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June Reilly-Snow

"There's more to me than what my body produces"

0 · 911 views · located in Gretna, Louisiana, 1922

a character in “Vice & Bloodlines”, originally authored by xXxCryptic-AngelxXx, as played by RolePlayGateway





      ACCOLADESXX HARLOW SNOW-BATES [for letting her in]

      REM BATE'S MISTRESS [not true of course]

      ﹙ ♔ ﹚

      WEIGHTXX 119 LBS




June is a strong willed woman and always has been. She's brilliant and independent. As a youngster, she liked to think that she moved about the world with confidence and wouldn't let anyone take advantage of her. She speaks her mind which often gets her into trouble, but she never fails to make a point. She's loyal but only if you show her you're worth it. She's a very proud individual and almost always refuses help of any kind or pity.

Even when she married Daxton, she expected no change, but found herself being locked in a beautiful cage and no amount of rattling would let her out. She retained a lot of her confidence and sharp tongue but it's been blunted. They don't have the strength or the sting anymore. And for the first time ever, she sought help. For the first time she was able to admit she couldn't do it herself. She's still beautiful and brilliant and she's trying to get back who she was, but she's a shadow of her former self.


xx ☆﹗LIKES
☆ sweet tea ☆ moonshine and whiskey ☆ Harlow and the Bates family ☆ solving puzzles ☆ giving opinions ☆ riding horses ☆ Being the woman her mother never was ☆ learning new things ☆ Aqua ☆ The sky ☆ The stars ☆ Freedom ☆ Strawberries ☆ Summer breezes ☆ Autumn leaves ☆ River boats ☆ Fancy Dresses ☆ Jazz Music ☆ Crackling of the fireplace ☆

★ Daxton Snow ★ Being conned ★ Being used ★ Being Belittled ★ Sexism ★ Her father ★ Being confined ★ small spaces ★ peaches ★ Her mother ★ Being controlled ★ Coffee ★ Unnecessary Rules ★ Baton Rouge ★ Humidity ★ Heat ★ Guns in the hands of men ★ Nightmares


☆ Lip biting
☆ fidgets
☆ Nightmares keep her awake


PUZZLES ; Her mind likes to work through the kinks until she can see the final product, the big picture
SINGING ; They don't call her Daxton Snow's Canary for nothing
READING PEOPLE ; With one look, She can usually tell what kind of person she's talking to and uses it to her advantage


PEACHES ; As a kid she ate peaches until she was sick, now she can't stand them
THE BATES ; They've earned her trust and loyalty since they helped her out, but if someone were to threaten them, she'd be on the front lines of that battle.
CHILDREN ; She loves children, but doesn't feel ready to have them. She wonders if she ever will because of Daxton.
ALCOHOL ; The more it burns the better. The sooner she can forget.


CONFINEMENT ; She was locked inside for so long, she hardly likes doors to be closed
CLAUSTROPHOBIA ; Tight spaces make it difficult for her to breathe.


June was the youngest of three girls in a well off family living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At first, her father doted on them, preparing for them to marry rich and produce grandchildren. But as it became obvious that their mother could not have another child and he grew furious. At this time, having an heir was important and girls would only produce, not perform. Meaning, even with three brilliant daughters, he wanted a son. Not having one, he tried to turn June, his youngest, into that boy. He doted on her in the way a father would dote upon a son, but as she hit puberty and he realized that pretending wouldn't make something real, his anger consumed everything. He took his anger out on his wife who could not bear a son and his youngest who wasn't born a boy. At this time, she was old enough to fight back. Her mother took the beatings, June chose to surpass him. She worked hard in school, used her sharp tongue against him (often getting slapped in the process), and escaped when she was locked inside. When the arrangement for marriage to Daxton Snow came about, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to escape.

Daxton and June marriage was more arranged by their parents than anything else. Everyone on the outside of the spectrum knew that she would be too much for him - she wasn't cookie cutter, but she was brilliant and beautiful and came from a fairly esteemed family. She married young, much younger than Daxton. He 23, she 19. They lasted but a year before it all fell apart.

He wanted her to conceive as soon as possible and June was by no means ready for that, nor did she think it was necessary. She was also reminded of her father and wanting a son. Daxton in fact holed June up all for himself because he's a bit of a control freak and even made his own attempts to get her to conceive.. if you catch my drift. Daxton probably had a great deal of arguing with June. He made her feel bound to a wife role of being conventional - a home body - a vessel in which to reproduce. After a time, She finally filed for divorce.

As if the smite and spite and feeling of familial failure wasn't enough on Daxton, when the divorce was in settlement, Harlow put June up in the household she shared with her husband, Remington, and grew quite close with her, because they certainly hadn't been before. The home that Rem and Harlow share is not at all like this. it's very beyond conventional methods considering the time frame, which is probably why Harlow saw so quickly the toxicity of the situation between her brother and his wife, and as soon as the divorce got out in word around town, opened her door to June.


HEX CODE ; #006666
PLAYED BY ; xXxCryptic-AngelxXx

So begins...

June Reilly-Snow's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rem Bates Character Portrait: Harlow Brynn B. Character Portrait: Roux Bates Character Portrait: Atticus Montgomery Character Portrait: June Reilly-Snow Character Portrait: Sophia Moon Character Portrait: Noel Bates Character Portrait: ANNA LEIGH DECLAN Character Portrait: Bailey Johnson
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Harlow Brynn Bates


Armistice of night, copious and quiet, crept on to Gretna at the tail end of February like an old friend. The only thing known to a Louisiana humanity to be chthonic, kept and kind within the law. Peace was never made these days, only dreamt of in soft hums on the dry tongues of men behind bars. Those who’d come to their epiphanies after anger had run its long course. Most folks took to the night for their reconciliations. Rocking on a sapped porch with empty tin buckets. But often… This seed sowed from greed and the feeling of being thieved upon was intractable. Ain’t no amount of days, weeks, or months in a concrete box bound to fix up what the prohibition set into the minds of many, many men. Even freedom itself could not soothe the stab and sting of Louisiana’s bread and butter. Or lack thereof.

Families sewed up their loose ends best way they knew how, most of ‘em honest, too shook in their boots to do much different. The Snows battened down. Still had their fortunes but sure lacked the luxury of paradise parties and aged libations. Where windows were lit and laughter was heard, there was cause for concern. Knocks on polished pine could pass for gunshots due to the intent behind it. The fear in not just this town, but others across the board, was very real. There was no choice left. Honesty had become just another metonym for debt and hunger.

You name one person in this town who ain’t been a victim of the Detroit blow in’s. That’s right. You can’t. Even if you’re honest, you best be quiet ‘round here.

Hell, even Remington Bates kept his wife off the stoop of the Honey Stop when he heard them black jalopies grumbling their way up the road. Detroit boys were always asking for trouble, knowin’ their upper hand was long and strong and faced little recoil when they wanted to put anybody they so chose through the wringer. Rapping billy clubs ‘gainst the front doors of homes, window panes of local shoppes, spitting obliquely and staring so hard that it’d make y’sick. Could put a preacher on his head after confessionals. They weren’t afraid of nothin’, took no issue with who they frisked. Rich, poor, woman, man, child. Didn’t much matter.

And the Mississippi Honey Stop… Turning into an asylum, kept the company of spirits new and old, just lookin’ for some goodness in all the bad. The misfortune [literal] in all of it was that nobody could pick a penny out of the slime of a swamp and make it stretch an hour in Gretna. Times were too hard. Rem and Harlow made the place more of a soup kitchen, the harbor in which anything up the creek could feel warm a little while. Full.

Dandelion shudders outside collected more dust than cicadas. Country strum was all but gone in the waste of winter, even when they hit the high sixties with nothing but sunshine for miles. Fans didn’t swing. Just cast shade over the rhythmic two step of a mother and child, cooing in kinship with measured merriment. Least the place was kept real clean. Paint tended to every few months. All yellows and blues like the corn color of summer country. Every table tightened and spotless. Lord knew that was just the way of Harlow Bates, couldn’t stand a mess or a singular crumb. When she married, the world thought it’d fall if that boy left a bed sheet untucked. Seemed to work out just fine though. She didn’t stir when he cinched a suspender two inches too lose. They got by a lot on smiles, ‘spite of obvious asymmetry. Made a beautiful home for themselves and the place they grew.

As dusk dipped low on the horizon, a chill blew in through the doorway of the only canteen left in force. Idle silhouettes barely bobbed back and forth. The Honey Stop yielded the same crowd: dark haired butterflies with their ashtrays kept under finger, old Blue and Ruger sloppin’ up a corner designated for dogs surer to go to heaven before out of state cops. The occasional drifter with a rickety soup spoon grasp, then the deputy when he was hurting for a hard cup of coffee.

ImageMetallic canticles croaked out of a register too rarely touched, “Got a mind to start chargin’ my folks for honey.” With ochroid strands thrown about, Harlow’s circling scrutiny was hard to monitor. Nola hiccuped on her arm, cheeks pinker than carnations in her post feeding bliss, eyes just like her daddy’s: sapphire and somnolent. “Running all over hell’s half acre…” Her mother muttered punching in numbers, all one-handed without much faltering. But a beam set to the corners of her mouth and she sighed. Just another day. The same labors for the same love. Soon she’d be trading out the sweat-stuck cotton of her dress and kissin’ the heads of her favorite folk goodnight or goodbye. Even Roux, who slightly shifted each time yet didn’t object.

She loved him. Loved him, loved him loved him.

Took to those Bates like they were her blood all along. Noel, who dug at his brothers something fierce, protected them fiercer. Loved him. Roux, whose eyes were not seldom wide and spoke more to his dog than to people. Loved him. When she married Rem, the tracts between herself and rapture just filled themselves in. His mother said it was something about good love. Knowing the difference was the key. Said Harlow Snow knew all along, that’s why she chose herself a Bates boy and found all those things she was lookin’ for but could never call by name. She never had to, after Rem.

Love stories aside, the Honey Stop accrued altruism in the most critical of deficits. Some days it seemed like it was all the town had left. Which at times could bear weight on the married couple that ran it. Integrity as a rule came before capital, and lamentably it was startin’ to show.

He knew by the way she wiped dew from her brow on the back of a wrist that was sore every hour of the night. She knew by the way he closed the doors at the stop with shoulders heavy, singular fixed look and not much to say at all. They’d never lost their sense of self. But they’d certainly experienced their sense of sustenance dwindling away. Sophia’d come by often with a side eye and mumble about bathtub gin, wanting to repay a favor she felt was owed. That girl was full of fire, a spur like nothing Harlow had ever seen. She’d be tellin’ a lie if she said she didn’t think about pulling her aside and asking for the down low about what risks they’d run if they wanted to brew something themselves. But went with her better judgment, admitting to herself that if Rem didn’t entertain it yet, it was best she don’t neither.

Guess what spooked her most was thinking how she was gonna’ bring little Nola up in this world, in these straits. Couldn’t just count on June to stick ‘round forever and watch the baby, pick up where Harlow couldn’t when the days got too rough. June needed to go and live her life. Deserved it most, taking what she did from Daxton.

“June,” Harlow called quietly over the clink of ware at its last hour, “You mind taking Nola for a walk ‘round the porch? She’s just about asleep and I wanted to close out the register since my husband won’t hit a lick at a snake when he’s flapping his gums at the deputy.” A playful wink was supplied, then followed with, “And June?”

With Nola cradled against both forearms, a chaise only a mother could make, Harlow conferred her to June, “Not too long out there, alright? That detective with Detroit’s department’s been snooping around. Thinks we can’t see ‘im in the dark. Got nothing but the candle jars out there so just stay by the windows, holler if you need anything. Rem’s right by the door and the deputy, too.” She tucked the baby girl into a blanket, its edges hidden in the crook of June’s elbow, “Won’t have these men from out of town trying to cut our tails. Shaking down a lady, much less my sister in law.” Harlow rubbed the sleeve of June’s shirt. She could feel Rem’s eyes imbued with protective nature. Up and down his wife’s frame in a wordless diction of, “You gon’ send her out there with Nol’ alone?”

There was a slight pivot in her stance, a small reassuring smile. He’d take it, graze a short fingernail over five o’clock shadows and continue his conversation but only after he knew that everything was alright. Never missed a beat where their safety was concerned.

Harlow hung a rag over her shoulder, took the candles from the tables and every so often peered onto the porch. Dried her hands on thin ivory, skirt bunched for a second before dropping to its full length again. A soft glow hit the window glass and flickered out of existence in zaps of night wind. Off to the left sat a heartbreaker and victim of her own, Bailey Marie. Harlow racked her brain a thousand times over tryin’ to find any words worth saying to someone who lost the love of their life. Couldn’t likely imagine the agony of going on without Rem, and found herself with a creased brow, lump stuck in the throat, giving Bailey pieces of pie she never touched a dozen times over. That Johnson girl was perhaps the only person Harlow couldn’t soothe.

The Honey Stop was cozy inside, even with the sadness of transients. Outside was a little colder. Lonelier. Most they’d see is that tumbleweed of a girl, Anna Leigh. Maybe sittin’ low by the last stair and brooding way she mostly did with her red lips rollin’ under chattering teeth. Girl kept to herself but they’d seen their share of her at the stop. Fed her a few times, though she insisted she didn’t need none. It was quiet. Almost all the time.

It won’t happen to us. I’m just being cautious. They wouldn’t come ‘round asking questions at this hour, would they?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: M. Boone Character Portrait: Rem Bates Character Portrait: Harlow Brynn B. Character Portrait: Roux Bates Character Portrait: Atticus Montgomery Character Portrait: June Reilly-Snow Character Portrait: Noel Bates
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XXXWhen Remington Bates married Harlow Snow, he didn’t have a clue in the world what he was gettin’ himself into. Wasn’t nothin’ bad, was just somethin’ too damn good. Boy turned his life right around for her, washed his hands off, hung his hat up.

Thing about them boys who used to be dirty though, is it stays in their veins. Oh, they can dress the part and say the words, but somewhere deep inside their heart is pumping dark and their fists are itchin’, ready to raise.

Don’t see that side of ol’ Rem much anymore, but his eyes still flash somethin’ nasty when someone gets a little too close to him or his. Ownership goes far with that one, from the Honey Stop, to a couple old dogs, to a pair of brothers, his wife, his kid, and some girls who ain’t his kin but he always been a believer in blood and water, thickness be damned.

The Honey Stop though... wasn’t just somethin’ special to him, but to the whole town, and he didn’t have one intention of lettin’ it slip through his fingers. No matter what the dryness in his pockets tried to tell him. Helpin’ people was in his blood, in hers just the same. They had a damn good thing goin’, him and his girl.

Night’s like these are just as relaxin’ as they are stressful, ‘cause he knows just from glancin’ at her on occasion that the registrar's more empty that it should be, but he’s reminded that they’ve got people and they’ve got a shop and it’s more than most can say.

Sittin’ across from Atticus is always a good time, least since that started meanin’ coffee instead of handcuffs. Not that the deputy ever cared much to keep Rem locked down but it had happened on occasion. Changed times and whatnot.

He’s laughin’, sittin’ back in his seat with the shake of his head. “You can’t be tellin’ me you ain’t ever fucked nobody in that office of yours.” He’d of done it, back when, if he’d ever decided to be a cop. First day on the job.

“Can’t say that I have,” comes Atticus’ reply, and Rem rolls his eyes as the older man disappears behind a drink of his coffee. Harlow’s talking to June, handin’ over their baby girl wrapped up tight. It’s a late night, and he’s surprised she ain’t asleep yet.

He keeps his eyes on them until he caught Honey’s attention. Didn’t like them sweet things goin’ out on the stoop alone, not this late. Them Detroit bastards gotta thing for the shadows like none of them can’t see em slinkin’ round.

Harlow gives him her a look long enough to smile, small and reassurin’. He nods, slightly, turns his gaze back to Atticus just in time to hear: “But that’s a damn good idea.”

He laughs again, watches June walk outside but doesn’t follow her. Trust her, trusts Honey. They know where he’s at if they need him. “‘Least tell me you’ve used the handcuffs.”

Atticus smirks at him slowly and Rem spends the next ten minutes trying to jerk the story out of him, but the deputy refuses to give him anything. Ain’t nothin’ new, they play this game time and time again, and he’s just thinkin’ he oughta get up and start helpin’ shut the place down when June’s voice catches his ears.

Harlow, Shug? You comin’?”

Her tone makes the hairs on the back of his neck stand up ‘cause he ain’t heard June sound like that since the first time she showed up on their doorstep. He’s out of his seat before he even thinks ‘bout it twice, slaps Atticus on the shoulder and points a finger at Harlow.

Her mouth presses into a thin line before his gaze swings around towards Roux. That’s all it takes, and his baby brother’s expression shifts slightly from its usual calm to something a little more intense, a little more focused. It’s not a change anyone but him knows how to recognize, but he gives a small nod as the boy and his dog climb to their feet. Even Old Rugar gets up to see what all the fuss is ‘bout.

Noel is up without havin’t to be told and his chair hits the ground as he follow’s right on Rem’s trail before pushing in front of him, slamming the door open harder than he should.

City slickin’ piece of shit is too damn close to his June and his baby girl and he curls his fists into his pockets and reminds himself to ‘talk first and throw punches later’. Licks his lips, keeps his damn temper in check.

It’s usually Noel who handles threats like this but even he knows not to step between Rem and anyone who’s that close to his child. Probably knows he should get there before Harlow does, ‘cause the mama bears are always the most violent.

Roux leans in the doorway, arms folded across his chest, Blue sittin right at his feet, tall and at attention because he can smell the tension in the air. Noel lands a few steps away from them, then Atticus, at Rem’s left hand side lookin’ ready to knock some teeth out.

If there was whiskey to drip from a single pipe it would have gone start still and dry in the aftermath of a Bates set up. Frozen, even, when they put their crosshairs on something that slunk and scribbled the word “outsider” all across the board.

”Good evenin’, Rem,” Graves let a palm fly flat and steady to his too-square seams, “Deputy, Noel. Where’s Roux now? Oh, there he is.” Everything was too much. Too much grease on his tongue. Too much confidence in the strut of his bullshit. Just the way of a slickin’ metropolis piece of shit walking a fine line between ego and ass kicking.

Next to him Atticus is already squared up, could see grime a mile away, but this close he could taste the dirt rollin’ off every sure spoken syllable. What a jackass, all strangers were, he didn’t expect much else anymore.

Rem smiles somethin’ dark and twisted, leans back on his heals and pulls one of his hands out of his pockets to run his fingers along the scruff on his jawline. Hears the door open again and glances back just in time to see Harlow push passed Roux, shotgun up in her hands and damn near ready to use. He smirks, turns his attention back to the thing drippin’ oil on his front porch. “Somethin’ I can help you with, ‘tective?”

It ain’t a question so much as a threat, and Graves get’s that as he takes in the stacked queue of Grenta natives. “Let me guess - Better give my heart to Jesus because my hide is yours? Ain’t that how you inbreds think?” He edged toward the stoop, oil in his hair shining like a keen blade. “You might want to reconsider all that bite, but bark… bark…”

Graves let out a laugh, “Bark, boys.”

All of ‘em were right on edge, most dangerous things around sittin’ on a hair trigger. Crossed his mind to ask Harlow not to point a gun at a state official, but just couldn’t find it in himself to give a damn. It was Blue that gave the low growl they were all feelin’, quite the warnin’ comin’ from a dog that wouldn’t make a move without Roux doin’ so first. Rem likced his lips, the skin across his knuckles pulled so tight it hurt, opened his mouth to pop off a reply when there’s a rustle that catches his attention.

“Goddamn Marvin Boone,” Atticus grunts from his side, and Rem figured he shoulda guessed as much. Was just like ol’ Boone to show up right at closin’ time, smellin’ like blood and lookin’ like suspicion.

Drunk off his ass, not even walkin’ in a straight line. His brow drawn together and he stumbles three times just tryina make it to the front step. He catches Rem’s eye and points a finger at what he figures is Graves but lands about a mile off. Slurs out a question that sounds like, “The fuck this fool actin’ like e’eryone dogs, for?”

Troublesome little alley cat.

That angular jaw clenched all ninety degree and the jig was up. Couldn’t hide a spectacle like Boone, and Rem suddenly knew this wasn’t gonna end well. Graves moved for a pair of cuffs, “Every dog’s got its day, boy. Guess today isn’t yours.”

“Boy ain’t drunk, just real fuckin’ defective,” Atticus cuts in gruffly, already rollin’ his sleeves while he’s at it. Harlow went on and cocked her shotgun up higher, Noel went for the piece shoved in the back of his pants. Rem sighed, rolled his neck on his shoulders, unbuttoned the snaps at the wrists of his shirt.

“Alright, alright,” Graves chuckled low and slick, the air of a man who knew he couldn’t win but didn’t figure forfetin’ counted as losin’. “I suppose it isn’t probable that anyone here is going to surrender the boy in exchange for a sparkling clean record, now is it?”

“Shit, ain’t nobody in Gretna care about a record,” Noel grumbled out. “Now if we’re talkin’ money and assets then you better flap them gums boy!”

Boone laughed, finally tumblin’ off his feet and landin’ on the ground right in front of Rem. “Ya’ll real fuckin’ proper tonight, jus’ for me?” he asked, unsteady gaze landing on Graves. “I ain’t ‘ver seen pants that straight, ya know? Ain’t for me,” he added, voice trailin’ off into a whisper. “Straight. Pants. Heh. You know what!" His voice picked up again as he shot a bloody smile Graves' way. "I wouldn't take that deal. I ain't worth any 'mount of cash. Shitty deal."

Rem swung his eyes heavenward, prayin’ for patience and the chance that he wouldn’t have to punch out no lawman for that sorry sucker. Boone was the biggest pain in the ass he’d ever had the displeasure of knowin’, but he’d be damned if someone put his Stop or his people down as snitches. They had a fuckin’ business to run.

Graves nose was drawn up like Boone smelt as bad as he looked, the boy on the ground still mumblin’ nonsense ’bout how maybe everyone liked him after all. “Tomorrow, then, for that one.”

“Wouldn’t bet on it,” Rem muttered, stance only relaxin’ when Graves finally went to get gone.

“And H o n e y,” the detective looked over his shoulder, “Put the gun down, darling, you know it’s got a recoil that will bruise that gorgeous collar bone. Then where will Nola rest her head? Who’d have thought… A pack of swamp animals make terrible parents.”

Rem’s makin’ a move the second Honey’s name is out of his fuckin filthy mouth, kickin Boone out of his way and a swing already whindin’ up. Noel’s got his arms around his chest in a second flat, holdin’ him back even though it takes effort.

Graves picks his hat up from the banister non pulsed, puts it back on and tilts it in their direction. “I’ll be seeing you boys around. And don't you worry, if I can't findya', I'll just go where the girls are."

ImageRem moves again and almost gets out of Noel’s damn grasp that time, but his brother is stronger and keeps him grounded. There’s a threatening finger shot over his shoulder, and he hears the door fall shut from where even Roux has stood up straighter. Blue’s growl this time is much more serious, but a hand on his head keeps both of them calm. Harlow doesn’t put down the shotgun, and June looks like someone’d have to kill her to get to that baby.

Ain’t nobody move until he’s well in good out of sight.

“Slimy motherfucker,” Atticus breathes, and Rem clinches his jaw in agreement, closes his eyes for a moment until he feels calm enough to push Noel’s arms off him. Walks over to June and holds his hands out for his child. “You alright, darlin’?”

She gives him a small nod before Nola is in his arms; barely wakes from the transfer, and he presses his nose into the soft thin hairs at the top of her head, breaths in deep for a little sense of calm. “Boone,” he says, and the boy lyin’ on the ground pushes up on his elbows with a hum of question. “How much you got?”

Kid’s a torn up mess, beaten and bruised like he always is, sportin a fresh cut up above his eye and blood from his nose to his mouth. Rem knows he’s got the dough on him for it, always does. Coins and crumpled bills fly across the wooden porch and he nods. Looks like enough to pay for their troubles. “C’mon then. I’ll make you a sandwich.”

Atticus does the honors of getting the little shit up, dragging him to his feet by the color, while Noel hangs back to gather up the money. Rem watches them file inside, Roux’s shoulders relaxed but a little shifty as he holds the door open, gaze glued to Boone’s unsteady form.

Rem places a hand on Harlow’s lower back, presses a kiss into her cheek. “No more nightly strolls, ‘right?” Turns the porch light off because they’re well an’ fuckin c l o s e d, but he ain’t feel comfortable enough to send people home when things are creepin’ in the shadows.

*Credit to Sacri for Graves dialogue || **Credit to Wiley for Atticus dialogue || ***Credit to Ivisbo for Roux

Characters Present

Character Portrait: M. Boone Character Portrait: Rem Bates Character Portrait: Harlow Brynn B. Character Portrait: Roux Bates Character Portrait: Atticus Montgomery Character Portrait: June Reilly-Snow Character Portrait: Noel Bates Character Portrait: ANNA LEIGH DECLAN
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Harlow Brynn Bates


The tinkering of scrapped piano wire holding vats deemed craft worthy by their lack of matching lids didn’t rouse any cause for concern. It was ritual for them to knock shudders, caper on their own personal tight rope, rock in the convergent moonlight and eventually burn out if forgotten. But that type of thing was an anomaly, now. Rarely did the Honey Stop remain open so late that its homespun beacons stay on alone too long. In fact, they’d had the same wax wedged in there for weeks, maybe months. Hardly’d been used. So they’d be bright enough to the standard of two protective parents.

Atticus had his heels outstretched like he was home sweet home where the coffee didn’t stop. Guess that was about right. Had to consider it remotely cozy if the person owning it could so shamelessly interrogate the town’s officials about their sexcapades or… Stint thereof, which sounded voluntary ‘cause let’s face it, not everybody was as buck and happy to get shot over some tail like Remington was. Fortunate to have a woman like Harlow, who broke the cemented frame of her upbringing and whittled her etiquette into a knife sharp enough to keep up with the likes of a Bates and keep him on his toes. And that Snow girl, as often as she’d scoff and look the other way, was lucky to have him, too.

Parts erect like a haywire compass, jabs for bed fellow stories and all. She didn’t even blush no more. And when he started talking about the handcuffs, Lord have mercy. All she had left in ‘er was to shoot him a look and finish up with checks.

“Three fifty. Two ten, ‘bout another…” She was never hurting for dexterity so much as change by and by, just the way things was going. To narrow shoulders she cocked her head. This side, that. Brought the angle close in to rest her cheek while her gaze drew into a slit of mathematical determination. Harlow took a tab to nearly her nose and then hem and haw’d, waitin’ for Rem to catch wind of his wife’s struggle and tell her to put on the ol’ specs.

ImageOh, you’d like that wouldn’t ya’, son’m…

He just got a hoot out of her fixing the frames up on her little doe clock, eyes set at six exactly and full of, “You better wipe that dog look off your face Remington Bates, ‘fore I do it for you.” Always loved giving her a hell of a time about glasses ‘cause he’d probably spent too much time being hot for teachers when he got sick of screwing their daughters. When there were only crumbs left in the cookie jar his senseless honey-lickin’ paws went for the nicest piece of china next up. Boy loved himself a challenge. She wasn’t going to give in to that fantasy of his just yet. She’d already given in to that of many other folks by reproducing with him, of all suitors, him. Guessed she was living the dream. Complimented with an eye roll, she accepted her fate as one she chose all alone.

She folded frames over the neckline of her dress, kept on with her diligence to get a somewhat decent sum but it seemed to be wishful thinking. Tried not to let the sweat on her brow show, so Harlow turned to the jar wall. Took inventory of what preserves they’d had. Best sellers, what they might be able to count on. Was just short of a lightbulb moment when she heard the calculated clatter of table furniture hitting the tier. She was headlong first to observe the nearest window, pulling a messy handful of flaxen plaits up into a more secure fashion but missing some strands from haste.

February sky collapsed into total darkness when a familiar index went in her direction. She knew what that meant. Must’ve been humming too low and too long with numbers to notice the obvious tempering. How long had it been since she’d sent June out with baby girl? Somethin’ was wrong, enough to set every pitcher and crock on edge, could feel it, when Rem so much as moved toward the door. Could bet on it, when Noel floored a chair and took to his sleeves before words. Harlow was met with the hush they never knew until uncertainty stood on their doorstep. Atticus hightailed, static, suddenly territorial.

God save the dumb son of a bitch who steps in the wrong mound of dirt in this territory, with this company. See it ain’t uncommon to cross paths with someone unfriendly in the dry affair of Gretna. Not with smug scum bags weaving in and out of the trees, lanterns burning up a path of thick kerosene. Stunk something fierce. Looked even worse in the morning when all the cattails and forget me nots were beat flat. Worn those warrants real proud like, ‘cause if not, sure as hell might know the real kick of a shotgun blast.

Patron’s stirred and composure was pushed to a busting seam as Harlow held a flat hand to them, lulled, “Y’all just sit back here now. This’ll only take but a minute.” The trust of that testimony, crossed heart by bullets loaded and locked twofold, echoed when she totaled the firearm. Only cleared her throat before following her husband, her kin, their deputy. Contrivances clicked under her thumb, just moments into the pending bone of contention. And he knew before lookin’ at her small cotton contour that the leaden snap was just his final and only warning. Maybe he wasn’t so dumb after all, seein’ as he had just stumbled well over into the kingdom of, “Shoot first, ask questions last" with i n t e n t.

Whatever could run parallel to the plasma drip of a fresh kill ‘twix teeth, whatever came close to the implicit need to hunt a foreboding against family, surely looked a lot less mesmeric than Harlow Bates with a 12 gauge set to her shoulder. She let the men do the talking but pushed right past Roux without so much as an apology and marked her target, sparing no hesitation. He, in her crosshairs, dark haired and a little too intrepid for the taste of Remington Bate’s wife, licked his lips and placed his hands in the conventional stance of surrender. To this, she planted her feet just ‘bout shoulder width and sniffed adamantine behind the mild tenor of a hammer.

Steady, now girl.

ImageDidn’t blink. Only thing much movin’ was the boil of bad blood and a breeze remiss to her hair, drifting gold waves crosswise. Dividing her face into a pair of unbent lips, pointed jade eyes and that narrow nose pinkened only enough to fool a stranger no more perfect than the brain in her dog’s head. ‘Cept even Ruger had the common sense to back down when he was outnumbered. To know his human wasn’t no girl, no damsel. He’d watched ‘er take that Winchester up and cock it back with questionless resolve only a handful of times. For rabid raccoons that glanced even once at his dumb waggin’ tail, for rustling in the bushes. For the day that Daxton thought he could come drag June out of she and Remington’s home without a single rift. And now, at this eventide, by the casualty of a dry war that choked and spit up a detective too big for his damn britches. Didn’t b l i n k.

Damn if that dog didn’t know mechanically to go rigid before there was a stitch of slaughter in the air. Right up shoulder to shoulder with Blue, hackles stacked against stringent spines. Ruger strained under the ballast of his own snarl. Muscles quivering like the foundation of a cottage in the thick of thunder. Looked somethin’ u g l y, muzzle pulled so high that his dentition merely looked like a weapon some Injun woulda’ carved from carcass. He gnashed his teeth at the syllables of, “Wouldn’t bet on it.” and padded with a long ominous stride to line legs with Remington. Harlow didn't twitch or move her aim.

Coulda’ pointed the unholy thing at Marvin, rolling around and tracking road dirt up onto the porch and being not only drunk but putting on a whole God damn show in his post-shine stupor. Tugging on an official’s pant leg, insulting the iron job like it’d make light of the hostile air. Chortlin’, chords in his throat strained and dry from the whiskey to water ratio. Knuckle headed kid. Defective didn’t even skim the surface of that train wreck. But he was family just like the rest of the town, even if she hated to say it. How she conveyed her conviction to her adopted kin: a harsh half-kick with the toe of her boot into his ribs when he was the only debris remaining from a near shoot out with special Detective Graves. “You and I got words soon as the sun is up, Marvin Boone.” She lowered the gun, at ease with Nola in Remington’s arms. Finally, she breathed. But not without threat.

“You just started somethin’ you don’t even know you started.”

Hadn’t quite made it to the rack when yet another uninvited presence rapped and came into view. Harlow whipped around, Winchester held lateral in one arm and still primed for diffusing a situation. When she saw the familiar dark hair, fellow foundling of Boone, she slapped the firearm on the counter and sibilated without a single falter in a room fallen silent to her tenets, “Anna Leigh Declan I swear to Jesus if you don’t take better care of keeping this scarecrow’s sorry ass out of trouble you best be on the next rust bucket to Mississippi or you’ll have a mess of trouble following you everywhere you go. For the rest of your life.”

She turned to face Remington, Atticus, a brow raised and a stern outline otherwise given. They opted out of the defense for that one. Rightfully so. Quietly a sandwich plate made its way toward Marvin’s folded hands and for once, that boy was awfully quiet. Good. “Eat it.” Harlow declared like she’d make him choke on it if he chose not to. Rem came in left field, gently as he was known to when things got a bit too sticky. Even kissed her cheek and suggests a call back on Nola’s nightly sway.

"Dandy, unless yer lookin' for trouble. Comin' in after hours don't paint you in a pretty light missy.”

The dining room didn’t budge. Shifted slightly beforehand to glance at the newcomer but, was quiet otherwise. Harlow ran a palm lengthwise to her husband’s neck, submitting to his new rule knowing it for the best. Dandelion strays clung to her forehead, taxed with cold condensation and she smeared them off with the back of her hand, closed her eyes and nodded to Atticus, “It’s alright. We’re letting it go for tonight. We got bigger problems come tomorrow. ‘Cause now the Honey Stop and everyone in it has got a big ol’ red arrow pointin’ at ‘em. Rem… You better stay here with Deputy a while. Nola, me, June and Marvin need to get some sleep. Ain’t that right Boone?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: M. Boone Character Portrait: Rem Bates Character Portrait: Harlow Brynn B. Character Portrait: Roux Bates Character Portrait: Atticus Montgomery Character Portrait: June Reilly-Snow Character Portrait: Noel Bates
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#, as written by J.D.


Noel Bates

He's up and out the door without a seconds hesitation, leaving wood clattering in his wake and the distinct sense of urgency to fill the air. Coming to a short stop nearby Rem, in the fray of bodies. A family hellbent on keeping their own safe and sound, not unalike a pack of wolves. They sure snarled all the same when Graves tried getting his rocks off on threatening them. Harlows got her a gun, ready to blow at the slightest notion of an attack. No threats there, he knows she's got all the intent in the world. That woman would move hell and earth to keep whats hers safe. One wrong move is all it would take, for all of them. His own hand twitches to the piece he carries, prefers the accuracy it affords when fists fail to get a reaction. Grips it to stave off the need to ball up his own fists and really show Graves what a threat is. He don't want this to get any messier than it already is.

Time moves, imperceivable, slow as molasses yet everything happens so fast. Stays attentive through it all, ready to do what has to be done if it all goes south. Just as it usually happens to.

Devils fire flickered and died in the pit of his stomach, burnt up in the ache traveling his spine. It itches in his hands and thrums in his heart when he starts thinking' heavy thoughts. Waits for the acid clenched between sharp teeth to abate in the wake of words spoken by a man high on himself. May as well be fucking himself into an inflated ego. And yet the man still dared to harbor the pretense of knowin' any one of them. Lets the wretch run his course of insults and barely registers his own movements when honey comes spilling from a mouthful O' razors. Got arms around his brother, protective, intent on keeping him in one piece even as he itches to tear Graves a third asshole - the seconds already dominating the gaping hole he'd call a mouth. Takes up his tried and true role of a grounding force, he'll be damned if Rem jumps into shit creek over words alone.

Sides, that shit show Boone done got them all in a right mess already. Stumbling in like he got any right to a fuck up. Just like him to show up a mess, to expand the trouble before it can deflate. Damn him, damn it all. Maybe later he'll throttle the kid - probably won't. Be too busy shaking him down for his source of shine. Could use a fucking drink, too much trouble came around these days, feels like every other second another battle is fueling up to be waged. Piling up the problems faster than they can wade through em' otherwise Noel'd have washed his hands of every wound waiting to open up already.

Noel couldn't keep Rem forever, didn't dare let up till the snake slithered back into the brush. Could only guess what hotheaded thing he'd go and do if he let him go a second sooner. Knows too well the protective anger slicking his brothers veins. Feels it himself, even in that moment, but knows better than to act on it every time it rears up. But he doesn't blame him one second for it, would have liked to see that smarmy look wiped clean from the city slickers face if Noel knew it wouldn't bring hell down on them tenfold. Them boys came into town looking for trouble, prepared for it long before stepping a single dirty foot on Gretna soil.

Noel can breathe again when he's back inside. Anxious in a way he won't ever admit, and he's damned sure avoiding looking at the black hole where Marvin Boone sits. Boy may as well be nonexistent among them as far as he's concerned in that moment. Harlow's right, they're targets now. Maybe it isn't completely Boone's fault, but it feels better to have someone to blame. Noel stakes no claim to sensibility, not now at least. It isn't but mere moments later when that Declan girl comes rolling in, playing the role of Boones shadow. If he didn't know what a bearcat the girl was he'd have thought her to be simple. But there is nothing simple about her.

"Dandy, unless yer lookin' for trouble. Comin' in after hours don't paint you in a pretty light missy.” Noel spares half a second to glance at the Deputy. Notes that glint in his eyes and internally sighs. Of all the people to be sharing air with. Atticus and Rem were always two of a kind, he's glad that Rem found a woman like Harlow to keep him in line. As for Atticus, Noel never much liked him. They didn't see eye to eye, and Noel had no fondness for the law or its people, especially for a lawman that chased that much tail. The fact that Atticus didn't bend over for the rules didn't change Noel's stance one bit. There existed only begrudging acceptance between them. A fact that Atticus had somehow became a staple in their home never failed to grate him wrong.

He doesn't sit long enough to listen in on the conversation following their return to semi-normalcy inside the honey stop, sides, he could do without listening to Anna and Atticus' flirtations. Makes himself some coffee while everyones busy discussin', he'd have words later. Right then, he had to do something to temper the stitch of exhaustion clinging to him. Course life could never so much as give them all room to breathe. By the time he's done and seated the girls and little Nola are headed to bed, he don't blame them none. Still, takes his time to turn his upended chair upwards again, sits with no intention of leaving the spot till some resolution has been formed.

"What a fuckin' night," Noel mumbles around the lid of his cup. He ain't no big talker, and his charms are usually only expended for people that don't wake in the same home as him. "What're we gon do to clean this one up? Hmm?" He's got one fist tucked into his lap, away from sight where the fine tremble from inaction cannot be seen. He isn't really asking, just gabbing to stop his brain from turning endlessly. There wasn't much they could do to get that target off their backs. Once a dogs got a scent it won't stop. He gnashed his teeth behind closed lips, jaw ticking in a way that it always does when he's contemplating real hard on something.

This, ultimately, came down to them. Noel wasn't so high off his own fumes that he'd pretend to be some almighty force here. If he did, he'd sure be put in his place fast. Yet, the Bates had always done what they could with Gretna in mind. Long before the Honey Stop came about it was in small deeds and favors and as they grew it shifted into something more. People depended on them, they depended on each other. No matter what independence streaked their blood, family stuck close. Even if Noel begrudged calling anyone outside of his immediate circle, family. No matter his reservations he knew these people deserved more than to have scoundrels amidst them kicking up old bones.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: M. Boone Character Portrait: Rem Bates Character Portrait: Harlow Brynn B. Character Portrait: Roux Bates Character Portrait: Atticus Montgomery Character Portrait: June Reilly-Snow Character Portrait: Noel Bates Character Portrait: ANNA LEIGH DECLAN
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#, as written by Ivisbo

Roux’d moved aside once everyone had turned their attention on gettin' indoors, the frigidness and anxiety of the night chasin’ them back into the warmth of the Honey Stop. He eyed Boone stumblin’ in at the end of the crowd, stringy hair in his face and clothes in disarray from trippin’ over his own damned feet.

He tried real hard to keep the look of distaste from slippin’ across his face, knowin’ people were used to that welcomin’ smile that gave him his nickname. But that Boone had a way of tearin’ somethin’ up inside of Roux, a way of diggin’ up somethin’ nasty that wanted to snarl and tell him to get the fuck out of his doorway. Despite Rem invitin’ the drunk in, takin’ care of this particular stray left him simmerin’ rather then coolin’ off like everyone else.
Fightin' never sat well with Roux, even if he'd had his fair share of bloodied knuckles. Red did somethin’ to his mind that made his muscles run hot and cold all at the same time, a creepin' sort of anger that he hated to let take control. Roux’d never felt like killin’ somethin’ before he met Boone. He’d wished that boy dead the moment he saw him, stumblin’ across the front of the Honey Stop just like he was tonight, piss drunk and actin’ like he wasn’t.

Boone was everythin’ Roux wasn’t- all that family, as bad as the devil and dirty to the bone. The Boone's represented everythin' wrong with Gretna, show'ed just how far their little town had fallen that the cockroaches had leaked outta' the cracks. Compared to them, the Bates were practically saints, even with all the trouble the three boys have stirred up.

ImageThat night he’d stepped out on the porch with Blue, the quiet hummin’ of the bugs lullin’ his senses to focus on the forest in front of him and not the hollerin’ from inside. By the time he’d noticed the yellin’ swell in volume the front door was slammin’ open and a body tossed across the porch, landin’ right on top of him.

The body came with swingin’ fists and a nasty snarl, as soon as contact was made Roux had the wind knocked outta him- one fist in his gut and the other in his face. Maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe it was the screamin’ of Rem to ‘get your drunk ass outta my place’, but Roux ended up slammin’ his fist into Boones face instantly, twistin’ that boy to the ground, knee grindin’ into his spine and arm bent up behind him. Rem’s yells became a bit more frantic, but Roux leaned down and ignored ‘em as he pulled that twisted arm a little higher, Boone's shoulder joint groanin’ in protest, “Thinkin' a dislocated shoulder would be payment enough for pissin' my brother off, dont'cha agree Marvin?”

'Course he’d been wrenched back before he’d actually been able to pull that arm any higher. He’d cursed at Rem, thrashed and twisted out of his brothers hold, barkin’ empty threats before turnin' wild eyes back to Boone. The drunk was attemptin' a mighty escape by crawlin' off the porch, only to land in a heap at the bottom of the short stairs. Rem kept hollerin’ somethin' Roux couldn’t hear, the blood rushin’ through his ears too loud for anythin’ else to make sense.

He didn't stay to watch if Boone made it off the ground, turned away and disappeared around the deck with Blue at his heels. His knuckles burned where they’d smashed into cheekbone and his gut ached from the fist that had landed there, but despite all that Roux felt good. He had to ignore the shallow shiver of exhilarating adrenaline that slipped down his spine and the red hot anger that threatened to send him knockin’ teeth in again.

Roux swallowed back the sour taste the memory left stained in his throat, standing' awkwardly in the doorway cause he didn't know if he wanted in or out. Little Anna, girl that seemed to think keepin' Boone as a pet was some form of enjoyment, slinked by him with barely a noise. Probably in search of Boone- Roux had no interest in stickin' around to see what more trouble they could stir up tonight. His gaze slid from Rem, to Harlow, then Noel, keepin' tabs as well as assurin' himself they were alright and then turned away from the open and warm doorway in favor of the dimly lit porch. He headed straight for the old bench swing, his fingers reachin’ out for Blue as he slouched down in the padded seat. Blue gazed up at him, his snout restin’ on Roux’s knee as he threaded his fingers through soft fur of his blue ticked ears.

Despite the greasy stench of somethin' bad brewing' in Gretna and the lingering distaste that always followed Marvin Boone, Roux found it easy to clear his mind. Maybe it was Blue’s quiet company or the earthy smell that signaled the beginnin’ of rain- either way Roux was glad for it and settled down nicely on the porch. People were talkin’ inside- he could make out Harlow’s soothin’ voice the easiest, but he’d always had a ear open for her. Roux'd never found room for anyone in his heart other then his family, but Harlow had become that the minute she’d been able to tame Rem. Hadn’t been hard for her to win Roux over, he’d taken to her soft firey warmth instantly.

ImageThe rain he’d smelled moments ago started tappin’ at the tin roof- the sound echoing with the night time song of the cicadas rhythmically. Blue made a groanin’ sort of moan as he stood up, the old dog knowin’ already what that rain meant. Roux's momma used to go on and on about him runnin' off every time the sky poured, saying' she'd never seen her youngest on any day the sun wasn't shinnin'. She loved the idea that Roux was really made of sunlight, that the rain drove him away and he'd appear again after the clouds dissapperaed. He'd never had the heart to tell her it was the opposite, that he really loved the rain and went off to be in it, not sneak away to hide. Blue was starin' at the sprinkling' sky like it had caused him personal harm, but he knew the dog would follow him through a thunder storm. He was never really sure how much of the world Blue understand, cause often enough his brown eyes appeared to be just as intelligent as anyone else Roux knew- and then sometimes the hound would turn and lick his balls just cause he could.

“Should'we head off?” Roux followed Blue to his feet, the dog’s soft wag of his tail his only reply. He glanced at the Honey Spot- still lit up warm with soft chatterin’- and stepped off the porch into the thickenin’ rain, headin’ towards home down the mudding track through the woods.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: M. Boone Character Portrait: Rem Bates Character Portrait: Harlow Brynn B. Character Portrait: Roux Bates Character Portrait: Atticus Montgomery Character Portrait: June Reilly-Snow Character Portrait: Noel Bates Character Portrait: ANNA LEIGH DECLAN
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ImageGoddamn, his head was heavy.

Wasn’t like he used it for much thinkin’ anyway but he knew he’d gone too damn far when jus’ standin’ felt like he was playin’ some kinda fucked up sport. World done gone all fuzzy, like lookin’ underwater and walkin’ through thick mud.

It was f u n n y.

Roux Bates is at the door, dogs at his feet, Boone sends him a nasty, blood soaked smile and pushes on inside. Even this fuckin’ gone he can still hear Roux’s voice rattlin’ round inside his brain, tellin’ him to get gone. Jokes on Baby Bates, Boone ain’t known for goin’ any’here ‘cept where he ain’t wanted. Like a goddamn disease . Moth to a flame.

He ain’t been sittin’ long when a plate hits the table in front of him and he looks up slowly at the woman they call Honey. Eat it, she tells him and he raises two lazy fingers to his forehead in a clumsy salute and almost falls out of his chair for it. Plants his feet on the ground, raises his sandwich with both hands, and sinks hungry teeth into soft bread.

There’s a threat of words hangin’ over him that he k n o w s he’ll remember come mornin’ even if he don’t remember nothin’ else. Harlow Bates is small enough he could lift her in one hand but he she ain’t playin’ one bit. Her tone almost makes him want to straighten his spine up and give declarations of ’yes ma’am’s. Mighta, even, if anyone woulda instilled some damn respect in him.

He’s just settlin’ in when Anna’s voice pierces through the fog. Narrows his eyes down in confusion and wonders when the hell he lost her? Couldn’t recall pullin’ from her side, but then ‘gain, he was here, wasn’t he? ‘Stead of out with her where he’d started.

Atticus’ answering voice makes the hairs on the back of his neck stand up straight, ‘cause if there was anyone Boone mighta been a little ‘fraid of it’d be the guy with a badge and a personal vendetta for the way Boone smokes his cigarettes. He looks up just in time to see Rem shoot the deputy some kinda mischievous knowin’ look that he can’t process, then turns his hazy gaze on his only friend. Her voice is there but it don’t match with the movin’ of her lips.

Everything’s gettin’ r e a l f u c k i n ’ s l o w.

He sure he don’t wanna hear it anyway. She looks way too damn smitten, like a big cat preenin’ under the praise of someone that realizes just what a fancy predator it is. He screws his nose up at her and lets her fade back down into background noise. Don’t care ‘bout nothin’ ‘till his name is fallin’ outta Harlow’s mouth ‘gain. ”Nola, me, June and Marvin need to get some sleep. Ain’t that right Boone?”

His stomach gives a right nasty flip at the sound of his givin' name, but the little light in him labeled Goddamn Survival Instinct, Listen Up finally turns on. He ain’t sure of everythin’ but he knows his skin jus’ barely hangin’ on somehow. “Yup,” he mutters, round another big bite.Image

“Anywho…I’ll take Boone off yer hands. Needs a good nigh’ sleep and…water. Thank ya kindly for takin' care of him.” Anna’s sittin’ right next to him and he’d never even noticed ‘till her hand was on his shoulder. “Ey, I don’t wan’ no water,” he grumbles, leanin’ ‘way from her slightly. Water will just clear the fog. And make him have to piss. What he wants is another damn sandwich but his luck feels p u s h e d.

Noel’s voice pulls away any lingerin’ feelin’s from whatever Anna’d been runnin’ her gums ‘bout earlier, and Rem heaves a sigh before he presses a kiss against his daughters head and passes her over to Harlow. Gives her a kiss too, even though it’s a short thing. “I don’t know,” the man admits gruffly, takin’ his hat off so he can run his hand through his hair. He shoots a look toward Atticus. "Think Honey's right, though. We better stay."

Well, Boone sure ain't stayin'. Done got what he'd wanted, time to scram. He licks blood and mustard from his fingers then turns to narrow his eyes on Anna - ain't so much that he's mad but that there's two of her, somehow. "I don't wan go home," he says, gruffly. "So you best have some kinda other plan."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: M. Boone Character Portrait: Rem Bates Character Portrait: Harlow Brynn B. Character Portrait: Roux Bates Character Portrait: Atticus Montgomery Character Portrait: June Reilly-Snow Character Portrait: Sophia Moon Character Portrait: Noel Bates Character Portrait: ANNA LEIGH DECLAN
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Harlow Brynn Bates


Whitecaps to aftermaths shook the Honey Stop for only a few minutes before it returned to its workaday calm with the occasional smart-ass remark. Harlow took Nola into her arms, pacing in lieu of conversing too cordial. She felt she’d already been excessively generous with the likes of Marvin Boone. Always’d been a hospitable soul, with the patience of a saint, Lord knew she needed it to be married to a Bates but…

This trouble was stinking up a storm like Louisiana ain’t never seen. With an uptown dog catcher showing his teeth for a portended smile, she felt no sense of real safety. Those tony boys rolled up in a dust cloud to Gretna looking for a fight. Boy, they got one. But they made a dozen more.

And when the dust cleared they’d procured a county of enemies. Bad blood brewed just as heavy as the secrets in the distilleries. To think that’s where all the money was, ‘well as the jams and jinxes, made Harlow ‘bout sick. Her arm the hamper to a cooing child, she leaned over empty tables to dim the dining room. Nola shifted, lids blanching to show eyes full of blue that were just far too tired to keep up with the madness of adults. Then she’d nestle into the crook of Harlow’s arm again. Sigh just a consonant short of an angel’s song and sort of shrug. Just too tired for the madness, not stirred nor shaken by the news or the noise. Needed a good, long sleep paired with a lack of interest for all the beings that had accumulated in her parent’s establishment. That child’s spirit was a thousand years old.

Mama, as so lovingly referred to by more than just Anna Leigh and her commonly sloshed companion, cupped small fingers to curved glass and blew out the last of dinner candles, murmuring, “I don’t give a damn what y’all do now, long as you keep it quiet. Miss Mae is sleeping.” Rocking slowly, she tucked a corner of knitted threads between Nola’s body and her own. With a firm free hand she bolted the back door and turned to observe the remaining inhabitants.

Noel was up and down a bit, clearly not at home or order with the company of Atticus and so many particularly noisy strays. Was just like him to keep it low, grating one row of teeth against the other while hands remained folded so stiffly the bones might threaten to break. Didn’t much like to disturb anything if he needed not to. But strike him the wrong way or come for the family and you’d see a brand of hell even the pastor couldn’t teach you when talkin’ Jeremiahs and Levitici. Harlow nodded to him, resting assured that he’d handle the remnants with whatever else may come.

The fact of the matter went beyond just blood ties and family. See, now, they’d all a common enemy. In spite of Boone sloppin’ himself across the front porch and making a scene, Harlow believed fate just had its way. She’d have loved to just strangle the boy half to death. Give him a good scare and yell about how he’d endangered her kin. But what good would it do?

Graves was already there. Been snoopin’ for weeks. Fate was fate.

ImageShe paused by her husband’s side, an oath taken nightly but with more urgency this time around. She didn't have to tell him she loved him. Nola ‘twix them, Harlow rested her head to his shoulder, said softly, “That man’s gon’ sink us, now, Rem. You best have a plan in short order, or we’ll lose it all.” Swallowing her pride was like drinking gravel. Didn’t want to admit how serious things had gotten, especially in the light of their fondest creations. Not with everyone listenin’. But they were all a part of it now, whether they liked it or not. “Don’t let Roux wander out there too late, neither. I’m worried ‘bout him, with that Graves still out there… Alright?”

Rested there for a moment, she took asylum at the collar of Remington, inches from his heartbeat and certain under his shadow that no harm would come tonight. She fell feather light to the stubble of his jaw, patted his chest softly.

“Might want to get ahold of Miss Moon, she’s got tricks up her sleeve and loves to help ‘round here. Ain’t seen her in a while. Goodnight, Mr. Montgomery,” Harlow said from the stairwell, “Make sure you see Marvin and Anna out. I’ll make sure the girl minds her tongue,” Ma Bear narrowed her eyes, “I mean it. Bring that boy back when y’wake, Anna Leigh. There’s business to finish.” June was looped in Harlow’s goodnight gathering, taken to the second story and disappeared in silence.

The next day was gonna’ be just as much a mess if not more. But there was some felicity that only the night could bring with forty winks or more. And they’d all need it. By rushlight, Remington and Atticus would test the resilience of boards and benches with all their weight pressed no more portly than the decisions they’d have to make in solitude. When they were all alone crime was just a conformity of integrity. Retribution, a thought maybe. Protecting what was theirs, imperative.

Preservation took no prisoners and stowed away pride.