The air was quiet in the small town of Lincoln, every living thing resting as they should be. The dust had finally settled as the sun had set, and all was right in the town. That was, of course, until William H Bonney and his rowdy group of friends tore through the center road, hooting and hollering like the bunch of troublemakers they were. Suddenly the town seemed alive again as the boys laughed and joked and drank atop their horses.
Out of a small building tore a young red-headed woman of about 20, her hair in a mess and fire in her eyes. "Now just who do y'all think you are, waking' near every soul up at such an hour? Doesn't John Tunstall teach you boys better?"
Josiah 'Doc' Scurlock shook his head at his friends being rowdy through the town at this ungodly hour. He had only gone with them to try and wrangle them in. He was the calmest of the group. He didn't normally drink as much as the other but especially not while riding. It was an accident waiting to happen.
A slightly older woman with bright blonde hair followed after the fiery little sister. "Clemmie, what the hell is going on?" She shouted after her and walked outside. She saw the men riding around, "Who are they?" She said she had just moved back into their hometown after moving away from her husband. It was extremely taboo and was why she was now living with her sister.
Doc noticed the two young women. His attention was immediately drawn to the redhead. She was beautiful and had an attitude to go with her, "Billy," He snapped to get the man to rein it in.
Billy's eyes sparkled as he looked at this new woman. He'd seen Clementine plenty, and would like to see less of her if he was being honest. But this new woman... she was special. Something in her angry eyes excited him. "Well howdy, ma'am. Sorry to have woken you, it's just my boys here can get a little rowdy. We're John Tunstall's boys. My name is William Bonney, but you can feel free to call me Billy."
"They're no good troublemakers is who! Can't you guys read a clock? The whole town's asleep and you decide to drunkenly tear through it!" Clementine huffed, and she had the right to. The men were loud and obnoxious, and she didn't like the look Billy was giving her sister at all.
"Clemmie, calm down. Let the man speak." Charlotte reprimanded her sister. She crossed her arms and looked at the man, "And what exactly are you doing at this hour then?" She was giving a little more sass than necessary but wanted to make a point. It was late, but she didn't need Clementine speaking for her.
"I'm sorry for him, ladies." Doc said riding over and dismounting his horse, "My name is Josiah Scurlock but I go by Doc." He stuck his hand out to shake Clementine's first.
Clementine stared at his hand and, knowing her sister's scold would follow if she didn't, shook it properly. At least the man didn't try to kiss her hand, she'd have laughed in his face. She didn't like Billy's little gang, but she appreciated Doc's dismounting of his horse to speak with them at least.
"We were out looking for pretty women to talk to. We didn't know we'd stumble upon the prettiest lady in the town." Billy flashed her a suave smile and climbed down his horse, with admittedly more trouble than the stone cold sober Doc had done moments before.
Doc stuck his hand out to Charlotte and she shook it. She then looked at Billy and scoffed, "You are piss drunk, Mr. Bonney. If you'll excuse us, Mr. Scurlock, my sister and I will be going to bed now." Charlotte grabbed Clementine's arm and pulled her inside before she could say anything rude.
Doc shook his head at Billy, "Good job, Billy. You made yourself look like a fool." He mounted his horse and started his way back to the farm, unable to deal with the drunken crew anymore.
Billy woke up with a painful headache and an even more painful memory of the ass he'd made of himself in town last night. He sighed as he grabbed his shirt from the floor and put it on. He left his room in John's home to join his friends in the kitchen area. "Mornin' Doc," he stated, trying not to meet his eye before the man gave him any lectures.
Clementine hadn't slept well that night, being annoyed and frustrated with how loud and obnoxious Tunstall's men had been. She had half a mind to march down there to his home and tell him just how rude his boys had been, but she didn't think Charlotte would approve. Instead she settled on making breakfast for her sister and herself.
Doc decided that Billy had suffered enough from his embarrassment last night that he wasn't going to give a lecture, "Good morning, Billy." He sipped his coffee and read from the newspaper. Doc was slightly annoyed as he liked the red headed woman and Billy acting out didn’t do him any favors in winning her over.
Charlotte had been awake for a while and was sitting in her window, reading. Her mind looked over her husband, Terry. It would be bad if he found her. She stood up and walked into the kitchen, “Good morning, Clem.”
Billy hesitated for a moment before looking at him proper and saying, "Did I really make a fool of myself in front of those two pretty ladies?" He knew he had, but wanted to gauge how badly he'd messed up by how big a sigh Doc gave him.
"I know that look in your eyes, Char. You don't have to worry about him. Even if he does come into town, we've got those Tunstall boys to protect you. They may have been drunker than Dionysus on a good day, but something tells me that Billy boy would do anything for you." She teased, trying to take her mind off the threat of Terry returning. Not that she'd let the man anywhere near her sister anyway. He'd have to shoot her before his abusive monster of a hand came close to touching Charlotte.
"You stumbled off your horse and made a fool of yourself to the older sister," Doc sighed and took a sip of his coffee which had the consistency of sludge. They needed to make better coffee and Doc could barely stand this stuff. "Maybe you'll find a way to make it up to them," Doc suggested. He personally was going to go over and say something later today.
Charlotte lightly smiled when her sister said this. Clementine was very protective over her big sister and Charlotte really appreciated it. "If he's not too drunk to do it," Charlotte mused about Billy. He was extremely handsome, but the drinking took away from that. "What are you up to, Clemmie?" She asked sitting at the kitchen table.
"Hey maybe you and I could go round with flowers. Ladies seem to like talking to you, when you're not being awkward." Billy smirked and ruffled his friend's hair, but he still held a hint of seriousness. Ladies did like Doc. They trusted him to be a gentleman. Maybe Billy wasn't the most refined man in the west, but showing up with Doc would help him seem that way to that beautiful woman. "Who were they, anyway?"
Clementine didn't respond for a few moments, until a plate of hot biscuits and gravy appeared in front of Charlotte. "Breakfast!" She smiled, sitting beside her at the table and tearing in. She may be a good cook, but she was far from lady-like while eating.
Doc was actually impressed that Billy had thought about bringing them flowers. It was a good idea. But he didn't know who they were, but he did want to find out. "I'm not sure. They didn't say their names. The older one called the younger one Clemmie so I'm assuming her name is Clementine."
Charlotte huffed at her sister, "Clem, you are not an animal." Charlotte was by far the more proper of the two. She loved her sister but she needed to learn manners. She ate with poise and slowly. She finished and stood up to start washing the dishes.
"Clemmie's a stupid nickname," Billy said to himself as he looked out the window. As usual, Charlie and Dick were busy tending to the animals while Dirty Steve and Chavez picked a fight about something he couldn't hear anything about. "We should head out soon, before we're witnesses to Dirty Steve's murder." He chuckled at the last part, finding the two men's fight amusing rather than concerning.
Clementine sighed, "Well, without your nagging my manners deteriorated." She flashed her sister a sly smile before helping her dry and put the dishes up. "I was thinking we could go into town today and see about replacing that busted post in the chicken's coop. It's pure luck a fox hasn't gotten any yet. Who knows, maybe we could hire a big strong man," she said mockingly, "to help us fix it up."
Doc nodded and stood up from the table, “We can get flowers in town,” He decided. He looked out to see the two men arguing and he hollered at them to stop. Doc was always the peacekeeper of the group.
Charlotte rolled her eyes and her sister but cracked a smile after a second, “You’re stronger than half these men in town.” She chuckled and finished her breakfast, “I’ll need to pick up some seeds for this year.” It has been a cold winter and taken out all her crop.
Billy chuckled as both Dirty Steve and Chavez gave Doc a mean look before breaking up their argument and going off in their separate directions. Impressed with Doc's skill, Billy joked, "Wow, Doc. Looks like you used your skills you normally use with the ladies. Scare'n 'em away!"
"Someone in this town gotta be strong! And you're right, but we need to be careful. We don't want to fall too much in debt." Being an American farmer and staying out of debt was like a paradox, but they were determined to make a life for themselves. Plus, Clementine knew that they couldn't afford to fail.
Doc rolled his eyes at Billy, "That was all you last night, Billy. Practically had the red head wanting to kill you. That girl is a fiery one." Doc really did want to get to know the women, but especially the red head. She was beautiful and had a great personality to go with it just from what he had seen so far.
Charlotte stood up to do the dishes. She stood above her sister and ruffled her hair, "I love you, Clemmie. Thank you for caring about me." She kissed the top of the girl's head and walked into the kitchen to wash everything.
"Nah, Doc, that's just charm in disguise." He chuckled, rustling through the bushes outside of John's home, evidently looking for flowers to deliver to the girls as an apology. However, good flowers were slim pickings in the West. He frowned at the lack of options, "Maybe we could look around for more?"
"Someone's gotta." Clementine smiled, content with allowing her sister to do the dishes. Her eyes followed her sister's movements, concern wafting over her like a bad smell. Her smile faded as she remembered the night Charlotte came back. If that lousy excuse for a husband ever dared show his face back in this town... Clementine didn't know what she'd do.
Doc chuckled at Billy rustling around in the bushes. He must have taken a keen interest in the girl if he was already doing this. “Let’s go into town to see if we can buy some, like honest men.” He patted Billy on the back and walked over to horse. He mounted him and waited for Billy to follow.
Charlotte smiled at Clementine and finished the dishes. She walked past her sister and into her room to get dressed for the day. She put on a blush colored dress that was light weight and waited for a moment. Clem wasn’t wrong about Charlotte. Charlotte was having some serious apprehension.