Disclaimer: Some of the places mentioned in this story are real and some are made up. All of the characters are fictitious and any resemblance they have of real people is coincidental. This story includes sexual scenes involving two women. Also please note that in the first part of the story the mountain and lodge were called Bear Head then later changed to Black Bear. I apology for the confusion and all have been changed to Black Bear. Also for any Ute people who may have read this, I have changed "Great Spirit" to "Creator." I have chosen this Native American group to write about because I lived in the area where they once lived and from what I learned about them I thought they were a great a noble tribe and I wanted to celebrate that. Please forgive any inaccuracies, I'm still learning about the tribe.
THE OUTFITTER PART THREE
By M. E. Tudor
The phone was ringing when Marianne opened the door to her apartment. She made her way down the short hall to the living room and picked up the cordless phone from the coffee table. "Hello," she said knowing that it would be her mother on the other end.
"Just making sure you made it home safely," Janice said sweetly.
"Yeah, I made it home fine." Marianne sat her purse on the coffee table and flopped down on the beige colored couch. She brushed the soft material of the arm of the couch absently. "Is Dad happy now?"
"Oh yes, he didn't shut up about getting that painting until he finally went to sleep."
"Good. Well, I'm going to get off here. I really need to get to bed. I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow." Marianne tried to sound tired. She really had no interest in discussing anything with her mother right now.
"Okay dear. Let's have lunch on Friday."
"Okay, I'll call you Friday morning and we'll decide where to go."
"That's sounds good. Love you, Sweetie."
"Love you too Mom."
Marianne turned off the phone and dropped her head back on the couch. Now she really was glad she had not given into her desire to go to the bar and have a few drinks. She really understood what her parents thought they were doing. They were protecting their reputation first of all, but they also thought they were protecting her from being subject to hate crimes and public ridicule. Marianne couldn't explain to them that she okay with facing those problems. Really it was very rare for there to be a serious hate crime towards gays in Denver but her parents didn't want to hear that. They just wanted her to be straight which was not going to happen.
She picked up the telephone book from the coffee table where she had laid it the night before when she had ordered pizza. She thumbed through it until she found the number for the Monaco, where she had heard Kevin say they were all staying. If she had gotten the vibes right about Kevin and Jarrod, they were more than friends. Wouldn't her dad just shit if he knew his favorite artist was gay?
She put the phone book back down but left it open to the page with the number on it. She got up and started pacing. What would she say if Robin was there? What did she really want? Did she want to go to Robin and have unconditional sex? Did she just want to feel like she was forgiven for being so rude? Both, she wanted both. She picked up the phone and dialed the number before she could chicken out.
"The Monaco, how may I help you?" The night clerk at the hotel asked cheerfully.
"I'd like Robin Hawke's room."
"Just a moment," After a few minutes the clerk came back on the line. There is not answer at Miss Hawke's room; would you like to leave a message?"
"M'am, would you like to leave a message?"
"Yes," Marianne forced out, "Just tell her that Marianne called. She can call me back if she likes. My number is nine, five, nine, seven, three, two, seven."
"Okay, M'am, I'll give the message to Miss Hawke when she comes in."
"Thank you." Marianne turned the handset off and set it down on the kitchen table where she had moved to during her pacing of the apartment. Well, that settles that, she thought. Robin is probably still out with Kevin and Jarrod. She probably won't get back until very late. She might even be bringing someone back to the hotel with her. Oh, well, it's probably for the best, Marianne decided. She could get used to having sex every few weeks and find herself out at the bars picking up women then her parents really would disown her.
She went through the apartment, turned out all the lights and went to bed. She picked up the phone in the kitchen and put it next to her bed just in case Robin did call.
Robin was sitting at the bar watching Kevin and Jarrod dance to the loud techno music. She had never been able to understand how anyone danced to that music. She preferred a nice slow dance and quieter bars but Kevin had wanted to come to this bar to watch the drag show and dance so Robin agreed. She had hoped that she would meet someone that would take her mind off of Marianne, but she really wasn't interested in being with anyone tonight. Well, if she could have been with Marianne she would have but it was clear that Marianne was having some serious parent issues and would probably not being getting to come out and play tonight.
Robin sipped her drink and studied the women walking around. She didn't see anyone she thought she would be interested in talking to. A few women had tried to catch her eye but they just weren't what she was looking for. She wasn't really sure what she was looking for any more. After the fiasco with Cameron, she was just too afraid to trust anyone, even for casual sex.
She watched as the women paired up, danced, played in dark corners or fought. She didn't miss hanging at the bars any more. She had traveled to Phoenix and Denver many times when she was younger looking for someone to have fun with but now that she was older she had been longing to settle down. She thought she had found someone to have that life with when she met Cameron but she couldn't have been more wrong. Now she was afraid to try trusting anyone with her heart or her time.
Her mind traveled back to Marianne. She hated to admit that the little vixen had gotten under her skin but as she watched the women she realized her eyes were following the short blond women hoping that the woman would turn around and it would be Marianne.
It was just lust Robin knew but there was something about Marianne that was pulling at her. She couldn't quite put her finger on it. Maybe it was the underlying feeling of protectiveness that Robin felt around her. What ever it was, Robin was sure it was something she could get over. She didn't want to be involved with another woman who came from the world of money.
She looked at her watch for the hundredth time. It was two-thirty and she was just simply bored. She got up and made her way towards Kevin. "Hey, I'm going back to the hotel."
"Why?" Kevin spun around to grin at her. His face was flushed from alcohol and the dancing. "It's early still."
"It's two-thirty and I'm tired. I've got a long drive home tomorrow. Can you guys get a cab?"
Jarrod leaned over and whispered something in Kevin's ear. Kevin blushed, "We'll ride with you."
They all found their way out into the extremely quiet street. After leaving the loud bar it was almost too quiet. They piled into Robin's black Jeep and headed back to the Monaco.
When Robin passed through the lobby the clerk stopped her, "Miss Hawke?"
Robin stopped and turned to the man warily. His stopping her caught her off guard. "Yes."
"I have a message here for you."
"Really?" It must be from Josie, Robin thought to herself. She took the note and grinned when she opened it. So maybe she wasn't the only one having feelings. Robin laughed that off. Marianne probably just wanted to make sure she wasn't still upset about her being rude at the office. Marianne knew that she and Josie were good friends and she was sure Marianne didn't want to lose yet another job because of an incident with someone she is writing about.
It was three in the morning when Robin got to her room. She stared at the phone number and debated whether or not she should call so early. If she didn't call now she would fall asleep and probably not wake up until after Marianne was at work. She really wanted to hear what Marianne would have to say when she was in her own safe spot with no one else to hear what was said.
She decided to go ahead and call. The phone rang four times then she got a sleepy. "Hello."
"Good morning," Robin said cheerfully,
Marianne recognized Robin's voice and looked over at her clock. Three o'clock, oh my God, she thought, "Did you just now get to the hotel?"
"Yeah, I went out to a bar with Kevin and Jarrod."
"Oh." Marianne rolled onto her back.
"I was afraid that if I didn't call now, I wouldn't get up before you went to work and I wouldn't be able to catch you to find out what you wanted." Robin sat down on the bed and began to undress.
"Oh. I just wanted to apologize again."
I knew it, Robin thought to herself. "It's okay. I'm pretty thick skinned."
"I'm glad," Marianne sat up in bed, "I wanted to thank you for tonight too. My parents can be rather difficult."
"So I gathered. Do they know?"
Marianne knew exactly what she meant by that question, "Yes and they are not happy about it. You know, something like that could cause rumors and ruin their pristine reputation."
"And that's more important than their daughter's happiness?"
"Apparently it is."
"That's too bad." Robin said as she sat down on the edge of the hotel bed. She wasn't sure what else to say. She wanted very much to invite her over for a morning romp in the sack. She had a feeling that would not be a good idea for either of them but she wanted to know if Marianne would have been interested in the offer. "I would offer to have you come over to visit for awhile but I'm not sure that is such a good idea."
"Well a few hours ago I might have risked taking you up on that offer but I'm afraid I'd have to miss work if I came over there now."
"Would that be so bad?"
Marianne chewed at her lip. Just listening to Robin's voice was making her nervous and hot at the same time. "No, that wouldn't be so bad, but I do have a deadline to meet. And, in truth, I'm afraid that I would run into one of my father's business associates this morning coming in or leaving, and I would have to explain why I was there at such an hour and I'm not very good at lying."
"That would be bad."
"I'm afraid that would be very bad. Right now I owe a lot to my parents and I can't really afford to piss them off."
"Well, it is nice to know that you were at least interested in the offer." Robin kicked off her shoes and began to unbutton her shirt.
"I am definitely interested in the offer but I'm afraid I'll have to take rain check this time." Marianne rubbed her eyes and yawned.
"I'll have to let you cash that in when you get back over to my side of the state one of these days."
"I'll hold you to that. In fact I'm planning on making the hiking trip with Josie next month." Marianne stated.
"You know that there is a good chance the mountain will be covered in snow."
"Really?" Marianne asked a little wary now but she still planned on not missed the opportunity to see Robin at the magazine's expense, "Oh well, it will be an adventure."
"That's the spirit." Robin laughed and imagined Marianne in a huge coat and leggings.
"I hate to end this conversation but I really had better get back to sleep." Marianne yawed again.
"Yeah, I have to get some sleep. I have a long drive tomorrow."
"You have a safe trip."
"Thanks, Goodnight, or good morning, I guess." Robin smiled at Marianne's giggle on the other end.
"Bye," Marianne hung up the phone but sat and stared at it for a long time afterwards. She really wished she could take Robin up on her offer of sex but the last thing Marianne needed was for some business associate of her father's to tell him that he saw his daughter leaving the Monaco this morning. Her father didn't make idle threats. He really would take away everything he had given her including his name and her new car if he found out she had disobeyed him, regardless of the fact that she was almost thirty years old.
Marianne flopped back down on the bed. She didn't know what she was going to do. She would meet other women whom she would be attracted to, how long would she be able to say no to them and herself? She smiled mischievously maybe she could just take a short trip across the mountain and visit Robin. She didn't think Robin was looking for a relationship and maybe she wouldn't mind having a visitor occasionally.
Robin studied the phone after she hung up and felt pity for Marianne. Her own parents had not been very happy about her being gay but they wanted her to be happy. She said a prayer for happiness for Marianne. She hoped that she would find peace with her parents and happiness in her life. Robin went to sleep feeling at peace as she always did when she sent out prayers that she felt would help someone else.
Robin was relieved to see the outline of Black Bear Mountain arising ahead of her. It had been a long drive back from Denver with her mind plagued with thoughts of Marianne and the Bankers Development Corporation. Robin had the strangest feeling that the land deal had already went through. She would have to go to the court house first thing in the morning and check into it.
As soon as she was in range of the small cellular phone company's towers that she leased her cell phone with it began ringing. It was her father calling. Robin answered the phone cheerfully. She was always glad to hear from her parents. "Hi Dad,"
Her father's gruff voice came back across the air waves, "I'm glad you're back little bird. You need to come by the house as soon as you get in town."
"Why? What's wrong?"
"You'll see when you get here."
"Is Mom okay? Gramps and Grammy?"
"Everyone is fine. I'll talk to you about what is going on when you get here. You need both hands on the wheel. Drive careful. I'll see you soon."
"Okay." Robin put the phone down and focused on the curvy mountain roads. Her bad feelings about the land deal increased with her father's call. She knew he was trying to prepare her for something but what? She hadn't even been gone a week. What on earth could have happened in that short of a period of time?
Robin didn't push the car and tried to drive faster. The roads were too curvy for that. She would just have to wait until she got to her parents house, or would she? She almost stopped in the middle of the road when she saw the wide patch of land that was being cleared on the side of the mountain next to Black Bear Lodge. She was still several miles from the lodge but no one could miss the clearing on the side of the mountain.
"I knew it!" Robin growled and speeded up despite the danger of driving fast around the curves. Her tires squealed around each one. She went straight to the lodge, bypassing her parents' house when she went through town. She screeched to a stop in front of the lodge and raced into the lobby. "Where is Terry?"
Marty was behind the desk, "He's in his office." The tone in Marty's voice told Robin that she was not happy about what was happening.
Robin stormed into Terry Kenworth's office. "What the hell's going on Terry?"
Terry looked up at Robin and motioned towards the man sitting across from his desk. "Robin this is Cody Tennpar. He is one of the corporate officers from Bankers Development Group."
The man stood and offered his hand to Robin who folded her arms. "I've heard a lot about you Ms. Hawke." He said withdrawing his hand and sitting back down.
Robin glared at him, "I'm sure you have." She turned back to Terry, "What is going on, Terry?"
"I don't really see where this is any of your concern." Cody said as he lit his cigarette and leaned back in his chair.
Robin turned back to him, "I didn't ask you." She turned back to Terry. "If you can't speak for yourself here, I hope you will find your tongue before the council meets next Monday." Robin waited for a moment but Terry wouldn't meet her eyes. Robin turned with a huff and stormed back out of his office.
Rodney had come in shortly after Robin had gone into Terry's office and was waiting outside Terry's office door just in case things got ugly inside the office. Robin had a temper and he wasn't sure how the guy in Terry's office would take to being told off by a woman which Rodney was sure would happen just as soon as Robin found out what had happened. He stepped back when Robin pushed past him then fell in step with her.
She went straight to Marty. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure," Marty whispered. "That guy showed up the morning you left for Denver and the construction crews came that afternoon." Marty looked at Terry's door, "He's been acting really weird for about two weeks but he hasn't said one thing about what is happening except that he will let us know what is going on later."
Robin spun to face Rodney, "What do you know?"
"I overheard one of the construction guys saying something about them pushing to get the ski slopes up and running before the first snow."
"There's no way. It's already late August. It could snow tonight." Robin knew it wouldn't because it was still too warm but they were at nine thousand feet and at this altitude a snow storm could blow in anytime from mid-August until early June.
"I know but these guys are apparently from somewhere in California and they don't know about the weather up here." Rodney shook his head. "I can't believe Terry is doing this. Something bad had to have happened for him to have given up this easily. I was hoping he would come clean with you."
Rodney had Robin's full attention now, "What do you mean he's given up so easily?"
Rodney shrugged, "I thought you knew that Terry was having some financial troubles. He told me he was going to do everything he could to keep from filing bankruptcy or losing the lodge." Rodney looked at Marty and Robin's stunned faces. "I can't believe you guys didn't know."
"I knew he was having some troubles but I had no idea it was that bad. He should have said something. I might have been able to help him." Robin shook her head in disbelief.
Terry and Cody Tennpar came out of Terry's office, Rodney leaned to Robin, and "Maybe they made him an offer he couldn't refuse."
The two men walked past them. Terry wouldn't look at any of them but Cody turned to give them a wicked smile that gave Robin a queasy feeling. She turned to Marty and Rodney. "I want you both to come by my house later and we'll have some beers and I'll tell you about my trip to Denver." Both nodded. "Maybe by then I'll know more about what is happening. I'm hoping my father knows something about what has happened."
Robin left the lodge and watched to two men walking across the parking lot to the construction area. Something very bad was going on, she could feel it. She couldn't believe that Terry had kept his troubles from her. They had been friends since childhood. His parents had bought the lodge when they were both very young and Robin had literally grown up here. She had gone with her father on many outings and had helped him with his shop that he had here at lodge before Terry's parent's retired leaving Terry to run the lodge. Robin's dad had not really cared all that much for Terry and had moved his shop to town but Robin had moved it back to the lodge when she took over the business.
She got into her Jeep, turning once again to study the figures of the two men standing at the edge of the construction area. She felt betrayed. She had advertised the lodge for Terry through her business. She had personally brought a lot of business to the lodge that has to have given her the right to be somewhat privy to any major changes in management that Terry was planning. She shook her head sadly. She started her Jeep, left the parking lot and headed back down the mountain to her parents house.
Jack Hawke is a formidable man. At six foot four inches, he towers over most men. He keeps his long, graying black hair pulled back in a neat pony tail. His warm golden brown eyes were quick to put at ease anyone who might be intimidated by his large frame but they can also turn to liquid fire when he is pushed to anger. Tonight they patiently watched his daughter pace in front of the fireplace. Jack let Robin rant about the situation at Black Bear Lodge. He had learned along time ago to let her speak her mind. She was very much like her mother who was making comments from the kitchen.
Betty Hawke came into the living room with a tray of mugs of hot coffee for the three of them and sat the tray down on the coffee table in front of the couch. "Robin come over here, get coffee and let your father speak."
Robin started to protest but her mother gave her a stern look so she did as she was told. She sat down on the couch next to her mother and waited for her father to speak.
Betty was much shorter than her husband and daughter but both of them knew she had a temper to make up for what stature she lacked. A small framed woman, she would seem slight to the outside observer but those who knew her knew that she had the strength of an ox still at fifty-five years old.
Jack sipped his coffee then began to speak, "I know Terry has been your friend, little bird. But he has not been being honest about what was going on with the lodge for some time now."
Robin smiled at her father's endearment then shook her head sadly. "I don't know why he didn't tell me. He should have known I would try to help him."
Her father let out a long sad breath, "Robin the tribe offered to help him. We were in the process of trying to raise the money to buy the lodge from him when the BDC came up here with a better offer. We were hoping that he would stay loyal to the tribe as he has in the past but he refused. We tried to out bid them but we just couldn't raise the kind of funds that they were offering Terry."
"Why didn't you tell me this before?"
Robin's hurt look was not missed by her father, "I'm sorry little bird. You weren't dealing with Cameron leaving very well and I didn't want to add this to your burdens. I had hoped for a different outcome. If I would have thought for one moment that your influence with Terry might have made a difference I would have come straight to you but I'm afraid that greed had claimed Terry when he received their initial offer and only got worse when they increased their offer after we tried to outbid them."
Robin hung her head sadly. It was true that she had been lost in her own world for a long time after Cameron left. It only made her more sad and angry at herself knowing that she missed out on being able to try to help the tribe because she had been wallowing in her own sorrow. It saddened her even more to think that someone who she considered her friend, who was a member of her tribe, would allow money to be more important than doing what was right. In hind sight though, Terry had come from money and as with everyone she had known who had money, the money came first.
Betty reached over and patted her daughter's knee. She had been a little disappointed when Robin had told them that she was gay but she and Jack had tried to be very supportive of their daughter's lifestyle and decisions. They had both been concerned when Robin had gotten involved with Cameron Whitmeyer. They both felt some very bad vibes coming from her the first time they met her. They weren't really certain exactly what Cameron had thought she was going to get from Robin but she had convinced Robin that she was in love with her and Robin had taken it to heart. When Cameron had left after having been involved with Robin for six months they had both been relieved but the toll it had taken on Robin was still evident in her clinched jaw at just the mention of Cameron's name. Now, Terry, whom Robin had considered a friend since childhood, had betrayed the tribe and sold Black Bear Lodge to people who would not care about the people living in this community.
Robin finished her coffee. "I'm going to go home. I'll call you guys when I get there." She leaned over and hugged her mother. She got up, went to her father and hugged him.
Jack hugged her to him tightly and tried to absorb some of her pain. "Don't be so sad little bird. You know the Creator doesn't allow anything to happen without a reason."
"I know, Dad." Robin smiled wearily. "Let's pray that the reason is revealed to soon."
Jack got up and walked Robin to the door. He hugged her again before she left. "Everything is going to be okay little bird." Robin just nodded as she made her way to her Jeep in the darkness. Jack studied her dark figure walking across the yard; he could see the tears rolling down her face when the inside light came on in the car when she opened the door. He watched her leave their drive way and stared after her car for a while after she was gone. She was so connected to spirit of the Earth. He had often felt that her calling was that of a healer but Robin had refused to accept that role. He raised his eyes to the heavens. He and Betty would have to spend some time praying for Robin's spirit to heal.
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