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Irene Dawes is a criminal in the eyes of the town of Tomoha, Minnesota. The new handsome Marshal is struggling to find out why she is a criminal, and why he is so attracted to her. Is Irene being painted as a bad person, when really she is doing good? Can Dylan find out in time before his destiny becomes intertwined with hers? View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Submitted:Feb 10, 2013    Reads: 23    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Chapter 20

Irene woke up, her head was throbbing and beating down like a hammer. She saw she was in a tent that was poorly set up and was laying down on multiple cushions instead of the harder rock that they set camp on. Her eyes drifted from the ceiling towards Dylan, who happened to just walk in, without a shirt on, looking very exhausted and sore.

"How long was I out?" she asked, looking down at her clothing in which she wore earlier.

"Maybe like an hour, I don't know," he sighed, rubbing his black hair that flatened due to his shower.

"Did you um, shower?" she asked.

"I did, yes," he smiled a little bit, "Um, Sophie told me you haven't been sleeping well lately, in my personal opinion I suggest you sleep. You don't look so good and I can see something is bothering you. So..."

"Well," she flipped her annoying curled strand of hair out of her face, "Thank you for noticing."

"Are you hungry?" he asked, finally looking her straight in the eye.

"No, I am not. Thank you for asking me though."

"It's Sophie's beef stew, I know you've probalby already had it before, but it's still hot and-"

"I'm fine Dylan, really," Irene said, irritated.

"Oh," Dylan noticed her irritation, "I'll just leave."

"Dylan?" Irene asked right when he was about to walk out.

"Yes sweetheart? I-I uh mean Ms. Dawes, I mean Irene," he stammered and then hit himself out of stupidity and embarrassment. Irene smiled as her heart was warmed.

"Can you get me an extra blanket? It's a little chilly out."

"Of course," he said and immediately walked out. Irene sat there and continued to smile, knowing that everything was going to be okay as of right now. Dylan quickly walked in with a couple extra blankets that looked cozy warm. He walked over towards the oil lamp and turned it off leaving no light. The tent was completely dark now, but Irene was still capable of having visual of her surroundings. Dylan then gently lowered one of the blankets on top of Irene as she got comfortable, adjusting her position on the cushions.

"There," he said, putting his knees on the edge of the cushions to help put the blankets on nicely, "All tucked in."

"Are you going to read me a bedtime story too?" she smiled and put her hand on his warm chest, "Maybe one about a Marshall and a criminal, living happily ever after?"

Dylan blushed slightly and grabbed the hand on his chest, "I don't know any stories that go like that, but maybe in the future I'll remember one that goes like that."

Irene moved her left hand that was on her chest and wrapped it around his neck, using that weight to pull herself up close to him, close enough to be kissing.

"Irene, you're uh... naked..."

"What?!" Irene shrieked and looked at herself.

"Relax," he giggled, "I was just kidding."

Irene took a huge sigh of relief, "Dear, Dylan you had me terrified beyond belief!"

"Why? It's not like it would've made a difference."

"That is a huge difference Dylan!" she laughed and pulled his head close to hers, "Hows the shin, love?"

"It's fine. Sophie cleaned it all dainty fine, it was just a scratch," he smiled.

"Sorry I didn't come in sooner, Blackie can run faster than me."

"Hell Irene, I'm just glad you came."

"I'm glad that I found you," she whispered. Dylan decided to remove part of the blanket and move it away from him as he crawled under them and cuddled next to Irene. He turned to his side and wrapped his right arm around her back.

"Finally," Irene smiled and kissed him. He kissed her back, but then decided to talk instead.

"Sophie told me you were pretty upset when you found out I was dead," Dylan whispered, gently touching her hair.

"I wasn't upset, I mean, I totally knew you would be okay-"

"Irene," Dylan gave her a look, "I can see in your eyes that you are lying right now. Sophie said you didn't sleep, eat or talk much, and Sophie doesn't know why; but I do."

"Do you now?"

"You missed me, and constant thinking about me made you like that. Now, I can't blame my charming looks for that but I can see your reason for acting strange."

"Mindreader," she muttered and buried her head in the cushions.

"Do you find it extremely hard to tell your feelings to me? Do you not trust me or...."

She lifted her cute face up and her eyes glimmered with compassion, "No Dylan, it's nothing like that. I'm just afraid and... nevermind."

Dylan was about to speak, but decided not to push this conversation down her throat. He just wrapped his arms around her to comfort her and transferred his warmth to her. She gently touched his hand and used her thumb to rub against it.

"Thank you," she whispered and kissed his cheek.

"For what?" he asked, but didn't get a reply. Irene decided to ignore the question and finally get some rest. Dylan smiled then kissed her forehead, letting her fall into his arms.

Sophie grabbed a long stick off the dirt and started to poke at the fire. The flames sparked and heated more of the stew. Sophie pondered about Carter, what he was doing, what he was thinking. Is he thinking of me? she thought.

"Hey," Tayati's deep voice cut off her trail of thoughts.

"Hi," Sophie smiled and kept poking the fire. Tayati sat down next to her on the tree log and stared into the fire.

"Have you seen Birdy?"

"Why yes I..." Sophie stopped talking when she realized she hadn't seen Birdy since Irene sent her to go after Barry, "Oh my! Do you suppose she is in trouble?"

"I would certainly hope not," he grimaced in worry.

"Should I go tell Irene?" she asked.

"She's asleep."

"Well maybe we should tell Dylan, the Marshall," she stood up and brushed the dirt off her pants.

"He's asleep too."

"We only have two tents that's....oh...." her eyes widened a bit, but then she went back to thinking about Carter.

"Well," Tayati stood up, "Thank you for the lovely stew, I'll be getting some shut-eye."

"Your welcome. I would get some sleep, but I guess my sleeping quarters are occupied," Sophie grunted.

"If you want to sleep in our tent, I'm sure we can find some room."

"Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll just sleep out here," she said and grabbed some blankets off the logs and laid them on the ground.

"Won't it be cold?"

"I guess," she shrugged.

"Suit yourself."

Irene's eyes fluttered open to see Dylan. His was quiet, sleeping pretty nicely for a man. She quickly kissed him and got up.

He groaned, "It's too early."

"Sorry, go back to sleep," she bent back down and kissed his cheek. Dylan grabbed the blankets and turned onto his stomach, falling back asleep.

Irene walked outside and found Birdy covered in blood.

"Relax," Birdy said, "It's not mine."

"Well, hopefully it's not Barry's," Irene gulped.

"Not even close. I was no where near to getting him. I got sidetracked by a mountain lion."

"You what?!"

"A mountain lion attacked me. I killed it, but I didn't know how to find my way back, until Sophie lit that fire," Birdy said.

"Well done Sophie," Irene smiled but noticed her friend was exhausted and packing her things.

"I'm heading back to the ranch," Sophie said and was putting her necessities in her saddle.

"Why?" Irene asked.

"One, I need to stitch some of her wounds, and also to get some sleep. I didn't get much last night," Sophie sighed.

"Well why didn't you sleep in the tents?"

"Our tent, or the one you were supposed to share was occupied."

"Oops," Irene said.

"Irene!" Birdy sounded shocked.

"What?!" she asked, "We didn't do anything! Anyways what time is it?"

"Almost noon." Sophie said.

"Sure..." Birdy smiled, "Can I go see Dylan?!"

"He's sleeping, but if you want to wake him up that's okay," Irene smiled.

"Awww," Birdy jokingly frowned.

"Ready to go?" Sophie nudged Birdy. Birdy got up and hobbled on one leg to her horse. Sophie helped her up on the beast and secured her saddle.

"Be careful, okay?" Irene commanded.

"Of course," Sophie smiled.

"Sorry about last night."

"Don't worry about it; it's nice to know that you're with Dylan. You really change around him," Sophie smiled more as she left with Birdy.

"Aww, who will cook us breakfast this morning then?" Tayati came out in his traditional outift: no shirt and his tan Native American pants.

"Haha," Irene laughed, "Not me, I'm not a natural cook. Plus it's lunch time."

"But surely you know how to cook something."

"Okay, I can cook, I just can't guarantee it'll taste good," Irene grinned.

"That's okay, food is food. Sophie's cooking is way better than what we Indians eat."

"What do you guys eat anyways?" Irene pondered and sat down on the log next to the ashes of the previous flaming fire.

"Usually just meat and awful soup," he said and sat down next to her, "Most of the vegetables aren't fresh and the meat isn't fully cooked, but ever since you came, or well really we came to you... well ever since that we've been healthier and happier. So I must thank you for that."

"It really was no problem," Irene smiled and kept fixing her hair.

"Well there must be some way I can thank you."

"Just don't turn me in to the police," Irene laughed.

"That, I can promise, although I don't think he'll let you," Tayati stared at the small tent Irene spent the night in.

"Maybe, you know, I don't really know. It can be complicated."

"Love isn't supposed to be complicated is it?"

"My father told me once that 'love is a small word, it's the most powerful thing in the world, but it's not all fairy tales' you know?" Irene said.

"I think love can be easy though," Tayati suggested.

"There's no such thing as easy love," Irene laughed, "We wish."

"Okay, so my parents weren't the best examples of easy love, I mean Tree wasn't-"

"Wait, Tree is your dad?" Irene asked.

"Yeah."

"So you and Birdy are siblings?!"

"Well, she's my half-sister... our father wasn't the most faithful at the time."

"Oh... is that why you guys are kind of rough on each other?" Irene grinned.

"Yeah, it's more of a competition. I mean, it was my fault Birdy left the tribe, but if I didn't do that then she wouldn't have found you. You saved her."

"It was the least I could've done. No girl should have to go through that," Irene sighed.

"But you did..."

"Wow," one of the other Indians stretched, "That was some good sleep."

"I'm going to go get ready," Irene immediately got up and avoided the end of their conversation.

"Was it something I said?"

"No Kaga, it was kind of something I brought up unintentionally."

"What does that mean?" Kaga asked him in Tomohaw.

"I didn't do it on purpose, like on accident."

"Oh," Kaga smiled, his flat black hair waving around, "where's Birdy?"

"She left; go wake up Dustu," Tayati commanded.

"Alright I'll wake him up."

Dylan rolled over on the cushions to see the more interior side of the tent. Irene was there, looking into a small mirror fixing her hair.

"Should I leave it down or put it up?" Irene asked, noticing quickly he was awake.

"Hmmm... either way you'll look beautiful," he grinned.

Irene turned around to see his bare chest exposed and the rest of his lower torso under the blankets. She smiled vaguely and started to put her hair up.

"Are you okay?" Dylan asked, noticing something was slightly bothering her.

"Huh?" she asked and looked at him after she was done putting her hair up, "No, nothing is bothering me."

"That's not true, something seems to be bothering you," he said and sat up on the cushions, using his strong arms to hold him. Irene walked over to where he was and gently lifted her right leg over his body and sat on his legs, facing him.

"Nothing is bothering me," she said and softly held his chin up.

"Irene, you're not looking me in the eye. Like last night, you're avoiding our conversation about fear. Do you just not want to show me you're afraid of things?" he asked.

Irene ignored the question and looked down to the left at empty space.

"Irene," he whispered and placed his arm around her waist, pulling her closer, "you are the bravest person I know. Everyone fears things, but that doesn't make them a coward. How they face them determines who they are."

"What do you fear then?" she asked him, looking back into his eyes.

"I fear losing you."

"Well how are you going to face it when the time comes?"

"If, if the time comes; which it won't because I will not lose you," he smiled.

"Then why fear about it?"

"Irene," he laughed, "we can't stop fear from coming, but we can defeat it when the time is right. It's not a quick demolition, it's a battle."

"How will you defeat it then, your fear?" her hands were slowly sliding up his muscular, built body.

"Keeping you safe, letting no danger get to you," he smiled.

"Well that's no fun," she grinned, "I have to take down some bad guys before you do."

"Okay, you can have a little fun taking some down, but I won't let them hurt you. That way I won't lose you," he smiled back.

"Okay," she smiled and pushed him down on the cushions and moved her legs up to sit on his chest as he lay flat.

"What's this?" he asked as she massaged his chest gently.

"An apology," she whispered and moved her hands down his body.

"Uh.... I think... w-we should g-get into more miscommunications then," he laughed nervously.

"Uncomfortable?" she asked.

"I am in fact," he said and grabbed her and thrust her on the cushions, putting himself on top now and her on the bottom.

"I guess I don't get much control," Irene frowned.

"I like to be on top," he grinned.

"I noticed," she said and he kissed her gently. His body was flat on hers and he wrapped his arms around her back while she caressed his face with her gentle, soft hands. He kissed her more until something caught his attention when she moved her hands.

"Ahem," Dylan coughed.

"What?" Irene asked.

"Your hand," he said.

"Oh," she looked in horror, "Sorry."

"It's quite alright," Dylan grinned.

"Irene," a small meek voice whined. Irene looked up to find Dustu standing at the entrance of their tent, with a knife sticking through his entire stomach. He collapsed on the ground already dead.

"Dustu!" Irene yelled and thrusted Dylan off her. Irene ran to help him, but a long rifle was pointed in her face.

"Stand up," the voice said. Irene slowly rose with her hands up. Dylan ran outside into the sunlight but then put his hands up too.

"Dylan!" Carter yelled and ran to him.

"Carter?" Dylan asked.

"So... we caught the one who kidnapped the Marshall. Excellant job at tracking Carter," Barry smiled.

"Yes sir," Carter smiled.

"Barry listen, Irene didn't kidnap me!" Dylan said. A couple of the men around them looked shocked.

"How do we know that?" Barry asked.

"Can't you trust me?"

"She is just forcing you to say that! She'll hurt you if you don't say that," Carter said.

"No no! You have it all wrong! She saved me. Barry is responsible for getting me kidnapped!" Dylan shouted.

Everyone sounded aghast while Barry turned red faced with anger, "I want to talk to you," he grabbed Dylan inside the tent.

"Go ahead," Irene rolled her eyes and stuck her hands out while Carter handcuffed her.

"Finally," Carter sighed of relief.

"Think it's going to be this easy? Nothing is this easy," Irene snickered and got close to him.

"What about the Indians?" One of the fatter men asked, whose name was Peter.

"Let them go, Kaga and Tayati had nothing to do with this," Irene said. Peter shrugged and let them go. Kaga ran to his twin brother and dragged him away. Irene looked with sorrow at him and Kaga didn't bother to look into her eyes. Tayati walked by her and kissed her cheek which she didn't seem to mind much.

Irene sat against the log she was sitting on hours ago. It had been an hour since she had been arrested and Dylan was inside talking with Barry. The men just relighted the fire Sophie made and started to cook some food. The aroma of the bacon made Irene's stomach growl and whine, but Irene dared not to ask one of them for food, knowing that she'll end up with a more empty stomach and probably no pride. So she just started drawing random things in the dirt.

Dylan suddenly walked out looking exhausted and he went straight to Carter. They talked for a few minutes and then Carter dropped his plate of food and went to talk to Barry.

"Peter, can you give me two plates of food?" Dylan asked.

"Two, sir?" James asked,

"Just give it to me," Dylan commanded. They gave him two full plates of steak, eggs, and bacon. Dylan grabbed them and walked over to Irene and sat down next to her.

"Nice move pretty boy, now the entire police force is looking at us," Irene said.

"I don't give a damn," Dylan said and handed her one of the plates. Irene tried her best to eat in handcuffs, but sometimes spilled.

When she finished she asked, "What did he say?"

"Well, he's going to talk to the rest of the crew and see if they agree in letting you go."

"Great..." she said, "Now I'll never get out of here."

"Still hungry?" he asked her and pulled out an orange. She shrugged and watched him peel the entire thing in one tear. He then split it in half and handed Irene one half. She shook her head, but he only sat closer to her.

"Eat," he said, "you're hungry."

"No I'm not."

"You spilled half your plate of breakfast basically; here," he gently tore the smaller parts of the orange and fed her.

"People are staring again..."

"Like I said, I don't give a damn, plus I'm just being a gentleman. No harm in that," he smiled.

"A Marshall should never be a gentleman to a criminal."

"Who said you were one? In my book you ain't," he said and got close to her cheek.

"Watch it pretty boy," she laughed.

"What? Too close to your liking?" he asked, gently touching her hair.

Using both hands she took his hand and thrusted it off her hair, "It's actually too far for my liking, but way too close for their liking."

He grinned, "So, how can I tell when you're you?"

"What?" she asked puzzled.

"Well, you act like Ms. Dawes sometimes, then Elizabeth another, how can I tell when you're just Irene? You know, like you're acting like yourself."

"When I'm a perfect mix of both," she smiled, "Like last night, this morning, and a little bit right now."

"What are you two grinning about?" Carter asked, kind of disgusted.

"We, are talking about Miss Elizabeth," Irene said, getting her 'Ms. Dawes' on.

"What about her?" Carter smiled, "About the fact she's more prettier than you?"

"I would say Elizabeth and I have equal looks," Irene said and Dylan had a faint smile.

"No, I find her much more attractive than you."

"What about your dear Sophie, Carter?" Irene smiled.

"How do you know about her!?" Carter yelled, grabbing Irene's shirt wildly.

"I pretty much know about everyone," Irene laughed.

"Oh yeah!" Peter yelled, "What's my name!?"

"I don't know," Irene gave him a stupid look, "Shut the hell up eavesdropper."

"Hey!" Carter then thrusted Irene up on her feet, "Nobody disrespects one of my friends like that."

"Oops," Irene sighed, "Seems like I've done that several times. What are you going to do about it?"

"Teach you a lesson," Carter said as he put his fists up in a fighting stance while everyone crowded around.

"Come'on, let's have a nice clean and fair match," Irene smiled, "No handcuffs."

"Deal," Carter said and unlocked them as everyone made a circle, "I bet I could punch you with my eyes closed."

"Go ahead," Irene said and stood there. Carter threw the first punch but missed her head barely as she dodged it.

"You missed even with your eyes open," Irene laughed. Carter turned red faced as the rest of the men laughed. He swung a mean, low strike at her thigh which she didn't see coming. Irene yelped in pain.

"Didn't see that coming?" Carter smiled.

"Hey Dylan," Peter nudged him, "You bettin'?"

"Yeah, put ten on Dawes for me," he said.

"Alright," Peter smiled and collected all the money, counting it all laughing. Suddenly Carter flew into Peter and all the money flew everywhere and the crowd cheered in delight. Irene grinned that she was making new acquaintances by just beating people up.

Carter was still lying on the ground when Peter and his big belly rumbled over towards Irene, "My turn."

"Be my guest," Irene curtsied. Peter just started to flail at her, attacking and striking anywhere he could but Irene happened to block everysingle one and then punched him straight in the nose. His nose started to bleed dramatically and he started to tear. Everyone was shocked that in one hit she had made this big lumberjack cry! Dylan started to giggle slightly, and soon everyone was laughing.

"I say, we send the boxing champion out to face her!" Carter yelled and pulled Dylan to his feet.

"No, no," he objected, "I don't really want to face her."

"Go ahead man! You beat Kazi, you can beat her," everyone said, blocking his way out and pushing him towards her.

"I don't want to hurt you," he laughed.

"You're just afraid I'll hurt you. Go ahead, hit me with your best shot," she smiled. Dylan swung at her, but she easily moved away from it. He had never noticed till now but Irene had never really been in the fighting stance, she'd been waiting for someone to make a mistake. Now he just didn't have to make a mistake. She flinched at him and he jumped back, ready to dodge. She laughed and he then swung at her head, but her reflexes reacted and she ducked.

"Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me," she laughed then kissed him. Dylan was quite shocked that she did that, and right when he was about to wrap his arms around her, she kneed him straight in the groin. Dylan fell in pain, trying to grab the pain away. The crowd laughed their heads off as Dylan got totally distracted and lost his guard.

"Hey!" Barry came storming out, "Who took her off her chains?"

The crowd stopped laughing and all scattered leaving Dylan in pain and Carter shaking his head.

"You, with me, now!" He grabbed Irene and threw her in the tent.

"Alright Elizabeth, Ms. Dawes, whatever name you prefer.... what is it you want?" his frown lines bulged as he got angrier.

"I would just prefer Ms. Dawes but... all I want is to get out of here."

"No no! I meant what do you want from Maroni!" he yelled.

"Jesus, calm your temper," she said, "Why would I want to tell you?"

"Listen to me," he handcuffed her to a wooden chair and then harshly squeezed her cheeks with his right hand, "Tell me or I will tell everyone you're Miss Elizabeth."

"Hmmmm...." She murmured at her best, "I don't think that will work because then Maroni would be faced with attempted murder."

"What are you talking about?" Barry sneered.

"Maroni tried to poison me earlier, that's why he won't tell everyone who I am because there are plenty of witnesses who saw me get poisoned. Either way we'd be both going to jail and probably get hanged, which I don't think is in his little plan."

"Listen, I know Maroni wants you to himself, because he has some unfinished business but I'm thinking since I'm helping him out in his plan, I should get a little piece of you too," he smiled and touched her.

"I... wouldn't touch me there if I were you," she said.

"Why? Does it make you feel funny?"

"Not at all," Irene tried to keep a straight face.

"So what if I do it some more?" he grinned and did so.

"Stop," Irene clenched her teeth hard.

"Here," he smiled and grabbed one end of the handcuffs and actually cuffed one his hands to hers, "Now you can't really escape me." Irene immediatley used her left cuffed hand and pulled it down, causing Barry's to move down too as she kneed him in the face. Punching him with her right hand, she twisted her left wrist causing the chains to break. Barry got up immediately and tackled her, making her land hard on the cushions.

"Look familiar?" he grinned. She tried to push him off but he kept holding her down.

"When I get a gun I'll shoot you," Irene spat.

"When you're done with me, you won't need a gun or even want to head to Maroni, because you'll enjoy this so much you will just want to come back," he laughed maniacly.

"Not to a maniac like you."

"You're going to come back to me just like you are to Maroni!"

"I doubt that," Dylan grabbed Barry and threw him out of the tent. He looked down to see horror in Irene's eyes. Her shirt was unbuttoned and Dylan immediately helped her up. He stumbled as he tried to button up her shirt and Barry came roaring back in tackling Dylan. Irene finished buttoning up her shirt and she grabbed a shotgun out of one of the men's arms. She cocked the shotgun adn the loud sound caused Dylan and Barry to stop wrestling on the floor.

"Get up," Irene commanded, "Both of you!"

"Don't listen to her! Arrest her!" Barry commanded but... nobody moved. Everyone was staring at him.

"Well, if I didn't see it correctly, she saved Dylan from a kidnap you set up, and she was protecting herself from a rapist," Peter said, "I see no wrong in her."

"Same here!" More voices shouted.

"She's a criminal! A bloody ass-" Irene used the butt-end of the shotgun and knocked him out.

"Someone needed to shut him up," Irene laughed and the rest of the men laughed, except Carter.

Irene was cleaning her wounds Barry's fingernails caused in her skin when Dylan walked over. He was carrying the Deputy badge and Barry's weapon.

"Thanks to you, we got rid of our newest Sheriff and replaced our old one," Dylan smiled.

"No, thank you," Irene said quietly as she finished wiping the blood away.

"Told you I would keep you safe..." he said.

"Somethings you just can't avoid though."

"You were strong in there Irene, you didn't give in to him and let him have his way. You fought back, and faced your fear."

"I still fear it though."

"I faced my fear of losing you, and I still fear it because it can happen, now I didn't mean to overhear but... he said you would come back to him like you will to my dad. Has my dad already hurt you?"

Irene didn't really know what to say because tears were clogging her throat, and when she tried to close her eyes to impede them, one tear game gushing through and down her cheek. Dylan was actually a little shocked because he had never seen her cry before. He saw her almost cry when they first broke up, but it was nothing like this. He didn't know if she wanted to be comforted or left alone, but he slowly wrapped her arm around her shoulder and comforted her. She immediately started to cry buckets of water onto his shoulder as he hugged her and held her close.

"Shhh..." he quietly tried to shush her, "everything is going to be alright."

"N-no it's n-not, h-he's going to t-touch me ag-again!" Irene sobbed.

"I won't let him do that, not ever!" Dylan hugged her hard and rubbed his hand up and down her back to comfort, "How about we go back into town later tonight and just get a quick dinner and just spend some time in the library or the park or just somewhere quiet? Just us two, nobody else."

"I'd like that," she sniffled.

"Ok," he smiled.

"Should I got home and change then?" Irene asked.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure the guys will let you go. I'll make sure Carter doesn't follow you. Go now and I'll cover you."

"Thank you," she tried to smile.

"Go home, get changed, relax, and meet me at the fountain around seven or seven thirty," he smiled, "and you're welcome."

"I love you," she whispered and hugged him again.

"I love you too," he smiled, and she quickly kissed him and left. Dylan watched her ride on her horse away from the camp. After she fled, he went back to the fire where everyone was talking, and eating. He grabbed a green apple and overheard some conversations.

"I actually kind of like the girl," Peter said, "She's kind of fun to be around." Most of the men agreed with him and started talking about her where as Carter walked away to go stare down the cliff nearby. Dylan followed him until Carter stopped and looked at him.

"Now we know why she saved you," he said.

"Why? What do you mean?" Dylan asked.

"I saw her kiss you, twice today. She has a crush on you, and you seem to like her back."

"I was just being a gentleman."

"Are you going to tell Elizabeth about this?"

"Once I calm Lizzie down and tell her all that happened, I'll probably tell her, just to keep her safe."

"Yeah, because if Irene wants you, she might go after Lizzie, or Sophie," Carter said and left to go pack up.

"I highly doubt it," Dylan said and let the apple fall from his hands, and bounce down off the rocks of the cliff. Dylan didn't move until he saw it hit the ground.





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