“So it’s settled,” said Heyes. “We’ll hit the bank from—”
Everybody turned to look at Kid. His jaw was tight and his eyes were cold. He was not quite in his gunfighter’s stance—not quite.
“Excuse me?” asked Heyes in a bright, hard voice, his smile widening a bit. “I thought we had all just decided—” He swept his hand around the group of Devil’s Hole Gang members.
“You decided,” said Kid. “I been to that town, and I told you. We don’t hit there. Too dangerous.”
Heyes blinked. His smile turned brittle. “Yes, and we heard you, and that’s why I came up with the double-distraction—which we then put to the vote—”
“And I vote against it. I tried to tell ya. You ain’t doin’ it, Heyes.” His eyes were only on Heyes, ignoring the rest of the gang. His expression was hard and unyielding.
“We had a vote.”
“You talked everybody round. I been there. You haven’t. You gotta listen to me, Heyes. We ain’t hitting that bank in that town.”
“You think we can’t do it?” Heyes eyes glittered hard and dangerous. There was no smile on his face now, none at all.
Kid didn’t say anything.
Heyes turned back to the gang. “All right, we’ll vote again. I certainly wouldn’t want to ‘talk everyone’ into anything. Everybody who agrees with Kid that it’s too dangerous, raise your hand.”
Three hands came up, tentatively. One of them belonged to Kyle, chewing his tobacco nervously. He looked between Kid and Heyes, and kept his hand up. “Don’t wanna go on no mission without Kid Curry,” he mumbled. Wheat glared, but said nothing. He crossed his arms.
“Right. Now all those who support the plan as established...” Hannibal’s voice grew stronger with confidence. He watched at seven hands rose without hesitation. He put his up as well. He turned back to Kid Curry. “I guess that says it. Anybody who doesn’t like the idea of the plan can stay here, and do without their share.” He strode from the room.
The men exchanged glances. Kid Curry stood glaring for a moment, staring at the floor. Then the turned and followed Heyes.
“You don’t do that, Kid.” Heyes spoke without looking at him. He leaned on a support pole on the porch, staring out at the mountainous beauty surrounding their hideout. “You don’t go against me in public like that.”
“You wouldn’t listen,” said Kid. “You talked everybody round. They think your plans can’t go wrong, but I don’t want to see you killed because you’re too stubborn—”
Heyes turned on him, eyes dark and angry. “Well, you aren’t going to see anything, Kid, because you’re staying here with Kyle and the other two.”
“Heyes—” Kid took one step forward, and stopped. When he spoke again, he sounded angry. “Who’s gonna watch your back?”
“I’ll watch my own damn back.” Long strides took the outlaw away from his partner.
Kid stared after him, his mouth tight and turned down.
Birds sang an evening tune.
When they rode back the next day, they were short one outlaw. Ralph Johnson was missing. Two other men sported bloody wounds, one on the arm, one to the side.
Kid took in the damage from the porch, his eyes heavy with worry. But some of the tension had left his jaw when he saw Heyes ride up with the others.
He stepped off the porch and strode forward. “Johnson?”
“Shot and captured,” said Wheat. He flung himself from his saddle with a curse. “You and your damn plans, Heyes...!” Johnson had been his friend.
Kid looked up at Heyes, who was looking kinda pale and tight around the mouth. “You wounded?”
Heyes nodded. He slid out of his saddle heavily, and Kid saw his right leg then—how he favored it, how it was slick and red.
Next time he was sure Heyes was wrong, Kid wouldn’t let him go without an even bigger fight. Or else he’d go along, whether Heyes wanted him to or not.
Kid held out an arm to support Heyes, if he wanted it.
Around them, the other wounded men were climbing down with help from the unwounded ones.
Heyes’ mouth was still tight, but after a moment, he glanced over at Kid, and his eyes held an apology. He accepted Kid’s help, and they went inside, slowly.
“I’ll get the needle, bandages, and whisky,” said Kid.