XX XX

It was night time in the town of Dardanelle.

The empty streets glowing in the light of sparkling summer fireflies. Each moving in the same direction of the cool blowing wind.

XX

Mattie Ross had only been asleep for fifteen minutes or so, until being woken up by the ruckus of mixed instruments playing aloud right outside her window, of the Main Hotel.

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, with her one hand, and pushed aside the covers that wrapped around her petite form, sneaking those long legs of hers from off the feather mattress and felt a rush of cold air crawl up her spine slowly when the flats of feet hit the cool surface below.

Mattie hadn't forgotten about her candle, but from the burning light from outside shining brightly through her window, creating funny looking shadows on the walls, she knew she didn't need that any longer, peering out and down the window.

After her first look upon the world outside the window, she didn't quite see a thing besides the light gleaming in her eyes, but sneaking her body further out the window, she caught something at the side of eye.

It wasn't anything at all that seemed to be causing all that friendly, joyful music. It was more of a man by the looks of it.

Mattie leaned back into the room, stepping off her tip-toes and feeling the once cold feeling run up her spine a second time.

Her mind began to flow with mixed emotions, mixed feelings she had lost almost all concentration.

She knew it was wrong to sneak from her comfort zone after seeing a strange man right outside her window, but something about it pressured her to go on, and she did.

.

.

After decending the creaking steps, in the most quietest creep she could ever execute with her tiny feet, with a flickering candle in her hand, she patted the thin fabric of her nightgown down, after setting the candle down, the man outside was gone, when she raised her head up high to take a look outside the front window, ignoring the flapping patterned curtain in the slight breeze.

She felt her beating heart thump wild!

.

.

She was probably a bit naive and silly for doing this. Trying to keep in mind that the man or lady right outside could be a probable pervert. Or even some inebriated middle aged fool waiting to strike young Mattie Ross.

It gave her the chills just imagining it that open-mindedly, but the strange feeling swept off her shoulders right then, after hearing the joyful playing of instruments climb inside her ears once before. It brought back memories. Happy ones of her and papa' Ross.

He was always a great fiddle player and even a swell banjo player at the most. Papa' Ross was always a talented man, and wished nothing more but to up his dreams, and do whatever it was he had his heart set on. And that one thing to do was play music.

Papa' Ross had almost welcomed his dream, nearly starting his own band. They were all amazing players, well until one of them, by the name of Smitty Johnston of Fort Smith had gotten thrown behind bars for molesting his own daughter, Maggie Johnston. It was terrible to see Papa's dream end up that way, and Smitty and Papa were the closest friends of all. Both covered in filth, missing teeth, but also excellent players. No doubt about that.

XX

Mattie smiled softly, and wondered off into the joyful tunes of the music.

Finding herself slowly devoured by it's powerful redneck, country sounds, she was right in the middle of it. A large crowd surrounded a large campfire right along side the Main Hotel, and the few players that played.

It was a wonderful sight.

Everyone was having a great time. Moving around, mostly all inebriated off their rears, and some being little smoochy romantics, sitting right along the wall of the hotel. It brought a big smile to her face, and glistening sparkles to her eyes that stared deep at the band, whom danced around like baphoons, on the other side of the sparking fire.

There was a banjo player, a hermonica player of course, the whiskey-bottle blower, and then lastly, the fiddle player who was as old as the fiddle itself, but played as well as Papa, and sang some drunken jumbled up words, that made everyone around them as happy as him.

It was great, even staying for a short-period of time, before hopefully crawling back into bed. Still, it wasn't what she got.

XXX

A heavy hand groped the ball of her shoulder, beneath the thin material, and she spung around, swinging the candle's flame while doing so.

The girl swallowed, the music in the mere background suddenly fading as she stared the Texas Ranger in the face. His head was cocked slightly to the left, part of his hat falling over his eyes, creating a mysterious shadow to appear upon his handsome face.

Mattie couldn't speak.

Ranger stared at her confused as much as she was, with his brows furrowed. "Well Ms. Ross, what is a young little think such as yourself still doin' 'round these parts? Thought you had better things to do with the rest of yer' life after all three's of us separated?"he added into the cricketing chirps far in the distance, catching Mattie by suprise.

She coughed, and smiled but hardly.

"Why must you ask such a strange question, Mr. Laboeuf? You mus'nt worry 'bout me, afterall, I am only sixteen of age and you whom is only thirty six thirty seven by now, hm?"she did make a great point, and he shouldn't have no reason to wonder about her. But she was a beautiful young lady, even those years back did she look as lovely as ever tonight.

He aimed his snickering face downwards, and his fingers wrapped tightly around his bandoiler. "Such a young girl as yourself shouldn't be out and 'bout this late at night. I will take you to yer' room, Ms. Ross."he told her in such a hurry, taking the candle from her hand, and guiding it over their way.

Mattie's smile disappeard and she growled at Mr. Laboeuf, before putting a tight squeeze on his forearm.

The Ranger stopped, and those spurs of his finally silenced.

He looked down upon her, gazing over at her same deep brunette braids, one draped over each shoulder.

"I do not need your help Mr. Laboeuf and I would greatly appreciate it if you would kindly leave."she nearly said to him in a scolding tone, those fingers around his forearm grabbing tighter. But the thickness and muscle of his arm was preventing that.

He wriggled his nose a few times just to end the forever tickling of his mustache below, scuffing his boot with eyes gazing down upon them.

He brought his eyes back up, and kept them on that little girl for quite sometime.

"Marshal Cogborn is in town. Thought you would care to speak with him?"those fingers wrapped around his bandoiler moved and fallen into the pockets of his fringe coat, with her eyes right on him.

She felt her nose cringe and couldn't think of a reason why.

"Maybe I will see him in the morning? Will you tell him that, Mr. Laboeuf?"she had asked the Ranger standing before her, her eyes shining with new arrived tears, swelling up in the pink corners.

.

.

Mr. Laboeuf nodded hesitantly, before tipping his hat to Mattie in the most kind gesture and turning to leave, back to the midnight throw-down.

She just couldn't stand to see him leave already. Mattie was starting to think that it was her fault for making him leave and it was.

But people would think something of her.

All she could do now was watch him leave, and creep silently into the hotel, back up those creaky steps and crawl back up into bed, wrapped, comforted, by the handsewn quilts, drifting away into the joyful sound of the music playing right outside her window.

E/N: This will be a maybe Three-shot...I hope it was a great chapter:D and more will be heading this way.