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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

Wedded Bliss!


Emeline Pike
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May 12, 1876

Night

Upstairs Apartment

 

++++++++++++++++++

It was near midnight when the last guest had finally left, and Emeline sighed, a wistful smile on her lips as she looked over the cafe.  Clara, along with Miss Arabella and a couple of the other ladies, had done a good job of cleaning up, so there would be little to worry about in the morning.  The celebration had been perfect, just as she'd envisioned it, even with a few of Arabella's improvisations.

 

But it had been a long day, and now, she was exhausted, more than ready to retire to her rooms...their rooms!  Sure, Barnabas had been up to her apartment before, but tonight...he'd be staying!

 

Scooping up Buster, she carried the cat to the front door and gently deposited him outside.  "Go stay with Addy tonight," she told the cat, then closed the door and turned to Barnabas.

 

"Shall we go upstairs, Mister Pike?"  Grinning, she walked over to him and took his hand, then stood on her toes to kiss  him on the cheek.  "I love you, you know."  Suddenly, she was feeling excited and shy all at once, and her cheeks took on a bright tint.

 

@Flip

 

 

 

 

 

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"And I love you Missus Pike, that sounds sortta odd, only Missus Pike I ever knew was my ma, rest her soul. This here was a right pleasant evenin', fine folks, all of them." He paused a moment. "Yep, been a long day at that. A good 'un, but long." He glanced at the staircase, treacherous at best, be that as it may, he scooped her up, all that material, and began the climb.

 

"Might not be the way you thought it'd be, but that's a threshold ahead."

@Bongo

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Emeline gasped as he picked her up, then scrambled to gather the excess material of her train so that he didn't trip on it and end everything before it started! 

 

"As long as we're agreed I'm not your mother!" she laughed, relaxing in his arms as she placed a kiss on his cheek.  "We'll do this again, you know, but I'm glad we didn't have to wait until the house was finished."

 

There was still work to be done at the ranch, a few weeks, maybe a month, and then the house would be ready, and she was excited to see the finished result.

 

"I don't want to see it again until it's done," she commented, her head resting on his shoulder, "I want to be surprised."  It was going to be something, to see it with real walls and paint, maybe a picket fence and some flowers...and inside...with curtains and some furniture...

 

@Flip

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As he made his way up the stairs without bashing her head into the wall or her legs into the banister, or dropping her altogether he smiled, a twinkle in his eye. "Oh, don't worry you won't see it again until it's finished." he promised.

 

Once to the landing at the head of the staircase he set her down holding her by the waist, "Ya, know, I might just have ta give up this lawman career. There'll be a plenty ta do on the spread with the herd that's comin', not ta mention yer horses an' all the other critters." He kissed her softly, though a more passionate kiss would follow soon enough. "Things 'er about to change, Em." With that he swept her up gain, opened the door of her apartment and carried her across the threshold.

 

Once inside he did not put her down, but kissed her with passion and meaning, for this was his wife, his future, and the beginning of their lives together.

@Bongo

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"Ya, know, I might just have ta give up this lawman career. There'll be a plenty ta do on the spread with the herd that's comin', not ta mention yer horses an' all the other critters."

 

Before she could reply to that, he kissed her, which was nice, and kept her from having to agree and admit that it frightened her that he was a deputy.  Yes, just about everything came with a risk, but there was no sense in seeking extra trouble!

 

"Things 'er about to change, Em."

 

"I know..."  He cut her off as he scooped her into his arms again, eliciting another giggling gasp.  Her arms wrapped around his neck and she rested her head on his shoulder, savoring these first moments of what she knew was going to be a long and happy time together.

 

She still had her arms around his neck when he set her on her feet, and she pressed against him as she kicked the door shut then kissed him again, this time with no holding back and no reservations.

 

"So," she murmured with a teasing grin, "how good are you at undressing a lady without tearing the dress that took her five months to sew?"

 

@Flip

 

 

 

 

 

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"Ain't fer tearin' nothing off, an' I 'spose we're about to find out how good I am at sech things as that. Just hope I ain't all thumbs when it come ta thet corset." But that was not how it went. Barnabas was no expert, not by a long shot at removing a woman's clothing, not one with all of the underpinnings he had to remove.

 

In his younger days there had been a couple, but a prairie dress was much simpler to remove than the wedding dress he now faced. But as he worked, the layers fell away, the dress itself he carefully folded with a 'Save this for our daughters ta wear.,' as he laid it carefully aside. And then layer by layer it fell away until all that was left was to remove his own attire and climb in bed with her, as he knew he would for years to come.

 

"So, that weren't all that hard now, was it?"

@Bongo

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"You did a fine job, Mr. Pike."  He'd taken such care, but then, she had found that the methodical process had her tingling with anticipation, and as she was not new to intimate relations, she was unabashed about being in front of him, nor shy of snuggling beneath the covers as she watched him undress almost as carefully as he'd undressed her, and she had to wonder if he was teasing her.

 

"Come to bed, husband."  She giggled nervously, but she loved his man with all her being, and he was all she needed.  "I want to make babies!" 

 

@Flip

(We can fade, of course!)

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The fact was, he was nervous. He was a grown man, had faced the Union blue, outlaws, bandidos, and here he was, nervous on his wedding night. A night he had anticipated for months. But the allure of this time with her overpowered his slowness, overpowered the fears, if it was that, and as he finished undressing he slipped into bed, taking Em in his arms as he never had before.

 

Suddenly the nervousness slipped away as quickly as it came.

(Fade to maroon)

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Sunlight filtering through the place where the curtains met startled Emeline awake, and at first she tensed to jump out of bed and hustle downstairs -- if it was light already, she was late!

 

But then she realized that Barnabas was there next to her -- that he always would be there next to her -- and that there was no need to get out of bed until she really wanted to.  And right now, all she wanted was to cuddle against her husband and bask in the feeling of being next to someone who made her so happy and whom she wanted to make happy as well.

 

Snuggling closer, nibbled on his chin, then rested her head on his chest, where she could hear his heart beating just for her.

 

@Flip

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A groggy Barnabas Pike turned toward her, with one eye partially open, and all but blinded by the daylight. "Are you some sortta camable gnawin' on my chin? Ya never told we 'bout that if ya are. Good Lord! The day's half gone already!"

 

This was a man often up with the sun or before, laying in bed with his brand new wife all snuggled up Then a heavy sigh escaped his lips, as he scratched his head. "Don't 'spose you plan on gettin' outta this bed anytime soon, do ya?" And with that he rolled toward her, moving his free over her. "Well then, guess ya jest fall victim to me." and he tickled her.

@Bongo

 

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"Oh, so I married a rogue?"  Giggling, Emeline pushed away, trying to roll up in the covers.  "I'm not ticklish!" she declared, pulling the blanket over her head.  "Just one place, and I'm not talking."  Her voice was muffled by the blanket.  "And it is late, maybe you should get up!"

 

She surfaced long enough to give him a playful shove, then dove back under cover again.  She had known that Barnabas would be a perfect partner, and so far he wasn't disappointing! 

 

@Flip

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"Dang! ALright, I 'spose I oughtta get myself washed up an' off ta work." He reluctantly agreed. "Speed'll figger somethin's wrong, I don't show. Like we went a honeymoonin', which we will, jest things I gotta take care of before that happens." He threw off the covers, swung out of bed, sitting for a moment, "Reckon ya never really figgered we'd get here, didja?"

 

The ceremony had been grand, well, on it's scale, and the reception had been fun, even though it tended to go on. Here they were, in the same bed, where they had made love and then slept together for the first time, and, as man and wife. It was amazing! Or, was it him who never figured they would be here?

@Bongo

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"You mean he's going to make you go in today?" Emeline asked with a frown, sitting up behind him and wrapping her arms around his waist, her chin resting on his shoulder.  "The scoundrel!  I've a mind to march over there and give him a piece of my mind!  Just like I am!"

 

Laughing, she kissed the back of his neck.  "The least he could do is give you one day."  Not that she would stop him if he had to go on patrol, she could use the time to make him something special for supper.  "Besides, are you going to bring your things over today?  I can get them all put away while you are working, that way you won't be able to find anything!"

 

@Flip

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"Oh, wait!" He flopped back down, "I'm off! I plumb fergot, Speed said 'take a couple days.' So, we got us a couple days ta do whatever we want. Like me washin' dishes for ya." He grinned. "I don't remember taken time off cuz I wanted to. He knows we'll be goin' off on our honeymoon soon's I take care'a some things. But we got us a couple days all too ourselves."

 

He rolled toward her, took her in his arms and kissed her.

@Bongo

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"You will not wash dishes, Barnabas Pike!"  Emeline laughed as he tumbled her back into the blankets.  "And poor Speed, he's your friend, you're not going to let me run over there and tell him you won't be there?"

 

Giggling, she kissed his nose, then sighed and reached up to run her fingers over the stubble on his chin.  "You know my honeymoon is just time with you, it doesn't matter where."  They had discussed it before, but if he had something more in mind, she wasn't going to argue, nor was she going to ask.  Besides, a surprise would be nice, and give her some interesting insight into him.

 

"So," she muttered, kissing his cheek, "now that we are sleeping in," she kissed his nose, "I suppose we should go back to sleep."  This was followed by a proper, prolonged kiss on the mouth!

 

@Flip

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When the kiss broke he pulled far enough away to look into her eyes, "Now this here could become a real habit, 'cept when we get the ranch goin', it'll be up before dawn an' long hours working cattle and horses and whatever else there is aside from caring for the house, so, we bestt enjoy this while we can." He advised her.

 

Then added, "Oh, the honeymoon, yeah well, we may not be able to get at that til early July, but it'll be a time you'll never ferget, I promse ya that!" He grined and went back to a tight embrace, a long kiss, and the comfort of them.

 

"Yep, this here could be a real habit which means nothin'd get done by either of us." And then, he was lost in her.

@Bongo

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