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   Chapter 4 The Deputy's Plan

Loving River By LadyRosabella Characters: 8734

Updated: 2017-12-20 16:07

"I believe you."

"Good." Zane leaned back and crossed his arms. "Everything that I told you was true."

River knew that his words referred to his father and his honest desire to protect her. But the intent look on his face, the soft pleading of his eyes led her to believe that he actually meant his love for her was true. River took a deep breath. She would trust this man. What choice did she have? Mrs. Kate couldn't help her and River would never ask her too. The woman didn't need the kind of trouble River dragged around. Even so, a small shiver of fear crept through her. Her heart knew she could trust Zane to protect her, but her mind wasn't so sure. Swallowing a lump that formed in her throat, River nodded. "Very well then. I trust that you have a plan?"

Zane fought the smile of victory that threatened to overtake his face. In her silence, he could see her battling with herself over whether or not to trust him. For whatever reason, she decided to. And Zane was glad. "I don't really have a plan."

"How far do you expect to get without a plan, Zane?" River leaned forward as she shook her finger at him. "You better not even think of having me hide in a pickle barrel because I won't do it!"

Silence followed Rivers outburst. It didn't last long though before Zane burst into a hearty laugh.

River sat in surprise as she watched the man laughing. A small smile made her lips twitch as her slight overreaction became apparent to her. A giggle escaped. Then another. And soon she was laughing right along with the lawman at her side.

Zane ran his hand through his hair as he struggled to catch his breath. "Darling, I wouldn't even make you eat pickles if you have a mind to." He grinned.

"In all honesty though, don't you have an idea of a plan? Maybe even a baby plan that is still hatching?"

Zane shook his head with a chuckle, "River girl, you sure have a strange way of phrasing things."

"Well do you?" River persisted. She wanted to know what his plan was, she wanted reassurance that he knew how to keep her safe. She wanted to her his plan and think that it sounded good, that it would work.

"My deputy has the plan, my job was to get you. What do you say we go find my deputy and hear his plan?"

"I'd say lets go." River stood and shook out her skirts. "Oh." She said glancing shyly at Zane. " I'm sorry I fainted on you."

"Don't worry about it." He reassured her with a gentle teasing smile. "I know you weren't expecting to see me grown into such a man as I am. I still shock my Auntie with my dashing looks and charming ways."

"You have an Auntie?" River asked as they made there way back into the town.

"Of a sort. She's actually a sweet lady that lost her son years back. She took a shine to me when I was younger and kinda helped me out here and there. She wasn't really a mother, you see. More like an Auntie. Auntie Ruth, I call her."

"She sounds like a wonderful woman."

"She is." Zane sighed and shook his head with a smile teasing his lips. "She makes the best darn pie from here to Californa!"

River smiled and thought that 'Auntie Ruth', whoever she was, was very fortunate to have such a wonderful compliment come from Zane. "Where is your deputy at?" She changed the subject.

"I left him at the diner. He thinks best when he's eating." Zane winked at River and she nearly stumbled. How was it that this strong, wonderful, and law abiding man was walking her back to town? How was it that such a man even knew her name in the first place. River was more of the sort that blended into shadows. In everyday life, nobody noticed her existence let alone winked at her. River fought to bring her errant thoughts under control. She could trust Zane for the moment, she reminded herself, but he was an outlaws son. He could change at any moment and she had to be ready. She didn't want to be attracted to the strong virile man. River knew she wouldn't be able to protect her life without this mans help, but she could protect her heart. And that is exactly what she intended to do.

"You don't need to worry about trusting him either. He's great. Had my back many times over the years." Zane continued as River pulled herself from her thoughts. "We work well together and as long as he's kept well fed, he's a happy guy."

"Well, we must be sure to feed him then." River said th

ey waited for a wagon to pass before crossing the dusty street.

"He won't let you forget." Zane said as he held the diner door open for her.

River stepped inside and squinted. The bright sunshine made it difficult for her to see in the dim diner. She waited for her eyes to adjust while Zane held the door for a mother and her little daughter.

"Ready to meet my deputy?" Zane asked as he approached her.

River nodded and Zane led her to a corner table near the back of the dining area. A lone man was sitting at the table eating a piece of fried chicken.

"Micah, this is River." Zane said as they reached the table.

River didn't know what she expected but whatever it was, Deputy Micah was not it. At Zane's introduction the man wiped his mouth with his napkin and rose. Rivers eyes widened, the man, Zane's deputy was several inches over six foot. He was lean and strong. He looked like a man that could pick a fight and win using only one arm. "Are you the brains and the brawn?" As soon as the words left her mouth, River wished she could recall them. What nerve she had to speak so to such a man! Especially when she'd only just met him!

Micah smiled a large toothy smile and gestured that they should sit. "I do what I can." He said in reply to River's question. " I like your River." He directed this comment to Zane. "She has spunk. I think she will do well."

"What plan have you come up with?" Zane asked as the waitress brought them coffee.

"Well." Micah bit into his chicken and chewed slowly as he thought. When he finished with that bite he turned to River. "Have you every been to Mexico?"

River frowned at the odd question. "No, why would -."

"There you have it. You and River can change your names, put up some sort dismiss and start a life in Mexico."

Zane and River stared at Micah. Zane was the first to recover his speech. "Are you suggesting we run and hide in Mexico?"

"Ah boss!" Micah scuffed. "You make it sound so bad when you put it like that. It's not hiding it's-."

"We are not hiding."

Micah and Zane turned to see a mulish look on River's face. What a sight she made, Zane thought in approval. She arms her crossed over her chest. Her cheeks were flushed pink and fire flew from her soul searching eyes. "I will not spend my life hiding from your father." River declared.

"River's right." Zane shrugged. "It is a bad idea."

"It was a great idea compared to my first one!" Micah huffed.

"What first one?" River asked.

"The one I didn't tell you." Micah picked up his chicken and resumed eating.

Unable to take anymore suspense or tomfoolery, River reached out and snatched Micah's chicken leg out of his hand.

"Hey!" The man protested.

"You'll not get this back until I hear a good plan." River scolded as she waved the chicken leg at the man. "Zane's father won't let us just run away and I will not be a prisoner my whole life. So you had better think of another idea."

Zane fought a grin as he watched River. She was a spunky girl despite everything and he loved her even more for it.

"The other idea wasn't much better." Micah said.

"I though you were the one with the good ideas. Zane said as long as you eat you come up with great ideas."

Micah leaned across the table and gestured for River to come closer. When River leaned forward, meeting him halfway across the table he whispered. "Don't tell him I'm a phoney. He'll stop feeding me."

"Keep coming up with ideas like that and he'll find out without any help from me." River replied as she sat back in her chair. "Now let's hear your first idea."

Micah gave an exaggerated sigh and a sly wink at Zane. "You and Zane need to get married."



"Yep." Micah reached out and plucked his chicken from River's hand. She didn't even notice his taking it. "But that's not all. River, we're gonna have to rough you up some."

"Rough me up?" River swallowed. Mexico was sounding a mite better right about now.







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