Chapter 5

I wandered through the town quietly, my wool shawl wrapped snugly around my shoulders. I had my pants on under my skirts for extra warmth. It had snowed last night and the wet cold only agitated my nose and throat. Despite the discomfort, I was in a peaceful mood. I was leaving for the Indian Nation in two days and there was nothing to do but rest and gather supplies for the journey to the Plains tribe. They knew me well and would welcome me to stay with them for a few days.

The icy streets were barren; the congregation gathered in the church for Sunday service. I heard the soft strings of Amazing Grace coming from the white church house. Looking at the heavy double doors, I briefly I wondered if Cogburn attended… what a notion. Still, a person's opinion of a man says very little about the man himself; I've met murderers who were God-fearing men. They said their prayers every night and went to church on Sundays somehow convinced that they'd still be saved. In life one learns that it takes all types.

I myself never attended church nor do I plan on starting. The prayers and hymns most people memorized by heart were only pretty words and sweet music to me. I wasn't above any of it; I just wasn't a part of it. To most people church was a habit and growing up as I did it never became a habit for me. Besides, I don't think these people would welcome me to pray with them anyways. They were a queer kind of folk who stuck amongst themselves. Outsiders like myself weren't welcome.

I gently kicked a few frozen clods of dirt from my path as I made my way down the main street. No one was going to open up their shops until church let out so I minded my own business for a while and took in the scenery. Cogburn was nowhere in sight and I hoped he stayed behind in his little rope bed with his whiskey bottle.

Gathering up my heavy skirts in one hand, I climbed the stairs onto the porch of the tack and feed shop, sat down on the wooden bench next to the door and waited for the owner to come from the church house. The weather was beginning to turn bitter cold but I made no complaint. Once the bell tolled, the congregation began leaving the white building. A stout white haired man who I assumed was the owner of the shop moseyed up the stairs and fished in his pocket for his keys. He glanced down at me on the bench, his eyes straying to the hems of my pant legs that were poking out from under my skirts and then entered the shop. He did this in silence and total complacency. Knowing that I wasn't going to get any sort of a welcome, I followed him inside shortly.

We negotiated on a price for some supplies and it was little surprise that the man was hard on bargaining with unfamiliar faces. I suppose he figured that he could get away with pinching out a higher price for goods with the non-locals. However I was very familiar with this territory and others beyond it so I knew the prices and the worth of things. All in all I came out on top in the deal but it was hardly worth the argument it took to get there.

My next stop was to get a drink at the bar to warm me up and quell my increasing headache. Little did I know women weren't allowed in. Still, I paid it no mind and entered. After all I was not from these parts and things were done differently in different counties. A quick explanation on my part would set the men inside straight. Later I would regret my bold as brass decision. How did the old saying go?- when you go looking for trouble, you always find it.

AN: Hope you all enjoyed, things get a bit exciting in the next chapter! PLEASE REVIEW!