“Hey Lou, got a minute?” Kid called to Lou as she rode in. Lightening was covered in lather and breathing heavy from the quick ride he’d just been asked to make.

“Sure but you’ll either have to wait until I cool him down or come in the barn with me.” Lou responded indicating the steaming animal.

“OK” Kid answered smiling as he followed Lou into the barn.

“Katie seems really restless, is she feeling ok?” Lou asked as they rubbed down Lightening together.

“Well, that’s kinda what I wanted to talk to you about. Buck says she’s coming into season and she could be bred if I wanted to try….” Kid stopped as Teaspoon and Jimmy came into the barn.

They exchanged pleasantries and Teaspoon explained to Jimmy about some sort of job he was supposed to have done but somehow it had been forgotten. Jimmy grumbled something about Cody and left to get the necessary tools and supplies. Teaspoon continued through the barn and left out the back door. 

“OK, like I was saying… wanna try and have a beautiful baby?” Kid pointed to Lightening and Katie and smiled.

Outside the barn Teaspoon nearly choked on the ladle of water he’d just begun to sip. Moments later he heard Lou’s answer and was sure he was going to have a heart attack.

“Kid, I think that’s a wonderful idea. I can’t wait! When do you think we can start trying?” Lou’s words were followed by a sound that could only have come from a kiss.

Teaspoon was about to go and see if he could get some advice from Rachel, he was pretty sure he could talk to Kid but he wasn’t sure he could have a talk to Lou without blushing. He was certain he’d heard everything when Kid’s words almost caused the heart attack he’d imagined himself having.

“I’m not sure, Buck’s had more experience then either of us so I think he better help us. I’d feel better if he was there to make sure everything goes OK. I know he’s been successful before, about six times I believe he said…” Kid’s words were also followed by a kissing sound.

“Me too, I want this to work and I don’t want anyone hurt, I think we’re done with Lightening. Rest up boy. Lets go find Buck and talk to him.” Lou said as she patted the horse and the couple walked out of the barn so Teaspoon couldn’t hear the rest of their conversation.

Teaspoon stumbled to the house and into the kitchen where Rachel was preparing dinner. She looked up and was shocked by his appearance. “Teaspoon are you alright? You’re white as a sheet….sit, I’ll get you some water.”

“I think I need something stronger….I…I…Kid and Lou…ooohhhh” He mumbled sitting heavily in the offered chair and putting his head in his hands.

“Are they alright? I thought I just saw them, what’s happened?” Rachel asked in alarm, craning her neck to look out the window and pouring two glasses of amber liquid, one for each.

“They’re fine, more than fine actually. I just overheard them talking….I’m getting too old for this.” He drained his glass in one gulp and when Rachel left her untouched glass on the table to look out the front window, checking on the young couple; he drained hers too.

“They look OK; they’re sitting on the bunkhouse porch talking with Buck.” Rachel said walking back into the room. Teaspoon groaned.

“They’re plannin’ on having a baby…and they’re asking Buck to help them…apparently he’s the local expert. He’s going to coach them, Rachel, he’s going to be there while they…while they do it….the two of them and Lou….How do I? What do I? I don’t even know where to start. What have I done wrong……” Teaspoon shook his head and looked at a loss.

“BUCK?” Rachel asked incredulously? “I hadn’t exactly figured him as bein’ all that experienced…Other than Tompkins daughter I’ve never even seen him with a woman. Kid and Lou, well I thought they….um, never mind. Do you want me to talk to Lou?”

“Would you? Or maybe we should try to talk to them together?” Teaspoon reached for the bottle again but Rachel snatched it away from him.

“That’s not gonna help. We’ll need clear heads for this. Dinner is almost ready, we’ll see if we can get them alone tonight, all three of them.” Rachel returned to her cooking and Teaspoon sat there, head in hands wondering what he could say to prevent the threesome from carrying out their plan.

 Rachel carried the dinner over to the bunkhouse and was surprised to find it deserted. She walked outside and rang the dinner bell. All the riders except Noah, who was on a long run, came out of the barn. Rachel let out a breath she didn’t realized she’d been holding and thought that at least nothing could happen with all of them there. Teaspoon apparently thought the same thing as he gave her a weak smile as the boys and Lou sat down for dinner.

The dinner conversation was the usual banter about town goings on and adventures on runs. As usual Cody had some wild story about his run and everyone laughed. They were almost done and ready to pick up the plates when Cody asked Buck, “So, Buck when do you think you can do it?” Teaspoon was glad he didn’t have anything in his mouth because he was sure it would have either choked him or splattered on the table.

“I checked her just before dinner and I think we can try tomorrow.” Buck said as he picked up his dish and headed for the sink. “I’ve got a run first thing but we can try when I get back….does that work for the two of you?” Buck asked Kid and Lou, who nodded.

“Who’s colorin’ do you think it’ll have, light brown or dark?” Jimmy mused.

“With her temperament and intelligence….” Kid added as Lou punched his arm playfully.

“His ain’t so bad either, right Cody?” Lou asked the others.

“I ain’t getting’ in that one, which ever I’m sure it’ll have those beautiful brown eyes!” Cody laughed as he too picked up his plate. Lou batted her eyes at him and smiled. Buck and Kid both laughed.

Teaspoon and Rachel just sat there with their mouths agape. They couldn’t believe their ears. “Um… Boys….” Teaspoon began but in the distance the sound of gunfire shattered the evening air and soon cries of FIRE were heard from the town. Everyone jumped into action grabbing their coats and running from the bunkhouse and into town just stopping long enough to grab buckets and shovels.

They ran toward the sounds and soon found the source of the flames. The public privy near the saloon was fully ablaze and the wind the fire generated threatened to spread the flames to neighboring buildings. Everyone pitched in and the fire was kept from spreading but everyone agreed it one of the smelliest fires they had ever been to. Two hours later the flames were out and the patrons at the saloon discovered the dark alley behind the building was a perfect place to drain off some of their excess, much to the chagrin of the saloon owners. The riders all trudged home exhausted and after quickly washing some of the smell off of their bodies and depositing their clothing in the wash bucket fell into bed and were asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows. Teaspoon’s questions would have to wait until tomorrow. Rachel checked the bunkhouse before turning in herself and was relieved to find all the riders in their respective beds sound asleep.

Buck was up and gone before sunrise and the fire was all anyone talked about at breakfast. Teaspoon decided that he’d gather the three riders together as soon as he saw Buck ride in; he was expected back just after lunch. The morning seemed to drag by for both Teaspoon and Rachel as they waited anxiously for Buck’s return, all the time keeping an eye on Lou and Kid’s activities. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The riders went about their daily chores as if nothing was planned at all.        

Just before lunch shots were heard over in the direction of the saloon. Teaspoon groaned as he reluctantly reached for his gun belt and headed toward the sounds. “Not again, not today…” He mumbled as another shot was heard followed by a loud crash. Teaspoon broke into a run and almost ran into Barnett who stumbled out of the saloon covered in plaster dust. “What in the name of…..What happened to you?”

“I finally got that rat that’s been stealing things from Miss Lucy’s room….see!” Barnett held up a dust coated, still breathing stunned squirrel. “It was sittin’ on the upper railin’ just knawin’ on a piece of bread when I spied it! I shot at it but it jumped to the lamps then ran up the rope to the center lamps, I fired at it and I fired and I got him!!! ‘Course the lamps kinda fell but I don’t think anyone got hurt….” Barnet smiled proudly looking at the squirrel. 

“Barnett how could you do something so….so…..SO STUPID? First that ain’t a rat it’s a squirrel and it ain’t dead…..” Teaspoon was interrupted by the other saloon patrons who had picked their way through the rubble and were pouring out onto the street; no one looked happy.

The owner of the saloon came over and was just about to say something when Barnett screamed, dropped the now very conscious squirrel and fired off two wild shots. The squirrel, and most of the saloon patrons, ran for cover. “The damn thing bit me!” Barnett yowled in pain holding his bleeding pinky finger.

“I’m going to bite you if you don’t stop shootin’ at that damn fancy tailed rat. Gimme your gun….NOW!” Teaspoon took the six shooter away from Barnett, “Before I really loose my temper., go over to the Doc’s and get that looked at then come back here and clean up the mess you made.” Once Barnett left Teaspoon turned to the others who had come out of hiding once Barnett had been disarmed, “Anybody else hurt?” Teaspoon and the saloon owner walked into the building to survey the damage.

It was late afternoon when Teaspoon had finally sorted everything out and was able to get back to the station. Rachel met him at the door with a stricken look on her face. “Buck’s been back for hours and the three of them have been in the barn a long time. I’ve heard them laughing and talking so maybe we’re not too late….dinner’ll be ready in a hour or so….do you want to talk to them now?”

“Let me wash up first and we’ll call them in here OK?” Teaspoon headed to the mud room and the wash basin kept, there taking a deep breath as he did so. Ten minutes later he heard Rachel call Kid, Lou and Buck over to the house. He sighed again and entered the parlor just as the three riders did. “Have a seat boys, and um, ladies. I want to talk to the three of you about what I over heard you talkin’ ‘bout yesterday in the barn and a bit at dinner. I want to be sure you know what you’re getting’ yourselves into before you go and get in too deep, if you know what I mean.” Teaspoon began.

“I’ve been thinkin’ on this awhile, Teaspoon, Lou and I had talked about it before but the timin’ just wasn’t right.” Kid answered and Lou nodded beside him.

“I know it’s a big step but I think we’re ready….” Lou added.

“It’s a lot of responsibly…” Rachel started. “Are you sure?”

“We know that Rachel, Teaspoon, but Buck’s done this before and he’s agreed to help us.”  Kid looked in Buck’s direction and he nodded.

“I’m, um, glad Buck’s helping out but, um, how’s that workin’ out…..he can’t be there all the time can he?” Teaspoon was trying very hard to stop images from forming in his mind of the three riders.

“I can be there for most of it but I’m needed mostly at the beginning and at the end, just in case there are any problems. You know, some times the little one gets stuck a bit and you have to help them out.” Buck stated and looked at Rachel’s face. “Rachel, is anything wrong?”

“No, nothing, well…..maybe, Louise, honey, are you really alright with this?” Rachel asked holding Lou’s hand.

“Sure Rachel, why? I mean it was a little scary this afternoon but Buck helped Kid get everything lined up and….” Lou was stopped by Teaspoon.

“That’s more than I need to know…. How many times did you say Buck’s done this?” Teaspoon glared at Kid and Buck.

“Um, six or seven….” Buck started but he too was cut off by gasp from Rachel and Teaspoon stood up quickly.

“Buck, I’ve only got one child and I didn’t know about Elizabeth until it was too late. I would have given everything to have been a part of her life….How in the name of God can you not even know if you have six or seven…..what about their mothers? At least I had the decency to get married…” Teaspoon stopped when he noticed the shocked looks on the three rider’s faces. 

“Teaspoon, I’ve nev…um, well I don’t have any children….what are you talking about?” Buck looked a bit pale.

“I’m talking about you and them and, and, and…..” Teaspoon was very red in the face and spluttering.

“The three of you having a baby….” Rachel finally blurted out.

“A BABY!?” all three riders answered at once.

“Yeah you know little thing cries a lot, wiggles and wets?” Teaspoon continued to splutter.

“Honey, Lou, I understand you and the others are close but having Buck there while you and Kid….It’s really just not right….” Rachel was trying to compose herself.

“I think you have the wrong idea….I didn’t coach Kid while he and Lou…..well you know…I ,um, helped them breed Katie. You know, big brown and white thing eats a lot of oats, has four legs, whinnies…. But the other might be fun to watch….OOOF!” Lou’s elbow caught Buck firmly in the ribs knocking his breath away and causing him to fall off the sofa, doubled over in pain and gasping for air.

Kid’s mouth kept opening and closing giving him a striking resemblance to a fish out of water. Rachel started to laugh and held her sides as tears streamed down her face. Teaspoon sat down in the chair nearest him. “Don’t get smart, Buck, you deserved that by the way.” He smiled at Lou. “Good job!”

“A horse? I’ve been worried ‘bout out of my head over a horse?” Rachel laughed still hugging herself.

“Well its Katie and this will be her first colt and it’s a big deal to us….how did you ever think we were talking about us? You were there at dinner last night you heard Cody and Jimmy….” Kid finally found his voice. “And Buck you really did deserve that elbow! Our horses yes, us……not in this or any other lifetime!”

The conversation was interrupted by Cody who stuck his head in the front door. “Dinner almost ready? I’m starvin’!”  

Challenge from Ty:   

Characters: Teaspoon, Kid, Lou and anyone else
Setting : -
Situation: Kid wants to breed Katy to get a foal, but Teaspoon over hears Kid and Lou talking and gets the wrong idea. He thinks they are planning a child of their own.
Mood : misunderstanding and confusion,
Reference : -
Required : Teaspoon has to try to talk Lou and Kid out of what he thinks they are planning, but both sides are thinking something different.

How’d I do? Jo

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