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"You ain't leaving me, Emma."

Emma laughed mournfully. "Leave? Where would I go? You've brought me to this barren wilderness, and now I've nowhere to go!"

"That's right," said Josiah. "You got no choice."

Emma sat up straight in her chair. "You're wrong. I have a choice."

Josiah narrowed his eyes. "What are you talking about?"

"If you refuse to be faithful, then I refuse to share your bed."

"You can't do that!" Josiah sat bolt-upright, his hand coming down on the table so violently, it threatened to fall apart. "I won't allow it! You hear me, Emma? I won't allow it!"

"You can force me," said Emma, "but I don't think you will. I know you're bigger than me, but the only way to stop me, is to beat me." Emma leveled a steady gaze at Josiah. "And I don't think you'll do that."

"Yer taking a mighty big chance."

Emma was silent, but she didn't look as though she feared for her safety.

Josiah tried to swallow, and found his mouth had gone completely dry. Balling his hand into a fist, he stared at it in deliberation. "I won't beat you," he said finally. "You already know I won't."

"From now on, I'll sleep in Mary's bed," said Emma.

Josiah smiled grimly. "There ain't much room fer you in that pint-sized bed of hers. You and Mary take our bed," he sighed in resignation. "I'll bed down, elsewhere."

Emma looked at Josiah, and then nodded in agreement.

Josiah noticed Emma's bottom lip trembled, and she looked as though she were fighting back tears.

"You don't have to do this, Emma."

"Yes, I do."

"I still love you," said Josiah. "That hasn't changed."

When Emma didn't respond, Josiah shook his head bitterly. "At least yer still calling me by name, Emma. Thanks fer that, anyway." He pushed back from the table with a loud groan. "Mary, git yer dolls over to Emma's bed. From now on, yer sleeping with yer ma."

Ignoring Mary's happy smiles upon hearing this new sleeping arrangement, Josiah swore within himself. He cursed the Shoshone woman for accepting his mirror and knife, and railed at God for turning Emma against him. All along, Josiah had been afraid of losing Emma, and now God had fulfilled his fears.
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