I do not own the rights to these characters. This story is intended only for the enjoyment of fellow fans. Many of the "extra" characters are people I have created in my previous stories. I really appreciate anyone reader who takes the time to leave a review. Hope you enjoy!

Israel Boone waited outside the schoolroom for his sisters. He had spent the day inside the fort working for Mr. Anders, the new blacksmith. He was tired from the hot work but appreciated the opportunity to earn some money. At sixteen he was beginning to consider the future. He hoped to have enough money to build a cabin of his own. He also hoped to have enough one day to buy a ring. Waiting patiently for his sisters was easy, for Anna Lee would be there too.

The schoolroom emptied out quickly but there was no sign of Rose or Katie Grace. He saw Anna Lee and walked over to her.

"Israel!" She smiled at him and suddenly he could think of nothing to say. "If you are waiting for your sisters, it might be awhile."

"Why?" He asked still distracted by her deep brown eyes.

"School Master Jacobs kept them after class. I should let them tell you. I wouldn't want to gossip, but Master Jacobs isn't kind to Katie and he insists on calling Rose, Margaret."

"Poor Rose!" He said thinking of his baby sister. "She can never remember to answer to it. I better go inside and see."

"Good luck, Israel. Master Jacobs has been in a foul mood all day. " She reached out and touched his arm. "Be careful."

He smiled at her, suddenly filled with joy. "Don't worry about me." He tipped his hat to her and turned to go inside the schoolroom.

"Your name isn't Boone. It is O'Malley." School Master Jacobs was saying.

"Yes, Sir." Katie-Grace said softly. Her head was down and her green eyes sad.

"But she is a Boone" Rose said stubbornly. "She's my sister and she wants to be a Boone."

"But she isn't. And you are her cousin, Margaret. Now, you write that out fifty times, the both of you and . . ." He looked up and saw Israel then.

"Master Jacobs, good afternoon. I have come to bring my sisters home." He emphasized the word sisters heavily, winking at Katie Grace.

"Yes, if you don't mind, could you mention to your parents that I had to speak to both girls today?"

"Yes, sir, I could." Israel said and Rose hung her head. "We best get home, sounds like you have work to do." They walked out together and Rose began to cry.

"Why are you crying Rose?" Israel asked watching Anna Lee as she crossed the Common and headed home.

"Ma won't be pleased. I just can't remember to answer when he calls me Margaret." Rose said. "No one calls me that 'cept Ma when she's angry."

Katie took Rose's hand. "Israel said he 'could' tell Ma and Pa. He didn't say he would, Rose."

Israel grinned at his sister. "I knew I could count on you to pay attention to detail. What was he going on about?"

The spring wind blew Katie's red hair across her face and pushing it back she sighed and said, "Nothing." She increased her pace and was soon ahead of Israel and Rose.

"It is NOT nothing." Rose said to her brother, and ran and caught up to Katie -Grace and reaching out held on to her hand.

Israel sighed and wondered, not for the first time, what it would be like to be surrounded by women who weren't quite so strong-willed. But mostly he thought again how glad he was to be finished with school.


Israel climbed up into the loft. "Rose, Ma says time for you to get in bed." Rose was bent over her slate at the little desk their Pa had built ages ago.

"I'm almost finished. He leaned over to inspect her work. She had written her name over and over across the slates as her teacher had commanded.

"Oh, Rose!" Israel said.

"I wrote it 50 times! Just like he said." She stared up at him defiantly her chin high and her green eyes serious.

"You look like Ma." He said with a grin. "I don't think that's what he had in mind."

He looked again at the slate. She had indeed written her full name as she had been told but how she had written clearly communicated her thoughts on the issue.

margaret ROSE Boone

"Rose. . ." He began but looking at her he knew arguing would be of no use. "Go to bed." He said instead and kissed her forehead.

He returned to the main room of the cabin. His father was trying to mend a broken trap. He sat at the table wrestling with it until his mother finally said, "Daniel! You'd better not scratch my table, or your work list will get longer!"

She sat across from him mending one of his shirts, a book propped up in front of her. It was no doubt her Bible. She read all the time, but usually read her Bible in the evenings.

Her father grinned at her and set the trap aside. "Rose tucked in?" He asked seeing Israel.

"Yep." He yawned and stretched his sore muscles.

His mother looked up. "You look tired, son. Why don't you go to bed? I sure hope that Mr. Anders isn't working you too hard."

"Oh, I'm fine. I don't mind hard work." Israel said.

"Good thing." His father said with a smile. "Your Ma could use some more water."

"Yes sir." He went out under the starlight to the well. He filled the bucket and headed back towards his home. Through the windows he could see the glowing firelight. He could see Katie bent over the desk in the far corner. Through the other window he could see his parents. His Pa had said something that had made his Ma laugh, and as she smiled up at him, he leaned down and kissed her. He sighed contentedly. He stepped inside the warmth of home.

"Katie-Grace?" His mother said. "It is late. You ought to get to bed. Whatever you are working on will have to wait 'til morning, a grah."

"Yes, Aunt . . . Ma." Katie said.

His mother looked up surprised. Israel caught it too. His father had snuck into the pantry and was munching on a cookie and so he hadn't heard it.

Entering the room, Katie said, "Good night, Israel." She turned toward their mother and said, "Good night."

Israel watched his mother with a grin. Never once, in the whole history of the world, had she let something go.

"Katie, are you alright?" She asked catching her by the arm and pulling her in close.

Katie swallowed down tears and said, "I am fine."

Rebecca held her still and said, "Cad e ag deanamh buratha duit?"

Katie melted then. "Oh, gabh mo leithsceal." She looked up into Rebecca's eyes. Her Ma just held her tightly.

"That's alright, love. Good night, inion." She said at last and smiling at her she gave her a kiss. Saying nothing, Katie turned to go up to the loft, but stopped when Rebecca said. "Say it, love, you'll feel better. Whatever you are fighting, the truth will always heal."

Katie hesitated and then said softly, "Good night, Ma."

Israel was used to them slipping into Irish from time to time. He didn't know what they said, but he knew the last word: inion; daughter.

He studied his Ma thoughtfully. She was probably the smartest person he knew. She was an excellent judge of people and like Katie, could almost always guess what he was thinking.

"Israel, I can respect that she wants to work this out herself. But sometimes, we have to step in, even when people don't want us too, for their own sakes. I'm trusting you to understand that and know you'll recognize the need when the time comes - if the time comes. She depends on you."

Israel nodded his head. He thought she was going to force him to explain it all. But she understood his sister well. Smiling he said, "Don't fret, Ma." He rose to go into his room but paused to kiss her cheek saying, "Ta gra agam duit."

He left her surprised and teary eyed.


"Becky? Are you crying?"

"Yes, I am, if you ate every one of those cookies I was going to take to Martha's tomorrow." She said looking up at him and wiping tears off her face. He squeezed her shoulder gently.

"I left some, but Becky, it isn't fair to make a man's favorite cookie and not expect him to eat them."

"I know. That's why I'm taking the pie that's hiding on the shelf to Martha's. The cookies were just a decoy." She winked at him.

"Rebecca Ann!" He said. "You are a deceitful woman. Well, I guess it's fair to tell you now, I ate them all." He sat at the fire across from her.

"Who's deceitful?" She asked. She set aside her mending and moved the footstool beside him and sat at his feet facing the fire.

"Israel go to bed too?" He asked and she nodded her head. He stretched out his hand and rubbed her shoulders. They sat together in contented silence for a few minutes.

"Something is troubling Katie-Grace." She said.

"Oh no! Not a beau! Please, Becky. I still haven't recovered from losing Jemima."

She rose and sat next to him. "She got married. You didn't lose her." She laughed.

"So she's up in her room then? I just dreamed she moved away?"

"I guess you have a point there, but on the other hand you did gain two grandsons."

"Who also live far away." He sighed. "What about Katie?"

"No, beau just yet, although the same can not be said of your son. No, I'm not sure what is troubling her, and she's not talking."

"There is a surprise." He wrapped his arm around her. "What does Israel say?"

"Nothing. They are in cahoots. He's worried about her though."

"He'll keep an eye on her then." He sat back. "I'm tired." He yawned and stretched out his long arms. "Wait, what did you say about Israel being someone's beau?"

Rebecca laughed and got up and went into the pantry. She hummed as she set things back in order. Her husband followed her and wrapped his arms around her.

"Anna Lee?" He asked. She nodded.

"Are you sure?" He asked her thinking of the quiet brown-eyed daughter of their good friends Matthew and Grace Bradley.

"Watch the two of them, next time you get the chance." She said with a smile.

"She's a pretty girl, but she's only fifteen. Good Lord! Rebecca! She's just a year older than Katie-Grace!"

"She's just a year younger than I was when we married." She said looking up at him. She laughed as his eyes grew large.

"That's impossible! You were sixteen?" He smiled thinking of the day he'd asked her. "It seemed older then, didn't it?" He studied her a moment. "You still look sixteen. How do you manage that?"

"Don't try and sweet talk me, Daniel. I see you eyeing that pie."

"It's not the pie I was eyeing." He said kissing her.