PLEASE READ: This is a story I was writing a few years ago for another fandom. I lost interest in the characters and the story was abandoned. However I have found new inspiration recently and thought it would work with Clexa. Please let me know what you think and if I should continue.
A short round man sat behind the desk located in a room at the back of the bank. The Sheriff and his Deputy sat on the opposite side looking disinterested.
They had just delivered the last known belongings of several men who had passed away during the week. There wasn't much to the lot, a few pistols, some letters and a property deed. The deceased men had not lived a rich life.
The bank employee pulled a handkerchief from his breast pocket and dabbed the sweat from his almost bald head.
"Ah, here we are" He pulled a yellowing piece of paper from the brown leather case he had been flipping though.
"Well now, that's a shame, this man didn't have any boys to pass it onto." He looked up to the officers across from him and found the Deputy had fallen asleep. The Sheriff lifted his head quickly, so not to be caught napping himself.
"Be a blessin' not to pass it on I say, I've heard nothin' but bad news about that land. It's probably the reason he didn't have any family and ended up dying with nothin' to his name." The Sheriff stood and nudge his Deputy awake.
"Well, if there's nothing left for us to do here..."
The banker held up his chubby finger making the law men pause.
"No no, I said the man didn't have any sons to pass anything onto but he does appear to have a living female beneficiary."
The Sheriff rubbed the stubble on his chin and pursed his lips in annoyance. Through the bars on the window he could hear the piano in the bar down the street which meant he was missing out on the first show for the afternoon.
"But this is land, surely no girl will be takin' over the deed?"
The fat man furrowed his brow disapprovingly as he signed some papers.
"This is 1862 Sheriff, plenty of women own land and stores!"
As the Sheriff watched the other man fixing papers into a large envelope he considered pushing him over and rolling him down the nearest hill. All he wanted to do was enjoy the afternoon but was sure by the time he got to the bar all the cold beer would be gone.
"They might own it but I doubt they have an idea in hell what to do with it." He ignored the bankers exasperated expression. "Jus' give me the name so I can send my message boy and get the hell outta here."
The banker handed over the envelope, then dipped his pen in the inkwell. He read aloud as he wrote.
"Miss Alexandria Woods, Grounders Canyon."
"Miss Alexandria Woods?" A young man asked as he stood on the verandah of the Queen of Hearts Saloon. He looked a little nervous as the group of men he'd approached started to laugh.
"Here boy, I don't like your chances with her, no matter how pretty you are." A dark haired man said before they started off on another round of laughs.
The messenger held back a look of distaste as he tried not stare at the yellow teeth, unkempt beards and unwashed clothes of the men in front of him.
I do not get paid well enough for this, he thought to himself. This was the fourth place he'd been sent to looking for this woman and was starting to think she didn't exist at all and the whole town had him on a wild goose chase.
"Please Sir, I'm looking for Miss Woods, I have a delivery for her from Polis City. It's with regards to a Mr. Titus."
This seemed to have made them pay attention, the dark haired man's smile was gone and replaced with a more serious expression. He gave a small whistle and nod of his head to the man sitting next to him, who immediately stood up and disappeared inside. The messenger adjusted his collar and spent the next few minutes avoiding eye contact with the men now looking him up and down.
He heard footsteps from inside getting closer and straightened his posture in preparation for his delivery.
"Lexa honey, you ain't leavin' before paying me a visit are you?" A female's voice carried over the doors.
"Oh no darlin' you go on up and get that bed warm, I'll see you soon". A few whistles and calls were made as the swing doors opened.
The messenger opened his mouth to speak but quickly closed it as his mind went blank. Standing in front of him was one of the most attractive woman he'd ever seen. Her skin was tanned and smooth and her features were softly defined.
"Ah..." He muttered out as his brain slowly caught up.
Her bright green eyes squinted for a moment as she silently sized him up. He was a little surprised to see that instead of a dress she wore brown leather pants that were held up by suspenders over a white singlet. It was essentially men's clothing but its tight fit on her body made it feminine and only seemed to make her even more stunning.
A gust of wind flew by blowing her long brown hair to one side as a few small braids fell to her back.
"Coffee..." The younger man said almost wistfully.
The woman glanced to the group of men with a questioning look but they only answered with a shrug.
"You won't find any coffee in this place." The woman said gesturing into the bar behind her.
The messenger blinked in surprise not realising he had spoken out loud.
"Oh, no, your hair, the colour...it reminds me of coffee." He offered a smile to which she frowned.
"I like coffee." He blurted out trying to seem less awkward and the men sitting nearby chuckled.
The woman now looked totally confused.
"Look, are you asking for me or not? Because I'm kinda in the middle of something here."
"Oh yes!" He held up the large envelope in his hand. "Miss Alexandria Woods?" He asked.
She let out a impatient sigh "Yesss."
"I'm sorry to inform you that Titus McCoster has passed away in this month, on the 16th day. These are his last belongings which are now in all legal matters your property. The Sheriff of Polis City sends his condolences."
Lexa stared at the envelope and after a moment shook her head.
"I don't want it, whatever is in there take it back." She said quietly.
He hadn't expected this, almost everyone he had delivered to always snatched the envelope and greedily tore it open.
"I'm sorry Miss but you must take it, it would be against the law for me to leave without delivering it to you." He mistook her hesitation for grief.
She continued to stare at the envelope as one of the men from the outside table walked over and stood beside her.
"You want me to take it?" He asked with a surprising gentleness.
Lexa remained quite as she nodded.
The bearded man reached for the envelope and put it under his arm. He dug into his pocket and flipped a coin into the messengers hand.
"Oh no, that's not necessary." He said looking up but they had already gone inside, the sound of the saloon doors banging behind them.
The Reverend took his hat off and waved it over his face, it was hot days like this, standing in the blinding sun, he truly despised his high collar and black suit. He placed it back on his head and opened a small leather bible to a book marked page.
"Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust ". He sprinkled a hand full of dirt into the open grave he stood over.
After a few moments of silence he turned to the cemetery keeper.
"I don't think anyone is joining us for this today, finish up and come get some water from the chapel when you're done." He smiled and walked off.
They greying man began shovelling dirt into the grave. Above it, the tombstone read: Titus McCoster 1804-1862. After the grave was filled up the old man wiped the sweat off his brow and turned to leave. As he walked past on older grave he lifted his hat in respect. It's header was made from wood and the letters were faded with age but could still be read: Anya McCoster 1806-1841.
"Lexy come in here and sit down."
Lexa Woods did what she was told, for once. The room she entered was home to the Queen of Hearts Saloon owner, Aileen Pierre.
Oversized furnishings littered the room, a large sunken lounge rested under the far window and matched the deep red colour scheme of the rest of the room. Puffy drapes covered dusty windows that held no real interest unless you wanted to watch people walk the street below.
A bed piled with pillows hid behind a folding blind that depicted a silhouette image of the Eiffel Tower. The room reflected its resident perfectly, larger than life and fake French. Lexa was sure Pierre was not Aileen's real last name. Lexa plonked herself on the lounge and was instantly hit with the smell of tobacco as the fabric sighed and nestled around her.
"I hate this chair." She said as she picked at a loose thread on the arm rest.
Aileen was applying her make up in a small mirror to the side and focused her green eyes on Lexa's reflection.
"You sleep on it enough, you'd think you loved the thing." She turned back to herself and begun coiling her bright red hair into ringlets, they sprung to life and bounced around her face and tumbled onto her shoulders.
"Only when I have nowhere else to go." Lexa folded her arms and Aileen paused her application of eye liner.
"You mean when you're in trouble, which is often enough that I should start charging you rent!" The red head stood back and praised her herself in the mirror, adjusting her bosoms so high in her corset that one good squeeze would have them popping out. Satisfied with her appearance she turned to the younger woman.
"Now tell me what's really botherin' you." Her voice was gentle now as she made her way to sit on the lounge. Aileen was forty three but without make up looked older. Her pale skin was dotted with light orange freckles and her dresses always seemed to be almost busting open by her plump figure.
As she sat Lexa was hit with another smell but this one was not unpleasant, it was Aileen's perfume and it reminded her of when she was younger. Lexa handed her the envelope she had just received outside.
"Messenger from Polis City just delivered this to me."
Aileen turned it over in her hands.
"You haven't opened it?"
Lexa shook her head. "It's Titus's last possessions, he's dead."
Most people would have worried at the lack of emotion in the brunettes voice but Aileen knew Lexa well enough to know the less she seemed to care, the more she actually did.
"Would you like me to open it?" She offered.
Lexa shrugged and veined disinterest.
The redhead pulled a small bone handled knife from her boot and ran it across the envelopes seal. Lexa could hear the rustling of paper and the quite smacking of the other woman's lips as she read over the document in silence. After a few minutes Aileen placed the paper on her lap and turned to Lexa.
"Well now Miss Alexandria Woods you seem to be the new owner of a decent amount of land in Polis City."
Lexa blinked a few times in confusion "Land?"
Aileen briefly looked over the paper again. "Yes honey, the Tree Crew Ranch to be exact."
"That can't be right." Lexa's eyes went wide as she grabbed the paper and stood up, reading it over as she paced to the window.
"That bastard." She said to herself after reading it over for the third time.
Aileen stood beside her and pushed back the hair that had fallen over Lexa's face. She knew the subject of the younger woman's past was a very difficult topic and one that had rarely been discussed. Even over the course of almost ten years of knowing Lexa, she barely knew a thing besides her last name.
"I've known a lot of those in my time but none of them ever gave me my own ranch." She smiled softly as Lexa looked up.
"You can't give something you never owned." Lexa's tone was ice cold.
"Lexy, tell me what's going on. How can I help?" Aileen had heard that tone to many times and knew it led to nothing but destructive behaviour from the younger woman.
Lexa walked back to the lounge and slipped the paper back into the envelope.
"I'm going to Polis City."
Aileen sighed as she watched Lexa's movements. "When?"
Lexa stood with her hand on the door handle and facing away from the other woman.
"Today? But it's over a weeks ride away!" Aileen was surprised at the sudden decision that had been made.
"With good weather I should make it in six days." Lexa still faced the door.
"Lexa Woods you turn around and look at me." The redhead took a step closer.
Lexa's shoulders slumped a little as her hand fell from the door knob and she turned to Aileen.
"Al, I have to go, I can't explain but can you please trust me. I just have to go." Her voice was husky as she tried to convey the importance of what she was doing while keeping her emotions in check.
Aileen could see the sadness in her eyes and the desperation in her voice. She pulled Lexa into a hug and smoothed her hand over the younger woman's long hair.
"How long will you be gone?"
Lexa shrugged. "I really don't know."
"Will you take the boys with you?" Tears were filling the redheads eyes now, as she gripped the closest person she'd ever had to a daughter tightly.
"No, if Polis City is anything like I remember I'll be spending most of my time trying to keep them out of jail." Lexa said with a sad smile.
Aileen nodded in agreement as she pulled back from the hug.
"You're going to break everyone's hearts, you know that."
Lexa looked to the ground and quickly wiped away the tears that had defiantly made their way onto her cheeks.
"You're acting as if I'm never coming back." She looked at the older woman. "You know I can't stay away from this place for to long." It was evident to both women she wasn't only talking about the Saloon.
"Well," Aileen stood back and wiped at her eyes "At least my lounge will get a well deserved break."
Lexa rolled her eyes and opened the door. "I'm going to gather some of my things and I'll be leaving within the hour, will you be down?". She said the last part hopefully.
"Of course I will be...Lexa, you need to tell Costia what's going on, I wasn't kidding when I said hearts were going to break."
Lexa sighed. "Stop talking like you'll never see me again Al...and I know, I'll see Costia before I leave, of course." She turned and left, closing the door behind her.
Aileen looked after her. "Goodbye Lexy, you're going to find what you've been looking for out there, I just know it."