Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

Chapter 8:

This chapter takes place after Adam has been home for a few years.

Hoss stood outside and listened to the voices. He knew one was his brother Adam’s and the other he believed belonged to a girl named Agatha.

“So I hear you know some famous people.” As far as Agatha was concerned the only person she wanted to know was the man whose lap she was sitting on.

“Really?” Adam just gave her one of his most disarming smiles and he could tell it was working.

“Yes one of the other girls told me you know Kit Carson and…”

“Tell me is it the other girls stories of who I may or may not know that brought you over here?”

“No but the other stories are even harder to believe.”

********

Hoss sheepishly approached his brother and if Adam hadn’t been so busy trying to prove the other stories true he might have seen his brother walking towards him. Hoss had never seen Adam like that with a girl before. Oh he knew Adam had probably been with them before he’d just never seen it.

Hoss tried to focus his eyes anywhere but on his brother, trouble was anywhere he focused his eyes he saw things he didn’t want to. “Adam you gotta come with me.”

Adam raised his head and looked at his brother. “Come where Hoss?”

“To help me get Joe.” At the mention of their younger brother’s name Hoss could see Adam’s annoyance.

“Get Joe from where? Isn’t he at the school dance?” Adam knew it was where he was supposed to be. It was where he had left him and it was where Hoss was supposed to go to pick him up.

“Yeah he was there.” Hoss had gone a little early because there was a girl he knew would also be there that he kinda wanted to see. She was seventeen and new to town. Hoss had wished she had lived here when he had been in school. He’d written about her in his journal and he had hoped to be able write in there tonight about how it felt to dance with her and maybe even kiss her. But as usual little brother was going to ruin his plans, and that might not be so bad, but he was also ruining older brother’s plans and that could prove to be down right dangerous.

“Hoss where is he now?” Adam could feel the frustration taking over where before it was only anticipation he was feeling.

“He’s with some fellas. One of the guys at the dance said they was teasin’ Joe ’bout things.”

“What things?”

Hoss was hopin’ to not have to tell Adam because he knew what Adam’s reaction would be. “Just things.”

“Adam I don’t appreciate feeling as if I’m secondary to your little brother.” Agatha had hoped that by this time they would already be upstairs and on their way to a mutual satisfaction.

Adam smiled at her, put her off his lap and stood up. “Sweetheart neither do I. Come on Hoss you can give me the details as we go.”

********

“He WHAT?!”

Hoss knew Adam would have this kind of a reaction just not this severe a one. “Calm down Adam. If I’d a known you’d be acting like such a lunatic I’d a went home and got pa.”

“You think I’m acting like a lunatic? Maybe I’ll go back to what I was doing and let you go and get pa and then you can find out what a real lunatic is.”

“No Adam I think you’re being less of a lunatic then pa’d be.” Although Hoss wasn’t really too sure of that.

Adam wasn’t sure if that should be taken as a compliment. They walked quietly to the livery and Hoss hoped it would stay that way.

“So tell me again what got little brother so worked up.”

Almost made it, Hoss thought, but saddling horses always seemed to lend itself to conversation. “Those fellas was teasin’ him cause they said he was spending the whole dance pining for Rita. Remember she was suppose to be goin with him but changed her mind and went with one of the older boys. They said he was just some spoiled brat use to getting his way.”

“Why should that upset him, it’s true.”

“Adam it ain’t.”

“Hoss?”

“Okay so maybe it is a little true but they ain’t got no right to say it.”

“No they don’t that’s one privilege afforded to family only, but that doesn’t explain the rest.”

“They said he was just a mama’s boy and the worst kind cause he didn’t have no mama. They said he would never go against anything pa said and that he always did like he was told.”

Adam wondered would that boy ever learn to not be so sensitive to other’s opinions. “I see. So that justifies going with them and drinking moonshine. He’s only thirteen years old! In the three years I’ve been back from college I have saved his backside more times then I can remember!”

Even now Hoss was bigger then Adam but he still was afraid of him when he was like this. “Yeah but you’re his older brother.”

“I see, so that makes it my job.”

“Kinda.”

“May I remind you you’re his older brother too?”

“No you don’t gotta’ reminder me, but you’re my older brother.”

“So I’m not saving him I’m just saving you from having to save him.”

To Hoss that made perfect sense. “Guess you can look at it like that if it makes it easier.”

“The only thing I’m doing is making sure he’s mad at me and not you.”

“That ain’t true Adam.”

“Yes it is Hoss. Just realize this. There is going to come a day when you are going to have to deal with little brother yourself or spend the rest of your life giving in to him.” They had finally reached their destination. “Now let’s go get him.”

********

Adam again reined in his horse. “So what’s that? Is it the third or fourth time we’ve had to stop so you could throw up.”

“Aw leave him alone Adam can’t you see he’s sick.”

“Yes Hoss I can, but he wouldn’t be if he’d used his own common sense.”

Joe hated when Adam got up on his high horse and right now he was literally on his high horse because he and Hoss had dismounted. “What you mean is if I had been a good boy and done as my pa told me.”

“Did it ever occur to you that the reason pa tells you to do things is because he knows better.”

“How would you know what it’s like. You ain’t never been teased and you never do nothing wrong.”

“You’re wrong Joe. Listen I’ve had it. I’m tired of saving your backside and getting nothing but grief for doing it. I’m going back to town and after I feel I’ve waited a long enough interval of time so that you can explain all of this I will come home.”

Hoss watched as Adam turned his horse and headed back to town. “Adam WAIT, what we gonna tell pa.” Hoss turned to face his younger brother. “Great Joe now what we gonna do.”

“Don’t worry Hoss he’ll be back.”

“Not this time Joe.”

“Sure he will he always comes back.”

“No Joe I think this time we’re gonna have to save our own backsides because right now older brother has had enough.”

********

Ben looked up as the door opened. “Good evening Adam.”

Adam didn’t even pause. “Good night pa.”

“Not even going to ask after your brothers?”

“I did see their horses in their stalls.”

“Yes I guess you would have but then you knew they’d be there didn’t you.”

“Pa, please, I’m tired.”

“I suppose riding aimlessly around can do that.”

“I was in town.”

“Yes to begin with you were.”

“Did they tell you different?”

“They didn’t have to.”

“I see, then how can you say I was anywhere but in town.”

“Because your youngest brother was in trouble and once Hoss knew it, it would be only natural for him to look for you to help him get him out of it.”

“It’s a job that occupies most of my time these days.”

“Don’t I know it son.”

“One night pa, all I wanted was one night.”

“Well you can have a months worth because that’s how long it will be before your youngest brother leaves this house for anything other than school or chores.”

“That’s what you think pa.”

“No it’s what I know.”

“Pa believe me it’s what you think because there is no way he’ll be able to resist the challenge.”

“Than he’s a lot like you isn’t he Adam.”

“What?”

“Do you think I don’t know that there were times you disobeyed me? I just didn’t always catch you. Same as my father didn’t always catch me. Thing is Adam your brothers aren’t as sneaky as you or I so if you give me your word you won’t help them they don’t stand a chance.”

“You underestimate them pa.”

“Do I?”

“Yes, they’re your sons too you know.”

“Yes they are and I guess it’s like they say, my chickens have come home to roost.”

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Author: storm

1 thought on “Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

  1. Excellent story with characterizations of Adam, Ben, and Marie that help understand not only their behavior but their relationships too.

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