Topic #18: Thundermug
Thunder What? by: Cindy
Risky Business by: Cindy
You Get Used To Somebody by: Lori
The Art of Educating Mr. Cody by: Donna Ree
Thunder Mug by: Sameena
Thunder What?
by: Cindy

“Ouch! Watch the leg now. You’re too close to the banister! Hey, watch the wall. Ow, don’t bump so much! Be real careful at the door now. Go slow. Watch that leg!”

The complaints finally stopped as Buck and Jimmy negotiated the last turn through the door and deposited Cody – none too gently – on the bed in the spare room.

“Hey, gentle now!” Cody objected. “I’m injured.”

“Yeah, and I’m gonna injure you more if you don’t shut up,” Jimmy grumbled.

“I was risking my life in the service of Russell, Majors & Waddell,” Cody insisted. “Taking on that dangerous new mustang, just to help the company. Not my fault at all that I broke my leg.”

“Might have helped if you’d been paying attention to the horse instead of showing off for Missy Hamilton,” Buck pointed out.

Before Cody could answer he was interrupted by the other riders coming into the room. “How you feeling, Cody?” Kid asked.

Cody reached for his injured leg and moaned softly. “It’s real painful, Kid. Gonna take a while to heal, I’ll bet.”

“Missy and her pa are gonna send the doc out when they get back to Sweetwater,” Lou said.

Cody sat up a little straighter. “Missy’s gone? Did she, uh . . . did she leave any message for me?”

The others looked at each other and shook their heads. “No, just said it had been a real entertaining visit,” Kid answered.

Entertaining? Cody groaned and fell back on the pillows. “I may never walk again,” he complained.

“Now, Cody, the break wasn’t that bad,” Teaspoon said as he entered the room. “Me an’ Buck set it just fine. Doc’ll be out soon to verify that.”

Cody moaned again, fussing with the pillows. “I’m in a lot o’ pain here,” he said. “Can someone help me?” A busted leg following a heroic ride in front of a beautiful lady – and she only thought it was entertaining?

Ike finally stepped forward and helped arrange the pillows behind Cody’s head. Then he helped the injured rider slide up a little higher in the bed.

“Cody, is there anything you need?” Emma asked from the doorway.

“Well, I could sure use some o’ that lemonade you make, Emma,” Cody replied. “Maybe some fried chicken, or some bacon. With a couple of eggs. And is there any of that pie left? A slice of that would be good. Or maybe some cookies.” He paused, moaning again. “I could be laid up here for a long time.”

While the others just rolled their eyes and groaned, Emma walked over to the bed and pulled a blanket up over Cody. “I’ll see what I can find,” she promised as she headed out of the room.

“Well, guess you’ll be needin’ something else too,” Teaspoon said. “I’m gonna go find you a thundermug.” He exited the room, leaving many puzzled looks behind him.

“A thunder what?” Jimmy asked.

“I think he said thundermug,” Kid said.

Buck watched Ike’s hand signs for a moment, then he shook his head. “I don’t know what that is either, Ike.”

Lou was standing near the window and she pointed outside. “Looks like there’s a thunderstorm movin’ in,” she said. “Maybe it catches rain or something.”

“What would that have to do with a broken leg?” Jimmy asked.

“There’s a well and pump right out front if he needs water,” Kid pointed out.

“Well, Teaspoon knows a lot of Indian remedies and stuff,” Lou said. “Maybe fresh rainwater is better for healing.”

“Nothing I’ve ever heard of,” Buck observed.

Cody had been listening to the conversation, trying to answer the mystery for himself. “You know, a thunderstorm is usually real big,” he said. “Maybe it’s just a real big mug. Then I wouldn’t have to bother Emma – or any of you – for a refill so often.” He paused and then added hopefully, “Maybe Teaspoon’ll even fill it with beer – or whiskey! For medicinal purposes.”

“Medicinal my ass,” Jimmy said. “Maybe he’ll fill it with rainwater and throw it on you, wash some of these stupid ideas out of your head.”

Buck was grinning at something Ike was signing. “Ike says thunderstorms aren’t just big, they’re LOUD. So maybe a thundermug is something to quiet Cody down.”

While the others all laughed, Cody sputtered. “I’m the injured party here! Can’t get no respect from any of you for all my sacrifices.”

“Sacrifices?” Jimmy shook his head. “What sacrifices?”

“Could have been one of you on that dangerous horse,” Cody answered. “But no, I offered to risk my own life so none of you had to.”

“Cody, it was me on that horse,” Buck pointed out. “He tossed me three times – then Missy showed up and you insisted you’d show us all how it was done!”

“Hmmmmph.” Cody pulled the blanket up higher. “Hope Teaspoon gets here with that thundermug soon,” he muttered. “All this jawin’ is making me thirsty.”

“Might want to wait and find out what it really is before you get your hopes up,” Kid suggested.

Before Cody could come up with a good reply they heard footsteps hurrying up the stairs and then Teaspoon came into the room. “Knew there was a reason I been savin’ this out in the barn,” he said.

Everyone turned to look at what the stationmaster held in his hands – and then everyone but Cody started to laugh.

That’s a thundermug?” Lou asked between giggles.

“Hope you’re real thirsty, Cody,” Kid added, then he laughed even harder.

“This here is the finest example of a thundermug in these here parts,” Teaspoon said, looking around the room in confusion. What was everyone laughing about? He rubbed a hand lovingly over the curve of the thundermug.

Cody just stared at Teaspoon. What he held wasn’t anything for catching rainwater, or sipping beer – or sipping anything else. It was white, shiny porcelain, large and round with handles on each side. There were delicate flowers painted all around the sides. It was . . .

“Uh uh,“ Cody said, shaking his head.

Jimmy was holding his sides from laughing so hard. “Cody, you said yourself you might be laid up in this room for a long time.”

“Well, I think that was the shock talking,” Cody answered quickly. He tossed back the blanket and moved his leg. “See, it ain’t really that bad.”

“Cody, you were practically on your deathbed just a little while ago,” Buck said, gasping for air after laughing so hard.

“I think there may be a miraculous recovery coming on,” Kid said. He held his hands skyward, shaking them. “Praise the lord!”

Teaspoon just stared at them all, still not understanding fully – what was so funny about a thundermug? Obviously, he’d missed something while he was out retrieving it. Cody looked absolutely pale. “Boys, I think we should let Cody rest now while Emma gets the food ready. He’s had quite a shock.” He set the thundermug on the chair by the side of the bed and started to herd the other riders out of the room. “You need any help getting over there to . . . make thunder, you just call, Cody.”

Cody just stared at the chair. “I ain’t sittin’ on something with daisies on it!”

Buck stuck his head back into the room. “Those are roses, Cody. And I’m sure it’ll smell like a rose after you’re . . .” He never finished as Teaspoon pulled him out of the room and closed the door.

Cody was still staring at the chair. There was no way – NO WAY – he’d be caught dead on that. Well, he’d have to be dead to be on it. It was too much to even consider using it. Daisies . . . roses . . . didn’t matter. It was still a flowery chamber pot!


Teaspoon was halfway down the stairs when he heard it. He just smiled to himself. “Sounds like the thunder’s startin’ already.”

Risky Business
by: Cindy

Buck followed Emma into the store, looking around quickly to find out where Tompkins was. He was relieved to find the shopkeeper over behind the counter helping Mrs. Crampton with something. With any luck he could help Emma get the supplies they needed and get out again without drawing undue attention from the man.

He took the empty box Emma handed him and walked with her as she paused to peruse various items. Some of the items wound up in the box after meeting with her approval. All the while they got closer to the counter, but Tompkins remained busy, so all was well.

Emma checked her list. “Except for the bags of feed, that should just about do it,” she said. “I just need a few spices that Mr. Tompkins keeps behind the counter.”

Oh, great, Buck thought to himself. That was the last direction he wanted to go. But the box had gotten rather heavy so he couldn’t very well hand it to Emma, which meant there wasn’t much choice. He realized she was watching him, so he tried to smile. Emma knew what it cost him each time he came to the store – but she also knew it was important that he keep trying. And in some ways he had to agree. Attitudes would never change if he didn’t keep trying.

Sometimes he just got really tired of trying.

Buck took a deep breath and smiled at Emma. “The counter,” he said. Might as well get it over with.

Mrs. Crampton was just leaving as they got to the counter. “Good day, Mr. Tompkins,” Emma greeted.

Tompkins nodded. “Miss Shannon.” Then he turned to glare at Buck. These Pony Express people knew he didn’t want the Indian in his store – why did they keep bringing him here?

Emma was just about to ask for the spices when a voice interrupted them from the doorway. “Excuse me, I’m looking for the store proprietor.”

All eyes turned toward the door, drawn by the very definite European accent. The man who stood there was fairly short, not quite as tall as Emma. He was stocky, with a round face topped off by spectacles. Gray hair formed a ring around the bottom half of his head, with the top half quite bald.

“I’m the owner,” Tompkins said. He walked out from behind the counter. “Can I help you with something?”

“Ernst Heickel,” the stranger said, holding out his hand. “I sent you a letter a few months back, explaining that I’d be coming through the area.”

“Oh, right,” Tompkins answered as he shook Heickel’s hand. The man had proposed a business deal he’d found very interesting – and potentially very lucrative. How could he forget something like that? “Welcome to Sweetwater.”

“Yes, thank you,” Ernst replied. “It seems to be a charming town.”

“Lots of good people here,” Tompkins said.

From the glare the shopkeeper cast in his direction, Buck guessed he probably wasn’t being counted in the ‘good’ category.

“Well, when you replied, you said you would be interested in my merchandise,” Ernst said. “Do you still wish to sell thundermugs here?”

“You did say they were fine German craftsmanship, right?” Tompkins asked.

“Oh, the finest! Our craftsmen are true artists.”

Tompkins just smiled and nodded. “Then I’m definitely interested,” he said. “Couple of German fellas just bought the saloon a few months back. Started brewing beer the authentic German way too – good stuff! I think folks’ll be real glad to have those German thundermugs available for that beer!”

Ernst paused a moment, a bit confused. Of course, where there was beer being consumed, there might well be a call for thundermugs. “Yes, well, your letter said perhaps a dozen. Is that still correct – or would you perhaps like more?” It never hurt to ask.

Tompkins thought quickly. When he’d first heard from Heickel, the Schmidt brothers hadn’t yet arrived in town – and their beer hadn’t yet made an impression on the townspeople. Now, it was very popular. That seemed like something he should be able to cash in on. And he remembered seeing all those ornate German beer steins out east before he’d moved his family west. He didn’t really know the Thunder brand of the mugs, but he was sure all the new lovers of German beer would also love the mugs. “Actually, I’ll take three dozen, if you’ve got them.”

“Three dozen?” Ernst was really puzzled now – he’d never had such a large order, not even in a big city. “Well, yes, we have that many,” he said.

“Excellent!” He thought back to the agreed-on price from the letters. “Now I know what we agreed to for a dozen,” he said. “But since I’m buying a lot more, what about a discount?” Never let it be said that someone got the better of William Tompkins in a business deal!

“Yes, I could offer you ten percent less,” Ernst agreed. Even with that, the sale would more than cover the cost of his whole trip, and make the rest of the journey much easier. The wagon would be much lighter, and he wouldn’t have so much concern about breakage going through the mountains.

“It’s a deal,” Tompkins said, shaking the other man’s hand. “You got them mugs outside now?”

“The wagon is just outside, yes,” Ernst answered. “I and my assistant will bring in three dozen thundermugs.”

“I’ll have your money ready,” Tompkins said. He watched as the other man disappeared out the door, then he turned back to the counter. “I’ll get that order added up for you shortly, Miss Shannon. Gotta finish up this business first.”

Emma had just watched the whole discussion in amazement. It was usually hard to get Tompkins to stock more than one of anything that wasn’t considered a necessity. And now he was asking for three dozen thundermugs – when most of his customers lived outside of town? “Mr. Tompkins, I know it’s really none of my business, but do you really think you can sell that many thundermugs?”

“Why, sure!” Tompkins answered confidently. “I’m sure a lady like you wouldn’t know, but that beer the Schmidts brew is a damn fine drink. People are gonna be lining up to buy a real authentic German mug for their real authentic German beer.”

Mug? Beer? Understanding hit Emma and Buck at virtually the same moment and they looked at each other in amazement.

“Mr. Tompkins,” Buck started. “I’m not sure you understand . . .”

“I understand everything I need to, boy,” Tompkins answered angrily.

Buck took a deep breath. “But Mr. Tompkins, a thundermug . . .”

Tompkins slammed his fist on the counter. “I don’t need no advice from a dumb Indian!” he shouted.

Buck bit back an angry retort and took another deep breath. He was debating what to say next when he felt Emma’s hand on his arm.

“Buck, I think Mr. Tompkins is right,” she said. “He’s made his deal, and he doesn’t need advice from us.” She put her hand to her mouth, trying to stifle the laughter that threatened to break out.

Buck just looked at her, momentarily confused. But then he saw the twinkle in her eye, and he understood. “You’re right, Emma.”

“Of course she’s right,” Tompkins declared. “Don’t know why they keep lettin’ that Indian come to town,” he muttered under his breath as he headed toward the back room to get the money for Heickel.

Buck waited until the man was out of sight and then he turned to Emma. “Tompkins doesn’t know what he’s buying.”

“I know,” Emma replied. “But Buck, you can’t teach people if they don’t want to learn.”

She had barely finished talking when the door opened, admitting Heickel and another man. Each of them had a large box in his arms.

Emma walked over to them as they put the boxes down on the floor just inside the door. “So these are the German thundermugs?”

“Yes, madam,” Heickel answered, bowing. “The finest craftsmanship you will find!”

“I’m sure they are,” Emma said. “Would you mind if I took a look?”

“It would be my pleasure, dear lady.” Heickel pried open one of the boxes and pulled out a thundermug. He looked at it with obvious pride and then handed it over. “The finest in workmanship!”

Emma took the thundermug, holding it with both hands by the handles. She had to admit that it was fine work. The porcelain was shiny and white, and the painting on the sides depicted an idyllic alpine meadow. “It’s lovely,” she said. Not something she’d want to drink beer out of, however.

Heickel beamed, then stepped aside as his assistant brought in another box. “I should go help,” he said. “There are only three thundermugs in each box so that they may be packed safely. There are several more boxes therefore.”

“Oh, of course,” Emma replied. “Thank you for opening one.” She waited for the man to leave and then turned to Buck. She grinned and said, “Well, they are fine craftsmanship!”

Buck just smiled – and then he shook his head and laughed. “I guess they’d better be. Tompkins is going to be selling thundermugs for a long time.”

The rest of the boxes came into the store, filling up the entryway. Heickel had just added the last box to the pile when Tompkins came out of the back room. The shopkeeper had his head down, counting out some money. He looked up and saw Heickel. “Well, here’s the money,” he said. “It’s all there.”

“I am sure it is,” Heickel replied as he took the money. He extended his hand. “It has been a great pleasure doing business with you.”

Tompkins returned the handshake – and then stopped suddenly. “What the hell are all those big boxes doing there?” He saw the open box and walked over, pulling out the piece Emma had been admiring. “What’s all this?”

“Why, the thundermugs, of course,” Heickel answered. He didn’t understand what the problem was. They had clearly negotiated for three dozen thundermugs.

Tompkins was fuming. “No, no, no, they’re supposed to be MUGS! These . . . these are chamber pots!

Heickel nodded, still confused. “Yes, some call them that. Chamber pot, thundermug, it is all the same.”

Tompkins just stood there, staring at the huge pot. He was quite literally beyond words.

Heickel waited, but when the shopkeeper didn’t say anything else, he decided it was time to leave. “Well, good day to you then, sir. And to you, dear lady.” He bowed in Emma’s direction and then headed out the door.

Tompkins finally shook his head and looked up. “These ain’t beer steins.”

“No, they’re not,” Emma agreed, trying not to laugh. “They’re the thundermugs you negotiated for.”

“But I thought . . . I mean . . . “ Tompkins stammered, not even sure of what he was trying to say or ask.

Oh, it was just getting too hard not to laugh. “Mr. Tompkins, we’ll just let you deal with your new inventory,” Emma said as she started for the door. “I have a couple of other errands to run in town, so we’ll come back for our supplies a little later today.” When I can face him again without bursting out laughing, she added to herself.

Tompkins just nodded absently, still staring in shock at his newest purchase. What was he going to do with three dozen of . . . THESE?

Buck followed Emma to the door, but when he got there he just couldn’t resist turning back. “Mr. Tompkins?” When the storekeeper finally looked up, he added, “Just remember, the ‘dumb Indian’ did try to warn you.” And then he slipped out the door.

He found Emma waiting for him at the corner, and then they couldn’t wait any longer. They both laughed, longer and louder than either of them had laughed in a very long time. They drew strange stares from passersby – but they didn’t even notice.

When Emma could finally breathe again, she put a hand on Buck’s arm to steady herself. “Let’s go find Sam,” she suggested. “He’ll want to hear this!”

Buck just grinned and nodded. Sam would definitely want to hear this story, as would Teaspoon and the other riders. He offered Emma his arm and they started toward the Marshal’s office, still laughing.

As they walked, Buck snuck a quick glance back at the store. Maybe coming to town wasn’t always so bad after all.

You Get Used To Somebody
by: Lori

A/N: It's helpful to read Telluride before this one. I threw off my betas...wicked woman that I am. LOL

I never dreamed when I was letting you go
That I would wake up and miss you this much
I guess you get used to somebody
I guess you get used to bein’ loved

- You Get Used to Somebody, Tim McGraw

It had been weeks since the restlessness had descended on him. His mind settled, his tired body finally claimed the sleep it was seeking and he was able to lock the thoughts away once again. For nearly a month Cody was able to forget those days with Lou, could lay next to his wife and soak up the love she offered him, that he shared with her.

Then today the quiet peace that returned to his life was shattered.

Louise had replied sooner than he expected, sooner than he anticipated. She said she was feeling melancholy for days past. Her children were grown, living their own lives, she wanted to hang on to old friendships and not let as much time pass between letters. She never said anything about her husband, and he never asked.

It was a wound that still bled if he paid it too much heed. To think of her arrival with Theresa, Jeremiah, and him. Mere months after they had parted ways, she had found someone who could give her everything she was craving. Stability, security, a permanent home for them to raise a family in. And the family had come quickly.

They had remained in contact after he left. He took the winnings from the poker table and found a few investors who saw the potential in his plan, and put together his Wild West Show. It opened to success, bringing in the crowds of Easteners who longed to experience the lifestyle, but feared heading out beyond the safe confines of their sheltered homes. He had found the fame he’d always sought.

He invited her to come to a show, sent tickets on the train for her siblings and her, had planned a special box for their attendance. He barely allowed himself to think of it, certainly didn’t voice the thoughts aloud, but he hoped she would change her mind. Hoped she would reconsider his offer, realize that Theresa and Jeremiah could still be educated, have the family she wanted for them.

He polished every piece of tack in the show in the days before they came. Washed and groomed the horses, paying special attention to Thundermug, his personal horse. If the others noticed or suspected they had the grace not to say anything. He wished someone had called him a fool and brought him back down to earth.

They arrived during a rehearsal and he was so excited when the call came across the arena that they were there. Kicking his mount into a gallop, he pulled up beside them with a flourish and leapt down, anxious to welcome them, to take her in his arms and hug her. Just before he could she held up her hand, effectively stopping him.

“Cody, I’d…I’d like you to meet my husband, Jonathon,” she said, her voice hinting at her nerves.

The showman he was becoming hid his surprise, and his disappointment. He had fallen in love with her, and she had married someone else. Swallowing the bitter taste of hurt, he shook her husband’s hand and kissed her quickly on the cheek, unable to look in her eyes. Their time together was over, now he just had to figure out how to accept it.

The Art of Educating Mr. Cody
by: Donna Ree

Ike grinned broadly and nudged Buck in the side. Pointing across Tompkins’ store, he signed, *Thundermug* .

“Ike, did I just read you right? Did you say Thunder cup?” Cody asked.

Ike shook his head and signed again.

“He said Thundermug, you dolt.” Said Lou, as she swatted at Cody’s shoulder.

Cody looked puzzled at Lou, Ike and Buck. Clearly they knew exactly what a thundermug was.

Not wanting to be left out and seeming to be dumb, he went along with them, acting as if he knew what they were talking about.

“Of course he said thundermug. I was just joking with him. Geez, Lou.” Came Cody’s tart reply.

Buck spoke up, stating the obvious, “You have no idea what a thundermug is. Do you, Cody?”

“Of course I do, it’s that thing-a-ma-gig over there next to the window.” Cody pointed in the general direction Ike had pointed earlier. Hoping that would suffice for an answer, he began to casually browsing the store.

“Plannin’ on sewing somethin’, Cody?” Lou asked.

Turning beet-red when he realized he was looking at bolts of cloth, he immediately turned around and started looking at the assorted canned goods Tompkins had in great supply.

Ike signed something to Buck and Lou and the pair burst out in laughter.

Cody turned, glaring at the three of them.

“What’s so funny?” He asked.

Ike pointed at him.

“Me?” Cody said.

Ike nodded. Then signed, *You don’t know what it is.*

“Leave off. I know what it is. You know what it is. Buck and Lou know what it is. End of story.”

But as Cody was turning to look at the ever interesting canned goods again, he caught sight of Ike signing, *Show me.*

Nervously, Cody walked over in the general direction he had seen Ike point earlier. Not knowing what item to pick, he realized he stood there a little too long when he heard Buck snicker.

Wanting to prove the group wrong, Cody grabbed the first item he could reach. The laughter became even louder. He slammed the item down and reached for another. Still more laughter. He picked up something else. Even more laughter, if that was possible. He put the items down, turned and threw his hands into the air.

“Alright. I give up. So what it is?” Cody asked.

“Well it’s not a bottle of cologne.” Replied Buck.

“And it’s not a bottle of rose water either.” Lou said.

*But you were close with the toilet powder.* Ike signed.

“Then what is it?!” Cody exclaimed.

“It’s that portable commode over there.” Tompkins said, not being able to hold back any longer. Coming out from around the counter, he chuckled, asking, “Where were you raised, Cody, under a rock?”

“No. Just never heard the slang for a commode, I guess.” Cody finally admitted.

Lou spoke up, “I guess there are certain advantages of being raised in an orphanage and a mission school, eh, Buck?”

“Yeah. I wonder what else we can educate Cody about?” He wondered aloud.

*How about…* Cody couldn’t make out exactly what Ike had said. But of course it was followed by laughter.

Thunder Mug
by: Sameena

“Take a sip,” Cody said, trying to encourage his son to drink. He knew Kit had been ill, but he did not think it was anything serious. So he had gone on the road, he had show matters to attend to.

He expected to see his son running about when he returned, not this, he thought, swallowing the tears that closed his throat. Kit had not improved, he had worsened. And nothing he did helped. He could not get his son to eat, drink, sleep. He could do nothing but sit by his bedside.

Cody moved the mug back and forth, hoping the smell of the broth would entice Kit into drinking.

“Don’t wanna,” Kit muttered thickly.

“Not even from this mug?” Cody asked, his eyes widening in surprise.

Kit frowned at him.

“This is a very special mug, you know,” Cody informed his son and he felt himself slipping into the role of ringmaster. Was it what Kit needed right now? Who knew? But maybe it was what he needed.

“A thunder mug,” Cody continued, racking his brain for a story, any story. And for some reason Buck Cross’ face came to mind. It surprised him, as he had not thought about Buck in a long time.

“You see there was a trickster living among the Kiowa,” Cody said. “And everyone saw this trickster as the tribe’s savior. It was the dead of winter and the chief knew if his hunters did not bring in some food soon, they would all die. And the trickster said he would bring food, but first the Kiowa had to prove themselves worthy.”

Cody paused when he saw Kit struggle to sit up. Cody adjusted the pillow behind him, hoping sitting up would help him breathe better.

“So the chief asked how could his people prove themselves and the trickster told him that they had to bring him offerings. Food, clothing, so he could array the gifts around him and not touch a single one of them. The trickster told the chief he would fast in his teepee, alone and naked.” Cody smiled when Kit giggled.

“He said that by having the comforts of food and warm clothing nearby tempting him, would prove to the gods that he was worthy and by extension, his tribe was worthy.”

“But he was bad, right?” Kit asked, coughing.

“You got it,” Cody replied. “He wasn’t gonna fast, he was gonna run off with all the tribes valuables.”

Kit’s face puckered with worry.

“But the chief’s son suspected something was up,” Cody added.

“What was his name?” Kit asked.

“Running Buck,” Cody replied, without thinking. “But everyone just called him Buck.”

Kit smiled. “Like Uncle Buck.”

“Just like Uncle Buck,” Cody said. “This Buck was a smart fella and he knew what the trickster was up to, so he decided to trick the trickster.”

“How?” Kit asked.

“He took a mug, a very special mug called a thunder mug. He knew if he drank from it he would become extremely powerful. So he filled it with broth and drank it all,” Cody began.

“You’re just trying to trick me!” Kit exclaimed loudly.

Cody laughed. “Okay, you caught me.” He leaned close to his son and hugged him with one arm. “I’m just so worried about you.”

“Gimme that,” Kit said, reaching for the mug and Cody was pleased to see his son drank half the broth.

Cody kissed his forehead as he stood up and pulled the covers over his shoulders. “Get some sleep, Mister.”

Kit yawned. “I’ll try.”

As Cody stepped out of the bedroom, he shut the door behind him.

“Did he eat anything?” Cody’s wife, Louisa, asked anxiously.

Cody gave her the half-empty mug. “I think he’s gonna be just fine.”

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