Takes place the evening of Sins of the Past, when it's over
They think I'm the one feeling the deep regret right now, with my only hope of clearing my name gone. But I don't, 'cause I'll keep looking for a way to prove the truth and clear my name. Maybe Yates or one of the others over in the jail was there or knows someone who saw Eli do it. But I don't hold no regret for Chris killing him and saving my life. I told him the truth when I said 'Can't prove my innocence if I'm dead.' No, it ain't me that's feeling that pain of soul eating regret. It's them, my friends, that's being torn up by it.
You can feel it all around Larabee back there at that darkened table. Keeping both the shot glass and whiskey bottle close to his hands. And keeping everything else far away with that dark brooding filling the air around him. People see him as that cold hard gunfighter. If'n they stop and really look, they'd find what I did. A man who survived his heart being ripped open, yet still cares for those he claims. Like this town, me, and the boys. He's not sorry that he killed Eli to save me, he's just heart sick with regret feeling he might have forever cost me my freedom. Guess I'll have to find a way to get that thick head of his to see, as long as I'm breathin' I am free.
I shift my sight over to the table by the window facing the boardwalk, and there, sit two more so filled with regret that it's got them slumping down from the weight of it in their chairs. Nathan and Josiah both have their spirits earthbound with the heaviness of their sorrow. From both letting themselves be blinded by those things they both craved. One from beauty, and one of having everything a doctor could have. And waking up from that blindness knowing the price was something much more valuable to both, a friend. They have that sense of betrayal gnawing at their guts from what they feel they have dealt with hurtfully. I can see in the guilt ridden glance they cast quickly toward Ezra, that the pressure of it shames them both to the bone. I wish I could help them ease that burden, but they're going to have to face that regret on their own when they're ready to tell him how sorry they are.
Then there's Ezra I'm looking at now. He's sitting there like some king at the head of a table, smiling as if not having a care in the world. Most would think he's happy 'cause of all the money he's raking in front of him from winning. Probably is what those traveling men playing poker with him is thinking. But I know Ezra, I can see that's the smile he puts on when he's hiding inside himself. Just like laying a false trail, you wouldn't see it unless you know what to look for. But I know what to look for. I see the pain he still feels from Maude's actions in the tightness of his body and hands holding the cards. And I see the hurt that cut him deeply, feeling that he misjudged or lost two friends, which to him is so new and special since he never has had friends before, thanks to Maude's way of teaching him. He feels unbalanced and adrift from these new feelings, I can see that clearly in the shadows that cross and coat his eyes.
I think maybe I can help fix that up some or at least get it on the right track to being fixed and healed.
Vin ghosted out from the shadows he had been standing in watching his friends. He walked between Ezra's table and a large man standing watching the game, deliberately stepping on the man's toes hard. Vin expected and exaggerated the shove the man gave him as he hollered. Acting as if the surprise made him lose his balance, he aimed his elbow just right as he fell on Ezra, knocking him in the head good.
Nathan and Josiah jumping up at once, rushed over to help and found Ezra knocked out. Nathan declared he needed to get him up to the clinic in case he had a concussion and to watch him till he woke up. Josiah, agreeing, helped pick Ezra up and the two of them carried him as if he was spun gold out and to the clinic. Vin knew that when Ezra came to, Nathan and Josiah would find the words with the privacy of just the three of them to help show how sorry they were and regretted their action truly in their soul. And knowing Ezra as he did, Vin knew Ezra would see their truth.
Vin turned and headed back to the dark table where Larabee was pouring himself another drink. Vin reached it in time to snatch the shot and down it himself as he plopped down in the chair beside Chris.
Chris looked at him with a growl saying, "Don't need no fixing like what you just did with the others."
"Nope, you don't. 'Cause ya ain't got nothing to regret, unless ya regret I'm alive," Vin causally said as he snatched the shot Chris just poured again.
"What! Of course I'd want you to be alive," Chris replied shocked at what he heard.
"Then accept ya saved my life and let it go, Chris. Or do I need to knock you in the head to get it through that thick skull of yours, cowboy?" Vin told him.
Chris looked at his friend and saw not only the sincere truth shining his his eyes, but also a little twinkle. Chris shook his head deciding to give Vin what he wanted. He answered with what he knew Vin was hoping for, "You know I'm going to shoot you one of these days for calling me a cowboy."