Title: Days Go By
Description: Tag: Arrah
James Sheffield - June 5, 2012 12:51 AM (GMT)
Date: June 16th, 1869
It had been nice to see Wyatt again, Sharp thought with a tight smile, even if he had been looking somewhat thin and a little too pale. Wyatt'd tossed it off to not having been out in the sun enough in the recent months. Apparently he had been injured back in winter, and was still suffering an occasional set-back. Still he seemed to have been in good spirits, if a little cranky, and had been glad to see his mother and sister again.
Sharp had left them just a few moments ago to their happy little family reunion, and couldn't think of a better place to go for the meantime than the Saloon. Head down and hands in his pockets, he headed up the boardwalk and shouldered through the bat wing doors, paused briefly to take off his hat and comb through his curls with his other hand. Seeing an empty table, Sharp headed towards it. Pulling out a chair and sitting down, he set his hat down on the table and leaned back in his seat, observing his surroundings.
This sort of atmosphere, while not his first choice, was not something he so entirely minded either. He'd done a lot of traveling over the past few years and had been in much seedier places than this. At least the small town in general had a nice feel to it, Sharp thought. Wouldn't be so awful to spend a couple of weeks here, maybe, 'fore he went on his way again. To where, he still wasn't real sure. His home back in Mississippi to visit with his family, probably, but he sure wasn't looking forward to crossing that dang river again.
Arrah Jennings - June 5, 2012 01:53 AM (GMT)
Arrah was not one to complain, but as she stood up from cleaning yet another spill from a cowboy who had had one too many, her back and knees protested mightily. She sighed, tucking the used rag under her arm, and headed behind the bar to get a clean one. Being the maid in a small town saloon was not her first choice of employment, but it paid fractionally better than being a serving girl did, and in her case every penny counted. As it was, coming to the summer months would be easier on her financially, but having her own little home instead of staying at the Boarding House and keeping up with her horse always seemed to take a toll on the savings.
Moving slower than usual, she made her rounds about the tables to clear off what had been left behind. At first, Arrah had a bit of trouble with untoward advances, but as the regulars got to know her, that problem lessened. Trouble with that however, was that men were more inclined to leave bigger messes if they knew who was cleaning it up. It only took a few minutes to take all the empty glasses back into the kitchen where they would be washed, and when she emerged, she stopped dead in her tracks for a moment.
At first she was sure she was seeing things because of an acute lack of sleep. After blinking a couple of times, she knew it was not her imagination, and she had to basically hold herself back from running across the room to see him. Honestly, she wasn't sure whether to be excited or angry. He had been a very good friend of hers for a while, but had also skipped town without a word to her. So, she decided on a nonchalant attitude, and as she walked over to his table, trying not to be seen as she did so, she let a little smile touch her lips. When she got to him, she leaned her hip up against his table and tilted her head to watch his reaction to seeing her.
"Well, well, well," she crooned, smiling. "Seems we meet again, Mr. Sheffield."
James Sheffield - June 5, 2012 03:10 AM (GMT)
If Sharp had been drinking anything, he would have just spewed it out all over the tabletop just then. As it was, he'd been rather lost in thought and certainly was not expecting to have yet another blast from the past. He took on rather well the appearance and mannerisms of a frightened rabbit as he jumped and inclined his head to meet Arrah's gaze, blinking a moment and wondering why this pretty lady knew his surname...and why was she looking at him like that? Like she were angry and happy at the same time; he couldn't remember having crossed anyone yet – heck, he'd only just gotten into town yesterday!
...And then it hit him, and his eyes went wide.
"Miss Jennings!" he cried out, then paused as he lowered one of his eyebrows. "You're, in Colorado." He slowly stated the obvious, his tone disbelieving, seeming to be having some difficulty in wrapping his mind around this. Finally, Sharp regained his composure and gave Arrah a smile, briefly taking in her appearance as he looked up and down, and all at once having the shock of realizing that she was no longer a child, that girl in her mid-teens he'd known from before. "You're lookin' mighty well, Miss Jennin's; if y'don't mind me sayin'...you are awful far from home. What's brought you out this a'way?" he questioned, leaning back in his chair and studying her expression. And still wondered why she was angry, apparently having forgotten he'd never told her he was going. Or maybe hadn't thought she'd cared about that.
He vaguely remembered, from those few years ago, a conversation he'd had with her about California. How she'd been interested in heading out that way much as he had, seeing what adventure lay in store there. Well, if she still had those illusions in her mind, he could see about helping to set her straight but knew, more often than not, one had to go and let those dreams die for oneself. Learn it the hard way, that's what most people ended up doing. And then, as he crossed his arms over his chest, he couldn't help but wonder whether or not some lucky guy had drug this lovely lady from Kansas all the way out here; was she no longer Miss Jennings?
Arrah Jennings - June 5, 2012 04:54 PM (GMT)
Arrah couldn't help but let out a little giggle at Sharp's reaction to seeing her. Obviously, he was as surprised to see her here as she was to see him, but she had had the advantage of a few moments as she walked across the bar to calm her emotions. When he did finally wipe the surprise off his face and replace it with a smile, she couldn't help but return it. No matter how miffed she had been at him for leaving without a good-bye, she was thoroughly happy to see him now, and to have at least a semblance of her old life back.
Speaking of her old life, as he asked about why she was here, she just shrugged, not ready to really talk about the recent heartbreak in her life. "Just got tired of Kansas, I suppose," she said, taking a seat across the table from him. "And Momma, bless her heart, was just too intent on finding me a 'suitable' match that I was smothered." Deciding that more talk about her life would lead to things she really didn't want to talk about, she changed the subject.
"What, might I ask, brings you out this way? I thought you had dreams of California." She leaned forward a little, resting her elbows on the table. Her eyes ran discretely over him, and she noticed that he had matured a bit. It had only been four years, but his tanned face had lines that hadn't been there before. Not too noticeable, but for someone who had considered herself in love with him, albeit she realized soon after it was nothing but a fifteen year old girl's infatuation with an older boy, she knew his face pretty well. He also looked a little travel beaten, but she supposed that most who rode into Buffalo Creek Bay had that look about them. Not many finely dressed Easterners arrived in this little town, and they would have looked extremely out of place.
"It's so good to see you, Sharp," she suddenly blurted out, addressing him as she had years before. "Its not often that I see someone I know 'round here."
James Sheffield - June 23, 2012 10:38 PM (GMT)
Hearing her giggle, knowing it was due to him and his reaction to seeing her, Sharp felt his face flush somewhat. He frowned a bit abashedly and lowered his head, clearing his throat. He was feeling a tad embarrassed, and he hated it. Within a few moments, though, his coloring returned to normal and he was able to find his footing once more, able to lift his head and look her in the eye. She'd just caught him off-guard, that's all; by her sudden appearance, her beautiful, sudden appearance... Shaking his head slightly to dislodge his wayward thoughts and send them back into the here-and-now, he refocused his attention to what Arrah was saying.
He nodded as she mentioned getting tired of her home-world, then started to grin as she continued, speaking of her momma and how she'd been trying to find a 'suitable' match for Arrah. Leaning back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest, Sharp wore a rather mischievous smirk as he said, "No 'suitable' matches, eh? It really hard as all that to find you one? Pretty filly like you, I'd 'a thought they'd be linin' up..." Sharp paused, his head cocked to the side as he thought this statement over. Then, straight-faced and perhaps a little frightened-looking, he turned to face her again and nodded. "'Think I see why you got outta there." Strange people pawing at you? Never a fun thing.
Then, she turned the question on him, asking what brought him out this way. Sharp sighed a little, a half-smile on his face as he turned his gaze upwards, his eyes fixated on the details of the Saloon's ceiling. "I did, an' I made it there too." Slight pause. "Turned out the reality was more like a nightmare..." His gaze trailed down to the tabletop, his facial features falling at about the matching rate. "It jus', wasn't what I'd pictured. Ya had to be tough as nails, quick an' cut-throat, willin' to step on others if ya wanted t'get a claim of any worth there...I tried it out for a little while, livin' over there, but got tired of getting' stabbed in the back ever' time I'd started t'get somethin' good going." Flicking his eyes up suddenly to meet hers, he shrugged and said simply, "After a year, decided enough was enough an' I pulled up stakes. Jus' driftin' around, now." He ended quietly, still staring at Arrah, and quickly he started to smile again.
"S' Good to see you too, Arrie." Sharp responded quietly, his smile reflecting in his eyes. He'd always liked to hear her say his name – be it his given name, surname or the name he'd chosen for himself to go by. Hearing the last comment she made, he chuckled lightly and nodded. "Nah, I bet not... ...are you, much acquainted with Wyatt Tanner?" Sharp asked suddenly, leaning forward until his right elbow rested against the table, glancing down briefly before once more lifting his gaze to meet Arrah's. "We were born in the same town, him 'n I, an' I've known him for a real long time. 'S the reason I'm here, actually - I met his ma an' sister a few weeks ago, they were on their way here so I decided t'tag along. Glad I did." He ended, smiling again.
Arrah Jennings - June 24, 2012 06:49 PM (GMT)
Arrah sat back as Sharp told her how he had gotten here. Really, the parts about California seemed as though he had just skimmed the surface, and she made a mental note to badger more details out about it later. Not only had she always held a fascination with California, but she also loved to sit and just let his voice wash over her. Something about the way he talked just ensnared her attention. She could have sat for days just listening, but as he asked her a question, she realized that to keep him talking, she would have to, too. In the old days, she had usually carried most of the conversation anyway.
"I've met the deputy once, though not his family. He was a nice man if I remember right." It had in fact been a while since she had run into the man. They had had a brief conversation in the saloon when she had been brand new, but considering her acute lack of confidence anymore with socializing, she had made no effort to speak to him again. There were very few people she actually knew well. "In fact, I'm probably 'bout the worst person to come to to introduce you to the town. I know the lay of the land, but not many people."
Back home she had been a veritable social butterfly. She had known everything about everyone, down to their favorite colors. But here, in a new place, alone, and after heartbreak, that spark seemed to have disappeared. No more was the little girl who would hang onto a man's arm and stroll down the road. She was different from what she had been four years earlier, and she wondered idly if he had noticed the change. Gone was the puppy love for the man sitting across from her. That wasn't to say that she didn't enjoy seeing him; after all, this was Sharp. She was comfortable with him, and he with her. He would most likely be moving on soon, as he said he was not just drifting through, but the time she had, she was determined to enjoy.
"So, how long are you plannin' on bein' here?" she asked. Better to know ahead of time when he planned on leaving so as to prepare herself. This time, she would say good-bye. If he thought he could just slip away one day, he was sorely wrong. She would follow him and get her farewell. She had never really known why it bothered her so much that he had just up and left. It wasn't as if either of them had made any promises to the other, but he had been a friend, and a dear one at that. "I hope you don't plan on sneakin' away again," she said with a playful smirk, her tone only half way serious.
James Sheffield - June 25, 2012 04:37 AM (GMT)
Sharp nodded; Wyatt was, let's say not the most social person whom ever had lived, so it came as no surprise that she had only met him all of only once. But – from what he remembered of Arrah, or at least the way she used to be, she carried enough 'social' in herself for at least a couple of people. And it kinda rather sounded like she didn't have a friend in the world in this little town. Which then led him to wondering just how long she'd been here...and if she herself had skipped out on an important reason or two for why she'd left her hometown. If something had happened there to make her suddenly a bit more withdrawn. Come to think of it, her appearance now wasn't as bubbly or bright as he had been used to. Then again he'd only known her for all of, what? A month or two? Still, he couldn't help the niggling feeling that there was something off about her spirits. He eyed her again, with concern this time, but said nothing.
"Ah, hadn't really thought about it yet." He said, turning his head to look at the floor, his right arm coming up in a sort of half-exasperated gesture. He leaned back in his seat again and looked over to Arrah. "Couple weeks, at least." He paused, then decided to go ahead and ask her, "So, how long've you been hanin' 'round here?" Sharp had asked the question with a raised brow, mildly mimicking her tone from before. Almost just seeing if it would get a rise from her, and somewhat just to pass the time And heaven forbid, the thought actually crossed his mind just then – wondering what it would be like, to settle down an' have a spot somewhere to claim as your own, in a little town such as this. Maybe even raise a couple kids. … The thought was so outlandish to him, at this point, that he very nearly laughed it off. Aloud. But he managed to settle with a small eye-twitch instead.
"Sneakin' away?" Sharp asked, as if she had just accused him of pilfering beloved pigs from a local pig farmer. Suddenly uncomfortable, he shifted in his seat and leaned forward, coughing lightly. "Look, I am sorry 'bout that...but it seemed like, well at the time it seemed like the best thing to do. I-" He breifly glanced off to the side, "Hate goodbyes, so, it just, y'know, seemed like a good idea at the time." He finished, ending with looking her in the eyes and giving a small frown and an equal shrug. He really didn't have anything else to say on the subject, no other apologies to offer, nothing he could say right now...to her. No. Bad idea there.
Arrah Jennings - July 7, 2012 03:25 AM (GMT)
It felt as though someone had turned back time as Arrah sat across the table from Sharp. She observed every little movement, listened to every tiny inflection of his voice, and let herself be transported back to a place in her past where she had no cares. She was a teen again, long chocolate hair pulled halfway up, but the other half free to cascade down her back in bouncy curls. She was still wearing brightly colored calico skirts that brushed the ground and soft cotton blouses lined with lace. She had never left her hometown, never contemplated leaving her family, and most importantly, had never had her heart broken. The only worries were superficial and inconsequential, like whether or not to be bold and wear a bright red dancing dress to the county dance.
Everything that she longed for, everything that she had lost was being brought to the surface with the appearance of this one man, and for the life of her, Arrah couldn't figure out why.
His question brought her back to the present, and she coughed and shifted slightly in her chair before answering. "I've been here a while now," she said. She glanced down at her attire, and a slight frown touched her lips. She was wearing a plain grey skirt, just a smidgen too short for her and an old, worn blouse. Her sleeves were rolled partially up her forearms, and her hair was in a messy knot at the nape of her neck. Tucking a stray curl behind her ear, she suddenly became extremely self-conscious. This working girl was nothing like what Sharp was used to. He was used to soft, bright Arrie, not dingy, sweaty Arrah.
She was momentarily distracted from her mental inventory of herself by Sharp's sudden change in tone when he spoke of his leaving four years ago. She had been playful about his departure, but he sounded almost sad, and very out of his comfort zone. Instinctively, she reached her now callused hand across the table and laid it on top of one of his. "Sometimes," she said softly, her mind going back to how she left with very few good-bye's of her own, "sometimes it is easier to just walk away." She drifted off near the end, looking away herself and leaning back, taking her hand from his and setting it in her lap with the other. "But we should talk about better things!" she exclaimed suddenly, a smile lighting her face. "Where else have you traveled b'sides Calfornia?"
James Sheffield - July 9, 2012 05:41 AM (GMT)
"That right?" Sharp questioned, just a hint of skepticism in his voice, though there was a touch of teasing in his eyes as he looked on at her. Was he actually trying to make her squirm? Maybe. Did he enjoy watching her movements, facial expressions? Most definitely. While she was looking down, he was intently studying her face. The young girl he'd known, he would see hints of her every now and again, but in truth this was no longer Arrie from down the street...this was Arrah, the young lady that, apparently, worked in the saloon. She had matured physically; her cheeks were flush and her lips he found surprisingly inviting...
That last thought startled him so much he almost jumped out of his chair. But then, not even a moment later, he found his eyes following her hand as she tucked a stray curl behind her ear. He found himself lapsing into the past, remembering when her dark locks were worn down more often than not. He remembered playfully tugging on a strand or two, sometimes just to get her attention if for instance she'd been so intently focused on something else she had not, up 'til that point, noticed his presence.
And then, he was reminded of his silent farewell, and the years were fast-forwarded once more to the here-and-now. He was surprised, though warmed, upon her reaching across the table to lay her hand over his own. He then turned his hand over so that hers now lay over his palm, and then he briefly entwined their fingers and gave her hand a gentle squeeze, before she pulled hers away, and softly said, "Don't always make it right." Followed by a slight hesitation, but he was looking her in the eyes as he went on to say, "I'm sorry if I ever caused you pain, Arrie – never meant to, 'n I hope you know that." He allowed her to withdraw her hand, withdrawing his own to lay it in his lap, looking down he absently nodded to her say they should speak of something more up-building. And she had just the subject, asking where else he'd traveled to.
Sharp sat there and thought a moment, brows furrowing as he tried to think of something in his travels that might amuse the girl. Or, maybe more like pin it down to just one... "Yeah," he started out, nodding his head once more as he looked up towards the ceiling of the saloon, the wheels in his mind turning back. "Lesse, went through Nevada most recently...Oh!" he suddenly sat straight up, an almost gleeful grin on his face. "The bad lands! 'Course, that was on the way out to California, several years ago." He stated, leaning back again with a knowledgeable nod and crossing his arms over his chest. "But I'll say this – ever'thing ya heard about that, over there...'s all true. The bad guys hang out, 'round every corner there was another gang of 'em! But they didn't always know the other was there, see," Sharp proclaimed, waving a hand in the air. "'Cause of all the nooks an' crannies in them rocky hills."
Sharp then went on to narrate a tale for her, of how one day he'd come face-to-face with a big, bad, nasty outlaw fella, with his gang behind him. Initially, he'd been scared enough to wet his saddle, but o'course he did not show it. These outlaws had just arrived, aiming to hide out there a while and lay low for a spell, so it was that Sharp had just barely managed to escape by the skin of his teeth. Fortunately, this time the outlaws hadn't been lookin' for a fight; 'course if it had ended up that way, Sharp coulda held his own, he was certain. Now as to the truth of all this, well who knows. If he'd actually met any outlaws there, it had probably only been one. But telling that story was a whole lot better than telling her of the times he'd been sick after any water crossings, like crossin' the Colorado. Sometimes, these days, he'd get quesy just lookin' at water... Glancing back at Arrie, he hoped he hadn't bored her with his stories.
Arrah Jennings - July 9, 2012 05:30 PM (GMT)
So many thoughts coursed through Arrah's mind when Sharp mentioned that he had never meant to hurt her. She knew he was telling the truth, yet a tiny feeling of betrayal shot through her momentarily. The feeling was directed more towards the man who had taken her heart and ground it to dust, but at the same time, she finally figured out why Sharp's departure had irked her so much since seeing him. If they had had more time together, would she have even noticed another man? Could she have actually fallen in love with James Sheffield? She quickly pushed all those thoughts from her mind as he moved on, but she knew that as long as this man remained in town, she couldn't forget her former life anymore. On top of that, she didn't know if that was good, or bad.
It was only when a full fledged grin split Sharp's normally schooled features that Arrah was totally able to focus on the present again. The smile was unexpected, but completely infectious. As he launched into his story, she was totally transfixed on the man across from her. His was an animated tale, and he seemed to be engrossed in it. Well, so was she. She figured that some of it was true, but running into a group of outlaws and surviving was a bit of a long stretch. Regardless, she leaned forward, resting her chin in her hands and observed.
This was a small glimpse of the Sharp she remembered. He seemed younger. His attitude was playful and light, and she couldn't help but smile like an idiot for most of the tale. Her mind drifted a bit even as she listened, to the days when the two of them would do nothing but sit and chat. Most of their conversations were made up of gossip from around Independence, but sometimes, just like now, he would launch into a story like this. She listened for hours, both of them losing track of time, until the sun would begin to set and she would have to make a mad dash back to her home for supper. It was this Sharp that she had had the schoolgirl crush on and it was a most welcome sight to have him back, even if only for a little while.
When he drew to a close, she sat back and laughed. "Oh my..." she said, letting it out on a breath. "I woulda been terrified!" She laughed a bit at that, imagining herself being chased by a group of bandits across the bad lands. "Seems that the last couple of years have been a bit more adventurous for you than for me." At the end, her voice was almost wistful. Sure, she had fallen in love, gotten engaged, found out her fiance was married, broken it off, ran out on her family, and moved alone to a new town, but in her eyes, that was necessary, not adventure.
James Sheffield - July 9, 2012 08:12 PM (GMT)
Sharp smiled a little at her comments, shrugging nonchalantly. In the tale he'd given he had proclaimed not being in the least bit even intimadated by them, knowing he could, at least, out run them on his trusty stead. Which had been so far from the actual truth. His lips twisting in a line, he shook his head a little and finally conceeded, "All right, maybe I was a little bit." He told her, then holding up his right hand with the thumb and index finger just an inch or two apart. Then, his brows shooting up almost into his hairline, he jutted out his bottom lip a little and looked over to her. Then he smiled and tilted his head, letting his fingers widen a little more. Then he opened his hand, looked sheepish and shrugged.
In his own way, he was silently letting her know that of course he'd been scared, out of his witts. But he had a manly reputation to uphold. Besides that, it had been years ago...if it ever did get out, he would say he'd been a mere boy back then. Placing both his hands on his knees, under the table, he looked over at Arrah and smiled lightly again. "Aw, c'mon, surely you've had some adventure." He spoke up, wanting to ensure this wasn't simply a one-way conversation. He could have more stories to tell, of course, but wasn't overly fond of hogging so much attention. Even if it was from a pretty gal...maybe, then especially, actually.
"Did ya travel down here by yourself? That must've been some kind of adventure." Sharp added onto his earlier statement, his brows coming together slightly as he nodded towards Arrah. Surely, it could not have been the smoothest move in the world, coming from Kansas all the way down here to No Where, Colorado. He, of course, would respect if she didn't want to talk about it or anything...and maybe he should be getting on back soon, himself. Go check and make sure his horse was being well taken care of. Idly, he began to wonder if Arrah had a horse.
Arrah Jennings - July 10, 2012 03:30 AM (GMT)
He made her giggle. Honest to God giggle, like a little girl as he held up his fingers and tried to keep up his manly front when talking about being afraid. It almost surprised Arrah when the sound first escaped, and for a moment, she went serious. It had been almost a year since leaving Kansas, and she realized she had not done any kind of laughing since then. Okay - ironic, sarcastic laughter at the absurdity of her bad fortune had popped up from time to time, but nothing happy. When she felt the warmth of happiness, even if in the tiny sliver from Sharp's goofiness, she let it flow, and with it came an actual laugh. It wasn't over the top or rousing or attention grabbing, but it was a sort of release that Arrah hadn't known she needed. Her mood was instantly lighter.
Even when he asked about her own adventure, one she disliked, she knew she had to keep the conversation going. Plus, there had to be something interesting about her trip here. "Oh, it was an adventure. Don't wanna repeat it though," she said, a smirk on her face. "Lets just say, I wasn't very experienced an' it took a while to get into the flow of the travel." In fact, she had been cheated out of a good deal of money at ferry stations to cross rivers. A woman traveling alone on horseback was apparently not a regular sight, and sticking out like a sore thumb where there was no real regulation was no good thing. She had been charged double, told that her horse, Rev, had to be transported separately, and a multitude of other nonsense until she was finally helped out and shown the ropes by a kind older woman.
"Oh!" she exclaimed suddenly. "There was one time that I came across a young indian girl and her dog. She was just playin' 'round this dry stream bed." She sat back and smiled at the memory, briefly closing her eyes. Opening them again, she continued. "I thought she was gonna wet herself on the spot, the poor thing. She was terrified, and of all things, me an' my horse." At this she leaned in, as if she were going to say something mighty confidential. "I didn't know if ya noticed, but I'm not exactly the most intimidating person around." At that point she launched into the short tale. Once the girl had realized that Arrah was friendly, she had motioned for her to follow. Hesitant at first, Arrah had questioned the safety of her decision, but being low on supplies, and not sure of how near the next town was, she ended up going with the girl. She had led her back to a small grouping of shanties where three couples lived, all consisting of one white partner and one native. They had welcomed her for supper and to stay for a few days. She had only accepted food and one night, but one of the women, the only white woman, had stocked her up on enough supplies to last weeks. It was a small kindness, but it had reminded Arrah that good people were still out there, and to have hope of one day being happy. "I guess that was a bit of adventure," she finished, still smiling.
James Sheffield - July 10, 2012 06:54 PM (GMT)
At her giggle, Sharp felt the tug of a smile pulling on his lips. It was a pretty lil' sound that, until now, he'd forgotten missing. It was a nice, pleasing sound to his ears, one he wished for the opportunity of hearing more in the coming days. Looking over Arrah again, he considered the possibility of it being his mission to make her laugh again; she looked like she could use a little more laughter in her life. Most people did, really. Him included. His eyes already on her, he was easily able to catch each facial expression as they passed along over her features. Sharp gave a little scoff-type sound and nodded his head in agreement to not wanting to repeat ill-adventures. And then, as she smiled and closed her eyes briefly, Sharp found himself smiling right along. It was good to see her relaxing, if only for a moment or two.
"Well," Sharp started, bringing his hands to the tabletop and doing his best to look completely serious. And failing. He'd leaned in a little as well, adding to the whole, 'confidential air' of it all. "I dunno, sometimes you can be a mite terrifyin', an' then add a big ol' horse to the mix..." Sharp grinned, a playful teasing evident in his eyes, and fully expected something to be thrown at him. Or at least that she would pretend to. And then she was launching into her tale, and he found himself intently listening and picturing the events in his mind. Sharp's eyes widened a little, his mouth hanging open as she spoke of the little shanties where three couples lived, each with one white and one native in the coupling. He had heard of it before, but never seen such a couple himself; not that he'd have anything against them but man, must have been a hard row to hoe. Both worlds would've pretty much been against you. He couldn't imagine that, but he was glad they'd had the heart to help Arrah.
"No kiddin'?" He asked, upon hearing of the people in her tale, and then smiled again. Leaning back in his chair, he proclaimed, "I'll say, that sounds like some adventure you've had there! You were fortunate they were friendly." Sharp observed earnestly, leaning forward again to rest his elbows on the table. "So they jus' let you stock up on supplies an' then be on your way? That was right nice of 'em..." He went on, blinking. At least they were willing to be of that much help. Then he remembered her mention of a horse. "You said you got a horse, huh?" He said, tilting his head and glancing towards the door once, before quickly returning his attentions to Arrah. "You keepin' it here in town, at the livery?" Maybe he could go secretly looking up on her horse, too, when he checked on his. Maybe.
Arrah Jennings - July 12, 2012 03:23 AM (GMT)
All Arrah could do when Sharp teased her about being terrifying was give him a look. Sure, she was petite, but that didn't mean she couldn't be a little scary... right? Mentally she conceded that she was no beast and that she probably would never send someone running for the hills, but when she had come across the little mixed girl she had had the advantage of days of travel behind her. "I can be mighty terrifying when I want to!" she said, playfully indignant. "Plus, when all of this," she motioned to her hair, which was trying even now to escape its confines, "has been neglected for days, let loose on the world, an' is filled with little twigs, I surely musta' looked like a monster." That was more or less the truth. With all her curls down, falling mid-back in length, and frizzy, she may have looked a bit wild. And she had been traveling in men's clothes on a big horse. Yes, she thought to herself. She could have been just a bit scary.
When Sharp then spoke of the couples she had stayed with, she smiled softly at the memory. When she had first arrived following the little girl, the three men, two white and one native, had made their way towards her, sending all their wives and children into the shanties. It must have only taken them a moment to realize that she was harmless (okay, not so scary after all) and to call out to the women. After that, it was an all out feast. There had been chicken, potatoes, corn, biscuits, jam, milk, and more. It was just the kind of thing that Arrah had needed to keep her spirits up. Then, one of the men had gotten out an old guitar and began playing softly while everyone dispersed. That night, Arrah had stayed with the couple that consisted of the native man and his wife, Sophie. She had helped Arrah to bathe, tame her hair, and lent her a nightgown to sleep in. Then the two of them had stayed up late into the night while they shared bits and pieces of their lives with each other. In the morning, Sophie had offered Arrah enough food to last weeks, and her husband had offered up one of their mules to carry the excess. It had been enough to bring tears to Arrah's eyes, and as she had rode off, she knew she would never forget what they had done for her. One day, maybe she would tell Sharp everything. "Yeah," she murmured, her mind still off in another place. "It was nice of 'em."
She was snapped back to the conversation at hand when Sharp brought up her horse. With this, she knew she got an excited gleam in her eye. "His name 's Revelation, but I call him Rev. He's a big, blue roan mustang cross. She was absurdly proud of her horse. He was nothing extraordinary, and even though he had been a gift from her ex-fiance, he was her best friend. He had been through everything she had, and he was always a constant in her life. If she needed an escape, she could take him out for a run. If she needed to get her mind off life, she could get out and brush him. Most of all, if she needed someone to talk to, she knew he would listen without judging. Yes, she realized he was an animal, and not a person, but that was the great thing; he would be loyal through anything. "Actually, no. I don't have to keep him at the livery. I have my own little place on the edge of town. Nothin' fancy, but its a roof over my head, and its got a nice place out back for Rev."
James Sheffield - July 12, 2012 03:51 AM (GMT)
Sharp kept his thoughts to himself about her hair and the 'wild' state of it. Unattractive, she'd said – well that kinda depended on who ya asked, didn't it? Knowing that she likely meant the world in general, and not wanting to embarrass either of them, as mentioned before he kept his inmost thoughts on this subject to himself. He did smile and nod indulgently at her comments, however. And then the conversation was turned to her tale of meeting the young girl and the three couples. He could see from her soft smile and distant eyes that there was clearly more to this story, however it was not in his right to ask for further details nor did he wish to. They served as pleasant memories, he gathered; let her keep them.
"Ol' Rev, huh? Nice name." Sharp sincerely commented, nodding his head once more while observing that her eyes had just lit up upon mentioning the horse. She must surely love this big, blue roan, and Sharp found himself wanting to see the creature for himself. Up 'til this point, Sharp had been lazily relaxing, his back leaning against that of the chair, one arm on the table top while the other extended off the back of the chair behind him. When she mentioned not having to keep her horse at the livery, and that indeed she actually had her own little spot on the outside of town, however, Sharp startled and quickly leaned forward, eyes wide.
"What, you own place – do you walk there every night? What time do you get off?" Sharp asked, just automatically assuming that she worked at the Saloon, and was genuinely concerned with her walking home alone in the evening hours. "I mean, 's nice 'at you have a place of yer own, an' all.." Sharp added after a second or two, relaxing again ever so slightly in his posture. He hadn't meant to offend, it was just that he wasn't sure about the outlaw-ness around here, and sure didn't want Arrah to meet up with any unsavory characters when returning home.
Arrah Jennings - July 14, 2012 03:32 PM (GMT)
It startled Arrah how Sharp reacted to her telling him about her own place. For a moment, she was put off. For the first time in her life she was independent and quite happy to be so. It could have been the fact that she had no one to try and play match-maker, or maybe because if she was on her own, there was no chance of her getting hurt by a loved one. Either way, she sat back and crossed her arms indignantly and she could feel her eyes narrowing as she stared across the table. His voice softened a bit when he spoke next, but she still couldn't help but feel affronted.
"Yes, I walk home every night." Her voice was measured, soft and serious. There was nothing mean in her tone. If it had to be labeled, she would have called it cautious. "I get off whenever I've finished my work. Usually 'round eightish, though nights like this I'm basically done." It was true that most nights she walked home either when the sun was sinking or when it was already dark. She only had a ten minute stroll, and had never run into any trouble as of yet. There were plenty of unsavory characters in town, and some nights she did feel a bit nervous as she got farther away from the main street of town, but her home was in sight of the main road and if she needed she could run through the one truly dark area she had to cross. It wasn't her favorite thing to do, but it was better than tying Rev up outside the Saloon all day in the summer sun. Maybe when the weather cooled down a little and the sun set sooner she would consider riding, but in her mind it was unnecessary.
"It's really only a short walk," she said, feeling herself relax a bit. After thinking about it, he probably did not mean to offend. Still, it stung a tiny bit knowing that he thought she couldn't take care of herself for a few minutes. "I'm not the same little girl you knew, Sharp." Her voice was soft, and tinged slightly with sadness. That, she acknowledged, was one hundred percent the truth. He had known a carefree, happy girl with ribbons in her curly hair. He was now sitting across from someone who had had to grow up faster than she should have so that she could escape and live her own life.
Nothing was as simple as it looked, and that included her now.
James Sheffield - July 16, 2012 10:28 PM (GMT)
Judging from her body language, it was evident that Sharp had offended Arrah. He hadn't meant to, really, it was just that he was concerned with her safety. And he would not be apologizing for that. He'd seen and heard of far too many bad people with worse intentions in his travels not to be at least somewhat worried for his friend's safety in this wild western town. He'd always had a soft spot the ladies and wished to serve as a protector whenever he could. It appeared Arrah was not too keen on this protecting business, as she seemed to be rather close to glaring daggers at him. She affirmed that she walked home each night, and got off whenever she was done.
"Whoa, I meant nothin' by it," Sharp said, holding his hands up, palms out, in a 'slow down' kind of gesture. He could still read Arrah well enough to know that a 'cautious' tone came very close to a mean one. Though she did seem to settle a little and even add that it wasn't a far walk. And then she said that she was not the same little girl that he'd once known. For some reason, that cut through him, kind of depressed him somewhat. She was right – he did not know this Arrah; and indeed, had he ever known the true Arrie? Sharp blinked, tilted his head to the side as he slowly lowered her hands to the tabletop, watching Arrah. His lips in a firm line, he contemplated trying to get to know this Arrah.
"Still. Jus' wantin' you t'be careful, that's all I meant." He said quietly, with a small shake of his head. He leaned back and stared another moment or two, before declaring, "Well, I'm thirsty, so...what does this Arrah like t'drink? I'll buy you one, providin' you can have some refreshments durin' your working hours?" Sharp inquired, raising an eyebrow and a teasing smile tugging heavily upon his lips.
Arrah Jennings - July 18, 2012 04:36 AM (GMT)
Arrah couldn't help but feel a little happy when Sharp raised his hands in "surrender." She was rarely confident enough to stand up and justify anything about herself, nonetheless make someone back down. It could have just been the fact that it was Sharp, someone she had know for years, or the fact that he made her feel insignificant with his remarks, but either way, her strange satisfaction with her tiny victory lasted only seconds. Only until he put his arms back down on the table.
It was then that he gave her a weird look. His lips were set in a straight line, and he was looking at her as if he didn't quite know her. It was an appraising sort of look, and Arrah did not like it at all. It made her feel as if she were fifteen all over again, and that was exactly what she was trying to escape. He was supposed to be the one person in Buffalo Creek Bay who knew her, who liked her, and the farther and farther on their little conversation went, the less and less she knew what he was thinking. She had used to be able to read him like a book, or at least she thought she had been able to, so now that he was so closed off to her, it frustrated the hell out of her. He was her friend, right? And now he was trying to be conciliatory and talk about her safety - bah! "If you wan' me to be so safe, why don't you just walk me home yerself," she muttered under her breath. Hopefully he wouldn't hear her, but if he did, who cared! She was working herself right into a little snit, and was perfectly happy to stay there. It was better than the borderline depression she had been in before.
Then he spoke of drinks. Of all the topics he could have moved onto, he chose the only one she had no idea about. Sure, she worked in a saloon, but she had only had alcohol one time in her life, and that was only a small sip of whiskey when she had gotten stuck outside in the snow as a child. "I don't drink," she snapped, instantly regretting her tone. She sighed and relaxed a little, knowing she was overreacting to something trivial. "That is," she began again, "I don't think itsa good idea for me to drink when I'm workin'. But, some iced tea or lemonade would be nice." This time her voice was soft and almost resigned. What was it that frustrated her so much about him worrying or wanting to buy her a drink? She glanced over at Sharp, trying to gauge his reaction to her little outburst.
James Sheffield - July 19, 2012 08:51 PM (GMT)
An arched eyebrow came upon his sharp ears catching her muttered saying, and a sort of muted amusement crossed his facial features. He glanced down at his hat, reaching forward and sliding it to the side on the tabletop a few inches, his glittering eyes focused upon Arrah once more as he quietly replied with, "Well, maybe I will." His air was of one trying to be somewhat annoying, perhaps the teasing older-brother type scenario. He was beginning to realize she didn't seem to care for his concern of her safety, so maybe he would just make it a point to appear every evening and walk with her the few steps it took to get to her home. It was a free country after all, right? He could just claim he was out for a walk, in this area, and happened to be going in the same direction as her. Every night.
When she snapped at him with the declaration that she did not drink, he sat back and raised both brows, in a 'uh-huh' sort of fashion. He was about to make some quip about her not even drinking water or lemonade, when she spoke up again. Sharp nodded, seeing her seem to deflate a little as she relaxed, then stood up without a word and went to the counter to get them some drinks. He came back within a few moments with an iced tea for Arrah and a beer for himself. He set the glass with her tea down before her, then reclaimed his own seat and leaned back, then stretched out his legs and propped his feet up on one of the non-occupied chairs.
He was silent for another moment or two as he sipped on his beer. And then, he lowered the mug a little to look over at Arrah and ask out of idle curiosity, "So, what d' y'all do for fun in this little town? Anything interesting ever happen?" His voice had a sort of playful, joking tone with the second question. He knew it wasn't all dull even in little towns, though sometimes the fun happenings could be few and far between.
Arrah Jennings - July 21, 2012 02:37 AM (GMT)
The slight relaxation just moments earlier disappeared for two reasons - one, his little remark about walking her home and two, the nonchalant way he just got up to get drinks.
His reply about possibly walking her home made her bristle. Yes, she had thought that if he heard he would laugh it off or make some comment that she could just brush off, but really?! Walk her home, every night from the saloon? No way. That was just not happening, and if she had to sneak out the back door of the kitchen just to avoid him and have her moments of solitude on her stroll home then she would! He was a lucky man that he got up and sauntered over to the bar to get the drinks or he may have ended up with a permanent boot print on his shin.
And on that note, Arrah couldn't help but admire Sharp as he walked over to the bar. It had been a long time, almost a year now, since she had really noticed a man. Sharp was doing a very good job at throwing her back into that mode not so gently. He had an air about him of ease, and she supposed that was what had drawn her to him four years ago as a young girl. He was the kind of guy that was comfortable himself. What attracted her now was a sense of familiarity and of course, his looks. He was tall, but not so tall as to intimidate Arrah. At five feet two inches, she was easily made to feel insignificant. He had a thick head of dark hair and expressive hazel eyes, and the way he walked just drew her eye. It made her kick herself mentally, knowing from experience that nothing good ever came from men, no matter how nice to look at.
When he came back she had plastered a smile on her face. It wasn't exactly fake because she enjoyed his company, but it didn't quite meet her eyes either. "Well, in a few weeks we're auctionin' off some of the men of the town as lunch dates," she replied, this time really smiling. She had been drawn into the scheme simply by working at the saloon. She saw basically all of the men up for auction and had decided that going to bid on someone and to get a good meal and decent conversation wouldn't be half bad. "Other than that there are some dances, town gatherings, and just everyday life." It was no city, and not even close to Independence, but she liked it. Things here felt welcoming and almost like one big, very strange, family. "It's quaint."
James Sheffield - August 7, 2012 07:50 PM (GMT)
"Auctionin' off the men?" Sharp repeated, his voice raised in a disbelieving sort of town, his brow raised and then pinched in curiosity. He shifted in his chair, sinking down a little lower and gazing at the ceiling with a thoughtful look. "Too bad I prob'ly missed the deadlines for that...sure might'a been nice, havin' a pretty lady t'talk to," he paused, glancing at Arrah, probably looking to push her buttons even more (consciously or unconsciously remains to be seen) as he went on to say, "an' share a meal, or drink, with." Poor Sharp was probably either gonna have a bum leg or a concussion by the end of this. Even though she was one of the most beautiful creatures he'd honestly ever beheld, he still tried to think of her as a little sister he had to protect.
So who was he to contradict if she somehow got the idea that according to him she wasn't, 'a pretty lady t'talk to'? For some reason, he did love causing trouble. Or else he loved to see Arrah angered. She looked cute when she was mad, what could he say...
Sharp nodded as she went on to explain some else of what went on in this little town. Dances and gatherings, to be expected. And then another thought occurred to him, and he tried valiantly to hide the exact depth of his curiosity, tried to pass off his question as one of idleness. It almost worked. "So uh, were you...gonna be buyin' up any guys in the auction thing?" He let a moment's pause pass them by before he posed his next question. He tossed his head a little, still giving an air of indifference and idle curiosity. "Dances, eh? Ya ever had a dancin' partner at one 'a those?" Surely, a pretty girl like her, someone here must've asked her to dance a time or two. Or else he'd wonder at the sanity of these people.
Arrah Jennings - August 8, 2012 12:12 AM (GMT)
Growing up in a family of girls, especially as a younger sibling, Arrah had never been prone to violence. Sure, there had been times where hair-pulling and pinching had been involved, but she had never wanted to just smack someone like she did right then. She tried to make herself relax, sipping her tea, but he knew how to irritate her. She listened to his snark comments about the auction, all the while trying to figure out just how to get him back for them. She spied the legs he had propped up on on of the extra chairs at the table and got an idea. She set her tea down and leaned forward, a sickly sweet smile on her lips. Setting her chin in her hand, she inched her own feet towards the chair. "Sadly, the deadlines have passed," she replied, her foot now edging around the leg of the chair. "Not so sadly," she then added, pulling the seat sharply towards herself so that his legs would flop to the ground and put him in an awkwardly stretched out position, "no lady will have to put up with you for an afternoon."
She leaned back then with a smile on her face like that of a cat that got into the milk. Arrah picked up her tea again and sipped delicately at it, as though she were the most innocent girl in the world. That certainly was an act that she had perfected, as no one ever thought that she could have done any wrong growing up. She was always the good girl, the sweet flower who was sheltered and babied. For a while it had meant she was the chosen one in her home, but in the end it had all backfired on her. Her naivety had cost her her heart and her life. That girl was long gone, and she felt a bit of pride in that. She could take care of herself, and that included not needing Sharp to look out for her on her walk home at night.
"And yes," she answered in response to his question as to whether she was planning on buying a man at the auction, "I do plan on buying the company of a man at the auction." In all honesty, up to that point she wasn't sure she would have the guts to actually bid on anything. Now she had a challenge, and there was no way that Sharp was gonna win. It was this line of thought that made her overlook the obvious probing that he was doing. Even when he asked about dance partners, she didn't notice. "Actually," she said, a little embarrassed by what she was about to say, "I haven't gone to any dances yet." She knew that she could have lied and said she had had dozens of partners and had danced into the early hours of the morning with a wonderful man and had fallen in love, but for some reason she couldn't. She didn't want him to know just how pathetic she had been, but lying to Sharp seemed wrong somehow. It was like lying to herself. Desperate to get the questions off her her she shot back at him. "What about you? Meet any ladies at any dances about your travels?"