Arm-in-arm, we walked out on the hotel porch. Daphne was smiling broadly and I had a sheepish grin on my face.
Some passersby saw us and turned to look at the odd couple: Daphne Jane Newcomer, the daughter of the local power mogul, and James Hager, shootist and killer of the local terrorist, Jones Gill.
Ahab just stared at Daphne and shook his head. Daphne grinned back at him. Caleb was smiling from ear to ear.
I gave Daphne up to Ahab, who gave me a look of pity. Apparently he knew something that I didn’t. Daphne said goodbye to me and Caleb. Then, she and Ahab boarded a carriage and drove away. I looked longingly as they disappeared around the corner.
Caleb started laughing and slapped me on the shoulder, which brought me out of my revelry.
He said, “Well, Jim, you sure know how to pick em. Daphne Newcomer is the prettiest girl in the county and also the richest.”
I just scoffed at his declarations and said, “We better get back to the doctor’s office.”
At the doctor’s office we found Mrs. Throckmorton had rested and was attending to Joshua. The doctor said Joshua needed to stay one more night and, if he continued to improve during the night, we could take him home in the morning.
Mrs. Throckmorton wanted to freshen up and get a bite to eat, so she and Caleb went to the hotel while I stayed with Joshua. He was still hurting from the facial injuries so the doctor had administered some laudanum to make him sleep and ease the pain.
I basically just sat near a window opening onto Main Street and listened to Joshua snore.
That was when I first spied two riders slowly riding toward the hotel. For some reason, I just didn’t like the way they looked. Their hats were pulled down so their faces were in shadow. And from this distance, I could make out each of them had two pistols in holsters and a third pistol tucked in their belts at their backs.
I called out to the doctor that I had to leave and burst from the office at a dead run for the hotel.