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"I'm sorry I forgot about supper," she apologized once more.

Josiah wanted to continue his grumbling, but he was noticing Emma's long wet hair. It was unusual to see it hanging down her back, instead of her usual pinned up braids.

"You haven't let down yer hair like that since our wedding night," he reflected quietly.

"I wasn't the one who let it down," recalled Emma, "it was done for me. Those two Blackfoot braves yanked out my hairpins."

Captivated by Emma's tresses, Josiah reached out to stroke the long golden mane. "Yer mighty purty, Emma."

"If I am, it's because I'm clean," she tried to lightly shrug. "The bucket is yours, so you can bathe before supper if you want. I'm afraid the venison will be a little late."

"I'll bathe," Josiah nodded, picking up the bucket to fetch more water from the creek.

Hugging her blanket to remain modest, Emma tended the venison until Josiah returned with his water. He didn't bother heating it, but promptly set about taking off his buckskins.

Keeping her eyes from Josiah, Emma dried her hair by the fire and then returned to the venison.

"I finished the corral," informed Josiah, splashing water onto his arms in a haphazard manner.

"Don't forget to use the soap!" exclaimed Emma, afraid his greasy self would shed water and he would remain smelling as he did before he started.

"I was thinking I'd like to take you up the mountain tomorrow," he offered, "'an show you a good view of the valley below us."

"I'll come," she consented.

At the call for supper, Josiah quickly climbed back into his smelly buckskins, ready to eat.

Now able to freely look about, Emma was dismayed to find a large muddy puddle on the dirt floor where Josiah had bathed. "At least you remembered to use the soap," she sighed.

As Emma had expected him to, Josiah took her to the buffalo robe when supper was over. He didn't try to kiss her, but squeezed her shoulder, instead.

It was then that Emma whimpered.

"I even bathed!" Josiah exclaimed reproachfully. "Thought you said you didn't whimper, Emma."

"I didn't know I did," she winced in pain. "Mr. Brown, it hurts when you handle me that hard!"

"Why didn't you speak up sooner?" he demanded.

Emma sighed. "I didn't want to make you angry."

"You have a peculiar way of deciding what'll anger me," Josiah chuckled morosely. "So it wasn't the buffalo robe being too hard, nor me being too smelly." Grinning, he held Emma close and whispered in her ear. "It ain't in my nature to be tender, but I'll try."

The next morning, Emma was glad to find her clothing completely dry. She dressed herself while Josiah slept, and then started breakfast. By the time he awakened, she had hot broth with reconstituted jerky waiting for him.
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