The morning light had never looked so ethereal until now.

It's invariably been as such—blinking the sleep from her eyes at the touch of dawn with a small smile on her face, stretching, sighing, musing; she'd tell herself that her only reason for getting up was to tend to the horses, but as expected, the poor excuse could only plant a soft twinkle in her glossy orbs. She would be no more different than a giddy schoolgirl with a school crush: Nothing else could force her to stray from breathing in the fresh morning air whilst she buried her form sloppily into the bedcovers, reveling in the quiet freedom to the sound of energetic birds and the warmth of her haven; nothing had ever measured up to this; nothing could replace a single moment; nothing else could catch her eye.

Nothing …

Except for the man lying next to her.

And then, reaching out with a touch she never knew she possessed, she loosely slid her fingers through shortly cropped hair and exhaled with a simple contentment; never in her whole lifetime had she anticipated such a passionate yet straightforward relationship: Never had she contemplated about having a man share her own bed, much less take up the majority of it with a body that constantly radiated heat, even through the coldest winters; never had she felt such maddening sensations that drove her to do inexplicable things or say statements that represented all she was, all she had been, all she would ever be. Never had she been at a loss of words with a man who didn't have to say anything at all.

Never had she been so happy.

Bonnie MacFarlane: No, it was Mrs. Bonnie now—or more like Mrs. Marston, with a diamond band secured on her ring finger and a rebellious babe kicking powerfully from the depths of her womb. Perhaps it had always been Mrs. Marston from the moment she dragged him half-dead from a dusty trail with an aggravated hunch in her back, completely tired and dirty from an unsuccessful attempt at herding all the bovines by herself; perhaps their bond had already been established when he had accidently landed his hand upon hers for a length of rope, both of them looking the other way while their eyes betrayed their separation; perhaps their paths had intertwined from the time he rescued her, bruised and battered from the noose that wouldn't have let her hear the potent thumps of his heart: Perhaps then, she would've realized that she was indescribably in love with him: Maybe it had all summed up to having him sprawled comfortably on her bed, an arm draped surely over her swollen belly.

Maybe …

She delicately trailed a lone finger over the lids of his eyes, squirming a tad when he tightened his hold on her, and moved her body closer to his own; the chance to watch John without tension in his spine kept its value for all the years she wished he looked her way. For a man who knew how to watch his back at all times, he definitely slept as dead as a doorknob, or, as she secretly hoped, the change of releasing had occurred, due to what they had. And sentimental sayings of the enamored did not apply here, particularly the phrase of one looking a good ten years younger when asleep: John Marston looked the same in whatever he did—be it doing his rounds as sheriff, threatening to put a mighty big hole in the old man's head, eating with the stomach of a bear, or awkwardly positioning his ear on her abdomen to listen to the ecstatic greetings of his child; that's what she found to be more refined than gold, other than juggling three daughters on his lap while trying to act fatherly towards the giggling mass. He didn't go through phases or facades or different approaches; it was either his way, or his way—but that would be much debated when she'd present herself in a random temper tantrum.

And by random …

The drowsy blonde weakly groaned as a small bout of morning sickness hit her, clogging up her sinuses and demanding to expel the remains of yesterday's barley porridge; the worst thing about pregnancy was the fact that deep contemplations brought about severe vomiting and crankiness that made her question who she was ten minutes ago—God help her in how loose her emotions were. Hilarity, in clandestine measures, since his manly version of a pout would bring tears to her eyes, would ensue in the first few moments when her husband would slowly begin to back away at the first sign of mysterious anger; that was great, for he would finally carry out the household duties, instead of polishing his Schofield and attracting those damn ladies, but then he'd retaliate by sending in her kids who were obviously oblivious to her agitated state. What else could a mother do, surrounded by energetic children? Oh, just the thought of it—

Flinging the muscular appendage off of her abdominal region, she rapidly dashed—or more like, limped—to the kitchen window and retched out the previous day's meal into the compost pile: At the moment, she was not in the mindset to ponder about a confused groan from the bedroom or the deep sigh that showed the sleepy male was awake. The entirety of her thought was solely based upon throwing up her organs and wishing to crawl into a hole and cry—so much for the joys of pregnancy, hair sticking up in odd shapes, like the deep chain of jumbled reveries she partook in at any available second. How she desired to be able to stand up straight again …

But everything vanished as soon as a solid hand rested upon her back in a comforting fashion; every single complaint, weakness, and frustration dissipated to the sensation of gentle rubbing and encouraging words. The pounding headache she silently predicted only presented itself as a dull throb, allowing her to grab a towel off the nearby rack and wipe her mouth clean. Nothing came to mind, stumbling dumbly into his waiting arms and letting herself be escorted back to the place she wanted to be; nothing seemed to be too overwhelming to her, and nothing rose up to protest the certain way he carried her and laid her gingerly down.

Nothing else mattered.

Well, maybe five milliseconds ago, before she was once more darting for the other location.

But at least she didn't have to change diapers again.