“You have the nicest bunch of kids around these parts. Good strong boys, healthy as a horse, girl's fine. Fine young women just like your wife; they got the same fire to… A fella gona have’ ta be on their toes when the time comes, that's for sure. What do know about this boy Wayne?” He asked.
“Nothing really, heard about something in town about he might been in some fights in school and around town with kids, never saying which kids though. Local people don't believe it to be true. Too much speculation in town, they say he’s too nice of a kid and gets long with everyone. Then what I saw down at creek...”Wayne said then pauses.
“Well what do you believe?” Doc asked.
“There’s something going on? Pieces just don't fit, Doc.”
“Yep, I knew you were no dummy. The wounds were mostly man made yes sir'ery bob, but I don't need to tell you that now do I? Well I've done my job. You are as fit as horse other then few sore muscles from old age. Yep like I said earlier for the time being he stays here. I'll see to it, Doctors orders. Personally I couldn't think of any better place, but that's not for me to decide is it? I am just the family Doctor. Well I’ll see ya in a couple of days or you know who will come hunting me down. Its bad enough having one woman come looking for me, but two and his grandmother; watch out for her, she's got claws.” He said as left with a wave of his hand.
“Ok kids; now be very quiet. I don't want you disturbing him. We just got him back into bed where he belongs,” Ma said.
“Yes Ma,” they replied softly.
“Now EJ; is going to be here for while so that means Will.”
“You are going to have to move in with Sam since he has the bigger room or you could move in with Robert,” she said.
“Robert would you help Will gather his clothes and some these things. Julie, Anna girls I want you to gather all the old sheets you can find around the house we're going to make bandages for him. My sweet, dear children he’s going to need all of you when he wakes up?”
“You don't have tell us Ma, we already know. We'll help you,” they all said.
“I know you will dear and thank you. Ok his grandmother will back soon; Robert after you boys clear out the room will setup the extra bed in here that way someone will be with him all the time and will bring in the big sitting chair. We will set in the corner as well. I'll have your Pa find us a small table and well have a private little room just for him.” She said taking charge once more as Pa walked in.
“Well than, Ma; looks like you been busy as a beaver.” Wayne said as he walked into the room.
Martha looked around the room. “Oh just tiding up some, little here and little there that's all dear. I didn't want his grandmother to come back thinking I was a slob, now did I.”
“Oh, I don't think for a moment she would call you that dear, how's he doing?”
“Still sleeping, the Doc gave him some stronger medicine to help him sleep and for the pain. He thinks the fever should show signs of breaking most likely by morning.”
“Well that's good.”
“I also had Will move in with Sam, they're just finishing up.”
“Then I'll go check on them. Oh Martha dear, I did tell you his grandmother said to set an extra plate for dinner for a package she's is bring back with her ...Didn't I dear?” He asked with an amused smile.
“Dinner! Oh my. I nearly forgot with all the things. I, I, I can't believe I forgot. Julie, Julie,” she called.
Wayne just smiled and kissed her on the forehead. “Sit my dear, it has already been taken care of as we speak,” he said.
“How could you?” She asked. Wayne just smiled placing another kiss on her forehead.
“I not completely helpless you know. Besides I do have two very fine daughters to help me and three strong boys remember.” He said as he looked over at EJ. “And could be four boys soon, now sit. I have things under control.”
“Wayne?” She called.
“I just love that big devil in you sometimes.” Then with out warning she kicked his butt out the door. Wayne, with big grin on his face goes on down the hall. Martha turned to EJ and smiled grabbed a washcloth and wiped his forehead whispered to him, “EJ my little one, what have you gotten yourself into?” Then placed his little hand in hers and sat in the chair beside him whispering to herself. “I wouldn't trade it for the world,” she said as she watched him sleep.
“Robert?” Will asked.
“Do think EJ going to be ok?” Will asked.
“I think so, I guess so why?” Robert replies “Why do you ask?” He said moving the dresser in the room.
“He's kind banged up and all, that's why. I know Ma, sure worried about him and they know something. I can see it in his Pa's eyes, he won’t tell me about it, but he knows?”
“Knows about what Will?” Robert asked.
“I don't know. Well, you are going to have to ask him. Help me with this bed.” Robert said.
“Will?” Robert asked.
“You are standing on my foot.”
“Oh sorry, is that better?”
“Yes thanks, could you believe that was his grandmother, I thought I was going to die when she did a wheelie out on that thing, scared the chickens and horses to death,” Robert said.
“Ya that was something, that's for sure. Now help me hang up your clothes or Ma will kill us both if she has to wash them again. Speaking of which, Robert do you know why or how He got into the back of the truck?”
“No. But knowing Ma, she'll make sure that's not going to happen again. I wonder though what he was thinking about?” Robert asked.
“I’m sure we will know soon enough.”
“Are you boys almost done in here?” Pa asked as he peeks into the room.
“Yes pa,” they replied.
“Good, because I'll need your help in the kitchen in awhile, but first get the chores done. The live stock still needs to be feed.”
“Ok Pa,” they said.
Pa and Robert on their way out to the barn Pa stopped Robert as he put his hand on his shoulder. “Mind if I talk with you a moment son?” Pa asked.
“About what Pa?”
“Oh nothing much, just something on my mind that's all.”
Pa and Robert walked a few paces as Pa gathered his thoughts “Robert?” he said.
“Yes Pa,” Robert turned to Pa seeing the warm gentle look in his eyes that he has seen so often.
“Thanks Robert for picking up the slack for me and your Ma. We haven't been around that much to help, it really means lot to us son.”
“I know Pa, glad to help.”
“Pa?” Robert asked.
“Is EJ going to be ok?”
“Yes son, I think so. You know son. I have a feeling he is going to need a big brother to look after him and I can't think of better person for the job.”
“Pa, he's not even awake yet, how do even know he needs one?”
“Because son, we all need a big brother once in awhile to lean on from time to time and for the time being son.” Pa said as he put his arms around his shoulders. “Robert my boy it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy I think. Now I need to find your sisters and get dinner started.”
“But Pa, I didn't know you could cook?” Robert said surprised.
“What did you supposes I did before I meet your Ma? Starve to death? Hardly son, don't worry it will be eatable. After all we do have guests tonight and your sisters will help me. Now let’s get these chores done. Times a wasting and see if you can help me find Sam.”
“He should be feeding the chickens and gathering the last of the eggs for the day Pa.” Robert replied as walked towards the horses.
“Hello Pa,” Julie said as he walked through the door.
“How are my two beautiful daughters doing?” He asked as he gave each one a squeeze and twirled them around the kitchen as they giggled.
“Pa what has gotten into you?” Julie asked.
“Shush, don't tell your Ma.”
“Are you sure the Doc said that you were fine?” Anna asked.
“Yes dear, now can't your Pa have a little fun once in awhile with his daughters?” He said as he twirled Anna one more time around the kitchen as she giggled.
“I suppose so Pa,” Anna replied with a laugh.
“Now then how's the roast doing and how can I help?”
“Well first of all, the roast is doing just fine. Sam just brought in the eggs for the rolls and he is on the porch peeling the carrots and potatoes, if you want to help him you can. Then you can take this tea and broth into Ma.” Julie said as Pa reached over to taste the grave and with gentle “slap” on the wrist...“Now Pa,” Julie said giggling waving the spoon as she was pretending to be Ma. “It's not done yet,” she said.
“I was just testing it. Alright, alright; I'll go, you know,” he said trying to look hurt. “You are as bad as your mother sometimes.” But grinning from ear to ear as he went out to the porch where Sam is. “Well Sam,” Pa said as he picked up a potato.
“Looks like we got our work cut out for us,” he said as he pulled out his pocketknife.
“What do you mean Pa?” Sam asked.
“Will and Robert are in the barn doing all the work and your sisters kicked me out of the kitchen.
“What about Ma?”
“Well she busy with EJ and she kicked me out to. So I thought maybe I'd come here whittle with you awhile if that's ok? Because your Pa here doesn't have anywhere else too go, if that's alright with you?” He said while looking into Sam big brown eyes.
“Oh Pa you mean it?”
“Of course I do son. Now let’s see if we can get these peeled,” he said.
“Pa?” Sam asked.
“I was thinkin?” Sam said.
“Yes son I am listening...Thinking about what?” Pa asked.
“What I would, if I knows where’s to go?” Sam tries, but the words don’t seem right as he says them.
“Yes ... go on.” Pa knowing how nervous Sam is let’s him speaks.
“I don't know I don't where’s I'd go, never been anywhere. Pa? Do you think maybe I could? Na, it stupid.” Sam said changing his mind.
“What son?” Pa asked.
“I'm younger than Will and Robert. What can I do?” He asked.
“First of all son, nothing you do is stupid. I am sure what ever you do will be just fine. For right now just try being his friend. He’s going to need someone to talk to. It’s going to get pretty dull lying in that bed all the time or anywhere else for a while. Do think you can do that son?” Pa asked smiling, putting his hand on his shoulder.
“Yes Pa,” he says.
“Now let’s take these into your sisters ok?”
“Ok Pa,” Sam said grinning.