Lou stood at the counter in the kitchen of her and Kid's ranch house. It was a normal activity for the one time Pony Express rider and one that she found she actually enjoyed doing - providing a hearty meal for the husband and family she loved. Tonight, however, she had another agenda in mind while mixing the frosting for the cake she had prepared.

She couldn't help but giggle every time she thought of how it came to be. Whenever Kid would come into the kitchen and see her in her apron, flour covering her hands and on her cheeks from brushing her hair out of her face, he would tell her she was good enough to eat and begin to bite at the sensitive spot on her neck that would arouse her to no end. He would then tease her that he'd love to come in one day and find her wearing nothing but that red checkered apron of hers. Lou would shush him by placing her hand over his mouth and throw him out of the room, saying that kind of talk was indecent when there were "young 'uns" running about. Kid would give her his usual grin and head out of sight, but not before telling her he was serious.

He always said that sentence to her in a teasing manner but Lou took it as a challenge, one that she kept in the back of her mind and hoped to be able to fulfill one day. That day had never come and two children later, he was still saying it to her.

She glanced around the house that was usually bustling with activity but was quiet beyond belief today. Kid had been gone all week delivering horses to a buyer that purchased from them each year. He'd made the trip several times now so it was more of a routine than anything else to Kid and he knew, with pushing it to get back, that he would be home for dinner that evening. Rachel had come over that morning, wanting to give the married couple a chance to be alone for a change, especially as they hadn't seen each other in a week. Lou had blushed as she knew what her good friend was hinting at with the need for Kid and Lou to be alone together. But when Rachel said she and Teaspoon would be keeping all five children at her house for the day and night, she had practically run up the stairs to fetch their bags and fill them with everything they would need so there would be no trips back to the ranch for a forgotten blanket or doll or favorite toy.

Lou's thoughts suddenly began to take over - no children, a husband about to arrive home any second, and a night filled with endless possibilities ahead of them. She bit her lip as a giggle escaped. Rachel had no idea her kind gesture was going to allow Lou to give her husband a greeting home he would never forget! Putting down the spoon and licking frosting off a finger, Lou went to check that her roast wasn't in danger of burning then turned to leave the room. She had a lot to do in a short amount of time if she wanted to surprise Kid. Pausing for a moment in the doorway, she surveyed her kitchen to see where he would get the best view of her from. Satisfied with her decision, she headed upstairs, untying the back of her apron as she left.

So there she stood at the kitchen counter, no signs of flour or any other ingredient visible and her hair brushed and pinned neatly back up so as not to block the view of anything significant. Lou glanced down at the front of her apron. She had always grumbled that she'd made it too small; the front barely came up far enough and the side edges just made it around to where her back started. Of course it was all due to her finally getting a bit more of what she'd always longed for, all thanks to having as many children as she'd had. She was known to constantly complain that it covered nothing, but she'd always meant her clothing. The young woman smiled happily as this was the first time she was glad it was as small as it was. It didn't leave anything to the imagination but then that was what she wanted. Standing with her back to the door, Lou finished working on the rest of her dinner, a meal she was sure would have to be eaten tomorrow and not tonight, as she waited to hear those familiar footsteps.

"Jimmy, I can't believe the luck of running into you after all this time!"

"Yeah, Kid, I planned on headin' out to the ranch tomorrow as Teaspoon said you'd be back then but seein' you ridin' down the center of town as I was 'bout to enter the hotel to get a room was pure luck!"

The two friends chuckled over their unexpected reunion. They'd gotten more than a few stares as they'd stopped in the middle of the street to hug each other and exchange greetings of friends who hadn't seen each other in a long time.

"I know you said you'll be around for a while and you're tired but you can do you're restin' here as well as anywhere." He led the way up the front steps of his home and reached for the handle of the screen door. "Wait til Lou sees you; she's gonna be so surprised!"

Kid beckoned with his hand for Jimmy to follow him as he led the way down the hall from the front door to the entrance to the kitchen. "Lou, I'm home and I have a surprise for you!" He glanced behind him and gave his friend an excited smile.

"I have a surprise for you too!"

He paused briefly at the husky voice coming from the kitchen of his home. Maybe Lou was sick … no, that wouldn't be a surprise, just an annoyance as it would probably keep her from enjoying the company of their house guest.

Kid walked through the doorway and stopped dead in his tracks. He didn't even budge as Jimmy bumped into his back. "Lou?" he croaked.

"You see somethin' you might wanna munch on?" Lou swayed her hips from side to side in anticipation of what he had to say. And while her hips were swaying, her hands began a slow decent down the sides of her body, making sure to rub over every little spot they came across. Kid stared dumbfounded at the sight in front of his eyes.

"Now that you mention it, I could go for a bite." Jimmy looked her up and down and nodded his head a couple time. He'd been just about to ask Kid why he'd stopped walking when he'd noticed the reason for himself. While Kid's mouth was hanging open in shock, Jimmy's was turning up into a big smile. He crossed his arms over his chest as he gave a big grin in her direction.

Her hands stilled instantly, coming to rest on her now very curvy hips. It couldn't be. She had to be hearing things … but then why was that voice not the voice of the man she was married to? It was the voice of the man she'd thanked so many years ago for talking to Kid about 'dancing'. "Jimmy?!" she squeaked. She dared to glance over her shoulder to make sure she wasn't hearing things.

"Nice seein' ya, Lou."

That grin, the stance with feet apart and arms crossed like he owned what was in front of him, the nod of his head as his eyes danced in her direction; all that spurred her into action.

Lou screamed and dove behind the table, crouching down behind the chair nearest to her. "Get out! Get out! Get out!"

Seeing Lou move brought Kid out of the daze he'd been put in by the sight of his wife's firm backsi …

"Turn around! Turn around! Turn around!" Kid spun on his heel so he was facing Jimmy and took hold of his jacket sleeves to try to turn him in the opposite direction. Only Jimmy seemed to have his boots nailed to the floor as he couldn't get the man to budge.

Jimmy looked past Kid and spoke to the only part of Lou he could see - the top of her head. "All I was expectin' was a hug, a kiss on the cheek maybe but if this is how you greet men who've been away for a while, I'm gonna hafta make sure to come back more often … of course, after makin' sure to stay away long enough to give you enough time to really miss me."

"She doesn't …I mean, she hasn't … she ain't goin' to ever again … 'cept to me." Kid moaned at what he'd just said. He placed his hands over his face and shook his head.

Lou crouched down even lower. Feeling a draft come up between her legs, she pulled on the little bit of fabric covering her legs, cursing the blasted apron that was going to wind up in the fireplace once this evening was over! She clenched her teeth together as she listened to her husband defend her honor. Kid wasn't helping any, except maybe to help make it worse! And then there was that damn smile from the other fool being directed her way. "If you don't get out now, Jimmy Hickok, I swear I'll shoot you!"

Jimmy pulled his arm away from Kid's strong grasp, sidestepped his ex-bunkmate, and crouched down so he could look under the table. "You hidin' a gun under that apron as well, Lou? 'Cause it don't look like you have room for anythin' other than the equipment you're already carryin'."

Kid bent down next to Jimmy, glanced at Lou then turned back to their friend. "That's my equipment you're talkin' about … I mean, it's hers but I use it … what I meant to say is …that's my wife you're talkin' about!" He moaned once more and shook his head. A dream come true was quickly becoming a living nightmare.

Lou glanced from one man to the other. She had noticed first and foremost that neither had been manly enough to offer her their jacket to cover up her near nakedness. She took hold of the top of the chair that was providing no barrier to her and looking over the table, glared at her husband. "And as your wife, Kid, I promise you, if you don't get him out of here now, Jed will be the last child you'll ever have the chance to present me with!"

Kid gulped. He stood up then reached down and with all his strength, yanked Jimmy to his feet, turning him so his back was to Lou. He took hold of his friend's arms and stared straight into his eyes. "Jimmy, you got to get out now!"

Jimmy looked over his shoulder at the dark-haired head that was still visible. "I can see now why you have one kid for each year you been married, startin' with this one here." He jerked his thumb in the southerner's direction.

Kid scowled at his friend. "I ain't a kid," he whined.

"We took a year off between kids three and four!" Lou declared in protest.

"Only to make it up with babies four and five comin' ten months apart!"

"It was almost eleven," she mumbled. "At least you read my letters." She gave him a small smile despite the situation she found herself in the middle of.

"All the time, Lou," Jimmy told her, speaking sincerely for a moment before raising his eyebrows and wiggling them in her direction. "'Course I'm probably gonna have to do some writin' this time … to Cody. See he wanted to come with me for this visit but changed his mind last minute. If he only knew the greeting he was missing …."

"You wouldn't." Lou wasn't asking him a question; no, she was making a downright threat!

"You ain't tellin' anyone about this," Kid warned as he grabbed Jimmy's arm and tried to pull him toward the doorway once more. "Just pretend it's like seein' her walkin' around in her long johns back when we slept in the bunkhouse. It was no big deal, remember?"

"I don't remember thinkin' that," Jimmy said thoughtfully.

"What?" Lou hissed.

"Let's just say … Lou leaves a memory on a man's mind he ain't likely to forget." Jimmy chuckled at the shocked look on both their faces.

Kid knew it was a losing battle to protest over anything Jimmy said at the moment. He may have accidentally exposed Jimmy to his wife but she'd already exposed herself before they'd even got there! He took a peak longingly under the table and had to nearly bite his fist to keep from calling out in ecstasy when he noticed the front of the apron had been pulled down lower than when they'd first come upon her. There were obviously no children in the house for the evening and hopefully the whole night. They needed to fill Jimmy so full of food, he'd sleep till noon then Kid could attach himself to Lou's apron strings and hold on for the long haul.

Lou didn't know whether to be furious or flattered. She'd long since gotten over being nearly undressed; it wasn't like she was the first woman either man had seen in the flesh. Now it was just the matter of wanting the whole evening to be over with. Glancing down and noticing she was more exposed than earlier, she began to tug at the fabric, only to stop when she met Kid's eyes. She licked her lips hungrily.

Not missing the exchange of looks between the married couple, Jimmy just shook his head. "I think I'll go take care of my horse now … and I might as well take care of Katy too … let you two get, uh, reacquainted. Don't go eatin' everythin' in sight … save me some." He chuckled as Kid began to turn beet red.

Jimmy took a step through the open doorway then paused and took a step backward so he could move back into the kitchen. He glanced over his shoulder. "Kid." Once he had the southerner's curious attention directed his way, he continued, "I always knew you were a lucky man, Kid." He looked past his friend to where the brown head was still hiding behind the chair. He let out a satisfied sigh. "Now I see that you are."

Email Debbie