Rebecca cleared the dishes away from the table while Daniel polished off the last bit of his coffee. He rose to go out and she stopped him.
"Where do you think you are going?" She asked.
"I got some chores to do, darlin'." He said looking at her puzzled.
"You owe me two more days of rest." She said with her hands on her hips.
He studied her debating whether or not to fight with her. She wore her blue dress, and had her hair piled up on her head. She looked beautiful even with the black eye and bruise on her chin.
He crossed over to her and put his arms around her. "You sure are pretty when you get mad."
"Don't try and sweet talk me, Daniel Boone." She said, but she relaxed in his embrace.
"I'm just telling the truth. You are most definitely the most beautiful fighter I have ever seen." He said laughing.
"You better watch it. Or you'll see just what kind of a fighter I am!" She said.
He leaned in and kissed her. "Promise?"
Katie and Rose followed the path to the river and found Israel fishing.
"You catch anything?" Rose asked.
"Not yet." Israel said reaching up and helping his baby sister sit beside him.
"We brought you lunch." Katie said. "Just in case you didn't have any fish yet." She handed him some bread and cheese.
"Why don't you fish while I eat? You always have better luck." He handed the pole to her. "What are Ma and Pa doing?"
"Kissing." Rose said laughing.
"Same as always." Katie said smiling at Israel.
"At least they are dependable." He said. Just then Katie felt a tug on her line and soon she'd brought in a good sized trout.
"How do you do it?" He asked her.
"Comes to me naturally, I guess." She said with a shrug. "My Irish charm, maybe." She winked at him, but he stood frozen starring across the river. Two Shawnee stood on the opposite shore. He put a hand on her arm. "Its alright, Katie. I know them."
He rose and crossed the river at a shallow point.
"Slow Fox, Straight Arrow. Hello." He held out his hand in greeting.
"White Wolf." Straight Arrow said nodding and shaking his hand. "We brought you something that belongs to you."
Slow Fox pulled out a pelt and handed it to Israel. It was the panther he had killed.
"Thank you." Israel said. He glanced back across the river at his sisters. "Would you like something to eat?"
"No." Slow Fox said. "We must go. We only wished to return to you what was yours."
They turned to go and Israel said, "Thank you. Stay well."
"And you, White Wolf." Straight Arrow said and they disappeared back into the woods from which they had come.
He crossed back to the other side of the river holding his pelt.
"You alright, Katie Grace?" He asked still watching.
She nodded and looked at the pelt in his hands. "That's beautiful. You killed it all alone?" She asked.
"Uh, huh. You and Ma can make it into a rug for your hope chest." He said smiling at her.
She put her arms around him. "You are a good brother." She said.
He smiled at her, and turning he said. "C'mon. Catch us some more fish for supper. Rose, you want to help me find some flowers for Ma?" Taking her hand, the two of them went to gather wildflowers.
Katie Grace stood alone at the side of the river. She looked up into the bright, blue Kentucky sky, and out into the yellow fields of wheat that surrounded her home. In the distance she could hear Rose and Israel laughing. It was the first time he had ever left her alone outside. Since they day, her Pa had brought her home, he'd hovered near her protectively, knowing being alone frightened her. She smiled understanding just how strong and brave she truly was; her brother had taught her that.