THE BET III by Luna Dey

Author’s Note: This story is just a silly little piece, which is somewhat out of character for the guys, but that explores what they might do if they were terribly bored and broke. It is not intended to offend anyone’s sensibilities. It is meant to be all in good fun. Many thanks to everyone who has supplied me with pictures for both of The Bet stories. Thanks to Wen at the Sharpshooter, Marg at Blackraptor, and all my fellow BrigaDears who dug through their picture files to help me out on this.

Disclaimer: I do not own them. They are the property of MGM, Mirisch, and Trilogy Entertainment; however, if they ever come up for sale, I will be in the front row at the auction.

Feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated, but no flames please.

Chris led his oldest friend back to the gaming table, amid the raucous ribbing and the laughter of the saloon patrons and their friends. Both men laughed good naturedly when Buck shook his head flinging water over everyone, like a dog shaking off water. "Well, I reckon I needed a little coolin’ off, ‘specially after that first hand." He grinned boyishly across the table at the gambler.

Ezra rolled his eyes heavenward and sighed heavily. "I fear that I am destined to relive those few minutes of my existence until, as they say, ‘hell freezes over.’" He shook his head in mock censure. "Mr. Wilmington, how long do you intend to torment me?"

Buck shrugged and grinned widely. "Don’t know. It ain’t everyday that I get one up on ya, so I reckon the retellin’ of it will get plenty of wear." He chuckled at the slight grimace his response elicited from the con man.

"So are we gonna talk all day, or are we gonna play cards?" Vin inquired.

"My sentiments precisely, Mr. Tanner," the southerner said as he passed the deck to Vin to shuffle. "If memory serves me, Mr. Jackson was high hand on that round." At Nathan’s nod of acknowledgement he continued. "Have you a challenge in Mind?"

"Yup!" Nathan grinned as he prepared to explain his challenge. "I had plenty of time to think on it while Chris was busy with that tea cup." Larabee shot him a stern look, but it did not reach his eyes, which were still bright with amusement. "Hold on just a minute." The healer summoned Inez and whispered something to her. She left the table and returned a minute later with four eggs in a bowl.

"I don’t think I like the looks of this," Vin quipped.

"The presence of uncooked eggs does indeed cast an ominous shadow on the proceedings," Ezra agreed.

Nathan just grinned. He really wanted to see the fastidious southerner lose this one. "Loser has to carry an egg outside, convince a lady to kiss the egg, and then carry it back in without breaking’ it," he announced.

"How hard can that be?" JD asked.

"He can’t carry it in his hands," Nathan added.

"Then where’s he supposed to carry it?" Buck questioned.

"Between his legs," Nathan responded. At the open mouthed stares of his friends he quickly added, "anywhere from the knees to the groin."

"Brother Nathan," Josiah spoke up. "How do you suggest we get a woman to kiss an egg that’s between our legs? Can we remove it when we get out there?"

Six pairs of eyes looked at Jackson expectantly. "Ya can’t touch it once ya put it there."

"Mr. Jackson, surely you do not suggest that we ask a lady to bend down and kiss an egg while it remains in such an ‘intimate’ locality?" Standish was clearly incredulous.

"Only rule is you can’t touch it. Nothin’ says someone else can’t." The healer was enjoying this very much. "How ya get ‘em to kiss it is up to you."

The other six men relaxed slightly, but then Nathan continued. "Oh, there’s one more thing, to make sure ya really try and don’t just go droppin’ ‘em on purpose. If ya can do it, ya can make me eat the last egg. If ya don’t, I get to feed you the last egg."

"Raw!" JD exclaimed.


"It ain’t that bad. I’ve had to eat ‘em like that before," Vin offered. "Just don’t chew, gulp it down whole."

"If you say so, but I’d rather just take yer word for it." JD eyed the eggs with distaste.

"Anyone backin’ out?" Nathan asked. Everyone indicated that he would stay in, and Vin began to shuffle the cards. Their audience had remained in attendance. Everyone had wanted to see what the challenge would be this time. The tracker slid the cards over to Nathan for him to cut the deck, and then he dealt the cards.

Chris looked at his friend and shook his head. "Remind me when we play for money not to let you deal. Even Ezra let’s us think we at least stand a chance."

The gambler silently admitted to himself that he was enjoying this unorthodox game. Not only had the challenges proven to be imaginative, but the openness of the banter and their expressions were also welcome changes. He was beginning to understand why some people did play the game for fun. "Mr. Larabee, may I take it that you are offering me a compliment of sorts?"

Chris simply snorted and turned back to study his cards, but not before Ezra saw the hint of a smile that turned up the corners of the leader’s mouth. The gambler looked around and saw the easy, relaxed camaraderie among all the men at the table, and he found that he liked what he saw there. He made a mental note that they should have games like this occasionally.

"Buck! Stop drippin’ on me." Dunne gave his friend, who had been leaning over trying to sneak a peak at his cards, a playful shove.

"It ain’t my fault I’m all wet, blame Chris," he retorted.

"Fine, then quit cheatin’," JD shot back.

"Boys, now behave and play fair," Josiah admonished through a grin.

When the moment of truth came, and the cards were placed on the table, they all leaned in expectantly and scrutinized the cards. There was a low groan followed by the sounds of soft muttering and JD’s head repeatedly thumping the table. "Why? I am an idiot, that’s why. Of course, it had to be this one I’d lose." <thump, thump, thump>

Wilmington reached over and stopped the young man by grabbing his hair. "Kid, if ya don’t stop that yer gonna hurt the table."

There was a general uproar in the saloon as the spectators quickly chose up sides. Some wanted to see the young man outdo his older companions, while others wanted to see the cocky kid get put in his proper place.

Nathan grinned and pushed the bowl of eggs across the table to JD. "Ya start right there by yer chair, and that’s where ya gotta end up."

Reluctantly, Dunne stood up and picked up an egg. With a heavy sigh, he bent and placed the egg between his legs just about the knees. Very carefully, he started toward the door, but he had gone only three or four steps when they egg popped out and splattered on the toe of his boat. He looked at the slimy mess and shuddered at the thought of having to eat that.

With renewed determination he returned to the starting point and retrieved another egg. He gave the situation a little thought and decided the egg would ride safer a little higher where there was less movement when he walked. He placed the egg about half way between his knees and his groin. This time he made it a little over half way to the doors before he heard an ominous crack. On the next step the egg shattered, leaving a gooey trail down his pants legs when he opened his legs and let the remainder of the egg fall free.

"Looks like ya got a bit of a problem, JD," Nathan taunted. "Only one more try."

"I know that," Dunne countered, as he returned to the starting point. He had done much better when he moved the egg up higher, so this time he placed the egg within a few inches of his groin and very carefully made his way past the cheering, and some heckling, observers. It was with a great sense of relief that he passed through the doors and out onto the walk in front of the saloon. His companions spilled out the door behind him, along with a good number of the spectators. Others watched from the saloon doors.

The young man’s relief was short lived, when he remembered what the next step of the challenge involved. One thing was certain, none of the other guys were going to help him in any way. That meant whomever he asked to kiss the egg also had to retrieve it. He blushed hotly at the thought of asking a lady to get the egg from where it now rested.

"Hey JD, here’s yer chance," Buck announced.

Two middle aged women paused and looked at the group of men on the boardwalk. When they saw that the town’s peacekeepers were among them they apparently decided it was safe to continue on their way.

"Ladies," Dunne said hesitantly. "Could I ask one of you for some help?"

They stopped and looked at the young sheriff. "What kind of help do you need?" the older of the two asked, a bit uncertainly, as she let her eyes flicker over the assembled men again.

‘Well, I kinda lost a bet, and I had to bring an egg out here, get a lady to kiss it, and get it back inside without breakin’ it." JD rattled off the explanation all in one breath before he could lose his nerve.

The woman laughed when she saw how flustered the young man was and she said, "I don’t see any harm in that, but I don’t see any egg."

"Uh……Well….uh…. I couldn’t carry it in my hands." Dunne's blush deepened.

"Then where is it?" The woman became wary again. The expression on the other men’s faces told her something was going on.

JD could not look at the woman as he softly explained, "It’s…. It’s between my legs, and I ain’t’ allowed to touch it."

For a moment there was silence and then the woman exploded. "Young man! You should be ashamed of yourself, approaching a decent woman with such…such……oooooo!" She grabbed her companion by the arm. "Come on Abby!" The two women pushed their way past the sheriff and paused in front of Chris." And you! you should be ashamed for going along with this." She waved a hand back toward JD before hurrying on down the boardwalk.

The men looked at the stunned expression on Larabee’s face and broke into fits of laughter. Ever JD, embarrassed as he was, had to laugh along with the others.

Three more tries were equally unsuccessful. One woman turned away and headed across the street when he tried to stop her, Another had retreated in the direction she had come from, and the third one had slapped him. Now, it was looking like women were avoiding the area completely.

"It’s lookin’ like that kiss part ain’t gonna happen," Vin offered. "Why not just call it a draw?"

"Oh no! I ain’t changin’ the terms in the middle," Nathan said smugly.

"Don’t seem rightly fair since women are avoiding comin’ near here," the tracker added.

"That was the chance ya’ll took when you agreed to the bet," the healer explained.

"Yes, well I fear that Mr. Dunne might have had a better chance of success if half the male population had not been in attendance,’ Ezra observed. The southerner jerked suddenly at the sound of a voice slightly behind him.

"What are you gentlemen up to this time?" came the sound of a feminine voice.

"My dear Mrs. Travis, it can be hazardous to sneak up on a man in that manner." The gambler was slightly embarrassed at having been caught off guard.

She merely smiled at the con man and asked again, "so what’s going on? I’m overhearing women telling each other to stay away from the saloon."

"So, naturally, you had to make your way straight here; a reporter’s curiosity, Mrs. Travis?" Ezra inquired.

"Naturally," she said sweetly.

"Mr. Dunne has lost a wager, and it appears he is about to lose the challenge as well," Standish explained.

"What challenge?" she asked, and she listened patiently as the southerner filled her in on most of the details.

"Which one of you came up with this?" she asked laughing. She did not understand what had the other women so upset. What harm was there in kissing an egg.

"That’d be me, ma’am," Nathan admitted.

Mary chuckled and turned back to JD. "I’ll kiss the egg for you. Where is it?"

"Mrs. Travis, uh…. I think I’d rather just lose, ‘cause this is the part that gets me yelled at or slapped," Dunne admitted.

Mary looked back at the other men and glared. Finally, she focused on Chris. He held up his hands, as if to ward her off, and jumped to his own defense. "Don’t look at me! It wasn’t my idea."

She turned back to the healer. "Nathan, where’s the egg?" she asked levelly.

The black man cringed slightly and quietly answered, "between his legs."

Mary glared at Jackson and then slowly shook her head. "It’s always the quiet ones." She looked back at the healer and asked, "Nathan, whatever possessed you to suggest something like this? It’s no wonder the women are upset."

"Reckon I just got a bit of the devil in me today." Somehow, he had a feeling that Mary was not as upset as she was trying to act. There was a glint of amusement in her blue eyes.

The pretty blonde woman turned back to JD. "I suppose this means I have to go after the egg myself, before I can kiss it?"

"Mrs. Travis?" Dunne was not sure if she meant that she was going to help him or not.

"JD, you want to win this bet, don’t you?" she asked.

"Yes, ma’am. I sure do," he quickly responded.

"I’d like to see you win it too." She let her gaze travel to the other men. "They are always getting you with their pranks. I think it’s time one of them got it tossed back at them."

"That isn’t quite fair, Mary." Chris spoke up.

"We all took the same chance of losing that he did, even me," Nathan added.

"What a revolting turn of events to lose one’s own challenge," The southerner quipped.

"Yeah, you’d know all ‘bout that, wouldn’t ya, Ezra?" Vin teased.

"I…uh….well…" Standish cleared his throat and looked away from the grinning faces as he colored slightly in embarrassment.

Mary looked around in confusion. "What did I miss?" she questioned.

"Never mind!" Ezra and Buck responded in unison, which caused the other men to laugh all the harder.

The blonde woman turned to JD and asked conspiratorially, "If I help you, you will tell me what I missed, right?"

The young man was grinning broadly now, too. "Yes, Ma’am!"

"Then let’s get that egg." She said as she stepped in front of the young sheriff.

Everyone watching grew silent as she leaned over and slid her hand between JD knees.

JD held his breath as her hand moved higher in search of the egg. Part of him wanted her to hurry and get his over with, but another part enjoyed the feel of her hand on his leg and wanted her to take as long as possible.

Mary stopped and looked up accusingly at JD. "There is an egg, isn’t there?"

Dunne didn’t trust himself to speak and responded with a nod and a choked, "uh huh."

"This better not turn out to be a joke on me. None of you have ever seen me really mad," she warned, and began inching her hand upward again. Finally, she felt the hard mass of the egg and got a firm hold on it before pulling it out of its nesting place.

JD sighed in relief and allowed himself to relax, as the spectators cheered, and jeered, Mary’s successful retrieval of the egg.

With great ceremony, Mary faced the men and held the egg out in front of her. She made sure to make eye contact with each of the six, ending with Chris. She was surprised to see a hint of a smile and an amused gleam in his eyes. Deliberately, she made a show of wetting her lips, placing the egg to her mouth, and giving it a noisy kiss.

"A very theatrical performance, I dare say," Ezra commented.

"Yes, it was," Josiah agreed.

Mary noticed the blush had returned to JD’s checks, and she was sure she knew why. "I have to put it back too, don’t I?" Dunne looked at the walkway in front of his feet and nodded. She looked down at his legs and said matter-of-factly, "you’re going to have to spread them a little."

The crowd began to whoop and holler again, and every man among them would have traded places with JD right at that moment.

The young man’s face reddened even more as he did as he had been told. He caught his breath as he felt her slide her hand and the egg between his thighs and begin to push it back to its previous resting place. His eyes widened, and he gasped slightly when he realized she was not stopping there. She continued to push the egg upward until it nestled snugly next to his groin.

Mary almost laughed when she saw the stunned expression on his youthful face. What a shame that he would lose all that innocence, as he grew older. She gave him a reassuring pat on the arm and explained in a whisper, "It will be safer there! There’s less pressure on it." Then she backed away to let him make his way back inside.

It was much easier this time. He could walk in nearly normal steps; they were small steps, but they were much better than the waddle he had used on the way out. Dunne heard the healer groan when he made it back to the starting point without incident. He looked up and saw Mary standing off to one side. She was smiling broadly at his success, and he grinned in return.

Nathan returned to his seat, resigned to his fate. He could handle it. He had eaten raw eggs before, but then it had been a matter of eating the eggs or going hungry. He would be fine as long as the yolk did not break.

JD. Plucked the egg from its resting place and laid it on the table so they could all see that it was intact.

"All right, you win," the healer announced. He watched as the young man picked up the last egg in the bowl and carried it around to where he waited.

Once at his side, JD smiled at his friend and held out the egg on the palm of his hand. "So, Nathan, how do you like yer eggs? Like this or like this?" he asked as he curled his fingers around the egg.

Laughter erupted in the room as Nathan’s eyes grew wide, and he nearly screamed at JD, "No! Don’t shake it!"

Who will be next?

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