Thanks to Vicki for her challenge


Louise let the door slam shut behind her back; she couldn’t seem to wrap her thoughts around the words the doctor had just shared with her. She stopped in at the Marshal’s office by mistake, giggling at her mistake when Teaspoon asked her, “How are you, Lou?”

He had a concerned look on her face as she left, backing out of the door, her hand covering her mouth as she continued to laugh.

She heard him follow her outside and she turned and waved a good-bye. “I’ll see you later at Rachel’s, right Teaspoon?”

“Sure, Lou… I’ll see you there. Is there something wrong?”

“No! Everything is just right!”  She turned away a moment after she saw him push back his old tattered black hat and rub at his forehead.

Lou dodged through the crowd barely remembering the names of folks as she passed them by. Her mind was reeling from the news. There was so much to think about and so little time to do it in. First things first, she had to find Kid. A quick check into the freight station offered no real help. Mr. Collins said that Kid has left earlier that day to go on a special delivery run.

She couldn’t help the slight pout of her lips, but she did try to smile as Mr. Collins apologized again for sending him out.

“Oh, no, Mr. Collins, please don’t worry about me. I just had some news for my husband and I’ll just have to wait until he gets back. Please, do tell him to him that I’d like to see him.”

Mr. Collins gave a little bow and smiled, “I will tell him, Mrs. Jackson.”

She nodded her thanks and headed for the Mercantile. Rounding the next corner, she nearly plowed into him as she turned the corner. Kid reach out his hands to steady her as she teetered near the edge of the board lined walk. “Where are you going in such a rush?”

“I was coming to find you,” she answered back a little out of breath, “I needed to tell you something.”

“Fine… fine…” he was smiling as he stood there with her, “but I have a surprise for you, first.”

“Oh?” She brightened a little more at the promised treat. “Tell me, what is it?”

He grinned down at her, his eyes shining with love and a sound dose of mischief.

“What?”

He didn’t answer her with words, just a chuckle.

If he didn’t look so cute, she would have slugged him in the arm. Still she wasn’t willing to give up without an answer. “What’s going on, Kid? You’re starting to scare me…”

“Scare you,” he echoed. “Why would I do that?”

Louise looked up into her husband’s eyes and blinked at him. “You’re deliberately trying to prick my temper, that’s what.”

He gave her a curious look, “Lou? That’s not it, I wouldn’t do that.” He tilted his head to the side and watched her for a moment. “What’s wrong?”

She shook her head, eyes downcast a bit, “Nothing… nothing, really. I’m fine… I just,” she took a moment to swipe the back of her hand against her cheek, wiping away a single tear that was streaming down her face, “I guess I just wasn’t in a joking mood.”

“I guess not.” Kid took her hand and walked her over to a bench along the wall, “Why don’t you sit down and tell me what you were going to tell me.”

She followed him to a bench and settled her skirts beneath her, alternately looking into his face and then down at her hands. ‘It isn’t going to get any easier, you waitin’ like this.’

“Well?” Lou looked up at her husband and had to smile at his expression. He was fairly chomping at the bit. “What is it?”

“I know you’ve been a bit worried lately. We’ve had so many changes in the last few months. The wedding, folks movin’ away… and your new job.”

He shrugged, “Yeah, it’s been tough getting used to things down at the freight station, but it’s almost Christmas and you’ll see, Lou. It’ll be so much better in the new year.”

“Yeah, Kid. I know.”

“And I’m sure you’ll get used to keepin’ house.”

“I am, Kid… I really am. You know how hard I’ve been workin’ at it.”

“I’m glad to hear it, Lou.” He had a giddy little grin on his face. “So, let me show you the surprise I brought you.”

Lou closed her mouth on her next statement and nodded.

Reaching into his jacket pocket he pulled out a little sprig of green and held it up in front of her. “See?”

She wrinkled her nose at it; it looked more like a weed than anything else. “What is it?”

He shook his head. “Silly, it’s mistletoe.”

Lou leaned back a few inches, narrowing her eyes at his hand. “That?”

“Yes,” he raised it up, just above his head, nearly even with the top of his hat, “this.”

She couldn’t help the blush that stole over her cheeks. “And what are we going to do with it?”

Kid smiled at her coy response, he leaned in closer, holding it between them in the air. “Well, I think we could both use a dose of Christmas cheer, what do you say?”

Louise leaned in close and met Kid halfway in a kiss, tender… filled with longing and sweet promises.

When they broke apart, Kid gave her a broad grin.  “I’d say that’s a yes.”  He put the mistletoe back into his pocket, “So what were you going to tell me, Lou?”

She pressed her hand against her middle, wondering how to tell him… how to tell him the right way. “It’s a Christmas surprise.”

He took her free hand and held it in his. “Then we’ll have something to look forward to Christmas morning.” Kid stood and helped her to her feet, “I’m finished with work for today, how about we get something to eat and head home.”

Louise slipped her hand into the crook of his arm, “Home.” She repeated. “I think I’d like that.”

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