A/N: The idea of this story just kind of came to me. I hope you enjoy it! Oh, and please review! I love reviews
Feminine hands poked the unconscious man, who was lying in the middle of the dusty road in the most awkward position. No response. Even so, the woman continued to jab and prod the man in the arm. She drew back in a huff and glared at the guy who was out cold, while briefly assessing him. He was lean and muscular with golden skin. Was probably about six-foot, but it was hard to tell with him twisted about at the waist with his right leg tucked under him and his arm bent with his head in it's crook. His hair was a dark chocolate brown and she guessed that his eyes would be brown as well, judging the way he looked.
She quietly clucked her tongue, gazing at the blackening eye and bruises that seemed to appear randomly on his neck and arms.
Most likely got in a fight, the woman thought to herself, frowning at the rumpled clothes. Doesn't look much of a drinker to me.
She shrugged her shoulders, knowing how much looks could be deceiving. Her gaze fell upon the cowboy hat at the man's side. With a grin, she twirled it in her fingers and lightly placed it upon her head of shoulder-length blonde hair. The hat quickly fell over her hazel eyes but she propped it back up, the satisfied smile still playing on her lips.
Probably should give it one more try.
She leaned in and gave a hard nudge into the man's side. A sharp exhale responded to her rather cruel treatment and she froze with fear, her eyes widening in surprise. She didn't think anything would happen from doing that act. So she waited. Waited for the man to wake up and start yelling. Or something. But there was no movement following that little change in the man's unconscious state. Five minutes had passed and the woman was able to breathe again.
With that, she decided to follow-through in doing what she had planned to do after encountering the… body. Not after 'after', but a long while after encountering it. She had accidentally let out a scream when thinking that she had just seen a dead man. But curiosity drew her back and to her relief, the man was still breathing. Definitely not in the best of shape but he was still alive.
Would I still have mugged him if he were dead? She frowned slightly at the notion. Probably not…
Deciding to not dwell on the rather eccentric subject any longer, she gently and carefully drew her hand into the man's jean pocket. She found a rush of delight when the tips of her fingers touched the dollar bills within. A few tedious minutes flew by but she could not seem to pull the money out.
"Come on…" She murmured to herself.
Out of irritation, she forcefully dug her hand in and yanked the bills out. After realizing her carelessness in the situation, she halted all movement. Her eyes fell upon the man's soiled face. Still no change.
The woman sighed in relief once more, giving herself a mental pat on the back for being so lucky. She turned slightly, sitting down cross-legged to count the money that pooled in her dirt-smudged blue dress. It was a bad move on her part as the man began to twitch, and a slight groan fell from his lips as he stiffly proceeded with the attempt to sit up.
"One… two… three... Boy, this guy sure has a lot of dollars with him."
The man opened his eyes and squinted in the direction of the voice.
Noticing the money in the woman's lap, his eyes narrowed with suspicion as he frisked around in his pant's pocket.
Why that lil' twerp, he thought angrily.
"Six… eight, nine dollars."
"Excuse me, what the hell are you doing with my money?" He demanded. James Courtney was not happy. To wake up, feeling as if he was run over by a carriage and have half of his body feeling pins and needles from the lack of circulation did not make a man pleasant.
The woman whirled around, her mouth forming a huge O when seeing the awakened man.
His eyes are green, she realized, another comprehension that threw her off guard. They were the darkest emerald green she had ever saw, framed with long lashes. They were hypnotizing and the intense stare shook her deeply.
"Uh… I- I was just…" She stammered, her brain frantically thinking of an escape. The solution quickly dawn to her. "…Counting the money for you!"
She threw the dollars into the dumbfounded man's face, jumped to her feet and began running.
"What the hell?!" She heard the man yell. The sound of James's pounding feet drew alarm and she felt terrified when the noise got closer and closer.
Oh, please God. Let me escape, I promise to be a better Christian and I won't steal anymore… well after I get on my feet properly. But really, I-
Her thoughts were abruptly interrupted when she felt a hand on her shoulder, jerking her to a stop. They wrestled for a moment as she struggled to flee from his grasp.
"Where do you think you're going?" His deep, low voice said into her ear as his breath drew goose bumps on her neck. His fingers were digging into her arm with power and strength that could not be compromised.
"Let me go!" She howled, hysterically pawing at the man's chest and trying to kick the stranger but only getting air.
A dark glint reflected from his eyes. She froze as chills ran up and down her spine.
"You're in no position to order me."
She was caught. The thought hit her hard. She was cornered, captured, tied down… and it made her whole body immobile with fear as she stared at the man's devious smile, which truly was only the baring of teeth.
She would have to face the truth that there was no escape.
"I told you, I DON'T KNOW!"
James scowled, rising up from the stump. The girl was trouble; he could practically smell it from her. Problematic and unpredictable- that was definitely her. At first all she would do was stare at him with those large, frightened eyes. It was beginning to get on his nerves with all that staring. That was all she would do. Stare, stare, stare. So he tied her up to a tree with the rope he had. And to his surprise and annoyance, she had begun to muster the guts of talking back at him. James had almost wished that she would go back with the staring. Almost.
"Of course, you know your name. What harm would it do to tell me?" He coaxed with a gentler tone.
"When will it ever go through that thick head of yours that I don't know," She spat out with a glare.
He began pacing, trying to blow off the steam a bit. After several minutes of the pacing he made the decision of momentarily leaving to find his pack. He spun on his heels and made his way toward the wide path.
"Where are you going? You're not just leaving me here are you?" James heard her shriek after him. He gritted his teeth and kept on walking.
"Fine. Just leave. See if I care!"
His horse was still back at the town, where he had stopped to play a few rounds. James was born as a natural at poker. After winning all the games and not to mention, all their money, the other players became suspicious and accused him of cheating. As if he needed to cheat, he huffed at them. James then did the mistake of blowing his lid and saying a few things that should not have been said.
They took him outside of town. Ten to one. He was doing pretty well actually until some bilk decided to play unfair and smite him with a log…or at least that's what it felt like. That was the last thing he somewhat remembered occurring anyhow.
"Here we go," He said to himself as he pulled his pack out of the shrubs. Now what to do with that girl?
Furrowing his eyebrows, he glanced around his surroundings. Large looming trees and vast lands of dust greeted his eyes. James strolled back to the site and paused, leaning against one of the trees. He watched silently in amusement as the young woman fought against the knots.
After a moment of strenuous pulling and tugging, she let out a long exasperated sigh. She blew a strand of hair out of her face, and the small movement jolted the hat to fall back down over her eyes. After several tosses of the head, she managed to get it back up properly. It was only then that she glanced up to find him staring.
What a strange girl, he thought to himself, ignoring her questioning gaze. James took in her wide tawny eyes rimmed with long lashes, high cheekbones, delicate nose, wide lips and a jaw line that was a bit strong. She would have appeareddelicate and fragileif it weren't for the underlying hardness in her and that fire of determination in her eyes. This woman was one who knew how to get around. Of course, all women in the Wild West needed to be tough and bold in order to survive.
A few moments passed and finally she looked away, her cheeks looking a bit flushed.
"How old are you?" He said quietly, not quite looking away.
She ignored the question and jutted her chin out in defiance. "What's your name?"
"Oh." She glanced back down at the ground. Apparently she hadn't expected him to answer. "Well, I'm… eighteen. Born in May 16, 1864. Oh wait, that means I turned nineteen last month. So, okay I'm nineteen."
James nodded. So she was six years younger than him…
"Born in Pennsylvania," she recited. He hid a grin, realizing that his stare was making her uncomfortable. Perhaps that was the reason for her rambling. "I don't remember where exactly. It's rather amazing how I know where I was born. That's about all I remember. That and my birthday. It really has been a long week-"
"What do you mean?" James interrupted sharply.
She frowned slightly."I told you I don't know. I experienced some kind of amnesia, I don't remember anything."
Silence filled the air.
Finally, she dared to look up at him.
Her heart leapt. "Excuse me?"
"You look like a Maggie." James cleared his throat, glancing away. "So there you have it. Your new name."
"Maggie," She murmured. A smile appeared. "I like it."
"Of course. Why wouldn't you?" He gave her a cheeky grin as he adjusted the straps of his bag. "Well, see you around Maggie."
James turned and began walking toward the dusty road where she had found him. The smirk was still there as he heard Maggie call angrily to him. "James Courtney, you get back here right this instant and undo me! James! Fine then, this'll be the last time you see your beloved hat!"
James didn't even turn. Instead he gave her a wave and shouted back "Keep it. That way you can remember the man who named you. Besides, I have another one."
Maggie growled under her breath, muttering. "Just you watch, this won't be the last you'll see me."
James slipped, unnoticed, into the saloon of which he had entered several hours ago. The rest of the money was in his jacket that hung on the stool in the back corner of the room. He just had to get to it somehow, or else he wasn't going to last long on his journey. James casually walked across the room, ducking several times to avoid the bartender's watchful eyes that skimmed the room ever so often. He had managed to slip on the jacket when suddenly the tavern doors slammed open. In stormed a girl with flushed cheeks, the light blue dress billowing behind her…
His eyes widened, clearly astounded. How the hell did she get here so fast?
"James I know you're in here!" Maggie shouted into the room, hazel eyes flashing in frustration. The saloon became dead silent.
His gaze quickly flew to the bartender. Aw hell…
The bartender stared at the cowboy hat Maggie wore. It was off her head and the hat's strap held back her straight blonde hair. This made obvious of the strap's metal clip of a stallion that rested on her slender neck: James's little trademark sign. The beefy man quickly glanced over at the back corner where James stood sweating with dread.
"Grab them both! Don't let them get away!" He yelled to his men. Unfortunately all the men in the bar leapt up at the order.
This could get interesting… James Courtney looked over at Maggie. She was staring at him in distress, the guilt written all over her face. He looked back at the twenty or so men charging toward him. Honestly, that girl is just a bundle of trouble. She's going to be the death of me someday…
"Hey there pretty."
Maggie looked to her left in horror. A rugged looking man was studying her intently, with an ugly smile on his face. She did not like the hungry look in his dark eyes one bit. Before she could even back away, the man grabbed her. From there, Maggie could only remember blurs of movement. Everything had come to her on instinct and as reflexes. She had instantly drew back her arm and gave the drunken man a solid punch in the face. He quickly fell over, unconscious.
"He won't be getting up for a while." Maggie said with a mischievous grin as the five men around stared at her in astonishment. Then at once they charged.
One down, five more to go, Maggie thought to herself.