Then there was silence. “It’s over,” Davey whispered in her ear, spinning her around so she could see. Sure enough, Cal was lying on the ground, wounded and bleeding but alive, and Mr Jordan was on his feet, but barely. Woody and Chuck both moved to help him over to the supply wagon where Monty was already laying out his medicine bag.
Jed stood there in horror, shocked, looking at the scene before her, unable to believe it. Woody and Chuck were on each side of Mr Jordan, supporting him as he staggered over to the wagon, trailing blood behind him. Cal wasn’t moving. In a flash, Neil was by his side, examining him briefly, then he drew his gun.
Davey moved so fast that she didn’t even see it. Instantly, he’d pushed her sideways, cleared his gun from its holster and shot the gun from Neil’s hand. Neil dropped to his knees, clutching his wrist, blood covering his hand and dripping to form a puddle on the ground.
“Neil!” Jed screamed, running to him, crouching down beside him. “Here, let me have a look,” she said, picking up his wrist gently.
But Neil jerked his hand away. “If you’d been at home where you belong, and married Cal like you should have done, this wouldn’t have happened,” he hissed at her venomously. He groaned in pain. “Are you happy now?” he spat at her.
Jed couldn’t believe it. Neil was actually blaming her for this? His best friend forced himself on her in their kitchen, hunted her down when she ran away, used his dirty fighting tactics to try and get her back, and he actually expected her to marry the man? What kind of brother was he? Tears streaming down her face, she got to her feet hurriedly.
“Get lost Neil,” she snarled at him. “You’re dead to me.” She turned and crashed into the solid mass of Davey’s chest. Instantly, he put his arm around her shoulder and led her away, back to the safety of the supply wagon, where Monty was tending to Mr Jordan.
“Woody, can you take that useless bastard out there a bandage? He’ll bleed to death otherwise,” Davey said. “While you’re there, help him get Cal back on his horse. They can clear out.”
Jed knelt down beside Mr Jordan. Monty had dosed him up on whisky and he was lying back on a blanket, a piece of wood between his teeth, while Monty stitched up the gash in his arm and tended his other cuts and bruises.
“He’s busted up bad,” Monty told her. “Broken ribs, all these stab wounds, bruises everywhere. He’ll be out of action for a few days. Make him up a bed in the supply wagon.”
She nodded once, then went to do Monty’s bidding with a lump in her throat. Maybe Neil was right. Maybe she should have just married Cal after all. Mr Jordan was hurt pretty bad, and it was all her fault.
“I’ll be back!” Neil’s shouted threat echoed across the prairie and a shudder went through her; she knew what she had to do.
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