fingers down his chest then lightly placing her hand on his saddle horn, she leaned over and kissed him sweetly. “We’ll be back before dark.” She whispered with a smile that told him she loved him.

Rebecca had returned with her own horse. She kissed Tensleep and grinned at him then mounted her own horse. “Come on Scarlet.”

“Let me get my gear.”

“Gheez we’re going for a ride and a swim, and talk about men.” She winked at Tensleep. “what ya going to need that cannon for?”

“I feel sorry for ya Fritz. Trying to find a place next to her when ya lay down at night must be near impossible between the guns, knife and horse.” Rebecca laughed kicking her horse into a lope.

“Hey.” Scarlet yelled after her friend then followed never minding the rifle that was in the house.

Mr. Dawg, the large black dog that had stayed on with his mistress, Trixie, so they could attend the double wedding of her friends, let out a low bark then chased after the two horses headed away from the house.

“Keep ‘em outta trouble.” Patches called after Mr. Dawg as he passed the telegraph office the dust kicking up behind him.

 Bo watched the trio moving off then shook his head. “I’m not sure which one of you is going to have his hands fuller.” He chuckled as he led his horse past Tensleep and Fritz.

Rose stood and looked out the window at the sound of the hoof beats. She turned back to Ella with a smile. “I never thought I’d see the day when Break Heart Becca would settle down with just one man. And I never thought I’d see the day when Scarlet would find one she cared enough for to share her life with again.”

Scarlet Angel:
Originally posted by Ozark Iron John

Woooo! Woooooo! Off in the distance the whistle of a west bound train. The Iron Mountain Express out of Sprinfield, Missouri has a head of steam and is headed for Texas. In a private Pullman Car sets a serious young man from Missouri. He's a Special Agent for the Missouri Pacific Railway Express Company and he's on a mission to apprehend an outlaw. A train robber and a murderer running loose in the badlands.

Woooo! Woooooo! John looks around him at the well apportioned car. It is an office on wheels with all of the accoutrements of home. Fine mahogany walls, thick wool rugs and soft leather bound chairs. It's been a comfortable ride. A good way to see new country.

"Are we in Texas yet, Mr. Bell?" he asked the man setting across from him.

"Naw, John. We won't be there till morning. You should get some sleep."

"I cain't sleep sir. I think I'll step back to the stockcar and take a look at my horses, if you don't mind?"

"Knock yourself out, just don't fall off the train."

John gets up, moves to the back of the car and opens the door.

"Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack."

The cool night air is refreshing. Stars twinkle like diamonds in the sky. He makes his way into the stockcar where the horses are stabled. Buck is an 8 year old buckskin quarter-horse gelding. Red is a 12 year old sorrel quarter-horse gelding. They've carried him on many a long hunt, but this is their first train ride. They're a little spooky. John poured grain into a feedbag and put it on Buck's head. Then he did the same for Red. He pats them down and whispers, "What would Old Pap think of us now boyz? What would Old Pap think of us now?"

Woooo! Woooooo! "Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack."

After spending some time with his horses, John rolled himself a smoke. He sat down on a bale of straw next to the stall and gazed out the door at the passing countryside. It’s hard to believe he’s so far away from home.

“Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack.”

The sound of the train rolling along the tracks is mesmerizing. The moonlight illuminates the hills and provides for interesting landscape scenes. John sits still, smokes and watches the world pass bye.

After a little while, he looks at his watch. It is 4:35 am, Sept 1, 1874. "I'd better get back to Mr. Bell boys," he says to the horses and stands up to leave.
Originally posted by Fritz

Rose wiped her hands on her apron as she stepped onto the porch. It was good to have all these people, HER FAMILY, back at the Starr. She smiled as Scarlet and ‘Becca rode out. Rose was amazed at how close they’d become; like sisters.

Fritz walked by with the new horse. He tipped his hat and smiled. He was wearing the new tan slouch hat, and some of the clothes Scarlet bought for him. Rose shook her head.

She wondered if her daughter knew of the pain he felt. He’d probably ache on that side of his body for months, maybe years to come. But the pain of losing his rank would stay with him much longer.

Rose knew her soon to be son in law well. He was proud of his service, and had reason to be. Perhaps that was why he hadn’t worn his uniform since that day at the fort. Tensleep had given him the reward money for Rowen’s brother, but as far as she knew, Fritz hadn’t spent it.

Rose stepped off the porch and followed. She stayed back a discreet distance, and watched him work. He cared for the horse well, which came as no surprise...he was a horse soldier, after all.

“So,” Rose said, “have you considered what to get Scarlet for a wedding gift?”

"What?" Fritz had been so intent on caring for the new mount that he hadn't heard her approach. Not good.

Rose giggled and came closer. "Scarlet's wedding gift...?"

Actually, he HAD put a lot of thought into what to get his bride. What did you get a girl who had everything? She had more guns and knives than she'd ever need. And horses? Scarlet knew horseflesh better than any man he'd known.

Fritz put down the currycomb and faced Rose. He wanted to give his bride something she needed...something he wanted, but had never attained.

"Are there any parcels of land nearby that are for sale?"

"Why Fritz," Rose exclaimed, "what did you have in mind?"

"I want to give Scarlet a home," he said.


Rose smiled. “I don’t think I could have chosen a better man for Scarlet myself.” She thought as her smile turned to a grin.

“Parcels..depends on how close you want to be. Johnny would probably make you a fair deal if there is a piece of the Starr you like.

Scarlet’s favorite place is too hard to put a house on, unless you want to live in the A frame that is there. I don’t think that is what you had in mind."

Rose thought a moment, she was almost afraid to say it but she did.

"I know a place that has stood empty for years. Has a beautiful wrap around porch, three rooms and a pretty nice kitchen, barn, the property is beautiful too. You could probably talk the current owner into selling it. Course it would need a lot of cleaning, new curtains, maybe some repair.” Rose paused “but I don’t know how either one of you would be feel about living there.” Her voice trailed off.

Scarlet Angel:
Originally posted by Ozark John

When John returned to the Pullman car he found Mr. Bell busy studying a map.

“Hey! I was about to send somebody out to look for you. Are your horses okay?” he said.

“Yes sir. They’re fine. They’re a little spooked by all the rattling, but they’ll be okay.”

“Good. Come over here and take a look at this map."

Spread out on the big oak desk was a map of western Texas, northern Mexico and the badlands of New Mexico. “Our boy’s hiding out here.” He swept his hand over the part of the map east of El Paso. This is the Big Bend area. He crosses the river wherever he chooses. We think he’s holed up in a cave or a miner’s shack somewhere in these Jeff Davis Mountains.

“So what’s the plan sir?”, John asked.

“When we pull into the depot tomorrow evening you just sit tight. I want everyone off of the train and out of the depot before you and your ponies dismount. The conductor will see to it that you’re notified when it is time to leave. I want you to ride north all night. The mountains will be on your left, the desert will be on your right. By daybreak, you’ll see the pass. You should camp in the saddle. Next morning ride west down the mountain to the Rio Grande. You’ll see it. It’s big and green. You should be getting back to town by dark. Stop in the first cantina you come to and get yourself something to eat. I want you to appear weary and trail worn. Your story is that you’re on the run from the law in Arizona territory and you just crossed the desert. You’re heading for San Antonio.”

“Why is that sir?”, John asked.

“These boys are smart John. They’ve already killed your uncle and another agent as well. They’re looking for a railroad man to be hunting them and I don't want them to suspect you. I want you to come at them from the west. They won’t be expecting it.”

Mill around town for a few days and try to hook some fellers headed for San Antonio. I’ll meet you Friday night at Rosa’s Cantina on the other side of the river. Ask around, you’ll find it.

“I can do that.” John smiled and traced the route on the map. “No problem.”


Originally posted by Scarlet

Scarlet and Rebecca rode along the river close to the edge of the Southern Starr. Stopping near the herd of horses that could often be found there, they dismounted, unsaddled and tied up their mounts then went in for a swim. They laughed at Mr. Dawg as he ran along the shore finally getting brave enough and jumping in.

When everyone had their fill of the water they sat down on the shore. Rebecca opened her saddlebags and pulled out the wine and food she had brought along.

“You haven’t teased me once about the fact YER” pointing her finger at Scarlet as she emphasized yer.  “mother is keeping me so busy I haven’t had the time or energy to spend with John at night if you know what I mean.” Rebecca eyed Scarlet for her reaction.

Scarlet suppressed a smile. “That’s because she chased Fritz to the bunkhouse not long ago and I think she has assigned Bo to keep an eye on us too.”

“What’s her reasoning ‘hind that?”

“It gives you time to think about what it’s like apart so you appreciate the time together, remember how much you love one another when you argue… she had some other things too.”

“You gotta love mom” they said in unison then laughed and passed the bottle.

Rebecca watched as Scarlet lazily ran her fingers along Mr. Dawg’s chest. He lay upside down with head back, his nose nearly touching the rock, his feet suspended over Scarlet’s hand.

“That dog is sure something. How far you two go back?” Rebecca asked.

“He was probably six months old or so, met him the night I met Trixie. He was thin enough I could’ve picked him up with out much problem. She threw him a few scraps o’ food and he’s been her best friend ever since. He’s saved both our skins once er twice over the years.” Scarlet replied then looked at the piece of paper Rebecca had dug out of her saddle bags.

“What ya got there?”

Rebecca grinned wickedly “Well I gotta be truthful, there’s been some betting going on.”

“How does that not surprise me?” Scarlet chuckled taking the bottle back. “Since yer looking guilty it’s got to be something about me.”

“Well of course.” Rebecca’s said excitedly. “One of the cowboys at the Ace started it by asking a question and it kind of went from there.”

Scarlet raised an eyebrow in question.

“It’s not bad.” Rebecca chuckled. “He simply asked what was it about Fritz that first got your attention.” She leaned close waiting for Scarlet to answer. When Scarlet only smiled she continued. “Cuz to be honest some of them cowboys been trying to get you attention for along time and you are polite when you turn ‘em down but you normally keep steppin’ by, and some of ‘em were real lookers too.”

Scarlet held out her hand. “Gi’me” she said with a chuckle.

Rebecca leaned forward and handed her the paper.

Scarlet read the list. Many of the average things were listed. Eyes, smile, way he sits a horse. She laughed when she read what Johnny wrote. “Cuz I told her to stay away from Yankee soldiers.”

“Oh I like this one. Cuz she can’t resist the uniform. I should’ve thought of it. Hank.” Scarlet laughed softly. “I might have to tell him he was right.” She smirked.

“I think some of the girls at the Ace been checkin Fritz out kinda close judging from some of these answers.” Scarlet handed the paper back.

“Well any of ‘em close?” Rebecca asked.

Scarlet half grinned and took another drink then feed a piece of cheese to Mr. Dawg.

“I bet you can guess who’s closest.” She said.

Rebecca looked over the list. “Must be Bo. Something he did when he was unaware he was being watched.”

Scarlet simply smiled.

“I didn’t think you snuck around peepin’ on folks unless you was planning on shooten ‘em.” Rebecca laughed.

“I don’t” Scarlet chuckled.

“Sooooo? Ya gonna make me guess. Cuz I’ll ride right back to the Starr and ask Fritz if he dances naked around the campfire in the moonlight er something.” She grinned wickedly.

“You no doubt would, but that wasn’t first got my attention, gotta say I was impressed at how many times he can jump over it.” Scarlet laughed.

Rebecca’s eyes grew wide; suddenly she realized she was being teased. “Cute Scarlet, gonna tell me the truth?”

“When we were with the Arizona marshal we rode into Mexico. The marshal picked Fritz up out of some prison and brought him back to the posse. He fought with us, in doing so he lost his horse. I had never seen anyone read a bible over a fallen horse before. I guess I figured it said something about the man.”

“I guess something like that would make YOU look twice.” Rebecca said.

Scarlet stood and gathered up her gear. “We should start heading back or they will be taking bets one of us got cold feet.”

’Becca stood and began to gather her gear also. “How do ya know he’s the one you want to spend the rest of your life with?”

Mr. Dawg had sat up and yawned lazily as the girls pulled on their boots.

“How do you know Tensleep is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with?”

“A feeling I guess.” Rebecca replied. “Ya know ya just know.” She eyed Scarlet “Instinct.” Then grinned thinking Scarlet couldn’t argue with something she’d say herself.

Scarlet snorted.

“Well how do you explain it then?”

“Think of one perfect moment in time and tell me who you’re with.” Scarlet said. “Oh and your clothes are on.” She added teasingly.

Becca rolled her eyes and shook her head as she laughed. Then she thought for a second a genuine smile spreading across her lips. “You know I was so touched when John came into Black Wolf’s camp, scooped me up right in his arms.” She looked at Scarlet waiting for her to share.

“A dance, I couldn’t tell you what the band was playing but it was slow. It felt so right so perfect. I knew that’s where I’d like to be for the rest of my life.”


Scarlet Angel:
Originally posted by Ozark John

Mr. Bell rolled the map up and stuffed it into a cylinder and put it in a draw of the big mahogany desk. He took out his pocket watch and said “lets synchronize or clocks”.

John pulled his watch out of his pocket. He couldn’t help but remember where he had gotten it. Well that Yankee Jayhawker didn’t need it anymore.

 “It is 9:25 am, Sept 1, 1874”.

“Got it!” John said.

“I want you to clean your guns again today John and I want you to get some rest.”

“Yes sir. I will.” John said.

With that, the older man turned off the light and settled into one of the big soft leather bound chairs.

Originally posted by Fritz

The sorrel nickered, and Fritz pulled a sugar cube from his vest pocket.

"Sounds perfect. How much...oh."

He suddenly realized he'd been to that house before.

Scarlet's house. Travis' house.
"Rose," Fritz started.

"It's been empty for far too long. It was killed before its time. The happy sounds had just started there, when..." Rose wiped the corner of her eye with her apron.

"Mom...may I call you that?" Fritz asked.

She nodded her head.

"It's a lovely house. But do you think Scarlet could live there, with the memories in the wood?"

Rose took his hands.

"I know anything is long as you believe."

Fritz smiled. "Then I guess I'd better talk to the owner."

"One thing," Rose added. "We need to clean the baby's room. I'm not sure she could handle that."

Butcher Bill:
"Well,Bless my soul,"says the man on the black horse. "I thought to bring my horse to water,and set up camp for the night,but I can see that this spot is occupied.

"And by two of the prettiest flowers,that must have assuredly been placed here by an angel."

The mans approach had been quiet. Too quiet,and he startled the girls.

Scarlet turned towards him instantly,her revolver already drawn.

In her sights sat a man on a big black horse,and a pair of black dogs.One on either side of him.

The man was dressed mostly in black,and wore a pair of dark glasses.

Scarlet realised she was holding her breath....could it be him,she thought...she had heard he had passed...


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