Keeping the Secret

by Amelia

Main Characters: Vin and Judge Travis

Without moving his head, he peeked out from the brim of his hat, finding again the man across the room still staring at him. Though the feeling of being trapped began to grow, Vin kept his heart beat controlled and his muscles relaxed, so not to let any clue show he knew he was being watched by someone he might not be able to defend himself against.

Deciding maybe it was best to ease on out of the saloon and stay out of sight for a while, till he knew the situation better, Vin eased himself up, picking up his beer and finishing it in one swallow. He turned to his left, softly expressing to his sitting companion, “Think I'll take a patrol around, just to make sure James' men still ain't hanging about.”

“You think he knows?” Chris asked in a quiet tone, having noticed Vin watching the man.

“He's been staring at me since he sat down. Something about me has his mind working. Don't want to take the chance he does.” Vin answered.

Just as he pushed his chair back to stand up, the man in question made his way over and stopped at their table.

Meeting the eyes of the older man, Vin saw recognition in them. Tensing, he ran through his mind just how fast he could get to the back door and be gone before the older man could move.

“Vin I'd like to talk to you.” Judge Travis said, pulling out a chair and sitting down causally.

Vin looked at Chris quickly, caught the nod his friend gave. Sitting back down both men stared at Travis questioningly, for the older man was very relaxed for someone who was going to arrest a supposed murderer.

“Vin, I've been trying to place where it is I knew your face from for the last half hour. But it wasn't until you looked up to drink your beer that it finally came to me,” Travis stated.

Taking a sip of his own beer that he had brought over with him, Travis set it down and met Vin's gaze steadily

The air stilled completely around the three men, waiting for Travis to say the words.

“It's your father's face I see in yours”

“I was fra...., What?” Vin started to explain but stopped when the words that had been spoken hit him.

“Your father, you look just like him. I met him years ago, before he was married. He had just became a Texas ranger and was bringing in his first wanted man, a bank robber if I remember correctly. My wife, son and I were on our way back home from visiting her family out in California, when our stage was attacked. The man and his partner had us all lined up against the stage as they went through the bags looking for any valuables Next thing I knew two shots were fired and both men were on the ground holding their arms. Then this young man on a horse rode up, apologizing to us for all the trouble those two had caused, saying it was his fault if he had just caught them that morning, but he had stopped to help a family flip an overturned wagon back upright. Now I was just a lawyer back in those days, but I told him if I could ever help him out in anyway, just to let me know. Gave him my address where I practiced law. Never saw him again, but for a short time in those early years I would hear about him from other Rangers or Marshals I'd see in court. Kevin Tanner was a good man. And I'm glad to see his son is just as good of a man.” Travis told him. Holding out his hand to Vin, he smiled as a shocked Vin reached out to shake it.

Getting up and explaining Mary was waiting dinner for him, Travis nodded to the two men and walked away. Letting the grin grow on his face as he thought, “Don't you worry, Kevin, told you I'd be there to help out, that includes your boy. I know he ain't no murderer and until I can prove him innocent, I'll keep his secret. Even from him, knowing I know.”

The end

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