Kitty was still in bed, turning the ring on her finger and admiring how the stones sparkled as they caught the sunlight coming through the window. It fit perfectly. He had bought her rings before and had memorized the size of each finger. She pondered this small symbol of commitment that had been around for centuries-a perfect circle, no beginning and no end, all encompassing. "How did you decide on this one?" she asked, thinking she knew the answer. Matt had once told her that the only color God made more beautiful than a sapphire was in her eyes.
"I had it specially made for you," he replied. "Count the stones." Kitty started counting, keeping one finger on the first one to hold her place. As she came to the last stone, she smiled knowingly. There were twenty. She looked up at him, and he said, "One for every year that I have been the luckiest man on earth."
"I have something to show you too," she said. She got up and walked over to the large armoire that decorated the corner of her room. It held her whole wardrobe of dresses. She almost laughed as she thought about the time she had flung that door open in anger to show him her closet of disappointments, all the special dresses she didn't get to wear because his job had come first.
But no job was going to stop her from wearing this dress. She slowly opened the door and carefully removed it from the far corner. It was simple yet stunning –deep ivory satin with delicate sleeves and collar made of lace.
"What do you think?" she asked, eager for his reaction.
"It's beautiful Kitty," he said, adding with a wink, "and I think that you probably won't be in it for very long after the ceremony."
She gave him a soft kiss and put the dress back in the armoire. Slipping the ring off her finger and handing it back to him, she warned, "You have to keep up with this for a couple of more weeks. Don't lose it!"
"Don't worry," he said, "I'm taking it to Doc for safekeeping."
Doc Adams had been like a father to both of them for as long as they had lived in Dodge. Next to Kitty he was Matt's best friend, and he was about to get the shock of his life.
"Do you think he will mind being my Best Man?" Matt asked.
"Not after he picks his jaw up off the floor. Now there's one physician who might have to heal himself" she joked.
She knew that Doc would be thrilled. Nobody knew what they had been through together, what they meant to each other, more than Doc. He might be a tad miffed that Matt had kept this from him for so long, but he knew Matt had to do things his way—that was a fact.
The wedding would be small and simple—just their close friends and the Justice of the Peace, followed by cake and drinks at the Long Branch. It's all they needed.
"Did you hear from Chester?" Kitty asked.
"I had a wire from him when I got back. He said he wouldn't miss it. He'll be here a week from Friday" Matt smiled.
Kitty squealed. Chester had moved to Colorado years ago, but they had always kept in touch with him. They were both anxious to see their old friend, Matt's trusted assistant for so many years. He had been so good to them, so supportive.
Kitty brushed her hair, got dressed, and put on just a bit of makeup. She had spent little time on herself but looked radiant. It was going to be a big day, and she was nervous. There was so much to tell—how would everyone react? The wedding, a new Marshal on his way, selling the Long Branch, the ranch they had bought outside of town. It was still overwhelming even to them, and they had known about it for a while. Their friends were going to need some time.
"They're going to be happy for us, Kitty," Matt assured her. "You know they will." She did.
They descended the staircase and walked through the saloon that had been Kitty's home since she had moved to Dodge and her life changed forever. She glanced over at the bar and could almost see Sam standing there, flashing that warm smile as they prepared for their new journey. She looked at Matt and said, "Well, here we go."
And with that they walked through the batwing doors onto Front Street—out in public, holding hands, looking at each other very much like a couple in love.