Jake's tall tapered silhouette filled the doorway, just as Teresa turned the bottle about in her hands. He saw the accusing and disappointed look that occupied her face. Cursing inwardly, he realized that he had forgotten to mention the Laudanum Dr. Mike had given him.

"It's not what you're think'in," he said placing the bowl on the nightstand.

He quickly set about ringing the linens out and placing them lightly on Lucy's forehead. The girl's sobbing began to subside as her breathing softened. He rested his palm on her tiny chest so as to feel the miniature thumps of her beating heart.

"Papa," she softly exhaled hugging his hand to her chest tightly.

Without retrieving his hand, he turned to Teresa who was perched on the opposite side of the bed unlacing Lucy's boots. She seemed determined not to look at him. Yet, even through the darkness, he could see that she was angry.

"Dr. Mike gave it to me to water down for Lucy's pain," he offered up to her.

He heard a sigh emanate from her direction. Walking around to his side, she knelt down in front of him, her hand resting on his thigh. From this vantage point, she could make out his face more clearly. The corners of his mouth were turned down, heavy with discontent.

"This is not why I am angry Jake," she whispered.

Her eye's settle on Lucy, who was beginning to drift off into sleep. Lucy's hands had fallen away, releasing Jake from her grasp. His hand now free he placed her arms at her sides. Then turning to Teresa, with his elbows on his knees, he raked his fingers through his hair.

"Then why," he demanded with a growl.

"I am angry with myself," she lowered her head. "Now is not the time."

They rose quietly exiting Lucy room, and continued down the stairs into the front parlor. Jake watched his wife lower herself into the crimson wing-backed chair beside the front windows. In the clamor, some of her sable hair had escaped its pins and fell in wavy layers about her face. She starred out the window blankly before reaching up and pulling the remainder of the pins out of her disheveled hair. It cascaded down her back resting close to her hips.

Finally, leaning back her eyes settled on Jake. She was watching him. Observing his movements as he crossed the room and perched on the window seal. Uncomfortably, he swiped from his jaw to his lower lip with his thumb.

"You have not been drinking."

It wasn't a question; but he answered her anyway.


"When I saw the bottle. And then Lucy," she paused straining. "I don't know what I was thinking."

His eyes narrowed on her. If this had been any other day, he could understand if she thought he had fallen off the wagon. She had seen him on his worst day, drunkenly singing and shooting off his pistol. However, the notion that she could believe he would hurt his child cut him to the quick. Not a drop had passed his lips since the night Lucy was placed in his arms for the first time. Jake starred down at her as she clutched her fist to her breast. Feeling his temper flaring, he could have grabbed her and shaken her for this.

Then her eyes met his. Two of the darkest amber gems sparkled with tears. Within moments, he was upon her, holding her body up against his. His arms wrapped around her, as his fingers intertwined in the satiny soft locks of hair. Seeking comfort in her, he breathed in her scent. Roses. She always smelled like roses.

"I have such this feeling of dread," she murmured.

After kissing the top of her head, he replied, "Me too."

An eye of silence filled the house. There was a creeping chill that seemed to be dancing about them. Its inevitable essence was seeping in waiting to reap. A morbid premonition of loss was engulfing them. Something more than migraines was clutching for their child.