Lou and Kid watched as the boys picked up the bodies of Farnsworth, Saunders, and his men. They placed them in the back of the wagon and gathered all the horses. Katy was tied to the back of the wagon because Kid was riding back to Fort Kearny with Lou. The boys were going to ride along side, pulling the other horses with them.

Kid looked at Lou, still worried about how she was doing. She was being way too quiet and so unlike herself, but he knew better than to question her again. He planned on keeping an eye on her, though. It was his fault she got into this mess having to pose as Margaret, and almost getting shot by Saunders.

If he had never let Margaret Calhoun have his room in Seneca, then Lou wouldn't have had to risk her life again. All for a stupid piece of paper, with the schedule for the shipment of gold that was going to be delivered to Washington. The war was getting way out of control. Too many people were dying.

Kid helped Lou into the wagon and climbed up next to her. "Let's get these horses and men back to Fort Kearny, then we can go home."

"That's okay with me. I've had enough of this spy stuff." Cody replied.

They headed out for Fort Kearny. Kid pulled the wagon to the front of the group as the boys followed along with the extra horses. Lou still hadn't said anything yet. He wanted to put his arm around her and pull her close to him, but wasn't sure she'd appreciate the gesture.

"I'm sorry Lou, for everything." Kid finally said.

She looked at him confused. "You don't have anything to be sorry for Kid. I'm the one who volunteered to play Margaret. I'm the one who should apologize. I didn't think Saunders would recognize me, and I burned the schedule."

"I could care less about that schedule Lou. You're the only one I care about. I was so afraid I'd lost you when I saw Saunders holding that gun on you." He said.

She looked at him and gave him a small smile. "I knew you boys would figure it out. When Saunders dropped my purse, I knew I would be okay."

"My heart almost stopped when Buck found it." He said and took her hand.

She squeezed his hand. "Everything is fine now Kid. We're alright and we'll be on our way soon."

She pulled her hand out of his and looped her arm through his so he could use both of his hands to hold the reins. She lay her head on his shoulder, happy to be done with the whole mess. She just wanted to go back to Rock Creek and get on with their lives as Pony Express riders.

Kid kissed her on the top of her head. He loved the way she looked in that dress. She was pretty to him no matter what, but dressed as she was, she was beautiful. He'd like to see her dressed this way more often. Maybe they could take a run where they'd have some time to stop, and just be themselves. She could wear a dress and he could take her out somewhere for supper.

"You look pretty in that dress Lou; I meant to tell you last night." He told her.

She kept her head on his shoulder and smiled. "Thank you Kid, it feels really good to wear it."

They were getting closer to Fort Kearny and Lou wasn't ready to deal with the marshal there. She'd have to explain why Saunders was forcing her to meet Farnsworth and what happened to the schedule. She held onto Kid's arm even tighter and felt him place a hand over hers. She knew he'd stay by her side no matter what.


They explained to the marshal what had happened and that it was connected to Margaret's murder. He sent them back to the hotel and told them to get some supper while he took care of the dead men and horses. Jimmy and Buck took their horses back to the livery where Lightning waited, while Cody went to the hotel with Kid and Lou.

"Cody, go get us a table while I take Lou upstairs so she can clean up." Kid told his friend, and watched him head for the dining room.

"Kid, I don't need your help getting cleaned up." Lou told him with a frown on her face.

"I know you don't Lou, but I want to spend a few minutes alone with you. A few minutes without the boys hovering," He replied and took her elbow, leading her upstairs.

She didn't argue anymore, because to tell the truth, she wanted to spend a few minutes alone with him, too. She let him lead her upstairs and wasn't surprised when he took her key from her to unlock her door. He pulled her inside, closing the door behind them, and wrapped his arms around her. Lou wrapped her arms around his neck and held him close.

"I wanted to do this earlier, but was afraid I'd upset you." He told her.

"I might have pushed you away if you had, but I'm not going to now. I'm glad this is over." She replied.

"It won't be over until the marshal tells us it's okay to leave Fort Kearny, Lou." He reminded her.

She nodded and pulled away. "You're right. Let me wash up and we can head back downstairs. Hopefully we can leave in the morning."

He agreed and sat on her bed while she shed her cloak to wash up. She re brushed her hair and washed the dirt off of her hands and face. Then she turned to see Kid watching her. She walked over and stood before him.

"I love you Lou." He simply said.

She looked down at him and caressed his cheek. "I love you, too, Kid. I always will."

She leaned down and kissed him, then straightened up, and took his hand. They walked to the door, but he turned her to look at him before she could open it. He reached out to pull some loose hair behind her ear and kissed her once more.

They walked downstairs and into the dining room holding hands. Their friends were already waiting for them. Cody was eating his supper while Buck and Jimmy waited to eat theirs.

"The marshal was just here. He said he took care of Saunders, his men, and Farnsworth. We're free to head back to Rock Creek. I told him we'd leave in the morning." Jimmy told them.

"That's good; we can get a good nights sleep before we head out." Kid replied.

Buck nodded as he watched Cody eat. "We ordered you both some supper, but Cody couldn't wait."

"Hey, I missed breakfast and lunch. I'm hungry." He said in defense.

"You were born hungry Cody." Lou said and they all laughed.

"I'm guilty of that Lou." Cody admitted.

They finished their supper and sat talking for a bit. Finally Kid suggested they meet in the dining room for breakfast before heading out. The boys agreed and the three of them headed upstairs for their rooms. Kid watched his friends go, and then turned to look at Lou. He could look at her forever and never get tired of it.

"Come on Lou, let's go get some sleep." He said and stood.

She also stood and took the arm he offered. "Will you stay with me tonight Kid?"

"We shouldn't be sleeping together Lou." He argued.

"I didn't mean it like that Kid. I just wanted you to hold me while we sleep. I need you to hold me Kid." She confessed.

There was nothing he wouldn't do for her. "Okay, I'll stay with you tonight." He promised as they went upstairs.

Lou closed the door behind them and locked it. She didn't want Jimmy walking in on them this time. She took her dress off, but kept her underclothes on and got into bed to wait for Kid to join her. She didn't have to wait long.

Kid undressed down to his long underwear and got into bed with Lou. He pulled the covers up over them both, pulling her into his arms. He kissed her forehead and settled them both against the pillows. She felt good in his arms.

"Goodnight Louise." He told her and pulled her closer in his arms.

"Goodnight Kid and thank you for staying with me." She replied and closed her eyes.

"Always Lou." They were both asleep in minutes. They were right where they both belonged.


Email Trisha Steere