In the three hours that Doc Miller had been in tending to Lou the other Riders had learned to make a path for Kid’s pacing.
Otherwise they’d get run over by their worried friend.
Everyone that is except Jimmy. The young gunslinger stood at the end of the porch in the farthest corner he could find.
Jimmy had avoided everyone since Lou had been shot, especially Kid. He could barely deal with his own guilt about the shooting let alone face the others.
Not being able to take Hickok's self imposed standoff any longer Cody moved to stand next to his friend.
"Jimmy,"The blond man began quietly,"This ain't your fault."
Jimmy turned so fast that he nearly knocked Cody to the floor in the process.
"I'm surprised you can say that with a straight face, Cody." Jimmy snapped as he walked toward the porch stairs.
Cody caught Hickok a few feet from the door.
"I can say it because its the truth!"Cody countered very aware of the fact that Kid had stopped pacing.
Jimmy turned glancing behind Cody to Kid. Hicock yanked out his guns and placed one on the railing between Buck and Noah. He stepped past Cody as the other Riders stiffened waiting for the inevitable confrontation.
Jimmy thrust the colt into Kid's right hand.
"I know you want to do it, Kid."Hicock stated calmly,"So go ahead."
"I have my own gun."Kid replied. The quiet anger in his voice sending chills down everyone's spine.
"Don't worry, Jimmy."Kid stated as he stepped forward tossing the colt to the ground,"If she dies, so will you."
Teaspoon Hunter exchanged a concerned glance with Rachel as they helped Doctor Miller. They both had heard the exchange between Jimmy and the Kid.
"They're just lettin' off steam, Rachel."Hunter assured her quietly as he glanced at Lou's still form.
"I'm afraid my prognosis won't ease the tensions any." Miller said sadly as he moved away from the bed wiping his hands on a towel.
"Will she make it?"Rachel asked quietly.
The doctor met her gaze,"I managed to get the bullet out and clean the wound. But I'm afraid she's lost a lot of blood."
"That ain't an answer."Teaspoon replied sharply his gaze moving past Miller to the young woman he loved like a daughter.
Miller shook his head,"If she makes it through the night without a fever she's got a fightin' chance."He glanced at the closed door,"You want me to tell the boys?"
"No, I'll do it."Teaspoon replied as they moved toward the door,"Thanks for takin' care of her, Doc."
Miller nodded,"Just wish I could do more. I'll check in on her tonight."
The six Riders glanced anxiously at Miller's retreating form as Teaspoon stepped out of the bunkhouse.
Kid noticed him first. "Teaspoon? Is she alive?"He demanded in a choked voice," Doc wouldn't say much..."
The gray haired man placed a reassuring hand on Kid's shoulder,"She's hangin' on, Kid."He replied quietly
"How bad, Teaspoon?"Jimmy asked in a hoarse whisper voicing what was on all of their minds.
Teaspoon sighed as he ran a weary hand along the back of his neck. "Doc got the bullet out but Lou lost a lot of blood....."
Kid blanched and quickly moved past Hunter into the bunkhouse not being able to hear the rest.
"Will she die?"Jesse asked sadly as he moved away from the railing.
Teaspoon glanced at the teen. "Doc didn't know, Jesse. It's really up to Lou now. All we can do is wait."
Even with all he had seen during his time with the Express, Kid was still amazed at how fast things could change.
The young brown haired man closed the door of the bunkhouse behind him as he stepped forward pulling a wooden chair away from the table. He placed it next to the bunk that held Lou's still form.
"There are easier ways to get out of doing your runs, Lou."Kid said softly as he sat down taking her hand in his.
The coldness of her skin brought the reality of the situation crashing down around him.
"Oh God, Lou."Kid whispered in a tortured voice as he brought her hand up to his left cheek,"Don't you do this. I can't picture my life without you. Please don't die on me, not now. We have our whole future ahead of us, Lou. You promised you'd grow old with me....you promised."
Jimmy watched the heart-wrenching scene through the bunkhouse's window. The others had reluctantly gone back to their chores, after all there was mail to be delivered.
Teaspoon approached the young man gently placing a hand on Hickok's left shoulder as he came to stand next to him.
"This may not be the right time, son, but I gotta ask you some questions about the shooting."Teaspoon stated as he watched Jimmy warily.
Jimmy's gaze never left Lou's still form. "I told her to stay out of it, Teaspoon."His voice trembled and broke forcing him to swallow hard and begin again. "But she was tryin' to protect me.....bastard Myers didn't even give her a chance to defend herself."
Teaspoon nodded sadly as he followed Hickok's gaze. "What started this?"
Jimmy sighed as he ran a weary hand along the back of his neck. "Way I figure it....Myers must've spotted me in town when I came back from my run this morning. When I came out of the bunkhouse he was standin' by the corral callin' me out. I tried to talk him outta fightin', Teaspoon, I really did. But he wouldn't hear of it. I had killed his brother a year or so back and he wanted revenge no matter what the cost."
"I know you want to be close to Lou, right now Jimmy."Teaspoon replied quietly,"But I think it'd be best if you stayed out of the Kid's way. At least until we know."