Nick sighed at his turn. “No, Heath, it’s not too late to come back home. I need you little brother, and the whole family needs you. Believe me, it’s not the same since you left.”
At that, Heath shrugged and looked away. “I don’t know if I can do that again, I mean…it was not easy for me in the early days, I was…I was afraid of saying or doing something wrong, and now, if I come back with you…”
“We’ll be there for you, Heath.” Jarrod said. “Give you a chance, give us a chance.”
“Maybe.” Heath whispered, tired.
After warming their meals on the sheriff’s stove, Nick headed for the cell with two trays and a bowl of soup for Heath.
“Wake up, Brother Heath. You need to eat a little.” Jarrod said while shaking gently his brother by his arm.
“It’s time to eat.” Without waiting, Jarrod brought a spoonful of chicken soup to Heath’s mouth, and blew away the steam. “It’s looks delicious.”
After two day of cohabitation with his brothers, Jarrod was happy to hear that the judge was in town. Immediately, he made an appointment with him, and as he had said, the visit to the judge was a formality. Johnny and Murdoch had not pressed charges against Heath, and the young man was free to move again.
“What would you say about a beer and a good meal before leaving?” Nick asked his brothers and Murdoch who had come alone before the judge, in order to explain his son’s point of view, who was still confined to bed.
“If you pay, I follow you, Brother Nick.” Jarrod replied smiling.
“Heath, what do you say?”
“Sounds good to me, Nick, but…I have to thank the sheriff for his kindness.”
At that, Nick frown, he didn’t buy this story. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. It's just that I feel as if I've not the right to be happy because of what I did to Johnny and all.”
“Don’t think like this, little brother. What happened was not your fault.”
Murdoch approached Heath, and placed his hand on the young man’s shoulder. “My boy, Nick is right. All of this is not your fault. Johnny himself acknowledged that he had made a mistake in coming like that behind you. He told me that he would have reacted the same way you did. He knew that something was wrong with you and…”
“And I almost killed him.” Heath retorted. “What kind of friend am I?” He said, looking at Murdoch.
“I can tell you what kind of friend you are for Johnny; you are the only one.” Murdoch grabbed Heath’s by his shoulders, and shook him a little. “The only one, you’re hearing me, boy?”
“I’ve heard you, Murdoch, but…”
“No but, Heath. What is done is done.” Jarrod took a step forward towards his little brother. “Right now, you are confused, but with the time you’ll see this with another eye. Heath, people make mistake, no one is perfect, you know!”
At that, Heath raised his head abruptly and looked at Jarrod in the eyes. “I know it, Counselor; after all I’m the living proof of it, right? But there’re things that hurt more than the others.”
“Okay, okay, calm down, both of you.” Nick ordered while separating his two brothers. “Pappy didn’t want to tell you that, and you know it, don’t you?”
Heath sighed, and closed his eyes to calm down, and then looked up at Jarrod again. “I’m…I’m sorry Jarrod. I think I’ll take a walk to calm down a little.”
The two brothers and Murdoch watched the young man walk away from them, while wondering if ....all of the sudden, they had a knots in their stomach thinking about their dark thoughts. Nick shook his head as if to erase his thoughts, and headed for the restaurant. “So, you comin’!”
Of course, Heath didn't go to the sheriff's office to thank him, but towards the stable where ole Willy was since the mess had begun. "Hey, ole Willy, do you recognize me?" The old horse looked at his master, and nodded its head as if to tell him. "I'm not so old than that, my boy!" After a few minutes of reflection, face to face with himself, Heath decided to saddle his mount, and face his destiny.
While passing in front of the restaurant where his brothers were, Heath stopped a moment, his eyes fixed on the door. "It's the right thing to do, I'm sorry." He whispered to himself, and then he used his spurs to urge Ole Willy to leave.
“Hey, Heath, wait a minute.”
The young man twisted on the saddle to see who had called him. The sheriff walked over him. "Try to stay out of trouble, young man."
At that, Heath nodded. "Thank, sheriff, for everything." Then, he waved his hand to say good bye.
"I bet you're getting ready to leave, am I wrong?
Heath really wanted to get a move on, but he could not be rude with the sheriff. “I’ve to go.”
“Your brothers sure will miss having you around.”
At that, Heath shrugged. “They’d be fine without me.” With that, the young man tipped his hat and gave his horse’s reins a tug.
“Run away ain’t the solution, amigo.”
Heath nearly fell off his horse when he heard his friend's tired voice. He twisted on his saddle once again to see if he didn't dream. Johnny was right there, in the middle of the street with an unknown who had almost the same age as Murdoch. Heath was speechless, he didn’t expect that.
“Come on, get down, I’m tired.” Johnny said while heading for the sidewalk with the unknown’s help. As to urge his friend, the ex-gunfighter shouted. “Go on, you ain’t gonna stay like this all day, Si?”
Heath didn’t know what to do anymore, stay or ran away as fast as he could. But when he watched Johnny for the second time, his heart broke into a thousand pieces; he couldn’t do this to him. So, slowly, he dismounted, tied ole Willy, and walked over to the two men, his head down. When Heath looked up again, he saw drops of sweat running on his friend's cheeks. Johnny was pale and he had trouble breathing. "Johnny, I think you'd better to sit down before falling on the ground." Heath had barely finished his sentence when Johnny collapsed in his arms. With the help from the unknown, and the sheriff, Heath transported his friend to the doctor's office.
Immediately, the doctor took care of his patient while grumbling something like "I'd told you to stay in bed, why no one in this town listens to me? And why you’re not with your brothers, young man, I’ve warned you that you need someone to take care of yourself; at least for now.”
“I’m fine, doctor.” Heath answered. “Johnny needs you right now.”]
“You’re right about that, young man, but I want you to stay here and follow my orders, is it clear?”
Heath looked down. “I’ve heard you, doctor.”
“May I do something, doctor?” Mr. Cartwright asked while watching the young man went to the waiting room.
“Yes, Mr. Cartwright, go and get Mr. Lancer, I’d have need him when this young man regains consciousness…oh and, Mr. Cartwright try to find the two brothers of that young man in the waiting room.”
“I’m in my way.”
“Thank you, Mr. Cartwright.” With that the doctor turned to his patient to do his job.