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Rio Ruidoso

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Stringtown:

The Earp clan was busy loading up their wagons, almost finished with the task save for a few loose items that needed tied down.

“Mama I don’t see why we can’t be movin’ to California or why we can’t be stayin’ here.” Willa stomped up into the front of a wagon huffing as she sat down.

“Cause Gus and Curtis have already set up a farm for us in New Mexico” Michelle answered.

Bobo climbed up into the wagon next to Willa picking up her hand to kiss the back of it “It’ll be okay my love, we may find we like it, I’ll get a good job and we can move if you’re unhappy.”

Willa rolled her eyes “You better mean that.”

“With my entire soul” Bobo said staring at her with utter adoration.

“How did we get this much stuff” Ward yelled from the back of a wagon “Who’s packed what? Waverly you don’t need this many books!”

Waverly’s eyes shot wide as she hoisted herself into another wagon where Wynonna sat cross-stitching ‘bored’ into a small cloth circle.

Julian walked up clasping a hand onto Ward’s shoulder “It’s fine, we have the room and the mules are strong.”

Ward continued to mumble to himself as he secured the back of the wagon. Dust was starting to be stirred up along the road and soon two more wagons entered the property.

“The Hardy’s are here, let’s move this along!” Willa yelled at everyone.

“Thought you wanted to stay here, what’s the hurry Willa?” Wynonna asked.

“I want it to be over, leave me alone!” Willa shouted back as Bobo stroked her shoulder.

Ward climbed into the wagon next to Michelle as Julian slid into his Model A. They took off one at a time until the whole caravan was on the road. Waverly watched behind her as a single Wagon with a small family entered into what was now the old Earp home.

She turned around to Wynonna who was holding the reigns “I’m kind of scared, are you?”

“A little bit baby girl, it’s gonna be a long trip, but at least we aren’t in the same wagon as Willa and Bobo, ugh I don’t wanna thing about the gross things they're gonna do along the way.

Waverly playfully slapped Wynonna’s arm “Ew, gross.”

Wynonna laughed “It’s true though.”

A moment passed before Waverly spoke again “Aunt Gus said in her letters that it’s not that humid out there, and less green.”

“Maybe some courtin’ prospects will be there” Wynonna smirked.

Waverly rolled her eyes “Over your crush on Uncle Julian?”

Wynonna gasped clasping her hand over her sisters mouth “All I said would that I’d like to find a man as good and kind as Uncle Julian, you’re twistin’ my words!”

Waverly let out a laugh not speaking before it settled “Do you think I wont have to settle for Champ?”

“Not into the stud back there” Wynonna asked.

Waverly sighed “I just, he’s not really what I picture myself with I guess. I’d like someone a little more… delicate.”

“A sissy?” Wynonna knitted her eyebrows together.

“No, I don’t know, I know at 15 I should know but I don’t… Champ’s just too… rough I guess.” Waverly stammered.

“We’ll find ourselves some nice young men out there, but not before you finish school.” Wynonna said smiling.

“We’re both finishing school.” Waverly gave her sister a stern look.

“Okay, I’ll try.” Wynonna gave a small salute off her forehead.

“I’ll miss my friends in Stringtown, I’ll miss Oklahoma” Waverly looked out as the landscape passed by.

“I know, baby girl, I know” Wynonna leaned over to put an arm around Waverly.

Several hours passed in mostly silence, with the group stopping midday to give the mule teams a drink. They approached the small community of Milburn and their camp area near a large pond. Tents were pitched and a fire started to cook the evening meal.

Wynonna sat poking the large pot that was cooking the beans with a stick as heavy footsteps approached her “What’d’ya want Champ?”

“Where’s Waverly?” He asked stopping in front of her making her drop the stick.

“Ever the charmer, she’s busy reading” Wynonna answered deadpan.

“No really where is she” Champ looked unconvinced.

Wynonna sighed “Are you serious?”

“What?” He asked dumbly.

“What’s your fascination with her?” Wynonna squared him up with a look.

“She’s my girl” Champ responded matter of fact.

Wynonna let out a laugh “She’s not yours at all.”

“I think that’s a decision for your daddy” Champ looked proud of himself.

Just then Michelle walked up to the two “Get outta here boy.”

At that Champ jumped up and scurried away.

Michelle sat down next to Wynonna “I’m gonna have to slap that boy upside the head one of these days.”

“Please do, maybe he’ll leave Waverly alone then” Wynonna added.

“He might not be all that bright, I know Ward likes him and Curtis has promised him a job but I don’t agree” Michelle shrugged.

“I don’t think I can handle two weeks of that idiot, let alone the fact that he’ll be livin’ in the same town as us again.” Wynonna said picking up her stick again.

“The desert wont be too far away then, maybe somethin’ could happen” Michelle smirked.

“You’re bad mama” Wynonna laughed.

“What’s bad is Robert’s nickname is Bobo and not Bobby.” Michelle laughed.

“Wasn’t he about four when he chose that?” Wynonna wondered.

“Someone should have put a stop to it then, a grown man goin’ by Bobo, it’s just plain odd dear.” Michelle smiled glancing down at the pond shore where Bobo and Willa stood talking and laughing.

“She’s Willa Svane now, and I mean she’s always been a little vain, as much as I do love her” Wynonna added.

“He’s got a business venture idea for when we get there, wants to call it “Del Rey” Michelle said turing back to Wynonna.

“What kinda business venture?” Wynonna looked back confused.

“I dunno, I wasn’t fully listenin’ ” Michelle shrugged.

——

Milburn:

“I’m just sayin’ we should ride together is all Waverly, if we’re to be engaged one day I believe we should be presented as our own couplin’ ” Champ pleaded at the side of the wagon Waverly had ridden in the day before.

“I’m already in this wagon and I wanna ride with Wynonna and we aren’t courtin’ Champ.” Waverly said not looking up from her book.

“You’ve always got your head in those big books, you need to give me a little more attention.” Champ huffed crossing his arms.

Wynonna climbed up into the wagon next to Waverly “She doesn’t, now get back to your own wagon little boy.”

Champ stomped off muttering to himself “I’m not a little boy, I’m a full grown man.”

The wagons and cars started off down the road once again for that day’s long journey.

“Wy I can’t handle two weeks of him, he’s insufferable.” Waverly said finally putting her worn bookmark in her book.

“We’ll be at an inn tonight, so that’ll help I hope, he’s the worst” Wynonna agreed.

“Now that we’re movin’ I’ve been wantin’ to ask you somethin’ about what we talked about yesterday” Waverly started.

“You’ll have to refresh my mind there” Wynonna said.

“We were talkin’ about how I really would not like to have to end up with Champ, but he seems like my only prospects, back in Stringtown at least. And I’ve been readin’ this book, it’s from the 1800’s, but it’s… got these two girls, that they are sort of in this sort of courtin’ situation with each other, and I’ve been debatin’ if maybe I’d like that sorta thing, if it were with the right girl” Waverly rambled off quickly.

Wynonna’s face shifted from confusion to sympathy “Are you sayin’ that you would prefer the company in the bedroom of the fairer kind? Is that why you mentioned someone delicate?”

Waverly nodded close to tears “Not that I’ll find someone like that, I guess weirdos like me don’t really find that sorta thing.”

“If that’s what you want Waves then that’s what you want, ya know, I’m not sure my daddy would be pleased with it of course, but then again he’s not aware that his brother is your actual daddy” Wynonna dropped her voice to a whisper.

“We aren’t supposed to talk about that remember” Waverly looked panicked.

“No one can hear us, we just can’t talk about it with other people around, it’ll be fine baby girl” Wynonna assured her “I mean I’ll tell my future children about it cause what a story, but these people not so much.”

Waverly raised an eyebrow “Future children?”

Wynonna shrugged “I don’t know, if I have them I suppose, then I’ll tell them the crazy family stories.”

They were quiet for a moment before Waverly spoke again “What’s gonna happen with all these mules once we get there? Daddy’s done raising them for the army where are they gonna go?”

“Uncle Curtis said there’s enough room for ‘em and the wagons once we get there. I’m sure Uncle Julian’ll take a couple to his home, they said it’s on the same property, just separate” Wynonna answered.

“You think Daddy’ll finally buy an automobile after this trip?” Waverly asked.

“Maybe, even his touch exterior has gotta be hatin’ this long trail.” Wynonna answered.

“Uncle Julian said we could make the trip in all automobiles in half the time or less.” Waverly added.

“Someone would still have to take the mules out there, it’d probably be us girls and Bobo knowin’ our luck.” Wynonna quipped.

The rest of the ride passed without much incident and soon they made their way into the outskirts of their next stop. Julian had driven ahead to secure the rooms for the night and was soon directing the wagons to the back of the inn to hitch up the mule teams to feed and water.

Julian approached Wynonna and Waverly’s wagon handing them a key and helping them down “That’s the key to your own room girls, 207, I’ll get this team fed and watered, why don't you both head on up, the inn is providing us with a late supper in 30 minutes.”

“Thanks Uncle Julian” Waverly smiled at him before following Wynonna inside.

Their room was small with two twin beds to the sides and a small vanity with a mirror in the middle. Each of them laid their small night bag on a bed before heading downstairs to check out the dining room.

The room was empty so far with everyone busy with the teams. Wynonna threw herself into a chair as Waverly took a seat gently beside her.

“I’m quite lookin’ forward to a bed again, campin’ aint really my thing ya know baby girl” Wynonna smiled.

“I’m not fond of it either really.” Waverly smiled back.

A little old lady wandered out from the kitchen “Oh my are you girls with the wagon train?”

Waverly smiled at her “Yes ma’am.”

“You can call me Gertie, let me get you girls some tea while you wait for supper” with that she was gone back to the kitchen.

Wynonna rested her head on her hand “Some sophistication, finally.”

“Where’d you learn that word?” Waverly looked at her sister perplexed.

Wynonna laughed “Read one of your big books when you, mama, and Uncle Julian took that trip up to Oklahoma City.”

“Was the big book called the dictionary?” Waverly smirked.

Wynonna rolled her eyes “No.”

Gertie returned with a small tea service setting it down in the center of the table.

“Thank you Gertie, this looks wonderfully refreshin’ ” Waverly said as she reached for one of the teacups.

“Let me know if you girls need anythin’ else before supper” Gertie said before heading back to the kitchen.

As Wynonna and Waverly sat drinking tea the rest of the group started to trickle in. Dishes of steaming hot food started to appear on the table against the side wall and everyone was itching to fill up their plates.

Soon an older man appeared ringing a triangle “Come an’ get it.”

——

Ardmore:

Waverly’s eyes were straining to keep sight of the ocean before her and not let her mind focus fully on the person standing behind her. Slowly soft arms wrapped around her and a kiss was placed on her neck then on her ear.

“Come back inside” a soft voice whispered into her ear as the arms circling her moved to her waist to turn her around.

Before her stood a tall and beautiful woman with fiery red hair.

“You look so beautiful in the mornings” the woman smiled, her brown eyes twinkling excitedly hands still on Waverly’s waist.

The red head bent down to kiss her when suddenly Waverly’s eyes sprang open. She was breathing heavily, and defiantly not near the ocean or in front of an attractive woman she didn't know. She was in an inn, in Oklahoma.

Suddenly Wynonna leaned over her sister shifting the bed making Waverly jump “Mornin’! Havin’ a bit of a sex dream there sis?”

Waverly scoffed “No.”

Wynonna laughed “Are ya sure, cause you kept puckering your lips into the pillow the past ten minutes or so.”

Waverly sat up running a hand through her unruly morning hair “It wasn’t Wyn, I was just looking out over the ocean, but I’ve never seen the ocean, only pictures, and there was this… person who what about to kiss me, it was all very odd.”

Wynonna creased her brow for a moment “Someone you know?”

Waverly shook her head “No, a tall, red headed” She lowered her voice “Person of a fairer type.”

“Ooooooh” Wynonna drawled out “Sounds like a winner winner chicken dinner.”

“You know I hate that phrase” Waverly huffed.

“Well potential kisses and fried chicken aside, we’ve gotta get washed up and get a move on” Wynonna winked before heading towards the small washroom.

Wynonna washed quickly followed by Waverly. Once both were ready they sat atop their wagon with some take away breakfast from the inn as Julian, Ward, and Peter Hardy finished plotting the route on the map.

Waverly finished off her third biscuit “Wyn, do you think they'll have books in New Mexico?”

“I’m not sure baby girl” Wynonna shrugged.

“Maybe the general store can order them for me, I’m almost through this one and only have four more to read through on the way there” Waverly sighed.

“Maybe daddy can also buy a car once we get there, these wagon seats are really hurtin’ my ass” Wynonna added.

“Wynonna…” Waverly set her with a look.

“What, Waverly, I’mma curse, you can say ass too if ya want” She rolled her eyes but smiled at her sister.

The sound of Julian’s Model A interrupted any quip Waverly may have had as Wynona shifted to sit up a little straighter with the reigns.

In a matter of minutes they were off.

“The Hardy’s’ll prolly buy a car I’m sure” Waverly mused as she watched the wagon train follow the Model A down the main road out of town.

“We were the only two family’s in Stringtown with wagons, so I bet you're right.” Wynonna responded.

“Everyone got one after The Great War except Daddy and Mr. Hardy, I dunno what they’ve gotta be so darn stubborn for” Waverly rolled her eyes.

“Wait, which one was the great war?” Wynonna asked confused.

“The one we were born during” Waverly answered.

Wynonna nodded “And that’s the one daddy got out of by saying he has a lung problem right?”

Waverly nodded “I mean he does have a lung problem, he’s got that occasional heavy breathing, and he uses all that darn tobacco.”

“You told me that the tobacco is grown back east but didn’t daddy get his up in Kansas, he took Bobo with him a few times” Wynonna continued.

“I think he was buyin’ some sorta special tobacco up there” Waverly said “Wonder where he’ll get it from out west…”

“Heard Bobo mention something about Santa Fe and trading weeks ago so I guess that’d be where” Wynonna ventured a guess.

“Uncle Julian said he took the train to Santa Fe once, there’s all kinds’a jewelry and pueblos and stuff there.” Waverly added.

“Maybe we’ll get to see it, but judging by the map Uncle Julian has, it’s a long way’s away from San Patricio” Wynonna shrugged.

“Maybe someday though” Waverly’s mind started to wander.

Their conversations flowed in and out the entire ten hour journey as they switched out the reigns to take naps.

Their next stop was similar to the previous one, they got their horses settled in and ate in the little dining room, although sans a sweet little Gertie. It was a harder day and after washing up both sisters were passed out in their shared room.

——

Waurika:

Waverly woke up to the door creaking open then quickly shutting.

“Wake up baby girl, I got us coffee and we can go use the inn owner’s shower before we take off.” Wynonna said plopping down on the bed handing Waverly a warm mug.

Waverly sipped her coffee as Wynonna continued “We’re camping the next four nights, we can’t bathe till West Texas.”

“Okay, let me get my clothes” Waverly replied sitting further up.

They made their way quickly down to the first floor bathroom.

“I’m runnin’ out of books Wy” Waverly said leaning against the counter as Wynonna showered.

“Maybe we’ll pass by a book shop or somethin’ ” Wynonna answered.

Waverly scoffed “We’re camping the next four nights, I doubt those communities have enough money for a book shop.”

“I just hope they have places to eat or something” Wynonna said reaching for a towel.

“Always on food” Waverly rolled her eyes.

“Alright baby girl your turn” Wynonna said “Think Aunt Gus will let me use her sewing machine to make some pants?”

“Tired of the same style of dresses I take it” Waverly laughed.

“After steering the wagon for days on end in homemade dresses I’m quite done” Wynonna said pulling her wet hair into a braid.

“I’m not sure Aunt Gus will let you anywhere near that machine, but she’ll let me, I’ll make us both a pair” Waverly responded.

“I would be so grateful” Wynonna said excitedly.

“Findin’ the material will be the problem” Waverly laughed getting out of the shower to Wynonna’s shocked face.

“Oh no” Wynonna whispered.

“I’m kiddin’, the general store will have wool I’m sure, we can make some new wool pants and coats for winter” Waverly assured her sister.

“You’re cruel to try and ruin my fun like that ya know” Wynonna held the back of her hand to her forehead.

Waverly rolled her eyes again “Yeah, I’m sure, you’re whole world was turned upside down.”

Wynonna nodded carrying on the charade “It was.”

“Alright, well now that you’re fine let’s go get our stuff and get the mules hooked up.” Waverly said finishing her braid.

“Someday I bet we’re all gonna go around in those airplanes or some shit like that” Wynonna whispered the last part.

“Wynonna, language” Waverly reprimanded.

“No one’s around” Wynonna shrugged.

“I’m not sure we’ll live long enough to ever afford to fly on an airplane somewhere” Waverly continued.

They collected their suitcases and headed downstairs to their wagon.

Quickly Julian appeared carrying a small basket “Girls, good mornin’.”

“Mornin’ ” they both replied finishing hooking the mules up.

“I brought you girls some cookies for the trip today, they had the bakery open real early, and Wynonna I got you a few more stitching supplies and Waverly they had a couple books at the general store, they’re very lightweight which I thought well for the journey” Julian said tucking the basket into the front of the wagon.

Waverly and Wynonna enveloped Julian in a hug.

“Thank you” Waverly said giving him another squeeze.

“Thanks” Wynonna whispered with a soft smile letting down her rougher exterior.

The ride was smoother closer to the Red River and allowed for more drink stops for the mules and gave Waverly a nice ride to start one of her new books.

Half the day passed before Wynonna pulled her sister out of the book she was reading “You’re lookin’ a little flustered there Waves.”

At the sentence Waverly jumped “What? Nothing! I don’t know!”

Wynonna looked at her curiously “I said you’re blushin’ ”

“Oh, um, this book is just a little…” Waverly didn't finish her statement.

“A little what?” Wynonna prodded further.

“Um, a little, scandalous” Waverly whispered the last word.

Wynonna lowered her voice but smirked “Like sexy scandalous?”

Waverly nodded, her cheeks darkening even further.

“I’ll take that as a yes” Wynonna winked at her.

“I don’t really think this is particularly somethin’ i’d enjoy with a man” Waverly muttered holding the book tightly shut.

Wynonna handed Waverly the reigns “Here, let me read it real quick.”

Waverly handed off the book to her sister while taking the reigns.

Wynonna quickly skimmed the page smirking “I wouldn’t be that opposed myself, though do tell me” Wynonna began while taking the reigns back “would you enjoy that with a woman better?”

Waverly whacked her sister’s arm “Wy no! Well… I don’t know!”

“Women usually have slimmer fingers, can fit more.” Wynonna laughed and shrugged.

“How do you know this?!” Waverly shrieked.

“I’ve learned a lot spendin’ time at the bar learnin’ to bartend” Wynonna shrugged.

“Have… you been doin’ those sort of things?” Waverly asked a deeper shade of red than she’d ever been.

This made Wynonna blush “No Waves, I haven’t.”

Waverly just nodded “I think I’ll look out at the scenery for a bit.”

“Don’t wanna see how it ends?” Wynonna’s smirked returned.

“I think it’s fine to stretch this out a bit” Waverly said trying almost too hard to focus on the landscape.

“Think for a moment about that statement” Wynonna said.

“You know what I meant” Waverly responded.

“We’ll find you a nice girl in the new town and we’ll get you stretched right out” Wynonna laughed though still keeping her voice low for the question.

“Oh my gosh Wynonna, you can’t just say things like that!” Waverly exclaimed.

“I’ll find me a guy, get stretched out too.” Wynonna said reassuringly.

“Ew Wynonna! Stop sayin’ the word stretched!” Waverly exclaimed.

“You mentioned it first!” Wynonna said still laughing.

‘You’re not safe to talk around” Waverly shook her head.

“I like to keep things interestin’ ya know” Wynonna bumped her sister with her shoulder.

The landscape passed quickly changing from Oklahoma to Texas as Wynonna continued to come up with more innuendos. Before long the sun neared the horizon and Uncle Julian’s car came into view on the outskirts of Wichita Falls.

“You gonna tell Uncle Julian he accidentally got you a risqué book?” Wynonna asked in a hushed tone as Ward, Julian, and Mr Hardy spoke.

Waverly shook her head quickly “No way, he doesn't need to know that.”

They pulled up to a stop next to Willa and Bobo’s wagon as Julian approached.

“Girls! Hey did you get to reading any of those books? Hope one in there is good.”

“They’re quite fine” Waverly said trying not to blush.

“I’m sure the books will be quite good” Wynonna added

Julian shook his head in confusion for a moment “I managed to get us all into a little inn here for the night so we get another night in real beds” he smiled.

Later that night after dinner Waverly laid in the small bed staring at the ceiling “Wyn are you awake?” she whispered.

“Why?” Wynonna rolled over to face her.

“You think there’s any books like that about two women, like intimately about two women, not like the subtle courtin’ of my book the other day?” Waverly asked speaking low and rolling closer to Wynonna.

“I don’t know baby girl, why don't you write one” Wynonna answered pulling Waverly closer snuggling into her.

“Think I could write about a strong liking between two girls?” Waverly burrowed further into Wynonna.

“I think you can do anything you put your mind to Waves, love is love.” Wynonna said resting her chin on top of Waverly’s head.