"Hey Dylan," Carter smiled and waved at him.
"Carter!" Dylan looked shocked to see him, "how are you?"
"How did the date with Sophie go last night?" Dylan asked.
"It got cut short, I got a location on Miss Dawes' living quatrers so I decided to pay her a visit. I was so close to getting her, except..."
"This man was in her room, and like he was scary, I think they were having relations or something. Anyway, the way he fluently punched and dodged was just amazing, I mean you should fight against him, this guy was amazing, I barely got a touch on him. Next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital at around six and got up to get some fresh air."
"Wow," Dylan tried to hold his laughter, "so I guess you didn't get her then?"
"Not even close," he sighed.
"Well, are you hungry? Lizzie, Sophie and I are having lunch later today, maybe you should come along," Dylan suggested.
"I'm starving, that sounds great," Carter smiled but stopped as he saw someone coming over.
"Dylan can I talk to you?" Katherine asked. Carter gave her a look, which made Dylan think that since the Ball incident that things weren't going well between them.
"Of course," he said. Carter walked away to towards town, just wanting to avoid the conversation.
"I need to apologize about what happened, really I didn't mean for it to get that far. I mean, she was just... I just didn't know you really cared for her. I mean, you always protected me growing up, and for some reason I felt suspicious about her. I just thought Irene was going to hurt you."
"Irene?" Dylan asked, "I thought we were talking about Lizzie..."
"You don't know?" Katherine asked in horror.
"I thought you didn't know," Dylan shrugged, still surprised that she knew.
"I maybe not be as smart and brilliant as her, but I can tell when somebody is hiding something, and that girl has way too many secrets," Katherine said.
"Everybody has secrets."
"Well, she has a lot," Katherine shrugged, "I just want you to be careful."
"You know what, how about you have lunch with us and you can officially meet her in person? Then, you have the right to judge her in front of me," Dylan suggested again, this time more annoyed.
"I would actually enjoy that," Katherine smiled, "thank you.'
"Don't flatter yourself," Dylan grunted and headed to where Carter was. Ignoring the busy streets of the morning, he walked straight to the Marshal's office, where he would wait until the crime bell was sound or he decided to go patrol. However he was in a relaxing mood and decided to just do paperwork in the office, trying to stay away from any trouble at this moment. He was exhausted from constantly being in conflict, whether being kidnapped, worrying about Irene, and also being furious and frustrated at his father. Lunch was the only thing on his mind right now, of course he was hungry from the lack of breakfast, but he liked knowing Irene was ok.
Sophie and Katherine were already at the table while Dylan and Carter just walked in.
"Where's Lizzie?" Dylan asked Sophie, because Irene was the only one not at the table.
"I thought she was with you," Sophie said slowly and looked at him.
"No... she said she was going home this morning."
"Well she never showed up," Sophie's heart started to race.
"She could be caught up with something," Carter shrugged.
"That's true," Dylan said and sat down next to Sophie.
It was a whole hour, the food arrived, and still no Irene. Dylan was getting worried, extremely worried that she hadn't shown up yet. Sophie obviously was upset too, but didn't show it in front of Carter.
"So, Carter, how was your day so far?" Sophie asked him. He stopped eating his chicken and looked up at her smiling.
"It was quite good, I saw something really peculiar actually, and it made my day when I realized what happened," he said, "I couldn't believe it at first but then I saw it. I saw Barry, carrying a specific someone, Miss Dawes. I saw this right after Dylan and I were talking. Irene was struggling but there were at least eight men in the carriage with her. Probably on her way straight to jail. Which I am certainly glad of."
"Jesus," Dylan sighed and dropped his fork, covering his face with his hands.
"Is everything alright?" Katherine asked.
"No, everything's not alright!" Dylan yelled and pounded the table with his fist.
"Dylan," Sophie put her small hand on his shoulder, "what is the matter?"
"She told me, but I didn't believe her," Dylan started sobbing.
"What do you mean?" Carter asked shocked to see his friend crying.
"Irene told me this morning, when I went to get some tea for Lizzie, that if I did not break up with her, she would come after her... I thought she was joking but..." Dylan stopped and broke down hard with tears. Sophie was aghast as his sensitivity, but figured he was faking it in order for Carter to believe the story.
"Dylan... I didn't know! If I had known, God... If only I knew then I could have stopped Barry from taking her, and we could find out where Lizzie was," Carter sighed and ran his fingers through his gelled back blonde hair.
"Carter," Sophie touched his hand, "if you saw, or heard anything about where they might be taking Irene, that would be helpful, because if we can get to her, we can find Elizabeth."
"Well, they didn't really say much except holler and whistle... but most of them were wearing boots, like snow boots, and they had snow on some of them," he said.
"Obviously they were in the snow then," Katherine said, "Up North more perhaps?"
"Carter, I need you to find Barry. Try and get him to tell you where he might have put Irene, or if he gave any hints or something."
"Okay," Carter got up immediately and left with Katherine. Sophie rubbed her shoulder on Dylan to comfort him, although she barely knew him, she had great sympathy for him.
"Dylan, let's just wait in the hotel room for any information, I doubt anything will happen or anyone would notice," she grabbed him and had to pull him in the hotel room.
As soon as they reached the hotel room, Dylan got mad and punched the wall next to the door, leaving a big, gaping black hole.
"Wow," Sophie looked completely shocked, "you are going to have to explain that to Irene when she returns and finds a hole in her wall."
"If she comes back," Dylan growled and jumped face-first on the bed.
"Dylan, we will find her, have faith," she smiled.
"We don't even know where to start!" he yelled, although the comforter on the bed muffled his voice.
"Okay," she said and sat on the bed next to him, "so it could be anywhere with snow, but obviously a place that your father knows."
"Wait," Dylan got up from the bed and ran to the door.
"Where are you going?!" Sophie shouted.
"To find my dad," he said. He was angry, and on a mission. Nobody, nobody will ever kidnap his girl and hurt her, or at least they won't ever do it again, because Dylan was ready to kill. And if anyone touched her in the way that made her feel uncomfortable, he would seriously be mad at... what if they raped her? A ill feeling hit Dylan's gut at the thought, he couldn't stand thinking that anyone would do that to her. He was so angry that he wasn't thinking clearly, he jumped on some random horse and rode off to his house.
He burst through the door to find his father writing at his desk. Dylan grabbed his shocked father and pulled him across the table to yell at his face.
"What did you do to her!?" he shrieked and shook him around.
"Son, I have no idea what you are talking about," his father explained.
"Wrong answer," Dylan said and threw his father into a bookshelf, causing his journals and books to fall right on top of him.
"I seriously do not know what you are talking about, where is who?"
"Don't act stupid," Dylan grabbed his father's collar again and lifted him in the air.
"Has she gone missing?"
"She got bloody kidnapped!" Dylan shouted.
"Well, I had nothing to do with that," his father pleaded.
"You can't just expect me to believe that after this morning's argument," Dylan spat. Maroni then punched his son's gut with force, knocking the air out of him, then jumped and elbowed his back, knocking him to the floor with his breath. Dylan gasped for air, but was shocked at his father, not that he beat him, but how he beat him. He could barely breath, and the pain hurt his lungs as he needed oxygen.
"You must believe me that I have done nothing to her."
"Well, Barry took her then," Dylan gasped holding his gut, still not believing his father's story.
"I don't think he-"
"Dylan! Dylan! We got a telegram from her! Come quick!" Carter ran inside the room. He stopped to find Maroni 's office a mess and Dylan grabbing his chest on the floor. Dylan grabbed the office desk for support, shoving his father's hand away and pushed himself up, quickly leaving his father's office, still out of breath. Maroni cracked a smile.
"Sophie! What does it say?" Dylan ran to Sophie as he burst through the telegraph office in the center of town, still out of breath.
"I don't understand it but... it's: Remember every bit elephants can chat aloud.
"What?" Dylan asked.
"We asked ourselves the same question," Katherine sighed.
"How do you know it's her?" Dylan asked.
"Because she always puts her mother's and father's initials at the end. See: RGD & EJD," Sophie showed them.
"Miss, another telegraph for you," a young man handed her another paper. Sophie grabbed it out of his hands without saying thank you and started to read it fast in her mind.
"Oh dear," she said.
"What?!" they all asked.
Sophie read aloud, "Irene wasted her only telegraph on a useless riddle. Poor thing, so now I guess you'll never find out where she is. Just to give you some hints, it's below freezing in the middle of nowhere and you will never find you. Oh, and make sure the Marshall see's this, I have a special message for him: better come quick because all the men are getting restless and there is a warm mattress waiting for Irene, and we hope you could join us in keeping her warm. That is, if you could make it."
Everybody stared at Dylan, just to see his emotion. It was actually blank which surprised everyone, and Sophie couldn't even read his expression. Dylan grabbed the other note Irene had written trying to decode the stupid riddle. He kept reading it out loud, trying to understand what she was trying to say.
"Maybe we should all rest on it?" Katherine asked.
"I think we should," Sophie agreed.
"We can't just give up," Dylan said.
"We aren't," Sophie grabbed his hand, "We are just going to need clear, and fresh minds to try and figure out what this means."
"Who wants to keep the note?" Katherine asked.
"I'll keep this one," Dylan said and grabbed the second note with the warning on it.
"I'll keep this one, maybe somebody at home will figure it out," Sophie smiled.
"Where did Carter go?" Katherine asked.
"He saw one of the guys he saw earlier involved in the kidnapping on the way back and decided to pay him a visit," Sophie said.
"I'm going back to work," Dylan grunted and started heading out.
"I'm heading back home then," Sophie said, "Katherine, tell Carter I'm heading back to figure this out."
"I will Sophie," she smiled.
"By the way Dylan, way to get Carter to try and find Irene, great story."
"Let's hope it ends well," he said.
"Does he have no faith?" Katherine asked.
'No, he has complete faith we'll find her; he's just scared what position she'll be in when we do."
Irene groaned as she felt the soreness in her upper body. She unbuttoned her shirt to look at all the bruises, her fair and peach skin was now a ugly, purple monster. Buttoning her shirt back up, somebody walked into the cold wine cellar.
"Don't button up your shirt sweetheart," Barry smiled, "There's still another round to go."
"Did they get my telegraph?" Irene ignored his comment and wanted to know the answer to her only question.
"They did, or at least I assume so because Dylan sent a very vulgar message back to us," he said and pulled a small paper out of his shirt pocket. Unfolding it, he threw it at Irene.
She started to read it outloud but stopped after a few words, avoiding the repeated cuss words that popped up at Barry. After reading the paper, she smiled. Barry then slapped her across the face and grabbed her neck, not squeezing it hard, but putting some pressure on the vocal chords.
"Do you actually think he's coming for you? That worthless slime of a guy?" Barry whispered into her ear.
"There is one thing I know most about Dylan: he does not give up on things he cares about, and he will never stop fighting for it," Irene said, even though every word hurt her throat.
"What a shame, because he's never going to find you with that little riddle you sent," Barry laughed, "he's not smart enough to figure that out."
"That you know of, you barely know Dylan," Irene spat.
"Haha and what do you know about him? Do you think that if you sleep with a guy that you know everything about him? Hah, if that was true for everybody, I would know everything about many girls and I would like to get to know you better then," Barry grinned. Irene could easily take him down from that position, the only problem was getting out. She knew where she was, it was not an unfamiliar location to her, but she didn't know how to get out exactly. Sure she could probably get past all these men single handed, but what would that do? How would she ever get back to Minnesota?
"Where's my water?" Irene asked, her throat parched.
"What water?" Barry laughed.
"Uh, the little necessity I need to survive," Irene said.
"Oh, sorry, there's only enough for us gentlemen. We seemed to have forgotten about you," he said and gently kissed her. This time Irene knew not to fight back, but to save her energy for other things. Barry then backed away and licked his lips.
"I can see why Dylan likes you, he does have great taste in women," he smiled.
"As I have a great taste in men," Irene smiled, "Like wine, though I hardly drink it. Dylan is not a sweet or sour wine, but a mix of between; perfect."
"And where would I be?" Barry asked.
"The sour section," Irene smiled. Barry smiled back and headed towards the door.
"If you need anything, a blanket, water, food; pray to God about it, I'm sure he could provide you with something, the only thing I can give you is comfort and love" he snickered and left. Irene cuddled up in a ball next to a big box of junk.
Dylan, where are you? I need you.
Dylan woke up, choking on tears. His throat was tight, so he figured the nightmare must of made him cry. Looking up, he saw his father sitting in a chair next to Dylan's fireplace, drinking alcohol. Dylan threw the covers away from him and ran to a cupboard in his room and pulled out a glass and a bottle of alcohol. He was not feeling well; he had a lack of sleep and worried constantly, the only things to cure that would be things to get that stuff off his mind. As of right now, the only option was to drink.
He poured himself a glass of brandy and walked towards the fire to feel the warmth on his bare skin. A slight flicker in the fire made Dylan jump from fright and his father seemed to notice.
"Nightmares?" Maroni asked.
Dylan nodded, "Yeah."
"You'll find her, don't worry," he said. Dylan didn't know if his father was just bragging to him, or he actually had nothing to do with her kidnapping and hoped for the best, "knowing you, you'll find her."
"Hah, I don't even know myself anymore Dad," Dylan laughed.
"What do you mean?"
"I don't even know who I am, I'm... changing," he sighed.
"Is that good or bad?"
"I don't know yet," Dylan drank his alcohol and flinched at the burn in his throat. There was a silence where the only sound was the crackling of the fire and the thoughts in both their heads.
"What is real love Dad?" Dylan asked.
"Yeah, like what you had with Mom," Dylan said.
"Well, your mother, was the most beautiful woman in the world. I couldn't keep my eyes off, and same with her. As you know, we met during the Civil War. She was a nurse for my platoon and when I got hurt, she you know, helped with my injury, but really seemed attached to me more than the other men. The moment when we first spoke, I think we both knew that we were meant for eachother, and I never wanted to leave her. When the war was over shortly after that last battle. I asked her to marry me, and well... there you go."
"Who killed her?" Dylan asked.
"I already told you, someone came into the middle of the night and assasinated her," Maroni groaned.
"Who killed her!?" Dylan yelled, knowing that he had to get the truth out of him.
"Robert Dawes," Maroni said and set his drink on the table. Dylan just stood there in silence, not knowing what to believe. According to Irene's description, her father was the most kind and compassionate man in the world, why would he kill his mother? Of course, Irene has once or twice lied to him, but... Maroni has lied more, so he didn't know who to believe yet.
"Why don't you like Irene?" Dylan asked.
"Would you like the woman, or anyone, who tries to kill you, and is the relative of the person who ruined your life? That's why."
"Well, why is she coming after you?"
"I don't know," Maroni shook his head.
"Okay," Dylan said and refilled his drink.
"Why do you love her?" Maroni asked, curiously.
"I uh, I don't know. I mean, she's that girl where I feel like I'm the luckiest man alive, and I feel like
I could tell her anything. If I had a problem, she would have the best answers and always just help me. I don't know what it is but she makes me fall head over heels."
"Perhaps it's that body of hers," Maroni murmured.
"I've never seen it like that, so, I can't say it is her luscious body," Dylan smiled and started to put a fresh, clean plaid shirt and his winter coat on top.
"Where are you going? It's really early," his father asked.
"To go find her," he said.
"You really do love her don't you?" Maroni smiled.
"I do, yes," Dylan said without hesitation.
"Then do whats right, if you truly love her, and don't want any harm to come to her; breaking up with her would be the best option," Maroni suggested. Dylan thought it made sense, but yet there were still some down sides to that opinion. No matter what Dylan did, Irene would always be in danger, and his dad, well, he didn't know who his dad was anymore, or himself.
"I'll think about it," Dylan said and walked out the door.
"You must be Dylan's squeeze," a man walked into the wine cellar and found Irene drinking a wine bottle.
"You must be the boss around here," Irene smiled and took another sip.
"How can you tell?" the man wearing a very nice tuxedo said. His gelled back, brown hair made him look younger than what he really was. He was in his mid or late twenties, but he looked almost as young as Dylan. The man's face was cute, but Irene could see the inside of this man.
"Just by the outfit I suppose," Irene smiled, "and who are you to say I'm Dylan's 'squeeze'?"
"Well, you are aren't you?"
"With pride, yes, I am," she smiled.
"Cold?" the man asked, seeing Irene shivering. Irene just nodded in reply and curled up in a ball again. Just wearing a plaid shirt in this weather and jeans was not enough in the snow, it was basically just wearing nothing. Of course, wine cellars have to be kept cold, so it might just be the temperature outside, mixed with the bare and freezing concrete floor. The man walked out of the cellar real quick, then came back with blankets.
"Here," he said and laid them down on the floor next to some pipes, "if you lay here, the heat from the pipes will keep you warmer."
Irene was cautious of this man, but knew she had to get warm, "Uh, thanks?"
"Don't mention it," he said, "but I'll come back in the morning to get those, since you aren't supposed to have any you know."
"Of course," Irene said and climbed in the soft and warm bed he made for her.
"Okay, try not to make much noise or anything, I don't want to get into trouble," he sighed.
"Why?" Irene asked, looking at the blankets.
"Why I don't want to get into trouble?"
"No, why help me?"
"I know how to treat a woman fairly, and I can't stand seeing any girl in complete torture like yourself, no matter how bad the girl can be," he sighed and placed another blanket over her, "and I'm doing this to make up for someone."
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Charles, but people call me Charlie," he smiled.
"A pleasure, Charlie," Irene smiled back.
"No, it's always a pleasure to be face to face with a woman as famous as you," he laughed.
"Well, I still want to know how you know Dylan," Irene laughed with him.
"I don't know Dylan much actually. I'm Katherine's fiancée actually," he said.
"Oh," Irene looked a little shocked.
"What did you think? That I was your Guardian Angel or something?" he chuckled.
"I already have a Guardian Angel, but, I just didn't expect Katherine to ask you to help me."
"I understand, well, she also told me to tell you that your Guardian Angel is on his way," Charlie smiled and walked out of the room. Irene didn't want to sleep, there were too many unanswered questions.
Dylan walked into his office, away from the rainy mess of an early morning. The sun was still not up and the townspeople were not awake yet, except Sophie.
"Sophie?" Dylan asked, "What are you doing here this early?"
"One, I couldn't sleep, and two, Birdy figured out the riddle," she smiled. Birdy walked in the office behind Dylan, with her bow in her hand, arrows on her back, and her dashing red hair in a braid, wet.
"You did?" he looked a Birdy.
"Wow, you guys say that with such surprise, it was the easiest riddle ever," she scoffed and sat down in the Marshal's chair, which Dylan didn't seem to mind.
"What is it then?" Dylan asked.
"Rebecca, obviously," she rolled her eyes.
"Rebecca's an elephant?" Dylan looked confused.
"No, Dylan," Sophie couldn't help but laugh, "here, look at the note. See the first letter of every word."
"Rebecca," he said, "so there are no elephants?"
"No, unless you consider Irene's sister an elephant," Birdy laughed.
"Well, where's her sister then?" Dylan asked.
"Indiana," Sophie said.
"What are we waiting for then?"
"We were waiting for you," Birdy smiled.
"So who is going to Indiana?" he asked.
"Well, we were hoping you would," Sophie said.
"Well, I want you to set up a small group of men, so once I come back with information, we can get Irene out," he looked at Sophie.
"Okay, deal," Sophie smiled.
"Let me go with you Dylan," Birdy got up and touched his arm.
Dylan hesitated for a moment, "Ugh, fine, but we are only taking one horse, take turns riding and sleeping. We ain't stopping to eat or sleep. We're only stopping to urinate."
"Did he just say 'urinate'?" Birdy laughed.
"Are you coming or not?" Dylan asked, heading out the door.
"Yes sir," Birdy smiled and winked at Sophie.
"Sophie, if anyone asks-"
"I'll say you're at a meeting," she smiled.
"Smart gal," Dylan smiled back and got on his horse, pulling Birdy up behind him.
"You know how to get there?" he asked her.
"I know how to get to the town, from there, we can ask where she lives," she said.
"Alright," he sighed, "we better hurry."
After a two days journey of non stop riding, Dylan finally reached Greenwood, Indiana with Birdy. He jumped off his horse and felt the tense muscles of his lower waist tense, after being stuck in the same position for hours. Birdy jumped off normally, with a smile on her face.
"Aren't you sore?" Dylan asked, rubbing around his groin area to make it loose.
"Gross Dylan! Don't do that in public," Birdy shouted, disgusted, "and no, I'm used to riding for long periods of time, so I don't get sore."
"Well, lucky you," Dylan grunted.
"Should we get something quick to eat?" Birdy asked
"Yeah, get me a piece of fruit or something," Dylan sighed and patted his horse, which was panting extremely hard due to the rough trails of the west. Birdy came back with a few apples and Dylan grabbed just one, eating it in a matter of minutes. They needed to just take a breather, because both of them knew that it would be an exhausting ride, which it was.
"Should we ask somewhere where she lives?" Birdy asked.
"Yeah, you should ask, since you're a girl," Dylan smiled.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Everything," he laughed. Birdy took another apple and carefully waited for someone who looked reasonably communicative. Everybody seemed to be in a hurry and didn't even bother to really look up. Finally she saw a younger gentleman who didn't look busy but rather interested in Birdy.
"What's a cute Indian girl doing down here?" he asked, before Birdy could say anything.
"I'm looking for someone," she smiled.
"Yeah? Who ya looking for?" he asked.
"Um... a Rebecca Dawes," she said.
"Oh," he smirked, "go out of town west, then there's a small trail on the left. Just take that and you'll be there."
"Thank you," she thanked him.
"No problem miss," he smiled and left. Dylan grabbed Birdy and immediately pulled her on top of the horse.
"No time to lose," he said.
Dylan looked at the huge mansion, a little afraid of who lived there. According to Irene, her sister and her husband didn't like her, but then again, nobody really liked Irene these days. Mustering up his courage, Dylan rang the doorbell and heard the beautiful chimes echo throughout the big house.
"Can I help you?" A skinny, oily man opened the door. He looked rich, or well, he was dressed like he was rich.
"I'm looking for Rebecca Dawes sir," Dylan cleared his throat.
"My wife isn't here but, who are you may I ask?" the man looked paranoid.
"I'm Marshall Dylan Jones," Dylan smiled.
"And what is a Marshall and an Indian doing at my house?" he asked and gave Birdy a look. Birdy walked up to put some sense into this jerk but Dylan grabbed her arm.
"We are investigating the disappearance of Miss Irene Dawes," Dylan said.
"We want nothing to do with that bi-"
"It's okay Lionel," a woman with light brown hair walked out in a simple dress, "I can talk to them about this." Lionel looked mad at Dylan, but walked inside, shutting the door.
"What do you want with my sister? I don't know where she is," Rebecca looked upset, not in a very pleasant way.
"That's the problem miss," Dylan sighed and tried to put on a charming face, "we don't know where she is."
"Why do you wish to find her?" Rebecca asked.
"Uh... ooh," Dylan stopped talking, because he hadn't thought what to say if she asked that.
"She's my friend," Birdy said, "and I care where she is, only she was kidnapped."
"How would I know where she is if she got kidnapped?" Rebecca asked.
"Irene gave us a hint that you knew where she was," Dylan explained, "it's somewhere up North, somewhere where it's already snowing and a place that you know."
"Sounds like Canada," Rebecca said.
"Canada?" Birdy gave Dylan a look.
"Yeah, my father and Mister Maroni used to go up to a cabin in the winter to hunt and fish in the summer. It's just a two hour ride from Tomohaw, then it's just near Lake Fishhook."
"Thank you ma'am," Dylan tipped his hat and grabbed Birdy, ready to leave.
"Wait!" Rebecca yelled and grabbed Dylan's arm, "I still don't understand."
"Understand what?" Dylan asked.
"Why would a Marshall, help an Indian find one of the most notorious criminals in Northern America?"
"If you need to know, it's because I love her," he said.
"Oh," Rebecca looked shocked, "well, when you rescue her, apologize to her for me. I made a terrible mistake, and she told me, but I just ignored her."
"I promise," he smiled.
"And, promise you'll get her home safely," she pleaded.
"That, I can't promise really, but I will try," he smiled more, then walked to his horse. His groin screaming at him to not get back on the horse, but Dylan had a mission, and the clock was ticking.
Dylan gripped his rifle as he lowered himself down onto the frigid and freezing snow. It was dark, and the cabin ahead of them glimmered with a bright luminance. The small snow storm didn't help much in the situation but Dylan knew he had to get Irene out now. It had been ten days. Ten days since he hasn't seen her beautiful face, smile at her cute giggle, or just hold her soft hands. Ten days he hadn't felt comfortable.
A cold hand touched his as he looked around to see if anyone was guarding the cabin. He turned and saw Katherine, her pale face from the chill and blonde hair now stuffed up in her wool cap. She had a huge shotgun in her hand, which Dylan didn't mind since she insisted she help with this mission, and Dylan knew she could handle the power of recoil from this shotgun. Katherine was stronger and braver than she looked. She was not a dainty rich country gal.
"Have a plan?" Katherine asked.
"Not really, only that you, Tayati, Birdy, and I are going to head around the back while the rest of the men and Indians will wait for the men to exit the cabin," Dylan started to squat and walk at the same time.
"How will the men come out?" Tayati asked annoyingly.
"Simple," Birdy said, "a distant gunshot should cause a few gentlemen to exit the cabin, causing easy targets... and a good first-kill advantage."
"Brilliant girl, BlueBird," Dylan smirked as they trudged through the cold solid, "that's about the third time you have impressed me this week." Birdy blushed immensely and Katherine turned around smiling, seeing that the little red skin girl was even more red. Tayati shoved her forward in annoyance and Birdy just kicked snow in his face. Dylan could hear the slight ruckus and was reminded of the many times Irene mentioned them fighting. The thought quickly escaped Dylan's mind because he didn't want to think of her right now. It would only distract him in a sense, since he is focused on saving her, not seeing her in his mind.
"Who would like to do the honors?" Dylan asked as they were only ten yards away from the backside of the huge cabin.
"I would!" Birdy yelled in a whisper.
"Here," Dylan handed , "it has a blank in it, but it will still sound like a real gunshot."
"So, where do I shoot it?" she asked.
"Anywhere," Dylan shrugged and held his shotgun tightly.
"Just don't shatter anyone's eardrum," Tayati grunted.
"I should just shoot you in the face with this," she growled and turned to him. Dylan grabbed her arm hard and gave her a look. Birdy blushed this time from embarrassment and shot the gun, breaking the silence around all of them with a loud bang and echo through the rough woods that surrounded the cabin. The faint sound of rustling men and the shouting now getting louder, Dylan knew this fight wouldn't be easy. However, a familiar face licked Dylan's hand.
"The dog," Dylan looked surprised and pet it.
"That's Blackie," Birdy handed the gun back to him, whispering and hugging the wolf.
"Then maybe he'll find Irene," he said.
"He could probably catch her scent once inside, hopefully," Tayati started crab-walking towards the back of the cabin, and everybody else started to do the same. Once they reached the back window, Tayati bashed the glass away and looked at Dylan, "Police first."
"Don't mind if I do," Dylan smirked and jumped inside the cabin. Blackie followed him after and they investigated what seemed like the lounge. It was messy, due to the fact that men were living, eating, and sleeping there. There was a gambling table, furniture, food, clothes... but nothing Dylan was really interested in.
"Alright Blackie, sniff her out," he whispered and pet the dogs head. Birdy jumped in, bow in hand and arrows on her back.
"Light them up," she smiled and grabbed an arrow from behind her shoulder.
Irene woke up to gunshots and yelling. That wasn't normal, or at least, she thought it wasn't. Suddenly the doors burst open and Barry walked in, which was bad. She still had the blankets and extra water. She guessed Charles had no idea this was going to happen, well, nobody knew this was going to happen.
"Where did you get those?" Barry walked in stressed, but the sight of water and necessities Irene needed made him even more furious and angry.
"I found them," Irene said. Barry seemed to ignore her comment and grabbed all the blankets away from her.
"Get up," he pulled her up harshly and gripped her hand hard.
"Where are we going?"
"Out of here, we've been compromised," he grunted and started to drag her.
"You've been compromised," Irene rolled her eyes.
"Oh shut it," he grabbed handcuffs and immediately handcuffed her to himself.
"Haven't you learn not to do that to me?" she asked.
"That," she grinned and pulled on the handcuffs, pulling him closer as she socked him in the face. He swung back but Irene ducked, quickly crawling towards him and as soon as she had touch, she flipped him over her shoulder. After kicking him in the gut and a strong punch to the face, Barry was down and bloody. Irene grabbed a pin out of her hair that she still had and started to pick the lock. Within a minute her right hand was free from metal and she was within the reach of rescue, or total escape. She searched Barry for anything useful, and she found two pistols and a knife. They were going to be handy if she couldn't find a better way out of here than walking through those doors.
Minutes of searching went by and Irene found out the only exit was through the doors. Although her dad loved secret passages... this stupid basement didn't have a single one that could get her out of here. Therefore, the only way out of the dark and cold lower level was to take the stairs up.
She opened the door cautiously to find that nobody was near by. Walking down the dark hallway towards the stone spiral stairs, she hand one pistol in each hand, ready to shoot if necessary. Suddenly, the sound of light and pattering feet started to run down the stairs. Irene quickly hid before the stairs, ready to hit the person coming down.
"Blackie?" Irene suddenly recognized the black fur coming down the stairs, but that still wasn't the footsteps. She pulled her dog back and put a pistol in her holster. Clenching her right fist, she was eager to punch the incoming suspect. As soon as the person came down she gave a hard whack across the face.
The man immediately fell to the ground, shocked, "Ow?!"
"Dylan?!" Irene yelled in excitement. She immediately jumped on him and hugged him.
"First you punch me, then you jump on me," he scoffed jokingly and hugged her tight.
"How did you find me?" she asked.
"Well, it took a very short conversation with your sister," he used his left arm to push him and Irene up.
"I bet that went well," she smiled.
"It was rocky at the beginning, and awkward at the end," he smiled back.
"Thank you," she sighed.
"No problem," he kissed her softly on the lips.
She pushed him away gently, but wasn't mad, "We should probably get out of here."
"Right," he sighed.
"Come on," she whistled at Blackie as he ran up the stairs and pulled Dylan up with him. After they ran up the big stairs, an explosion from downstairs shook the entire building, causing Irene to fall over and Dylan with her.
"What's going on?" Dylan asked.
"Barry," Irene muttered under her breath, "he's trying to blow up the cabin."
"Time to leave then, fast," Dylan pulled her up quickly and they started to run through the entire house, "Know a quick way out of here?"
"Yes, the closest window," Irene then yanked Dylan's shoulder to the left as she dragged him towards another hallway.
"Hey!" one of the men yelled as he cut them off. Irene ducked as he tried to hit her when Dylan instantly punched him in the face as he was now unconscious. More men started to come and Irene took out the pistol she took from Barry and shot all three of the men in less than five seconds.
"I can see you haven't lost your shot," Dylan said as he put his own pistol away since Irene was too fast for him.
"I can also see you haven't lost your dashing looks," she turned and blushed.
"Those don't go away easily," he blushed.
"Irene!" Charlie suddenly cut the corner. Dylan pulled his pistol out again but Irene touched his arm.
"He's a friendly," she said. Dylan nodded and put his gun in his holster.
"How'd you get out?" Charlie smiled.
"I finally had the chance to beat Barry up, and if I failed Dylan here," she touched his soft hand, "would have found me anyway."
Dylan squeezed her hand as he stuck his left one out, "A pleasure. The name's Dylan Jones."
"A pleasure indeed," Charlie shook his hand, "my name is-"
"Charles Fourier," a familiar voice interrupted him.
"Katherine," Charlie gulped.
"You two know each-" Dylan was asking when Irene whispered in his ear, "oh..."
"Listen, Kat, I'm so-" he said when she interrupted him with a long smooch to his lips. She caressed his oiled back brown hair with her gentle fingers while he held her waist. Irene whispered again in Dylan's ear and they both giggled.
"Something wrong?" Katherine asked.
"No," Dylan quickly answered.
"Except for the fact that I would like to get out of here, it's freezing," Irene grunted.
"Why didn't you say so?" Dylan took off his warm winter wool jacket and covered Irene with it, "There."
"Thanks darling," she smiled and kissed him quickly.
"No problem," he kissed her back on the cheek, "now, let's get you back home."
Dylan woke up on the bumpy ride back to hear Sophie and Irene chatting. He opened his eyes and saw Sophie and Irene actually arguing a bit.
"I am too tired to go back home, give me a day to just rest then you can check up on me," Irene groaned. She was far away from Dylan as she looked out the other window, but she was still wearing Dylan's jacket. Dylan noticed somebody placed a blanket on him since it was still cold outside.
"Just let me do a quick one tonight, I am not available at all tomorrow to do it for you," Sophie pleaded, "I have to make sure you are physically okay."
"No," Irene quickly grunted.
"If I don't do it then Dylan does it for me tomorrow," Sophie slightly smirked.
"What?" Dylan asked.
"Oh," Irene actually looked surprised, "you are awake."
"Yeah," he rubbed his face with his hands.
"I haven't heard you object to that option Irene," Sophie smiled a bit more.
"If Dylan wants to then he can, I'm just not in the mood for doing it tonight."
"Dearie, I think for your best interest that you do it tonight. Sophie and I can both do it," he reached over and touched her hand.
She looked at him, "I'll think about it I guess."
"Good," he smiled and looked at Sophie. She smiled and looked back at Irene.
"You kill anyone Sophie?" Irene asked.
"No miss," she smiled.
"'Tis a shame then," Irene smiled back and closed her eyes. Dylan gently pulled Irene towards his lap and she lay on it like a child does to it's mother when it is exhausted. He gently stroked her hair and watched her fall asleep. Once asleep, he looked at Sophie.
"Tired?" he asked.
"Not really," she shrugged, "I got some sleep on the way here."
"That's good," he whispered.
"You don't actually mind doing the short check up with me do you? I mean, Irene would probably do it if you were there," she whispered back.
"I don't at all."
"You know you will have to see her naked."
"And?" he asked.
"Just checking," she smiled.
"I just want to make sure she's okay, and to know what to do if you're not there to help," he stroked Irene's face.
"She told me when you went to check up on the men that she didn't want you coming after her."
"What do you mean?" Dylan asked curiously.
"She loves you too much," she smiled again, "I don't think she wanted you to get hurt trying to rescue her."
"She did the same for me."
"But she is more capable of doing that, no offense."
"None taken," he smiled, "but I wouldn't let her life be in the hands of these other guys without me in control."
"True, but she doesn't want you getting hurt."
"Same here, I don't want her hurt either but-" Dylan was going to continue but closed his mouth and sighed. Sophie bit her bottom lip in confusion but figured out that Dylan didn't want to continue talking. All he did was think about what his father had said.