"Does Kid know?"

Lou shook her head and avoided Rachel's direct gaze, "No. He wouldn't understand and it would only cause more distrust between us. Rachel, you have to promise to keep this a secret. Please!"

Rachel sighed, "Louise, I don't like this. He has a right to know. You love him and he loves you, but this secret…Lou, I've seen good marriages go bad all because of a secret."

Lou walked to the window, staring out toward the corral where Kid was saddling a chestnut gelding. Lou's heart swelled when she saw Kid look down and smile at the small brown headed girl standing next to him.

Exhaling the breath she'd been holding, she nodded, "I know, but he's been through so much. Rachel, he lost so much in that damned war. It took his arm, his peace of mind, his security. He was gone so long, that we're still learning what it's like to be together again. Rachel, it'll break him to learn that Ella isn't his daughter."

Rachel walked over to her friend and put a comforting arm around her shoulder, "Lou, you didn't do anything wrong. Kid will understand."

Lou drew a deep breath and took a while to respond. "No. It's not fair to Ella. She doesn't need to know that she was the result of a rape; and it would kill Kid. In his mind, he would blame himself for leaving to go to war. How could he know the day he left, I would lose the child I was carrying. A month later, I was attacked. I can't let him think it was his fault. He's carrying around enough grief. He needs to heal and that little girl needs a father. This is one secret that needs to stay buried."

Rachel thought solemnly, watching as Kid placed the trusting child into the saddle and then swung up in back of her. She couldn't help but notice his smile. Even with a missing limb, he seemed so at ease and for the first time since he had returned home, he seemed happy.

Rachel turned to Lou, "I think you're right. This is one secret that needs to stay buried."

Written for the 2011 Title Challenge - Original Title given by: Fran

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