(A Valentine's follow-up to 'Johnny, You Make Me Sweat!')
Johnny took cold comfort in the fact that he was riding into town with Murdoch on one side and Scott on the other. The stupid Sadie Hawkins dance was history now as of two nights ago, so, the likelihood of being attacked by all of the women in town taking advantage of the one day every four years or so (as Scott and Murdoch had explained), to ask him out should be nil. However, the former gunslinger’s habits of being on high alert had not died and he was taking no chances on this first visit back to town after the attack. However, today was the day itself, the ridiculous, dreaded, Valentine’s Day.
He had no plans for romance this evening. Scott, however, did have a special date arranged with a young lady here in town. Murdoch, he knew, would be having dinner at Aggie Conway’s tonight. Why those two just didn’t marry was beyond him. He wondered if his father would be “gettin’ any” tonight. He shivered at the thought of Murdoch having sex, much less with Aggie! Teresa’s beau was coming over for a private dinner at Lancer, chaperoned by Maria, of course.
“You okay, Johnny?” Scott noted the slight movement from his brother.
“Yep, just a bad thought.” He mumbled.
Murdoch looked over at his youngest and shook his head. He really did not understand the boy. ‘Boy’ now that was not quite an accurate term. In physical age, he guessed he was, but otherwise he was far too old. Even more confusing was the fact that women made fools of themselves for his son, who sometimes joked about being handsome and charming, but really did not seem aware of just how serious an effect that he did indeed, have on women. That part, he reckoned, was from Maria’s blood. It sure wasn’t from his side of the family. It was pretty frightening and embarrassing to think that his baby boy knew more and had had more sex already at his tender age, than he himself would ever have.
As they rode down the main street of Green River, Johnny relaxed a little. It seemed that things were back to normal. He was getting eyed and smiled at by the women as he rode by, but gratefully, no one ran after him.
The three men went their separate ways upon arrival in the middle of town; Scott to the post office to pick up the mail, Murdoch to the bank, Johnny to the gunsmith. They had agreed to meet at the saloon after their errands before going their separate ways for the evening.
Murdoch entered the saloon and stopped just inside the doors. There sat Johnny surrounded by so many girls they looked like birds on a telegraph wire. One scantily clad girl sat in his lap. She was feeding him something that looked like chocolate. He couldn’t help but notice Johnny’s wandering fingers over the girl’s most private areas.
Scott was seated next to his brother, enjoying a beer. There were actually a couple of girls standing behind him, stroking his hair and shoulders. Murdoch heard him explain to Johnny, “You know, chocolate is an aphrodisiac, Johnny.”
“An aphrodisiac. It enhances one’s sex drive.”
“Don’t need no help there, Scott.” All the girls began making sounds of pleasant agreement. “Hear that, big brother?”
Scott laughed and took another sip of his beer.
Murdoch scowled, cleared his throat and strode over to the table in the back to his sons. The flock of girls immediately flew away, even the one on Johnny’s lap. Johnny’s could feel his ears burning, but gratefully, his long hair covered them. As Murdoch sat down, he looked up to indicate his desire for a drink, but the girl who had been in Johnny’s lap, already had one in hand and was sliding it under his nose on the table. She moved away before he could thank her.
“What’s all this? Son?”
“Oh, the girls were just wishin’ me a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.’” Johnny drawled.
“Did you get them gifts as well?”
Johnny was distracted by one of the girls leaning over and allowing her breasts to make contact with his cheek as she put another beer in front of him. As she pulled back, his eyes met hers, “no, Murdoch, not yet.”
Scott almost choked on his beer. He knew exactly what Johnny would be giving the girl or girls for Valentine’s Day. Murdoch looked over, “you okay?”
Stifling a laugh caused him a little more choking, and Murdoch whapped him hard on the back a couple of times, causing Johnny to let out a giggle. He didn’t envy Scott being slapped by their father’s big old paw.
The girls continued to hang around the table, although not as close as before, as though they were waiting for something. Murdoch had the feeling he was being watched by vultures. For all the attention their table was receiving, the girls seemed reticent to serve him another beer. Once he finished the second beer, he had had enough of the girls and their looks. With a grunt, he rose up to leave, pushing his chair back, causing a scraping sound on the wooden floor. Scott stood to join him.
Johnny remained seated and was still snacking on the plethora of chocolates in front of him. With a wave of his hat, Scott bid his brother goodbye, “Happy Valentine’s Day little brother”, flashing a knowing smile.
“See you later tonight son.” Murdoch’s gravely voice tried to sound light. With that, he and Scott left the saloon together. After a quick chat, Murdoch walked down the boardwalk to his horse when he realized he had left his gloves in the saloon.
Reluctantly, he turned and headed back. As he entered, he observed Johnny, surrounded by the saloon girls, wearing a blindfold and being led up the stairs. The girls who were not actually assisting his son, carried champagne and what looked like a basket of strawberries. The boxes of chocolates had been picked up as well.
He shook his head and walked over to the table, sitting empty with the exception of his forlorn gloves lying upon it. As he retrieved them from the table, the bartender called out to him, “Murdoch, I reckon I’m gonna have to up the price ‘a beer for you and yours. Seems ever time your boys, ‘specially that youngest one, come in here, I lose half my business from the girls.”
Murdoch drew a deep breath and looked directly at the bartender, “Well, I’m sure you are aware of my son’s reputation with his gun.”
With that, he turned and held himself together until he reached his horse. With reins in his left hand resting on the saddle horn, and his right hand on the cantle of the saddle, he leaned over and laughed until he had tears in his eyes. The look on that bartender’s face was priceless.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Donna