Unbridled Temptation(3)

By: Elle Saint James

The secret part of this unplanned trip had to do with the Old West Town park. Jocelyn was a huge history buff. She especially loved learning about the American Old West. After researching, prior to her trip, Jocelyn acquainted herself with the local recreational activities.

The Old West Town historical-themed fair parking lot, with its tall, well-worn wooden fence shielding the replica town beyond, had a stagecoach waiting for customers wanting an authentic taste of the Old West. They were only open Friday through Monday each week. So if she didn’t go today, she might not be in town when they reopened at the end of the week.

Besides, she decided a day off was in order for her overall sanity. Nothing put her in a stressful and frustrated mood faster than her parents demanding she drop the reins of her life to obtain something for them or to go chasing after her sister. Making this a two-for-one special anxiety journey. She deserved a day to herself. She was taking it.

For a little bit extra paid on her ticket, she’d enjoy the rough ride of the time period’s land travel as the settlers and visitors to the Wild West had once done. The horses attached to the replica stagecoach stamped the ground and blew out white clouds of breath into the crisp air as if in anticipation of making a familiar run into town.

Jocelyn couldn’t help the eager little tingle registering in her chest as she climbed the few tall steps into the carriage. It swayed to accept her—the final passenger—inside. She settled on a red leather seat next to the open window and a canoodling couple. Across from her were three teenagers, two boys and a girl, who looked bored but sent their gazes around at the inner décor of the coach, before snapping pictures with their smartphones and promptly ignoring all else around them to post it in the black hole of the Internet for their friends and family.

Nagging guilt tugged at the edge of her mind at the thought of family, since she was here in Enclave to find her sister, and not exactly for entertainment. At nineteen, Jenna lived her budding adulthood more like a fifteen-year-old acting out because she was unable to do absolutely everything she wanted whenever she wanted however she wanted, much to Jocelyn’s regret.

Jenna was a little bit spoiled by the benefit of being ten years Jocelyn’s junior and the baby of the family. As older sister, her job had always been to keep an eye on Jenna. Most recently she’d failed miserably—according to her parents—and thus the primary reason she was now benefiting from the mistake of not keeping her sister in their hometown. And furthermore, enrolled in the local community college.

The sound of a whip cracking outside sent the horses snorting and into motion and pulled her from her troubling reverie. She stomped on the guilt and shoved it off of her priorities for now. She needed a day to relieve the stress she’d already endured from this frustrating search. She damn well deserved some time for herself. Maybe she’d find a lonesome cowboy in town and make a new friend.

The stagecoach lurched forward under a commanding two-horsepower drive, making Jocelyn smile to herself. The first time in months she’d felt the urge to be happy shouldn’t be stifled. She was ready to cast off her guilt for just a little while, and enjoy this short ride into history. Besides, it would be a good idea to search the Old West Town park for her sister to eliminate it as a possibility of where she’d disappeared to in a snit with her undependable boyfriend, Dean.

With the day as clear as could be, there was not a cloud in the sky. A glance out the window and she saw the Rocky Mountains overshadowing the landscape in the distant west. They crossed through the gates of the tall fence and into the wild, wild West. The terrain along the way was littered with several visuals signaling they’d crossed into another time. Another place. Another world.

Abandoned Conestoga wagons, tumbleweeds galore, and wooden signs posted with various messages about poisoned waterholes, railroad tracks ahead, and the town’s city limits filled her excited spirit. A part of her wished she could cast off her twenty-first-century garb and mannerisms to experience the Old West in a more realistic fashion. Perhaps later.

The admissions place had several more “realistic” and personal private packages to experience the Old West as it really was, for a price. Or more like the way tourists thought the Old West was lived. She’d read lots of history on this late nineteenth-century time period.

Also By Elle Saint James

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