The Land Deal Conclusion

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(A few weeks later)

The day had been long and Kitty was exhausted. Taking a look around the bar, she nodded over towards Sam. "Sam, it's late and we're both tired. What you say, we close up for tonight?"

"Yes, Ma'am." He gave her a gentle smile as he hustled around the bar and grabbed the one lone drunk from the end of the counter and helped him out of the saloon with a hand on his belt and one on his collar. Walking back in, he glanced at the tired and pinched features of his boss. It had been several weeks since her ordeal with Kerns and she had been awfully quiet.

The Marshal had taken Joseph Kerns to Hays for trial and the man had been swiftly convicted of kidnapping, assault and extortion. His wife, according to gossip, had been seeking an attorney to help her file for divorce and claim the ranch and all of his holdings. The papers, Kitty had signed, were declared null and void and the ranch remained hers. But still, Miss Kitty seemed sad. He knew part of it was probably owing to the fact that the Marshal hadn't been around much. She was always sad when they were apart for too long.

But he had a feeling there was more to it than just that. He, nor anyone else, knew exactly what had taken place out on that ranch, but he suspected what ever it was, it played a major part in his boss' state of mind. Shaking his head at it all, he quickly went to work by her side as they swiftly cleaned up and prepared the saloon for closing.

When the last chair was atop the last table, Sam and Kitty said their goodnights and Kitty slowly climbed the stairs to her rooms above. Matt had been in town for a while now but so far she'd barely seen him and he'd said not a word to her about what had taken place out on Kern's ranch, or what she'd been about to do. She figured he was probably disgusted with her and wanted nothing to do with a woman who let a man like Kerns touch her, no matter the reason.

She had tried to explain to him that she'd had no choice in the matter, but he hadn't seemed to agree with her. Sighing deeply, she turned the knob and walked into her room to find Matt sitting on her settee with a glass of whiskey. "Matt?" She was surprised. She hadn't expected to see him.

"I was waiting for you, Kitty." Matt spoke as he placed the glass on her small side table and stood up, crossing the room to her side. Gently, he gripped her arms and looked down into her eyes. "I've put this off for too long. We need to talk."

Kitty dropped her eyes and nodded as she pulled herself away from him and stepped over to pour herself a glass of whiskey. She'd been expecting this. Matt had come to tell her goodbye. She decided to let him off the hook. "It's alright, Matt." She said as she took a fortifying drink. "I know you're angry with me for what I did and you probably don't want anything more to do with me. I understand. Like you said that day, its okay."

Matt stood stunned. That wasn't what he intended. Moving over close to her, he took her by the arms again, holding her tightly. "You're wrong, Kitty. It's NOT okay. You were very nearly…" He couldn't bear to think of it, much less say it.

Kitty trembled in his hands as she looked up at him, not sure what he was trying to say.

"Kitty," Matt sighed. "Honey, I know you did what you did for me. But you shouldn't have. I admit; I was angry. I was angry at myself for getting taken like I did and I was angry at Kerns for what he was forcing you to do and yes I was angry at you too."

He paused when he saw the expression on her face. Bending down he placed a soft kiss on her lips before continuing. "I was angry that you chose me over yourself. I was furious that you didn't think as much of yourself as I do. Kitty, I love you. I never want you hurt because of me. Don't you see? You should have told him no. No matter what he threatened to do to me, you should have refused."

The tears, Kitty had been trying to contain, spilled past her defenses and down her cheek. "Oh, Matt." She cried. "I had to, don't you see? I had to. I love you too. I couldn't let him hurt you. I would've done anything he wanted to keep you from being hurt."

Matt gave a low chuckle as he looked down at her tear stained face. "We do make a pair, don't we?" He placed a finger under her chin, bringing her face up to his as he bent down and kissed her again, this time slowly and deeply and passionately.

"I guess we do." She sighed when their lips parted. "But I'd do it again, Matt." She looked at him earnestly. "I would do anything for you. And nothing you or anything anyone else could say, would stop me."

Matt studied her very serious expression and nodded. "I know you would. And I'd do the same for you. Guess there's no help for either of us, huh?"

Kitty shook her head. "No, I guess not. But I wouldn't change. Would you?"

Matt shook his head and took one more kiss. "Nope. I'm in too deep. I love you, no matter how stubborn you are or how mad you make me."

Kitty looked up at him seriously. "You mean that?"

Matt nodded somberly. "I do."

"Good," she smiled brightly for the first time in a long time. "Because I'm gonna need someone to help me run that ranch."

Matt grinned. "Oh you are, are you? You think I'd be any good at that? I mean I'm a pretty good law man but I'm not sure I'd be too good at anything else."

Kitty reached between them and grabbed the waist band of his pants. "Oh, you're good for all kinds of things, Mr. Dillon. Would you like me to tell you about some of them?"

Matt grinned as he bent and picked her up, carrying her over to the bed. "Why don't you show me instead?"

The End