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 Smalls Falls 2014 Reboot Chapter 4

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stormr



Posts : 20
Join date : 2014-01-20

20140208
PostSmalls Falls 2014 Reboot Chapter 4

SMALL FALLS 2014 REBOOT – PART 4


The ex-outlaws rode hard all the way to River Gap. Heyes was quiet most of the trip, but Kid understood. He knew his partner was going through feelings that he wasn’t use to dealing with. It didn't help that Heyes hadn't really had any sleep since Friday. He had refused to leave Laurie's side the entire week and now they had a tough ride to get to the Colonel.

They rode into River Gap at two o'clock, Friday afternoon. They took care of the horses and headed over to the hotel to check in. "One room," Heyes told the desk clerk at the hotel, "Can you tell us where we might find Colonel Marker?"

The desk clerk looked up from the registry, "Mr. Smith?" he asked.

"Yes," Heyes replied cautiously.

"Then you must be Mr. Jones," the clerk said, looking at Kid, "Colonel Marker left this note for the two of you." He handed Heyes a folded piece of paper.

Heyes read it, "Had to go take care of a few things. Will be back in town later tonight. Have dinner on me and meet me in my room around nine for drinks. Colonel Marker." Heyes turned to the desk clerk; "We would like a bath as soon as it can be arranged." He turned to Kid, "You go ahead. I'm going to go send a telegram and then I'll be up."

Kid thought of going with him but decided to do what Heyes asked, so he went to the room to get cleaned up.

Heyes walked across to the telegraph office to send the telegram. He started writing: "To: Laurie," and didn't know what to write for her last name. The incredible Heyes smile appeared on his face as he wrote:

“To Laurie Smith, Jansen Hotel, Small Falls.
Arrived 2:00, Colonel due at 9. Weather looks okay, will tell you what the night brings. Love Joshua Smith.”

He handed the telegram to the clerk and headed back to the hotel. Kid was still in the bath so Heyes lay down on the bed to wait. Kid was talking to him and asking him what he thought the Colonel was up to. After three unanswered questions, the blond partner turned to see Heyes fast asleep on the bed. He smiled and went back to bathing and smoking his cigar. Heyes slept till Kid woke him up for dinner at six.

At nine, the ex-outlaws went to Colonel Marker's room. The Colonel greeted them, asked how they were doing and how the friend who was badly hurt was doing. They told him they were fine and their friend was hanging in there. Then they handed him the sealed envelopes.

"Still sealed?" the Colonel said, sounding surprised.

"Per your instructions," Heyes replied.

"Curious?" the Colonel asked.

"Well," Kid started.

"Of course you are," the Colonel stated, "No one could do this job and not be curious. By the way, I don't know how you did it. It seems that the people interested in this information don't know it has all been acquired yet. We've gotten no word since the first pick-up at the hotel and I know they're still watching the lake. You two are the best."

"Thank you. I believe there was an agreed upon price for our expertise," Heyes stated in a very businesslike tone.

"Yes, five hundred dollars plus expenses. I already sent you one hundred dollars, so how about we make it seven hundred? Oh, you did such a good job; I'll give you nine, so that will make an even thousand." The Colonel took out a stack of money and started to count it out as he continued to talk. "The envelopes contain the names of important people who are supposed to be loyal to the Governor but aren't. In fact, the details of a plot to discredit the Governor and get him thrown out of office are in the envelopes. He'll now know details of their illegal actions and can protect himself. There is also a list of those people the Governor can count on for things. People that no one would think would be interested in helping the Governor. My guess is that your names could be on the list." They had a few drinks and the alcohol was getting to Heyes. He had slept some already today, but he could barely keep his eyes open. They said good night; the Colonel thanked them for a job well done and told them to keep in touch, he would be putting in a very good word with the Governor.

The partners left town the next morning but not before Heyes sent another telegram:

“To Laurie Smith,
Weather's great. Hope you are.
Love Joshua.”

After sending the telegram, Heyes turned to Kid, "I'd like to send money to Laurie. I was thinking two hundred dollars," he said, asking for approval.

"I was thinkin’ three hundred," Kid said with a smile. "By your account, you wouldn't have gotten the pick-up by the lake without her. Everyone gets an equal share."

Heyes got the Heyes smile on his face, "I like the way you think." He gave his partner a pat on the back; they sent the money and they left town.


***


Doris walked into Laurie's room with a tray; she was still sleeping. Laurie had been up briefly in the morning, but she was sleeping more than ever. It had been two days since Joshua and Thaddeus had left. Laurie looked like she was getting some color in her face, but she was still extremely weak. Doris put the tray down on the table next to the bed. "Laurie, dear," she said quietly, "Laurie, I have some broth for you. You need to eat." Doris paused before adding, "Laurie, I have a telegram for you. They weren't sure who it was for, but it came to the hotel. Laurie, can you hear me?"

Laurie slowly opened her eyes; "Did you say you have a telegram?"

Doris smiled. "Yes," and handed the telegram to Laurie. She looked at it and smiled, she got stuck on Laurie Smith. A tear rolled down her cheek. "He loves you," Doris said as she stroked Laurie's arm.

"I know," Laurie said and held the telegram to her heart. She read it and after a few moments she took it and placed it under her pillow.

Doris got Laurie to eat a little that day. The doctor came by and said she was doing better. Her injuries were beginning to heal and she looked a little stronger. Laurie slept a little less that day.


***


The next day at lunchtime, Doris walked into Laurie's room; Laurie was awake playing with the heart on her necklace. "You're awake. Good. I have some lunch and a telegram."

Laurie smiled as she took it. As she read it, a tear rolled down her face.

"Tears of joy?" Doris asked. Laurie was quiet and she closed her eyes. "What's the matter, dear?"

"Nothing, just missing Joshua," Laurie said with a forced smile.

"Joshua and Thaddeus should be back soon," Doris told her.

"No," Laurie corrected her, "He's not coming back. I released Joshua before he left. He doesn't need to be stuck with me after what happened. They won't be back. He's just letting me know he's okay so I don't worry." Laurie took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "I think I'd like to be alone for a couple of minutes."

Doris leaned over to kiss Laurie's head, "I'll be back shortly to get the tray."


***


Three weeks later, sitting in a saloon having a beer, Kid looked over at Heyes and teased, "You're gonna wear it out if you keep playin’ with it."

Heyes looked confused, and then realized he had been rubbing the heart charm Laurie had given him between his fingers. He had taken his watch out to check the time, and didn't realize it was still in his hand. He smiled at Kid and placed it in his pocket.

"When was the last telegram sent?" Kid asked.

"Last week," Heyes replied.

"You want to send one before we leave town tomorrow?"

"No," Heyes said shaking his head as tension filled his face.
Kid knew Heyes was still hurting so he backed off. He would bring it up later.

They played poker for a while, and then went to get a beer at the bar. Kid turned to Heyes, "I think we should head northwest when we leave in the mornin’."

Heyes looked puzzled at Kid, "Northwest? Since when did you get so specific? What's northwest?"

"Small Falls," replied Kid with a smile, "It's been three weeks. We know Hanshaw isn't there anymore. I know you want to see Laurie. I want to see…”

“I don’t think…” Heyes began to interrupt.

Icy blue eyes glared at brown ones, “That she wants to see you, ‘cause that’s plain ridiculous. And don’t tell me you don’t want to see her. You’re wearin’ the charm out and besides that you’re just miserable.”

Heyes creased his brow.

“Yeah, I said it. You’re miserable! You have been since we left Small Falls. And besides wantin’ to see Laurie, I was thinkin’ I might want to see Sarah, too."

"Sarah?" Heyes asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Sarah," Kid stated. "With everythin’ that happened; I didn't get to dance with her or use my charms on her."

Heyes gave a guttural laugh, "Charms, is that what you're calling it?" He laughed some more. Kid was happy to hear him laugh. He had barely cracked a smile in the past few weeks. “Okay, we can go northwest tomorrow." He paused, laughed some more, "Charms!"


***


Laurie was slowly healing; at least she was physically. Doris and Walter had been wonderful since Heyes and Kid left but she didn't have the same feeling about life. She didn't care anymore. Not only had she been attacked, yesterday Doris finally told her that her house burnt down. She had nothing to go back to and was feeling very down. Sam even started to venture out with Doris instead of staying next to Laurie's bed. Then the money from Heyes came. He did tell her he loved her and this was just to help until he got back, but she knew different. He wasn't coming back. Why would he? Why would anyone after what had happened? She didn't even dream he would come back. It hurt too much. She went to put the money in the top of her dresser drawer. That's when she found the note with the money Heyes had put there the day he left.

“Laurie,
I am sorry that I have to leave. If I could change anything in my life so I could stay with you I would, but I can't. Remember this has nothing to do with what happened. I want to stay. You have made me happier than I have ever been. I will come back when I can. Please be happy and know how much I love you,
Joshua.”

Laurie read the note and reread the note. Then she quietly sat down by the window. She didn't cry anymore, she couldn't. Her life was numb and she was just going through the motions. The doctor told Doris it was the shock of everything. Laurie would be her old self eventually. Laurie knew different, she knew her life left when Heyes left. The note said he would be back, but she also knew that was written before he left. Written with the guilt of having to leave her while she was in such bad shape. The guilt of not walking back to the hotel with her. When he first left, she got telegrams regularly, but the last one was weeks ago. She was living only because she promised Heyes she would try. Laurie also figured that she owed Doris and Walter for taking care of her. When she was up in the middle of the night she would venture downstairs to the kitchen to make the muffins and biscuits for morning. She only worked when no one else was awake. When people were up and about, Laurie stayed hidden in her room. She sat at the window, looking out at the street below, unconsciously playing with the heart. She was too ashamed and couldn't bear to see anyone in town. How could she look at them when they knew what had happened to her? Most people would only ask Walter and Doris how she was doing, but some, including, the Sheriff, the Quimbys, Charlie and even Charlotte, had come to visit Laurie. She wouldn't see any of them except the Sheriff and that was only because she thought she didn't have a choice.


***


When Heyes and Kid got up the next morning, they left town riding northwest. Heyes figured they could get to Small Falls by the end of the week. Kid noticed a difference in his partner right away. He was happier, teasing Kid about his "charms" as they rode. On the third night of the trip they sat by the fire after dinner and Heyes was once again rubbing the heart Laurie had given him between his fingers. Kid watched and finally said, "You should marry Laurie."

"Huh?" Heyes said, being jostled out of thought.

"I said, you should marry Laurie," Kid repeated.

"I asked, if you remember. Twice. And she said no twice. Besides, just cause I asked doesn’t mean we could really get married. I was…" Heyes voice trailed off as he stared at the fire.

"A fool? No Heyes, you weren’t a fool. You were tellin’ Laurie how much she means to you. You asked when she was hurt. She thought you were takin’ pity on her or you thought she was dyin’. She wouldn't have said no if you had asked her before," Kid's voice trailed off not mentioning the attack.

"I have no right. It wouldn’t be legal anyway.”

"Why not?" Kid asked.

Heyes turned to Kid; "I can't exactly marry her as Hannibal Heyes, now can I?"

"Marry Laurie as Joshua Smith."

"And tell me how that will be legal?" Heyes said sarcastically.

"People change their names all the time. Like that guy, what's his name, Sloane? That's not his real name and he owns the entire town of Wickenburg. If he can do that, you can get married as Smith. Are you ever gonna go back to bein’ Hannibal Heyes? After we get our amnesty, do you think you'll go back to it? Are you gonna be known as Hannibal Heyes ex-outlaw or Joshua Smith, Mr. Nobody? The only ones who'll know are you, me and Laurie," Kid replied.

"Not to mention Lom, the Devil's Hole gang, every lawman that knows who we are, the Governor."

"Okay, so some people will know, but no one in Small Falls. This way the two of you can be together and Laurie will have a family. When we get our amnesty you can re-marry her as Hannibal Heyes if you want.

Heyes poked the fire with the stick. “I can’t stay with her, it’s not safe. And why are you encouraging this when all I’ve ever said to you is ‘Kid it’s not the right time.’ ‘Kid you can’t do this now.’ Not once have I ever encouraged you to marry any of the damsels in distress you fall for. Why the heck are you telling me to marry Laurie, it’s wrong.”

“It ain’t wrong and this is different. You were right,” Heyes looked up from the fire and smirked, “Yeah you were right; just don’t let it go to your head.” Kid rolled his eyes. “It was just a moment with all of them. Yeah, I really liked them but it ain’t the same. You don’t fall for anyone and you fell for Laurie. You can’t look me in the eye and tell me you don’t still love her.”

Brown eyes drifted back to the fire, “It still doesn’t make it right.”

“In our life not much is right Heyes, but this is right. Laurie deserves to have a family and to know she is loved. She knows who you are and doesn’t care. She’ll be okay with us leavin’ and you seein’ her when you can. She’ll understand but she’ll also belong.”

“So she can live like a widow most of the time? Keep her from meeting someone else who can be there for her.”

“Did ya see a line of suitors waitin’ for her? And even if that were so, she loves you and told you that she would always love you.” Kid paused and stared at his partner for a minute. “I don’t think she falls for anyone either and she fell for you.”

“She turned me down twice already," Heyes said nervously.

"Ask her when we get to town, then marry her that night. You two belong together. I never thought I would ever say that, Heyes, but you do. If I have to lose you to someone, it should be Laurie," Kid said as he patted Heyes on the back.

"You're not losing me. You're gaining Laurie," Heyes said with a smile.


***


The cuts were healed. Even the deepest of the cuts and her ribs were healing as well. Emotionally, it was a different story. The horrible brutality of the attack kept Laurie from sleeping most nights and when she did sleep, she woke up from terrible nightmares. Doris was very worried about her. She was thin to begin with, and since the attack, she hadn't been eating, she was wasting away.

It was mid morning and Doris pleaded with Laurie to come eat something downstairs. It was such a beautiful day; they could both sit on the porch and have lemonade and muffins. She had asked Laurie every day since the doctor cleared her to move around, to please come downstairs and sit on the porch, see people, get some fresh air. She told Laurie that everyone in town wished her their best and would like to stop and say hello. Sitting on the porch would be perfect for that. Laurie had always said no; she couldn't face anyone. It was now four and a half weeks since the attack and she had barely left her room and had not stepped outside the hotel. For some reason this morning, when Doris asked, she surprised herself and said yes, it was time to try the porch. If it was too much, she told herself, she didn't have to stay.

Taking a deep breath, she stepped out onto the hotel's porch. It was a beautiful day and it felt wonderful to have the breeze on her face. Slowly, she walked over to a chair by the front stairs that faced away from the street. Laurie figured she could be outside, but she didn't have to see everyone's face as they looked at her. Doris came out with muffins and said she would be right back with the lemonade. Laurie was sitting quietly when she had the sudden urge to turn around; whipping around she saw Heyes standing at the bottom of the porch stairs. Gasping, her hands instinctively covered her mouth as tears welled in her eyes and then flowed freely down her face. "Oh, my" was all she could get out as she stood up shaking.

Heyes took two giant steps up the stairs and reached for her. They wrapped their arms around each other and held on as if it was for dear life. Slowly they relaxed their grip and Heyes drew Laurie into an incredibly passionate kiss. Just as quickly as it started, it abruptly stopped as he quickly stepped back, "I didn't hurt you did I?"

"No, you didn't hurt me, Joshua." Laurie said, as the tears flowed down her face, she placed her hand on his face. "I can't believe you're here. You are here aren’t you? I’m not dreaming?”

“You’re not dreaming; I’m here.”

“I missed you so much," Laurie said and started to bite her lip.

"Still driving me crazy," Heyes whispered and pulled Laurie in for another kiss that was interrupted by a cough from Kid.

"Thaddeus!" Laurie exclaimed as she turned to see Kid on the bottom step.

"Laurie," Kid said with a smile and walked up the stairs to give her a hug and kiss on the forehead. "The two of you are drawin’ quite a crowd on the street," he said with a smile.

Laurie turned and blushed as Heyes pulled her close to him.

The porch door swung open, "Joshua, Thaddeus," Doris exclaimed as she walked through the door and gave them each a hug. "It's so good to see you! Let me get some more lemonade and muffins. I'll tell Walter you're here." She said, almost singing, "It's so good to have you back." She squeezed Kid's arm as she walked back into the hotel.

Heyes held Laurie close to him; it just felt so good to have her in his arms again. He didn't want to let her go. Maybe Kid was right, it might not be technically legal, but to everyone in town, they would be married. He wouldn't have to go into Kid's room and go through the adjoining door to be with Laurie. They wouldn't have to hide it; he could walk into the room through their door. Heyes let go of Laurie and looked into her eyes, then gently cupped her chin with his fingers and pulled her into a gentle kiss. "We need to talk," he said softly.

"Okay," Laurie smiled and followed Heyes to the far end of the porch.

When they got to there Heyes turned to Laurie and blurted out, "Marry me.”

"Joshua, you," Laurie started.

Placing his hand gently on Laurie's lips, he said, "Let me finish, please. Before you answer, let me finish." Laurie nodded her head yes and gazed into his eyes. "I love you. I don’t think I ever thought I would say those words to anyone, now or ever but you have stolen my heart. I have been miserable since leaving. If you don't believe me, ask Kid. I don't know how legal it will be. Kid doesn't think there is a problem, but I always get in trouble when I listen to him." Laurie giggled. "As I was saying, it may not be completely legal, but no one in town will know it isn't and we could be together. I can’t promise you when or for how long we’ll be together. We could get married and I might have to leave tomorrow and not know when I’ll be able to see you again.”

“Way to sugarcoat it,” she smiled at him.

Heyes ran the back of his hand down the side of her face. “It's what I can do now. When I get amnesty, if you want to use Heyes, we can get married again. I just know that I need you in my life."

"Joshua, Hannibal," Laurie rolled her eyes, "I don't even know what to call you, and I don’t care. I don’t care if you’re here today and gone tomorrow.”

He raised his eye brow at her.

Giving him a slight glare she continued, “I love you with all my heart but, being married to you? You already have to worry about you and Kid. You don't need an extra person to worry about. What would Kid say anyway?"

"It was his idea," Heyes stated. Then he corrected himself, "He knew I wanted you. He helped convince me this was the right time.”

She tilted her head slightly and pursed her lips.

“That didn’t come out right either,” Heyes ran his hands down Laurie’s arms and held her hands. “I know this isn’t ideal. I know I could leave you by yourself for a long time. Keep you from someone who is here and taking care of you all the time. Kid knows what you mean to me. That I’ve never felt this way before and he convinced me I had the right to ask you.” He raised her hands and kissed them. “This is the third time I've asked.”


***


Kid helped Doris as she walked out on the porch with a tray of lemonade and more muffins. Sam was in tow with a huge bone in his mouth. "They look very happy together," Doris said as she looked down the porch at the couple. "It has really been rough on her. This is the first time she's been outside since she was attacked. She's stayed in her room all the time."

"It's been rough on Joshua too," Kid said, watching the two of them. "He didn't want to stay away so long."

"They look like they are having a very serious conversation."

"Well, if I'm right, Joshua is telling Laurie he loves her and has asked her to marry him."


***


"It was Kid's idea?" Laurie asked teasingly, raising her eyebrows.

"Only that I should ask you when we got here and get married tonight."

"Tonight!" she exclaimed.

Heyes wrapped his arms around Laurie and pulled her close, "Yes, tonight. I want you to be my wife. Laurie, will you marry me tonight?"

She looked into his big beautiful brown eyes and watched his lips as he asked her. She melted into his arms and said, "Yes!"

He pulled her close and kissed her deep and passionately.


***


"Looks like Laurie said yes!" Kid exclaimed.

Doris put her hands to her face, "Oh my!"

Heyes and Laurie separated and turned to see huge smiles on their friends’ faces. "Congratulations!" Kid exclaimed as he walked towards the two of them.

The pair had smiles from ear to ear as they walked over for hugs and kisses from Kid and Doris.

Doris reached out to give Laurie a hug, "I am so happy for you, dear." She looked at her, "I told you he loved you and he would be back. Now when is the wedding?"

"Tonight," Heyes responded.

"Tonight!" Doris exclaimed, "My goodness, so fast. Don't you want a few days to plan?"

"No," Laurie said, as she stayed in Heyes' arms. "No planning is necessary. Joshua wants to get married tonight; I have no reason to wait. It's just going to be Thaddeus, Joshua, myself and I hope, you and Walter. Maybe if Walter wouldn't mind, he could walk me down the aisle. He doesn't have to but..."

"Of course Walter will, dear," Doris stated.

"What will I do?" Walter asked as he opened the screen door.

"Walk Laurie down the aisle when she marries Joshua tonight," Doris replied.

"Marries Joshua? Tonight?" Walter asked, confused. "I was only a few minutes behind you. When did this all happen? By the way, nice to see you again, Joshua, Thaddeus." Walter shook both of their hands and placed his arm on Laurie. "So what is this about you getting married tonight, dear?" Walter asked Laurie in the most fatherly of ways.

"Joshua just asked me and he wants to get married tonight. I was wondering if you would walk me down the aisle," Laurie said with a smile on her face and tears welling up in her eyes.

"Tonight?" Walter said, turning to Heyes and sounding a little gruff; "You couldn't come back, ask her and wait a day, could you?" Walter paused as he teased Heyes, "Well, I guess the two of you have waited long enough. I know it's not my place but since I will be walking Laurie down the aisle, I give you my blessing." Turning to Heyes and shaking his hand, he said, "Joshua, if I was you, I wouldn't have wanted to wait any longer either." He gave Laurie a big squeeze and a kiss on the head, "I am so happy for you, dear."

"Well, if we have a wedding," Doris interrupted, "We need to get things done. Laurie, we need to get you a dress."

"NO!" Laurie blurted out, "No new dress! I don't want a new dress. I'll find something to wear."

"Hey," Heyes said, trying to soothe Laurie, "It's okay. What's the matter?"

"I have been hurt both times I had a new dress for a special occasion. That's not happening tonight. I'm not doing that!" Laurie said, trying not to cry.

"Okay, okay," Heyes hugged her, "No new dress, that's fine. You can wear what you have on now; anything, I don't care. It's okay."

"Laurie," Doris said calmly, "I'm sure it's too big, but I think I can alter it enough to fit you. Would you like to wear my wedding dress?"

Laurie turned around to look at Doris, "Really? I would love to, if it's okay with you."

A huge smile came over Doris' face, "My dear, you're family, like my daughter. I'd be honored if you wore it." She gave Laurie a big hug.

"Well, we do have some things to take care of this morning," Heyes stated, "Thaddeus, you're going to check with the preacher for tonight. Laurie, we're going to go to the doctor's office so he can tell me everything's okay. Doris, we'll need baths when we get back."

They all turned to get things ready. As Laurie and Heyes followed Kid down the steps of the hotel porch, she came to an abrupt stop on the last stair. "What's the matter?" Heyes asked. Laurie began breathing heavily and swaying a little. Tears were forming in her eyes as she began to shake.

Kid turned around to see what was going on, "Heyes," he said quietly, "This is the first time she's been outside. Doris told me she hasn't left her room since…"

Heyes took a deep breath and put one hand on Laurie's arm and the other he placed on her chin to lift her face up a little. "Sweetheart," he said softly, "I'm here. It's okay. I won't leave your side. You can lean on me." She said nothing with her lips tight together; she just stood there and swayed slightly. "Can you talk to me, Laurie? I'm right here." Heyes continued but she didn't move or say anything. He ran his hand through his hair and looked around. He motioned to Kid to walk across the street. When he got there, he turned and faced them. "Laurie, sweetheart, if you want to get married, you have to come with me now." He stated more firmly. Still no movement from Laurie; her eyes were fixed on the ground. With a deep breath, the ex-outlaw leader turned around and started to walk across the street slowly. He kept his eyes on Kid as he walked. Laurie stood looking at the ground. Kid watched her with no expression on his face. When Heyes was halfway across the street, he was about to turn around when he detected the slightest change in Kid's expression, so he kept walking.

Laurie realized Heyes was walking away and maybe, if she didn't move now, he would leave forever. She tried to move and couldn't at first, but then, she closed her eyes, placed her foot on the dirt, opened her eyes and started to run.

Heyes caught the smile on Kid's face just in time to turn around, swoop Laurie off the ground and spin her around. "That's my girl!" Heyes said as he kissed her.

Kid walked over to the two of them, "Once again, all the town's eyes are on you two."

"I don't care," Laurie said, as she still had her arms around Heyes' neck and was looking into his eyes. "Let them stare, he's mine!" she said happily.

"Then I don't care either. Of course, I could do this all day, but don't we have a wedding to get ready for?" Heyes said as he squeezed her. Laurie bit her bottom lip. He shook his head and said with a small laugh, "We're gonna skip straight to the wedding night if you keep that up." He kissed her nose. Laurie blushed and Kid rolled his eyes.

"I'm gonna go see the preacher," Kid said, as he put up his hands and walked away.

Heyes laughed the quiet guttural laugh that made Laurie melt every time she heard it, "You certainly have a way of affecting men." He kissed her again. "Let's go see what the doc has to say.


***


The pair walked into the doctor's office. "Laurie, Mr. Smith," Doc Williams greeted them warmly. "I heard you were back in town." Heyes looked surprised. "Good news travels fast, Mr. Smith," the Doctor assured him with a smile. "Now what can I do for you?"

"Doc, I just wanted to hear from you how Laurie is doing. I plan on marrying her tonight, if you tell me she’s okay," Heyes stated.

"Well, congratulations are in order then," the Doctor stuck his hand out to shake Heyes'. "Why don't you both sit down?" he motioned to the chairs. "Laurie's injuries have almost all healed. Most of the knife wounds have healed. There are still a few that are probably still very sensitive. Her ribs are healed but tender and she should still be careful. They're the injuries you can see, but Laurie had some internal injuries as well."

Heyes sat holding Laurie's hand. He could feel her whole body tense when the Doctor spoke. He was afraid he had pushed too fast. Maybe Laurie wasn't ready for this.

The Doctor continued, "I don't really know how to tell you this any other way," the Doctor stated, "I believe Laurie has some internal scarring. I really can't tell the extent of it. She was beaten pretty badly. The bruising took a very long time to go away, and I think she may have had some internal bleeding. Luckily, it wasn’t worse than it was but…well, there really isn’t any other way to say this but to say it. It may make having relations difficult and it might make having children impossible. I can't be sure. We won't really know until..." the Doctor paused.

Heyes squeezed Laurie's hand, "Everything else is okay? Physically, I mean? It's okay for Laurie to get married?"

"Of course," the Doctor replied, "She can also have relations, or at least try."

Heyes stood up and shook the Doctor's hand, "Thanks, Doc." He nodded and turned to help Laurie up.

She had been silent the entire time they were in the office. As soon as they left the office, Laurie turned to Heyes, "You don't have to marry me."

Heyes turned to her, pulled her close and gazed into her eyes, "I know I don't have to marry you. I want to marry you." Heyes paused, "Sweetheart, I can wait. I'll wait for you ‘til you're ready. I know you've gone through a lot, I can wait."

Tears filled Laurie's eyes and her lip began to tremble, "He said that I couldn't have children."

"Noooo," Heyes said softly, "He said he didn't know. We would have to find out and that wouldn't stop me anyway." Then with a big grin, he added, "I understand they have some fine children in orphanages." He stroked the side of her face; Laurie smiled and hugged him.

“I don’t know…” she whispered.

“I do,” he kissed her nose. “Trust me.”

She nodded.

"Okay, that's taken care of. Now off to the jewelers," Heyes stated. They both turned and happily walked arm in arm down the boardwalk to the jewelers.


***


It didn't take long to pick out matching wedding bands. They were both very simple, just plain bands. Heyes had wanted to get Laurie a nicer ring, one with a gem in it, but she said no. She liked the plain one the best. He asked the jeweler to engrave the inside of the rings with "Forever" and their initials. He would pick them up later in the day. As they were leaving the store, he turned to Laurie, "Wait here a minute, I forgot something." He stepped back in the store and left her out front waiting.

As she waited, she turned and almost bumped into a man coming out of the feed store. "Excuse me, I'm sorry," she said, "I wasn't paying attention."

"Laurie," the man said, looking up, "How are you?" He gently placed his hand on her arm.

"Matt?" she said sounding surprised.

"Yeah, wow, you look great," Matt said.

"When did you get back in town?"

"A few weeks ago, after Pa... I wanted to come see you, but I didn't know..." he stuttered.

Tears filled Laurie's eyes and her lip began to tremble; "I'm sorry Matt."

"No, no, you shouldn't be sorry. I'm the one that should be sorry. I should have protected you. I should have known something was up. He shipped me away because I gave you a kiss on the cheek. I should have known," he was rambling.

"Matt, you didn't know. I didn't know it was going to happen, so how could you know? I'm sorry, I didn't want it," Laurie's voice trailed off.

"Of course, you didn't want it. I would never think that, not of you. Laurie, I have missed you so, your smile, the way you make me feel. I wanted to visit, but I didn't think you would see me. I wouldn't blame you, not after what my father did, but I did check with Doris all the time to see how you were."

The door of the jewelry store opened and Heyes stepped out. "Okay, we're done," he said to Laurie, as he looked at the man talking to her. Walking over to her, he placed his arm protectively around her waist; she was tense and he saw tears in her eyes. "Laurie," he said with concern as he gave Matt a glaring stare "Is everything alright?"

"Everything is fine, Joshua." She relaxed as he slid his arm around her, "This is Matt, an old friend of mine."

He looked at Laurie, then turned to Matt and shook his hand, "Matt, Joshua Smith, Laurie's fiancé."

"Matt Carlson," Matt said, shaking Heyes' hand, "Did you say fiancé?"

"Yes, we're getting married tonight," the ex-outlaw leader stated, holding Laurie close to him, "Carlson?"

"Yes," Matt said. "Congratulations. I've heard how happy you've made Laurie. She deserves it. She deserved to be happy before my father." Matt stopped, changing the subject, “I should get you a wedding present.”

"No Matt," Laurie said as Heyes held her tight to him "No present. We're just having a very simple ceremony with Thaddeus and the Jansens. That's all. Thank you and it was good to see you."

As Matt looked at Laurie, she could see tears forming in his eyes. "I'm so sorry about what happened," he said quietly. "I wish I was here, maybe I could have stopped him. I should have known something was wrong when he sent me away for kissing your cheek. The things he said, I'm sorry."

Laurie placed her hand on Matt's arm, "You had no idea; it's not your fault."

Realizing the conversation needed to end, Heyes interrupted, "Laurie, we really need to get moving if we're going to get married tonight." He turned to Matt, "Matt, thank you for thinking so highly of Laurie and for being her friend."

"Mr. Smith, I can see how much you care for Laurie," Matt said. "Make her happy, she deserves it." Leaning in, he gave Laurie a very small kiss on the cheek. "I always wanted the world for you. I can see in your eyes that that's Mr. Smith, be happy." He shook Heyes' hand, then turned and walked away.

Heyes held on to Laurie's waist as he watched Matt walk away, "You okay?"

"Yes," Laurie said quietly, then leaned her head on his shoulder, "I'm very okay."

He looked down at her and smiled then gave her a small kiss.

"He's right. You are my world."

As they started to walk back to the hotel, Heyes said playfully, "So, he's the boy who kissed you? I guess I don't have to shoot him because he knows you're mine."

"I love you," Laurie said as she smiled and rolled her eyes.


***


The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the wedding. Thaddeus had cleared it with the preacher; the wedding would be at six. Heyes went back and picked up the rings. Doris altered her wedding dress. Laurie bought a special nightgown and then went back to soak in the tub. At five o'clock, Doris came to her door. "I think I've altered the dress enough to fit you. Let's try it on and I can make any adjustments," she said.

"Oh my," Laurie gasped as she saw the dress for the first time, "It's beautiful, Doris, just beautiful!" Suddenly Laurie changed her expression and shook her head, "Thank you, Doris, I can't wear it. It is beautiful, but I'll just find something else. I know Joshua likes the blue skirt and blouse," Laurie said nervously, obviously upset.

"Laurie, what's the matter?" her friend asked with concern in her voice, "Why can't you wear the dress?"

"It's white," she said quietly as she looked at the ground and tears formed in her eyes, "I can't wear white."

"Oh, Laurie," Doris said with such compassion as she reached out to hug her, "You can wear white. What happened doesn't affect that. It wasn't your fault. Joshua knows that."

"You really don't think it matters?" Laurie asked as she looked up at Doris.

"No dear, it doesn't matter. I'll understand if you don't like the dress and don't want to wear it, that's fine; but don't worry about it being white. You deserve to wear white. If anyone in this town deserves it, it's you. You're an angel dear." The women hugged.

"I love the dress," Laurie said as she tried it on.

Doris helped Laurie get dressed and ready. The dress was white lace. Against Doris' wishes to put her hair up, Laurie wore it down. "My goodness," Doris gushed, "You look like an angel. Joshua will be speechless." She paused, and then told Laurie, "I am so happy for you, dear. I want you to know that you and Joshua are always welcome here. I love you like a daughter," she paused and took a breath, "We better get going before I start crying. It's okay to make them wait, just not too long." She gave Laurie a kiss on the cheek.


***


Heyes and Kid were waiting in the church. Heyes was starting to pace. "She'll be here," Kid said, "Relax."

"I am relaxed," Heyes snapped.

"No you're not," blue eyes rolled, "I know how you get when you're nervous, and you're nervous! Don't you want to marry Laurie?"

"Of course I do!" Heyes bellowed. Then quieter, "It's you. You're making me nervous."

"Me, what did I do?"

"I don't know, but you're doing it! Now stop it!" he snapped again.

The door at the front of the church opened and Doris walked in. She walked up to the boys and told them that Laurie was ready. The door opened again and Walter walked in, followed by Laurie. Kid put his hand on his partner’s shoulder and gave him a smile as the organ began to play. Laurie and Walter walked down the aisle together and Heyes' smile grew bigger as she got closer. Walter handed Laurie off to Heyes. The ceremony was very simple and very beautiful as both Laurie and Heyes gazed into each other's eyes the entire time. When it was over Heyes gently kissed Laurie. Then everyone hugged and kissed. Laurie thought she was dreaming. Everything was so perfect. A tear began to roll down her face. "Hey," Heyes said with concern, "What's the matter, are you okay?"

"I'm more than okay," Laurie said as she smiled, "I'm just so happy. I can't believe this. I can't believe I just got married. I can't believe you married me, Joshua."

He looked into her eyes and pulled her close, "Believe it, you're my wife, Mrs. Joshua Smith," and he flashed the brilliant Heyes smile, the one only Kid got to see, then he gently kissed her and added, "Ready for dinner?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I am," she smiled back at him, with her eyes lost in his.

They were about to head back down the aisle to the front door when Walter said, "Let's go out through the side door through the church courtyard. It's beautiful this time of evening."

Agreeing, they followed him, but not paying attention to anything other than themselves. They were completely caught off guard when they stepped into the courtyard full of people. "Oh my," Laurie said, as she looked at everyone as they started to clap.

"When everyone heard the two of you were getting married," Doris said, "They wanted to make sure you had a very memorable day."

"H-H-How?" Laurie stuttered.

"Well, it may have had something to do with Doris running all over town telling people," Walter announced and everyone laughed.

"Walter," Doris said, "I just told a few people, and everyone else volunteered to bring food to celebrate the wedding.

"Speech!" someone yelled from the crowd, "Speech!"

Heyes stood on the steps to the courtyard with Laurie by his side. He started, "Thank you all for coming." Looking at Laurie, he continued, "I just married the woman of my dreams. I have never known anyone as special. I can't believe she'll have me." He leaned over and gently kissed her forehead. "When I married Laurie, I also carried on a Smith family tradition." Both Laurie and Kid looked at Heyes very curiously. He continued, "On the inside of our rings, we have "forever" and our initials engraved. What Laurie doesn't know is that I went back and changed that." Laurie looked at Heyes more intently. He went on, "When my great grandparents were married, my great grandfather John Smith couldn't afford much. The jeweler had rings that were already engraved that he could have cheap. My great grandfather had his initials placed around the ones already there. When my great grandmother looked at the ring, she wanted to know why it said "J.H.H.S" on it. My great grandfather explained that it stood for John Happy Husband Smith. Since then, my grandfather and father have added the H.H. between their initials. I'm happy to say that on the inside of Laurie's ring it says J.H.H.S. with the H.H. standing for happy husband. I am the happiest husband." He leaned over and kissed Laurie on the lips and everyone cheered.

"Now it's time for food and for everyone to say hello," Walter announced. The town applauded as the happy couple walked down the steps into the courtyard. Walter was right; it was beautiful. Everyone from town was there and had brought enough food for a feast. That is, everyone except for the Carlson family.

Kid walked over to Heyes with the biggest grin on his face, patted his partner's back and said, "Happy husband." Kid nodded his head with approval and gave Laurie a kiss and said, "Welcome to the family."

Laurie looked at her husband, "That's why you went back to the jeweler." She paused, "I love you, H.H."

They all ate while Joshua and Laurie walked around greeting everyone. As they mingled, everyone told them how happy they were to see Laurie up and about and happier that Joshua had come back. Charlotte even came over to give them her congratulations and best wishes. They ate, drank and talked for almost three hours when Heyes looked over at Laurie and saw her sitting down. She looked exhausted. He walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder. He turned to face everyone as he picked up a glass and clanged it with a spoon. "I want to thank all of you for coming tonight. It has meant a lot to us. However, the day has been long and although Laurie is doing great, she is still recovering. I think it is time to take my new bride to get some rest. Thank you so much and I hope everyone stays and enjoys themselves."

Walter walked up to Joshua and pulled out an envelope, "The town of Small Falls would like to give this gift to you, to help you start your new life together. We are all so pleased that you have found happiness and hope that you stay here with us." He handed the envelope to Heyes.

Laurie, who was now standing next to Heyes, put her hands to her mouth and tears filled her eyes. Heyes put his arm around Laurie to steady her as he shook Walter's hand. "Thank you," Heyes said sincerely, obviously taken aback by the gesture.

Laurie, overcome by the generosity of the town, gave Walter a hug, and very quietly said, "Thank you." She and Heyes turned and left to go back to the hotel. They walked back with Laurie holding Heyes' arm and resting her head on his shoulder. About halfway back to the hotel, Heyes asked, "You okay, sweet, I mean Mrs. Smith?"

Laurie lifted her head off his shoulder, looked at him with a huge smile and said, "I'm wonderful, Mr. Smith."

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Smalls Falls 2014 Reboot Chapter 4 :: Comments

Re: Smalls Falls 2014 Reboot Chapter 4
Post on Sat 08 Feb 2014, 10:17 am by stormr
When they got to the top of the stairs of the hotel, Heyes turned and picked Laurie up.  "I have to carry you across the threshold," he stated.  He carried her into the room, closed the door with his foot and gently placed her down, holding her close as he looked into her eyes and kissed her.  The kiss got deeper and more passionate.  As Heyes pulled away he said, "I'll go get some water so you can wash up. I'll be back in a minute."

Laurie was deliriously happy.  She couldn't believe she was married.  When Heyes left to get the water, she quickly undressed and put on the new nightgown and robe she had bought earlier in the day.  It was beautiful, made of lace.  

He walked back in the room and went directly to fill the basin and then, without looking at her, started to get ready for bed.  

“Hannibal, are you tired?

“No, I’m good.”  Heyes untied his tie and hung his jacket up.

“Would you rather I call you Joshua?  Heyes seems a little impersonal when we’re alone.” She bit her bottom lip, waiting for him to turn around.

“Sweetheart, you can call me anything you like when we’re alone.”  He splashed his face with water and then dried it with a towel.

Laurie began to wring her hands.  She had anticipated Heyes reaction to the peignoir she was wearing instead, he hadn’t looked at her since they first walked into the room.  As Heyes began to unbutton his shirt, she quietly asked "Joshua, Hannibal, is something wrong?"

Heyes, still not looking, replied, "No, why do you ask?"

Laurie said shyly, "It's our wedding night.  You kissed me, but then you walked out and you haven't looked at me since you came back in."  

Heyes turned around and stopped dead in his tracks.  For once, the silver tongue was speechless.  She took his breath away; he didn't even know what he was thinking when he turned around.  Finally he said in a daze, "You were tired. I said I would wait. I didn't want to rush you."

"You're not rushing me. I want, I need to be your wife tonight," Laurie said quietly as her eyes went from looking into Heyes' eyes to the floor.  

Heyes walked over to Laurie and placed his hand on her face.  She leaned into his hand and closed her eyes.  Heyes whispered "Are you sure?"

"Yes," Laurie responded.

Heyes took his hand and cupped her chin as he gently leaned in to kiss her.

 
***


When Laurie woke up the next morning, Heyes was still holding her.  As she moved he said, "Good morning, Mrs. Smith."

Laurie purred and said, "Good morning, Happy Husband.  I love you." She turned to face him and was about to kiss him when there was a knock on the door.

"Who's there?" Heyes called out.

"It's Walter and Doris," Walter replied, "We need to talk to you and Laurie."

"Okay, just a minute," Heyes responded and got up to get dressed.  He picked up the clothes lying on the floor and handed Laurie a robe to put on, then went to open the door.

Doris walked in first with a tray with breakfast for three.  "Joshua, why don't you get Thaddeus?" Walter said, "This concerns him as well."  Heyes looked curiously at Walter and knocked on the door between the two rooms.

Kid opened the door.  "Walter wants to talk to us," Heyes said.  Kid came into the room.  Heyes walked back to stand next to Laurie.  She was sitting on the side of the bed, petting Sam who had come in with Kid.

"Well, there really isn't any way to say this without just spitting it out," Walter started, "So here goes. We know who you are."

Heyes jumped in, "Yes, I'm Joshua Smith and this is Thaddeus Jones.  I married Laurie last night."

"No," Walter stated, "We know who you really are, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry."

"We've been confused with ..." Heyes tried to explain.

"It's okay," Doris said calmly, "It doesn't matter to us, so don't worry about that.  You have made Laurie so happy, you're family."

"Okay, then why?" Heyes began.

"Mrs. Carlson has decided to cause trouble again and has sent a telegram to Marshal Hanshaw.  He's on his way back to town and will be here either late tonight or in the morning.  You have to leave.  Laurie has to leave.  Mrs. Carlson is putting a lot of pressure on and although everyone knows it wasn't Laurie's fault, she shouldn't have to go through it again.  We have a hunting cabin that would be perfect for the two of you to have a honeymoon.  The stage leaves at four and will bring you to Two Rivers.  You can take a carriage from there to the cabin," Walter said.

"How do you know all this?" Heyes inquired.

"Matt Carlson thinks his mother is wrong and told Walter what was happening last night," Doris said.

"He doesn't know who the two of you are, but he cares about Laurie," Walter continued, "He doesn't want her hurt anymore.  Doris overheard something about Hanshaw knowing you when he was coming the first time, so we figured you don't want him to see you."

"How did you know about us?"  Kid asked.

"The two of you," Doris replied.  Heyes and Kid looked confused.  Doris continued, "Thaddeus started to say something a couple of times, and I think I heard Joshua call you Kid once, but I didn't make anything of it.  Then the night Laurie was attacked, you were both trying to stop the bleeding and Joshua called you Kid and Thaddeus called you Heyes.  It didn't really hit me until Laurie was so upset that you hadn't left and Marshal Hanshaw was due in town. Once you were gone, Laurie talked a few times in her sleep, calling for Hannibal."

"Now I'm sure you need to talk this over, so we will leave you.  The stage leaves at four and obviously, if it's a honeymoon, Thaddeus can't go with you.  Here are your tickets, Joshua.  I think there was a couple hundred dollars in the envelope you got last night, which should keep you for a while.  It's a shame the stage can't leave town on the other side and go through the hills to Two Rivers; it would cut your journey down.  Only a horse can do that," Walter stated as he looked at Kid. "Well, I'm sure you have things to talk about, while you eat breakfast.  Doris, let's leave them."  Walter turned toward the door.  Doris walked over and gave Laurie a kiss on her head before following Walter out, closing the door behind him.


***


"Okay," Heyes said, "Guess we better get packed.  Kid, it looks like you're heading through the hills.  You can bring my horse with you. It won't look good if we take it with the stage.  Laurie," he said, turning to look at her and seeing her distraught look, "You okay?"  He said as he crouched down in front of her.  Laurie nodded her head yes.  "I'm sorry this had to happen so quickly. We should be able to spend a couple days at the cabin before we have to move on."

"I'm sorry," Laurie, said sadly, "If it wasn't for me, Hanshaw wouldn't be coming to town."

"Sweatheart," Heyes said trying to soothe her, "It's not your fault.  Please don't blame yourself.  Now, I'm going to need you to pack some of your things. Can you do that?"  Laurie nodded.  "I'm going to go talk to Walter."  Heyes got up and left the room.  Kid went back to his room to pack and Laurie sat for a minute before getting up to pack her things.  She looked at Sam and sat down on the bed to pet him again.


***


Heyes knocked on the hotel's office door.  Walter came to the door; "Do you have a minute?"  Heyes asked.  Walter showed him in and closed the door behind them.  "I want to thank you and Doris for being so kind and for telling us about Hanshaw.  I could continue telling you that I'm not Hannibal Heyes and that Thaddeus isn't Kid Curry but you deserve more.  You have treated us fairly and have taken good care of Laurie.  I just wanted to let you know a few things that you probably don't know.  First of all, Laurie didn't know who I was in the beginning; she was just trying to help us out.  Secondly, you know who we are, but what you don't know is that we haven't done any outlawing in almost a year.  We've gone straight."

"But you're worth ten thousand dollars each, dead or alive.  Going straight doesn't change that does it?"

"Well, actually it does," Heyes said with a small smile on his face, "We have an agreement with the Governor.  If we can stay out of trouble for a while, he'll give us amnesty.  Of course, anyone wanting the reward can still turn us in.  The Governor's agreement is a secret."

"Now I feel even better about telling the two of you.  Doris and I have grown very fond of both of you and had a hard time believing you were outlaws.  You did nothing while you were here and you have made Laurie extremely happy, so we couldn't see you get locked up.  It would have killed her. The cabin won't be used for a week, so you can stay there.  I don't know what your plans are after that, but you will always be welcome here.  If it is safer to have Laurie come back, we will make sure she is taken care of."  He reached out and shook Heyes' hand.

"Thank you," Heyes said, shaking his hand, "I'm not sure what we’re doing, and it's better if you didn't know anyway.  If you ever need to get in touch with us, contact Sheriff Lom Trevors in Porterville.  He always knows where we are and how to contact us.  I better go get packed."  Heyes turned and left the office.


***
   
                                                   
While Joshua went to talk to Walter, Laurie went to go find Doris.  She found her alone in the kitchen.  "Doris," Laurie asked quietly, "May I talk to you."

"Of course dear," Doris said walking over to Laurie, "What's the matter?"

"I was just wondering if Sam could stay with you?"  Laurie asked.

"Of course he can," Doris said, touching Laurie's arms.

With tears forming in her eyes, Laurie said, "I don't know if you understand.  I'm asking if Sam can live with you for a while.  Until I figure out what I'm going to do.  I'm leaving with Joshua and I won't be coming back; at least not for a while. I have to leave town, I can't get everything out of my head, and everybody's been so nice but they look at me with such pity," she said, trying to stay calm. "I don't know what's going to happen with Joshua. I don't think he'll take me with him past the cabin, but I need to find peace.  If you can watch Sam, when I find a place to live, I can come back for him.  It's not fair to make him wander with me anymore and he loves it here.  He'll be happy here."  Tears started to roll down Laurie's face.  

Doris pulled her into a hug, "Laurie, we will watch Sam for as long as you like.  You're welcome here for as long as you like.  I understand you wanting to get away for a while.  I do think it will be good for you.  I will worry, but I know you can take care of yourself.  I know Joshua won't let anything happen to you."


***


At ten minutes to four, Doris, Walter, Sam and Kid walked Laurie and Heyes to the stagecoach.  They said their good-byes.  Laurie bent down and told Sam he would be staying with Doris and Walter but she would be back soon.  They got on the stage and Laurie was relieved to find out they were the only two riding it.  Kid left shortly afterwards on the route through the hills.


***


Kid arrived at the cabin first.  He took care of the horses then headed in to start a fire.  About an hour later, the happy couple arrived.  "‘Bout time you got here," Kid said.

"You knew it would take us longer, and we got some supplies in Two Rivers," Heyes stated.  

Laurie walked in behind Heyes and went straight to the fire, "Thank you for building the fire, Thaddeus, or should I call you Kid?"

"Either one," Kid said with a smile, "You're welcome."

"I might stick to Thaddeus because I'm afraid I'll make a mistake and call you Kid when other people are around. Well, anyway, thank you, it's starting to get cold and I love sitting by the fire.  Would either of you like me to make some coffee?" she asked.

Heyes walked over and placed his arms around Laurie and in a very mischievous voice said, "If you're cold, I can keep you warm."

Kid rolled his eyes and turned around. Laurie blushed and playfully hit Heyes, "Joshua, Kid is here. Behave yourself!"

"Coffee would be nice," Kid said, "If you're still offering."

"I'm still offering," Laurie said and went to find the supplies to make it.

"Nice cabin," Kid said, "There is one bedroom, and out here.  You two can have the bedroom; I can sleep on the sofa."

The three of them sat by the fire, mostly talking about the trip to the cabin.  They decided to wait until morning to figure out what they were going to do next.  Laurie and Heyes sat on the sofa and Kid sat in the chair in front of the fire.  "Kid, why don't you take the bedroom tonight," Laurie said.  "You look really tired and I'm not ready to go to bed yet.  Joshua and I will sleep out here on the floor."

"On the floor?" Heyes exclaimed, "I don't want to sleep on the floor!"

"There are plenty of blankets to make it comfortable and, if you don't want to sleep on the floor tonight with me," Laurie stated firmly, "you can sleep in the bed with Thaddeus, I mean Kid!" Laurie became very flustered and yelled, "Ugh, I can't keep the names straight and I don't know what to call either of you!"

Heyes and Kid chuckled. Heyes reached out and pulled Laurie close to him, "Relax," he laughed, "You'll get it, don't worry."

Laurie looked at her husband and with complete exasperation said, "You're my husband and I don't know if I should call you Joshua, Hannibal, Han or Heyes.  Kid calls you Heyes. Should I call you that or do I call you Joshua because I married Joshua not Hannibal or Han or Heyes?"

"Shhh," he said with a low guttural laugh, "Don't get upset; they're, I'm all the same person.  I don't care what you call me and you married me, not the name.  If you're confused about what to call me, use a nickname.  Right now, I think you're tired and that's what's really causing the trouble."

Kid walked over to Laurie, "Thaddeus or Kid is fine with me."  He leaned over and kissed her head, "Good-night."  He started to walk to the bedroom then turned around; "I'll knock on the door before I open it to make sure you're decent."

"Don't worry about that," Laurie said, "I get up before Heyes does, so I think I'll be decent before you get up.  Good-night."  Heyes sat there brooding.  "What's wrong with you, sour puss?"

"You gave him the bed," Heyes pouted.

"Yes, I did," Laurie said, snuggling up to Heyes, "I thought the fire was much more romantic then the bedroom, but if you insist."

Heyes looked down at Laurie's face and eyes as she looked up at his, "Romantic, huh?"

"Yes, Hannibal, very romantic," Laurie said and bit her bottom lip.  Heyes gave a very low guttural sound and pulled Laurie into a very deep and passionate kiss.  As he maneuvered them to the floor, Laurie asked, "Any chance Kid will walk out?"

"None," Heyes said as he kissed her again.


***


As Laurie predicted, she was the first one up. She added wood to the fire and started coffee before Kid came out of the bedroom. "Morning,” Laurie said quietly, "You’re up early.  Did you sleep well?"


"Like a baby," Kid replied, "Coffee smells great. I can't believe you're up before Heyes."  

Pouring Kid a cup of coffee, Laurie responded, "I should say the same about you.” She smiled at him.  “I don't sleep, and Heyes, I’m gonna have to get use to that, anyway he was exhausted. If I were to guess, I don't think he's had much sleep lately."

"He's been worried about you," Kid said.

"Stop talking about me like I'm not here, and, if I'm supposed to be sleeping, stop talking," Heyes said groggily as he sat up on the floor.

"Morning, dear," Laurie shook her head. "No, I don't think I like ‘dear’, I'll keep trying. Anyway, good morning, coffee is done and now that you're awake, I'll make breakfast."

She made breakfast and afterwards said she wanted to go check out around the cabin. Heyes told her to stay close. When she came back in, the partners were talking about what they were going to do next. Laurie stood listening for a while and then finally got angry enough to say, "I am right here you know. You talk about me like I'm not in the same room. I understand that the two of you have been together for forever and I don't fit into your plans. That's fine! Please stop talking about me like I can't think or take care of myself. If any of your plans involve me, please consult me. I can take care of myself – in fact I believe that’s what I’ve been doing all of my life.  To be honest, I think that the two of you traveling with me will throw suspicions of who you are out the window. Heyes, you're my husband and Kid, you're Heyes' cousin. People would not think Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry would travel with a lady.  It might be safer for you. If you don't like that, then I will go back to doing what I always have done and take care of myself. I already told Doris I wasn't going back. I can't, not right now. Maybe in the future, but she and Walter are going to take care of Sam for me. So, if I'm not going with you, I would like some of the money we got as a wedding present, darling. Yuck, that doesn't work either! Anyway, I would like some money so I can start off again and not have to live on the streets."

"Sweetheart," Heyes said, trying to placate Laurie as he walked over to her, "You will never have to live on the streets again. I promise. As far as what to do, I want you to be safe, and coming with Kid and me probably isn't the safest thing to do."

"Heyes," Kid interrupted, "She does have a point, the three of us traveling together might not bring as much attention."

"Or it could bring more," Heyes countered.

"I'm a big girl and I won't get in your way, Hannibal Heyes.  I understand you like to spend a great deal of time in the saloon drinking and playing poker. I'm fine with that as long as you stay away from the saloon girls and come to me every night. I will not get in your way and I will not be a burden," Laurie stated with determination.

"Okay," he said, "We'll all talk about it and decide what is best. I also think that it's time Lom met you."

"Now that's a plan," Kid said with a smile. "Lom can tell us what he thinks, and if Laurie stays behind in Porterville, he can make sure everythin’ is okay."

"Porterville," Laurie thought out loud, "Well I guess if I can't go with you, at least I'll know where you are and you'll know where I am. Maybe you'll even visit."

"You won't be able to keep me away," Heyes said as he grabbed Laurie and pulled her close.


***


The three of them stayed at the cabin for two more nights and then went to Two Rivers, sold the carriage and kept the horse for Laurie. They sent a telegram to Walter and Doris saying they were going straight to a job and they would come back for Sam as soon as possible. Then they got on their horses and headed for Porterville.

They arrived in Porterville three days later. After taking care of the horses, they went to check into the hotel. Walking into their room, Laurie sighed, "Oh, I can't wait to take a nice long hot bath."

Heyes gave a devilish laugh and pulled Laurie close to him, "We could save time and water, you scrub my back and I'll scrub yours." He began to kiss her neck.

"As appealing as that sounds," she said softly, then lightly pushed him away, "No! I am taking my bath and then you can have yours!" She turned and started to walk towards the dresser.

"Well!" Heyes said as he put his hands on his hips, feigning hurt feelings. "Fine," he turned his head, "We haven't even been married a week and you're already tired of me."

Laurie turned, looked at Heyes, opened her mouth to say something and closed it. She put her hands on her hips and sighed, "I get this from the former leader of the Devil's Hole Gang!"

He tried desperately to hide the smile that was slowly creeping up his face, when Laurie walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. "I promise I am not tired of you now, or ever! It's the middle of the day. What would Kid say? And you should go see Lom."

Heyes turned around and wrapped his arms around Laurie, "You promise you still love me?" he said, giving her puppy dog eyes, being less successful at hiding his smile.

"I promise, and I promise to show you later, if, and only if you behave yourself," she stated as she stared him down.

Heyes could no longer control the smile, or the laugh he was keeping inside, "Okay, I'll let you take a bath alone this time, but next time...." He pulled her close and kissed her. There was a knock on the door between the rooms and at their door. Laurie opened their door to find the girl bringing the water for the bath. Heyes opened the door between the rooms. Kid wanted to know when they were going to see Lom and eat.

The brown haired partner replied, "I'm going to go see Lom now, take a bath," he said, giving Laurie a look, "then we can eat."

"Oh," the blond hair one sighed, sounding dejected.

"You can go eat now, if you want," Heyes said, getting a little testy.

"No, I'll wait," Kid, said with a pout.

Laurie turned, walked over to Kid and put her arm around his waist; "You can go eat with Heyes if you want. You don't have to wait for me. I'll let him get cleaned up first. Then while you're eating, I'll take my bath.”

Heyes stomped over to the two of them, removed Laurie's arm from Kid's waist, glared at his partner, huffed, then turned towards her, "I'm not eating without you, and don't go putting your arm around him again. You're my wife!" Turning to Kid, "I was going to see Lom. You can come, you can take a bath, or you can eat!" He took the arm that was around Kid and placed it around his waist.

"Stop it, both of you," Laurie scolded, "You're both acting like children. Kid, if you're so hungry go eat. Heyes, I have to be allowed to touch Kid, he didn't do anything. For that matter, neither did I. I was trying to be nice, because he kind of got stuck with me being here. He didn't pick me or ask me to come along. If I try to be nice," she stared at Heyes, "Not that nice," she steamed and the look got more intense, "then you're going to have to let me. We all have to compromise to get along."

"I don't compromise my wife!" Heyes stated, giving the look back to Laurie.

After a moment of silence, Kid just started to laugh, "Okay, I can wait to eat. Laurie, you take a bath, Heyes and I will get cleaned up after we see Lom and then we eat."

Heyes and Laurie looked at each other and then said together, "What's so funny?"

"The two of you," Kid laughed, "I have never seen anyone but you, Laurie, give the Hannibal Heyes stare down. Then Heyes turned it back on you!"

"I think he's lost it," she said, looking at her husband.

"Yep," he agreed. As they turned their backs on Kid, they both fought to keep their smiles hidden.

Heyes turned to Laurie and said, "Take your bath, relax, we'll go talk to Lom."

She looked deep in his eyes, "Okay, honey," Laurie shuddered, "Double yuck! I really don't like that one. You are most definitely not a honey!"

Kid laughed, "Honey buns?"

Heyes shot him a look to kill, and his partner laughed even more.  "Don't worry sweetheart, you'll figure it out." Heyes said as he turned back to look at Laurie.

"H.H." Laurie started.

"NO!" the partners yelled.

"Okay," Laurie said, sounding defensive, "Sorry, I was just thinking out loud. I know I can't do that, relax. Speaking of relaxing, my water is getting cold - get out! I'm taking a bath!" She pushed them out the door.  

Heyes and Kid looked at each other as Laurie slammed the door then began to laugh.  "Guess we don't instill fear in her, do we?"  Kid laughed.

"No, we don't," Heyes laughed, "I think it's the other way around!"  The two continued to chuckle as they walked out the front door of the hotel, when Heyes got serious.  "Kid," he said turning to face him, "You don't think you got stuck with Laurie, do you?  I mean..."

"No," Kid responded sternly, and then added, "Heyes, she makes you happy. I would never ask you to give that up."

"You sure?" Heyes said sounding unsure, "I don't know what I would do if I have to choose, I mean I would never leave you..."

"You'll never have to choose," Kid interrupted and put his hand on his cousin’s back, "We're partners, that's all there is to it.  I want you to be happy. Laurie makes you happy.  It will work."

"I didn't plan," Heyes started.

"I know," Kid reassured, "That's why you're, we're, not going to mess it up.  Now let's go see Lom."

Heyes smiled at Kid and nodded his head.  He knew how lucky he was to have him not only as a cousin but also as a partner.  He reached over and patted Kid's back as they walked towards Lom's office.

When the pair reached their destination, they knocked and walked in.  Deputy Sheriff Harker Wilkins was sitting at Lom's desk.  Without looking up from the paper, he said, "What can I do for you?"

"Howdy, Harker.  We'd like to see Lom, is he around?" Heyes asked.  

"Nope," Harker looked up from the paper. "Oh, it's you gents, Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones. Does Sheriff Trevors know you're here?"  He stood up to shake their hands.

"No," Kid stated.

"He's not gonna like that," Harker said, shaking his head, "Sheriff don't like surprises.  You should have sent word you was comin’ to town."

"Well," Heyes said, amused by the Deputy Sheriff’s reaction, "It was kind of a surprise to us too.  Is the Sheriff around?"

"Nope, he's out at the Cutter ranch," Harker explained, "Been gone ‘bout an hour, should be back in ‘bout an hour or so."  Harker paused, then continued, "Let me tell you what I'm gonna do. When the Sheriff gets back, I'll get word to you at the hotel, are ya stayin’ at the hotel?

They nodded.

“Okay then, when the Sheriff comes back, I’ll get word to ya.  Then you can come over and surprise him!"

"Okay," Heyes said with a half chuckle and a grin on his face.

"Sounds like a plan," Kid responded, trying to conceal his laughter.  They both turned and walked out the door, very amused. "Well, we haven't been gone long enough for Laurie to take a bath."

"She's going to be really angry if I go back there now.  She did throw me out so she could soak for awhile," Heyes said with a smile.  "Maybe we should kill some time and get a drink at the saloon and maybe a hand or two or of poker."

Kid looked down his nose at Heyes, "You sure?"

"Sure, I'm sure," Heyes hesitated, "She told me to get out."

"There's an extra bed in my room if you need it."  Kid laughed as he patted Heyes' back on the way to the saloon.


***


Laurie took a long soaking bath.  It felt so good to soak in the water and even better to be in Porterville with Heyes and Kid.  Being anywhere with them was better than being in Small Falls.  She hadn't fully understood how much she needed to leave the town, to heal, until they had spent a couple days at Doris and Walter's cabin.  Of course, in the back of her mind, she wondered if she was wanted for the murder of Mr. Carlson.  Mrs. Carlson knew a lot of people - a lot of important people   and the U.S. Marshal was coming to town for the second time.  She knew she killed him in self-defense, everyone knew, but Mrs. Carlson was powerful enough for that not to make a difference.  Laurie wondered, but suppressed the anxiety as far back into her mind as she could.  She didn't know what today would bring, let alone the rest of her life, she just wanted to live it moment by moment with Heyes.  Just thinking of him brought an uncontrollable smile to her face.

They were here in Porterville to talk to the Sheriff.  Sheriff Lom Trevors, formerly an outlaw himself, was the go-between for Heyes and Kid in their attempt to get amnesty.  They were all hoping he would have good news for them after the job they had done for the Colonel.  If not, the two thought that maybe Laurie could stay in Porterville.  She really wanted to stay with them, but she could take care of herself.  She had done it since she was eight when her father died and her mother had sent her away.  Laurie knew she wouldn't get in the way.  She could even help.   No one would think Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry would travel with a woman.  She was Heyes' wife and could be Kid's sister, cousin or something.  Laurie would do anything to keep up appearances.  As she soaked, all of these thoughts swirled around inside her head.  Finally, sufficiently waterlogged, with the water getting rather cold, Laurie got out of the tub and got dressed.  She wondered where Heyes and Kid were; they had been gone for quite some time.  She wondered if the talk with Lom was going well.


***


Heyes and Kid entered the saloon.  It was the middle of the afternoon so it was fairly quiet.  There were a couple of poker games going on and as they stood at the bar with their beer, they watched.  "Nothing's changed," Heyes said with a smile in his voice, "They still draw to an inside straight and hold on a pair.  I'm thinking we need to sit in on a couple of hands."

"I know that look and that's not a couple of hands look," Kid said amusingly. "But you're right, it would just be wrong for us not to play.  Will Laurie...."

"She's soaking and she threw me out, plus if I can separate some of them from the money sitting in front of them, how angry can she get?"  Heyes said with a very small chuckle.  They found a table and sat down.


***


Laurie finished her bath and got dressed.  She was getting a little impatient waiting for Heyes and Kid to come back, but she kept reminding herself that she had thrown them out.  It was really more nerves over their conversation with Lom than with them not being back yet.  As she sat and waited, there was a knock on the door.  Laurie opened it; "May I help you?"

"Oh, I must have the wrong room. I was looking for Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones," Deputy Wilkins said.

"This is the right room. May I ask who you are and why you're looking for them?"  Laurie inquired.

"Oh, excuse me ma'am," Harker said, removing his hat, "I'm Deputy Harker Wilkins. I've come to tell Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones that Sheriff Lom Trevors is back in his office.  They can go over there now and surprise him."

"Oh, they haven't seen him yet?"  Laurie asked curiously.

"No, ma'am.  Sheriff's been out at the Cutter ranch, just got back," Harker explained. "I told Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones that I would let them know when the Sheriff got back."

"Thank you, Deputy Wilkins," Laurie said kindly with a smile, "I will let Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones know."  Laurie closed the door and walked over to look out the window.  She stood there for a minute. She assumed Heyes and Kid had gone to the saloon instead of coming back to her so quickly, since she had kicked them out.  She giggled at that thought, instilling fear in Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, not real fear, but it still made her giggle at the thought.  As she stood there, she decided she would let them know Lom was back.  

She checked in the mirror to make sure she looked presentable.  She wanted to make a good impression when she met Lom; she knew he could influence her future with Heyes and Kid.  Laurie had picked out a very nice skirt and blouse that showed how petite she was.  Doris had bought her some clothes while she had stayed with them.  Nothing fancy, but usable everyday clothes that fit her.  She looked like a completely different person than the one who used to wear the old, worn, ill-fitting hand-me-downs; she almost couldn't believe it was her in the mirror.  When she was satisfied with the way she looked, Laurie headed downstairs and out the door to find the pair.

As Laurie approached the saloon, she realized that she really couldn't just walk in and get them.  That would most certainly cause a ruckus and draw attention.  She also didn't want Heyes to think she was upset that he was in there.  She stood to the side of the saloon lost in thought when from behind her she heard, "Excuse me miss, is everything alright? Can I help you?"

"Oh, I'm sorry," Laurie said as she turned to see who was talking to her, "Oh, Sheriff Trevors," she said startled, seeing the badge on his vest, "I was just thinking."

"Sheriff Lom Trevors," he said as he tipped his hat, "You know who I am, may I ask who you are?"

"Laurie," she said.

"Laurie, nice to meet you. Can I help you? You look a little lost," he replied.

"No not lost. I'm here with my husband and his partner and they're in the saloon and I was trying to figure out how to get their attention," she said rambling, "It's not a problem.  I'll just wait till they come out."

"If you would like, ma'am," Lom continued, "I can go and get word to them you're out here."

"No," Laurie said with a force in her voice that surprised herself as well as Lom.  Closing her eyes and looking down at the ground for a minute, Laurie looked back up at Lom and explained, "I've just messed up everything.  I'm sorry I yelled. It's just the two men in the saloon were waiting for you and I wanted to tell them you were back from the Cutter Ranch."

Lom, looking rather confused and somewhat cautious, asked, "How did you know I was at the Cutter ranch and why was your husband looking for me?"

With a big sigh, Laurie mumbled under her breath, "I should have stayed in my room.  He is not going to like this at all."  Laurie took a deep breath and continued, "I found out you were at the Cutter Ranch when Deputy Wilkins came to my room looking for my husband to tell him you were back.  I guess they were going to surprise you and now I've ruined everything.  He's not going to like this and after I told him I could take care of myself," Laurie said exasperated.

"Who exactly isn't going to like this? Who is your husband?" Lom asked with concern.

Laurie stuck her hand out to shake Lom's and stated, "Sheriff Lom Trevors, I'm Laurie Smith, pleased to make your acquaintance.  My husband and his partner are very old friends of yours.  I believe you have been helping them with a matter with the Governor."

"Governor?"  Lom looked puzzled and then the realization hit him, "Smith," he said and Laurie nodded her head, "As in Mrs. Joshua Smith?"

"That would be me," Laurie said sheepishly.

"When?" Lom asked.

"A week ago," Laurie answered, then added, "If you have the time, we could walk and I could tell you the story.  You could also go into the saloon and let them tell you."

Lom smiled at Laurie, "I think I would rather hear the story from a lady than the two of them." He put his arm out for Laurie to grab hold and they started to walk down the boardwalk away from the saloon.


***


Almost two hours since they had gone in and with seventy-five dollars more in their pockets, Heyes and Kid emerged from the saloon.  "Laurie should be done soaking by now," Heyes said.

"Maybe you should stop and get her something," Kid said, and then looked curiously at Heyes who had stopped dead in his tracks.  

"I don't think that's going to be necessary," he said, staring straight ahead and swallowing hard.

Kid looked at his partner and then followed his stare to the other side of the street where he saw Lom and Laurie walking arm in arm.  "Oh."


***


Laurie and Lom had slowly walked down one side of the street.  Laurie began to explain who she was and how she had met Heyes and Kid.  The Sheriff listened intently to everything she told him.  She had gotten to the pick-up at the lake and her breaking her ribs when they turned to walk back down the street.  As they turned, she hesitated a moment.  "Is something wrong?"  Lom asked, looking at her.

"Guess I don't have to go into the saloon after all," Laurie stated and bit her lip.  She wondered how Heyes was going to react to seeing her with Lom.

He looked down the street to see Heyes and Kid standing outside the saloon staring at them, "Looks like they've spotted us."

As Laurie started to walk again, "Well, I guess we surprised them instead of the other way around!  Maybe I should let them fill in the rest."

Lom looked at Laurie and studied her as they walked.  He was beginning to understand how Heyes could have fallen for her.  Besides her obvious beauty, he could see that she could handle herself.  He looked forward to the exchange she and Heyes would have when they reached each other.

Heyes started to walk towards the pair; his partner followed closely.  "We were gone for awhile," Kid said in defense of Laurie before Heyes said a word.  Heyes kept walking, with purpose, to intercept Lom and Laurie.

Lom could see the leader face on Heyes as he walked closer to them.  He glanced at Laurie out of the corner of his eye and was surprised at the slight smile he saw on her face.  

"Sweetheart, nah," she said, shaking her head ever so slightly as she stared into Heyes' eyes. "Joshua, did you win?" she said as she let go of Lom's arm, stepped over to Heyes, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and grabbed his arm, all while never losing eye contact.  Then she lightly bit her lower lip.  Lom and Kid watche as Laurie completely deflected Heyes’ reaction before he had a chance to say a word.  Laurie continued rapidly, "I was coming to tell you Lom was back in town but didn't know how to let you know because you were in the saloon.  I couldn't just go busting in there."  Heyes gave her a small grin.  "Lom saw me standing outside and asked if everything was okay and we started talking.  Then we went for a little walk.  He knows about us, hope that's okay," she said and continued talking fast enough that no one could interrupt.  "You and Kid, I'm sure, have a lot to talk to the Sheriff about.  I'm going to go back to the room to freshen up for dinner."  Finally breaking eye contact from Heyes, she turned to Lom, "I hope you'll have time to join us for dinner."  Turning back to Heyes she said, "Joshua, I'll be in the room when you're done."  She smiled and gave Heyes another kiss on the cheek.  She brushed Kid's arm with her hand as she walked by on her way back to the hotel.

The three men stood there in shock for a few moments, then Heyes turned to Lom, "Howdy Lom, guess we need to talk."  

"Lom," Kid said nodding his head.

"Yep, I'd say we do," Lom stated. "No one's in my office, let's head over there."  The three men walked over to the office.

Heyes, Kid and Lom talked in Lom's office for over an hour.  They told Lom about the job for the Colonel, and then everything that happened to Laurie.  Then Heyes said, "Lom, I need you to contact the Sheriff in Small Falls and find out if Laurie is wanted for murder.  When we left, Marshal Hanshaw was coming for the second time to investigate.  Mrs. Carlson is very rich and very powerful.  I need to know Laurie is in the clear."

"What if she's not?"  Lom asked.

"She's innocent, Lom!" Heyes yelled, "He raped her and was trying to kill her.  Laurie did what she had to do to survive!  If he hadn't been so rich, there would never be a question!"

"I just asked," Lom said, putting his hands up in front of him.

"Then Laurie and I will be out of here on our way to Mexico.  I'm not going to let Carlson hurt her anymore," he stated.

"The three of us," Kid corrected, "The three of us will go to Mexico."

Heyes smiled at Kid, "This isn't..."

"Yes it is, Heyes," Kid interrupted, "You, Laurie, are my problems.  We're partners and I will always have your back, here or Mexico.  Let Lom find out what he can before you pack our bags and head to the border, okay?"

Heyes nodded his head.


***


It had been two hours since Laurie had left Heyes, Kid and Lom in the street.  She knew Heyes was going to ask Lom to check and see if she was wanted for murder.  She knew that she did it in self-defense, but Mrs. Carlson had so many important friends, she didn't know what the Marshal would decide.  As she paced the room, wringing her handkerchief in her hands, the door suddenly opened.  Heyes walked in, closed the door, walked over to Laurie, reached out and pulled her close.  Laurie took a big breath and closed her eyes as she began to tremble.  "It’s over," Heyes said quietly, "Lom just got the telegram back, and it's over.  The Marshal declared the shooting in self-defense."  Laurie began to cry in relief.  "Shhh," Heyes whispered in her ear, "It's okay, everything is okay." He stood there holding Laurie, rubbing her back, as Laurie leaned her head against his chest and quietly cried.

After a few minutes, Laurie began to compose herself, lifting her head off of Heyes' chest, "Oh my, I didn't mean to do that," she said as she placed her hand on a huge wet spot on Heyes shirt.  "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," he said, taking hold of her hand, "I haven't had a chance to clean up yet anyway.  They'll be bringing the water up soon and then we're going to have dinner with Lom."  He smiled and tilted his head slightly; "You okay?"

"More than okay," Laurie replied and smiled back.  Heyes pulled her close and just held her until there was a knock on the door.

Releasing her and turning to the door, Heyes stated, "That should be the bath water," and he opened the door to find several women with water buckets.  When they were done, Heyes closed the door and went back to Laurie.  "I know you've already taken your bath, but..."

"Heyes!" Laurie exclaimed, swatting him gently on the arm, "I'm going to go take a walk, you take your bath."


***


Laurie took her walk around town and arrived back in the room just as Heyes was finishing getting dressed.  "See anything interesting?" he asked.

"No," she responded as she closed the door.  "Talked to a few people and window shopped."

"Talked to people, who?" he asked as he turned to face her.

Laurie bounced onto the bed, "Deputy Harker. He wanted to make sure I had found you.  And Miss Porter."

"Miss Porter?" Heyes inquired as he moved over to the bed, "Why Miss Porter?"

"She likes you and Thaddeus," Laurie teased.  Heyes came closer to the bed with a sheepish look on his face.  "I asked if she wanted to come to dinner."  Heyes moved uncomfortably, playing with his collar as though it was too tight.  Laurie stood up facing Heyes, only inches from him, "I told her you were with me but Thaddeus was available.  Well, anyway, she can't make it.  I don't know, but I got the feeling that she lost interest when only one of you was available."

Heyes reached out and put his hands on Laurie's waist and pulled her closer, "I'm with you, huh," he said as he looked down at her.

"Yep, I have a ring to prove it!"  Laurie bit her bottom lip.

Heyes gave a slight guttural moan as he shook his head, "No, you don't," Heyes leaned in to kiss Laurie but was interrupted by Kid as he walked through the door connecting the rooms.

"Enough already," he said sounding annoyed, "I'm starved!  We never ate earlier!"

"Okay, let's eat," Heyes said and the three of the left the room and went to the restaurant to meet Lom.


***


The Sheriff was walking in when they arrived and Laurie took his arm as they walked to the table.  "Lom," Heyes said, sounding irritated; "If you keep doing that," he motioned to Laurie's arm, "we're not going to be staying friends.  I don't care about the Governor."

"Joshua," Laurie said, sounding annoyed, "He only walked me to the table.  It was the gentlemanly thing to do." Heyes stared at Laurie and she stared right back at him. "Yes, you do care about the Governor and you will stay friends with Lom."  They continued to stare at each other.

Kid got tired of waiting and said, "Well, I'm sitting down.  Lom, if I were you, I would too."

"This has happened before?"  Lom asked.

"Yep," Kid said, picking up a menu and ignoring Heyes and Laurie.  Lom watched in disbelief.  He had never seen anyone, not even Kid, stand up against Heyes for so long and she had turned the look back at him.  He was totally fascinated by the scene.

"Joshua," Kid said, "Say you're sorry and sit down.  I'm starvin’ and want to order.  They aren't comin’ over here because the two of you aren't sittin’ down!"

"Gee," Heyes said with lightness to his voice, "I don't sit down right away and you get all proddy!,

"I thought you had better manners than that, Thaddeus," Laurie said with a smirk.  "I'll sit next to Lom, Joshua, since you already know him.  This way, we'll have a chance to talk."  He started to give her a look and opened his mouth to say something when Laurie ever so slightly bit the bottom of her lip for just a second.  Heyes shut his mouth and sat down.

Much to Kid's delight, they ordered dinner and it was served very quickly.  Laurie and Lom talked about all different things over dinner, getting to know each other a little bit.

"Oh, Lambkins," Laurie shuddered. Heyes swallowed hard, almost choking, Kid almost sprayed the table with the wine he had in his mouth and Lom sat there in silence, "No, that certainly doesn't work. Oh, who am I kidding; you just aren't the nickname kind of guy.  Some people are and you are not."  The men at the table breathed a sigh of relief.  "You will just be Joshua, that's all there is to it.  In public, and if I mess up, I'll cover and say you.  So it will sound like hey you.  Not exactly a name for a husband, but it's better than a nickname."  Laurie went back to eating as the men all looked down at their plates, trying hard to compose themselves.  Heyes reached over and placed his hand on Laurie's and patted it.  

As dessert and coffee were served, the Sheriff announced, "I received a telegram from Colonel Marker late this afternoon."  

Heyes, Kid and Laurie stopped eating and looked at him, "Yes?" Heyes inquired.

"He's been in touch with our mutual friend, and he is very pleased with the work you just completed."

"And?" Kid prodded.

"And that's it for now." The Sheriff said and added, as he saw the disappointment in their faces, "He sent a special telegram to let me know, so it has to be good.  I'll send one back telling him about Laurie."  

"Is that such a good idea?"  Kid asked as Heyes looked at Laurie to see her response.  

"I think it shows that maybe you're ready to settle down, so, yes, I think it's a good idea."

"They can't do anything to Laurie because she knows, can they?"  Heyes said, never taking his eyes off of hers.

"No, not a crime to know an outlaw or to be married to one," Lom said.

The rest of the dinner was uneventful.  Laurie and Lom got along great.  They all talked about what would come next, no one really knew.  Laurie did decide to head back to Small Falls.  She thought Porterville was really nice, but Sam was still in Small Falls and she really missed him.  Doris and Walter said she could stay at the hotel with them, so she thought she would give it a try.  Heyes and Kid weren't sure what they would do.  Heyes wanted to stay with Laurie but wasn't sure it would be safe.  Kid was willing to do what his partner thought best.  They did decide that between Small Falls and Porterville, there would always be someone who knew where they were.  The three of them stayed in Porterville another day then headed back to Small Falls.


***


They arrived in Small Falls in the middle of the afternoon two days later.  Laurie went straight to the hotel to see Sam, Doris and Walter while Kid took care of the horses and Heyes went to send Lom a telegram letting him know they arrived and would let him know when they left.  Sam, Doris and Walter warmly greeted Laurie.  Knowing they were probably hungry from the ride, Doris instructed Laurie to get Heyes and Kid, she would make some food for them.

As Laurie started to cross the street to meet Heyes she heard a woman scream out, "STOP, YOU TRAMP!"

Laurie turned to see Mrs. Carlson standing in the middle of the street pointing a shotgun at her. "Mrs. Carlson," Laurie started.

"SHUT UP TRAMP!" she bellowed, "You will not talk to me."

Heyes turned to see what was going on; he was on the far side of the street leaving the telegraph office. Kid was walking along the opposite boardwalk; they were parallel to each other.  Sheriff Hardy came out of his office when he heard the yelling. The rest of the town stopped and looked.  

"Mrs. Carlson, please," Laurie tried again.

"I'm going to kill you!" Mrs. Carlson yelled, "You killed my husband, you deserve to die!"

"Perhaps," Laurie answered, "But do you?”

Laurie could see Heyes out of the corner of her eye and ever so slowly, put her hand out at her side to signal him not to do anything. Heyes had already subtly instructed Kid to stand at the ready. All it took was a slight head movement, undetectable except to his partner, and a look. Kid knew exactly what Heyes wanted and was watching the interaction between Laurie and Mrs. Carlson very intently. Heyes, himself, was at the ready, having surveyed the surroundings and determined the best course of action.

"I'm going to kill you!  You aren't going to do anything to me," Mrs. Carlson replied.

"That may be true, but if you kill me in cold blood, you will be hanged.  Then where will your family be? They already lost their father. They'll lose their mother. I don't think you want that to happen."

"You don't know what I think - you're a tramp, that's what I think. You seduced my husband, and then you killed him! You deserve to die!" she screamed.

The Sheriff slowly started to move towards the women, "STOP TOM! If you don't I will shoot her and then turn the gun on you."

"Sheriff," Laurie said calmly, "It's okay, just stay where you are," she glanced at Heyes, who gave her an acknowledging look back. "Mrs. Carlson, I am sorry."

"Sorry you ruined my life!"

"No, sorry for your loss, but I didn't have a choice," Laurie said, staying extremely calm with the gun still pointing at her.

"You HAD a choice! Matthew was a good father and a good husband and then you came along! You ruined everything," Mrs. Carlson seethed.

"I didn't do anything, Mrs. Carlson. I know you don't believe it but the Sheriff and Marshall Hanshaw agreed that it was in self-defense. I had no choice. I didn't want to do it, but he hurt me. He was going to kill me," Laurie said, trying hard to stay calm and not cry or tremble. "I know he was good to you and your family. Something happened to him that night; when he came at me he didn't even look the same. Maybe he got sick, I don't know, but he did attack me. I know you don't want your family to lose another parent. Suzie is only ten, what is she going to do without a mother?" Laurie figured if she could keep talking, Mrs. Carlson wasn't going to pull the trigger. "Please Mrs. Carlson, think of your family. If you pull the trigger, you will be killed. Either the second you pull the trigger, don't forget you threatened the Sheriff, or you will be hanged. This is not in self-defense. What you are doing is cold-blooded murder. Do you want your children growing up knowing you are a cold blooded murderer?" Laurie could see Mrs. Carlson starting to waiver. She took a small step forward and continued, "Martha, you really don't want to do this. This is not the way to honor your husband or take care of your family." She took another small step forward, then another. Mrs. Carlson was listening and the front of the barrel of the gun began to sag. "Suzie needs you, she needs a mother, please put down the gun. I don't think your husband knew what was happening. It wasn't his fault, it wasn't mine, please think of Suzie." Laurie took the final step towards Mrs. Carlson and put her hand on the gun barrel, pushing it to the ground and taking it away. Heyes, Kid and the Sheriff came running towards them. Laurie handed the gun to Kid and turned into Heyes' arms. Sheriff Hardy took Mrs. Carlson into custody.

"Are you okay?" Heyes asked quietly. Laurie nodded as she buried her head into Heyes' chest. After a moment, he guided her to the front porch of the hotel.

The Sheriff yelled for Charlie to get Mrs. Carlson's son, Matt, as he escorted her to the jail. Kid followed with the gun. He left the gun in the Sheriff's office and hurried to the hotel porch to join Heyes and Laurie. Heyes guided Laurie into a chair on the front porch as Doris looked on with concern.

"My dear, are you okay?" she asked. "I was terrified for you; I don't know why the Sheriff didn't do anything."

"Because it was safer not to," Heyes responded. "Laurie kept talking to Mrs. Carlson and she stayed calm. If the Sheriff or anyone," he said, looking at his wife and rubbing her arm, "had made any movement, Mrs. Carlson could have panicked and shot Laurie."

Laurie looked up at Heyes just as Kid got to the first step of the porch, "I knew you were there and so was Kid. That's why I was calm. I knew you would take care of me. I saw you look at Kid.  I knew you knew things were under control; otherwise Kid would have shot the gun out of her hand or something. But it wasn't necessary and there was no reason to draw any more attention."

"You did have things under control, and I wouldn't have let her hurt you."

"I know," Laurie said with a tense smile.

"You saw me look?" Heyes asked.

"Yes, when she first yelled at me. I could see you out of the corner of my eye. I put my hand down. You moved your head ever so slightly and your eyes, the look, I don't know how to describe it but I knew it was for Kid."

"I had you covered before Heyes ever did a thing," Kid said as he walked up the steps.

Suddenly Laurie stood up and walked at a very fast pace past Heyes and Kid and down the porch stairs. They looked at each other in total confusion.  She blew by them so quickly it took them a few seconds to react and follow her. Laurie headed straight to the saloon.  She walked straight to the bar, "Joe, give me a shot of whiskey," she demanded.  

Joe, the bartender, was completely shocked, not only did Laurie walk into the saloon, but she also ordered a drink. He stood there in disbelief.

"Joe," Laurie said louder, "Joe, get me a shot of whiskey now!" He finally did and Laurie downed it in one swallow before Heyes and Kid got through the saloon doors.  "Another one!" she banged her glass on the bar. He filled it and she drank it as Heyes and Kid yelled out "No!"

Heyes quickly hurried to Laurie's side as she finished the shot, "Sweetheart."

Laurie banged her glass on the bar again and once again demanded, "Another."

Heyes placed his hand over the glass and shook his head to Joe, "Sweetheart, Laurie, you really don't want to do this. I know you are shaken but you've already had," he paused and looked at Joe who held up two fingers, "two drinks. You don't drink like this, you'll get sick."

"Good," Laurie said, placing her hand on Heyes' hand and looking at him. "I killed someone and now their wife just pointed a gun at me with the intention of killing me. I want to be numb. I don't want to feel anything. If that means I'll get sick, let me be sick, please," she said, pleading now.

"I would rather you not," he took his hand off the glass.  Laurie picked it up and banged it once, then turned it upside down and placed it on the bar. She looked at Heyes and gave a forced smile, turned and left the bar.

Heyes picked up the glass and motioned to Joe to fill it. He downed it quickly, paid for his and Laurie's drinks and followed after her with Kid on his heels. She walked swiftly back to the porch and sat down. The partners arrived a few moments later.  Heyes sat down next to her. Kid stood leaning on one of the porch posts. "I'm glad you decided not to have another," Heyes said as he placed his hands on hers and stroked them. "I'm here, and she's at the Sheriff's office, she can't hurt you."

"I know it wasn't her fault. Her husband did this to her, to me," Laurie said, as she began to tremble.

"Shhh," Heyes said, trying to soothe Laurie as he gently stroked her arm, "It's okay, it's over."

Sheriff Hardy arrived at the porch, "Joshua, Thaddeus, how's Laurie doing?" he asked as he could see her beginning to tremble.

"As well as can be expected," Kid said.

"Sheriff, I'm fine. Thank you for asking," Laurie said to him, "How is Mrs. Carlson? Is Matt there yet to take her home?"

"She won't be going home for a while. She tried to kill you," The Sheriff stated.

"Sheriff, Tom," Laurie said, never having called the Sheriff by his first name before, "I don't think anything should happen to her. She's had a lot to deal with. I certainly don't want anything to happen to her except that she be taken home."

"Laurie," the Sheriff tried to explain, "she tried to kill you."

"No, she didn't," Laurie responded, "If she had intended to kill me, she wouldn't have called after me and she certainly wouldn't have let me talk or walk to her. She's a victim too. Please take care of her."  Turning to Heyes she said, "Joshua, I think the whiskey is beginning to affect me, I think maybe I should lie down. Can you help me upstairs?"

"Sure," Heyes said, standing and helping Laurie up. Turning to Kid and the Sheriff, he quietly stated, "I'll take her up and stay with her until she falls asleep then I'll be back down. Sheriff, if you could fill Thaddeus in, I would appreciate it." He turned and helped Laurie into the hotel and up to bed.
Re: Smalls Falls 2014 Reboot Chapter 4
Post on Sat 08 Feb 2014, 10:18 am by stormr
Heyes stayed with her until she fell asleep then quietly headed back to the porch. As he opened the front door, he saw Kid sitting in a chair. "Well?" asked Heyes.

"Sheriff wants to see us over at his office," Kid replied.

"Why?" Heyes asked hesitantly.

"Don't know, he didn't tell me. Just said when you come down, we should go over to see him, it's important and no, it can't wait until tomorrow. I asked," Kid stated.

"Oh," Heyes said, sounding concerned. He took a deep breath, "Well, I guess we better go because Laurie is in no shape to travel." He looked at Kid again, "He didn't say what he wanted?"

"No," his partner said as they started across the street, "Just that it was important and it had to be done now."

They walked across the street together, knocked and walked into the Sheriff's office. "Joshua, Thaddeus," the Sheriff said as he turned around. He was looking through a big pile of what looked to be wanted posters. As Heyes' eyes went from the Sheriff to the desk, he saw the two wanted posters for Kid and himself lying on top.

"Sheriff," they both said, and then Kid also noticed the wanted posters on the desk.

"Thank you boys for coming over. Laurie went to sleep quickly," he said.

"Two shots of whiskey will do that.  Now Sheriff, what can we do for you?" Heyes said, surveying the area. It was only the Sheriff and the two of them. If he was going to arrest them, there would have been at least one deputy.

"Well, I just wanted to say thank you," Hardy said.

"Thank you?" they both asked, confused.

"Yes, thank you," the lawman said and explained, "I saw everything earlier with Laurie and Mrs. Carlson. I watched the two of you during the whole thing. I think most husbands who wear their gun tied down like you two, would have shot Mrs. Carlson at the very beginning. I watched the two of you.  I think if it had been anyone else, Mrs. Carlson would be dead right now."

"Well, I don't know about that Sheriff. Thaddeus and I don't really believe in killing," Heyes stated.

“I’ve heard that,” the Sheriff said off hand.

"Yeah, Sheriff," Kid glanced at his parnter, "We were watching, but if we had moved, she could have killed Laurie."

"That's possible," Sheriff agreed, "but I still think the two of you would have been much faster than she is." Turning to his desk, he picked up a wanted poster from the book and went to a big empty space on the wall. "Anyway boys, just wanted to say thank you and let you know that you will always be welcome in Small Falls."

"Thank you, Sheriff," Kid said.

"Thank you, Sheriff," Heyes said, and then his curiosity got the best of him as he asked, "Sheriff, what are you doing?"

"Glad you asked," the lawman said, hanging the one poster on the wall and turning back to the desk where he picked up the wanted posters for Kid and Heyes. "I'm replacing the wanted posters. No one has heard from Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry in almost a year. I think they may have gone to Mexico or overseas. There are the rumors they're goin' straight. In any case, since they haven't been heard from in such a long time, I thought it was time to put up some posters of outlaws that people might actually see."

"Oh," Heyes said with a smile. The smile got bigger as he watched the Sheriff crumple up their posters and throw them in the trash. "Well Sheriff, that sounds like a good thing to do."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Kid said, with a smile from ear to ear.

"Glad you like it, boys," the Sheriff said as he walked over to the two of them and shook their hands, "As I said, you both will always be welcome in Small Falls. Now you should probably go take care of Laurie."

"Sheriff," they said, tipped their hats and walked out the door.


***

Epilogue:

Heyes, Kid and Laurie settled down in Small Falls, living for the time being at the hotel.  They saved some money and bought a house just outside of town.  After a while, Doris and Walter helped Heyes and Kid buy a saloon and gambling hall.  Within six months of buying it, they turned it into the most successful saloon in town.  Fair games were always guaranteed and the weekly owner's table poker game was the high stakes game to be invited to. Heyes and Kid ran the saloon when they were in town; Laurie handled everything when they weren't.
Heyes and Kid floated in and out of town, never staying too long at any one place.  Sheriff Hardy knew who the two of them were but had done nothing about it.  He eventually met Sheriff Lom Trevors and became a part in tracking and helping the boys out.  

The Colonel and Governor continued to give Hannibal Heyes and the Kid Curry work, a lot of it secretive; other jobs were for security at banks and railroads - each time promising a step closer to the amnesty they so desperately wanted.  

By the way, the name of the saloon and gambling hall - Amnesty.
 

Smalls Falls 2014 Reboot Chapter 4

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