The woman sat back on the bed and held her dress close to her, trying to hide her body. She looked ashamed, yet there was something in her eyes that begged for me to open up. I pulled out some money from my pocket and placed it in her hand.
“Is that enough for you to keep this to yourself?”
She looked down at the money and shook her head. She held it out for me to take it back. I could not understand what she wanted, she seems like she was pondering it.
“I want to know who you are. Truth is better than money.”
I nodded, but what she was asking would put me in danger. Would put other people in danger, people I cared about deeply. I took off my Stetson and set it aside on the bed. She gasped when she saw my fiery red hair pulled back in a very tight low ponytail. I pulled on the elastic that held it and let my naturally unruly curly hair tumble down behind my back.
“You’re a woman. I knew it. You make a convincing man, don’t get me wrong.”
She stood up and came beside me. She touched my chest and nodded.
“You strap them down too?”
I nodded. She touched my hair and sighed.
“Such beautiful hair.”
She took my hand in hers and patted the bed for me to sit. She sat beside me and asked me the question I was dreading. I explained everything to her, it felt so freeing to be able to share what I was going through and for some reason, I knew I could trust her. I didn’t even know her name, but she listened until I finished and when I did, she let out a long sigh, as though she were fully committed to the story. She stood up and paced the room for a moment and then clapped her hands together and smiled.
“You have the protection of this room if ever you need it. I won’t tell anyone about you, your secret is safe with me. I have secrets too, which I would like to share and have the same discretion in return. You see, our situations are very similar, however, I killed the bastard that kept taking what was not his.”
I gasped, finally understanding that she was also hiding out, also from the authorities, but for different reasons. I nodded, as I started attaching my hair back neatly under my collar.
“Your secret is safe with me.”
She took my hand in hers and we shook on it.
“Please come back to visit soon, I would love to have another woman to talk to. These whores have nothing better to gossip about than the men they screw.”
I laughed and nodded.
“Of course, I would like that too. In another time or place we might be friends.”
She laughed and looked at me closely.
“I have a feeling you are a genteel woman when you are not hiding away from the law. I am but a common whore so I think your statement untrue.”
I thought about it for a second, she was trying to put herself down.
“Were you like this before you left your home and came here?”
She shook her head sadly.
“Then we could have been friends and we shall be.”
I gave her a hug after seeing a spark come alive in her green eyes.