The Long Road – Part 7
The next two weeks went by as Heyes and Kid adjusted to being home. Sarah still came out every day to help Laurie who was feeling a little better but still had to take it easy and to see Thaddeus. The two of them were becoming very close.
Having just finished breakfast, the three were sitting at the breakfast table when there was a knock on the side door. "Come in Tom," Kid said looking up and seeing who was at the screen door.
The Sheriff walked in, "Laurie," he said tipping his hat. "Morinin' boys."
"Just having some coffee," Heyes said. "Grab yourself a cup and have a seat."
"Don't mind if I do."
"Well, Sarah told me the first flowers of spring are up. I think I'll take a walk to the garden," Laurie said. Heyes began to stand up. Putting her hand on his hand, "I'm okay. I can go myself."
"If you're sure," Heyes responded. "Don't push it, okay." Turning to Sam he said, "Go with Laurie."
Laurie rolled her eyes, "He's going to trample the flowers. I don't need a watch dog to go to the garden."
Heyes shrugged meekly and stood up. "Okay," he said kissing her forehead. Turning to the icebox he pulled out a bone and handed it to Sam. "This will keep him busy on the porch. No trampled flowers."
"Thank you," she said and kissed his cheek. "Tom, there are some muffins too if you would like." She turned and walked out the kitchen door with Sam in tow. Sam promptly lay down on the porch and began chewing on the bone.
Heyes, Kid and Tom sat at the kitchen table talking about nothing in particular. Just about how it was to get into a routine. Tom checked his watch a few times before Heyes asked, "Need to be somewhere Tom?"
He looked at Heyes.
"Just been checking your watch. I was wondering if you needed to be somewhere."
Tom looked down at the watch in his hand and forced a chuckle, "Oh, no. Um, Miss Marker goes to the bank between breakfast and lunch at the café and I was hoping to run into her."
"You sly dog," Kid chuckled.
Tom shrugged his shoulders.
"So," Heyes said sounding a little serious, "Anything bring you out this way Tom or just stopping by?"
"Just stopping by," Tom said sounding a little nervous.
Heyes stared at him.
"Okay," Tom gave in. "I wanted to see Thaddeus' gun. I was thinking of getting a new one, and well, I thought I would get advice from the best."
Heyes rolled his eyes and Kid sat up puffing his chest. "You just had to ask, Tom. You didn't have to go actin' strange." Kid said taking his gun out of the holster and placing it on the table in front of him.
"Well, me being the Sheriff, I wasn't sure how you would react."
"You're a friend, Tom," Heyes said as he watched the man pick the gun up, look at it and slowly point it and cock it at Kid.
"Don't move, cause I don't want to have to shoot you," Tom said calmly. "Heyes, I need your gun on the table. Two fingers and no sudden movements, I don't want the gun to go off accidentally. Kid hold your hands up in the air until I get Heyes' gun then both of you place your hands palm down on the table."
"Why?" was all Heyes could get out.
"I have my orders," he replied picking up Heyes' gun and tucking it into his waistband. Standing up from the table he motioned for them to put their hands where he could see them. "I'm sorry boys, we are friends, but it's my job, I have no choice."
Laurie was walking around the garden looking at the first flowers of spring. She smiled as she knelt down to take in the fragrance. Looking up, she could see a cloud of dust moving in their direction rather quickly. She stood up and stared trying to figure out what was causing it and then she saw one lone rider out in front leading a group behind him. In an instant she gasped, picked up her skirt and started running towards the house yelling as she ran. "Heyes, Kid, run!!!" "Heyes, Kid, hurry, you have to leave!!" she yelled as she reached the screened door on the side porch. Flinging the door open she stopped dead in her tracks; Tom was holding a gun on Heyes and Kid. "Noooo!" she cried out and collapsed on the floor.
Not hesitating a second, Heyes jumped up and ran to her. Cradling her in his arms, Heyes looked up at Tom. "Tom, I'll do anything. I'll be a model prisoner I won't try to escape. Please," he pleaded as he looked at Laurie and then back at Tom, "please don't let them transfer me until after the baby is born. Laurie doesn't deserve this, please!"
Tom let the gun sag and Kid grabbed it from him. "Heyes," Kid called out as he heard the fast approaching horses.
Heyes looked at Kid as he continued to cradle Laurie, "I can't Kid. You gotta go."
Kid looked at Heyes and Laurie, sighing he lowered the gun. "You both have to run, now please," Laurie cried. "Go, please," she said weakly, neither one of them moved.
Hearing a horse pull up by the side of the house Heyes looked at Tom and pleaded, "Promise."
Heyes kissed the top of Laurie's head as she cried, Kid sat back down at the table.
The screen door opened and Lom walked in. Kid stood up and glared at him. "Lom! Should have known after your last telegram."
Lom looked confused and then saw Heyes holding Laurie on the floor. "What's going on here?" he asked. "Tom?"
"I was told to hold them at all costs," he replied.
"All costs!!" Lom boomed. "It's not supposed to be like this!" Turning to Heyes, "Let me help you up."
"We don't need your help, Lom," Kid said through gritted teeth as he walked over to Heyes. He helped the two of them up and then Heyes carried Laurie into the den, placing her on the sofa. Kid, Lom and Tom followed.
"I don't know what is going on here," Lom started only to be interrupted by Heyes as he placed Laurie on the sofa.
"Tom and I made a deal Lom. I won't be transferred until after the baby is born," he stated in his leader voice as his eyes turned black on the man he had considered a friend.
"Transferred, what?" Lom said sounding confused. "You're not being arrested."
"We're not?" they replied, as Tom said, "They're not?" at the same time.
"No! I don't know what fool hearted," Lom started and stopped. Turning to Tom he said, "Did you get a telegram from my deputy?"
"That explains it," Lom said rolling his eyes; Heyes and Kid relaxed a little.
"Lom what's goin' on?" Kid asked.
Lom opened his mouth to speak and then looked at Laurie on the sofa. He did a double take and smiled as he pointed, "Heyes?"
Heyes' eyes followed his hand and smiled.
Lom swallowed hard, "Is she okay?"
Heyes knelt down next to her and brushed the hair off her face, Laurie smiled up at him. "I'm okay now," she said gazing into Heyes' eyes.
"Lom," Kid said.
"Oh sorry," Lom said and turned to look at Kid. "Well," he said, as he heard Sam bark as more horses pulled up in front of the house. "I didn't say anything in the last telegram cause I didn't want to get your hopes up." He paused. "There are some people here that would like to see you."
Kid looked at Heyes, Heyes looked at Kid and they both looked at Tom first who shrugged and then to Lom.
Turning to Laurie, Lom said, "Do you think you'll be able to come out on the porch?"
Laurie nodded her head and Heyes helped her up.
The group walked out to the side porch. Tom went out first, then Lom followed by Kid, Heyes and Laurie. Tom and Lom stepped aside. Heyes and Kid could see a group of men dismounting as a carriage carrying Margaret, Rachael and Daniel pulled up front. Rachael jumped down from the carriage as soon as it stopped and ran to Heyes jumping in his arms. "Rachael," Heyes called out as he picked the girl up, hugging her. Daniel followed and jumped into Kid's arms. Heyes looked up, Margaret was smiling at him as she stepped out of the carriage.
"Heyes, Kid," Lom said in a very serious tone, "There are some gentlemen who I would like to introduce you to."
Heyes and Kid put the children down as they looked towards Lom.
"First, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Jay Gould," Lom said, gesturing toward the man standing next to Margaret. "Mr. Gould," Lom gestured to Heyes and Kid, "Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry."
Heyes and Kid froze at the use of their names and swallowed hard.
Laurie grabbed onto Heyes' arm as her knees buckled.
Taking a breath as he looked at his daughter and grandchildren, Mr. Gould stepped towards the boys. As he reached them he produced his hand, "Mr. Heyes, Mr. Curry," he said shaking their hands. "I want to thank you for saving my daughter and grandchildren. I am in your debt." He turned to Margaret looking for approval. She smiled at him.
He stepped aside as a man stepped out from behind one of the horses and Lom continued with the introductions. "Governor Warren," Lom said, "Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry."
Both Heyes and Kid sucked their breath in. Laurie squeezed Heyes' arm tight as tears began to form in her eyes.
"Gentlemen," the Governor said stepping up on the porch and shaking their hands. "It's been a long time since Sheriff Trevors walked into my office and pleaded a case for the two of you for amnesty. I have to say I had my doubts, but he had a good argument." The Governor paused, "I told him I had to be convinced you had mended your ways." He paused again and patted a folder he was holding in his hands, "From all accounts, from myself, the Governors that have been in this job between then and now, personal accounts from those you've helped including judges and other Sheriffs," he nodded towards Tom. "The army," he nodded towards Captain Turner who had been standing behind a horse and just moved into view. "And lastly, this selfless act of saving this young family. You didn't have to go into the mountains. You didn't have to stay there when the two of you could have gotten out safely by yourselves. You stayed and by all accounts, took care of a mother and her two young children. Only leaving, when you knew all of you could reach safety. In the next addition of the newspaper, it will be revealed that the two mysterious men who disappeared into the darkness after saving Mrs. Margaret Brewster and her two young children were none other than Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry." He paused and looked at the two who were standing there speechless. "An ironic twist of fate," he smiled. "You see Mr. Gould contacted me a few days after his daughter arrived home. He, Mrs. Brewster, Captain Turner and Sheriff Trevors came to my office pleading your case. Mr. Gould told me that he would get the others who have offered the reward on you to drop it as his daughter had convinced him what good men you really are."
Heyes and Kid looked at Margaret, she smiled and wiped a tear away.
"So you see, even if I don't give you your amnesty, no one will care about you because you are now worth nothing," the Governor stated.
A look of shock appeared on both Heyes' and Kid's face.
"However," the Governor said as he opened the folder he was still holding, "You have lived up to and surpassed the original deal. Gentleman," he said as he took out two pieces of paper and looked them directly in their eyes. "Hannibal Heyes, Jedidiah Kid Curry, I Governor Francis Emory Warren do present you both with your amnesty." He handed the decrees to Heyes and Kid. Both men stared at the documents in disbelief. "You will have to sign the bottom and I have copies that need to be signed. You are no longer wanted and no longer will fear being captured or killed for the reward. You are free men."
Smiles that lit up the world appeared on both Heyes and Kid's faces as the realization sunk in. They looked at each other and embraced, patting each other's backs, Kid said, "WE did it Heyes. WE did IT!"
"Yeah Kid, We DID!" Heyes replied as he held Kid. The men started stepping forward to shake their hands. "I'm sorry we doubted you Lom."
"Understandable under the conditions," he replied. He really needed to talk to Deputy Harker when he returned to Porterville. He pulled each one of them into a bear hug and patted their backs, "Never had any doubt boys."
"Sorry for the scare boys," Tom said as he enthusiastically shook their hands.
Laurie quietly stepped aside as those wanting to congratulate them rushed the boys.
Captain Turner made his way to them. "Knew you weren't normal deputies," he said with a smile. "Thank you first for saving my life. I don't believe I told you what an impressive shot that was," he said as he shook Kid's hand. "Still amazed by you cracking that safe. Should have figured out who you were then," he said as he shook Heyes' hand.
"Your mind was on the payroll," Heyes smiled as he shook the Captain's hand. "Guess it was a good thing since I don't know if you would have gone along with the plan."
"You may be right, Mr. Heyes," the Captain replied.
The Captain nodded and moved over to talk to Lom.
Margaret finally reached Heyes and Kid, "I hope you don't mind me breaking my word."
"Not at all," Heyes smiled. "Thank you," he said as she hugged him. "I want to introduce you to my wife," Heyes said and turned to see Laurie standing quietly at the door. "Sweetheart," he said as he walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her, holding her. "It's over. I'll never have to leave again," he said as he continued to hug her. He lifted her face and looked down into her eyes. "I love you," he said, kissing her softly.
"I love you too," she replied looking into his eyes.
Releasing his hold on Laurie he turned to Margaret. "Margaret, I'd like you to meet my wife, Laurie."
"It's such a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Heyes," Margaret said. "If it wasn't for your husband, I'm sure my children and I would have been tortured before we were killed by that horrible man."
Laurie smiled a tight smile as tears welled in her eyes.
"What's the matter Sweetheart?" Heyes asked with concern when he saw Laurie's face.
She blinked back the tears and smiled tightly at him.
"I'm not Mrs. Heyes," she said so quietly he could barely hear her.
"Oh, Sweetheart," he said pulling her into a hug. "Yes you are," he assured.
She shook her head no, "I married Joshua Smith."
"We'll get remarried as soon as we can," he replied.
She forced a sad smile and placed her hand on her belly.
"Sweetheart, everyone knows we are married, the name doesn't mean anything," Heyes looked into Laurie's eyes. "You are my wife." Heyes paused for a moment and a smile spread across his face. "Governor Warren," Heyes said as he turned to face the Governor. "You have the ability to marry people?"
"Of course," he replied.
"Good, could you marry us now?" he asked as he turned back to gaze into Laurie's eyes.
"Now?" he questioned and then looked at Laurie. Noticing her condition he exclaimed, "Oh."
"We're already married," Heyes stated as he continued to gaze at Laurie. "We were married as Mr. and Mrs. Smith."
"Governor, if you married them now," Mr. Gould spoke up having overheard Heyes and Laurie's conversation. "Can't you pre-date the document to their original wedding date? Change it so that it says, Mr. Hannibal Heyes alias Mr. Joshua Smith so that it will all be legal. We do it all the time in business."
The Governor thought a minute and then shrugged, "I don't see why not. I'm the Governor I can't see why I can't do something that simple."
"Thank you Mr. Gould," Heyes said turning and offering his hand to shake.
"As I said, I am in your debt for bringing my daughter and grandchildren home safe."
"Well then Chester," the Governor called to his aid, "Make sure all documentation for the marriage of Joshua Smith and," he paused looking at Laurie.
"Laurie," she said meekly.
"And Laurie, be stated as Hannibal Heyes alias Joshua Smith and Laurie," he looked at her and smiled.
She nodded happily back.
"Good, so Hannibal Heyes, do you take Laurie," he paused.
"Smith," she whispered.
He nodded, "Smith to be your bride."
"I do," Heyes beamed.
"And do you Laurie Smith take Hannibal Heyes to be your husband?"
"I do," she beamed as well and bit her bottom lip.
"Well then I pronounce you man and wife again and now, Mr. Heyes can you please sign the amnesty papers," he pleaded.
"With pleasure!" Heyes said as he ran his thumb over Laurie's lips and then kissed her passionately. Upon releasing her, both he and Kid signed the papers to the cheers of those there.
The papers were signed and the children were running around playing with Sam as the adults talked. Laurie sat on the side of the porch taking everything in. Margaret walked over to her. "That's a lovely necklace you are wearing Mrs. Heyes," she said.
Laurie reached up and touched the heart Heyes had given her. "Thank you and it's Laurie."
"Laurie, I want to thank you," she said.
"I didn't do anything," Laurie responded.
"Yes, you did," Margaret said and looked over towards Heyes who was talking to her husband. ‘And she can cook’ Margaret heard her husband boast as he exuberantly shook Heyes' hand. She giggled and turned back to Laurie, "I saw the telegram you sent to him, telling him to go after us."
Laurie looked curiously at Margaret.
"Oh, he doesn't know."
"I found the telegram on the floor. I believe he kept it in his shirt pocket during the day and under his pillow at night."
Laurie listened intently.
Margaret smiled at her. "He loves you so much. He never told me your name, nor did he tell me he was married but I would see him sit by the fire every night rubbing the heart charm, the one that looks like your necklace, between his fingers. He would stare into the flames and you could see he was a million miles away. If you hadn't sent that telegram, I'm sure he would have come home to you instead of looking for us." She paused, "He didn't know you were carrying his child did he?"
"No," Laurie said. "I found out after he left. I found out the same day I received the telegram saying he hadn't made it down the mountain."
"I'm sorry my family kept him from you."
"I'm not. You're all safe and because of you he has his amnesty. So I have to thank you."
"Dear," Mr. Brewster called out to his wife as he walked over to the Governor.
Margaret raised her eyebrow "Excuse me," she said smiled and turned towards her husband.
Heyes had seen Laurie and Margaret talking. After talking to Mr. Brewster he walked over and sat down beside Laurie, "Are you okay Mrs. Heyes?" he asked.
"Better than okay, Mr. Heyes," she said, leaning her head against his shoulder.
Heyes placed his hand on her belly, "The baby?"
"He's doing good too," she smiled.
Heyes lifted an eyebrow at her.
"With all the trouble he's been giving me, it has to be a boy," she said with a twinkle in her eyes as a smile spread ear to ear.
Rachael was running through the adults playing hide and seek with her brother when she spotted Heyes and Laurie sitting on the side of the porch. She ran over to them. "So Joshua," Rachael said as she squirmed between Heyes and Laurie. "This is your wife?"
Rachael looked Laurie over and smiled. "He missed you a lot," she said matter-of-factly.
Tears immediately filled Laurie's eyes as she pressed her lips together and smiled.
"He never admitted it but then he's a man," she sighed. Turning to Heyes, "I guess I can't marry you now."
Heyes smiled and shook his head.
"She must make you very happy."
"She does," Heyes smiled and reached over to hold Laurie's hand.
"Hmmm," Rachael sighed again. Looking at Laurie, "Does he make you happy?"
Laurie was still too choked up from the earlier comment to speak so she just nodded her head.
Rachael turned her head between the two of them, "Well you do look like you belong together. I'll have to find me another husband. You know I am five now and I have to start to think about these things." She jumped off the stoop and stopped. "Do you know if you're having a baby boy or baby girl?"
"No," Laurie squeaked out, still trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears as one fell down her face.
"Well if it's a boy, maybe he'll be my husband when he gets older," she chirped.
Laurie giggled as she watched the little girl dance away. "Wise beyond her years."
Heyes chuckled, "You have no idea!" Heyes looked over at Laurie. Reaching over he cupped her face in his hand and then gently wiped the tear off with his thumb.
Closing her eyes, she leaned into his hand.
Heyes moved closer, pulling her into a hug.
"Kid was right," she said. Heyes loosened his hold enough to look in her eyes. "She does have you wrapped around her finger." She smiled up at him as Heyes chuckled and then leaning in, kissed her.
"Hey," Kid said as he walked over to them. "I haven't had a chance to kiss the bride."
She smiled and stood up. Kid pulled her into a hug and kissed her cheek. "I'm so happy for you Jed," she said.
Kid looked down at her, "Everythin' okay with you and the baby?"
She nodded her head yes.
"Good, I don't want anythin' happenin' to my..." he paused trying to figure out the relationship.
"Well you may not officially be Heyes’ brother but you are in everyway that counts so that would make you Uncle Jed."
"Uncle Jed," he said and nodded his head in approval.
"Now it's your turn," Laurie said.
Kid looked confused.
"It's your turn to get married."
Kid stared at her.
"Sarah," Laurie prodded.
"Sarah?" Kid said and stepped back. "How's she gonna take this? I mean I was going to tell her." Turning to Heyes, "We just talked about me tellin’ her the other day. I didn't get a chance. What if she won't see me anymore?"
"Kid," Laurie said, "Jed, Sarah loves you, not the name."
He looked at her.
"All you have to do is explain it to her. I'm sure she'll understand."
At that moment, the three of them, along with the rest of the group noticed a cloud of dust coming towards them from town. As they got closer they could see Walter, Doris and Sarah in the lead. "Well, no better time than the present," Heyes said as he patted Kid's back.
Kid took a deep breath. The group pulled up and Sarah jumped down from the wagon as Walter helped Doris. She ran over to meet Kid, "Is it true? Is the Governor here?"
"Yes, he's here," he responded.
"Then you got it?" she asked anxiously.
Kid tilted his head at her.
"You got your amnesty?"
"Wha...How..hu?" was all Kid could manage.
"You knew?" Heyes said as he and Laurie walked up next to Kid while Walter and Doris joined Sarah.
"Of course," Sarah said as she rolled her eyes. "I think just about everyone in town knows."
Heyes, Kid and Laurie looked dumbfounded.
"Oh come on. The two of you disappear anytime the law comes through town. Laurie has an inquisition anytime anyone new comes into town. The Sheriff took down the wanted posters and Laurie and the Sheriff left to identify Hannibal Heyes last year. How dense do you think we all are?"
The three of them looked at each other and laughed.
"Well that and the fact that Laurie called out for Han and Jed a few times when she was really sick."
Laurie shrugged meekly.
"Oh and Mr. Quimby was on a train you robbed so he recognized you."
"You never said anythin’," Kid said.
"No one ever said anything," Heyes said.
"We figured it was better not to say anything just in case the wrong person overheard," Sarah explained looking at Heyes. Turning to look at Kid she said, "I figured you would say something when you were ready."
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," Kid said meekly. "I wanted to, I was gonna."
"It's okay. I understand. I thought you were going to tell me the other night when Joshua walked in," she said smiling at Kid.
He reached out and held her hands. "I was," he said quietly as everyone else seemed to vanish as they looked into each other's eyes. "I wanted to tell you but I didn't want you to be in danger and I was afraid of loosin’ you."
"I know. You could never lose me," she whispered as she returned his gaze, a tear running down her face.
Stepping closer, he wiped the tear off with his thumb. "Hey, none of that," Kid said softly.
"I'm just so happy for you," she said as he pulled her into a passionate kiss.
The rest of the day streams of people poured back and forth from town. Doris and Sarah handled organizing all the food, drinks and gifts that the people of Small Falls brought as an impromptu party broke out on the lawn. There was music, singing, dancing, laughter and a lot of food. Even the Governor stayed and partook in the festivities. Heyes and Kid were taken aback by the generosity and acceptance of who they were by the town. Although they never spoke about it, they always wondered what would happen if they found out the truth.
Heyes and Kid were finally able to break free of all the people and went to sit in the rocking chairs on the side porch. Heyes sat down and looked out at the lawn and chuckled. Kid turned to look at him. "It's amazing Kid," he said. "I always thought we were so careful and here they all knew!"
"Yeah," Kid replied as he shook his head. "I can't believe it. I always wondered if we would be able to settle down after we got our amnesty."
Heyes turned and raised his eyebrow at Kid.
"That's not what I mean. You know, I wondered if people would give us a chance or if we would always have to live in the past."
"Awful lot of thinking Kid," Heyes teased.
Kid tilted his head and glared at him.
"Easy to rile too," Heyes chuckled as he took a puff of the cigar he just lit. "I know what you meant and yeah, I was worried too. I was afraid we might have to leave Small Falls and I've kinda gotten used to it being our home."
"Yep," Kid sighed as he took a puff of his cigar.
"You know you're not getting off that easy ‘bout the settling down part either."
Kid turned and looked at Heyes, "Don't ya think I should let the fact that I'm Kid Curry sink in a little bit?"
"She didn't seem to mind," Heyes replied as he puffed on his cigar and tilted his head back blowing the smoke into the air. "Think it sunk in pretty good by that kiss you gave her in front of the whole town."
Kid smiled and puffed his cigar. "Yeah maybe it has," he chuckled.
Sarah walked up to Kid and Heyes. "You two look comfortable," she said smiling mostly at Kid. "Do you know where Laurie is?"
"She's sleeping on the sofa in the den," Heyes replied. "This is a bit much for her."
Sarah nodded and continued to look at Kid.
"Well," Heyes said standing up, "I haven't checked on her in a while, think I'll go do that." He looked over at Kid and Sarah and decided he wasn't going to get a response. Turning he walked into the house.
"Havin' a good time, Thad..." Sarah began to say and stopped. "It's funny," she said, as she giggled, "I don't know what to call you."
"Anythin’ you want," Kid said as he stood up, moving closer to her.
Playfully swatting at his arm Sarah giggled, "You know what I mean. Do I still call you Thaddeus or should I call you Kid or Jed?"
Kid tilted his head and smiled in surprise when she knew his real name.
"What," Sarah blushed, "You didn't think I knew your real name?"
"Well most people only know me as Kid Curry."
"Do you kiss most people like you do me?" she asked gazing into his eyes.
"No," he said very softly, moving even closer to her. "I don't kiss anyone like I kiss you."
Sarah's eyes widened and she pursed her lips.
"Let me rephrase that," Kid smiled as he moved within inches of her. "I don't kiss anyone but you." He leaned in and gave Sarah a soft kiss that gradually became more intense and passionate.
A month had past since their amnesty came through. Heyes and Kid were the most popular people in Small Falls and kept Mr. Quimby extremely busy at the telegraph office. After their amnesty hit the newspaper everyone that Heyes and Kid had ever helped sent telegrams with congratulations. There were so many Mr. Quimby ended up closing the telegraph office down early every night just so he could get out to the ranch to deliver them and still make it home on time for dinner.
Laurie was once again on bed rest. The few weeks of getting better, quickly turned back into her getting violently ill. The doctor thought there might have been too much excitement and she was doing too much or maybe it was just that it was getting close to delivery time. Still in the back of the doctor's and everyone else's mind was the fact that this was what happened both other times they feared she would lose the baby. It was becoming increasing difficult for Laurie to eat; even the tea and biscuit no longer did the trick. Sarah was coming out to the ranch early every morning and not leaving until Jed would take her home after dinner.
Heyes rolled over in bed and looked at Laurie. She was finally sleeping peacefully. She had been up most of the night. He was becoming increasingly worried about her. He watched and listened to her steady breathing for a few minutes and then he quietly got up, gathering his clothes, he left the room.
As he was buttoning his shirt he walked into the kitchen. Seeing Kid pouring a cup of coffee he said, "You're up early."
Kid turned and handed him the cup.
"Thanks," Heyes said taking a sip.
"Thought I would start getting the barn ready for the horses Soapy is sending as an amnesty present," Kid replied and then looked at Heyes. "You look horrible, everything okay?"
"Laurie was up most of the night again," Heyes said quietly.
Kid gave Heyes a tight smile as he watched his partner finish getting dressed. "I'll go get the doc after Sarah gets here. Have him come out to check Laurie."
Heyes smiled tightly back at Kid and gave him a small nod.
"She'll be okay Heyes," he said as he walked over placing his hand on Heyes' shoulder. "I promise. They'll both be okay."
"Thanks, Kid," Heyes replied. "Well she's sleeping now, might as well get to the barn. Sarah will be here soon."
Laurie rolled over and opened her eyes. She looked around the room and tried to focus. "Han," she called out quietly as her mouth was too dry to call out loudly. She licked her lips and tried again, "Han." She still couldn't project her voice very far and therefore got no response. She looked around the room and then reached for the glass by the side of her bed. Empty, she sighed and slowly sat up. A shooting pain ran across her belly through her back. She sat for a minute and just breathed slowly hoping the pain would stop. After a minute she inched her way to the side of the bed and swung her feet over the edge. Standing up, she quickly grabbed the bedpost as the room began to spin. She closed her eyes for a minute and then willed herself to walk towards the pitcher on the dresser. Empty. She sighed and then giggled softly to herself. What else could possibly go wrong? She walked to the bedroom door and opened it. Once again she called out, "Han," but still, no answer. She pulled her robe on and slowly walked to the back stairs.
Carefully holding onto the railing she made her way down to the kitchen. It was empty but since only the screen door was closed, she assumed Heyes and Kid had already gone to work on the barn. She paused to get her breath. Walking to the counter she picked up the pitcher of water just as another stabbing pain shot through her body with such intensity she dropped the pitcher on the floor sending shards of glass everywhere. She grabbed her belly. As she began to double over she reached for a chair to steady herself but instead pushed it forward into the table sending the contents of the table crashing onto the floor as the chair hit with a thud, she landed on her side trying to protect the baby.
Heyes and Kid were talking in the entrance to the barn. Heyes turned towards the house, "Did you hear that Kid?" Before Kid had a chance to respond Sam came running from the side of the house barking like crazy, heading for the kitchen door. A look of sheer panic raced across Heyes' face. He yelled, "Laurie!" as he sprinted towards the house with Kid half a step behind him. Sam was jumping and barking at the kitchen screen door when they arrived. Heyes threw open the door and spotted Laurie lying on the floor holding her stomach.
"I'll get the doctor," Kid yelled as he quickly turned and ran to his horse.
Sam pushed into the room and carefully walked around the broken glass strewn all over the floor. Heyes rushed to Laurie's side, "Sweetheart," he cried out as he reached her.
"Heyes," she cried, tears pouring down her face. "It's too early, it's too early."
"Sshh, it's okay," Heyes said trying to sound calm although on the inside he was full of panic. "Kid went to get the Doc Williams. What happened?"
"Pain," was all she could say as another shot raced through her body and she screamed out.
"Alright, I'm going to pick you up and get you to the den."
"Upstairs, Han, please, upstairs," she said in between heavy breaths.
He picked her up and carried her up to the bedroom.
Kid saddled his horse and was on his way to town with lightning speed. As he rounded the first bend from the house he saw Sarah coming towards him in her carriage. "Sarah," he said pulling his horse up, "It's Laurie. She collapsed on the floor. I'm going for the Doc, go help Heyes." She nodded and whipped her horse to urge it on as fast as it could go as Kid kicked his horse continuing into town.
Barreling through town, Kid yelled for Doc Williams. As he pulled up in front of the office the doctor was coming out bag in hand. "Heard you yelling," he said to Kid, "Is it Laurie?"
"We found her on the floor of the kitchen," Kid replied. "Heyes is with her and I told Sarah to go help out."
"Alright," Doc said mounting his horse, "Let's not waste any more time." The two kicked their horses and were off flying through town.
Doris was standing on the porch as the two flew by. She turned and ran into the hotel yelling for Walter. "Walter, Thaddeus and the Doctor just raced through town. Something must be wrong with Laurie, I have to get to her."
Walter walked calmly over to his wife and said, "Relax, I'm sure Laurie is alright." Seeing the distress in her face he added, "Just to make sure, I will take you out there."
Sarah arrived at the ranch and quickly ran to the kitchen door. As she swung open the screen door she gasped seeing the broken glass and disheveled appearance of the room. She called out, "Joshua, Heyes, Laurie."
"Up here," he called out.
She made her way across the floor and to the stairs in a flash. As she reached the bedroom door Laurie screamed out. Heyes held her hands as Laurie squeezed them. He turned to look at Sarah, she caught a glimpse of fear in his eyes before he closed them and regained his composure. "I passed Jed on the way to town," she said. Looking at Laurie, "The baby?"
Laurie shook her head, "It's too early."
"Well, guess he's impatient," she said smiling at Laurie trying to remain composed. Turning to Heyes, "I'm going to go put some water on the stove. Take Laurie's robe off and take the blankets off the bed. When I come back you can help me get the extra sheets under Laurie. Jed should be back with the Doctor soon."
Heyes nodded at her and was thankful he had someone else there to tell him what to do.
Kid and the doctor reached the ranch in record time. They reached the bedroom just as the extra sheets had been placed on the bed and Laurie was once again squeezing Heyes' hands as pain shot through her body once again. "Well," the doctor said calmly as he walked into the bedroom. "You did a good job getting everything ready." Turning to Laurie, "Looks like the little one wants to make an appearance."
"It's too early," she cried out again.
"Well, you know, they kind of tell us when they're ready, not the other way around." Turning to Kid and Sarah, "Thaddeus, if you could excuse us, I need to examine Laurie. Sarah, I think I saw water on the stove, if you could bring it up."
They nodded and left.
He turned to Heyes, "Joshua," he paused, "Heyes," he paused again. "Still can't get used to calling you that. Anyway, I think I might need you here."
Heyes' eyes grew wide.
"Don't worry. I just think right now it would be good for you to hold Laurie's hands and talk to her. Try to get her to relax a little while I examine her. Okay?"
Heyes nodded and turned his eyes towards Laurie's. For the first time since he picked her up in the kitchen he noticed the terrified look on her face. Trying as hard as he could to stay calm and to reassure Laurie he smiled at her. "I'm here Sweetheart," he said. "Everything is going to be alright. Just keep looking at me."
She tried looking at him and then her eyes would dart back to the doctor as he began his examination.
The doctor finished his examination and looked up at the two of them. "Well, just as I expected," he said as they both stared wide-eyed at him. "Looks like you two will be parents in no time."
A combination of fear and joy erupted inside Heyes. The baby wasn't due for another month but he was going to be a father. Oh my, he was going to be a father; he had no idea what to do!
Laurie saw the reaction on Heyes' face and smiled as if reading his mind. "You'll be the best father ever," she said and smiled. She started to reach up to stroke the side of his face when another wave of pain hit her and she screamed out again.
Sarah and Kid reached the kitchen together. Sarah grabbed the one pot and headed back towards the stairs. "What should I do?" Kid called out standing there feeling rather lost.
"Put another pot on the stove and then you can clean up the kitchen," she said and headed back upstairs.
Kid nodded and looked at Sam who was sitting at the bottom of the stairs looking up. "Guess it's you and me boy," Kid said to him as he filled another pot with water. Sam barked his reply. Kid chuckled and went to work cleaning up the glass.
Just as Kid finished, Walter and Doris arrived. He filled them in on what was happening and when he was done, they heard a small cry come from upstairs. Smiles and tears filled their faces and they hugged.
"Well, Heyes," Doc Williams said as he wrapped the baby in a clean sheet. "Do you have a name picked out for him?"
Heyes smiled from ear to ear as he looked lovingly at Laurie. "I want to name him after his father," she said.
She smiled back at him, "I know you aren't thrilled with the name Hannibal, so how about if we call him Joshua?"
The smile returned to Heyes' face, "You sure?"
Laurie nodded and said, "Joshua Jedediah Heyes."
Heyes leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips and she yelled out. Heyes shot up to a sitting position as his head whirled around to look at the doctor. "Doc?" he asked anxiously. "What's wrong?"
The doctor handed baby Joshua to Sarah and examined Laurie again. Looking up at her with a shocked expression on his face he said, "Looks like we aren't done yet!"
"What!" Heyes and Laurie exclaimed.
"Guess this is why you've been so sick," the doctor said matter of factly. Turning to Sarah, "I'll need some more water."
She nodded, handed the baby to Heyes and ran out the door. Running into the kitchen she yelled out, "Need more water," she said as she grabbed the pot.
"The baby?" Kid asked.
"It's a boy," Sarah yelled as she passed through the kitchen again. Running up the stairs she yelled over her shoulder, "Laurie's not done yet."
Walter, Doris and Kid looked at each other in shock. "Did she just say she's not done yet?" Kid asked.
A short time later the cries of another baby were heard. Heyes' eyes filled with tears as he looked at Laurie. He leaned over and kissed her forehead, "You were amazing," he said.
She looked back at him with tears in her eyes.
"So do we have a name?" the doctor asked.
"No, we really only talked about boy names," Heyes said looking at Laurie.
She gazed back at him as the doctor handed him his daughter. "Hannah, short for Hannibal?" she said with a question in her voice.
Heyes twisted his face a little as he looked at her.
"You're right she doesn't look like a Hannah."
He smiled a smile that Laurie had never seen before. The best smile in the entire world, it went ear to ear and all the way up to his eyes lighting up the room and her heart.
"How about Hope?" she said. "I thought about it when you were gone. I always talked to the baby and said that he, well I guess they were, my hope; my hope that you would be home. She brought you home to me."
Heyes nodded, "I like that. Hope Heyes."
Laurie shrugged, "At least you have the same initials."
Heyes chuckled and looked at Joshua lying in the cradle next to the bed. "Guess we're going to have to get Walter to make us another cradle." The two of them gazed at each other and the babies as everything else in the world vanished.
After a few moments lost in his family, Heyes was aware the doctor was still working on Laurie. He turned and looked at him. "There aren't any more in there are there?" he asked with trepidation in his voice.
The doctor looked up and smiled. "No, no more babies. Just finishing taking care of Laurie."
"She's okay, right?" he asked anxiously.
Doc Williams turned to Sarah, "Sarah, why don't you give the good news to Thad, I mean Kid. Tell him I'll let him know when he can come up."
Sarah nodded and he continued. "If you could take some of the dirty linens down with you, I would appreciate it. Make it a little nice for when he comes up."
Sarah smiled at him and gathered the used sheets and then left.
Doc Williams stood up and walked over to the head of the bed. He smiled at the family and pulled up a chair. "You did really good Laurie. I know how difficult this was, from carrying the babies through the birth."
"Doc, you're scaring me a little," Heyes said as he became worried.
The doctor turned and looked at Heyes, "Laurie should never have been able to have children. Actually seeing the scarring she has, I can't believe she carried them for so long. It is a miracle. But," he paused, "she and the babies aren't completely out of the woods just yet."
The smile on Heyes' face vanished and was replaced by a look of fear.
Laurie squeezed his hand tightly.
"Laurie," the doctor continued as he looked at her, "because of the scarring there was much more bleeding than expected. I'm sure you felt the pressure and the pulling."
"I've stopped the bleeding best I can for now."
"Laurie?" Heyes asked feeling his world begin to crumble.
The doctor put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "She's young and proven to be very strong willed," he smiled at her. "I think she is out of immediate danger but the next few days could be tricky. She will need absolute bed rest." He looked sternly at Laurie. "And I'm afraid," he paused as he looked at Joshua and Hope, "These two miracles will be the only children you have." He turned to look at Heyes and Laurie, "With all the bleeding and troubles you had, I had to stitch you up. I don't believe you will be able to have any more children." He paused and chuckled, "But then I didn't think these two were possible either."
Laurie nodded as tears filled her eyes.
Heyes looked at her and stroked the side of her face. "Sshh," he said gazing into her eyes. "Doc, they look awfully small."
"I need to talk to you about them too," he said and put his hand up in front of him. "Don't worry, I have no reason to believe they won't be anything but perfect but I still need to tell you. You're right Heyes, babies usually aren't this small. They probably don't even weigh five pounds."
Laurie gasped slightly, worry etched on her face.
"It doesn't mean they won't grow up to be big and strong but it does mean that they will need to be watched very carefully until they start to put on weight. As you both know, they were anxious to come into the world and they arrived earlier then we expected," the doctor continued talking.
"They take after their father, always the unexpected" Laurie interjected.
Heyes smiled at her.
Doc Williams chuckled. "Well that's possible but it's also not unusual for twins to come early."
"Doc, you mentioned when you realized that Laurie was having twins that that's why she was so sick." Heyes said.
"Yeah, well twins have a habit of playing games with some women's insides. I think that and as I said, Laurie's fight against the odds to carry the children, caused her to be so ill." He smiled at both of them. "I'm fairly positive all will resolve itself within a couple of days." Standing up he said, "Heyes it is very important to make sure Laurie eats. She is eating for three." He smiled and patted Heyes' shoulder, "Well, I think it's time we introduce these bundles to the rest of the world."
Leaning over, Heyes kissed Laurie lightly and then stood up, "Thank you doc, for everything." Heyes enthusiastically shook his hand.
"Just one of the better parts of my job," he replied and squeezed Laurie's hand that she held up to him. "How about if I tell Kid he can come up?"
"Thank you," Laurie said smiling.
Heyes sat down on the bed next to Laurie and leaned his forehead on hers. Gazing into her eyes he said, "You done good Mrs. Heyes, real good," he lifted his head and then dipped it for a soft kiss. Two minutes later they could hear Kid bounding up the stairs. They both chuckled.
Kid knocked lightly on the door and peeked his head in. "Come on in partner," Heyes said as he stood up.
Kid's eyes grew wide with amazement as he looked at Laurie and the two new additions. He walked so quietly he was almost tip toeing across the room to Laurie. "Everyone?" was all he could get out and grabbed Heyes in a big bear hug.
"Everyone's doing great," Heyes responded.
Kid released him and looked at Laurie, she looked well but exhausted. Afraid to touch her or go near her he didn't know what to do. "I won't break," she said to him as if she read his mind.
He smiled and grabbed the hand she was reaching towards him, kissing it.
Heyes bent down and picked up one of the babies. Standing up he said, "Kid, I'd like to introduce you to Joshua Jedediah Heyes. JJ," he looked at Laurie and shrugged.
She smiled back at him.
"I'd like you to meet your Uncle Jed." Heyes looked at Kid.
Kid's face sagged.
"Just use both hands and cradle him softly." Heyes' smile got bigger and slightly mischievous as he added, "Just handle him like you use to handle nitro!"
Kid's eyes grew big as he took the little bundle in his arms.
"Wow, he's so small," he whispered. "And he's already a big brother. I bet he'll look after his sister just like his pa looked after me."
Laurie looked at the two ex-outlaws and tears of joy filled her eyes.
"We've come so far," Kid said to Heyes who was now holding Hope.
"That we have," Heyes replied. "This little bundle is Hope," Heyes said as he showed her to Kid.
Kid stuck his finger out and she grasped it. His eyes filled with tears as he looked down at Joshua and Hope. "I'm your Uncle Jed," he said so quietly it was almost a whisper. "I'll always be here for you." A tear trickled down his face. "I'm gonna teach you all the right things."
"That you will, partner," Heyes said sounding choked up.
"Doris and Walter are here too," Kid said after a few minutes. "Maybe we should introduce them to the family."
"Sounds like a plan," Heyes said.
Doris, Walter and Sarah came upstairs to greet the new arrivals.
Walter said he would start on a new cradle as soon as they got back to the hotel.
Sarah stayed all day. After dinner Kid told her he would take her home. She looked deep into his blue eyes and said, "I'll be spending the night."
Kid looked a little shocked.
"There are plenty of bedrooms upstairs. I want to be here in case I'm needed."
Kid asked, "What about your reputation? You know stayin’ in the same house as me before we are married."
"The babies and Laurie are much more important than my reputation," she said and then Kid's words registered with her. "Before?" Sarah gasped.
Kid wrapped his arms around her and looked into her eyes, "Yeah, well, I'm just sayin’," he hesitated slightly and then continued. "Well, if sometime in the near future I have a chance to get to town and possibly buy a ring. And then am able to talk to your father and he doesn't shoot me and he says okay. Well then, if I come back to you and perhaps ask if you would be my wife, I just, well, I just wanted to know if I would be crushed by your possible response?"
"You're doing an awful lot of thinking Kid," Sarah joked and Kid's frowned for a second but his eyes continued to twinkle. "Well if all that actually were to happen," she paused, "then no I don't think you would be crushed by my answer."
Kid's smile grew as he picked her up and whirled her around. Placing Sarah back on the floor he said, "I love you," before he pulled her into a deep and passionate kiss.
As they came up for air Sarah said, "I love you too Jedediah Curry."
Kid waited a couple of weeks before he and Heyes ventured into to town to buy a ring. He wanted to make sure Laurie, Joshua and Hope were all well and able to join in the happy occasion. He spoke to Sarah's father and was rewarded with a pat on the back welcoming him to the family instead of a shotgun. He waited for the perfect night for a romantic walk to ask her. Heyes, Laurie and the children waited in the den for their return and broke out a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
On the morning of his wedding, Kid and Heyes stood out on the side porch. "To think our whole future changed only a couple of months ago," Kid said.
"Yep," Heyes said patting his partners back. "Pretty amazing. Laurie and the twins are doing great. You're getting married. The horses Soapy sent are unbelievable. We broke ground on the saloon." Heyes paused, "Never thought life could be this good again Kid."
"Me either Heyes," Kid said as he turned to look at Heyes. "Think we did our parents proud?"
"Yeah Kid, I think they're real proud of us now," Heyes said pulling him into a bear hug. "Now let's get you to the church so we can complete our family.”