CHAPTER NINE

Quiet in bed that night, Matt was the first to speak.

"Sounds busy downstairs, love. Do they need you?"

"I have wonderful, loyal people down there covering for me. Just like you do over at the jail."

He stroked her hair and looked into her eyes. "Doc might have saved my life again today."

"He loves you like a son, you know."

"I've been giving it some thought, Kit. Laying there looking at the ceiling and all," he smiled softly. "It plays over and over in my head what you said about wanting to laugh again. I want that too. I can't stay here in your rooms forever. I've got to get my life back. I think I'm gonna use this time to go away, Kit. I'm gonna get out of Dodge. Maybe Kansas City or St. Louis or Fort Worth or Denver or wherever. I need to get out so I can think. . ." and his voice trailed off.

The room was quiet. She said nothing. And then he spoke again.

"I don't know where, Kit, but I need to go. I need to figure out what I'm going to do. I can't just lay here in this bed, or hide out up here."

Again the room was silent, while they just looked at each other. Kitty's heart sank, picturing the room without him in it. In a few moments, he continued.

"Will you go with me? I've never been like this with you. Day after day, night after night I'm with you. We have time to talk. Share our secret feelings privately. Making love. It never gets old, Kit. I want to be with you all the time. Come with me, please."

Kitty reached into him and kissed him softly on the lips. Her blue eyes sparkled.

"Don't you dare go without me! When are we leaving?"

"Don't even know where I'm going or how I'm getting there."

"Didn't ask where or how. Just asked when."

"As soon as I can roll over. All the way over. As soon as I can be a whole man."

She pulled him to her, warm and soft and happy. And they heard nothing from downstairs. Just the sound of each other's soft breathing.

XOXOXOXO

"Okay, guys, here's the plan," Matt announced. Festus, you're going to blindfold Kitty. And be sure you do a good job, cause there's no cheating going on here! Quint, you're going to spin her around. Be good at it, make sure she's confused now, or this won't be fair! Kitty, when Quint stops spinning you, reach out and point. Just point. If you point East, it's Kansas City. If you point West, it's Denver. If you point South, it's Fort Worth. If you point North, it's Cheyenne. Doc, when she points, you take the blindfold off. Got that? Everybody got that?"

Everyone had downed at least a couple of beers. Matt had made sure Kitty had two whiskeys, hoping she'd be feeling pretty sweepy for the big reveal. They were leaving town for three weeks. Kitty was in charge of deciding where they were going. There were only a few cowboys in the Long Branch, and none of them was yet paying any attention to the little party going on by the back table. That all changed pretty quickly when the whooping and hollering started back there.

Quint did his job and then some. He spun Kitty first left, then right, then back left again, never stopping at the same spot. No way she could have kept track. The more he spun her, the louder the gang hollered. When he stopped, Matt shouted "POINT!" and indeed she did. Right at the cowboys leaning on the bar. All of them started clapping, not even knowing what they were clapping at! Matt held onto Kitty's shoulders when she staggered, so she didn't topple over, while Doc pulled the blindfold off.

Kitty squealed "Wonderful! Denver it is!", and Matt pulled her in for a big hug.

"Oh, I just love Denver! It's so beautiful and so cool and the sky is amazing!," she said.

"You did good, Kit. Denver's a great place! I have a good friend there I might even look up."

Then he turned to the group and announced, "We're leaving Monday."

They had already begun laughing again.

END

Author's Note: Watch for "There's Always Tomorrow Part 2," coming soon, to enjoy Matt and Kitty's adventures in Denver!