A Reckonin' Has Come
#1
Kitty knew she shouldn't do it. It was trespassing and Baranabas would have her head. She was supposed to be good now. No drinking, no men, no trouble making. Yet here she was sneaking onto the grounds. It was a bit later in the day and she supposed they were busy inside as she hadn't ran into a soul.

"Well look at ya!" Kitty smiled huge as she successfully found the stable and had made her way inside. She eyed up and down the aisle with horses all in a line. They seemed happy enough, just munching on their oats without a care in the world.

"You're a perty boy. Bet you get taken out on them crazy fox hunts or what not." She said after giving a low whistle when she saw one that had to be an Arabian, it reminded her of her old Penny Whistle. He was a great horse, being reminded of him gave her a strange sense of happiness as bittersweet as it was.

She looked around before carefully reaching out to let the stallion sniff at her hand so she could pet his muzzle. "There ya go. Kitty ain't gonna hurt ya. Just comin' ta say howdy. Make sure these rich folks know how to take care of ya. Ain't ridin' ya to the ground like some of 'em in london."
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#2
The grooms and stable boys had all gone up to the house for supper, and Eugene had lingered behind, as was his way most nights, to check over each horse and ensure they were ready to be left for the night, and would be safe till morning. He was a meticulous stablemaster, and was fond of all of the estates horses, even those with the foulest of tempers. It was hardly even work to Eugene, to care for such stunning and powerful beasts, and he was happy to devote the rest of his time to their care, for as long as he was able.

He was usually the first to arrive at the stables in the morning, and the last to leave in the evenings, so he was rather surprised to see a woman lingering at the far end from him, creeping around rather suspiciously. Eugene rolled his eye's, fully expecting her to be one of the house staff, a kitchen maid or lady's maid come to meet with her surreptitious stable boy lover.

He groaned, trudging toward her, intent on calmly but firmly shooing her away, back to the kitchens or wherever else she'd come from. The closer he got however, the clearer it became to him that she wasn't a part of the house staff at all, in fact, Eugene didn't think he'd ever even seen her. "Oi!" He barked, strides coming faster, now certain that he'd found a trespasser, and at worst a thief. "Who are you!? You can't be in here!." As he drew close he reached out and snatched the woman's arm, tugging her away from the stallion. "What in hell's do you think you're doing!" He growled.
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#3
Kitty had heard the voice and approaching steps just before she was grabbed. Lucky him, grabbing her out of nowhere would normally leave him staring into a silver barrel. She starwd instead abr held up her hands innocently.
"Easy... easy now. No need ta get all grabby with me. I ain't supposed ta be here.. I'll admit. But I don't mean no harm. so just wanted ta see rhem.." She nodded her head towards the horse still in its pen.
"I didn't think ya had open invitations so I reckoned I'd mosey on in. Didn't think anyone would be here.." She knew it could be bad. Big criminal charges. She felt maybe it was better to try to turn things around. He looked oddly familiar, but not exactly like she had spoken to him Perhaps he was a fan.

She thrust out her hand to him. "I best start over and introduce myself. I'm Kitty Calamity, the wildest, thorniest rose of the West. A shooting, riding star. Well I used ta be."
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#4
Eugene let go as the woman rose her hands, crossing his own arms tightly across his chest as he pinned her with a stern stare. "God, I know you." He grunted finally, rubbing a hand over his face, hardly able to believe that this was really happening. "You're from the States, I saw one of your shows." Stolen one of their mares too, when everyone had been preoccupied with the end of the show.

He sighed, dropping the fierce and suspicious demeanor and instead falling into his normal, if grumpy, personality. He shook her hand grudgingly, pressing his lips together. It was always strange, and a little anxiety inducing for him to meet other Americans, as he always worried that one would eventually recognise him. It's been over a decade. He thought to himself, scratching at his beard. It should be fine.

"I'm Eugene Harlow, the Stablemaster here." He grunted in reply. By now he'd taken on the tone he'd use when disciplining the staff; firm and unflinching, but not cruel or threatening. "You should know, you can't just come trespassing like that." He moved to the side, reaching out to the stallion to scratch it's nose; he'd been straining over the stall door in search of the pat he'd been denied. "You're lucky; you could have rightfully been shot if we thought you were stealin'"
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#5
Kitty look delighted that he'd seen her show, but the fact he wasn't thrilled to meet a real star made her fold her arms in annoyance. Was he not a fan? How could he not be, she was amazing! Was being the key word though. Suddenly she slapped her hands together.

"I knew it! You look familiar, I was so sure I'd seen your face before. That must be where! It woulda driven my durn outta my skin with madness if I couldn't figure out why you look so familiar. " She laughed softly but it died quickly at his comment about her being shot.

"Nice ta meet ya, Eugene. But I wouldn't worry about me gettin' shot. I can't ride no more, but I certainly am still one o' the fastest shots in the west. The minute I saw someone tryin' ta aim a gun at me, I'd be blowin' it outta his hand." To emphasize her point she immediately held up one of her pistols and grinned. "Like I said, I couldn't help myself. It already feels like forever since I been allowed ta be near one of these beautiful beasts."

She ignored how he might have felt as she slipped her gun back into its holster and walked over to another horse to pat its nose after getting a feel that it was friendly. She looked over at him, as she knew better than to turn her back on someone that might want to get her in trouble. "If you hadn' come in her I coulda seen them and made sure they were doin' fine and moseyed on my way and you wouldn't been any tha wiser. I saw some of those horses pullin' the carriages in the big cities like New York and London and it plum near broke my heart. I couldn't help but want to check up on these when I realized they probably had their own horses. Can you blame me?"
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#6
"Mhmm." He grumbled, not quite believing her words. From what he remembered, she'd been a quick draw in her show, and the tricks and stunt she'd pulled had been pretty impressive, but that was a show, not real life. I'll believe it when I see it. He though to himself, though he didn't doubt the woman out loud, he was content to let her think whatever she wanted. "Can't ride?" He queried, reaching out to gently push her hand to the side, not wanting the gun pointing anywhere near him, whether she meant anything by it or not.

He couldn't argue as she referred to the horses, the beautiful beasts. She was right, and Eugene was incredibly proud of Moorland Manor's horses, beasts that he'd had a hand in raising and caring for everyday for the last decade. At the mere mention that they may have been mistreated here, and his scowl returned, full force. "Well, rest assured there's no need to do so." He grumbled, eyeing her, far from impressed that someone would doubt his care of such noble animals. "I know how thinks work in New York, and it ain't nothin' like that here." Eugene's face twisted, his irritation bringing out his old American drawl, something he tried to keep concealed as much as possible. "These horses are as noble as their owners, more so some of 'em, and they're treated as such."
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#7
Kitty looked away embarrassed and somewhat morose at the question. She could figure he didn't really care but he did ask. Her hand pushed down in her hat as she hung her head.

"Yeah.. s'why I had ta retire. There was an accident in a show. My bad back can't handle riding no more. Believe me, if I could I would."

She didn't want to go into the details and was sure he wouldn't persist. The redhead looked at him with her comment and narrowed her eyes. Resting a hand on her hip she faced him fully. 

"Now I dunno who put a wild cat in yer britches but ya have quite a sour attitude. Ya say that you know and I can see that you know now. But how could I before ? I would think the fact I didn't know until I checked means I won't come a bothering them or you again since I know they are in good hands."
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#8
Eugene couldn't help the tinge of sympathy he felt for the woman; he knew just as well as she did that riding was one of the finest pleasures in life, and there was little that could top it. It was a true shame that she could no longer ride, Eugene had no idea what he'd do with his life if the ability was taken from him. There was little he enjoyed more than taking the estates horses round the property, "stretching their legs" a poorly veiled excuse to merely go for a ride and clear his head.

Eugene took a deep breath, raising his hands appeasingly. "You're right, forgive me Ms Calamity." He said, swallowing his pride and displeasure. "You sneakin' up in here and then questioning my work got me a seein' red, but I can tell you meant no harm by it." It endeared her to him somewhat, to see her so passionate about animals that had nothing to do with her, and it gained her some respect in his eyes. "But really, you must be a bit touched to come sneakin' around in here. What, you'd go out guns blazing? Fight the constable when he comes to clap irons on ya?"
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#9
Kitty waved him off, "No worries. You were protectin' em. And you can call me Kitty, loads of folks do." She smirked at his questioning and shrugged looking rather blase about it though she kept a twinkle in her eye. "I wasn't questioning your work, I didn't know you to say now did I? I just worried that these rich types hire someone to keep their horses movin' without lookin' for someone who actually cared. I am glad they got someone like ya. "

She laughed and whistled innocently. "I like my trouble, so I can't help myself sometimes. I would like to think a question or two and they'd see I'm no horse thief or nothing. I am usually rather good at charmin' myself out of a bad situation. Ain't these small town types supposed ta be easy goin' and all? I'd expect a slap on the wrist and told not to come back would be it. If I had a shoot out, I'm confident in my skills and that there were crazy people here." She laughed but knew it was certainly a possibility out west but this was supposed to be different.

"What about you? You came here confronting me. What if I had turned out to be touched in the head or dangerous? Could you face a crazy armed lady with her heart set on takin all your horses?"
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#10
Eugene paused, his newer British manners warring with his old Western soul as he processed the womans permission to call her by her first name. "Kitty it is then. And Eugene for me." He nodded, well aware that he was all but breaking character, showing a side of him so deeply buried that most at the Manor would question if it was really him at all. "Have ta say, the stable master before me was one of those exact types. Couldn't tell a ornery beast from a colic one." His mouth tightened on reflex at the mention of horse thieves, and Eugene nodded slowly, casting his gaze away. "Nah, you're clearly not. Not a good one anyway." He chuckled, shaking his head.

"I do have some faith in my own abilities, Miss Kitty." He grinned, speaking honestly. "I'm not so old yet, I can still hold my own in a fight should I need to. But it ain't gonna come to that any time soon, this ain't the West, eh?" His grin broadened, pleased to be speaking to someone who could relate at least a little to his previous life.
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#11
"Kitty reached out to grab his unoffered hand and shook it vigorously and firmly. "Nice ta meet ya, Gene, if I can call ya Gene." Her face was nearly split as she couldn't help smile huge as it was always a pleasure to make a new friend. Whether or not Eugene wanted to be her friend had yet to be seen but she always remained positive.

She let go as suddenly as she started the handshake and folded her arms, giving a slight shrug of her shoulders. "See? Now ya understand my worries. Few things get me a rip roaring like seeing a horse being mistreated! Good you're not like that at all..." 

Her thumb rubbed the side of her nose as her smile became a small coy smirk. "Don't go saying that. I'm sure I could if I wanted to. And you're crazy calling yourself old. You don't look much older than me.. And if it wasn't for my back, I'd still be doing horse tricks and calling up trouble just as I did ten years ago!"

A dreamy sigh escaped her as she recalled the places she left behind and she slapped him hard on the shoulder. "You're right there! Such a shame too! No place quite like home.
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