SHTD – Kitty’s Worry

By: tayryn

Rating: NC17/FRAO – it’s not for kids!

Disclaimer: they’re not mine.

Summary:  the events of “Seven Hours to Dawn” from Kitty’s point of view… starting at one o’clock… (after she was attacked by Barens)


Notes: this story is written in first person narrative.


Thanks to Jaya, as always for the wonderful beta.




I stepped off the stairs and made my way across the room to the bar with my head held high, ignoring the looks from those of Gore’s men in the Long Branch.


“Whiskey please, Sam.”


“Yes, Miss Kitty.”


As I waited for Sam to fill my glass, Gore joined me.  He crossed his arms and leaned on the bar.


“Well you don’t look any the worse for wear.”


“Am I supposed to be grateful for that?”  I asked, not looking at him.  Sam placed a glass of whiskey in front of me, and I thanked him with a slight nod.


“You could be.  I mean, I’ve known some women who were.”


I took a sip of my drink.  “You expect everybody you bankrupt to be grateful just because you left them alive?”  I couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of my voice.


“Oh now, I left you more than that.  That is unless you like to wrestle with people like Barens.”


I finally looked at him.  “Let’s not play games.  You don’t care what happens to me.  You’re just upset because your boy wasn’t attending to his business.”


“Hey, you’re a smart woman, woman.”  Gore said with a smile.  “Smart, pretty, tough.  That’s a good combination.”


I rolled my eyes inwardly and looked down at my drink.  “Save the charm.  I never did have a taste for killers.”


“You know, you said before that I didn’t care what happened to ya?  Well, you’re right, I don’t.  So don’t press your luck.”  Gore told me.  “The marshal fellow over there, he kinda keeps a good eye on you.”


I glanced at Gore then turned quickly to see Matt push through the doors and make his way over to us.


“One o’clock and all is well,” Gore said to Matt.  “You musta been doing a good job with your neighbours, I haven’t heard a shot yet.”


“I promised them that nobody’d get hurt,” Matt said.


“Well now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a schedule to meet,” Gore told us then pushed away from the bar.  “All right, it’s one o’clock, time to change the guard.  Anybody gets too drunk; they forfeit their share, same as always.”


While Gore gave orders to his men, Matt pushed his hat up on his head and looked at me as he leaned down on the bar beside me.  I could see the worry in his eyes, along with his frustration at not being able to do more to stop Gore and his gang of ruffians.


“How are you doing, Kitty?” He asked me in a quiet voice as he reached over to grab the glass from my hand.


“I’m doing okay, Matt.”  I told him as he took a small sip of the whiskey.


“Are you sure?”  He pushed the drink back over to me.


I nodded.  It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him about Barens… about what he’d tried to do, but I knew that it would only upset Matt.  Upset him and make him want to confront the other man, something Matt could ill afford to do right now.


“Yes,” I nodded again.  “I’m fine, Matt.”


“I heard tell that one of Gore’s men tried to get friendly with you.”


I closed my eyes.  I should have known that Matt would have already been told about what had happened.   I opened my eyes and looked into his troubled blue ones.


“He tried.  But I fought him and Gore stopped him before he could overpower me.”


“Which one did it, Kitty?”  Matt asked me in a hard voice as he straightened up and looked around the Long Branch.


“It doesn’t matter.”


“It does matter.  Who did it, Kitty?”


I grabbed his arm and shook my head.  “Matt… even if I told you who it was… what difference would it make?  They’ve got your gun.”  I held his eyes.  “It’s not worth getting into a fight over.  Not yet. Not while they’re all itchin’ for a reason to shoot you.”


Matt sighed and hung his head for a moment.  “You’re right.  I don’t like it, but you’re right.”


I smiled and he raised his head to look at me.


“I want you to promise me something,” he said, leaning back down on the bar.




“Promise me that you’ll stay close to Doc and Festus… or even Sam.  I don’t want you being alone in here.”




“Kitty, please?”


I could see the worry in his eyes… and this time, all of it was for me.  Not for Dodge and her citizens, but for me.  His woman.


“I promise.”


I watched his body relax somewhat in relief.  “Thank you,” he said.


“Anything for you, Cowboy.”


Matt gave me a small smile and a slight nod as he straightened up fully, bringing his body into contact with mine.  “I’m going to go do my…” he frowned, “rounds.”


“Be careful, Matt.”  I said and surreptitiously leaned into him, wanting the physical contact to stay just a little longer.


“I will,” he nodded and pulled his Stetson low on his head.  “I’ll see you later, Kitty.”


“All right, Matt.”


I watched him walk to the door, and wasn’t surprised to see Matt catch Sam’s attention, then look over to where Doc and Festus were sitting.  All three men gave Matt a slight nod before he passed through the bat wing doors.  I couldn’t help but smile.  My guys… all four of them, were very protective… and I knew that Doc, Festus and Sam would do everything they could to protect me in Matt’s absence.


Moments later, as I knew they would, the boys joined me at the bar.  “Sam, pour us all a whiskey.”


“Yes, Miss Kitty.”


Sometime later, having moved to a table and as Sam poured another round of drinks, I glanced towards the doors just in time to see Matt run by, heading in the direction of the stable.  A sense of dread settled deep in the pit of my stomach, and the worry must have shown on my face.


Matthew’ll be a’right, Miss Kitty.  Don’t you fret none.”


I turned back to Festus and gave him a smile but, inside, I knew that something bad was going to happen.  I could feel it.  Doc’s hand closed over my shoulder and squeezed gently.


“As much as I hate to agree with him, Festus is right, Kitty.  Matt will be fine.  He knows how to take care of himself.”


“I know that, Doc.”  I said.  “I also know that not being able to do anything is frustrating him to no end.  He’s feeling helpless right now, despite knowing that doing nothing is what is protecting us.  And we all know that doing nothing is just not in Matt’s nature.”


“True enough,” Doc replied with his usual swipe of his moustache.


“I just hope that, when he does do something,” I began then stopped as one of Gore’s men charged into the Long Branch.


“Mace… there’s trouble with the Marshal down at the stable!”


Gore hurried out of the saloon, and I watched through the doors as he hopped on a horse and rode off to the stable.  I moved to follow but was stopped by a hand clutching my arm.  I turned back to see Doc and Festus shaking their heads.


“You ain’t oughta be going down there, Miss Kitty.”  Festus said.  “Matthew wouldn’t like it none.”


I scowled.  “Fine!  But one of you should go… Matt might need your help.”


“I’ll go if’n it’ll make ya feel better,” Festus said.


He’d taken two steps toward the door when four gunshots rang through the air.  All noise in the Long Branch stopped.


Those was a’warnin shots.”


The feeling of dread grew.


“I hear a horse,” Doc said quietly.


“Who do you think it is?”  Sam asked in a soft voice.


Four more shots were heard outside, followed by the sound of a body hitting the ground.


‘Please God… please don’t let it be Matt…’ I prayed as I got to my feet and followed everyone as they hurried out of the saloon.  I could feel Doc’s hand at my elbow as we walked through the doors and made our way along the boardwalk.  With each step, I continued to pray.  ‘Please.  Please, not Matt.  Don’t let it be Matt.’


I stepped down off the boardwalk onto the street.  I took a few steps and stopped.  I could see through an opening in the crowd, and my heart stopped.  My hands flew to my mouth in shock as I recognized the body on the ground.




I rushed over, winding around the few people in my way and fell to my knees at Matt’s head just as Doc knelt down beside him.  I cradled his head gently in my hands and watched as Doc ripped Matt’s shirt open.  Tears blurred my vision at the sight of the bullet hole gaping in Matt’s chest, but I blinked them back.  I couldn’t fall apart now… Doc would need my help in saving Matt.


I watched him probe the wound.  One hand moved to Matt’s wrist, checking for pulse, even as his other hand went to Matt’s head, his fingers checking Matt’s pupils.  He brushed his fingers against the brim of his hat and hung his head. 


I swallowed hard as I lifted my eyes to meet his.  “Doc, ya gotta do something,” I told him, praying my voice did not betray the fear in my heart.


“Nothing I can do,” Doc said in a quiet, anguished voice.


Those four words ripped through my heart as painfully and as deadly as the four bullets which had just taken Matt away from me.


I stared unbelieving at Doc.  Praying I’d heard him wrong.  I knew I hadn’t, but I still prayed I had. 


Doc stood and reached down for my hand.  I laid Matt’s head down on the ground and allowed Doc to pull me to my feet. 


“Doc, he ain’t…” Festus began as I continued to stare, dumbfounded, at Doc.


Doc dropped my hand as Festus moved between us to kneel beside Matt then grasped it again and took my elbow.  He led me back inside the Long Branch. 


“You’re new in town.”


“I am indeed.  The name’s Kitty Russell.”


“Nice to meet you, Miss Russell.  My name’s Matt.  Matt Dillon.”


“Nice to meet you, Cowboy.”


The memory of our first meeting, eleven years ago, flashed through my mind as Doc guided me up the stairs toward my room.  A meeting that took place a few days after that rainy day I had first laid eyes on my big lawman. 


With every step I took up the staircase, another memory surfaced.


“What do you want, Matt?  Do you know?”


“Oh, maybe fishing.  I’d like to fish more than I do.”


“That’s about what I figured.  At least you could take me along once in a while.”


“I did take you.”


“Sure, two or three months ago.  I like fishing, Matt.”


“Next time I get a day off, we’ll fish.”


“Good… that’ll give me plenty of time to get ready.”




Nothing I can do.




“It took her twenty years and a little buckshot, but she finally landed him.”


“Twenty years, that’s an awful long time.  I don’t know whether I can wait that long.  A little buckshot, huh?”


“Hey, now wait a minute.”


“What’s a matter, you scared?”


“Come on… I’ll buy you a drink.”




Nothing I can do.




“I have no right to ask you this… but I’m askin’ anyway.  I want you to be my woman, Kitty.  Mine and no one else’s.”


“Oh, Matt… I’ve been yours from the first moment I laid eyes on you.”


“Is that so?”


“It is.”




“Nothing I can do.”


Doc’s words echoed through my head again as we reached my room. 


Matt was dead.


I was numb, and only vaguely aware of Doc opening the door and ushering me into my room ahead of him.  I walked, unseeing, to the chair in front of my vanity and sat down.  I heard the clinking of the brandy decanter on the glass and realized that Doc had moved over to my bureau.


“Come on now, I want you to drink this,” Doc said, suddenly standing before me, holding out a glass of brandy.  “And, uh, I’ll come back later with something that will make you sleep a little bit.”


Sleep?  How could I sleep knowing that my life’s blood lay in the dirt out on the street below?


I took the glass and brought it to my lips.  As I sipped on the warm liquid, and through the haze clouding my mind, I heard Barens’ voice and realized he had followed us into the room.


“So that’s how it was, huh?  Her and the Marshal?  She ain’t gonna have no trouble finding a better man.  I already volunteered.”


I heard Doc turn and walk over to confront Barens, and wanted to call out to him that it wasn’t worth it.  His words couldn’t hurt me.  I was already dead inside.  I had died with the words Doc uttered on Front Street.


“Nothing I can do.”


“I’m gonna git’em, Miss Kitty…”


Festus’ voice drifted up to me and I realized that he’d come into the room and was kneeling beside me.


“I’m gonna git every last one of’em if it takes me plumb till doom’s day.”


I swallowed back a sob that suddenly threatened to break free at Festus’ words.


“Oh, I don’t mean that I’m fixin’ to start now, ain’t no chance for that.  But I’m gonna track’em down.  I’m gonna get me Matthew’s badge, and I’ll run’em down if it takes as long as I live.”


I slowly turned to meet Festus’ gaze.  Not trusting myself to speak yet, knowing I would simply break down, I merely cupped his bearded cheek.  I was touched by his show of loyalty… both to me and to Matt.


Doc’s hand dropped to Festus’ shoulder even as mine dropped into my lap.  “We’re gonna leave you alone now for a while, Kitty, and uh,” he paused.  “I’ll be back later.”


I turned away to, once again, stare unseeingly at the wall, as Festus climbed to his feet and followed Doc out of the room.


“Nothing I can do.”


Several minutes passed after I heard the door close before I rose shakily to my feet.  The glass in my hand fell to the carpet, the remaining brandy spilling out and staining my carpet.  I watched the dark liquid spread… the pattern matching that of the blood on Matt’s shirt.




My heart ached with an emptiness unlike anything I had ever felt.


My vision suddenly began to swim, and I realized that I had started crying.  I stumbled over to my bed and sank down onto the blankets, burying my face in the closest pillow.


“Oh, Matt…” I moaned as I was engulfed in his scent.  I lifted my head, and through my tears, realized that I had lain on Matt’s side of the bed, and it was his pillow I was clutching.  I pressed my face back into the soft cotton and deeply inhaled his beloved scent.


My tears soon gave way to body-wracking sobs as more memories of my life with Matt assaulted me.


The first time Matt took me fishing. 


Our first kiss.


The first time we made love.


Our fights, especially the ones we’d had over his damned badge interfering with and ruining our plans for vacations, and dances and such.


Those and so many other memories continued to play through my mind until, thankfully, sweet oblivion washed over me.






The voice filtered into my dreams, but it wasn’t the voice I wanted to hear.  It wasn’t Matt’s.  As the painful reality hit me once again, the tears I thought long dried, welled up in my eyes.


Matt was dead.  Shot by Gore’s men.


“Go away, Doc.”  I said then turned my face back into Matt’s pillow, intent on ignoring the physician.


“Now you know I can’t do that,” Doc said and I felt his hand on my shoulder.  “Come on now.  I want you to get up and come with me.”


I shook my head.


“Doggone it, Kitty, I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.”  Doc said.  “Now, get up.”


I lifted my head, a sharp retort ready on the tip of my tongue but stopped when I saw the concern and worry in his eyes.  I sighed and slowly sat up.  “How long have I been asleep?”


“Well now,” Doc swiped at his moustache.  “I’ve been gone just about two hours…”


I nodded.  Two hours.  It felt like an eternity already.


“Come on, Kitty.”  Doc reached for my arm and pulled me to my feet.


“Where’re you taking me?”  I asked him as he led me out of my room and down the stairs of the Long Branch.


“To Ma’s.  I don’t think it’s safe for you here,” Doc told me.  “And if I have to leave you again, I don’t want you to be alone.”


I passed through the bat wing doors ahead of Doc and stopped.  My eyes immediately went to the spot in the street where Matt had fallen… and the pain… the emptiness in my heart grew.


“Come on, Kitty.  Let’s go.”


With his hand on my elbow, Doc led me away from the Long Branch.  We walked in silence, for which I was grateful.  I was not up to making small talk.  Within moments, we reached Ma Smalley’s. 


Doc knocked on the door.


“Who’s there?”


“Ma, it’s Doc Adams.”  Doc answered.  “Open up, would ya?  I’ve got Kitty with me.”


The door opened and Ma Smalley stepped out onto the porch.  She quickly ushered us into the boarding house and closed the door.  Once inside, Ma stepped up beside me and patted my arm.


“I heard about the Marshal.  I’m sorry, Kitty.”


“Thank you, Ma.”  I replied quietly.  I wasn’t surprised that Ma knew about Matt and I.  Even though we were discrete in public, both Matt and I knew that our relationship had not really been much of a secret.  As Doc was fond of pointing out, it was hard to hide something so obvious, when all anyone had to do was look at Matt and I and they could see it.


“Ma, have you got a spare bed Kitty can use?”  Doc asked.


“Of course,” Ma answered.


I shook my head.  “No.”


“Kitty, you need to lie down.”  Doc told me.


“No,” I said again.  “I’m not tired, Doc.”


Doc stared at me.


I stared back.


After several moments and a swipe at his moustache, Doc looked away.  “Ma, how about some tea?”


“I’ll go fix us a pot,” Ma said.


“I’ll help you,” Doc told her then turned to me.  “You sit down in that chair there.”


I scowled at him but went and sat in the chair.


“And don’t you move,” Doc said then turned to go help Ma in the kitchen.


“The marshal was such a good man,” I heard Ma tell Doc in a hushed voice.  “It’s a darn shame that he was shot like that.”


‘Yes… Matt is a good man.’  I thought to myself as I closed my eyes and laid my head back against the chair.


“Here, Kitty, drink this.”


I opened my eyes to see Ma standing in front of me with a steaming cup.  I took the tea with a small smile.  “Thank you, Ma.”


I took a sip of the hot brew and wrinkled my nose at the taste.  I looked up to see Doc watching me and as he swiped at his moustache, as was his habit, I realized what he’d done.  I put the cup down on the table in front of me and curled up in the chair, closing my eyes once again.


I heard Doc and Ma join me in the sitting room but tuned out their conversation as I thought about my future.


A future without Matt.


The thought made my breath catch.  While I had always known, right from the beginning of our relationship, that there was a chance of losing Matt to some gunslinger’s bullet, I had begun to think that, perhaps, after eleven years, we were safe.


I was wrong.


We were wrong.


Matt was dead, and I was alone.


I could feel the tears prickling behind my eyelids and fought to keep them in check.  I’d cried enough tonight.  I had to keep myself together now, in order to take care of business once Gore and his gang left Dodge City.


My first order of business would be to see to Matt’s funeral.  We’d discussed it a few times over the years, after some exceptionally close calls, so I knew what he wanted done.  Once that was taken care of, there would be the cleaning and fixing up of the Long Branch.  Then my saloon would be going up for sale.


While the thought of leaving Doc, Festus and Sam behind was a difficult one, even more difficult was the thought of living in Dodge City without Matt.  He was, after all, the reason I stayed all those years ago.


I couldn’t help but smile at the memory of the first time I’d laid eyes on my big lawman.  By god, he was a big man.  Tall, broad and by far the best looking man I had ever seen in my life.  The moment I’d seen him, I’d known that I wouldn’t be leaving.


I sighed and without thinking, reached out for my cup of tea and took a sip.  I opened my eyes at the bitter taste and scowled.  I glanced over at Doc and saw him watching me.  I shook my head and took another sip of the drugged tea.  What did I care?  Perhaps if I slept more, I would wake up and find that this night had been nothing but a terrible nightmare, and that Matt was lying next to me in our bed.


I put the cup down and closed my eyes.


A gunshot, followed by the sound of pounding hooves and shouting pulled me from the sleep I had very willingly fallen into.  I looked around for Doc and saw him standing in the doorway.


“Doc?”  I called out to him sleepily and got to my feet when I heard a gun go off.


“They’re leaving, Kitty.”  Doc said.  “I think it’s safe to take you back home now.”


As I joined Doc at the door, I noticed that it was quite light outside.  “What time is it, Doc?”  I asked him as he led me outside.


“About seven o’clock.”


“Seven?  Why did they stick around?”


“Who knows,” Doc answered.  “I’m just glad they’re going and things can get back to normal.”


“Yeah…” I whispered sadly and dropped my eyes.  “Back to normal…”


Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Doc brush quickly at his moustache and frown.  He took my elbow and we walked along the boardwalk to the Long Branch.  At that moment, a gunshot rang through the air.


Doc and I exchanged glances.  We’d only taken, maybe, a dozen steps when we heard another gunshot.


“That sounded like it came from…”


Three more, quick shots rang through the air.


“…the Long Branch,” Doc said.


I nodded and without speaking, we quickened our pace.


Moments later, we were on the boardwalk in front of the Long Branch.  As we approached the entrance, I noticed a body in the street.


“I wonder who that is.”  Doc said.


Barens,” I said in a hard voice.  I stared at Barens’ body, and felt nothing.  Not even satisfaction that he was dead.  Matt was gone… and with him, went any feelings in my heart.


“Come on, Kitty.”  Doc grasped my elbow and ushered me through the swinging doors.


I stopped.


It couldn’t be.


I stepped down into the saloon and stopped again. 


The heart I thought was dead began to pound wildly in my chest as I convinced my feet to move.




I shuffled quickly across the room to where my man, looking weak and tired but gloriously alive, sat in one of the saloon chairs.   I reached out with both hands to touch him as I dropped to my knees.


“Oh, Matt!”  I buried my face in his neck as I realized that he was truly real and wrapped my arms around him.


“Kitty,” Matt said in a rough voice as he rubbed the hand of the arm not trapped between us up and down my side.  His palm lightly brushed my breast and I flexed my fingers against his neck as he gently patted my shoulder.  “It’s all right.  It’s gonna be all right, Kitty.”


I couldn’t stop the sob that bubbled out of me as I inhaled his familiar and comforting scent.  “I thought… I…” I shook my head as another sob escaped then lifted my head to see Doc standing before us.   Matt’s hand gripped my forearm, his thumb stroking my skin.  Wh… why?  Why’d you… why’d you let me think he was dead?”


“He… he had to Miss Kitty, don’t you see,” Festus answered.  “If he… if he hadn’t’ve, they’d’ve finished Matthew off for sure.”


As I listened to Festus explain Doc’s actions, I felt Matt’s hand grip my upper arm and pull me closer.  I turned my head to glance at Festus then laid my forehead against Matt’s temple and closed my eyes.


“Festus,” Matt said as I once more buried my face in his neck and tightened my arms around him.  He began to stroke my side again as he continued.  “Why don’t you go out and see that everybody gets their stuff back?”


“You bet, Matthew.”  I heard Festus climb to his feet and hurry outside, shouting out to the people outside.


I pressed a couple of soft kisses to Matt’s throat and he hung his head to do the same to my arm.  I could feel his warm breath on the top of my breasts as his grip on my arm tightened.  “I love you,” I whispered against his skin.  “I love you so much…”


I felt Doc reach down to grasp Matt’s wrist and looked up to see him checking Matt’s pulse.  “Well is he really going to be all right?”  I asked Doc in a shaky voice and curled my fingers into Matt’s vest, even as Matt continued to hold my arm in his hand.  His head was bowed and his lips brushed my skin again, sending welcome chills through my body. 


Matt wasn’t letting go of me anymore than I was letting go of him.


“Well, he said so, and uh, I think he will be,” Doc said.  “That is, of course,” he released Matt’s wrist to pat my hand that was rubbing Matt’s back, “if he gets an awful lot of attention for the next couple or three weeks.”


I stared at Doc as he rubbed his ear and swiped at his moustache before walking away.  I followed him with my eyes as he left through the doors then turned back to Matt.


I smiled as I looked into his beautiful blue eyes.  “Well, I’ll just see what I can do about that.”


Matt gave me a small smile and we held each other’s gaze for a heartbeat before we were in each other’s embrace.  I wrapped both arms around him, and buried my face in his shoulder as his free arm came up to hold me close.  I felt Matt press soft kisses to my bare shoulder as his hand gently patted my back.


“Kitty…” he whispered as his lips moved to my neck.


I pulled back slightly and turned my head to catch his mouth in a gentle kiss that quickly grew into something more.  As I parted my lips beneath his, I realized that Matt needed… was as desperate… for this contact as I was.  Our tongues met and I felt tears well in my eyes as his familiar taste flooded my mouth.  As quickly as the gentle kiss had turned hungry, it changed again into a deep, loving exchange then slowly ended.


I rested my forehead against Matt’s.


“I love you…” we uttered the words together and smiled.


I pulled my head back to look at him and realized how pale and tired he seemed.  I cupped his cheek.  “You need to lie down,” I told him then turned to look towards the door.  Spotting Sam and Festus, I called for them to come inside.


“Would you two help Matt upstairs, please?”


“Why sure, Miss Kitty.”


“Of course.”


“Kitty, I don’t need to lie down,” Matt protested.


I turned back to him.  “No arguments, Matt.  Not after the hell I’ve gone through the last few hours,” I told him then lowered my voice.  “Please, Matt…” I dropped my hand from his cheek to his chest over his heart.


After a couple of seconds, Matt nodded.  “All right, Kitty.  I am feeling a little weak.”


“Thank you,” I said and gave him a smile.


Sam gave me a hand up then he and Festus helped Matt stand.  I followed the three of them as they slowly made their way up the stairs and into my bedroom, then directed them to sit him on the edge of the bed.


“Thank you, Sam.  Festus,” I said to them both.  “Festus, will you find Doc and tell him Matt’s here, and ask him to come and have a look at him?”


“Sure thang, Miss Kitty.”  Festus replied then moved towards the door.  He stopped and looked back at Matt.  “You jes rest easy now, Matthew and let Miss Kitty take care of you.  Things’ll be took care of, I garantee it.”


“Thanks, Festus.”  Matt said.


I turned to Sam as Festus left.  “Sam, free drinks to anyone who wants one with whatever’s left.  And, give Festus as many as he can handle.”


Sam grinned.  “Yes, ma’am.”  He said and turned to leave.


“And, Sam…”  I caught him before he left the room.  He looked back at me.  “Help yourself to a couple as well.”


Sam nodded then left, pulling the door closed behind him.


I walked over to stand in front of Matt.  “Let’s get you out of these clothes,” I reached out and pushed his vest off of his shoulders, “and get you into bed.”


“I’m all right, Kitty.”


“You took four bullets, Matt.”  I began to work on unbuttoning his shirt.  “Four bullets that…” my voice cracked and trailed off.


“I know…” Matt said in soft voice and reached up to grasp my hands in his large ones.  He tugged me closer so that I was standing between his legs, my knees bumping the mattress.  He dropped my hands and slid his arms around my waist as he buried his face in my bosom.


I threaded my fingers in his thick wavy hair and held him close.  Matt turned his head and laid it against my left breast and tightened his arms around me.  I bowed my head and nuzzled my face into his hair.  Knowing we were alone, and that no one could see us, I once more gave into the tears that I’d been holding back.  They spilled down my cheeks.


This time, however, they were tears of relief and joy.


He was alive. 


Matt was alive and in my arms.


Everything was right in my world once again.


After several moments, I lifted my head.  Matt raised his head from my chest and looked up at me.  I cupped his face in my hands and lowered my mouth to his.  I brushed several soft, breathy kisses to his lips before I finally pressed mine firmly against his.


I felt Matt’s hands fist in my dress as he opened his mouth to my seeking tongue and tangled his with mine.  We kissed long and slow; a deeply intimate kiss that conveyed all the words of our hearts.


“Kitty…” Matt whispered into my mouth before he deepened the kiss and pulled my body closer.  His hands caressed my back from shoulder to rear then slipped down to cup my bottom and squeeze gently.


I moaned.


Matt’s touch always had that affect on me.  Hell, just a look from him could set my heart to racing and make me long to get him alone and have my wicked way with him.


“…Matt…” I moaned again and clenched my hands in his hair when I felt his fingers begin to work on the buttons of my skirt.  Logically, I knew that Matt was in no condition to make love, but I found, at that moment, that I was unable to stop him.


I wanted him.


He had just released the first button when we heard a loud, sharp cough.  I straightened up, surprised when Matt did not remove his hands from my waist.  I looked over to the door to see Doc standing there, medical bag in one hand, the other hand smoothing the hair on his upper lip.


“I knocked,” Doc told me in a voice tinged with embarrassment.  “In fact, I knocked twice.”


“It’s all right, Doc.”  I smiled.  “I was just helping Matt get comfortable.”


“I saw that,” Doc grinned and walked over.  “Why don’t you finish taking his shirt off then get me a bowl of water so that I can clean and redress his wounds.”


I flushed slightly and was gratified that Matt had reddened too.  We shared a smile and then I quickly helped him remove his shirt.  I balled it up in my hands then turned to get the water for Doc.  I dropped the torn, bloody shirt into the waste basket.


“Now, just lie down here, Matt.”  I heard Doc instruct him.


I returned moments later with a bowl of water and watched as Doc removed the old bandages.  He cleaned and checked Matt’s wounds.  “How do they look, Doc?”


“Fine,” Doc answered.


“And he really is going to be all right?”


“Yes, he should be, as long as he gets some rest and lots of that attention I mentioned earlier, then he’ll be just fine.”


I smiled.  “That’s good to hear.”


Doc nodded and redressed Matt’s injuries.  “Now, Matt… I want you to stay in bed, and do whatever Kitty tells you, ya hear me!?”


Matt met my eyes as he nodded.  “Yes, Doc.”


“Good,” Doc said then rummaged through his medical bag.  He handed me two small medicine papers.  “Here, Kitty.  I want you and Matt to take these, they’ll help you both get some muchly needed sleep.”


I took the envelopes.  “I have a feeling we won’t need them, but thank you, Doc.”


Doc nodded and closed his bag.  “I don’t want either of you to leave this room until suppertime.”


“All right, Doc.”  I replied as I walked him to the door. 


“Kitty…” Doc began as he tugged on his ear then rubbed at his moustache.  “I…”


I shook my head.  “It’s all right, Doc.  I understand why you did what you did,” I said quietly.  “He’s alive… that’s all that matters now.”  I leaned in and gave him a hug.  “Thank you.”


Doc flushed slightly then with a nod, he left.


I closed and locked the door behind him then turned back to find Matt sitting up and attempting to get to his feet.


“Matt!”  I hurried over to him and placed my hands on his shoulders to keep him on the bed.  “What do you think you’re doing?”


“Getting up, what’s it look like?”


“Don’t get smart with me, Matt Dillon.”  I said and frowned at him.  “You heard Doc.  You need to rest.”


“I know, Kitty.”  Matt replied.  “But I need to…” he gestured with his head towards the water closet.


“Oh,” I bit my lower lip and my hands fell from his shoulders.  “I’m sorry, Matt.  I just...”


Matt smiled and reached out to grab my hand.  “I know, and I promise you, I will take it easy and rest up.”


“You promise?”


“I promise,” Matt vowed.  “But right now, I really gotta…”


I laughed and helped Matt to his feet.  I slipped my right arm around him and together, we slowly walked across my room to the water closet.


“Okay, I can take it from here,” Matt told me.


Unable to resist, I ran my finger down the line of his fly.  “You sure I can’t lend a hand?”


“Kitty…” Matt growled, but I saw the spark of desire in his eyes.


“Seriously, Matt.  If you need anything… and I mean anything, just call me.”


“I will.”


“All right,” I nodded then left him alone to do his business and decided to change out of my clothes.


I sat at my vanity and quickly removed my makeup then unpinned and brushed out my hair.  Once that was done, I stood and made my way to my bureau and rummaged through my drawer for a particular nightgown.


Finding the one I wanted, I made quick work of removing my clothes.  As I pulled the garment down over my head, I felt Matt’s hands guide the material down my body.  Once my head was free I looked up at him.  “Matt!  What do you think you’re doing?”


“Helping you get your nightgown on,” he answered.  “Although, I have to say, I do actually prefer taking your nightgowns off of you.”


“You’re incorrigible,” I told him and he merely grinned at me.  It was then that I noticed that Matt was only in his underwear.  “Oh, Matt… why didn’t you ask me to help you with your boots and pants?”


“Because I managed them fine on my own,” he answered.


I shook my head and slipped my arm around him once again then guided him over to the bed.  “Let me turn down the blankets,” I told him and moved from his side to do just that.  When I turned back to Matt, I was surprised to find that he’d removed his underwear.


Matt in all his glory, was a sight to behold, and I couldn’t help but lick my lips.  When my eyes met his, I saw the amused, knowing twinkle in his blue orbs.  “Matt…”




“You are in no condition for that,” I told him with a pointed look down at his growing arousal.


The boyish grin I’d fallen in love with so many years ago lit Matt’s face as the twinkle in his eyes grew.  “I know that, Kitty… but I can’t help it.  The sight of you always does this to me.  You know that.”


I nodded.  Yes.  I did know that.  In fact, once, after a particularly heated encounter, several years ago, Matt had confided in me that he walked around constantly half-hard simply due to thoughts of me.  I shook my head and pointed to the bed.  “Get in,” I told him.


Matt chuckled and climbed into bed.  I heard his groan of relief as he sank into the comfortable mattress.  I pulled the blankets up over him then reached out to rifle my fingers through his hair.


“Get some sleep, Matt.”  I told him.


“Aren’t you joining me?”  He asked as he reached up to catch my hand.


“Just as soon as I put the lamps out and draw the shades,” I told him and pulled my hand from his.  “It will make it easier for us to sleep.”


Once all the lamps, except the one on my night table, were out and the shades drawn, I made my way back to the bed.  I dimmed the lamp and then climbed into bed. 


I curled up on my side facing Matt and reached out to lay my hand on his arm.  I needed the contact with him.


Matt turned his head to look at me.  “Why are you all the way over there?”


“I… you’re hurt, Matt… I don’t want to make it worse,” I told him.


“It hurts more not holding you,” Matt said as he slid his hand into mine and tugged me closer.  “I need you close, Kitty.”


“Oh, Matt…” I sighed but went into his arms anyway.  I curled up against his left side and laid my head carefully on his chest just above one of the bullet wounds.  Matt wrapped his arm around me and began to stroke my hair and rub my back.  I felt all of the tension from the last seven hours begin to fade away.


“Where were you going to go?”  Matt asked me after a few moments of silence.


He didn’t need to elaborate.  I knew exactly what he was referring to.


“It was a toss up between New Orleans and San Francisco,” I answered.  “I couldn’t have stayed here without you.”


“I know,” Matt said and his arm tightened around me.  “Kitty… about what Doc did… It tore him up inside to put you through all that.”


I shook my head.  “It’s all right, Matt.  I understand why Doc did what he did.  I truly do, and I’m not upset with him,” I lifted my head from his chest and met his eyes.  “If anything, what Doc did… it showed me what I’ve always known in my heart to be true…”


“What’s that?”


“That I couldn’t live without you, Cowboy.”


Matt smiled up at me and his fingers curled around my hip.  “I feel the same way, Kitty.  If I lost you… it’d kill me.”


We stared at each other for several moments and then I leaned down and covered his mouth with mine in a loving kiss.  As the kiss lingered, I felt the change in Matt’s body and in the touch of his hands.  The hand on my back began to caress me in a way that was no longer comforting, but arousing and his other hand moved to cup my breast.


“…Matt…” I gasped out of the kiss.  “Matt, we can’t,” I told him even as I felt my nipple harden beneath his fingers.


“Are you telling me you don’t want me?”  Matt asked me with a knowing grin.


“You know better than that, Cowboy.”  I told him.  “I always want you.  But that’s not the point.  You’re in no condition for love making right now.”


“Are you sure about that?”  Matt grasped my hand and drew it under the blankets.


I closed my eyes as he wrapped my fingers around his hardened shaft and felt a rush of wetness between my legs.  God, I wanted him.  I swallowed then opened my eyes.  “Matt…” he began to stroke his length with our hands.  “Matt… you almost died…”


Up and down… up and down… slowly and rhythmically, our hands moved on him.  I loved the feel of him… hard, hot and silky in my palm.


“But I didn’t,” Matt said as he drew me closer with the arm wrapped around me.  “And what better way is there to celebrate,” he nibbled at my chin, “than with the ultimate celebration of life…”


“Oh, Matt…” I moaned as his hand slid down my back and over my rear to slip his long fingers between my thighs.


“You’re wet for me, Kitty.”  Matt said in a husky voice.


“Doc will kill us… me…” I told him.


“Doc said I needed lots of attention,” he countered as he began to stoke his fingers against my folds.


I couldn’t help but chuckle.  “I don’t think he had us having sex in mind,” I replied and hissed in pleasure as Matt pressed his fingers inside me.


“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him” Matt said as he caught my lower lip between his teeth and tugged gently.  “I want you, Kitty.”


“I want you too, Matt… but…” my voice trailed off into a groan as his fingers stroked within me, matching the steady pumping of our hands on his member.


“But what?”  Matt asked.


“But… mmm…” I was losing this battle, and we both knew it.  Truth be told, I wasn’t putting up much of a fight.  “If we… if we do this… you have to lay back and let me do all the work.”


Matt grinned up at me.  “I can do that.”


“No you can’t…” I replied with a grin of my own.  “But try real hard, all right, Cowboy?”


“Yes, ma’am.”


I gave Matt a hard kiss then pulled out of his arms.  I carefully shifted my body over his so that I was straddling his thighs.  I held his eyes and watched them darken to a deep cobalt as I gathered and pulled my nightgown up over my head then tossed it to the floor.


“Kitty…” Matt exhaled in a low, husky voice as he stared up at me.  He laid his large hands on my thighs and slowly trailed them up my body until they were cupping my breasts.  “You are so beautiful…” he whispered.  “So beautiful…”


I flushed at the rare praise from my lover then rose up on my knees.  I reached between our bodies, and wrapped my fingers around his manhood.  I stroked his length and drew the plumy head up and down my folds to coat him with my arousal.


“Kitty…” Matt groaned and dropped his hands to my hips.  “Please…”


I could see the need in Matt’s eyes… feel it in the tightness of his body and nodded.  I shifted above him slightly; bringing his erection to my entrance then began to sink down on him.


“Mmm…” I moaned as I slowly impaled myself on him, taking him, inch by hard inch, into my body.  No matter how many times we’d made love, the feel of Matt entering me… filling me… always took my breath away.


Once I had taken him completely within me, I held still to allow my body a moment to adjust to his girth.  My marshal was not a small man… in any way.  I could feel him, every glorious inch of him, throbbing deep inside me and I couldn’t help but smile down at him.


“Kitty…” Matt’s fingers flexed on my hips as he shifted beneath me.


While any other time, I would tease Matt a little before giving in, this time was different.  Right now, we both needed this… needed this most intimate of connection to assure ourselves that we were together, and that we were alive.


I trailed my hand down the centre of his chest, following the line of soft hair that led to his groin.  “Now remember, Cowboy… just lie still… let me take care of you,” I told him as I slowly began to lift my body until just the tip of his member was inside me.


I paused for a moment then gradually began to sink back down on him until he was, once again, sheathed within me.  At Matt’s low groan, I smiled and repeated my movements.  Over and over, each time as slow as the time before, I rode my cowboy.


With all that had happened to us today, and with the earlier stroking of our bodies, it did not take long for the steady rhythm of moving Matt in and out of my body to have us both panting for breath.  The pleasurable sensations coursed through me, and I could see the same thing happening to Matt.


His hands fell from my hips and clenched at the bedclothes as he fought the urge to start thrusting up into me.  I rewarded his restraint by clenching my inner muscles around him.


Matt groaned.  “Kitty… I…”


I sank down on him and reached out to lightly rake my nails across his nipples then down the centre of his chest.  “I know, Cowboy…” I replied.  I could feel that he was close.  “Don’t fight it, Matt…” I squeezed him again as I rose back up and once again began to ride him.  “Let yourself come…”


“Not… without… you,” Matt told me between clenched teeth.


I gasped when I felt his hand slip between my thighs and his fingers make contact with my clit.  “Matt!” 


“Not without you,” he repeated as he began to circle and tease my most sensitive spot; the rough pads of his fingers creating the sweetest friction imaginable.  “Kitty…”


I was close too.


All of a sudden, Matt’s hips lifted.  “Oh god… Kitty!”  Matt cried out as he came and his body shuddered beneath me.


I groaned as I felt him explode inside me, and as his juices bathed my insides, I felt his fingers press harder against my clit.


I came with a surprised cry of his name, and it was all I could do to remain upright above him as wave after wave of intense sensations rolled over me.


“Matt… oh, Matt…” I called to him breathlessly, and tears filled my eyes as I met his.  I could see and feel that he was still feeling his orgasm, just as mine continued to move through me.


After several heartbeats, I was unable to remain straddled above Matt any longer.  Matt sensed this and reached up to guide me back into his arms.  I whimpered softly when I felt him slip from my body and nestled closer into his side.


“See…” Matt said quietly as he stroked my back.  “I told you I could do it.”


I couldn’t help it.  I laughed.  I lifted my head to meet his amused, yet sated eyes.  “Yes… you did.  Remind me later, to tell Doc just how well you listened.”


As I knew it would, Matt’s face flushed.


“Now, Kitty…”


I giggled.  Matt shook his head and pinched my rear.  I retaliated with a gentle slap to his chest.  “Seriously, Matt…” I began moments later.  “Are you all right?  We didn’t… we didn’t pull any of your stitches, did we?”


“I’m fine, Kitty.”  Matt answered as I leaned over him to inspect the injury on his side.  “See…” he told me as I carefully fingered the edges of the bandage.  “No blood.”


“Good,” I replied as I straightened up.  “Otherwise, we would never have heard the end of it from Doc, and you know it.”


“I know,” Matt agreed with a yawn.


“I think it’s time we try to get some sleep,” I told him as I reached down to grab the blankets that had fallen away during our lovemaking.  I pulled them up over our cooling bodies and settled back into Matt’s arms, curled up against his side.


“Thank you,” Matt said quietly as he nuzzled my forehead.


“For what?”  I asked as I lightly rubbed his stomach.


“For… well, for everything,” Matt answered.  “I know being with me isn’t easy, Kitty.”


I made a sound of protest, but Matt cut me off before I could say anything.


“It isn’t, Kitty.  But I am VERY thankful… and grateful, that you put up with everything that being my woman entails.” Matt told me.  “I’m very aware that I don’t tell you or show you often enough… but I do love you, Kitty.”


I blinked back the tears that sprang to my eyes.


“I couldn’t do what I do if you weren’t in my life,” he continued and began to comb his fingers through my hair.  “And, I promise you, Kitty… one day…”


“I know, Matt.  I know,” I said and pressed a soft kiss to his chest.


“You do?”


I nodded then lifted my head.  “I do,” I replied as I met his eyes.  “I know I’m not always as understanding about things as I should be…”




I laid my finger over his lips.  “I’m not, Matt… and it’s not fair of me to make you feel guilty about doing your job… your duty.”  I paused.  “I’ll be honest with you, it’s times like these,” I gestured to his injuries, “with all the pain and worry… the wondering if this bullet or the next one is going to take you from me, that I wonder if it’s worth it?”


“And is it?”


“Yes, it is.  It is worth it,” I told him.  “YOU’RE worth it.  Because in spite of all those times I’ve had to watch Doc dig a bullet out of you, or you’ve had to cancel a date or vacation… I have never felt more secure, or more loved, than I do with you.”  I smiled and reached up to cup his cheek.  “I told you years ago, when you asked me to be your woman, that I was…”


“Mine from the moment you laid eyes on me,” Matt finished with a grin.


I nodded.  “And I meant it, Cowboy.  From the very first moment I saw you, I knew… I just knew, that we were meant to be together.”  I traced his lips with my fingers.  “So, there is no need to thank me.”


“I don’t agree… but I won’t argue with you,” Matt said then yawned.


“Since when?”  I asked then yawned in response.  “Ooh… I think we need to get some sleep.”


Matt yawned again.  “Sounds like a good idea to me.”


“Me too,” I said as I stretched up and placed a soft kiss to Matt’s lips.  His hand slipped into my hair and he deepened the kiss.  Several moments later, our mouths parted and I carefully settled back into his arms.


“Good night, Kitty.”


“Good night, Cowboy.”


I laid my head on Matt’s chest and listened to the steady beat of his heart.  As I drifted off to sleep… I whispered a small prayer of thanks that my cowboy was still alive.


Our words were whispered together as sleep finally claimed us.


“I love you…”


~the end



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