Author's note: This story takes place between the episodes 'Requiem for a Hero' and 'Bad Company'

Kid couldn't believe their good fortune. It had been nine days since he and Lou had taken that ride to the Red Fern station, a ride that changed his life forever. Things had been awkward between them immediately afterward, even if they both wanted what had happened. They'd talked and held each other which got rid of their discomfort, so much so that within two days' time, one or the other had woken the other up and they'd found themselves out in the hayloft with a blanket and a whole night to reacquaint themselves with why they'd gone on that ride to begin with.

It had happened again a few days after that as they'd been given some time off and decided to race each other to the pond. They'd found a secluded spot behind some bushes that got them out of the hot sun and like in the hayloft, a little kissing and caressing led to them getting to know each other even better. With each chance they got to be together, Kid found that he and Lou were more comfortable around the other and what had started out as something serious began to have some fun added to it.

Thinking that all their fun would be over for a while, though, as it was getting too risky being together at the way station, the two of them had decided to control their desires so as not to arouse suspicion in the boys. After two days of giving each other longing looks from afar, Kid had wanted to break out in song when Teaspoon came into the bunkhouse that morning and said there was an urgent dispatch that needed to be picked up at the town of Lone Oak and that he wanted Kid and Lou to go get it. They both knew Lone Oak was far enough away to warrant them spending the night there and since no one knew them there

*** ***

Their dream of one night alone together in a hotel had now turned into one night, part of a morning, a whole afternoon, and a second sleepless night as the dispatch wouldn't be ready for them to take until the next morning. Yep, Kid couldn't have asked for anything more if he'd actually asked for the chance to take a double ride with Lou.

Lying in the bed of the only room available at the Lone Oak Hotel with only a sheet carelessly draped over the lower part of his body, Kid grinned as Lou's fingernails scratched lightly up and down his arm as it lay draped over her waist. He snuggled further into the soft pillow as her movements were making him sleepy.

"If you keep that up, I'll be out for the night and I don't know about you but I would like to make up for the time when we'll be back and have to go back to actin' like we don't care for each other."

"I think makin' up for that time is what we've been doin' all day," Lou giggled as she now moved lower on her pillow so when she looked sideways she could see his eyes and not the top of his head.

"You complainin'?"

"Mmm, nope." Lou shook her head. "Considerin' all I usually have to look forward to on overnight rides is a meal in a nice restaurant; I have to say this is much more satisfying."

"My problem is that you make my appetite stir and it ain't food that can quench the hunger I'm feelin'." Kid hungrily claimed her lips. The action felt so natural considering that a little more than a week ago he never would have dreamed of doing such a thing. He'd only kissed a woman a couple of times but there hadn't been passion to it at all, and had never done anything more physical than hold a girl's hands.

Lou placed her hands on both sides of his face as she kissed him back. Their first time together had been filled with so many emotions but playfulness was definitely not one of them; their second and third times were more like how she'd always dreamed it would be when she willingly shared her body with a man. Those three times mixed together to form the ease she and Kid now felt.

The end of the kiss had the two of them lying back on their pillows, panting for breath as they stared at the ceiling. Kid had always thought this was a wrong thing to do outside of marriage but each argument that came to his mind was squashed into dust as those soulful brown eyes would look at him making him forget everything about himself, even going so far as him knowing his name only by her calling it out. A stirring beside him made him curiously turn his head to the side.

Lou rolled onto her side and lifted herself up to rest on her elbow. She draped her arm over Kid's stomach as she glanced at him, smiling coyly. "So Mr., um, Kid, there's somethin' I've been wonderin'."

"Uh oh, it sounds like you're about to ask somethin' I ain't gonna answer." He grinned at her as he placed his hand over hers.

Lou playfully pulled her hand away as she sneered in his direction. "You will if you know what's good for you."

"Are you threatening me?" Kid was finding this very interesting. He was learning more about her every day and loving every bit of this woman.

"Yeah, 'cause I don't think you can stand not havin' nights like this." She was challenging him and she knew he knew it but that was part of the fun. Lou also knew that if it came down to it, Kid had more willpower than she would ever possess so her little threat would definitely backfire on her. She just had to hope she could wear him down.

Kid laughed. She was playing him good. He had thought it would be hard being around the others, hiding how he felt about her allowing him to see her in a dress for the first time. But this week, this had been the hardest because he'd wanted everyone to know what they had done and how they felt about each other. He didn't think she would actually go through with her threat but Kid wasn't about to find out!

"You got me. So what is it you've been wondering?" Kid reached out and took hold of her hand again, kissing the top of it in thanks as she didn't put up an argument.

"Why did you suddenly stop dragging your feet?" Lou's behavior switched gears and she was suddenly very serious as she looked at him.

Kid was beginning to get an uneasy feeling about this conversation so he forced a smile as he tried to bring back the lightness that was just in their words. "Well if I'da known what was waitin' for me, I would have given in a long time ago." For emphasis, he moved onto his side and began to caress her skin, beginning at her exposed shoulder and running down her arm.

"Kid!" Lou squirmed out of his reach. "You would not and you know it. You don't do anythin' 'cause someone wants you to do it."

"I do what you want me to do." Kid tried to kiss her shoulder this time but she pulled away again.

"I ain't talkin' about that! I'm talkin' about this," she told him in frustration as she grabbed at the sheet covering their bare bodies.

Suddenly Kid didn't feel the playfulness anymore. He pulled at the sheet and brought it up with him as he moved his body to a sitting position against the headboard. As he positioned the sheet around his waist, making sure all of him was covered, Kid was reminded of that night at the Red Fern Station. He was on one side of the bed, Lou the other, crying. She wasn't crying tonight, just looking at him, waiting for an answer, an answer that in his happiness of the past week and a half he hadn't even thought about having to give.

"You're glad I did, aren't ya?" Kid finally asked as he didn't look at her.

"Of course," Lou assured him, thinking at first that he was worried she thought this was too fast for them but when he wouldn't look at her, she got the suspicion there was more to it than that.

"Then that should be all that matters."

"What's wrong with a girl tryin' to figure out more about the man she loves?" Lou reached out and ran her hand down the side of his face.

"Nothin's wrong with it but maybe you oughta start with figurin' out my favorite color or what my favorite food is. Simple stuff like that is always the best."

"Blue and pecan pie," Lou told him then smiled as he whipped his head up to look at her in surprise. "See, I pay attention. It ain't like I'm askin' you about where you were before you came to join the Express, all I'm askin' is how you came to be lyin' beside me in this here bed." She looked him deep in the eyes.

'Good,' Kid thought to her not asking about his past. He didn't think it was a lie to keep something from her that had happened before he'd even known her. But what she was asking about had definitely happened since they'd come to Sweetwater and Kid hated to not be honest with her not to mention that her eyes were concentrating so hard on him that he was sure she could see deep into his soul.

So they sat like that for a couple minutes, Kid with the sheet pulled tight around his waist and Lou with the other end of the material wrapped under her arms. If he'd thought it through clearly, he probably could have just taken her in his arms and kissed her silly and she would have forgotten all about the question she'd asked him but no, he had to sit there with his eyes looking everywhere but at her, making it seem like he was guilty of something. There were some women who could have you confessing to things you didn't even do by giving you a look. Lou was one of those women. He could feel that her eyes had never left his face and when he finally couldn't take it anymore, he blurted out, "Jimmy!"

"Jimmy? What about him?" Before Kid could answer, though, she quickly added, "Oh you mean you used to listen to him and maybe Cody goin' on about all the ladies they've had in their lives? I wouldn't take too much stock in what Cody has to say on the subject but I have a feelin' Jimmy might be more reliable."

Kid shook his head as he still thought the dresser across the room seemed mighty interesting. "No, I, um, I kinda, well, I went to Jimmy for some advice." Kid finished the last part of the sentence in a hurry, acting as if saying it fast would take away some of the trouble that he knew he was in.

"You went to Jimmy for advice? About me? About us? About this?" Lou's voice had a shrill to it by the time she was finished. It had been humiliating enough being teased by Buck the few times he'd caught her ogling Kid when he wasn't looking but to know that Kid had gone to Jimmy to talk about what they were doing this evening and three other times before this was beyond her capabilities to think clearly of how she felt about that.

"Well you had me all flustered, Lou!" Kid moved until he was now facing her on the bed. His hands were gesturing in all directions one moment then running through his hair the next. "I kiss you and you kiss me back then when I do something as simple as ask you to dance, you back off. That makes me back off and that's when you decide you don't want that and you start actin' like you want me to kiss you or do somethin' more only I wasn't sure what that 'somethin' more' should be so I went to Jimmy seein' as how he's had more experience in this area than I have. So we talked and he gave me the only advice he could - he told me to dance." The Southerner took a deep breath, feeling revived now that all that was out in the open. "All I know is that his message was loud and clear to me," he added with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Dance? That's what we did, what we're doin'? We're dancin'?"

"It has a nice ring to it, don't ya think?" Kid asked hopefully. "It ain't like any dance I ever took part in before and as much as I hate to admit it, though I won't to him so his head won't explode from bein' too full of himself, he was right with everythin' he told me." He gave her a small grin hoping she would see things his way.

"It sounds like a secret code you men have or somethin'." Lou pondered hard on what Kid had said and how she felt about their relationship being out in the open. It didn't sound like he was bragging about what they'd done, like Cody would have, but she had to be sure. "So did you go right up to Jimmy after we got back from Red Fern station?" She peered at him closely to see if he would be telling her the truth or saying the answer he knew she would want to hear.

"No! It has nothin' to do with Jimmy now. He just gave me that little push that turned us in the direction our relationship was needin'." Kid reached out and took her hand. "'Sides, it was hard enough talkin' to him about it the first time; I don't need to bring it up again."

"So I drove you to Jimmy, so to speak?" she asked with a smile as Lou let him take her hand and pull her closer to him once more. As Kid began to lean over her, Lou lowered her body once more onto her pillow. She looked up at him as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"You've drove me to places I never knew existed but I'm so glad I took the journey." Kid reached down and gave her a long kiss. When they broke apart, he shifted his body as he positioned himself over her. He reached down and caressed both her cheeks, a movement he'd started at the Red Fern station and one he found himself doing each time just before they made love.

Lou knew that gesture of his already and automatically arched her body against his in response. The two riders became lost in the stillness of the night as their bodies continued a dance they'd started nine days ago.

*** ***

Lying in the bed with the sheet once again carelessly draped over their bodies, Kid grinned as Lou's fingernails trailed up and down his arm as they had done earlier. She seemed content to just lie there and he couldn't think of anywhere else on Earth he'd rather be than with his arms wrapped around her.

"Kid," Lou said softly as she found she couldn't get enough of touching him.

"Yes." He kissed the top of her head as he waited to hear what she had to say.

"Remind me to thank Jimmy."

Kid froze for a full minute before moving into action. He pulled his arm away from her and sat up, bringing the sheet with him. "You wouldn't dare." He reached out and placing his hand on her far shoulder, turned her so she was now looking in his direction. If he'd paid more attention to her instead of what she'd said, he would have noticed the sparkle clearly evident in her eyes. "Lou, you stay away from him."

Any other time and Lou would have been hosting an argument with him about telling her what to do but since she had instigated his reaction and knew it would be coming, Lou decided to just have a nice chat with him instead, riling him up the whole time of course. "What, it's alright for you to talk to him but not me?"

"I just asked him what I should do next. It ain't like I asked him how to do it!" Kid huffed in frustration.

"Well I think you know you didn't need to ask that," she told him, feeling a blush creep over her cheeks at admitting for someone inexperienced, he didn't come across that way.

Kid's face flushed in spite of how much he wanted to tame her stubbornness. He looked away awkwardly for a moment before growing serious again and facing her once more. "You ain't gonna tell him that are ya really, Lou?"

Lou shrugged her shoulders. "You'll have to just wait and see if I do."

"That'll be torture."

She turned on her side and got up on her elbow so she was looking him squarely in the eyes. "Good, that'll be your payback for all the torture you put me through all those months you made me wait until you came to your senses."

"My senses?" Kid knew a challenge when he heard one. He smiled at her, knowing she had just slipped and provided him with his chance to give her a taste of her own medicine.

"Yep." Lou smiled back, pleased with herself for feeling she had control of the situation, only to find out the next minute that he'd managed to elude her grasp and she was once more curiously and anxiously waiting for him to make his move.

"My senses are working just fine but thanks for asking." Kid grinned mischievously at her as he moved his body so he was now leaning over her, getting the result he wanted when she dropped back onto her pillow.

"There's taste "

Kid bent down and placed a quick passionate kiss on her lips.

"Smell "

He nuzzled Lou's neck just under her ear with his nose, grinning when she moaned out of pleasure.

"Hearing "

He nodded, pleased at the happiness he could instill in her.

"Sight "

Kid used his eyes to take in her whole body, starting at her eyes and slowing moving down every inch of her, making it seem like he was seeing her through the sheet.

"And finally touch "

Keeping his eyes glued to hers, Kid took his right hand and showed it to her before he worked his way under the sheet.

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