"You'd complain if you was hanged with a new rope." Teaspoon told a laid up Sam Cain irritably, before stomping out of Emma Shannon's house.

"What the hell is that suppose to mean? Who said anything about hanging?" Sam asked Emma with a perplexed expression on his face.

Emma gazed down at him with a mixture of love and irritation etched onto her beautiful face. "You really don't know, do you?"

"No, I don't." Sam replied.

She had to smile at the look on his face, even though she definitely wanted to ring his neck at the same time.

It had been three weeks since Sam had been wounded in a gunfight in town, and he had been brought out to Emma's house to recuperate. The first week had flown by fairly easily, since Sam had been unconscious most of the time, and too weak to be ornery when he was awake. The second week hadn't been too bad, Sam was feeling better and Teaspoon and each of the riders had found time to come and keep the lawman company when they weren't on patrol in town or out on runs.

But this last week had been literally hell for everyone, except for Sam Cain. Nothing seemed to appease the man. The stories that Teaspoon or Cody tried to tell him he had all heard before, he had beaten them all at checkers, his blankets weren't tucked in just so, the room was too hot, and the food boring, etc.

Still, all of them had tried to let the comments and remarks that Sam made to them fly off of their shoulders, but Sam had nearly received another gunshot wound from Jimmy when he had told the cocky young gunslinger, that he was,

"Slow as a seven year itch, seven years behind scratching."

Only Emma's intervention on Sam's behalf had stopped Jimmy from firing the fatal shot, and Emma had nearly regretted not letting him do it when Sam had continued his bout of complaining right afterwards.

"If brains was dynamite, Sam Cain, you wouldn't have enough to blow your nose." Emma told him.

"Now Emma, don't go off half-cocked, not my fault I'm laid up here and not understanding what Teaspoon was saying. I-"

"Stop! Stop it right there, Sam Cain. I have had enough of you wallowing in self-pity cause you been shot and laid up here having everyone cater to your every whim and still you aren't satisfied! That's what Mr. Spoon was meaning by what he said. He's meaning you need to get over yourself real quick and take a look at the past couple of weeks and see how much all of us have done for you, not because we thought we had to, but because we're your friends and we care and you've been treating us worse than you'd treat a band of outlaws you arrested."

Sam gaped at her, open mouthed. He closed his mouth, then reopened it to say something, but closed it once again. He went over the events of the last two weeks and found himself wincing over the unkind things he had said to Emma, Teaspoon, and the riders.

He was ashamed of himself. Emma, Teaspoon, and the riders were like family to him and they deserved to be treated a lot better than what he had been doing lately.

"Emma, I'm sorry…I've been a real jackass...Will you forgive me? Do you think the others will?" he said with sincerity.

The irritated expression on Emma's face was replaced by a smile. "Of course I forgive you Sam. Now that it seems that you've come to your senses at last. And the others will too, but you might steer clear of Jimmy for awhile longer."

Sam chuckled, and then winced as his battered ribs protested the jiggling motion. "I will. Right now I'm more concerned with apologizing to you in a more pleasant way.

"Why Mr. Cain, whatever are you implying?" Emma said batting her eyes at him as she perched on the edge of the couch Sam was spread out on.

"This." Sam said, wrapping an arm around Emma's neck and drawing her down into a passionate kiss.

Email Wendy