Augusta, Kansas - - Cash Nichol's Saloon
Smoke curled up from his lungs, filling his throat before it poured from his lips in a heady cloud. Fuck, what was this? His third cigar? The scent had sunk into his clothes like a corpse in a quiet body of water: deep and eternal. And doing absolutely nothing to help him. If only his men could see him now... Most would probably laugh themselves silly: Old Dog mooning over a girl less than half his age, like he was Young Pup instead of the leader of the Scarlet Riders.
Still, he had come to the tiny town of Augusta, Kansas for a reason... one fiery, stupid reason: Jessamine Colt. It had taken some digging and more than a few beers and dollars changing hands, but after a week of no word after their last parting, Jasper had managed to track down the female outlaw. What had meant to be a scouting job to see what town they should hit next had turned into a tussle with none other than Vincent Love. That damn snake! Not that Jess was completely outside of the realm of blame. He knew that the spitfire wouldn't be able to help herself when it came to The Viper... But, that didn't make him any less angry or change the reason that he found himself in the saloon run by Cash Nichols.
If anyone recognized the Old Dog from the first time where the owner had physically thrown him out, no one said anything. Which suited him just fine. The last thing he wanted to do was make a scene before the real mess started. Things around Jess always turned into a mess, and she had finally caused one that he could not clean up.
Honestly, it was easier than he expected to be able to slip up to the room where Jessamine was staying. All that was needed was a few words from the girl herself. Apparently the owner was quite protective of the girls he found. Protective enough to lurk in the hallway while Jasper stood just inside the door. Granted, if anyone needed over protecting... it was probably Jess. She was shit at taking care of herself: too angry at the world to do anything but fail over and over again. And now she was here. Ironic wasn't it? That her salvation, a place with actual protectors, was the sort of place she'd been running from her whole life.
She was dressed in a man's shirt, holding one of her arms stiffly... must be where she got shot. Jasper couldn't help letting his eyes wander over the young woman. She was still pretty, she'd always been pretty, even with those scars. But, there was something too destructive about her to keep her close anymore. She'd name dropped the Riders to Vincent, potentially sparking more trouble than they could handle. And he couldn't protect her, not anymore. When it came down to it... if it was the Riders or Jessamine, he'd choose the Riders. Every. Time. There was no room for affection or anything stronger than a passing fancy in Jessamine's world. She was too wild for them. And now, she was either going to be put down or grow up. He hoped it was the latter, but he wasn't holding his breath.
"Well, I would say that you're a sight for sore eyes but..." Jessamine's cold glare made the words die on his tongue and a vein in his temple begin to pulse. Didn't she realize why he was here? Did she not understand what was going on? One would think... after all these years... some sense might have wormed it's way into her brain! And yet, the Old Dog could not bring himself to simply abandon her. Not without saying good bye. The daughter of Jacob Colt deserved that much. His lover deserved that much. Even if she was far too tainted and wild to be protected anymore. She needed to know just how hot of water she'd landed herself in.
"How did you find me?" Though her words were biting, Jasper could see that a bit of the tension around her eyes had melted away. She was happy to see him. For the moment.
"My usual tricks. People around here are way too willing to talk."
A breath of air that could have passed for a laugh left Jessamine's lungs and she relaxed even more, "Of course. So, you here to take me back?"
So she was hoping that he had come to whisk her away once more.
He was going to disappoint her.
Ah, he could hear it in her voice now. That little waver, a line between sorrow and anger. Perhaps some small part of this had always expected that he would turn her away one day. Hoping even, because that meant that the end was near...
"No, I ain't here to take you back Jess. I'm here to tell you, you ain't welcome in our circle anymore."