Claire could feel the smoke traveling into her lungs as she exhaled the grey mist into the air. The Crystal Palace was empty, savor for some men sitting around the gambling table as few of the prostitutes stood around them watching.
It was only a Monday night, not much of any excitement in the building except for the occasional moans that slipped down from one of the occupied rooms.
The Crystal Palace saloon was dusty and dim as the girls who lived there came back and forth getting the men at the gambling table there drinks. Claire was sitting at the bar, looking around her surroundings and checking everyone’s faces. Her piercing green eyes scanned the room as she turned her barstool away from the bar table.
Claire felt nothing but boredom as she continued to smoke her cigarette. Different men gave her glances and hints but she chooses to sit where she was. Her long jet black hair was in a high and messy bun. Her soft face read not to disturb her as she kept on her staring and observing the people around her. Her fair-skinned glowed in the dimly lit room as she slightly spun in her seat. Her dark skirt spun with her as she slightly kicked her legs and feet. Just as she spun halfway to the bar table, a gruff voice interrupted her thoughts.
“You working tonight Claire?” Dustin the owner asked as he watched his top paying girl just sit around lazily.
“Yeah, I’m working tonight” She declared as she blew out a puff of smoke.
“Well it doesn’t seem like it” Dustin argued as he watched Claire take another drag of her smoke.
“Just because I’m sitting here doesn’t mean I’m not working” she blurted out as she moved her attention back to the small group playing on the gambling table.
Just as she went to go blow out her smoke, a firm hand grabbed her by the back of her neck. She could feel Dustin’s breath seeping down her ear and at the hairs of her neck.
“I need you to get your ass out there and make me some money” His voice was a snarl and his tone was equally demanding. Dustin gave a forceful yank as he let go of Claire’s neck.
Feeling agitated and annoyed, Claire got up from her spot on the barstool and slowly started to glide herself to the gentleman at the gambling table. She put on the fakes smile that she can possibly muster and started to sit down on one of the men’s lap. The greasy old man happily let Claire sit on his lap. Just as long as he got to grope her in the process of her sitting on his lap…
The night air was cold as Austin slowly started riding into town on his black horse. He kept looking back behind him as he strode into the busy street. It was a dark Monday night but there were still people moving around the streets of the town, just as the sun was starting to completely disappear with its orange glow.
Austin passed the sheriff’s office and one small little shop. Just as he turned his horse to the side, he looked up to see the “The Crystal Palace” sign.
He knew right away that it was a saloon. Some drunken men stumbled out of the place as Austin secured his horse nearby. He unstrapped his saddle from his horse and he put on his cowboy hat. His long dark curly hair clung to his face and neck as his ride into town left him sweating and dirty.
He walked right into the saloon and let himself take in his surroundings. The place was filled with smoke and it was dimly lit. You can hear the audible noise of men and women in the different rooms making noises and walking around. He walked his way over to the empty bar and looked at the older gentleman behind the bar. He knew right away he had to be the owner of the place just by the way he was dressed.
“Welcome stranger to the Palace,” Dustin said excitedly.
“Crystal Palace that is… anything I can help you with a young stranger?” Dustin asked as he watched Austin take off his hat and placed it on the bar table.
“Was wondering how much it was to book a week here?” Austin asked his southern drawl sounded low and breathy.
“In our rooms” Dustin started to state.
“It’s a dollar a night; it includes free breakfast and lunch but none of the girls”.
Austin nodded his head yes and settled down his saddle to dig in his dark vest for his gold pouch. Dustin never asked any of the men that come walking in why they needed a room. As far as he is concerned, if they can pay, they can stay.
Austin took out the good amount of gold for his stay and ordered himself a whiskey. The long ride to this town made him ache all over. But he knew he couldn’t stay for long. A week at most but with his current situation; he had to leave this state once this week is up.
Austin settled himself down at the barstool and started to drink his whiskey. He turned in his head to look behind him at the small group playing at the gambling table, which is when his dark eyes locked on a fair-skinned woman. Her messy jet black hair was in a bun, she had piercing green eyes as she stared back at Austin. She let her cigarette dangling from her pouched lips.
Austin gave her an intent look and a small smile. She looked much different than the other women in the room. Just then he watched as the young woman slowly gets up from her spot and starts to slowly walk towards Austin. For whatever reason…this made Austin’s heart skip a beat as he watched her petite body strode closer to him.