"Mommy! Mommy, Grandpa Hoyt is being mean!" I rolled my eyes and picked up the small girl, tugging lightly on her pigtails, trying to stop her tears.

"Uncle Hoyt's being mean?" I asked hugging my daughter to my chest, "Well, Mommy will go talk to him, go outside and play. I'll go see if Daddy will play with you, ok?" I set her down and she ran out the front door, toward the swing Hoyt had set up at the beginning of the summer.

I smiled as I watched her go, brown pigtails bouncing as she ran across the front yard and crawled onto the swing. My beautiful daughter reminded me much of myself, but at times you could see glimpses of her father in the way she acted.

I turned back into the house, determined to go have a word with "Grandpa Hoyt" about making my baby cry, he did it to get a reaction out of me, and it was starting to get on my last nerve. "Hoyt!" I called stomping into the kitchen and standing in front of him while he gave me a cocky smile, "You have to stop picking on Cissy; she hates it when you do that. Hell, I hate it when you do that."

"Sugar, just because you and that boy spawned a wimp of a girl doesn't mean I am picking on her," He responded standing and leering over me in a way that I've grown accustomed to over the past six years.

"Aww, Hoyt, you know that you love Cissy," I said with a little shrug, "and if you made her cry less she would love you more." I stood and made my way out of the kitchen and down the steps to the basement. This was the one room in the whole house that I was still frightened of, but if I stayed at the foot of the stairs it didn't bother me too bad.

"Thomas, your daughter needs a push on the swing," I called out into the darkness, "and I think I need a kiss while you're at it." It only took a few seconds for him to emerge from the shadows and made his way over to me.

His arms slinked around me and he lowered his mouth to mine, we kissed slowly pulling each other closer before breaking apart. I rested my head on his chest and sighed happily, I pulled away and pushed him toward the stairs, "Our daughter? She wants to play with Daddy; Grandpa Hoyt made her cry again."

He reluctantly moved away from me and made his way up the stairs, I followed close behind, hoping I would get to watch them together and Luda Mae wouldn't need my help with cleaning or cooking.

A loud scream sounded from somewhere inside the barn as I sat down on the front steps, Hoyt must be playing with the girls we found hitchhiking on the road yesterday. Thomas made his way over to the swing, a giggling Cissy ran up to him wrapping her tiny arms around one of his large legs.

"Daddy!" She squealed with laughter and he picked her up, swinging her around in the air. Her giggles rang in my ears as he sat her down. They began playing on the swing, both of them laughing by now. It was an amazing sight, father and daughter.

"Rose!" I heard my name called from inside. I stood and walked into the kitchen, catching glimpses of the two out the window as I helped Luda Mae chop the vegetables in the kitchen. I watched as she dumped half of them into a cooking pot, the other half were left out for me and my daughter.

Dinner was done quickly, and I went out to gather the family. Cissy bounded into the kitchen and gave her grandmother a hug before crawling up on the stack of phone books that were placed in her chair. She giggled a bit and clapped as Monty and Hoyt entered the room, squealing their names with a huge grin.

Dinner passed with minimal mess, Cissy did her usual begging for someone to feed her and ended up throwing her carrots up against the wall. But other than that, everyone seemed to be content to just eat.

Cissy demanded Daddy put her to bed that night, a ritual that was usually Grandma's job. Luda Mae shrugged and Thomas picked up the little girl, being extra careful as he walked up the stairs. He walked into the bright purple room, a color Cissy demanded when we asked her what color she wanted.

Thomas sat down on the rickety old chair across from her bed and began to rock her, back and forth until her breathing evened out and her grip on his finger loosened. I watched from the doorway, awed by the gentle side of Thomas that he only shows his family.

Our eyes connected, and he stood and walked across the floor to put Cissy in her bed. We both looked at her for a few seconds before I laced my fingers in his. "Hey Love, you're so good with our baby," I said with a smile, pulling him out of the room so I could have him to myself for the rest of the night.

He smiled and nodded, wrapping an arm around my waist and leading me down the hall to our bedroom. This was life, this was love, this was us.

AN: Ok, a lot of people wanted this… so I gave into the demand and wrote it. I hope it lives up to the expectations, Thomas kind of turned into a bowl of mush.