(A Sequel to "A Love Reborn")
By Melissa and Lisa
Jimmy sat silently in the small church thinking about his lost friend. It had been a little over a month since Devon's death but it had seemed like only yesterday to Jimmy. He sat and thought about the fact that though he and Devon only had known each other a short while, she seemed to know him like no other person ever did, he doubted if anyone would ever get close enough to know him again. He never heard anyone come into the church, but he sensed their presence. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore them.
"You have to stop mourning Jimmy."
Jimmy's eyes snapped open and he sat up straight, "Devon?" He turned around slowly. There stood the woman who had died in Buck's arms. Jimmy eyes were wide as he took in her appearance. She was pale and her eyes were clouded and lifeless, as he looked at her dress he saw it was soaked with blood . . . her blood.
"I'm dead Jimmy, and there's nothing you can do about it."
Jimmy opened his mouth to protest . . .
Jimmy's scream broke through the silence of the bunkhouse. As the other riders woke and looked over at him in worry, Jimmy grabbed his clothes and began getting dressed.
"Jimmy are you alright?" Lou asked, her voice thick with sleep.
"I'm fine, go back to sleep"
"Where are ya goin'?" Cody asked.
Jimmy got up after putting his boots on and grabbed his jacket on the way to the door.
"Out." He said as he left.
"He's still having nightmares." Kid said.
"I wish he'd just tell us what it is he dreams about." Lou added.
"Maybe we should tell Teaspoon." Buck answered.
Jimmy rode in the early morning sunshine to no particular destination, a couple of hours later he found himself sitting in front of the Marshal's office gazing out into the street. He saw Kid and Lou ride up to the town's small restaurant with Buck and Lily. The two couples stood outside the doors talking amicably and seeing it made something twist in Jimmy's gut. He turned his head to look up the other side of the street when a lone figure on a black horse caught his attention.
Jimmy watched in stunned silence as the girl dismounted and tethered her horse to the hitching post in front of him.
"Here you are." She said. "I went to the waystation to see if you wanted to go for a ride, and Rachel told me you'd left early but that I'd probably find you here."
With his nightmare still fresh in his mind he bounded down the stairs and swept her into his arms giving her a bear hug and swinging her in a circle.
"Devon, I am so glad to see you." He whispered into her ear.
"James Butler Hickok, put me down. People will begin to tell tales." She said, "And I could do without any more talk."
Jimmy put her down and cupped her face in his hands. He stared at her; searching her features. He looked at her violet eyes, the blush that had crept into her cheeks from her slight embarrassment, and her small heart shaped lips that were positioned in a small smile.
"Now that is what I call a welcome." She teased, "What has gotten into you? Rachel said you've been acting strangely."
Jimmy pulled Devon up onto the small porch in front of the office and sat next to her on a small bench.
"I had another nightmare last night."
Devon grabbed her friend's hand and held it. Jimmy had told her of the nightmares that had been haunting him since the day on the gallows. The nightmares that had always ended with her death.
"Jimmy, you've got to get past this."
Jimmy's eyebrows furrowed together, "I can't. Devon, someone shot at you. You could've been killed. How can you be so calm about this?"
Devon shrugged slightly. "It's just a scratch. Now I don't know what would've happened if Teaspoon and the others hadn't gotten there in time, but they did. This was six weeks ago Jimmy, and a lot has happened since then. Besides, shouldn't I be the one having the nightmares?" She gave Jimmy her most angelic smile, and he couldn't resist smiling back. He squeezed her hand before continuing.
"I guess you're right. It just scares me to think that you could've been taken away from me before I got to know you better. I mean I don't have a lot of friends, and you're the only one who understands what I'm going through." As Jimmy spoke his eyes wandered over to where the two couples still stood talking.
Devon looked over to see what he was staring at and her chest constricted at the sight of the two couples. The fact was that although she could try to put the events that had led her to the gallows behind her, the loss of Buck weighed on her heavily.
After her small gunshot wound was taken care of, and Teaspoon had revealed that Thompkin's feed and not her "witchcraft" had been the cause of the livestock deaths Buck had taken Devon home. Once there he told her that he had decided he loved Lily and had chosen to be with her.
Devon remembered nodding numbly and telling him that it wasn't their time, and had since forged a somewhat shaky friendship with both Lily and Lou. For all intents and purposes she had the appearance of quiet acceptance, but Jimmy knew better, he had been there when she'd cried.
Devon turned her attention back to Jimmy. "So that's why you've been so moody. Have they pledged themselves to each other for all eternity?"
"They're not Buck and Lily," He said with a small smile. He knew that by teasing her, the facts would hurt less. He sighed and shook his head, "I hate feeling this way he's my best friend."
"And she's the woman you're in love with. Jimmy, you know how I feel about this whole thing." She began.
"And I told you, I can't do what you did. I can't risk it." He answered impatiently.
"Okay so you don't want to put your heart on the line, not to mention your hide." Jimmy gave her one of his sternest looks, and she continued. "I know how well you and the Kid get along when she's involved."
"Devon don't start on her." Jimmy warned.
Devon opened her violet eyes wide in mock innocence. "Me? Say anything about little-miss-perfect Louise McCloud? I should think I would be struck down by lightning."
Jimmy had to laugh at the expression on her face. "Just stop right now I don't want to hear it."
Devon rose from the bench, "Well if you don't want to hear my plan then I guess I should just go." She turned and began to walk to Starlight.
"Wait! What plan?" Jimmy said as he got up behind her.
Devon turned to face him, the innocent expression still plastered on her face, "No I can't. You don't want me talking about you-know-who." She nodded in the direction of Lou.
"Just tell me."
"Okay. But promise to hear me out before you say anything."
"Good. Now what if Lou was made to see what she's missing by not being with you?"
"Me." Devon answered with a big grin.
Jimmy crossed his arms over his chest. "I don't understand."
"Let's see if I can explain. Everyone already thinks there's something romantic going on between us because of all the time you spend on my spread-"
"But I'm just helping you out with the animals and crops." He protested.
Devon arched an eyebrow. "I know that, but everyone in this town thinks they know everything. So what I'm saying is that you can pretend to court me, that will give me an excuse to be around the waystation, and while I'm there I can boast about you. If she's like any woman she has doubts about settling down, and she'll begin to wonder."
"It sounds too sneaky." Jimmy said as he shook his head.
"What's the worst that could happen, she stays with the Kid?"
"Come on Jimmy, you're a great guy. Besides, shouldn't you have the opportunity to show Lou you deserve a chance too?"
Devon held her breath while Jimmy thought about it. After several moments, he nodded slowly. "Okay, I'll try it. When do we start?"
Devon smiled broadly, her violet eyes sparkling mischievously.
"No time like the present, shall we invite ourselves to lunch?"
Read Chapter 2!
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