Disclaimer: I dont own or profit from this or from these characters. But I do have fun with them now and then.
Comments: Just a little fluff (with a tiny little h/c Im hopeless) about loving and losing. Chris says something nasty to Vin but he redeems himself really, he does. Trust me, I love Chris.
Characters: Vin, Chris
I cant believe he said it.
Pesos probably wonderin what the hell Im doin. I just got him settled for the night a few hours ago, and here we are ridin out again.
Dont feel like stayin in town.
Its no big problem. Lots of worse things been said t me before . . . aint like I care all that much.
Just words is all.
But I still cant believe Chris said it.
He gets that way, sometimes . . . acts like a . . . mule.
Its not that I dont understand. I mean, the mans got his reasons. We all got our reasons.
Even if he thinks my reasons aint as good as his. Hes got no idea what my lifes been like . . . where I been and who I been there with. What Ive lost . . .
Course, thats probably my own doin. Dont share all that much about my life with the others. Chris knows more than any of em, though. I reckon thats why it . . . feels the way it does.
He was drinkin some but he wasnt drunk. Hed had just enough, though . . . enough to be . . . sloppy. You know, feelin kinda loose and easy - not really watchin what y say.
Thats when y say what you really think . . . what you really mean.
It started out all right. I came in from patrol and saw Chris sittin off by himself in the corner. I asked him if I could join him. I always ask. Me and him get on real well, but that dont mean he wants my company all the time. I always ask.
He nodded, but he didnt look up at me. That shouldve been my first clue that he was in a mood. Not that it matters. Hell, between the seven of us, someones about always in a mood. I just let it go over my head . . . aint my business, anyway.
He finally turned his face towards me, as he pushed over the bottle t share . . . and he was lookin kinda sad.
And I felt bad about it . . . hes my friend an all.
"Wanna talk about it, Cowboy?" I asked him. Seemed simple enough.
Well alrighty then. No problem. I took a drink and sunk down in my chair. Felt good t just sit back after puttin in a long day, like I had.
"I was wrong," he said, so quiet that I wasnt real sure that hed spoke at all.
"Bout what?" I asked him, cause I really had no idea.
"I asked Nathan once . . . since hed lost the people he loved, was he sorry he had them?"
I frowned at him, hopin he could see that I wasnt quite followin along, but he was lookin down in his drink.
He went on, "I was thinking I could never feel that way . . . never be sorry that I had em. But I was wrong."
He took a long swig of the whiskey, and I was glad because it gave me time t think what t say.
"You dont mean that, Chris." Probably not as good as Josiah woulda done, but it was . . . direct.
He slammed his drink down on the table and he looked at me and he said, "You know that saying . . . the one about it being better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?"
"Well, its bull shit."
"Chris . . ." I said, but he cut me off.
"Dont even say it, Vin. You wouldnt know. Youve never had anyone. Just dont even say it."
It didnt hurt. They were just words, after all. And he was feelin low and a little . . . loose.
Probably shouldve just walked off after that. But I said the words real soft before I could stop myself. "I do know. Ive lost . . . Ive lost folks that I love, too."
"You were a kid, Vin . . . can you even remember her? Do her face and her voice haunt you every single night?"
No, I thought. But I didnt say it. No, I can hardly remember her face and I sure dont remember her voice - even though I do remember her words.
"Or do you mean Charlotte? Because I dont even think thats worth mentioning, is it?"
Dont know why he brought that up. Dont know why I sat there and listened. He wasnt thinkin right . . . he wouldnt say things like that otherwise.
He shook his head. "You dont even know what love is."
I got up then. Im not sure if it was because he was so wrong or if I was afraid he could be right.
Im not mad at him. He was in a mood. Ill just let it go over my head. But me and Peso will be takin a nice long ride in the meantime.
"Anybody see Vin?" I ask.
"Hes on patrol," Buck answers.
"Since he obviously enjoys the activity so much, far be it from us to encroach upon his pleasure," Ezra says, without looking up from his hand.
Thinking back, I dont recall seeing Tanner for the past two days. Not since the other night . . .
I remember that I was in one of those moods. Some days most days anymore I can deal with it. Sometimes I even feel guilty about that . . . that Ive learned to live so well without them. But other days, I just cant . . . deal with it.
Id been drinking some, but not all that much. I remember spouting off to Vin about loving and losing, or some such nonsense. Im pretty sure I accused him of not understanding, too.
Vin probably wouldnt mind, though. He always has accepted me . . . and my moods. Puts up with me, at any rate.
Still, I wouldnt want to hurt his feelings.
What am I saying? Itd take a whole lot more than a few stray words to run Vin off.
And I suppose the truth is that I believe some of what I said. I dont believe Vin or any of the boys know what its like. None of them can really understand. Nothing compares to that bond between a man and wife . . . or a man and his son.
They dont know what its like.
They dont know what its like to have it . . . and they sure dont know what its like to lose it.
I envy them that . . . envy my friends who dont have to wake up every morning with a hole staring them in face. Sometimes that hole is so deep, that ache is so unbearable that Id do anything to make it go away including not ever having Sarah and Adam in my life to begin with.
Might be wrong to feel that way, but some days I do feel exactly that way.
The other night was one of those days. Vin just showed up at the wrong time, I reckon.
But hell, he knows me. He hasnt been out riding the last two days because of anything I said. He probably got a hankering to get away for a spell he does that every now and then.
Maybe I should say a word or two to him when he comes back, though.
I dont mind bein alone.
Been alone most of my life.
That aint likely t change, either with this bounty on my head.
Sure, Ive got pards t ride with now . . . guess I aint alone in that way. But I wont be havin a wife or a child anytime soon.
Wasnt thinkin too clear with Charlotte. If I really loved her, I wouldnt have asked her t go on the run with me. That just aint fair t any woman. I know that. I just . . . fergot it fer a spell. She had me all worked up . . . not thinkin clear. Guess I was more lonely than I thought.
Youd think Id have learned by now. Youd think Id be used t bein lonely . . . bein alone.
I could live that way again.
If I had to.
You dont even know what love is.
Dont know why that keeps runnin through my head. Just words.
I got better things t think about than love . . . whether I had it or lost it or whatever the hell he was goin on about.
But I do know what it is. I know what I had and what I didnt.
Even if Im not exactly sure that anyone ever loved me.
Its no big problem.
My ma probably did anyway . . . Im sure she did. And whats it really matter? None of us can live in the past. Somebody might want t mention that t Chris.
He aint the only one thats been hurt. He aint the only one that feels alone, sometimes. Somebody might want t mention that t Chris, too.
Wont be me.
I dont mind that I never had it . . . bein loved like that.
Doesnt mean I dont know what it is, does it?
Vin came back.
I didnt have time to talk with him, though. Judge Travis came into town and asked us to run a few errands for him. I offered, since I was feeling the need to get away for awhile.
Josiah came with me. He can get on my nerves sometimes, but he seemed to sense that I needed the quiet this time around.
I probably could have asked Vin to go with me, but he wasnt around at the time.
I probably could have looked a little harder.
I suppose when it comes right down to it, I feel bad about what I said. And I sure aint good about admitting when Im wrong.
I suppose thats obvious?
Then again, Im not all that wrong. He doesnt understand, and he never will. When it comes to this gut-wrenching grief that still festers inside me hell never understand.
The only way he could really know, is if it happened to him . . . and God knows, Id never want that to happen to any man, least of all my friend.
In the end, it doesnt matter all that much whether he can truly understand or he cant. It shouldnt it doesnt change everything else. Doesnt change my respect for him. Doesnt change the fact that I trust him to watch my back. Doesnt change the way he can make me smile with a just a word or two.
Vin sure has a way with them. Like that poem he wrote. It would have taken Josiah three pages to say what Vin said in a few lines.
Or what about Ezra? Vin can say more in four well spoken words than Standish could say in four paragraphs of the four-syllable bullshit he throws around.
And it would take more than a few poorly chosen words to ruin what Vin and I have.
I dont know why Im worrying on this. Vins probably forgotten about the whole thing by now.
I looked for him when Josiah and I came back, but hed gone to the reservation with Nathan. Guess they have some kind of flu or food poisoning going on out there.
Hell be all right. Well catch up when he gets back.
Been sick for a few days now . . . feels like my insides are on the outside.
Feel real bad for Nathan. He brought me out here t help, and the very next day I was pukin along side of everybody else.
I keep tryin t get up and help, but every time I take a few steps, I end up flat on my face. The last time, Nathan got kinda mad . . . well, thats not true. He got real mad and said he didnt need any more problems.
I spent a good part of my life tryin not t be a problem t anybody.
I reckon thats why it was so hard fer me t accept the boys help when we went after Eli Joe. Im used to handlin things on my own . . . bein on my own.
Think I was about seven or eight when I figured it out. Although, lookin back, I didnt figure it out by myself. I was at some orphans place at the time, and one of the older kids there pointed it out t me. You know - the fact that we were problems . . . that that was why we were there. Nobody wants a problem . . . and nobody wanted us. So I was thinkin that if I was real good and no problem, then someday somebody would want me.
Few years later, I took off. I did figure out by myself that bein good had nothin t do with bein wanted.
Had nothin t do with bein loved, either.
You dont even know what love is.
What if hes right? What if I dont know? What kind of man . . . of person, does that make me?
"Vin? You all right?" Nathan asks me.
"Fine," I croak . . . forgetting that my throat is full of sawdust.
He smiles at me and helps me take a drink. It tastes real good goin down, but after a few minutes, I know its comin right back up.
Nathan just stays there, rubbin my back real gentle and tellin me Im gonna be all right.
Im feelin like shit, though, and I know Im groanin as he helps me lay back down.
"Think your fevers coming back," he says with a frown.
"Dont worry none," I say, because I really do hate t make the man worry. Nathans such a good man . . . the best of us all, I reckon. He sure doesnt deserve the grief we give him.
"Im sorry t be such a problem," I add.
Now hes really frownin at me as he says, "Youre a lot of things to me, Vin Tanner, but a problem aint one of em. I dont want to hear any more talk like that. Now go on and rest."
I nod. I dont think I can get another word out of that scratchy throat of mine anyway.
He pulls the blanket up over me and pats me on the shoulder as he turns to leave.
I guess I dont know much about love least not the kind Chris was talkin about. But Im thinkin what Nathan does the way he cares fer people who are sick and hurtin I reckon thats a kind of love.
But then again, what do I know? Its lookin more and more like Chris was right.
"Good Lord, Nathan! What horrible calamity has befallen our resident sharpshooter this time?" I hear Ezra ask.
I look up then from the book Ive been reading, and before I know it, Im on my feet and helping Nathan get Vin off his horse.
Hes white as a sheet and a good ten pounds lighter than when he left pounds he sure didnt need to lose.
I listen for Nathans response as I keep an arm on the stumbling figure beside me.
"He got that flu that Kojays people have had . . . been sick all week. Help me get him up to the clinic," Nathan instructs me.
"Aw hell, Nathan, I can just stay in my wagon . . . dont need t be puttin you out," Vin argues in a pathetically weak voice.
"Youre still too weak, Vin. I wont keep you but a few days the worst is over now," Nathan says.
Im thinking if this isnt the worst . . . than the worst was worse than I care to think on.
Its a struggle, but between Nathan and Ezra and me, we manage to get Vin up the stairs and into bed. He hardly hits the mattress and hes out cold.
"Nathan?" I ask, and I notice even Ezra looks concerned.
"He looks worse than he is. Hes been real sick, though. Almost sent for you a few times."
My heart starts beating faster and I turn away from them. It doesnt matter. Hes here and hell be fine. Nathan almost sent for me . . . but he didnt . . . which means he really is fine.
In the next instant, Im thinking that he should have sent for me, though. What if something had happened? What if I hadnt had a chance to . . . you know . . . say it?
Not that Im entirely sure of what Im gonna say. Not that Im entirely sure that I need to say anything.
But just in case . . .
"Did you hear me, Chris?"
Nathan must have asked me something but I dont have a clue what.
"What?" I ask, and I can tell he knows Im distracted . . . seems like Ive been distracted for days now.
"Vins been acting kind of . . . off."
"Off?" What the hell does that mean?
"Yeah, not exactly . . . right. Like somethings bothering him."
Could be anything. Might not have a thing to do with what I said. I dont even remember exactly what it was I did say.
"Hes been sick," I answer shortly, as if that explains it. Maybe it does. Probably it does. I hope it does.
"I noticed it as well, even before he and Nathan left town," Ezra adds helpfully.
Standish is looking straight at me, and I frown back at him. He couldnt possibly know what went on that night . . . what stupid words came out of my mouth.
"Ill sit a spell with him," I offer hoping this conversation will just go away.
Im beginning to wish that other conversation would go away even more. And Im remembering why I only say three words in a day. Even with that, I get myself in trouble.
Im about to push both Ezra and Nathan out the door, when Buck comes busting in. "We got some trouble out at the Smith ranch, Chris. Were gonna need your help."
I shake my head. Those Smith boys are gonna turn me gray yet . . . if Tanner doesnt beat them to it. I look at Vin, all pale and hollowed out, and it grips me hard how much I care about him.
Id never intentionally hurt him surely he knows that.
But I did. I can try to turn it all around a hundred different ways, but the truth just keeps rearing its ugly head.
I hurt him. And as much as I want to set that right, it will have to wait a while longer.
Nathan dont want me up doin much, but I snuck out when he wasnt lookin. Im feelin a heap better than I did. Tired, but that aint nothin.
I decide to head over by the school house. Its out of the way enough that Nathan wont see me right off. Cant believe what I see, though or rather, who I see.
Hes sittin on this log on the ground, and he has all these kids around him. Reminds me of when we first helped Rains people; how them kids there took t Ezra like they did.
Im bettin hes showin them all card tricks again, and sure enough, as I get a little closer I can see that Im right.
The skys kinda overcast today, hazy gray clouds blocking out the sun but the smiles on those kids faces shine brighter than any ordinary sunshine ever could.
Ezras laughin, too. Hes got a nice laugh . . . Ive noticed that about him. Theres a whole lot of things a person could notice about Ezra, if they look past the stuff on the outside.
Not everyones good with kids, y know. Ive known plenty of men who have no business bein anywhere near a young un.
I dont think about it all that much anymore. Cant change the past. But I reckon if I ever come across one of those men who hurt kids like . . . like I was . . . well, I reckon even Chris couldnt keep me from shooting em . . .
in the back . . .
six or seven times.
No, I didnt get much of a chance t see many good men when I was a little feller.
Maybe if Id had an Ezra when I was growin up, maybe then Id know what love is.
Cause it seems like it shines real bright in Ezras eyes and all those eyes shinin back at him.
Seems like I got somethin in my own eye, the way its tearin up on me - and I am startin t wear down some, so I decide Ill head on over t the church. See what Josiahs up to.
Hes busy up on the roof again, fixing those loose boards. He doesnt see me down below, but it doesnt matter. I just sit down on the steps and lean back a little. My back is achin from layin around so much, and it feels good t stretch it out.
Josiah spent days repairing these old stairs. He spent months fixin the floor inside . . . and the walls . . . and the windows. He never really quits. He says hes doin it for . . . penance, I think. But whatever hes tryin to make up for, hes long since paid in full.
I dont think its that at all. He likes it when people come there lookin fer peace and understanding. He likes it when they come fer his advice and words from the Bible. He always acts like him and God arent the best of friends anymore, but I dont think its true.
I sure dont know much about religion but I know what I see in my friend. He doesnt do all this fer himself.
I may not know what love is, but Im pretty sure its in every nail and every splinter and every word thats said in Josiahs church.
You dont even know what love is.
I didnt really say that, did I? I woke up in a cold sweat this morning those words ringing in my ears.
Im sure I didnt say that.
Shit. Thats exactly what I said. And since theres no way I know of to unsay it, Ive just got to set it right. Ive got to tie Vin down and tell him that Im . . . an idiot.
But I swear events are conspiring against me. Every time Ive tried to have a conversation with Vin, something has interrupted us.
Maybe its for the best, since I still have no idea what to say.
I suppose its because I still cant imagine that he really knows what its been like . . . what its still like.
Just like I cant really know what it was like for him.
Ive been thinking about that a lot.
The whole loved and lost thing.
Ive been loved my entire life. Ive been part of a family my entire life. I dont really know what it must have been like to not have that. Its so engrained in me, so much a part of who I am, that I couldnt imagine being totally on my own from the time I was a small child.
Totally alone. Like Vin.
Only an insensitive fool would throw that in his friends face . . . a selfish, arrogant, feeling-sorry-for-himself, insensitive fool.
God what must Vin think?
At least I answered my own question. At least there is one thing I now know for sure; its so much better to have had someone . . . to have loved someone . . . than to never know that joy and contentment.
Than to be alone.
Theres no comparison.
I knew it all along. Just have to hit me over the head a time or twenty, and Ill soon remember.
Now if only I could figure out how to put into words that I regret saying those things. Ive got no right to judge Vins life or his feelings or anything at all having to do with love, of all things.
I suppose saying "Im sorry" would be a start. I suppose Ill damn near choke on the words. Damn pride gets in the way more times than not. Josiah would have something to say about that Im sure.
Vin will probably blush and stammer and look at me like Ive cracked my head. Hell say all this talk about love is more than he can stomach, and then, with a little luck, hell invite me for a drink Ill even pay and it will all be over.
Its time to face up. Im going to find him right now and get this settled, and nothing and no one is going to stop me.
Im gettin stiff, so I decide to head on back t my wagon. I might even lay down fer a spell, if I can do it without anyone noticin. I sure dont want t hear Buck teasin me about takin a nap in the middle of the day.
I dont need t worry about him, though, because after I take a few steps, I see thats he busy helpin the Widow Davis with that broken down wagon of hers again. He has t fix somethin on the old thing at least once a week. He never complains though.
Mrs. Potter walks by, and Buck looks up from what hes doin t tell her that she has a pretty dress on today. She grins ear to ear, thanks him, and keeps on goin.
After that, Mary Travis passes by and she reminds him, "Dont forget, Buck, you promised to help me with that story this afternoon."
He smiles real big, and says, "Of course I wont forget, Mrs. Travis. No one can tell the story like yours truly. You want to know what really happened out there at the Smiths ranch? Youve come to the right man."
I almost bust a gut at that, and I can see Mary knows he full of wind, too but she smiles back anyway.
Buck would do anything fer her. Hed do anything fer any woman. He loves women. Not just in the . . . uh . . . traditional way. In every way.
I may not know what love is . . . but I know that Buck sees every woman as a treasured gift. Seems like love t me.
I dont get much farther before JD joins him. I stand back and listen. Aint nothin more entertaining than when JD gets goin. This time hes talkin about some horse one of the ranchers got. Yesterday, it was the fish he caught.
The day before, it was all that excitement at the Smiths ranch. I was still too sick t help out that day, but JD filled me in. Youd think it was his first fight the way he came back and told me about every thing everyone said and every shot that was fired.
JD just loves life. I never seen anyone like him. Seems like everything is new and exciting t him. It gets annoying some times, but even a man like me a man who might not know what love is knows passion when he sees it.
And thats when it really hits me.
Chris is right. I dont know what love is at all.
I dont have Nathans need to help the sick, or Ezras pure joy with children. I see the spiritual side of life sometimes, but I sure as hell dont devote myself to it, like Josiah. I dont have Bucks understanding of women, or JDs passion for living.
I dont know how t love like any of them.
And maybe Chris doesnt, either. Maybe thats why he said those things the other night. Maybe when he lost the people he loved, he lost more than he knows.
Maybe neither one of us knows how t love.
Finally I spot him just down the road, and I will for him to meet my eyes to hold him in place before some ridiculous circumstance crops up to separate us again.
And that thought doesnt even have a chance to leave my head before it happens.
Those damn Smith boys are in town and at it again. And this time theyre aiming for us.
We all take cover. Vins moving a little slower than Id like, but he makes it behind a water trough across the road from me.
I can hear Josiah firing from up on the church roof, and Buck and JD just down a ways from me. I have no idea where Ezra is, but now might be a good time for him to show up. As if he read my mind, I see Standish slink into town and take cover not far from Vin.
There are only four Smith brothers, but Im having trouble keeping track of them. Theyve split up going in all directions, and Im hoping the boys got a better handle on where they are than I seem to.
And suddenly, appearing from nowhere, I see one sneaking up behind Vin but hes so busy firing, he doesnt notice.
I cant get a clear shot from where I am. No matter how I move, there is just no way I can make it.
So I stand up.
Sometimes you just do things because you have to. I have to help Vin. There is no way he is dying with these . . . words . . . between us. There is no way he is dying, period.
The damn stupid thing is he stands up at just that same moment. I fire at the man behind him, who turns to fire at me. I feel the bullet rip through my arm, as the man behind Vin falls from my bullet.
Within seconds, I hear a man behind me fall from Vins bullet . . . just as Vin spins and hits the dirt.
The shooting stops or at least I think it does. I dont know for sure, and I dont care much as I run across the street to where Vins laying way too still.
I roll him over and breathe a sigh of relief when I hear him groan.
He opens his eyes and looks at me as he rasps, "Quit lookin at me that way, its just a scratch."
"Then what the hell are you doing in the dirt?" I ask, with a dumb grin thats probably not even coming close to hiding the fear Ive just shoved back down my throat.
"Been a little bit sick . . . felt a mite dizzy."
Nathan makes his way over, moving real fast now that he sees Vin and I are both bleeding.
He catches my eye, and knows to look at Vin first. Were both kneeling in the dirt now; Vins still laying on his back and looking at us through cloudy eyes.
"He says hes been a little bit sick . . . and hes feeling a mite dizzy," I inform Nathan.
Jackson rolls his eyes, and turns to look closer at the blood soaking through the arm of that old buckskin coat of Vins.
Shaking his head, he says "Lets get you both upstairs."
Vin groans at the exact same moment I do.
Guess our talk will have to wait . . . again.
Me and Chris are both sittin on Nathans bed him at the foot and me at the head. Must look kinda funny judgin by the expressions on our friends faces.
"Damn! I never saw anything like that! Vin jumps up to shoot the man behind Chris and Chris jumps up to shoot the man behind Vin and all four of you hit! Good thing you two were better shots, though. But damn, I never saw anything like that! Have you, Buck?"
The Kids givin me a headache.
Bucks shaking his head and laughin. "Ive got to say that youre right, JD. That was purely entertaining."
"I doubt that the Smith brothers share in your amusement, Gentlemen, but I must agree with you. What do you suppose the odds are of that happening again?"
Chris is rollin his eyes at Ezra, but Ezras just ignorin him . . . like usual.
Nathan just finished wrapping up Chriss left arm. He got hit just above the elbow and the bullet went right through . . . same as me. Probably does look funny me and him sittin here with identical bandages on the same arm. I wonder if Im wearing that same hang-dog expression, too.
"Youre gonna have to stay the night, Vin," Nathans sayin.
Im ignorin him. If Chris dont have t stay - I dont, either.
Chris looks over at me, and I get the idea hes wantin t tell me somethin. Probably wants t argue with me about stayin put fer the night.
"Hell stay, Nathan. Ill see to it."
"No, he wont," I argue.
"Vin, youve been sick and if you dont take it easy for a day or two, youll be sick again. You dont want that do you?"
I really hate it when Nathans got a point.
I sigh or maybe its more like a huff.
Buck and Ezra and JD are still laughin and talkin all the way out the door. Bucks tellin JD if he ever does somethin stupid like me and Chris did jumpin up in the middle of a gunfight hell tan his hide.
I reckon it did look kinda stupid. There was no way one of those Smith boys was gonna get Chris, though. I couldnt see t make the shot any other way. Sometimes you just do what y have to.
Josiahs getting ready t leave, too, but before he goes, he turns t Chris and me and he says, "There is no greater love than this; that a man lay down his life for his friend."
Nathan nods his head, and for the first time that afternoon he smiles at us and he leaves, too.
Chris gets up then and moves over to the chair. "Go ahead and lay down, Vin. Ill sit over here."
I might be a little stubborn now and then, and I reckon this is one of those times. Im thinkin I dont need t lie down and I dont want t lie down.
My head is startin t spin, though . . . so maybe I will just pull my legs up on the bed.
Chris is lookin at me real funny. I wonder if hes thinkin about what he said that night. I wonder if he has any idea at all how much Ive been ponderin those words. He said em so easy . . . but they sure didnt go down easy. Ive been havin a problem gettin them out of my head fer days now.
He wouldnt know that, though. He probably doesnt even remember he said them.
"Vin . . . I just want you to know . . . those things I said . . . the other night, you know?"
So he does remember. Hes lookin real uncomfortable about it all, too. I never wouldve thought it would bother him so much. I could let him squirm a little, but I dont want to drag this out.
"Yeah?" Dont want t make it too easy on him, either.
He looks down for a minute, before turnin t face me again. "Im . . . sorry."
I try not t look too surprised. Mustve been hard for him to choke that out.
I shrug and look away. "Dont matter none. Dont go frettin over it. I sure got more important things t worry on than . . . love." And just so it doesnt get too serious, I add, "and hell, it aint like yer an expert on the subject, either."
He laughs a little and nods, but then he gets serious again. "Youre right there, Pard. But I do know when Ive hurt a friend with my words, and I know enough to tell him Im sorry."
"Takes more than a few words t come between us, Chris you know that," I say tryin to hide the way my voice is startin t crack.
"And besides," I go on, "you were right. I pondered on it all, and I dont know what love is. Aint never had enough of it t know."
"That aint true, Vin. The fact that its been so rare in your life is what makes it so incredible that you are the man you are. Hell, Ive seen you put your life on the line for us . . ."
He stops and quirks an eyebrow at me and its like a lights come on behind his eyes.
"What was it Josiah said?" he asks me.
I shrug. "Somethin about there not bein any greater love than when a man gives up his life fer his friend."
He smiles at me.
And its like a light came on inside me, too.
I smile back.
So maybe were not so stupid about love after all.
Maybe I do know what it is . . . and what it means . . . and what Ive got.
Maybe Chris knows, too.
It would take more than words to come between me and Chris but sometimes words are important.
I think about what Josiah said, and I realize that sometimes, just a few well-chosen words say it all.
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