Kitty hated to appear emotionally vulnerable in public. She knew that Matt and Doc also understood that, so they had felt it was better to leave her in tears at the Long Branch bar than comfort her there.

Matt had come over to the bar, leaning in beside her, and tried to make her understand that she had "saved the boy's life," young Billy Critt, before he walked out with Doc.

Turning the lovely broach over in her fingers, then gripping it tightly in her hand, the stabbing pain of its open pin in her palm hurt less than the clenching pain in her heart from when she had thrown it on the floor at Billy's feet. Her dear childhood friend Lucy, Billy's older sister, had sent it along with him as a gift for Kitty. Kitty throwing it back at Billy was the final necessary action to convince him of her put-on distain to get him to leave.

If Billy had not stormed out when he did, angry and disappointed at Kitty, he more than likely would have been shot and killed in his ceaseless attempts to defend her honor. Kitty telling him that she had no "honor" to defend hurt her to say as much as Doc and Matt to hear as they stood by the swinging doors. They loved her dearly and understood her well enough to know exactly what she was doing.

Kitty dried her tears quickly, straightened up and continued to do her job of circulating among the cowboys and gamblers, encouraging them to buy more drinks with her friendly banter and beautiful smiling face and figure.

She managed to leave earlier than usual, afraid that her frozen smile and false gaiety would not last the night.

Up in her room above the saloon, Kitty sat motionlessly at her dressing table, staring into the mirror. Who was she really, she thought. What IS honor? Did she give away more of herself than her body when she lived a rough life as a very young, more-girl-than-woman on the riverboats back East?

So wrapped up was Kitty in her introspection, she did not hear the soft knock at her door, then the door slowly opening.

"Kitty? Darlin'?" Matt's deep voice was soft and tentative. Seeing her sitting trance-like in front of her mirror, he quietly came in and walked over behind her. Putting his large right hand on the soft, smooth skin of her shoulder, he gave her a gentle squeeze.

"Oh! Matt…I didn't hear you come in." She remained sitting, facing the mirror.

The tall, tough Marshal knelt down on one knee beside her, now putting his large right arm around her shoulders. Looking in the mirror at her lovely, but stricken face, his eyes met hers.

"Kitty, you are the finest person, man or woman, I have ever known. You have more natural honor in you than the sky has stars. What you did for young Billy Critt was as brave and painful as taking a bullet for someone. Someday, maybe years from now, that boy will realize that he became a man because of the years you gave him. He will be eternally grateful to you, Honey."

With new tears in her eyes, but this time not tears from pain, but tears from love, she turned and looked directly into his pale blue eyes, so full of his own love and care for her.

"Matt." She threw her arms around his strong neck and he scooped her up, tenderly kissing the wet eyelids of her sky blue eyes, and carried her to the big brass bed where he would hold her all night.