Summary: I often wondered what happened after that last scene where Ben dragged Little Joe out of the restaurant and Adam kissed Lotta. This is how I think it went.
Word Count: 1400
I can’t believe this. Here I am two months shy of my sixteenth birthday and my Pa comes running in and yelling at me in front of the lady I was with tonight. Then to add insult to it and to embarass me, he swatted my rear end on the way out. I hope he’s happy. And just where is Adam? It don’t take this long to walk out a door. I see Pa and Hoss coming down the steps; boy, Pa don’t look none too happy.
“YOU! You little scamp get on that pony right now before I tan you here in front of God and everybody!” Pa yelled as he walked up to me standing beside my horse.
“Yes sir” was the only thing I could say. I knew my father wouldn’t hesitate in delivering what he threatened.
Hoss is sittin’ atop Chubb shaking his head at me.
“What?” I asked, I still can’t understand what all the fuss is about. Afterall, I can take care of myself.
Well, here comes Mr. Know-it-all. Just look at the smug look on his face. I wonder what he was up to in there. I know what he had better not have been up to. I got dibs on Miss Lotta.
“Let’s ride,” I hear Pa say; I ain’t to sure I wanna ride, ’cause I know I ain’t heard the last of this. Especially after Pa hears about Chinatown. I know what he’s gonna say. If I had minded him and not went to town alone, it wouldn’t have happened. Guess he’s kinda right about that. And then the damage to Miss Lotta’s room and Hop Ling’s laundry. I’m sure he’ll have the same thoughts on that also. Weighing it all now, I kinda wish I had listened. What’s that noise, it sounds like someone yelling….
“JOSEPH!!!” Yep, you got it. Pa was yelling at me.
“Yes sir?” The more polite, the better.
“Once the horses are taken care of, you plant yourself on the settee and don’t move. We have some things to talk about.” Oh no; Pa’s using that all too quiet voice he uses right before he explodes. This don’t look good at all.
“Yes sir.” I guess it might be a wise choice to do exactly as told for a few days. Maybe I ain’t pushed too far yet…I hope. Guess I’ll know in a few minutes; there’s the house.
I really don’t wanna go in that barn with those three, as mad as they seem, but Cooch can’t sleep in my bedroom. I already tried that with the pony I had once. Pa wasn’t very happy about that. Got no choice so I’ll just hurry through it.
“Take it easy, girl, come on.” Cooch is a sensitive animal. She can sense the anger.
“Joseph, are you through?” Pa’s talking again.
“Yes sir.” Can’t lie to Pa, so we start that long walk to the house. I let Pa, Hoss and Adam lead the way, my backside is still kinda stinging from that swat in town. Pa sure has gotta hard swing on him.
Well here I sit on the settee with my family sitting around me staring at me. Adam is in his blue chair, and Hoss is sitting on the hearth. But what is really bothering me is the fact that Pa is sitting beside me. That has never been a good sign. Here comes the lecture.
“Joseph, do you have any idea how dangerous that stunt you pulled was?”
“Sorry Pa. I didn’t mean to cause you any worry.” I really didn’t.
“Boy, you snuck off from here with a woman. You know the rules we live by here. None of us go into Virginia City alone! You could have gotten yourself hurt or killed. You put all of us in danger. Your brother Adam had to go against a gunfighter that Troy had hired. Your disobedience cause destruction at the hotel, and all over Chinatown, especially at Hop Lings!” Uh oh. Pa stopped talking; this is really goin’ bad. He looks like he’s thinkin’ probably about whether or not to kill me. Hey, maybe the old fallback will work, you know the tears.
“I’m sorry, Pa; I didn’t mean ta worry you. I just thought I was helping Miss Lotta. I didn’t know that she was helping Troy,” I said as my chin quivered and tears filled my eyes.
“I know you only wanted to help, but you have to learn to follow my orders, and not disobey.” This is starting to work; Pa’ calming down. I can tell; his voice is softer and his eyes are loosing the anger. Besides, ole granite head is rolling his eyes. Just a little more and I’ll have Pa swayed on over. Watch the master at work.
“Please don’t be mad at me, Pa.” I say as I allow just one tear to roll down my cheek. Then I drop my head. I heard Pa sigh. I just won him over again. He’s putting his arm around me. Good sign.
“Oh Joseph, baby, I’m not mad at you; you just scared about ten years off my life. I thought they had hurt you or worse. I love you, son.” That’s my Pa. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. And I guess you’re right. I did deserve more than a little lecture for what I did, but who can really blame me. After all, look how big my Pa is. A tannin’ from him you don’t forget none too soon. But at the same time, the big arms he’s holding me with right now are so tender and I can feel how much this man loves me. I do feel kinda guilty.
“Thanks Pa. I love ya too.” And I do. More than life itself.
“Let’s all go get some sleep.” Pa’s got to be worn out. I’m walking with my Pa upstairs while Adam and Hoss follow us up. Hoss never really judges me or gives me a hard time. He understands I don’t mean to do the wrong things. I guess I just don’t think them through. But ole stiff neck, nosypants, ole granite head Ad…… “OWW!”
“That was for scaring the life out of me, young man.” Pa just swatted me again. I wasn’t even over the last one yet, but I don’t feel quite as guilty. Glad he told me why; I was starting to think he could hear what I was saying to ya about Adam. Speaking of Adam, boy, would I love to knock that smug look off his face.
“Sorry, Pa.” I really am; I’d never do anything to hurt this man. Well, we’re all upstairs and headed to our rooms. I’ll be glad to get to bed.
“Oh, Joseph?” Pa’s talking again, and of course both my nosey brothers had to stop.
“After breakfast is over, you and I need to have a discussion in the barn about your disobedience, and all the rules you broke today. Good night.” AWWW! I should have known. Great; just what I need. Now I won’t get any sleep. And I wish you’d look at that smirk on Adam’s face. Great, here he comes.
“Didn’t work this time did it, little boy?” I really hate that attitude of his.
“What didn’t?” I ask innocently. I know what he’s talking about.
“The tears. Why don’t you grow up and act like a man.” What’s he talking about? I am a man, well, almost.
“Why don’t ya mind ya own business. This is between Pa and me.” Sometimes I find it hard to believe we’re really brothers.
“This is my business. Now go to bed, little boy. Oh and have pleasant dreams about your upcoming talk with Pa.” And Adam says I act like a kid. That was kinda childish in him.
Well, here I lay, trying to get to sleep. It ain’t easy, by no means. Every time I close my eyes I see Pa and his belt. Damn Adam. Good night all.
“Come on, short shanks, time to get up for breakfast.” That’s Hoss calling me for breakfast. OH NO!!