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Third and final chapter.
"I have blessed your son and now he should recover from his wound. Let him stay until he is strong enough to return to our camp," Spirit Healer replied.
Iron Buffalo hesitated. Turning to Jim he said, "Take care of my son, I will return in six days." Turning to the girl he said, "Come Chante."
"I will stay with Chayton," she replied. Her father stared at her, surprised that she would disobey him.
"Randal doesn't speak Lakota," she said pointing to Jim. "And Chayton doesn't speak his language. It would be better if I stayed and nursed Chayton."
Iron Buffalo stared at his daughter for a bit and then barked orders at his men. To Jim he said, "When I return it would be a good thing if my son is well; it would be a bad thing, for you, if he is not."
The Indians mounted their horses and rode away. Jim watched them ride away. He turned to Chante, "I thought your father was going to have a fit."
"Have a fit?"
"I thought he was going to yell and force you to go with him," Jim explained.
"It is the first time I have ever disobeyed him," she replied. It was obvious that the confrontation with her father bothered her.
Jim hesitated for a few seconds and changed the subject. "Well...that buckskin dress you're wearing has a lot of blood on it. C'mon I'll get you some of my clothes to wear and we can wash it out."
Jim had to laugh when he saw Chante in his clothes. She was wearing a pair of Jim's pants, cinched at the waist with a piece of rope. She also wore one of his shirts buttoned all the way to her throat. Jim was 6 feet 2 and broad in the shoulders and Chante was about 5 feet 6; the shirt hung on her almost like a dress.
For the next five days, Jim and Chante took care of Chayton. Jim cooked their meals on his wood stove and Chante quickly learned to cook on it. She was fascinated by the water pump behind the house. Jim watched her pump water then she would bend over and look up the spout of the pump.
"It is much easier than carrying water from the stream," she said with a smile.
Jim was fascinated too; he was fascinated by Chante. The girl wasn't educated but she was intelligent, a quick learner, and fun to have around. He realized he enjoyed talking to her and spending time with her when they weren't tending Chayton.
The boy was healing and soon joined them sitting on the front porch of the ranch house in the evenings. The three of them would talk until Chayton tired. Chayton began to understand and speak English a little and Jim picked up some of the Lakota language. After the youngster went to bed, Jim and Chante would talk late into the night.
The evening of the fifth day, Jim was quiet. He knew that tomorrow Iron Buffalo would come for Chayton; he would also come for Chante. Jim was going to miss the young woman; he had become very fond of her. Fond of her hell, he thought. I'm falling in love with her.
It was just after midday when Iron Buffalo, Faith Healer, and four braves rode up to the ranch house. They must have traveled hard since before daybreak to have gotten here this early, Jim thought. Iron Buffalo rode close to the porch where Jim, Chante, and Chayton stood.
Iron Buffalo looked at his son; Jim could see the relief in the Chief's face. He spoke to Chayton in Lakota and the boy answered. Jim had learned enough of the language to know Iron Buffalo was asking if the boy was alright. Looking at Chante, he said nothing about the pants and shirt she wore.
The braves that had ridden in with Iron Buffalo returned from the corral with the two Indian ponies. Jim stepped off the porch. "If Chayton rides back to your camp now, his wound could open and start bleeding again. I have the poles that we used to make a travois to get him here. You can use them to make another travois for him so he doesn't have to ride."
"Please Father, let's use the travois," Chante said. "It will be better for Chayton." Iron Buffalo thought for a few seconds and nodded his head.
"It's a long way to your camp and your horses are tired," Ji