Of Eye Lashes, White Socks, Dusty Butts and Chest Hair
Disclaimer: Those producer people have the Lancers locked away in a vault, I have them locked away in my heart and mind.
Author’s Note: This is for Suzanne, Sox, Lori and all you Ladies of Lancerlot who would probably even drool over his belly button lint.
Scott grinned in amusement as he watched Johnny’s sleep heavy eyelids flutter, until finally they stilled. The long black lashes lay inert against Johnny’s tanned cheeks. Out of idle curiosity the older brother cautiously extended his index finger, and with a velvety soft touch stroked the tips of the lush fringe that outlined his little brother’s eyes. He marveled at the extreme length and thickness of them. If Johnny only knew what the female population, and that included the saloon girls, of the three towns around them thought of his beautiful eyes…well there would be no living with him.
The noise of his father returning to Great room startled the blond, and he guilty snatched his hand back, though he could tell from the odd look his father gave him, he wondered what he was doing.
“Is everything all right, Scott? Has Johnny come to his senses enough to tell you what happened?
Clearing his throat as he fought the blush he was sure colored his cheeks, Scott answered, “No, sir. I was just seeing if he was asleep or perhaps passed out.”
Murdoch stared down at his youngest, lying on his stomach, stretched out on the sofa. He grimaced when he realized how filthy Johnny was, and to top it off he still had on his boots and spurs. Seeing visions of dirt smudges and rips in the upholstery the big man sat down by Johnny’s feet, on the end section of couch not occupied by Johnny. He lifted his right foot and carefully slid the boot off, and then dropped it with a dull thud to the tile floor. He repeated the process with the left one. He briefly considered removing Johnny’s white socks, but changed his mind knowing Johnny did not like for his feet to be chilled. He seldom ever saw his youngest barefoot, though it was not unusual to find him walking about the house in his socks, even out on the front porch.
Maria always fussed about the stains the white apparel would gather, as she almost always had to boil them to get them the blindingly white color Johnny preferred. They had tried replacing Johnny’s white socks with black ones, reasoning with him that he could walk anywhere he wanted to in them and they wouldn’t get dingy and soiled. Johnny had put on a petulant pout and declared he liked white, that way he could be sure they had been cleaned.
Murdoch’s moment of wool gathering was interrupted by Scott’s inquiry. “Do you think we should clean him up some before Sam gets here? To quote Jelly, he looks like he was dragged backwards through a prickly bush.”
The two older Lancers took in the disheveled appearance. Twigs and leaves littered the silky mass of black hair. The blue flowered shirt Johnny wore was torn in several places, and had ground in dirt from the point where it tucked into his pants to across his shoulders. It definitely looked like a candidate for the rag box. The seat of Johnny’s pants looked like he had wallowed in dust.
Forgetting that Johnny’s posterior was probably very tender from landing on it, and then being dragged by his horse, Murdoch absent-mindedly reach out with a large calloused hand and swiped at the dusty leather clad bottom to dislodge the dirt.
Johnny jerked, and tried to scramble away from the hand that had ignited the pain in his butt. In his wild agitated movements he ended up dumping himself on the floor. Yet again his abused behind bore the brunt of the landing blow.
Screeching and yowling, Johnny jumped up from the floor, his tanned hands tenderly rubbing his injured derriere. Limping to the liquor cart Johnny poured a shot of tequila and tossed it back.
“Are you all right brother?”
“I’d be just fine, if I could make it through this day without landing on my ass again.”
“John!” Murdoch rebuked him for his language. “Come sit down and explain to me how you managed to get bucked off Barranca.”
“I’d rather not sit if it’s all the same to you.”
“Well can you at least explain to us what happened?”
“Yes, tell us,” implored Scott. “I have never seen Barranca act that way with you in the saddle.”
“It was my own fault,” Johnny replied as the red-faced embarrassment replaced his normal tan complexion.
“How was it your fault? One minute you and Barranca were standing there, and the next thing I knew he was crow-hopping across the ground. You went flying backwards, and your boot was hung up in the stirrup. It was almost a blessing the horse dragged you through that Wedding Veil bush; it slowed him down so you could roll free.”
“I’m not sure I want to tell it, you’ll laugh.”
“We promise not to laugh!” Murdoch and Scott vowed in unison.
“I spurred him,” Johnny mumbled.
“Why would you do that?” Scott asked incredulously.
“Well if you must know it was an accident! I jerked and my spur got him good.”
“What made you jerk, son?”
Johnny scrubbed his face, dreading telling what happened because he was sure despite their promise they would literally roll on the floor and laugh. He stomped his foot and winced as pain shot up from his feet, traveled his legs and stop to throb in his abused buttocks.
“It’s like this… my stampede string kept getting caught on my top button. I was afraid it was gonna tear it off so I decided to button it.” Raising his hand and rubbing in the vicinity of the button, Johnny growled and added, “When I did I got this tuft of chest hair caught on the button, and when I tried to force it through the hole, I pulled it and it pinched. It hurt…and my legs jerked and that’s when I spurred Barranca.”
Scott and Murdoch sat stone still, though their breath sounds were audible, their chests heaved and their nostrils flared.
“Go on and laugh,” Johnny shouted, “I know you want too!”
“Well that gives new meaning to being caught by the short hairs,” Scott deadpanned.
“Indeed,” replied Murdoch, as he actually crossed his eyes in his attempt to keep the mirth off his face.
Johnny stared at his father and brother, giving them his best Madrid glare. “I’ll be upstairs when Sam gets here just send him up.”
The youngest Lancer marched up the staircase with all the dignity he could muster in white socks, a dusty butt, while rubbing at the chest hair that peeked from the top of his shirt. His eyes were narrowed in anger, causing the absurdly long lashes to obscure his vision. He tripped on the top step, and landed on his butt for the third that day.
The Dusty End