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A long mane of shaggy brown hair hung past Josiah's shoulders, making it impossible for Emma to see his face. Emma brushed back a long strand of his hair, only to be greeted by dark angry eyes.

"I'm sorry last night didn't work out the way you wanted," Emma said quietly.

Josiah made no reply, but when his eyes moved to her mouth, Emma leaned forward to kiss him.

"I reached ten fingers!" Mary said in triumph, excitedly coming to Emma for her approval.

Dropping his knife on the robes, Josiah embraced Emma while Mary tugged at Emma's dress to compete for her attention. "I did my homework, Ma."

"Josiah," Emma struggled to free herself from his arms, "it's time to stop."

With a loud protesting groan, Josiah snatched up his knife to go back to work. "I ain't happy, Emma. Not by a long shot." He started in on the bearskin with a vengeance, only to have the blade slip through and pierce the hide. He let out a string of curses, and Emma quickly told Mary to cover her ears.

"Please, don't use those words in front of Mary."

"I can't help what comes out of my mouth, Emma!"

Emma disagreed, but struggled to find common ground with Josiah. "I'll settle for you just doing your best," she offered.

Sighing, Josiah gave her a surly nod.

Emma combed back Josiah's hair with her fingers, and a grin slowly spread across his face.

"You'll have tonight, Josiah."

Josiah raised his eyebrows. "Your word on it?"

"My word."

"How about one more kiss to tide me over?"

Smiling, Emma gave him another kiss.

With a broad grin, Josiah returned to his work, in much better spirits than before.

"Mary, you can take your hands down from your ears," said Emma, climbing off the buffalo robes. When it was apparent Mary couldn't hear, Emma gently lowered the girl's hands. "It's time for your next lesson."

"There is more?" Mary asked disappointedly.

Emma smiled. "I think you'll enjoy this."

Looking unsure, Mary watched as Emma pulled out a petticoat with a large square missing from the hemline of one side.
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