Love Me Not: An Interlude (by HarpistforHim)

Summary: Joe’s antics and quick temper get the better of him in this fun little story based on an exchange in “Love Me Not.” Featuring a mischievous Joe, a tired Hoss, and a crafty Adam. A WHIB for Love Me Not.
Rating: G  Word Count: 979


Based on the following quote from the Bonanza episode “Love Me Not.”

Hoss: Uh, there’s some stock that’s gotta be taken care of out in the barn.

Joe: Yeah, and I better help him.

Adam: I’m more practical, I’m going to bed.


Love Me Not: An Interlude

By the time Joe got halfway across the yard, the tension squeezing his shoulders had begun to subside. There’s no way he was going to be caught between Pa and Joan’s little love spat… or whatever they wanted to call it.

“Well, brother,” he said with a sigh as he caught up with Hoss, “I think congratulations are in order for our great escape.”

Sticking out his hand, Hoss gave Joe’s a hearty shake. “Well done, brother.”

“Well done.”

A short silence filled the air after that as the brothers surveyed the empty yard.

“So,” Joe began, “you said you had some stock to take care of out here?”

“Oh, yeah. That.” Hoss just shrugged. “That was jus’ the first excuse that came to my head. I don’t actually got anything to do out here.”

“Well, you could’ve told me that before I followed you all the way out here!”

“Hey, I didn’t invite ya. You invited yourself.” With a shiver, Hoss rubbed his hands together. “I sure am tired, though. And a bit chilly.”

“Yeah,” Joe agreed with a nod and a wistful glance back toward the house. “For not dancing a lick all night, I sure tired myself out. How about Pa, huh? Not inviting any girls for us to dance with.”

“Aw, he just had a lot on his mind.”

“Yeah, just not us.” When Hoss made no reply, Joe took a quick look around. “Hey, where’s Adam?”

As if just noticing his brother’s absence, Hoss perked up. “Hey…” he drawled. “Hey, yeah… Where’d he go?”

“You…” Joe made a face at the very thought. “You don’t think he’s still in there with Pa and that… that girl, do you?”

“Nah, he wouldn’t have stuck around for something like that…” Hoss wrinkled his nose. “Would he…?”

At that moment, Adam’s window lit up and the man himself peered out, his dark frame a sharp silhouette against the sudden glow of the lamp. Joe could’ve sworn he saw his brother smirk as he waved down at them.

“He went up to his room!” Joe hissed through clenched teeth. “The creep! You know what that means, don’t you?”

Crossing his arms, Hoss glared up at the window. “Yeah…”

“It means while we’re stuck out here, he gets to go to bed!”

“Yeah… Why does he always have to be so smart, anyway?”

Joe just shook his head. “Beats the heck outta me, brother.” Glancing back up at Adam, he cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted, “Pa and Joan still in there?”

Instead of the reply Joe was looking for, Adam circled a finger around his ear and shook his head, mouthing something along the lines of “I can’t hear you.”

“What?” Joe called back. “What do you mean, you can’t hear us? The window’s open!”

“Sorry,” Adam mouthed, though his expression betrayed the fact that he was anything but. Then, to Joe’s extreme annoyance, his brother shut the window and pulled the curtain.


“Come on, Joe, it ain’t worth it. ‘Sides, Pa’ll hear you.”

Hoss’ words of wisdom barely registered in Joe’s brain as he snatched up the nearest rock and chucked it at Adam’s window. The splintering crash that followed shocked a bit of sense into Joe, and Adam’s reappearance solidified the situation in his mind.

A thoughtless decision made in anger was about to have serious consequences.

Quick as a wink, Joe slipped behind Hoss’ larger frame, completely disappearing from Adam’s view.

“All right, which one of you threw that rock?” From his hiding place, Joe watched his brother’s knowing eyes narrow. “Joseph Francis. What a surprise. I hope you’re planning on repairing the damage.”

Peeking around Hoss’ broad shoulder, Joe had the decency to wear a sheepish grin. “Don’t worry, Adam. I’ll get a new window from town tomorrow. Just you wait!”

“Right. Well,” Adam replied, “while I’m waiting, I think I’ll retire in your room. There’s a bit of a draft in here, though I couldn’t begin to guess why. Besides, I don’t think you’ll be needing it for a while, what with all that work you two have to take care of out there.” With a sly grin, he tipped his proverbial hat. “‘Night, boys. Sleep tight.”

“Adam!” Joe sprung out from behind Hoss, temper flaring once more. “You get back here! Only one person’s gonna be sleeping in my room tonight and that’s me! Do you hear me? Me!

“Aww, Joe, what’s the use? He ain’t listenin’ anyway. ‘Fact, I don’t think he can hear ya anymore. ‘Sides, you sorta asked for that one.”

Spinning on his heel, Joe crossed his arms and glared Hoss up and down. “Oh, and I guess you’re siding with him now?”

“I ain’t sidin’ with nobody,” Hoss replied, ever neutral. “And I ain’t the one who broke the window, either. I also ain’t the one who’s gonna stand out here in the cold while Pa and Joan have at each other by the warm fire. Lover’s spat or not, I’m going to bed.”

“You mean you’re gonna go back in there? Are you crazy?”

“Joe, the only crazy ones are those who stay out in this cold when they could be up in their nice warm beds.” With that, Hoss strode toward the front door.

Hesitance gripping his bones, Joe forced himself to follow. Maybe the coast was clear now. Maybe Joan had gone to bed.

Maybe it’s all fine now…

The stillness within the house sent a chill down Joe’s spine as Hoss opened the door.

Pa stood by the fireplace. Alone.

At first, Joe was tempted to take that as a good sign. Maybe…

But the look on Pa’s face told Joe that their problems were far from over. In fact, they might just be truly beginning…


The end


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


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Author: HarpistforHim

I am a woman with a strong love for the Lord, a passion for music and writing, and an avid reader. I’m an Adam fan through and through, and Bonanza fanfiction is just one of the many ways I fuel my passion for history. 😊 Many heartfelt thanks to you for taking the time to read my stories! ~ Olivia 🌺

27 thoughts on “Love Me Not: An Interlude (by HarpistforHim)

  1. La grande histoire sur le Pondérosa : les chamailleries des trois frères et les enfantillages de Joe.
    Un bel intermède, qui nous laisse des points ???
    Adam le sournois est’ il vraiment au lit ? Joe vas passer une mauvaise nuit ?

  2. For me, Joe’s ‘antics’ seemed too silly and unbelievable for a man of 21. However, I laughed at all the Cartwright cliches and the idea Adam took the time to collect his hat when he came outside. I wonder how he got past Ben and Joan? Although overall, I’m not sure what this ‘missing scene’ adds to the ep.

    1. To be fair, a lot of Joe’s antics from the actual episodes seem a bit silly for a man of 21, and yet here we are with episodes like Old Sheba and the Ponderosa Explosion. XD It doesn’t really add much to the episode, just some fun times. 😉

      1. Sheba and Ponderosa Explosion were broad comic eps, and the Cs behave in keeping with that. The show would never have survived if they’d carried on in that unrealistic way the rest of the time. ‘Love me Not’ is not a broad comic ep, so Joe’s behavior in this story jars and feels out of place and, therefore, silly.

      2. I’m going to interject here with my opinion on kids (yes kids!) in their early 20s and their antics. I’m not too old to remember at least some of my 20s and, yes, I can honestly say I was doggone immature! Men in their 20s are worse. I really don’t find Joe’s antics all that bad for his early 20s. There’s still enough of a kid in him to act up and, yet, he can be pretty mature at the same time. Jmo here.

    1. He definitely should have! He might’ve had a better night’s sleep that way! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I’ve always loved that quote! A perfect scene to flesh out that section. I can see it all unfolding, LOL !

  4. Well, that was fun! I love the quote from that episode, lol. You did a great job with this WHI with all three boys very much in character. Thanks for sharing :0)

    1. Thank you! When I heard that quote, it cracked me up! So, naturally, I had to explore it a little more. XD Thank you so much for reviewing!

  5. Well in all fairness, practical Adam did say he was going to bed. Joe, sometimes you are just too slippery for your own good!
    Cute story. 🙂

  6. Well done! A perfect interlude for the story, I wish it had been there. So much fun between the brothers. Now I’m curious where Joe’s gonna sleep. *giggle*

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