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High Winds
   Continued

 

 Ezra smiled as he finished his oral invitation to the wedding.  Buck smiled and gave him a slap on the back.

 "Ezra Standish!  Yeehaw!"

 Ezra looked around the table but his gaze stopped at Chris.  Chris's face had tightened and he was biting his lip.  He stood up and quickly walked out of the saloon, bumping into Gabrielle.  Ezra gave a confused  look to Buck, who gave him a tight smile and hurried after Chris.  Gabrielle walked over to where Ezra was sitting.  She sat in the empty seat beside him and gave him a puzzled look.

 "Congrats Gabrielle, Ezra," Vin said.


Buck grabbed Chris's shoulder and spun him around.  "What the hell is wrong with you?  Can you not be happy for anyone else?" Buck yelled at him.

Chris's face hardened and he looked down, avoiding Buck's eyes.  "Dammit, Buck!  There's something about her!  I don't like it.  There's a reason Sarah only mentioned her once."

"Chris!  You've been sayin' that since the day she got here!  Nothing is wrong with her!  Take it easy, Chris!"  He stopped for a moment looked at Chris.  "Look at it this way, Chris, has she killed anyone yet?"

 Chris looked up at his friend.  "No."

 "Has she robbed anyone yet?"

 "No."

 "Then just give her a chance, Chris.  Have you ever seen Ezra this happy?"

 Chris looked down at the ground again.  "Actually, no, I haven't."

 Buck patted Chris on the shoulder.  "Then let him, Chris, alright?  Don't ruin this for them.  You might not know it, but your blessing would mean a lot to him."

 Chris nodded and Buck gave him a pat on the back.  "Let's go get a drink." Buck said.


Two Weeks Later
 

"Ezra!  She's beautiful!"  Gabrielle exclaimed as Ezra presented her with the white Arabian mare.  They were in a field little ways away from Four Corners.

Ezra handed Gabrielle the reins and smiled.  "She's your early wedding gift.  Why don't you try her out, see how she does with you?"

Gabrielle smiled and mounted.  "Ooh, even a new English saddle, I feel privileged." She leaned over and gave Ezra a kiss, then kissed at the horse to make her pick up a canter.  Ezra stepped back with a small smile.  He felt like he had been in this same situation before, but he shook off the feeling and turned back to Gabrielle and the mare.



 

Jakob reined in his buckskin gelding and stood atop the hill.  He looked down at the auburn haired woman cantering the white horse around a man wearing a bright red jacket.  He smiled and unsheathed his shotgun, loaded it, and looked at the woman again.

"Alright, Gabrielle, time to get what you should have gotten the day you ran that job.  Git!" he yelled, and his horse took off toward the woman.


Gabrielle laughed as the mare crow-hopped into a smooth canter.  She saw something out of the corner of her eye, stopped the horse, and looked.  A man riding a buckskin horse was galloping her way.  She squinted to see if she could identify him.

 "Oh my God," she gasped, "Jakob!  He's found me!"

Ezra's smile faded as he saw Gabrielle's reaction to the horseman.  He cocked his head to the right and squinted.  His jaw dropped as he recognized the man.

"Jakob, you dirty bastard," he said to himself, then looked back at Gabrielle.  She had gone pale, and had a look of pure horror on her face.  Ezra started toward her and looked back at Jakob, and gasped when he unsheathed a shotgun and pointed it directly at Gabrielle.

Ezra broke into a run as Jakob pulled the trigger.  The bullet ripped through Gabrielle's shoulder and grazed Ezra's forehead.  "Noooooo!"  He screamed as two other shots were fired, both hitting Gabrielle in the chest.  Jakob spun his horse around and galloped into the other direction, and Gabrielle turned toward Ezra, her blood soaking into her lilac dress.  Ezra ignored his own blood flowing down his cheek and screamed again. The horse spooked and threw Gabrielle.  She hit the ground and lay still.  Ezra picked up her limp body and started running toward Nathan's quarters screaming for help.  He reached Four Corners and kept his pace, making people gasp at the sight.

 
Chris heard Ezra's familiar voice in a panicked scream.  He looked at Vin, JD, and Buck with a confused expression, and the four hurried out of the saloon to see what was happening.  Chris's eyes widened as he saw a bleeding Ezra meet Nathan in the middle of the road, and passing Gabrielle's inanimate frame to the doctor.  As Nathan ran back to his quarters, Ezra sank to his knees and sobbed.
 

Part 3

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