1960 Albuquerque New Mexico
"Isn't he the most darling baby you ever saw?"
Bella gushed sitting up in the hospital bed. Despite the fact she had just struggled through almost sixteen hours of labor, she looked surprisingly refreshed, with a beautiful glow about her as she sat back holding the wrapped up infant in her arms. Bella was in her mid forties, and the last thing she honestly expected was to get pregnant at this stage in her life again. After two marriages, and a teenage son all ready of her own, she was planning on handing over her late husband's empire to her son Willian, and retire peacefully. She hadn't been a saint, but with her second husband Alexander, who had been her first husband's business partner was now two years in the grave, she had handled the business just fine, keeping up relations over seas, as well as sending Willian to Asia where he had followed in her father's footsteps in the business, as well as in training. Willian had only been four when his father passed away, but the legacy he left for him had been his birthright. Bella remarried to Alexander several years later, and together they watched Willian become fascinated with the life his father had once led. Bella continued working on the business end of things, while Alexander pushed Willian in not following a typical education path, and instead going East to train.
As much as the two had argued over this, Willian made his choice and was currently living in Europe. He had flown back just yesterday to visit when he received news of his mother giving birth. The baby's father had been an American she had met as a one night stand. While in Dallas for business she met him at a local bar. Still completely gorgeous for her age, she had flashed her light blue eyes at this tall dark stranger, and after a night of passion, she saw him tug on his old worn cowboy boots and left her in the hotel they had checked into the night before. A few months later she discovered she was pregnant, and much to Willian's protests, she decided she would keep the baby despite how much of a risk it was to her health. Alexander hadn't been able to give her children during the marriage, and she had always longed for more. Watching Willian grow into a fine handsome young man pulled at her heart strings knowing that it was only a matter of time before she was left alone. All of this money, all of this business, all of his life would mean nothing if she was alone. Esteban, a former lover and friend of hers had been with her during the last few months of her pregnancy.
Today, he stood back smoking a cigar proudly as Bella gently rocked her infant son.
Willian had arrived that morning and stared down at his baby brother, almost twenty years younger than him in his mother's arms. He hadn't exactly been completely supportive over the fact that his mother had decided to continue with this pregnancy, but nevertheless here he was, staring down in awe.
"What's his name?"
Bill instantly wrinkled his nose in disgust.
"God mother, you and these names..."
Bella chuckled looking up at him.
"Your name isn't bad and neither is this one!"
Bill opened his arms.
"Let me see..."
"All right, just support his head and be careful..."
Rolling his eyes, Bill wanted to remind his mother he had been training with some of the world's most dangerous fighters. That if he could kill a man with his bare hands, he could very well hold a baby. Instead, he simply sighed, took hold of the baby who lightly cried and squirmed within it's tightly wrapped blanket and held him close. Instantly the baby settled down and continued sleeping as Bill stared down smiling. He couldn't believe it, but here he was.
"You're a big brother now Willian. You promise me that no matter what you will look after him okay?"
Bill tuned out his mother's words while staring at the sleeping baby's face. That's when he smiled.
"What?" Esteban said, cocking his head to the side. Smirking, Bill lifted his eyes.
"Budd, that's what I'll call him. Budd."
Making a face, Bella settled back into her bed, fixing the pillow behind her.
"Good Lord Willian..."
Smiling, Bill continued staring down at his sleeping younger brother.
Budd said, lifting his head from the king sized bed he was currently sleeping on. Completely naked, his tanned tattoo body laid the length of it within the tangled up sheets. He laid on his stomach and squinted lazily up at Elle as she dressed, quickly buttoning her blouse, The two had been on assignment from Bill to take out this drug dealer in London. After the celebrated kill, the two had gone down into the city and after one too many drinks they ended up in Elle's suite, and had spent the last several hours enjoying victory sex. For nearly six years of working side by side, last night they had finally ended the long lasting sexual tension the two had built around each other. Budd knew that Ellie ever since she joined the squad had set her sights on Bill. But any blind man could see that Bill's heart belonged to Beatrix, the newest member of the squad.
Currently, Bill was in Japan with her seeking out another member they had heard a lot of buzz about. Last night the sex had been good, and Ellie had pounced on Budd like a wild animal. He wore her scratch marks on his back, as he watched her dress. Ellie looked at him, her eyepatch still on, her blond hair a mess and in her face. She looked as if she was in a hurry, and couldn't get out of her own room fast enough. Slowly sitting up, blinking the sleep from his eyes, he rubbed the back of his neck and looked up at her. "You okay?" Elle instantly looked annoyed as she finished dressing.
"Come on, we're going to miss our flight."
"Did I do something wrong?"
Huffing, Elle shot him a look with her vivid blue eye.
"Listen Budd, don't take this personal but a fuck is a fuck. You understand?!"
Budd rolled his eyes as he got up, stretching and cracking his back.
"Fine, fine...I know you ain't the romancing type. Don't worry...I won't tell my brother."
"Don't act stupid Elle darling, somehow in that pretty blond head of yours you think this may ruin any chance you have with my brother. Well I hate to tell you sweetheart but you ain't no Beatrix, never will be..."
Budd laughed, his eyes squinting.
"Sorry, the truth hurts..."
Grabbing her bag, Elle glared at him.
"Fuck you Budd...oh and I faked it the whole time."
Laughing, shaking his head Budd grabbed a cigarette from the table where the half empty remains of the drinks from the night before sat. Popping it in his mouth he stared at her.
"Oh I'm sure you did Elle, I'm sure you did."
Elle slammed the door behind her, leaving Budd completely alone. Laughing lightly, he knew the plane ride home would be nice and awkward. Finishing his cigarette he looked out from the massive bay window at the city below and sighed. Walking over, he grabbed his jeans, T-shirt, and leather jacket that he had thrown off in a drunken haze the night before. His head slightly aching, he grabbed his 38. and checked for his straight edge razor he kept in his boots. Grabbing his clothes, he flicked his cigarette down, before looking back over his shoulder and sighing.
Three months later.
"You can go fuck yourself buddy and go straight to Hell!"
Elle snapped before turning on her heels and storming out of the living area. They were currently in Bill's headquarters in Mexico. A beautiful ocean side mansion where they would report to whenever they had finished a job. Bill owned several estates across the world, and this one had originally been owned by their late mother who tragically lost her battle with cancer when Budd was only fifteen. As Elle stormed out Vernita who was pretending to read a book over near the pillow nook raised her eyebrows as Budd rolled his eyes putting his hands on his hips. Wearing his usual Western attire, he shook his head as his boots clicked against the orange and red tile floor following Elle. As he turned down the long hallway he ran right into Beatrix.
"Whoa, where's the fire?" Budd smirked, cocking his head to the side.
"Oh there's a fire alright, and she's in the form of a pretty pissed off blond."
Beatrix chuckled, making her European strong narrow cheekbones stand out as her green eyes lit up. Budd always thought Beatrix was pretty, gorgeous in fact, but he couldn't for the life of him understand the spell she had casted over his brother. Playful swatting Budd's arm, she shook her head.
"Listen, she isn't worth the time. She likes to be chased. If people stopped chasing her maybe she would give up the attitude."
Nodding, Budd stared at Beatrix, his brother's prized pet and couldn't help but smile. More than once he had often wondered what exactly it would be like to kiss those smooth pink lips of her. Tapping her a wink, and laughing he shook his head.
"Kiddo, you might actually be right..."
One year later.
Budd stood beside Elle, Vernita, and O-Ren before they raised their machine guns and slowly entered the chapel. The moment they appeared in the archway, Beatrix spun around, eyes widening as she saw all of them. Instantly she looked at Bill before he jumped to the side.
One hour later...
Bill closed his cell phone inside the private limo that was transporting them. Bill had stayed stone faced ever since they left the chapel. Elle looked in her glory, sitting beside Bill, trying to show him comfort by gently stroking his arm. Vernita and O-Ren sat silently, staring out the tinted windows at the vast desert unfolding before them. Bill had called one of his many resources including some of the local police, and the hospital where Beatrix was currently being brought to. She was in critical condition, and most likely wouldn't live through the reminder of the afternoon, but Bill had all ready a hired private doctor to come in and take the baby.
It was still early, but Bill was doing everything within his power to get his child unharmed. He had just spent the past fifteen minutes making arrangements, and now hung up. Budd sat across from him and sighed.
"You actually believed her. She was about to get her head blown off, she would have said anything to save her own ass."
Bill glared across at his brother.
"It's my baby. I know it."
"It will probably die, or have brain damage, have you thought of that? Have you thought of what a risk this is to even try and get it? Jesus Bill, a few hours ago you were actually smiling thinking about blowing that bitch away, now you're feeling regret?"
"Watch your tone little brother. I mean it."
Bill hissed. Instantly O-ren and Vernita glanced up as Elle smiled like a snake.
"What's the matter Budd? Feeling guilty over what we did to that bitch? I saw it in your eyes after we were finished beating the shit out of her. What? Feel bad?"
Elle teased. Right away Budd shot her a look.
"You've been waiting for this for years Elle. He's all yours now. Let's just say this works out and the baby is actually his. Let's just say this doesn't bite you guys in the ass after everything is said and done. You think you guys are all going to be a happy little family? Elle, you will hate that child no matter what because when it comes down to it you'll know where it came from."
Elle leaned forward, eyes glaring.
"Yeah well i'll love it more than I would have loved our baby."
Budd instantly looked up.
Elle smirked, taking hold of Bill's arm.
"That night in London...you knocked me up cowboy. I was furious and your darling brother was the one who called me a doctor a few months later and helped me take care of that little problem. I would have rather died than to have a child with you Budd. Face facts, you are not half the man your brother is...you're worse than that tall little blond bitch back there."
Instantly a million thoughts raced through Budd's mind. Looking across at his brother, he took a second before speaking.
"Is...she telling the truth?"
Bill looked up at his brother with tired eyes.
"What do you think Budd? I've always been cleaning up your messes."
"I SAID PULL OVER!"
Vernita and O-Ren slightly jumped before Bill rolled his eyes and gently reached backwards rapping on the petition between them and the driver. Instantly it lowered.
"Pull over for a moment James..."
Instantly the limo pulled over and Budd fumbled for the door. Letting himself out into the hot blazing sun his boots crunched against the side gravel of the road as he stormed off. Right away he heard his brother call after him. "Budd! Hold up!" Budd spun around just in time to make a fist and punch his brother right in the face. Bill stumbled back a few feet, lip bleeding before Budd huffed, eyes flaring like a wild animal. Instantly he saw Elle ready to lunge from out of the car but Bill raised his hand without looking back.
"Hold up Elle!"
There was silence for a moment, only the wind. Staring, Bill wiped the side of his mouth with his sleeve before he sadly stared at Budd.
"Budd...please, try to listen to reason."
"Today was finally it for me. I did something real ugly today, something I'm not proud of at all. The more I think about it, I don't blame Beatrix for trying to get away from you. If that baby is yours...I feel awfully sorry for it for having you as it's father. Damn you to Hell Bill..."
Turning, Budd began to walk away. Where exactly he didn't know. Instead he knew if he stayed a moment longer he would do something stupid and get himself killed. He heard his brother call after him but instead he tuned him out. He tuned everything out. He regretted more than anything for being part of this horrible thing and he swore at that exact moment he would never help his brother ever again.
Two weeks later...
"What will it be?"
Budd broke out of his trance and looked up. There stood a pretty waitress, late teens maybe early twenties. She had light red hair and green eyes. She stood in her red waitress uniform, holding a glass coffee pot, refilling people's cups at the diner he was currently sitting in. He was sixteen miles outside of Dallas, staying at a run down little motel off the highway. Across the lot was a small little retro diner called The Cherry Stinger. An odd name for a diner, but a nice enough place to get his three meals a day. Budd had quickly moved out of his penthouse in Mexico, and gathered his belongings all within a day. He would only use the money he had in his own private accounts, and not a cent more from that bastard he once called his brother. Instead he flew down to Texas and was currently shacked up in a room trying to decide exactly what he was going to do. His whole life had been following in Bill's shadow. He had been raised by Esteban and his mother down in Mexico. He had a content enough childhood.
Raised by watching and idolizing those rough tough cowboys that Esteban would take him to go see. He grew up looking at Bill as his hero, and when he was a teenager it was Bill that pushed him to leave his life in the states and follow him out East to train. He didn't go up to the mountains like the others, but tried in weapons and even a little sword play. After their mother died, he got a taste for the life, and realized he didn't have to think twice when he was getting paid to pull the trigger. Between the parties, the booze, drugs, and women, he enjoyed the life and loved being side by side with Bill. Now this. Thinking of that bitch Elle getting an abortion made his blood boil. He knew if he was in fact "retired" he didn't ever want to see or hear from the other Vipers again. He knew the money he had wouldn't last him forever, but at least he could try and start over. Sitting there, still haunted by that horrible loud bullet sound the gun made when Bill shot Beatrix, he kept wondering if Bill had in fact gotten the baby. Not that any of that mattered now...
Raising his pale blue eyes he looked up at the waitress who's hair was up in a messy side ponytail, dark green plastic earrings clipped to her ears, and a beautiful smile painted on those ruby red lips. Instantly he smiled.
"Um, just coffee right now honey."
Smiling the girl leaned forward pouring into his turned over mug. Instantly Budd raised an eyebrow at her name tag.
"Is that really your name?"
"Darling...that's your name?"
The girl smiled, color raising in her slightly tanned cheeks.
"Sadly yes. My parents wanted to punish me for all of entirety."
"Well don't take it that hard, my name is Burleigh."
The girl giggled again before Budd laughed himself, his eyes squinting showing the wrinkles that were just beginning to form at the eyes.
"Yeah but it's Budd for short."
"Well Budd, pleased to meet you."
She offered her hand which nails that matched her lips. Budd was surprised to find a firm shake in return within his much larger hand. Smiling, he could faintly smell her perfume.
"You a trucker?"
"Do I look like one?"
"Sorta, just better dressed."
"Naw Darling, I just officially become retired from my family's business. Looking to find something a little more low key to do."
"Is that a fact." Budd smiled up at her.
"It sure is."
"Well, can't say there's much work around these parts, just depends."
"Well Darling, I'll just have to see."
Smiling Darling batted her eyelashes before giving him a wink. Turning, she moved away towards a couple of old men sitting at the end of the counter to refill their coffee. All the whole, Budd watched amused.
Budd watched from the balcony of his room at the motel at the dark parking-lot of the diner. The red and blue neon sign glowing and flickering as the inside lights finally were shut off. Standing there, Budd smoked a cigarette, leaning against the rusty railing, faintly hearing a radio on the floor below playing. He watched as the back door of the diner opened, revealing Darling who had been closing up. Budd had enjoyed a nice breakfast and kept the talk light with her as she came over several times more than anyone else to ask if everything was okay and if he wanted more coffee. He had first noticed her about a week back and this was the first time she had actually waited on him. It was usually an older woman with a smoky voice and a no fuss attitude. Today he had been charmed by Darling, watching her sway those tiny little hips as she was bubbly, happy go lucky, and friendly to everyone who entered. She knew the regulars, had tons of energy, and kept making eye contact with him.
Finally when he finished up, stalling long enough he threw down a twenty for a tip, and smiled at her before leaving. When she noticed the extra twenty, she held it up as he walked to the door.
"Don't you need change?"
"Keep it Darling, I'll see you around."
With that he walked across the lot, back to his room where he cracked open a beer, and sat out on the balcony watching. Now hours later, he saw her finally leave and couldn't believe at what a long shift she had taken. She was the last to leave, a half an hour ago the other waitress and short order cook and left, their headlights cutting through the parking-lot's darkness. Watching her from afar, he saw her jingle her keys, and make her way towards what he supposed was some sort of scooter parked near the dumpster. That's when instantly his sharp eyes narrowed on something. Two men, drunk, and watching from behind some parked cars. Instantly Budd waited, watching them watching. Right away he looked and saw Darling walking towards her scooter, fixing her bag over her shoulder. That's when the two men ran over, heading straight towards her. Darling had her back turned, and in just a few mere seconds both men hollered loudly as one jumped straight on Darling's back, knocking her flat to the pavement. Budd reacted instantly, hopping over the balcony, he landed almost twelve feet down like a cat on both feet.
Standing, he raced across the length of the parking-lot as if it was a mere sprint. With all of his force, he drove his forward motion straight into the first fucker who had grabbed Darling's back. The man went flying head first into the side of the dumpster, knocking him clean out. The other man, who was trying to rip off Darling's uniform jumped up surprised. "Holy shit man!" Budd turned around, eyes glaring as the man jumped up. Darling slowly lifted herself up on all fours as the thief held his hands up, backing up.
"Whoa man! We didn't mean anything I swear we..."
Before he could finish Budd's reflexes went into lighting speed. Grabbing hold of the man by the collar, he sucker punched him once in the throat, and twice in the face before tossing him over to his buddy. Both men laid face down and bleeding. Without so much as breaking a sweat, Budd stared down at them before slowly his eyes went over to Darling who had now gotten up on both feet. Her knees were skinned and bleeding. Standing, her ponytail slightly a mess, she stood on two uneven feet before stepping over standing beside Budd. Before Budd could even ask if she was okay she stormed over and with all her might brought a sneakered foot right side the side of the second man's ribs. The man grunted, still knocked out as she kicked again even harder, her bangs falling into her face.
Budd stood back as she kicked the other man before spitting on them. Turning, brushing her bangs out of her face she stared at Budd. The two locked eyes. His faded blue ones, and her green ones. Instantly the two stared at each other before Darling huffed, sending her hair to blow out of her face.
"Don't mention it."
Looking over her shoulder Darling shook her head before reaching down and grabbing her bag. Budd watched her, amazed and more than a little amused again. He had to admit it, she wasn't completely helpless, and certainly had fight in her.
"You know these guys?"
Darling checked her bag, grabbing her keys and looking back.
"Yeah just two assholes who are always hitting on me. Guess they thought the old sneak attack approach would work out better..."
Darling looked herself over before sighing and brushing grit and dirt off her uniform.
"I'm okay...a little scratched up but I'm fine..."
"You need a hospital or something?"
"Naw, I'll just go back inside and wash up. Thanks again...Budd is it?"
"Yeah, hey why don't you come up to my room. We'll get you cleaned up and..."
Instantly he saw the look she was giving him and chuckled.
"Hey listen I'm not trying anything, honest."
Darling closely looked at him, gripping her bag before smiling.
"You did help me out...but I better not."
"Listen I swear, we'll clean you up and you can go on your way okay?"
Looking back at the two men knocked out by the dumpster, she smirked.
Offering his hand, Darling looked at it for a moment with uneasy eyes before slowly taking it. Nodding, Budd led her back across the parking-lot. Feeling the best he had in weeks.
"How does that feel?"
Darling was sitting on Budd's bed, legs up and draped in his lap while he sat in a chair pulled over. He had just finished using one of his face clothes from the bathroom to lightly wash and dab the scrapes on her knees. It wasn't often that he had a pair of beautiful smooth tanned legs in his hands, let alone her tiny feet resting right in the crotch of his jeans. He tried to be respectful, silently cleaning the grit and little pebbles out from the gashes, hating those two assholes out there for doing this. Once while cleaning out the right knee she lightly hissed causing him to lift his eyes.
Smiling, Darling sat back and shook her head.
"You're fine, just stings a little..."
Once he was finished, he leaned down and gently blew against the cleaned out gashes before raising his eyes and watching her stare at him. Instantly the strangest feeling came over him as his heart began to hammer in it's chest.
Later that night...
"You aren't from around here are you?"
Darling asked sitting on the balcony with Budd. The two were sitting in the two rusty chairs that sat out there, both drinking cheap beer, and looking out at the parking-lot below. The two guys had eventually gathered themselves up, limping away into the darkness and down the road. With her feet up on the railing, legs stretched out, Darling surprised Budd by matching him bottle to bottle and didn't even seemed slightly buzzed by it. Budd had noticed ever since he quit the life, he had been drinking a little more than he usually would want to. Still, the drinking kept the dreams away and it seemed as of lately all he could dream about was poor Beatrix's face staring up at him beaten and bloody. Budd looked out ahead of them, their view the parking-lot, diner, and darkness of the desert and sighed.
"No, not exactly..."
"I watched you out there, the way you fought those two guys as if it was nothing. You running from something?"
Budd looked down at his beer bottle and sighed. Instantly Darling shook her head.
"Sorry, none of my business..."
Budd looked up.
"No, it's alright. I told you I quit the family business?"
"Well it was my older brother Bill's business. Sorta something we were both born into. Never knew my father, and my mom died when I was just a kid. My brother pretty much raised me and I followed in his footsteps but no matter how much I tried I just couldn't be like him. We did some terrible things. Things I'm not proud of, finally I guess I had enough and decided enough was enough. I don't have much, but I'm looking for a fresh start. A way to make amends, live simple...and never think about that part of my life again."
"Explains a lot..."
"Darling, that isn't even half of it, but to sum it up perfectly, there it is."
Staring at him, Darling gave a sad smile.
"Whatever happened to you...it was bad wasn't it."
"Not nearly as bad as the things I did."
"That why you got a gun under your pillow back there?"
Budd glanced back a little surprised before Darling sat up, taking her legs down off the railing.
"Sorry, while you were taking a look over my legs and I was sitting on the bed I felt it by accident. This may be a guess, but I'm certain that wouldn't be the only weapon in there?"
Budd stared at her and nodded.
"Yeah..." Darling looked unfazed by this as she tipped back her bottle and continued drinking. Budd watched her, chuckling a little before he motioned his own bottle at her.
"What about you, what's your story?"
"Me? Nothing much to say. The diner is my part-time gig, I dance over at Club Ice down the highway."
Budd raised an eyebrow.
"The strip joint?" Darling laughed.
"You heard of it?"
"Caught my attention driving past it, hard to miss."
"Ever been inside?"
"Well it's a pit, but it pays decent. Been dancing there for going on seven months now. I share a trailer with my friend Betsy, she works there too, been saving up...for what exactly I don't know, but I know not to land up here."
"What about before that?"
"Parents died when I was four, was raised by my aunt over in Phoenix. I split when I was just sixteen, working odd jobs under the table. Before this I was upstate, dancing and working as a cocktail waitress."
"How old are you?"
"Jesus, you're a baby..."
"How old are you?"
"On the far side of thirty-nine."
"Get out of here..."
Laughing Budd shook his head.
"Wish I was lying Darling...which is that even your own name?"
"It sure is, says so even on my ID."
Budd watched as she fished into her side pocket of her uniform and handed him her ID. Looking at it, he raised an eyebrow and smiled before handing it back.
"Well, I outta get going. Thanks for the help and drinks Budd..."
As Darling stood, she gathered up her portion of the bottles in her arms before Budd shook his head.
"Don't worry about those..."
Setting them back down, she turned and smiled as he stood and stared down at her. Instantly the two stared at each other before Budd reached forward, taking hold of Darling's arms and bringing her in close. Instantly he leaned down, pressing his lips against hers as his mouth opened and closed, tasting her. Within seconds he brought his head back and saw the surprised look on her face. Instantly he felt embarrassed, and took a deep breath.
Before he could say another word, Darling looked up at him with hungry eyes and grabbed onto him, almost jumping in his arms as her legs went around his waist and she attacked him like a mad woman. Her full lips opened and closed, sucking on his as the two laughed between gasping breaths and stumbled back.
The next morning...
"Come with me."
Budd was laying on top of Darling in bed. The A.C softly humming in the background, the curtains closed. Budd laid still inside Darling as she stared up at him, her breasts squished from beneath his chest. Smiling, he leaned down kissing her collarbone as her slender fingertips traced his tattoos. Looking down at her, he kissed her lips again.
"Come with me."
"Who cares, we'll find something."
"Sure, would be nice to have the company...that is if you're interested in tagging along with an old man like me."
Laughing, Darling stared up at him.
"You mean it?"
"Only on one condition."
"You gotta tell me the truth..."
"Everything, including what you used to do. I have my guesses but I'm not about to go run away with some stranger only to get myself arrested or killed."
"I wouldn't worry about that honey..."
"Those are my terms, if not you'll have last night as a pleasant little memory and I'll go back to pouring coffee and taking my clothes off to pay the rent."
Sighing, Budd thought about it for a while before nodding. "It's a long story." "It's all right. I got time." Leaning down, Budd deeply kissed Darling before carefully pulling himself out of her and rolling over. Together the two laid side by side, tangled within the sheets before Budd grabbed a cigarette from the nightstand and stared up at the ceiling, trying to figure out where to begin.
One week later.
"Now, relax your shoulders..."
Budd softly said standing behind Darling as the two of them stood outside his truck in the middle of nowhere. They had been traveling downstate for the last few days and had packed up together. Darling had quit her jobs, cashed out her savings, and ignored all of her friends' advice about being foolish and hopped in with Budd as they headed down the back highway. Today they had woke up and Budd had taken her a few miles out to practice shooting. It was something he took serious, and since he had told her everything and saw she didn't look at him any differently, he knew she was a keeper. She didn't react with horror, or disgust. Instead, she listened with pity. Once he was finished, he explained to her that he wouldn't judge her if she left now. In fact, she might be wise to do so. Instead, she gently touched his scruffy cheeks, sighed and gently kissed his forehead like his mother had once done. In the days following, she agreed she would join him. Now here they were. Both had decided to settle in either New Mexico or Texas.
What exactly they would do was still up in the air, but Budd had insisted to show her how to protect herself. For the last two days they had been practicing shooting. Having set up rusty cans up on a few rocks a couple of yards away, he leans in close, fixing her arms.
"Now, eye on the target...relax and take a breath in..."
Darling spread her two jean clad legs, raised her shoulders, brought the pistol up and did exactly as Budd said. Within seconds the gun fired and she reacted the way he had taught her, not jumping at the kick. The gunshot was loud and missed the can.
"Takes practice, don't worry you'll get it. Watch..."
Taking the gun, he set the target, took a breath in and fired. Three times in a row he hit the can, knocking it over. Darling watched with impressed eyes as he handed the gun over.
Nodding, Darling took the gun, relaxed and took a deep breath. Raising the pistol she fired, this time hitting the rock next to the can.
"None of that, you were closer than before. That's good. Now again."
Nodding, Darling stood up straight, put her hands out, aimed...and fired. This time she hit the can. Her eyes widening like a child she shouted out with glee.
"I DID IT! BUDD DID YOU SEE? I DID IT!"
Budd chuckled, loving how happy this made her. Digging into his pocket for more bullets he grinned.
"Told you, now let's go at it again I'll set the cans up, you reload."
Budd laid in the back of the pickup in the old sleeping bag Darling had brought with her, staring up and holding onto Darling's hips as she slowly rocked back and forth on top of him. Feeling himself come close, he bit down on his bottom lip, and stared up at her beautiful face, eyes closed in pleasure, and the desert night sky above them. Darling would be his student, he would teach her his ways, not Bill's. They would live a simple life if she continued to have him, not never as long as he lived would be return to that path. Moaning, and climaxing loudly, he watched Darling collapse on top of him, panting for breath before kissing his chest. Stroking her hair, Budd held onto her tight all the while staring up at the star littered sky.