Kitty hurried down the boardwalk carrying a tray draped with a gingham cloth. It was almost high noon, and she wanted to be sure her pa got his dinner on time. The young woman cautiously swung wide in front of the double doors of the Golden Nugget saloon. Pa had really cleaned up the town of Wilson's Gulch, but one never knew if a rowdy farm hand or cowboy would cause some offence in that den of sin, and be thrown bodily out into the street.
Balancing the tray with one hand, Kitty entered the Sheriff's office and closed the door behind her. "Pa, Miss Mary fixed the fried chicken you're so fond of." She called happily.
Her father, Sheriff Jackson Tucker, put down the dime novel he was reading. "Kitty, what am I going to do with you?" His voice was stern, but there was no mistaking the look of love as he stood and took the tray from his only daughter. "You promised! Why aren't you at the schoolhouse?"
Kitty sighed. "Pa, school is for young 'uns! I'm a full growed woman of eighteen! There ain't nothin' old Mr. Peabody could learn me that I need knowin' in order to see after you or even to help out Miss Mary at the roomin' house!"
Jackson shook his head. He put down the tray, and with no warning, tossed the tattered yellow jacketed book to her. "I want you to turn to any page, and start reading to me."
Kitty looked at the book, and her face grew red. "Aw pa, I don't need to be readin' no books like this!" she scrutinized the crudely drawn cover illustration that depicted a man wearing a star on his vest. "If I want to learn a story about a lawman, I'll just listen to one of yours!"
Jackson sighed. "Kitty, this is all my fault. Once your mother passed away, rest her soul, I was too busy trying to make this town into one folk could feel proud to live in. I reckon I was just a mite too single minded. I never could seem to make enough time to teach a little eight year old terror any readin' or ciphering. Before I knew it, you went and grew up on me."
"Pa, you learned me to shoot!" she lovingly patted the gun riding low on her hip. "That's more important then any book learnin'!"
"He shook his head. "Kitty, I promised your ma. We finally have a fine school, and I want you to attend!"
"But pa, I heard tell that old Mr. Peabody is so hard a hearin' that nobody can get him to listen to their questions! If you make a mistake because you didn't understand his mumbling, he whacks your knuckles with a ruler!" Kitty shook her head. "I'll do fine as I am! I don't need any schoolin' if'n it means busted fingers!"
Jackson sat down to his dinner. "Kitty, what will I do with you? Mr. Peabody is set to retire. We have a new teacher coming in all the way from New York City! Please darlin', give it a try!" He lifted the cloth from the tray. "My, this does look mighty tasty! Mary didn't have to go through such trouble."
Kitty giggled. She was glad of the change in subject. "Pa, Miss Mary is sweet on you, can't you tell?" she smiled serenely. "I just know ma would have liked her. The ten years since ma passed is long enough for you to be alone. Why don't you take Miss Mary to the founders day dance?"
It wasn't often that the big man blushed, but he did now. "Kitty, I'm too set in my ways to fuss and bother with taking a woman to a dance!"
"Well I think you should ask!" Kitty said with a smug look. "I happen to know that she'll say yes!"
"Kitty!" he smiled ruefully. "That'll be enough of that." He pulled the gold watch out of his vest pocket and frowned at it. "Wouldn't you know? I have to go meet the new schoolmarm. She's due on the noon stage."
"Pa, eat your dinner!" Kitty ordered. "I'll go see to the sour old biddy!"
"Um, I'll go see that the new schoolmarm gets settled in at the roomin' house."
"That's better. Her name is Miss Sara Mitchell." He looked his daughter over. "I wish you had time to run and change into a dress. I don't want you to meet the new teacher looking like a savage running around in buckskin trousers!"
"Oh pa, they're much more practical if'n I have to do any outside chores like fetchin' any wood for Miss Mary!" She took a deep breath. "You know I hate dressin' in frilly sissy things!"
"Scoot! The stage should be in at any time!"
Kitty couldn't help giggling as she left the office. Pa was always tryin' to make a lady out of her, but she made darn sure she stayed just the way she wanted to be! She didn't feel like herself if she wasn't wearing her buckskins! Besides, granny Wind-blossom was very clever at working tanned hides. The intricately beaded shirt jacket offered her a feeling of security. It fit to her form so well; that it comfortably supported the womanly abundance Mother Nature had saw fit to saddle her with.
On days like today, Kitty really appreciated the extra long fringed tails of the garment. She had awoken with that strange problem again, and feared folk would notice something wasn't quite right with her. The low hanging shirt jacket and bulky buckle of her gun belt were a great aid in hiding that other little gift Mother Nature had granted! Best of all, the high cut to the sides assured she was quick on the draw, too. After all, that was the really important thing!
Kitty hurried to the New Frontiers Hotel to await the noon stage. At nearly quarter to one, she saw the dust of its approach. She nodded to herself. It was right on schedule! She pushed back her hat, and stood tall while waiting to meet the old biddy sent to take over the schoolhouse.
The driver brought the horses to a stop just in front of the hotel steps. Kitty watched eagerly as he jumped down and pulled open the door. Miss Sara Mitchell was not what she was expecting at all. A tall elegant looking woman wearing a green velveteen traveling cloak over a matching green dress emerged. For just a fleeting instant, Kitty saw a flash of pale white when the swirl of skirts revealed just a hint of shapely leg over high buttoned shoes as the traveler stepped down from the stage. That lightening quick glimpse of milky white flesh was over in a heartbeat, but that didn't matter. Kitty gulped. She felt it begin. Right out in the bright autumn sunshine, she was beginning one of those strange spells that came upon her more and more often!
Kitty tried to set her mind against it, but that odd tense feeling was growing stronger. Beneath her buckskin trousers, she felt the flesh stir and begin to grow firm. Before long, it took on the same throbbing urgency it had every morning when she awoke with her boy shaft too hard for her to make morning water. "Don't go thinkin' evil thoughts!" she whispered to herself, as she noted the shiny highlights of the reddest hair she had ever seen under the woman's prim bonnet.
Kitty was in a real fix! Not knowing what else to do, she dashed forward, and snatched the woman's carpet bag right out of her hand. "I'm Kitty Tucker. My pa's the Sheriff in these parts, He sent me to meet you. He's busy with important matters of law at the moment." Kitty smiled crookedly as she held the carpet bag in front of herself. That sounded real respectable like! Better then sayn' pa was eating his dinner!
"Why hello there Miss Kitty, I'm very happy to make your acquaintance." The lovely woman extended her hand, just like a real lady!
Kitty fumbled the bag to her left hand, and carefully clasped the teacher's with her right. "I'm powerful glad to meet you, Miss Sara!" she said with a wide smile. The soft dainty hand against hers sent warmth spreading through her body. Kitty almost sighed. Her prod was now just as hard as the .36 caliber Paterson revolver in her holster, and Kitty had to fight not to think about how she wanted to wrap her fingers around the hot flesh and make it shoot! "I'll take you to Miss Mary's roomin' house." She didn't know why, but it just seemed important to continue. "That's where me and pa live, too!"
"I thought I would be living in the hotel." The traveler said as she turned to look at the impressive structure.
"Oh no, the New Frontiers is strictly for gamblers, oil men, politicians, and other unsavory characters! You're staying at Miss Mary's roomin' house with us respectable folk!" she grinned. "That way we'll be neighbors."
The redhead smiled sweetly. "It will be nice to have another lady around to talk to."
Kitty blushed. "Aw, I ain't no lady!" she said shyly. She came to a sudden decision. "I, um, I am one of your students though!"
"You are?" Sara looked Kitty up and down. "How old are you?"
The younger woman blushed. "I, um, I'm eighteen, ma'am. Pa says I need schoolin' on account of I ain't never learned any readin' writin' or cipherin'."
"Why, you're only three years younger then I am." Sara saw the look of embarrassment on her new friend's lovely face. "I'll be happy to have you as one of my students, Kitty!" She grinned. "Oh, and outside of the schoolhouse, I'm Sara to my friends."
"Okay, ma'am, uh, Sara!"
Kitty led Sara to the rooming house, holding the carpet bag awkwardly to hide the embarrassing activity nudging uncomfortably against her gun belt. Since Doctor McCoy had passed last year, there was nobody left in the whole wide world that knew Kitty possessed something a young woman had no right to have. Ma had kept this tiny detail from pa, and Doc McCoy was such an old dear that he never told a living soul about what he saw on the otherwise healthy baby girl he had delivered. Kitty held her secret close, but suddenly it seemed like that was going to be much harder to do. Sara even smelled nice! How was she going to be able to keep herself composed while living under the same roof with the beautiful new schoolmarm?
"Miss Mary!" Kitty hollered when they entered the parlor. "I have the new schoolmarm here, and she'll be needin' your best room!"
Plump and pretty, Miss Mary hustled into the room. "Gracious Kitty, there's no need to shout!"
Kitty smiled. She liked Miss Mary. She liked her a lot, but she knew that the woman had her eye on pa. That somehow made it much easier to be around the open and friendly woman. Kitty would just occasionally, well, every night, think about her. She'd wonder what that firm well rounded body looked like under her clothes, while gently rubbing a loosely closed fist up and down the iron hard length of her prod.
"Hello, my name is Sara Mitchell." Sara once again extended her hand.
Miss Mary clasped it briefly. "I have a lovely room for you." She gave a wink. "Its right next to this here wild woman's room, with the bathing room on the other side of hers." Miss Mary's eyes twinkled. "We have a galvanized tub, and I can heat up plenty of hot water for a bath, even if you'll be wanting one every day."
Kitty giggled. "I ain't so wild, Miss Mary! I even take baths regular like, every couple a days, if'n I need it or not!"
Sara sighed. "Oh, I would just adore a hot bath! The ride was so dusty, I'm sure I must look a fright!"
"You look just fine to me, Sara!" Kitty blurted out without thinking.
"Sara laughed. "I feel like I'm wearing the dust of every mile I traveled. Miss Mary could you to start heating the water right now?"
"Certainly Miss Sara." Mary smiled. "We have a "Geyser" water heater machine built by Mister Benjamin Waddy Maughan. It was shipped across the ocean, all the way from Europe!"
The teacher looked hopeful. "Would you have a W.C. as well?"
Mary grinned. "We are very modern here. Ours is the only water closet in the whole town, possibly the state!" Grabbing her skirts, the older woman hustled up the stairs to start the water heating.
Sara sighed. "I think I'm going to like it here!"
Kitty giggled. "It's so nice not to get chilled to the bone if you have to, um, you know, in the middle of a long winter's night!"
Kitty showed Sara the way up to her new home. First, she paused to let Sara see Miss Mary's sewing room. Kitty discretely pointed out the wooden box packed full of old but serviceable cloth and scrap rags. That was something any women staying in the roomin' house needed to know about for when they were inflicted with the monthly curse. Secretly Kitty thought it wasn't fair that she was afflicted with it too, even though she was part boy. You'd think having a staff would exempt her from Eve's curse! Still, it wasn't her place to question the wisdom of the good Lord. With a wry grin, she led her new friend up the stairs.
"Oh, this is lovely!" Sara exclaimed as she looked over the open sunny room with its two windows. "I never had such a grand big bed before."
Kitty found herself blushing at memories of some very thrilling sounds she had heard through the wall separating this room from her own. "Mister and Mrs. Grant used to have this room while he was overseeing the construction of the new railroad spur. They ordered that bed special. They surely were rich! Why, Mr. Grant used to give me a half dime just for getting him a copy of the newspaper every mornin'! They moved back east when Mrs. Grant, um, became in ah, the family way."
Sara raised an eyebrow at Kitty, but only smiled kindly. "I guess I'll just have to get used to such decadent extravagance."
Kitty paused. She looked at the coverlet on the bed that Sara had been obviously eyeing. Kitty didn't recognize the fancy words, but she knew decay mean rot! There was no call to use such highfalutin words just because the linen wasn't store bought new! "I'm sure Miss Mary can get you something more fitting your fine big city ways." She said icily.
Sara looked at the younger woman. "Kitty, is there something wrong?"
"My ma made me that quilt when she first learned she wasn't gonna be with us when I was growed! I kept it in my hope chest for if'n I ever got hitched! I ain't the marrying type, so I let Mrs. Grant use it! She liked it! She never said it was decaying or extra vagrant or anything!"
Sara stepped back from the sudden outpouring of emotion. "Kitty, just hold on a minute!" she took a deep breath. "Decadent extravagance, in the way I used it, is not detrimental, uh, bad. I was merely joking about me needing to get used to something very costly and above my station in life!" She ran a gentle hand over the quilt. "This is simply lovely! Your momma was a fine seamstress. I'd be very proud and happy if you let me use it!"
Kitty's eyes opened wide. It suddenly hit her that just maybe pa was right. Maybe she did need to learn a few more things then just how to shoot straight. Embarrassed tears filled her eyes. "I'm sorry, Sara! I reckon I must sound powerful stupid to someone with book learnin' like you!"
Sara hugged the teen to her. "Oh honey, you are far from stupid! Didn't you tell me you were going to be one of my students?" she smiled. "Don't you want me to teach you reading and ciphering?"
Kitty was startled at being hugged like this. Sara felt so nice against her. She was so soft and warm! Nearly as large as her own, it made her heart pound when Sara's bosom pressed against hers. The teacher's warmth seemed to flow into her own body. Sara said she needed a bath, but Kitty thought her natural scent was wonderful! She could even smell a hint of lemons in her beautiful red hair. Kitty pulled back when her boy part gave an alarming throb. Thank goodness the position of her gun belt's large silver buckle went a long way to hide that fact! "I'll try to be a good student." She whispered. "I'm sorry for actin' so darn foolish!"
"Kitty, if you ever hear anyone use a word that you don't understand, just take me aside and ask what it means. If I don't know, we can look it up together. I'm sure the schoolhouse has a dictionary. Mr. Peabody has informed me that it has a small but interesting library shelf."
Kitty wiped her eyes and grinned sheepishly. "Okay Sara, but don't you be tellin' nobody that I cried like a sissy, you hear? Everyone for miles knows I'm too tough to act like a girl!"
Sara laughed. "My lips are sealed! Now kitty, show me to the bath!"
"It's just down the hall, past my room. There used ta be four bedrooms on this floor, but Miss Mary had the last one made into a bathing room. Since one is empty right now, it'll be always nice and quiet for us, exceptin' when someone comes poundin' on the stairs in need of the W.C.!" Kitty risked leaving the carpet bag behind when she led Sara to the small room that contained nothing but a large thirty gallon galvanized tub, with a sturdy iron pipe protruding from the wall over it. "That little door directly across the hall leads to the W.C. You can see where the floorboards were pulled up and replaced when the workmen laid in the pipe for it." She giggled. "It's really snug in there, 'cause it used to be a linen closet. It sure beats goin' outside in raw weather though!
Kitty sniffed at the smoky smell that signaled the water being heated up on the top floor. "A windmill at the well keeps the tank full most times. Miss Mary goes up and lights a fire any time someone is needin' a bath. The water should be hot enough now." She said as she rammed a large cork into the hole in the tub.
"Don't pull that out until you're finished. The water will empty out real fast into another pipe that leads down hill all the way to the creek." Kitty giggled as she turned the small iron wheel that started steaming water flowing into the tub. "The W.C. does too, but we don't like to talk about that. Always use the well if'n you want a drink and the cool water tank is dry. If you go to the creek for anything, always head upstream a good ways!" When the tub was half full, she quickly shut off the flow.
"I'll keep that in mind!" Sara said with a grin. She turned at a thump, and saw the stage driver and his shotgun rider coming up the narrow stairway with her trunk. "Thank you gentlemen!" she said cheerfully as they lumbered by. "Just put it in that room with the open door."
The two women followed as the men deposited the trunk and went on their way. "I think the rider fancy's you, Kitty." Sara whispered with a chuckle. The strapping young man had paused long enough for a good eyeful of the handsome womanly figure no amount of buckskin could hide, before heading on his way with a grin on his face and a suspicious lump in the front of his dungarees.
Kitty shivered. "Well, I don't fancy men!" She froze. That wasn't quite what she had wanted to say! "Uh, I don't fancy men who leer and look at me like I was a prize piece of livestock!" she corrected, hoping and praying Sara didn't notice her little slip.
The redhead paused for maybe the length of a heartbeat, but then continued as if nothing had happened. "I'm sure lots of fellas around town fancy you, Kitty."
"I guess they might." Kitty admitted. What she couldn't admit was that she didn't fancy any of them. She knew there was something wrong inside of her. She blamed having a boy's prod. It somehow made her only like thinking about girls while she was alone with her thoughts and her sinfully busy hands. "Yeah, I bet they'll be all looking toward you now, Sara!"
The teacher seemed indifferent to that last comment. She unlocked the trunk and pulled it open. She selected a dress from within, and the voluminous undergarments that went with it. "Who cares about men when there's a hot bath waiting for you? That tub is calling to me, and I can't resist!"
"Supper will be at six, Sara. Miss Mary is a great cook, so you'll be sure to love it!"
Kitty pretended to head toward the stairs as Sara actually skipped happily to the bathing room. Once the door closed, she spun around on her heel and dashed to her own room. A burning desire gripped Kitty. It was one she had managed to fight off ever since her stupid prod had begun growing stiff and hard if she thought too much about Miss Mary, or any other girl in town for that matter.
She closed and locked her own door. Pulling the covers off of her narrow bed, she worked fast to hang one blanket over the curtain rod of her single window. She dragged her hope chest to the door. Standing on it, she similarly hung the other blanket to block the transom. Her room was plunged into dim twilight.
Kitty went to the wall and removed the small framed tintype of Firebrand, her beloved horse. Behind it was a small plug of plaster. She frantically attacked it with her fingernails. Years ago when pa had first become Sheriff, he had chased Bartholomew Cody, the notorious bank robber right to this very room. Pa had been right where she was standing when Bartholomew pulled his piece and fired! The bullet had gone right through Pa's shoulder, but pa still managed to fire. Bartholomew would never rob another bank, thanks to pa!
Kitty managed to work the plaster out of the hole. Pa's shoulder had healed in time, but the hole was still there in the wall! She knew that it blended in to be nearly invisible in the pattern of Miss Mary's fancy bathing room wall paper, so nobody had bothered to patch that side. In the darkened room, Kitty put her eye to the bullet hole.
Holding her breath, she watched as Sara put a foot on the edge of the tub and began slowly unbuttoning her shoe. Her staff throbbed, and it was all Kitty could do to keep from moaning out loud. She fumbled at her gun belt, and carefully undid the buckle. Without taking her eye from the hole, she very carefully reached behind her and placed the heavy belt onto her bed. When Sara finally undid the last button and pulled off the shoe, Kitty did sigh when she gazed at her new friend's dainty foot and the naked leg protruding from beneath her skirts. Her heart pounded. For just a short wonderful second, she had seen clear up to Sara's knee!
Fumbling at her trousers, Kitty unbuttoned them as she watched Sara remove the other shoe. When Sara stood bare foot by the tub and slowly untied her bonnet, Kitty let her trousers drop down to cover her dusty boots. The lovely red hair was done up in a large tight bun. Kitty whimpered when Sara pulled out a few pins, and with a shake of her head let the gorgeous flame colored hair cascade over her shoulders and down her back.
Kitty's staff was so hard it ached. It was every bit as long, but far thicker then the nine inch barrel of the five-shot .36 caliber Paterson revolver she always carried. Trying to ignore the condition of her turgid flesh, kitty planted both hands against the wall as she watched Sara slowly undo the pearl buttons at the bodice of her lovely dress. There were so many that Kitty was sure she would go mad waiting for Sara to finish!
Kitty took off her hat and tossed it too onto the bed. Sweat beaded her brow as she watched Sara finally pull the dress up over her head. With her nose now pressed firmly against the wall, she almost giggled with glee. Sara wore a double V waist tapered vest, and a silken full underskirt, but like many modern women, did not encumber her body with a heavy constricting corset. Kitty sighed when Sara slipped out of the underskirt, to reveal the pretty ruffled knee length bloomers beneath.
When the vest was removed, Kitty began to tremble. For the first time in her life, she was looking at naked bosoms other then her own when she looked into her mirror! Sara was lovely! The beautiful orbs rode firm and proud as she stood unfettered. For reasons she couldn't explain, Kitty licked her lips while staring at the pretty pink nubs that were provided by the Creator for a momma to feed her babies. Kitty felt like she was about to swoon when Sara stepped out of the bloomers, and she caught sight of a thatch of vibrant red hair between plump and inviting thighs!
Sara stepped into the ten inch deep thirty gallon oval tub and squatted down until she sat her bottom gingerly into the steaming water. Kitty watched as the beautiful woman began ladling the water over her body, sighing in obvious enjoyment. Her skin glistened as the water streamed over her flawless flesh. Sara reached out of the tub toward the small stool on which she had placed her belongings. She grabbed a washing rag, and a small cake of yellow soap. She applied soap to cloth until a rich lather developed. When she started running the washing rag over her perfect skin, it left a trail of frothy white bubbles adorning Sara's lovely body. Kitty whimpered, and found she envied both the bubbles, and a piece of cloth!
Kitty couldn't deny herself any longer. Tasting leather, she clasped the dangling fringes of her shirt with her teeth to keep it out of the way. Leaning against the wall with her left hand, her right grasped the hardness springing from her loins. As Sara used the ladle to rinse the bubbles from her perfect body, kitty could actually smell the lemon verbena through her peephole! That was it! She began to stroke her protruding flesh. Her grip was just tight enough to sort of slide the silky flesh up and down on the iron hard core. She couldn't keep from moaning as the vision before her peeping eye etched itself forever into her fevered mind.
Sara rinsed out the washrag and cleared it of the wonderful scented bubbles. She stood again, and began gently running the rag between her legs. The rag slipped from her hand to splash into the water below, but Sara continued washing her private self. At least that was what Kitty thought at first. She whimpered when Sara's legs spread as wide as the forty-two inch length of the tub would allow, and she noticed that the heavily breathing woman seemed to have slipped a finger into her own body! The redhead seemed to be staring right at her, beautiful green eyes sparkling as that delicate finger slowly eased in and out of her center! The hand moved and changed position slightly. Finger crooked upward, it remained hidden from Kitty's sight while the thumb began to move rapidly in a little circular motion over that special place just above the honeyed opening, where a woman's pearl was located.
Kitty felt her body stiffen as her own hand moved faster. Sara did this too? She wasn't the only one who did something so ungodly and naughty! Sara also succumbed to wicked temptation and abused herself! Kitty lots of times did just what she saw Sara doing. Knowing a bit about animal husbandry infused a strong sense of caution into Kitty. Left hand was for quim, right for prod, and left hand always went first! Kitty was always very careful not to get even a tiny drop of juice in the wrong place, and carefully captured every gooey spurt of what she produced into a waiting wad of fabric!
As the redhead began to tremble and moan, Kitty let out a soft grunt. Too late, she realized her mistake! She had neglected to fetch a rag to empty herself into! Hand firm against the wall, she had no choice but to keep pumping! Toes curling in her boots, Kitty panted as she felt the rush deep inside. Glancing down, she saw the glisten of white liquid in the dim twilight sparkle and shine wetly as her issue splattered against the wall! She hastily put her eye back to the hole as her hand pumped even faster. Long red hair was flying around Sara's face as she panted and moaned. She was doin' it too! She and Sara were arriving together!
Over and over the thick gooey cream burst from her hardness to fly free. Kitty could hear the soft splats of it hitting the wall in time to the beat of her heart. She couldn't stop though! How could she when Sara was touching herself while standing in the bathing tub? It seemed to go on for much longer then when she did this at night while lying in her bed. Even looking at the ladies undergarments in the mail order clothing catalogs didn't make her throb this much, or for this long!
When it was finally over, Kitty carefully wiped the head of her shaft on the corner of the blanket hanging on the window. She pulled up her trousers and stuffed her still firm organ inside. She hung the tintype back up, and pulled the blanket from the window. She looked at the pearlescent mess streaming down the wall and groaned. "I never whipped out that much before!" she said softly as she watched it slowly slither toward the floor. She knelt, and touched a fingertip to the still warm fluid. Without thinking she thrust that finger into her mouth. The taste was savory, and a bit salty, but somehow quite pleasant. Kitty wiped up quite a bit of the mess with her fingertips and cleaned up the liquid by simply licking if from her fingers and swallowing.
As always, Kitty felt more then a little embarrassed by her actions, even if her body seemed more relaxed. She hurried from her room and ducked into the water closet. With a contented sigh, she stood and made water through her now relaxed staff. "Never again!" she whispered for the hundredth time, and for the hundredth time she knew she was telling herself a whopper! She pulled the chain and made herself respectable as the loud gurgling whoosh assaulted her ears. Buckling her gun belt back on, she went outside and headed for the corral.
"Firebrand, Sara's real pretty." She told the horse as she used the curry brush on her coat. "I don't know what I'm gonna do livin' so close to her! When I'm near her, I get ta feelin' like all the stallions do whenever you're in your heat. I want to do to her, what they all want to do with you!" She knew it was silly to fret, but she was extra special careful around her beloved friend's gravid belly. She let out a long breath, still not over her initial anger at this growing surprise. "I told Comet to leave you be!" she said as sharp as her hands were gentle with the brush. "I even bribed him with a couple green apples. That Brisco County Jr. sure has a lot to answer to if'n he comes back around these parts!"
The beautiful chestnut mare snorted and shook her head, mane flying from the sudden movement.
Kitty sighed. "Oh, okay Fire! I know Comet is a good boy, and you took a real shine to him." She felt herself grinning. "Don't you go thinkin' I don't know it was you who kicked open your stall and went out to find him!" she giggled when the horse shook her mane again. "Oh, don't be fibbing, Firebrand! The moon was full that night, and I know you was feelin' all romantic like! Anyway, I bet the foal he gave you will be right pretty! Don't worry; I won't be too hard on the fellas when I see 'em again!"
The horse nipped at the brim of Kitty's hat, knocking it off of the young woman's head. She giggled as she picked it up and clapped it back on her head. "You win! Next time I see Brisco, I'll give him one of pa's cigars and tell 'em he's gonna be a God-father, 'cause his buddy Comet is a daddy! Now be a good girl and let me finish brushin' you down!"
Happily whistling a few camp songs, Kitty finished grooming the beautiful animal. She was sure lucky having a friend like Firebrand. The gentle mare always knew exactly how to distract her from any problems!
The next morning Kitty was all a tizzy. She was going to try it! She inspected the purchases she had made at the mercantile just before they closed up shop the day before. She hoped Sara would think she looked nice, like a student should! After all, she spent three whole dollars! She sighed. "Maybe the schoolhouse wouldn't be so bad if'n someone as pretty and nice as Sara was there to learn me the lessons!" Feeling her face grow warm, Kitty struggled into the unfamiliar underclothes, glad that she had taken steps, four times in a row, to put her staff back to sleep after she woke up with it hard as stone again!
Mrs. Byrd sure was taken aback when Kitty had walked in bold as brass, and then waited nearly an hour for Mr. Byrd to head off to make a feed delivery. Her eyes had opened wide when Kitty whispered nervously about what she had in mind. The helpful woman had actually placed an order long ago at the Sheriff's urging, her keen eye judging all the sizes correctly. Still, it was quite a shock when Kitty Tucker had finally come in inquiring about what a real lady should wear!
Dressed from the skin out in her new finery, Kitty brushed her shoulder length golden hair until it shined almost as bright as the sun slowly rising over the distant mountains. "I look like a sissy." She muttered as she tied off a simple ponytail with pretty blue ribbon that matched the dress so nicely. "I hope Sara thinks I look nice!"
Walking stiffly in shoes not nearly as comfortable as her well sprung boots, Kitty looked like someone taking that final walk to the gallows as she headed down to breakfast.
Miss Mary nearly dropped the large steaming coffee pot. "Land's sake child, you look pretty as a picture!"
Pa jumped up. "Darlin' you look the spittin' image of your mother!"
Kitty didn't know what to say when she saw the tears in her pa's eyes. ""I, I'm sorry! I'll go put on my regular duds!"
A huge hand grasped hers with gentle tenderness. "No baby girl. I bet your ma is smiling down at you right now! You're lovely! My little baby girl is really a woman now!"
Kitty laughed nervously. Thank goodness pa didn't know she wasn't ALL woman! She dipped a slight curtsy "Thank you, pa!" she cleared her throat. "I, um, I'll be headin' off ta school now." She grabbed a hot biscuit from the basket on the table and headed on her way.
Jackson and Mary looked at each other for a long minute after kitty had left. "What changed her mind?" he wondered aloud. "Mary, did you have a talk with her?"
The pretty brunet smiled. "I just think seeing someone as sophisticated and fine as Miss Sara has captured her attention." She smiled hopefully. "Maybe with such a good influence now, she'll settle down and marry some nice young man." She eyed the Sheriff and smiled softly. "There may be a few left as decent and just as her daddy."
Jackson Tucker sighed. He circled the table and put an arm around Mary's waist. "Mary, I was wonderin'." He smiled. "Would you like to accompany me to the Founder's Day Dance?"
She giggled. "Why Jackson, I would be delighted." She winked. "It'll be our first time "dancing", while not lying in my bed."
Jackson pulled out his watch and made a show of looking at it. "Speaking of your bed, Mary, I have some free time on my hands."
She laughed. "You're nothing but an old Billy-goat!" She put the coffee pot on the back of the cast iron stove, and let the lawman lead her out of the kitchen and into her bedroom.
Kitty trudged to the schoolhouse, feeling mighty strange. Men actually doffed their hats toward her as she walked by! It was just like she was a real Lady! She even suspected some of them didn't even recognize the rough and tumble Tucker offspring that more then once had brought in a bounty, much to her Sheriff pa's chagrin!
She arrived at the schoolhouse just as Sara pulled the rope to start the bell ringing up in the small steeple. Kitty felt a nervous lump in her throat as she saw that she would be one of the two biggest students there. It was no saving grace that she saw eye to eye with Bubba Madison, the hulking fourteen year old who was strong as an ox, and rumored to be almost as smart.
"Kitty, I'm so happy to see you join us!" Sara said brightly. "You look pretty as a picture!"
Kitty smiled shyly in return. "That's just what Miss Mary said! Thanks Sara, um, I mean Miss Mitchell!"
The teacher winked. "Miss Sara will be fine, students." She called as the children filed into the single room.
Kitty sat in the back of the room, next to Bubba, unfortunately. She ignore him though, and carefully scrutinized the McGuffey Reader when it was passed back to her. She felt a nervous trembling in her tummy. The reader was full of words, and she could only recognize a scant few that she had picked up here and there.
She heard a hiss, and ignored it. She watched Sara intently at the front of the room. Bubba hissed again. "Kitty Tucker, you is looking powerful good today." He whispered with a decidedly uncivilized leer.
"Hush your mouth, Madison, or do I hafta teach you manners again?"
He ignored that. "Hey Kitty two-bells." He guffawed in what passed for a friendly chuckle for him. "After school, why don't you and I slip over to my daddy's hayloft?" He leered again at her abundant bosom, and reached with a blunt finger to stiffly poke a firm round orb. "I reckon I can ring those bells for you somehin' fine!"
Kitty took a deep breath. When her right hand moved to her hip, part of her mind was glad she had for once left her gun safely at home. The rest balled up her left fist, and threw a quick jab to plaster Bubba's nose onto his face. It smashed like a ripe tomato, and blood ran down his grimy shirt.
Bubba jumped up. "You wait 'til I tell my daddy!" he shouted, voice muffled by his rapidly swelling nose. "He'll fix you, and your nosy lawman pa!"
Kitty rubbed her sore knuckles. "My pa has been keepin' an eye out for your daddy, Bubba! Haven't you noticed the new picture hangin' up over at the post office? Your daddy was seen when the Darting gang robbed the train last week! He was the only one the engineer could identify, bein' that he couldn't tie a simple square knot and his mask fell off right in the middle of the robbery!"
Bubba suddenly used language that scorched the very air, and ran from the class. "I gotta warn Daddy!" he cried as he raced across the schoolyard.
Sara looked stunned, as the rest of her students giggled. "Kitty?" she asked softly.
All the young'uns were pointing and laughing. That was far worse then anything Bubba could ever say to her! She had no business being here! Jumping up, Kitty felt her eyes fill with tears. "I'm sorry, Miss Sara! I knowed this was a bad idea!" She too ran, and didn't stop until she was safely locked in her room at Miss Mary's.
Hours later as the room grew dark; she heard a knocking on her door. "Young Kitty Tucker, you're too late to get your supper." He pa said in a firm voice. "Supper's over and Miss Mary wants to know if she could fix you something."
Despite herself, kitty giggled. "Pa, don't you dare start singing that song again!"
He cleared his throat. "Supper's over and dinner's cookin', Mary wants to know if you'll stand there lookin'!"
Kitty jumped up, smoothed out her dress, and then threw open the door. "Pa, I give up!" she laughed. "Please, no more caterwaulin'!"
Jackson smiled at his daughter. "Miss Sara told me what happened. You have no blame. Bubba should count himself lucky that I wasn't there to hear what he said to you!" He flexed his large hands. "He's man size, and my fists are a lot bigger and harder then yours. It would have been a pure pleasure to pound some manners into that empty head!" he sighed. "Why did you run out like that?"
"Pa, I told you. I'm all grown!" she sighed. "I, I think I would have liked learnin' some reading, but exceptin' for Bubba, all the rest of them students was just young'uns!"
"Honey, please give it another chance!" he smiled. "I want my darlin' to have the benefits of a fine education! Don't let the words of one dang fool keep you from learning to read."