Deliver Us from Evil
This chapter gets a bit steamy halfway through, but it's over very quickly and on to the sentimental finish! Also, many thanks to Janie and ladybrit for tirelessly cheering me on. And to singerme for countless invaluable suggestions. I couldn't have done it without you.
Matt woke to delicate fingers tickling his beard, every bit of three?...four?...days growth? He'd lost track. It was all a blur. The argument. Kitty taking off for the ranch while he rode halfway to Hays City. Then riding to the ranch near Cimarron where he'd found Doc's note and tearing off for the Indian camp to find Kitty. Afterwards riding again like the devil himself hounded their heels to the gunrunners' hideout, and finally, back here… back where he belonged. Brilliant blue eyes were watching him, smiling when he awoke, warm body nestled against his. "Evenin', Cowboy…" she said with a crooked smile.
"Evenin'?" he asked in confusion.
"Yep, seems we were both a little tired and we slept all day."
"Really?" Matt scrubbed his face with a calloused hand and peered down at his feet. He still had his boots on. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be sick?"
"I was, Matt. But other than my chest being a little sore, I feel pretty good now. I woke up to Doc's worried face staring down at me, and that's the first thing I remember about being here at all."
"You don't remember anything?"
"Except for your voice. I remember that." She spoke in a hushed tone, breaking her gaze to stare distractedly at her fingers toying with his shirt button. "Matt, I've got somethin' I need to say to you."
"No, Kitty, I've got somethin' I wanna tell you, honey."
Kitty placed two fingers gently on Matt's lips. "No, Matt, I need to say this. I…" She trailed her fingers down his stubbly chin and neck. "I'm sorry for how I acted. Sometimes my temper gets the best of me."
Matt smiled indulgently at his beautiful red-headed lover and pulled her closer.
She added ruefully, "I said a lot of things I'm ashamed of. I know you have a job to do, and I knew that goin' into this relationship."
"No buts, Matthew Dillon." She took a deep breath and continued. "I'm a big girl, and I know that if I wanna be with you, there are certain things that come with the territory."
Matt spoke up firmly. "Now you let me talk, Kitty Russell." He pulled her chin up to look directly into his eyes. "I'm sorry, too, honey. I told you this when you were still sick, but I don't think you heard me so I need to say it again. I'm sorry that my job sometimes gets in the way of me being with you. And I'm sorry that those men…" Matt's voice broke and Kitty could see his pale blue eyes fill with unshed tears. "…I'm sorry that those men hurt you just to get to me. That's not right. I wish I had been there to protect you..."
Kitty interrupted insistently, "Matt, if I hadn't gone haring off by myself, then that wouldn't have happened. It's my fault!"
Chuckling, he observed wryly, "We make quite a pair, don't we?"
"Matt, I wouldn't trade you for anyone, you hear me?" She laid her head on his shoulder. "I chose this life."
He stroked her long hair, gleaming in the firelight. "And I love you for putting up with me, Kitty Russell. You're a fine woman, and I consider myself lucky to have you."
Raising up her head, she peeped at him mischievously. "You think so? Even though I may lose my temper now and then?"
"I like my women sassy, honey," he answered, eyes sparkling.
"Sassy, huh? How many other sassy women have you known?"
"Just me?" She eyed him askance. "I find that hard to believe."
"Well, you're the only one that counts anyways." He kissed the tip of her freckled nose, devoid of paint. "The only sassy woman I call my own."
"That's what I said," he declared.
She grinned slyly at him.
He added, "Man's gotta have a little spice in his life is how I look at things."
Still wearing the soft deerskin dress the Cheyenne women had dressed her in after bathing her, Kitty rose to her knees, one eyebrow arching. Reaching to the fringed bottom, she asked coyly, "You like spice?" She stripped the dress over her head, her pale, naked skin glowing in the orange light of the fire. Matt's searing gaze drank in the lovely sight, and he said hoarsely, "What if Doc comes back in here, Kitty?"
She gave him a lopsided grin, "He's my doctor, Matt. There ain't nothin' I got that he ain't already seen at least once or twice."
He hungrily drew her down on the buffalo robe, hovering over her. "Does it hurt?" he frowned quietly, referring to her bandaged wound.
"Not really," she answered lightly. "It won't stop me from showing my Cowboy how much I missed him. And how sorry I am…" She slid cool, slim fingers behind his neck and pulled him to her lips for a deep, wet kiss.
Matt's eyes were heavy-lidded with desire when they broke apart, breathless with longing for each other, desperately gratified to have escaped death once more to be back in one another's arms. "God, I love you, Kitty Russell." His mouth traveled down her tender neck to place a soft kiss on her bandaged flesh. "You're my sassy, spicy woman, and I'm never gonna let you go."
Her lips curled in a satisfied smile that quickly faded when his mouth latched onto her tight, pink rosebud nipple. "Oh, Matt…" she breathed and cradled his head closer to her breast.
He kissed his way down her softly rounded stomach, his warm tongue dipping into her belly button, setting her molten center on fire. Matt's passionate gaze made her shiver as he eagerly slipped her thigh over his shoulder, and she watched breathlessly as his head dipped low.
"Oh, sweet Jesus, Matt…" she hissed. "Oh…you drive me crazy when you do that... Lord, Matt, what if…oh… What if Doc comes in here? We'll give him a heart attack… Oh, don't stop…"
Matt chuckled against her swollen, glistening flesh. "I thought you weren't worried about Doc." Then he gave her a little nip in just the right place, his toes curling when she released a throaty whimper. He murmured hoarsely, "Doc's asleep somewhere. It's past his bedtime."
Kitty clutched tightly at the buffalo robe beneath her and said under her breath, "Oh, I hope so… I'm just so thankful…" She made Matt smile when her hips undulated in response to his intimate caresses. "…that Chester is nowhere around right now." She gasped. "Oh my, do that again…please…oh, Matt…"
"I aim to please, young lady," he growled as his mouth descended on her heated, tender flesh once more.
Matt secured Kitty's bag to her saddle and checked the cinches once more. Doc sat on his horse. They were in front of the ranch house, ready to head back to Dodge. Lillie Mae had her arms wrapped tightly around Kitty's waist, face buried in her riding skirt.
Virgil urged her, "Come on, honey, we've got to let Miss Kitty leave. I promise we'll go visit her in Dodge City in a month."
Lillie Mae's voice was muffled in her skirts, "Is a month a very long time?"
Consolingly, Kitty added, "No, honey, the time will pass quickly, I promise. And I'll come back here and visit you as often as your daddy will let me, alright?"
Virgil smiled bashfully. "You know you're welcome any time, Kitty. He quickly added, "You and Matt both."
Matt grinned back and stuck out his hand. "Thanks, Virgil. We appreciate that."
Virgil took Matt's hand securely and leaned in to whisper in Matt's ear, "You take good care of her, you hear? She's a fine woman, and you're one lucky son-of-a-bitch."
Matt gave him a lopsided smile. "I know I'm a lucky man, Virgil. Thanks for all you did for her while I was gone."
"It was my pleasure."
Matt exclaimed, "Daylight's a'burnin'. Come on, you two, let's head out."
Kitty kissed Lillie Mae's strawberry blonde head, then Virgil's flushed cheek and let Matt help her up on her horse. "I'll see you soon, I promise," she called as Virgil picked up Lillie Mae and held her tight.
Matt mounted his horse and reached across to grasp her hand. He quickly kissed it, right out in the daylight for God and everyone to see, and said, "Let's go home, Kitty..." He leaned over and whispered in her ear, "…back where we belong."