Jimmy woke in the dull light of a not quite half born morning and looked at the form sleeping beside him. She was curled with her back to him and each was sleeping so close to the edge that at least one more body could have laid between them in the double bed. In fact he had begun to lose count of the actual number that had stacked up to separate the pair.

He knew his decision to go with her had not been a popular one and he'd had mixed feelings himself after Noah's funeral but he'd pushed past them and stayed with her. It seemed the right choice at first as there had once been nights of frantic heated passion between them and he would wake so entangled with her that he scarcely knew where his body ended and hers began. Their days at that time were spent joined in a passion for the cause. Now it seemed nothing joined them and there was nothing left between them but air.

Jimmy still believed in the cause, still believed no man had the right to own another. He just no longer believed the ends always justified the means. Furthermore, he no longer believed that she was in the fight for the same reason he was.

There was no love in her passion anymore-not for him or for the abolitionist movement-only bitterness and blood lust. Jimmy would admit the desire within him to make someone pay for Noah's death but everyday he felt the body count rising ever higher weighing on him more and more. But this was supposed to be a movement that stood for things. It was supposed to be a positive change a bettering of things. It was never meant to be a crusade against anything or anyone. It wasn't enough to believe slavery wrong; you had to be for equality, for human dignity, for something greater than any one person or any one person's pain or grief.

Jimmy rolled out of bed, a short trip since he'd been hanging half off the mattress anyway, and stood at the window watching the light take over the dark that had been the night sky. He had worshipped her, had lusted for her-and he hated that Kid was right about that. He had seen her has some frail and priceless thing on some pedestal that he was meant to protect and admire. No doubt she had loved the attention he showered on her even as she had made a show of deflecting his attentions toward the cause.

He knew he'd been used, had known it all along. In the beginning, Jimmy'd had no problem with using his reputation as Wild Bill for the side he believed right. Now he could see it was never truly the cause that had been using him and it wasn't about ending slavery anymore, at least entirely. It was Rosemary using him to exact her revenge for her losses, first her son and then her husband. She didn't want a lover or a partner or even a friend. She wanted a lap dog that she could train to attack and then still come back panting and wagging his tail after every kill. He knew he'd become just that too. He just couldn't do it anymore.

Jimmy dressed, buckled his guns around his hips and placed his hat on his head before moving to leave. Rosemary's voice stopped him.

"James," she said, "Where are you going?"

"Don't know exactly," he said shaking his head, "Just away."

She sat up and shot him that manipulative pout that once held such power over him. He could now only look at it, at her, with disdain.

"When will you be back?" she asked.

"I won't be."

"You can't mean that," she argued with the panic of losing her useful prize creeping into her voice. "The cause needs you. I need you."

"You need someone alright," he said bitterly, "But it ain't me."


It Ain't Me, Babe

Go 'way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I'm not the one you want, babe
I'm not the one you need
You say you're lookin' for someone
Never weak but always strong
To protect you an' defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain't me, babe
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I'm not the one you want, babe
I will only let you down
You say you're lookin' for someone
Who will promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes for you
Someone to close his heart
Someone who will die for you an' more
But it ain't me, babe
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Go melt back into the night, babe
Everything inside is made of stone
There's nothing in here moving
An' anyway I'm not alone
You say you're lookin' for someone
Who'll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
An' to come each time you call
A lover for your life an' nothing more
But it ain't me, babe
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Email JennaLynn