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Josiah took a step toward her and sniffed. "I don't smell nothing strange. If anything, your aroma's like mine."

"I was afraid of that," sighed Emma. "You could do with some cleaning, yourself," she remarked, filling the kettle with water.

"If you survive yer bath," grinned Josiah, "then I suppose I'll risk one after supper." With a chuckle, Josiah strode out the door to work on the unfinished corral.

After the cold creek water had been warmed, Emma wet one of Josiah's clean handkerchiefs and then rubbed it against a block of soap. From the looks of Josiah, she wouldn't have guessed he owned any soap, but she had gratefully accepted it and thanked him for it.

Removing her one-piece dress, Emma looked down at her three soiled petticoats. Her corset was dirty, and even the chemise beneath her undergarments looked as though it had fared no better.

After Josiah finished the corral later that day, he turned his Indian ponies into the area and watched as they trotted about, happy to no longer be picketed in one place.

Having watered and fed the horses, Josiah swung his ax over one shoulder and looked up at the sky. His stomach told him Emma should have supper going by now, and he decided to follow his instincts. Grabbing his Hawken, Josiah wearily lumbered back to the cabin.

"Emma, I'm hungry!" came Josiah's call, as he swung open the door. He heard a surprised cry, and saw a blanket flying to cover its occupant. "You still bathing?" he asked in surprise.

"I made the mistake of cleaning my clothes, before myself," Emma explained, trying to fight back frustration. "The water is dirty, and I can't go down to the creek because my dress is still wet!"

"Gimme the bucket," Josiah grinned with a shake of his head. "When's supper?"

Emma sighed patiently. "Would you mind terribly if we just had jerky tonight?"

"But, we still have venison!" he protested. "You mean you haven't started supper yit?"

"I've been busy."

"So have I!" he exclaimed.

"I'm sorry, but I forgot all about supper," apologized Emma. "If you'll fetch me clean water, I'll start the last of the venison."

As Josiah trudged out the door with her bucket, Emma heard him swear beneath his breath. It was the first time she had ever heard him take God's name in vain.

When Josiah returned, venison was cooking over the fire.

"Here's yer water," he grumbled, letting the bucket slosh as he carelessly dropped it at Emma's feet.

"Thank you," she sighed.

Shrugging off his coat, Josiah hung his powder horn on a peg on the wall. "I ain't asking a lot from you," he muttered. "I reckon I'm as yielding as a man can git!" He glared at Emma as she quietly rinsed her hair in the frigid water.
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