Satin and Leather

Creative writing around the themes of spanking, domination and submission

Hanging Offense 1
Hanging Offense
Part 1

by patty, copyright 2001

Jennifer was nervous. Where to go first, home, school or her brother’s office? None of her reasonable choices offered any comfort. If only running away could be more than an impulse, brought to the mind of a brat, in the moment when consequences rashly courted, loom large and real. That was Jennifer at this moment. Her choice was not really a choice. She was going to be punished by three formidable men. All she really had to decide was who would get the first crack at her butt?

This morning it had been so easy to convince herself that going to see the hanging in Emeryville was something she had to do. Doing it meant missing school, defying her brother and lying to the ranch foreman.

Two men had been condemned for beating and killing a drummer. They took his wares, money and horse. And then had been caught red handed trying to sell the horse just four miles from where they left their victim. It was going to be the biggest event the county had seen since the century turned two years before.

Now it was done. She had seen them die. None of her school friends were there as she had expected them to be. And she had been seen by her brother’s partner and the sheriff. Going had been a mistake for more reasons than getting herself in trouble. The hanging was a terrifying thing to see. A specter that would no doubt haunt her for some time. She’d lost her breakfast and had to sit up against the church for over an hour before she could stop shivering and retching. She knew now why her brother and their foreman had been so firmly against going. Her dreams just might be worse punishment than their anger and the spankings she had coming.

Her brother told her no flat out when she’d asked him if he would take her to see it.

"Please! It’s a history making event James!" She countered and punctuated her complaint with her foot. Jennifer was sure that her friends were having no problem getting parents to agree to take them. Disappointment that she was going to miss something big was inching into her gut.

Her brother never ever changed his mind once he had settled on a position. Discussion was a frustrating and futile exercise. It angered her no end when he said no to her requests so quickly. Damn-it… "Couldn’t you just hear me out on the merits of an idea first before you say no?"

"I told you no. I have no interest in watching men die and I sure as shooting will not allow you to watch such a thing." Her brother’s tone was quiet and firm. His expression warned her he wanted the discussion to end. She knew it.

"Why!?" she flipped the word out with just an edge of defiance.

"Jennifer Lin! No! No more arguing." His voice was quiet, cool and dangerous. Using her full name sent an unmistakable warning. "Go on out and help get supper ready." He dismissed her and turned his attention back to the letters he was reading.

She cursed him "damn stubborn old cuss…." her voice just barely audible as she started to leave. She watched him out of the corner of her eye as she went.

Without looking up from his desk, James’s lips tightened into a wry smile and his right eyebrow lifted. ‘Watch yourself missy’ was the thought she read from his mind. He heard her mutter, but did not hear what she said. Her back to him, and several steps out of the room, she flashed a cocky smile as her finger chalked up "one for me" on an invisible board above her head. She jousted with him like that often, using little spears of defiance. Sometimes she got away with it and sometimes she didn’t.

James was 34. Jennifer was 16. She had been 8 and he 26 when their parents and his young wife had been killed in a train wreck on their way back to Montana from Chicago just a year after he had been married.

Their parents had come to the windy city to take a well deserved vacation conveniently timed to bring them near their son and his wife Linda for the birth of their first grandchild. Jennifer had not gone with them on the trip. She had been left at home on the ranch with Lucas the foreman who was as close to her father as a brother after 30 years.

The baby lived only two days. Linda took it hard and needed care and company. Pressures at the ranch and limited money were pulling his parents back to Montana, and James was faced with putting off sitting his Bar Exams or leaving his fragile wife alone while he studied. Linda made the decision. James must not put off the last step in his years long work toward becoming a Lawyer. She would go to the ranch with his parents. He would stay in Chicago, study, pass his exams, pack up their lives and follow her. It had always been their plan to move west when his studies were done anyway.

His move west, it turned out, was to come back to the ranch and become his sister’s guardian. Their age difference was such that he had never really been a brother to her. Jennifer had been a toddler when he left to go to University. James was almost 18 when Jennifer was born, just a month younger than his father had been when James was born. He could have been her father.

Jennifer accepted him easily, and he found her happy, adventurous personality good medicine. In only a few months they had adapted their lives and begun to heal and move forward from their grief. Jennifer was full of energy and had their father’s sense of humor. She was always coming up with wild ideas and ways to have fun. She could talk his ear off and could always get him laughing when his moods got him down. She was also stubborn and could be willful. If she got a bee in her bonnet she was not quick to let it go and that usually got her stung. It was a refractory trait that James found was the only major challenge he had with her.

Discipline at the hands of their father had always been swift, sure and painful. James found he stepped into the same mold when the need arose. There were eerie moments, in those first years, when he swore he heard his father’s voice come from his own mouth and felt that he wore his father’s skin as he applied his hand or his belt to Jennifer’s bare backside.

Jennifer didn’t think about the transition to his discipline much. Spankings were just part of life. Something to dread in the moments when you knew it was coming, grit your teeth through when it was happening and maybe once in a while think about as a possible consequence when making certain choices. She accepted their certainty and appreciated the sense of security that came from their swiftness. Punishments ended the deed, forgiveness was immediate and just as certain, all she had to do was be sorry and mean it. Since James was always fair she had never had trouble with that part.

Lucas, her trusted ally in most things, was just as firm about the hanging. When Jennifer tried to cajole him to help her sway James, he became uncharacteristically sharp. Lucas hardly ever said no to her and when he did he could almost always be convinced to change his mind.

"Jenny girl that’s the end of it I will not go against James on this one. You ain’t goin’" The look on his face was almost sad.

"You both are being just plain mean…. Everybody’s going to go except us. Nothing like this will probably ever happen around here again!" She pouted.

Lucas felt a rush of anger pulse through him. His Jenny had no idea how rotten it sounded for her to be complainin’ about missin’ a hangin’. He knew it came from innocence of the meanin’ of the thing but it grated on him just the same. It was a very rare thing for her behavior to anger him. Normally he’d allow her to talk to him about the thing, but this time she was not lookin’ to talk it out. This time she was workin’ on him to help her get what she wanted from James. He might have let her work on him for somethin’ else, but this was just wrong.

"My God girl! That’s a good thing! Hangin’ and murder are bad things. If we could hope they never happen here again it will be too soon! It ain’t no sport for little girls to watch. I ain’t never seen a man hang, and I don’t ever want to. It’s a messy terrible business from what I hear. You wantin’ to go is just plain wrong headed… You ain’t goin’"

He stepped up close to her plannin’ to give her a hug. She started to say something else. He put his index finger to her nose, his face right behind it, and shook his head firmly. "Any more arguin’ and I’m goin’ to whip you. Then I’m goin’ to tell James and he’ll likely do the same. Got it!?"

She had tested Lucas when he threatened to whip her only once before. It had been harder than any spanking James or her father had ever given her. The fire he produced in her butt with just his hand surprised her, but that was only part of it. Lucas was her ‘trusted one.’ He loved her unconditionally and she counted on the sense he gave her that she could do no wrong in his eyes. She told him everything and he always understood and accepted, giving her advice and letting her get perspective on things just by saying them out loud. The sadness she felt when she thought he might never give her that again was almost as bad as the sadness she felt when she lost her parents.

Supper was quiet. James and Lucas talked some about three new foals and the mares still to foal. James had a new client who had a dispute over property lines. Both men were aware of Jennifer’s silence. Both wondered if she would dare try to push the subject further. Both watched her face aware that she was trying the case in her mind.

James kept his amusement to himself. He half expected her to come out with another argument before the meal was through. And he had to confess to himself that part of him was interested to hear what she might come up with. She was quick and bright. He was proud of her creativity and always amazed by the strength of her will. She was growing into a beautiful woman. Her heart was strong and her soul just as sturdy. Exasperation replaced that respect when her will brought her to actions and places he set off limits. He had to struggle to let her have her head with some kind of balance. It was one thing to teach her to use good judgment, quite another to break her will. He knew the value of her strength.

Lucas knew Jennifer would not voice anymore arguments on the subject while he was nearby. He was not pleased that she kept at it in her head. He wondered if reason and good sense was goin’ to win this time, and if it didn’t, what form was her defiance goin’ to take. James would handle it, ‘firm and fair,’ he knew that. ‘Just once could she make it easy on herself.’ He thought. In his gut he could feel her brewin’ trouble.

Lots of arguments formed in her mind. ‘Of course I don’t want murder to happen here again, but since it did, shouldn’t we go to see what was going to happen…’ ‘I’m old enough!.....’ ‘I hate you both….’ ‘Everybody’s going…’ She was not aware that her facial expressions reflected her imagined discussions with them.

Jennifer decided she would go by herself. James would be angry and spank her pretty hard if he found out. Lucas had only said he’d whip her if she didn’t stop arguing about it. She would miss school. Mr. Best might not accept her word that she was sick. If he talked to James she’d get double. But he probably would not question her.

The morning was bright and cool. Jennifer dressed as if she were going to school. She tried to act like it was any other day.

James had dismissed all thoughts of her request, considering it a closed subject. He kissed her as he got up from his breakfast and went out to saddle his horse to head for his office in town. He had a full calendar of appointments today and he would not be back before supper.

Lucas on the other hand could sense that the hangin’ was still on her mind. When he walked out with her to help get her horse saddled he spoke up.

"Jenny girl what are you mullin’ over in that brain of yours?" His eye brows were raised. He was not really expecting her to spill it.

"Nothing" Jennifer was surprised by his direct question. He knew it wasn’t ‘nothin.’

"You’d best be keepin’ it that way." He warned her. "I want you to make me a promise you’ve dropped this hangin’ business."

"Lucas! It’s over with. You won’t take me and that’s an end to it." She watched his face, knowing she had evaded the promise he asked of her and hoping he would not notice. He noticed.

"Jenny girl I want your promise." He persisted, he knew her too well.

Jennifer turned to step into her stirrup, crossing her fingers under the cinch where he couldn’t see. She spoke to the saddle. "OK you have it." Her lie made her cringe with guilt. It wasn’t strong enough to break her resolve though.

"Good girl." Lucas gave her butt a stinging swat as she lifted up into the saddle. "Behave yourself today. Got it?" She smiled and turned for the road.

Now Jennifer was on her way back. It was barely noon. Where should she go? As she considered her options, she felt the familiar tingling sparks of anticipation and regret surge through the skin on her face and fingers then into her groin and bottom. She squirmed in her saddle involuntarily. She felt like she had to go to the privy, but she knew it was just a trick her body played on her at times like this.

If she went to school today she would be punished for being late. If she lied about why she was late to avoid a spanking, there was a chance it wouldn’t work, and then she would be punished again tomorrow when her brother made her own up.

She had been late once already this term and had committed two crimes of deportment; having been caught whispering and giggling during quiet time, and sneaking down to the creek to wade instead of going to the privy. Mr. Best only allowed three "violations of the rules" to get by with warnings. She had already had her third and final warning. No girl had pushed him that far in the four years he had the school. But several boys had done it. The consequences were, judging from the faces of the experienced, painful.

Even if she didn’t have a paddling coming by default, she was pretty sure skipping school to go see a hanging would earn one even if it were her first offense.

James had been surprised when the creek incident was handled as lightly as it was. He didn’t spank her for it, but he did speak to Mr. Best. Jennifer was certain Mr. Best understood James’s perspective and had no illusions that a future offense would be let by.

One paddling in front of her classmates would be enough. She made up her mind she would own up to the whole business to Mr. Best right off. She just didn’t want to do it today.

She didn’t want to face Lucas at all. She briefly considered going home first, thinking she might be able to delay things. She could put it off with him and everyone else (for a few hours at least) by feigning illness. Lucas would not question it. He would put her to bed and comfort her. Being comforted was suddenly very important. That half baked idea flew out of her mind with a wave of guilt when she let her mind take her to Lucas’s reaction when James got home and Lucas discovered she had lied to him twice in one day. She wondered grimly, mentally kicking herself; ‘Why is it so easy to think through to the end now, when it was so hard before I got into this mess.’

James would know by now. That rat Roger, James’s law clerk must surely have returned to their office. He saw her before she saw him. Roger was just twenty three. He had finished all but one year of Law school, but had to stop when money became tight. He would be going back in just a few months.

"What do you think you’re doing here, you little brat!?" He asked her as he grabbed her by the arm from behind. Jennifer shrieked. He’d nearly scared the life out of her.

"SH**! Don’t do that!" She whirled around. When she saw who it was, Jennifer felt her stomach roll. Caught! She blushed first, and then she suddenly felt like she wanted to punch him. Instead she shook her arm free of his grasp and backed away.

"None of your business." She spoke defiantly.

"I’m making it my business young lady. I know your brother doesn’t know you’re here. He’d never allow it." Roger said.

"He does so know!" Her words fell into the air between them with a thud. Never before had a lie come out of her mouth and told on itself. She blushed again confirming the obvious. Roger made her uncomfortable at the best of times. He was very handsome. Strange and new thoughts and feelings came into her mind and body when she was around him. But he treated her like she was a child. In fact he usually treated her like she was a bad child, even when she wasn’t. He was ‘full of himself’ she thought.

"Young lady your brother will have your hide when he finds out you are here." Roger McDonald shook his head. "I swear if you were mine you’d have your bottom bare over my knee in this saddle all the way back home!"

"I’m not yours! You have no right to touch me, and you better never try!" Jennifer’s tone of voice was defiant. The edge she gave it was stronger than she would ever consider with James, or Lucas, or anyone for that matter. She watched the cloud of Roger’s reaction cross his face. Even angry, he was handsome. Handsome and aggravating as hell, she thought.
"Try me brat! Come on you’re going home now!" He reached for her arm again. She evaded him skipping out of his reach.

"Please Roger, I am going home. And yes I know James will be mad. It’s my business, not yours. You don’t need to stick your nose in it." The tone of her voice shifted, she was bargaining now. Only one thing could make this day worse, and that was being dragged home to a spanking by Roger.

She was cursing herself for not thinking about the possibility that someone James knew might see her. The horror of what she had seen made her remorse for what she had gotten herself into more acute. Roger surprised her by laughing. The suddenness of the change in his mood surprised her, but the paternal look on his face made her mad

"It’s not funny!" She snapped.

"Yes it is! Jen is going to get a spanking." He teased. He saw the fury building on her face and gave in. "OK, young lady, you can have it your way."

He lunged at her, caught her and gave her shoulders a firm shake. "Don’t make me sorry!" He warned, and then he let her go. She was surprised.

"I won’t." Jennifer whispered. Sparks surged into her face and fingers. Then she felt like she would vomit again. Both sensations passed quickly.

Roger smiled. He saw the blush flash crimson across her face, followed by the wash of white. "It won’t be as bad as you think it will. Take my advice and don’t put it off too long. It’s always better over and done with." The softening of his attitude, as though he felt sorry for her, made Jennifer feel confused. She looked at him carefully, wondering when he would go back to teasing or scolding her. What she saw was nice. He had a genuinely tender look on his face.

Memories of his youth came back to him. He knew what she was thinking and what she had to steel herself for. He knew she thought he would tell James but he made a private vow to give her a chance to tell him herself. In the last year she had begun to change into quite a striking young woman. He loved to watch her. She was raw beauty and spirit, still innocent of the effect she had on men, a child on the edge of becoming a woman. Roger wondered if James would ever consider letting him near his sister.

Who ever she ended up with would have his hands full. Roger smiled at the prospect of accepting that responsibility, as he watched her walk toward her horse.

Jennifer really wanted to go to James, she needed him to hold her, reassure her and help her reconcile the horror of the hanging with the justice those men were put to. He would let her talk about the fear she now felt and he would let her cuddle into him and cry it out when he finished punishing her. He would help her face up to the rest of it and that would make it all easier.

She knew he would go much harder on her than the others would. The pain of the second and third spankings would be harder to take after he got through with her. For a while she worried about that and considered going to school first. But she couldn’t make herself face being spanked in front of her friends on her own. She needed James to make her do that.

Tears started to well up as she climbed the steps to his office. She fought them back.

Roger smiled at her when she came in. James looked up and smiled too. Jennifer’s mouth opened in a gasp as she realized, James didn’t know yet! Roger grinned, got up from his desk and told James he had to step out for a bit. He announced that he would collect Mrs. Lindstrom and conduct their meeting at the hotel. He walked up to Jennifer and gave her a squeeze.

"Good girl." Roger’s tone made her seethe briefly, but she was pre-occupied. He walked around behind her and swung his right arm to her butt. He stopped just short of smacking her. Instead he just pushed her toward her brother’s desk with a firm hand on her butt. Sparks surged through her skin again. Jennifer closed her eyes and swallowed hard against the cotton stuck in her throat.

James saw her blush and he knew she was bracing herself to own up to something. His dark eyebrows cocked in expectation. The muscles of his face tightened imperceptibly and his blue eyes flashed. Instantly he realized she had gone to Emeryville and Roger had seen her there. Anger boiled up into his shoulders and he felt his jaw clench.

"What are you doing here Jennifer Lin?" His tone was low, calm and smooth as steel.

Jennifer opened her eyes, stood up straight and said what she had to. "I went to the hanging. I didn’t go to school. And I lied to Lucas."

She watched James’s face. His jaw muscles twitched as he slid the right side of his lower lip side ways over his teeth several times. He stood up and moved around his desk. He sat on the front corner with just his right leg on the wood. His arms crossed over his chest and his brow leveled. His blue eyes bored into hers. His expression sent another surge of sparks through her skin and into her fingers. The skin on her legs and bottom prickled with goose bumps.

"Is that so?.........." he waited for her to say more.

Jennifer had nothing more to say yet.

"After I told you no?........" he waited again.

It was Jennifer’s turn to worry her lip on her teeth. Her blue eyes flashed with a wave of anger, just as they locked with his. He saw it and she knew it. Then her lips began to tremble as she fought back tears. It was silent between them for close to a minute………a very long minute.

"Yes." Jennifer finally let go of her stubbornness and whispered the answer to his question.

"What are we going to do about it?" James asked his voice still low. The danger in the calm and quiet of his tone sent another surge of sparks through her. More than a few full grown men had been intimidated and submitted to him when he used that tone in court. He waited again not moving.

"Spank me." Jennifer whispered to her hands.

James got up and pulled one of his client chairs around to face her. He walked behind her, pulled the curtains on the window out to the street and locked the door. "All right Jennifer Lin, come here." He slid his belt out of the loops in his trousers as he sat down on the chair. The slick hissing sound with the clinks of the buckle caused Jennifer to shiver.

Jennifer looked at the thick supple leather as he folded it on his desk. She couldn’t move. Her hands started to tremble.

"Now Jen!" His resolve to get this over with took over. His voice became firm and insistent.

Jennifer walked to him. "Take your pants down and bend over my lap now!" James caught her trouser leg and pulled her around to his right side. She hesitated.

"Now Jennifer Lin!"

It was time.

Jennifer bared her bottom and lay down across his legs. He lit into her immediately. His hard hand, smacked down fast and furious. Jennifer’s eyes flew wide and so did her mouth, but no sound came out. Her back and butt stiffened to bring her legs up. He landed close to twenty fiery smacks before Jennifer could catch her breath. Tears came, but still no sound. Her butt was flaming, each smack white hot. Before too long the muscles of her legs and back couldn’t hold tight any more. She started to kick. James pulled her tighter onto his lap. He caught her hand as it flew back to cover her butt. One really hard smack came down to remind her not to fight.

It seemed to Jennifer that he would never stop. James intended to teach a very hard lesson. Her crimes today were the worst of her life, and he intended that it stay that way. Fifty or so more fast smacks burned the lesson into her bottom.

He slowed down the pace of his hand after that, but put more of his anger into each smack. Jennifer began to whimper with each blow. Her back arched up as she tightened against the harder blows. James pushed her back down by pulling her wrist up into the small of her back. He gave her two very sharp smacks that made her try to twist her hips toward him. That made her feel like her arm might break. Jennifer cried out.

"Stop, James, please stop! No more" The last words were pleading and subdued.

James gave her five more very hard swats, and stopped. Jennifer wasn’t one to holler or carry on over punishment. He could tell she needed a break, but he was not finished with this. He held her in place. He turned his palm up and looked at it, then shook it to take some of the sting out. Jennifer’s bottom was fiery red and there were raised strips where her flesh had pinched between his fingers. It was going to hurt for several hours if not a day or two. Jennifer couldn’t help clenching her muscles when she was spanked and because of it she bruised easily.

James tried once before to convince her that it would hurt less if she would relax her butt, but she couldn’t keep that rational thought in her head when he was wailing her with those flaming fingers of his. James would not use a paddle on her because of it, the bruising from that would go deep into muscle. Punishment was meant to make a point not cause injury.

"Jennifer Lin what are you thinking now?" James asked her.

"I’m sorry James, really sorry." She hiccupped

"What are we going to do about school and Lucas young lady?" He continued.

Jennifer sobbed and her breathing hitched a couple of times. "I guess I have to own up and take what’s coming."

"Yes Jennifer you do. Was it worth it?" His anger had melted away and he was more than a little worried about what effect the events of the morning were going to have on her.

"No James. It was horrible……" Jennifer’s sobs came from deep inside as the images from the morning flashed in her mind. She flinched and trembled as the sound of the trap door and snap of the ropes echoed in her mind.

"Are you going to defy me over something like this again?" James knew he was asking her to promise something almost impossible to fathom. She hadn’t known until she’d seen it, what it was he had denied her when he said no to the hanging.
"James, how will I know it’ll be bad like this was next time?" She worried.

"You won’t. You’re going to have to learn to trust that when I say no I have my reasons." His voice hardened.

Jennifer knew she would not keep that promise. He said no and meant it over everything. He had no idea how frustrating that was for her sometimes. "I can’t promise it James." She drew her breath in with a hiccup and braced for what she knew was coming.

James would not force the promise from her, but he would give her reason to think about it seriously in the future. He picked up the belt and began to strap her bottom and legs hard and fast.

The fire and sting from each lash was more intense than it was from his hand, but it stayed on the surface. The worst was when the folded end of the strap wrapped over the side of her butt or her leg, those welts felt like she imagined it felt to be branded.

Jennifer could not hold her tears back for long. She began to cry. To get back control, she started kicking and bucking. James brought the belt down even harder several times. When she bucked harder he pulled a welt down with full force and shook her with the arm that held her. "Stop fighting me young lady! This ends when I decide." Jennifer cried out when the welt landed and her body went stiff again.

James landed 20 more licks. Jennifer was crying hard. The tight muscles of her legs and back twitched with each lick.

James stopped finally and lifted his sister to her feet. He turned her away from him and helped her pull her pants back up. He turned her to face him, did up her buttons for her, and then pulled her up to sit in his lap. He let her cry into his shirt, and let his mind drift. Jennifer was more important to him than anything in his life. He hated days like this.

"Jennifer?" He broke into her sobs after many minutes.

"Hmm hm hm?" Her voiced hitched. She wasn’t ready to talk yet.

"I love you, you know?" He told her, tucking his chin down over her head so her face was held tight against chest.

Jennifer just nodded. She wanted to sleep in his arms

James had seen a man hang. The reality of it was harsh. His dreams had been disturbed for many weeks afterward, and he was a grown man, finished with law school, aware of death and the realities of adult consequences at the time. He was beginning to wonder if he shouldn’t have talked to her more about the sentiments that made him want to protect her from that. He hadn’t respected the strength of her curiosity enough to try to replace it with some understanding of what he knew and why he felt the way he did.

"Jen?"

"I’m sorry James. I never should have gone there. I’ll try to do better." She looked up into his face. James’s blue eyes twinkled now, his face soft, his hands gentle.

"I know……………. Jen?" He wiped her face and brushed back her hair.

"Yeah?" She let him pet her.

"I’ll try to do better too." He said. She knew he meant he would try not to be so fast with his no’s. She smiled. He would last about as long as she did. They sat together quietly for a while longer until the door to the office opened. Roger used his key to let himself back in.

"See I told you. All over and all better." Roger smiled wickedly at Jennifer and winked at his partner. She felt hot anger surge into her. ‘Why you arrogant rotten…’ She stopped her thoughts. If she let any reaction show, it would not go well for her now.

James laughed. "All better? Maybe. Over? Not quite." He tipped Jennifer’s chin up, looked firmly into her eyes reminding her that there were a couple of details still to take care of. Then he kissed her forehead and nudged her over to the table in the corner. "Go on over there and keep yourself busy until I’m ready to go home." Jennifer was relieved that school would wait until tomorrow.

She was not happy to be sitting uncomfortably with Roger giving her teasing looks. Temper flared inside her mind, but she kept it under control. She did allow herself to return a few of his grins with dark angry stares, when James was not able to see her. Roger enjoyed the game. Jennifer felt a peculiar combination of interest, anger and something else deep in her groin.

A couple of clients came in during the next two hours, and then they were on their way home.

Waiting for James made Jennifer late getting home. Lucas was worried. He was getting ready to go out looking for her when she road in behind James.

Jennifer couldn’t look Lucas in the eyes. He sized her up. Then he did the same to her brother. James simply nodded when their eyes met, and Lucas needed no further explanation.

Jennifer got down from her horse. Lucas noted her stiff legged walk. She turned and she saw him smirk. He spoke to her for the first time.

"Spect it hurts some to sit too?" He nodded as though that is exactly what he wanted. Jennifer just nodded.

"Not goin’ to speak to me?" To ashamed are ya?" Lucas’s voice made her look at him. His deep brown eyes were not angry, but his jaw was set and she knew he wasn’t happy with her.

"Guess you’re going to whip me for lying to you." She said and watched his face.

His lips curled into a wry smile. "Yup, probly will. Think I should?"

Jennifer sighed, kept her eyes on his and nodded, "I suppose I have it coming."

"Yup." Lucas nodded and walked around to tend to the horses.

James spoke up. "Jennifer you go on in to your room now. I’ll call you out when supper’s ready."

Jennifer did what he said. Supper came and went. Lucas and James talked more about the stock. Lucas would be going out to check the fence lines for a few days. He had some beaver trap lines out that he wanted to check on as well. James said that he wished he could go along.

Their conversation rambled into the evening long after Jennifer was sent back to bed.

Jennifer had a fitful night. She dreamed she was going to the gallows. She even felt the rope go around her neck. Several times she woke, startled by something from her dreams. She wanted to wake James and ask him to sit up with her. But this was her own doing.
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