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 Heyes, Hayes, Haze, Hazing

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PostSubject: Heyes, Hayes, Haze, Hazing   Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:33 am

Well we've done 'Curry' so it's only fair to turn our attention to the other partner. Your prompt is:


Heas, Heyes, Hayes, Haze.


The various spellings  can mean the following: 


In Irish: O'Heas - "hAodha", meaning descendant of Aodh ("fire") relating to the God of Fire.


The Norman name Hayes/ Heyes means dweller at or near a hedge or hedged enclosure, or the keeper of hedges or fences.  


Haze - means a mist, a fog or a smog.  Heat waves obsuring the vsion; a shimmering in the air near the ground that distorts distant views. A state of mental confusion.


Hazing - an initiation ceremony or a ritual to induce new members of a group. 


Of course it also means your favourite ex-outlaw leader.  cowboy 14


There's plenty for you to work on there, so time to get writing and give us your take on any of those or as many as you can squeeze into a story between 150 and 4,000 words.


Don't forget to finish up your comments on October before you start on Novemeber. Comments are the only thanks our writers get.   


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PostSubject: Re: Heyes, Hayes, Haze, Hazing   Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:48 pm

Yahoo! This topic fits perfectly.  cheers

Alter Ego Part Seven


Heyes suppressed laughter gurgled against his closed lips, trying not to alert anyone to the presence of another occupant in the room. "You think he bought it?"


The Kid shrugged. "Dunno. Maybe? One thing's for sure. He’s got no idea who either of us are."



"Stage two?"

"Stage two. Shame. I've enjoyed sleepin’ in a real bed."



"True, but it's my turn for the bed tonight, Kid."


"Yeah. I ain't happy leavin' Abi though. I don't think she's got any idea how dangerous he is. We all know McCully killed Seth Matthew's wife and kids, all the family killed the same way. A bullet to the brain before Seth’s body was turned in a week later."


Heyes nodded, his face serious. "We can't control what she does, Kid, but at least we can distract him."


"I don't think that's enough, Heyes." Kid’s eyes glittered like diamonds through the half light of the room." Seth was tryin' to go straight. He hadn't done a thing since he married Elizabeth. "His mouth formed into a hard line “He's the most dangerous man either of us has ever faced and I don't think she has the any idea what he's capable of."


Heyes sighed and sat back against the metal bedstead. "That's her choice, Kid. All we can do is make her aware of everything we know about him so she can make an informed choice."


"We can't let a woman walk into that kind of danger, Heyes. It ain't right."


"What do you suggest, Kid? We can't force her to do things our way. She won't have it. Besides, she’s not your usual woman."


"Nope, but I wouldn't let any law man walk into it either."


"She won't be there. Everything’s leading him away from here   away from her."


"Only if it all goes right, Heyes."


"Kid, when have I ever let you down?"


Kid Curry leaned forward to glare at his partner. "Don't get me started. What about that time you promised me, promised mind you, that we'd walk straight into the bank and there'd be a full safe sittin’ in there. Easy as pie, you said. Who did we find there?”
 
                                                               oooOOOooo



The Kid swallowed the last of his coffee before he stood, dropping his snowy napkin on the table. He paused to glare at a cringing Meg before stepping over to Mrs. MacPhee and handing her a wedge of notes.
 

"I'd like to pay for the next two weeks, if I may. I have business in the area which means I will probably have to stay away but things are, well, they’re a bit up in the air. I could be back at any time and I would like to reserve the room, if that's alright?"


Mrs. MacPhee’s eyebrows rose in surprise. She had never been asked this before and she wasn't sure if she wanted to continue to do business with such an irregular guest. The size of the sum he offered, however, was not to be scoffed at, so she swallowed her reservations and accepted the money.
 

"Will you need the room after that?"


"I doubt it, Mrs. MacPhee. I expect to finish my business here soon, maybe even tomorrow. I may need to finish paperwork and things in the area though, so I’d like to keep the room. I will recommend your accommodation to the Governor himself. He likes his men to stay in good wholesome accommodation."


"The Governor? Of the state? This state?"


The Kid winked. "The very same. The name ‘Mrs. MacPhee’ will be on his lips before too long."


Her large cornflower blue eyes sparkled at him as she clasped her hands in delight. “Oooh, Mr. Black. Can you imagine him staying here?"


“I’ll be recommendin’ it in person soon enough. Until then it might be best to keep quiet about my work here.”


He tapped the side of his nose, indicating he required her discretion, knowing all the while a snowball had more chance of surviving in the depths of hell than a delighted, posturing matron in a small town staying silent about an elevated social position for her business.


He needed her to talk about his departure, his connections and the importance of his business. He could rely on her to boost his status and reputation despite her complete ignorance of him and his vocation. The more McCully heard people talking about his competitor’s impending success and reputation, the more pressure he’d put on himself through injured vanity. She had to remind everyone he could be back at any time with his job concluded. The pressure was staring to show in McCully’s tense posture and pacing back and forth in the hallway.


"Will you be gone for long, Mr. Black?"


He turned at Violet Pickering’s voice. She was still as attractive as the first evening he had arrived with bright, glossy blonde hair and clear china blue eyes set in a heart-shaped face.


He turned on his most magnetic smile. "That depends, Miss Pickering."


"Oh? I was hoping you'd be back by the weekend." She blushed and fluttered coy lashes at him. "There's a dance."


The Kid grinned. "I'd like that ma'am. I'll see what I can do."


She flushed prettily, embarrassed by her obvious approach." I don't make a habit of asking men to dances, you know. I'm sorry if I've been a bit distant but you've grown on me. Quite a bit but I thought we'd have more time together so I could be more subtle. It seems I was wrong."


He admired the porcelain skin and the pert turned-up nose. "You don't look like a lady who needs to do the askin'. If I don't make it back I'm sure there'll be plenty standing in line take my place."


She turned her face to his, full of longing. "What does it matter if I don't want them?"


Kid Curry smiled. "I'll do my best Miss Pickering."


"You promise?"


"I do. I promise to try. I can't promise when I'll be back. That ain't in my control."


"As long as you do your best, Mr. Black, That's all I ask. If you're not there I won't go to the dance. It won't be worth it without you."


"I can promise that, Miss Pickering."


"Violet," she whispered as she stared intently into his eyes. "Call me Violet."


He nodded. "I'll do my best, Violet."


                                                        OooOOOooo


The Kid lay back and placed his hat over his face and crossed his arms behind his head with a gaping yawn. "Remind me again why we have to sit on this hill, Heyes? I ain't complainin’ but now the sun’s goin' down it's gettin' kinda borin’, especially when there's a hot blonde and a cool drink there."


Heyes lowered his brass telescope and raised his eyebrows.


"You know why. Abi won't speak to me. It’s the only way I can find out when she's meeting the Pinkertons who are pretending to be us. We’ve got to see who McCully's following."


"So you stay here. What does it matter if Abi’s not speakin’ to you? Violet's speakin’ to me, and sayin' real nice things too."


Heyes glowered at Kid's satisfied smirk. "Did the maid tell her you were rich?"


The Kid lifted the brim and cast a cynical gaze in his direction. "That ain't gonna work. She was sweet before anyone found the fake bank book, she's just warmed more. Quite a bit, in fact. I think it was me goin’ away that did it. I think she started to miss me before I even went."


"It’ll soon be time to move nearer to watch the place. We can't watch it from here in the dark."


"What makes you think it'll be so soon."


"’Cos you got McCully worried, Kid. He's going to rush this so he'll make mistakes. We need to be ready for him. The minute you're out of there, he'll make a move to make sure he's clean away before you get back. He’ll want to get Heyes and Curry before you do."


The Kid pushed himself upright, leaving his hat on the grass. “How come it’s always Heyes and Curry? Why ain’t it Curry and Heyes?”


Heyes shrugged. “I dunno. It’s how folks always say it. It’s easier to say.”


“I mean, it ain’t like it’s alphabetical,” mused the Kid. 


“It flows better, like bread and butter; salt and pepper; smoke and mirrors; fire and brimstone; milk and honey.”


“More like ladies and gentlemen or Cain and Abel,” the Kid muttered.


“Pearls before swine?”


“A fool and his money?” the Kid replied. He paused, running out of aphorisms which put the worst things first. "How’d you think we'd have done if we'd never been told McCully was after us?"


Heyes shrugged. "Who knows? I don't want to find out either. We know what he looks like though, so it'd be hard to surprise us. Especially you."


They sat quietly on the hill until Heyes spoke again. "Do you think I'm getting too involved?"


The Kid threw a cheeky grin at his cousin. "Don't even try to tell me you treat Abi the same as a man.


When did you last meet a hairy-assed sheriff in a summerhouse? This one’s down to me though. I insisted on stickin’ around."


Heyes chuckled as he turned twinkling dark eyes towards his partner. "No. I wouldn't let a sheriff deal with McCully on his own either. He’s a murderer. I think most men’d take the help, though."


"She's stubborn."


"Too stubborn, Heyes," the Kid shot a warning glance at his cousin. "We get outta here as soon as we can."


He nodded and smiled back. "As soon as we can, we head back to The Hole. Who’d have thought we'd feel safer on the run than in a boarding house with pretty women."


"We took a real wrong turn somewhere, Heyes."


"I guess we did,” Heyes stood and threw the contents of the coffee pot over the smoldering flames of their fire, shaking off the pensive turn the conversation had taken.


"Well, I suppose that's a good start."


"What?"


The Kid’s lips twitched into a grin. "Destroy the evidence of your last serious crime."


Kid Curry ducked away with a laugh as Heyes launched the pot at his head. "I swear, if you ever have a go at my coffee again  "


"I won’t. We need somethin' to fall back on when I can't shoot ‘em."
 
                                                                oooOOOooo



Heyes and Curry lurked in the background and made sure they could see both front and rear access to the boarding house. It was their third night's vigil, sure any visitation would take place before the wee small hours as it was dressed up as an assignation with the fake outlaw.


They watched two mounted men leave from the rear of the building, followed within minutes by a lone horseman. Heyes was about to emerge from his concealment when the rattle of a bridle made him dive for cover again, just making it before another mounted figure, smaller than the last, slipped by into the night.
Kid Curry moved forward and hissed at the shadowy figure skulking against the shrubbery.


"Heyes. We gotta move fast. Looks like there's more than one of them."


"Damn it! I thought this might happen. I think that was Abi. It looked like a woman. "He strode into the centre of the road and crouched, waiting for the wispy cloud to sail away from the silver face of the frail moon which hung in the sky above them. "I thought so," he murmured as his fingers trailed over the surface of the hoof print. "She hasn't got the sense she was born with."


"What?"


Heyes’ eyes glinted from under the brim of his hat as he tilted his head up to his cousin. "It's Abi’s horse. I made sure I marked the hooves so I'd know by the tracks if she went out."


The Kid snorted. "That woman don't know what's good for her."


"Bear her in mind if the shootin’ starts, Kid."


His face was obscured by darkness but Heyes could hear the scorn in the Kid’s voice as he barked his retort. "I came here to make sure she was safe because I owe her. Do you really think I'm gonna blow her head off?"


                                                               oooOOOooo


They trailed the little party for about three miles, in a furtive game of tag, following their quarry, who was following McCully, who, in turn, was following the Pinkerton agents. The hooves and tack were wrapped to muffle against unnecessary noise as they used all the lessons they had learned over the years of felony to conceal their approach.


They knew it was unlikely McCully would try to corner the men whilst still on the road. He thought he was facing Heyes and Curry, so only a fool would try to draw on them in an open road. He would follow them to ground and try to split them up and pick them off one at a time. That gave them the luxury of time, especially if he didn’t know he was being trailed.


After some time they saw the warm glow of a light from a small cabin nestling amongst the trees. The smoke from the chimney billowed into the still night air like a malignant mushroom, telling them that the occupants had arrived home and had settled for the evening.


The light from the uncovered window also told them anyone inside could be easily targeted by a marksman hidden in the darkness outside. It was a fatal mistake but it was also where McCully would be most likely to take position to pick off his victims.


But the real Heyes and Curry were waiting for him.
 
                                                          oooOOOooo



It took hours before they saw a shadowy figure creep over by inches to the window shining out into the darkness.


They had pre-arranged their tactics. Heyes was to take McCully, while the Kid took care of the bigger picture, so they adopted the roles which were so well-arranged they were almost instinctive.


McCully crept from his crouching position and peered into the cabin through the corner of the window. He removed his gun from the holster and slowly raised his hand to the level of the window sill.


He matched the pistol’s sight to the back of the figure seated in front of the range, his hat on the back of his head as he sat reading the newspaper spread out in front of him.


The pale blue eyes narrowed as he pulled the trigger, ready to blast the back of the man’s head clean away. The long finger curled around the trigger, retracting it as he squeezed, driving the metal back against the metal housing.


He bit his lip in frustration, nothing happened. Not even a click. What the hell was wrong with his gun? He was about to turn it up to examine it in the light from the window when a voice hissed in his ear.


"Drop that. Right now."


McCully's heart thumped as he complied with Heyes’ demand, the weapon clattering on the hard, gritty ground.


"Stand up. And keep your hands where I can see them."


The man stood, his hands raised. He was about two inches taller than Heyes and the light from the full moon lit the scene, cut with slashes of shadows from the surrounding trees.


"I guess your usual method of execution ain't gonna work this time, McCully. Now walk over to the well."


"Don't I even get to see who you are?"


"Why?” sneered Heyes. “Elizabeth Matthews and her kids never got to see you coming, did they?"


The man stiffened before he replied. "You a friend of the family then?"


Heyes felt his distaste for the man slither down his spine as he narrowed his eyes. "You don't even try to deny it do you?"


"What's the point? You’d never believe it wasn't me, would you?"


Disbelief dripped from every syllable as Heyes spoke again. "You gonna tell me you're innocent? That you never killed anyone?"


McCully’s harsh snort of laughter cut through the night air. "Of course I killed! I ain't never killed a woman or a child though. I ain't got the stomach for it."


"Now why would you expect me to swallow that?"


Heyes’ heart froze as he felt cold gunmetal against the back of his ear as a female voice caught him by surprise by her proximity. "Because I did it. Now drop that gun right now or you'll get the same treatment."


Kid Curry's voice cut across the woman’s as he stepped forward, his arm raised, aiming his weapon straight at her head. His anger at himself for allowing this situation to develop spilled over into his taught, harsh voice. When he had seen the figure lurking in the shadows he had assumed it was Abigail, not Violet


Pickering, who now stood with her gun pointed straight at his cousin’s brain.


"No. You drop it, and do it fast. I ain't too particular to shoot a woman in the head if the situation demands it. Do as you're told. Now!"


Violet stood, coldly appraising the situation, not even reacting to Kid's yell before she dropped her arm with a snort as Heyes whirled round to look into the face of the woman who was obviously McCully's partner in crime.


"It's Violet. Violet Pickering," yelled Kid.


"You’re with McCully?" demanded Heyes. He reached out and snatched the gun from her hand.


She glared at him, refusing to answer as the door to the cabin opened and two men, one blond, one dark piled out of the door with their weapons in their hands. They took in the group outside as they raised their guns, the dark man pointing at Heyes, the blond one covering Kid Curry.


“Drop those guns.” The dark man demanded. "Who the hell are you people?"


The blond man abruptly stopped as his eyes came to rest on the unmistakable face and cropped blond hair of Frank McCully.


"We're friends," Heyes stepped forward with his hands raised. "Keep McCully and the woman covered. They’re the problem. He was about to shoot one of you through the window but Abi obviously got to his gun, thank God."


"Abi? You know Abi?" The blond man threw his partner a significant look.


"Who the hell are you two? Who do you work for?" demanded the dark Pinkerton.


"We work for ourselves, but we know you're Pinkertons and our paths have crossed with Abi before. We’ve been watching McCully too," Heyes hoped he was giving enough detail whilst still remaining vague on his true identity.


"We thought he was going to kill someone tonight so we followed him out here." He darted a look at Violet Pickering. "We didn't reckon on her though."


"What's your names?"


"Jonathan Black and he's Walter Perceval,” answered Kid."I'm a bounty hunter, but McCully's bad for business."


The two men nodded. "Where is Abi?" asked the dark one.


"I dunno," replied Heyes. "She wouldn't talk because I thought her job was too dangerous for a woman. You know what she's like when she decides to keep a secret. I've been operating on guesswork but seeing her around McCully could mean only one thing. I marked the hooves of her horse and followed her here, but I ain't seen her."


"You idiot!" McCully snapped at the woman, "Couldn’t you have stolen someone else's horse? You led them straight to us."


"Abi's not here?" Kid queried.


"Not without a horse, she ain't," retorted Heyes, his parochial speech a clue to his heightened emotions. “I guess she's still back at the boarding house."


"Either of you two got cuffs on you?" asked the blond man.


"Nope," Heyes replied, airily. "We saw McCully riding out followed by what we thought was Abi. We followed them on impulse. You?"


The dark man nodded. "In the cabin, you two." He gestured with his gun to McCully and Violet. “Move, now!”


                                                                oooOOOooo


Heyes sat on his horse in Everlasting and watched the Pinkertons head over to the sheriff’s office with their prisoners. "Well, I guess there's no reason why we can't spend a night at the boarding house. The Pinkertons think we're bounty hunters, we've paid for a room, and McCully's in jail. We can head off in the morning,” his cheeks dimpled with satisfaction, “after a spot of gloating to Abi." He chuckled, nudging his mount towards the stables. "I'm looking forward to that bit."


The Kid nodded, his voice pensive. "Who'd have thought McCully would have a sister who looked like that?" He turned to his partner. "I'm real sorry, Heyes. I saw her in the shadows but I thought she was Abi
so I didn’t do anythin’. She could’ve killed you.”


Heyes shrugged and smiled at him, understanding why he wouldn't shoot. "Well, it was a successful night, and you paid your debt, Kid."


The Kid nodded. "Thank God that woman stole her horse and kept her in Everlastin’."


"Yup, sure did," grinned Heyes. “She’s gonna be mad we were involved with her colleagues but she was kept right out of it.”


"Not completely, Heyes. She got to his gun and disabled it. She also fooled him into goin' through with it."


The smile dropped from Heyes’ chastened face. "I know. We helped, that's all. Though God only knows what mess she'll be involved in next." He turned to the Kid. "She worries me you know. It's like she doesn't care about her own life."


The Kid tugged at his reins to guide his mount. "I know what you mean. There’s darkness deep inside her. Someone who carries the same blackness can spot it easy. She needs real light cast on that shadow before she'll live a proper life again."


Heyes glanced over at his cousin. He frequently condemned himself for his lack of intelligence beside Heyes quicksilver mind but he was far from stupid. Kid just lacked a brain which could process vast quantities of data at the same speed as he could process the tiny cues in body language which told him when he needed to draw his gun.


"Let's hope it happens soon, eh?"


The Kid glanced at him. "It can't be you, Heyes. We both know that."


Heyes frowned. "I don't know what you mean. I’m not in the market for anything serious."


"Nobody is until it hits them," the Kid chuckled. "She's special. I can tell, and she'd be interested if you weren't a criminal. Thank God she's smart enough to make sure she keeps well away from you."


"She's attractive. That's all. I ain’t dead. I’m not looking for anything serious."


"She stunnin’ and she's got a mind that can tie yours in knots. That puts her in a different league from the farm girls and teachers you’re used to sparkin’. We leave first thing in the mornin’, Heyes. No excuses."


                                                             OooOOOooo


The stable doors creaked open and they led their animals in, ready to bed them down for the night. Heyes strode over to the oil lamp hanging on the hook and lit it. A warm, cozy glow filled the stables, lighting the way for the Kid as he led them forward towards the stalls.


He stopped dead in his tracks as the horses shied and whinnied in distress at the sight in front of them, yanking at his arm as they bucked and pulled back.


“Heyes!”


Abigail's body lay in a pool of blood which trailed and collected from a wound on the side of her head as her life source ebbed from her body. The congealing puddle ran off into the discolored hay of the stall. Her head was turned to the side and the blood found numerous routes across her face, turning into gruesome streams which formed a ghastly mask over her pale, lifeless face.


Heyes ran over, gasping in horror at the sight before him. "Abi!"
 

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PostSubject: Heyes   Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:33 pm

Here is the remainder of what I have written in the story arc from which I had posted the last couple of months.  It does concern Heyes, but with him, as always, is the Kid.  I have yet to come up with an ending.  I have one I like, one that probably should be the way it ends, and another I don't know if it fits.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Separation.


The first thing I did was to send a telegraph to Lom.


SHERIFF TREVORS.  PORTERVILLE WYOMING.  IN COTTONWOOD.  PLEASE APPRISE OF JOSHUA SMITH LOCATION IF KNOWN.  DETAILS TO FOLLOW.  THADDEUS JONES.


Bessie had wanted me to wait until the weather broke.


“Jedediah, you can’t travel in this cold.  You’ll fall again.”


“I don’t intend to be up on any more roofs.”  I turned to look at her, and I saw what she was feeling, a sense of abandonment.  I would not be here if they needed something done like the excess snow cleared off of the roof.  I had to look away.  I knew what was really bothering her was that I would not be here at all.  I would be leaving her, to find someone she felt meant more to me.


I didn’t know if I could disagree with her or not.  I just knew that if Heyes had not found me in the months I had been here, something had happened to him too.  I needed to know what.


Lom had not wasted time replying.  When I went back to the telegraph office, I had an answer.  It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what I had feared.


THADDEUS JONES.  COTTONWOOD.  GLAD YOU FINALLY FOUND TIME TO APPRISE OF LOCATION.  OUR MUTUAL FRIEND IN CHEYENNE HAD JUST ABOUT GIVEN UP.  SMITH LOCATION UNKNOWN SINCE BELLEVILLE.  DETAILS NEED TO BE SENT TO ASSURE DEAL STILL POSSIBLE.  TREVORS.


I sent a reply and then went to say good-by to Bessie.


SHERIFF LOM TREVORS.  PORTERVILLE WYOMING.  BACKTRACKING TO BELLEVILLE TO FIND SMITH.  WILL INFORM OF LOCATION WHEN FOUND.  JONES.


It was cold as I rode from one small town to another between Cottonwood and Belleville.  It was colder in my soul as I remembered how I had left Bessie.


“You said you had given up outlawing!” Bessie sounded like she was close to getting hysterical, even though I knew she was trying her best to argue logically with me.  She was nothing if not her father’s daughter.  She was an excellent nurse.  My survival had shown that.  With the way she usually argued, she would have made just as good of a lawyer as her father.  I had never seen her lose her composure the way she did that day, even in the throes of passion.  It shredded my heart that I was the cause, but it did not change my mind.


“Why do you need to find him?”  She was pleading with me.


“He’s my cousin.  The only family I have left.”  My eyes met hers.


“What am I to you then?”  She started to cry.  “Just something to amuse you?”


“No, Bessie, don’t think that.”  I tried to fold her in my arms but she pulled away.  “You’re …”


“What?”  Her voice had turned cold.


“My love.”


“But you’re leaving.”  She stated it.  There was no questioning any more.


“Bessie.”  I was trying to explain something that was such a deeply ingrained part of me that it was beyond thought.


“If he hasn’t come to find me by now, something’s wrong.”


“You’re so sure of that?”  Bitterness was filling her.


“Yes.”  I knew that better than I knew myself.  Or her.  She saw it in my eyes.


“Maybe he was arrested.”  Emotion was draining from her eyes.  She was shutting down, not able to handle it any more.  Logic was all that was left.


“Lom would have known.”


She laughed dryly.  “I guess you’re right.  It would have been front page news if the great Hannibal Heyes had been arrested.”


I reached out to touch her again, but she turned away.  “I’ll pack you some food.”


My soul shattered, but I had to go.  I packed my saddle bags, took the food from her hands.  Her eyes were dull.  I tried one last time and she finally let me enfold her.  There were no huge dramatic sobs from her.  Just silent tears.


“I do love you, Bessie.”  I crushed her to me.


“But not enough.”  She whispered in my ear, and slowly drew away.


I turned one last time as I opened the door.


“I’ll be back …”


She shook her head, and I stopped.


“I will.”


She smiled through her tears and shivered in the cold wind from the open door.


I came back and kissed her deeply.  She responded, but didn’t reply when I whispered that I loved her.


The look in her eyes as I left haunted me every night as I searched for Heyes.






***************************






I had never thought to find myself a farmer, at least not since we left Kansas.  I never thought to be satisfied doing such work.  It was definitely hard on the back.


Then I would look at Ellie.


I never figured I would end up married either, even if we had somehow actually got the blasted amnesty.


I thought the Kid would have been the one to marry. He was always falling for some damsel in distress.  I was sure he would have latched his baby blue eyes on some sweet little thing and ended up with a passel of children.


I closed my eyes for a moment.  His loss was still as sharp as a bullet piercing my heart.  My heart that I had surrounded by armor plating, except for the chink where I had let the Kid through.


Maybe that's why I had let in Ellie. She filled the hole left by the Kid's absence. If I was really honest with myself, I knew she was more than just a crutch to me. When I looked at her it was the only time the darkness in my heart lifted, especially when the sun caught her silhouette, and I could see our babe growing inside of her.  Or when I held her at night, and I could feel our child kick.  It was the only time I still had faith in this life.


If nothing else, farming gave me plenty of time to think.  Sometimes that was good; sometimes it was not.  I was starting to learn how to live without Jed.  That’s how I chose to think of him now, the sweet blonde boy, with the brilliant blue eyes, before all the blood came.  Before all the rough years came, and my decisions ended up making him the most feared gunman in the west.


I had not forgiven myself for that yet, but I was trying.  Ellie and the baby deserved a life free of worrying that the sheriff would once more show up at her door to tell her someone she loved had been shot by a posse.  I had decided I was not that man any more.


I did not worry that anyone would come by and recognize me.  I was a changed man, inside and out.  I was never heavy, but I am whipcord thin now.  I have lost the gaunt look I had through the winter, from my blood loss after being shot, and from not caring to eat.  Luckily Ellie was an excellent cook.  Now it was just the unending work of the farm that kept any excess fat from my body.


I grew a beard over the cold winter.  I have trimmed it back now that it’s warm, but I still have kept a light amount on my cheeks and chin.  It subtly changes my looks, and hides my dimples, on the rare occasion when they appear.  I have taken to keeping my hair short too.  It is cooler with all the work, and Ellie does not seem to mind cutting it so often.  She says she loves to run her fingers through my hair.


I know I owe it to her, to tell her who I really am, but I do not want to shatter her dreams.  Too much has been destroyed.  I do not want to look back.  That way leads to madness.


I will have to contact Lom eventually, but again, I have just not been ready.  Often when I am in the fields, I have asked God why he took the Kid, and left me.  I did not think God would listen, after the life I have lived, but maybe he is watching over me again, for Ellie’s sake.


The answer that came to me was not surprising, but I am not certain it came from a loving God.  It just confirmed that it was my fault Jed died.  If I had been a better man, we would not have ended up where we did, running from the posse that killed him.  God took Jed because in spite of all my efforts to the contrary, he was still a good man, and he had suffered enough.  I still had suffering to do to make atonement.


Then I would look at Ellie, and I figured God put me here to help her.  She too, did not deserve the life her pa had given her.  She deserved a peaceful life to raise our child.


I just was not certain that was going to include me.  Maybe God was just keeping me around until she did not need me any longer.


From some of the looks she gave me occasionally, she knew what I was thinking.  She would just give me a hug and a deep kiss, and go on being Ellie.  Maybe there was a loving God after all.






*************************






I remember the day he came walking up to the house, like it was etched on one of those tin photographs.  I had heard a horse come up, but I had thought it was Joshua coming in from the fields.  I had supper just about ready, so I had wiped my hands on my apron, and slowly walked to the front door.  The babe had been unsettled all that day, and I had wondered what it had portended.


Joshua and I had gone on from reading Mark Twain aloud to just about any book he could find in town.  It was one thing on which he would spend money.  Some of the books were too deep for me, a few were too deep for Joshua, but we persevered and made it through all of them, reading aloud throughout the cold winter months.  I had learned lots of new words.


Sometimes when the babe wouldn't let me sleep, I would go to sit in front of the fire, to work on the tiny things needed for our soon to be new arrival, so I would not wake Joshua.  Often as not, he would come wandering out too, when he found I was missing, and build up the fire, to read to me.  It soothed all of us.


As I looked out the door, he got off his horse, and looked up to the house.  I saw those blue, blue eyes that Joshua had mentioned to me, and I knew my world had changed yet again.


I invited him in, but he said he would rather wait on the porch for Joshua.  I brought him out a glass of cool lemonade I had made for supper.


"Thank you right kindly, ma'am."  He could not help but notice my condition.  Mrs. Matherson had told me I was due any time now.  I thought it would be awhile yet, but she had helped to birth most of the babes in the area, including her own, so I had been cautious.


The spring had finally warmed up.  I took advantage of the cool breeze on the porch for a minute, and sat too.


"You're Thaddeus, aren't you?" I asked.


He looked at me again, re-evaluating.  "Yes."  He looked down for a moment, and then met my eyes again.  "And you're Ellie Smith?"


I nodded.


"The folks in town told me you and Joshua lived out here."


It was then that I heard Joshua coming in from the field.  Thaddeus did too.  He turned that way, and I saw the most brilliant smile cover his face.  He stood and started walking towards the barn.


It was at that moment that everything shattered.


Joshua had turned to see if I was on the porch waiting for him.  He saw the horse.  He then saw Thaddeus.


I do not know if I can rightly explain what happened then.  Joshua's face went blank.  Then it flooded with the most luminous smile I had ever witnessed.  I know he had never smiled at me that way.


The next thing I knew they were hugging in the midst of the yard.  It looked like Joshua would have collapsed if Thaddeus had let go of him completely.  A flood of words came out of both of them, and it did not seem like they would stop.


I turned and fled into the house.






*******************






I had never seen Father this mad.  He threatened to put me out of the house.  He threatened to have the sheriff hunt him down.  I at least spared Jed that, knowing that the sheriff was of more danger to him than what Father knew.


Poor Father.  His educated daughter had ended up pregnant by the kind drifter the family had befriended.  He thought the world had ended.


Little did he know that it really had.  I was not pregnant by some anonymous drifter, but by the notorious Kid Curry himself.  It was probably for the best for us all that he had gone off in search of his partner, Hannibal Heyes.


It had still broken my heart.


I told Father that I would go to Denver, and live with Aunt Myrtle.  Father said his sister did not deserve to raise a bastard child any more than he did.


For an educated man, Father was not thinking very clearly.  He just felt betrayed and shamed to such an extent, that I do not think he could even imagine what I felt.


Being the meticulous person I was, I had already written Aunt Myrtle when I first knew that Jedediah had left me with more than a broken heart.  She replied that she had been very lonely since Uncle Mert had died, and Cousin Charles had taken over the business.  Aunt Myrtle had built the business as much as her husband had, but Charles had felt it was time for new leadership.


I had told Aunt Myrtle the story Father knew.  I had succumbed to the charms of a handsome drifter and now needed to remake my life elsewhere.  She said she was more than happy to help me reestablish myself as a widowed Mrs. Jones, who would eventually go back to work at Arapahoe County Hospital, once the baby was old enough.


I stared out the window to see the loft over the barn, where Jedediah had stayed, when he was not in the house with me.  It had been a happy time.  I decided I would make the best of it.  At the very least I would get the opportunity to go back to nursing, which had been my passion.


Jedediah had told me he would come back, but I saw his determination when he left, to find his partner.  I was just as determined not to be here, if he ever did return.  He left me to deal with this on my own.  I did not owe him a thing.


     
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MoulinP

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Join date : 2015-11-29
Age : 57
Location : Norfolk, England

PostSubject: Re: Heyes, Hayes, Haze, Hazing   Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:27 pm

This was inspired by how menacing Heyes was in the encounter with Danny Bilson after the desert.


Hannibal Heyes

Heyes heard a buggy draw up and looked out of his study window. Thank Goodness. Yes, it was Mary, home safe.


They had gone to Cheyenne for a few days to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Leaving the children with their grandfather rather than having him come to stay at Amnesty, as both Susan and Harry had commitments in town. Commitments? Since when did two children eight and five have commitments? Heyes had rolled his eyes. Apparently they did. Luke had looked less than pleased at having his home invaded, especially when Susan announced on arrival that they should all pitch in to help tidy up. At that point, Heyes had pushed Mary quickly out of the door on the pretext that they would miss their train if they didn’t hurry.


Things had started well. Their hotel suite was large and well appointed. They had dined in a small and romantic restaurant, enjoyed a slow moonlit stroll back to their hotel, and followed by an intimate night, which didn’t involve much sleeping. It was nice to spend time alone together without the children near.


The next day Heyes had patiently endured some shopping but had managed to steer Mary to the part of town where his new store would be located. The third of his hardware empire he had announced proudly. Mary had been more interested in the building, a large double bay fronted affair. He couldn’t possible need to stock it ALL with hardware could he? Surely, he could sublet one of the bays. Perhaps to a hat shop? They could call it Hats and Hardware. The look he had given her told her the answer. Even calling it Hardware and Hats hadn’t changed his look.


He had just started to draw her attention to the small building next door, when a bellow of HANNIBAL from across the street, interrupted them. To Heyes’ surprise, there was Big Jim Santana crossing over. Much shaking of hands and pounding of backs ensued, followed by kissing of hand when Heyes had introduced Mary. Jim was changing trains in Cheyenne and had decided to see the town rather than wait at the depot for three hours so their meeting was brief.


Small building forgotten, Heyes and Mary had walked back to the hotel. They had tickets for the theatre that night but it was still too early to get ready. Thoughts had turned to some more intimate time, when the subject came up Heyes knew would. They had skirted round it before but Mary had been dropping hints for days that during this time alone together she wanted to discuss it fully.


The discussion had started reasonable and civilised but had quickly descended into yelling. There were no tears just angry words.


“You haven’t got a heart!” Mary had flung at him. “You told me yourself that Hannibal Heyes can be cruel. Well he’s back isn’t he?”


Heyes had stiffened and his face turned hard. He was stunned. So was she and she wished she could take it back.


“Well if that’s the way you feel then there’s no point in me being here,” he said, ominously quietly, picked up his hat and opened the door. “Make your own way home,” he said with finality. He slammed the door closed.


It had taken him a while to regret leaving like that but by that time, he was on the train puffing back to Porterville. He felt he had no choice. If he’d stayed much longer HE would have appeared and he didn’t want that. He had to leave before something happened he would definitely regret.


Arriving home late, he had known that Mary wouldn’t return that night. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to go up to their bedroom where she would be all around him. Instead, he had retreated to his study and had slept fitfully on the chaise lounge still in his clothes.


Now in the early morning light it was obvious he had slept in them by the creases. His chin darkened with stubble and the hollow eyes told of a long and troubled night.


Thinking back to what happened yesterday, his heart beat faster at the thought of the confrontation to come. They had to resolve it and now was the time. It couldn’t be put off any longer. She had to understand and he had to keep his temper. He would need his silver tongue like never before.


He heard the front door open and he came out of the study to meet her in the hall.


“Are you alright?” he asked, trying to keep the hard edge out of his voice.


Mary was hoping she would avoid him. Almost wishing he wasn’t there. Yet she was relieved to see him. After the way he had stormed out of their hotel room in Cheyenne and left her to come home on her own, she was afraid that he might take himself off somewhere else. She licked her lips nervously and closed the door by leaning on it. Her valise, gripped tightly in both hands. She nodded but didn’t look at him.


Heyes crossed the hall quickly to her and put both hands on the door above her head, trapping her. This wasn’t how he wanted to do this but he was given no choice. HE had taken over.


“You’re right, Mary. Hannibal Heyes is back and he’s very very angry with you right now.” He didn’t shout but that made him seem even more menacing.


Mary risked a glance at him. He face was unsmiling and cold but she was relieved that there was no trace of alcohol on his breath.


“Please Josh, I really don’t want to do this right now,” she said, in a small voice.


Oh! Wrong thing to say. HE had decided the time and they were having the discussion now whether she like it or not.


Heyes slapped his palms on the door above her head, making her jump.


“Now I’m only gonna tell this to you once, lady and you had better listen. Do you understand?” He waited for her to nod. “Now we have three children. That’s ALL we’re gonna have. There will not be a fourth. Is that clear?” Mary didn’t respond. “IS THAT CLEAR?”


Mary winced and tensed at his shout so close to her ear. Eyes watering she took a gasp of breath and nodded. Tears began to flow. She couldn’t stop them and she raised a shaking hand to wipe them away.


“Why not? We can afford it,” she said, determined not to let him have it all his own way. She had never seen him like this before and he was scaring her. He looked so different, so hard, and so cruel. Yes, HE was back and she knew she had to tread very carefully.


“It isn’t the money and you know it. I missed Susan’s arrival. Harry caught us by surprise. You gave birth to him on the kitchen FLOOR. You nearly DIED having Billy. I’ll can’t put you through that again.”


“Don’t I get a say in it?” Mary flung back, feeling her courage return. She looked at him hard. He looked back.


“No.”


“And if I’m pregnant now? We WERE on our wedding anniversary!”


“Then we’ll deal with it,” he said, softly but firmly.


“What do you mean?” she asked, sharply


“What I say,” he said, harshly.


“Can’t we even talk about this? I’m sure if we did have another, you’d love it just as much …. .”


“NO! NO! NO!” Each no punctuated by an angry slap on the door above her head. “Dammit woman there will be NO MORE!”


“Josh,” Mary squirmed. “Please stop!” she gasped. She looked up at him pleading with him, tears running down her face. He was frightening her so. This wasn’t her husband. This was someone else. Someone she didn’t know and who scared her. Yet she could see he was having an internal battle with himself. He was breathing heavily and shaking as emotions played over his face. Anger, shame, sadness, fear. They were all there.


Heyes looked down at her. Coldly at first. Mary wasn’t a woman who cried easily. She never resorted to tears to get her own way. That was something he admired about her. He had never made her cry. Until now. Seeing her like this brought him back to himself and his face softened. She was so upset. So scared. Of him. He’d done this to her. He swallowed and took a stumbled step back. He looked at her, for once lost for words.


“Go and tidy yourself up,” he said, gently, when he could speak.


Mary didn’t dare move.


“Go Mary. Go now,” he said, more firmly and stepped back some more. He stood clenching and unclenching his hands and he was shaking as he fought for control.


Watching him warily, Mary moved, fleeing upstairs as quickly as she could.


Heyes watched her go sadly, fighting his own tears now. He was a monster! How could he do that to her? When the bedroom door slammed he turned round, gasping shakily and ran his fingers through his hair and laced them on the top of his head.


“Sheesh!”


The events were hazy. What had he done? Had he hurt her? Please no!


He looked back at the stairs. He wanted to go up. Take her in his arms and comfort her. Say he was sorry. But he couldn’t. He knew his presence would not be welcome right now. Best to let things lie for a while.


Slowly he went back into the study and he threw himself onto the chaise lounge. He stared at the ceiling. The tension in him retreated, tiredness overtook him and before he knew it, he fell asleep.


Only to wake several hours later, cramped and feeling like a herd of buffalo had trampled him. Rubbing the back of his neck, he sat up slowly. He needed a bath. He needed a shave. He needed to change his clothes. All these things involved going upstairs. He couldn’t. She was up there and he wasn’t ready to see her yet. He was embarrassed and ashamed. And afraid.


But hunger was calling him. He got up and went into the hall. Nervously he gripped the volute end of the stairs and called up.


“I’m gonna make some lunch. D’you want anything?” He sounded casual. As if what had happened earlier, hadn’t happened. No answer. He didn’t really expect one but he did want to know if she was still up there. “Mary?”


Still no answer. No sign. Nothing.


Sighing he turned away and went into the kitchen, where he found some cold ham. He set about frying some eggs and made some coffee. He carried his feast back to the study on a tray. Surprisingly once he started eating, he devoured the lot. But then it had been twenty-four hours since he’d last eaten, he remembered.


Setting the tray aside, he picked up the papers he was trying to work on, found he couldn’t and fell asleep again.


When he woke this time, it was late afternoon and cold. Unseasonably so? Or perhaps it was just him. He found the blanket he kept for occasions like this, wrapped it round his shoulders and made up the fire. Before he went back to the chaise lounge, he opened the study door and listened for any sound from upstairs. Nothing. He presumed Mary was still up there and she hadn’t sneaked out while he was asleep. She might have gone to town to her father, to the children. He shook his head. No, he didn’t think she would no matter what had happened.


He flopped back onto the chaise lounge and read what he had written. He was furiously crossing out a line when there was a gentle tap on the door. He took a deep breath.


“Come in Mary,” he said, gently.


The door opened and she slipped in. Her eyes were red and her face blotchy. She kept the door behind her as she closed it, seeking the solid comfort it provided.


“Has he gone?” she asked, quietly.


They both knew who she meant.


“Yes.”


“Good. I didn’t like him.”


“I told you once that you wouldn’t.” Heyes set his papers aside and got up. Mary watched him apprehensively as he crossed to the whiskey decanter. He poured two glasses and handed one out to her.


“You know I don’t drink whiskey,” she said, in surprise.


“I think today you might. Here.”


Mary came forward slowly and took it from him. She couldn’t meet his eyes. He turned away and settled himself on the chaise lounge, kicking the pouffe clear.


“Come and sit down.”


Mary plopped onto the pouffe and looked at the glass in her hands.


“Are you alright?” he asked, gently.


“I suspect I will be. Eventually.” She looked up quickly.


Heyes swallowed nervously. “Yeah ‘bout that … .”


“Is that what he does? Suddenly appear like that?” Mary cried.


“Yes.”


“What sets him off?”


“I don’t know.” Heyes shook his head. “Strong emotions I think. I don’t really know.” He took a pull of his whiskey. “I didn’t hurt you did I?” He was suddenly anxious. He didn’t think he had but he needed to know for sure.


“No. You didn’t lay a finger on me. You trapped me against the front door and kept hitting the door above my head.”


Heyes was relieved. “He’ll never hurt you Mary you must believe that.”


“How can I? He was so frightening.”


“Before we were married I promised I would never hurt you.” Mary nodded. “It was HIM that made that promise. Not Joshua. Joshua didn’t need to. Joshua’s not a violent man.” Heyes looked down at the glass in his hand. “HE can be but he promised and he keeps his promises.” He gave a lop-sided half smile. “It’s his only redeeming feature.” He downed the rest of the whiskey and set the glass aside.


“Will he come back?”


Heyes licked his lips. “I don’t know,” he breathed. “I can’t control him. HE just appears.” He nodded. “Well there are signs … . I don’t know.” He ran a shaking hand through his hair. “The Kid says that my voice drops and my face changes. Distorts somehow.”


Mary nodded. “Yes I saw that.”


“The Kid calls him Hannibal Heyes ‘cos he seemed to embody my reputation. At the time, it suited me not to deny it. I dunno.” He shook his head. “There’s a pathological difference between rage and anger, Mary. This is rage. Pure, undiluted rage. It’s true what they say, I do see red.” He swallowed hard. “It’s awful. I can’t think rationally. It’s all consuming. It doesn’t seem to last very long. Afterwards I don’t always remember what happened. Which is why I wasn’t sure that … .”


“You didn’t. I wouldn’t still be here if you had.”


Heyes nodded, unable to meet her eye.


“I’m sorry Mary.” He shook his head again. Heyes put a hand over his eyes and shook his head. “I’m so sorry.”


For a moment, Mary didn’t say anything.


“Sorry for HIM or for what caused him?”


Heyes looked at her and she met his gaze until he looked away, embarrassed.


“Sorry for HIM. I still think we shouldn’t have any more children. I don’t want to lose you Mary and I came so close to that when Billy came.”


Mary looked at him for the longest time.


“Yes, you’re right. Billy was difficult. And we shouldn’t have anymore.” She sighed. “I suppose I’m finding it hard to accept that they are not babies any longer. They are becoming independent little people so fast. They don’t need me so much anymore and that’s quite hard to take.” She looked sad.


Heyes smiled. “They still need you, Mary. Just in a different way.” He looked at her in sympathy, tight lipped. “And I need you.” He looked at her intently. “I know I’m asking a lot but d’you think we can we put this behind us?”


Mary licked her lips. She still looked wary of him and that was hurting him more than any cutting remarks she could throw at him.


“I suppose … I’m more aware of what might … trigger him and can learn from that,” she said, slowly. “You kept your promise, Josh and that must mean you do have some influence over him.”


“Thank you,” he said, tenderly, tears in his eyes. Another second chance. Seemed to be a feature of his life. He hadn’t screwed up the first one so far. Nor would he with the second. “Come here.” He held his arms out to him and groaned when he enfolded her in his arms. “Oh Mary. I love you.”


He held her tightly, savouring her closeness, which a short while ago, he thought might be gone for ever.


“What are you working on?” Mary asked after a while, noticing the draft manuscript by his side.


He let her go.


“Oh it’s a children’s story. It’s not going very well. I can’t seem to get it right.”


Mary picked up the title page. “Horrible Heyes and Larry the Kid,” she read with a laugh.


“Ye-ah, it’s a working title,” he said, smacking his lips. He ran a hand through his hair, embarrassed.


“What makes Heyes horrible?” Mary’s eyes were bright now.


“Oh he’s got a big bushy beard,” he said, stroking his stubbly cheek. “And a single gold tooth right in the centre of his mouth.”


“Ah! That does sound horrible. Have you tested it on our children?”


“Yep. They’re very harsh critics.”


“What did they say?” Mary made herself more comfortable on the chaise lounge next to him, his arm and blanket still round her.


“Susan tutted, rolled her eyes, folded her arms and harrumphed at me like she does.” Heyes smiled at the memory. “As punishment for making her listen to such an awful story I had to read her Cinderella.”


“Oh that’s not so bad.”


“Isn’t it? I don’t like Cinderella,” Heyes scowled. He took a deep breath. “Harry said I still had a lot of work to do and could I come back to him with the revisions when he was older.” He paused. “Like when he’s thirty.”


Mary bit her lip to stop the laugh threatening to burst out of her. She sobered with difficulty.

“And Billy?”


“Billy turned over away from me. Said he was tired and asked if he could go to sleep now.”
Now Mary did laugh. Heyes tried to keep a straight face but he was delighted that Mary was laughing, even if it was at his expense. He gave in to a chuckle and he hugged her tightly. They were kissing tenderly when Mary’s stomach growled.


“Ah! I had lunch. I did call up.” He glanced at the tray.


“I know. I heard. I wasn’t ready to come down then.”


“No I gathered. Let’s go and see about something now.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------

While Mary found them something to eat, Heyes attended to his ablutions. He came downstairs in his robe, the envelope he’d intended to give to Mary in Cheyenne in his pocket.
Although he wasn’t particularly hungry, he ate to keep her company. Afterwards he presented the envelope.


“I’d intended to give you this while we were away,” he said, pushing it across the table at her.


“Ooh, mysterious white envelope. What can it be?”


“Open it,” he grinned.


He watched with a smile as Mary took out the contents and read, first with a frown then a look of disbelief.


“Josh!”


“You’ve been saying about opening a store in Cheyenne for a while. Now you’ve got no excuses.”


“But you’ve bought it!”


“Yes. The owners wanted something fantastic for the rent. Tried haggling but they wouldn’t budge so I … .” He pursed his lips and shrugged. “Made ‘em an offer for the building as my final gambit. What d’you know? Worked for them so we had a deal.”


“Where is it? Is it in a good place?” Mary was excited.


“Well it depends what you mean by a good place but I think so.” He grinned widely. “It’s right next door to my hardware store!”


Mary looked at him open mouthed. The hardware store was in a prime location.


“To the left or the right?”


“The little building on the right.”


“Oh that’s so sweet! That will be perfect!”


“Yep that’s what I thought. Didn’t want anyone else opening up a hat shop there did I?”


Mary got up and hugged him tightly.


“Thank you darling.”


“Happy anniversary.”


“And I have something for you too. Come along.”


She took his hand and to his surprise led him into his study. Under a cluttered table in the corner, she brought out a small display case, similar to ones she had in her store. Why hadn’t he seen that?


“I thought we could put this in there.” From the top of the coat stand, she swept down a battered old black hat.


“Make a feature of it you mean?” he queried, taking it from her and holding it reverently in his both hands.


“Yes why not? You never wear it.”


“No,” he said, quietly. “Not anymore.” He frowned down at it. “It’s HIS hat, Mary. I don’t think I want to make a big deal out of it.” He looked at the top of the coat stand. “I leave it up there so that I don’t. By putting it in a case I would be.” He licked his lips. “It’s very important to me that I see it every day when I take down the hat I do wear. It’s a reminder that I’m not that man anymore. Please try and understand.”


Mary nodded and eased it from him. “Yes, I do. Very well, it’ll stay up there.” She put it back. “But that means I haven’t got you anything for our anniversary.”


Heyes smiled and slipped his hands round her waist. “I don’t need presents. I have everything I want right here. I have you as my wife.” He lowered his head to kiss her. “That’s the best present you can ever give me.”

_________________
Kid Curry and that other fella; Hannibal Heyes and whatsname
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