Just Like Dominoes
I'd like to thank my muses, Cindy and Raye, for their help and
Cindy for unknowingly providing the title! d;-)
The weather was oppressive, gray and muggy, but the clouds that
looked so full wouldn't release their contents. It had been this way
going on four days and the town was tired of it. That particular day,
everyone was hurrying about their business, trying to get errands and
chores done early so they could escape the pressure that the impending
rains held over them.
The weather was the last thing on Emma's mind as she exited the
dressmaker's, a small smile on her face. The dress would be finished in
time. Heading over to Tompkins' store, it was hard to keep her
excitement contained and it showed in the slight skip to her step.
She'd actually have a tailor-made dress for the dance, a simple cut to
show off her figure in a light green fabric with dark-green flowers,
colors to accent her eyes and show off her red hair. Also, the
dressmaker, Miss Birdseye, had just received an order of bobbin lace
that Emma had so admired. Finally, after much convincing, Miss Birdseye
had talked her into adding the lace for the collar and cuffs.
She knew it was an extravagance, something she normally didn't do.
But for this particular dance, she wanted everything to be perfect. For
Sam. Any other time, she'd either make the dress or alter one she'd
purchased. But not this time, this was special. She knew it.
Emma suddenly realized she had been lost in her own happy thoughts
so she glanced up to see where she was. Noticing that it was her
destination, she turned to go inside but her eye caught the
unmistakable tall and lanky figure of a certain man. Turning back, what
she saw caused the smile to slowly fade from her face.
There was Sam talking to a strange woman. Ducking by the station's
wagon, Emma peeked over the top and examined the lady, though
Emma thought that was a bit kind for the likes of the woman and her
appearance. The woman was wearing a burgundy satin dress with a hint of
a bustle that fit her figure very well. Too well, for Emma's taste. The
neckline wasn't really a neckline, more of a bust-line that accented
her bust to such a degree Emma thought the woman would pop right out of
her dress. To top it off, the woman was wearing a black headpiece with
a feather that added at least two feet to her height and Emma would
have laughed if not for the expression on Sam's face. He was grinning
like a fool.
A lovesick fool.
'I've got to get inside,' she thought, feeling the heat
coming from her face. 'I must be turnin' the color of...' she
grimaced as her first thought was of that woman's dress. She
turned quickly and almost ran over Horace Asby, a man just as
cantankerous as Tompkins.
"Look where ya' goin' woman," the curmudgeon grumbled.
"Pardon me Mr. Asby," Emma muttered and hurried into the safety of
Trying hard not to look out the window, Emma wandered over to the
ladies apparel, or what small amount Tompkins had. She noticed that
there were a few new hats, hats just like that woman was
wearing. She strode over to the display but couldn't stop herself from
looking back. Through the window, she saw Sam escorting the woman
towards the hotel.
'Well if that's the kinda' woman he wants,' she thought,
seething, 'he can...' But she couldn't finish the thought. She
loved him, it was that simple. So, if that's what he wanted, she'd give
him that. Heading over to the hats, she looked at the few that had the
feathers, though none were as tall as the one on that woman's
Quickly hiding the hat behind her back, Emma turned to see Lou
looking questioningly at her.
"What," Emma said, trying to keep the shortness out of her tone as
she pulled the hat from behind her and resumed her inspection. She
didn't want it, in fact she thought it was atrocious, but she wasn't
going to admit defeat.
"Um, you gonna buy that?" Lou couldn't believe Emma was looking at
hats like those. Emma didn't wear stuff like that; those hats were for
women that worked in saloons not a real lady like Emma. Lou knew that
for a fact.
"And what's it to you if I do?" Emma had a small amount of control
on her temper but she knew she'd break if Lou kept it up.
Emma's response confused Lou and the young woman's face reflected
that. "It's just that..." Lou paused, not sure whether to continue, not
knowing what was wrong but knowing that Emma wasn't acting quite like
'Emma.' Deciding to go for it, she put on a big smile and said, "Emma,
that's not a hat for a lady and you're a lady. Besides, you don't need
things like that; you're pretty without 'em."
Before she could stop herself, Emma said, her voice low, "Now tell
me, how would you know what a lady does and doesn't wear?" Emma
placed the hat back on the post and, without looking at Lou, she
hissed, "You spend all your time dressed like a boy." Not waiting for a
response, she spun on her heel and walked out the door.
Lou was dumbfounded. She couldn't believe Emma would talk to her
like that, especially since the woman knew what Lou went through not
able to be her real self. Looking out the window, she saw Emma drive
the wagon away and decided she'd go in the opposite direction to get
home. It would take a half-hour longer but she didn't care. Right now,
she didn't want to see anyone. Especially Emma.
From the porch swing, Teaspoon watched as Lou rode into the barn,
expecting him to continue right on through the back, the boy was riding
the horse that hard. Wondering why Lou had come the back way, he
glanced over at the house. Not a half-hour before, Emma had driven the
wagon in as if the devil himself was on her heels. She'd grabbed the
few packages from the seat, marched up the steps and slammed the door
shut behind her. He'd tried to speak to her but she'd not even
acknowledged he was there. When he'd heard her opening a few of the
windows, he'd waved but, again, received no acknowledgement.
He thought maybe he should go see how Lou was but when he saw Kid
walking in the direction of the barn, Teaspoon decided to let the young
man handle it. Lou, at least it had seemed to him, had developed a
strong friendship with Kid so he figured Lou would rather talk to
someone his age than to an old, crusty stationmaster. Chuckling to
himself, he figured everything would be worked out in due time.
Kid walked into the barn and saw Lou zealously grooming Lightning.
She seemed so intent on her task that he was worried he'd startle her
so he walked cautiously over, thinking if he said something before he
was right beside her it would be better.
"Ya' know, you're apt to brush the color right off that horse if
Lou spun around, a white-knuckled grip on the brush as she pointed
it at him. "I'm about tired of you tellin' me what to do."
Speechless, Kid just stared at Lou. Her brows were furrowed over
eyes that were dark with anger. What had happened in town?
"Uh, Lou," Kid said quietly, "maybe if you just tol' me..."
"Right," she scoffed, "and then you'll make everythin' all better
now, won't you?"
"Well, that's not exactly..."
"Look Kid," she said, throwing the brush in the corner of the
stall with such force it bounced back and almost landed at their feet.
"I know exactly how it will be and I'm sick of it." Walking
away, she brushed past him, adding, "Find someone else you can
Kid stood there, mouth hanging open, as he watched Lou rush out of
the barn. His first instinct was to run after her and find out what was
wrong but then, the weight of her words hit him.
"So she wants me to find someone else," he grumbled. Clenching his
fists, he yelled, "That's jus' fine by me!"
Teaspoon heard Kid's last words, wondering what had happened. He'd
seen Lou come storming out of the barn in such a state that Teaspoon
swore steam was coming from the young man's ears.
'Now what coulda' caused that?' Teaspoon wondered. 'Guess
the chat with Kid didn't go so well.'
Trying to decide if he should go talk to one of the two boys, he
saw Ike jog over to the barn.
"Ike'll take care of things, the boy has a soothin' way about
him," Teaspoon said to himself, though he was a bit worried about how
things were going so far.
Kid picked up the brush and put it on the shelf where it was
supposed to go. He hated things out of order. Patting the poor horse
that had witnessed the whole scene, Kid picked up the pitchfork to put
some hay in the stall for Lightning. Busy in his work, his mind whirled
with everything that Lou had said. He was used to feeling frustrated
when she wouldn't talk to him but that last statement was too much to
overlook. Suddenly a loud knock pulled him out of his simmering. He
glanced up but, seeing it was Ike, he looked back at the hay. He wasn't
in the mood to talk to anyone and, right then, he thought talking to
Ike would be too much work.
"What?" Kid said, realizing that Ike wasn't going away.
Ike stood there waiting for Kid to look up. When the sandy-haired
rider didn't, Ike knocked again. Why wouldn't Kid look at him? Ike
pursed his lips. Kid knew Ike couldn't tell him what he wanted without
Kid looking at him.
"What!" Kid barked, finally looking up at Ike. He stood,
impatiently, with his right hand on his hip, the left one clenched
around the pitchfork.
Ike frowned, not understanding why Kid was so annoyed. Shaking his
head, Ike started to sign but was interrupted by Kid.
"Look Ike, I ain't got time for this," he said, turning his back
to Ike as he placed the pitchfork against the wall, where it belonged.
Ike walked over and touched Kid's shoulder. Kid had asked Ike to
let him know when Teaspoon got back from town. Ike had figured Kid had
been off with Lou since it had taken him a while to find him. So now
why wasn't Kid paying attention?
Kid spun around, almost the same motion as Lou just moments
before. "What do you want?"
Ike started to sign again, but didn't get any farther.
"Like I said," Kid enunciated the words condescendingly, "I ain't
got time to figure out what you're tryin' to say." Kid walked towards
the door but Ike wasn't giving up so easily and grabbed Kid's arm. Kid
yanked his arm back and, standing face to face with Ike, replied
snidely, "Wait a minute, you aren't sayin' anythin' because you
The smirk on Kid's face made Ike step back. Kid had never acted
like this towards the mute rider. He'd always been interested in
"Yeah," Kid continued, "you can't. That's what Buck's for. He's
your voice. Well, where's Buck? Then we can get this over with." Kid
looked around and, not seeing Buck, threw his hands up. "Oh well." He
turned and finished his exit.
By the way Kid walked out of the barn, Teaspoon could tell that
Ike hadn't succeeded. Standing and stretching his old bones, he walked
down the steps and headed toward his room, hoping he'd run into Kid or
Lou or both and try to talk to the boys. He didn't like it when his
riders were upset, especially if it was at each other. A station
wouldn't run well if everyone didn't work well together and get along
and he considered this station and the inhabitants more than just a
workplace and workers. Everyone here was family.
Ike couldn't believe what Kid had just said. He knew that the
weather was making some people antsy but the riders hadn't been too
affected by it, except Cody and his headaches.
Slowly Ike walked out of the barn, what Kid had said ringing
through his head. Standing in the doorway, deep in thought, Ike didn't
hear Buck walk up until it was too late.
"You okay?" Buck was concerned by the expression on Ike's face.
His friend looked as if he were going to cry.
Ike looked up and instead of seeing his best friend, he saw a
barrier. He thought about it and Kid was right. When Buck wasn't at the
station, the other riders talked very little directly to Ike. They
didn't ask him questions because they didn't want to wait to figure out
what he was saying.
*What do you want?* Ike's hands moved jerkily, his only way to
communicate that he was annoyed. Well, not the only way. His expressive
face did that too.
Buck stared at Ike. His friend's expression had gone from sad to
hostile in the blink of an eye. Wanting to make sure everything was
okay, Buck said, "I just wanted to make sure you didn't need anything."
*Need?* Ike's hand lashed out, coming very close to Buck's face.
*Like someone to talk for me?*
"What?" Buck was very confused. Why was Ike bringing that up,
especially since there wasn't a soul around them.
*You know,* Ike continued, a scowl marring his smooth face.
*People are right. I probably would have gotten a better job, better
than this place, if I hadn't been burdened with you.*
Buck sucked in air. Why was Ike talking like this? "Ike, what are
*That's a laugh,* Ike sneered, *since I can't really say anything
right? Especially without you.* Ike turned to leave but added, *I
really wish I'd never met you then I wouldn't be here.*
Teaspoon shook his head as he looked out the tack room window.
What was going on around here? Though he couldn't tell what Ike was
saying or hear Buck's responses, he knew that it wasn't friendly. And
the fact that those two were at each other's throats didn't sit well
with Teaspoon at all. Even if the weather was stifling, that didn't
explain why his boys were acting so peculiar.
"Just like dominoes," he mumbled. "Passin' from one to another."
He wasn't sure what to do because he really wanted the boys to
handle their own problems, even if they didn't think he did. He decided
to wait a little longer and see if one or all sought him out to talk.
Buck watched as who he thought was his best friend and brother
walked away. He could feel the rage building inside him, the hurt and
anger fueling that rage. Knowing he needed to get away, he walked over
to the bunkhouse, only wanting to get his bedroll and a change of
clothes. He'd go spend the night out on the plains, the one place he
truly belonged. His hope to not see anyone was crushed when Cody walked
out of the door. Stretching, the blonde rider yawned.
"Boy that was a good sleep," Cody said, through another yawn. He
twisted and turned, cracking his back.
"Isn't that what you always do?" Buck snapped.
"What?" Cody asked, confused as to why his sleeping would annoy
Buck. This wasn't one of his sneak-sleeps. His horse had thrown a shoe
so he'd had to baby the poor animal the whole way home. Since he'd rode
in rather late, Teaspoon had told him to sleep until he woke up, which
is just what he'd done. And, as he could tell by the position of the
sun, it was still morning, though late morning, so he hadn't slept in
Buck pushed past Cody to go inside. "You are beyond a doubt the
most useless person."
"Hey," Cody said, following Buck and wondering why the Kiowa was
acting like this. "Teaspoon said..."
"I'm tired of being one of the ones having to do all your work,"
Buck said, grabbing his things and shoving them into his pack. "All you
"Now come on," Cody said, "that's not true. I may sleep more than
most but I..."
"More than most," Buck scoffed, "try more than everyone. And eat
more than everyone and loaf more than everyone and..." Buck let his
point fade as he finished packing. Once done, he picked up his pack and
bedroll and headed to the door but stopped to add one final shot. "You
know, if you wrote about what you actually do, it would be the best
cure for insomnia there is." Leaving Cody stunned, Buck slammed the
door behind him.
"Well, that's not a good sign," Teaspoon mumbled, as he watched
Buck, bedroll and pack in hand, head to the barn. Looking back towards
the bunkhouse, he wondered about Cody. "Dominoes, I tell ya',
dominoes." Sighing, he turned and put his shirt and hat on. "I guess
I'm gonna have to do somethin'."
What that was, he didn't know.
Cody stared at the closed door. Why had Buck acted like that? He'd
been awake when Teaspoon had told Cody to sleep in. In fact, everyone
had been awake. The more he thought on Buck's comments the angrier he
Cody was tired of everyone getting digs in about his eating and
sleeping habits. Yes he ate a lot and seemed hungry all the time, but
that was because he needed it. Everyone acted like he didn't do a thing
around here and that wasn't true. He had volunteered for a lot of runs
he didn't have to. He'd volunteered to go over to the newly widowed
Mrs. Jennings and fix her porch, roof and shutters and hadn't gotten
anything but a kiss on the cheek for it. There were other times he'd
helped out but did anyone ever think of those? No, they just thought of
the times he'd taken the last piece of meat, or last ear of corn or
last whatever was left.
Grabbing his hat, he decided to go for a ride somewhere, anywhere
to get him away from this place. As he shut the door behind him and
stepped off the porch, the last person Cody wanted to see came around
"Hey, you're up," Jimmy said, idly swinging the hammer he had in
"What about it?" Cody muttered.
"My, did someone got up on the wrong side..."
"Hickok," Cody said, "don't try to be witty, it don't work with
you, you have to have a wit to be witty." Cody walked towards the barn,
slowing down when he realized that's where Buck had gone.
"What's that suppose to mean?" Jimmy said, as he gripped the
Turning back to face Jimmy, Cody shook his head and said, "It
means that you ain't smart enough to be witty. You know wit; it means
someone with keen perception, someone that has intelligent
observations. And from where I stand," Cody laughed, pointing at Jimmy,
"that ain't you."
"Cody, I suggest you watch what you say next," Jimmy said quietly.
"Or what?" Cody taunted. "Wild Bill'll come get me?" He shook his
head and brushed past Jimmy as he walked back towards the bunkhouse.
"Cody," Jimmy warned, turning to watch Cody walk by. "You know I
don't like that Wild Bill stuff. That ain't me."
"Of course it ain't you," Cody said, whirling back around to face
Jimmy. "You ain't deservin' of somethin' like bein' immortalized in a
Jimmy clenched his fists, a death grip on the hammer in his right
hand. He was actually glad his holster was hanging on the corral fence
because, if he'd been wearing it, Cody would be dead. Inhaling deeply,
trying desperately to keep his temper, he said, "Fine, I ain't
deservin' but I didn't ask for it neither."
"Right, right," Cody said, nodding his head contemptuously.
"Shootin' at Marcus, showin' your fast draw, that wasn't askin' for
"Look Cody," Jimmy said, "I didn't know he'd use me in one of his
stupid books and..."
"Stupid books?" Cody echoed and then started laughing.
Jimmy was furious and had had enough of this. "What's so funny?"
"Just that you're the hero of a book and you can't even read about
yourself," Cody said between laughs. "Ain't that rich?" Before Jimmy
could respond, or hit him in the head with the hammer, Cody walked
"Lordy, Lord," Teaspoon muttered, standing in the doorway of the
tack room. "What has happened to the people livin' here?"
He watched as Cody, laughing, walked away from Jimmy. The laughter
sounded forced and harsh to Teaspoon's ears and Cody's face didn't
convey any kind of humor. Jimmy's face was another story. Jimmy looked
to be fighting very hard for control. Finally, throwing the hammer on
the ground, Teaspoon watched as Jimmy stomped off towards the corral.
And seconds later the sounds of gunshots were pealing through the air.
"Well, that's certainly the way to solve the problem," Teaspoon
sighed as he looked up at the sky. If only it would rain. Walking back
into his room, he sat on his cot. He wondered if he needed to drag all
the boys into his sweat lodge. Maybe that would heal them of what was
Staring at the cans, Jimmy drew his gun and plugged all six
sitting there. He wasn't sure what had gotten into Cody but, if the
blonde rider came anywhere near him, Jimmy would be sure to mistake him
for a can. Walking over to replace the cans, he was so lost in thought;
Jimmy didn't hear the rider come up behind him.
Whirling around, Jimmy had his gun pointed before realizing that
the rider was Sam.
"Whoa, Hickok," Sam said, hands up. "What was that for?"
"Don't come up on me like that," Jimmy growled, stomping back to
his position. Steadying himself, he drew and all six cans were flying
before any hit the ground.
"Target practice?" Sam asked quietly. He was worried about the
boy, especially since he knew the road Jimmy would be on if he kept
going as he was.
"What of it?" Jimmy walked back to the cans and replaced them on
the fence. Looking them over, he wished one of them were Cody's head.
Though that brought a small smile to his face, it also put the comments
Cody had made back in his mind, so Jimmy's smile turned into a grimace.
"Not sure you want to be doin' so much practicin'," Sam advised,
"Not sure I want any advice from the likes of you," Jimmy snapped,
as he walked back to his firing position.
"What?" A curious smile crossed Sam's lips. Emma had told him just
days earlier that Jimmy had been asking all kinds of questions about
Sam and what he was like. Since Emma couldn't answer all of them, she'd
told Jimmy to talk to the marshal. Emma had said that Jimmy blushed and
mumbled something about the marshal being a busy man, too busy for
"The likes of you," Jimmy repeated, "someone with no reputation."
"Oh," Sam said, nodding, "like Wild Bill has?"
"What's wrong with that?" Jimmy asked, hands planted firmly on his
"Well, the reputation that someone like that has isn't all it's
cracked up to be and not one that I'd want." Sam watched the emotions
cross Jimmy's face. Unfortunately, instead of stopping on
understanding, Jimmy's expression was scorn.
"What's a small, dirt town marshal that nobody knows," Jimmy said,
"gonna teach me?" Before Sam could give him an answer, Jimmy's gun was
out and the sound of the shots drowned out any more conversation.
Sam sighed and rode back over towards the main house. He was
looking for Teaspoon but decided Jimmy wouldn't answer him. He'd tried
to ask Cody and then Ike and finally Kid but had received the same
scowl and shrug from each boy. Finally, as he came around the front, he
saw the older man walking slowly from his room.
"Teaspoon," Sam called, dismounting in front of Emma's house. She
was also missing, he noticed, as he looked around. She normally came
out anytime he was there but not today. He'd spotted her coming out of
Tompkins' and, though he'd tried to get her attention, she'd snapped
those horses into action fast and was out of there in a flash. He still
wondered why she was in such a hurry.
Teaspoon came ambling over, still looking around for his boys.
"Howdy Sam," he said, "what brings ya' out here?"
"As if you didn't know," Sam said, a skeptical look on his face
when he saw Teaspoon's grin. "Hey," he whispered, glancing around,
"what's with everybody around here?"
"Humph," Teaspoon muttered. "So you've noticed it too."
"Well, when I asked about you I got reactions that ranged from
sullen to downright hostile. Did you do somethin'?" Sam looked at the
stationmaster with a sly grin. "Maybe get another one of your special
"I beg your pardon," Teaspoon said, indignantly. "My ideas are all
in fun. However, this has nothin' to do with me. I can assure you
that." He looked up at the sky again, sending another prayer that this
wouldn't last. "So, now, why is it that I'm supposed to know why you're
out here?" Teaspoon glanced at Sam, as a small grin played on his lips.
"That, that, that," Sam stuttered, "woman."
"What about her?"
"Teaspoon," Sam said, "why in the world did you send her over to
find me? I mean, what was I going to do for her?"
"Well, her fiancé had been in jail here but was taken over
to Matlinburg to await trial. Who else would I tell her to talk to?"
Teaspoon asked, innocently. He knew the woman would make Sam
uncomfortable and he thought it would be funny. "So what'd ya do?"
"I walked her over to the stage depot and made sure she got on
"Now Sam, all the poor little thing wanted was a note from you
tellin' the sheriff over there that she could visit with the prisoner."
Teaspoon enjoyed teasing the marshal.
"Good grief," Sam said, "should have just sent her over to
Barnett. He'd've given her a note." Sam leaned against the
railing. "Course, he probably would've swallowed his tongue too."
Both men laughed at the thought. Teaspoon turned to Sam and asked,
"She really made you uncomfortable didn't she?"
"Teaspoon," Sam said, pausing to collect his thoughts. "Did you
see the dress she was wearin'? I mean it might as well have been
painted on. And, speakin' of paint, all that mess on her face. And that
hat. What was with that feather? I must have looked like a dolt with
that stupid smile on my face. Every time she moved her head, well that
blamed feather swiped my nose. I was tryin' right hard not to rip it
off her head. Course, I was also tryin' hard not to laugh out loud." He
chuckled as he paused again. "Nah, I'm not one for all that, that,
stuff." A small smile formed as his thoughts drifted to a naturally
pretty redhead. "I like a woman more natural, more fresh, more like..."
"Emma," Teaspoon answered.
"Does it show that..."
Sam was interrupted by the screen door slamming against the side
of the house. Before either man had time to react, Emma rushed down the
steps and grabbed the front of Sam's shirt, pulling him into a
Just as their lips touched, Teaspoon felt a drop of rain on his
face. The sky was finally sharing its treasure. Smiling, he looked
around and noticed the boys were coming out of hiding.
Jimmy walked around the side of the bunkhouse. It wasn't good to
have his gun out in the rain. But right at the moment, he didn't care,
the rain felt good, like a cleansing bath. His anger was gone and, as
he glanced over at Sam and Emma, he couldn't help but smile. The sight
was beautiful. Standing by the porch, he heard the door open and saw
Cody come out. Peaking around the door, he grabbed the blonde rider and
pulled him out into the rain. Laughing at Cody's startled expression;
Jimmy slapped his friend on the back.
Cody felt the hand grab him almost at the same time he felt the
cold rain wash over him. The icy sensation shocked him at first but,
seeing Jimmy's laughing face, made him grateful that his friend forgave
him and enjoy the feeling of being alive. He joined Jimmy's laughter
and the two danced around in the rain, ending up by the corral. It must
have been an amusing sight because Teaspoon was laughing. Cody looked
up and saw Buck come out of the barn. He hollered for the Kiowa to join
them and laughed at Buck's expression.
The shouting of Cody and Jimmy had roused Buck from the barn. He
walked out and was immediately covered in drops of cooling rain. He
felt the smile, almost as an involuntary response to both the rain and
the scene with Emma and Sam. When Cody called to him, he couldn't
believe that Cody would want him over there. But he did, as Cody was
waving like a lunatic. Running to join them, he spotted Ike coming from
behind the barn. Still his best friend and brother. He smiled hoping
the smile would be returned.
Ike saw Buck, not understanding why his friend would actually
smile at him after all the hateful things he'd said but he wasn't going
to question it and returned it with one of his own. His grin widened
when he saw Cody and Jimmy, the two boys were throwing mud at each
other, and then Buck joined in. Walking to take part, he raised his
hands to the sky. The rain felt soothing, cooling the hot tempers of
everyone around them. Including, he noticed, Kid. He nodded towards
Kid looked at Ike and shook his head sheepishly, a matching smile
on his face. He knew he'd acted like an ass but then it seemed everyone
else had too. He'd come from around the house earlier, when he'd heard
Sam, and had seen both Cody and Ike give Sam the same sullen response
as he had. Lifting his face to the rain, he felt all the hostility
leave his body. As he jogged over to join the others by the corral, he
spotted Lou coming from the other side of the house. He grinned.
Lou blushed when she saw Kid's smile. The fact that he'd forgive
her was something she'd never expected. She noticed Kid was running
over to the corral and, following the direction, she saw what the other
boys were doing - having a mud fight. Laughing, she ran to join them
and, glancing at Emma, who was now curled in Sam's embrace, she gave
the station mother a quick wink. Soon, Lou was covered in mud.
Emma smiled at Lou, knowing that, though the young woman would
forgive her, Emma could never forgive herself. When she'd gotten back
to the station, she'd immediately gone inside, not wanting to see
anyone - however hard Teaspoon had tried. She'd felt as if she was
suffocating so she'd opened some windows. Through those, she'd seen
most of what had happened and heard snippets of angry conversation and
sounds. All this was her fault, just from simply misunderstanding what
she saw. Sighing, she snuggled closer to Sam.
Smiling down at the petite lady in his arms - a real lady, Sam
said, "You know Emma, you're gonna have a major washin' on your hands
Emma glanced up at Sam and, returning his grin, she looked back at
the boys. "Yes, I will...yes, I will."
Teaspoon chuckled as he watched the boys slipping and sliding,
laughing and joking, and getting muddier and muddier. He glanced up at
the heavens with a quick wink.
"See," he said softly, "nothin' can beat a good rain for washin'
away a body's worries and woes. And nothin' can beat a good family for
is one of
SEVEN 'Sins' stories... Dede's chosen sin was 'WRATH.'