GUNS AND ROSES
Billy The Kid (Part 2)
That night back in his cabin on Lake Paradise, Billy reviewed the events of the day, got to thinking about how it had been a good week except for the Wall Street absentee owner who stiffed him for the work he had done on his cottage.
Up in the North Country you didn't mess with workers if you ever wanted to get one to work for you again.
Word of mouth traveled fast and whether it was karma or cold hard realty, crime didn't pay.
But enough of that he thought, now I just want to lay back and think about Annie.
Thinking about their earlier chance encounter cheered him up considerably.
He had to chuckle to himself as he thought about her first walking into the Dixie Saloon.
Sure, he'd noticed her, who wouldn't. She had even looked kind of familiar.
At first he thought she had to be a summer resident. She was far too classy to be a "fudgie" tourist up from the big city on a fling with fellow workers.
He'd seen the bartender point him out with his chin and the woman looking over at him.
"Hmmm, maybe he's lining me up another job," he said to the woman who brought his salad and buffalo burger stuffed in a big baked potato.
When the bartender brought over another beer and told him it had come compliments of the pretty lady, he looked her way tipped his hat and raised his beer.
When Annie walked over and asked if she could sit down, her baby blues rushed to meet his. He felt as if he was being swept away by a tidal wave.
"Sure have a seat," he'd told her, "thanks for the drink."
When she laid her father's business card down on the table it dawned on him why she'd looked so familiar.
It was HER dad that "adopted" him as a young man--shown him the ropes about being a guide--taught him the outfitter skills he'd made use of all these years.
"Your dad and I used to hunt. What a great guy. How is he?"
"When Annie told him her father was gone, it felt like a hundred pound block was placed on his chest.
"Sorry to hear that. He was a good man and a great friend."
"You've got to be little Annie. I can't believe it! What a beautiful woman you've grown into. What happened to your freckles? Do you still shoot like you used to, like Little Annie Oakley?"
She was getting as big a kick out of all this as he was. There was so much to say they ran all over top of each others words.
Soon she started telling him about the Artesian well and re-building the front door--then all the other projects she had in mind.
He thought, her dad would have been proud. She obviously loved the place.
"Do you think you could help Billy?"
"Of course I'll help Annie. I have some pipe at my place and I think I know exactly where you need to tap the water although it's been some time since I've been out to the old place."
"Great, what about the door?"
"Historic Mill Creek ought to stock enough black walnut for the door. With the right tools and any luck, I should be able to complete the job in a couple days."
Had it really been a decade since he'd been there last? He thought to himself, it was like no time had passed at all.
And yes, Annie had become a beautiful woman. He felt like an old goat for noticing, but he couldn't help himself.
When it was time to go, he'd offered to drive her back out to her cabin.
Helping her in to his truck he had to duck under a hanging cedar branch that brought his face close to hers.
Succumbing to impulse, he'd leaned down and kissed her. The way she responded was as much of a surprise as Annie herself had been.
Clutching his red plaid wool jacket, she drew him close.
Their kiss became increasingly deeper and filled with passion
and their hands with a speed that was remarkable, traveled all over each other.
Without even consciously realizing it, his hand slipped up under her sweater and he rubbed his thumb over her bare nipple. It seemed to be on fire--Annie's kiss become even more animated as did his.
Suddenly he'd broke it off and briskly, almost rudely, helped her get into the truck.
Actually, he was so aroused he didn't trust his own emotions;
he was feeling all hot and horny, and the bitch of it was, with his best buddy's daughter too boot.
His precious Annie who'd been like a little sister to him. God help him he thought. What have I become.
Afterwards, they drove back out to her cabin without a word.
He'd walked in with her but let her know he had to get back, that he couldn't stay long, that he'd take a quick look but would have to come back the next day.
Before leaving, he took a look at the metal door and shook his head sadly wondering how anyone could commit such a sacrilege by replacing the original with this piece of junk.
Walking over by the spring he checked it out and could see that tapping the artesian well and getting it into the cabin wouldn't be that difficult.
He tried to stay focused on the work that needed to be done but could feel her gaze--her looking at him quizzically--while he built the plan in his head.
Annie was grateful he was tending to business, but on the other hand, the look on her face asked why he'd stopped in the parking lot when he did.
Billy figured she had too much pride to come right out and ask.
Making a mental list of the things he'd needed, he told her that he'd be back in the morning to start work.
As he left, he looked into her eyes. Holding them for a moment, he wondered if Annie had any idea that he was once again drowning in them.
That night in his own cabin he slept fitfully. He woke up at 3:30 AM and decided to get up and get things together.
Going back to the tool shed, he got out his hand tools and loaded them into the back of his truck along with the drill steel, a couple of hammers and several lengths of pipe.
He patted the planks for the door. He'd lucked out. When he stopped at Mill Creek the night before, they had it in stock.
Tickled about that, he decided to re-build the door without using any power tools and gave a nod to the old ways of doing things knowing that Annie's ancestor must have built it that way long ago.
Eager to get started, he left his cabin long before daylight.
With one hand on his hot black coffee as he drove, he put his other hand in the pocket of his old leather jacket, a relic from his flying days. It was chilly and the heater was slow; frost had come early and was covering the fields already.
Billy got to Annie's cabin just as the sky was turning gray in the east. There were no lights on and no smoke coming from the stovepipe.
Shutting off his truck he went up to the door and stepped into the cabin--all without knocking--as was the "Latch-key" custom Billy and her dad had always observed.
In the dim light he could see her sleeping on the bed. He went over and quietly started a fire in the stove and put on some coffee.
He lit the lamp on the table and then it dawned on him why Annie was still asleep.
It WAS early, but there was an empty wine bottle lying on the table. It made him wondered if she got as lonesome as he did.
Looking around, he saw her boots on the floor, her socks thrown alongside.
Her jeans were in the middle of the floor and her sweater was tossed over a chair. He smiled and picked up her socks and tucked them into her boots, setting them by the bed.
Then Billy picked up her jeans and put them over the chair along with her panties and its matching bra. Raising his brows, he straightened the pile
As the light crept into the cabin, he could see Annie's hair fanned out over her pillow and
the sheet and blanket that had fallen off her during the night.
Soon in the dim blue light of dawn, he could make out her hips and realized she was naked.
He stood up next to the bed, and looked down at her.
She was so beautiful. Torn between touching her and walking away, he found he could do neither.
Instead, Billy reached down and brushed Annie's hair back from her face and pulled the sheet up over her shoulder.
The coffee was ready so he walked over and poured a cup and sat back down to watch her breathing with a small half smile forming on her lips.
He couldn't help but compare the woman, this beautiful sexy creature, with the little girl he'd known before who'd follow him around like a shadow as he helped her dad.
Annie was a natural when it came to shooting. He'd hung the name "Little Annie Oakley" on her the day she easily hit six bottles he'd set up for her to shoot. He smiled thinking about that and everything about her, the questions she'd ask about love and sex, romance and life.
Like he'd know.
He was only 20 back then. He didn't know much, but he'd always been honest with her and told her best he could.
True, Little Annie had a crush on him, which was evident. But he loved her like a little sister
and had always thought of her like.
Over the years he'd wondered what had become of her and her dad.
He'd left to find his adventures, and find them he did, but because of the early influence of Annie's father, he made sure he finished college and then became a pilot and fought in a couple wars.
Never quite settling down, he eventually left the service and
moved out east to work years in specialized fields. It paid well but didn't satisfy his soul.
He'd tried marriage once but that didn't work out so well so he'd decided to return to where his life had started.
Ironic wasn't it, he thought, that Annie would show up at the same time, in the same place apparently trying to rebuild her life as well.
He smiled in the dim light as she stirred in her sleep, curling up like a little girl again.
He wondered if she still asked as many questions as she used to and chuckled at the thought.
Annie stirred again putting her legs out straight; the sheet slid down to her waist, revealing her breasts.
In his imagination, Billy could feel her breasts so firm and supple, so warm in his hands as they kissed. At the same time he felt a little guilty about the stirring in his jeans.
He stood up, walked over and pulled the sheet up once again covering her in the soft light of morning.
Looking down he saw she was awake and watching him.
Their eyes met and with his finger, he once again brushed the hair from her face. "Good morning Annie." he said softly, "sleep well?"
Annie stretched. Again the sheet pulled off her breasts but she didn't seem to mind him looking.
He walked back over to the stove and poured her a cup of coffee. "I'm not sure how you like it," he said and set the cup down on the table.
He smiled at her and she smiled back, both of them aware of the double entendre.
"Nope you're sure not the same little girl I remember."
He pointed at the wine bottle lying on the table. "A one person party last night, huh?"
She moaned, "Yeah, my head hurts too!"
"We all have those now and then," he replied, "I'll go outside so that you can get some clothes on."
She looked at him for a moment and said, "You don't have to," then stood up.
At first Billy was stunned at her standing up in front of him stark naked. He wasn't sure if it was a dream come true or a hard problem he wasn't prepared to handle.
But suddenly he saw the look of horror on her face--her eyes looking past his towards the doorway.
Turning he saw a man with a ski mask standing by the door with a shotgun aimed straight at them.
Grabbing the pillow next to her to cover her body, she said, "What are you doing?"
"I'm here for a safe left with your dad when Hotel Ramona blew up."
"Don't remember a safe but there used to be a locked metal cash box that came from there, it said Club Manitou on the lid."
"That'd be a good bet. Get the box--bring it to me."
Telling him it had to be hidden in the cellar, he let her open the trap door and go down in the cellar to look for it.
Keeping the gun on Billy, he told him, "Your awful quiet there Cowboy. Are you her boyfriend?"
"No. I'm just here as a handyman, I walked in and found her like that. There's nothing going on between us."
"You look mighty familiar, were you working on the waterfront a few weeks ago?"
Billy recognized the guys voice and realized it belonged to the son of the guy who'd stiffed him, but he never let on.
"I've been working at several cottages around here . . . why the gun?"
"Never trusted anyone in these parts since those Mafia murders."
Billy knew what he was talking
about. The year 1968 was easy to recall, it was etched deep in the hearts and minds of many.
Assassins bullets ended the lives of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Underworld figures had been linked to both
The United States had put men on the moon but couldn't get their men out Viet Nam--a war that looked like it would never end.
And soon an unlikely Detroit family would be forever linked with it all.
For them, the lure of remote Northern Lake Michigan had sold them on what seemed like the ideal spot to get away from it all, but instead, soon after arriving for vacation, all six of their lives were tragically ended in their newly acquired cottage.
The crime was never solved and now after decades, it was still the subject of speculation and many a murder mystery.
Annie as a little girl used to overhear her dad and Billy sitting up late at night playing cards and exchanging theories on 'who done it' and if the mystery would ever be solved.
The suspect list included: a Mafia related hit-man, a patient who'd escaped from a mental asylum, a Detroit area serial killer, and a kid seen walking the beach about the same time the family had arrived.
Many families started locking their doors at night, and Annie now down in the dirt cellar scared half to death and unable to find the old metal lock box, wished that years ago her dad had ceased leaving their cabin door unlocked.
Seeing Annie coming back up empty handed, the intruder spun around and aimed his gun at her.
Billy's eyes turned cold, almost gray in an instant. Without missing a beat he stood up and placed himself between the gun and Annie.
The trembling barrel of the gun followed Billy's every move as he tried to reason with the armed masked man.
"Calm down. We'll find your box. Annie's dad no doubt hid it where it couldn't be easily found. Let me get a cup of coffee and I'll down and look, just leave her alone."
Picking up the coffee pot in his right hand, he started to pour himself a fresh cup of coffee.
Knowing that the man was wrapped as tight as a piano string, he was slow and deliberate in his movements.
He sipped at his coffee cup in his left hand while holding the pot in his right.
Sure that the gun was pointed at him instead of Annie, Billy stepped to the right and quickly flung the coffee pot in the intruders face.
The shotgun roared in the tight confines of the cabin.
In two steps he had the gun barrel in his hand and jerked it out of the crazed man's hands striking him in the belly with the butt of the shotgun, doubling him over and then shoving him outside, where he fell on his back in the dirt, his hands covering his face.
"You're lucky I didn't kill you." Billy said in an icy calm voice. "Tell your old man that if you or him or anyone else comes out here again I'll finish the job. If he thinks his "friends" can convince me, think again. He's not the only one with friends. Now get up and get out!"
The man scrambled to his feet and ran down the dirt road. Once he was sure he was long gone Billy came back inside.
"Annie, Are you ok?"
Her voice shaking she said, "Yes, are you?"
"Yeah, except now I have to make another pot of coffee."
Reaching down to pick up the empty pot he felt a numb spot on his arm.
"I think he nicked me with a pellet."
Pulling the snaps loose on his shirt he took it off. There were two small holes in his arm and another three in his side, down low.
Annie immediately grabbed a towel to stop the blood with tears in her eyes.
With his good hand, Billy reached up and brushed them away.
"It's nothing Annie, I've had plenty worse."
He picked up his blue denim shirt and draped it over her shoulders.
"Here, put this on or you'll freeze"
Shrugging she slipped into his shirt and snapped it and went to the stove to put water on to boil.
Somehow even in the middle all that had happened she still looked sexy as hell with her strawberry blonde hair a wry and cascading over the blue denim of his shirt.
His eyes traveled down her bare legs and on to her painted red toenails as he gathered what wits he had left to focus on what they had to do to survive.
"We may have to leave for a while, are you up for that?"
Annie looked at him and nodded, but told him to shush until she got the bleeding stopped.
Walking over with a bowl of hot water she pulled his tee shirt up and off over his head and dabbed at the blood with her towel.
"Undo your pants," she said.
Billy unbuckled his belt and then pulled at the buttons on his jeans letting them drop as his face turned red realizing she'd see he didn't wear underwear.
"Nice package you got there big boy," she said teasing him while continuing to soak up the blood she found coming from another graze on his hip.
"Billy it looks like all the pellets went through except two. One is just under the skin but the one in your arm is kind of deep. We really should get you to a doctor."
"No, I've got a good first aid kit in my truck. Our masked visitor may come back. If he does, I doubt he'll be alone. Get some clothes on Annie."
Billy took over getting the bleeding to stop as he watched her dropped his shirt on the bed and slip into clean clothes as if he wasn't even there.
For sure, he was only HALF THERE--dazed and smiling crookedly--he watched her dress.
Shock had set in. He wished they didn't have to leave--he was half tempted to UNDRESS her to try and make their nightmare go away--to get lost in each others bodies and escape to a better world.
As Annie put her things in a bag and ran a brush through her hair, Billy limped out to his truck, taking the shotgun with him.
Pulling the Browning out of the glove box he checked to make sure there was a round in the chamber and the safety was on and found the first aid kit.
He'd put the kit together with the help of a Special Forces Medic. It was enough to perform just about anything short of brain surgery. He opened it and took out some compresses and dressings.
Coming back into the cabin he handed the kit to Annie who took over dressing the holes in his arm.
She wrapped the bandages tightly and then taped the compresses to his side and hip and helped him walk back to the truck.
Throwing her things in the back of the truck she said, "I think I should drive."
"Okay Annie, head on over to the airport I've got a friend near there--a vet who's a personal friend--we both drove for UPS years ago. She'll help us. Her cards in my wallet. If I pass out get me to her, not the hospital, 'Meathead' and his friends could find us there."
"Okay Billy. Dig out your wallet if you can. Are you feeling dizzy? "
"I'm dizzy Annie, but I'm gonna be okay. Just drive and let me close my eyes and rest."
"What can I do to help you Billy?"
"Drive woman, drive--but come to think of it--you could try sweet talking me. That might keep me conscious."
"Okay Billy. Relax but don't go to sleep. We just found each other again old friend, were travelers in time getting another chance . . . you want me to sweet talk you? Would you be surprised to know I did that last night when I was having my party for one? I longed for you last night Billy. I pleasured myself and imagined you coming to my bed hungry, seeking relief, hoping somehow you'd feel my arms around you, wishing you'd stayed the night. I wanted you baby, in my bed, eating crackers and cheese sharing my bottle of wine. I talked to you, told you I wanted to love you, body and soul for as long as you wanted me."
"Oh Annie, you're just saying that to keep me awake. . . ."
"It's true Billy, but be quiet, don't make this any harder for me than it already is or I'll deny it all tomorrow when we're safe."
"Oh Annie, lie to me, tell me when we get out of this alive, you'll give me one night to hold you, love you, feel you. I need you to love me, take me away this sad and lonely world, then I can die happy my darling sweet girl."
"Oh Billy, you have no idea how many times through the years I'v dreamed of seeing your handsome gentle face again, your arms reaching out for me, making love to me, telling me you love me."
"I do Annie, I really do . . . I thought this morning when I looked down on you and saw you looking up at me, that maybe you were lying there in bed longing for me, I dared to hope you wanted me, as much as I wanted you, how I wanted to cherish you and keep you close, hug you and kiss you, make love to you."
"Oh Billy, If I could, I'd wave a magic wand, transport myself back ten years, find you, submit myself to you with no regrets, no inhibitions, love you like no one ever has."
"Annie, life is short and demands are long, we both made foolish promises long ago to others we had to keep. Always know, if I could've, I would've looked for you. I never stopped loving you, wanting to make your dreams come true, give you anything your heart desired, be your man, laugh with you, play with you, read books with you. Then when I WAS free, I figured I was too old for you, that you'd probably already found the love of your life."
"Oh Billy, you're hot in my eyes and certainly not to old for me. Know the thought of who you are . . . it comforts me . . . has helped me to survive on dark days, given me a place to go on lonely nights, a place where I'd feel you in my arms, dream of someday seeing you again."
"Annie, we need to make some new dreams one we can return to time and time again. Ones we can cherish, and always call our own. Let's not be so foolish this time--deny ourselves."
"Okay Billy, then let's pretend right now. I will pretend you are my lover, you can pretend your mine and that when the sun comes up we'll be in each others arms, safe and free, with no one after us."
"It sounds wonderful Annie, but we'd better stop and a get a burger at the Dixie Saloon. Num-nuts won't think to look for us there."
Going around to the passenger side, she put the pistol under his seat and helped him put on his shirt.
Chuckling as she tried to get his arm through the sleeve, he said, "Why bother, it looks a hell of a lot better on you."
Annie smiled at him and kissing him tenderly said, "Soon baby . . . soon."
To Be Continued Billy The Kid (Part 3)