Mistletoe of the West
Rating: PG for romance
Summary: Ezra, Buck, Inez, and mistletoe . . .
Disclaimer: Ezra Standish, Inez Recillos, Buck Wilmington, Josiah Sanchez, Nathan Jackson, The Magnificent Seven and all characters within this story are © CBS, The Mirisch Group, MGM, and Trilogy Entertainment. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction.
The tall man swaggered confidently into the saloon. His eyes were drawn instantly to the beautiful senorita behind the bar, and he watched her for a couple of minutes as she waited on her customers. His fingers slipped into his pocket and curled around the object they found within. A devilish gleam lit his eyes. There was no way she was going to get away from him tonight. Now all he needed was to find a partner, and then all there would be left to do would be to wait until the opportunity presented itself.
His head turned slowly, his eyes scanning the saloon. He knew Josiah and Nathan were at the church, preparing for the small Christmas pageant Josiah had persuaded his congregation to put on. JD was out with Casey, and he could find no sign of Chris or Vin. His eyes shifted to the poker table and continued to gaze steadily at the lone man sitting there, constantly shuffling his cards. Ezra Standish was Buck's only remaining hope.
"Hey, pard!" the cheerful voice of Buck Wilmington shattered the quiet solitude of Ezra's table. The gambler looked up as his co-worker rapidly closed the distance between them. "Not that many folks comin' out to waste their money on gamblin' 'gainst the likes o' you with Christmas approachin', is there?" he drawled out.
Ezra's face remained void of emotion as he studied the man sitting down beside him. He had learned how to tell when some one wanted something from him many years ago, and Buck Wilmington most certainly was in dire need -- or at least thought he was -- of something. "It has been considerably slower recently," he admitted. "What can Ah do for you, Mister Wilmington?"
"What makes ya think I want something?" Buck asked. "Maybe I just want to play a hand o' cards?"
"Come now, Mister Wilmington. The entire town knows you better than to think that you would actually prefer to spend time gambling when you could be becoming acquainted with a member of the fairer sex, especially on a cold evening like tonight." Even as he had been talking to Buck, Ezra had never once slowed in expertly shuffling his deck.
Buck opened his mouth to argue Ezra's statement, but one sharp look from the gambler caused the scoundrel to swiftly decide to get to the point. "Fine," Buck admitted, holding up his hands in surrender for a brief moment. "You're right, but there's only one woman I want to get acquainted with tonight."
Instead of questioning him, Ezra remained silent and continued to wait for Buck's request. "You know I've been looking at Inez ever since she came into town, and you know how many times I've tried only to . . . hum . . . " His voice faltered. What was a better way of mentioning how many times she had cut him down?
". . . have every single thing you have attempted fail miserably," Ezra supplied calmly.
"Huh, yeah, that'd be it," Buck admitted with a sheepish nod.
"If you think for even one second that I am going to aid you in seducing Senorita Recillos, Mister Wilmington, you are . . . "
Buck abruptly cut Ezra off as he rushed to get out in a hushed whisper, "But, Ez, all I need ya to do is hold this over her head." As he spoke, he carefully removed the mistletoe from his pocket and held it out to Ezra while being even more careful to keep the small plant hidden securely in the shadows.
"Mister Wilmington," Ezra began to say, his green eyes flashing at the mere thought of what Buck was suggesting.
"I'll owe ya," Buck tried. "I'll owe ya huge. I just can't pay ya right now, but when we get paid again, all you'll have ta do is name it."
Ezra intently studied Buck's face, especially his eyes. "May I have that in writing, please?" he requested.
"So you'll do it?" Buck eagerly asked.
"Provide the document, and I shall," Ezra replied, "but I warn you my price is extremely steep." Yet even as he spoke the words, the gambler's heart began to ache.
"She's comin' this way," Buck whispered excitedly. "You ready?"
Ezra's eyes met his companion's, but he said not a word as he laid out his cards before him. Four aces looked up at Buck, almost as if to give voice to his opponent's silent answer.
It was at that moment that Inez arrived. "Good evening, gentleman."
"It is now that you're here, gorgeous," Buck immediately began. "Has anybody ever told you that you look like an angel? If they did, they oughta be ashamed of themselves."
"Excuse me?" Inez asked, momentarily forgetting about Ezra as she glared at Buck.
"For no angel could possibly bring justice to a face more beautiful than the morning sunrise . . . " Buck continued as Ezra silently stood. ". . . lips more lush than the loveliest rose . . . "
Inez shook her head in annoyed disbelief at Buck even as Ezra brought out the mistletoe. "What is it, Senor Wilmington?" she asked him. "Has the cold completely frozen what little brain you had left in your actual head?"
It was at exactly that moment that Ezra held the mistletoe over Inez. Buck jumped to his feet even as Ezra's lips moved, instinctively calling Inez's name before he could stop himself. "Inez?" She whirled to look up at the handsome gambler even as Buck's arms grasped madly at the air where she had just been.
Inez barely had time to register the mistletoe before Ezra's lips softly touched down upon hers. The kiss began gently but steadily grew. As Inez stepped closer to him, Ezra's free hand reached up to softly cup her cheek. His other hand simultaneously dropped the mistletoe. His tongue shyly requested permission from her lips, and they obligingly parted to let it pass. His tongue dipped smoothly into her mouth as he drank deeply of her, and the bodice of Inez's dress grew even tighter against her swelled bosom as her own tongue slid against his, deepening their kiss even more.
"Ezra! Ezra! EZRA!" Buck thundered, reaching out to shove the two apart. He glared at his co-worker. "I should've known better than to trust you. And you?!" he continued in angry disbelief as his gaze shifted to Inez. "You would never have let me do something like that! How could you let him?!" When the two just continued to stare at each other in shock, Buck threw his hands up in defeat. His enraged growl carried far out into the street as he stormed out of the saloon.
"What . . ." Inez spoke softly, "What just happened here?"
Ezra's gaze shifted to the mistletoe that peered up at them from the dusty floor. "Ah must apologize, Senorita Recillos. Ah was completely out of line, and Ah should nevah have treated you as Ah did."
Inez's gaze followed Ezra's to the mistletoe, and her brown eyes widened even more in surprise. Although the gambler could easily trick the sharpest con artist, she knew he would never trick a lady in such a manner. "Ezra, what happened?" she asked, slowly looking back up at him.
"It does not matter, senorita," he stated softly, shaking his head in disgust at his own self. "There is no excuse for mah behavior."
"Let me guess," Inez insisted. "Buck talked you into putting mistletoe over my head while he distracted me so that he could use it for an excuse in tricking me?"
Ezra slowly and gravely nodded his admittance that that was indeed what had happened. "Ah should never have . . . " His voice trailed off as his famed eloquence failed him miserably.
"I don't know how much money he could have come up with to offer to you that would make you forget your chivalrous manner, Senor Standish, but I can not blame you for doing something that I have long thought of doing." When Ezra looked questioningly up at Inez, her eyes turned to a plant hanging down from the roof above his table. "Why do you think I put that mistletoe there?" she asked him.
"Ah honestly did not think anything more about it than beyond mere decoration," Ezra admitted. "What does that have . . . ?" Inez's gaze shifted, and her brown eyes met his green eyes. "You do not mean to say . . . ?" Again, the gambler's eloquence failed him.
"Why don't you just shut up and kiss me?" Inez requested softly, her brown eyes shining.
Ezra quickly hid his surprise at her request. "Are you certain . . . ?" he began to ask.
"As much as I love to hear your wonderful mouth talk at times, Senor Standish, sometimes there are things that can only be said right with actions."
Ezra's mouth began to open again, but then he shut it. He reached out and gently wrapped an arm around Inez's slender waist, closing the distance between them as he did so. Her soft, almond eyes gazed up into his enchanting, green eyes as their lips again met. She had never been kissed more gently, and yet despite the gentleness of his touch, nothing else had ever burned her so completely to her very core as one simple touch from him did. Their kiss began slowly, but as they drank deeply of each other's sweet nectar, their kiss soon grew more powerful than anything either had ever felt before. Despite their scorching passion, Ezra was never once anything but gentle with Inez.
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