Adam sat on the wagon with one arm around Katie who was sitting on his knee and Emily next to him on the opposite side. Emily held the arm he was using to steer the team, and her Grandpa and two uncles were not far behind them on their horses. Emily was enjoying being close to her father and just plain excited that summer was finally here. She was daydreaming about all the things she wanted to do that summer when her father pulled the wagon to a stop in front of a very familiar pasture.
Adam looked down at Emily as she seemed to register where they were, she had a look of confusion on her face. "Daddy, why did we come here?" She questioned quietly.
"I wanted to show you something." He said simply. "After that we can leave if you want to." Emily didn't say anything, she just waited as her father climbed out of the wagon and helped both his girls down. He took each of their hands and walked out to the middle of the pasture and knelt down in front of a small bush. "Do you remember the last time we were here, what these bushes looked like?" He questioned both of them.
"They were pretty." Katie stated.
"They had Mama's favorite flowers on them, they were purple all of them." Emily added.
"Yes," Adam nodded trying to decide how to approach this.
"But now their gone." Katie went on unknowingly leading to her father's next point.
"They are, but they come back every year and when they are well taken care of they get more beautiful every time." Adam continued in a sad voice.
"Ya, but Mama's gone and she is never coming back." Emily said sounding upset, she thought she knew where her father was going with this little lesson. She started to leave but he caught her hand and held it firm but lovingly.
"Your right, but these flowers are kind of like our memories. I want us to be able to talk about your Mama with each other, to remember her. The memories we have of her are beautiful and when we share them with each other, the more we talk about her the easier it will get and we can always have those wonderful memories. Losing your mother was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, it hurt so much for me to remember her, I tried to forget. But in the process I pushed the people away that mean the most to me in the entire world, you and you." He pointed to both of them.
"But these flowers only come up once a year." Emily pointed out. Adam smiled and nodded, he guessed that she would have thought of that. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a dried purple flower.
"But memories can last forever." He handed her the flower, Emily threw her arms around Adam's neck and hugged him for a long time. He pulled Katie in close as well, and just held his daughters. "So what do you say we go have ourselves an end of the school year picnic?"
"Can we have it here, Daddy? I think Mama would have wanted it." Emily smiled at her father, Adam felt a weight lift off his shoulders and his heart begin to mend.
"Of course." Adam stood and carried Katie over to the wagon where they started to unfold the blanket. Emily took the picnic basket, carried it over to their blanket and started setting out the food. Adam stopped at the side of the wagon and watched her with a smile on his face.
"You know, Adam, were never gonna eat with you just standing around." Little Joe joked.
"I think she's got it taken care of." Adam pointed at his busy daughter. "She reminds me so much of Sarah." Joe could hear the pride in his voice but also the flicker of sadness.
"Sarah would be proud of the way you've handled those two. Your a good father Adam, the best." Little Joe smiled and left him to his thoughts. Hoss grabbed Katie away from the food that she was about to get into and set her on his shoulders. He bounced her around, she squealed and giggled, loving every second of it. Ben joined Emily to help serve everybody and Adam just watched swept away by his thoughts of Sarah.
"Food's ready." Emily called, enjoying the adult role she had taken. Every one piled in finding a clear corner of the blanket, Adam sat down next to Emily and squeezed her shoulder. After dinner, Adam and Ben watched the others play tag until they both got dragged into the game. Then came hide n seek, and after several rounds of that, Adam found Katie asleep in her hiding spot and decided it was time to go. Everyone was worn out by the time they got home, Adam and Joe carried the two sleeping girls into their room and put them to bed. Although it was still early for them to go to sleep, they each found their way to their beds rather quickly, and soon the house was silent.
Adam lay awake in his bed, staring at the ceiling. His mind was running on empty but running just the same. He had a dilemma, Mrs. Stevens had children of her own that were now out of school and she wouldn't be able to take care of the girls on top of her own. His father and brothers, like him, worked on the ranch from sun up till close to dinner time and Hop Sing made it clear he would not babysit. The only option at least for now seemed to be to take them with him, but how was he supposed to watch two young girls and run a ranch at the same time?
He smiled to himself remembering times after Katie was born where they weren't sure how to handle two little girls.
"Mama, Mama." A three year old Emily called from the kitchen. "Maaammaaa!" Sarah had been relaxing on the couch while nursing Katie, Adam rose from his desk and hurried over to the kitchen.
"It's alright, Emmy." Adam quickly walked over to her and lifted her into his arms. The kitchen floor was covered in apple pie and so was Emily. "What happened?" Adam asked his frantic child.
"I want Mama!" She cried. Adam tried to calm her to no avail, then he noticed the blood on her hand. He quickly took her hand in his and pressed a towel up against it making her cry even harder. "Mama!" Sarah came in from the living room carrying Katie, when she saw Emily, she quickly handed Katie off to Adam and began to nurse her daughter's injured hand. A very unhappy Katie began to wail, Adam tried to hush her, but all she wanted was to be fed. Sarah and Adam looked between both daughters not knowing which to help, then in a split second Sarah made the decision for them.
"Emily, Mama doesn't know how to fix your hand. Sweety, can you let Daddy do it so that it will be all better." She touched Emily's cheek wiping the tears away. The little girl continued to cry quietly but allowed her father to take over.
End of Flashback
Adam chuckled at just one of the many memories he had of them struggling to balance their lives with two girls, but then they at least had each other. The emptiness returned, he tossed and turned for half an hour before he gave up on sleep. Adam rolled out of bed, slid into his pants and headed quietly out the door. In silence, he saddled up his old horse and friend, leading him out the barn door where he mounted and rode off into the night. The cool breeze of the rather warm summer night felt good and the night was lit by a full moon, but Adam could not shake the miserable feeling of loss that enveloped him.
Adam had no recollection of where he rode that night, letting Sport take him where ever the horse decided, his mind was filled with her but his heart was empty. At one point, his horse stopped by a stream for a drink. Adam slid out of the saddled and looked up at the night sky, speckled with glittering stars but so distant. "Why did you take her?" Adam said quietly and miserably. After Sarah had died, he decided there was no God, but the faith his father had instilled in him could not be pushed aside so easily, now he cried out to Him in anger. "I loved her, more than anything." He struggled to get the words out through his emotions, he beat his fists into a nearby tree releasing his anger. Leaning his head against the tree, he let the hot tears run freely. He had not cried since the night his wife died, determined to be strong, but now he let all the frustrations out. The helplessness, hurt, anger, confusion, and emptiness, emotions that had plagued him for weeks dissipated, and slowly he began to feel the comfort of his Heavenly Father. Adam knew that God understood his pain, but not only understood, He was there to take care of him through it all.
The next morning came to early for Adam, having been out till early that morning, he drug himself out of bed and downstairs for breakfast. Ben noticed his son's fatigue and offered. "Since it's the first day of summer, Adam why don't you do something special with the girls, we can take care of things for the day."
"Thanks Pa, but we did that yesterday, its time to get back to work." Adam said quietly, knowing what his father was up to.
"Alright, we need a couple things from town, would you be able to run in and grab them. You could take the girls to lunch at the new restaurant." Ben tried again.
"Hoss was going to town today, he can grab them. I am heading out to the cowboy's bunk house to check on a few hands and see how they are holding up, then I'll be up to help you in the north pasture." Adam explained as if there was nothing different in his plans than any other day. Ben knew how stubborn his son was and that there was no point to even argue, Adam would just have to learn on his own that he would not be able to do everything he used with the girls tagging along.
"Brother, I can take the girls to town with me, I'm sure they would enjoy that." Hoss decided to try.
"Listen, you two. I am capable of taking care of my daughters, I'm grateful for your help, but I can manage." Adam said in a defensive yet playful way, letting them know he was serious but understood their concern. They both simply nodded, as the two girls and little Joe came down the stairs. Katie ran down the stairs, nearly falling the last couple steps, and over to her father.
"Daddy, Emily doesn't have to go to school. So she can play with me all day." She giggled. Adam pulled his youngest onto his lap.
"Yes, and you both are going to spend the day with me." Adam smiled then got serious. "And you, young lady, need to stop running down those stairs, your gonna hurt yourself."
"Emily pushed me today when we were getting dressed." She said matter-of-factly as though she hadn't heard Adam.
"What did I just tell you?" He asked lifting her face to look at him.
"Not to run down the stairs." She said quietly looking at her feet.
"Go sit down." He said softly as he slid her off his lap. After breakfast, Adam sent both the girls to their room to change into their pants and he went out to get the horses ready. Ben followed him. "Do you mind if I take the Flash for Emily to ride, she seems to do pretty well on her." He asked remembering the night she rode off on her alone to their house. "I'm thinking about getting her a horse for her birthday, she'll need one soon." He said as an afterthought.
"Of course, you might think about giving her Flash, she does great with her." Ben said absentmindedly.
"What's wrong?" Adam asked knowing the look on his father's face well.
"Nothing. Do you really think that taking the girls with you is the best idea, Katie is only five." Ben finally stated his concern.
"She is almost six, I know it doesn't sound like the best idea but I don't have many other options right now. I'm doing the best I can, I'll watch them closely, you know that." Adam defended as he saddled the young filly. Ben backed off, this was not his decision to make. Emily came in the barn ahead of her sister, dressed in her short sleeve blue button up shirt and jean pants. Katie followed struggling to clip one of her overall's straps in place. Ben bent down and snapped it for her, pulling her dark curly hair back into a messy pony tail at the base of her neck. Without another word Adam lifted Emily onto Flash and swung up onto Sport, Ben handed him Katie who hung on around his waist. Adam turned to Emily. "Stay close to me and listen to what I tell you, this is no place to be messing around. Do exactly what I say, understood?" He said very seriously. Emily nodded nervously. "I want you to answer me." He added firmly wanting more than just a nod.
"Yes sir." Emily said quietly still unsure of her father's mood. Ben waved to them as they rode off, Adam leading the way. The cowboys that were still hanging around the bunkhouse got a kick out of seeing there boss trailed by two little girls everywhere he went, but were quickly shut up with one sharp look from the man they had all come to respect. Emily and Katie followed their father through the bunkhouses but after a little while they both grew impatient. Adam had stopped to check on one of the sick cowboys and told them to wait outside. Katie was the first to move. "Katie, Daddy said to sit here." Emily warned her sister.
"Look at that!" Katie pointed excitedly around the back of the bunkhouse and hurried off. Emily ran after her sister, curious to what she had seen. In the corral, stood a beautiful black stallion. Emily forgot her father's warning and joined her sister on the fence. Mesmerized by the magnificent horse that pranced around before them. Adam had come out of the bunkhouse to find the bench, where he had sat both of his girls, empty. He knew exactly where they had wandered off too. Adam came up behind the two girls who were to fascinated by the horse to notice him and landed a hard swat to each of their backsides. Surprised and afraid of getting more, they quickly jumped off the fence and turn to look at him keeping an arms length between them and him.
"You disobeyed me." Adam stated firmly, skipping the normal questioning and going straight to the point.
"We weren't gonna stay for long, just a bit, Daddy." Katie explained her hands still protecting her backside.
"You didn't tell us how long to stay on the bench, we stayed for a while and we were gonna come back." Emily picked up with her sister's excuse.
"Don't start Emily, I expect excuses like that from a five year old but you know better. You both know you were supposed to stay on that bench, I expect you both to listen to me for the rest of this trip, your walking a thin line right now." He stared at Emily as he spoke this last line, she was old enough to know better. Emily looked away, more angry than anything, it wasn't fair that she got in more trouble than Katie when they did the same thing. The anger was building inside her and threatened to spill over, but she had become an expert at keeping it to herself or so she thought. Adam saw the storm brewing in his eldest but decided to ignore it for the time being, he had a lot of work to accomplish and no time for a tantrum. Adam walked back to his horse and lifted Katie into the saddle before swinging up behind her. Emily stepped on a stool and mounted Flash, then followed her father to the north pasture.
"Hello," Ben called as the three climbed down from their horses. "How's it going?" He questioned truly wondering how Adam was managing with two young girls tagging along.
"Fine, Pa." Adam glanced behind him at his quiet daughters. "Emily, Katie, you can play over here but stay where you can see me at all times. Understood?" He asked again.
"Yes." The girls responded not looking up at him, Adam sighed and turned to follow his rather worried father.
"Rough morning?" He asked quietly as they walked away.
"How far have you gotten?" Adam decided to ignore the question knowing he was about to lose his own temper. Ben left it at that and the men went to work, checking up on the girls more often than necessary.
"Emmmiillllllyyyyy!" Came a loud cry from the direction of the girls near the end of the work day. Adam looked up to see his eldest sitting on top of a very distressed Katie.
"Emily get off of her right now." He hurried over, grabbing her off of her sister before she could respond. Adam pinched the bridge of his nose as he often did when he had enough. Ben had come over to help if needed but stayed back to allow Adam to be the father that they needed. "What is going on?" Adam asked staring only at Emily. She wouldn't look at him and just stood their with her arms crossed defiantly. "Emily." He warned.
"I want Mama!" She yelled and burst into tears. Adam softened, he knelt down on one knee and pulled her into his arms.
"Katie, what happened?" He asked more gently over the muffled crying coming from his chest.
"I wanted to play." She said simply as though that explained everything.
"Come on, let's go home." He said defeated, hoping they could work it all out before bed. He lifted Emily onto her horse taking the reins and the climbed up on Sport, letting Ben hand him Kates. "I'm sorry, Pa. I help make up the work tomorrow." He said quietly turning away before Ben could answer his son.
Back at home, Adam left Katie to help Hop Sing with dinner and took Emily up to her room. She ran over to her window and sat down on the window sill. Adam sighed, walked over and sat on her bed facing her. "Come here." Adam commanded firmly but quietly. Emily didn't move from her spot by the window. "Emily Anne Cartwright, do not ignore me, young lady." She flinched at the sound of her full name but then slowly walked over to stand just out of reach of her father. "Why are you angry at me?" Adam sighed. Emily looked away but her father gently touched her chin and turned her to face him.
"You were mad at me." She accused and looked down as tears came back to her eyes.
"I wasn't mad at you, Ems. You both disobeyed me and I got onto you, its dangerous to disobey me when I tell you to do something." Adam explained, trying to remember if he had seemed angry.
"You didn't get onto Katie!" She said pulling away from him as he reached for her. Adam's anger began to rise at her resistance so he took a second to calm himself before continuing.
"What do you mean?" He asked not following her logic.
"You yelled at me when I made an excuse but not Katie. She started it and didn't get in trouble. You yelled at me." She repeated. Adam ran a hand down his face, frustrated at himself for losing his temper with her.
"Your right, Ems. I lost my temper, I'm sorry." He said gently pulling her close in spite of her pushing away. "I got onto you more than Katie because your older and know better than to try an excuse like that. It was disobedience no matter how you look at it. I expect you to be an example to her." He tried explain as he wrapped his arms around her but still holding her at a distance so he could see her eyes while they talked.
"I don't want to be an example. Not if I get in more trouble." She pouted.
"Emily, your an example to your sister whether you like it or not because you are older. So, I expect you to be a good example because I know you can be. Now, tell me what happened in the pasture." He continued.
"I was mad because you yelled at me and not Katie, she wanted to play but I didn't want to play with her. She kept bugging me to play with her and she wouldn't go away. She kept running circles around me saying please, please, please." She copied in a high-pitched sing-songy voice. "I told her to stop but she wouldn't, I called for you but you were busy, so I sat on her and she stopped." Emily said, not being able to stop the smile the came to the corners of her mouth.
"You know that wasn't right of you to do?" He asked more as a statement.
"Ya, but she wasn't right either." Emily spat out, crossing her arms. Adam reached in front of her and pulled her arms down.
"I've had enough of your attitude, we are not talking about Katie, we are talking about you." He watched her closely to see if she was going to put up more of a fight or give in, thankfully she gave in.
"You didn't listen to me," She started to tear up again. "you were so busy, and when you yelled at me you wouldn't listen." She had started sobbing now and Adam held her against his chest until she calmed down.
"What did you want to tell me?" He asked when she was quiet but still held her close.
"Katie got up to play and she didn't listen to me when I told her to sit down. She ran off to see the horse, so I went to get her but when I saw the horse, I kinda forgot." She said pulling back to look at him.
"What should have you done when Katie disobeyed?" Adam coxed.
"I should've gotten you." She said sadly.
"Yes, then you wouldn't have gotten in trouble too." Adam wiped the tears from her cheeks and continued. "You miss your Mama, don't you?" He asked referring to what she had said at the pasture.
"I want to stay home, Mama played with us." She said sadly.
"I'm sorry that I don't have as much time to spend with you, things are going to be different now, and it's going to take time to get used to it. I'm going to start asking around town to try and find a place for you girls to stay during the day but until then I'm gonna have to take you with me. But maybe we can work together, you listen to me when I need you sit still and stay out of the way and I'll make sure to take time to spend with you and teach some of what we are working on. This is new for the both of us, and we both messed up today, lets start over fresh tomorrow." He kissed her forehead.
"Ok, Daddy. I'm sorry that I disobeyed you today and that I had a bad attitude." Emily hugged him.
"Your forgiven, but lets have no more of this attitude, understood?" He said seriously.
"Yes, Daddy." She answered not pulling away from him.
"Doc Martin has to check on the hands, we might be in there a while. You can play up front but stay close, so that I can see you out the window. If your both good, I'll take you to look at the stallion when we're done." Adam told the girls before going inside. It didn't take long for them to get bored but they obeyed and sat on the porch drawing pictures in the dirt with a stick until their father came back out. "Come on." He smiled at them taking theirs hands and leading them around back.
"Isn't he beautiful, Daddy." Emily said as he lifted her onto the corral fence.
"Yes, you know flash is going to look just like him someday." Adam smiled as he held Katie up to see the horse.
"Is he Flash's daddy?" Asked Katie.
"Yes." He smiled down at her.
"Flash is gonna be smaller though, isn't he?" Emily asked concerned.
"Why do you think that?" He questioned.
"Because if he gets that big, I won't be able to ride him anymore and I like Flash." She explained.
"He might, we'll just have to wait and see." Adam chuckled. "Come on it's time to get going, we need to see if your grandpa needs some help. I think her could use three extra hands." Adam said as he started to walk away, Katie didn't follow, instead she stood there looking confused. "Katie, are you coming?"
"I want to help to." She said sadly.
"Of course, your going to help." Adam walked back to her and bent down in front of her.
"But you said three hands. If you use two then that only leaves one more and Emily is older than me, so she always gets to do everything." She said as her eyes filled with tears, Adam couldn't help but laugh.
"Kates, people who work on the ranch are called hands. There are three of us, so three hands. Emily, you, and me." He tried to explain.
"So I can help?" She questioned excitedly.
"Of course, now where did you learn count like that?" He questioned, impressed with his five-year old.
"Mama taught me." She said but her smile quickly faded at the thought.
"You did a great job, Mama would be proud. Come on, let's go see Grandpa." Adam scooped her up, distracting her fast enough to avoid the tantrum, and they all headed to the field.
Emily ran up to her Grandfather and jumped into his arms. "We've come to help!" She squealed.
"Well, that's wonderful. I'm gonna need a couple of hard workers today." He smiled as Adam walked over with Katie.
"I brought you a crew, Pa. Figured they'd be mighty good at filling that hole." He chuckled.
"That's an awful big task for two little girls." He replied.
"We can do it, Grandpa." Emily confirmed.
"Alright, Come on and I'll show you what to do." Ben agreed having them follow him. He thought it was senseless knowing if he put his hired hands on it, that it could be done in an hour. These two could work on it all day and probably not make a dent. "See this hole?" He asked and waited for a nod, when he got one, he continued. "We need you to fill this hole with the dirt that is in the wagon over there." He pointed and waited for a response.
"Grandpa, why didn't you just dump the pile in the hole, instead of over there?" Emily questioned.
"Because the wagon wheel decided to break off just before they got it here." Ben sounded frustrated at the whole thing.
"Oh, how do we carry it?" She asked.
"Come on, we'll get you some buckets." Ben got the buckets and started the girls on their job before leaving them to find Adam. "You know that is going to take them forever." He nodded back at them.
"Maybe so, but at least it's getting done. That way we don't have to spare anymore hands to finish that job." Adam and Ben went to work, for hours they worked while the girls worked on their job. After a while, Katie had gotten bored, so Emily had made a race out the work. But when Katie kept losing they found a different game. Several games later, Katie was worn out and sat down on the dirt covered wagon, but Emily kept working.
"Come on, girls. It's time to go home." Adam called as he walked towards them. Katie sat in the pile of dirt in the wagon and had obviously been playing in it for a while, she was covered in dirt. Emily to was very dirty but was still carrying her bucket back and forth. "You both have done such a great job!" Adam smiled as he took the full bucket from Emily and carried it the rest of the way.
"Daddy, we are almost finished. Can we just have a little longer?" She pleaded looking back at the diminishing pile of dirt that her little sister still sat on.
"You have already done enough work for today, let's go home and have a big dinner." He smiled at her determination.
"Please?" She continued with her best puppy dog eyes.
"Alright, let's see how fast we can get this finished." He sighed, after a hard days work the last thing he wanted was to haul dirt, but if his daughter could do it so could he. When Adam joined them, Katie got back up and starting helping, proud to be working along side her father. The other hands that had started to head home stopped to see what they were up to, Adam explained with a chuckle that his daughter wouldn't leave the task undone, and those hands found buckets of their own and began to help. Ben finished his work and went to leave when he noticed the large group of people over where his granddaughters had been working. He headed over just as they had finished with the last bucket of dirt that Emily poured in. The whole group of cowboys erupted in a cheer and lifted the two girls onto their shoulders. He smiled as he watched his granddaughters laugh and his son watching proud as peacock.
"Goodnight, girls." Adam smiled at them as he walked to the door. "You both did very well today, thank you for your help." He turned and shut the door behind him.
"Katie?" Emily whispered quietly.
"I'm sleeping." She answered her older sister.
"No, your not! Did you have fun today?" She asked.
"Ya, I like playing in the dirt." She giggled. "And when everybody cheered that was fun."
"Good," Emmy smiled to herself. "Goodnight, Kates." She hoped if they both enjoyed it, maybe her father wouldn't find someone else to take them.
"Night." Katie answered sleepily.
Downstairs Adam sat in the red chair facing his father, wanting to know his thoughts on how the day went. Ben volunteered them before his son could ask. "I'd say today was a success!" He chuckled remembering the smiles of the cowhands at the end of the work day.
"I don't know how long it will work out but for now it has to." Adam said seriously.
"Adam, if you need me to take the girls for a day, I can find them something to do with me. So that you can focus on your work that is, I know Hoss and Joe would be willing to help as well." Ben offered.
"Thanks Pa, but for now I think it would be best that the girls stay with me, until they learn the dangers and the necessity to do exactly what they are told." Adam was lost in thought knowing all the dangers that could befall his girls if they didn't listen, he would have to be stern with them, especially Katie.
"Well, there is a lot of work to do on the North pasture, so I can help you keep a close eye on them for the next couple of days." Ben said leaving no room for argument. Adam didn't bother, knowing his father's need to be of help, Adam detested that he really did need the help, but was thankful his father was understanding and didn't overstep his bounds. Joe joined the two in the living room as Ben dismissed himself to his bedroom, to read before turning in. Before Joe could say anything, the sound of little footsteps broke the silence. Adam looked up to see Katie carefully and quietly making her way down the stairs. He gave his daughter a stern look and in a soft yet firm voice asked. "Are you allowed to be out of bed, young lady?" She stopped a couple steps from him and her lower lip began to quiver.
"I need Mama." Katie said as tears made their way down her cheeks and a sob escaped. Adam reached out to her, and gently pulled her into his arms.
"Shhshhh, baby, it's ok." Adam comforted, while Joe watched somewhat uncomfortably. "Do you want to talk about her?" He asked, little Joe winced at the hurt in his older brother's voice, knowing the pain he was willing to suffer, to help his daughter.
"I miss Mama." Came the little girls cry.
"I know, I do too. Do you remember the time that you and your Mama made me a birthday cake?" He could help but chuckle at the memory. At a nod from Katie, he continued. "She let you make the whole thing all by yourself."
"Mama helped me." Came a much calmer correction from the little girl cradled in his lap.
"Yes, after you cooked it and put the frosting on it. It ended up all over you, now remind me how that happened." He smiled down at her.
"I carried it to you but I dropped it all over me." She said starting to smile. "I thought Mama was mad, but she laughed. Everyone laughed, and I had chocolate cake all down the front of me." She said giggling now.
"Yes, then she decided I needed to try my cake." Adam continued now with a sad look in his eye that only Joe noticed.
"She shoved it in your face." Katie squealed with delight. Adam smiled at her and held her silently for a little longer. "I love Mama."
"I know and so does your Mama." He whispered quietly. Katie slid off his lap.
"Mama didn't like me staying up late." She said explaining her actions. Adam smiled and pulled her into another hug, then sent her off with a kiss on her forehead. Adam watched her climb the stairs and disappear into her room, little Joe interrupted the silence.
"Adam?" He questioned at first, waiting for permission to go on, when his brother turned to him and nodded, her continued. "How are you holding up?" He asked not truly expecting Adam to share his true feelings. He knew Adam had rode off in the middle of the night a couple days ago and he was worried about him.
"I'm fine." He said simply.
"I know you better than that, Adam. But I won't push you, it wouldn't work anyway." Joe said, a little perturbed that his brother wouldn't confide in anyone. Joe stood and was about to leave Adam to himself when he was stopped by a familiar hand.
"I know you care, Joe, and I thank you for that. I'm not ready yet, I can't not now." Adam said weakly, feeling all the weight of his resent loss.
"That's alright, older brother, I'll be here when you are ready." Joe smiled and patted Adam's hand that still rested on his shoulder. As Joe disappeared up the stairs, Adam sat down his mind filling with the memories of her. Smiling at him, teasing him, playing with the girls, and cooking with their youngest on her hip and Emily holding onto her skirt. Memories filled him and for the moment it felt as though she was there with him again. Adam knew that things were starting to work out again and he was confidant that he had kept his promise to his wife. "I will take care of them, I will help them remember you." He promised again in a whisper. "I will never forget my quiet girl."
Note: Thank you all for such kind reviews, I have enjoyed reading all of them. I will gladly accept any criticism knowing that it will help me become a better writer. I hope you enjoyed my story, if you have any ideas for future stories, they would be appreciated and taken into consideration. To the comment about Adam chasing girls as much as little Joe, I agree with you there. That part of the story was from Adam's perspective, and we always tends to see ourselves better than we really are. Besides having little Joe as a brother would make anyone think they weren't girl crazy =) lol. Thanks again.