Clint Roberts had no particular destination in mind. He had no place he was rushing to be, no reason to push himself like this except a need to find something – anything – that he could grab onto and call home. Since the War between the States had taken everything he’d ever known from him, he had been riding. He was only twelve when his mother had gotten sick and died. He had no brothers or sisters. And when those soldiers came to the house, his father tried to keep them from taking young Clint with them and pressing him into service. For that, they killed him. And not in a quiet, take him out back and shoot him kinda way. No, they had beat him and kicked him till he was half dead, then tied his feet to his rope and tied that to his horse and spooked the horse into dragging him to death over the rocky, thorny ground. All this while Clint was forced to watch. Those same soldiers then left him there, alone, to fend for himself.
But Clint had beaten their plans. He had survived. He managed to make it till he was old enough to sell what was left and buy a horse and begin his quest. It had been hard growing up like that with no parents to guide him, but it had toughened him along the way – he was now a man that no one wanted to mess with! He wasn’t a gunfighter, but he knew how to handle a gun well enough. And he wasn’t a drunken brawler, but he had handled more than a few. He was just a solitary man, looking for a way out of his solitary life. So he rode. He rode with no destination in mind and no direction in particular. He rode whichever way he happened to be facing at the time. Searching… always searching… and for what he didn’t have a clue.
One day his travels took him to a small Texas town just a couple days ride from the Mexican border. The place wasn’t much to look at – just a speck on the map. In fact, if he hadn’t spotted it from the ridge he rode along, he’d have rode right past it. But he did see it and decided that he could use a drink and a bath, so he turned his horse toward the town and in about a half hour was just on the edge of town.
From previous experience (a bad one), he had learned that when riding into a strange town, it’s best to stick towards the middle of the street – that way you have some time to react if necessary. He had been taken by surprise once before by riding too close to the side of the road, because a stagecoach had just happened to be pulling into town that particular time. He was jumped, knocked off his horse, and fortunately was able to get up in time to win the fight with the two ruffians – both of whom were far too drunk to be able to successfully carry out such an ambush. He had learned that day it was best to give himself a little extra time to handle himself better, should such an event occur again.
But this was a more peace-loving town and he had no such trouble as he rode slowly down the main street. He passed the general store and passed the jail with the deputy sitting out front. A courteous tip of his hat gave the deputy ease at the stranger’s appearance in town, and he sat back again in his chair. He continued on to the local saloon and stopped there. Tying his horse to the rail within reach of the horse trough, he went inside to see what he could do to quench his thirst as well. It had been another hot, dry day and his throat burned from the hot, dusty air. He could use something cool and wet to slake his thirst.
The interior of saloon wasn’t much cooler than outdoors, but it was darker. So dark, in fact, that his eyes needed time to adjust to the room. He stood in the doorway for a few seconds as his eyes got accustomed to the room’s light, and then found a table against the wall. He sat down with his back to the wall while he studied the room and its occupants. He had been sitting there for about 5 minutes before she came up to wait on him. As soon as he heard her voice, soft and smooth like creamery butter, he knew that this was not the dull, ordinary whiskey slinging whore he had come across in so many saloons in so many towns before.
“What can I get you, stranger?” she asked. He looked up from under his dusty Stetson at what had to be the prettiest face he had seen in many years. She was about 5’2″ tall with fair skin, blonde wavy hair that fell to about the middle of her back when it was let down, green eyes, soft red lips and a very eye pleasing 34D-22-32 figure.
“Can I get you a drink or something, mister?” she repeated.
Clint snapped out of the trance she had put him in. “Oh yeah. A whiskey, please,” he said.
“One whiskey, coming up,” she said, smiling at his stumbling response. She went off to the bar to get his drink. He watched as she walked away, certainly the best thing he had seen in a very long time. She came back a couple minutes later with his drink.
“Here you go… one whiskey,” she said. She set the drink down in front of him and turned to leave. He took her hand as she turned and she looked back at him.
“Can you sit for a spell? It’s been awhile since I had conversation with anyone, much less anyone as pretty as you,” he said.
“We aren’t allowed to sit unless you buy me a drink. Sorry, house rules.”
“Well we don’t want to go around breaking house rules,” he said, “go get what you want and come back and sit with me,” and he tossed her two bits for the drink.
“I’ll be right back hon,” she said, touching his hand and she went to get her drink. A minute later she was sitting at the table with the drifter.
“I’m Anna. What’s your name, stranger?”
“So what brings you to these parts, Clint? We aren’t exactly on any main routes here in San Angelo.”
“Just passing through.”
“Oh? Where you headed? Most people passing through here are on their way someplace.”
“Don’t know. Just traveling till I find something worth stopping for.”
“Well maybe you can find something worth sticking around for here.”
“Maybe. It seems like a pretty quiet place here.”
“Quiet to a fault sometimes!”
“Quiet is nice. I could use a little quiet. Maybe I will stick around for a spell. Is there a place a man could get a bath? I’m carrying a lot of trail dust with me anymore.”
“Yeah, you can get a bath upstairs. Come with me.” The pair downed the last of their drinks and she led him up the stairs to the rooms on the second floor. She took him into a small room with a tub, a sink with a hand pump, and a pot belly woodstove. Lighting the fire, she began filling the tub with the bucket under the sink. When his bath was ready and the water was hot, she turned to him.
“Your bath is ready, Clint. I’ll be downstairs when you’re finished. Do you need anything else before I go?”
“Do you have to go? Can you just stay here? I’ve spent a long time talking to myself – it’s nice to hear another voice besides my own for a change!”
“I’d like that Clint,” she said, smiling.
She stepped closer and began undressing him. She removed his dirty, worn shirt, unbuttoning each button slowly and carefully. She pulled the shirt open revealing his broad chest, sparsely covered with coarse curly blonde hair. She rubbed her hands over his chest and softly moaned. She thought she had been quiet enough, but Clint had heard her quiet need. He turned to her and took her in his arms, pulling her close. She lifted her face to his as he looked down into the softest green eyes he had ever seen. He held her close to him, feeling the softness of the woman pressed to him, the warmth of her body and the sweet scent of her perfume. It had been a long, long time since he had felt, seen, and smelled anything so pleasant.
Anna too, was feeling something special, something she hadn’t felt with the regular clients she served and serviced in the saloon. There was something about this drifter, this stranger, that made her knees weak. He was a rugged, handsome man to be sure – 6’2″ tall with dirty blonde hair to his shirt collar, a strong jaw covered in stubble beard, a broad thick chest and strong arms. He was definitely someone a lady would take notice of. But there was more. Maybe it was his gentle self-assuredness, his confidence, that attracted her. Maybe it was the mystery he enveloped himself with, not wanting to reveal any more than necessary to keep the conversation going. Whatever it was, she was smitten. She enjoyed talking and being with him, more so than she had felt for any man for some time.
“We… should probably get you… in the bath before… the water gets cold,” she finally said, her breathing becoming noticeably more labored.
He took his pants and underwear off and stood before her naked. She felt her knees go weak again as she saw him in all his glory. Anna waved to the tub, not daring to speak for fear of showing her true feelings and desires at that moment. She surveyed his naked body head to toe and when her eyes fell upon his well endowed cock, she licked her lips unconsciously. He got into the tub and settled into the water. She poured a small amount of what she called “lilac water” that she had made herself from the flowers around the outside of the boarding house that she lived at. She didn’t use much, first off because he didn’t want to smell “girly” as he told her, and secondly because lilacs were not native to the area and the seeds to grow them were hard to come by. As he soaked in the tub, she took the lye soap laying next to the wash basin and wet it, scrubbing him good all over his upper body. When she had worked up a good lather on him, she used another bucket of warm water to rinse him off. Then it was time to do his legs and lower body. He stood up in the tub and she lathered up his legs, rinsing them as well. Inevitably, the time came to wash his personal area.
“Um…” she said, blushing as she tried to find a ladylike way of asking.
“It’s okay. I know what you mean. But it’s okay.” he said, relieving her from asking permission.
She looked up and smiled at him and working up a lather in her hands, took his cock and began washing it gently. He closed his eyes as she handled him, feeling the soft touch she had and noticing he got harder as she washed him. Anna noticed as well and as he swelled, she went from washing him to stroking him, enjoying his stiffening shaft and knowing he was enjoying his “bath” more and more.
“You keep that up missy, and I’m gonna have a hard time getting back in my saddle!” he said. She let go of him like she had hold of a rattlesnake at his words, blushing as red as her dress.
“I… I…” she stammered. He took her hand as she tried to speak.
“It’s okay, ma’am. But I have been on the trail a long time and a woman’s touch… well you seen what it done.”
She quickly got a towel from the hook next to the door and assumed a more “professional” attitude. She held it up for him, averting her eyes coyly as he stepped out of the tub. She wrapped the towel around him, drying him off in places she could touch and leaving his privates for him to dry. Then she got his clothes and handed them to him, turning around as he dressed.
“Okay, you can turn around now, I’m decent,” he said. Anna turned around, right into his arms again.
“Anna, this may seem right forward of me, but I’ve been on the trail a long, long time and I haven’t felt a soft bed or a soft woman in longer than I care to think about…” he began. She placed a finger on his lips and he stopped talking. She took his hand and led him out of the washroom and down the hall to another room. This one was smaller, barely big enough for the old metal frame twin bed and a small nightstand. They went inside and he stood by the foot of the bed as she undressed, slipping out of her dancehall dress and undergarments as he watched. She sat down on the edge of the lumpy bed and curled a finger at him, motioning him to come over without saying a word. He stepped in front of her and she unfastened his belt and pulled down his pants and underwear in one move, freeing his cock again – this time at eye level. Anna took his cock in hand again, this time though, she was not so shy and demure about it. She wanted him as much as he wanted her. He had been without a woman in a long time, and she hadn’t been treated like one in a similar length of time. She stroked his cock to hardness again, then leaned forward to kiss the tip. She looked at him for a second, smiled, then took him into her warm, wet, mouth hungrily.
“Mmmmm” she hummed as she felt his silky shaft against her tongue and tasted a hint of the lilac from his bath.
He took her head in his hands instinctively and ran his fingers through her soft blonde hair. As he cradled her face in his hands, she went to work sucking and licking his cock, lapping at his balls, and taking him deep into her mouth. He was enjoying every bit of it too, as he grew harder and thicker with every moment she teased and toyed with him. Once he was stiff as a branding iron, she pulled back and laid back on the bed, unfastening her corset and opening herself for him.
Clint accepted her silent invitation, climbing into bed and positioning himself between her spread legs. As he knelt above her, she reached down and took his cock, guiding it towards her waiting eager pussy. With one hand, she guided his cock to her and with the other she spread her soft, puffy pussy lips, opening her flower to receive him. He lowered himself into and onto her as his cock slipped easily into her. Her pussy enveloped his cock and he felt the hot wetness of her surrounding him.
“Ohhhhhh…” she moaned loudly this time as he filled her. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he slid deeper into her. He went deeper and deeper until he had bottomed out inside her, his balls resting against her ass and his cock pressing against her cervix, completely filling her to the brim.
He rested there for a moment, enjoying the feeling of being inside a woman again, before he began pumping in and out of her. He started slowly, allowing her a chance to get used to his size, but quickly began thrusting into her in earnest. He pounded into her pussy hard and quick, riding her like he was in a horse race. She moaned and writhed under his furious attack, holding onto the bed sheets with grip so tight her knuckles turned white with effort.
“OhhHHHHHH!!!!! OHHHHHHH!!!!” she wailed as his cock pummeled her pussy. She reached down and began to massage her aching clit as his cock worked to bring her passions to a boil. He reached out to grab her bouncing tits and his fingers dug deep into the soft flesh, further spurring her on to her inevitable climax.
Just as she was about to burst, Clint shoved his cock into her one last time, holding himself in her as deep as he could as his cock spewed forth its white hot load. He hadn’t relieved himself in some time so he had quite a load built up, which he gladly gave her now. He shot spurt after searing spurt into the young woman, and as the first jet hit her pussy walls, she erupted herself, arching her back as she came hard.
“OHHHHHHHHGODDDDDD!!!!” she screamed as her orgasm crashed into her. She clamped her legs around him tightly, holding him in her as they both competed to fill her pussy with a mixture of their cum, until it ran out from around his cock and stained the sheets under her with a growing wet spot. As he came inside her, Clint gripped her tits almost painfully hard and she retaliated by raking her nails across his back, each of them so intense in their own orgasm, they were unaware of their actions.
Finally spent, he collapsed on top of her, his sweat drenched body slipping on her own until his cock had shrank back and plopped out of her, allowing a stream of cum to seep out, adding to the stain under her. But she didn’t care – she lay there on her back, gasping for air in ragged, tearing breaths as she tried to calm down. Clint wasn’t fairing much better, as he laid beside her sucking in air like a spent horse, gulping down air as his lungs burned from the effort.
“That… was… amazing!” Anna panted, as she slowly regained enough breath to speak.
“Yeah…” Clint responded, still out of breath himself. They laid there in the bed for a few minutes as they regained their strength and calmed down. He held the girl in his arm as she rested her head on his chest. He smelled her hair as he slowly ran his fingertips over her soft skin.
“Well as nice as this is, Clint, I should be getting back downstairs. Heaven only knows what the boys downstairs are doing to the place without me there to keep ’em in line!” Anna said, finally getting up and getting dressed.
“I s’pose. I oughta be checking on my horse too. Where is the livery stable in town?”
“Just across the street from the sheriff’s office. You probably passed it on the way here.”
“Yeah, maybe, I was looking at the deputy as I rode past… wanted him to know I wasn’t here to cause trouble.”
“Well you ought to go over and introduce yourself… you know, make nice with the local law so’s you won’t be looked at suspicious-like!”
“I’ll do that.”
“So where are you staying while your here, Clint?” Anna asked, as she was putting on her stockings and fastening them to her garter belt.
“Don’t rightly know. Where is a good place?”
“Well you could try Miss Kitty’s place, The Yellow Rose Boarding House down the street. That’s where me and some of the girls that work here stay. I think she’s got some rooms still available. And I know she could use a man around the place to help out around there. Help keep the local boys from hanging around and keep the drunken men from hassling the girls. If you’d be interested,” she said. Then she smiled, “I know I would be.”
“I’ll go inquire then,” he said.
Clint took his horse over to the livery stable and made arrangements to board the animal for the next couple days until he knew if he would be staying or not. Then, with that taken care of, he walked down the street to Miss Kitty’s to see about a room for himself.
The Yellow Rose Boarding House was a huge place with a gable-style roof with eight dormers – four on each side. The boarding house had eight rooms for rent. Five of those rooms were taken by girls who worked at the saloon – one of which was Anna. One of the rooms was taken by a harmless old man that the girls called “Gramps”. There was two rooms available when Clint came to town. The house had a large covered porch on the front end and Clint walked up the six stairs leading to the front porch of the boarding house and in through the front door. He was greeted almost immediately by a 40-ish year old woman in a very stylish red two-piece walking suit. She wore a fitted full-button jacket, and a full-length skirt with the bustle in the back, which was typical for a lady in those days. She was very proper and Clint removed his hat before speaking to her out of respect.
“Howdy, Ma’am. I’m looking for Miss Kitty?
“That’d be me. What can I help you with?”
“Ma’am” he said, tipping his head forward in acknowledgement, “My name is Clint Roberts. Anna down at the saloon said you might have rooms available for a trail weary man to rent out?”
“Yes, Mr. Roberts, Anna said you may be coming by.”
“Oh? Well I hope she said good things about me!” he said, smiling.
“She did. I have two rooms available currently. Would you like to see them?”
“That isn’t necessary, Ma’am. I’m sure they will be fine. Beats sleeping on the cold ground with a saddle as your pillow any time!”
“Very well. Let’s go to the office and I will draw up the papers and explain the rules.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” he said, following her.
“First rule is that no one who stays here calls me ma’am. I’m Miss Kitty to you.”
“Fair enough, Miss Kitty. You can call me Clint then.”
“Deal. Now I run a respectable place here Clint. Even though most of my boarders are the girls from the saloon, I don’t allow any shenanigans here. No men-folk are allowed upstairs unless they live here. If any of the girls get a gentleman visitor, they can sit with them in the living room or out on the front porch. They aren’t allowed anyplace else except the downstairs bathroom.”
“Yeah, Anna said that you were having a few problems with some of the local boys and some of the saloon patrons getting too friendly.”
“Yeah these local boys, when they get the itch, tend to hang around and see what kind of trouble they can cause. And we are perilous close to the saloon at times.”
“Well if you’ve a mind to, I can earn my keep by making sure those problems don’t fret you none. I am also fairly handy with a hammer, saw and axe.”
“I think we can work something out. How long you plan on staying?”
“Don’t rightly know. Depends on how the town fits. So far though, it seems to be right comfortable.”
“Well this is a pretty quiet town most of the time. Not a whole lot round these part to get excited about!”
“Sounds good to me. I’m looking for some peace and quiet.”
“Let me show you ’round the place then,” Miss Kitty said.
Just inside the main double doors of the house was the staircase leading upstairs to the rooms. To the right of the stairs was the large dining room and the kitchen behind that. To the left was the living room, a downstairs bathroom and lastly Miss Kitty’s office and her private room. Boarders at Miss Kitty’s place could get their mail (which she called “postals”) as well as pay their bill in the office. A door leading from the office to her private room was always kept closed – no one knew what her room looked like but her. Upstairs was a wide hallway running from the front of the house to the back. The hallway was split in the middle with the staircase from the first floor. Four rooms and a bathroom were on each side of the hallway. Clint picked out his room of the two available and put his saddlebag inside once Miss Kitty gave him the key to the room and to the front door.
With his room secured and his saddlebags stored for the time being, Clint thought it about time he introduced himself to the sheriff’s office.
“If you’ll excuse me, Miss Kitty, Anna thought I should probably stop by and talk to the sheriff so he will rest easy about me.”
“That’s a good idea. And tell him that you’ll be working for me at keeping the peace here so he knows who to talk to if need be about trouble.”
“Good idea… I’ll do that. I’ll be back in a bit.”
Clint left the boarding house and walked the block to the sheriff’s office. He walked in and introduced himself and, after about 30 minutes of talking to both the sheriff and his deputy, he had assured them both that he wasn’t looking for trouble, that he was just looking for a nice quiet place to possibly settle down for awhile. He had explained his past, and that he was not looking for vengeance against those who did what they did (he had found out most of them had since died anyway), he was just looking to escape his past and start a new life. Clint explained that he had taken up residence at The Yellow Rose Boarding House, and that he would be working there as a handyman and a guardian of the property and the girls that lived there. With the sheriff and his deputy appeased and comfortable with him, Clint walked over to the saloon to see Anna.
“Anna, I wanted to thank you for speaking to Miss Kitty for me. I got a room there now and will be working for her as the handyman and watching out for troublemakers for you and the other girls,” he said.
“That sounds wonderful. The girls and I could use someone to watch out for us. Some of the girls have been bothered in the past as we came or went from here. It will be nice to be able to walk the streets in peace. You know, girls like us… well, people think they can treat us like pieces of meat. We may work in a saloon and we may… you know – offer our services, but when we aren’t working, we like to be treated with some respect! Whores are people too! We have feelings and can be hurt just like anyone else.”
“I know Anna. But you girls don’t have to worry about that anymore. I also had a long talk with the sheriff and his deputy and told them about myself and what I’d be doing around Miss Kitty’s. They seemed pretty friendly and helpful. So it looks like I’ll be sticking around for a little while at least.”
“Oh that’s wonderful! I’m so glad!” she said, touching his arm and smiling wide.
“I also stopped by to find out what I owed you for earlier… you know the bath and…” he looked up stairs as he spoke.
“Oh that – honey, don’t you worry none. What you did up there, I should be paying you! No, the bath and other – they are taken care of! And thank you very much, kind sir!” she said, with another big smile and a wink.
“So what time do you girls go to work? And what time do you go back to Miss Kitty’s?”
“Well, Sam opens the bar at 11:00 in the morning every day except Sundays. On Sundays he opens at 1:00 in the afternoon on account of church and all. He closes up the place around 1:00 in the morning usually unless we are real busy. Then he may stay open awhile longer to make some extra money.”
“So what days do you work?”
“Well I’ve been here longer than most the other girls so I can pick the days I work. Normally I work Monday through Thursday and have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. I can work more if I need some extra money, but usually I try not to – I like my time off too!”
“Oh, okay. Well I can understand that… and I’m kinda looking to see you sometime when you aren’t working too. I need someone to show me around and help me get settled in here if I’m gonna stick around!”
“I was hoping you were going to ask me. I like spending time with you,” she said, shyly looking down.
“Well, I’d better be getting back to Miss Kitty’s. I’ll be back tonight to walk you and the girls home.”
“Thank you, Clint. It will be nice to walk home without looking over my shoulder all the way,” she said kissing him on the cheek. He left and headed back to Miss Kitty’s and while he waited for the saloon to close up, he started putting away his things in the dresser in his room. He didn’t have a lot of belongings… life on the trail didn’t allow for a lot of baggage. But what few things he did have he put away. One of his most prized possessions was an old tintype his father gave him of his mother – he didn’t remember too much about her anymore except a few faded stories his father had told him. So the tintype was the only real link he had to his past. He had managed to salvage his fathers pistol and gun belt… his father wasn’t wearing them at the time the soldiers came by. So they escaped being taken from him, and he carried them with him now as reminders of a childhood cut tragically too short. Clint put his mothers tintype on the dresser and put his few clothes away. He took a look at his boots – he would need to be getting a new pair soon. And his pants were wearing thin as well. It wouldn’t be long before he would have to be replacing them too. It was a good thing he found this town when he did… who knows how long it would have been before the next town came along, had he missed this one. He made a point to get to the general store soon and see what replacing these things would set him back.
His unpacking done, Clint went downstairs. “Miss Kitty, do you have anything that needs tending to before the girls get off work?”
“Not that I can think of, Clint. You might want to take a look at the wood crib and see how much firewood there is, though,” Miss Kitty said.
“Okay, I’ll have a look,” he said. A minute later he came back. “Miss Kitty, I reckon you got four cord or so out there right now cut and split.”
“Well we will need some more before too long. But you don’t have to start right off. Why don’t you just sit out front on the porch and make an appearance so that the young boys don’t get any ideas.”
“Okay, I’ll be out front though if you need anything,” he said, and headed out to sit on the porch. He took up a position on the porch so he was plenty visible and sat there waiting for anything that might need his attention. A trio of young boys, probably no older than 12 or 13 came by, hoping to see something to spark a young man’s fancy. But when they saw him sitting on the porch, they kept on walking past quickly, eyes on the ground ahead of them.
Soon it was time for supper, and Miss Kitty came out to the porch to let him know. He got up from his chair and went inside to eat.
After supper, Clint went down to the saloon a bit early to have a drink before walking the girls home. Anna was there and came over as Clint sat down.
“Come to have a drink with me before we closed up tonight?” she asked, bouncing happily over to his table.
“Yep. You don’t mind one last customer do you?” he said, with a smile.
“Not if that last customer is you!” she said. “But you gotta buy me one too!”
“Sam! A couple shots over here!’ she said, motioning for the barkeep. He brought the drinks over to the table.
“Sam, this is Clint Roberts. He’ll be picking us girls up and taking care of us on the way to and from work. He’s our guardian now! Clint, this is Sam Ferguson, the saloon’s barkeeper,” she said, introducing the two men. The two shook hands.
“I’m glad to see my girls will have someone watching over them when they leave here finally. Glad to meet you. These are on the house,” the barkeep said as he sat the drinks down in front of Clint and Anna.
“Thanks,” Clint said. He and Anna sat at the table talking as the last customers filtered out of the saloon and Sam the barkeep began putting the chairs on top of the table so he could sweep up for the night. Once Anna had finished her drink, she got up to get ready to go and Clint got up to help Sam with the chairs.
“Oh, Clint you don’t have to do that,” Sam said.
“It’s okay, I don’t mind. I’m waiting on the girls anyway,” he said, picking up another one. The chairs were picked up and Sam was sweeping as the girls gathered at the door to go home.
“Girls, this is Clint Roberts, He is our new guardian. He will be walking us to and from work from now on and making sure we don’t get bothered by the men of this town. He is staying at The Yellow Rose with us as well.
“Clint, this is Tracy, Lisa, Paula and Maria,” she said, introducing the girls one by one.
“Ladies, it’s a privilege to meet you. Shall we go?” he said.
“Anna, you didn’t tell us our new chaperone was so good looking!” Lisa said.
“Easy there Lisa, Clint here is mine!” Anna said, teasingly as she took his arm. “You gotta watch for these girls. Fresh meat like you is rare in this town!”
“Well, I’m here to look out for all of you girls, but Anna’s right… she’s already laid claim to me!” he said.
“Oh, poo!” Lisa said. “Just ’cause she saw you first. You oughta give the rest of us a go and then see who you fancy!”
They walked the rest of the way to the boarding house, talking and laughing. When they arrived, the girls all thanked him as he held the door open for them to go inside. Last one to go in was Anna and she kissed him on the cheek, thanking him for his help.
* * * * * * * * * *
It was three days after he had begun his duties as the girls guardian, that the first incident occurred. As he walked the girls home, a friendly drunk came up to them.
“Hey Tracy, I thought we was gonna have some fun tonight? C’mon baby let go have a drink or something!” he slurred.
Clint stepped between Tracy and the drunk and took the man aside. After talking to him for a few seconds, the drunken man staggered off like he had a mission.
“Thank you Clint. That guy has been hitting on me all night. I kept telling him no thanks, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer! What did you tell him?”
“I told him that you liked rolling in the hay and to go to the livery stable and make you two a bed there. That you might be by later.”
“But I’m not though,” she said.
“I know. But as drunk as he was, he’ll be lucky to make it to the livery stable and if he does he won’t be able to wait for you long. Hell, he’s already passed out, he just ain’t figured it out yet!”
“Well, thank you anyway… at least he’ll have a nice place to sleep it off and hopefully tomorrow he won’t remember anything about tonight,” Tracy said.
“Yep, that was my idea,” he said, as he walked the girls the rest of the way home.
Things went smoothly for awhile after this. Folks got used to seeing Clint show up at the saloon just before closing time. He would help Sam clean up while waiting for the girls to get ready to go home and gather by the door. In between running the girls back and forth to the saloon, Clint would help out around the boarding house, doing whatever was needed to keep the place running. Some days all that was needed was a presence out front to let folks know there was someone watching over the girls and the house. Other times he would be out back splitting firewood for the upcoming winter, or mending the fence, or some other task.
Anna and Clint spent more and more time together. He was social and courteous to the other girls, even flirting a bit with them. But everyone knew who his favorite gal was and there was never any real animosity or bad will amongst the girls. Whenever they were seen together, the women smiled and the men nodded their approval. Clint was always very careful of Anna’s reputation – never treating her as a “saloon girl” but always as a lady and Anna loved it. She actually began think of herself as a lady instead of the drink slinging whore she once was.
One day as Clint sat outside on the boarding house porch, Miss Kitty came out with some lemonade.
“I just made some lemonade, would you like a glass?”
Thank you,” he said.
“Mind if I sit with you a spell, Clint?”
“No, please,” he said, standing as she sat down as was proper.
“Good, because I wanted to talk to you about something.”
“What is it?”
“I wanted to talk to you about Anna. You know that girl is sweet on you.”
“Well I knew she liked me, but I didn’t know there was anything more to it.”
“More to it? Why Clint, that girl is plumb head over heels in love with you! You don’t hear it because she keeps it quiet from you, but all she talks about when you aren’t around is Clint this and Clint that! Why it’s almost sickening how she goes on about you!” she said, chuckling.
Clint listened to what Miss Kitty was telling him and mulled it over in his head without saying much. He hadn’t figured on all of this when he came to town only a couple months ago. He was looking for a quiet place to settle down for awhile, sure. But falling in love was not in the plan. This put a whole new light on things. He would have to think this over.
That night Clint lay in bed in his room thinking about what Miss Kitty had told him. He liked Anna, there was no doubt about that. He enjoyed her company and the times they had been together had been some of the best times in his life. And there was no question she was attractive – she was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid eyes on. He was attracted to her both emotionally and physically. They had only “been together” that first time when she had given him a bath. But now that he knew her a bit better, he didn’t look at her the same way at all. His Anna was not the local saloon whore any longer. She had become a lady. A lady that deserved respect, that deserved to be treated properly. And that included a proper courting as well. He considered all of this as well as his own plans and goals…
* * * * * * * * * *
“Did you talk to him, Miss Kitty? Did you tell him how I felt about him?” Anna asked eagerly the next morning.
“Yes, child. I told him. I told him that you were head over heels in love with him. I told him also that you have been driving us all plumb crazy with your talking about him… going on like he’s the cat’s pajama’s with everything he says or does!” she said, grinning at her.
“Amen to that!” Maria said, “From the way you tell it, Anna, the guy is purt-near perfect!”
“Well he is, Miss Kitty… he is everything I ever wanted in a man. He is tall and strong and handsome and…” she cut herself short as she saw him coming down the hallway to breakfast.
“‘Mornin’ everyone!” Clint said as he came into the kitchen. “What’re you gals chattering about this morning?” His question was answered with silence from the kitchen occupants. Miss Kitty went back to making breakfast with Maria, Anna hurriedly set the table, and everyone just kept quiet.
“Must be some secret if everyone is being so tight-lipped about things!’ he remarked as he sat down.
“Morning everyone!” Tracy and Lisa said as they came downstairs for breakfast as well.
“I don’t think Paula will be coming down for breakfast… I think she is sick,” Lisa said.
“I’ll look in on her after breakfast then. I have to take breakfast up to Gramps anyway. Poor old guy just can’t do the stairs so well anymore,” Miss Kitty said.
Anna was glad the conversation had changed… she was already uncomfortably flustered and shy around Clint any more. She could feel her cheeks getting hot until the other girls came in and broke the tension in the room. She sat Clint’s plate down in front of him and then took her place across the table. She ate her breakfast quickly, not daring to look up for fear of seeing him looking at her. And he did look her way a few times, to see her quickly eating like she had someplace to be! The other girls noticed as well.
“My goodness Anna, you eat any faster and you’ll not need teeth anymore!” Tracy said. Anna finished her breakfast and put her dishes away quickly, then excused herself hurriedly to go upstairs, using the excuse she wanted to check on Paula. Clint and the others finished their breakfast and Clint went into the living room to wait for the girls to get ready to take them to the saloon. Miss Kitty took a plate and went to give it to Gramps. After she had given the old man his breakfast, she went to check on Paula. On the way she heard crying coming from Anna’s room.
“Anna, dear what’s wrong?”
“Oh, Miss Kitty, I have made a dang fool of myself! I wanted Clint to notice me, and now I’ve acted like a silly schoolgirl with her first crush! He’ll never take me serious now!”
“Oh, I think he noticed you, Anna. We all did! But don’t worry honey… I got a feeling that you aren’t the only one who’s flustered around here!” Miss Kitty said.
“I got me a feeling that old Clint downstairs is feeling a bit rattled himself. It’s been my experience that men folk get just as loco over a girl as we do over them. I mean isn’t that your job… to get them flustered and all?”
“I s’pose so.”
“Well then… why should he be any different?”
“I don’t follow.”
“Anna, you are a pretty little thing. Don’t tell the other girls I said this, but you are the prettiest of the bunch. If there’s anyone that can turn Clint’s head it’d be you. So go down there and charm the pants off of him! Go down there and turn on those womanly ways and win him. I’ve seen you work a man in the saloon… use the same magic on him! Clint is just a man… so go down there and make him your man!”
Anna hugged Miss Kitty “Thank you Miss Kitty! I’ll do it!” she said. Anna dried her eyes and get herself ready for work. But now she didn’t doll herself up for the boys down at the saloon. Instead she dolled herself up for ONE man. She dolled herself up for Clint. She took extra care to make herself as attractive as she knew how just for him. When she was ready she went downstairs, confident and ladylike, to take her place next to the one she wanted.
The other girls were already downstairs sitting in the living room waiting for her to come down. Miss Kitty came down with her and stood aside as Anna stepped into the room. All the other girls stood as she entered the room, watching her as she proudly walked past them. When she got closer to Clint, he looked up and saw her… and he was dumbstruck. If he thought she was pretty before, he thought she was drop-dead gorgeous now! He stood up as she approached, slack-jawed as he surveyed the beauty that came nearer. She closed the distance between them and stood in front of him for several seconds while Clint tried valiantly to find his voice.
“Do you like?” she said.
He reached up and cradled her soft face gently, as if he was afraid he would break her. She softly nuzzled her cheek into his hand and he leaned forward to kiss her. But this was not just a regular kiss like he had given her many times before. No this was far more than his usual kiss for her. Clint’s kiss this time made all the girls knees weak! Miss Kitty took the initiative and began clapping and the other girls quickly joined in, applauding the kiss that would be talked about for a long time to come around the town.
When the pair finally broke, Clint offered Anna his arm and they walked out the door towards the saloon followed by the other girls. Miss Kitty watched at the doorway as the group walked the few blocks to the saloon, before turning back to her duties in the boarding house. Clint walked the girls to the saloon and stayed with them until Sam had opened for business. Once he had opened the doors and the first customers of the day arrived, he took Anna aside to say goodbye.
“I’m going to head back to Miss Kitty’s now. You look beautiful, Anna,” he said, kissing her again.
But this kissed was noticed by another…
Later that night Clint had come back to pick up the girls. “How was work tonight?” he asked Anna.
“You know, the same as usual. I did make more than my usual though,” she said.
“Well no wonder – you look amazing even now!”
“Thank you Clint,” she said, blushing at the compliment.
“Are you ready to go back home?”
“Yeah… just waiting for Maria and Lisa to come down.”
Once the girls were all assembled by the front door, they headed back to the boarding house as usual. But this walk was going to be a little different the usual. About halfway home, a man came out of the shadows.
“C’mon whore – you never paid me no mind tonight at the saloon, but you’re gonna give me some attention now!” he said, roughly grabbing Anna’s arm and tugging her away from Clint suddenly.
“Clint!” she cried. Clint stepped over to the man.
“Mister, take your hands off the lady,” he said coolly.
“Lady? Mister this ain’t no lady!” he said laughing. “All these girls work at the saloon. Don’t let this fuss and bother fool you – she ain’t nothin’ but a whiskey pushin’ whore in a fancy package!”
Clint stepped right up to the man. His eyes narrowed as he spoke in a low, menacing growl.
“I said… let the lady go.”
The man, knowing he was already outmanned and had had too much to drink besides, wisely let go of Anna and turned in a huff to leave. Anna, visibly shaken clung to her champion tightly.
“Wow!” Lisa said. “That was one of the McClintock boys! You stood up to the McClintock boys!”
“Who are the McClintock’s?” Clint asked.
“They are four brothers who come through town every so often raisin’ hell and causing all kinds of trouble. They tear the place up and do whatever they want like they own it and then ride off again,” Tracy explained.
“Why doesn’t the sheriff do something?”
“Because the McClintock’s have money – lots of money – and they paid for our good governor’s election. So if you have the governor on your side…”
“You have the Mayor on your side who tells the sheriff what he can do too. I see,” Clint finished Tracy’s statement. “Well I am paid by Miss Kitty to look after you girls – I don’t work for the sheriff, the Mayor, or the Governor,” Then he looked down at Anna. “Are you okay?”
“Y..yes. I think so,” she stammered. “Thank you, Clint. Thank you so much for being here.”
He put his arm around the shaken girl. “Let’s get you girls back home where you will be safe,” he said and they all resumed their walk – albeit a little faster – back to The Yellow Rose.
“What happened?” Miss Kitty said as the girls entered the house. Tracy, Lisa, and Maria helped Anna to sit down in the front room, getting her a cup of coffee to help settle her rattled nerves while Clint explained what went down on the way home.
“Those damnable McClintock boys!” Miss Kitty said angrily. “I wish someone would take them down a peg or two! They hide behind their money and do as they damn well please, knowing they won’t get into trouble because their daddy owns this town!”
“Well Clint here wasn’t afraid of him! He stood toe-to-toe with Billy and didn’t budge an inch!” Maria said.
“So it was Billy McClintock?”
“Sure enough, Miss Kitty. And Clint didn’t take no guff from him either! We girls are so proud of him!” Maria said, touching his arm and smiling.
“Billy McClintock is the youngest of the boys and a real hot-head. He is the one that usually starts things and then waits for his brothers to back him up when he gets himself in a spot,” Miss Kitty explained to Clint.
“Well he didn’t have his brothers there tonight so he wasn’t much trouble,” Clint said.
“Yeah, but I got a bad feeling this ain’t over yet,” Miss Kitty muttered under her breath as she left.
Her feelings would prove to be right, just not right away. It took three days before Clint was to have another run in with the McClintock boys. For the next three days things went on as usual and the incident with Anna was all but forgotten, when one day as Clint was sitting on the front porch resting after doing some wood chopping, Lisa came running as fast as she could screaming to help.
“Clint! Clint! Oh my god, come quick! Anna’s in trouble!” she screamed as she came closer to the house. Clint didn’t bother with the steps, vaulting over the porch railing and landing on the ground running.
“Get the sheriff!” he yelled at Lisa as he flew past her. Lisa went on up and told Miss Kitty what was happening before turning back to get the sheriff. Miss Kitty ran as fast as her legs would carry her to the saloon to see what she could do to help her girls.
Clint busted into the saloon. “Upstairs Clint! Upstairs! Anna needs you!” Tracy yelled. Clint didn’t even break stride as he raced up the stairs. He heard Anna screaming at the far end of the hallway and busted into the room to see Billy McClintock laying on the bed on top of Anna’s flailing body. Clint grabbed the youngest McClintock and spun him around, straight into a heavy right cross! It stunned the boy, but he shook it off and came at Clint again. Another right followed by a left and the boy was staggered. But he gave one last yell and that’s when it happened. Clint hit him once more with a devastating punch square on his nose that sent him backwards, crashing through the window to the ground below. He landed with his body on the dirt street, but his head hit the wooden sidewalk and it effectively broke his neck, killing him instantly. Clint rushed to Anna’s side, taking her in his arms and shielding her from seeing what had happened. A couple moments later, the sheriff and his deputy rushed into the room to find Clint and Anna still embraced and Anna sobbing uncontrollably. Clint nodded towards the broken window and the sheriff peeked over the side, knowing immediately what had happened. The sheriff turned to his deputy, said something in a low tone and the deputy turned to leave. Then the sheriff stepped outside to wait while Clint calmed the terrified girl in his arms. A few moments later Clint took the girl out of the room. The sheriff walked down with the pair and when they reached the bottom of the steps Clint handed Anna off to Miss Kitty.
“Clint, I need you to come down to the sheriff’s office with me and make out a statement,” he said, and the two men walked down the street to his office. Sam closed the saloon and he and Miss Kitty walked the girls back to the boarding house before he went back to start cleaning up. The saloon stayed closed for two days both because the sheriff needed to do an investigation, and because none of the girls were ready to go back to work right away.
When Clint had finished with his statement, the sheriff let him go back to the boarding house and to Anna. Anna was upstairs in her room at that time. “Go see her,” Miss Kitty said to him as he came into the house. Miss Kitty broke her number one rule in letting Clint go into Anna’s room, but the circumstances were that serious. Clint went upstairs and knocked on her door, hearing her sobbing behind it. He opened the door to see Anna laying on the bed with Tracy and Maria attending to her. Seeing Clint was there now, the girls left, kissing Anna on the head and touching Clint on the arm. Tracy mouthed the words “Thank you” as she stepped past him. Clint then turned his attention to his Anna, sitting on the bed slowly.
He touched Anna softly, gingerly as he spoke. “Anna? Anna honey?” he said. Anna sat up, throwing her arms around Clint and sobbing anew.
“Oh Clint! Oh Clint!” she said, crying and shaking.
He put his arms around her. “It’s okay Anna, it’s all over now.”
“He… he… tried to…”
“Shhh… don’t think about it anymore. It’s over. You are safe now.”
Clint held Anna in his arms for a long time, until she felt she could go downstairs and see Miss Kitty and the girls. That’s when she was told that the saloon would be closed for the next couple days and she didn’t have to worry about going back to work right away.
“I… I’m not sure… if I want to go back,” she said.
“What will you do?” Lisa asked.
“I don’t know… I just…” Anna said, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.” Anna sat there in the living room, in Clint’s arms and with all the girls around her, sipping some hot soup that Miss Kitty had prepared and trying to gather herself back together with everyone she loved surrounding her in support.