Jo's first impulse was to jump between Dan and Bess and push them apart from one another, but instead, she tiptoed away from the scene as quickly as she could, her heart pounding. What should she do? Should she tell Laurie first, or confront Bess herself later? If she told Laurie what she'd seen without giving Bess a chance to tell her side of the story first, the girl would be angry. And could she bring the subject up with Bess? The girl would accuse her of spying! In truth, Jo had come upon Dan and Bess purely by accident. She'd been collecting nuts for Rob, who loved them, when she'd heard their voices.

With much effort, she pushed the incident from her mind and went about her daily routine.

Bess pulled away from Dan with a frightened look in her eyes.

"What's wrong?" Dan looked hurt.

"We shouldn't." Bess' voice was almost a whisper. "It's wrong."

Dan looked dejected. He sighed heavily, took Bess' hand, and walked with her back to the classroom.

"You look as if you're a thousand miles away in your head," Laurie told his wife that evening at the dinner table.

"Sorry." Jo shook her head as if clearing it of cobwebs.

"It's hard getting used to being back home again, isn't it?" Laurie asked gently. He rose and walked behind Jo, where he stood massaging her shoulders.

"That feels so good," Jo sighed. Bess looked embarrassed. Rob and Teddy giggled. Laurie gave his wife a quick hug and kiss on the cheek.

Later, after Rob and Teddy had been settled for the night, Jo was sitting in bed reading a book when Laurie came into the bedroom, gave her a saucy wink, sat on the edge of the bed, and began taking his shoes and socks off. Her book immediately forgotten, Jo's attention was riveted on her husband and what he was doing. Laurie next removed his shirt and pants and then lay beside Jo and began to kiss and caress her. Her arms wound around him as she responded to his passionate overtures.

"Oh, Teddy," she sighed, running her fingers through his black hair. Already his fingers were between her legs, softly stroking the tender flesh there, getting her ready, while her hands made their way to his most intimate parts, feeling him harden under her touch. At last he entered her, and they began to make love.

Afterwards, as they lay cuddling, Jo had such warm, cozy feelings for her husband that she felt she could keep nothing from him.

"Teddy?" she began.


"Today I was gathering nuts behind the barn when I heard voices. I looked in the direction they were coming from and saw Dan kissing Bess, but it wasn't just an ordinary kiss. It was...very passionate, if you know what I mean."

"And that's what's been occupying your mind all evening?"

Jo nodded. Laurie chuckled and hugged her tightly. "I don't think it's anything to worry about. Bess has enough common sense not to let things go too far. I trust her. It's very sweet of you to be concerned, though."

"Of course I'm concerned, Teddy! Bess is my niece...and now she's my stepdaughter as well."

"I love you, Jo." Laurie kissed her lips. "Now, go to sleep."

"Good-night, Teddy."

"Good-night, yourself." He tweaked her nose playfully. Soon both of them were asleep.