by mcat

February 14, 2000

Disclaimer: Nope, don’t own the boys, just wish I did. Trilogy and the other PTB do.

The lively music echoed through the quiet town. The Four Corners Valentine’s Dance was coming into full swing this winter night. Most of the town folk and those from the outlying ranches braved the cold for the event. At this time of year, with the weather so bleak, bank accounts low and work hard to find, most would think a party would be the last thing on a person’s mind. But Valentine’s Day was different. It was a day for love. New love, old love, it didn’t matter, folks were in the mood. Well, most folks, anyway.

The lone man walked quietly through the town, checking doors and windows, making sure they were locked while their owners were at the dance. He volunteered for the duty. Told his friends that he wasn’t interested in all that stuff, that they could go and enjoy themselves. Don’t worry about him.

He glanced down the street toward the schoolhouse. Saw Buck and one of his ladyfriends step out, head toward the back of the building and some privacy. He’d make sure he steered clear of that area for a little while.

A few horses rode into town and he glanced up, smiling as he recognized the riders, tipping his hat to the lady. Nathan came down from his clinic and met up with Rain as she tied off her horse’s reins. He thought he heard her apologize for being late.

Walking in front of the hotel, he greeted Ezra and Miss Caroline Witherspoon. Miss Witherspoon came to town with Maude and her latest beau (or con, he thought) Mr. Harrison G. Witherspoon, her father, and the foursome was planning on a grand entrance to the dance.

Finally taking a seat in front of the jail, he let his long legs stretch out in front of him, crossing his ankles. Taking out his knife, he began whittling away at a piece of scrap wood, not really paying attention to what he was doing, just passing the time.

He looked up at the high pitched giggling. JD, Casey and some of the other younger residents of town had brought some of the dancing outside the schoolhouse. JD was doing his best to keep up with the young girl, but as usual, Casey was just spinning circles around him.

Another one of his friends passed by, tipping his hat with a wink as he led one of the working girls toward the saloon. He chuckled as he thought of how Josiah would talk of the penance he’d have to do, putting in extra work on the church in the morning.

Putting his knife away, deciding it was time for another trip around town, he rose from the chair and dusted himself off, cursed quietly as he got a splinter on his thumb. After pulling the sliver out, he sucked on the wound. Feeling someone watching him, he quickly turned his head. Chris, arm around Mary’s waist, looked at him from across the street. He’d raised an amused eyebrow at the tracker before returning his attention to the newswoman and her son.

Vin made his way through the town before stopping at the livery. He inhaled the cool air and closed his eyes before entering the stable. He found himself next to his horse, petting the animal’s neck, giving it some sugar cubes.

Deep down he was happy for his friends. They’d each found somebody – for just the night or for a lifetime – but at least they were able to get close to someone. At times he envied them. Most times he just reasoned that if he never got close to someone, he would never be hurt. But once, just once, maybe it would be worth the hurt….