Jesse's Brand Ch. 02byNight-Wolf©
Chapter 2: Awakenings
When Jesse woke up the next morning, he was surprised how good he felt. The aches and pains he had been feeling from the stampede, seemed to have magically disappeared. Climbing off the pallet, the teen wandered outside, hoping to talk to the old man again. During the night, strange dreams kept him from sleeping as peacefully as he would have liked.
"Hi," said a quiet voice behind him, startling him from his thoughts. Whirling around, Jesse saw Laughing Willow standing only a few feet behind him. The teen couldn't help wondering how he had missed seeing her.
"Hi, yourself. I was looking for Soaring Eagle, have you seen him?" Jesse asked, his eyes quickly darting over the young girls body.
"Hmmm, let me see... older man... graying hair... brown eyes? Yes, I've seen him, he is, after all, my father," she replied, unable to hide her grin.
"Okay, okay, I guess I deserved that. Have you seen your father this morning? I wanted to talk to him about something he told me yesterday," Jesse told her, averting his eyes in embarrassment.
"You mean you want to discuss your medicine with him?" she asked softly, not wanting to make the young man uncomfortable.
"How did you...Never mind. Yeah, I was curious about something he said. It was like he knew exactly what I was going through," Jesse told her, his embarrassment fading.
"I knew he had talked to you about your medicine. He told me we would need to make several bowls to keep up with you," her smile taking the sting from her words. Rather than take offense, Jesse laughed, remembering the medicine man's words as he was leaving the day before. The teen had never been able to talk to girls before, always being tongue-tied in their presence.
"I hope we don't need too many more bowls," he told her, feeling more comfortable with the young girl. He couldn't help comparing the beautiful girl with the giggling girls he saw every time they went into town. After talking a little while with Laughing Willow, he couldn't help thinking how much younger the other girls seemed. This girl would be someone he could see spending the rest of his days, and even more, his nights, with.
"I'm going back to our lodge. I will tell father you wish to speak with him," the girl told him, the mirth in her eyes telling him she had a pretty good idea what he was thinking and not minding in the least.
"I think I will go back to my uh... lodge and wait for him there," Jesse told her. As the girl walked toward her lodge, Jesse couldn't help watching her lithe figure, enjoying the swaying of her hips. He could have watched her forever, if she hadn't looked back at him, a wide smile playing across her lips. Turning quickly, Jesse headed back to his temporary home, to try to get his mind off Laughing Willow and back on his plans to get back home.
Once he got inside, Jesse couldn't help remembering the twinkle in Laughing Willow's eyes. The teen didn't think he would ever get tired of looking into her sparkling brown eyes. They reminded him of a fawn on a bright clear summer's morning. Lost in thought, the boy didn't hear the wizened old shaman enter his lodge.
"My daughter told me you were looking for me," Soaring Eagle said, startling the young man.
"Yes, sir, I wanted to ask you a few more questions about my er..uh ability," Jesse told him.
"I will be glad to help you, if I can. What would you like to know?" Soaring Eagle asked, his eyes holding the same humor in them that Jesse had seen in the pretty, young teen's earlier.
"I know I can uh.. make things float around, when I think about it, but, what else should I be doing? I know you said I had powerful medicine, but how will this help me? I mean, I can't just float cups at someone, can I? I mean, what would I do, pour water on them?" Jesse replied, relaxing with the older man.
"You must be patient; it is going to take some time for you to be able to use all of your abilities. You didn't start walking as soon as you left the womb, did you?" Soaring Eagle asked the boy, his smile softening his words.
"No, but, I really want to make sure those men pay for what they did. My pa and I rode a lot of miles and chewed a lot of dust to allow some rustling bastards to ride off scot-free with a couple hundred steers. They killed my pa, and..." Jesse said, only to be cut off by Laughing Willow charging into the lodge.
"Father, you must come quickly. There are some men here, and I believe they are looking for White Bear," the girl gasped, struggling to catch her breath.
"What makes you think that, daughter?" Soaring Eagle asked.
"They had a white man's horse with them and they asked if we'd seen somebody that had been hurt recently," she answered, her eyes darting toward Jesse. Jesse instinctively knew they were talking about him, but couldn't get himself to ask why they were calling him that.
"I will speak to these men and see what they want. Stay in here, we will handle it," the old man said, his last words aimed at Jesse.
"Let me help, I don't want anyone risking their lives over me," Jesse replied, heading toward the door.
"No, it will be better if I take care of this. If they find out you're alive, they will more than likely kill you. For you, today is not a good day to die," Soaring Eagle told him.
"I will stay, but, if trouble starts, I intend to add my two cents' worth," Jesse replied, the steel in his eyes unmistakable
"We shall see. For now, just stay here and we'll see what they want," Soaring Eagle told him. Before the teen could utter a word, the shaman stepped out. Jesse waited as patiently as he could, but, when he heard a shout, he rushed toward the door, only to be stopped by Laughing Willow.
"You must do as my father told you. He has his reasons for what he does," she told him, grabbing his hand in hers, to keep him from leaving the lodge.
"Okay, but I'm not going to sit here and just wait for someone to come after me," he told her. Walking quietly, Jesse went to the opening in his lodge, peering out to see who it was.
"Oh my god, I don't believe it," Jesse said as he saw the men on horseback that were talking to Soaring Eagle. Rushing out, the boy surprised everyone when he stopped in front of the first horse.
"I figured you would finally find me," the boy told the man on the back of the chestnut gelding. "I guess you've found me, now what?" he asked. The man spat, then stepped down from the horse.
"I figured this is where you would wind up," he told the boy. Reaching out, he grabbed Jesse before he could step away. With a gasp, Laughing Willow ran out of the lodge only to stop when she saw the man grab Jesse...