First Kiss—Book Two: Hoss (by BettyHT)

SUMMARY: This is the second story in the First Kiss series and features Hoss, but Adam plays an important role in the story too. The story jumps ahead a bit in time answering a few questions from the first story and setting the stage for more to happen. It’s time for Hoss to have a romance as he felt especially lonely after Adam and Anita began theirs, but there are some who stand in his way.

Rating = T      Word Count = 11,510

First Kiss Series:

First Kiss – Book One:  Adam
First Kiss – Book Two:  Hoss
First Kiss – Book Three:  Joe and Ben
First Kiss Again – Book Four

First Kiss—Book Two:  Hoss

Chapter 1

Kicking a clump of dirt as he walked, Hoss Cartwright was down in the dumps. He had had a fight, well more an argument, with his brother Adam, and he had needed to get out of the house to clear his head. He hadn’t meant to shove him, but he had and knew that shocked not only Adam but Joe and their father too. As he walked, he wondered which one would be following him out here to talk because he knew one would. Under the circumstances, though, he didn’t know which one it would be. When he heard a voice, it surprised him some because it was the one he thought he was least likely to hear.

“Hey, Hoss, wait up.”

Hoss waited because it wouldn’t do any good not to wait. “You drew the short straw then, huh?”

“Nope, Adam wanted to come right away, but I stopped him. I told him he had too many problems of his own on his mind so he couldn’t listen with his whole heart to what was bothering you.”

“And Pa?”

“Well, I told him he tends to get angry when one of us shoves another one and he might do better to talk with you tomorrow when he isn’t upset.”

“You’re not upset?”

“I would have been if you hit him, but all you did was a shove. He stood there pretty much in shock like we all were, but I figured you just needed some space. With what you said, I figured you had something important on your mind and haven’t had a chance to get a word in with Adam talking about everything that’s bothering him lately.”

“Well, I gotta admit, he does have a full load, but I am tired of hearing about it too. Ain’t nothing any of us can do ’bout any of it no how anyway.”

“I know. Hiram did his best, but Will and Laura hadn’t done anything against the law with Peggy, and they do have a home in California for her even if it’s rented. It’s not against the law to send her to a boarding school, but I don’t think they’re going to do that now. She would probably run away again if they did that even with the talk Adam had with her.”

“Ya, I don’t think she saw that a comin’ when he was upset wit her for stealing money from Will and from Laura and for takin’ off on her own like that. I think she thought he was gonna be all smiles and happy she was here. Instead she found out that ifn he was her papa, there were still gonna be rules to follow and probably more than she’s used to.”

“Yes, I like Peggy, but Laura spoiled her, and now she’s going to have to deal with that. If she doesn’t, well, there’s always what the judge said. If she’s incorrigible, then the courts could step in.”

“I think that done scared her and Will. Maybe that’ll make ’em be better parents.”

“You know, they’re both quite a few years older than me, but when I’m around them, I feel like I should tell them what to do like they’re kids.”

“I get the same feeling, Joe. I shur am glad Adam didn’t marry up with that ninny.”

“Me too. Now if only Anita was still in town.”

“Yeah, that was a shock to ole Adam too. Franklin showed up again, and I thought he’d be real happy that Adam and Anita were more than friends now.”

“I think he was, but you know how it is with rich people like that.”

“Yeah, some of ’em only want to get richer. I don’t understand that at all. Once you got a pile of money so you kin buy anything ya want, why do ya want more?”

“I don’t know. He only has a daughter, and I suppose she’ll inherit everything. She’ll be really rich then so she doesn’t need any more.”

“Instead he’s gone on to Denver now to make more money and took her there with ‘im. Adam’s worried she might meet somebody else.”

“Well, I guess if she does, then what they had together wasn’t that important to her. Maybe that’s what he’s really worried about more than anything. Being gone on the drive with us, he didn’t even get to say goodbye so he doesn’t even know for sure how she’s feeling about things.”

“I told him to write a letter.”

“I know. We all heard how that went.”

“Adam can be darn stubborn.”

“And loud.”

“Dadburnit, I think Pa’s worried that if this doesn’t work out for him with Anita, he may leave.”

“Yeah, I think that’s true. Whenever he gets like this, he seems to start thinking that leaving might be better.”

“He looks at what he doesn’t have more than what he has. At least he’s got a gal. He ought to go over there to Denver to see what she has to say ’bout things or at least write her a letter and ask her.”

“Are we getting any closer to why you’re upset?” With that last comment, Joe was getting a rather clear picture of Hoss’ mood and his reason for being upset, but he wanted him to say it so they could talk about it.

Dropping his head, Hoss scuffed the toe of his boot in the dirt as he put his hands in his pocket. It was a clear indication that he was embarrassed that he had been so transparent and that he wasn’t all that sure he wanted to say what was upsetting him.

“C’mon Hoss, we’ve told each other all sorts of things over the years. You can tell me anything.”

“I don’t usually tell you things like this.”

“Why not?”

“You tell other people.”

“Hoss, I can keep a secret.”

“Maybe you can, but you don’t. Shur as shooting, you’re gonna tell somebody.”

“Well, who do you usually tell these kind of things to?”

“Mostly this kind of thing I talk over with Adam, but lately he’s so wrapped up in his own things, he ain’t had time to pay attention to me.”

“So you want me to tell Adam to come talk to you?”

“Nah, that ain’t what I’m sayin’ at all. Joe, ya jest don’t get it. Nobody understands at all. Jest forgit it.” Hoss walked back to the house leaving Joe standing frustrated now too. Inside, Hoss said a quick apology to Adam for shoving him and then went upstairs to his bedroom making it clear he wasn’t in the mood to talk.

When Joe came in the house, Adam and Ben looked at him, but all he could do was shrug. “We talked mostly about Adam and his troubles and how he doesn’t have time to talk with Hoss.”

That made both Ben and Joe focus their attention on Adam.

“All right, I’ll try to make sure he has a chance to talk with me. It’s not like I can do anything about anything that’s bothering me anyway.”

“That’s what Hoss said.”

That earned Joe a scowl from Adam, but he didn’t mind. His two older brothers were going to talk, and that meant they were going to have to work together. The main job they could do together was mending fences. It usually had a double meaning when their father sent them out to do it, and he almost laughed out loud when their father suggested exactly that for the next day. With a sour expression, Adam looked over at Joe and shook his head as if he knew exactly what Joe was thinking. Joe guessed that Adam was wondering if somehow he had been maneuvered into fence mending by his youngest brother, but if he was, at least it was for a good cause.

The next day, as expected, at breakfast, Ben announced to Hoss that he was going to be fixing fence with Adam. Hoss stared at Joe for a long time but said nothing. Joe smiled and gave his most innocent look. When it was time to load up the wagon with supplies, Adam had to be careful not to be hit with items being thrown into the wagon. He ducked a few times and jumped back more often. Hoss got cross with him eventually.

“You could be more help loading the wagon, you know.”

“I would be if I wasn’t taking my life in my hands by getting anywhere near it. So far I’ve ducked from at least two spools of wire flying past my head and gotten out of the way of several posts, a shovel, and a hammer being thrown this way. The way you throw things, I was worried about broken bones or losing my head entirely.”

Hoss looked at the disarray of things in the wagon and then looked at his brother who looked decidedly nervous. He smiled. “Guess I was a mite distracted. Sorry ’bout that. Why don’t we straighten up what’s in the wagon and then work together on the rest?”

That did the trick, and the two brothers worked in the harmony forged by years of doing the same. Most of the time, they didn’t have to talk to each other about work with each knowing what the other was going to do and simply doing their part to get the job done. It was one of the reasons they could often talk about other things while they worked. The work itself didn’t get in the way. It took several hours of Adam saying nothing for Hoss to finally open up a little. At first, it didn’t seem like he was talking about himself, but Adam let the conversation progress at Hoss’ pace.

“Ya miss Miss Anita much?”

“Yes, I do. I think I miss her more than I thought I would.”

“More?”

“We only recently became involved romantically. But it is the friendship that I miss. We were spending time together. That’s the part I miss most.”

“Yeah, I ‘spose it was nice havin’ somebody willin’ ta do the things ya like ta do.”

“It was.”

“She liked ridin’ and she liked goin’ to them performances in town that you liked. Some of ’em I like too, but not all that fancy stuff sometimes ‘specially them ones where they mostly read stuff.”

“I understand. We all like different things.”

“I had a really good time the day I brung her ta town and back. We talked ’bout all sorts of things. She asked a lot of good questions and told me how smart I was ’cause I could answer all of ’em.”

“She is a curious kind of person.”

“Yeah. A lot like you.”

“I guess that’s why we get along so well and why I miss her. Even if she is a bit pushy sometimes and I wish she would think before she talks. She was getting better about all of that though.”

“She’s purty young. She’s got a lot of learning ta do yet.”

“It’s the one thing that has me worried about us. I wonder if there’s a future for us with her so much younger.”

“Aw, Adam, I don’t think that her age is the main issue ifn you two decide ya love each other enough. Ya like being together and ya like the same things. Ain’t that a lot better than being alone?”

“It probably is.” Adam paused. “It is. Talking to you always helps me get things down to the basic elements. Sometimes I can’t see what’s most important because I’m looking at all the trees that get in the way so I can’t see the forest.”

“Huh?”

“Now, what’s on your mind? You feeling a lot like I was before Joe’s scheme?”

“Ya mean where he got me ta help him try to hook up you and Anita?”

“Yes, that is the one.”

“Adam, I got to admit something to ya I ain’t told ya yet.” It was Hoss’ turn to pause. He wasn’t even sure Adam would believe the next part. “It was my idea to hook you up with Anita.” Adam did look skeptical. “Ya see, Joe came back from the ride around the Ponderosa with Anita and was real disappointed. She weren’t interested in him at all. He couldn’t get an arm around her much less a kiss.”

Adam smiled. He had wondered about that day. Now he knew. Anita had never kissed Joe. He could banish that possible scene from his mind. He turned his attention back to Hoss.

“When he got back, he complained that all she wanted to do was talk, and it was about books, and travel, and stuff like you like. He said it was like being on a picnic with you.” That made Adam grin knowing how frustrated Joe must have been. “Well, anyways, I said to Joe that what that means is that we gotta get you and Anita together. It was my fault Joe started working out a plan.”

“I’m not happy you schemed like that, but it all worked out all right. Anita and I are a lot alike in the things we enjoy. I wish she was here so we could enjoy them though. It’s lonely otherwise.”

“Least you know ya got somebody.”

Suspecting that that was going to be the direction they were going because of the conversation Hoss had initiated and the way it had gone so far, Adam wasn’t surprised. He was ready for this part.

“Hoss, is there someone special you have in mind or are you just looking around in general hoping there will be someone special?”

Not responding for a time, Hoss worked at setting a post and filling the hole. Then he grabbed their lunch from the wagon and headed for the shade of a tree. Adam grabbed the canteens and walked to the stream to refill them before joining his brother in the shade. Hoss handed him a small bundle to unwrap even as he was already chewing with a full meal open on a large napkin beside him.

“I kinda got my eye on one lady.”

“Why have you been moping around then instead of going to see her?”

“Her brothers don’t like me much since I caught them stealing some of our cattle. Now I know they said they was hungry, but they took a few more than they needed for that. She’s got some education too, and they think she oughta marry up with a man who’s got more schooling than me.”

“How do you know all that?”

“I’ve tried to go call on her. Her brothers stopped me. I cain’t get anywhere near her.”

“What’s her name?”

“Pamela. Ain’t that a purty name?”

From the look on Hoss’ face, Adam could tell he was smitten. “Have you ever met her?”

“Well, shur I have. Ya don’t think I could feel this way ifn I hadn’t met her. She seemed to like me too. Now if it wasn’t for her danged brothers, maybe I could have me a gal to do the things I like to do and go places I liked to go. When we talked, it seemed like she would. Now we cain’t even talk. When I’m in town, her brothers make sure I don’t get anywhere near her.”

“I’m sorry. I wish there was something I could do.”

“Nope, and nothing nobody can do ta help me. Thanks for listening ta me. Don’t tell Pa. I hate how he likes to turn everything into a lecture about life. I don’t want one now.”

“How about Joe?”

“You kin tell him. It’ll stop him from pestering me ifn ya tell him and tell him not to talk about it with me.”

Adam nodded fully understanding Hoss’ feelings on that. They worked the rest of the day in their usual mode and rode home in a relaxed mood.

Chapter 2

“Joe, no schemes. I didn’t like it when it happened to me, and I know Hoss won’t like it either.”

“It’s not a scheme. I know I promised not to do that. No, heck, we can even tell Hoss about it if you want.”

“I don’t want to tell him because I don’t even want to do it.”

“But it makes so much sense, Adam. Her brothers want her to be with someone with education. If you ask to see her, they’re not going to say no. Then you can get with her and talk up Hoss and set up some way for the two of them to be together.”

“No, I remember well how that worked with Abigail. I nearly ended up married to her!”

“Oh, c’mon, it wasn’t that bad. She only almost asked you to marry her. You didn’t have to say yes, and besides, look how well that worked out. Hank and Abigail are still married, aren’t they?”

“They are, but we don’t know how happy they are. Only they know the answer to that question. Joe, it isn’t a good idea to interfere in someone’s life. It never is.”

“But Hoss needs our help.”

“No, he’ll work this out. Trust him. He’s a smart man. It may take him some time but he’ll come up with a solution.”

“You don’t really believe that, do you?”

“Of course I do.” Except inside, Adam knew how difficult it had been for Hoss to maneuver the waters of a romantic course. He floundered often and usually someone else was there to grab the lady before Hoss had a good chance. The only successes he had had were with women that he was too naïve or too pure to see the rotten core in them. Helen and Regan came to mind immediately. Joe must have seen from his expression how he was thinking.

“Adam, at least talk to Hoss again. See if he has any ideas about how we can help. It wouldn’t be interfering, would it, if it was his idea? And it would be better if you talk to him than for me to talk to him, wouldn’t it?”

“All right, I’ll talk with Hoss to see if he wants either of us to do anything on his behalf, but Joe, if he doesn’t want us to do anything, then we don’t. Right?”

“Right.”

Except Joe had that grin that always made Adam nervous. It said that maybe there was a loophole in the conversation that perhaps he had missed. He hated that look. It was late and he needed some sleep. He couldn’t be expected to talk with Hoss that night but Joe wanted him to do that too.

“I’m not talking with Hoss tonight. Tomorrow is soon enough.”

“Well, if you don’t care enough about our brother to talk to him tonight, then maybe I ought to talk to him.”

“Joe, the only reason I was able to tell you what Hoss said was because he gave me permission to tell you so you wouldn’t talk to him. He called it ‘pestering’ him about it, and he doesn’t like it.”

“I was only trying to help.”

“He’ll talk when he’s ready. I’ll ask him the question some time tomorrow, and he’ll answer me when he’s ready. I don’t think it will be tomorrow.”

“Why are older brothers so slow to do things?”

“Experience. When you’re older, you have more of it, and it slows you down. Now I’m going to bed. If you don’t want to see me get undressed and get into bed, you need to leave now.”

Joe hurriedly left Adam’s room only to nearly run into his father in the hallway.

“Is something wrong, Joe? Are you feeling all right?”

“I’m fine, Pa.”

“Is Adam all right?”

“He’s fine, Pa.”

“Is there a reason for a closed door meeting then so late at night?”

“Closed door meeting? No, Pa, there was no closed door meeting. We were just talking. You know, it was how brothers talk. Just hanging around talking, and you know, brother talk.”

“Brother talk?”

“Yes, Pa. We do it a lot, you know. You’re just not always around when we do. Now, I got to get some sleep. Adam was already planning to climb into the old sack, so I’m heading off to mine too. Good night, Pa.” Joe hurried into his room and closed the door happy to have escaped the inquisition he had feared was coming.

Shaking his head, Ben headed to his bedroom. He muttered as he went. “Brother talk, my eye. Those two are up to something.”

Hoss and Adam didn’t get much of a chance to talk the next day because they were on horseback pushing cattle from one pasture to another. The following day, they did get a chance to talk even though they were doing the same job, but they had to stop to pull a calf out of a mud hole. It involved one of them stripping down. They tossed a coin and Adam lost. As he stripped down to his pants only, Hoss got a rope ready.

“Why don’t ya take your pants off and only go in your shortalls?”

“I would if I was wearing any. It was hot today so I didn’t bother.”

Laughing, Hoss coiled the rope ready to throw over the calf’s neck. “You’re gonna be a mite uncomfortable riding later.”

“It’s late enough I figured to rinse them out after we get that calf out and then ride for home. You and the others can handle what’s left for today.”

“You ready?”

“I am.”

“Ifn it was Joe, he woulda said he was born ready.”

“If you were with Joe, you would have lost the coin toss.”

“I make ‘im show me the coin ever since I found out about that two-headed one he’s got.”

“Now he shows you one and then uses another. He’s good at hiding coins just like he hides checkers up his sleeve.”

“Well, sometimes I toss the coin.”

“I bet you lose those too.”

“Dadburnit, I do. I don’t know how he gets so darn lucky all the time.”

“It’s not luck. He says things like heads I win, tails you lose, and you don’t challenge him about it.”

“Why would I challenge him about it?”

“Think about it.”

It took a minute and then Hoss got upset. “That durn little weasel.”

“Do me a favor, would you please. When you try to get even with him about that, leave my name out of it.”

“I will.”

There was a pause as Adam got close to the calf and began helping it to move and Hoss began pulling it. The physical exertion made them stop talking until the calf was free. Hoss removed the lasso and the calf bawled a little before it ran off to join its mother presumably. Hoss decided they had a few minutes to talk as Adam removed his pants and moved further up the small stream to rinse some of the mud out of them and then stepped into the clear water to rinse the mud from himself.

“Damn, that’s cold.”

“Probably do you good these days with Anita gone. You thinking about going to see her and maybe, you know, seeing when she’s coming back here?”

“I’ve thought about it. I don’t know if I should.”

“Don’t want to look like you’re too serious about her?”

“No, I was rather hoping for a letter from her to know how she felt a little before I commit myself more.”

“Don’t you know how she feels?”

“I’d like to know more definitely.”

“I’d like to know about Pamela too. I wish there was a way to find out how she was thinking. I mean, I’ve talked to her a little, and I thought she was. Now with her brothers acting the way they are, I don’t really know if she’s interested in me or not. She might think I don’t like here ’cause I can’t get anywhere near her with her brothers around all the time. I wish there was someone who could get near her who could maybe talk to her and find out what she was thinking. Maybe she’s not interested in me, and I should move on.”

Struggling to pull his wet pants back on, Adam didn’t say anything at first. He was a bit shocked that Hoss had the same idea that Joe had been proposing. He was going to have to endure that Joe giggle that was more like a cackle. He was sure of that at least. When he got his pants on, he sat and pulled on his socks and boots and then stood and put on his shirt. He turned to Hoss.

“All right. I’ll find a way to do it. But, Hoss, I’m making no promises. I have no idea how this woman is going to react when I talk to her. I am worried about it. I remember how Abigail took it the wrong way and thought I was there because I was interested in her when I was there on behalf of Hank.”

“Nah, Adam, I know that didn’t go right, but now everybody knows you got a gal. You got Anita so ifn you was to talk to Pamela, she’d know you wasn’t talking for yourself. She’d know you was talking for me and not for yourself.”

“I hope so. It makes sense at least. Now, I’m heading home. I need to clean up and get some dry clothes. I thought I was getting a cold before and this has made me feel worse.”

“Gosh darn it, ya shoulda told me you was feeling poorly. I coulda gone in after that calf.”

“I didn’t think it was going to be a problem until I got in that water. It was colder than I expected. A warm bath and some hot coffee should take care of any chill.”

“Thank ya, Adam. I got a gut feeling ’bout this. I’m thinkin’ this is gonna turn out right good for me.”

Hoss’ gut feelings were famous for their accuracy. However, he hadn’t mentioned how all of this was going to turn out for Adam. Adam should probably have asked.

Chapter 3

A hot bath and cup of coffee weren’t enough for Adam to feel better. He had been coming down with a cold before he decided to go into the water to rescue that calf. When he trudged down to breakfast the next morning, he was coughing and clearly was ill. It had been a bad decision to go to work the day before much less climb into cold water as his father pointed out to him a number of times over the course of the day until it was going to start an argument if he said it again. The point was made. However Hoss was terribly disappointed because Adam was quite sick for three days, and they went right through the weekend and the best days for Adam to go see Pamela. He couldn’t go see her with his gravelly voice and coughing and hacking away as he was not to mention that he was running a fever and was weak. He spent a lot of time in bed too. Hoss however looked at the plan he thought they had and was frustrated. Now it would be another full week before there would be another chance, and with Adam having more time to think about it, he was finding more reasons why perhaps he shouldn’t do it. Hoss sat with him and tried to be encouraging, but he was ready to lose his temper with his older brother too so he turned that job over to Joe. Joe of course liked being in charge. He did suggest that perhaps he could be the one to talk to Pamela, but that got an eye roll from Adam and a look of horror from Hoss when he brought it up with him. Joe guessed that he probably shouldn’t ask about that again.

The second complicating factor was that a letter from Anita arrived early that week too making Adam miss her more. He decided that what he ought to do was go to Denver to see her. That upset Hoss who reminded Adam of his promise.

“You got a gal, and you tole me ya would help with mine.”

“Hoss, you don’t really know her so she’s not yours yet.”

“And she ain’t gonna be ifn you don’t help like you said you would.”

“I can’t go see her while I’m still coughing.”

“Then ya cain’t go see your gal neither. If it ain’t good for a gal you’re jest planning on talking with then it ain’t no good at all for a gal you’ll like as not be kissing with too.”

Knowing Hoss had a good point there, Adam conceded. “All right, I’ll write to Anita instead and tell her that I want to come see her but that I can’t come right now and that I hope I can come visit later.”

“Then you kin go see Pamela for me.”

“Hoss, it isn’t a good idea. I think it would be better if we worked out a plan for how you could go see her.”

“Dang, I thought you would understand and help me. Now I ain’t got nobody on my side.”

Feeling sorry for Hoss and guilty too because he had always been the one to help out his brothers when they asked, Adam relented. “When we go into town on Friday, maybe we could see her and she will agree to see you.”

“But ifn she doesn’t, will you go see her for me?”

“If that doesn’t work I guess I’ll see about making an appointment to see your gal.”

“Ya need an appointment?”

“Hoss, it isn’t polite to simply drop in on a lady. Yes, I’ll make an appointment. Maybe she’ll consent to see me on Sunday afternoon. We can talk then and see if she’s agreeable to seeing you.” Noting how worried Hoss looked, Adam had to smile. “I’ll do my best to make sure she wants to do that. We’ll find a way for her to see you. Now, how about the Saturday after that? Maybe you could take her for a ride and the two of you could spend some time talking? That’s what we’ll ask about or I’ll ask if I have to do it alone.”

“That sounds about perfect, Adam. Anything to get her away from her brothers so she and me can get to know each ‘n the other better.”

“We won’t try to rush things too much, and that should hopefully let her brothers calm down some. You pick out a nice book that you want to read to her too.”

“A book to read to her?”

“Hoss, her brothers want her to be with a man with some schooling. We have to have something for her to give to them as evidence of that. If she says the two of you are going to be reading a book and discussing it, that should help. Now, look at all the books we have here and pick one out. Have one ready by Friday so we can keep our stories straight.”

That Friday, things could not have worked out better for Hoss and Adam. They went to town for supplies and at Cass’ store, Pamela and a brother were doing the same. Adam smiled at her, and nudged Hoss’ arm that they should move closer to her. As they did, her brother moved between her and Hoss making it clear that he wasn’t going to let Hoss get anywhere near her. That left it up to Adam who approached her without any difficulty as she was picking out some cans of peaches. He liked those too and picked up a couple to take to the Ponderosa.

“Miss Pamela, would you like me to carry those to the counter for you?”

“Well, Adam Cartwright, that would be just so neighborly of you. Thank you.”

“It’s a pleasure. In fact, I have a question for you too now that I have the opportunity to talk to such a pretty lady. We have a mutual acquaintance who I think you know happens to be very interested in you. He would like me to talk with you about perhaps the two of you getting together, but he knows how difficult that may be.”

Knowing immediately to whom Adam was referring, Pamela looked around the store catching Hoss’ eye and smiling at him. However her brother glared so much at her for doing that so she turned back to Adam. Her brother wouldn’t mind her talking with Adam. “I would like that very much. When would you like to do that? I’m busy today but tomorrow afternoon or Sunday would work very well for a visit.”

“I think it would be best to talk about it on Sunday. We can both relax and not worry about doing any work. May I come by your place and perhaps we could talk privately then?”

Understanding then how clever it was to choose Sunday, Pamela smiled. “Of course, two of my brothers will likely be with the ladies they are seeing. We should have privacy for our talk then.”

“Very good. I’ll see you Sunday afternoon about one then.” Adam deposited the cans of peaches on the counter and grinned broadly at Pamela. She was bright and had a ready smile. He liked that. She was perhaps going to be a good match for Hoss based on the little he already knew about her. He went back to helping Hoss get together the supplies they needed. “I’m seeing her Sunday afternoon. She’s seems very nice and smart too, Hoss. You picked out a good one.”

At dinner that night, Hoss was excited to tell Joe all about the plan. Joe was excited, but Ben was wary.

“Adam, I’m not sure this is a good idea. She could get the wrong idea about what you’re doing.”

“Pa, I don’t think Pamela is under any misconceptions. She smiled at Hoss while she was talking to me, and I made it clear we were going to be talking about someone else. She even pointed at Hoss when I said that and smiled when I nodded. She knows we’re trying to come up with a plan to get the two of them together.”

“I would think though that you better than most would be leery of getting into this kind of scheming.”

“Oh, I was, but Hoss practically begged me to help.”

“Now, Adam, I wouldn’t exactly call it begging.” Hoss was offended a little at Adam’s wording.

“I made it clear to Pamela that I was only speaking to her on behalf of Hoss. She won’t have any misconceptions about that.”

“What about her brothers?”

Silenced by that, Adam had to admit he hadn’t thought about them. He had mainly been concerned with them not being there when he visited with Pamela. His mind had been focused on Anita and planning a trip to Denver. In trying to get all his work done to free up his time so he could make that trip, he wasn’t using all of his faculties to plan what Hoss wanted him to do. He wasn’t sleeping well at night either yet with the remnants of the cold still bothering him and making him wake frequently at night. He dropped his head and scratched the back of his neck. He was a bit worried about them, but couldn’t formulate a concrete idea of why he ought to be worried about them. He looked up and asked that question of his father and brothers. They didn’t have an answer either, but all three promised to give it some thought. It was only on Sunday afternoon that they thought of a reason, and by then, it was too late.

“Well, on a happier note, I think I’m getting well enough to consider a trip to Denver. Tomorrow, I plan to purchase a ticket.”

“When do you plan to go?”

“Pa, I’ll have any work that I need to do done by Wednesday. I was planning to leave on Thursday. I can be in Denver by Friday if I can make all the connections. At the latest, I should be there by Saturday.”

“Are you going to send a wire to let Anita know you’re coming?”

“I planned to send one just before I leave in case something happens to interfere. I don’t want to say I’m coming and then not be able to be there.”

“That’s a wise precaution. I’m sure she’ll be anxious to see you.”

“I think ole Adam’s purty durn anxious ta see her too, Pa.”

Hoss was grinning and Joe giggled in response. All Adam could do was shrug. They were correct.

On Sunday at church, Adam answered a lot of questions that people had about Anita wondering if she was coming back. He let them know he was going to see her so that they knew the two of them were still committed to one another. That got smiles from his friends and some poorly hidden scowls from some women who had hoped her absence meant the romance was over. Adam stayed in town after services having lunch there before he headed to Pamela’s home to talk with her. What he didn’t realize was that some of the women who had heard him talk about his trip at church were also seeing Pamela’s brothers that afternoon. Word that he was still seeing Anita and planned to visit her didn’t sit well with those men.

Because he was going to have lunch and then go see Pamela, Adam put his horse in the livery stable. After lunch, he walked to Pamela’s home and found her waiting for him on the porch. It was a small house, but she had a small garden in the front, and the home was well kept even if it was unpainted. She invited him inside.

“My brothers are all gone so you can speak freely Adam. I assume Hoss sent you?”

“Yes, he is very taken with you, but your brothers have forbidden him from seeing you. They think he isn’t well educated enough to be with someone like you.”

Shaking her head, Pamela invited Adam to sit. There were only wooden chairs from the dining table. He pulled one out from the table and sat. She poured a cup of coffee for him and set it beside him before she sat too.

“My brothers are so ignorant. My education, of which they are so proud, is that I went to eighth grade. I can read almost any book you can hand me. To them, I am the most educated person they know other than the minister. My mama was educated too. She said women are the guardians of men’s souls. It’s up to us to read the Good Book and to teach the children right from wrong.”

“Your brothers didn’t go to school?”

“They did for a little bit, but then Papa needed them to work. We never had much, and they could work and get quarter wages or half wages so he took them out of school to work. They can read a little and cipher a little, but they depend on me for most things that need reading or ciphering.”

“Hoss can read and do math and quite a bit more.”

“I thought he probably could. We have to find a way for my brothers to know that.”

“Maybe if he brought a book over to discuss it with you?”

“Ooh, that would be a great start. That would impress them. Maybe he could help me with the budget too. They can all count to a dozen but not much after that.”

“So if he could, they would be impressed?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Then we’ll work out something that shows he can count and do math.”

“My youngest brother, Virgil, doesn’t have a job. Maybe if you could find a way to hire him to do something or find someone else to hire him, that would help so much too. He eats a lot, and we could really use the money.”

“He’s the very big one, isn’t he?” Pamela nodded. “We’ve got some heavy lifting that needs to be done. Hoss could hire him. A dollar and a half a day for a month and Hoss could show he can multiply right there.”

“Oh, yes, with thirty days at a dollar and a half a day equals forty-five dollars. That ought to impress them. And we could certainly use that much money too. Yes, that would be wonderful.”

“So, we’ve got the basics of a plan here. I’ll talk to Hoss and he can get started on taking care of things. Soon the two of you ought to be able to be seeing each other with your brothers’ approval.”

Adam stood to leave and Pamela followed him to the porch. He turned to say goodbye and Pamela hugged him and kissed him on each cheek. She had tears that started to fall and Adam moved his hand to brush the tears away.

“Don’t cry. This is all going to work out fine.”

“Oh, I’m not crying because I’m sad. I’m so happy. It’s like when women cry at weddings. I got so much joy inside that some jest has to leak out.”

Grinning, Adam chucked her under the chin before leaving. “You and Hoss are made for each other.”

“Bye, Adam, and thank you.”

Adam walked away smiling as an angry Virgil looked on from a short distance away and went to find his brothers.

Chapter 4

On the Ponderosa, Ben had been talking with his younger sons. The more they talked over lunch, the more worried Ben became about what Adam was doing. He voiced his concern for the awkward position he thought Adam might find himself in because of the plan the brothers had hatched.

“So if they see Adam with Pamela, what if they think he’s using her as a substitute for Anita until she comes back?”

“Pa, why would they think that?” Hoss wanted to dismiss his father’s concern but he had had a niggling issue with the whole thing ever since they had been in church that morning. He had seen how Pamela’s brothers had looked, and it had been anything except pleased. He would have thought they would be happy that an educated man such as Adam was visiting with their sister, but apparently there was something wrong with that too in their minds. He couldn’t think of a reason why they were unhappy, but his father’s concern had him wondering if maybe he knew what it was.

“Why would they think that? For one reason, at church this morning, people were asking about Anita, and Adam told his friends that he planned to go visit her.”

“But he didn’t tell Pamela or her brothers?”

“No, Adam didn’t tell Pamela or her brothers directly, but Hoss, people talk.”

“We don’t have ta worry none about Pamela, but her brothers do worry me some.”

“Pa, you don’t think they would do anything to Adam, do you?” Joe was concerned because the smallest of Pamela’s brothers was about Adam’s size, but the other two were much larger with Virgil even larger than Hoss.

“That’s what worries me. If Hoss has reason to be leery of them, then Adam should be even more concerned. I didn’t like this plan at all, and I’m more worried now that I think about it more.”

Standing then, Joe was ready to go. “Maybe we oughta head back to town then in case Adam needs help.”

“I don’t want a fight. I would want you to do everything you can to avoid that. Perhaps Hoss, you should go. That way, you can talk too if there’s a dispute and get things settled with words instead of fists.” Ben was concerned that sending Joe was more likely to inflame the situation than settle it. Joe’s volatile nature in such confrontations, if there was going to be one, tended to make things escalate rather quickly sometimes. If there was a fight, Joe wasn’t going to be much help either considering the size of Pamela’s brothers.

“All right, Pa, I’ll saddle up Chubb and go right now.”

When Hoss got to town, he headed directly for Pamela’s home. He didn’t see Adam, but he did see Pamela. She smiled and waved from the porch of her home as soon as she saw him. After he tied off Chubb, he walked up to see her. Anxious to tell him the plan she had concocted with Adam, the words spilled out in a torrent.

“Oh, Hoss, we can see each other. With everything your brother said to do, they’ll be so impressed with you, they won’t have any objections left.”

“That’s a right good plan the two of you worked out.”

“Do you want to come in and have a cup of coffee?”

“Ah, I don’t want to do nothing that would make your brothers think bad of me. Being in your house with you alone might not look too good. Maybe we could take a walk instead. That would be safe cause they couldn’t think I was up to no good ifn we was only walking.”

“Yes, I would like that.”

So, Hoss and Pamela began a stroll around town. Hoss offered his arm, and Pamela slipped her arm through his as they walked putting a big smile on Hoss’ face. While they were walking, Pamela’s brothers were confronting Adam in the livery stable as he was saddling up Sport.

“You were over to the house seeing our sister.”

“I was. We had a talk. That’s all.” Adam was a bit nervous but tried not to show it. Being confronted by three such large men alone in a livery stable with no chance of anyone showing up to help was disconcerting to say the least. He had no idea why they were there and what they wanted. He got a very good idea of that from the first question though.

Pamela’s oldest brother Daryl began the talking. “Well, I heard from my gal MaryAnn, that at church this morning, you was talking ’bout going to see your gal over to Denver, and I was wondering if you’re still paired up wit her. Are ya?”

“Why is that important for you to know?”

At that point, Virgil grabbed him and threw him against the livery stable wall. “I saw you a hugging and kissing our sister. You be toying with her. You be using her ’til your fancy gal gets back. We’re gonna teach you a lesson ’bout that.”

Struggling a bit to speak with Virgil’s arm pressed up against his throat, Adam managed to get the story out. “She kissed me on the cheek because she was grateful I talked to her about Hoss. I wasn’t there to court her myself or see her for myself. I was doing it to help out Hoss. He’s the one who wants her as his gal.”

Daryl joined in again. “We don’t want her seeing Hoss. She knows that.”

“That’s why we met. We needed a plan for Hoss so that you would accept him. We worked it out.”

Daryl looked thoughtful. “Chester, you and me are going to go see Pamela and see what she’s got to say ’bout all this . Virgil, you keep him here.”

With that, the two smaller of the brothers left, but Virgil didn’t relax his iron grip on Adam who smiled faintly.

“We’re all probably going to laugh about this someday, maybe at a wedding if this all works out well.”

Virgil’s arm pressed up harder so Adam knew it might be best if he didn’t say anything more.

Daryl and Chester didn’t find anyone at their house but did find Chubb tied up outside. Furious at being outsmarted by the Cartwright brothers thinking that Adam might be a decoy now, they began looking for Hoss. They found him a short time later where he and Pamela had halted their walk to talk to a group of people gathered around a game of horseshoes.

“Hoss Cartwright, we want a word with you.”

“Yessiree, I’m right here.”

Pamela was worried though. “Don’t you boys start any trouble here.”

“Little sister, don’t you worry. We got some questions for him, and then we’re taking you back home. Hoss, did your brother have to come talk to our sister for you to work it out so’s you could see her?”

In front of all those people, Hoss didn’t want to admit the truth. “Nah, I jest rode up the house, and Miss Pamela was on the porch, and I up and asked her to go for a walk with me.”

“So it wasn’t Adam’s idea?”

“Nope, it was my idea to take her for a walk. I didn’t see Adam since church this morning.”

“Well, that don’t make no nevermind then. Pamela, you come on home with us.”

“No, I want to stay with Hoss. He’s a smart one too. He’s got a job for Virgil and everything.” That was Hoss’ cue to step in and carry out part of the plan the two of them had discussed while on their walk.

“Yes, we have some rocks slides that need to be cleared. Virgil is big and strong so he could do that work. We’ll pay him a dollar and a half a day for the month. Now that’s thirty days so that’s forty five dollars.”

“Pamela tell you how much it would be?”

“Nah, I can figure that out easy. It’s thirty times one plus one half of thirty added on which is another fifteen so that’s forty-five. And next month actually has thirty-one days so the total will be forty-six and one half dollars with that extra day tacked on.”

Daryl looked to his sister for confirmation. She agreed with what Hoss had said. Daryl was surprised.

“You can do all that fancy ciphering?”

“Sure, with a ranch as big as ours, we need to be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. There are lots of things where we need to be able to do those things.”

“You can do all of that?” The wonder in Daryl’s voice was evident. “Kin ya read too then?”

“Shur ‘nough can. Me and Pamela was talkin’ ’bout some books we’ve read. We got a lot of books on the Ponderosa. She wants to come see sometime and maybe borrow a couple.”

“You got books on your ranch?”

“Shur, lots of times at night, when we need to relax, we settle on in and read a good book although Pa sometimes prefers the newspaper and I might read about how to improve the herd or things like that.”

“And Adam didn’t tell you to say all them things?”

“No, I can speak for myself.”

Daryl looked to Chester who had been silent. Chester shrugged and then smiled. “Far as I kin tell, he’s a good one for her, Daryl. He’s a lot smarter than he looks. I think we was wrong ’bout ‘im. Maybe we oughta say all right to ‘im.”

“That’s what I was a thinkin’ ta do, Chester.” Turning back to Hoss, Daryl was smiling. “I think Pamela has made a good choice. You got our permission to see our sister.” Daryl’s expression got serious and a bit ominous then though. “But you better not hurt her though. We wouldn’t like that. We wouldn’t like that at all.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t never hurt a lady. It’s why we went for a walk. I didn’t want anyone to think bad of Miss Pamela that I might be in her house alone with her.”

Satisfied that Hoss was an honorable man, the two brothers turned to leave determined to deal with the brother they had decided was not honorable. In their minds, he was two-timing his gal and his own brother.

As Hoss and Pamela began their walk back to her home, Pamela wondered why her brothers had headed off in another direction. She had thought they would go home.

“Hoss, did you see your brother Adam when you rode into town?”

“Nope, I didn’t see him since church this morning jest like I told Daryl. Why?”

“Well, I wondered why my brothers didn’t head toward our house, and now I’m wondering why you didn’t see Adam. I’m hoping those two things are not connected, but I have a very bad feeling about this. Call me crazy if you will, but I get these gut feelings about things sometimes, and I got a bad one about this.”

“I get gut feelings too. Lordy, you don’t think they’ve done something to Adam, do ya?”

“I don’t know why they would, but I have this terrible feeling that they did.”

And right then, Hoss had a gut feeling that her gut feeling might be right. “I’m gonna get you home, and then I’m gonna go find Adam.”

It would have been better if Hoss had not delayed, although it probably was already too late. Hoss started looking for Adam and those he saw all said they saw Adam headed toward the livery stable. No one had seen him leave town. When Hoss walked into the livery stable, he didn’t see Adam, but Sport was there. He was saddled, but the stirrup was tossed up over the saddle as if someone was about to tighten the cinch but had been interrupted.

“Adam, you in here?”

Hoss heard a moan in response and headed to the back of the stable. He found Adam curled into a fetal position in a stall. He knelt down beside him and put a hand on his brother’s shoulder.

“Lordy, what happened to ya?”

It was clear that Adam found it extremely difficult to speak. He choked out two words one at a time between clenched teeth. “Pamela’s brothers.”

“Let me help you up.”

“No.”

From the position he was in, Hoss had a fair idea why he didn’t want to move. “Will laying here a while maybe help some?”

“Maybe.”

Hoss sat silently beside his brother for about fifteen minutes before asking again if he could help him up. When he did, Adam groaned but also winced in severe pain from damage to his ribs. It was clear then that there was more than one reason why he was having trouble breathing.

“I need to get you to the Doc’s. You lean on me as much as you can. I’ll hold you up best I can.”

Hoss moved to grab Adam’s belt in the back to help hold him but Adam’s loud yelp told him that wasn’t a good idea because it put too much pressure on sensitive areas that had been damaged apparently. Walking slowly, they got to Doctor Martin’s office. Paul was shocked to have Adam in that state especially on a Sunday. He listened as Hoss did his best to explain but could only shake his head at another strange story of the Cartwright saga. He bound up Adam’s ribs and cleaned up abrasions on his face and hands.

“Hoss, Adam should stay here. Riding home in his condition is out of the question today. It would be terribly uncomfortable, and I doubt he would keep his mind on his riding. He could fall, and that would make things much more serious than they already are.”

“Kin he ride home tomorrow?”

“A day or two of bed rest, and he can go home, but Hoss, I would suggest a carriage ride. It would be more comfortable for him.”

Hoss nodded cringing a bit knowing which of Adam’s injuries the Doc was referencing with that. He cringed a bit more knowing he was going to have to explain all of this to their father too. He waited until Adam was in a bed at the doctor’s office and settled as comfortably as he likely would be. He offered to bring him a meal but Adam declined saying he wasn’t hungry. Hoss told him he would take Sport home and that someone would be back to see him the next day and bring the carriage. He got a grimace in response before he left. He heard a lot more when he got home and had to explain it all to their father.

Chapter 5

While in bed injured, Adam still wasn’t immune to his father’s lectures. He had to endure that because he couldn’t escape it the next morning. He felt reasonably comfortable resting in bed propped up on pillows, but he knew from experience that any effort to move out of bed was quite painful.

“For an intelligent, educated man, you certainly can act anything but. What were you thinking going along with Hoss and Joe in one of their schemes? You better than anyone ought to know how well that usually works out. You’ve paid the price before and you still haven’t learned your lesson. I know you’re stubborn, but this borders on the ridiculous.”

“Pa, it could have worked if Hoss had only told them the truth. They came back and said he told them I hadn’t spoken to Pamela on his behalf. That’s what set them off.”

Then Ben got red in the face, and Adam realized that Hoss probably had not confessed that part of the debacle when he had explained what had happened. His father had told him that Hoss had confessed that he was responsible for Adam being injured and given him the whole story. So Adam had assumed that Hoss had included everything in his account not realizing Hoss would neglect to mention that part of the incident.

“Hoss lied and that was what got you pummeled by those three. It seems that he and I need to have more discussion than what we have already had.” Not in a mood to defend his brother, Adam stayed silent. “By the way, I want you to press charges with Roy. Paul said that you could easily have died if that broken rib had been displaced and punctured a lung or something else. You’re very lucky that it didn’t and that they didn’t hit you again in that spot.”

“I don’t want to file charges against them.”

“They beat you.”

“They only hit me twice.”

“What? They only hit you twice! But all the damage to your face and hands and ribs – how did they do all of that with only two blows?”

“My face hit the stable wall after the first one. Virgil hits like a mule kicking and hitting the wall was like getting hit again. Then I put my hands out to catch myself after the second one and slammed into the side of the stall. Of course there was that kick to my privates when I was down, and that put me down for the count. They left after a few choice words that I won’t repeat mostly about what they would do to me if I went near their sister again.”

At that point and before Ben could insist again that charges be filed, Paul came in to tell them that there were three men who wanted to see Adam. Pamela’s brothers were there which made Adam nervous except Paul said they were contrite. To be sure of that, Ben went out to see them. A short time later, the three did come in following Ben who told Adam they meant no harm. As usual, Daryl did the talking.

“We come to apologize to ya. We got a good talking to from Pamela and found out we was wrong. We would never a done it ifn we’d a knowed the truth of the matter. Hoss didn’t tell the truth ’bout things. She told us why about that too saying ya don’t question a man in public ’bout things like that, and we shoulda asked to speak wit him private like. Now, to make amends, Virgil here will work for ya for that month that Hoss mentioned and he’ll do it for free.”

Virgil stood next to Ben and towered over him. Ben looked up at him, and then he looked at Adam. “What work are they talking about?”

“Those rock slides we had that we have to clear so we can get the timber out of that north section we want to cut. Hoss and I figured Virgil could do the job.”

Looking at him, Ben had to agree. “I’m sure he could do the job, but no one works for us for nothing. We’ll pay a fair wage. What had you offered him?”

“A dollar and a half a day was what we thought.”

“How about a dollar a day then? We reduce the pay to make amends, but he gets paid and we supply food and a place to sleep too as we do with all our hands. It will save time if he stays on the Ponderosa while he’s working. There’s a line shack near there.”

“How much would he get then?” Daryl needed to know the final tally.

Ben was surprised because he thought anyone would know that answer. He looked to Adam who answered.

“That would be thirty-one dollars at a dollar a day and the month has thirty-one days.”

“That sounds right generous of ya after all that happened. We accept, right Virgil?”

Virgil nodded and smiled, and then so did Chester. That made Adam finally relax.

“Good, and maybe all of you and Hoss can get to know each other better.”

“And you too, Adam. We’d like to be friends too.” Daryl said it, but Virgil looked hopeful because he had been the one to inflict most of the damage to Adam and wanted to be able to make amends.

It was an effort not to visibly cringe when Daryl said that, Adam explained why their plans would have to be delayed at least. “When I get back, Daryl. I plan to go to Denver as soon as I can. I have someone I want to see.”

Ben was only slightly surprised but admonished his son for thinking of trying that so soon. “You know you can’t travel for a couple of weeks now.”

“Oh, no. I asked Paul. He said if I follow his instructions, I should be able to manage it in a week. By next Monday, I plan to leave. I’m not doing anything until then no matter what Hoss and Joe ask, and no matter if they beg. I’m through with their schemes.”

“You’re through with their schemes. I wish I could believe that, but I think I’ve heard that refrain before.”

However for the next week, Adam was true to his word. Surprising Doctor Martin as well as his father and brothers, he followed all of Paul’s instructions after Ben gave him a ride home in the carriage. Every day, he helped his father with the paperwork or sat by the fireplace and read. When he walked or did anything else, he was careful and avoided anything that might cause him a problem.

During his recuperation, Hoss avoided him too even more than he avoided their father. It was likely a good thing too as the brothers were not on good terms after Hoss’ failure to be honest with Pamela’s brothers led to Adam being hurt. An apology from Hoss to Adam helped, but sometimes an apology isn’t enough. It was going to take some time to heal all the wounds from this mess.

On Saturday, Hoss got all cleaned up and packed up a book and a bottle of wine. He even wore a tie. He was going to make quite a show for Pamela’s brothers. Hop Sing packed up a small box of cookies and warned Hoss not to eat any of the cookies as they were to be a treat for Pamela and her brothers. They were in a tin and Hop Sing put it in the back seat of the carriage with a stern look at Hoss. He was on his best behavior too. He already had his father and Adam displeased with him. He couldn’t afford to make Hop Sing angry. When he came home, he had a note to Hop Sing from Pamela. The note told him how very delicious the dozen cookies were and how she and her brothers had enjoyed them. Hop Sing smiled and patted Hoss on the arm. Hoss went into the great room, smiled, and headed up the stairs until his father called to him.

“Hoss, aren’t you going to say anything about your time with Pamela?”

Pausing on the steps, Hoss turned back with a grin. “Pa, all I got to say is I never thought a single kiss could be so sweet. That first kiss with a gal ya likes a lot sure is a thing to be remembered.” With that broad smile, Hoss turned and continued up the stair s.

Joe looked at Adam and at their father. “Oh-oh, he’s got it bad, real bad.”

“Joseph, I think your brother may think of it as having it good, real good. Don’t you agree, Adam?”

Smiling in agreement, Adam looked at Joe who sighed because now he was the only brother without a gal. On the following Monday, Adam climbed aboard the stage very carefully and began his trip to Denver. He didn’t send a wire to Anita. He told his family that if he needed to make stops along the way to rest, he would and that could delay his arrival. He didn’t want Anita to worry if he was late. That made sense to them.

At home, Hoss was a happy man smiling in the morning as he ate breakfast and smiling at night as he ate dinner. Nothing seemed to be able to break his good mood. Well that is after he got over the scolding he got for not telling the truth to Pamela’s brothers and being responsible for the beating that Adam got. Other than that, Hoss was a very happy man. He felt guilty for Adam’s plight though so he had made sure that Adam had everything he needed until the day he left for Denver. Things seemed to be going so well. The night that Adam left though, Ben’s mood got a bit of a jolt. He went upstairs intending to go to bed and Joe left Hoss’ bedroom. Ben had thought both of his younger sons had gone to bed to sleep quite a bit earlier.

“Is something wrong, Joe? Are you feeling all right?”

“I’m fine, Pa.”

“Is Hoss all right?”

“He’s fine too, Pa.”

“Then is there a reason for a closed door meeting so late at night?”

“Closed door meeting? No, Pa, there was no closed door meeting. We were just talking. You know, it was how brothers talk. We were just hanging around talking, and you know, brother talk.”

“Brother talk?”

“Yes, Pa. We do it a lot, you know. Only you’re not always around when we do it. Now, I gotta get some sleep. Hoss was already ready to climb into the old sack, so I’m heading off to mine too. Good night, Pa.” Joe hurried into his room and closed the door happy to have escaped the inquisition he feared was coming.

Shaking his head, Ben stood there for a moment and then turned to head back down the stairs. He muttered as he went. “Brother talk, my eye. Those two are up to something.” When he got downstairs, he poured a brandy and downed it in one gulp. He remembered the last time Joe had talked to him like that. He poured another brandy, put a log on the banked fire, which flared up with the extra fuel, and then he sat in his chair wondering what the two younger ones might be cooking up. Whatever it was, it was bound to be worse than what had already happened because Adam wasn’t there to take the worst of the rough edges off the plan. He downed the rest of the brandy in the small glass and thought about another. It was only a thought though. Instead, he relaxed in the chair hoping Adam’s trip was going well, and that Hoss and Joe wouldn’t get in too much trouble whatever it was that they were planning.

 

Next Story in the First Kiss Series:

First Kiss – Book Three:  Joe and Ben
First Kiss Again – Book Four

 

Tags:  Adam Cartwright, Ben Cartwright, Hoss Cartwright, Joe / Little Joe Cartwright

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Author: BettyHT

I watched Bonanza when it first aired. In 2012, I discovered Bonanza fan fiction, and started writing stories as a fun hobby. I have hundreds of stories now. If I am unavailable and anyone needs permission to post one or more of my stories on a site such as Bonanza Brand, AC1830 and/or Mo1427 are authorized to give permission in my absence.

2 thoughts on “First Kiss—Book Two: Hoss (by BettyHT)

  1. This was a really sweet story about Hoss getting his first kiss. I’m sure Adam wishes that it could all be done without a plan from Joe but at least Adam is also on his way to see Anita now. Just wondering if Joe is ever going to get his first kiss.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Hoss deserved his own story, and as for Joe, there are two more books in the series.

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