Hot Under The Collar! by Patti H.

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A Sizzling Short-Short – Part 3 of 3

Something to Warm Us Up!

Proceed with Caution…Adult Situations Ensue in this Series

Some sizzle…other sources of heat to conclude.

Usual Disclaimers Apply – No Beta – Flying Solo

~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~

All too soon Johnny had to leave the charming comforts of Miss Phoebe Ann Cummings to return home.  His saddle bags were filled with an array of Ahwahneechee Indian dried medicinal healing herbs provided by Phoebe.  She included dried bayberries, horsemint leaves, dogwood, willow, native hemlock and feverwort all known by the local Indians to cured fevers, aches and pains; none, however, had any effect at squashing Johnny’s fervor fever.

Phoebe also provided Johnny with several jars of her special home-made fruit preserves to take back home.  She had discovered her cowboy had a sweet tooth, after he dribbled syrupy blueberries on her belly and licked them off with a cheeky grin, running his tongue along the outside of his mouth, smacking appreciatively at the flavor.

While Johnny finished getting ready to take his leave, neither spoke, both lost in their own thoughts of his impending departure.  He looked at Phoebe before gathering her into a tight cuddle, “I’m gonna miss ya, Phoebe.  Ya saved my life and replenished my soul, miel.  How can I ever thank ya enough?”

“Seems to me that you did some replenishing yourself Johnny,” Phoebe impishly grinned.  “Cowboy, you’re welcomed back anytime, my door and my heart are forever open to you.”

“Querida, how about ya come back ta Lancer with me?”

“No, Johnny, no I can’t, this is my home, and this is where I belong, where I am most happy in my own little woodland retreat.  You understand don’t you that this is where I choose to live?  You want me to be happy?”

“Yeah, but I also want ya in my life.  That will make me happy and you would come to love Lancer just as much as I do…it’s even more beautiful…”  Phoebe gently placed her fingers to his lips and softly shook her head no.

With a final embrace, a lingering kiss, the two parted ways, neither one sure if they would ever see the other again.  Johnny headed west towards Lancer, suddenly recalling that his brother could be in need of the herbs if the supply had run out back home.  His increased Barranca’s pace, trying to make up for the time he had spent recovering from his own fever and his throes of passion.

~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~

Murdoch greeted Johnny at the doorway with disappointment clearly etched across his face, “Johnny what took you so long?  You should have been back two days ago!  Scott has been burning up with fever, for want of those herbs.  You knew we were in short supply!”

“Look Murdoch, I’m sorry.  I had a little trouble myself and well I’m here now.  Where’s Teresa?”

“She’s taking care of your brother.  Give those to me,” Murdoch demanded, reaching for his saddlebags.

“I’ve got them.  I’m going to see Scott.”

“No you’re not, go clean-up before you go anywhere near your brother.  Give me those saddlebags, young man.”

“Are those orders, ol’ man,” snarled Johnny.

“Yes, consider them your orders!  You’re not going to expose Scott to any other maladies you might have picked up along the trail.  Hand the bags over now Johnny, do as I said boy,” Murdoch stated clearly not intending to continue the discussion.

“Or what?” challenged Johnny, clearly intending to continue the discussion.

Teresa having heard the heated discord from upstairs rushed down, “Johnny?  Murdoch?  What’s the matter with you two?  Scott needs those herbs.  Now you two stop all this nonsense.  Johnny, you listen to your father and do as he tells you.  Get out of those damp clothes and wash-up.  I don’t need you sick as well.  Do you want Maria after you with her wooden spoon?  I’ll call her.”

Johnny handed his bags to Teresa without taking his eyes from Murdoch, towering over him, clenching and unclenching his fists, trying to keep his temper from erupting.  Johnny, Madrid-eyed Murdoch before storming upstairs, slamming his door.

~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~

Murdoch followed Teresa into the kitchen to examine the herbs.  He was surprised to discover inside the saddle bags four jars of home-made preserves, along with a note.  He opened the note and read:

“Johnny, these past few days have been the best days of my life.  I’ll always treasure our time together, cowboy.  All My Love, Phoebe.”

“JOHNNY” bellowed Murdoch, loud enough to wake the death.  “DOWN HERE NOW!”

Teresa hushed Murdoch, “Not now Murdoch, we have more important matters to tend too instead of dealing with a silly little love note.”

Johnny heard Murdoch’s thunderous voice reverberating in his room; he figured Scott heard Murdoch unless he was in a coma and any ranch hands out in the barn heard Murdoch. He sighed, “Damn if I do, damn if I don’t.  Dios, Murdoch, ya’ll just have ta wait until I’m good and ready ta see what’s got ya so pissed off this time.  I’m gonna finish your first set of orders before dancin’ another tune with ya.”

He gathered his fresh clothes, took the front stairs down, eased quietly out the front door and made his way to the bathhouse, avoiding his father, still fuming in the kitchen.  Drawing a bath, Johnny sank into the hot water, lathering up his body he grinned as he recalled the past few days with Phoebe in their hot springs oasis.  He was totally engaged with his thoughts, leaning back, eyes closed; relaxing, and as such he was completely unaware that Murdoch had slipped into the bathhouse.

“Is there something you want to share with me Johnny?” demanded his aggravated father, looming over him, clutching a piece of paper.

Johnny jumped from the closeness and the harshness of Murdoch’s voice, splashing water over the side of the tub, “Madre de Dios!  Why don’t ya tell me, Murdoch?  ‘cos something has crawled up your butt.  For the life of me I don’t know what it could be.  And I’m tired of havin’ to guess.”  He thought to himself, “Damn it Johnny, your reflexes ain’t what they used ta be, not hearing the ol’ man sneak in here.”

Murdoch shook the paper he was holding, thundering, “Explain this note I found in your saddlebags!  I sent you for herbs for your sick brother.  You obviously make a side trip.  To where the local whorehouse?  All the while Scott was depending upon you to get back with those herbs.  I want an explanation young man right now, right here, this second!”

Johnny read the note that Murdoch stuck under his nose.  “Murdoch, that young lady saved my life, when I got a fever and fell, unconscious off of Barranca right into a snow drift.  Had it not been for her, I would have frozen to death.  She took me in, nursed me, took real good care of me and gave me the herbs ta bring back ta Scott.  I would have been home sooner had I been able.  I wish ya stop jumpin’ ta the wrong conclusions every chance ya get.”

Murdoch looked with mortification at his son before clapping him on his back, “You’re right Johnny, I guess I did jump to the wrong conclusion.  I’m sorry.  I’m still getting use to the idea of having sons around to worry about and fuss over.  How are you feeling now?  No fever?”  He placed his big hand to Johnny’s forehead to feel for himself.

Johnny grinned as he shook his long locks from his eyes, “I’m fine Murdoch.  Phoebe’s herbs did the trick and fixed me up real quick too, should do the same for Scott.  I’ve never felt better or had more stamina in my life.  Now if ya don’t mind I’ll like ta finish before the water turns cold, freezin’ me and shrivin’ me into an ol’ prune.  Ya know I always like my things hot, except for ya.”

“Sure thing son, I’m glad you’re home safe and sound  Just do me a favor next time before you get me hot…hot under the collar that is, will you explain yourself first?  Save us both the aggravation?

“Next time?  ‘kay Ol’ Man, deal…but remember it’s a two-way street.”

“We’ll both work on it son,” he said clapping Johnny again before leaving him alone.

Johnny leaned back in the tub with thoughts of Phoebe drifting through his mind; he smirked wickedly, figuring out how soon he’d be able to get away for a return visit to his little buckskin treasure.  Hot dang!

The End

Patti H. – February 8, 2009

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One thought on “Hot Under The Collar! by Patti H.

  1. I suppose it was understandable that Murdoch would get the wrong idea when he saw the note and Johnny did get some afternoon delights (and morning and evening delights) but there was no need for Murdoch to know about that
    Lancer lives on!

    Like

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