Deadly Agent
(Old West)

by Cheryl Shifflette

Disclaimer: All characters from "The Magnificent Seven" series are the property of Trilogy Entertainment, The Mirisch Group, MGM Worldwide, and CBS. No infringement upon the rights of these owners is intended.

It was a dry as usual in town and JD was walking about the streets to get some fresh air when the stagecoach came bounding into town and came to a screeching to a halt. A lovely woman with fancy clothes came out of the stage unassisted. She looked up at her baggage and saw the one man throwing them down on the dusty street. She had four trunks and three other bags. JD looked at her and thought that this woman surely didn't travel lightly. It looks like she brought her whole house with her.

Ezra and Buck were also coming down the street and noticed this woman. Buck picked up his pace to help her hoping to score points with her. Ezra just stayed behind to talk to JD.

"Sir will you please help me with my bags. You can not seriously expect me to carry all these things to the hotel alone?" she asked good-naturedly.

"No I can't. I've got to get this stage moving on to the next town." He said as he got back to his seat.

"Well I see chivalry has died." She said coolly.

She was not used to being treated like that. She was used to a pampered life with servants who did her bidding. Her way of life was forever gone since she lost everything during the War. Her home was sold out for taxes. Much of her fine jewelry was stolen along with other priceless items. It just wasn't fair she thought. The only good thing that came out of the War was her husband's demise. He was a mean and hateful man. Her father made her marry him when she was a mere 16 years old. He used to drink a lot and when she would anger him he would hit her. She just could not feel any remorse for his death.

"Ma'am let me help you." Buck said approaching her.

She just glared at him in her finery. She didn't trust the man. He looked harmless, but looks could be deceiving. He looked very rough-hewn, not the type of man you would want carrying your bags around.

Ezra saw the scene at hand and decided to save his friend from an embarrassing situation. He knew that Buck meant well, but with a fine lady like that you had to handle everything just so.

"Good day. Can I be of assistance to you?" Ezra said as he flashed his smile at her.

"Why thank you sir. I would indeed appreciate your assistance." She said noticing how handsome this gentleman was.

"Ezra I was helping the lady." Buck said indignantly.

"You know this man?" the woman asked in her sweet Southern drawl.

"Yes. He works with me. You don't mind if he carries your baggage over to the hotel would you?" he asked.

"Well I suppose it's all right since you know him. Oh, sir what is your name?"

"Ezra Standish. It is a pleasure to met you Miss...?"

"Charlotte Ashmond." She said.

"Well then Miss Ashmond come this way." Ezra said picking up one of her trunks and allowing her to walk beside him.

Once all her baggage made it to her room she bid them goodbye and looked forward to seeing both of them later perhaps.

"What's with you Ezra? Being so charming and coming to her rescue like that."

"It appeared you too were trying to rescue her as well, you just didn't have the success that I had."

"I don't get it women usually love it when you try to help them. What's with her? I've seen fancier ladies than that accept my help."

"She's from a different society and class than you. She's a well-refined woman. She doesn't trust men who aren't well dressed and don't have a certain degree of charm."

"Well ain't she a fine one." Buck said shaking his head thinking it's a pity she's such a prissy thing.

Later that evening Ezra was in the saloon playing poker with Josiah and Buck and some other men. They were playing when some man came into the place wounded and screaming that he wanted to talk to someone.

All three men pulled their guns out and pointed it at the man.

"What is it we can do for you?" Ezra asked.

"I want to see that wench who shot me up. I know she's here." He screamed.

"There's no wench here." Buck said.

"Charlotte? Are you here you wench? You'll pay for this." He screamed pulling out a gun and firing at the ceiling.

People went diving under tables and behind the bar for cover, but Ezra, Buck and Josiah stayed fixed in their spots.

Though Ezra and Buck looked at each other knowing that they met a Charlotte earlier today. But both thought that she was as harmless as a newborn baby.

"Listen Mister, there's no woman in here by that name. Why don't you go get yourself fixed up and we'll talk about this latter." Josiah said.

"I ain't talking to no one." He said cocking his gun and pointing it under a nearby table and firing it wounding the man underneath.

Buck fired his gun and winged the man's hand to get the gun out it. He screamed out in pain and fell to the ground.

Buck went over to the man and saw him reaching for a hidden pistol and shot the man dead.

"Why did you kill him you could have just shot his hand again." Josiah said walking over to the dead man.

"I had no choice."

Ezra noticed that Charlotte came into the saloon running.

"What the hell happened here?" she asked looking down at the man.

"It's nothing a pretty lady like you need see." Buck said stepping in front of her in an effort to shield her from seeing the dead man, but she pushed him out of the way to look.

"You idiot you killed my prisoner." She shouted at him.

All three men looked at her very strange.

"Your prisoner?" Ezra asked confused.

"Yes my prisoner you sir have interfered with official government business. You're under arrest."

"You've got to be joking." Buck said.

"This is no joke." She said pulling a badge out of her drawstring bag.

She held it out and Ezra took a look at it. Sure enough she was far from a helpless lady she was a Secret Service Agent.

"Buck she's an agent for the government. I hope you enjoy jail." He said jokingly.

"Go ahead and laugh Ezra you ain't the one going to jail." He said shoving Ezra.

Charlotte pulled a pistol out of her bag and pointed it right at Buck.

"I'm taking you to the jail. Start walking Mister." She said with the gun pointed in his back.

"JD you can't arrest me. I'm your pal."

"She's a government agent. She's got more power than I have. Buck I can't do anything." JD said as he locked Buck into a cell.

"Miss you don't understand he was pulling a gun on me. Ask Josiah and Ezra they saw it. It was to save myself." Buck shouted holding on to the bars.

"Well sir I'll be sure to speak to both of them. And when I do then I'll see if I can let you out. Though until..." she said when she was cut off by Chris.

"You better hurry on that ma'am he's very important to the work that we do here. I'm sure he didn't kill that man intentionally." He said as he walked up to her.

"Who may I ask are you?"

"Chris Larabee. He's a good friend of mine, plus he's one of the town's deputies. That's why him and the other two were the only men who took a stand back at the saloon. It's part of their job." He said glaring at her.

"Like I told your friend I'll talk to the others and then decide to what to do. He was a very important prisoner."

"Did you shoot him up like that? Or did he get away or something?" Chris asked.

"No, I certainly did no such thing. He got loose yesterday. The guard wired me. I didn't want him dead. We needed the information he had." She said becoming a bit unnerved by his stare.

"Just wondered. You best talk to Josiah and Ezra they're still in the saloon."

"I suppose that's my cue to leave." She said rudely.

Chris said nothing he just glared at her again and looked over at Buck. She left to go to the saloon to talk to the others. She was so angry. That man was acting like he was in charge of the situation. He had some nerve, his friend killed the man who had all the information that she needed for her plan to work and top that off she spent three months luring him into her web to convince him to work for the government to save his own hid.

"Gentlemen I need to hear what happened concerning the killing. Which one of you saw him shoot that man in self defense?"

"We both did Miss Ashmond. The man was going for a pistol that was hidden in his coat." Ezra said getting up and pulling a seat out for her to sit on.

"Why thank you." She said as he pushed her in.

"I saw the same thing. The way I see it I can't blame Buck. If someone did that to me they would be very dead. Buck tried to wing him, but that guy must have had a death wish on him. Consider it a black cloud of death that followed him. I could see that when he came in here." Josiah said.

"That's very intriguing, but you both say he had no other choice?"

"That's correct. I would have done the same." Ezra said.

"Well then I have no choice but to let him go then. If anyone else comes in looking for me, would you be so kind and not kill them." She said sarcastically.

"Can I interest you in a game of cards later?" Ezra asked as he shuffled the deck.

"I don't play with cheats and cons." She said smiling at him.

"You accuse me of cheating? Why?"

"I can spot a con a mile away. You think I'm a government agent because I'm gullible? Think again. I know better." She said as she got up from the table and Ezra followed suit.

"Well if you change your mind you know where to find me." He said as he took her hand and kissed it.

"Well you are very charming. You never know I could be back. I have to let your friend out first." She said as she walked away.

"What a woman." Ezra said purely enchanted.

"She is a beauty, but she insulted you. She called you a con."

"So she did. She's intelligent. I love intelligent women." He said still a bit dazed.

"Hey, Vin why don't you come here and snap this one out of his love trance." Josiah said as Vin was walking towards the table.

"Who's the lucky lady? That one who just left and arrested Buck earlier?"

"That's the one."

"If I was being arrested I would love for her to arrest me. Got to love a woman that can hold her own and still look like a real lady. That takes a lot of class." Vin said looking over at Ezra who was staring into space.

"Hey Ezra there's a ten dollars under the table." Vin said in an effort to get Ezra's attention.

"He must be in love. He didn't look for the money. Let's hope he isn't so smitten that he's of no use to us if we need him." Josiah said.

"You're a very lucky man your friends saw everything, so I have no choice but to set you free." She said as JD went to open the cell.

"Why thanks so much miss." Buck said sarcastically.

"I wouldn't use that tone with me, sir. You do not want me as your enemy, because you will be very sorry." She said as she glared up at him.

"That sounds like a threat to me. Are you threatening my friend?" Chris asked.

"No it's a promise sir. I would however like to have your cooperation with the matter at hand since you are the law in this town. If I could speak to the sheriff and all of his deputies together it would be very appreciated." She said as she smiled at him.

"Sure I'll do that as long as you don't put any of us in jail again."

"Fine if that's the way things have to be I suppose I really do not have any other choice."

"Met me back here in a half hour. You can talk to all of us then."

"I'll be here." She said as she left.

"So, dare I ask why are we all here?" Vin asked looking directly at Charlotte.

"I need your assistance." She said plainly.

"You want us to help you after what you put me threw?" Buck asked.

"You make it sound like I tortured you to no end. If I may remind you, you killed my prisoner."

"It was self defense lady!" Buck shouted angrily.

"I don't believe you actually have the temerity to yell at me in that manner." She shot back at him.

"I do believe this is no way to treat her. She need not suffer the indignities of your verbal abuse. She is a lady after all." Ezra said in Charlotte's defense.

"Lady? Hell, she's doing a man's job, too bad if she can't take the heat." Buck shouted at Ezra.

"That's enough! If both of you don't stop snipping at each other, I'll shut you both up permanently." Chris said angered.

"Now, back to the business at hand. I assume it is safe to proceed?" she asked calmly.

"Yes, you may proceed without further impediment." Ezra said.

"Well, I will give you a run down of what John Wendall, the man that was killed was going to assist me with. He was trapping the leader of a counterfeiting operation that's being run in the territory.

"Why would someone counterfeit around here?" JD asked.

"Because counterfeiters think territories are easy targets. There's no solid law and justice around here."

"What kind of scam are they running?" Nathan asked.

"They have gone to over a dozen banks in the vacinity and given the banks counterfeit money and ask for gold in the same amount as the fake money."

"So the banks end up with worthless money." Nathan commented.

"Have to admit it's creative." Vin said rubbing his chin.

"Indeed it is and it's also very hard to catch them."

"Why's that?" Nathan asked curious.

"It's complex, but I'll try my best to explain."

"We aren't stupid you know!" Buck said angrily.

"Buck." Chris said through clenched teeth staring at his friend.

Buck rolled his eyes heavenward and said no more, but wore a sourpuss on his face like a spoiled child.

"As I was saying, not only does someone have to be with the counterfeiters when they exchange the money for gold, but someone also must see them with the gold afterward."

"So, basically someone had to be with the counterfeiters during the whole scam and then turn on them." Nathan stated.

"That's right, but they wouldn't dare let a woman assist them. Wendall worked with them before, he was the one who was going to turn on them."

"You want one of us to be your rat?" Chris asked.

"Not a rat, I prefer to use the term informer. I had a plan all worked out with Wendall."

"I guess that means you want me to be your rat." Buck said.

"No, only if you want to. I need the rest of you to help me with the sting part of the plan."

"Miss Ashmond, I would be more than willing to perform any task that your now deceased informer would have executed." Ezra stated.

"That's very charitable of you to offer. I just hope you know what you are getting yourself into."

"Indeed I do. I have no qualms about compromising my safety for your mission."

"He'd jump off a cliff for her he's so smitten." Josiah whispered to Vin.

"Ain't that the truth." Vin whispered back.

"Well, then it's settled, Mr. Standish will be our informer. The rest of you will assist in the sting part of this operation."

"What do we have to do?" Chris asked.

"When Mr. Standish has assisted the counterfeiters to the bank's gold the rest of us will met in a place to catch them with the gold."

"How many of them are there?" Vin asked.

"Half a dozen. I assume that all eight of us can handle them."

"All eight of us?" Buck asked puzzled.

"That includes me Mr. Wilmington."

"You? What can you do? Shot that pea shooter you put in my back earlier?" Buck asked.

"That 'pea shooter' got you to move your behind to jail, didn't it? And for your information I an very well trained and happen to be an excellent shot."

"Well isn't this just great." Buck commented.

"I'm getting real tired of your comments Mr. Wilmington." Charlotte said.

"Really isn't that a shame. I'm tired of you bossing us around like you're the Queen." Buck yelled in her face.

"You have to be the most unreasonable person that I've ever met."

"Unreasonable? You're the one who's unreasonable." Buck said grabbing both of her arms.

"Buck get your arms off her." Ezra shouted as he went over to Buck.

"Get your hands off me!" Buck said shoving Ezra away.

"That's enough from both of you! I'm about three seconds from throwing you both in jail, you hear!" Chris said as he pulled Buck away from Charlotte.

"She's the cause of all these problems Chris do something about her."

"She works for the government and it is our job to help her, because we are the law around here." Chris stated glaring over at Charlotte.

"Thank you Mr. Larabee."

"Don't thank me, you're just lucky you work for the government."

* * * * *

The plan was set in motion and Ezra went to meet up with Fernwell, the leader of the counterfeiting ring in the stable. Ezra said that Wendall got delayed in coming to Four Corners and would meet up with him in the next town at the end of the week. Fernwell suspected nothing. Ezra was as smooth as usual and told him his name was Ezra Smith. They were going to pawn off the fake money the day after tomorrow, so the seven had time to make a plan. The night of the scam Ezra and the counterfeiters would be in the stable and the others including Charlotte would storm in and surround them and they would be walking off to jail that same night. That was the plan, but sometimes even the best made plans go awry.

That next evening after the meeting with Fernwell saw Ezra talking to Charlotte in very hushed tones as if they were trying to hide something. Fernwell became suspicious and went over to the two of them.

"Mr. Smith, who's this?" Fernwell asked.

"Ezra, dear you didn't tell this gentleman that I'm your wife." Charlotte interceded.

"Yes, this is my wife. We've only been married a month. I sometimes forget I am a married man." Ezra said going along with Charlotte.

"Well, then let me walk both of you to your hotel room." Fernwell said as he motioned towards the two of them to follow him.

Fernwell escorted Ezra and Charlotte to her hotel room and she went in, but Fernwell grabbed Ezra's shoulder.

"I'll be watching you. That woman better be your wife."

Ezra went into the room with Charlotte and saw her standing in front of him.

"You can leave now." She said

"Be quiet, he said he would be watching us. I think he's on to us."

"You can't be serious? If he finds out he'll kill us both."

"I have to stay in your room tonight." Ezra commented as he took his tie off.

"You're sleeping on the floor. There's no way I'm sharing a bed with you." She said as she threw a pillow on the floor.

"What's the matter are you concerned you might suffer some indignities?" he asked slyly.

"Keep your male comments to yourself." She said coldly.

Ezra was very put out by her coldness and his pride was a bit wounded too, she insulted him again like she did when she called him a con. Maybe she would never like him, then again maybe she would warm up to him especially after he helped her with the sting.

The next morning Ezra went to the bank and helped Fernwell with his exchange of counterfeit money to gold.

The stage came bounding into town and came to a stop in front of where Vin and Chris were standing. A woman came out of the stage and almost fell flat on her face. Chris ran over to her to help her.

"Ma'am are you all right?" Chris asked grabbing her hand.

"I think so. Thank you so much. Could you be kind enough to help me? I have baggage that is very heavy." She asked kindly.

"Of course we will. Vin come over here and give me a hand." Chris shouted.

Chris and Vin carried her things to the boarding house in town. Chris was carrying the last trunk and was about to put it down when she began to say something.

"Please don't drop it there's glass bottles in there." She said.

"Why are you carrying bottles?" he asked curiously.

"It's my medical supplies." She said plainly.

"You a doctor?" Chris asked perplexed.

"That's right. I'm a doctor. I used to work in a medical practice in New York City."

"That's a different sort of job for a lady."

"It is, but I always wanted to be one since I was a little girl."

"Really, I guess nothing stopped you from pursuing your dream."

"That's correct."

"Well if I ever need a doctor I'll be sure to come see you Miss...?"

"Ariella Rycroft." She said quietly.

"Well I best be going now." He said tipping his hat as he left the room.

"Thank you sir." She said.

* * * * *

Ezra was in the stable with Fernwell and the others that evening. Then all of a sudden the others surrounded Fernwell and his men.

"You best hand over all the gold now, Mister." Chris said as he pulled his gun and the others followed suit.

"Not so fast boys, I knew something was up. Mitchell bring her in." Fernwell bellowed.

Mitchell brought Charlotte in. She looked disheveled and Ezra's mouth dropped open in shock. They had taken her prisoner. What were they going to do to the both of them for lying?

"You drop all your guns or we blow her brains all over the walls." Fernwell stated as he grabbed Ezra from behind.

All the men obeyed. For once in their lives they had no clue what to do. They didn't want to risk getting a woman killed and they sure didn't want to get Ezra killed.

Charlotte in a bold move kicked the man who was holding her and shots were fired. Ezra jumped in front of Charlotte in an effort to shield her and took a bullet in his left shoulder. He fell to the ground and hit his head on a shovel.

Charlotte ran out of the stable chasing after Fernwell. Buck, JD, Nathan, and Josiah followed after her in an effort to catch the man who shot Ezra.

Chris and Vin bent down and turned Ezra over. His forehead had a gash and was bleeding and they noticed that the bullet didn't go through.

"What do we do? Nathan left." Vin asked.

"That woman we helped this morning, she's a doctor." Chris commented.

"A lady doctor?" Vin asked.

"It's all we got, it's either that or he bleeds to death. I'll go get her. You get him to his room." Chris said on his way out of the stable.

Dr. Rycroft heard a knock at her door and went over to open it and to her surprise it was the man who assisted her earlier.

"Is there something I can do for you sir?" she asked.

"Well, I need a doctor. One of us was shot. It looks pretty bad."

"Let me get my bag and take me to him." She said.

They both hurried to the hotel and saw Vin in the room lighting the lamps so the doctor could see. She immediately went over to the wounded Ezra and noticed how handsome the man happened to be. It truly would be a shame if she couldn't save him. She thought that was a very unprofessional thought. She was a doctor her job was to save his life. She then began to assess the situation.

She noticed the bullet had nicked the artery in his arm and that was the source of the heavy bleeding. She got her instruments out and went right to work. Her first order of business was to remove the bullet and any shrapnel. She now needed to sew his artery up to stop the bleeding, but she didn't have the proper thread to do it.

"I have a major problem I need to sew his artery up and I don't have any thread to do it with." She said.

"What kinda thread do you need?" Vin asked.

"Surgical thread. It has to be a natural fiber, but not cotton and it has to be thin."

"Miss Travis has silk thread I saw her buy it at the store. Will that do?" Vin asked.

"Yes, go get it and hurry he's loosing lots of blood." She said looking over at her patience's paling face. She was concerned that she might not be able to save him. She never lost a patient and she wasn't about to start loosing any now, most especially such a handsome one. Damn she had to stop thinking that way. It wasn't proper.

"Here you go." Vin said as he tossed the thread to her.

"Thank you. I need one of you to help me."

"What for?" Chris asked.

"To hold the wound open more and take a sponge to absorb the blood while I sew the artery shut." She said as she began to thread the string.

"I'll do it." Chris said as he stepped forward.

"Very well. I do hope you don't mind the sight of blood."

Chris assisted her and she managed to sew up the artery and proceed to close up the wound.

"Will he make it?" Vin asked.

"I'm pretty confident he will. He also has a slight concussion." She said washing her hands in the basin of water.

"I'm glad to hear it. We wouldn't want to loose him." Vin said quietly.

"I take it that all of you are the law in town?" she asked as she went over to Ezra to clean out the gash on his forehead.

"Sort of ma'am. You truly are a very good doctor and we're all very grateful and so will Ezra when he wakes up." Chris stated.

There was a knock at the door and Vin opened it. Mary Travis was standing in the doorway trying to look in.

"Mary come in." Chris said.

"He looks terrible. Is he going to make it?" she asked concerned.

"Yeah, thanks for the silk thread." Chris said as he went over to Ezra.

"Think nothing of it, Mr. Standish was trying to save the town's gold, it's the least I could do for him. Where's the doctor?"

"I'm the doctor." Ariella said handing back the spool of thread.

"Oh, um, you can keep the thread. You might need it again." She managed to stammer out.

Ariella knew that this woman was taken aback by her being the doctor.

"Thank you, hopefully I won't need it again anytime soon."

"Is there anything else I can do?" she asked in an effort to make herself useful.

JD walked into the room and saw Ezra looking so pale and wondered if he would pull through. He remembered when he got that knife in him and it was Ezra who helped him, JD wished he could do something for him.

"Chris, Vin the others sent me back to see how Ezra was doing. That and we need the two of you to help track those men." JD said as he walked over to the bed.

"We'll saddle up, if that's okay with you, doctor?" Chris asked looking at her.

"You can leave, he'll be fine." She said as she applied a salve to his forehead.

"So he'll make it?" JD asked.

"Yes, I expect him to." She said.

JD was very relieved to hear that. He didn't want to loose him, after all they were friends.

"I still want those men and that woman. I should've listened to Buck about her, she's nothing but trouble."

Vin, Chris, and JD left the room, but Mary lingered behind and watched Ariella apply the salve. She was so gentle and seemed to care so much about her job. Mary never thought a woman could be a doctor but sure enough she was in the room with one.

"Do you need any help?" Mary asked.

"No, I'm fine. You can leave if you want."

"All right, but you come to the newspaper office if you need anything."

"I will." Ariella said glad that she finally left. She felt that woman's eyes boring a hole in the back of her head.

Ezra was still unconscious and Ariella decided to put a cold compress on his forehead in an effort to bring him around.

She was sitting on the edge of the bed holding the cloth when he began to stir. He then opened his eyes and Ariella couldn't help but notice that he had the most dazzling blue eyes that she had ever seen.

Ezra looked up at her a bit dazed. He wasn't sure if he was dead or not. All he saw was this beautiful woman looking down at him. He surely thought he was in heaven. She had the most beautiful hair. It was thick and curly and some tendrils were falling around her face. It was the color of a desert sunset, it was golden blonde interwoven with radiant red, with fiery cooper and a rich auburn hue. He never saw hair like that surely it must belong to a beautiful angle. Her face was so white and pristine and she looked flushed which added to her exquisite beauty. His thoughts were interrupted when she began to speak.

"Mr. Standish I'll glad to you decided to rejoin us." She said sweetly.

Ezra was confused. Apparently this woman was not an angle and he was still alive. Everything came back to him, trying to save Charlotte and getting shot in the process.

"Where is everybody? Who are you?" he asked weakly.

He had a sweet voice too. It was so smooth the words just rolled off his tongue so well. She had to stop thinking these things.

"They went after the man who shot you. I'm Ariella Rycroft, your doctor." She answered finally.

"Ariella, that's a lovely name. Where you named after the character Ariel in the Tempest?"

"Yes I was. You must have read the play."

"Indeed I did. You're a doctor? That's very admirable. It couldn't have been easy for you." He said trying to sit up.

"Don't move. You need your rest." She said pushing him back down.

"I suppose arguing with you would be a mute point?"

"Yes it would be. I don't want you to rip your stitches open."

"Very well, I have to listen to the angle of mercy."

"I'm not Florence Nightingale, you know."

"You're better, you're a doctor. It was meant to be a panegyric comment." He said slyly.

"Panegyric? What does that mean?" she asked confused.

"It means it was a compliment."

"I went to college and I never heard that word."

"Well you don't learn everything in school, now do you?"

"No, you need some rest. Be quiet." She said.

"I'll be quiet on one condition you tell me where they went."

"I don't know where they went. All I know is they went to track some men and a woman."

"A woman?" he asked wondering if Charlotte cared about him getting shot. "Yes, a woman. Please get some rest."

"Very well I'll be a good little boy." He said sarcastically.

"I see we didn't loose our sense of humor."

He just smiled at her and she was so charmed by him that she blushed. Ezra had noticed her cheeks getting redder and thought it was sweet. She was so innocent despite the fact she was a doctor. She turned around quickly realizing that she was blushing. She hoped he hadn't seen that. She never found a man more attracting in her life. She couldn't explain her feelings. Men never smiled at her like that. They usually ran the other way when they found out she was a doctor. Maybe coming out west was the best thing. Apparently the men out here weren't so judgmental as the men back east.

Ezra was quiet for a very longtime and so was Ariella. She looked out the window and saw a whole bunch of men stop in front of the hotel. A few of them took some men to the jail while the others came into the building. There was a knock at the door and she went over to open it. Three men were standing there.

"Can we see Ezra?" the one asked.

"Of course you can. He's awake." She said pleasantly as she led them into the room.

"Hey there Ezra how you feelin'?" Buck asked.

"Never been better, Buck." Ezra responded.

"Good to see that you're still with us. We were worried about you." Josiah commented.

"Sorry I cut out on you like that. I should've stayed behind to fix you up." Nathan said.

"No need to feel bad this lovely woman took very good care of me in your absence."

"You're the doctor. Chris told me about the great job you did with him. I doubt if I could've done the same." Nathan said he said as he put his hand out to shake her hand and she obliged him.

"It's nice to meet you, sir." She responded.

"The good Lord must've been smiling down on you today because Vin told me that she came to town only this morning." Josiah said as he looked over at the doctor.

"You are a lucky man having a pretty lady like that work on you." Buck whispered to Ezra.

"I know. I truly am a very lucky man today." He said as he smiled at Ariella.

She blushed again and turned around to look out the window in an effort to hide her face. She couldn't understand what it was about him. He just seemed to ooze charm. Hopefully she wouldn't continue to blush every time he looked at her and smiled.

"Don't worry we caught that guy who shot you." Buck said.

"Glad to hear it. I wouldn't want to end up with anymore bullets in me."

"We got all of them." Nathan said.

At the jail Chris, Vin, JD, and Charlotte were filing the gang of counterfeiters into the cells.

"I truly appriate all your help." Charlotte said.

"Really, I wouldn't have guessed that considering that you never even asked about Ezra." Chris said.

"Oh, how is he?" she asked pretending to care.

"Fine, no thanks to you. You don't have to pretend you care, you know."

"Yeah, Miss Ashmond, no need to care. You know the sad part Ezra liked you a lot." Vin said staring at her.

"That's not my fault."

"Yes it is. You lead him on. Smiling at him and playing the fine lady. You used him." Vin said as he walked right up to her.

She was speechless she didn't know what to say. Usually the men she used didn't have friends who cared about them so much. She began to walk out of the jail.

"Where do you think you're going?" JD asked.

"I'm leaving town. My job here is done." She said plainly.

"What about these prisoners?" JD asked.

"I'll wire the marshal, he'll come pick them up and escort them to a federal prison in Texas." She said as she walked out the door never to be seen again.


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