The next day Julia woke up feeling full of energies and feeling like going to the moon and coming back. Her leg didn't hurt much anymore, and the itch had soothed too.
She got out her tent, stretching her arms over her head while looking around the camp noticing the most part of the others already up.
She limped towards the wagon of the supplies where Sadie and Abigail greeted her. Julia ate some cookies and took some coffee while hearing the two women talk about the usual things.
She sipped the hot drink while limping towards the shore of the lake, looking at the few fish that were swimming under the greenish water.
For the first time after a long time, she felt her head free of any thought; she was just enjoying the warm sun on her face and the light, cold breeze that was moving her hair behind her back. She felt relaxed, almost happy as if any worry had left her life.
Julia turned as she had heard John's raspy voice and once her eyes got on him, the man faintly smiled at her.
"I was before you bothered me" she joked.
John chuckled shaking his head while looking at his feet.
"Look…I wanted to ask you if you still want to come with me and Javier at the Grays. We…uh…we think we might have found something interesting" said the man putting his hands on his hips and looking at Julia he waited for her answer.
"You think you have? How many times you've been there?" Julia frowned and then took a sip of coffee.
"This is not like the other times. We got a meeting with Mr. Gray himself" said John with a fake proud voice.
"Which Mr. Gray?" Julia asked raising an eyebrow, thinking about Beau and his unusual personality.
"The patriarch" answered John.
"Is he still alive?" Julia asked taking another sip.
John sighed looking behind his back for a moment, trying to collect all his patience.
"You want to come or not?" he asked.
Julia thought about John's offer for a moment coming to the conclusion that she preferred going with him rather than stay at the camp.
"Yeah, sure" she answered in the end.
"Okay. Ask Dutch if he agrees" John said and did to go away.
"Oh, he does" rushed Julia limping towards him.
John turned to look at her with a raised brow, not believing her for a moment.
But Julia gave him a serious look that changed his mind.
"You sure?" he asked, and Julia rolled her eyes.
"Of course I am. He told me yesterday" she said in a convincing tone.
John seemed to believe her, so he nodded.
"Okay then. We're ready to go if you are too" he said.
"I get my things and I reach you at the horses" replied Julia limping towards her tent, leaving her cup on a barrel.
She took her holster and hat and then reached the horses where she put the saddle on Wind Catcher in a hurry before someone could notice her.
John and Javier were waiting for her near the woods and once Julia got on her horse, she turned and reached them.
"You ready?" asked John and she nodded.
"Good. Come on, let's go" said Javier leading the way.
Julia turned her head to the camp and her eyes fell on Arthur's tent where the man had just stood up from his cot.
Julia quickly spurred Wind Catcher and left, hoping he hadn't seen her.
Once they got out of the woods, Julia followed the two men to Calliga Hall, knowing already the way as she had been there with Arthur.
"So, what are we going to discuss with that old man, exactly?" asked Julia.
"One of his sons told us that if we ask Mr. Gray about a job, he'd surely give us some and he'll pay us too" answered John.
"Is he going to pay us? It sounds like what the Braithwaites had done with Hosea. Seemed to me they're quite alike" replied Julia, but her tone hid a bitter note.
"I can't understand why Dutch sent Hosea talking to that family. Didn't we want to rob the Grays?" asked Javier frowning.
"Yeah, but it seems the Braithwaites got some gold too. I think he wants to rob them both" answered Julia.
"If you ask me, the more we go on with this story the more we gonna remain dry-mouthed" said John shaking his head slightly.
I think that too, thought Julia.
"Dutch know what he's doing, right? He'll keep us safe as he always did in the past few years. We just need to trust him" said Javier in a convinced tone.
Julia looked at him, ready to reply to his words, but decided it was better not to.
She knew that all the members of the gang supported Dutch, Hosea first of all. Even if he knew Dutch's true nature. The difference between him and the others was that Dutch didn't save Hosea. And the difference between her and the others was that Hosea was the one who had saved her.
"Okay, we arrived" said John, bringing Julia back from her thoughts.
They headed to the main gate, where two men were standing with a rifle in their hands.
"I see two men on guard" said Javier.
"Let me do the talking" whispered John while they reached them.
"Morning. We got an appointment with Mr. Gray" he said in a cherish voice.
"I know nothing about this appointment" said one of the men.
"Which Mr. Gray anyway"? asked the other.
"Mr. Tavish Gray?" said John.
The two men exchanged a look and then one of them nodded to the other.
"He's at the stables" said the latter.
"Thank you, sir" replied John, looking at Julia and Javier.
They followed the path on the right and then turned left, following the white fence until they got into the property. They passed a couple of buildings that seemed houses until they saw a small stable in the distance.
Once they reached it, they all got down their horses. Julia hissed when her feet touched the ground and she felt a jolt run through her leg.
"You okay?" asked Javier noticing her pained expression.
"Fine" she answered quickly following John into the stable where they found an old man sitting on a wooden box, maybe containing some tools.
The old man had small eyes and was almost completely bald, but his thick mustache and sideburns compensated for the lack of hair. He was also elegantly dressed; sign his days spent in the fields were over.
They cautiously got closer to the man who was staring into space, until he realized he wasn't alone.
"Morning Mister!" greeted John, waving lightly at the man.
"Who are you? And what the hell are you doing in my property?" he asked in an accusing tone while frowning.
"We came from the North. We were working on building a railway 'till it failed" lied John, it was quite convincing though.
"And what do you want from me?" asked again the man looking at them as if they were ready to jump on him.
"We just want to make some honest money. We'll help you" said John in a kind way.
"Like you helped that family of degenerates?" accused the old man.
Julia scoffed at his attitude, looking at her feet and shaking her head.
"What family of degenerates?" asked John naively.
"The Braithwaites. Goddamn animals…" muttered Mr. Gray.
"We know nothing about this. Listen, we just want to find work" said John, now more impatient.
"And why would I let you work for me?" asked the old man in a challenging tone.
"Listen, mister…we're good men. Like you" said John pointing at the man.
"You don't know me…you turn up in this town and you help everybody and everywhere…there's troubles. Who are you?"
"Like I said…we had a run of bad luck in the west. Lost some money on a failed railway speculation. We heard good men can do well in this country" replied John more and more impatient.
He turned briefly and exchanged a look with Julia who shook lightly her head.
"My family…some people in the area will hold us back for ever. We're an old Scottish family. We work. My daddy taught that to me, I taught my sons. Work hard, but fair" said the man staring into space again.
There was a moment of silence in which Julia observed the dense man before her eyes and it was at that moment that an idea popped in her head.
"I know what you mean, sir" said Julia catching their attention.
"You do?" asked the man frowning.
"Yes, sir. My father was a hard worker, just like you. We had a farm and when my mommy died, I helped my daddy with it. He had no sons, only me. And despite I was a girl, I wanted to help and work hard. So, he taught me" she lied while getting closer to the man and staring into his eyes.
2Is that so?" he said in a low tone looking at her.
Julia held the man's gaze until John's words make her turn towards the entrance of the stable where there was a tall and blonde man who nodded at Mr. Gray before he glanced at Julia.
"And have you met my partner Arthur Morgan?"
"No" answered the man looking at Arthur unimpressed.
"You knew he was coming with us?" asked Julia at Javier in a whisper.
The man limited his answer at a shrug and then turned towards the others again.
"I met your son, the sheriff?" said Arthur looking at the man.
"Okay" replied Mr. Gray, still unimpressed.
2Mr. Gray here was saying how he had problems with a family…a family of degenerates" said John to Arthur.
"Oh well, nobody like degenerates" said the man, but his words sounded like a mock.
"That hag and her inbred sons…they've ruined this county. They killed my uncle, you know" said the old man.
"And that ain't right" said John in a tone of grief.
"Problem is we can't be seen to get too close" added the old man.
"And?" asked John.
The old man slowly raised from the wooden box he was seated on and leaned towards John.
"We got gold, Yankee…we got gold"
"I ain't no Yankee, friend. I ain't nothing. My daddy came over on the boat from Scotland" said John in a defensive tone.
"I'm Scottish2 said Mr. Gray.
"And the Braithwaites?" asked John, trying to get to the point.
2Goddamn peasants!" exclaimed the old man, turning in his heels and walking away.
Arthur and John exchanged an exasperated look, but Julia had enough of that charade, and getting past the two men, she got closer to Mr. Gray.
"Listen, Mr. Gray, I think we can help each other" she said putting a hand on the man's shoulder.
"How?" he asked looking at her and frowning.
"We need money to continue our travel to the east. While you want that Braithwaite family punished for their sins, but you can't without stepping into the illegal side, am I right?" said Julia.
"Go on2 said the man after a moment of silence.
"We do the job and you pay us, then we leave like this never happened" Julia added.
"I might have something for you" said the man thoughtfully.
"How much gold?" asked Arthur getting closer to Julia.
"Enough. These are prized horses I'm talking about. Them they'll get you…five thousand" said the man, thinking for a little too much time on the price.
"Five thousand? For horses?" asked John skeptically.
"Easy2 replied the old man.
"And where do we sell these five thousand dollar horses?" asked Arthur.
"Over in Clemens Cove. Feller over there will run them out of state and give you fifty cents on the dollar" answered Mr. Gray.
They all looked at each other for a moment and then John said:
"Mister, you got yourself a deal"
They started to walk towards their horse.
"Just keep us away from this, publicly I mean" said the man stopping them on their steps.
"My sense is we keep all horse rustling away from the public" answered John before he reached his horse.
Julia got closer to hers, while Mr. Gray told John where they could find the horses he was talking about.
She grasped the horn of the saddle and put her foot in the stirrup, but when she tried to push herself up, she failed.
Arthur was behind her, and without any warning, he grabbed her by her waist and put her on Wind Catcher.
Julia gasped, taken by surprise and when she found herself on her horse, she turned and thanked Arthur.
The man didn't answer and instead reached Tundra and got on her.
"Okay, let's go" he said in a serious tone.
They all followed him out of the Grays's property, passing near the burnt fields.
"Jesus, what happened here?" asked John looking at the fields.
"Sean and I burnt his tobacco fields yesterday" said Arthur in an amused tone.
"That was you?" chuckled Javier.
"Burning rich folks' property? Sean was like a pig in shit" answered Arthur making the others laugh.
"I'm sure…man, that crazy old man..." said John shaking his head.
"An you didn't meet the Braithwaite woman" sighed Arthur.
"Where he said we could find the horses?" asked Julia, trying to get into the conversation.
"That ain't your business" answered Arthur with a harsh tone.
"What you mean?" asked Julia frowning at him.
"I mean, we gonna take care of it. You head to the camp and try to stay there" said Arthur without looking at her.
"You joking, right?" asked Julia in disbelief and turning to the others, she noticed their puzzled look.
"No, I'm not. Dutch's pissed for you leaving without any warning" replied Arthur
"Wait. I thought you said he was okay in you coming with us" said John looking at her.
"He said a day or two. I'm fine, I don't need any more rest" said Julia.
"You can't even get on your horse" said Arthur.
"I didn't need your help" Julia replied now raising her voice.
"Yeah, sure" answered Arthur, putting an end to the discussion.
For the rest of the way, they stayed silent, until they reached the woods near the camp.
Once they stopped there, Julia looked at Arthur who peeked at her from his shoulder ignoring her disdainful look.
"What we doing here?" she asked.
"As I said, you stay here. Go on" answered the man, gesturing her to carry on.
"Ugh! You're a pain in the ass, Arthur Morgan" she hissed spurring Wind Catcher.
"Yeah, yeah…" Arthur replied smiling amused by her stubbornness.
They waited until she disappeared from their sight.
"Dutch's gonna have a bad run-in with her" said Javier making the other two chuckled.
"Yep" laughed Arthur with them.
But their fun was short-lived.
Turning his head to the path, John saw a small black figure running away from them.
It was Julia.
"Errr, Arthur?" he called making the other man turn.
Arthur recognized her straight away, and without thinking twice he spurred his horse; Javier and John were right behind him.
"Hey! What you think you're doing?!" Arthur yelled at Julia, who was getting further and further from them.
"She's something" said John from Arthur's side.
"She's gonna get herself killed. Come on" he yelled back.
"Man, that horse is fast" commented Javier, who was just behind Arthur.
Following the path, when they arrived at a bend, Julia had disappeared from their sight.
"Goddammit. Come on, if we're fast enough, we can reach her at the Braithwaite's manor" said Arthur, before he spurred his horse again.
"Let's hope she hasn't blown the shot" said John sighing.
Following Julia's tracks, they arrived at one of the secondary entrances of the Braithwaite's property, where they saw a man leaned against the white fence with his pistol in his hand.
Javier got down his horse and controlled if he was dead or just knocked out.
"He's alive. How she done that?" he asked more to himself than the others.
"Let's check the stables" said Arthur once Javier got on his horse.
They entered the property and followed the path and then turned left, noticing a small building that seemed to be the stables.
"Okay, let's keep this quiet. We don't want to draw any unnecessary attention" said Arthur.
"Let's hope she hasn't done it yet" answered John.
"Yeah, let's hope not" murmured the older man.
Once they got to the stables, they noticed that no one was around and that Julia's horse was outside, tied to one of the posts.
They got down their horses, careful not to make any sound and then entered the small building, finding a man knocked out on the floor and Julia petting one of the horses.
"You finally caught up" she said continuing to pet the black horse on the left.
Arthur quickly closed the distance between the two of them and dragged her near the door by her arm while Julia tried to free herself from his grip.
"That was really stupid" he shouted-whispered giving her a hard look.
"I can handle myself, with or without a wounded leg. Stop treating me like a child, Arthur. I can take care of myself as you saw" she answered pointing at the man on the floor.
"We gonna discuss this once we get these horses out of here. Javier, John take those two, I'm gonna take this one" he said walking towards the white horse in the middle.
Julia rolled her eyes and taking out her pistol, she peeked outside to control if someone was coming.
One after the other, they guided the stallions out of the stables and Javier tied them with a rope.
"Someone's coming!" shouted Julia as she saw a man near the fence.
"What are you doing?" the man yelled.
"Let's go, quick" said John getting on his horse.
They all did the same and as fast as they could, they run away from the stables.
John was heading them out of the property, Javier was guiding the horses while Julia and Arthur stayed behind to cover them.
"Stop! Stop! We're being robbed!" yelled the man running after them.
Soon after, as they were running away, some men came out of nowhere and started to shoot at them.
Julia and Arthur started to shoot in turn, killing one after the other, covering John and Javier, who was busy in keeping the horses calm while running towards the exit.
They were almost out, when the shots, that had become less insistent, resumed now nearer and louder.
Turning her head, Julia saw a couple of men on horses, running after them.
"They're sending out raiders! Go, I'll hold them off!" yelled Arthur shooting at them.
Julia looked at him before she followed John and Javier, but as they were reaching the main gate, a wagon and some other men were blocking the way.
"Shit, they blocked the way out!" yelled John.
"We'll have to go through the fields" said Javier as John turned left.
Julia lingered back, shooting at the men on the wagon, killing them both while Arthur caught up with her.
"Come on!" he yelled making her turn towards him.
She spurred Wind Catcher and followed the man between the fields.
"There's a gap in the fence. We can get out that way!" said Javier.
Once they got out, they headed into the woods, finally outrunning the men who had stopped shooting at them.
However, they continued to ride towards Clemens Cove where, according to Mr. Gray, they could have sold the horses.
"You see any more of them?" asked Arthur.
"No, I don't think so" answered Julia looking around.
"Let's sell these horses before we run into any more trouble" said Arthur.
While they were running, suddenly the black horse Javier was holding by a rope, begun to neigh and kick, dangerously agitated.
"Whoa, you okay there, boy?" asked Javier trying to calm down the horse.
But his efforts were useless and soon after the horse freed himself from Javier's grip and started to run away.
"Shit, one of the stallions is loose! Keep going, I'll get him" yelled Arthur.
Julia looked at him as he ran after the horse, swinging his lasso like a professional cowhand.
Once he got it, he reached them and together headed to the destination that wasn't too far from the camp.
The place the old man had talked about, was near some stone ruins and an old shattered house.
While they were getting closer, they noticed two men seated on the stone ruins, that they seemed to use as a fence for their purchases.
Arthur was the one who got down his horse and walked towards the man who barely looked up at him and instead continued to look at his ledger.
John got down his horse too and joined him, staring at the two men suspiciously.
"What you boys want?" asked the one who was reading the ledger, putting it aside.
"Heard you was…heard you paid good prices for horses" said Arthur.
"Oh, we'll buy more or less anything, pop" answered the man.
"Yeah?" asked Arthur unconvinced by the two strangers.
"Sure, pop" answered the man with a strange smile on his face.
"I'm Clay Davies, that's my brother, Clive. We're twins" the man presented.
"John, Arthur, Javier, Julia" said John pointing at each of them.
"So what are you? Cuban?" asked Clyde getting on his feet and walking towards Javier who was still on his horse.
"No" answered the man.
"I don't like Cubans" said Clyde checking him out.
"That so?" said Javier.
"Maybe. Why what do you care? You ain't Cuban" challenged Clyde.
"Maybe I like Cubans?" said Javier shrugging.
Julia behind him got down from Wind Catcher and shook her head.
She had enough of crazy people for one day alone.
"You're funny. He's funny. Ain't he funny, Clive? Clive don't talk. We're twins, but I was born first he came out all yellow and black, but he's okay" said the man, in his eyes a strange, crazy light.
Julia sighed and walked towards the man.
"Okay, cut the bullshit. We're here for business" she said catching the man's attention.
"She's got quite a mouth, ain't she?" he asked checking her out.
"I got quite a pistol too, buddy. We're here to sell these horses. A man told us we could sell them for five thousand dollars" Julia answered putting a hand on her holster.
"Listen, sweetheart, I like you, but I know these horses and I know they ain't' yours. So, I'll give you…I can give you six hundred and fifty for 'em" said the man after he studied the stallions.
Arthur had got a step ahead but was stopped by Julia's hand on his chest.
"We won't get less than two thousand" she said, crossing her arms on her chest.
"Seven hundred" said the man looking at her.
"One thousand and twenty hundred" Julia drove up the bidding.
"Eight hundred" said the man after a pause.
"One thousand. Last offer and we won't tell the owners where they could find the horses. If you really know who's these horses are, you won't risk your life for a couple of hundred dollars more" she said raising an eyebrow.
"I like your spirit. Deal" chuckled the man.
Julia shook his hand and then took the money the man gave her, while his idiot brother took the horses into the fence.
Then, they quickly got on their horses and headed away from that place, before someone could see them.
"Javier and I are heading to camp" said John suddenly, stopping his horse.
"Here, bring Dutch this" said Julia throwing the money at John who caught it.
"You got your part?" he asked and Julia shook her head.
John looked at her for a moment and then put the money away and nodded at Javier.
"Okay, then. See you later" he said and then the two of them left.
Julia looked at them while they got further and further and then turned her head to Arthur who was staring into space with an upset expression on his face.
Julia got down her horse and stretched her wounded leg a little bit.
"I can't believe that old man set us up" said Arthur getting down Tundra in turn.
"He's crazy or too damn clever" Julia answered him while giving Wind Catcher a sugar cube.
"One thousand dollars…" Arthur muttered shaking his head.
"It was more than we could get" Julia said looking at him.
"Maybe" he answered sighing.
After a moment of silence, Julia cleared her throat and said:
"I'll pay a visit to the Pinkertons"
"You have to rest" Arthur said walking closer to her.
"I have to see them or they'll get suspicious, Arthur. I want you safe and I want to keep my promise" she said looking into his eyes.
Arthur did the same and after a moment he sighed and nodded.
"Okay, I'll come with you" he added, walking towards his horse.
"No, you're not" said Julia and quickening her pace she got to him.
Arthur was ready to get on his horse, when Julia stopped him by his arm, making him turn.
"They could see you, it's too risky" she said shaking her head.
"I'll be careful" answered the man stubbornly.
"Arthur, no!" yelled Julia grabbing him by his shoulder.
"If something happens to you I…I want you safe, please. Trust me, I can handle this, I did until now" she said staring into his eyes, pleading him not to come with her.
Arthur stared into her eyes, full of worry. She was worried for him, she cared for him. The realization of it made his heart swell with joy and he suddenly felt flustered by her green eyes on him.
He looked away and cleared his throat.
"Okay" he said nodding.
Julia nodded in turn and then reached her horse, Arthur just behind her helped her up, making her smile.
"I'll see you at the camp" he said and she nodded.
Julia spurred Wind Catcher, heading to the Pinkertons' camp. She was almost there, but she couldn't actually see the big white tents of it.
The more she went on, the more a strange feeling was making his way to her guts. And when she turned a bend, was at that moment that she realized they weren't there anymore.
She looked around, trying to find an explanation for that. Maybe she had got somewhere else. But no, she had been there so many times, she was sure she was in the right place.
But the camp wasn't there. There was nothing. And that nothing raised a question in Julia.
"Where the hell are they?"
Sorry if I didn't post yesterday, but I got sick and felt like doing nothing at all (even live)
I wanted to share a little thing with you, even if I don't know if you're interested, but I'm gonna tell you anyway...
I finished The last of us 2 and it was AMAZING! My heart just broke into a thousand tiny pieces, but it was worth it.
IT. WAS. WORTH. IT.
So, just you know...if you want to irreparably break your heart after RDR2, you can go take a look.
What can I say, I'm a bitch for angsty stories.
OKAY, I think I talked enough.
I'll see you next week.