Through the Darkness of Night
By: Starbright
This story has been rated R by the Barkeep for adult language, sexual content, and sexual situations! If you are under 17, or do not wish to read this type of story, please head back to Tavern Tales and choose another story.
The Young Riders is the creation of Ed Spielman, and the popery of Ogiens/Kane productions in association with MGM/UA television. For entertainment purposes only, no infringement intended. Not to be copied without permission from the author.

Lou lay in bed waiting for her husband. It was foaling time and he'd been out in the stables three nights a row now. Barely keeping his eyes open as he stumbled into the kitchen in the mornings. She sighed as she listened to the ticking of the clock, it was past four in the morning and Kid was still out. Lou's eyes moistened as she thought about her husband. Working himself to the bones alongside Buck. But at least Buck spent his nights with Dawn in their new house. Kid spent most of his time in the barn or sitting in the rocker in the den when he was in. He hadn't been in her bed more than twice since she had their son, Noah and that was over a year ago. Lou rose to check on her children. Young Noah laid in his crib, snoring slightly with his favorite rag around his head. Lou smiled at him, his behind up into the air he snored contentedly. Lou had given Kid the shock of his life when young Noah was born. He had come three weeks too early and she'd found herself alone with Kid and Buck when labor set in. Kid had helped her through the labor and childbirth even though he had looked sick, driving her crazy with his concern. Cursing Buck for not arriving with the doctor or Rachel, cursing himself for his inadequacy. Soothing her while she screamed in pain. Lou remembered how she had screamed at him to never touch her again when it caused her this kind of pain. Kid had looked like he wanted to die. But he hadn't left her side and Noah had been born into his arms and Lou forgot her anger as she saw the tiny baby in his father's arms. A deadly pale father that mumbled incoherently while he repeatedly stroke her head with trembling hands as little Noah lay on her chest. Watching both mother and infant with amazement and a little fear. But still a proud father.

The next morning Rachel had come to their bedroom where Lou and Noah snored peacefully after the night's hardships. Rachel told her that she and Buck had found Kid sitting out on the verandah looking sick. Mumbling "never again" over and over again. Rachel ran into the house fearing what she'd find to have upset Kid that much. What she found was a rosy Lou sleeping with her hand touching the baby in its crib. Lou remembered Rachel's terrified face when she burst into the room only to sink breathless to the bed and stare at Lou. Both Lou and the baby seemed fine, washed and tidied up. Rachel was full of excuses for not having been there but Lou had just smiled at her and explained that Kid had done it all by himself. Except actually having the baby. In shame she told her friend how she had yelled at her husband, Rachel almost laughed her head off when Lou told her about the look on Kid's face when she screamed at him.

Lou sighed as she turned to peek in the next room where their daughter of five, Emma snored. The room was filled with her and her father's inventions. Kid was not treating her like some southern lady, he was going to make her a tomboy for sure. Lou wondered if he was fully aware of the unconventional way they raised their daughter? Lou shrugged when she remembered the day Blossom and Emma had started an antfarm in the room. An antfarm that had gone astray. Had she been mad at them both! Lou giggled at the memory of her and Kid chasing big ugly ants in the kitchen while Emma strilled at them not to kill her pets. The next day Kid had come home with a small yellow kitten that unbroke their daughter's heart. The cat was big now. Yellow was lying at his usual spot at Emma's feet, looking at Lou with green eyes as she peeked into the room to secure herself everything was fine with her youngens. Emma looked like her, the same brown eyes and the same vividness in her temper, keeping Kid on his toes. Lou loved seeing the two together, even though sometimes they had projects that nobody quite understood. Emma missed her father so much during these times of increased workload on the farm. Lou smiled at the construction in the corner of the room, wondering if they would ever get it finished. The construction that would enable Yellow to climb in and out of the window whenever he wished. Lou wasn't sure neither Kid nor Emma knew exactly what they were doing, but she loved to see them work together. Emma's giggles and Kid's soft chuckles as they started some of their, not always so successful, ideas. Tears rose to her eyes again as she thought about the kind of father Kid was. Never losing his temper, always soft and tender. Why was he avoiding her?

Stopping at the nursery on her way back she remembered the day she suspected Noah to have been conceived. It started with Teaspoon coming around asking for the Kid. At his tone of voice Lou had known something was up. Later they had both stepped into the kitchen, Kid asking her about Emma's whereabouts. Kissing his daughter Kid had shoved both Emma and her adopted grandfather out the door, telling them he had to talk to Lou. She had known exactly what he was about to tell her. Teaspoon had asked him to act as deputy once again and of course he had promised to. Even before he had time to open his mouth Lou had found herself yelling at him. Angry with him for risking his life once again. He had just stood there, not saying a word while she growled and yelled at him. Hating him for what he was about to do. When she finally sank breathless to the chair by the window he had turned his passionate eyes to hers and told her; "Raspberries". Lou smiled at the memory, she could play the scene in her mind whenever she wanted too, every move they made and every word spoken had been etched into her memory. Closing her eyes she let the memories fill her;

"Raspberries? What are you talking about?"

"They look like raspberries!" His voice husky as he came to her, his eyes were locked on her chest. Looking at herself she noticed her nipples hard under the thin blouse she wore without anything under. Her rage had sensitized her whole body. Kid sank to his knees in front of her, kissing her through the fabric. His lips touching her made her realize her rage was nothing but fear of losing him. She reached out a hand to bury it in his hair. Letting her fingers run trough it as his opened the buttons of her blouse.

"Ar'ya listenin' to me?" she tried again, hoping to get through to him.

"No" he mumbled, raising his head to kiss her neck. Causing her to smile at his blunt honesty. She tried to get mad at him again but just couldn't.

"Like raspberries don't ya?" she teased him.

"Can't live without'em" he grunted while he was fighting the buttons. As his mouth suckled her freed tender skin she moaned in lust for the man driving her out of her mind.

"Kid!" she breathed into his hair "you ain't goin' nowhere until you give me another child!"

Lifting her up in his arms he started for the stairs. Lou's lips locked on to his, drinking him. Falling down on the bed Lou ripped his pants down and drew the still buttoned shirt over his head. Causing buttons to fly all over the room and almost choking him. She felt she was in a hurry like never before. There was no time for anything else than having him right at that instance. She growled at him when he tried to take it slow, with a hoarse grunt she forced him inside of her. Making him take her with force. Growling at him not to dare pull himself out of her as he came. As she contracted around him and her growls turned to whimpers he filled her with his seed and she prayed they'd take root. They had lain there entangled till they heard Emma's and Teaspoon's voices in the kitchen. Throwing themselves out of the bed they hurried to dress before they walked down, trying to look like they had had a civilized discussion. The result now lay snoring in his crib.

Lou turned her eyes back at Noah, a boy that had his father's exact features. And even at this early age he looked at the world with the same eyes as his father. Carefully assessing the situation before getting into it. But when he got into it there was no turning back. Sometimes as she watched baby Noah Lou's heart surged with longing for Kid. When Kid fed Noah it was a sight that made her heart sing of joy. The tiny boy in his father's arms, listening intently to him as his father told him about the day at the stables or the crops condition or just how much he loved him. Or just asking his opinion in how much corn they ought to sow? Lou could swear Noah was imprinting everything Kid told him carefully in his mind. It usually took them both an hour longer to eat than when Lou fed her son but she could tell they were both enjoying their time together. Her children were so loved, how come he kept avoiding her and their bed?

She cried as she flung herself on their bed, a bed that had been hers alone for too long now. She missed him so terribly, his strong body aside her in their bed. His warmth to cuddle into in the middle of the night, the sound of him sleeping next to her. Knowing they had their hands full with the homestead making him tired and beat she still knew that wasn't the reason he avoided their bed. Buck had time to spend with his wife. Lou wiped her tears remembering Dawn's proud face as she told her she was going to be a mother for the third time. They had two daughters already and Dawn was wanting a boy that looked like Buck. She remembered Dawn teasing her about how good she had it. Pointing at Noah on the floor, a boy that would grow to be an exact image of his father. That's what Dawn wished for now, a son looking like Buck. Lou wanted to scream at her words, Dawn still had Buck and it felt like somewhere along the line she had lost Kid. Hugging the pillow she cried herself to sleep. To again find herself immersed in dreams of the Kid and her making sweet love in the darkness. Silently and intensely, the way they used to. But the dreams didn't comfort her any longer, she needed her husband's touch so badly. She was in and out of sleep the whole night. Through the darkness that seemed spread into her heart.

She was awakened in the morning by Emma pulling the blanket off of her; "Ma!" The girl looked at he with big brown eyes. "Ma!"

"What's a matter, honey" a still sleep-stricken Lou asked her daughter and fought her for the blanket.

"Come on Ma, it's Dad, he's..."

Lou rose with a speed that startled the little girl. "What?" Her mind raged, was he hurt? Had something happened?

"He's making a mess in the kitchen Ma, he tried to make coffee and spilled all the beans. Ma, you gotta come help!"

Lou put her dress on and swirled her hair back on her neck in a nod while she ran down the stairs. Kid was sitting on the floor, obviously half a sleep and picking up coffee beans, idly putting them back into the jar. When she stopped besides him he looked up at her, a silly grin on his face. "I'm sorry Lou!"

"Kid" she sighed at the sight. It was his third night without sleep and still he tried his best to help her. She didn't have the heart to stop him either. "Kid, I'll do that, you just sit yourself by the table." She bowed to help him up. Steering him to the table she scolded him softly. Giving him a hug and ruffling his hair when he sat down. Kid hugged her right back. He was still as affectionate as ever, it was just the passion that was missing. At least his passion, hers was growing bigger by the minute and she didn't know how to handle it.

With the percolator humming on the stove, she laid the table for her family. Noah was relentlessly trying to get down the stairs by himself. Emma at his side, stopping her bother as he tried to crawl down the stairs. Kid rose and took the stairs in three strides to prevent the boy from coming tumbling down. Emma managed the stairs easily, smiling teasingly at the boy in her father's lap. Hopping down the stairs on one leg with a secure grip on Kid's hand. Squeezing herself into his lap as he sat down. Lou smiled at Kid's face, Noah had managed to scare him out of his wits once again.

"Leave your Pa alone for a while kids" she scolded them, taking Noah from his father's lap and seating him in his chair. Noah grunted angrily while she tied the feeder around his neck. His small hands went immediately to try to get rid of the cloth around his neck. "You're just like your father when he has to wear a tie!" Lou scolded her youngest and threw a glance at Kid. He hid a smile and seated Emma besides him, putting the still empty plate at her reach.

"Ma it's not oatmeal again is it?" Emma complained loudly as her mother went to the stove to get the warm meal.

"You're just like your Ma when it comes to eatin'" Kid teased Emma "Picky as few!"

"Hey!" Both Emma and Lou turned to Kid with raised voices. Kid grinned at them and Noah told them what he thought about them both, loudly clapping the spoon against the table to accompany his prattle. Kid turned his attention to his son, nodding solemnly as Noah finished the ramblings that nobody understood yet.

"You're absolutely right son!" Kid smiled at him and reached to playfully touch his nose. Noah's face split up in a toothless laughter. Emma turned her eyes to Kid, giggling at her fathers antics. "Pa, you didn't understand a word he was sayin'!"

Whispering something in his daughters ear that made Emma look in Lou's direction and giggle loudly.

"Manners!" Lou scolded them both as she served them the oatmeal. Emma wrinkled her nose at the sight and Kid chuckled as his eyes met Lou's. Eyes that were filled with such tenderness that Lou had to draw a deep breath. His eyes had always left her breathless. The color that seemed to changed to a billion shades of blue, green and gray, darkness and light mirroring in them. Eyes that told her more that any words ever could. The gaze in them was the same it had always been as they landed on her. If he still loves me, she thought as she drowned in those tender eyes, why doesn't he want me?

Kid fell asleep in the rocking chair as she finished the dishes. There was no way to get him up to their bedroom. He grunted and turned as she tried to get him up from the chair. "Lou, I'll just take a nap" he mumbled. Lou knew he'd do just that and what he needed was some sleep. Not just catnaps.

"Kid" she leaned in to let her lips touch his brow "you need some sleep in a real bed."

"I'm fine right here" he grunted as his eyes fell shut.

Lou wordlessly enfolded him in a blanket and pushed a chair under his feet to have him rest as comfortably as possible. She stayed to watch the man she had married several years ago. The man who had decided to devote his life to her, turning his back on the raging war to be with her. She knew there were days when he had cursed his decision, but he never complained. It had taken a lot of work but they were finally able to look into the future and know they'd be fine. He was stunningly handsome, strong and lean. Yet almost boyish in his looks. She hand often noticed the other women's glances at him. Most of them envied both her and Dawn, she knew that. They had men that stayed sober and worked hard. Men that were the most handsome ones in Sweetwater. Lou and Dawn had giggled from time to time as they'd caught some of the women casting looks at their husbands. Now, since Noah's birth it didn't make her giggle anymore. The women looking at her husband made the blood curl in her veins. But she understood them perfectly. He had something about him that made her knees go weak. He seemed totally unaware of it and sometimes all it took was him walking into the room and smile that smile of his. Making her ready to drag him into their bedroom. Or when he sat down by her side. Radiating something that made her fingers tremble and her mind to go wild. Maybe it was those eyes of his? Or that sandy curled hair? No it was more than that, it was something unidentifiable that attracted her like a magnet. Standing there watching him she felt the need for him grow by the second. Her eyes moistened as she decisively pushed the need away. He hadn't touched her in such a long time. Was he doing it with somebody else? She shook her head at her own thoughts, he'd never have the time, he was always working. Or was he going to the working girls?

She swirled to get out and leave the dark thoughts behind. She hurried over to Buck and Dawn's house picking Noah up in her arms as she hurried over the yard.

"Mornin' all" she hollered as she took the few steps in two strides. Dawn and Buck both smiled at her in a greeting as she put Noah on the floor. The boy was up crawling in an instance going for the big dog sleeping in the corner. The dog didn't even flinch as little Noah flung himself down at its side.

Buck sat at the table with his youngest in his lap. The girl peered at Lou as she came in, she had been crying. Lou knew why. She hurried over to Buck to take his daughter into her lap. "Did Emma and Blossom leave you alone again, Hope?" she asked rocking the girl in her lap. The two-year old nodded and buried her face in Auntie Lou's lap. "They're so mean" Lou told the little girl in her lap. She loved Dawn and Buck's children as her own and she knew they had the same feelings towards her offspring.

Buck grinned at Lou's statement and rose to place a kiss on his wife's cheek. "All you women are" he chuckled as Dawn reminded him to take Noah and Hope as he left. Having promised the little girl to see the new foals. Buck answered with a teasing smile before giving Dawn a deep kiss. Lou had to look away. She remembered the time she had burst in and witnessed Buck and Dawn entangled in panting passion on the floor. The sound of their love still haunting her occasionally. They had been totally unaware of anything other but each other. Lou had stood there for some seconds, watching them make intense love on the floor. Their bodies melted into one. Seeing them together had made tears rise to her eyes as she had to go without. Luckily they'd never noticed her and she had hurried back to the girls and Noah at Kid's and her house. Now she knew what Dawn meant when she asked Lou to keep an eye on her children. The first time she had asked Lou had just looked at her in total bewilderment, making Dawn blush. Didn't they always keep an eye on each other's children? The night Blossom had spilled milk all over herself and Lou headed over to get her a new gown had suddenly opened up Lou's eyes. When Dawn asked her to watch her children it meant her and Buck needing some time alone. She respected that wish and she always hollered before bursting in on them. She often found herself envying Dawn, knowing she had her husband, both body and soul. Kid had withdrawn his body from her and left only his soul. And somehow that wasn't enough.

Buck gathered both Noah and Hope under his arms and stepped out, Dog following promptly. Lou and Dawn both smiled at the procession. Dog having appeared from nowhere to adopt Buck as his master, little Noah following Dog anywhere he trotted behind Buck. If Noah ever crawled too far they only had to look for Buck to find Dog and eventually even Noah. Lou felt a warmness spread in her heart as she followed her former bunkmate with her eyes. Through the window she saw Buck placing Noah on his own two feet and take his hand, patiently awaiting the little boy pushing forward as they made their way to the new foals. Hope having forgotten the disappointment of her being left alone jumped around her father to get to Noah's side to take his free hand. Lou couldn't imagine life without Buck and Dawn and their children around. They were their lifeline whenever things got rough and she hoped they were theirs. Dawn took another cup and seated herself at the table pouring coffee in Lou's cup. Like she always did.

"Heard Kid had a long night," she said as she pushed the cup in Lou's direction. "Three foals in one night!"

"He fell asleep on the chair as he came in" Lou nodded "totally beat"

"Why didn't he come for Buck?" Dawn wanted to know. "Buck was all but happy when he found all the foals delivered while he was snoring in his bed. I think his pride was badly hurt!" Dawn giggled.

"You know the Kid" Lou sighed.

Dawn watched her, expecting Lou to tell her what was bothering her. Dawn could tell something was wrong and had been so for several months now. Buck had told her Kid was scared to touch Lou after she had yelled at him during childbirth. Kid had told him that the day Buck found him shaking on the verandah, mumbling "never again". Kid had told Buck he'd never put Lou in such a condition again. Obviously he had kept his words. Making Lou almost creep out of her skin. She had seen the way Lou looked at her husband, with utter longing. Making Kid so uneasy he had to get out of the house. Dawn knew Kid's misunderstanding was ripping both himself and Lou apart. Dawn wanted to talk to Lou, explain to her what she guessed was going on with the man Lou longed for. But it wasn't her place as long as Lou didn't touch the matter. She hoped something would happen before she'd have to bring the issue up herself.

"Wasn't Jimmy supposed to come visit?" Dawn asked to change subject.

"Yep" Lou nodded "A week ago. God knows where he got sidetracked?"

Late that evening Lou was tidying up the house having finally gotten her children to sleep when Jimmy strode in. He stopped to watch his former bunkmate putting away the dishes and cleaning the kitchen. He smiled widely at the changes in the boy he had encountered so many years ago. She had filled out into a curvy young woman with auburn hair falling down beneath her shoulders. Jimmy whistled appreciatively and she swirled around.

"Jimmy!" she squealed, throwing herself in his lap.

"Hi Lou!" he laughed at her lifting her up and swirling her around in the air. Then he put her down to her feet and held her at an arms length. Watching her intently.

"What?" Lou swatted him lightly, not liking the teasing expression on his face.

"Stopped by Dawn's and saw she was expectin' again. Kind'o expected to find you in the same circumstances" he grinned at her. Only to see her face fall and her recoiling from his hug.

"Lou?" he asked concerned, "what's wrong?"

Lou stared at him for a moment, then she seemed to pull herself together and reached out to steer him to the table.

"Where's Kid?" he asked as he seated himself.

"In the stables" Lou informed him wearily.

"No he ain't" Jimmy told her "just went by there and only Jeremiah was there, he's still giving me a hard time about the wedding."

Lou smiled remembering Jimmy at her brother's wedding, he had danced with every woman in town till his head had started to spin and he had spent the next day complaining about his aching feet. Theresa having to tend to him seeing as she was attending nursing school. And Jimmy teasing her sister with all his cunning ability to drive you up the wall. Lou giggled as she remembered her sister actually questioning her calling for the first time in her life. She missed them both so much, Tessa far away in school and Jeremiah busy with his new life.

"Then I don't know" she sighed remembering Jimmy's question.

Again Jimmy noticed the pain on Lou's face. A shadow ran over her face. Something was wrong and she wouldn't tell. He watched the young woman before his eyes. Last time he had been around was just after Noah's christening at Jeremiah's wedding and the young mother had seemed at complete ease with life. What had happened?

"Lou something's wrong, why don't you tell me?" He rose to enfold Lou in his arms. Lou hid her face in her hands and started crying. "Lou!"

"Oh Jimmy, he doesn't love me anymore!" she sobbed into his arms. Jimmy was at a total loss. Who was she talking about? He couldn't believe she was talking about the Kid. Remembering them earlier he knew Kid would never stop loving Lou. Nothing in this world could change his best friend's love for the woman crying in his lap.

"Who ain't lovin' you Lou?"

"He won't....." her voce broke and long sobs racked the tiny woman's body as Jimmy held on to her, trying to comfort her. Waiting for her to collect herself enough to tell him what whoever-was not-what. Lou finally calmed down.

"He's not shearing my bed any longer!" she whispered the sentence hoarsely. "Jimmy, he's not touching me! He just won't do it."

Jimmy wasn't sure he wanted to be involved in this discussion. Hell, he wasn't sure he'd heard right. "Lou? He asked again, hoping she'd explain herself clearer.

"Make love to me Jimmy!" She grabbed his collar hard as she almost yelled, spelling it out to him. Her hands tugging violently at his collar.

Jimmy watched her with big eyes until he understood the last sentence was tied with the earlier. He stood there silent. Not knowing what to say to one of the best friends he ever had. Not knowing if she really expected him to say something.

Kid smiled as he slid off Katy, noticing a very familiar palomino in the corral. Grinning widely he ran to the house to sneak in on his friend. Without a sound he opened the door and soundlessly made his way to the kitchen. The sight he encountered made his whole world crumble. Lou held on to Jimmy's collar asking him to make love to her. He felt the whole world he had trusted and built fall to shreds around him. He stumbled backwards out of the house. A wave of nausea hitting him so hard it made his knees buckle. He fought hard to stay on his feet as he made his way back to Katy. The thoughts whirling in his mind he threw himself on his mare's back, kicking her into a wild pace. Riding away from the scene he had just witnessed, his heart pounding in his temples.

The thoughts whirling in his mind he stumbled down from his mare at the creek. His whole body was in upheaval and he found himself being violently sick. His guts convulsed till he felt blood streaming from his nose and his head started to swirl. Washing himself in the creek he tried to calm himself. Finding a reason to what he had witnessed. Lou had told him loud and clear she never wanted to be touched that way again. And he had respected that even if it was killing him. But now she was begging Jimmy? His guts turned again at the thought of Lou leaving him, he'd be so completely lost in the world without her. Despair wrenched his guts. She didn't love him anymore, she wanted Jimmy to make love to her. That could only mean she wanted Jimmy in her life, not him. Why had this happened, and when? He still loved her with every fiber in his body. God knows leaving her alone had almost killed him. He was afraid to sleep at her side, fearing his passion would take the better of him. Sometimes her touch or just the way she looked at him had forced him to leave the house, afraid he'd forget what he had promised himself when she lay there screaming, having his child. His children! The thought of Emma and Noah made him throw up again. Would he ever be with them again? Would Lou take them away from him? No, he'd rather leave himself than have his children and the woman he loved leave the house they had struggled to build. The house he had thought of as home. It would be somebody else's home now, Jimmy's. He buried his face in the cold stream. He could never blame his friend for what had happened, but at the same time he wanted to kill him with his bare hands. But Lou had made her choice, obviously he had done something wrong, something that had extinguished Lou's love. He intensely wished he knew what. If he had known he would have done whatever she asked him to do. Didn't she know that?

Trying to clear his head he repeatedly splashed water on his face. The cold water only momentarily shifted his attention from the scene he had witnessed. His hands trembled at the thought of having to leave everybody behind. He loved them all but the woman that was his wife wanted somebody else. And he couldn't live a lie like that. He wouldn't force her to stay with him if she didn't want to. That would be downright cruel. Lou's and their children's happiness had always been more important to him than his own. Was that why she didn't love him anymore? Did she consider him a lesser man because of that? What was he supposed to have done? Images of Lou danced before his eyes. They way she looked in the morning, hair tousled around her face. Making him ache of tenderness. Her look as she rested those brown wells on him, igniting him with just one look. Reassuring him with her smile. He shook his head as images of them making love trickled into his mind. It had been so long since last time and he missed her so intensely. He could still feel her in his hands, he knew every inch of her body. Her hot moist around him, her softness in his hands. The ways she moved in ecstasy whimpering and moaning, the sound of her driving him to the edge. The taste of her. The way she looked as she reached the peak, making him tremble at the sight, forcing him to close his eyes to not to join her, to be able to taste her more. The nights they had sunken into each other, making love silently in fear of waking the others in the house. The way they had moved carefully and Lou's eyes before she hid her face and trembled in his lap, stifling her sounds against his neck. Making him bite his lip not scream out in passion. And the way she made him explode, the world vanishing around him, leaving him and her entangled in a sweetness beyond words. He shifted uneasy as the memories made his loins ache of longing to be inside of her, to feel her soft tightness and her body pressed against his. But the thought of her not wanting or needing him anymore sent the ache from his groin right to his heart. An ache so acute he gasped for air.

He laid down on the bank shivering from the cold and the shock. His eyes fluttered close and he wished they'd never open again. But the memories of Lou and the children kept him awake. He kept asking himself where he had faltered? All through the darkness of the long night. A darkness so total it seemed to engulf his soul too.

Jimmy rocked the crying Lou in his arms. "Jimmy he's not touched me since Noah was born!" she cried. Jimmy was definitely not at ease with this discussion. Butting in on their dancing was not a thing he felt comfortable with.

"Lou, what happened?"

"I don't know Jimmy, he's just not there anymore!"

Jimmy stiffened to his place. If Kid had betrayed her with another woman he'd shoot him. But the Kid wouldn't do a thing like that, would he?

"Are you tellin' me there's somebody else Lou?"

"I don't know, Jimmy, I don't think so, but I just don't know!"

Her voice calmer now she freed herself from his embrace. "I'm sorry Jimmy. I don't know what came over me. I just needed to get that off my chest. Dawn bein' pregnant an' all has gotten me to want another child so badly." Sighing she let her gaze wander out the window. "But that's not really it either, I just need him!" she continued mostly to herself. Shyly she looked at Jimmy, his understanding eyes told her he wasn't shocked or disgusted by her. Only uneasy. But as the true friend he was he listened patiently. She sighed deeply, she had never intended to pour this on him.

Jimmy touched her arm slightly. "Why don't you ask the Kid?"

"I tried Jimmy. I've tried to get close to him, letting him know. When I do he just walks out on me. And it hurts too much. I'm afraid to ask. If he tells me he doesn't love me anymore, I don't know what to do."

Jimmy could tell she was near tears again. "Lou, the Kid's not stopped loving you, I know that. I know the Kid and I know you, Lou. I don't know why you're in this mess this time. But goddammit, I'll ask the Kid myself."

"Jimmy, you're not tellin' the Kid anything about what has been said in this kitchen tonight you hear!" Lou turned two flaming eyes in his direction.

"But Lou..."

"Not a word Jimmy!"

"You can't leave it like this Lou"

"No Jimmy, I know that. But thank you. You finally made me see I have to talk to him, to ask him straight out. I have to find out. I can't live a lie if he doesn't want me anymore. I couldn't stay around if he's here coz' it's his duty."

Jimmy shrugged at her words. Wordlessly she gazed out the window, eyes shining of tears, waiting for Kid to return.

Jimmy lay in the spare room listening to Lou's steps in the house. She was up walking the whole night through. Kid never showed up. At the crack of dawn Jimmy couldn't take it any longer. He rose to go look for his friend and drag him back by his ears if necessary. He met Lou as he stepped out of the room.

"He didn't come home!" she whispered hoarsely as Jimmy approached her. "He's never been away without tellin' me before, Jimmy! I think something's happened. Stay with the children Jimmy, I have to go look for him."

"No Lou, you stay here. I'll find him for you. Haven't I always?" he tried to smile at her but his remark only ended in sending tears to Lou's eyes.

"No Jimmy, he always found me!"

"I know Lou!" Jimmy whispered hugging her tense body before he stepped out to look for Kid. "But just this time you'll have to put your faith in me. I'll find him for you."

Jimmy sighed as he spotted the paint mare. Tying his horse at Katy's side he wondered what Kid was doing by the creek. It was cold and damp outside. The sun wasn't completely up yet. He let his eyes wander over the place to find Kid lying on the bank of the creek. Absolutely still with one arm over his eyes. As Jimmy walked up to him he wondered if he somehow had gotten hurt? He almost cursed as he stepped into a pool of vomit. This made Jimmy wonder if the Kid was drunk? His anger rose as he thought about his friend leaving Lou alone at home, crying for him.


Kid lowered his arm to look at him. Jimmy flinched as he met his eyes. The immense pain the Kid's eyes reflected almost turned Jimmy's stomach too. Making Jimmy wonder what was going on.

"Kid, what the hell are you doin' here?" He watched as Kid struggled to get to his feet.

"Don't worry, Jimmy, I'll be off."

"Off to where?"

"I don't know Jimmy!"

"Are you drunk?" Jimmy just had to ask at Kid's ramblings, he didn't make no sense whatsoever. Kid just turned to avoid Jimmy's glare. And to avoid killing his best friend in the rage he was trying to keep under control. Jimmy took him by his shoulder and shook him violently.

"Dammit Kid!"

"I told you I'll be off!" Kid voice was dangerously low. Jimmy almost expected him to lunge at him. Jimmy had the sneaking suspicion Kid was hiding something from him. Taking a step closer to his friend he reached to grab him. Kid turned and made a move to shove Jimmy out of the way. Jimmy reacted out of fear of Kid's hard blows. Before Kid would have a chance to lunge at him Jimmy sent a fist right under his jaw. Kid stumbled backwards into the creek before he fell over. Jimmy rushed out to drag him out of the water. He hadn't hit him that hard, he knew that. Normally it would have made Kid sway but not fall over unconscious.

Shaking him hard to wake him up Jimmy worried seeing Kid fall back into a heap as he let go of him. Without any signs of regaining consciousness. Cursing he dragged Kid to Katy. Blood dripping from his friend's nose. Had he really hit him this hard? Heaving him up on the mare's back took several minutes. Kid was as big as he was and his unconsciousness made him heavy. Jimmy wiped the sweat out of his brow as he finally managed to lay Kid over Katy's back. He didn't dare to ride home and risk Kid falling from Katy's back so he took his horses reins and started walking both horses slowly towards the homestead. Concerned he watched Kid's stillness on the mare. Fearing Lou's reactions when he'd arrive with Kid in this condition.

Lou came running towards him as he approached the buildings. She was yelling for Dawn as she ran. Buck stepped out on the stairs of the house and started towards them. Dawn was hot on his heels.

"Take Emma and Noah, Dawn please!" Lou shrieked.

Dawn stopped in her stride. Turning to Jimmy she buried two burning eyes in his. Wanting to know what had happened. "He'll be fine!" Jimmy hurried to shout as four pairs of eyes scrutinized him. Jimmy could have sworn that even Dog glared disapprovingly at him.

Kid groaned on Katy's back, starting to wake up. Jimmy hurried to take a hold on him but he was too late. Kid fell down to the ground and looked at him like he was the devil himself Lou had reached them both and flung herself to the ground at Kid's side.

"I told you to find him Jimmy, not hurt him!" she hissed at him.

"Lou, I barely touched him!"

Buck went to stand at his companion's side, watching him struggle to get to his feet. Lou trying to hold him down.

"What in all blastin' is goin on here?" Buck wanted to know.

"Help me get him inside!" Lou begged.

"Lou, I'll be on my way" Kid stuttered awkwardly, holding his jaw. "I just need some dry clothes and then I'll go!"

"Go where?" Buck wanted to know.

"See" Jimmy pointed out, "that's what he kept sayin' to me too. He kept ramblin' about goin' someplace and I just had to stop him."

"You didn't have to hurt him!" Lou growled.

"I didn't get him in this condition" Jimmy protested. "Found him by the creek lookin' like hell. He'd been sick all over the place for what it looked like. I just pushed him and he fell into the creek!"

"You sick, Kid?" Lou whispered in fear. "Kid what happened?"

Kid looked into the eyes he loved more than anything in this world. The knowledge that she didn't want him anymore made his knees buckle again and he sank to the ground. Feeling his pounding jaw. Jimmy had hit hard, why was he denying it? If these people would leave him alone he'd be out of their hair in no time.

As Kid sank to the ground Lou threw her arms around his waist trying to keep him up. "Jimmy, Buck! Help me get him inside!"

"I'm fine" Kid growled and recoiled from her touch.

"No you ain't Kid" she mumbled holding his arm while he rose.

"I'm fine dammit" he repeated angrily at Jimmy trying to help him.

"He's just exhausted, he hasn't had any real rest in days" Buck tried to explain to a teed off Jimmy glaring at the Kid.

As Lou wiped his bleeding nose Kid wanted to cry. He leaned heavily on his wife as she helped him into their house. He knew she was going to tell him herself what she had sent Jimmy out to tell him. And he didn't need to hear it. As Lou helped him onto a chair and shoved Buck and Jimmy out telling them she needed to talk to him he closed his eyes in exasperation for what would come next.

"Come on Kid, you need a hot bath!" Lou took his hand to lead him to the room they had prepared with a porcelain basin. Lou didn't understand what was going on with her husband, the desperation on his face scaring her. But she knew he wouldn't tell until he was ready. As she pushed him into the room with the basin she could feel him shiver under her touch.

Kid felt his strength vanish at the sight of the basin. It had been a Christmas present a couple of years ago and him and Lou had spent happy hours inside the basin. Loving each other. Now he wanted to throw up at the mere sight of it. Lou felt him fight the convulsions and placed a hand on his back. "Kid, do you need to lie down?"

"No" he spoke hoarsely shaking his head. What he needed was to get out of here. Lou filled the basin with hot water while he cupped his hand and repeatedly rinsed the taste of blood from his mouth. He wiped his nose trying to steady himself for what was coming. Lou turned to help him get out of his clothes.

"I'll manage Lou" he grunted as her fingers started to undo his wet shirt.

"No you won't" she stated calmly as to a child and freed him from the soaked indument.

"Lou, you don't need to do this" he protested harshly as her fingers started on his pants. "Just step out, I'll be done and out in a minute."

"You'll be done and in bed in a minute" Lou growled as she ripped his pants off. Freeing himself from the rest of his clothes Kid slid into the basin. Avoiding Lou's look. He had no force to fight her and he wished she'd just tell him what needed to be told. And then leave him to pick up the pieces of his shattered soul. "Lou, I heard it all. I'll just leave. Tell Emma and Noah I love them and..." His voice broke as he tried to tell her he still loved her. "I love you Lou" came out as a sob. Wiping his nose he told her again, his voice steadier now. "I always have and always will, remember that Lou."

"Kid?" Lou sank down at his side with a sponge in her hand. "Heard what? What the hell are you talkin' 'bout Kid? You're not makin' any sense! Leave for where?" Her mind was raging as she watched him in the basin. What was he thinking he had heard? What the hell was going on here?

"I heard you tell Jimmy you wanted him to make love to you!"

Lou's mouth fell open. She had never said that! She had never even thought that. Stunned she watched the Kid as his eyes brimmed with tears he was fighting hard to hold back. An other man might have killed both her and Jimmy at the mere suspicion.

"I'll leave you two alone, Lou. If that is what you need, you'll have it. Just promise me to let me see my children once in a while." A lone tear ran down Kid's face. He awkwardly wiped it away.

"Kid!" Lou whimpered as she threw her arms around him, drawing him close to her. "You got everything wrong sweetheart. I was complaining to Jimmy that you don't make love to me anymore. I was askin' him why you don't love me enough to want me. Kid, why the hell did you go and think a thing like that. You haven't touched me since Noah was born. And I need you Kid. I need you, body and soul!"

"But Lou, you told me you never wanted me to touch you again! I've been tryin' so hard to respect that wish!"

Lou wanted to scream as Kid spoke the words. She had been suspecting this, but she had never acted on her own suspicions. She had been screaming at him, wishing him to hell as the pains of labor kept ripping her body apart. But she never meant it. Other than right that minute. As soon as baby Noah lay in her arms the memories of the pain had evaporated. And this big oaf in the basin had taken her words as sacred.

"Kid, honey. I screamed because right there and then I was hurting. I never meant those words, it was just to let steam out. I never thought you'd take me serious. I want to have another dozen children by you Kid. Don't you ever learn not to listen to me when I get that mad? Dammit, I love you and I want you. Never anybody else! Kid you should have told me!"

She cried as she rocked him in her lap. His sobs against her shoulders deep and heavy. Still trying to shield her from his pain he hid his face from her.

"Is that why you have been keepin' away from me? Stayin' out in the stables or sleepin' in that damned chair in the den?" Kid nodded against her shoulder.

"Idiot" she whispered tenderly into his ear while he cried silently against her shoulder. A cry for the love he thought he had lost. She caressed his hair with her fingers, holding on to him with tears in her eyes. Slowly his body relaxed in her hold. She took his face in her hands and kissed the tears away.

"I love you Lou. I though I was goin' to die last night thinkin' about not bein' with you." His whisper made her heart surge of love for him.

She searched his lips with hers and kissed him deeply. As their tongues hesitantly met she drank his kiss like it was wine that sent her into sweet intoxication. It had been so long since he had kissed her fully. Leaving her quivering as his lips left hers. Her trembling fingers touched his lips and she sighed deeply.

"I need to wash you" she spoke hoarsely, not quite sure she was going to be able to restrain herself when touching him. "No Lou, I'll do it myself" he protested going for the sponge in her hand. "Kid, I need to do this" she couldn't explain why, but right now she needed to be touching him. She needed to be as close as possible to heal both their souls. With the sponge she touched every part of his body, soaping him in completely. He occasionally stopped her hands as they reached his most sensitive parts but she felt such a longing to touch him she freed herself from his hold and let the sponge go and touched his hot skin with her bare hands. When her hands touched the ripe muscles on his front she involuntarily let out a moan of longing. Months of repressed need surfaced, making her body quiver and her breath became uneven as she fought the will to jump into the basin with him. Their eyes fixed on each other's she could read his lust and need in the darkening blueness of his eyes and the intensity made her break the gaze. Biting her lip to control herself she took the sponge to rinse him. If she touched his body with her hands any longer she wouldn't be able to resist throwing herself on him. He needed his rest and she'd let him sleep until tonight. Then she'd have him. She felt his body react to her touch as she let the sponge run over him. His eyes were fixed on hers while she rinsed him of soap. Resting in the love they emanated. Their lips met once again and Kid rose from the basin. His tight embrace wetting her dress as he pulled her close to him. His kiss making her out of breath.

"No Kid, you need your rest!" she told him, freeing herself and slowly wiping him dry. Kid standing still and swallowing hard as her hands moved on him. With his hands on her hips he watched her with eyes that made her knees wobble. Enfolding him in a towel she steered him to their bed. Glancing at his trim body, biting her lip at the thought of him moving inside her. Pushing him down on the bed she steeled herself from climbing onto him.

"I'll let you sleep a while and make something for you to eat. Will you be alright?" Kid watched her with burning eyes. He watched her like a man in the desert watches a mirage. Her heart went out for him. Kissing his lips she turned to walk away. Kid stopped her by enfolding his arms around her waist and pulling her towards the bed.

"Lou won't you stay for just a while? Just let me hold you" he whispered. As she turned she saw the evidence of his lust under the towel. Whimpering she freed him from the towel and his hands went to free her from the dress. He was so hard he was on the verge of explosion. Lou could tell that by looking at him. And she wanted him to explode inside of her. She knew she was far past ready for him herself. Freeing herself from the cloth that was the only obstacle from having him she climbed to the bed, pushing him down on his back.

"There's no time for undressin' Kid" she moaned as she sank onto him. Kid held his narrowed eyes locked on her moving onto him. Taking him slowly inside to carefully savor him. Gasping as she felt his potent manhood enter her. Her eyes widening at the sensation, she didn't remember him being quite this big. Soft sounds of pleasure left her throat as she moved herself onto him, feeling him slowly widen her inside to fit him. Kid stiffened suddenly and he tried to stop her from moving onto him. He clinched his teeth and his eyes searched for hers. Shaking his head he muttered Lou no! I'm too close!

Kid please, shut up! Lou whimpered and pushed his hands away from her, intent on having him, whether he wanted or not. She let out an intermittent breath as she sank herself fully onto him, making him fill her to the edge. Kid's eyes closed and he mumbled Oh God, Lou wait! Feeling her squeeze her muscles around him made his hands grip her hips. He tried thinking about something else, he tried remembering her giving birth. He tried everything to stop the inevitable. He cursed the body taking control over his mind. He tried to tell Lou to get off of him before it was too late but the words never came out as Lou smiled at him and squeezed herself onto him. The tightness pulsating around him. Her eyes glazed of pleasure. Helplessly he erupted inside of her with a low moan. Weeks worth of seed shot into her and Kid succumbed to the ecstasy emanating from where they were joined to finally overwhelm him totally. Blurring his mind and the tripling the rhythm of his heartbeat. He pushed his hips to meet her, groaning as she kept contracting around him, making him continue to empty himself into her.

She smiled and felt her body answer his eruption by sending beams of warmth from her center throughout her body. Sobbing she fell on top of him as he continued to move deep inside of her. Keeping his hips tightly against her, rubbing himself on her while he filled her. Again she contracted around him, clutching him close as the wave took her mind away. A deep sigh of contentment leaving her throat. She held on to him, feeling him relax. He was so tired he had troubles keeping his eyes open. "I'm sorry Lou, I was too close" he mumbled excusing himself. Obviously thinking he had not given her pleasure. Lou shook her head at his doubts. "Kid, it's enough you just being there" she grinned at him. He smiled faintly, trying to keep his eyes open. "You need to rest right now" She kissed his lips, moving to get up. "Go to sleep sweetheart, we'll continue later."

"Stay here" he mumbled pleadingly, holding her close. She rested on his strong chest, letting her body take in the sensation of him under her. Kid's arms around her lost the strong grip as he fell into an exhausted sleep. She rolled away from him, covering him tenderly and laid besides him watching him until his breath was deep and even.

Yellow came to snuggle down at their side, purring loudly. Lou smiled at the cat and stroke the warm fur affectionately. The cat answered by curling himself into the hollow space between Kid's neck and shoulder. "That's right Yellow, keep him warm" she told the tabby.

She rose to tell Dawn she needed her to keep their children for the night. And to thank Jimmy for bringing Kid back.

Dawn's eyes narrowed as Lou stumbled into their house. Taking Noah in her lap and kissing him loudly. Emma raised one eye from the paper she and Blossom were filling with loud colors. Hope looking with wide eyes at her Auntie Lou storming into the house.

"Everything alright Lou?" Dawn wanted to know.

"Everything's just fine Dawn. I'd just like you to keep Noah and Emma here for tonight, would that be okay?"

Dawn blushed at the thought that Lou had figured out why Buck and she occasionally let their daughters sleep over at their friends' house. She peered under her brow in Lou's direction to see if her friend was teasing her about it. But Lou's smile told her she wasn't, she and Kid needed time alone.

"Of course Lou!" she smiled at her friend, "we'll keep them a week if you want to. Just come get them when ever you're through!" Dawn had to cough to cover the implication in her statement "when it's fine by you I mean!"

Lou blushed right down to her toes. "Tonight is enough" she stammered. Emma was peaking at her. "Where's Dad?" the nosy girl wanted to know.

"Dad's sleepin', he's real tired from havin' been up so many nights, he needs his rest. It's better you two stay here and give him some peace and quiet."

"I miss him!" Emma's lower lip was protuding slightly at her statement. Dawn let out a soft giggle as she sank down at Emma's side enfolding her in her arms. "You're just like you Ma!"

Lou smiled and hugged her son tighter. Noah was wriggling in her hold, wanting to get down to the floor and the beloved dog. "Og, Og!" he pointed as Lou wouldn't let go. Dawn looked at the lad, "I think that was his first word" she remarked.

"Ain't it just like him" Lou laughed. "Forget Ma or Pa! It's the Dog that counts!"

"Uf" Noah let out as she finally let him go.

Dawn watched Lou and realized something had changed. She seemed so at ease, so peaceful and trusting, happy. Watching her with Noah she wondered if Lou and the Kid finally had gotten things straight? Or was it only temporary? She rose to attend to the chores at hand, smiling to herself as she wondered what Kid and Lou had been up to the time they were alone in the house.

Lou rose to help Dawn with her chores. "Where's Jimmy?"

"He felt kind'o bad for hitting the Kid so he decided to ride out to Sweetwater when he was done helping Buck. Needed something to cool his nerves he said."

"I wanted to thank him for finding Kid" Lou muttered. Ashamed of the anger she had felt towards Jimmy as he'd brought Kid back. He had done exactly what she'd asked for and she had lashed out at him.

"Oh he'll be back, Lou."

"Yeah" Lou sighed. She knew she had to thank Jimmy for getting Kid back and helping her solve the problem.

Lou was preparing sandwiches as Kid climbed down the stairs. He had nothing but buckskin pants on as he stumbled down the stairs rubbing his eyes. Lou was eating a sandwich and bit herself as she saw him. She grimaced from the pain and put the thumb in her mouth to ease the burning feeling.

Kid lifted his head and saw his wife barefoot in a nightgown, standing on the floor with the thumb in her mouth. Her long hair around her, still damp from her bath. She was a sight that he'd never forget.

"Lou" he grunted jumping down the last steps.

Lou took the thumb out of her mouth and asked if he was hungry.

"Uh huh" Kid confirmed and took her thumb into his mouth, suckling it softly.

"I meant food" Lou giggled sinking into his warm lap. Kid entwined her in his arms and released her thumb. He kissed her neck and felt her hands grab a tighter hold of him. Lou inhaled the scent of him. Something that was uniquely Kid and always made her feel a soft quivering deep inside. She would know him by this scent even if blindfolded and tied up. He tilted his head to search for her eyes as she drew deep breaths, filling her lungs with him. As their eyes met a shiver ran simultaneously through them. Lowering his head he searched for her lips. She closed her eyes to meet him. His lips found hers, expressing his hunger. Lou savored his kisses, the quiver increasing by his tongue's play with hers and his hand running trough her hair. She'd been longing for this so long. Her hands were all over him, tears moistened her eyes as he didn't walk away. Instead she felt his hunger increase and the strong body pressed against her tremble slightly at her touch. Their passion kept building as their hands roamed each other's bodies. Their skins yearning for contact. Having each other this close made their breaths uneven and fast.

"Emma and Noah?" Kid wanted to know between kisses.

"At Dawn's, the whole night" Lou grunted as her lips left his neck to nibble his ear.

"Good" Kid breathed against her shoulder, sending shivers down her spine and making her hands wander down to his buttocks. Holding him tightly against her yearning, closing her eyes as she felt his.

Kid's fingers opened Lou's nightgown to let it fall to the floor while hers freed him of his pants. They sank onto the floor, unable to stay standing any longer.

Lou drew Kid closer to herself as his lips started to wander on her body. Moaning she let her hands wander on his and feel his lust. Feeling him made her whimper slightly and move herself under him. The thought of having him inside of her made her whole body scream for him. Her breath fast and shallow she let her eyes wander over his body, trembling as she let her hand follow. Savoring him with both eyes and touch.

"You sure Lou?" His eyes bore into hers to convince himself she really wanted him. Lou bit his shoulder slightly in a reply that sent him shuddering. The light from the setting sun oozing in through the window gave his body a golden tone. Lou closed her eyes as he moved to kiss her from the neck down to her longing. His strong hands holding her hips. The softness of his lips and his warm hands on her body made her clutch on to him and arch herself against him. Every part of her body overly sensitive to his touch.

She came as his lips enfolded her throbbing, suckling it, making her hands squeeze him hard. Her legs parted wider to open herself to him. She needed his body to fill the void that had been empty for so long. She needed him to finally fill both her body and soul with his tenderness and love. His tongue kept sending her into shivers of pleasure that emanated from deep within. She bit her lip to keep herself from screaming out loud while her body kept stiffening in pleasure under his touch. He knew exactly what she longed for. Slowly his lips started working upward on her body. The feel of him made her groan between the whimpers and her hands to travel on his hardness as she finally reached it. He chuckled against her stomach knowing he was driving her crazy, anticipating her begging.

"I need you now Kid" she whispered hoarsely as her hand moved on him.

"Uhmh" Kid answered recoiling from her touch to nibble her neck. His lips found hers again and his tongue drove her close to the peak. She moaned under his kiss. Cursing him for his habit to always make her beg, loving the way he did it. She felt her own moist run down her legs, her body aching to have him. She wanted him so much her body reacted by itself; she had no way of controlling it any longer. Her hips moved by themselves in search of the man above her. She peaked as Kid's lips and tongue touched her nipple. As he softly suckled her breast she was overwhelmed by yet another wave. This time she couldn't contain herself but screamed her lust as her body searched to be with his. "Goddammit Kid, now!"

Kid smiled as he recognized the tone of voice, this wasn't a plea, it was an order. Heaving herself up towards him she groaned and moaned loudly as he finally pushed himself into her. Gasping as he filled her up. Looking at them joined she found herself hoarsely pleading with God over and over again as Kid moved deep and slow inside of her. Their lips met in a deep kiss. With every thrust his tongue touched hers, increasing in pace until their intense movements made her scream into his mouth in utter lust. Begging for him to explode inside of her. Her pleasure was blinding her as her feet took support from the floor and she fiercely thrusted herself onto him. In her passion she buried her nails into the man above her, making him emit sounds of pleasure that drew her into frenzy. Their sounds mingled into a mutual song of passion. As she came the sounds leaving her lips sounded like somebody else's. She briefly wondered who was screaming. The wave that squeezed her body made her whine breathlessly and Kid exploded into her with muffled roars of pleasure. His convulsing body pinned hers to the floor and Lou flung her head back to take him and what he gave her deep inside of her. Dimly she saw the door open. To rattled to react when she heard somebody talk, she just closed her eyes to enjoy the wave that kept sending her to touch heaven. Moaning in protest as Kid withdrew himself only to take her into his arms.

"What the hell!" Jimmy's voice rang out and Kid flung himself off her. Seating himself up and taking her into his lap he tried to cover her up with the nightgown. Fumbling and cursing under his breath as he gave up and entwined his arms and legs around her to shield her best he could. His head sinking onto her shoulder.

"Are you two killing each other?" Jimmy wanted to know. His gun momentarily pointing at them. Lou's mind raged as she fought to get her breathing under control. She could tell Jimmy had been drinking a whiskey or two. Kid's chest was heaving while he concentrated on getting his breath into a speaking mode. She felt his heart pounding wildly against hers.

Kid's breath finally settled enough to enable him to talk. "Jimmy, please get out!" he growled breathlessly.

"Are you two ok?" Jimmy's voice sounded concerned.

"We're just fine" Lou mumbled into Kid's chest. Her body still trembling. Her mind suddenly clear as daylight. She wanted to hide under the table in embarrassment.

"You sure? Sounded like you were hurtin' each other!"

"Jimmy, dammit, get out now!" Lou hollered, her embarrassment turning to rage at Jimmy's refusal to obey. She sincerely hoped he was too inebriated to realize what he had walked in on.

Jimmy just stood there for a moment. Watching them with wide eyes while they tried to cover each other's nakedness. Both trying to conceal the embarrassment painted on their faces. Then he holstered his gun and a wide grin spread on his face. Lou saw the grin in the corner of her eye and hid her face against Kid's neck. Muttering "Oh God" as she felt her face turn an even brighter red.

"Jimmy" Kid moaned, desperately trying to get him fooled, "we were just ..." His meek explanation was interrupted by Jimmy's snort of laughter. Kid and Lou's eyes met briefly before they both turned their faces in his direction, peering at him. Jimmy was trying to cover his amusement. "' huh? Well just go on with this.. huh... dancin' all means." Jimmy chuckled as he turned to walk out. Lou's head sank as she understood he was mercilessly teasing them.

Kid's shoulder shook of laughter as they heard the door close. Lou pressed herself tightly into his lap, joining in his contagious laughter.

They sat there until their giggles ebbed out. When Lou turned to meet Kid's eyes they shone of embarrassment and laughter, "Oh God Lou, how did this happen? How did he get in?"

"Through the door Kid!"

"I know that, but how come we didn't hear him?"

"Kid, I think we were kinda loud!"

"Sweetheart you're always kinda loud!" Kid teased her and Lou swatted him, still chuckling at the disturbing thought of Jimmy walking in on them. Entwining her arms around Kid's neck she realized she wasn't through with him yet. But maybe it'd be safer somewhere's else. She'd somehow deal with Jimmy later.

"You hungry Kid?" she repeated, remembering his favorite sandwiches still lying to the kitchen table.

"Uh huh" he mumbled biting her neck.

"Food, Kid food!" she squealed under his bite.

"That too!" Kid answered lifting her from the floor.

Teasingly he kissed her bare shoulder; "which hunger do we still first?"

Lou moaned at the implication, she knew exactly which hunger she wanted to still first. But for Kid's sake they'd have to go for the other. Seating him down besides the table she crept up into his lap, feeding him with sandwiches and cider she basked in their love. Sitting on his lap she ate the crumbles that fell on his chest as she fed him. Tickling him, causing him to chuckle and cough as the cider spilled and found it's way down his neck. Lou eagerly lapped it from his skin. Finally Kid couldn't take it any longer. He licked her hand holding the last piece of a sandwich. The tip of his tongue following her arm up to her shoulder. "I need you now" he demanded huskily. As his mouth found hers the piece of bread fell from her hand. He rose with her in his lap. Making his way to the bed with his lips sealed onto her collarbone. Suckling it softly as he walked. He laid her on the bed and kissed her knees. She reached out for him in a fury, drawing him down onto the bed, rolling him to his back. She needed to look at him. Her hungry eyes drank the source of her longing. Her lips found his nipple, teasing it with fast movements with her tongue.

"No Lou, no" he groaned moving under her touch.

"Oh yes Kid" she mumbled, her lips searching his strong neck as she laid herself on top of him. Softly biting his neck and shoulder while his hands moved along her spine down to her buttocks. Hands that knew every part of her body, a body that was screaming to be touched. The closeness made her shiver and she rose to sit astride him. She moved down to rub herself against him. Kid heaved himself up muttering; "Please Lou, please" in whimpering lust. She smiled at him, loving to have him long for her the way he made her long for him. His strong hands on her hips, trying to stop her movements. "You're makin' me suffer!" he groaned.

Her moist running down her thighs she steeled herself to tease him into frenzy. Whimpering as she moved on his manhood but not letting him have her, not just yet. She dared not look at his eyes. Eyes she knew would make her throw herself onto his pounding lust. She held her eyes securely close as her hands moved on his body. His familiar lines finally back under her hands made a tear run down her face.

"You ok, Lou?" Kid husky voice in her ear as he seated himself up to kiss away the tear.

"I need you!" she sobbed in lust at his bare chest touching her.

"I'm yours honey, just take me!" Kid begged, trying to move inside of her. Lou knew she'd peak as soon as he came inside. Wanting to savor the lust longer she shook her head. She removed her burning desire from him. Lowering her lips to kiss his velvet manhood. As her lips touched him Kid whimpered in withheld lust and turned her to her back. One look at his eyes made her fingers dig into his buttocks. Kid rose to his elbows over her, his eyes shut in a desperate attempt to hold back his own pleasure and concentrate on hers, making his fingers dig into the sheets. His breath fast and intermittent against her skin. Her legs parted wide to give him room, enfolding him to keep him close. Moaning loudly he sank fully on top of her, entwining her in his strong arms, his lust throbbing and hot on hers. Moving in teasing thrusts outside her body he mumbled unintelligibly against her neck.

"Now dammit" she growled at him trying in wane to get him inside. As he rose to his elbows she wriggled under him to get him where she wanted him. Kid's mouth traveling back to her breasts made her scream and bolt under him. His weight pinned her to her place and she felt her body engulfed in a wave as his manhood touched her and his mouth savored her nipple. Clasped around him she moved in circles under him while she wetted the bed with her lust. Her body a screaming longing she begged him yet another time to take her and make her his. Him holding back almost made her cry as she pleaded with him to make love to her. Searching for his eyes she breathlessly whispered her needs; "Kid, please I need you to cum inside of me. It ain't the same if I don't feel your pleasure too."

Kid lowered his head to her collarbone, chuckling softly. "Lou, believe me, it's not that I don't like what we're doin'!"

Lou bit his shoulder hard. Her hands squeezing his buttocks, her hips moving fast around him. Kid still held back as Lou started whimpering again feeling his hardness slowly penetrate her. "Take me!" she whined as her hips rose to meet him and her hands pressed him hard against her arched body. Kid responded promptly, he took her. Every time he thrusted himself deeply into her she whimpered of joy and met his need willingly to still her own. His movements inside of her made her vision blur of pure pleasure. Enfolding him in a tight embrace with both legs and arms she shared his passion. His strong hips drumming fast against hers while he held her encircled in his arms. She kept pushing him to move faster and deeper inside of her. Until they met in a wild rhytm that rocked the world. She bit and scratched him in her blind passion as she came, shivering and shouting his name as the world seemed to vanish around her. Making him groan and finally erupt violently inside her. His hoarse hollers of pleasure made Lou arch her back and met him in his pleasure with a guttural sound as the world got red before her eyes and she was thrown into a hot wave that kept repeating itself and never seemed to end. Kid gripped her tighter, moaning and trembling while pleasure racked his body. Stilling her trembling body with his hold. Lou held on to him while the wave made her drift into total bliss, glad he was holding her tight, thinking she might disappear into the wave for good if not. Tears running down both their faces they clung to each other, riding the waves to the end. Gasping at the intensity. Both marveling at the fact that their bodies moving together caused such bliss.

Lou had finally had her fill of him, her body feeling heavy of contentment. She smiled at him as he moved away from her laying himself to his side, his face glowing and his breath labored. His eyes closed as the world seemed to spin around him. His hand searching for hers to keep. She crept up against his side resting her head on his strong arm and kissing his trembling lips, her hand on his heart to ease the fast beating. Her lips found a biting mark on his neck and kissed it softly. "I'm sorry Kid" she whispered to his neck. Excusing herself for the pain she must have caused him in her frenzy to have him. Kid drew her closer and Lou's eyes flickered close as she fell asleep exhausted in the arms of her love. Calmed by the rhythmical beating of his heart. Their sweaty bodies still entangled.

Kid moved to cover her with the sheets and blankets lying at their feet. Lou mumbled and searched for him as he momentarily left her. Kissing her brow he turned her to fit her into his hold. She smiled in her sleep as her sweaty body curved into his. His eyes went to the darkness outside. It was an other kind of darkness than the one he had experienced the other night. This promising kind of darkness soothed his soul. Looking at Lou sleeping curled in his lap, fitting him perfectly he knew they'd make it, even through the darkest of nights. Any night. Drawing Lou close to his heart his eyes fluttered close and he finally slept in peace, in the heat the love they shared had created.

Buck found a broadly smiling Jimmy on the doorstep as he returned from checking the horses for the night. As Buck approached Jimmy burst into laughter. Jimmy's laughter was so contagious Buck found himself chuckling for no reason. "What you laughin' 'bout Jimmy?"

Jimmy threw cautious glances around before he leaned in to tell Buck. "They were dancing so loudly I thought they were killin' each other off. I busted in on them with my gun cocked. You should've seen them!"

"Figures" Buck grinned, "you can still hear them"

"You walked in on them too?"

"No Jimmy, I had the sense to walk out when I heard them!"

"God-al-mighty" Jimmy chuckled. "I walked in on them right there on the kitchen floor" Jimmy spat out between laughs."An' they were makin' strange sounds Buck, I've never heard anythin' like it before. I swear."

"Serves her right" Buck grinned, "she walked in on us once too! And she didn't walk out right away."

"Neither did I" Jimmy squealed, "I sure let them know I knew."

Buck found himself laughing at the thought of them squirming under Jimmy's gaze.

"I'll sure enjoy lettin' them hear about this" Jimmy said wiping his tears.

Buck turned his eyes to the house inhabited by his friends. "I'll give them an hour or so and maybe I'll walk in on them too!" he grinned wickedly. "Kid's still laughin' about the time I fell into the manure. Maybe it's time I even things up."

Dawn stuck her head out the open window. "Boys, I heard everything! Leave'm in peace, both of ya!"

Jimmy turned two glittering eyes in her direction. "But Dawn, I never realized dancin' could be so loud!"

"You're disgustin' Jimmy!" Dawn chuckled at Jimmy's mirth. Then she smiled in relief, she wouldn't have to meddle in their affairs after all. They had finally worked things out between the two of them. Chuckling she went into the kitchen thinking about a way to retaliate Lou's walking in on her and Buck. Noah was whimpering in his crib, lost without his favorite rag. "You sure miss it don't you honey?" Dawn reached to comfort the child. Then a wicked grin split her face as the thought hit her. Laughing she lifted the child from his crib into her lap telling him; "One of these days, Noah, one of these days!"

Ex Finis
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