DISCLAIMER: The Young Riders is the creation of Ed Spielman, and the property of Ogiens/Kane productions in association with MGM/UA television. This Story is created for entertainment purposes only, no infringement intended. Not to be copied without permission from the author.
Lou busied herself making supper, and when she had finished, she went looking for Buck to tell him of her plans. Finding him seated on a hay bale in the stable, she sat quietly beside him.
'Are you alright Buck?' she stroked his arm gently
'You know I often used to wonder what life would be like if I had found a wife.' he spoke 'I was only ever an oddity to the women who I courted. None of them ever saw me for who I was. Sometimes I was even jealous of Kid I wondered what would have happened if we had courted. You were the only woman who saw me as a man not a half breed, until I found Jenny in that Lakota camp. I knew then she was special, too special for a half breed, so I didn't tell her how I felt' he spoke as if to himself.
'I have some good news for you' she turned to look into his eyes 'You are the guest of honour at a party tomorrow night. I have already asked Jenny to come. I want you to tell her how you feel you might be surprised.' With that revelation, Lou stood and walked to the corral fence.
'Kid's home' she smiled climbing up a few rungs to see if she could make out the wagon. Nobody bothered to look for Kid, they knew that he was too far away to see. Somehow Lou always knew when he was almost home, she had never been wrong yet so nobody doubted her word. She sat on the rail, waiting until her husband jumped down from the wagon and came over to pull her from the top rail and hug her tightly.
'I missed you' he spoke as he kissed her.
'Me Too' she murmured 'We had a visitor while you were gone.' she smiled
'Who?' he pulled back from her and looked deep into her face.
'Me' Buck spoke from the Barn door.
'Buck' he released his wife and embraced his friend 'It's so good to see you. Want your old job back...or are you just passing through?'
'I was hoping that I could stay for a while.' Buck spoke 'But I can leave if that is what you want.'
Kid looked at him exasperated 'What the hell does that mean? You're family, this is your home as much as it is our's.'
Neither of them missed the fact that Buck's eyes filled with tears at Kid's automatic response. They could never know how much he had needed to feel accepted before he could settle into his old place at the way station. Lou looped her arm around her husbands waist and then the other around Buck's waist ' C'mon let's go eat.' She led them towards the bunkhouse where Jimmy was waiting at the table.
They settled down to eat, Buck ate sparingly content just to be amongst his friends again. He watched the happy camaraderie between Lou and both the other men at the table and the stilted conversation passing between the two men. He could see that they both had their differences, but for the sake of the tiny woman who was still in her own way uniting all of the riders despite their differences, they tried their hardest to be friendly.
'Lou didn't you say that Cody was still here?' Buck asked, while he and Cody had never been close friends, he was still eager to see the young man who had always been the joker of the outfit.
'He's on a run to Denver and Fort Laramie for the army. He should be back tomorrow.' Jimmy answered
'What about the others?' Buck asked.
'Sam and Emma are in Blue Creek for the night. Emma is nursing a sick friend and Teaspoon and Rachel will be back sometime next week.' Lou answered.
When they had all finished eating, Buck stood and cleared the plates before he returned to sit and talk to the others.
'I know that there has been a lot of trouble with Indians in some of the local townships and I wanted to say something to all of you before you decide to let me stay on here.' He spoke watching each of his friends faces closely
'What's wrong Buck?' Jimmy asked
'I want you to understand that if you feel that you are being affected by me being an Indian in the way that the townsfolk treat you, I will leave. You are my family and I will not have you treated badly because of me' He stated. 'I'm hurt that you think your skin colour matters to us' Lou answered.
'I know it doesn't matter to you.' he stated 'but it matters to the townsfolk.'
'Buck, Things that matter to the town don't matter to us, it didn't matter to us that Noah was coloured, it didn't matter to us that Ike was mute, just as it never mattered to us that you are Indian. What matters is what is inside and if small minded people in this town can't handle that, then that is just too bad. To us you are the same colour as us and that colour is family. Their are two things to fight for in this life that is your home and your family. Nobody will come between us.' Kid answered him. The others nodding their heads in agreement.
Buck sat in silence his black eyes liquid, confident that at last he had made the right decision. He knew that his future in the township hinged on the party tomorrow evening, but at least for the time being he could revel in the fact that he was finally with his family.
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