C.C. looked out of the dirty window and at the barren streets of the small town. The only discernible motion outside was that of the dust scattered here and there and the occasional fly drunkenly buzzing about in search of some prize shit or garbage. All else, it seemed, and everyone else, had discreetly hid behind bolted doors as they clutched their rifles to their wildly beating hearts with their trembling hands in dread of the arrival of Death himself on their footstep. She didn’t know whether to laugh or frown. While she was – mildly so – impressed and had never before experienced such power and respect, it also told her something about the band of misfits she had recklessly enlisted among. Not that they had really done anything to support their reputations. All they’d done was ride through a leg of the desert to escape the ennui of the midwest and take refuge in the golden glory of the west coast. The closest they had ever gotten would have to be supper last night when she and Rolo had gone hunting. Even as the youngest and weakest of the men, he had been able to shoot a covey at 500 yards.
She distastefully appraised the glass of water sitting before her. Lukewarm at best, it tasted tinny, and though it was wasteful to, she chose not to drink it. Nor did she partake fro one of the numerous, ominously colored bottles lining the shelves of the saloon. She had tasted one of its kind once; she had never quite forgotten the taste, but this remembrance was not a fond one. It had left her with a foul taste in her mouth and was, by far, the worst she’d ever had the misfortune of tasting in all nineteen of her years. Never again would she drink from such a vile source ever again.
“Mind if I sit here?”
She looked up to see the bright green eyes of the Prince’s right-hand man glittering from the shadows of his hat. She shrugged, and his smile widened out of gratitude. Taking the seat across from her, he slipped off his hat, revealing a mop of brown curls, and began to fan himself.
“The heat gets worse by the day,” he remarked with a gust of hot wind. She merely ignored him. It was hot, true, but in no way did that merit a response. Though they were allies now, she didn’t particularly feel like walking through the motions of polite conversation with a man who had just recently climbed his way out of a whorehouse. She had had more than her fill of that in the company of polite society and then some. A criminal and a murderer she may be, but in no way had she forgotten her upbringing. No, those moments of stifling oppression had been ingrained into her head and heart, leaving room for little else, and she refused to go through another one of those ridiculous little acts, society be damned.
She was different now. She had never quite been the perfect daughter, the blushing bride that they had wanted her to be. Nor had she ever stopped asking the questions that everyone else was too afraid to say. Young as she was, she had always been a renegade. And though the dust was just settling, the day had just begun; she would fit in perfectly, she decided, among these misfits. She certainly didn’t fit in among those stuffed pigs back at home. She knew at least that much.