“Don’t move. Some one went for a car,” she whispered, bending over him so that flying tendrils of her hair brushed his cheek. “Are you—badly hurt?”
He snorted. “I’m a false alarm. Nothin’ a-tall. He jes’ creased me.”
“You’re so brave,” she cried admiringly.
He had never been told this before. He suspected it was not true, but to hear her say it was manna to his hungry soul.
The policeman helped him into a taxicab after first aid had been given and Johnnie’s diagnosis verified. On the way home the cowpuncher made love. He discovered that this can be done quite well with one arm, both parties being willing.
The cab stopped at the house of a doctor and the shoulder was dressed. The doctor made one pardonable mistake.
“Get your wife to give you this sleeping powder if you find you can’t sleep,” he said.
“Y’betcha,” answered Johnnie cheerfully.
Kitty looked at him reproachfully and blushed. She scolded him about it after they reached the apartment where they lived.
Her new fiance defended himself. “He’s only a day or two prema-chure, honey. It wasn’t hardly worth while explainin’,” he claimed.
“A day or two. Oh, Johnnie!”
“Sure. I ain’t gonna wait. Wha’s the matter with to-morrow?”
“I haven’t any clothes made,” she evaded, and added by way of diversion, “I always liked that kinda golden down on your cheeks.”
“The stores are full of ’em. An’ we ain’t talkin’ about my whiskers—not right now.”
“You’re a nice old thing,” she whispered, flashing into unexpected dimples, and she rewarded him for his niceness in a way he thought altogether desirable.
A crisp, strong step sounded outside. The door opened and Clay came into the room.
He looked at Kitty. “Thank Heaven, you’re safe,” he said.
“Johnnie rescued me,” she cried. “He got shot—in the shoulder.”
The men looked at each other.
“Nope. A plumb li’l’ scratch. Wha’s the matter with you?”
A gleam of humor flitted into the eyes of the cattleman. “I ran into a door.”
“Say, Clay,” Johnnie burst out, “I’ll betcha can’t guess.”
His friend laughed in amiable derision, “Oh, you kids in the woods. I knew it soon as I opened the door.”
He walked up to the girl and took her hand.
“You got a good man,
Kitty. I’m wishin’ you all the joy in the world.”
Her eyes flashed softly. “Don’t I know I’ve got a good man, and I’m going to be happier than I deserve.”
CLAY LAYS DOWN THE LAW
Tim Muldoon, in his shirt-sleeves, was busy over a late breakfast when his mother opened the door of the flat to let in Clay Lindsay.
The policeman took one look at the damaged face and forgot the plate of ham and eggs that had just been put before him.