Summary: Looks can be deceiving, but when you delve beneath the surface there’s often more than two sides to a personality.
Author’s Note: This takes place sometime early season 2. It’s the 2nd installment of my Who Am I? series, looking at who Lou and Kid are as individuals, not part of a couple.
“Look at this one, Lou,” Rachel said, leaning over to point out the picture in the latest edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book. At least the one they’d just received. It was actually from the previous October, but that was as up to date fashion-wise as things got here in sleepy Sweetwater, Nebraska Territory. “What do you think? It would be easy enough to make, and the pink would look real pretty on you.”
Lou leaned over to take a closer look at the fashion plate in the magazine.
“I like the bodice, especially the sleeves with that black epaulette overlayin’ the puffed pink tarleton,” said, moving her finger over the parts of the dress as she mentioned them. “But that skirt would be a bit much fer Sweetwater, or even Fort Laramie,” she laughed.
She and Rachel were seated on the porch swing of Emma’s house, leafing through the latest shipment of fashion magazines. They were looking for a pattern to sew Lou a new dress for the Fall Harvest Festival and Dance in Fort Laramie next month.
Lou smiled easily, leaning back on the swing. It was nice to be able to look at dress patterns and dream again. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on the material and start sewing, even if Rachel was going to have to do all the purchasing to keep her secret. Things were so much easier now that Teaspoon knew who she was and she could relax a bit, at least when there weren’t any outside riders at the station.
“’Sides,” she added, finishing her thoughts outloud, “I doubt Tompkins stocks much tarleton fabric, pink, white or any other color! And I ain’t seen a hoopskirt in these parts in ages. They’d think I was some high-falutin’ gal with her nose in the air all the time. No one’d dance with me at all.”
“It’s not like your plannin’ on dancin’ with anyone but Kid anyway, now is it?” Rachel chided good naturedly.
Lou blushed at the truth and shrugged shyly. She was still a little uncertain about publicly discussing her developing relationship with the sandy-haired rider.
Turning back to the topic at hand, Lou pointed out a picture in the Peterson’s Fashion Magazine she held. “What about this one? It might be easier to do without a hoopskirt, and would work well with the simple materials Tompkins has.”
“You don’t think all those ruffles might be a bit much for you?” Rachel asked doubtfully.
“Well, we don’t have to do quite so many,” Lou nodded, smilingly acknowledging the other woman’s point. “Maybe knock it down to two or three layers, instead of… what is that? Fifteen?”
Rachel leaned closer and quickly counted. “No,” she laughed. “Only eleven!”
“I think two or three is fine, and just one for the bodice?”
Rachel nodded. “That would work. And I saw a real nice rose colored crepe at Tompkins’ just last week that would be perfect for it. We could trim it with that ivory lace you brought back from Fort Bridger.”
The two women put their heads together, figuring out what all they would need to design and sew Lou’s new dress.
“Hey, you ‘bout done up there, Lou?” came Cody’s plaintive voice from the foot of the porch steps. He stood there, hat in one hand, tennis racket in the other. “We’re ready ta play!”
“I think that ‘bout does it,” Lou said, smiling at Rachel, a new eagerness suddenly tensing the muscles of her body. “Don’t you, Rachel?”
Rachel nodded, laughing. “Go on,” she encouraged. “Go have your fun.”
“So, y’all done arguin’ over who gets ta be my partner?” Lou asked as she hopped eagerly to her feet, grabbing the tennis racket she’d left leaning against one of the porch roof posts. “Who am I gonna help win today?”
“Me and Ike,” Cody grinned. “Noah got stuck with you as partner.”
Lou growled playfully, shoving Cody away by the shoulder in retaliation. “Not by a jug full! You know we’re gonna wallop ya! Noah’s almost as good as I am.”
“Humbug! Yer only good in yer dreams.”
Cody began sprinting away from her as soon as the words were out of his mouth, a giant grin splitting his face.
“You better skedaddle,” shouted after him, laughing as she began to give chase. “I catch you and yer gonna pay the piper.” Her racket was clutched in one hand like a club, raised ready to strike out if she ever caught the audacious blonde rider.
Rachel laughed, watching them go. Lou was a force of nature and it was fascinating watching her come into her own. She could happily spend hours with Rachel discussing the latest fashions and sewing. But she was always ready to jump into the fray with the boys, and happily held her own in the bold joshing and power plays that characterized their interactions. That girl had a wild streak a mile long and no qualms about indulging it.
A sudden screech from behind the barn made Rachel wince. With a sigh, she stood to go see what was up. There was always the chance one of them had actually gotten hurt.
What she found as she rounded the corner of the building was that the tennis game had degenerated into an all out brawl before it ever began. And Lou was smack in the middle of it all, yelling at the boys at the top of her lungs even as she swung her tennis racket as if it had been designed to wallop her bunkmates upside the head, not hit a little, bouncy ball, a crazy grin plastered across her face the entire time. Seeing the others fleeing from Lou’s swats like rats from a sinking ship, Rachel leaned back against the wall of the barn, laughing harder and harder.
“Yer gonna pay fer that, William F. Cody!” she squealed. “And the rest of ya better run, too, helpin’ him set that up!”
“Now, Lou, you know we couldn’t’ve stopped him,” Noah said, backing away slowly, his hands held up placatingly.
“You could’ve warned me,” she heaved, sweeping out a foot to trip rider who towered over her the most, sending him tumbling to the ground while swinging at his head with her racket at the same time. Letting the power of her swing turn her around in the other direction, she immediately began to chase down Cody again. “And don’t think you can get away from me that easy!”
Yep, she was a real wild child and she was having the time of her life.
Real Wild Child, Christopher Otcasek
Gotta break it loose
Gonna keep 'em movin' wild
Gonna keep a swingin' baby
I'm a real wild child
Gonna met all muh friends
Gonna have ourself a ball
Gonna tell my friends
Gonna tell them all
That I'm a wild one
Ooh yeah I'm a wild one
I'm a real wild one
An' I like a wild fun
In a world gone crazy
Everything seems hazy
I'm a wild one
Ooh yeah I'm a wild one