Daniel McFadden was mostly content with his life for the moment. He struggled with his age though, or rather his family struggled with it. He had just recently turned nineteen and felt like an adult, even though his eldest brother Adam, nearly ten years his senior was still treating him like he was a child. Adam's wife Hannah seemed sympathetic to his plight. She was constantly reminding Adam to let his younger brothers, all six of them, make some decisions for themselves, even if sometimes they were the wrong ones. It was time for Adam to at least begin to view Daniel as a man, the way he viewed his brothers' Brian and Crane as men.

It was true enough that Daniel had made more than a few boneheaded mistakes in the last year, but other times', he had shown maturity beyond his years. During Hannah's miscarriage for instance, or during roundup when Evan had gotten hurt, he stepped up to the plate and served as a man for his family when called upon to do so both times. Still, he had a lot to learn. He currently had a lot on his plate. On top of having a responsibility to his family helping run the ranch, he had formed his own band and played gigs on week nights and weekends. When he wasn't working alongside his brothers' he was either practicing or performing with the band. He really didn't have time for his third endeavor. He had recently rekindled his romance with Allison Freling.

Allison's dad had gone bankrupt and it had affected the McFadden family firsthand. Crane had been put in jail for leading a surge to remove feed from Mr. Frelings' storage building after it was seized in the Freling bankruptcy proceedings. At first, Daniel had reacted with anger and resentment towards Allison, but she wouldn't let things go. She was crazy about Daniel and she made sure that she let him know that the situation was not her fault and she meant absolutely no malice towards Daniel or his family. She had stood beside them in court to support Crane. After Crane's sentencing hearing, which led to probation and community service for pleading guilty to misdemeanor trespass, Daniel and Allison had continued to date briefly...Until Mr. Freling announced to his daughter that they were moving back east. They had no other family to speak of. Allison's mother had died years earlier and she was an only child and had never met her mothers' parents. She had no idea where they even were, her mother was estranged from them when she married Jim Freling and Jim's father had died in a plane crash and his mother died a couple years later of cancer. Allison could only vaguely remember them because she was still so young when they had passed away. So Jim had contacted his oldest and dearest friend Tom Shelton and told him about his financial situation and Tom and his wife had agreed to take them in and give them a home-temporarily- until Jim could figure out his next move. Allison and Daniel were of course heartbroken about the move, but it couldn't be helped. There was no other choice at the time. But that was nearly a year ago and a lot of things had happened in that amount of time...To both Daniel and Allison.

Shortly after the tragic letter Daniel had received from Allison, which explained to him that Jim Freling had committed suicide about nine months after moving to Boston, Allison had come back to Murphys. As she explained to Daniel, her dad's parents had that old cabin outside of town and it was her intention to come home and fix it up. She wanted nothing to do with Boston anymore. She wanted to be back home. Daniel had been sympathetic to her heartbreak and he of all people should certainly understand her loneliness. He couldn't imagine having been an only child when his parents had been killed. He had always had his brothers and now he had Hannah too. He lived in a house full of love and understanding. Allison had nobody...except Daniel. That's what was making him so nervous. They had continued to correspond by letters and a few phone calls and it was becoming evident to Daniel that Allison had intentions of just picking up where they left off. Daniel had lain awake many nights trying to sort out his own feelings. He had fallen for Allison, true enough, but he had also moved on. He hadn't clung to his feelings for her the way she had done.

The day Allison was to fly into Sonora found Daniel pensive. He had agreed to pick her up at the airport because she had asked him to and he really was looking forward to seeing her. He just didn't know how to handle her feelings towards him. Should he be up front with her? She'd been through so much, he just didn't think he could bring himself to hurt her. Besides, Daniel didn't know what his feelings were yet. It wasn't like he was seeing anybody else right now. He just didn't have time for the kind of relationship he'd come to realize that Allison was wholeheartedly expecting. He'd thought of talking to his older brothers about it, but he felt like he already knew what they'd say and he knew if he asked for their advice and then chose not to take it, that'd be a whole other problem to deal with. No, he wasn't gonna go down that road. He had to figure this out for himself.

The reunion in the airport terminal had been sweet. Allison really looked beautiful to Daniel. She had lost weight he surmized, but he should've expected that with all that she'd been through. Their embrace had stirred up some of the old feelings in Daniel. God, he thought, this feels great. Allison was back in his arms and she still loved him after all that time. He must have been an idiot to have worried all this time about seeing her. "Oh Daniel, I've missed you so much. You look great! I can't believe I'm actually here with you!" Daniel pulled back from her and said, " let me get a look at you. Aww, honey. You are still the most beautiful girl I've ever laid eyes on! It's good to have you home!" Allison didn't hide the tears she was shedding just hearing him talk to her like that had started them flowing from her green eyes. This felt so right to her. She was in Daniel's arms...just as she'd been dreaming of since the day she and her father left Murphys. Finally, her life seemed to have meaning again. She knew for certain at that moment that she was wrapped in the arms of the man she loved.

Please feed the muse...