.

.

Mattie didn't understand who those two were, and something about them didn't seem right at all, but now that they are gone, she decided to brush it off to the side for now, and walked right back into the boarding home, where she ascended the stairs and found herself back inside the comfort of her own room.

She sighed aloud, dropping herself backwards onto the lumpy mattress that brought a lot of strain to her back.

...everything went silent for as long as she could remember, until an unfamiliar knock pounded hard at her door. Right at that moment, Mattie jumped up and landed to her feet.

Her heart raced, and her eyes wondered. She swallowed and went toward the door, slowly. "Whom is it?"she asked the stranger outside her door, with both hands against the cool wood, getting closer until the tip of her nose was touching also.

No reply came back.

"Hello?"she said aloud once more, before giving up, after she gotten nothing but silence again in response. Mattie backed away slowly, and cleared her scratchy throat.

She had a feeling who ever it was, was still there, but she hadn't heard anymore pounding, and decided that maybe they were gone. Mattie shook her head, and furrowed her brows in confusion.

But then again, at the last moment, a softer much quieter knock at her door. Mattie rushed to the door again, and opened it with a turn of the rusted knob.

She had swallowed everything after seeing who it was before her, covered in dirt and strange colored bruises all over, where pale skin was visible. "Miss?"Mattie bent down upon her knees, and helped the fallen woman up. She was too weak to even help herself.

"I-I...thank-you."hearing a few stuttered words from the older woman, she tucked her small hands underneath the woman's underarms, and drug her carefully into the room, then shut the door.

XX

Mattie couldn't believe who it was.

It was that lovely woman, that wealthy woman, whom she had seen only a few minutes ago with a handsome man by the name of Leon Rueben. Mattie looked into those scared blue eyes of hers, and pulled her up, with all the strength and muscle she had, helping her toward the bed.

Seconds later while on the bed, the woman moved her head back and forth a few times, and shut those eyes, when Mattie walked forward, over to her side, and put a cool cloth over her face, from in the washroom she had gotten it.

She didn't look too injured but not too healthy either.

Mattie had found while running the cold cloth across her face, a swollen pair of deep blue bruises beneath each eye, and a gentle brown one over the base of her chin, with some drying blood dripped free from her nose.

Mattie didn't get it. Who in their right mind would dare hurt a lovely woman such as herself and why?

XXX
XXX

An hour had passed, and the day was getting very cool.

Leaving the woman's bedside, Mattie went over to the far side of the room and shut the window, fighting with the wind-wrinkled curtains and matching valance, trying to smooth them out.

X

The woman swallowed, and raised her head up slowly.

"I loved him...I-I loved him!"she opened her pair of chapped lips and shouted aloud, catching Mattie's attention.

She clung closely to her side, but not too close, and brushed the cloth over her face once more. "Stop!"she raised her voice in an instant, and that wet rag went flying after she had slapped the young girl across the face, with the beat-up backside of her hand.

Mattie fought back those hot tears, and turned to look back at the angered woman, who was found kicking desperately at the blankets.

"Who is that man, miss, tell me?"Mattie was brave enough to lean over the bed, and give the woman her full attention, realizing how sad and terrified she was.

.

.

She coughed, and dropped her body back down onto the bed. Her eyes stared up at the ceiling, and she coughed again.

"My husband..."she cried hard, lips quivering, and turned over to her wounded side, crying more in pain.

Mattie looked away, and thought about getting Doctor Morgan, at the far-end side of town, but she hated to leave her alone, and decided to comfort her with a soft caress across one of her arms, in which a sleeve had been torn free, with more bruises and even teeth marks found on the skin.

"Oh my...ma'am, who is your husband?"she stopped rubbing and let that hand fall to her side, still leaning over the bed, a serious tone and expression glued over her face, but the woman refused to answer.

The blonde woman closed her eyes, and used her hand to wipe away the stinging tears. "Leon Rueben...she had given up on not answering this girl's important questions, and gave in.

Mattie stopped asking more after that, and found herself backed into a far corner of the room, shocked and trembling like crazy.

She wanted to cry.

But she knew it wasn't the right time to show any sign of weakness, and she was showing more weakness than she could, slowly falling down the cold wall, and meeting the floor boards with her rear end.

Mattie felt terrible for this woman.

XXX

So fighting away all the bad emotions and feelings, thoughts etc, Mattie rose tall to the dirty soles of her boots, and marched toward the bed, meeting the swollen eyes of the fearful woman.

"Everything is going to be fine, I promise."Mattie stated, extending a hand and bringing it to the woman's where she grabbed it tightly, and nodded. The woman shut her eyes, and gripped hard to Mattie's own hand with much power and before long, Mattie had found her dozing off.

Mattie knew what could happen if a wounded person falls in sleep. They could never wake up again and fall into a colma, if had any blows to the head. And this woman looked like she could maybe had a hard hitting with something strong or fallen down a flight of stairs.

"No, no. You can't sleep just yet. Please stay awake."Mattie pushed her with a strong, quiet voice, leaning in closer until she was laying on the bed with her, still not close enough to touch.

The woman released Mattie's hand and blinked a few times before sitting up the best she could.

"How do-do I know I could trust someone like yourself?"she looked at her awfully hard, each hand cradled in her lap, over the dirty material of her once blue victorian dress.

Mattie swallowed and turned to stare tired-eyed at the window and the patterned curtains.

"I know a couple of good men who are great at this kinda' stuff, ma'am, and they won't let you down."she shot her brown eyes back at the startled woman, and smiled.

The woman looked down as if guilty of something.

Mattie worried, and let her left hand grope her shoulder. She looked back up slowly, and smiled half-way. "My name is Mary Annabelle, and your Mattie Ross?"she pointed a weak finger her way, and Mattie nodded in agreement.

"Yes ma'am."

XXX XXX

XXX XXX

E/N: I feel like this story is turning into something else...eh, who cares anyway:D...Rooster Cogburn and Mr. Laboeuf will make an appearence in the next upcoming chapter. Enjoy!