SMALL FALLS 2014 REBOOT – Part 5 PG
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 peignoir 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 what she was wearing; 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 his 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. He whispered "Are you sure?"
"Yes," she 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?
“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.
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.
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.