((Authors note: Hey everyone! Oh my! This is getting intense and we are getting close to the finish line. I have gone back and edited chapter 1 as there was some timeline wishy washy things. That and the first paragraph was a mess. I hope you like the edits. Let me know what chapter I should edit next and keep the conversation going. Thanks for all your love and support! Enjoy!)

Chapter 19

Date: May 1880

In the darkness of the barn, hidden in the hay was a little girl with red hair. A young teen glowering at the barn door. A slew of screams and hollers outside as the heat from a roaring fire filled the barn with smoke. The girl watched the door, eyes wide with worry as it shuttered against the chains locking it closed.

"Get this thing open! Get the horses and let's get outta here!" A handsome voice shouted in panic from the other side of the door. The little girl clutching a rusty butter knife in her hand as she began to shake. She slowly got up to her feet. Her nightdress once white now stained yellow and brown from dirt and sweat.

"Heave!" Two voices shouted in unison as two men body slammed the doors breaking it off its hinges.

A young Hosea Matthews stood alongside a teenaged Arthur Morgan. The horses inside the bard whined in panic as they both stopped to see the girl standing in the middle of the barn.

"Dutch!... There is someone in here." Hosea said. "She looks pretty rough."

"Let me see," Dutch said and stepped inside the barn, He too with a youthful glow, but the lot of them were broke and desperate looking. Dressed in common clothes carrying rusty pistols now face to face with a child blocking them from their score.

"Easy there," Arthur said as the Girl screamed at them holding up the knife.

"Wasn't this door chained from the outside?" Hosea asked as Dutch stepped forward with his hands up.

"Yes, it was… Hello there, miss. What's your name?" Dutch asked. The girl screamed again and lunged forward toward Dutch as Arthur drew his gun. "Easy now son," Dutch shouted as the two teens faced off.

"Easy now… Look I'm not here to hurt you. I'm guessing that's what happens when that door opens… they hurt you didn't they?" Dutch asked and looked the girl over carefully. On the floor were a blanket, pillows and rope. If the smoke of the fire hadn't been burning, the smell of the barn would have made him sick. Arthur nervously lowered his gun as Dutch eased him to lower it.

"No more of that, we are friends. Good people. Those men…. They were bad people" Dutch started to explain as he walked up to the girl. She shuffled back away from him but was met with the back wall of the barn, which was starting to burn.

"I'm going to take care of you. My name is Dutch Van Der Linde. What's yours?" Dutch asked and extended his hand gently for a greeting. The little girl had tears in her eyes which streaked through the dirt on her face.

"Isabella." She whimpered.

Current Date, 1899 ~ Blackwater~

Dutch and Hosea were stopped in one of the alleys down the road for a smoke. "What did I tell you, the lady knows who you are and is kind enough to keep her mouth shut with the Sheriff. So why do you keep pushing her buttons? It's clear she doesn't like you and is done being a whore." Hosea scolded Dutch as he dusted off his hat.

"I'm not trying to pay Hosea! I'm trying to get her outta here. The O'Driscolls got scared off by the bounty hunters on patrol, but he's coming for her. I just know it." Dutch said and sat on a barrel and puffed his cigar with need.

"I don't think she wants your help Dutch. I wanted to ask, how did Ms Roslayn Bush figure out who we are in the first place? Did you tell her?"

"Of course not, Izzy did." Dutch snarled.

"Izzy? You don't mean."

"The one and the same. Little Izzy Whizzy from that broken-down farm. Tou knows when Arthur first found us."

"Yeah I remember, better than you because, If I recall, you didn't exactly treat her right when she left," Hosea said bitterly.

"You know better than me Izzy was going to get caught, that wild child was reckless." Dutch scolded Hosea and rushed up to him.

"Dutch she was a kid from a bad home." Hosea tried to reason.

"As soon as the pressure of the law got her. She would have flopped and watched both you and me hang." Dutch said defensively.

"Then why once she agreed to leave would you antagonize the poor thing. Arthur and Izzy were sweet on one another once upon a time." Hosea asked as Dutch stormed off towards his white stallion hitched at the end of the block.

"I did what I did to protect Arthur, he deserves a woman better than a lowly murdering thief. You know she admitted it, her thieving ways. I was right all along she was skimming the top. You hear this crap going around about the Devil in Red? She finds poor innocent men framed for crimes and sentenced them to death. What right does she have being the judge and executioner when she is no better? I'm glad she's dead." Dutch said rather worked up and nervously puffing on his cigar to find it was nearly ashed out and burning his gloves.

"What does it matter Dutch? Arthur told me what happened. She's gone. We need to leave Blackwater." Hosea said and sighed.

"I know, I had a good deal on that property outside of town but you're right. Too dangerous to stay here now. We need some money, lots of money too if we are going to get outta here." Dutch said and saddled up on his horse.

"Well, let's head back to camp and see what's all been scouted out. I got a little venture of my own and was hoping to take Arthur along with me. He needs to keep away from this drama." Hosea said as they rode side by side towards the outskirts of town.

"Agreed, where is he?" Dutch asked.

"Rachel is gone, he's probably back at camp," Hosea replied.

Rosalyn was standing on the back patio of the three-story brick home which was also her restaurant. Wearing nothing but a towel as she gazed upon the beautiful scenery of the sunset over the lake. Arthur reached past the curtain and pulled her back into his arms and kissed her shoulder.

"There you are." He said. Arthur's naked frame against hers in a bear hug. Rosalyn giggled as he squeezed and turned around.

"Whoa, tiger slow down. We just got clean and I have only just caught my breath." She said as Arthur kissed her neck and pulled her inside. He caught her in a haughty kiss and pinned Rosalyn against the wall.

"You must have the wrong impression of me by now," Arthur said and gently pinched her nipple making her squirm.

"... Ah- and what would that be?" She asked and wrapped a leg around his torso pulling him close. "Is it that you like it rough? Or do you prefer dangerous?" She asked and dragged a fingernail across his neck.

"I like it simple. Things aren't simple with you." Arthur whispered as he pulled her into another steamy kiss.

"Then why do you keep coming back?" Rosalyn asked as she shoved Arthur back and he sat on the bed. Arthur said nothing as Rosalyn peeled away the towel and crawled onto his lap. Her damp skin, sticking to his. "You're so greedy," Rosalyn said as Arthurs ran his hands over her ass in the air. The texture of her goose pimples skin going slick as he massaged her.

"Do I hear the pot calling the kettle is black." Arthur mused as her finger clenched into his long hair. Rosalyn was too busy singing to respond.

A few hours later, Arthur rode back to camp in a flurry of untucked clothes and wet hair, his hat tucked under his arm as he jumped off John's thoroughbred warhorse.

"Arthur what the hell!" John Marston yelled as storming up for Arthur who walked away quickly. "You said you would be back in an hour! You need a new horse!" John shouted and rushed up to Rachel who pranced around nervously as the men shouted.

"I'm sorry! I gotta talk to…" Arthur mumbled the last part as John calmed his horse. John cursed and flipped Arthur off. Arthur tried to walk towards his bunk but Mary-Beth pulled him aside.

"Arthur! Look at you!" She said excitedly. Arthur stumbled and looked to where Mary-Beth was pointing. "It's not like you to be unkempt like this. Who is she?" Mary-Beth asked as Arthur hurried to button up his trousers. Mary-beth assisting in buttoning up his collar.

"Shit…" Arthur cursed.

"The boys are fighting by the pit, you better go check-in. Best not look too happy. Spill the details later to be okay?" She asked and giggled.

"Alright, thank you Mary-Beth," Arthur said and put on his hat as she straightened his bandana.

"I'm desperate for something to think about other than washing pots. Good luck Arthur." She said as Arthur broke away and marched over to the fire pit. They're sitting on the logs was Micah sitting next to Bill smoking quietly. Dutch currently shouting at Miss Grimshaw.

"I told you to stop," Dutch said rather coldly as the lady huffed.

"And I told you! To stay away from the blonde busty brainless harlot!."

"What's going on?" Arthur asked.

"Arthur, would you explain that our little dinner was nothing but a friendly hello with the Lady Rosalyn," Dutch asked and went to stand behind Arthur.

"Why are we still talking about her? Don't we need some money?" Arthur asked.

"The lady has nothing to worry about Miss Grimshaw, calm you old tits down and leave the boys alone," Micah said and stood up. "Arthur's right, we gotta get ourselves a score."

"What's this? I thought you said Rosalyn was." Arthur started to explain.

"I changed my mind, went to see her myself and she sure did change my mind." Micah chuckled and thrust his hips in the air with a lewd grunt. Arthur grabbed him by the scruff of the neck faster than a cougar pouncing a deer.

"Hey Hey! Arthur!" Dutch yelled as Arthur went to throw a haymaker. Bill grabbing Arthur's arm before he smashed open Micah's skull.

"He's Lying! I was there! He talked to her for 10 minutes before she threw a drink in his face." Bill said as Micah's blocked his face.

"Don't hit me!" Micah panicked. Arthur stood there steaming mad, but let go as Dutch eyed him suspiciously. Arthur locked eyes with him as it felt like there was a gun drawn between them.

"Listen here, I think I found something," John spoke up and walked into the argument. "Two days' ride from here, there is a camp of O'Driscolls hanging about. Why don't we go scare them off huh?" John asked.

"You know John that sounds like a fine idea, Why don't you take Bill and Arthur with you," Dutch said not breaking his lock with Arthur.

"I need Arthur for my own thing Dutch," Hosea shouted, eavesdropping the whole conversation.

"Why don't you go Dutch?" Arthur asked.

"Micah and I have our own thing to scope out. When you boys get back from scaring off those O'Driscoll scum, get some sleep I'm going to need you bright and fresh tomorrow. ." Dutch said and turned away to head back to his tent. The boys all went their ways, Bill and John heading to their horses as Micah went back to his tent.

"I don't get why everyone is so worked up over her." The small Irish accented woman said.

"Shh Molly, don't reveal our position," Tilly said as Arthur turned around and spotted the two girls hiding nearby in one of the tents eavesdropping themselves.

"Hi, Arthur," Tilly said shyly as she was caught. Arthur quickly walked away back to his bed as the two girls caught up.

"Arthur wait, tell us who is this Rosalyn Bush everyone keeps talking about?" Molly O'Shea asked. "Dutch has been on about her for weeks now. Is… is he cheating on me?" Molly asked rather heartbroken.

"He ain't sleeping with her if that's what yer asking," Arthur said abruptly. "Now leave me alone, I have work to discuss with Hosea," Arthur said as he turned away from his bunk and walked over to sit with Hosea.

"You okay son?" Hosea asked as he sipped his beer.

"Yeah," Arthur said and reached into the box and pulled a bottle out for himself.

"You got pretty worked up there, is there something else you wanted to say?" Hosea asked.

"I told you everything, nothing's going on between me and the bean lady," Arthur said coldly, chugging his beer quickly.

"Well, we have some time to relax. I'm going to take you away for a little bit for a little moonshining adventure I found. Should be fun." Hosea said.

"How long will we be gone you think?" Arthur asked.

"About a week or so. Is there a problem?" Hosea asked.

"No.. no problem at all, might be a good idea to get away for a little bit." Arthur nervously said as Hosea drank his beer. The road of the fire dying down as the various camp fellows headed to bed.

"She was a bad kid Arthur," Hosea said softly. Arthur asked not meeting his gaze as he chugged a second bottle.

"You're wrong," Arthur mumbled.

"Izzy was bound to get killed at one point or another, it was best it was you. She was a lunatic." Hosea affirmed.

"Izzy? Yeah, Izzy! I mean sure she was out of her mind, but can you blame her" Arthur said fumbling over his words.

"Who else would I be talking about? We all faced bad stuff Arthur, she chose to be hateful from it." Hosea stated. "Hatred like that only leads to careless acts of violence and regret."

"At least she felt something," Arthur muttered and stood up. "I'm going to bed." He said and walked away.

"Good night Arthur." Hosea sighed and watched as Arthur got into bed without changing. Laying there staring at the awning trying to study the stained stripes for clues into the world. Faced with no answer but red and yellow.

"Blood and piss. Is there anything else?" Arthur sighed and closed his eyes.

One Week Later ~ St Denis~

Isabella Morningstar awoke to the smell of burning wood. Outside the window of her hospital room, a protest of sorts was in swing as the hay stuffed scarecrow danced on fire in the streets. The room was empty, her restraints were gone and the world was clear. On her belly, laid Arthur Morgan's Journal still open as if she fell asleep with it.

"How many times have I told you to stop staying up so late." The nurse said as she came in with a tray of food. Izzy merely scoffed and shifted to sit up. "How are you feeling, Miss Morningstar?" The nurse asked and set down breakfast as Isabella put the journal away in her satchel.

"Fine, I guess." She said as the nurse sat down on the bed to start undressing the bandages on Izzy's head.

"You've been here a long time, must be getting itchy to go for a walk." The nurse said disposing of the dirty wrappings in a basket.

"I have much more planned then going for a walk," Izzy replied. "Mirror please." She asked.

"It looks a lot better! Doctor Hudson will want to see this when he comes in." The nurse said with a smile and handed the hand mirror to her. Izzy looked into her reflection, the woman she saw looked nothing like a scared little girl. Instead, she saw a gruesome scar, dark empty eyes and a grim disposition on life in her glare.

"Looks great. You reckon a man would want a lady like this?" Izzy said and mustered a smile.

"Those who won't, don't deserve a lady like you." The nurse said and stood up. "I know you're getting released soon, but remember to use the ointment and let it breathe to reduce the scarring. The better it heals the stronger it will be."

"I will," Izzy said and stared at her face a bit longer. When the nurse left, Isabella stood up from the bed and headed down the hall for the restroom. Halfway there, a man was in the waiting room holding flowers and a brand new baby blanket. Nervously tapping his foot before spotting Isabella.

"Jesus Christ what happened to your face!" He screamed. Isabella smirked wide as his startled tone.

"I kissed the Devil." She responded with glee.