Author's Note: Inspiried by Keith Urban's song Stupid Boy
He watched Kid sit down on the steps of the church steps as Lou rode away across the open prairie. All he could think about was Kid should have seen her leaving coming a mile away. He had. "You alright, Kid?" he asked sitting down next to him.
The look Kid shot him could have killed.
"Guess not," he said as he leaned back against the porch and propped himself up on his elbows. He felt a bit sorry for Kid.
"Y'all have a good laugh over her standing me up?" Kid growled as he watched Lou's dust trail settle.
"We ain't laughin' at ya, Kid. As a matter of fact we all feel pretty bad for ya."
"I don't need your pity," Kid replied turning to look at him, "or theirs." Kid nodded toward the door of the church.
He sat back up and met Kid's eyes. "Hardly pity, Kid," he replied his voice turning serious. "Hell, a few of us believe it's your own fault." He watched Kid's hand make a fist. "'Fore you go takin' a swing at me, hear me out."
Kid nodded but didn't relax.
"I…we see it like this, you tried to change her. Lou's like a wildflower. She'll grow really ell out on the prairie but you put her in a garden with a fence around it and she won't grow at all." He watched Kid think about what he said.
"You've been talkin' to Teaspoon too much," Kid said with a shake of his head. He could tell from Kid's expression he didn't believe what he said.
Trying to make Kid see things Lou's way he said, "What'd she tell us she wanted to do when we first started riding for the Express?" When Kid just shook his head he continued, "Even before we found out she was a girl she said she wanted to get a stake together so she could get her brother and sister back and get them a place. A place they could call home. Did you even think of going to get them for the wedding?"
"She hasn't mentioned them in a long time," Kid replied.
"Did you ever ask? I did on that run we made a few weeks ago for Teaspoon. She wanted them here but you never ask about them she said she didn't think you wanted them around."
Kid looked in the direction Lou had ridden. "I thought she wanted to have our own family."
Cody sighed as he stood up. "Kid sometimes I think you still ain't any smarter than when we started riding for the Express. You're still just a stupid boy."
Kid stood and rounded on Cody. "What do you mean?"
"You expected her to throw all her dreams away for you. You wanted her to be something she's not. You didn't appreciate what she could do but wanted her to be what you thought a lady should be." Cody hoped Kid would swing on him because he didn't believe in hitting a friend when he was down unless he swung first. "I heard all about how pretty she looked when you went after Lambert. Did you ever tell her how pretty she looked like Jimmy and Buck did?" Cody didn't realize his voice had risen. "No! Noah told me what you said about a lady not wearing a dress like that." Cody was getting angry now and decided to let Kid know how he felt. "Did you ever think about what she'd done before she joined the Express, about her past? I know…hell, we all do. It don't take a genius to figure out. She worked for that man Wicks that came looking for her friend." Cody couldn't bring himself to say outright what had happened, knew Kid got his meaning. His voice was lower as he continued. "He hurt her. We all heard her crying about it at one time or another." Cody's voice was so filled with hate and anger for Lou's pain that Kid shivered. "The way I see it we're probably the only men to ever treat her decently."
Kid stepped back as he looked past Cody. Cody turned to see what had caught Kid's attention. Jimmy was walking toward them with Rosemary Burke on his arm. Cody frowned as he turned back to Kid. There was no mistaking from the look on Kid's face what Kid had been thinking. "You son of a bitch! You thought she'd run off to find Jimmy, didn't you?"
Kid didn't have time to reply as Cody swung, landing a punch to his midsection. Jimmy grabbed Cody's arm as he was about to take another swing at Kid. "What's going on?"
Cody let his arm drop. He scowled at Jimmy and then turned back to Kid. "Lou's gone."
Jimmy started to say something but Cody's next words stopped him in his tracks. "Good thing, I believe since neither of you deserve a woman like her." Cody looked at both his friends. "Ladies like Lou are hard to find. Ones that are as good on the inside as they look on the outside." Cody tipped his hat at Rosemary with a "ma'am" before leaving his friends staring after him.
"What the hell was that about?" Jimmy growled as he looked at Kid.
Kid looked at Jimmy. "Cody telling me how stupid I am." He turned and looked to where the prairie had swallowed Lou. Looking back to Jimmy he said, "Lou's gone, and according to Cody we're just a couple of stupid boys that did know what we had and now she'd gone."
"Hell, Kid I could have told you that," Jimmy replied with a sad grin.
"Yeah, but I wouldn't have listened."
Author's Note: Thanks, Raye for listening and encouraging me to write this one.