In the quiet of the dark room she sat, slowly rocking, as her memories returned. Now, the images came like the fragments of a kaleidoscope, swiftly changing in color and intensity.
They had walked, linked arm and arm across the street to the Long Branch. His smile had melted away any resolve she had to leave. How could she when he looked at her like that? They had taken a table in the back, not yet ready to be alone. Their emotions were still too raw to talk it out. For this moment just to be in each other's company was enough. She had signaled to Sam, who placed a bottle of her private stock and two glasses in front of them. Matt raised his glass in salute to Kitty, wanting to say something to erase the last few days from their memories. Like so many times before, words failed Matt Dillon. But, his smile and the look in his eyes made up for his lack of words.
"Matt?" she had asked. "How about dinner here tonight. Just you and I?"
His smile widened so that the corners of his eyes crinkled and their blue seemed to take on a deeper hue. She could see that he was thinking of the last dinner she had prepared for them. Her mind traveled back to join his in the memory of that near-perfect evening. The anticipation of the trip to St. Louis had filled them both with a delicious sense of freedom. As she had poured their after dinner drinks, he had marveled at her energy. "How do you do it?" He'd asked. "Packing for a trip and making dinner!" She had pointed out that most of their meal had been delivered from Delmonicos. Matt had gotten up from the table and walked to his coat. "Where are you going?" she had asked.
"Oh, I'm just getting something." He replied evasively, as he extracted a small blue box from his jacket pocket.
Her eyes had lit up in anticipation. Every year he had remembered, this small act of sentimentality making up for the year's worth of relative inattention. She understood how it had to be. Duty and the Badge came first. If there were times when those masters didn't call to him then she became his mistress.
The fates had proved friendly that night. Matt walked to her chair and knelt in front of it. He took her hand and placed the box in it. "Happy anniversary, honey." The seldom-used endearment brought an unexpected tear to her eyes. She opened the box with shaking hands. Of course some part of her always hoped when she received such a box from Matt, it would contain a ring. The fact that it never did, did not stop the hoping the next time he gave her a present. The necklace was lovely. He had placed it around her neck with surprisingly nimble fingers. Their lovemaking was a sweet celebration of their eighteen years together. Just before sleep took them, he had whispered. "I love you Kitty." The words so soft, they could have been part of a dream. But Kitty knew they were real.
Now they sat in the Long Branch, ready to start over again. It wasn't the first time they had to patch together their relationship, and it always seemed to grow stronger for the patching, as each understood the other more clearly in the end. She raised her glass in a return of his salute.
"Marshal Dillon!" a frantic voice called from the batwing doors. It was Bub Taylor. "We got us some big trouble over at Bull's, you'd best come."
"Sorry Kitty . . . " The words were inadequate he knew. "It's the job." With her glass still raised he got up and quickly left the saloon. Reality always a companion of Kitty's made itself known. This was how it would always be. Matt Dillon had told her he couldn't give up the badge, not even if it meant losing her. She would always be second best to the job. She thought of Will. He wanted her. She was more important to him than anything else in the world. She set the glass down, not wanting the drink, and maybe half afraid that if she started drinking she wouldn't stop. Without a word to anyone she went upstairs and started packing her bags. Then, she pulled out two large trunks from the upstairs storage room and filled these with the artifacts of her life in Dodge. When she had accomplished this task, she went to her writing desk and composed three letters. One to Sam requesting that he book her a ticket on the morning stage, as well as explaining that she was leaving Dodge. He was to look after things until he heard from her.
The next was to Doc. She knew explanations weren't necessary. Doc had always known her better than she herself, but he deserved to the courtesy of that acknowledgement.
The hardest letter to write was the one to Matt. She knew she could never stop loving him. But Will had opened a door to her; one she hadn't realized existed. This might be her only chance at a home and family, a chance at a normal life. Maybe, it was wanting the unattainable or perhaps, it was being halfway through her life with nothing to show but an accumulation of cameos, broaches and photographs. Could be, she was a fool, to throw away eighteen years, or maybe it was the fact her heart had been broken one too many times to be patched. The letter to Matt was short.
"Thanks for all the good years Matt. I will never forget you. But, I need more than you can give me. Please understand. Kitty."
She had sent Will a telegraph, asking him to meet her in Denver. He had been waiting at the stage depot with flowers in his hands when she arrived. When he spotted her, his smile revealed his happiness. She had offered only a swift kiss in greeting, already regretting the hastiness of her decision. He had seemed to sense her doubt and taken her hand in his with a reassuring squeeze.
There was an awkward moment when neither knew what to say. Finally he found his voice. "I've taken rooms for us at the Gold Dust Hotel. I imagine you're tired after your long trip."
Holding his hand tightly she smiled in response.
An adjoining door connected their rooms. Each night for that first week they had retired separately to their own quarters.
Will was a great talker, eager to share his hopes and dreams with the woman he loved. They explored the city together during the day and at night visited the fashionable theaters and opera houses that Denver was famous for. He seemed to take great pride in her beauty and delighted in showing her off, almost as if she were a trophy he had won.
It was after an evening of high entertainment and a bit too much champagne that Will's insistent goodnight kisses lead to more. He was an ardent and considerate lover. With practiced dexterity his hands and lips coaxed a response from her body. He offered words of love and promises of security that served as a balm to her broken heart. When they joined, her climax was but a gentle tremor. But for Will Stambridge it was an earthquake that would forever change the landscape of his life.
He had proposed marriage to her on her first night in Denver and every night thereafter. She had begged for time, but his answer had always been the same. "We've wasted enough time already."
In Will's arms with their bodies still linked, the afterglow of their lovemaking softening the harsh realities of the world she had left behind, he had asked again and she had said 'yes'.
She had awakened the next morning feeling unwell. As the morning passed she had become wretchedly sick to her stomach. Will watched helplessly. "I'm going for the doctor." He had finally stated."No. Will I'm all right, it must have been something that I ate last night." But when she had fainted, he had panicked and run for the nearest physician. Will had paced the floors of the adjoining room as the doctor made his examination.
The doctor's treatment of her body was rough, and she winced in pain and bit her lip to keep from crying out. But his examination was complete and his questions so thorough that it alarmed her. When he had finished, he had asked her what her relationship with Will had replied. "We are to be married."
"Then," said the doctor, "we had best call him in here. He needs to hear what I have to say."
She felt panic and an urge to run and more than anything she wished that Matt were there with her now. The doctor crossed the oriental carpet and opened the door to the adjoining room. "Mr. Stambridge, could you come in please?" he had asked.
Will walked uneasily through the door; his expression did little to hide the anxiety he was feeling. He went directly to her side taking her hand in his.
"Mr. Stambridge, this woman is expecting a child." Whatever the doctor had anticipated their reaction to be it was not the complete shocked silence he was met with. His lips had formed a thin line as he studied Will's face. "It would appear that she is entering her fourth month."
She pulled her hand free of Will's hold, to fly to her mouth. She thought she was going to be sick again and she frantically swallowed the bile that burned in her throat. She shook her head involuntarily back and forth. Her mind screaming the questions, `How could this be? After all these years . . . at her age. A miracle.' Her handmoved to her softly rounded belly. `Matt Dillon's baby.'
The doctor picked up his bag and took his hat from a nearby chair. "I advise you to get plenty of sleep Madam. I will send some medicine that should help with the nausea. I should like to see you in my office in three days time." He tipped his hat at the shocked couple and left.
Will got up and started walking around the room, his hands in his pockets a scowl on his face. It was obvious that he was in deep thought as his mind stretched to absorb the doctor's diagnosis. Then he turned back to her. There was a smile on his face as he said, "Kitty, it's all right. We've both wanted a family."
"But Will . . . " she had countered. "This is Matt's baby; you can't possibly want to raise another man's child. This wouldn't be fair to you, and Matt should know about this."
He moved to her kneeling next to the bed and taking her face between his hands. "The way I see it, what happened between us last night makes this my baby. Dillon had his chance. He threw you away Kitty." He leaned forward and gently brought her face to meet his and kissed her lips slowly. "As soon as you feel up to it, we will be married."
In two weeks time they were standing in front of a local minister, as she promised to "love, honor and obey." She'd been plagued by doubts and had told Will she knew she would never be able to love anyone as she did Matt Dillon. He had told her he was happy for whatever love she could give him. She pushed the fears from her mind. She needed someone to help her through this, and more than anything she needed the security that Will offered. She couldn't go back to Dodge, Matt had made his position clear, and she loved him too much to trap him in a marriage that he would later regret.
During the next few months the nausea and dizziness never seemed to go completely away. There were moments when her heart beat so fast and hard within her chest that she thought it would burst. Her ankles and legs became swollen, and at times her vision became so blurred that it was difficult to see. She was forced to spend much of her time in bed. She had heard the doctor speaking to Will, when they thought she was sleeping. "She is too old to be having a first child. I don't believe she can survive this pregnancy."
"The hell I won't." She had said. Surprising both Will and the doctor.
The task of selling the Long Branch fell to Will. He put ads in the major newspapers from St. Louis to San Francisco and was contacted by a woman named Hannah Ryan. While not able to buy the saloon outright she was able to make a considerable down payment, with the promise of monthly installments. Will sold the furniture with the saloon, all but her wooden rocker. "I'll be needing that rocking chair for the baby." She had explained to Will, not daring to tell him the meaning behind the rocker. So the rocking chair and the trunks she had packed before she left were placed in storage.
Her seventh and eighth month brought a relief from her symptoms and her usual good health returned. Living in the Gold Rush Hotel was expensive so they moved their belongings to a boarding house on the outskirts of town. They didn't have a great deal of wealth, but they figured between them they could afford a modest ranch. Their hopes were dashed again and again as the properties Will wanted to buy were more than their funds would allow. Will had learned of the Yellow River Ranch from the Denver Tribune. After listening to Will read the ad, Kitty had been skeptical. "I don't know Will, it sounds too good to be true." After two days of discussion Will decided that even though Kitty was entering her 9th month, he had to travel to Yellow River to inspect the property. If it proved to be everything the ad claimed he would make an offer and close on the property. While he was gone, she went into labor. She was alone with only a callous doctor to offer comfort. She longed for the kind gentle hands of Doc Adams. She wished desperately to be with someone who cared if she lived or died. She knew of women who had perished in childbirth and the doctor's earlier prediction weighed heavily on her mind. After hours of non-productive labor her grasp on reality faded. When the pain was at its peak, she would open her eyes and see Matt Dillon's face. It was his hand wiping the sweat from her brow and supporting her frame as the spasms of childbirth wracked her body. When the doctor placed the baby beside her, she marveled at such perfection. She was too weak to do more than look at her child. In her sleep the baby's lips curved in a sweet little smile. An exquisite pain pierced her broken heart as she realized that Matt's daughter had inherited his smile.
Will returned two weeks later. His excitement was focused on the ranch he had just purchased. "The price," he assured her, "is a true bargain. Of course I did have to take out a sizable mortgage at the Yellow River bank, but we can have that paid off within a few years." He had expressed concern for her rapid recovery. "I'd like to move within the month." He had taken only a brief look at the baby. "What should we name her Will?" She had asked. His words were like a slap. "That is your decision Kitty, she is your child."
She decided on the name Katherine. Will was agreeable thinking she had chosen the name as a variation of her own name Kathleen. In reality she had named the child after Matt's mother, Katherine Dillon.
The move to Yellow River Ranch came when Katie was six weeks old. The home itself proved a pleasant surprise. From Will's description she could only imagine it as a dilapidated monstrosity. The furnishings were of the best quality, and needed only a good polishing. The house needed paint and scrubbing both inside and out. But Kitty's sense of style easily imagined the possibilities the house held.
The trunks that had been in storage since she had left Dodge were now shipped to town along with the rocking chair. When word was sent to the ranch that her possessions had arrived she rode to town with Will to retrieve her belongings. She felt the excitement build within her as Will loaded the trunks and chair onto the wagon, securing them with rope. As he was putting the rocker on the wagon, he remarked. "What did you want this old piece of junk for Kitty? Breaking it up for firewood is too good for it."
She had learned over the months of their marriage to ignore his comments when connected to anything regarding her life Dodge. The trunks were moved to their room along with the chair. She felt like a child at Christmas as she opened the first trunk, it contained an old chipped blue willow coffee pot and 5 well used cups along with her fine crystal glassware, which she had purchased in New Orleans. She had carefully wrapped each piece with tissue paper. The second trunk was packed with many of her fancy dresses from the Long Branch. At the very bottom of the trunk were kept the keep sakes of her life with Matt. There should be more to show for eighteen years she thought, and then thinking of Katie realized there was. Wrapped with an old blue satin ribbon were a few letters, none spoke words of love, but all were written with love. A cameo lay encased in a velvet box, the image chosen by Matt because the features of the woman reminded him of Kitty. At the very bottom wrapped in a champagne colored negligee were six photographs. They represented five visits to St. Louis and one to New Orleans. Each one was precious because it told the story of their love. From the first picture when they were so incredibly young and so passionately in love to the last taken three years ago, were like the chapters from a favorite book. As she looked from one picture to the next, tears formed in her eyes and slipped down her cheeks. "Oh Matt." She had whispered. "What a fool I was."
She hadn't seen Stambridge standing in the doorway watching her,until he said. "Don't seem right for a married woman to have pictures of someone else. I think you'd better get rid of them, if you know what's best." His voice had startled her and she looked up to see his face set as hard as granite.
The baby in her cradle had started to cry. "Baby must be hungry." Stambridge stated. He turned and left the room. Kitty hurriedly replaced the items then got up to see to her child. She carried the infant to the rocking chair and sat down. She unbuttoned her gown and exposed her breast offering it to the infant. The rocking of the chair soothed both mother and child.
She leaned her head to rest against the strong back of the rocking chair. She closed her eyes remembering the day she had received the chair as a gift. It was a birthday present from Matt. It hadn't been an expensive gift, but it was large and solid and spoke of permanence. Their love had been young and his frequent trips out of town to chase outlaws seemed almost unbearable. She had learned early on to hide that pain, to pretend that it really didn't matter, but he knew.
Typically, duty and the badge had called him out of town on her birthday. He'd had the chair delivered to her room with a blue ribbon tied to its spokes. A note attached, written in his strong hand had said, "let the arms of this chair hold you and rock you when I'm not there." For Matt Dillon those words were profoundly romantic and she had cherished the simple message of the note.
The present intruded on her memories. Kitty's hands gripped the arms of the rocker as she pushed herself up. She walked over to the slumbering child. Katie, in her sleep, had found the bear again, and was holding it close. Kitty reached out a hand to lightly caress a wayward baby curl. In a voice so soft it was barely audible she asked, "Oh Katie, can I ever make things right?"
Sunlight danced across the crib, gently waking the sleeping baby. Katie released the thumb from her mouth to reach for the friendly beam. She was wet. Not only her diapers; she felt the moisture up to her armpits. Her nose wrinkled, she smelled bad too. The room was warm so the wetness was not entirely disagreeable. It had been a surprise, to wake up with her clothes on. She grabbed for her foot and began to work at the sock. It was a long sock and required all of her dexterity to pull off. Finally she freed her toes. She liked her toes, sucking them was almost as good as sucking her thumb. Not this morning, this morning she need something more substantial than thumb and toe sucking. She was hungry. She sat up and took stock of the room. It was still a new sensation waking up in her mother's room, and it gave her a good feeling. She remembered the bear and began a search through her bed covers. He was stuck between the slats of the crib. "No, no, no…" She scolded the toy in a mixture of baby babble and real words, as she pulled him clear. The force caused her to fall backward, hitting her head on the opposite side of the crib. It hurt, but she had the toy. She hugged the bear tightly and sucked on herthumb.
The sound of the baby's head hitting the crib startled the mother, who turned in her sleep trying to find a more comfortable position in the rocking chair. At the sound of the chair's familiar squeak Katie looked up. Grabbing the crib rails, she pulled herself to stand and saw Mama asleep in the rocking chair. A smile spread on her face and just as suddenly she remembered her sore head. She opened her mouth and let out a loud wail.
Kitty became fully awake. Her neck was stiff, from the awkward position in which she had slept. She felt so tired she could hardly move. She realized that last night's memories had drained her of energy and emotion. Pushing her hair away from her face, she got up and went to her child.
It was quite late by the time they came downstairs. The kitchen was deserted. Breakfast for the rest of the ranch had long since been over. Kitty scrambled an egg for Katie, while she herself just had coffee.
The memories were coming at a slower pace now, but each one seemed to bring a heavier burden to her heart. She couldn't escape the knowledge that she had used Will. The fact that Stambridge was awareof it didn't make her guilt any less of a weight to bear. Nor, could she escape the fact that she had given birth to Matt's child, without giving Dillon the opportunity to be a part of his child's life. She wondered how she could face Matt. Surely he would expect an answer for her actions. How could she explain the thoughts and circumstances so that they would make sense to him? Could she explain that at the time, what she had done seemed to be the right choice?
Katie had lost interest in the eggs, and now was dropping them on the floor. Her tin milk cup was the next to go. It clattered to the floor and brought Kitty back from her dark thoughts. She looked at her daughter who looked back and said with wide eyes, "aw gone."
Kitty smiled in spite of herself. Rising from her chair, she lifted the baby from her high chair and put her on the floor.
"Let's get this mess picked up little lady." She said. For Katie the picking up was almost as much fun as the messing up. Soon the eggs were all back on the plate. Kitty placed the dirty dishes next to the dry sink. Scooping Katie to ride on her hip, she went in search of the child's father. They met up with Molly on their way down to the bunkhouse.
"Why Miss Kitty, I was getting just a wee bit worried about you.""Sorry, Molly, we just slept a little late today. Would you mind looking after Katie this morning?"
Molly held her arms out to the toddler in reply. "I've been missing Katie's company these last few days."
"Thanks Molly. Have you seen Mr. Smith around?"
"He and Seamus were just riding out to the North pasture." She replied. "But if you hurry, you might catch them."
She nodded her thanks then turned to run down to the barn. It was too late; she could see his figure riding toward the horizon. She had to talk to him. Seamus came up behind her leading his strawberry roan. "Miss Kitty." He said and startled her. She jumped and turned around.
"Oh Seamus, you're not with Matt."
"Me cinch broke." He replied. "Had to get a new one." He tipped his hat back on his head to study her.
"I've got to talk with Matt. Please, Seamus, can I take your horse." Her eyes were begging.
"T'would only take a moment to saddle your mare." He answered, knowing that for now, whatever she had to say to Matt Smith was more important than any cows ever would be.
She cast a quick glance toward the horizon and Matt's disappearing figure. "Seamus, please your horse . . . "
"Let me adjust the stirrups for you." He offered.
"No time, Seamus, just give me a leg up."
He boosted her to the saddle, and she gathered the reins and urged the animal forward in one fluid motion. "She rides like an Injun."Mulgrew thought as he watched her race in the direction of the black gelding and his rider.
Matt heard her shouting his name and turned to see her riding toward him. He slid from his saddle to wait for her. She pulled the roan to a stop and jumped from the horse running the last few feet to his waiting arms.
"Kitty?" He questioned pulling her tighter into his embrace.
She was breathless, "Oh Matt, I'm sorry, I'm sorry . . . I was such a fool . . . made so many mistakes . . ."
The knowledge hit Dillon with an unexpected force, she remembered. "Shhh Kitty." He soothed. "We've both made mistakes . . . but we've been given a second chance."
She was weeping in his arms, in sorrow and in shame. Her body was shaking with the force of her sobs. He buried his face in her hair as tears burned his own eyes. He let her cry, perhaps understanding that she needed this release, this catharsis in order to get past the pain of their time apart.
They left the horses ground tied and walked the short distance to the riverbank, neither talking but communicating with a language that had always been theirs.
They sat, side by side, but distanced a little bit. She drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them hiding her face in the fabric of her skirt. He wanted to reach out again to draw her close, but hesitated. They needed to talk; there were things they both needed to say.
"You remember?" he finally asked.
She raised her head to look at the river, and he studied the beauty of her profile. Slowly, she nodded her head. She bit her lip, her throat constricted and she didn't know if she could force the words out. She swallowed hard and said. "I remembered about us Matt. My leaving. There are still memories that are foggy, I can't remember what happened when Will and I were ambushed. Although I remember alot about Will and our time together." Just mentioning her husband's name brought the guilt she felt back. Her voice softened as she said, "If I hadn't married him, he might still be alive. He deserved more than I could give him Matt. . . . " She rested her forehead on her knees again and heaved a sigh.
He hated asking the question, but he had to know the answer. "You never loved him?"
She shook her head, biting her lip hard, and digging her nails into the palm of her hand fearing that she would lose control again.
Matt was trying hard to understand. "Why did you marry him?" he questioned. "Why did you stay with him?"
"He could give me all the things you never could . . . a home, a chance for a family." She kept her eyes averted, looking anywhere but his face. She could bear any pain, but the pain of seeing him look at her with anything but eyes of love.
There was a hurt in his voice that she hadn't heard before, "What about Katie, didn't you think that I had a right to know about her?" before she had a chance to answer he asked. "Did you know about her that day in my office?"
She held herself rigid, "I didn't find out until after I'd been with Will in Denver. I wanted to tell you as soon as I knew, but then I remembered that you chose the badge over me. How could I tell you after that?"
It was his turn to nod in reply, as he thought how much that conversation had cost him these last two years. "I didn't give you much choice did I?"
"You were always honest with me Matt. I always knew the way it had to be." She was twisting the wedding ring on her finger and it didn't go unnoticed by Dillon.
He moved closer and asked, "What about Stambridge?"
"It must have been hard for Will. He had so many dreams for this place and for us. Scharpf fought him at every bend. But he never gave up. Will had organized the neighbors against Scharpf. Despite all that went on between us, he was a good man at the heart of things, a man of courage, but I was so wrong in marrying him."
"Did he love you?"
"He said he loved me Matt, but I don't know. Sometimes I think he just loved the fact he had taken me away from you. It was like I was a prize he had won." She moved away and pushed herself to her feet. She walked closer to the river's edge, as if trying to draw strength from its current. "He seemed to take pleasure in reminding me that you didn't want me. That you had used me and then thrown me away."
Dillon rose to his feet. "Kitty, I always wanted you. But your staying or leaving had to be your decision, not mine."
"If I had stayed Matt, what then?"
He smiled. "You mean Katie?" And she nodded. "I would have been the happiest man in the world. I would have thrown the damn badge in the garbage."
"For Katie?" She felt an odd twinge of jealousy.
"For you." He was standing so close that she felt his breath stirring her hair. She turned slowly to look up into his face. He was smiling, his eyes bluer than the sky and brimming with unshed tears.
Her words came out like a familiar refrain, "Oh Matt." It was all he needed to hear, he pulled her into his arms.
Their tears had been shed, and the catharsis complete, the time for healing had begun. She drew in a long shaky breath. "Now what?" She asked, thinking she would be content to stay in his arms like this forever.
He tightened his hold of her. "We could pack up and leave Yellow River, say to hell with the whole thing. We could take our daughter and go home to Dodge."
She pulled away just a bit to look up into his face, wondering if he were serious. He moved his hand to lightly caress her cheek. "I know an old buzzard of a doctor, who'd love to meet Katie." He chuckled at the thought. "Can you picture those two together Kitty?"
"Festus too." She smiled as images of their friends played out in her mind. "They're going to love her. Oh Matt, I miss them!"
He relinquished his hold and instead took her hand leading her along the bank of the river, in the direction of the horses. "We could go home to Dodge, Kitty. But, I think we both know that our obligation is to Yellow River. If you'll let me, I'd like to stay and finish Will's fight. We can't have a life together until we've set things right."
"And then?" She asked.
"Then we will be together as a family, and it won't matter , Dodge City, anywhere, I don't care, as long as you and Katie are with me."
She stopped walking, refusing to budge even though his hand continued to pull. "Say it Matt Dillon."
He scowled at her, not understanding what she was getting at. She shook her head at him, only slight exasperation showing on her face. "Say the words Matt."
The scowl disappeared as a smile replaced it broadening. Without further preamble he dropped to one knee. He brought her hand to his lips turning it over so that he could kiss the palm. The sweetness of the sensation sent shivers through her body. Her words came out almost as a plea. "Say it."
His eyes caught hers, "Miss Kitty, will you marry me?"
"Oh yes!" She cried. "Yes!" She fell to her knees in front of him,knocking him off balance; together they tumbled to the softness of the river grass. "Yes!" She cried as their lips found each other.
Molly finished pouring the coffee and replaced the pot on the stove. "Anyone care for a bit more pie, before I sit down?" she asked.
Seamus shook his head, while Johnny replied, "Just one more small piece Miss Molly." They hadn't mentioned the two empty seats or those who usually occupied them. But they were on both Molly and Seamus' mind.
"Come on Katie my love, time for a wee nappie." Molly said as she lifted the baby from her chair.
Katie was just about to protest when the kitchen door opened and her parents appeared. They stood hand and hand. Their faces glowed with happiness.
"MaMaaa." The baby squealed, squirming in Molly's arms. Knowing better than to fight the child she set her down. Katie ran on toddler's feet to her father and mother. "Bow-bo!" She said, holding her arms up.
Matt Dillon smiled down at his small daughter. "I think we can come up with a better name for your Daddy than that, don't you?" He reached down to swing her into his arms. He turned his attention to Seamus, Molly and Johnny. There was joy in his voice as he said, "Kitty and I have something we'd like to tell you."
End of Part one