Disclaimer:  This is a work of fan fiction based on characters created by Ed Spielman and owned by Ogiens/Kane Productions.  Neither the author nor the webmistress claim any ownership or any profit from the creation of this work.  This story may not be posted elsewhere except with the express permission of the author.
Chapter 1

Lou sat behind the school desk and let her mind travel back to a much better time.  She hadn’t had much time to dwell in the past lately, not with Seth starting to crawl and get into everything. But every once in a while she would allow herself a few moments to think about how different her life may have been...... if she had accepted his proposals.  Kid had asked her two
different times to marry him, but she had refused both.  Not willing to give up the life she had at the time, masquerading as a boy riding for the pony express.  She never doubted her love for him, and his for her, she just thought, hoped really that he would wait for her.  Wait until she was ready to give up the freedom she thought she had living life as a boy..most of the time.  Well, she thought regretfully, she was wrong and now she realized just how selfish she had been to even think that he should wait for her.

Kid had left Rock Creek shortly after her second refusal and with him he took a part of her no one would ever have.

She was startled out of her daydream by the stirring of little Seth from his nap in the cradle she kept in the school house.  She had had to work to support them because Robert rarely came home any longer, and hadn’t provided money since Seth’s birth.  She didn’t mind so much that he didn’t come home, actually relieved each day he didn’t come home, but struggling to make ends meet for her and her son was cumbersome.    Robert was not the man she thought she had married.

A little while after the express days were over each of the riders went separate ways.  Lou and Rachel stayed at the old way station, Lou planning on heading to St. Joe to get her brother and sister as she had always planned.  But Rachel took sick and when they realized it was going to be a lengthy recovery Lou agreed to take over as school teacher until Rachel could resume her duties.  Little did she know what that meant for her future.

He was a very tall and dashingly handsome man that came to her schoolhouse that day selling school supplies they would need for the school year.  Though she wasn’t really looking for romance, she found it hard to think about other men since she’d lost the Kid, but Robert liked what he saw.  It didn’t take long until he had convinced her to have dinner with him, and he was charming and kind.  Well, the rest of the courtship was short but Robert treated her kindly and she, knowing she had lost her one true love, accepted his proposal.  She knew she would never share the love with Robert that she and Kid had shared, but
she could envision making a decent life with him.

It wasn’t long after their wedding day that she saw the first flashes of his anger and rage.  She didn’t quite have the meal ready when he came home and without any warning he’d slapped her - hard.  She was overwhelmed, she couldn’t believe what just happened. She placed her hand on her cheek and felt the warmth from the blood rushing to the place he had just slapped.  She glared at him trying to understand what had just happened.  He seemed unmoved by her pain. Confused and overwhelmed she couldn’t think straight, she served the meal and they ate in silence.  After Lou had cleaned up the dinner dishes Robert took her forcefully to the bedroom, after quite a struggle on her part, begging him to leave her alone and to not do this she gave in to him, his strength far outweighing hers.  When he finally finished he rolled off of her dropping immediately into a deep sleep , leaving her feeling guilty and ashamed; she wept bitterly.

Life changed drastically for Louise McCloud Clark that evening.  The fire usually burning brightly in her chocolate brown eyes began to dim.  Robert came home seldom, but when he did he was drunk and all he wanted was to take what he referred to as “rightfully his”. Lou had begun to contemplate things she didn’t think she would ever be able to do, kill him, kill herself...she had lost all hope.

The only good thing that had come out of the first year of their marriage was her pregnancy.  When she found out she was pregnant she was excited; maybe this would change things, maybe Robert would change, maybe he’d become the man she thought she had married.

Seth was born right after the second anniversary of Robert and Lou’s wedding.  And though right after his birth Robert seemed to have softened, it didn’t take long before the abuse began again.

Coming out of her daydreaming she  picked the baby up and began to head home, “Don’t worry Seth, I will find a way out of this, I won’t let him ruin your life, too.”

She decided to stop by and check on Rachel before returning to her home.  She walked into the front door to be greeted by Rachel, who never really made enough of a recovery to resume her teaching responsibilities.  Although weakened by her current state of health she was able to get around and Lou’s precarious situation did not go unnoticed by her.  “Louise, you have to get yourself out of that situation, you know you deserve so much more”; she thought about the Kid and how he
had adored her, how her life would be so much different if he hadn’t left.  “Now if I had the strength I would physically take you away, but I can’t do that, this is something you have to do- please Louise- don’t wait until it’s too late” she pleaded.

Chapter 2

It had only been a few weeks since his wife had died of scarlet fever.   He grieved deeply for her but felt that there was nothing left for him in Virginia now that she was gone.  He had met her shortly after he returned home to Virginia, leaving Rock Creek and the one true love of his life.  He would have married Lou and stayed out west if she had agreed.  But when she refused after his second proposal he knew he couldn’t stay there, that he would not be able to live in the bunkhouse with her and the rest of the boys.  He knew he would love her forever but if she didn’t love him in return then life held nothing for him in the west, he would give Teaspoon, the station master his notice and head back to his home.  He knew he would never find true happiness, knowing Louise was his soul mate, but he could at least exist and live without the constant torment of living and working with her knowing she didn’t love him.

It wasn’t long after he returned to Virginia that he met Mary.  She was pretty and easy to talk to, but he didn’t have any desire to start a romantic relationship.  Mary ended up being the pursuer and after quite a bit of patience on her part Kid finally
started to court her.

Kid had know from Rachel’s letters that Lou had married so after a lengthy courtship, he had imagined that though this was and could never come close to what he and Lou had shared, maybe he could after all be married and have a family.  Hadn’t he seen many people who weren’t married to their soul mates make their marriage successful.

Unlike Lou, Mary accepted his very first proposal and they were married shortly after.  Kid was satisfied with the life he had found in Virginia; he didn’t try to kid himself into believing that this was the way he had hoped to spend the rest of his life - but he was not unhappy.

Making love to Mary was not at all how he remembered the sweet passionate love making he and Lou had shared, the first time at Red Fern, the many times at the watering hole and even sneaking out of the bunkhouse late at night when they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other.  It wasn’t like that with Mary, another thing he had to resolve to accept.

 Only about six months after their wedding she had fallen ill with the fever and died.  Kid wasn’t sure what to do, he felt empty inside and only one thought brought even a glimmer of hope to his emptiness.  That was the thought of his first love, if he could only see her, he knew she was a married women, but maybe, resolving himself to the fact that he would never love or marry again, maybe he could just find her again, find comfort in just being her friend, if that was possible.

He made up his mind, he would head back out west.  He would search for the family he had lost so long ago when he left Rock Creek.  He’d try to find some of his closest friends; one in particular.

Chapter 3

Lou needed some air, Seth was napping and she decided to step outside for a few minutes.  When she got to the gate she noticed a horse in the distance - her heart stopped.  Afraid Robert was back in town for what was “rightfully his”.  She held her breath as the rider approached, she had to squint through the sunset and could see that the horse was not Roberts.  Her heart began to pound wildly and her mind began to race.  As the rider approached she could make out the familiar markings of the beloved horse of the Kids. “No”, she told herself.  I must be seeing thing, she thought, he lives in Virginia now with his wife; he
wouldn’t be here.  But as he approached she realized this was not her eyes playing tricks on her, it was the Kid!

She was frantic, she didn’t know how she would react when they met.  She didn’t want to act like a silly school girl but was quickly losing all of her control.  She had to get a grip on herself.

Kid dismounted Katy and flashed her that grin that had succeeded in melting her heart on so many occasions a life time ago.  His eyes were still as blue as crystal seas and he was still the most handsome man she had ever seen.

She gathered her wits about her and hugged him. “Hello Kid, fancy seeing you here” she tried desperately to keep her voice from trembling.  Kid felt his insides tighten as she released him from her embrace - he had forgotten just what her touch did to
him.  He would not allow himself to think about her that way , she was a married women.  He willed his heart to slow down, and was struggling with it as it did not comply to his inner pleadings.  “Lou” was all he could muster, and even it came out cracking with emotion.

“My goodness Kid, what on earth are you doing here?” she questioned.  She grabbed Katy’s reins from him and looped them across the porch rail, “We’ll tend to her later” she stated as she rubbed the nose of the horse she knew meant the world to Kid.  “Hello girl, how’ve you been?”, Katy whinnied to her as if saying “Not too good”.

“Come in Kid, what are you doin’ here?” she talked as they walked toward the front door.   Kid did not answer as they walked into the house.  He smiled at the cozy little home which emulated the warmth of Louise.  His heart stopped when he saw the cradle in the corner and fixed his eyes on the sleeping bundle. Lou noticed his face filled with mixed emotions. “Yes, there’s one of the reasons I still wake up in the morning, one of the reasons life still holds joy for me.”

The bundle began to stir and Kid walked over to the cradle and looked down into the same beautiful brown pools of mud he had gazed into on so many occasions. He scooped the tiny baby up into his large hands and held him.  Lou thought that it looked so natural.  His own father had only picked him up on one occasion right after his birth.  Kid grinned at her - melting
her heart as he always did.  “Boy, she sure is beautiful, looks just like her mama” he stated.

“Well  Kid”  she giggled, “I’m not sure he’d like being called a her”, she emphasized the he.  Kid chuckled and turned a bit red.  Lou saved him from his embarrassment, “A lot of folks mistake him for a girl - most say he’s to pretty to be a boy.” she stated matter-of-factly.

Kid shook his head in agreement and allowed her to take the baby from his embrace as she showed him where he could wash up.  She headed into the kitchen, Seth on her hip,  to start to prepare some dinner.  She thought she heard a horse out front, Katy must be restless, she thought, I’ll send Kid to take care of her when he comes back.

Chapter 4

 As she was preparing the chicken, she realized the horse she had heard was not Katy and one of her greatest fears was realized as she heard the front door open.  “Louise!!  Who the hell is here?!!  Robert screamed as he entered, slamming the door against the wall, scaring Seth he began to scream.  “Shut that brat up you bitch!” he spoke in a menacing tone.

“Andrew please”, she pleaded, wanting at all costs to avoid the inevitable confrontation that she knew was going to take place.

Before she knew it Robert was in her face, demanding to know who’s horse was out front.  “What are you doing, you slut, giving away what’s mine?” he glared at her.

“No Robert, please” she cried turning from him, fearing his wrath.

He grabbed her by the arm harshly and spun her back around to face him.  “I’m telling you Louise - I’ll get it out of you, you understand?” he spoke in a tone that made her understand that he would beat it out of her.  “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll tell me” he continued.

Kid appeared in the hall entrance, “Would you mind taking your hands off the lady?”

At the sound of a man’s voice Robert threw Lou to the ground with the baby in her arms and turned his gaze onto the Kid.
“Who the hell are you?” he boomed.

Trying to remain calm he replied “well now, most folks call me Kid” he spoke cooly.  “And I don’t believe that’s anyway to
treat a lady, do you?”  He began to head over to Louise to help her up.

Robert grabbed his arm. "So you’re the Kid, huh?  You’re the one who used her up before I got my chance” he spoke with a voice full of hate.

Kid almost growled at him, “if you know what’s good for you mister, you’ll take your hands off of me.” Focusing his attention on Louise and the baby he addressed her after Robert had released his grip on his arm, “Lou, you okay?” he questioned with concern.

Robert walked in between Kid and Lou who was still sitting in the floor, “I don’t see that it’s any of your concern Kid, she’s my problem not yours, if you’ll excuse us you may leave, now!” his voice escalating with each word he spoke.

Lou was close to panicking, she knew Kid and she knew he would probably kill Robert. She had seen him on the winning end of fights often, especially when she was at the center of the argument.  Her mind reeled trying to find a way to get him to leave.  “Please Kid, please....” was all she got out before the Kid was on top of Robert, beating him.  Robert was no match for his strength, especially that strength fueled with the anger and rage that consumed him.  His hands clasped around Roberts neck and he continued to squeeze, trying to squeeze his last breath out of him.  Dimly he heard Louise’s pleadings, “no Kid, no he ain’t worth it, please! Kid please don’t kill him, don’t let him be the cause of you hangin’, let him go Kid, please” her voice trembling.

Robert’s eyes had rolled back in his head as Kid released his grip.  Shivering with anger he stood over the unconscious body.  Although barely audible Robert was still breathing.

“Kid, you’d better leave, when he wakes up there’s no telling what he’ll do, please Kid, I’ll be alright. Just go” she pleaded with him through her tear-strained face.

He glared at her disbelievingly, “I will absolutely not leave you here!” did she think he was crazy, he thought.  “You are coming with me Louise - I know how stubborn you are but you will not win this argument - do you understand?!”  He did not wait for an answer, if there was one thing he knew it was that he would not leave her here for the likes of the monster that still lay unconscious at his feet.  “Get a few things together for you and the baby- NOW!”, he bellowed his emotions at a fevered pitch.

Lou was startled by the tone of voice he was using, she knew it was not directed toward her, it was his rage over how Robert had treated her, but it still frightened her.  She did not have time to argue or even think about it - she knew her and her babies life depended on it and she would go with the Kid for now, she would figure out what and where to go later.

Chapter 5

After throwing a few things in her saddle bags and grabbing her old bed roll, which hadn’t been used since the express days were over they headed towards the barn.  “Kid” she tried to get his attention, “Kid, what about Mary?” was all she could get out.  He realized he hadn’t gotten a chance to tell her what happened in all of the commotion.  His eyes softened and he looked at her, “Mary died of scarlet fever Lou, that’s why I came back here, to find my family, you and the boys.”  “I’m so sorry Kid”, she was shocked by his statement.  “Yeah me too, we were only married a few months, but at least she’s not in pain anymore”
his voice trailed off.  He turned his attention back to the task at hand.  Lou watched him with pain in her heart, he was so full of so many emotions right now, and she only added to his burden, why did she always end up hurting him so?  He didn’t deserve any of it.

Katy was already saddled so Kid began to saddle Lightening.  “Aren’t we going to take the buck board?” she questioned him apprehensively, not sure whether he had gotten a hold of his emotions yet. “No Lou, I don’t want to take anything that belongs to him.  He tried to speak soothingly to her, knowing his outbursts had frightened her.  “You leaving him ain’t breaking no law, but if we take something of his he can have the law after us.  We’ll just take Lightening - he’s yours” he turned around to finish saddling the horse.

“How will we carry Seth?” she questioned, feeling a little relief that Kid seemed to be coming back around.  Kid tucked his coat into his gun belt and carefully placed the baby in his jacket, Seth would fit perfectly, “there” he smiled triumphantly at her
“he’ll be snugly warm.  “Lou looked at him worriedly, “I’m not so sure about this Kid, I’m scared.”  She looked to him for support.  “Trust me Lou - I’m not gonna let anything happen to either of you”, he assured her.  Lou felt a peace in her heart she hadn’t felt in quite a while, since Kid had left Rock Creek, “I do trust you Kid.”

They rode out to Rachel’s place and woke her from a sound sleep.  Though they didn’t have much time they made sure she understood the situation and promised to get in touch with her as soon as they got where they were going - problem was they didn’t even know that.

They rode for what Lou guessed was 4 or 5 hours and Kid slowed up.  “I think Seth needs a break, we all do” he sighed.  “Let’s pull up in the next town and get a room.”

Lou realized she didn’t have any money, she had forgotten in her haste.  “Kid, I didn’t bring any money with me, I didn’t even think about it, what are we going to do?”

“Don’t worry about that Lou, I’ve got plenty to last us a while, until we get somewhere where I can earn some” he reassured her that he had things under control.

They came upon a small quaint town and entered the lobby of the local hotel.  “Good evening”, he addressed the women behind the counter.  “We’d like to get a room.”  “Certainly”, she acknowledged his request, “Mr. & Mrs...?”  Kid looked at Lou who was holding the very hungry and cranky Seth, she realized he was at a loss.. “Ah.. Hunter” stuttered Lou-caught
off guard by the clerks question.  After signing the register Kid sent Lou and Seth up to wash up, he’d grab something to eat and take care of the horses. He’d be up in just a little while.

Lou washed her and the baby and nursed him, he ate until he was satisfied and fell asleep.  She laid him on the bed and curled her tiny frame around him; she did not realize how exhausted she was, it did not take long for sleep to envelope her.

Kid entered the room shortly after and found the sleeping pair.  He smiled to himself at the site.  He worried that she needed to eat but also knew she needed her sleep.  He watched them for a moment wondering just what laid ahead for them.  Maybe one day they could be his family... He made his way to the settee and after absently eating some cold biscuits and gravy was overcome by much needed sleep.

Early the next morning they stopped at the general store for the very few supplies they needed.  They had to travel light, Lou was thankful that Seth was still nursing, one less mouth to have to worry about, she thought.

The next four days and nights they spent sharing the responsibility of holding Seth as they rode.  Kid would find a secluded area each night and build a fire, after eating and taking care of Seth’s needs Lou was so exhausted she would fall into a deep sleep
shortly after getting settled.  Kid however worried (as usual) how long could they run, what were they gonna do when the money ran out, where were they going?  Each night he’d fall asleep with all of these questions on his mind, he did not rest well.  The only time he felt true peace was when he would watch Lou and the baby sleep.  He would do whatever he needed to
to keep them safe and provide for them right now.  He didn’t know what the future held but for right now he resolved he would make it up to her for leaving her to find the likes of Robert Clark.

Chapter 6

After breakfast the next morning Lou approached Kid. “You know, last time I got a letter from Jimmy he was Sheriff of a little town up in Wyoming territory, we’re heading in that direction, aren’t we? she questioned.  He confirmed her statement with a nod. “I think the name of the town was something like Jackson Ridge or Jackson Bluff, that’s it, yeah it’s Jackson Bluff.

“Yeah, Kid replied, we shouldn’t be too far from Wyoming Territory.  Next town we come to we’ll stop and ask around.  “I’ll bet if “Wild Bill Hickock” is a sheriff around these parts, everbody’ll know about it”, he grinned at her.

Kid’s guess was right and Lou also happened to be right about the name of the town.  They were told they were only about a day and a half ride from there. Neither of them were sure what they would do once they got there but both felt relieved knowing they at least had a plan now.

With some of the pressure lifted, after the nightly rituals, instead of Lou falling asleep and Kid watching them sleep they both felt like talking.  They hadn’t had much of a chance to talk so far this trip. Sitting across from him peering through the fire “Kid”, she spoke to get his attention.  “Yeah, Lou”, he looked at her.  Feeling a little uncomfortable, but wanting to get this off her chest she continued “you know you ain’t said much to me about Robert.  I know you must have some feelings about it, about him, about me for letting myself get into that situation” she chanced to look directly at him for the first time since he first arrived.

“Lou” he responded feeling overwhelmed by her piercing eyes.  “I’d really rather not talk about it - if I hadn’t left, If I had only waited for you, you never would have been in that situation.  It’s all my fault and it brings up too many feelings of regret, feelings I don’t want to deal with right now” he broke the gaze.

Shocked by the realization that he actually blamed himself for her situation she quickly tried to come up with the right words.  “It wasn’t your fault Kid, you asked me two times to marry you, I turned you down.  I knew that the last time I turned you down hurt you bad, I had wished in my heart that you would wait until I was ready, ready to give up riding.  But I knew you were hurt too badly - It’s my fault for not telling you then how I really felt, for not at least telling you how much I loved you and for not stopping you from leaving me...” her voice cracking and tears beginning to flow.  “Lou” Kid began to scoot closer to
her bedroll, “I knew we loved each other, I just didn’t think it was meant to be, that’s why I left.” He cradled her in his arms knowing she needed to be comforted, he wondered how long it had been since she had truly been comforted by a man.  Lou couldn’t remember ever feeling so protected.  She never wanted to move again.  They slept the night, Seth encircled by Lou who was encircled by Kid.  It was the most peaceful and restful night of sleep they had gotten in months.

Chapter 7

They awoke the next morning feeling a little awkward at the position they were in, still embracing. Lou rose and took care of Seth’s needs and breakfast mostly in silence.  After a few moments Kid broke the silence “Well, better get going, wonder what Jimmy’s gonna say when we surprise ‘em?”  he look amused.  She smiled, knowing they had a lot of explaining to do, also feeling a little apprehensive about telling Jimmy about her life and how it turned out.  She knew everybody thought she was too strong willed to have let a man control her like that, she couldn’t answer their questions when she didn’t have the answers to
her own.

Before they mounted the horses, Lou wanted to thank him for what he’d done for her, for her and her baby.  She stammered, feeling uncomfortable “Kid”, he looked at her, again touching her heart with his eyes.  “Kid, I..I.. I just wanted to thank you for all you’ve done for me, for us... Seth and me.  You have been like a savior to me, and I have no idea how to repay you. Kid shook his head, “Lou, you don’t’ owe me nothin’, I didn’t do anything any decent man wouldn’t have done.”  He was desperately trying to control his emotions. He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her and love her - he knew he had to get a grip on himself - they could not let their relationship go there - not yet anyway.

Lou knew the reality of the situation, she knew that any decent man wouldn’t go to the lengths to get her away from the likes of her husband that the Kid had, but sensing his uneasiness decided to leave it at that.  She could still read him like a book, she knew the turmoil he was in and didn’t want to say or do anything that would make it any worse for him.

They rode the rest of the morning in silence.  Each of them wondering what they were going to do when they reached their destination.

They approached the town that they had decided a few days ago would be the end of their trip.  Both felt a little sadness, feeling this was nearing the end of the time they would spend together.  They rode up to the sheriff’s office and dismounted.  Kid handed Seth to Lou and she placed him on her hip- Kid thought she made such a natural mother, he never would have
thought that a few years ago.  He laid his hand on her shoulder and gently guided her up the few steps and through the door.

They saw Jimmy slumbering in his tipped back chair, his black hat covering his face.  Kid cleared his throat as Jimmy peered out from under his hat.  “Well I’ll be damned” he jumped up nearly toppling over. “What the hell....” he quickly glanced at the Kid and Lou with a baby on her hip, he was confused.  “What the hell are you two doin’ here, if I ain’t mistaken you two idiots married other people, even though everybody knew you were made for each other, and here you are - looking like the nicest little family.”

Kid and Lou looked towards each other a bit sheepishly but quickly broke the gaze.  Kid grabbed Jimmy’s hand and shook it but quickly embraced him in a bear hug. Slapping him on the back, Jimmy turned his eyes towards Lou, “Hello Jimmy” she opened her arm still balancing Seth on her hip,  preparing for the big bear hug she knew was coming.  “It’s a long story” she
remarked hugging him.  “You got some time?”   “Yeah, yeah, just let me wrap some things up around here, you two go up to my place.  It’s just outside of town about half a mile, you can’t miss it, looks just like a lonely bachelor ‘s place.  You two go ahead - freshen up or whatever you need to do - I’ll meet you there soon.”

Lou had just barely finished feeding the baby when Kid walked into the living area - fresh from his shower. Lou’s heart skipped a beat as her memories of their showers together flooded her.  Oh get a grip Louise - she chided herself.  He looked at her, “You go freshen up Lou, I’ll keep an eye on Seth.  She complied - gratefully, feeling the need for a good thorough shower.

When she was through, she approached Kid and Jimmy, who had come in while she was bathing. Seth was seated comfortably on Kid’s lap.  They were laughing, it did her heart good to see the look of happiness on Kid’s face, it had been so full of worry lately.  She could tell they were laughing about their express days, the best years of my life - our life, she sighed and made
her way to the table.

She sat next to the Kid and began to tell Jimmy about the past few years and how her life had turned upside down.  A lot of the information she was sharing was also new to Kid, it hurt him listening to her, knowing her pain could have been eased, knowing she never would have had to experience it if he had only given her more time - if he had only waited for her.

As if on cue - Kid picked up after Lou’s voice trailed off, filling Jimmy in up to where the Kid had shown up at her house.

Kid filled Jimmy in on his past and his marriage.  Lou felt a tinge of jealously toward his wife, than berated herself for being jealous of a dead women.  It was her fault he left, it was only natural he would find someone to love - he always attracted women, no matter where they went.  How many times did she have to answer questions from all the girls in Sweetwater
and Rock Creek.  They all thought she was a boy , his ‘best’ friend, they were always trying to get her to ask him to ask them to a dance or barn raising.  At the time Lou thought it was humourous, now she realized she should have understood then how blessed she was that she, even dressed as a boy, was the object of his affections.  But she took it for granted and lost it.   She’d been such a fool - well nothing I can do about it now, she thought.

Kid was finishing up when she realized she had been daydreaming and missed most of what he’d told Jimmy. “And after seeing the way he was treating her I almost killed him Jimmy!  I could’ve ripped his heart out with my bare hands” he told Jimmy with heart-felt emotion.

Jimmy was shaking his head and Lou was looking ashamed.  “Oh, please Lou don’t be ashamed, it want your fault” Jimmy stated, noticing her shame. “Besides, you made the decision to leave with the Kid; that took a lot of guts, you aren’t the kind of lady to take being treated like that, you just had a little help, that’s all” he concluded.  She realized Jimmy didn’t hold her weaknesses against her and that he was only concerned for her.

He addressed Kid, “well, what are you two gonna do?” Lou & Kid glanced quickly at each other knowing they had no idea.

“Well first I need to find some decent work, then we need to find a place for Lou and Seth, somewhere safe.” he answered Jimmy.

“I think I can help you with a job, I lost a deputy a few weeks ago, been looking for a good man. I think I can trust your references” he snickered.  “You think you’d be interested?”  Before he could reply Lou interjected, “I don’t know if this town can take Wild Bill Hickock and the Kid back together again!”  They all laughed, evoking many memories of their express

“And as for a place to live” Jimmy continued “you don’t know this but Buck lives up in these parts now. Found himself a wife and they have a pretty nice spread no too far from town.”  Lou and Kid looked at each other and smiled, they both were excited about the prospect of seeing Buck.  “It’d be my guess that they wouldn’t mind finding a little piece of land to put a cabin on, Lou you’ll really like Dawn” Jimmy added.

“And Kid you can stay here with me, until things change” he looked at Lou and Kid expecting some input from them, neither of them said a word.

It was getting late and though they were looking forward to the morning when they would ride out to see Buck again and meet his new wife, they were exhausted.  Jimmy’s house didn’t offer much but he gave his bed up to Lou and Seth and he and Kid made pallets on the floor in the living area.  Tomorrow was another day - they would worry about it when it came.  They slept.

Chapter 8

Lou awoke to the whining of Jordan; he was hungry. After nursing, changing and dressing him and herself she left the bedroom and headed to the kitchen.  She found Kid & Jimmy seated at the table drinking coffee.  “Mornin’ ya’ll, when do we get started?”  They laughed at her, always ready to go.  “Let us finish our coffee and we’ll head out” Jimmy replied.  Kid and
Lou looked at each other, knowing life was getting ready to change drastically, just not sure how.  They did not allow their look to linger, too many emotions, too many questions.

Buck had been as surprised as Jimmy to see Lou and Kid along with Seth.  After getting the same history from both Lou and Kid that Jimmy had gotten yesterday he began to tell them his story and how he met Dawn.  Lou thought Dawn was beautiful, this half-breed, like Buck, who had stolen his heart.  She could see her and Dawn becoming fast friends.  And she really needed a girlfriend.  It’d been a long time since she had someone her age to confide in.

When Kid had filled Buck in on the immediate plans - the only plans he was making at this time- Buck excitedly informed him that there was already a cabin on the property, down by the creek.  It needed a lot of work but the structure was still sound and he & Dawn would love for Lou and Seth to fix it up and make it their home.  Walking away from the girls Buck turned to his old friend and looked at him puzzled, “Kid, are you sure only Lou and Seth will be needin the place?” he questioned.  Dropping his head Kid replied “Buck”, he let out a slow breath “she’s still a married women, now I know you don’t understand my convictions, but one of those is that it ain’t right for a married person - woman or man to carry on with another, no matter what the circumstance is.  It ain’t like I don’t want us to be a family Buck, but it’s got to be legal and all.  It’s just not the right time”, he sighed “never seems to be the right time for us. I hope you can understand that” he looked to Buck for acknowledgment.  Buck nodded his understanding to Kid “more importantly I hope she can” Kid added.

Kid and Lou spent their days trying to get the little cabin livable.  Kid would start to work as deputy when Lou and Seth moved into the cabin.  They worked side by side, communicating little.  Kid knew he wanted to get her moved in and then he would start to consider his own future.  Always putting her first - it was natural for him to do so.  He knew his feelings for her hadn’t changed, well they really had, he knew he loved her even more now that he did years ago - but he also knew that she was married and if he stayed around too long he would probably do something he’d regret. Lou hadn’t mentioned what her plans were when it came to Robert.  He didn’t think he could understand if she wanted to go back to him eventually, to try and work
things out, maybe try to change him, but he knew she didn’t take marriage lightly.  Hell,  she had turned him down when he knew for sure she loved him because she understood what kind of commitment marriage was. He was afraid she would feel it was her duty to try to make things work - to make sure Seth knew his father. Well, he would think about that later, (when had he become such a procrastinator) he wondered.  It was late, he’d head back to Jimmy’s for the night.  The cabin was fixed up enough for Lou and Seth to begin staying there rather than at Jimmy’s.

“Well Lou” leaning over to kiss Seth’s head who was playing happily in his crib “I’m gonna head back to Jimmy’s, I’ll be back in the morning” he turned his attention to her “you gonna be alright?” he questioned her.

Lou looked at him, she was so confused.  How did he feel about her, what were his plans for the future? So many unanswered questions.  Right now all she really wanted was to run into his arms and have him hold her and tell her he’d never leave.  But she knew that this was not the time for that.  She was still married, she understood Kid’s convictions.  Why does he have to be some damn upstanding and moral she thought, realizing at the same time that that was one of the qualities about him she loved so much.  “We’ll be fine, you go get some rest” she spoke softly. “We’ve been through a lot these last few weeks.”  He
kissed her on the cheek and mounted Katy, watching him until she could no longer see his image.

Neither rested well that night.  Both of them tossing and turning through the night with vivid dreams of the passionate lovemaking they had shared so long ago. Lou craved him so badly, she could feel his breath on her skin, his hands on her body.  She wanted to cry out her need for him.   It had been so long since she had truly wanted to make love, Robert only took from her.  She remembered how her pleasure had always been more important to the Kid than his own.  He would drive her crazy and work her into a frenzy, he was so patient-waiting for her to be completely satisfied before he began to think about his own needs.  How could she have let him go- she was such an idiot!  She cried softly for the man she had let leave her.

Likewise, Kid remembered every inch of her - he could imagine her in his arms, his lips caressing her neck, her shoulders.  He remembered the soft giggle it always elicited when he would nibble her earlobe.  He shivered thinking about how much he wanted her, how much he needed her.  What she used to do to him, was still doing to him.  Lou was his first and he was
surprised when he and Mary made love because it did not have the same intensity and passion that he and Lou had shared.  He was so naive he didn’t know there would be a difference, he didn’t realize the intensity of his and Lou’s lovemaking came from the deep love they shared.  He had been disappointed about Mary, but he didn’t feel the need to please her the way he always felt the need to please Lou.  She was the most important thing when it came to making love.  He worked hard at bringing her pleasure, he’d never even think about his needs until she was fully ready for him.  Again he shivered at the thought of her under
him.  He tried desperately to clear his mind of her and the images of their past.  He was not successful.

They both welcomed the morning - knowing that keeping busy would take their minds off the night-time images.  Kid showed up early and grinned at her.  Her heart skipped a beat at his smile, the smile that always touched her.  Oh, she thought, this is gonna be harder that I imagined.  “Rest well?”, he questioned her as he remembered his own fitful night.  She shrugged, “I
guess.”  Catching her uneasiness he approached her, “what’s wrong Lou?” he asked with concern.  “Oh, nothin’, she sighed and busied herself.  Kid was right behind her, she could feel his closeness and it unnerved her.  “Come on Lou, don’t hold anything from me.  I’m your friend and I want to help you, help you through this time” he urged her to share her problems
with him.  She was afraid to look at him afraid he’d read her true thoughts.  Get a grip on yourself Louise, she told herself sternly.  She wasn’t ready for the conversation she knew they would eventually have to have, for now she would be content to have him as just a friend.

“Oh Kid, really everything’s okay”, she faced him, smiling to let him know she really was okay.  “Neither me or Seth rested to well last night- guess it’s just being alone and the new house and all” she lied. Convinced, Kid continued “if you’re afraid I’ll stay, I’ll make a pallet on the floor.”  Lou, knowing this would never work; sure she wouldn’t be able to stop herself from attacking him if he stayed quickly responded.  “No, tonight’ll be different, it’s just getting used to the new house- I’ve spent most of my nights alone Kid” she spoke only half truths.  But seemingly the Kid accepted her fumbling excuse.  They
continued their work in completing the finishing touches to make the little cabin into a home, and it was looking more and more like a home.

Chapters 9 - the end coming soon!

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