...sometimes you're in the right place at the right time...
...sometimes you make it the right time...
Things had been souring between Kid and Lou for
sometime, ever since she overheard Kid joking about what they had meant
to each other. Even though thing's hadn't worked out with Samantha, Lou
was not eager to pick up where she left off with Kid. She was still
having trouble reconciling the Kid she fell in love with and the man
who had made light of their relationship.
Last night, dinner had been hell...none of riders mentioned the
fact that Kid spent the entire meal sulking at the end of the table. He
spent the entire time pushing his food back and forth across his plate
like he was parting the Red Sea.
Lou had tried to keep the conversation light, but everyone knew
that everything she did was under the watch of Kid's glowering gaze.
This morning, Kid had volunteered to take Ike's run to Ft.
Laramie. Everyone breathed a silent sigh of relief. As much as they
cared for Kid, he had made a complete ass of himself lately, and no one
was particularly sad to see him go.
Jimmy rode in that evening and slowed his horse as Kid took the
hand-off. Neither one looked at the other and Kid took off as Jimmy
called out, "Ride Safe, Kid!"
When Jimmy turned Kid was already gone in a cloud of dust, Katy
tearing up the ground beneath her hooves.
Jimmy guided his beautiful palomino over to the rail, and Ike
moved in to take the reins from him. Sliding down, Jimmy gingerly
lowered himself to the ground. He winced as his foot touched the
ground, his muscles crying out.
"Well there Jimmy, " called Teaspoon from the porch, "What's with
the 'tender foot?'"
Jimmy took off his hat and brushed it against his leg, sending
dust flying. "Twisted it when Sundance got mired up in a mud pit just
past the creek. All that rain we've been gettin' has messed up a few of
the trails and it looks like we might get some more tonight."
"Doubt it!" Teaspoon clasped Jimmy around the shoulders, "Best
get cleaned up, the social begins in an hour."
Rachel shook her head, "I think not! He'll be staying here,
resting his ankle." Rachel turned to the others... "and before we
leave, I want everyone to help me take the laundry in the house... if
it rains I don't want a bunch of sopping laundry hangin from the
Jimmy nodded a greeting to Jesse as he headed into the
bunkhouse,"Ain't no one from town I want to see at the social anyway.
It might be nice to spend some time alone."
"Alone?" Teaspoon chuckled, "No one said anythin' 'bout time
Jesse bounded the wagon behind Rachel and Teaspoon. Jimmy held
the doorframe and felt his shoulder's tighten, "Just tell me it ain't
Cody and I'll be happy."
Teaspoon started the team with a snap of the reins, "Nope, not
Cody. You're stuck with Lou."
Jimmy called out after the wagon, "Then I hope Rachel left us
It took Jimmy a good half hour to clean up. Between his bum ankle
and the dust caked into his hair he had a hard time of it. He put on a
clean shirt and a pair of pants and headed into Rachel's.
He opened the door and stopped to watch for a moment. Lou was
humming to herself as she set the table for two.
"Hey there Lou."
"Rachel left us some stew and biscuits... I didn't think you
would want me to make somethin'."
"You heard me?"
She shook her head, "Nope, but I figured you'd actually want
Jimmy sat down across from her and smiled. "Where's your
Lou touched her face and laughed. "Guess I left them in the
bunkhouse. Doesn't matter... they're only for show anyway."
Peaceful, that's the way that Jimmy would have described the
meal. They traded stories and jokes... Cody seemed to be a favorite
target for jokes. Buck had come up with a few while Jimmy was on a run
and Lou retold each one with a devilish twinkle in her eye.
Lou had found two pieces of pie, amazing as that is with Cody
around. She placed a slice of apple pie in front of each chair and sat
back down. She looked a little nervous as the wind started to kick up
"You worried 'bout something Lou?"
She nodded as she ate her pie, "I stayed behind from the social
'cause Lightning took a tumble this morning.. she threw a shoe and
Teaspoon and I are worried she'll come up lame. It was a hard fall,"
she absently rubbed at her shoulder.
Jimmy motioned with his hand, "What 'bout you? You see a doctor
Lou shook her head, "Nope, no time... 'sides I feel fine.
Lightnin' took the brunt of the fall, I just took a spill in the
"I'll take you to the doc in the mornin' if you want."
Lou smiled at her friend, "Thanks Jimmy. I like it when I'm asked
what I want to do."
When they were nearly done Lou cleared her throat, "I wanted to
thank you again for everything you've done lately, especially that
night we had in Willow Springs. I haven't felt that good since.....I
don't think I've felt that good in quite a while." She put her fork
down and looked at Jimmy across the table. "I hope we'll get the chance
to do it again, soon."
Jimmy stared down at his plate... he could still remember the
sight of her with her neck inside a noose, all because of him.
Lou cleared her throat and stood up quickly, almost tipping her
chair over. She was sure she had crossed some line that Jimmy wasn't
comfortable with. Lou instantly wished she could take it back. She
cared about Jimmy too much to ruin their relationship.
Wordlessly she started clearing the dishes.. scraping and
stacking them in the sink for later. Her heart beat quietly in her
chest and she felt color rising in her cheeks. She avoided looking at
him and had just gripped the edge of his plate when his hand closed
"Lou," his voice was almost too soft to hear. She tried to take
the plate a second time but his hand held on to her. "Lou." He wanted
her attention, and he got it.
She dragged her eyes up to meet his. Unsure of what to say Lou
only managed a simple and obligatory, "Yes Jimmy."
"Come 'ere Lou." She let go of the plate as Jimmy drew her around
the table to stand in front of him. She looked like she was ready to
bolt, but Jimmy had other plans.
His left leg propped up on an empty chair blocked he escape in
one direction, "Jimmy, it's okay," she blushed, "you don't have to say
"I want to," he answered, and before she could argue he placed
both hands on her waist, anchoring her to the spot, "and you are going
In an instant it was bright as day-
A flash filled the sky, followed by a booming noise that shook
the walls. Terrified shrieks could be heard, coming from the stable.
Without a moments thought, Lou snatched a lantern off the wall and
headed out into the rain and wind...
"Lou? You left your jacket- ah Hell Lou! You'll freeze out
Jimmy stands and after struggling to put his own on, he grabs
hers and heads to the stable. The rain pelted him as he hobbled across
the wet ground. Fat droplets of water slanted across the sky, chilling
whatever skin it could find.
"Jus' wait til I get my hands on her for draggin' me out here,"
he grumbled to himself, "I'll wrap them around her sweet little neck."
A devilish grin spread across his face as a large drop of water fell
from the tip of his nose to join its friends on the ground.
Inside the barn:
From the instant she entered the barn Lou was assaulted by the
sound of drums. No, not drums...hooves. The horses were beating a
frantic rhythm on the stall doors. Sheer panic prevails amongst the
horses. Every attempt she makes to get near the stalls arouse another
round of battering hooves.
The lantern that Lou had brought with her was casting long and
flickering shadows around her. She wished for a moment that she had
some help, This wasn't going to be easy. "Come on girl," she cooed.
"Settle down, yes ....yes... just like that..."
She had made eye contact with Lightning and the horse began to
lean towards her, slowing its movements. Lou kept her voice calm and
sweet, "That's my girl, now let's take a look at that leg..."
Lou had a hand on the latch and was about to open the gate. A
bolt of light hit the ground just outside the stable. All at once the
racket started up again. Lollipop, a usually docile mount, reared and
bit Lightning. In one terrifying moment, Lou tried to back away from
the stall. She had only gained a few steps when Lightning, eyes white
and ears flat against her head blew the door right off her stall.
Jimmy pushed the door open against the howling wind. He worked
against the pain in his ankle... he was going to help Lou settle the
horses before they injured themselves.
He could see her shadow first.. it wavered against the wooden
walls, mimicing her gestures as she pleaded with the horses for calm.
The lightning strike out side drew his focus and watched as
Lightning reared up and busted the stall door. The shadows were back to
dancing on the walls and Jimmy saw the thick wooden mass of the door
crash into Lou's slim form. Instead of being thrown back, the thick
wooden planks covered her.
"Damn it, Lou!" Jimmy closed the distance in an instant, sinking
to his knees. He lifted the door off her body and shoved it over onto a
pile of straw nearby. Lightning bent her head towards the fallen rider
and backed away.
The metal hinge had been pulled up away from the door. The metal
that had once been fastened securely to the stall was now a twisted and
jagged mess. Jimmy quickly realized that the hinge had cut her side,
dark blood welled up under her shirt and stained his fingers.
Muttering curses under his breath, Jimmy opened her shirt to see
the wound. Looking around for something to use as a bandage, he shrugs
off his jacket. He fold it a few times and places it under her head.
His fingers prod the injury, it's deep, but not life threatening.
No other option available, he tears the bottom of his shirt in a long
strip to bind the wound. He gingerly winds the fabric around her
stomach, tying it off tightly and tucking in the ends.
As he wound the bandage around her body he noticed the swell of
her breasts over the edge of her binding. Even with the binding it was
hard to see that anyone could mistake her for a boy.
Her shirt was damp from the downpour and Lou's skin was pale and
cold to the touch... a whipping wind beat on the walls of the stable,
thankfully the horses seem to be taking it in stride. Jimmy softly
brushed her hair back and away from her face. He shook her by the
shoulder "Wake up Lou... we gotta get you inside before you freeze.."
At the sound of his voice, her eyes flew open. A hand drops to
her stomach. "What happened? 'better yet, what hit me?" She grimaced as
she felt the bandage wrapped around her middle. Lou looks up at Jimmy
hovering over her and blushes. Jimmy was inches away and it was causing
Lou some difficulty remembering to breathe. His hair, dark and thick,
fell forward over his shoulders.
A strange thought entered her mind. She pictured Jimmy lying next
to her, his head resting on her stomach. Her hands softly combing
through his hair, feeling the thick strands slip like silk through her
Jimmy was suddenly aware of how warm it was inside the well built
barn. He knew that she was lost in her own thoughts and he took this
moment to study her face. Her lashes lay on her cheeks as Lou kept her
thoughts to herself. He wished that she would look up at him. Her eyes
were so entrancing, he could lose himself in them if given the chance.
Her eyes flickered open and she peered up at him. She knew he had
been watching her and she was a bit relieved...'please tell me I'm not
the only one wantin' this.'
Jimmy seemed uneasy too and Lou smiles at his discomfort.. She
looked at him and feigned shock, "Your shirt... why'd you have to go
and ruin it like that?"
"Seemed like the thing to do when your friend is bleeding.."
Lou laughed softly... he loved the sound of it, warm and sweet
against the wild rhythm of the storm outside. She struggled to sit up,
one hand holding the front of her shirt together.
Jimmy tried to move out of the way. He sat back quickly and
howled in pain, all his weight had come down on his ankle. He pushed
his legs out in front and leaned back on his elbows to survey the
"Oh Jimmy, I'm sorry. I completely forgot about your ankle." In
the light of the lantern she noticed the sorry condition of his shirt.
Lou moves forward on her knees to get a closer look. She is nearly face
to face with Hickok, one of her knees between his legs. One hand on the
floor to balance, she reaches out with the other to touch the ripped
edge of the cloth but in the shadows of the lantern her fingers touch
Unable to breathe, he reacts in surprise. He is very concious of
her every move as she leans closer. He finds himself looking up into
her eyes, unsure of what is about to happen. Jimmy was caught in her
gaze, "Now what it is that you wanted to tell me?"
His mind was a blank and he told her so.
Lou's shoulders shook with gentle laughter and she looked back at
Hickok with a gleam in her eye. "Well, too bad. I guess I have you at
my mercy." She leans forward and brushes her lips against his. A brief
kiss, yes, but it rocks him deep down inside his soul.
...he freezes but doesn't pull away...
the horses softly nicker in the background, rain pelting the
outside of the stable, but Lou has her eyes locked on Jimmy. She places
the palm of her hand on his stomach, watching as his muscles contract
with her touch. A soft seductive smile plays across her lips. "My cold
hands bothering you?"
Jimmy swallows hard and she looks back into his eyes, "Nothing
cold about you.." he pushed himself up, lacing a hand through her hair
and pulled her back down for another kiss.
Jimmy gathered her close in his arms and kissed her like a dying
man. Lou wasn't far behind. She held his face between her hands,
marveling at the feel of his warm skin, the movement of his body under
"Jimmy?" she pulled away slightly to look down into his eyes.
He stared back, his hand stroking her arm through the damp shirt,
She looked a little uncertain, "am I making a fool of myself
here?" She didn't wait for him to answer, "It's not everyday that I
just haul off and kiss someone you know." He opened his mouth to answer
and she rolled right over him like a steam train. "I know how I feel...
'cause...well.. you know...but -"
Jimmy leaned back and watched her tie herself up in knots. He was
thoroughly enjoying her speech and her hands. While she talked herself
in circles she had been unbuttoning his shirt... He doubted that she
knew what she was doing.... but he wasn't about to stop her.
A moment or two later she looked down and noticed him smilin' at
her. She froze...frustration flared in her eyes, "What's so funny
"Nothin' Lou..." one hand snaked out and slid under her open
shirt. His hand, placed low on her back helped him hold her as he sat
up, "You should know you got nothin' to worry about. I don't think
there's a single person here at the station that don't know how I feel
about you. Except for you of course."
Lou swatted him on the shoulder... her best pout on her face.
Jimmy shook his head, a half smile tugging on his lips. "Well... I
still haven't heard the words..."
Jimmy shrugged and pulled her up against him. He leaned over her
shoulder and whispered into her ear.
Lou smiled and hugged him closer, her lips raining kisses on his
face. He leaned back and laughed out loud. "Lord Lou, if I'd have known
this is how you'd react... I'd have said it sooner!"
The two riders continued to talk until the rain has slowed to a
They made their way back to the bunkhouse... Jimmy leaning on her
shoulder a bit... their hours alone in the damp air of the stable had
not done his ankle any good. He didn't complain... it was a good excuse
to touch her again. "You think we should tell the boys Lou?"
"I think they're smart enough to figure it out on their own" she
pointed out. She stopped at the door and looked up at him, "and I'm
sure someone will fill Cody in sooner or later."
She helped him to his bunk and kissed his shoulder as she moved
Jimmy was shocked by the sweet expression and hooked her arm,
drawing her back into his arms. He bent down and kissed her mouth,
tasting the soft mist of rain on her lips. Slowly he let her go and
watched as she walked across the room.
Lou had climbed into her bunk and covered herself with her
blanket, "We'll talk about this later..." she smiled down at him, "I
got the early ride tomorrow." She winked and turned to the wall.
Jimmy lay there in his bunk listening to her breathing in the
silence of the bunkhouse. He kicked off his blankets and looked up at
the ceiling, his hands braced under his head. "We'll do more than
talk... that's a promise.."