Authors Note: Wow, this chapter has been a long time coming. Two years ago seems like forever, and it's great to know that this story is finally complete. It's been a long road and I want to thank all my faithful readers out there for continuing on with me! Your encouragement kept me writing.
Thank you so much and happy reading.
Cassie turned away from Frank to scan the yard; it had been a while since she'd seen Cole and she wondered why he wasn't joining in the party.
It had been three days since they rescued Jesse, he and Zee had headed off almost immediately to Tennessee, but thankfully Cassie got to say goodbye to Zee before she left. They had both cried, but Zee had promised Cassie that they would see each other again.
"I think he's 'round back," Frank said and Cassie grinned.
"Why thank you Frances," she retorted and Frank tipped his hat at her. Thankfully in the town there had been a warm reception for the heroes when they got home and even the lawmen seemed to have disappeared—for now. Cassie was not certain how long they would have peace in Liberty before Mr. Pinkerton returned but she intended to enjoy it for however long it lasted.
Cassie lifted her skirt and made her way down towards the Younger house.
"How you feelin' Cassie?" Doc Mims wondered, he was standing with her Pa and Cassie nodded.
"Fine," Cassie replied, "and I promise you Doc, this will be the last you'll see of me for a while."
Doc Mims laughed, "Oh, I'll hold you to that promise Miss Cassandra."
After the re-capture of Jesse James the group had headed back for camp, it was only then that Cole realized that Cassie had been shot. They had cleaned and tended to the wound the best they could but Cole urged Cassie to see Doc Mims as soon as they got back to town and she had done just that.
With a bottle of antiseptic wash and four stitches later Cassie was sent home and she was glad that all though the wound felt a little tight, due to healing, that she did not feel any unsual warmth or itching.
"Cole," Cassie called, walking to the side of the house, she found him seated on a bench by where the Younger's chopped their wood. "What are you doing all the way over here?" Cassie demanded and Cole jumped.
"What? Nothin'… just thinkin'," he said softly.
"'Bout what?" Cassie asked, walking over to him, "there's a party out front in your honor."
"I don't know why they'd have no stupid party for me and my honor."
Cassie stared at Cole incredulously; she dropped down onto the bench and took his hand. "How can you say that? After all you did?"
Cole sighed and when he looked over at Cassie she saw an immense sadness in his eyes.
"Cole…" Cassie said but Cole interrupted her.
"I did somethin' stupid and Jim got hurt," Cole looked down. "I've made a decision that I don't want to do something and loose someone I, uh, love ever again."
"But Jimmy's all right Cole, he's fine."
"I know that Cassie, I…" He swallowed and looked forward for a moment before looking back to her. "I was talking about you Cassie." He took a deep breath and Cassie blinked, was he telling her what she thought he was? "It's always been you Cassandra; I was always just too damn stupid and stubborn to admit it."
Cassie blinked; she didn't quite know what to say so all she did say was, "oh."
Cole frowned, that was not exactly the reaction he'd been hoping for. His face flushed and he cleared his throat. "Well, all right. I've just made a damn fool of myself. I thought—I mean, after what you said, I thought—" Cole stopped talking and went to stand, "I'm just gonna go." Before Cole even stood halfway Cassie scooted forward and grabbed Cole's shirt and pulled him down towards her, she caught the corner of his mouth in a kiss.
"You damn idiot," she whispered fondly.
Cole took Cassie's face in his hand and grinned before he kissed her.
There was a loud shout and few cat calls that followed, Cassie and Cole broke apart and looked over to see Frank, Tom, Jim and Bob.
"Well!" Bob exclaimed, "It's about damn time!"
"That's it Bob!" Cole shouted, he grabbed Cassie's hand and pulled her to her feet. The two of them set off chasing Bob across the yard.
"You'd better run!" Cassie threatened, brandishing her fist.
Just then Cole tripped over an uneven piece of land and pitched forward, Cassie shrieked as she was taken down with him. She laughed and then looked over at Cole; she never would have thought this day ever would have happened. Cole caressed his fingers against her cheek and leaned over to kiss her.
"Hey now," Frank said peering down at them, "this here's a family picnic."
"Shut up Frank!" Cassie and Cole retorted in unison. Cole pushed himself up and helped Cassie to her feet.
"So," Cassie said shyly, scuffing the toe of her boot against the dirt. "What next?"
"We eat," Cole teased. "Nah, I reckon we get married, and buy us a big house."
Cassie pretended to ponder on that suggested, "I guess that might be all right." She wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I take that as a yes?"
Cassie nodded, "forever."
The last few chapters of this story were written to the soundtrack of Dana Glover, and especially the songs "The Way" and "It Is You (I Have Loved)
Okay! I updated this story simply to ask if anyone reading this would be interested in seeing a sequel, I have no idea what it could be about , but I could write one if you wanted one! Let me know in a review!