“Anna?” Julie asked as the two girls sat on the ground next the boys doing some embroidery for a new pillowcase killing time before supper.
“What are you thinking about?” She asked.
“Oh nothing really,” as she giggled softly watched her brothers head toward the barn.
“Tell me anyway,” Anna asked.
“Oh all right,” Julie said turning around to face her. “I was just thinking about something you told me yesterday, after I got back from town. How hard it is sometimes to get them into the tub that's all. But once you get them in that tub, they’re not a problem at all.” They giggled as they looked down at EJ sound asleep between them.
“Yes I remember,” she said as Anna giggled.”
“Well that must have been a pretty big tub, because look what we now have for brothers.” Julie said as she looked towards the barn and at EJ. “Four Indian brothers;” they laughed with a sigh. “What are we going to do with you silly, silly brothers of ours?” They looked down upon EJ’s face and blocked the sun out of his eyes.
“Robert?” Will asked taking the feed and placing into a bucket as he stood on the rail to feed the horses.
“Yes Will?” Robert said handing him and another bucket and taking the empty one from him.
“Thanks,” Will said.
“Thanks for what?” Robert asked.
“You know. I don't know if I could of.... You.... You know pulled it off with out your help,” Will said climbing down and moving on to the next one.
“Will, that's what brothers are for, you know that.”
“I know.” Taking another feed bucket and doing the same.
“Will, if you really want to know the truth. I was scared to death. If it makes you feel any better,” Robert said. “I was to, if you weren't there,” Robert said rubbing his fingers though his hair. “My knees were shaking.”
“Mine too” Will said as they laughed at each other while feeding the pigs.
“Will?” Robert asked.
“Yes Robert?” Dumping the scraps into the trough as the pigs squealed noisily to the food that awaits them.
“It’s still a crazy idea brother, but I like it.” Robert said twisting around in his loincloth. “Did you see the look on Ma's face? I thought she was going have a cow when we kidnapped everyone. Pa nearly had to hold her from fainting when we took EJ as our prisoner,” Robert said.
“Yah, that nearly done her in for sure, but how else was she going to look at his legs?” Will said. Robert slapped Will hard on the back “Ooooh that smarts.”
“Sorry,” Robert said. “I think you are getting a little sunburned.”
Will slapped Roberts back “Ooooh.”
“Sorry,” he replied.
“Hey now,” Robert said.
“Looks like I am not the only one with a little sunburn brother,” Will said smiling at the red mark.
“Eh, it will be worth it for EJ’s sake anyway. I just hope we have lots of… Ooooh, lots of lotion.”
Slap “Ooooh. Hey now,” Will said.
“Sorry that hurts,” he laughed. “Robert?”
“Do think he's going too be ok?” He asked.
Robert picked up Sam and put him on his shoulders. “Will with the three of us as his brothers, he’s going to be just fine. Let's say we finish our chores because, “slap.”
“Ouch… quit it now.” Will replied
“That stings,” Will said.
”I am tired,” said Robert and smiled as he wrapped his arm around Will and grabs Sam's hand with one more good, slap “ouch Ooooh.”
“You'll think sorry.” Will said as he laughed with another slap across each others back. “Slap,”
“Ooooh, uncle. You win.”
They rolled in the hay laughing as brothers do. “Robert?”
“Let’s go find that lotion,” Robert said lying next to him in the hay.
“Good idea and don't tell our sisters.” Will said.
“Now that's a better idea,” Still laying in the hay as they waited for the sting to wear down a bit laughing at themselves.
“Wayne?” Martha asked.
“Yes dear?” Wayne said coming over to stand by her side wrapping his arms around her as she leaned against him.
“You do realize that my kitchen table is still outside?” She said feeling quite safe in his arms as she slowly turned and faced him placing his arms around her firmly.
“Yes dear I know that,” he said.
“I suppose you want us to eat out there as well?” She asked looking deeply into his eyes as she looses her self in them.
“Actually dear, I never gave it any thought really,” letting her go as he rubbed his chin pretending to leave. “I could bring it back in if you want, but that would mean you would have to haul food out to the boys since they won't be coming inside.”
“Why would I be hauling food clear out there dear?” Martha asked with fire in her eyes.
“Remember dear, they won't leave EJ’s side. I told you they promised him that,” he said.
Retuning and placing arms back around her as he slid his hand against her back and stoked the back of her long brown hair.
“Alright Wayne dear, for now I’ll let them keep their promise, but I am going to set some guide lines of my own,” she said.
“Martha, this is between them.” Wayne said trying to calm his loving wife. “Martha dear I know you want to help EJ, but they did get you this far in some what of a corky manner didn't they?” Wayne said as he softly stroked her hair and gently brushed the worry lines off her forehead then with twinkle in his eye. With his right hand he brushed her cheek and kissed her softly... The muscles in her body relaxed and the fire in her eyes turned back to soft blue crystals of mothers love...
“Yes dear.” She smiled and laughed. “They did, my silly boys did get me this far. Alright let them play Indians for awhile,” she said.
“Martha I hear it's going be nice night out tonight. Let’s eat underneath the stars with the boys.” Holding her in his arms as they sway back and forth.
Martha looked into his soft green eyes and warping his strong arms around her body whispered. “Wayne I also heard their will be a full-moon out tonight.”
“Yes dear I heard that too.” He whispered leaning forward with a lovers embrace; time slowed down just for them.
Pa placed chairs around the table outside for dinner with Julie and Anna's help. The four boys were fast asleep next to EJ on top of their sleeping bags under the lean-to. At times EJ would stir and moan due to the pain, Julie stroked his hair to calm him and settle him back to sleep.
“Pa?” Julie asked.
“How did you ever get Ma to agree to let us eat outside like this?” She asked placing the plates around the table as Anna set down the silverware next to them.
“Yes Pa tells us both,” as they turned to watch the four boys sleeping under the lean-to.
“Alright, you might as well know what's going on. You see your two brothers Will and Robert made EJ a promise. That they would endure anything he would go through even if that meant going before him. They wanted to show him there was nothing to be afraid of and that they would stand by his side every step of the way. And watch over him everyday like a brotherhood because to them brothers protect their brothers doing what ever it takes. They were going to do it together and face it together as brothers do. They thought that in the Old West Indian tribes formed brotherhoods. That's why they became Indians,” he said.
“Pa?” Julies asked as she giggled at her brother’s foolishness.
“Yes Julie?” pouring milk into the glasses on the table.
“That's silly, that just proves how stubborn they truly are,” and they both laugh. “But I do have to admit, they do look kinda cute.” As they looked over at their sleeping brothers then giggled. The girls whispered in each other ear. “This is going to be fun,” and nodded their heads
Pa looked over at his two girls and saw little devilish smiles on their faces.
“What are two thinking about doing?” He asked.
With a smile they learned from their mother. “Nothing, just a little harmless sisterly fun that's all Pa.”
Pa rubbed his chin knowing they were up to no good, “just like your mother,” he said.
The girls laughed. “We're not going to hurt them too much. Oh no Pa we never harm them. Tease them too death maybe. Make them blush a little, then squeeze the stuffing out them.” They said as they hugged their Pa and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Yes girls I know, just like your mother. You got that little devil in you that I love so much.” And they laughed as he rolled his eyes and shook his head then gave them each kiss on the cheek. “Now go help your mother in the kitchen,” as he laughed watching them go. “I'll finish up out here.”
Pa turned to his four sleeping boys. “If only you knew what your sisters have planned for you my poor boys,” and laughed.