The men that came to the carnival were hardly different from the ones back home. More cowboy hats and a different accent but the same nonetheless. So when a man twice her age with a handlebar mustache began to get grabby after her performance, she did what she did best. Egg them on. Her hand slinked around the man’s waist to gently sit atop his coin purse. Laughter came from her lips as she played the game she knew so well.
“You are just a hoot, aren’t you?” She replied, fingers deftly plucking the strings loose from his belt. “My daddy always told me I should stay away from men like you.” She mused as it lightly dropped into her palm. Reaching her arm back to hide her spoils she offered an apologetic smile. “It was nice to meet you, I should be getting back to my cats. Maybe I’ll see you around stranger.” She offered him a wicked smile before she retreated behind the stage.
Looks like he was a bit of an oil man, the purse was heavy and filled with big shiny coins. Who knew life on the road might be more lucrative. All the men back in Montana were beginning to become suspicious of her.
Theo had caught the tail end of that night’s show - the first she’d managed since the new performer had shown up, sadly enough. But, things had slowed down enough around tent early enough in the evening that she hadn’t seen the harm in closing early. Besides, she liked to know what was going on around Zion - put names to faces, acts to names, and feelings to people.
She’d stepped to the side of the stage after the show - an impressive bit, much better than their last trainer, thankfully - meaning to catch up with the new woman only to pause when she caught sight of the...lovely gentleman having a chat with her. Raising an eyebrow, she waited a moment to see how things would play out. When she caught sight of just what Jean was doing, she snorted out a soft laugh and pulled out a cigarette to pass the time. Who was she to interrupt such a heartwarming affair?
When Jean stepped back a few moments later, she clapped, just loud enough to be heard over the retreating crowd. “Well you’re gonna fit in just fine aren’t you?”
Jean turned when she heard a slow soft clap behind her. Coming toward her she saw a woman, beautiful and classy. She seemed like she lived a glamorous life. A smile crept onto her face and she approached the woman. “Well I’m not quite sure what you mean.” She teased, pulling the purse toward her chest. She was still dressed in her show outfit, a glittery bodice with a fanned out skirt and jeweled shoulder pads.
Her free hand came out to offer a shake. “Names Jean. Who might you be?” She mused, leaning against one of the weight bearing poles and smiling at her. It had been a while since she’d seen such a beautiful woman.
Theo grinned, "Mm, of course you don't. How silly of me - forget I said anything," she said, amused and flitting her free hand away as if the comment was of no consequence.
She took her hand easily, with a broad smile, "You can call me Theo. Nice to put a pretty face to the name that's been going around." She paused, glancing back at the stage, "And nice to see a competent performer come this way." She snorted, crossing one arm across her stomach while bringing her other hand up to take another drag on her cigarette before looking back to Jean, exaggerated long-suffering annoyance on her face, "It's been awhile, dear. But you took to the stage wonderfully. Tell me, you ever been up there before?"
The compliment brought a rosy tinge to her cheek and she smiled as she stared down at her feet for a moment. When their hands released she let her arms fall and clasp together as they hung. “First time.” She admitted, almost clumsily. She had no problem when it came to flirting with men to take their money, but a beautiful woman made her fall all over her words.
“You watched the show then did you? What is it you do around here?” Her curiosity got the best of her and it was obvious she wasn’t just any regular carnie. There was an elegance about her that suggested she had a specialty and Jean was all too intrigued. Maybe she was one of those fancy ladies who took off their clothes, or maybe she told people’s fortunes. Whatever it was, Jean was easily impressed by her mere presence.
Theo raised an eyebrow, impressed, "Really? The lion I'd understand, but not even the stage?" Sure, natural and unnatural talent was a dime a dozen around here, but still. "Well then, I suppose you've got a bright future ahead here if that's where you're starting."
Humming softly, she nodded, "I did. Couldn't miss the new show now could I?" She grinned, amused, "I tell people what they want to hear. For a pretty penny, it may even be the truth." She managed to hold a straight face for a moment before snorting on a laugh, waving her hand slightly, "And I sometimes manage to pretend I'm mysterious. I read cards, spin a fortune here and there. Haven't had much of a chance to explore I take it?"
“To be fair, I was part of my church choir back home, but I ain’t never been on a stage with just myself.” And she wasn’t, her kin the lion and the tiger were there on stage sharing the glory with her. But they understood her, just like she understood them and with that came her confidence to perform well.
“Maybe you could spin me a fortune. True or not I’d like to hear what you got.” The retort was accompanied by a smirk. She often couldn't tell if other women were the same as her but she’d push and shove until she found out. She raised her brows to the other woman and reached for her hand with the cigarette, gently sliding it out from between her fingers and bringing it to her own lips. Nervous or not, Jean knew the art of seduction and she wasn’t afraid to use it. “Unless that sort of things not allowed.” She finished, handing the cigarette back as she exhaled the smoke.
"Oh honey, church choir is a long, winding way from here." Theo said, raising an eyebrow. She wasn't quite surprised - they'd had stranger folk come through here after all - but she was close. "What ever in the world brought a church mouse out here?"
Theo grinned at the suggestion. "I could. Not much fun if you know I'm spinning something shiny and useless though." Humming softly, she watched Jean take her cigarette, a slight quirk to the corner of her mouth. Well, church mouse or not, Jean was certainly looking to be the most interesting act they'd picked up recently. "I might be able to be talked into something a little more...interesting though. Bit more real."
Jean had never been called a church mouse before and the idea of it made her chuckle out loud. “I ain’t no church mouse, I got kicked out of that congregation when I was sixteen. Turns out I’m too much trouble for church folk.” She mused, a wicked smile gracing her features.There were a lot of things Jean kept close to her heart, for fear that others wouldn’t understand but she wasn’t going to pretend that she was some kind of saint. “I came cause my daddy died and I found I have a brother. Only by half but some other family I had no idea about. Seemed right to come seek him out.” She didn’t usually let that information go so easily but something about Theo made her think that she could trust her.
At the offer of something more real Jean pushed herself off of the beam to regard Theo more closely. Her brow lifted and her arms crossed over her chest. “More real you say? How could I resist an offer like that. You name the time and the place and I’ll be there.” If not to hear what she had to say then to just be in the mere presence of the other woman. She was kind of intoxicating to Jean and she wanted to learn more.
Theo blinked at Jean slowly for a long moment before snorting on an indelicate laugh. “Well damn, you have family around here? And here I was thinking we were all alone. Who’s the lucky bastard then to have you for a sister?” No name came readily to mind - no one on the Midway that she could place. But, then, siblings could look so wildly different couldn’t they? At least, that’s what she’d been told. And what she might’ve played off, once or twice.
“Quick to jump, aren’t you?” Theo asked, humming softly to take any sort of sting out of the assumption, “But I like it - place needs more...excitable people around here.” She tilted her head before taking one last pull off her cigarette, stomping it into the dirt at her feet. “And time and place depends on what you’re lookin’ for dear. Bit of shine? Come by my tent on the Midway - cute little thing, can’t miss it if you go looking. Bit of fun?” She grinned sharp, “My wagon’s just on the outskirts.”
Was it wise for her to put her cards out like this? Surely not but what harm could it do since everyone seemed to know everyone else around here. “His name is Nicolas. He works with the animals.” She barely knew him, still didn’t feel the connection with him yet that she was hoping to find. Maybe she was just trying to replace that missing part of her that she lost when her father died. He didn’t seem to mind so far that she was using him to come to terms with her daddy’s death.
At the mention of her wagon Jeans eye quirked in amusement. Her tongue dragged underneath her teeth as she stared back at the other woman. There was a chemistry there that she couldn’t deny and Theos demeanor seemed to suggest the same. “Wagon huh? Sounds fancy, I’m just shacked up in a tent. What’s one got to do to get one of those?” Probably pay a lot of money which Jean didn’t have yet but if she saved up she could have her very own wagon one day.
“Nicolas…” Theo muttered, running through faces in her head for a moment before lighting up, “Oh! Yes, yes, I know him - sweet boy. Bit quiet. Not a bad result, given the options around here. I hope he’s treating you right then, dear. And if he’s not - just holler.” She grinned again, kindly, if a little too sweet. “Though I doubt you’d need the help.” The woman had a strength to how she held herself - on the stage at the very least, though she saw more than enough of it just talking with her too - that Theo found intriguing at the very least. She’d be able to handle herself just fine around here.
“Pay out the nose, honey. I was lucky - came around with plenty of coin to spend from the start.” And like hell was she sleeping with anyone nearby she didn’t trust implicitly. The communal tents were nice enough but...ugh. “You want a leg up in that department, maybe try taking a bit of time with the dancing girls.” She teased.
She coughed up a laugh and pulled the money bag she’d swiped up to eye level. “Don’t need to take off my clothes for money if I can do it just as easily with them on.” She retorted with a small laugh, bringing the bag of coins back down to tie to her belt. If other men in other places were as easy to steal from as they were here in Tucson then she’d have her own wagon in no time.
Jean didn’t mind the tents, it beat sharing a house with her mother who was awful. “Sides which, I ain’t inclined to do it for men, if you catch my drift.” No reason to be subtle, if the woman thought ill of her because of it then so be it. It didn’t seem like a family of whistleblowers so why not be up front and honest. “So if I show up at your wagon for a reading, say tonight, would you oblige?” She asked, curious to know more about this beautiful stranger.
Theo flipped her hand slightly, “‘Course not - sometimes it’s just quicker. And a little distraction never hurt.” Lord only knew how often Theo had taken advantage of that. “Men around here ain’t all that different from anywhere else - easy as hell.” She said, laughing softly, “As you’ve probably guessed by now.”
She hummed softly at Jean’s admission, “Inclination hardly has much to do with it - but no one round here’s gonna give you much flak for who you choose to grace with your attention.” Well, the odd customer might, and she knew a handful of carnies that weren’t exactly excited about folk like them - but, they wouldn’t say anything. At least to their faces. “Mm...only if you let me treat you to a drink first.”
A smirk came to her face at the offered drink and she graciously abided. “Sounds like you and me got a deal. Where should I meet you then?” The idea of sharing drinks with such a gorgeous woman sent chills down Jeans spine and while she still didn’t know whether or not Theo leaned her way or not, she knew she’d be able to figure it out over the course of a few drinks.
While the sparks seemed to be flying like the Fourth of July, Jean kept her demeanor as consistent as she could. Wouldn’t do much good to play all of her cards up front anyway. She hadn’t grown much since she was younger, at least in spirit so her thirst for adventure was always at the top of her mind and Jean had a good feeling about this particular type of adventure.
“Why not kill two birds with one stone? Meet me at my wagon when you’re comfortable. I tend to keep my collection close to the vest, if you will - ‘specially with the latest round of crock going through the powers that be.” Theo offered with a small smile. Not that she much cared what the law had to say on the matter. Didn’t take much to get eyes looking the other way.
“Can’t miss it - red door with the lanterns.” Her smile turned sharp and bright as she turned to walk back towards the thinning crowds with a small wave. “Don’t take too long, dear.”
Her eyes focused on the other woman’s and nodded her head. She watched as the woman walked away. “See you tonight!” She exclaimed, even if in reality it’d probably be a few days. Who could say? She’d have to do some research on her and see what she was all about.
She smiled, a secret smile and turned on her heels to go tend to the cats.