Once we got to the Doctor’s office, he informed us that Joshua had regained conscious. Some of the puffiness of his face had gone down, and he could see out of his right eye. He had blurred vision, but he didn’t have any nausea. He needed to be looked after for at least another day. Mrs. Throckmorton was still sleeping, so Caleb and I retired to the hotel porch chairs to wait until she awoke.
Sitting peacefully in the rocking chairs, I was able to sort of let myself unwind. I nodded off for a few minutes, but jerked awake when I heard, “Well, Mr. Hager is this any way for a hero to spend his time?”
Standing on the porch at the entrance to the Hotel was Miss Daphne Jane Newcomer in all her radiant glory. And guess who was standing behind her. Yeap, Ahab with his arm in a splint and resting in a sling.
I came out of my chair like a shot and had unbuttoned my coat in one movement. It startled Miss Newcomer and Ahab both. His reaction was to step in front of Miss Newcomer.
I put my hands on my pistols, which were stuck down in my belt with the handles facing forward. I didn’t draw them out, but looked to see what Ahab was going to do. His eyes widened when he saw the pistols, and he went very still. It was like looking at a cobra which is both dangerous and unpredictable.
Daphne regained her composure and stepped to Ahab’s side. “Gentlemen,” she pleadingly said, “there is no reason for any animosity here.”
Ahab and I kept looking at each other, and neither of us was backing down. I knew he would kill me in a heartbeat if let down my guard.
Daphne finally suggested, “Ahab, why don’t you pick up the things we ordered at the bakery and the hardware store. I will be along. I need to talk with Mr. Hager in private.”
Ahab nodded and backed away a few steps before turning to walk away.
Daphne uttered, “My, my. You’ve turned into quite a shootist in one day.”
I relaxed and buttoned my coat. “You can’t be too careful in this day and time, especially when you have made enemies of one of the most feared men in this area and a clan of robbers and killers,” I rejoined.
She looked at me a long few seconds. I felt as if she was totally reappraising me.
She suddenly took my arm and asked, “Why don’t you tell me all about it?”
She directed me toward the Hotel dining room. I looked back at Caleb over my shoulder, and he just grinned.