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"You only left me one shot," pointed out Emma. "I'm just wondering how hard you're trying to keep me alive!"

Josiah harrumphed. "Worrying about yer skin, are you?"

"Do you want me for your wife?"

"I do."

"Then I'll need a few measures of gunpowder from that horn slung around your neck, and at least three lead shots for the pistol. I believe that should do."

"You think I'll just hand it over to you like that?" asked Josiah.

After a moment of reflection, Emma nodded. "Yes, I do."

Josiah grunted and returned to his raw meal. "You'll make do with whatever I give you."

Emma would have gladly pushed the point further, but Josiah was a formidable man, and she didn't want to risk further displeasure.

After washing down supper with cold water from a nearby stream, Josiah crawled onto the buffalo robe beside Emma.

"I been looking forward to this all day long," he declared unabashedly. "Lay back Emma, 'an let's get started."

Emma did as she was told, and Josiah occupied himself with her far into the night.

The sounds of a happily chirping bird awoke Josiah, and he pulled the blanket over his head to keep the sunlight from his eyes. When the bird continued to sing, Josiah reached for a stone and hurled it at the feathered creature.

"Shut yer mouth!" he grumbled.

The bird chirped one more time, and then flew off to find its morning breakfast.

From the other side of the buffalo robe, Emma stirred from her slumber. Even after a little sleep, she still felt tired and exhausted, for Josiah hadn't let her get much rest. With slightly trembling fingers, Emma refastened her one-piece dress and smoothed her skirt.

"Where are you going?" mumbled Josiah, as Emma started crawling from the buffalo robe.

"I just need to find a tree," she tried to explain modestly. "I'll only be a moment."

There was urgency in her voice, and Josiah understood that Emma needed to empty her bladder.

"Keep within sight of camp," he told her.

After Emma left the buffalo robe, Josiah rolled onto his back and faced the blue sky overhead. All of nature seemed in better spirits than him, and he begrudged the sky for its brilliancy, and the bird for its happy song.

Emma's soft footfalls signaled her return, and Josiah sat up to search for the hunting shirt he had discarded the night before.

"Emma, when are you going to start tussling me back?" he muttered. "I can git more pleasure from a whore, than I can from you."
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