You stacked another pack of tobacco on the shelf. It has been two months since the incident with Antonio and your Pa had opened a much needed drug store in Dodge City instead of working on a farm like he planned. You smiled and stacked another pack. You seemed to not be able to stop smiling since then. You thought about Alfred. Your stomach fluttered as you thought about your cowboy. He still was a bounty hunter and he helped protect men on roundups every once in a while. He was going to be back soon from helping a roundup group from Texas. You put the last pack up and checked the sugar supply. You frowned. You needed to tell your Pa to buy more sugar next time you saw him.
You wiped your face with your handkerchief. It still felt like a furnace. You decided that you hated summers in Kansas now. Between the bugs and the heat you didn't know which one you hated more. You sighed and ladled some water into a cup and took a sip. A woman dragging a little girl behind her walked into the store. "Good mornin'." she said cheerfully. You smiled. "Hello Abigail, how are you?" you asked. You like the woman. She was around your age and she was a good friend. She smiled back and said, "Very good ________. But Missy is being fussy today, aren't you?" She looked down at her daughter. Missy shook her head, causing her curly ginger hair to bounce. You giggled and reached into the candy jar. "Here you go." you said as you held out a piece of candy. "Oh ______, you don't have to!" Abigail said.
You shook your head and let Missy take the candy from your hands. "It's fine Abigail, besides she was eyeing that candy from the minute she walked in here." you said with a laugh. Abigail giggled. "Well, you need some children to give candy too. When is your Alfred going to get things done and carry you to the church? He should have done it by now!" she said with a wink. You felt your face heat up. "A-Abigail!" "Well it's true! I see how he looks at you!" she laughed. Missy was toddling around the store by then and looking at the little toys on the shelf next to the door.
You looked at your hands and smiled. "See, I know you two love each other! Y'all need to get to that steeple and get hitched already! I need to have my next baby to have a friend!" she said as she gently shoved your shoulder with one hand and rubbed her belly in the other. She was two months pregnant. You laughed and stepped from behind the counter. "What did you need Abigail?" She grinned and walked over to the fabrics. "I was thinkin' this one. Missy needs a new dress and the roundup was good this year so Adam can't complain." she said as she fingered a bright blue fabric with flowers on it. You grinned. Adam and Abigail were the sweetest couple you have ever seen. You couldn't see Adam stopping Abigail from doing what she wanted to do anyway.
"Alright, how much do you think you need?" you asked, starting to unroll the fabric. She told you the length and you cut her some fabric. "And I would like some flour too." she said as you carried the bolt of fabric to the counter. You nodded and scooped some flour into a sack. "Here you go Abigail. That will be two dollars." "What?! You're nickel and diming me ______!" Abigail said with a smile. You shrugged. The country was still in an economic slump and everything was strange when it came to money now. "I'm sorry Abigail. I hate doing this to people." She waved it off. "It's not your fault dear. The government just needs to get its act together!" she said with a frown. You nodded in agreement. You suddenly heard the pop of a gun. "What in the world?!" Abigail shouted. She grabbed Missy's hand and pulled her to her. You walked over to the doorway and looked out.
You yelped as a bullet ricocheted off the frame next to your head. You slammed the door shut and took deep breaths. You honestly didn't know how you didn't get shot by now. You prayed a quick prayer and looked out the window. The sheriff and two other law enforcement men were hiding behind corners and barrels while they shot at some other men. The men were wearing bandanas over the lower half of their faces and they were holding sacks of what you assumed was money.
You frowned and sat on the floor and leaned against the wall. "Tarnation! More outlaws?!" Abigail shouted as she sat next to you and pulled Missy to her. You nodded and crawled over to the back of the counter again. You opened a cabinet and you pulled out one of Alfred's pistols. He always made you keep one near you now. He said that you needed it with your luck. You had to agree with him. You crawled back over to Abigail and cocked it. You took a deep breath and looked out the window again. The men were still in a furious showdown and more men had joined by then.
Missy started to cry. Abigail held her close and started to make hushing noises. You scowled. You hated seeing children cry, and for such a stupid reason too. You heard surprised yelps from the men and looked outside. You gasped. Alfred was in the fray, along with Adam and other cowboys. Alfred was hiding behind the Saloon door frame. He reached out and shot. One outlaws gun flew out of his hand. Alfred shot again. Another gun flew. "Damn! It's the Best Shot in the West!" one of the outlaws yelled. They hid behind posts and barrels and started to aim for him. You bit your lip in worry.
Alfred disappeared into the saloon. The gun fight went on furiously. The glass of the window frame broke as a bullet flew through it. You and Abigail yelped and covered up Missy. You looked out of the window again. Alfred was running across the street now, shooting at the outlaws. Most of them fell. Your heart swelled with pride. You knew Alfred could be the hero anytime. The last outlaw standing tried to run. Alfred threw away his now empty pistol and unhooked his whip. He lashed out with the whip. The whip caught around the man's wrist and Alfred tugged. The man yelped and fell. Alfred brought the whip back and pulled the rifle off his back and pointed it at the man.
The man held up his hands in defeat. The Sheriff came out and handcuffed him. "Thanks again Alfred." he said as pulled the outlaw up. Alfred nodded and said, "Anytime Sheriff." You sighed and sat back down on the floor. Abigail tried to quiet Missy down. "Thank God." Abigail whispered as she kissed her daughters head. You nodded in agreement and said a quick prayer of thanks. The store's door opened and Alfred walked in. He saw you and breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank the Good Lord!" he said as he kneeled down next to you and hugged you. You breathed in his scent and buried your face into his neck. You were so happy that he was safe too. He helped you up and then he helped Abigail. "Thank goodness you came along Alfred." Abigail said as she brushed her dress off. She picked up Missy and kissed her daughters cheek.
Missy had calmed down by then and she waved at Alfred. Alfred waggled his fingers back. Missy smiled. You grinned at the scene. "Abigail!" Adam O'Neil ran in and looked for his wife. Abigail hugged him. The Irishman hugged his wife and ran his hand through is daughters hair. "Who was that?" you asked Alfred. Alfred frowned. "One of the many outlaw gangs I've been after." he said as he slapped his hat against his leg. Adam guffawed. "I thought that you would have caught them all by now Shot." he said. Alfred laughed and said, "I wish!"
You wrapped your arm around his waist and he wrapped his arm around yours. You were so glad that he was safe still. He looked down at you. "Did you get your pistol?" You looked down at your hand in surprise. You were still holding the darn thing. You held it up. He chuckled and hugged you close. "That's my girl." he said before he kissed your temple. Your heart melted. Adam hugged Abigail again and said, "Let's get you girls home." Abigail nodded and looked back at you. "Remember what I said." she teased. You frowned. She laughed and winked as Adam carried Missy out. She picked up her fabric and flour and walked out after him.
"What was she talkin' about?" Alfred asked. You jumped in surprise and said, "O-oh nothing!" You pulled away and went behind the counter to put the pistol back. Alfred laughed and said, "Your stutter says otherwise." He winked and leaned against the counter. "What did she say?" he asked again. You gulped and started to wring your apron in your hands. "S-s-she said that we should just head on over to the ch-church already." you mumbled. Alfred's eyebrows raised and he laughed. He reached over and grabbed one of your hands. "I would if your Pa would let me." he said with a laugh. You grinned. One of your Pa's conditions for Alfred to court you was that he had to court you for six months before you could get married.
You felt your face heat up as Alfred ran his thumb over the back of your hand. You loved the feel of his calloused fingers. "Alfred, are you still going to be a bounty hunter?" you asked. You honestly hated that he still did it. It was dangerous and you didn't want to lose him. His expression softened and he brought your hand to his lips and he kissed your knuckles. "I won't be for long Sweetheart, I promise." he said softly. Your stomach fluttered when he said his nickname for you. He smiled and said, "Well, I gotta get back to the train yard. We gotta load up the cattle still." He leaned across the counter and brought his face really close. "Can I have a kiss goodbye?" You smiled and pecked his lips. He leaned closer. "And a kiss for luck?" You rolled your eyes and kissed him.
He moved his lips across yours and deepened the kiss. You closed your eyes and kissed back. He suddenly pulled back. You opened your eyes and saw that it wasn't Alfred's doing. You laughed as Arthur tightened his headlock around Alfred's neck. "Kissing a young lady in such a way in public! Didn't your mother teach you anything?!" the Englishman growled. Alfred scowled and said in a very bad British accent, "This isn't London you git!" Arthur scowled and said, "Why you!" "Hey, not in my shop!" you yelled as you pointed toward the door. Arthur looked at you in surprise and let Alfred go. "Hurry up you git!" he growled as he stomped out.
Alfred rolled his eyes and tipped his hat to you. You smiled and waved as he walked out. You grinned. You really did love your cowboy.