As much as Chris understood why Ezra wanted to spend as little time as possible wearing a dress, this was getting ridiculous. Why the man insisted on turning a relatively simple plan into a grand production, Chris was at a loss to explain. He also didn't know why he was pacing up and down like some expectant father while Buck and Ezra rustled around in the bushes with the dresses.
By the time Vin came back from Wickestown, having scouted the town and positioned the others, Chris was crouching by the horses, running sand through his fingers and trying to ignore the noises coming from the brush.
"How's it goin'?" Vin asked with a grin as he crouched down beside Chris.
"Slowly," Chris answered just before Ezra and Buck began arguing again.
"I'm not wearing that, that... contraption!"
"It came with the dress."
"I don't care. I don't even know what it is."
"What?" Buck laughed. "You mean you've never seen one before?"
"Of course I've seen them before but I'm afraid my experience of putting them on has been limited to never."
"Well maybe they go..."
"Ow! Kindly keep your hands to yourself."
"Sorry, Ezra," Buck giggled. "I guess I've had more experience taking them off than putting them on."
"That much is evident."
"You know," Vin began, his voice light with humour, "folks would pay good money for this type of entertainment."
Chris stood up and wiped the sand from his hands onto his coat. "But we ain't in the entertaining business. How does the town look?"
"Fine, far as I could tell."
"I like this one best," Buck insisted from the bushes. "It brings out them pretty eyes o' yours."
"Why, thank you, Mr Wilmington but I fear you are colour blind. That shade does absolutely nothing for my complexion and as for the cut--"
"Hurry it up in there!" Chris hollered. "We haven't got all day."
"Nearly done," Buck called back and both he and Ezra laughed at some unseen joke.
"I'd best get back to town, make sure Wickes hasn't gotten any bright ideas," Vin said, moving to mount his horse.
Chris turned his suspicious gaze from the bushes to Vin's smirking face. "What's so funny? Don't you want to see?"
"I think I'll see him soon enough." Vin winked before riding off.
Wondering what that was all about, Chris was still squinting after Vin's dust trail when he heard footsteps approaching from behind him.
"Mr Larabee," Buck announced as Chris turned around, "may I present..." he went on, leading Ezra politely forward by the elbow, but Chris barely heard another word. All he could do was stare. He wasn't expecting the sight of Ezra in a pretty dress and other women's trappings to look so...
"What do you think?" Ezra grinned.
"You'll do," Chris returned reflexively, already heading for the horses. "Just don't go flashing that gold tooth around."
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