Chapter Twenty-Seven

18.1K 704 88

"I can feel you watching, I can feel your eyes on me. I can hear you whisper and I just get so weak. I'm a little bit scared, it's been a long time, since I let my guard down and let someone inside. You don't need to wonder cuz tonight you'll get it all. When the night closes in, I'm gonna pull you so close, hold you so tight. Gonna let it all go. You can do what you want, you can take me right here. Cuz i knew from the start, I was gonna love you with all my heart" Sara Evans 'Love you with all my Heart'

Pete walked back into town and swiped his arm over his dirty face. The smoke was rising over the top of the small hill and filling the horizon. Burning the bodies had been the easiest option. No one had wanted to work at getting a grave made and Pete hadn't felt as if Vincent and his men had deserved one.

He had watched the bodies burn and only left when smoking ashes was all that remained. Now he needed to get a bath at the hotel and then go home to Kaitlyn. He didn't want to go back to her smelling like burnt flesh and blood.

A familiar voice came to his ears as he entered town.

"Edmund, have you seen Pete? Is he okay?" Kaitlyn asked desperately.

"He's just fine…."

"Kaitlyn?" Pete called. Kaitlyn turned and Pete's eyes drank in the sight of her like a man stranded in the desert would drink in an oasis. She looked tired. There was blood on the skirt of her dress below her jacket and her hair was a mess but she was beautiful.

"Pete." she gasped and she ran toward him, slipping and sliding in the mud. Pete quickly closed the distance and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her feet off the ground and swinging her around and around in a circle.

"God, Kaitlyn, you sure are a sight for sore eyes." he said as he squeezed her tightly.

"So are you." she replied as he sat her back on her feet and she stared up at his face. She laid hand over his scarred cheek and smiled. "I was so scared when you didn't come back with everyone else."

"I'm sorry I worried you. I just wanted to stay in town and make sure no one had gotten hurt."

"I know. You're a good man." Pete smiled and slid her hair behind her ear.

"How is everyone?"

"They're going to be fine. Pa broke a rib so he's going to be as mean as a bear for a while and uncle Duke broke his shoulder so he'll probably be growling a little too." Her eyes narrowed. "Pa told me that you got shot in the arm."

Pete pulled his arm out of his coat to show her the scratch from the bullet.

"Nothing serious." he promised. He laughed as his doctor wife inspected the wound and then nodded. "I guess I oughta be getting you back to the house before darkness starts to fall."

"Actually…." Kaitlyn bit her lip and suddenly looked shy. Pete frowned and tilted her face up as he slid his coat back on.

"Actually what?"

"I told everyone not to worry about us because we might get a hotel room for the night." Pete damn near swallowed his tongue.

"R…Really?" he managed to croak around the dryness that was suddenly grasping his throat.

"Yes." Kaitlyn whispered before biting her tiny bottom lip. That was Pete's undoing. He grabbed her by the hand and led her toward the hotel. His feet became tangled in one another in his excitement and nervousness and he fell face first into the mud. Kaitlyn gasped but Pete came up laughing, his face dripping with mud and his eyes the only bit of him visible beneath the brown.