::

Days had come and gone.

Gone without a word.

XX

Marshall Cogburn had won the poker game, and earned his well played money and it was just enough money for him to get a room in the hotel. But for some odd reason, he didn't. Mattie herself didn't understand that at all after realizing that Cogburn was still living in the back of the Chinese Market.

.

.

.

As new morning had appeared over the horizon, the sun had shined like never before. It wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cool. It was perfect and the rays beaming downwards on Yell County caused the dirt road to glisten gold.

"Marshall Cogburn, I think you may be makin' a big mistake with those there bottles."Mattie let out words of positive advice, standing before him, as he lay comfortably and also very inebriated in his bed, with the curry powders and ducks, so many beer bottles lining around him, Mattie had to be careful where she stepped.

He didn't bother to listen. He burped loudly, with his eye closed and lip curved into a sly smirk. "Sister, this what I'm good at."he replied, with a fourth bottle gripped tightly by the neck in a rough, dry hand, and lips sucking around the mouth of the wet glass feverishly.

Mattie swallowed, wondering how the glazed, swishing, liquid in that bottle in his hand, must've tasted like. It must taste good if Rooster was drinking so many of them, but then again, he was much older, and didn't mind what anything tasted like. Soon after standing there, watching him so quietly slurp down those clear bottles of brown liquor, Mattie was wanting to have a taste.

::
::

A minute after finding her eyes on him, Rooster turned his head slowly with a cock, and squinted, letting the bottle slip from his moist lips, some excess booze drizzling down his chin, into his beard.

His mouth hung open, and his brow furrowed.

"What is it girl?"he jerked his arm upwards, and swipped it over his lips, in a rather swift motion, and layed it back limp on his belly, raising the empty bottle high in his hand.

Mattie turned downwards, and smiled.

Rooster smiled back, but most of it was caused by the alcohol injected into his system. "You wanna' try?"he arched his bushed brow high, and attempted to get his feet on the floor, but failed a few times before actually being successful.

Mattie snickered a bit after watching him struggle to get to his feet, and nodded. "Only a sip, please."she responded careful and quietly, as if she was nervious, like it being her first time of doing something so bad. Rooster nodded to her response, and burped once again, before standing up uncoordinated before her small form, and handing her a half-empty bottle brought up from the spot behind his boot.

"Here sister."he remarked, forcing it into her hand, as his larger hands overcame hers, wrapped tightly around the glass body.

XX

Mattie looked at their hands so closely together and pulled away instantaneously, eyes dialated, and palm sweaty after three seconds.

She just couldn't quite understand where this was going, and wasn't going to stay and find out.

"I must depart, Marshall."Mattie didn't bother to look at the older man while talking, but with her back facing him instead. She was too nervious, and her emotions were running all over in an insane frenzy inside of her head.

Rooster didn't say a word.

He leaned downwards, putting a bit of strain on his back and calf muscles, put the bottle back down on the floor where it was before, with the other empty bottles behind his boots, and quickly extended a hand, wrapping his fingers forcefully around the flesh of her arm.

Mattie's eyes bulged, and her face heated up as wild and as crazy as the burning heat outside, before being turned around on her heels, and facing the old fellow again.

.

.

She swallowed softly as she could, and stared at him the same as she was being stared at by the Marshall.

Wanting to speak to the child before she fled, the pinched fingers dug into her skin released slowly, and he found her eyes once again.

"You becareful sister. Ya' here?"he told her in somewhat of a scold, with a deep growl in the back of his throat, before Mattie nodded slowly and left. But she had found herself stopping again:

She stepped forward, one step at a time, and raised her hand up so very, very careful and shakey, letting it melt perfectly into the warm skin of Rooster's furry face, with a smile after he let her in, and put his own massive hand over hers.

Just being this close, this intimate with Marshall Cogburn made her want to fall down and cry. She knew it wasn't a forever 'Goodbye'. They both knew they will meet up again, but whatever this was, it was so real.

XXX
XXX

-finally leaving, her palm as warm as the skin on Rooster's face, she stepped outside, out into the warm, sweltering heat that was held high, taunting the folk of Dardanelle with it's intense rays that burned the skin of some.

-and now that the day was turning quickly to midday, the temperature was changing with it, but a bit more than the day itself, if you were smart enough to realize.

.

.

Turning into the Main Hotel, she ran into Ms. Louise, with a friendly smile and tight unbareable embrace with those stubby arms of hers.

"Oh hello Ms. Ross, I have gotten somethin' fer' you."the older woman shined so brightly, the smile over those rosey lips went literally from ear to ear, in a cracky reply, she rushed for the kitchen, disappearing from sight.

Mattie looked around the corner, where she stood before the staircase, her hand clinging to the wall, in confusion.

XX

XX

Before she turned back around, she was bumped by a young fellow.

He wasn't exactly her age. In his twenties just by the look of his outfit and those crazy wind blown golden brown curls he possessed.

"Pardon me, Miss."

he gave her a sweet smile, with a tip of his hat and those hypnotic blue eyes of his stealing away her only reason for standing there, right before him, without a smile, like his that greeted her.

She was totally lost for words.

E/N: Hm? I hope he turns out sweet;D and like so many enjoy Rooster/Mattie, I had to add a small, close interaction between the two. Yes Laboeuf wasn't in this one...your going to have to find out about Laboeuf and the new man!:D So excited!

Part 2 that is coming, will be a bit sad.

Relationships might be broken, but will soon heal like before...affairs, romantic bubble baths:D JK...but maybe...stay reading! I love you ALL!