JD rode back into town from Nettie's ranch. He dismounted outside the saloon and pulled a muslin-wrapped bundle from his saddlebag. He had tried to look thrilled. The problem was it was a fruitcake. And it had been baked by Casey.
That was when Buck happened by.
"JD! I need a favor. I forgot to get Grace a Christmas present. And they don't call 'er 'Amazing Grace' for nothin'."
"Why don't you give her this?"
"It's traditional. Shows her you're a 'Christmas' kinda guy. And that you didn't forget."
Buck pondered this a moment before he reluctantly accepted the fruitcake and disappeared.
An hour later , Buck still had it as he joined Ezra for a hand of poker in the saloon.
"Mr. Wilmington, why are you carrying around a fruitcake?"
"Oh, that. Grace thinks she's getting fat. Nearly tore my head off when I offered to her."
Ezra dealt out the cards. By the end of the game, he had won what little money Buck had, plus the fruitcake.
Ezra still had it with him when he passed the church. He suddenly got an idea and went inside.
"For the church bake sale?" Josiah sounded surprised. "That's mighty nice of you, Ezra..."
"Consider it a holiday donation," Ezra smiled.
Josiah brought it with him to the clinic, and offered it to Nathan.
"A fruitcake?" Nathan looked at it without enthusiasm.
"Only thing left from the church bake sale. Thought maybe your patients might like to share it."
"Thanks." Nathan set it aside. The clinic was empty now but it was early yet.
By early evening, Nathan's only patient all day was Rafe Creed. Jim was already suffering from too much Christmas 'spirits'. The last thing Nathan figured he needed was a fruitcake full of rum or brandy. He decided to get it out of temptation's way.
He took it to the jail, where he found Chris sitting inside.
"Thought I might leave this here, in case any of y'all get hungry. Rafe Creed sure don't need it."
"Thanks, Nathan. I'm sure the boys'll appreciate it."
Nathan nodded and left to return to the clinic.
It was an hour or so later when Vin came into the jail. "Chris, I'm goin' out to Nettie's. Any suggestions for something nice I can bring her and Casey?"
Chris nodded towards the fruitcake. "Why don't you take that? It's just layin' here, and I don't want any."
"Obliged." Vin scooped it up under his arm and left.
The following day, JD returned to Nettie's to see Casey.
"Look what Vin brought Nettie and me," said Casey. "A fruitcake. And it looks just like the kind I make. Wasn't that nice?"
JD laughed nervously. "Now we each have one!"
Casey looked at him.
JD shifted uncomfortably. "Well, I...Y'know, Casey, I liked it so much, I'm afraid I made a pig of myself and ate the whole thing."
"Really?" Casey's eyes shone proudly.
"Honest." His mouth felt dry and he swallowed. JD put on his biggest and brightest grin. "It was delicious. Really!"
She looked at the fruitcake in her hands. "JD...That's so sweet. And since you liked it so much, then I insist you take this one, too!"