Saturday, March 31, 2012


When The Lights Go Down, Faith Hill

Author's note: This is a sequel to Sweet Talking.  It occurs during the episode Old Scores in season 2.

This is Part 2 of the Sweetwater Romance series.

Kid sighed as he slumped down against his saddle and grabbed the plate of beans Lou handed him.  He started to smile at her before remembering, remembering she wasn’t his anymore.  Instead, he nodded his thanks and began to shovel the first bite into his mouth so he didn’t have to look at her.  He gagged, nearly spitting the beans back out as fast as he’d spooned them in.  But, his stomach was starting to eat into his backbone so he forced himself to chew and swallow.

“Where’s Cody?” he asked, to have an excuse not to take a second bite.

“Said he’d take first watch for the monster,” Noah answered, a laugh in his voice.

Kid nodded, staring off into the darkness surrounding their makeshift camp, ignoring his plate.  He wished every day could be like this one had been.  It had been so sweet to work with her again.  He’d missed her at his side.  Even now, he could feel Lou seated next to him, nearly bouncing in her seat in excitement at the adventure they’d all undertaken, to find the town’s mysterious monster.

He felt like grabbing her hand to still her exuberant motion, but forced himself to quiet stillness instead.  He had no rights to her anymore.  She’d made that clear.  But today had given him hope that could change.  He’d already decided he couldn’t let things go on the way they had.  He needed to win her back.  Now he felt more sure than ever he still had a chance.  The only question was how to go about it.

The sound of Jimmy spitting out his latest bite of their supper, poked at the edge of Kid’s consciousness, though not as loudly as the woman moving happily beside him.

“What I don’t understand is how a simple can of beans can taste so bad?” Jimmy grumped, tossing a spoonful of said beans into the fire.

“For starters,” Noah commented drily, “you mixing up the mustard and molasses didn’t help.”

Kid chuckled at their antics.  It was no wonder Cody had uncharacteristically offered to skip supper.

“I don’t know, I think it was when the top came off the pepper jar,” he added, picking out a particularly highly seasoned spoonful and tossing it behind him.


Lou stared down into her plate of beans, absentmindedly pushing them around a bit, unwilling to take another bite.

She was tired, physically and mentally, but in a good way.  A smile flirted with the edges of her mouth.  This last day had been the best she’d had in what seemed like forever.  The best since that day in the barn when she’d said that stupid little two letter word.  Today had almost been like before, when they’d all been the best of friends, brothers and sisters, sometimes a bit more.

It had been a long day searching for this monster that spit stinky, greenish slime at people.  But what had kept her energized was the presence of the man at her side.  She snuck a glance at him, pushing the beans around on his own plate, a grimace on his face.

Ever since she’d turned him down, they’d done their best to stay out of each other’s way.  Teaspoon had unwittingly helped, sending them on runs in the opposite direction as much as possible, trying to keep peace in the bunkhouse.  That was until her run to Willow Creek with Jimmy.  After almost getting hung, she’d needed a few days to recover.  Those had been tough, watching Kid mourn over what might have been with that… that… schoolteacher, she mentally sneered, he’d almost gotten himself killed over.

During the days the charade that they were just friends hadn’t seemed so hard, at least as long as they kept their minds on their jobs and sort of pretended the other one simply wasn’t there.  Not really talking, barely interacting, certainly not acting like the friends he’d said they’d be.  But it was getting harder all the time to keep that up.

She missed Kid in ways she’d never expected. His smiling face waiting for her at the end of a run, concern written in his furled brow if she was running late for some reason.  His readiness to help her out with any project or chore.  His simple presence at her side through so many adventures.  Now, even when he was there, he wasn’t.  Not really.  It was… hard.  And she had no one to blame but herself, she thought bitterly.

She’d come to live for those days when she had an overnight run and got to spend the night at another station.  Because it was in the dark, after the lights were gone, that she couldn’t hide from herself any longer.  She had to face the truth of what she’d done, what she’d lost because she hadn’t been able to get past her fears and her pride.  She wished she’d been able to explain herself better to him. Maybe he might have understood, if she’d had the guts to share the complete truth with him.

When the truth is all you have left, you spend a lot of time examining it.  And that had led to too many tears to count.  She flicked her eyes quickly past Jimmy, reminded of her breakdown on that last run with him and shamed by it.  She’d thought she was stronger, one of the boys by now.  But being without Kid had left her weak.  She couldn’t understand it.

At the end of the day, she was left with nothing to do but examine the past.  Her actions.  His.  Trying to figure out what had gone wrong.  It wasn’t just her bed that was empty now, it was her heart and her head.  And that emptiness seared her to the bone and left her questioning everything she’d thought she’d known.  Going another round with herself and her pride.  Should she try to change things?  Fix things?  Or should she just let him walk away?

But these last couple of days had been different.  She’d found herself nearly constantly by his side, the two of them subconsciously reverting to the team they’d become, before.  They’d been so busy, so concentrated on their goal, neither had had a chance to think about their hurt feelings, their mistakes.  Almost by habit they’d fallen into old cadences and behaviors.  It had felt so right.

She took another, tentative, bite of her beans and shook her head in disbelief.  Even she couldn’t have messed up dinner this badly.  Only Jimmy could have ruined the meal worse than she could.

Happily bobbing her stretched out feet back and forth in front of her, Lou looked across the fire at Jimmy and Noah, getting a good look at Kid out of the corner of her eye in the process.  She could see the toll the day’s activities had taken on him in the tightness of his shoulders, hear it in the tone of his voice as he complained about the beans. 

But, he was there, sitting right next to her.  And it had been his choice, his alone.  He’d been acting all day as if they were the best friends they’d been before.  It gave her a sweet sense of hope.  Maybe they could go back to the beginning… maybe they could start all over again.  Maybe… maybe she should write Emma for some advice.  She certainly hadn’t done very well on her own, or following Rachel’s lead.  Time to try….

A sudden howling interrupted her bitter reverie.  Already tense, she immediately reached for her pistol as she began to scan the brush.

“Shhh!” she hushed the others.  “ Cody?  Cody?”


“When the lights go down” Faith Hill

When the lights go down
 And there's nothing left to be
 When the lights go down
 And the truth is all you see

When you feel that hole
 Inside your soul
 Wonder what you're made of
 Well we all find out
 When the lights go down

When the lights go down
 At the end of the day
 With this game that I play
 Has gone another round
 As I lay there alone in this big empty bed
 Nothing but thoughts of you in my head
 I think of the things that I wish I had said
 When you were still around

When the lights go down
 And there's nothing left to be
 When the lights go down
 And the truth is all you see

Sweet Pea


  1. I'm enjoying this series of one shots you are doing, exploring the relationship between Kid and Lou, where they went wrong and what is so right about them being a couple.

  2. Thanks, Wendy. :-) I'm enjoying writing it. Now if Emma would just stop arguing with me over the order of the next two installments! LOL!