This time, Elizabeth must have known that I was chasing her. Her trail got harder to follow; she even left Goldy behind at one point in a stable, selling her off to some no-good breeder that looked at her like a piece of damn meat.
Needless to say, I got my horse back.
But I kept on tracing her. Elizabeth. I couldn’t get her out of my head, couldn’t shake that tug of her. Every time I thought about giving up the chase, I just sensed her out there, and knew, somehow, she needed my help.
Damn woman led me all the way to Boston before I found her.
Now, I don’t know what you picture when you hear Boston, but I can promise you that it’s not what you’re imagining. Shame, really. Place has really gone downhill since the whole country went to shit in a nuclear fueled dumpster fire.
No one hit Boston, at least – there was one missile that was supposed to land there, wipe it all clean, but it missed. Some shit with a guidance system, they said. Crashed to the north, blew most of that area to shit, but south Boston stuck around. Still has an economy, traders passing through, even some tech that runs, although I wouldn’t trust anything electric in those sockets. Give me a candle and some matches, any day.
Hotels, too. And there, under a fake name, I found Elizabeth.
No guns, not this time. I knocked at her door. Even brought flowers.
‘Course, when she opened the door, she shoved that gun in my face. I rolled my eyes back at her. Should have known that I’d get a gun pulled on me, no matter what I did.
“Took you long enough,” she told me, grabbing me and hauling me into my room, totally ignoring the flowers.
“What?” I replied, so eloquently. I’d pictured our reunion in a dozen different ways, but not quite like this.
“He’s down there, but he’s holed up. Never leaves, has a dozen flunkies that do everything for him. I’m going to need your firepower, that’s for certain.”
“Elizabeth, what the hell are you talking about? I’m not going to-” I began, anger spiking through me. I spent months tracking her down, and she just treated me like-
And then Elizabeth spun around, pushed into my arms and filled them, wrapped her hands around my neck, and kissed me hard enough to fry every circuit in my brain.
“Oh,” I said dumbly, staring down at her as she smiled back at me. “That’s better.”
“No man’s ever brought my flowers,” she whispered, and kissed me again.
Well, that kiss led to another one, which led to some touching, which led to some rubbing, which led to… well, a gentleman doesn’t give away all the details of these things. But by the time we finished, I felt sweat in every single crevice, and Elizabeth’s underwear dangled from a cracked mirror on the other side of the room.
“Ever had a man do that?” I asked, unable to wipe the smile off of my face. I looked like an idiot, but so what? I felt happy, overwhelmed and overjoyed.
“Never like that,” she panted back, sitting up and looking down at me. Those violet eyes sparkled, and her breasts, full and gloriously free, pulled my eyes to them.
But although my body suggested another round, she put them away, sitting up. “And now, I need your help.”
“Yeah, with what?” I asked, trying to frown and look serious, like I hadn’t just had the life put back into me. “You’ve got some sort of mission, Elizabeth, but you haven’t told me-”
“There’s a man down there,” she said shortly, pointing at the window. “He killed my parents, tried to kill me. He still wants me dead. I want revenge.”
Elizabeth laughed at me. “You’re a bit of an asshole, James. You know that, don’t you?”
I shrugged. “Happens. Mind if I call you Lizzie?”
She kissed me, blew my mind, which I considered as a pretty sound yes.
Between kisses and cuddles and roaming hands, Lizzie told me about how she grew up with traders as parents, how her happy childhood was cut short when Maximillian Geiger, the man in the building next door, shot them over a trade deal. He meant to kill Lizzie, too – burned down the building around her – but Lizzie slipped out through a window and swore her revenge, barely even a teenager.
“And now, I’m back,” she said, her eyes sharp. “And either he dies, or I do.”
Well, I didn’t want to see Lizzie dead, not so soon after I’d gotten to see her naked. So what else could I do, but agree to help?
We surveyed the building for a few days, tried our best to track the guards. We talked, worked out a plan. I’d take point, since they didn’t know me. I could get in closer, warn the guards that we wanted their boss, didn’t need to kill everyone.
And if they said no, well… Lizzie would be covering me with that long gun of hers. I knew how well she could aim with it.
“But remember,” Lizzie warned me, panting and out of breath on top of me. “Geiger is mine. I get to kill him.”
“No problem with me,” I answered, thrusting upwards with my hips. “Your revenge fantasy.”
“Speaking of fantasies,” she said, a little later, as we both tried to catch our breath. “What’s yours?”
I frowned, considered the question. “You know, I don’t know. Didn’t have an answer before now.” I looped my arm around her. “But with you, I’m starting to get some ideas.”
“No farming,” Lizzie warned me, pushing in delightfully against me. “I’m not one to always stay in one place.”
I shuddered at the thought. “Deal.”
And so, the next day, I checked my weapons one last time. I looked over at Lizzie, wondering how I’d fallen into this.
“You know, the first time we met, you robbed me blind,” I pointed out to her.
“The second time, I saved your life – and then you robbed me blind again.”
“And also gave you the night of your life, don’t forget.”
“But still. Can’t completely overlook the robbing part.”
She tossed her hair back, blinking those perfect eyes down at me. “So what’s your point?”
I shrugged. “Just wondering how this third time’s going to end.”
She considered this for a minute, and then leaned in to kiss me. “How about this,” she whispered. “I’ll rob you blind, one last time – but not until we separate. How’s that sound?”
I grinned back, happy and light-hearted, despite the near-certain death we were about to walk into. “I’ll just have to find a way to keep you from ever leaving, I guess.”
“If only there was some term for that, between a man and a woman,” she mused.
I shrugged. “Can’t think of it at the moment.” I hefted my gun, stood up. “Ready to go?”
She picked up her rifle, her expression hardening. “Ready,” she affirmed.
And so I set off, heading out to challenge Maximillian Geiger – but already thinking about a different kind of fate.
Wedding rings are still expensive, even after the damn Apocalypse has gone off.
Maybe Geiger also had a safe that I could empty, while Lizzie did her thing…