The day had started much like any other but as often occurs it had taken some interesting twists and turns along the way. Attempting to block out the distractions that surrounded him, Vin focused only on the voice of the one man he trusted with his life. Without a second thought he responded as Chris yelled, "Jump!"
Vin's legs responded to the command instantly, but his mind like lighting returned to where it all began.
"Hey, Vin, mind some company?" came Larabee's soft voiced question as he fell in step beside the man.
Eying his friend for a moment, he could tell the man wanted to get out of town for a little while, "Nah, two eyes are always better than one checking the area around the town," Vin finally answered.
The two men headed into the livery, saddled their horses and headed out. Heading first to the bluff a half mile out of town, they followed the top of it around looking and watching for any groups of riders that might need to be watch. Finding none, they broaden their ride to include some of the neighboring farms and small ranches, most the time riding on by when they saw all was all right, but on occasion stopping in for a moment like at Nettie Wells.
"Vin, Chris. What brings you two out here?" Nettie asked as she set down the wheelbarrow filled with hay.
"Just checking the area," Vin answered as he climbed down and walked over to the wheelbarrow. Lifting the handles he wheeled it toward the corral, where he knew she had been heading with it.
Chris joined him. They threw the hay over the railing for the two mares and the cow that were mewling about waiting for their food. Hauling a couple of buckets up from her well and pouring them into the troth for the animals, they saw they had everything taken care of for her, Vin and Chris turned to find Nettie standing there holding something out to them.
"Was wondering if you’d mind dropping this fresh turned butter off at the Mackin's place? Told Laura I'd give her a crock full if she would give me the same of her strawberries. Her husband dropped off the berries yesterday, but I didn't have the butter ready," Nettie explained as she held out a sealed crock.
"No problem, Ma'am, was planning on going by there anyway to check on them," Vin assured.
Tipping his hat to the woman who meant a great deal to him after he took the crock and put it in his saddle bags, he mounted and the two men headed off to finish the rest of the patrol.
Riding comfortably for about an hour side by side, Vin suddenly pulled up short and looked off to the left, standing up in the stirrups to get a better angle of view. He searched the area for what had gotten his attention.
Chris looked in the same direction heard the same thing that his friend had heard coming from down near the river.
Both turned their horses and kicked them into a run.
Going down the hill and around the little grove of trees, Chris and Vin had their guns drawn and fired at the cowboy’s feet, who was holding a string of fish high and away from a teenage girl.
"You want to give Miss Anna back her catch," Vin growled.
The man did as told and handed the string of fish back to the young lady.
The girl smiled her thanks to Vin and Chris, tied the string to her saddle horn, mounted, and rode off back to her parents’ farm.
"Aren’t you one of Royal’s men?" Chris asked the man that still stood there watching the two peace keepers that he had heard about.
"Yeah, I am."
“Then stay on his land unless you’re heading into town. And don’t ever let me hear of you messing with any of the farmers or any of the kids around here," Chris ordered in an angry tone.
"Yes, sir." the cowboy answered, feeling a chill crawl down his spine from the glare the two men were sending him.
"Get out of here then," Chris said.
Not waiting to be told twice, the young man jumped on his horse and took off like a shot.
As Vin and Chris headed back the way they came, Vin couldn’t help saying, "Can’t believe it."
"Can’t believe what?" Chris frowned looking at him.
"I can’t believe a gal was having a hard time and Bucklin didn’t pop up," Vin grinned.
Laughing Chris stated, "He must be still trying to get Inez to go on a picnic with him."
Riding on they headed toward the MacKin’s farm. Seeing it as the cleared the last hill, both thought it was strange when they didn’t see any one about, yet the horses were in the corral and the buckboard was by the barn. Riding down and into the yard, they were greeted by the two 7 year old twin girls of the Mackin’s, who came from the side of the barn.
"Vin we were needing help and here you are. Please ya got to help us." Both girls yelled then turned and disappeared around the barn quickly.
The men fearing something had happened to the twins parents, hurriedly dismounted and ran around the side of the barn where they had gone. Stopping dead in their tracks at what they saw, they stood there staring - stunned.
"Please Vin, you gotta….." one of the twins pleaded.
Taking a slow step forward, he began shaking his head no, trying to say he was sorry but he couldn’t.
"Vin those two little girls need you, they’re counting on you, you have to do it."
Blue worried eyes meeting green, in that moment of silence assurance was passed.
Vin nodding OK, attempting to block out the distractions that surrounded him, Vin focused only on the voice of the one man he trusted with his life. Without a second thought he responded as Chris yelled, "Jump!"
His mind commanding his legs, Vin jumped at the right moment and got into the rope with out tripping, jumping again as the two twins swung it around and around singing their jump rope song……
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