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2.2 - Lonesome Dove Roleplay

User: lonesomedove_rp (posted by jane_stuart)
Date: 2006-07-23 11:35
Subject: 2.2
Security: Public
Title: Season Three: Episode 2.2: Abilene Cattle Drive
Fandom: Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years
Pairings and players: Jane/John/Mosby/Call
Rating: PG 13
Summary: Supper
Authors: Jacki and Manda
Disclaimer: Language.

The restaurant was clean, with a bare wooden floor and simple tables and chairs. The tablecloths were a dark green checked gingham, without any fripperies such as lace or embroidery, and the napkins were made of matching cloth. In the center of each square tabletop, there was a small white bud vase, with a wilted pair of wild daisies. It was summertime, and the lack of rain had scorched the wild roses and posies that they would have usually sent a boy out to pick, so the limp and simple daisies had to suffice. Next to the vase sat a covered sugar dish, a matching creamer and a crystal jam dish with a small spoon. A crock of butter, fresh churned and bought from local farms, finished the table off.

Martha, the serving girl, was a plump and stupid girl, given to mindless gossip unless Rose cuffed her in the kitchen. Her fat fingers managed to stay out of the food as she slapped plates on tables with the coarse grace of a bull. A good Christian girl, unmarried and likely to remain so, she would say grace for the diners who didn't think or care to say it for themselves. She moved her homespun covered bulk among the tables, filling glasses with water or the rare lemonade Rose sometimes made on a Sunday. Coffee was handled by Hannah, an older Negro woman, who was so graceful and neat that it only served to make Martha look that much more bumbling and awkward.

The kitchen had Mrs. Rose Brewster, herself, bustling around, serving up the plain but well made food. Menus were written on a chalkboard daily, and special requests were blithely ignored. Mrs. Brewster was a God fearing woman, and believed that healthy victuals fed the body and soul. She charged a fair price, and served up generous portions of the simple, wholesome meals. But you wouldn't find some French folderol on her menu, no sir. Meat and potatoes, with homegrown vegetables and slabs of cornbread or feather light hot biscuits would be on your plate. Desserts were the fruit pies and cobblers common to the region, with a rare sugar frosted cake to contrast with lemonade on the tongue.

John Mills was already seated at the largest table, listening to Martha as she poured him a second glass of lemonade. When Clay Mosby and Newt Call entered, John waved them over. Martha, along with the three ladies dining in the room, looked over the two men with appreciative gazes, carefully masked. Mosby was dressed in a tailored black suit. with a ruffled shirt so white it made the eyes hurt. The grey silk cravat at his throat was held in place by a gold pin etched with a simple leaf. Call was dressed in dark brown pants and a golden beige shirt, with a buckskin vest. Both men openly wore their guns, since Marshall Hickok had never enforced his predecessor's ban on firearms.

Mosby looked around the room, his unblinking stare stopping to rest on a woman dining alone in the corner. From the looks of things, she had just been seated, as the serving girl hadn't even filled her water glass. The woman looked to be in her mid-twenties, with dark hair neatly gathered and pinned. A small blue hat, with fetching little velvet ribbons and feathers, perched squarely on her her head, and it matched her evening dress to perfection. The gown was not out of a general store. It was cut and made for it's petite owner, and showed off her trim figure, as well as her lush breasts, without being lewd or improper. The woman's face held large, dark eyes, fringed with black lashes. Her features were fine and delicate. Mosby tipped his black hat, and nodded, and the woman nodded back.

Call noticed the woman, too, but his rumbling stomach had more of his attention than women, right that minute. He took the chair to the right of John Mills, and watched as Mosby took the one to John's left. The waitress began to recite the menu, for the customers who couldn't read the smeared chalkboard.

"Gents, we got us fried chicken with mashed potatoes and buttered field peas, with gravy. We got some good, fresh beef steaks, and baked taters, served up with some brown beans and cornbread. We're out of biscuits, but the cornbread's the finest in town. Dessert's a blackberry cobbler, served with thick cream and coffee or tea."

"I believe we'll have steaks all around." Mosby ordered, in a bland voice, his eyes still on the lone woman. The Negro woman walked past the small table, ignoring the lady's attempt to get her attention.

"Chicken. I'll have the fried chicken, please." Call scooted his chair up and shot an annoyed look at Mosby. High handed ways didn't set well with Newt. He turned to look at the girl again, as Martha lumbered off to get water. "Stop staring at her, Mosby. She ain't interested in you."

Mills had been observing the lovely girl since he came in, and a smile tugged up on his lips as Martha walked right past her table, as if the woman didn't exist. No one was going to wait on the single woman dining alone, unescorted, even in this rough town. Eastern ladies might be able to dine alone in New York, but in Kansas, a lone woman would be viewed as a strumpet this late at night and without a male escort. "That little lady's going to starve to death, Colonel." John had known Mosby a long, long time. The man's deeply ingrained sense of twisted chivalry would kick in, eventually, and the only question would be the mysterious woman's response to it. A slap or a smile were equally likely, though John would put a gold piece on the slap, given the straight spine of the girl.

Call and Mills both were watching Mosby, as the man rose from his chair and walked over to the woman. He had removed his hat when he sat down at the table, so he simply stood next to her chair and gave her a dazzling smile. "Pardon me, Miss. My friends and I are visitors to this town, and we were hoping that perhaps you would care to join us as our guest for supper." Clay didn't mention the fact that the management wouldn't serve her. He didn't need to. Her pale skin had just a bit of pink in her high cheekbones, and Mosby saw no sense in causing her more discomfit.

Jane's dark eyes flashed at the arrogant man. How dare he think he could just come over and expect her to dine with him and his friends? However, she was hungry, and unemployed at the moment. Likely, he would pick up the tab, reducing the strain on her already depleted funds. Besides, it was a hot meal, and the men weren't ugly. She gave him the barest of smiles, and held out her delicate hand to him. When he took it, she rose and picked up her blue velvet evening bag. "I forget that the customs are so different out here in the wilds. I must remember that in the future. I'm afraid I don't know your name, sir."

"Colonel Clayton Mosby, miss, at your service." Mosby laid the briefest of courtly kisses on her smooth, silky hand, and then led her to the table. "May I introduce you to my companions. Mr. John Mills, late of Virginia, and Mr. Newt Call, who resides in Curtis Wells. I live there, and own most of the businesses in town." Both John and Newt stood for the introductions, and Martha came over to the table, standing slack jawed as Mosby pulled out a chair and helped the woman sit. "Would you prefer chicken or steak, Miss...?"

"Steak, if you please." Jane smirked at the rude bit serving them. Insolent cow. Jane thought. Mosby sat back in his own seat, and she smiled at him, amused, before glancing at the other men. Handsome, she thought, each in his own way.

"I didn't catch your name." Mills stated, though not unkindly.

"That's because I didn't throw it, Mr. Mills." Jane blinked and took a sip of the water that Martha had grudgingly slapped in front of her. "Jane Stuart, recently of Louisiana."

Mosby laughed, his eyes crinkling up in the corners. Call looked confused, as he remembered the conversation with Mosby. The madam for Twylas? Mills looked expectantly at Mosby for an explanation.

"John, this is the lady I told you about. The one I hired for my business." Mosby was quite amused, that he would meet his new employee in such a manner. "I must say, Miss Stuart, I didn't expect you to be so young, or so attractive. What a pleasant surprise."

Martha and Hannah both arrived with steaming plates of food, which they set in front of the diners. A napkin lined basket full of cornbread squares was placed in the center. Hannah made sure that lemonade and water glasses were full, before the women discreetly retired to the kitchen. It was so late that the last couple had left, leaving only Mosby's party and a couple of men arguing over their dessert about which method of corn planting was better.

Jane cut and ate her large steak with delicate but steady bites, cut and devoured. Hunger seemed to silence whatever bits of conversation would have followed the revelation of her identity. Call's chicken was crisp and golden, and the gravy over his potatoes rich and well peppered. Butter was liberally smeared over the hot cornbread, and washed down with the cool lemonade. It was a largely silent meal, until the plates were taken and the bowls of cobbler put in front of them, along with a pitcher of thick, sweetened cream. Call poured the cream over his dessert, while Hannah poured coffee for all.

"So...you're a madam?"

Mills grinned broadly as the colored server scurried off to the kitchen. "That was subtle, Call."

"I prefer the term business manager, sir." Jane ate her cobbler without the cloying cream, preferring the delicate sweetness of the ripe fruit. "Just as if I managed a store or a factory."

"You aren't selling ladies hats and gloves, lady. You're running a whorehouse. Fancy airs don't change anything." Newt scowled at her uppity tone.

"Miss Stuart is right, Call. We trade in a valuable product, but a product no less. I like her pragmatic view." Mosby ignored the dish of sweets, and sipped his coffee. "Business is business. Tell me, Miss Stuart, what is your philosophy?"

"A clean place, with clean girls. Genteel facade, and discreet practice, so the church ladies don't get their backs up. Satisfied customers, indulgence to a point, and no thievery. I can't abide a thieving employee." Jane finished her entire dish of cobbler, with a slight sigh of satisfaction. Her corset was laced tightly, but the ache was worth it for the fullness in her belly. "Good girls with a good attitude, and who work hard, are rewarded with privileges and bonuses. Slatternly girls are gotten rid of. A healthy stable of friendly girls spells success."

"Then you should accompany us to the Golden Horseshoe." Mosby pulled out his wallet, taking out enough money for the meal and a not too generous tip. "We're selecting new stock."

"Clay, you can't take a lady to..." Mills frowned at both Mosby and Jane.

"Nonsense. Business. The lady belongs there. Don't you, Miss Stuart?"

All three men looked at Jane for her response. She knew full well what was going to occur at the saloon, and the rough types that would be there. In for a penny, in for a dollar. She folded her napkin, after dabbing her lips.

"Of course, Mr. Mosby. Shall we?"
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