Two Springs stood at the corral with Emma.
Lou sat on top of the fencing, while Kid stood near her. Cody and Buck were inside the corral holding the wild and untamed horse while Ike prepared to mount. Jimmy had left on his mail run. Buck had explained to Spring that what they were doing was breaking the horses to be able to ride them or sell them. Two Springs had seen the Crow men break horses. But this was so different. Buck had agreed that he too thought the Indian way was better. Then again this was much more fun.
Buck had taken his turn at bronc busting. Two Springs had worried that he had been hurt when he was thrown. But then she had also giggled when he had landed in the horse trough.
She watched Ike mount the horse, then Buck and Cody both jumped away as they let the horse go. It bucked and jumped with all its might yet could not shake Ike from its back. Wildly the animal bucked and jolted as it ran around the length of the corral until with one great leap it threw Ike from its back. Ike landed with a thud and the horse kept bucking, barely missing him with its front hoof as it reared and landed on all fours next to Ike. Ike rolled out of the way, then scrambled to his feet, grabbing his arm in pain. Lou and Kid both jumped over the fence and into the corral, helping to capture the wild horse while Buck and Cody helped the injured Ike out of harms way.
Two Springs ran behind Emma as Ike was brought out of the corral. The women followed the boys to the porch where Ike sat in the swing and Emma began to examine his injured arm.
Spring stood worriedly as she watched Emma tend to Ike.
"Well, it ain't broke," Emma told them. "You'll heal. Might be sore a while is all. Ya got a pretty nasty bruise."
Spring grabbed Bucks arm and motioned anxiously for him to tell her what was going on. He smiled at her concern for his friend. He signed to her what Emma had said but Spring was not convinced. She looked at Ike with deep concern.
Emma turned toward Spring and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder and smiled. Then with a wink in Ike's direction she teased before she walked away. "I think she likes you ,Ike." With that Emma went into the house.
Cody grinned and smacked Ike on the back sending a jolt of pain through Ike's bruised arm. Ike flashed him an irritated glare.
Cody just smiled broadly. "I think she likes you too Ike," he goaded as he walked back toward the corral. He met Kid and Lou as they came rushing up.
"Ike alright?" Lou asked.
"Ya he's fine," Cody answered. "Just bruised his arm some. But if I was him I'd milk it for as long as I could. Specially if that little filly was worrien about me the way she looks to be frettin' over him." He laughed. Kid and Lou both smiled, glancing back at the porch then turning to follow Cody back to the corral.
Buck gave Ike a wink as he turned and started back toward the corral, leaving the two alone on the porch. He too had seen the attraction blossoming between Ike and Two Springs since her arrival. It made him smile. It was a good match. They were perfect for each other.
*Does it hurt? * Spring signed to Ike.
Ike, seeing the deep concern on her face, was not going to let a chance to have Springs attention focused solely on him pass by. *A little, * he signed to her.
Spring sat next to him on the porch swing. *You should have a sling for it. *
Ike shrugged. *I can make one, * she offered and before Ike could decline Two Springs was out of the swing and into the house. With in a few minutes she returned with one of Emma's towels that she used to dry her dishes. She sat down next to him again and carefully shaped the towel into a triangle, then shyly leaned closer and fastened it around Ike's neck, then helped him put his arm through it.
Nervously he signed to her. *Thank you. *
She gave him a shy smile and a short nod.
Supper over with, Two Springs helped Emma with the dishes. She was becoming more at ease around the woman and seemed to enjoy being able to help her out with her daily chores.
Teaspoon had retired to his chair out side as he usually did after the evening meal and lit a cigar.
Cody, Lou, Kid and Buck joined Teaspoon outside, while Ike hung back inside helping Spring clear the table.
"You do what I asked you to yet, Buck?" Teaspoon looked at the boy.
Buck shook his head.
"Do it now." Teaspoons request sounded more like an order.
"Ike!" Teaspoon called out. "Bring Two Springs out here."
Ike looked at Emma who also noticed the peculiar stern tone in Teaspoons voice.
Emma nodded for him to do as Teaspoon said.
Ike touched Spring on the arm and signed to her that they were wanted outside. Hesitantly, Spring followed Ike out to the porch.
Teaspoon stood, then looked at Spring. He eyed her necklace and reached over to touch it. As she had done with everyone else, Spring instinctively backed away clutching her treasured necklace. Frightened, she glared at Teaspoon as she pressed her back closer to Ike, who was standing behind her. He put his hands on her shoulders trying to comfort her and reassure her she was in no danger.
"Tell her to let me look at it, Buck. I'll give it back. I promise." His tone was almost a soft plea. "I need to see that necklace… think I know who made it."
Buck signed Teaspoons request. *I promise you will get it back, * he put in on his own.
Spring looked at Teaspoon questioningly, then cautiously she reached back and slipped the sacred treasure from her neck. She glanced at Buck as if asking him if he were sure he would get it back for her. He gave her an approving nod. Two Springs carefully and slowly handed her necklace to Teaspoon, who took it from her with as much caution and care.
He examined the necklace next to the oil lamp that sat in the porch rail. He did recognize it. It was the same one; he knew by the scratch at the back of the cameo where he had tried to etch his name on it. This Cameo had been his mothers. He looked back to Buck.
"Ask her mothers name," he solemnly told him.
Buck looked confused, but no more than anyone else was at the moment.
Buck signed Teaspoons question.
Two Springs held a look of total bewilderment. She looked to Buck for an explanation.
"Ask her if her mother was Bright Water, daughter of Chief Red Hawk of the Pawnee," Teaspoon asked in a low tone, his eyes still fixed on the necklace that he held in his hand.
Buck did so.
Two Springs looked confused. How would this man know her mother's name and that of her grandfather? She signed her answer to Buck.
"Yes," Buck told teaspoon. "That is her mother."
Teaspoon let a heavy sigh escape him. He slowly looked at the young girl standing in front of Ike and handed the necklace back to her. She took it and replaced it around her neck.
Teaspoon, without a word to anyone, walked off into the dusk of night.
"Now what the heck was that all about?" Cody exclaimed.
"I have no idea," Emma, who had been standing in the doorway watching everything, spoke up. "But I tell you one thing. I'm gonna find out." With that, she strolled off after her employer and her friend, leaving the others standing there confused.
"Mr. Spoon?" Emma spoke softly as she came up behind him. "Mind telling me what that was all about?"
Teaspoon didn't look at her. He only stared out into the falling darkness. Feeling that he needed to confide in someone, though, Teaspoon lowered his head and then looked up again. "I think she's my daughter, Emma."
Emma's eyes widened in shock. "What?" she asked, thinking she had not heard him correctly.
"Twenty years ago," Teaspoon began, "I spent some time with the Pawnee. Did some trappin'. I met a young girl there. She couldn't a been much older than Two Springs is right now.
I fell in love with that girl from the moment I laid eyes on her. I asked her pa for her hand. Paid plenty for her, all my furs and a couple horse." He chuckled, remembering how Bright Water's father had tricked him into giving all his possessions up. He had intended on saying yes no matter what. But Teaspoon didn't know that until later.
"I made that necklace for her, and on our weddin' day I gave it to her. She never took it off. A few months later she told me she was carrying our child. I ain't never been as happy as I was then." His voice trailed off as memories flooded in on him.
"About four, maybe five months later I left to do some tradin' and sell some furs. Ended up at a saloon and gettin into a fight. Spent some time in jail. It was about two, maybe three weeks later when I finally got back to the village. When I got there I found out they'd been attacked by a band of Crows. The men had been out huntin'. Left the village pretty much defenseless. The ones they didn't kill or leave for dead they took as captives. Bright Water was gone. I searched everywhere. But I never did find her. Never knew if she was alive or dead."
Emma listened intently, finally understanding what must have been bothering Teaspoon all this time. After hearing Two Springs story about her mothers death, and now this, Emma began to put two and two together.
"You think this girl is the baby your wife was carrying?"
Teaspoon turned and faced Emma. "I believe she could be. She is the spittin image of her mother. Except for one thing. Her eyes. She's got my eyes."