The four of them started to head out to dinner. Just as Heyes had predicted, as they were about to walk out the front door, the desk clerk called to Big Mac. He had a telegram for him. Everything went as planned, including Heyes recognizing two of Jake's men hanging out in the lobby taking in the scene.

"I'm so sorry you came all this way for nothing Mr. McCreedy," Laurie said sounding overly sweet and much louder than normal. "So it won't be all for nothing, is it possible for me to see the jewels? I just love jewels and really don't get a chance to look or touch them." Turning to Heyes, "Oh dear," she said in a very sappy voice and lightly touching Heyes arm, "Don't worry or get upset. I don't want or need any jewels. It would be nice just to see them." Turning back to Mac, "Please," she pleaded batting her eyes.


Kid had to turn away so the smirk he was so desperately trying to hide would not be spotted as Heyes just looked at the ground pretending to be somewhat hurt by Laurie's words when he too was trying not to break out in laughter.

"Well, I guess that would be fine," Mac said. "I came all this way at least I should check on them before I go home and if will make you happy my dear, I will be happy to show them to you." Mac extended his arm out for Laurie to grab; they headed out the front door with Heyes and Kid following.

Upon reaching the street, Heyes said in a voice only loud enough for the four of them to hear, "Well if that didn't convince those two, nothing will!"

"Wow Laurie," Kid said trying not to laugh, "I didn't know you could be that sugary sweet." Turning to Heyes, their eyes locked as they both almost lost control, "I think we may have changed careers too early. With Laurie, who knows how far we could have gone!"

Heyes could no longer control his laughter and a low guttural sound emerged, "I think we certainly would have had our hands full." He laughed some more as he patted his partner on the back.






Upon entering the bank, Heyes and Kid scoped out the entire inside within seconds. Two front windows with bars, one on each side of the door. The right side of the bank had one window, with bars, towards the middle of the wall exiting into the alley. The left side of the bank was the bank manager's office that was attached to a private room. The room could only be entered through the bank manager's office, but the front of the room was all windows so the lobby guard could watch it. Behind the front tellers windows, in the back of the building was the safe. Heyes looked at it and a frowned inched across his face.


Noticing his partner, Kid caught a glimpse of the safe, a Brooker 404. Kid sighed quietly to himself.

Big Mac approached the bank manager, "Good afternoon Mr. Simmons. Mac McCreedy, I sent you a telegram," he said as he extended his hand to shake the bank manager’s hand.

"Oh yes, Mr. McCreedy," Mr. Simmons said, "I hope you had a pleasant trip here."

"Yes I did and better yet," Mac said loudly, "I unexpectedly met my nephew, his partner and wife when I got to town." Turning towards Kid and motioning with his hand, "This is my nephew Thaddeus Jones, and his partner, Joshua Smith. This lovely lady standing next to me is Joshua's wife, Laurie."

"How do you do," Mr. Simmons responded. "Shall we get to what you came here for?"

"Well,” he started, "Things have changed since I sent the telegram. I am no longer in need of retrieving the jewels. However, I would like to show them to my nephew and his friends."

"Oh," the bank manger said sounding off guard.


Heyes and Kid caught the sound of his voice and glanced at each other.


Catching himself, "Why certainly, let me show you to my office where you can examine them." Upon entering his office, he unlocked a door between his office and the small private room next to it.

"Shouldn't we stay out by the safe to see the jewels?" Kid asked pointing to the safe.

"We are," Mr. Simmons replied.  "Oh, the jewels aren't in the front safe. That's the money for the tellers. Your Uncle's jewels are in this safe in here," he said as he walked into the room and lit a lantern. Big Mac, Laurie, then Heyes and Kid entered the room. As Heyes walked into the room and a smile spread across his face.

Noticing the smile, Kid caught sight of the safe, a Magnalock. "Beautiful," Kid said out loud. Catching himself he continued, "I'm sure your jewels will be beautiful Uncle."


"Now, if you will just stand here at this table, I will get the jewels from the safe," the bank manager stated.

The four stood around the table with Heyes making his way to get the clearest view of the safe. He carefully watched Simmons open the safe and may have gotten a few of the numbers but it really didn't matter, he could open a Magnalock in his sleep.

Mr. Simmons opened the safe and removed a box, then closed the safe and brought the box to the table, placing it in front of Big Mac. He and Big Mac both took out small keys and placed them in the locks on the front of the box. Opening the box, Big Mac removed a medium size velvet bag.

"Oh my," Laurie gasped, "Are the jewels in there? May I touch the bag?"

"Of course," Mac chuckled, "You may even touch the jewels." He untied the top of the bag and opened the drawstring. Carefully he turned the bag over and dumped the jewels into her hands.

Laurie took a deep breath and looked at Heyes, "Oh my," was all she could muster to say as she carefully placed the jewels in a tray on the table.

"They are beautiful," Kid stated.

"A million dollars worth huh!" Heyes said with his eyes twinkling and ‘the cat that ate the canary smile’ on his face.

"Well, they're all here," Mac said after inspecting the jewels, "I think it's time to put them back and go to dinner."


As Mac put the jewels back in the bag and into the box, Heyes looked out the window of the room into the bank and noticed two of Jake's men; not the same two as the ones at the hotel. He figured from here on Mac was going to be followed and wondered who would be at the restaurant since they had made mention of dinner while they were still in the lobby of the hotel and in earshot of Jake's men. Heyes glanced at Kid and Kid nodded ever so slightly indicating that he saw the men.

Once the jewels were back in the safe, the four headed to the restaurant for dinner. Not much was said on the way, but by the looks on their faces and the sureness of their walk, Laurie assumed the safe was one Heyes could get into.

Entering the restaurant, Heyes and Kid saw Giant Jake and Joey right away. They were seated in the corner with a full view of the room. The four were seated about four tables away along the back wall.

After dinner, Kid and Mac went to the saloon. They were supposed to pretend to drink a little too much and to talk a little too loud about traveling here for nothing. Play a little poker and see if they could find out any information about any plan Giant Jake might have.

Heyes and Laurie returned to the room. As they entered the room, Heyes lit the lantern. Laurie turned around and asked, "So now we wait?"

He walked over to Laurie, "Now we wait," he said as he put his arm around her waist and pulled her close.

"What are we supposed to do while they're in the saloon?"

"We're supposed to be a husband and wife who haven't seen each other in a while." He pulled her close and kissed her lightly on the lips. As he pulled back he looked Laurie in the eyes and then kissed her deeply.






Kid and Mac stood at the bar nursing their whiskey. "So why don't you come down to my place for a visit?" Mac asked loudly enough for Jake and Joey to hear. They were standing just a few feet down the bar from them. Two of Jakes men were seated at the poker table closest to Mac and Kid. The other six, two Kid recognized and four he assumed were the ones Laurie mentioned, sat at the same table the four did the previous night.

"Can't right now. Joshua and I still have to check out a couple more horses for a customer," Kid replied.

"Why don't you do that for me?" Mac asked.

"Because you have a lot of guys workin’ for you that could do it. It's my job. I get paid for it and if I did it for you it would by family and I wouldn't get paid. You're the rich one; does that make good business sense to you?" Kid responded.

"No, it doesn't" Mac laughed.

"Besides, I don't think Laurie would want to move to Texas and Joshua's not goin’ anywhere without her."

"Yeah, they do look happy," Mac said taking a sip of his drink. "So when are you going to get married? We need some new blood in the family." he laughed again, finished his drink and poured another.

"When I find the right woman," Kid replied. "Two seats just opened up at the back table, in the mood for poker?"

"Changing the subject?" Mac inquired.

"You bet," he laughed.

"Let's play poker," Mac announced, picked up his drink, the bottle and headed for the poker table.




About two hours after they separated from Kid and Mac, Laurie and Heyes heard noises in the hall. Mac and Kid where coming down the hallway. They first heard Mac's door open and close then Kid's. Heyes and Laurie were seated in chairs by the wall.


Kid walked in, "Well they were all there. Mac and I did a pretty good job of hooten it up. Talked ‘bout work, oh," he said looking at Heyes, "we're checkin’ out horses for a customer." Sitting on the bed he added, "When do you want to pipe the bank?"

"Should wait about an hour, get as many people off the street as possible," Heyes said. "Did you find out any information about Jake?"

"No, they were tight lipped tonight" Kid replied. "Laurie was right, those four are with them. They look a little green but that could be worse."

"Hopefully we won't have to deal with them," Heyes said as he stood up and looked out the window. The bank was across the street and down on the left, the opposite way of the saloon. The street looked fairly quiet but he still wanted to wait.


Laurie looked at him nervously.


Heyes caught her look out of the corner of his eye and wondered why he had asked her to come. Why was he subjecting her to this part of his life? Why couldn't he walk away from her when he first met her? She didn't deserve this and he knew it and it was beginning to eat at him. If the Governor could just grant them amnesty things could be different but would he ever or would they always be wanted.

"Is there anything I can do?" Laurie asked quietly as she noticed Heyes change. She could only see the side of his face from where she sat as he looked out the window, but she thought he suddenly looked sad.

"You might as well go to bed when Kid and I leave," Heyes replied still looking out the window. Composing himself, he turned around, "There really isn't anything you can do but wait for us to come back, so you might as well get some rest."

"Sleep!" she exclaimed, "You expect me to get some sleep!"

"I just..." Heyes started but was interrupted.

"You just nothing!" Laurie said angrily, "I love you, I care about Kid. How dare you tell me to go to sleep like it means nothing to me! It might not mean anything to you, yes you've done this all before but this is my first time so don't belittle me and tell me to go to sleep!"


Laurie stood up and looked around the room. Realizing there wasn't anyplace she could stomp off to; she sat back down in the chair and sighed. She was fuming and being angry with herself for showing her emotions. She had tried so hard to control herself. She told Heyes from the beginning that she wouldn't cry but this was just as bad.


Kid looked at Laurie then at Heyes; he was just opening his mouth to say something.


Laurie shot an angry glance at him and he closed his mouth. "Don't," was all she said.


Heyes and Kid exchanged looks.


Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath she tried to collect herself.  She opened her eyes and looked at Heyes, "I'm sorry." She put up her hand as it looked like he wanted to say something. "I'm sorry, I told you I would be strong and not cry. I said that not knowing that I was going to have to sit here and watch you; the two of you put yourselves in danger. I am just so afraid of losing you," Laurie's eyes filled with tears.

Heyes walked over to her and pulled her up to a standing position and hugged her. She buried her face into his chest.

Trying to make light of it Kid laughed and said, "Don't worry Laurie; we're like cats, nine lives."

Lifting her head, she turned her head to look at Kid. Forcing a half smile she said, "I'm afraid you've already used all nine lives."

"Nooo," Heyes stated, "We couldn't have used more than one or two. Right Kid."

"Absolutely," he smiled.

Laurie pushed herself back from Heyes, looked at him and smiled, "Yeah, I bet you're already at twenty or maybe thirty."


Heyes detected a small twinkle in her eye.


"I'm sorry, I guess I'm just tired, maybe I will lie down while you’re gone. I don't expect to sleep, but I could rest."

Kid walked over to her and gave her a hug and a kiss on the head then walked into his room.


Heyes looked at Laurie, trying to read her face. "It's okay, I won't cry and I'll try not to have any more outbursts," she said to him.

"I'm sorry," he said to Laurie.  "I shouldn't have brought this part of my life into ours."

"Yes you should," she stated as she reached up and brushed an errant strand of hair off his face. "I just feel like I can't do anything to help and then when you were looking out the window," Laurie's eyes looked at the floor as she shook her head, "the look on your face, it was so sad." She stopped and looked away to gather herself.

Heyes froze for a second as he realized Laurie was able to see his expression. No one, not even Kid knew how he felt; he had always been able to hide things underneath layers. One of the reasons he was so good at poker was that no one could read his face and she did. He stepped close to Laurie and hugged her. "I promise to be careful," he said quietly and gave her a kiss on the head.

Laurie lifted her face and looked into his big brown eyes; "I know you will," she leaned up and kissed him. "Kid's waiting," she said as she stepped back, "Hurry back, I'll be waiting."






The ex-outlaws quietly exited the hotel. As they stood on the porch, the street was empty. They quickly moved into the shadows and starting walking towards the bank. They passed the bank, went to the end of the street and into the alley that ran behind it. As they walked into the alley, Kid positioned himself in the shadows by the entrance. Heyes walked over to the window on the side of the bank. After inspecting the window and the bars for a few minutes, Kid walked up behind him.

"Coast is clear," he said quietly. "How’r we gonna get between the bars?" Kid asked. "If we don't want them to know we broke into the bank, we can't use a bar spreader."

Heyes looked over his shoulder and smiled, "Don't have to. Thought I noticed a bar that wasn't straight when we were in the bank earlier today."

"We can squeeze through?"

"Better than that," Heyes remarked. "Look," Hecarefully twisted the bar and it fell out into his hands.

"If it was always that easy," Kid said with a smile that covered his face, "I wonder if we would be still robbing banks."

"Getting in was never the problem," Heyes reminded his parnter as he placed the bar back in position. "Getting in the new safes and getting away, now that was the problem." He stepped back from the window and looked up and down the alley. "You set?" he asked Kid.

"Yep," the blond partner responded and the two walked unobserved back down the alley and out into the town. Once again they stayed in the shadows as they hit the main street and back to the hotel.





Back in Kid's room they went over all the details and made a list of the few supplies they would need.

"Well," Heyes said with a sigh, "I think that's all we need. Guess we'll call it night."

"Heyes," his partner asked, "Are we doin’ the right thing? I mean we're breakin’ into the bank. I know it's to get somethin’ that belongs to Mac, but I don't know if it's right."

"Been thinking the same thing Kid. It doesn't seem right but I can't figure out any other way of getting the jewels without Giant Jake and Joey coming after us. I thought about going to the bank manger but did you see his face when Mac said he was leaving them?"

"You think he's been paid off?" Kid asked.

"I got that impression. He didn't seem happy when Mac said he was leaving the jewels."

"That's the same feelin’ I got," Kid said sounding dejected. "Same answer too. I don't want to get involved with Giant Jake; he's short on brains but big on muscle. And there's ten of them and only two of us, three if you count Mac, and I don't. We also have to watch out for Laurie."

"Well, night Kid," Heyes said as he walked through the door connecting the rooms and closed the door behind him. He stopped and looked at the back of Laurie. She was lying on her side facing the opposite wall. He smile, it was nice to see someone waiting for him.

She rolled over and looked at him, "Everything okay?"


Heyes nodded his head yes as he walked over to the bed.


"Good," Laurie smiled as she waited for Heyes to join her in bed.





After breakfast the next day, Heyes and Kid reviewed the bank in the daytime as they casually walked up and down the street. Then they went to sit on the porch with Mac, watching Jake and his men, as Jake and his men watched them back.

Laurie occupied her time reading and going to the general store for a needle and thread to fix the hem of her blue skirt she planned on wearing home. Approaching the hotel porch she let out a soft laugh as she noticed the ‘who is watching who' scene play out in front of her. As she stepped up on the porch Heyes removed the cigar from his mouth and asked, "Did you get what you needed?"

"Yes," she responded, "And more." Opening up something to show them she said, "Look what else I got."

Heyes looked horrified at what he was looking at, not sure what it was and why she bought it. "Oh, umm, nice, ah what are you going to do with it?"

Kid couldn't contain his laughter at what he wasn't sure, but hideous, he was sure about. "Did you pay for that or did they pay you to take it away?"

Laurie looked at the three men and shook her head, "You have no imagination! You will be amazed at what I can do with this." She rolled her eyes and with a little huff continued into the hotel and up to her room.

As soon as Mac knew Laurie was out of earshot, he asked as he laughed, "What was that!"

"I have no idea," Heyes let go with a low guttural chuckle of his own.

"Hope it's not for you," Kid said laughing.




The men sat outside while Laurie went up to her room and went to work. She had bought some scissors and a black cord along with the old quilt. She smiled to herself thinking about Heyes' expression when she showed him what she had bought.

As she finished her work, he walked into the room "Kid's hungry, would you like to go to lunch."

She looked up from what she was doing, "I would much rather go take a look at Mac's jewels again."

He noticed a twinkle in Laurie's eyes and tilted his head ever so slightly, "Why do you want to see the jewels again?"

"Oh," she said as she walked towards Heyes with devilish grin, eyes sparkling and her hand behind her back, "Never mind, I think I have them here." Laurie slowly moved her hand from behind her back to in front of his eyes.

Heyes grabbed the burgundy velvet satchel out of her hand, "How did you?"

"They're not in there," Laurie said smugly, "They're marbles and some junk jewelry I bought at the General Store. Remember that awful quilt; it had a very nice piece of burgundy velvet that matched the satchel the jewels were in. I'm pretty sure I got the size and weight just about right."

"You, what, I...." Heyes stammered.

"Yes, I made the little satchel out of a piece of the quilt you were making fun of," she held up the quilt she bought with a circle cut out in the middle, "and cord I bought. I also bought some inexpensive jewelry, marbles and stones to fill the bag to be as close to weight and size as possible." Laurie studied Heyes' face trying to read it, trying to see if he understood what she was thinking.

Feeling the bag for the weight and inspecting it for appearance he looked at her, "You’re amazing.  Have you figured out how we're going to swap the bag?"

"Now that you mention it," Laurie said sheepishly, "I thought that if I could create a distraction, you could handle that part." She smiled and then bit her bottom lip. For the first time since they met, Heyes didn't say anything to Laurie or do anything in regards to Laurie biting her bottom lip. Laurie smiled she had heard stories about how he worked when he was thinking of a plan and how nothing could distract him. She thought he must be thinking of a good plan.

Heyes was remembering the room the jewels were in. The one entrance was through the manager's office and he was the only one in the room with them when they opened the safe. There were windows across the front of the office so you could see into the room from the lobby, but the windows were waist high and up. A twinkle appeared in Heyes' eyes. "So how good are you at pretending to faint?" Heyes smiled at Laurie and raised his eyebrows.


She looked at him, took a deep breath, wobbled a little, rolled her eyes then hit the floor.


Heyes was shocked and immediately crouched down beside her taking her hand, "Sweetheart, are you okay?"

She opened her eyes and gazed into his concerned eyes, "Was that good enough?"

It took a second for Heyes to process what had just happened, he smiled, "It's a good thing I didn't know you before. I don't think we would be out of the business if I did and I think the reward would probably be double!" He laughed and helped Laurie up. "You'll have to carry the pouch into the bank."

"I can put them in my sleeve and carry the shawl over it."

"Wait until I have the bag of real jewels in my hand before you faint. When you do, I will crouch by you and we’ll quickly exchange the bags so no one sees."


Heyes turned and paced for a moment. "No one but Kid can know or see. We need Mac to be as surprised as the bank manager. It will be more believable and create more of a diversion." Looking Laurie in the eyes, "Do you think you can handle this?"

"Yes," she said, "Anything to keep you from breaking into the bank. I know it's not stealing but no one else does and you could get hurt."

He smiled, "Good, let's go to lunch and you can ask Mac to see the jewels again. I'll fill Kid in on the way to the bank."




The couple walked out onto the hotel porch, "Ready for lunch?" Kid enthusiastically asked.

Heyes shook his head and laughed.


Laurie smiled, "Yes, Thaddeus we're ready for lunch." The four walked to the café. As had been the case since Mac arrived, two of Jake's men arrived at the café just as the four were seated. After a few minutes, Laurie turned to Mac, "Mac, would it be possible to see the jewels again?"

He looked slightly puzzled as did Kid but after examining Heyes' face he said, "Sure, they're mine. I'll take you to the bank after lunch."

Hearing this exchange, one of Jake's men got up from his table and left the café. He returned in a few minutes.


The partners figured the guy was giving the heads up to Jake about visiting the bank.

As the four left the café after lunch, Laurie took Mac's arm and engaged him in a conversation about his ranch. Heyes and Kid followed a few steps behind so not to be over heard.

"We're going switch the jewels now," Heyes said quietly as the walked.

Kid turned his head and gave his partner a confused look, "Now?"

Heyes talked quietly as he looked ahead, "Believe it or not, Laurie made a satchel that looks just like the one the jewels are in. It's filled with marbles and inexpensive jewelry from the General Store."

Blue eyes looked concerned, "Is it that good that they won't know in broad day light?"

Heyes stopped walking and looked at his partner, "Kid, I checked it out. I can't tell the difference. Weight, size, color, feel she's got it all."

"Well if those hands and eyes of yours can't tell the difference, they certainly won't be able to. What's the plan?"

Heyes started walking again, "Laurie has the satchel; she'll faint when I have the real one in my hands. When she does, I'll crouch down and make the switch. You stand next to me and I'll hand the satchel to you, telling you to put it away. With the confusion and the fact that they are Mac's, no one should notice the switch."

"If they do?"

"We explain to the Sheriff that we're being watched and wanted to get the jewels without anyone knowing. Mac will be there to back us up."




The four of them entered the bank. As Kid and Heyes expected, two of Jake's men were already in the bank. One was by the tellers' windows and the other one was at one of the front tables writing something. The bank manager came over to greet them, "Mr. McCreedy," he said as he shook his hand, "What can I do for you?"

"Well, we're leaving town in the morning and I thought we would get one more look at the jewels before I left."

Mr. Simmons nodded and escorted them into his office. He then unlocked the door into the adjoining room and showed them in. As he opened the safe, Heyes noticed Jake's man that was by the tellers' windows was now closer to the window looking in the room as he was trying to observe what was going on. The man at the table was also looking in the direction of the room. Mr. Simmons took the box out of the safe and placed it on the table. He and Mac then used their keys to unlock it. Mac opened the box, picked up the satchel and opened it. McCreedy and the bank manager stood on one side of the table. Kid was at the end with Laurie and Heyes standing with their backs towards the window to the lobby.

Laurie swayed a little as she stood watching. Kid noticed and placed his hand on her arm. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," she said with a weak smile.


He nodded, removed his hand and went back to looking at the jewels.

After a few minutes, Heyes picked up the jewels and started to put them in the satchel. Just as he finished and tied the top, Laurie let out an almost inaudible sound and collapsed. With the satchel still in his hand, Heyes yelled, "Laurie," as he crouched down beside her. Kid moved right next tohim as Mac and the bank manager moved around the table in haste. As soon as Heyes crouched down, Laurie moved her hand from under her shawl and exchanged bags with Heyes. She immediately put the satchel in her sleeve under the shawl.


"Laurie, Laurie," Heyes repeat, "Sweetheart, are you okay?" Mac and the bank manger were now standing around Laurie and the guard from the lobby was over at the window looking in. Heyes was holding her head in one hand and went to grab her hand when he noticed he was still holding the satchel.  He turned to look up at his partner and handed him the satchel, "Here put these away." Kid took the satchel, placed it in the box and the bank manager walked over, closed the box and returned it to the safe.

"Water," Mac announced, "We should get Laurie some water!"


Mr. Simmons quickly ran to his office and returned with a glass of water he handed to Heyes.

"Joshua," Laurie said meekly, "What happened?"

"Shh" he said comforting Laurie, "You fainted. Here try to take a sip of water." He helped lift her head as she took a sip from the glass. "Are you feeling better?"


Laurie nodded her head.


"Do you want to try to get up?"


Laurie nodded her head again.


Heyes handed the glass back to Mr. Simmons, "Okay, I'm going to help you up." Turning towards Kid, "Thaddeus, stand behind her just to make sure she doesn't fall backwards." Turning back to Laurie, "Okay on the count of three, I'm going to help you up. I want you to lean on me, okay. One, two, three." Heyes lifted Laurie to her feet and placed his arm around her waist. She leaned her head on his shoulder as she kept her other arm bent holding her shawl. "I want to get Laurie back to the room, Thaddeus can you come with us incase I need help?"


Kid nodded and they started towards the door.

"Mr. Smith," Mr. Simmons yelled out, as Heyes, Kid and Laurie froze in their tracks. "Mr. Smith, I do hope Mrs. Smith is alright."

Heyes nodded, "Thank you. I'm sure she just needs rest. She doesn't sleep or eat well when I'm away. I think that and the heat of the room caught up with her." The three started off again, Heyes yelled over his shoulder, "Mac we'll see you back at the room."






Kid closed the door to the hotel room behind them. Heyes looked at Laurie; she pulled out a satchel and held it up for all to see. "That's my girl!" Heyes said as he picked her up and swung her around; putting her back down on the floor he pulled her close and kissed her. Releasing her, Laurie handed the satchel to him. Putting his finger on Laurie's lip, "We'll deal with that lip biting thing from earlier later."


Laurie smiled and blushed.

Kid walked over, looked at his partner for approval, and then picked Laurie up and swung her around. Upon placing her on the floor he gave her a kiss on the forehead. Stepping back he gushed, "You were amazin’! If Heyes hadn't told me what was gonna happen, I would never have known you faked faintin’ and I didn't even see the switch." The smile fell off Kid's face as he turned to Heyes, "You did make the switch didn't you?"

Heyes opened the satchel and poured the real jewels into Laurie's waiting hands. With a smile that could light up the night and a twinkle in his eyes, "Oh yes, we made the switch."

The smile swiftly swept across Kid's face, "You know Heyes, Mac doesn't know we have the jewels. We could leave the country tonight." With a huge sigh he added as he poked one of the jewels in Laurie's hand, "I think we went straight too soon."

Heyes sighed, "I've been thinking the same thing Kid."

"Let's put them away," Kid moaned.

"Yeah," Heyes groaned. "Mac should be here in a minute. I don't want him to know we have the jewels yet."

"Why?" Laurie asked stunned.

"I don't want him to get too excited or too happy and let on that we already have the jewels. He should act like he is leaving them here. I don't know if he can pull that off if he knows. We'll tell him tomorrow." Heyes explained. "Laurie, I want you to lie down on the bed." He was interrupted by a knock at the door.  She quickly lay down while heplaced the jewels in the dresser. Heyes went over to the side of the bed as Kid walked over and answered the door.

"How's Laurie?" Mac asked as he walked into the room.

"Embarrassed," she answered quietly. "I think Joshua was right, not enough food or sleep. I really don't know what happened; I've never done that before."

"As long as you're okay dear." Mac stated, looking at Heyes, "I hope you had the time you needed in the bank. I'm assuming you wanted to check it out again which is why Laurie wanted to go back."

"Got everything we needed," Heyes stated.

"So what's the plan for tonight?" McCreedy asked.

"Well, since Laurie isn't feeling well, I'll stay here with her. I'll have the hotel bring up soup or something. The two of you should eat and head back out to the saloon for a little while."

"I think I’ll rest before dinner," Kid stated.

"That sounds like a good idea for all of us," his partner agreed.

Looking at Kid, Mac asked, "How about if we meet at six for dinner?"


Kid nodded.


"Okay, I think I'll retire to my room for a while." Looking at Laurie, "I hope you feel better dear. Get some rest." he turned and left the room.

As soon as Kid heard Mac's door close across the hall he turned to Heyes, "Okay what are you thinkin’?"

"They'll come check the room to make sure Mac left the jewels in the safe while you're at the saloon," Heyes stated.

"If I'm at the saloon, I can't back you up," Kid said with concern.

"Not going to need it.  They’ll check Mac's room and maybe yours but they saw you hand the jewels back to the bank manger before we left. Mac was alone with the manager after we left so he would be the only one who could have them."

"Still..." Kid started with a concerned in his voice.

"Still nothing," Heyes interrupted, "I'll lock the door between rooms and put a chair under the knob just to make sure; same with the front door. They aren't going to try to come in here because Laurie and I are in here."

"How will they know you're in here?"

Heyes smiled and raised his eyebrows, "Ooohhh I'll think up something so they know we're in here." He paused and then added "I do think we should get some rest now because we should do shifts tonight. I don't want to be caught unaware. We'll start when you get back from the saloon. I don't think they have any idea we have the jewels and it is daylight they won’t try anything until it’s dark outside."

Kid nodded and left to go to his room. He closed the door in between the rooms and Heyes could hear Kid move a chair over to the door in his room. Heyes decided it was better to be safe than sorry and placed a chair under the doorknob of their room. He quietly turned and walked back to the bed. Sitting on the side of it he looked at Laurie, "You okay?" he asked as he brushed the back of his hand down the side of her face.

"I'm with you" Laurie smiled, "I'm better than okay."





A few minutes to six, Kid knocked on the door between the rooms and walked in. "Are you sure you don't want me to stay here with you?"

"Sure," Heyes stated, "This has to look completely normal and for all of us to stay in doesn't. With Laurie fainting, it's perfectly normal that I stay here with her."

"I don't like it but okay," Kid said still sounding concerned. "Put a chair under the door knob in my room when I leave."

"Can't," his partner explained, "You’ll be out, if I do that and they try to get in, it will look suspicious." He walked over to his partner and placed his hand on Kid's shoulder, "Thanks for worrying, but we'll be okay."

"Alright, we wont be late, just long enough for them to check the rooms if they want." Kid turned to leave.

"Oh, Kid,"


The blond turned back around.


“Can you ask the desk clerk to send some food up for us. Make sure he knows Laurie isn't feeling well and we'll be staying in."


He nodded and headed out the door.


Heyes turned to Laurie, who had been quietly sitting in the chair, "When he gets here with food, I want you to be propped up on the bed in case he tries to look in."

"Okay," she said standing up and walking over to her bags. "Guess I finally have time to fix the hem in my skirt so I can wear it tomorrow."

Heyes watched Laurie pull her skirt out and get the needle and thread. She was going to wear one of his favorite outfits when she left in the morning. He wished he could go with her, but he had to get the jewels back to Mac's ranch and they wouldn't be safe returning to Small Falls until after the twenty-second. As Laurie began to sew the hem, a smile appeared on his face. "How would you like it if I took the stage with you until the next stop?"

"I would love that, but you can't leave Kid and Mac alone with the jewels."

Heyes got up and walked over to her placing his hands on hers, "Here me out and tell me what you think."




A few hours later as Heyes and Laurie sat reading there was noise in the hall. He got up and removed his gun from its holster and walked quietly over to the door to listen. He could here shuffling in the hall and finally what he took as Mac's door being opened. Carefully, he checked to make sure the chair was jammed under the doorknob in their room.


Laurie put down her book and swallowed hard.


Heyes stood listening at the door until he heard Mac's door open again. He could here two maybe three voices but they were too quiet to make out what they were saying. As the footsteps crossed the hall, Heyes walked cat like over to the door adjoining Kid's room and checked that chair as well. He could hear the door open and footsteps. The voices were still quiet but he could make out some words.

"Nephew's room, maybe they're in here." "I saw them leave them at the bank." "We have to make sure." "Should we check the room over here?"

With the last bit heard, Heyes quickly moved over and crouched down next to Laurie. "Giggle quietly, but loud enough for them to hear you," he whispered, gun in hand pointed at the door.


Laurie looked nervously at him gave giggled. He motioned to do it again as he could hear steps getting closer to the door.


"Joshua," Laurie giggled a little louder this time.


The footsteps stopped. Once again, he motioned to her to continue. They both heard the footsteps start towards the door again. "Joshua," Laurie said a little too loud, "I'm supposed to rest."

"I know," he said in a quiet but audible voice, "But you leave in the morning and I won't see you for another week."


She giggled.


Heyes crept over to the door; heard voices whispering and then the door close. Lowering his gun, he took a deep breath. He returned the gun to its holster and walked over to Laurie. "They shouldn't be back." He touched her shoulder and felt her shaking. Pulling her up, he pulled her close and hugged her.


She buried her face into his shoulder.


"I'm here," he whispered quietly. "They won't be back and Kid should be here soon anyway. One of us will be on guard all night." He leaned back a little and looked down at her, "okay."


Laurie nodded her head yes and held on tight.






Kid and Mac hung out at the saloon until the last of Jake's men appeared. They watched as three of the men had a quiet meeting with Jake. The three talked quietly and looked towards Kid and Mac a couple of times. Kid figured that if they were going to check out the rooms, they would be done by now and motioned to Mac it was time to head back.

Heyes and Laurie sat quietly in the chairs of their room reading. She was staring at the book in front of her, not being able to concentrate, listening to every little sound and creak the hotel made. Her body tensed as she heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Heyes' eyes looked up from his book as he too heard the footsteps. He put the book down and put his hand on Laurie's arm, "It's alright. It's Kid and Mac."


She looked at him and wondered how he knew by only the sound of the footsteps but since he was so calm and didn’t moving she decided he was right, still, the knock on the door made her jump.


Heyes smiled at her as he patted her arm and got up to get the door. He stood by the door in silence waiting for the next set of taps on the door. Kid used the knock they used when riding with the Devil's Hole Gang. He had started it with a knock, pause and two quick knocks. Next he would have a longer pause and repeat the exact same pattern. As soon as Heyes heard the pattern, he removed the chair from the door, unlocked the door and let them in.


"All ten are in the saloon," Kid said as the door was closed behind him. "Did they show up here?"


Heyes nodded, "About half hour ago. They went into Mac's room first then yours."


"Here?" Kid anxiously asked.


"They thought about it but we made some noise and they left."


"Did you check anythin’ out?" Kid asked.


"No, didn't want to leave Laurie in here by herself." Turning to Mac, "You stay with Laurie; we’re goin to go check the rooms.”


The partners checked out both rooms, everything seemed to be in the right place with only a few things appearing disheveled. They walked back into the room and closed the door behind them. "Both rooms have been checked, but they didn't want us to know they were in them," Heyes stated. "They must have had keys to the room, because the rooms weren't broken into."


"Could they have picked the lock?" Mac asked.


"No," Heyes replied. "They got in the rooms too quickly. I can do that, but it takes a few seconds. They walked across the hall and were in Thaddeus's room before you knew it.


"It kind of confirms the fact that Joshua and I were thinkin’ the hotel clerk has been paid off," Kid stated.

"What about tonight?" Mac asked.

"With all of us in the rooms, I don't think there will be an issue tonight. Just in case," looking at McCreedy, "prop the back of a chair under the doorknob when you get in your room. They won’t be able to get in your room quietly, and if they try, it will wake us up." Turning to Kid, "I think it's time to get ready."


He nodded, keeping up the charade of breaking into the bank. "Mac we'll see you in the morning."

"That's it, shouldn't I stay with Laurie or at least wait up for you?" Mac asked with expectation.

"No.  This is how we work and we don't need to worry about you tonight. Go to your room and lock yourself in. Laurie will do the same here. You will both be safe. We don't want to tip them off to anything by doing anything different, understand," Heyes said as he walked Mac to the door. "It's safer you being in your room. If something goes wrong, you can claim you didn't know anything.  We'll see you in the morning."


Heyes waited until Mac got in his room, and he heard him lock the door and place the chair under the doorknob before he closed the door. Closing the door, he placed the chair back under the handle and motioned to Kid to do the same in his room. As Kid came back into the room, he closed the adjoining door and placed a chair under the doorknob as well.

"We're all staying in here tonight?" Laurie asked.

"That's the plan. We stay together and we will be safe," Heyes stated as he walked over and pulled a bottle of whiskey out of his bag. Pouring three glasses he handed one to Kid, and picked up the other two. He walked over and handed one to Laurie, "For your nerves," he said.


Laurie looked up at Heyes gave a slight smile, a nod and took the glass.


Heyes sat down in his chair he was previously reading in. "Any inclination that they know we have the jewels?"

"No," the blond partner responded, "They were real interested in Mac and me. One of the guys was hangin’ at the bar and tried to get information from us. What we were doin’ in town and stuff. Told him Mac was my uncle and it was just lucky we were in the same town at the same time. We were both leavin’ in the mornin’. Mac grumbled about comin’ here for nothin’ so I gave him a hard time being his nephew and all." Kid took a drink from his glass, "I did over hear Joey say somethin’ about the bank as we were leavin’ but couldn't make it out."

"We have a view of the bank from the window if they try anything tonight," Heyes said, "Let's dim the lights"

"Wouldn't it be funny if Jake and Joey robbed the bank and the fake jewels tonight?" Kid said with a laugh.

"Sure would make it easy for us to get out of town with the real ones," Heyes responded. "Laurie why don't you try to get some rest? Kid, I'll take the first shift, you should get some rest too."

Kid nodded and looked around for a place to lie down with only one bed in the room he tried propping himself up on two chairs. "Kid," Laurie said very quietly, "I'm really not tired right now, why don't you sleep on the bed?"

He looked at Heyes, Heyes nodded and he lied down on the bed.


Heyes placed his hand on Laurie's and leaned in very close. Looking into her eyes he whispered, "Are you okay?"


Laurie tried to smile as she nodded her head.


He reached up and gently placed his hand on the side of her face, "Are you scared?" he quietly asked.


He could feel the tension in her face as she nodded yes.


"Come here," he said. Heyes took hold of her hands and carefully pulled her up out of her chair and into his lap. Laurie settled in, snuggling her head into his shoulder. "Better," he whispered as he wrapped his arms around her.


Laurie nodded her head yes.

Kid woke up three hours later when Heyes nudged him. Laurie was curled up in one of the chairs sleeping. As he got up, Heyes went over to Laurie, "Sweetheart, time to get in bed." He helped her into bed then lay down next to her.


The night went by quietly. Heyes rolled over around five in the morning. "Here anything?" Heyes asked Kid.

"All quiet," he responded.


Heyes slowly got out of bed, so not to disturb Laurie, and went to put water on his face. He turned around and went to sit down next to his partner. "Kid lets go over the plan before everyone else wakes up." They sat there talking quietly unaware that Laurie was awake in the bed and listening. "What do you think of us getting out of town this morning before anyone wakes up?" Heyes asked Kid.

Kid motioned to the bed, "What about Laurie?"

"We talked last night after you went to bed." Heyes noticing his partner shift in his chair added, "It's a good thing she was here; otherwise I would have woken you up to talk.”  He smiled and Kid relaxed and nodded. "I was trying to figure out the logistics of today and I decided that Mac doesn't need us following the stage. He doesn't have the jewels so even if they stop the stage, there shouldn't be any real trouble. I don't think Jake kills just to kill."

"Only if he's angry or put up to it," Kid replied. "So when do you want to leave and when are we gonna tell them?"

"As soon as we get packed," Heyes said. "I'll wake Laurie up when you go to your room, give us a few minutes. She'll tell Mac when he gets up."

"Is that fair?"

"She said she would do it last night.  If we wait to tell Mac then it really doesn't make sense not to stay until after the stages leave. I'm not convinced he won't do something to mess things up."

Kid nodded his head in agreement, "I still get that feelin’ too." He stood up, "Alright, I'll get ready to leave."

Heyes stood up and walked over to the bed and sat down on the side. He looked down at Laurie and smiled, "Hey sweetheart," he said, "Did you hear everything?"


Laurie nodded her head.


"You still okay with it?"


She nodded her head again.


He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss. "Mac's stage leaves after yours so I'm sure he will make sure you're on it safely. Send me a telegram at Mac's ranch when you get home telling me you're safe."  Heyes gently brushed the side of Laurie's face with his hand.

Kid walked back into the room with his things. "What about checkin’ out of the room?" he asked.

Heyes looked at Laurie who sat up in bed. "I need you to check us all out of the rooms before you leave. I don't want to give the desk clerk the heads up we're leaving."

"Okay," she responded as she stood up.


Heyes picked up his things and put the jewels in a hidden pouch in his saddlebag.


Laurie walked over to Kid, gave him a kiss on the cheek and a hug. "Take care of yourself," she said.

Kid kissed Laurie on the headand hugged her tight, "I will. I'll bring him back safe, don't worry." He gave Laurie another kiss on the forehead and extra squeeze then walked over to the door.

Heyes looked at Laurie; he took a step closer to her and pulled her into a hug. He held her tight as she closed her eyes and pressed her head against his chest listening to his heartbeat. They stood there, together just holding onto each other, neither one wanting to let go. Finally, Heyes loosened his grip and Laurie lifted her head up. Looking into her eyes he said, "Stay in the room until Mac comes. Explain what's going on then stay with him until your stage gets here. If you’re concerned at all, go to the sheriff. Have him contact Lom. Okay."

Laurie returned Heyes' gaze, "I'll be fine. Promise." Laurie paused and with all the effort she could manage to stay calm added, "You be safe Hannibal Heyes. Don't do anything stupid okay. I want to see you riding into Small Falls on the twenty-second with Kid. Understand!"

He nodded his head, "Understood," and pulled Laurie into a deep and passionate kiss.


Kid turned around and stared at the door.


As their lips parted, Heyes kissed Laurie again. Finally releasing her, he stepped back, "We better get moving Kid."

Laurie closed the door behind them, locked it and placed the chair under the doorknob. She sat in the chair and waited for Mac to wake up.




There was a knocked on the door about eight. Laurie got up from the chair she had been sitting in since Heyes and Kid left and went to the door. "Who's there?"


She opened the door and let him in. Closing the door behind her she turned to face him, "They're gone," she said. "They left early this morning and will meet you back at the ranch."

"Gone!" Mac exclaimed, "But who is going to be my bodyguard?"

"You don't need one," she stated. "They have the jewels with them."

"With them!" Mac yelled.

"Quiet," Laurie scolded Mac as she glared at him. Quietly she said, "Yes with them, they will meet you at the ranch. You are to take the stage as planned."

"No I am not!" he adamantly stated. "I'm going to get the sheriff and go after the jewels. They aren't going to go to my ranch."

"Yes they are and you are not going to go to the sheriff," Laurie stated firmly.

"How do you know and how do you expect to stop me from going to the sheriff?" Mac quizzed her.

"I'll stop you by telling the sheriff that you switched the jewels in the safe yesterday. You took them and are going to claim the insurance saying you were robbed," Laurie said with force.

A meek "Oh" was all that he could manage.

"How do I know they are meeting you at the ranch, because I'm still here."

"They could have left you."

"They would never have left me, they wouldn't have lied to me. You trusted them to do the job to begin with so you know they wouldn't take the jewels and leave," Laurie huffed. "Anyway, if they were going to take them and leave me they would have done it yesterday or last night."

"They didn't have the jewels," Mac interrupted.

"Yes they did! We switched the jewels yesterday when I fainted. We've had them here in the room since yesterday afternoon. If they were going to leave me and take the jewels, they would have done it before six o'clock this morning, after they said goodbye to me!"

"Yesterday, why didn't you tell me?"

"Joshua was afraid you might slip or show too much excitement if you knew," Laurie explained. "He didn't want to tip off Jake and his men. That's why we stayed in last night. To guard them."

"You said they would meet me at my ranch?"


"Well, your stage leaves in a couple of hours, would you like to have breakfast my dear?" Mac asked having calmed down.

"That would be very nice," Laurie said taking the arm Mac held out for her.






Heyes and Kid quietly left the hotel, got their horses and rode out of town the opposite way to Mac's ranch, just in case. Just in case Jake or any of his men were watching them. They rode for a while in silence when Heyes said, "Don't see anyone following us, do you?"

"Nope," Kid replied. "Haven't seen anyone and it's really too open for them to be hidin’ from us. Looks like we got out of town clean."

"Guess it's safe to loop around and head south," Heyes stated. "We'll take the trail over the hills so we stay as far away from town as possible. We might even be able to keep an eye on Mac's stage for a while."

"Heyes," Kid said as they rode south, "You okay?"

"Yeah," he said quietly.






Mac saw to it that Laurie got on her stagecoach going west. He checked to make sure none of Jake's men followed then went to the saloon to wait for his stage. Upon entering the saloon he noticed Jake and all of his men. As he walked over to the bar to get a drink, Jake walked over and stood next to him.

"All alone today?" Jake said to Mac as he stared straight ahead looking beyond the bar.

"Yep," Mac answered then took a sip of his whiskey to calm his nerves. He was not a small man, that's why he was known as Big Mac, but standing next to Jake he felt like a child. Jake towered over him and the size of his hands; Mac just watched as Jake's hand swallowed the whiskey glass he was holding. Trying to remain calm and continue the charade of where the jewels were Mac continued, "Just put my nephew's partner’s wife on the stage home."

"Why didn't the partner put his wife on the stage?" Jake asked.

"Oh, he and my nephew left this morning heading to Dry Gulch to look at some horses. They have a couple hard days ride ahead of them so I told them I would make sure Laurie got on the stage safely," Mac said trying to sound as casual as possible as he sipped his whiskey.

"So you live here?" Jake asked trying to get information from Mac without sounding too interested.

"No," Mac replied eyeing Jakes reflection in the bar mirror. Not only was he huge, he looked mean, real mean! "Came to do some business here but it fell through, so going home empty handed on the next stage." Turning and looking at his watch, "Well, better get my things together," Mac said and finished his drink.

"Better luck next time," Jake said and lifted his glass in Mac's direction.

Mac nodded and left the saloon. As the saloon doors swung closed behind him and he took a few steps out onto the street, Mac took a deep breath and sighed! Wiping his forehead he hurried to the hotel to gather his belonging.





Heyes and Kid started south and into the hills. Late afternoon they found a nice spot by a stream to water their horses and take a break. They sat looking at the valley below with blue sky above. Nothing could be nicer or more relaxing but Heyes' mind drifted back to the darkness it has been flirting with recently; the desire for amnesty and not seeing any end of that desire in the near future. Wanting to set up a home for himself, Laurie, and Kid to have a life. It seemed as far off to him as the thought of his nice normal life before the war. Before his and Kid's life took a turn that would change the rest of their lives. He wasn't in control then, he isn't in control now. He hated that and that’s what was gnawing at him. No matter how much he behaved, no matter how many hoops he and Kid jumped through, he no longer had the ability to control what happened with the rest of his life.

Kid sat and watched his partner. Heyes could always sit for hours and just enjoy the scenery and be at peace, he was the restless one. Not today. Kid studied Heyes' face when they first sat down by the stream to relax and he studied his face now. The tension was visableas he watched the valley below.


He wondered what was bothering his cousin but he knew he couldn't just come out and ask him. He had tried for the past few days to get Heyes to open up, but each time Heyes ignored him or changed the subject. There was that little outburst in the hotel when they were arguing about Laurie being there, could that be it? Was he having trouble with her, but that didn't seem possible. The amnesty? Heyes was always the one who fought so hard to get it. He was the one who kept them in line - the one with the cool head. Kid sat looking at his cousin's face and wondered what changed.

"So," Heyes finally said still staring at the valley below, "How long you going to stare at me?"

Playing dumb Kid responded, "What?"


Heyes turned to his partner and gave him the ‘don't play that game with me look'.


"Okay," Kid gave in, "I have been tryin’ to figure out what is goin’ on with you." Putting his hands up to stop Heyes from speaking, "Don't even tell me that nothin’ is wrong. Somethin’s been eatin’ at you since before we left Small Falls. I covered for you with Laurie and said you just don't like it when things are goin’ right, but that's not it. We're on a job and it's still there. I can see it. The Heyes I know would be enjoyin’ every minute sittin’ up here and you're a million miles away."



"I just don't know if I can do this anymore Kid," he stated as he stared out into the valley. "Living at the hotel. Everything’s out in the open. The only thing that is private is what's behind the door to our room. Just one room, nothing else." Heyes continued to stare straight out, "Laurie deserves more," he said as he looked down, "we deserve more. We have done everything the Governor has asked and it's still not good enough." Turning to finally face Kid he continued, "I was really tempted to take the jewels and just leave. For the first time since we started this, I really was looking to throw it all away."

"What's stoppin’ you?"

"What do you mean?"

"We have the jewels. We could take them and leave. We could even catch up with Laurie's stagecoach and get her before we leave if you want. What's stoppin’ you?"

"You," Heyes responded staring into blue eyes.


"You deserve more; you deserve a wife, a family, kids, a life."

"Nothin’ to do with your word then?"

Heyes smiled, "Well then there's that." He raised his eyebrows and laughed quietly.

"Heyes," Kid said sounding very serious, "Laurie wants you and don't forget she has a lot more now than she did when we met her. Lom is trying to get the Governor to speed things up but right now things are pretty good. Although Sheriff Hardy hasn't come out and said it, he knows who we are and is lettin’ us live in Small Falls. We don't have to just sit around and play poker we can do somethin’ else. We could take the money we get from Mac and get some land, start jobs, make a life."

Brown eyes locked on to blue eyes and the smile on his face grew as he began to laugh. Kid was trying so hard to get through to him and at last it started to sink in. Things were not as bad as he had been thinking. Things were pretty good actually. They lived in a very nice hotel, they had great food, they didn't need the money, they were by far the best poker players in town and more importantly the Sheriff knew who they were and didn't care. Yes, things could still be taken away from him, but he had to stop thinking that way and start enjoying what he had when he could.


Kid look confused then started to laugh quietly at first and then both of them began to roar. As quickly as the laughter started it stopped. Heyes was still looking at the valley when he caught sight of a stagecoach and a bunch of men following it. As he stopped laughing he pointed and Kid's eyes followed the hand and he quickly stopped laughing. Too far away to do anything they just had to watch. They could see the driver trying to urge the horses on and the ten, yes, Heyes counted ten riders gaining on the stage like it was standing still. The stage stopped and the partners stood up. The ten men on horseback surrounded the stage and the passengers got out with their hands held high. Two men, by his size they could tell one was obviously Jake, got off their horses and approached the stage. The men paid particular attention to the man at the end of the line of passengers, when Jake moved to the side, Heyes looked at Kid; it was Mac. After a few minutes of ransacking the belongings on top of the stage and what appeared to by robbing the passengers, the men got on their horses and rode off. Heyes and Kid sat back down and sighed.

"Good thing we have the jewels," Kid stated.

"Yeah," was all Heyes could say taking a deep breath.


Heyes looked pale, "Last night, I actually was thinking of having Laurie sew the jewels into the hem of her skirt. I was going to take the stage to the next town with her and meet you there."

"Why didn't you?" Kid asked knowing the answer.

"As I was talking to her about the idea and I heard the words come out of my mouth, I realized how dangerous it would be. Laurie was sitting there agreeing with me, she was willing to do it, and I looked at her and thought whatwas I thinking. If I went with Laurie, Jake would have followed. I just know he would. Who knows what would have happened if they found the jewels in the skirt."

"Heyes," Kid said with compassion in his voice, "You didn't."


Heyes looked over at him.


"You didn't ask Laurie and we have the jewels. Jake and Joey are leaving Mac; they didn't follow her, shes safe."

"I just wonder if this plan was any better. Granted our friendship with Mac isn't a normal friendship but he is a friend. If Jake had gotten mad, he could have killed him."

"Yeah he could’ve," Kid deadpanned. "That's why your plan was good. He didn't think he was fooled, so he robbed them of what little they had and left. Heyes, Jake was gonna rob those people no matter what your plan was, whether we followed the stage or not. If we had followed, you want to go up against ten men cause I don't."

"You're right Kid, don't know what's got into me lately."

"You'll snap out of it," Kid said with a smile.

Heyes snorted, "Guess we better start moving again, maybe we'll hit a town before night."

"Sounds like a plan," Kid replied as they walked over and mounted their horses. With one last look into the valley, they could see the stagecoach on its way with a trail of dust from the riders far off to the left going in the opposite direction.



As Jake, Joey and the gang rode off away from the stage Joey yelled over to Jake, "You don't suppose the wife has the jewels do you?"

"Nah," Jake yelled back. "Her stage was goin' west, no where near McCreedy's ranch. Guess they really did leave ‘em in the bank."

"Told you they left ‘em in the bank," a third man yelled. "I saw the banker put ‘em back in the safe when the wife fainted. Ya jes didn't believe me!"

"That's cause ya stupid," Jake yelled at the man. Then looking at him, "Guess yawas right this time. We'll ride up to the fork ‘n circle back aroun' to the right."

"Jake," Joey yelled, "Senor Suarez aint gonna to like us comin' back empty handed. He might not pay us."

"Yeah, well if I rob the bank to get ‘em, I'm keeping ‘em so he better be happy with empty handed and give us our money," Jake shot back. "He was the stupid one usin' ‘em to bet anyway. Let ‘im figure out how to git ‘em." The gang took the right fork in the road and head back south.





It was a quiet ride back to Small Falls for Laurie. The stage stopped in a few towns dropping off and picking up people no one of importance and no sign of Jake and his men. Laurie occupied herself on the trip by reading a book she bought at the General Store before she left Clayton. When the stage finally arrived in Small Falls, Laurie headed directly to the telegraph office.


“To Joshua Smith in care of Big Mac McCreedy. Arrived home. All is well. See you on the 22nd. Be safe. Love Laurie.”





"How long do you think it's gonna take to make it to Mac's ranch?" Kid asked as they continued their journey south.

"If we keep a good pace," Heyes responded, "Probably four days. If we push hard, we can probably make it in three."

"What about Mac?"

"The stage will take five. He's not going through Red River so it won't take as long."

"Why did he go there in the first place?"

"Guess it was inbetween where we were and Clayton," Heyes answered. "Anyway, we get there in four days, have a day to rest before Mac comes and we get our money. We can stay another day if you want and then it will be about time to head home."

"With five thousand dollars in our pockets," Kid said with a smile as he puffed his chest out.






Heyes and Kid arrived at Mac's ranch four days later. They stopped in town before riding out to the ranch tosee if they got a telegram and to sendone to Laurie


“Glad you're home. Arrived safe. Waiting for Mac.  JHHS


After stopping at the bar for a drink they headed out to McCreedy’s ranch to get cleaned up, relax and wait for Mac.

Sitting in his office after a very nice dinner Mac's cook made, Heyes walked over and poured them both a glass of very expensive brandy and reached into the humidor grabbing a cigar for each of them.


"Heyes…" Kid started as he watched.

Not having to hear the question, Heyes turned with his cigar in his mouth, balancing the two glasses and another cigar, "Kid, Mac said to make ourselves comfortable while we waited. This will make me comfortable, if you don't want yours, I'll put them back."

Reaching up to take the cigar and brandy from his partner, Kid smiled and laughed lightly, "Well he did say said to make ourselves comfortable."

They sat for a few moments enjoying the brandy and cigar when Heyes stood up. Blue eyes watched as his cousin slowly walked around the room and surveyed it.


Heyes suddenly stopped, put down his brandy and placed the cigar between his teeth. He walked over to the picture on the wall and ran his hands along the edge. Taking a puff on the cigar and holding it in his right hand, a smile that could like up the night enveloped his face. Placing the cigar back between his teeth he carefully took his right hand and pulled on the left side of the frame. The picture swung to the right revealing a safe. Brown eyes began to sparkle as a low noise almost a purr could be heard.


Kid sat and watched in amusement as Heyes placed the cigar on the edge of Mac's desk and pressed his ear against the safe. He loved watching his partner work; it was pure magic.


After a few moments a look of complete satisfaction crossed Heyes’ face as he lifted his ear off the safe and carefully with both hands pulled the lever to open the safe. Brown eyes turned to blue ones and lifted his eyebrows.

"Beautiful," Kid said with a smile almost as big as Heyes'. "Now what?"

"Guess I'll put the jewels in here," he shrugged, took the jewels out of his pocket, placed them in the safe and closed it. As he turned around he saw his partner’s face, "What?"

Kid laughed, "You just had to get into it didn't you."

"I have to practice!" he said indignantly.

"Oh," was all Kid could respond with as he chuckled.

"You practice with your gun all the time. I rarely get a chance to practice!"

"Right," Kid said still laughing, "You just had to do it to prove you could."

The twinkle in Heyes' eyes illuminated his face as he arched his eyebrows and smiled. Picking up his cigar he took a big puff and sauntered back to his seat.






Mac arrived at the ranch mid afternoon the next day. He filled Heyes and Kid in on the exchange with Jake and Joey. Told them they got a few dollars but that was it. He was convinced they thought the jewels were still in the bank. "I would like you boys to stay until the exchange occurs."

"When is that?" Heyes asked.

"Tomorrow," he replied, "Maybe you'll stay for my Saturday night poker game, give me a chance to win some of my money back."

"Thanks but no," Heyes answered. "We already did that, I think we'll take our money and leave after the exchange." He looked at Kid who was giving him an agreeing nod. "Besides, the buy in is ten thousand dollars and you're only paying us five that is unless you decided to increase it."

"No, no, five thousand dollars it is," Mac stated.

"Well then," Kid said, "We'll be takin' our money and leavin' tomorrow. Besides, I promised Laurie I would get Joshua home on the twenty-second. As it is, we are gonna have to push it to make that."






The next day, at the meeting Senor Suarez was a little surprised and seemed a little angry Mac had the jewels.  When the exchange was complete, Heyes and Kid said their goodbyes and headed back to Small Falls.  After leaving the ranch, they stopped in town to send Laurie a telegram telling her they were on their way andthe saloon for one quick drink before they started out. As they were leaving the saloon and getting on their horses, Kid spotted Jake and Joey riding into town.


"Heyes," he said quietly with a little motion of his head towards Jake.

Heyes turned around to see what had Kid concerned and quickly whipped his head back around hoping not to be spotted. Pretending to tend to their horses the partners had their backs to Jake and Joey as they rode past  towards the saloon. As soon as Jake and Joey walked into the saloon, Heyes and Kid got on their horses and started to ride out of town. "Heyes," Kid asked, "Do you think they saw us?"

"Don't know, but I hope not. Jake's going to be real angry when he finds out Mac had the jewels. I don't think he's dumb enough not to see the connection if he sees us here. I would like a nice quiet and quick ride back to Small Falls. As it is, we have to push a little to get back on the twenty-second."