Matt was aware of someone walking around and opened his eyes. To begin with he didn't know where he was. Gradually it became clear, this was Doc's office and the noise that woke him up was Doc, rummaging around trying to get the stove lit. It was barely daylight outside.
"What on earth are you doing up Doc. I thought you were sick."
" I guess I got better, I woke up feeling fine this morning."
Matt threw off the blanket that was covering him, and sat up. He remembered now, he had sat with Doc for several hours yesterday evening because he had wanted to give Kitty a break. Finally the old physician seemed to get settled and feeling dog tired from his own five-day trip, he came out here to sleep on the exam table. Oddly, though, he felt like more time had passed than just those few hours.
He stretched his arms upwards as he got to his feet. He felt a catch in his right chest. Doc looked at him, "You must be getting old," he commented.
"No it's this table of yours that's getting old," he said rubbing his back and ribs. "I've slept on more comfortable rock piles."
"Oh quit your complaining and help me get this thing going so we can have some coffee." Strange, somewhere in the back of his mind Doc thought he knew an easier way to do this.
Noises could be heard from the back room followed by Kitty appearing bleary eyed, at the door.
"Doc what are you doing up?"
"Making coffee," was his reply.
"But you're sick, brain fever you said. I've been sitting up here with you for the last five days. How can you just get up and start making coffee?"
"I don't know Kitty, it must have just been a bad bout of the ague. I feel fine now."
She looks at Matt. Curiously at first, she is not sure, somewhere she has a memory, a bad memory, but she can't quite reach it. She goes over to him and he puts his arm around her. For the first time since waking she looks down at the clothes she is wearing, they are hers all right, but its almost as if she remembers wearing something different, not so bulky. Clothes without all these petticoats, no bustle or corsets, more comfortable but somewhat immodest, she thinks.
Doc reaches to get his coffee mugs down from the hooks where they always hang. He has three of them. He looks again, there are the three white coffee mugs as usual, but now there is a fourth, a blue one.
"What's this?" He takes it down, looking carefully at it, somehow it is familiar, he remembers something, but it is too vague and he can't quite make sense of it.
"Did one of you put this there?" They both look at it, but have no explanation.
Over the next few days Kitty and Matt find that they share a few hazy memories of things that don't quite make sense. Being above the clouds looking down on a river, but it wasn't the Arkansas River. Then they remembered ocean and beaches and tall cliffs rising up out of the edge of the water. They had ridden different horses someplace that wasn't the prairie. They couldn't understand why they both had had the same dreams – because that was the only explanation they could think of. There was one memory Kitty had alone. It made her chill to the bone. She never mentioned that one to Matt but occasionally in the night she would wake with an uneasiness and would have to reach out her hand to touch, him just to make sure he was still there, warm and breathing. As time passed the memories became less clear until eventually they were forgotten all together.
It was several months later that Kitty was tidying one of the drawers in her armoire. She had just bought some new clothes and needed to clear out some of the old ones. She came across a lacy, very skimpy garment. It was obvious which part of her anatomy it was supposed to cover but she had never seen anything like this.
She runs the soft fabric between her fingers. It feels familiar but she doesn't remember buying it, nor does she know anywhere where such a garment is sold. She had never seen something as delicate or as revealing. There is a name on it, 'Victoria's Secret'. She didn't ever remember knowing anyone named Victoria.
For several days she would pull the garment from her drawer and look at it. Its familiarity intrigued her. It was like a memory was there in the back of her mind, but every time she got close to it, it would disappear out of reach.
That night when Matt arrived in her room after making his rounds, she was wearing a pale blue, silky nightgown. When he had eased the garment off from over her head, he had stared in awe at what she was wearing underneath. Somehow, somewhere he had seen her wearing that before, but a long time ago. Surely not though, his mind must be playing tricks. Where would she get something like that?
"Have you seen this before Matt?" She turns around to display her find to its best advantage.
He watches with pleasure as she teases for a minute.
"I'm not sure, you'll have to come here so I can get a closer look."
He pulls her towards him so he can look more closely at the soft lacey garment.
"Let me see now." He runs his hand across the silky, now warm, fabric, which clings so closely to her curves underneath.
"Maybe if you take it off I can get a better look." She smiles seductively at him in reply, then they both laugh and before long the big brass bed welcomes them home.
The article of clothing in question lay on the floor where it fell.