‘Sometimes I’m just not too sure why he loves me so much.’  Emma stared at her reflection in the mirror and gave a little grimace. With impatient fingers she rushed to tamp down a few errant curls that escaped her bun. She’d tried to iron them flat the night before, to try something new, to look a little different.

She gave a soundless sigh and shook her head, it didn’t work.

A heavy delivery cart lumbered by outside her window and Emma turned back to the living room, whisking out her rag from her waist band. She was going to have to ask Sam for screens on the window. Wichita was an interesting town full of people and stores and excitement and she was a Marshal’s wife.

Sure, she and Sam were happy, but every time they went to a town social it brought home the fact that while there were many interesting women in town… much more interesting than a woman that could clean and load a rifle while making an oven full of muffins.

The front door slammed shut. “Emma?”

“I’m in the living room, Sam.”

In the next moment she was swept off her feet in a big bear hug and he spun her around in a circle. “It’s lunchtime, honey.”

“Lunchtime!” Emma came to down to earth with a thump. “Is it that time already?”

Same gave her a wink and a smile. “Yep, I finished my work at the office and headed right over here to be with you.”

She stared back at him, blinking.

“You forgot.”

Emma stammered out a denial, “No… not forgot, really… just, I was distracted.”  She looked away from him and cringed, it just wasn’t her day. “Let’s go in the kitchen.”

She walked away from him and into the kitchen before he could answer and pulled some ham from the pantry and a loaf of bread from the windowsill.

By the Sam had hung up his gun belt followed her into the kitchen she had the loaf cut into thick slices and the ham was just going under the knife.

He slipped his arms around her waist and laughed when she tensed up.

“Sam?”

He took the knife from her hand and set it on the counter before he turned her around in his arms. He kissed her gently on the lips. “You’re skittish today. Is something wrong?”

“No... No…” she stammered and tried to turn back to the counter, but he settled his hand on her hip and she turned back to face him. “I just can’t believe I let time get away from me and…”

“Honey… Emma.”  He was rewarded when she stopped yammering and looked up at him. “There we go. Now, this isn’t just about today, darlin’… you’ve been fussing like this since last week… at the dance.”

“It’s nothing really, I’m just getting used to a new town and I miss Lou and the boys and it’s just all so… new.”

He looked down at her face and felt a slow lazy smile spread across his lips. 

Emma’s cheeks colored red and she gave a little laugh.  “What?”

“You did something to your hair.”

She straightened a bit, mostly in her spine. “Yes, I ironed it.”

He moved back a bit, astonishment written on his features. “What? Why?”

“Because you said Mrs. Albemarle had lovely hair at the dance.”

Sam reached up and pulled at a few curls, freeing them from the tight bun she’d forced them into, and smiled as they curled up next to her temples. “They look just fine on her, sweetheart. I never meant for you to…” he gave her a quick peck and leaned back to look at her. “Is this why you’ve been so worried lately? Emma, that’s not like you.”

“Of course it’s not like me… nothing here is like me… I… I… I don’t think I was ready to move away from Sweetwater, Sam. That was home.”

He sobered a bit and rubbed his thumb over her waistband while he thought. “I know this is hard for you, Emma, I didn’t think it would be easy, but give it a little time, we’ll get used to it, you’ll see.”

She nodded, but he knew she didn’t mean it, knew her thoughts were still tumbling around in her head like a rockslide.

“You don’t have to change Emma… you don’t have anything to prove. I’m sorry we had to move… I’ll make it up to you... you’ll see.”

“That’s not it, Sam… you don’t have to make it up to me...I love you.”

“I love you too, Emma… don’t forget that. I don’t want you to be like the women at the dance. They have their own lives to lead… and I want you… I want you the way you are… the way we are. You don’t have to be anything but the strong woman you were when I met you... when we fell in love.”

He moved closer until she was pressed against the counter from her calves up to her lower back. He lifted his hand and cupped the side of her face. “I want you to be you, Emma… I want you to be the woman who loves me… that’s all that matters now… and forever.”

He kissed her and lunch was forgotten. He kissed her and they didn’t come up for air until she’d forgotten why she’d been so distracted in the first place.

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