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YOUNG RIDERS:
From the Past: A New Beginning

Emma's right, y'all mind what she says now," Teaspoon added, though he had himself found it difficult to keep his eyes from the girl, or rather the unique necklace hanging around her neck.

Pulling himself from a distant memory as he gazed at the necklace, he spoke to Buck.

"You tell her we all apologize if we did anything to scare her or make her uncomfortable."

Buck did as Teaspoon said.

Two Springs only glanced at Teaspoon, then lowered her eyes on the table in front of her.

All through dinner Teaspoon kept glancing at the necklace. He wanted a closer look at it but the girl wouldn't let him get close enough for him to see. Even more than she herself reminded him of someone from his past, the necklace did even more. He needed to see it up close to be sure.

Dinner finished, Emma began cleaning up. Teaspoon retired outside to a chair on the porch and lit a cigar, while the others either sat just relaxing outside near him or, like Jimmy and Cody, set up a table and checker board settling in for a competitive game.

Ike shyly walked up as Buck stood just outside the door with Two Springs and signed to her.

*Would you like to go for a walk? I could show you around before the sunsets?*

Once more Two Springs looked to Buck for approval.

*Go on,* he signed. *I have some chores to do. You'll be safe with Ike.*

Two Springs looked back to Ike and gave him a small bashful smile and a short nod.

Teaspoon watched as Ike escorted Two Springs away.

"Buck," he called out, as Buck started walking past him.

Buck turned when he heard Teaspoon call out his name.

"She ever tell you anything about herself? Where she's from? Where her family might be? Maybe.." he hesitated. "Who her mother might be?"

"No." Buck shook his head. "All she told me is she was alone."

"Well, find out would ya?" he asked "Maybe someone someplace is wonderin' where she is. She's gotta have someone," Teaspoon finished.

"Maybe she don't want to go back," Lou piped up. "She was purty beat up when Buck brought her in," she finished.

"Could be she's too scared to go back," Kid chimed in. "I mean if someone's beat up on her and all."

"We still gotta know," Teaspoon told them. "If we're gonna help, it's best we know all the facts."

Teaspoon leaned back in his chair. He watched as Ike led Two Springs toward the corral. Something gnawed at him. A memory from his past years ago. The memory of a young Pawnee girl with raven black hair and the most beautiful dark eyes he had ever seen. Her petite build and quiet yet proud demeanor had entranced him. He remembered walking with her as Ike and Two Springs were walking right now, near the place where the village kept their horse. He could still see her beautiful face shining in the moonlight. Her smile as she looked up at him. Sadness flooded over his heart. He hadn't thought of his lost love in years. Not like this. It was as if he was reliving everything again. He could see her waving to him as he rode out of the Village heading for the trading post to sell his furs, her stomach barely swollen as their child grew inside of her.

"Mr. Spoon?" came Emma's gentle voice from beside him. He looked up at her, somewhat startled at being torn from his memories so quickly.

"Is something wrong?" she asked with concern.

"No, no ,not at all Emma," Teaspoon lied.

"You looked like you were a million miles away," she told him. "You looked as if something was bothering you?"

Teaspoon sighed. "Just thinkin. Wonderin who it was that hurt that girl and why. Why she was out there in the middle of nowhere alone."

"Questions I'm sure we are all wondering, Mr. Spoon," Emma agreed, taking a seat in the near by empty chair, as she gazed out toward the corral at Ike and Two Springs while they looked at the horses. "I'm sure we will have the answers soon. She's beginning to trust, I think. And that's the important part right now. She needs to be able to trust us before she is going to tell us anything." Teaspoon nodded his agreement.

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