George tumbled into the room, his head swinging wildly from side to side. When Vi flagged him, he mouthed the words “They’re coming.”
The grifter returned a silent, “Good boy,” and shooed him away. She tossed down her rag, then reached for a pair of long, black gloves she had waiting on the counter. Once her fingers had wiggled their way to the boundaries of the satin, she draped herself against the bar and waited to see the scope of the enemy forces. Sure, she’d doubled her meager numbers, but she had the sinking suspicion the most reliable lieutenant in her army was the one too short to see over the counter.
A line of bodies passed by the windows. Jeb entered first, trailed by at least a dozen men who pooled around the entryway like the contents of a giant upturned ink pot. A few people on the fringe of the audience shifted uncomfortably as the cause of the artificial nightfall took in its surroundings with appreciation. Their leader spied the table meant for them and sauntered over. The gang had grown since that afternoon and they wouldn’t all be able to fit around it. A handful approached a full table, and a few snarls later, claimed it as their own.
Bonnie nattered with a couple of regulars across the room, unaware their marks had entered the bar. Her late husband wasn’t the only one watching her as she flitted from person to person, which was more than likely the point. Nothing like a little petty jealousy to make your man squirm, dead or alive. As far as Vi was concerned, the widow could play whatever games she wanted – just as long as it didn’t interfere with the real stakes.