A week later, Emma was ready to head into town to get supplies. Davey and Maggie sat in the back of the buckboard and Ike and Jimmy were on their horses ready to go.
"Billy, will you come on." Emma said with a smile.
Cody stepped out of the bunkhouse, his hair still a lite green and his skin almost back to the normal color. "I ain't going into town lookin' like this." He muttered.
"Cody, you will come into town and help with supplies or you will get double chores for a week." Teaspoon said with a smile.
Cody thought about that and decided that if he put his hat on and didn't bring notice to his hair maybe he could avoid all the young ladies of Sweetwater, seeing him in this condition. He sure didn't want extra chores. He let out a deep breath and mounted his horse.
Emma pulled the buckboard to a stop in front of Thompkins' store. Ike helped Davey out of the back of the buckboard and handed him his crutches. Cody dismounted just as Penelope Hankins, Olivia Williams and Mary Swanson passed them. Cody smiled at the three lovely ladies as they passed. Jimmy couldn't help himself and reached over flicking Cody's hat off his head and exposing the green locks. The girls laughed as they hurried across the streets.
"Damn it Jimmy that was Penny Hankins, how am I supposed to talk to her now that you done that?" Cody asked picking up his hat, dusting it and putting it back on his head.
While supplies were being loaded, Maggie found herself standing by the black smith shop watching Joe. He was busy cooling some horse shoes, when he finally looked up and saw her, he smiled and waved. His Pa saw him wave and told him to go talk to her. Joe walked out of the shop and looked down the boardwalk.
"Mr. Hickok ain't gonna show up with his gun, is he?" He asked a bit nervous.
Maggie smiled "He is helping with supplies." Her cheeks brightened
Joe looked at the green eyed angel and said "It is nice to see you again. I heard about those men taking you and Davey. I'm glad you're both back safe."
Maggie swallowed and looked down the boardwalk then back into his blue eyes. She wanted to spend time with him and didn't think it was a bad idea to invite him over to the station for dinner. "Would you like to come over for dinner one evenin'?" she asked with a hopeful smile.
"I would have to ask my folks but I think t would be fine. Let me now what night." He answered
"Ok. I'll go ask Emma." She said.
Joe watched her walk down the board walk to where Emma stood outside the General store. He watched her say something to Emma and then Emma looked in his direction and nodded. He watched as she walked back to where he was.
"Emma said tomorrow would be fine if your parents approve." She said with excitement.
"Let me ask my Pa." Joe hurried into the shop to ask his Pa, who nodded.
Maggie felt the excitement as Joe returned and said it was okay.
"I'll see you tomorrow then, is five okay?" She asked
He nodded. He wanted to kiss her again but fear the guns that he knew weren't too far away.
Maggie sat in the back of the buckboard with a smile on her smile on her face. She was excited about tomorrow and couldn't believe she was allowed a second chance.
When the buckboard pulled into the station Lou was dismounting her horse. "Teaspoon I got a letter from the Sinclair's" She said handing him the letter, before helping the others unload the buckboard.
Teaspoon opened the letter and read the words.
Dear Mister Hunter,
I regret to inform you that Robert and I will no longer be able to take in Margaret and David. My husband's business requires us to travel quite a bit and no longer can we supply the stability two children need. Please except our apologies.
Mrs. Ruth Sinclair
Teaspoon let out a staggered breath and handed the note over to Emma as she approached him. He watched her eyes fill with concern as she read the words. "Why would they abandon these children?" She watched as Ike sat on the porch swing tickling Davey. She saw Maggie standing near the barn giggling with Lou about Joe. Emma took a deep breath. "I have cared for orphans before. I'll care for them too." She said with certainty.
Teaspoon never doubted it and knew that life at the station just got a little more exciting.
Lou smiled at Maggie as she listened to the excitement in the girl's voice. "…Then his Pa said it was ok for him to come here for dinner. Oh my, Lou, I am so excited." Then Lou watched as Maggie's smile faded to a nervous grimace "Oh no, what do I fix him? I don't know what he likes."
Lou placed a hand on each of Maggie's shoulder, smiled and said "Mags, just remember one thing. The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I can't cook very well but Emma is teaching me. You and Emma can make anything and Joe will like it." She saw Maggie relax.
The next morning Sam stood on Emma's porch and read the letter that the Sinclair's had sent Teaspoon. He let out a sigh and refolded the letter. Handing it back to Emma, he looked at Teaspoon and asked "What are you wanting to do with them?"
Before Teaspoon could answer Emma spoke "Well Sam, I plan on keeping them. They need stability and love and I certainly don't plan on goin' anywhere anytime soon."
Sam looked from her to Teaspoon who leaned against the porch post. "And you're okay with this?" He asked the older man.
Teaspoon nodded and admitted "They sure do keep us young and the boys do all their chores quicker so they can spend time with Davey. Maggie is a joy to have around. I don't see a problem, Sam."
Sam knew Emma would do this with or with out his help. He smiled in her direction. Teaspoon took that as them wanting to be alone and made himself leave.
Sam reached for Emma. "I will help you any way I can."
"Oh Sam Cain, I know you will." Emma blushed. " I have a dinner to start for a certain young man in town." She finished
Sam looked at her "Are you sure Maggie is ready for this kinda thing? She is barely fifteen."
"Actually Sam, she turns sixteen in two months and it is just dinner in my house under my watchful eyes." Emma smiled at him. Sam smiled back and tipped his hat to her as he walked off her porch. Emma knew Sam would do everything he could to make sure those kids were here where they needed to be.
Ike saw Davey sitting on the porch with his crutches laying beside him. He felt horrible that the boy couldn't get up and play for at least several more weeks. Jimmy came up behind Ike and said "He looks about as sad as a five year old can be."
Ike nodded. Jimmy smiled. "I know something that may cheer him up; you wanna ride with me over to the Myer's farm?"
Ike smiled and saddled his horse. They rode up in front of the Myer's home and dismounted.
"Mornin' Jimmy. Ike." Mr. Myer said shaking their hands. "What can I do for you boys?"
Jimmy smiled and said "We have a young friend of ours that needs a lil friend of his own." Jimmy said
Mr. Myer smiled and said "You heard about the pups? Come on they're out in the barn."
Jimmy and Ike followed the man out to the barn, where they saw the six little pups near their mama. "Take your pick boys."
Ike knelt down waiting to see which pup was the most active. A little brown fluff ball waddled over to him and plopped down in the hay, rolling over to expose his belly. Ike rubbed the puppy's belly and scooped it up into his arms. The puppy started licking his face. "Well I think you sure made a friend" Mr. Myer said with a laugh.
Jimmy reached up and scratched the pup behind its ears. "It's all fur, are you sure there's a dog in there?" He asked. Ike had to agree it looked like one little ball of fur with two eyes.
Mr. Myer laughed again. "That's what my wife said." Ike nodded and even though he was holding the squirming pup he signed. "Davey will like him."
Jimmy agreed. "Thanks Mr. Myer."
As they arrived back at the station, Jimmy noticed Davey hadn't moved off the steps. Ike stuck the puppy in his coat to surprise the boy.
"Hey Davey boy, whatcha doin'?" Jimmy asked sitting beside the boy as Ike stood in front of him.
Davey shrugged his shoulders "Nuttin'" He sounded pitiful and it almost broke Jimmy's heart.
"Well I think me and Ike have somethin' that you may like." Jimmy said with a smile, when Davey looked at him he pointed up to Ike who knelt down in front of the boy and pulled out the pup and held it out to him. Davey looked at the puppy with wide eyes, reaching for it.
"Can I keep him?" Davey asked as the dog licked his face.
Jimmy said "Sure, but you gotta take care of him and listen to Emma about him okay."
Davey nodded and nuzzled the small ball of fur closer to him.
Emma heard the excitement and stepped out on to the porch "What is all this ruckus out here?"
Davey turned around on the step and Emma saw the brown pup in his arms, she would have been angry if it hadn't been for the pleading look in the boys eyes. "I don't know which is cuter, your eyes or that puppy." She said
"Can I keep him? Please. I promise to take care of him." He pleaded with his own sad puppy dog face.
She couldn't resist that look "Yes you can keep him." She said.
"Thank you." Davey said full of laughter as the puppy licked his face again.
"Well he needs a name." Ike signed
Whatcha gonna call him?" Jimmy translated.
Davey held the pup up and looked him over. "He looks like a Lucky."
Maggie stood over the stove waiting impatiently for the food to cook. Emma smiled over at the child. "Go set the table in here for you and Joe and I will take this over to the bunkhouse for the others." She told the girl.
Maggie set out the two plates and glasses then set the forks on the table. She had prepared hers and Joe's dinner with a little help from Emma. The others would be eating the same thing; chicken and vegetables with fresh cornbread and cold lemonade. There was also blueberry pie for dessert.
She heard the door open and saw Jimmy escorting Joe into the house. She saw a bit of fear in the boys eyes. "Thank you, Jimmy." She said hoping Jimmy would leave but he didn't.
Joe pulled her chair out for her and she sat down. He sat across from her and looked over at Jimmy who stood by the door, then back at Maggie. "Thank you for inviting me to dinner. It smells good."
Maggie blushed and said "It's just chicken and vegetables. I hope you like it." She started to stand to get the food but jimmy stopped her.
He walked into the kitchen found the pot of food and carried it to the table. He spooned the food onto their plates. He felt a bit ridiculous but he wasn't leaving these two alone to get Emma. He sat the pot back on the stove and retrieved the pitcher of lemonade. He poured it into both glasses then walked back to the kitchen. After sitting the pitcher down he turned around and leaned back against the counter, crossing his arms across his chest as he watched them eat their food.
Joe could barely chew his food and nearly choked as he felt Jimmy's eyes watching him. Maggie was thankful when Emma walked through the door. "There you are Jimmy. You have food in the bunkhouse." She said smiling at Maggie and Joe as she passed them.
Jimmy didn't budge from his post. "James. Leave them too alone and go eat."
He took a deep breath and slowly walked past the two teenagers and out the door. "Don't mind him, you two just eat." She said with a smile. "What do you think of the food Joe?"
Joe blushed and answered "it's very good Ma'am."
"Thank you, but Maggie made it." She said walking back into the kitchen to start on the clean up.
Joe looked at Maggie and wanted to say so many things to her. He had never looked into a girls eyes and been speechless. Her green eyes sparkled like diamonds. He hadn't even realized when Emma had sat the dessert in front of him.
"You don't like blueberry pie?" Maggie asked when he hadn't touched his dessert.
Joe looked a bit confused until he saw the plate in front of him. "uhm.. Yeah I love blueberry pie."
Maggie had seen him looking at her and it made little butterflies fly around in her stomach. He had beautiful blue eyes, they were making her speechless but she was happy he enjoyed his dinner.
The dinner was over faster then Joe would have liked, as he pulled her chair away from the table "Would you like to come to the town carnival with me next week?" He asked hoping she would say yes.
Maggie nodded "I would love to, but I have to ask Emma first. Let me walk you out."
Joe opened the door and followed Maggie out onto the porch. As the moon lit the night and the stars twinkled overhead, Joe dared a simple kiss on her cheek. Maggie felt the tingles from Joe's kiss and almost hated him pulling away. She saw the same red on his cheeks that she was sure he saw on hers.
She watched him walk to his horse and kept watching as he rode off toward his home. Maggie felt things she had never felt before. She wasn't sure if she should be feeling this way. The barking of a dog brought her back to the present as Lucky's little yapping broke through her thoughts as Davey hobbled across the yard on his crutches, followed by the pup and Ike.
"Come on Davey, It's gettin' close to your bed time."She said as she helped him up the steps. She waved to Ike as he turned to go back to the bunkhouse. Lucky followed them into the house as the sounds of the night echoed across the desert.