Denver wasn't really a "western" city, but it still had its fair share of saloons and cowboys and the type of people that would be associated with that culture. My family was part of that culture, my father being the owner or a fairly popular saloon. When I was younger we had traveled a bit throughout southern Colorado and Arizona, my mother and father loving the western culture more than the east coast culture. They finally decided that Denver was a good city to settle in for a while and made quite a living for the five of us including my older brothers.
It was a hot summer day and the people were enjoying the shade and cool drinks provided by our saloon. It was relatively quiet as people were enjoying their card games and other forms of gambling. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened until he walked in. I had been cleaning some tables when I saw him talk in. While it was extremely hot outside, this man looked too pale to just be exhausted from the heat. I watched as he sat down at the table next to me, sweat was covering his face and he looked out of breath.
"Is there anything I can get for you sir? Maybe a glass of water?" I asked as I straightened out my dress.
His eyes glanced in my direction, "Whiskey"
I bit my tongue as I wanted to argue and say he should have water instead, but my father always taught me to never argue with a costumer's order, so I simply nodded and walked away.
I returned with the glass and set it on the table, "Is there anything else I can get you? Maybe a cold towel to cool your face, you look like you've been in the heat for a while."
He didn't look at me this time, "No, no that's fine. I just need to sit before I head out again."
"Ok, well just let me know." I turned to walk away until I heard him cough a couple times. It sounded painful so I turned my head to get a second look. There was blood in his lips and his eyes were rolling back. His body turned limp and started to fall to the side. I quickly moved to his side and grabbed him before he completely fell over.
My brother, Ben, came over to me and helped me sit him back up. He was passed out by this point and breathing heavily, "We'll have to take him to your room."
"Why my room?" I protested.
"Because you have the bigger and better room and it's closer." He was right. My room was on the same floor of the saloon, while everyone else's where upstairs, and yes, I did have the bigger bed than my brother's did.
We carefully picked him up and carried him to my room. The man looked like a ghost, his skin white and cold, even though he was still covered in sweat.
"Stay here with him until he wakes up, I'm going to grab some towls and water."
I sat on the chair next to my bed and quietly watched the sleeping man. My brother returned with the water and towels but was just as quickly gone to return to work. It was just the two of us working today as the rest of the family was on the other side of Denver.
The sleeping man looked oddly familiar, like I had seen his photo somewhere. I couldn't quite remember, and I decided to shrug it off.
I can't remember how long it had been but I must have dozed off because I felt him slightly nudging my arm, "Hey, wake up."
"Hm…?" I opened my eyes to find him sitting up in my bed, "Oh, you're awake!"
"It would seem that I am? Could you get me more whiskey?"
I looked at the still full glass of water, "I'd prefer if you drank the water first, sir."
He sighed, "But then whiskey."
"Of course, sir." I got up and walked back to my brother.
"Well, he's awake. How long has it been?"
"Did you fall asleep too?" He raised an eye brow at me.
"It's not really that exciting watching someone sleep you know." I slightly pushed his arm.
"It's been about five hours, not too bad. He ask for anything?"
"Whiskey. He seems very…" I tried to find the right word for it, "needy of it."
Ben simply handed me the bottle, "Trust me, he'll want the whole thing."
I opened my wide in shock, "Ben, the whole damn bottle? Are you sure?"
"You know who he is?"
He nodded, "Now go."
I returned to the man in my room and sat back down, "My brother said to just give you the whole bottle…I hope that's alright."
A slight grin formed on his thin lips, "That is more than alright darling. So, tell me your name."
Him asking for my name took me by surprise, no one really cared about me or my name. All anyone ever wanted was their booze or money, "Um, It's Amaryllis Carlson."
He leaned over and grabbed my hand. He looked me in the eyes before kissing the top of it, "Beautiful name."
I felt a blush creep onto my cheeks, "Thank you, and your name, if I may be inclined to know it?"
"Holliday. John Holliday, but I prefer if you call me Doc."
It took a moment for the name to register in my mind, but it soon clicked. I knew he looked familiar. Doc Holliday was famous for his gambling, starting fights, and the few rumored killings, no one knowing if they were really true or not."
"You look surprised." He flat out stated.
"Oh, well, you are quite popular Mr. Holliday." I looked down to poorly attempt at hiding my blush.
"This is true."
There was a silence between us until I thought of something to say, "Is there anything else I can get you?"
"It depends on how long you're letting me stay in this bed." Another grin formed on his lips.
"That depends on how you're feeling."
"Oh quite ripe, but if you wouldn't mind I'd like to keep this whiskey with me."
"Well you're going to have to pay for it." I couldn't help but grin as well.
"Oh of course, tomorrow."
"What's to say you'll be back tomorrow?" I stood up and slightly moved the chair back to its normal place.
"Why Amaryllis, you don't trust me?" He got out of my bed and stood right in front of me.
"I, uh, well sir, I hardly know you, I can't trust you if I don't know you." I took a step back.
"Do you want to?"
I gulped, "Excuse me?"
"I could use a traveling partner. My last one, well…" He trailed off.
Of course, I had heard about his last partner. Her name was Kate, and it was reported in the paper a few weeks ago that she had threatened to kill him and was currently god knows where.
"You want me to travel with you? Sir, we just met and well, I can't just get up and leave." Running away from home wasn't really something I had ever planned on doing.
"Well I'm heading to Tombstone in a few days here, and I imagine your company would be pleasant."
"What if I agree? What if after I agree I turn around and steal everything from you? What if I'm not what I seem?" I tried arguing.
"Oh I already know you're not what you seem."
"You work in a saloon, you wouldn't call yourself a perfect lady, but you still have class, I can see in your eyes that you long for adventure. I could tell it the moment you heard my name." He stepped closer to me.
I took a deep breath, stood up straight, and looked him right in the eye, "Doc, you are…a strange man. You talk like you know everything about me, but I'm not the one with my name in the papers."
"But you're the one that all the men talk about."
"What the hell does that mean? Are you calling me a whore?"
"Not at all darling, I mean for your beauty, your skills at cards, your good nature."
I couldn't tell if he was lying or serious, the look in his eyes said serious, but I had a hard time believing it, "People talk about me?"
"They do indeed. So, my offer is still open." He grabbed the whiskey from the table and took a drink.
He was right, I did want adventure. I didn't want it to come about in this exact manor, but adventure was adventure. I'm sure my family would understand, I was 24 after all. My mother had done the same when she was younger, and I'd return home in no time.
"Alright, I'll come with you. How many days until you leave?"
"Three. Be ready." He moved past me and walked out of my bedroom.
I followed him, "You'll come to get me then?"
He turned back around and faced me, "I will. You have a horse?"
I nodded, "Of course I do. I'll be ready. What do I tell my family?"
"Well you either tell them or you don't." He tipped his hat at me, "Amaryllis, I shall see you in three days." He continued walking to the door, stopping to tip his hat at my brother, then was soon out of sight.
My brother walked over to me, "So what happened?"
I looked up at him and took in a deep breath. I couldn't lie to my brother, so I had to tell him.