For personal use and select distribution only © by Susan L. Leidy October 6,1996

Please read Honeymoon Train Fantasy before reading this ...

The Honeymoon
By Susan L. Leidy

Part I

Sully was the first to wake, rather startled because of the movement of the train. His second realization was that he was lying in a bed, for the first time in quite a while. His third, and most profound, was that it was Michaela who was sleeping next to him. She was lying half on her stomach, half on her side, leaning into him, with one of her legs bent at the knee, crossing over and lying between his legs. Her head was on his chest, her slow methodical breath stirring his chest hairs enticingly. Sully was lying on his back, one arm underneath the sleeping Michaela and his other arm cupping her back. He sighed, as if to say “Finally.” How many times had he dreamt of this moment, of Michaela as his wife, of being with her as she slept, of sharing those private moments that seem so insignificant--seeing her brush her hair, seeing her face as she sleeps and as she wakes, having the first words of each day directed at one another, of touching her without the barrier of clothing or propriety. All these dreams and more have now come true. She was here, in their bed, next to him.

His thoughts turned to their first night together. Michaela was predictably shy, understandably nervous, and yet she responded to his requests with eagerness. He wanted their first time together as husband and wife to be as special for her as he knew it would be, and had been, for him. When the time came that they were finally united as Man and Woman, soul to soul, heart to heart, lover to lover, Sully somehow knew that Michaela had unlocked the door to that place she had guarded for so long. Her commitment to him was complete. She had opened her heart, her soul, her life for him to enter. And he did so willingly, completely, happily.

Michaela stirred in his arms, awakened by the lurching of the train. She opened her eyes to see their intertwined limbs and tangled sheets. She lifted her head to gaze at Sully. His eyes met hers and, as if by some silent command, they both leaned in for a slow kiss. Michaela situated herself higher in the bed, her head now closer to Sully’s. “Mmmmm, Good MMMornin.” Sully managed to say through their kiss. The kiss became more intense as they responded to each other.

Michaela replied “Good Morning.”as their kiss ended and their lips parted. Sully’s arms tightened, pulling her closer to him, her head nestled on his shoulder. He ran a lazy finger up and down and across her bare back, lightly touching her soft skin. She lifted her head to once again gaze at the face of her husband. Sully watched her face for signs of shyness, even modesty, as his touch went lower and lower on her back. Instead he found a look of supreme contentment. He offered the first words of conversation. “Michaela, are you....., are you all right?”

Michaela smiled at him and replied: “I’m quite fine.” She lowered her head to kiss his chest. “Thank you for being so gentle and so, well......., for taking your time with me. Sully leaned in to kiss her silky hair, as if to say “You’re welcome.”

The train was making its way through the Colorado Rockies towards Denver. It was due to arrive in Denver by mid afternoon. Sully and Michaela had dressed and dismantled the bed in preparation for its storage at the train depot in Denver. John, the conductor, had arranged for the furniture, linens, and Michaela’s cumbersome wedding gown to be stored at the depot while the couple honeymooned in Denver. Their goods would be loaded up in a car on the train that would bring Michaela and Sully back to Colorado Springs in two weeks time.

Sully and Michaela were sitting in their new upholstered chairs, using one of Michaela’ satchels as a foot rest. The windows of the car were open and a comfortable breeze drifted through the rail car. Sully reached forward to take one of Michaela’ feet in his hands. He unlaced and removed her boot and pulled off her dark stocking. Michaela didn’t speak, but watched as he proceeded to do the same with her other foot. After he had replaced her now bare feet on the satchel, he removed his own boots and socks. He placed his feet on the satchel and began stroking the sensitive arch of Michaela’s foot with his toe. Michaela looked at him with a shy and beguiling smile. She said: “Nice breeze, isn’t it?”

Sully looked around at the flapping lace curtains hung at each window and said: “Sure is.”

Michaela looked out the windows on her side of the car and said: “The air seems cooler up at this elevation, doesn”t it?”

“Michaela.” Sully said. She looked back at him. “We’re not going to talk about the weather, are we?”

At first, she was a bit startled by his words, then realized he was teasing her. They both laughed. Sully reached out his hand for hers. The moment she put her hand in his, he pulled her to her feet and drew her in close to sit with him in his easy chair.

“Much better”, he said as he nuzzled her neck. Her arms went round his neck and she laced her fingers in his hair. Sully’s arms circled low on her waist.

“You’re a perfect fit.” He continued. Michaela laughed, her shyness and rigid upbringing momentarily ebbed by her husband’s attempts to put her at ease.

Sully helped Michaela down the steps of the rail car. The Denver train depot was brimming with activity. Trains arriving and departing, people rushing to board, family waiting to see them off, porters with large luggage racks trying to make their way politely through the crowds. Michaela felt as if everyone was watching her as she stepped down from the train. This was the first time they had left the rail car since boarding it as it left Colorado Springs. She had boarded the rail car as a naive bride. She stepped off it a married woman. Surely the change in her was evident to everyone who saw her. But instead, the people there were busy with their own activities and not at all concerned with the blushing bride and her handsome husband.

Sully re-boarded the rail car to gather their luggage. He brought out the last of their luggage and said: “John’s gonna take care of all our belongings. Said if we bought anything while we’re in Denver, just to drop it off here and he’ll add it to this.” He picked up the last bit of luggage, tucked it under his arm, turned to Michaela and said with a smile: “Ready to go?” Just then a porter met up with the couple and silently took the luggage from Sully. With his arms now empty, Sully immediately reached for Michaela’s hand to escort her to the waiting carriage.

Michaela waited patiently for Sully as he checked in with the front desk of the hotel. The hotel lobby was as grand as any in Boston, with deep burgundy carpet, rich tapestries on the wall and a grand crystal chandelier handing from the center of the room. To one side was a large grand piano and the other side housed the numerous flights of stair leading to the rooms. At the desk, Sully said: “My name’s Sully. I think you got reservations for me?”

The clerk replied, “Mr. & Mrs. Sully? Yes, you are in the grand suite on the fourth floor. This telegram arrived yesterday for you and Mrs. Sully.”

Sully took the key and the telegram, assuming it was a message from Colorado Springs. He walked back to Michaela and said: “All set? We’re on the fourth floor.”

Michaela lifted her skirt and looked up at the many flights of stairs with dread. Sully laughed and put his arm around her waist to push her forward. “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you make it,” he said. The porter arrived with their luggage and said: “If you’ll please follow me, Mr. & Mrs. Sully, I’ll see you to your room.”

What seemed to be such a casual remark was quite remarkable. Michaela looked to Sully with awe, as it was the first time she had been addressed as Mrs. Sully. Sully tightened his grip around her waist to let her know he had heard the words as well. Their life together had begun.

Part II

The view from their room was remarkable. The mountain seemed to go on and on. The tops of the highest peaks were masked by massive clouds. The room itself was actually a suite. From the main room there was a set of double French doors which led to a balcony. There were a pair of easy chairs flanking both sides of a massive fireplace. A small settee upholstered in rich tapestry faced the fireplace as well. Another set of double doors led to the bedroom. The canopy bed was draped in lace fabric which seemed to float in midair. The bed itself was made up with a white coverlet, embellished with intricate stitch patterns throughout. There was a smaller fireplace to the right of the bed, with a dressing table and wash stand to the other side of the bed.

The porter entered first, followed by Michaela and Sully. As the porter placed their luggage at the foot of the massive bed, Michaela and Sully looked around the rooms which would serve as their home for the next two weeks. They looked at each other with awe. Neither had expected such an elaborate dwelling. As the porter explained the workings of the room to Sully, Michaela walked around the room. She reached up to remove her hat and place it on the bed. The porter discretely exited the room. Sully joined Michaela in the bedroom, reached for her hand and pulled her toward the balcony. They stepped out onto it together for their first unobstructed view of the mountains. The view was breathtaking. Sully stood behind Michaela with his arms encircling her. Michaela grasped Sully’s arms from the front. They were both reminded of an earlier time they had shared such a moment.

Michaela spoke first. “Sully, do you remember when you were first showed me your world?”

“Mmmm,” he said into her hair.

“When we first started courting?” She continued, “Do you remember when you took me to the place you go to to find your way? This is the only other view I’ve seen which comes close to the beauty of that.”

Sully raised his head to look into the mountains. “We’ve sure come a long way since then.”

Michaela turned in his arms to face him. “Do you remember what I said there? I told you that I knew where I wanted us to get to, but I was unsure if I knew how we’d get there.” Sully replied: “Cloud Dancing would say we followed our own path.”

Michaela smiled up at him, the man who was first her friend, her protector, her guide and who now was her husband. “I’m so happy, Sully. I can’t imagine being anywhere else but with you now.”

Sully replied by pulling her into him and rocking her gently in his arms.

The hotel dining room was just as elaborate as the lobby. Sully and Michaela were escorted to a small table set off from the rest to insure privacy and intimacy. Michaela was seated first, then Sully was seated across from her. As soon as the Maitre D stepped away, Sully changed to the seat to Michaela’s side. Sully was dressed in his black cutaway suit. He bought it when he traveled to Boston to be with Michaela. That trip marked the beginning for them, though he had loved her from the first time he saw her. Before that trip, it was their differences that kept them apart. It was through their individual realizations in Boston that they discovered their similarities were enough to build upon.

Sully’s suit was as dashing on him as Michaela’s dress was on her. She was dressed in a rich burgundy silk dress. It graced her shoulders and dipped low in the front and the back. Her tiny waist was accentuated by the flare of the skirt of the dress. She wore her hair in a soft pile on the top of her head, her face framed with wisps of hair curling around it. Each time Sully saw her, he was struck by her beauty. Michaela seemed unaware of how beautiful she appeared to him. It was apparent from the moment they made their way in the dining room that they made a handsome couple--Michaela with her regal beauty, Sully with his rugged, lean frame. The waiter approached with a bottle of champagne. He first poured for Michaela, then Sully. They raised their glasses for a toast.

Michaela began: “To the beginning of our life together.”

Sully continued: “To my wife, the one I was destined to love.”

Their glasses clicked ceremoniously and they drank while watching each other intently.

Michaela set her glass down and asked hesitantly: “What did you and Abigail do for your honeymoon?”

Sully set his glass down as well and reached for Michaela’s hand. “Michaela,” he said firmly, “Stop thinkin’ that I done this before. This is our life together. Abigail ain’t part of it. It’s just me and you here. What we do is what we were meant to do. I ain’t thinking ‘bout anyone but you.” As he spoke, his fingers played with Michaela’s wedding ring and engagement ring. He leaned down to kiss her hand softly. “Now,” he said,v how ‘bout dancin’ with your husband?”

Michaela looked at him with relief and with love. What a remarkable man. “I’d love to,” she replied. Sully helped her out of her chair and escorted her to the dance floor. He took her in his arms and led her in a simple waltz. Michaela easily followed his lead, enjoying the music and the motion. They both knew Sully wasn’t one for dancing. It didn’t come easily for him. But because it was something Michaela liked to do, he was accommodating. Plus, he privately liked being seen dancing with the prettiest lady in the room.

The music ended and Sully and Michaela returned to their table. A single red rose had been placed on Michaela’s plate. She turned to look at Sully with surprise and he met her gaze with a looked that seemed to say: “Who me?” Sully helped Michaela be seated. She picked up the rose and inhaled it’s distinctive fragrance. She held it out for Sully to share as well.

Just then the waiter arrived with their dinner. They dined on fresh vegetables, steak and champagne. More dancing, more intimate conversation, more shared glances followed. The evening was perfect on every measure.

It was the perfect beginning to their time in Denver, but Sully was anxious to return to their room. He signed for their meal and escorted his bride from the dining room. Once again as they exited, they were watched by most of the patrons in the restaurant. It was evident how much in love they were.

When they returned to their room, both fireplaces were nestling a comfortable fire. The bed had been turned down and was waiting invitingly for them. Another single red rose was resting on the pillows, a stark contrast to the lily white sheets. They walked slowly into the bedroom. Sully reached first toward Michaela’s hair. He pulled out each pin slowly and surely. When her hair fell from her head, he carefully uncoiled the long locks and spread them evenly across her back. His fingers lightly graced her shoulders, then followed her collarbone to the hollow at the base of her neck. Michaela dropped her rose on the bed and reached out to begin untying his tie, then proceeded to unbutton his shirt.

Sully said, “I remember a day when all I could do was do up your buttons. All I wanted to do was undo ‘em.”

Michaela smiled at him and turned so her back was to him. He began unhooking the many barriers to her bare form. They slowly helped rid one another of their finest clothing. Bathed in nothing but light from the fire they shared kiss after kiss. Sully picked up his bride and deposited her softly in the middle of their bed. He reached for the rose and pulled off a petal to transfer its scent to Michaela’s soft white skin. The petal of the rose stroked Michaela softly and transported her to a place akin to heaven. This time with Sully was to be very different. She knew what to expect. Now she wanted to learn how to please him and to feel closer to him than ever before. Never before had she felt this loved, this glorious, this adored. She wanted Sully to feel the same. She reached for the rose from dinner, took a petal from it, and rolled away from Sully. As he settled next to her on the bed, she proceeded to cover Sully in the petal’s scent. Each place the petal touched, Michaela followed with a soft kiss. Sully lay still, eyes closed, focused only on Michaela’s touch of tenderness. It was evident she wanted to give as much as she received. Each touch between them conveyed their love. What had been limited to kisses and limited touches for so long could now be expressed with every movement. Neither thought it was possible to love the other more, yet together they were discovering a new way to express their unspoken feelings. This was what they had waited so long to discover. They now shared the same heartbeat, the same pulse, the same breath. Somehow, in this world with so many souls, theirs had met and melded into one.

Part III

They filled their days with carriage rides and picnics at the edge of the massive mountain range. Their adventuresome spirits longed to trek into the mountains, but instead they admired them from afar. Sully was a bit unsure about what they might find to do in a town like Denver, but Michaela managed to incorporate some type of brush with nature each day. Sully was enjoying himself even as they toured museums, browsed in shops, and listened to speeches and concerts. He wanted to share each experience with Michaela. Just as she wanted to learn his world, he too wanted to learn hers. Their evenings were spent in focused on each other. And somehow, each night a single red rose was waiting for them on their bed at the end of each day.

They set aside a day to spend shopping for gifts to take back for the children and to purchase a momento to add to their house as a reminder of this trip. Somehow, nothing they had seen yet seemed right. Michaela was determined to find just the right item. They decided to purchase a new dress for Colleen. She was at the age when appearances and clothing was so important. They chose a dress in soft green to complement her auburn coloring. For Brian, they decided on a new harmonica and a song book. And for Matthew, they chose a new hat. All the gifts were rather impractical, but that’s what gifts are sometimes meant to be. But the momento of their trip remained elusive.

Michaela shopped for the clinic as well, taking this opportunity to purchase many supplies that simply couldn’t be ordered. She bought numerous new medical texts, instruments and illustrations. She hoped the clinic would provide an opportunity for Michaela and Sully to return to Denver in the future. These purchases were bundled up and added to the other items waiting in storage for them at the train depot. Their time in Denver had passed so quickly. They had only one more day and evening left before it was time to return to Colorado Springs.

They spent the next to the last night entertaining John as their guest for dinner. He had proven to be such a good friend, what with modifying the train car for them as they set out from Colorado Springs and storing their belongings for them as they visited in Denver. John was full of stories of the people he met as he passed through their towns. But none of them, he said, equaled the kindness of the residents of Colorado Springs. He continued to thank Michaela for her handiwork. His job with the railroad would never have been possible without Michaela’s skill and compassion. The final full day of their visit dawned with the promise of a glorious sunrise. Sully had awakened Michaela and draped her with him in a quilt. They moved out to the balcony and watched the sunrise together. Neither of them spoke. Instead they watched the colors of the sky change and blend and merge together as it had for countless mornings. Somehow it seemed more beautiful now that it was shared. When the sun had completed it’s rise and the streets began bustling with activity, Sully and Michaela returned to the confines of their room and dressed for the day. Michaela approached Sully tentatively.

“Sully,” she said, “I’d like to go out on my own for a bit this morning. I’d like to purchase some, well, some surprises.”

“Without me?” Sully asked.

“Not exactly. Just without you knowing what I’m getting, that’s all,” Michaela answered.

“Will you be long?” Sully asked as a way of giving his consent and expressing his longing for her to return quickly all in the same statement.

“Not at all. Be back as quickly as I can,” she said.

She reached up to peck him on the check as she prepared to leave. Before she could step away, Sully captured her elbow with his hand. He pulled her back into the circle of his arms and said, “If you’re gonna be away from me, I’m gonna need a better kiss than that to hold me ‘til you get back.”

His lips lowered on hers and told her again and again how he loved her. When they finally parted he said, “Now you can go.”

Michaela rose on her tiptoes to kiss his check as before which evoked a playful slap from Sully as she departed. While she was gone, Sully looked out on the mountains from the balcony and reflected on his life. How far he had come since the day he arrived in Colorado Springs for the first time. It was then he met and fell in love with Abigail. When she and their new child were taken so quickly and harshly from him, he thought his chance at a family was over. Then this remarkable woman came into his heart. At first she was everything he wasn’t. Refined when he was rugged. Caring when he was detached. Determined when he was resigned. But somehow they found a common ground to stand on. At first it was the homestead. Then she began to care for the Cheyenne. And he began to care for the children. And somehow she became part of his heart, his heartsong. Along the way they had experienced the best and the worst in each other. And through it all Michaela had steadfastly staked her claim in his heart. He never knew anyone like her before. Sully realized his regard for Michaela was more than just love. He trusted her, was inspired by her, and learned from her. Her capacity to believe in the good of people was something he had lost sight of long ago. Michaela brought a sense of belonging and belief back to him. She had changed him in every way imaginable by not trying to change him. This was quite a revelation to Sully. His marriage to Abigail did not come close to equaling the connection he had with Michaela. It surpassed love. He wondered if Michaela was aware of her impact on him. As he reflected on these things, he toyed with one of the many roses he had arranged to be delivered for her each night. And suddenly, he was inspired to get a gift for Michaela. A secret reminder for them of this time. Sully hurried out of the room so that he could return before Michaela.

Meanwhile, Michaela had made her way back to the Denver Emporium. She went directly to the display of knives at the back counter. For Sully, a knife was more than just a tool. He used it to carve and shape things from wood. It was almost as if he saw the image in there and used his knife to bring it into view. She perused the display, looking for the most attractive handle among them. She finally decided upon one with a sleek black handle. The storekeeper said this one had the best feel of all of them. Michaela purchased it quickly and rushed to a nearby jeweler’s to have it engraved. On one side of the blade, right above the base where the blade met the handle she had B.S. & M.S. On the other side she placed A.M.L. and included the date of their marriage. As the jeweler set to work on the engravings, Michaela browsed the other stores close to the jewelers. One such store was an art gallery which sold watercolor and oil paintings on consignment. It was there she spied the momento she and Sully sought for their home. In fact, she found two. One would be hung in the main room, the other smaller one would be saved for their room. Michaela eagerly made her purchases. She returned to the jeweler’s and hovered over him until he finished his work. She had the knife boxed and wrapped. She camouflaged it within the plain brown wrappings from the Emporium. Michaela hurried back with her treasures to the hotel and to her waiting husband.

Sully was watching for the balcony for Michaela to return. He spotted her from afar as she rounded the corner of the hotel. He hurried from the room to meet her at the base of the massive stairway.

“Sully! I finally found our momento. I can’t wait for you to see it,” she said as she greeted him in the lobby of the hotel. Sully smiled at her exuberance and took the packages from her. She gladly gave him the cumbersome paintings, but held on to the plain brown one for herself. They made their way back to the room.

Michaela unwrapped the paintings slowly. It was obvious to Sully that they were paintings. But it was what the paintings were of that was so special. The first one, the largest of the two, was a painting of a sunrise over the mountains. It seemed to be a mirror image of the sunrise they had witnessed just this morning. It was if the artist had stood just where they had and painted the same scene. The sky was a blend of pastel colors that merged one into the other. The mountains appeared to be rising from the canvas. It was a perfect reminder of the spectacle they witnessed with awe each time they looked out from their balcony.

The second painting was more private. It was a rendering of a vase of red roses. The roses were in various stages of bloom and all shared the same intense red color. One or two of the flowers had lost a few of their petals. The lose petals rested haphazardly on the table holding the vase. When Michaela unwrapped this painting and presented it to Sully, he drew in a sharp breath. The painting, while quite beautiful on it’s own merit, held a special meaning for them.

Michaela said, “I thought we might hang this in our room.” And Sully replied, “Good. When we get back, I’m gonna plant some rose bushes for you next to the fence so we can always have roses to........”

Michaela filled in at his hesitation. “To enjoy,” she completed for him.

Michaela placed the painting on the settee and reached for Sully’s face. She pulled it toward hers to initiate an intimate kiss.

The rest of the day passed quickly. Michaela and Sully returned to their favorite places in Denver. They strolled hand in hand among the streets and picnicked at a favored spot. Each of them were aware that this was the ending of their idyllic time together. When tomorrow came, they would find themselves headed back to Colorado Springs, back to the place where they first found each other.

Part IV

Each moment of this trip had been memorable. For the first time, they had been together almost constantly with few interruptions or distractions. They were both aware this would not, could not continue once they returned home and they selfishly coveted their last evening together. When they returned to their room after another evening of dining and dancing, Sully turned to Michaela and said softly, “Why don’t you go get changed into your night clothes and I’ll get the fire goin’.” Michaela kissed him as a reply and slipped away to change.

Sully removed his jacket and tie. He arranged a gathering of pillows on the floor in front of the fire. He could hear Michaela moving around in the bedroom. Just the sound of her carrying out every day activities seemed significant. He liked seeing their clothes packed together, his toiletries sharing the same drawer as hers. He withdrew his present for Michaela from its hiding place and placed it under one of the pillows. Michaela chose just that moment to come out of the bedroom to him. She was dressed in a satin gown trimmed in soft lace with small rosebuds embroidered within it. The satin clung to her figure enticingly and reflected the movement of the firelight. She walked towards him.

“Wait right there,” he said to her as he moved toward the bedroom. He pulled something out of the dresser and walked back to meet her standing by the fireplace. In his hands was her hairbrush. Michaela’s hair was still in it’s upswept styling. Sully had become quite adept at removing it’s pins and freeing it from it’s coil. He did so again. He placed the pins on the mantle of the fireplace and drew Michaela down with him as he settled on the pillows. He situated himself behind her, both of them facing the light of the fire. He began stroking her hair with the brush, pulling it through her hair in long, slow strokes. Michaela arched her neck with each pass of the brush. Her silky hair reflected the firelight as is moved. Sully completed his passes with the brush and instead fanned his fingers out and began pulling them through her long tresses. When he had his fill of that, he began softly massaging her scalp, her neck, her shoulders with the pads of his fingers.

“Yours is the most beautiful hair I ever seen. I never felt anythin’ softer than this,” he said into her hair. “It even smells like you.”

Michaela turned around to face him. She said softly, “Now, it’s my turn.” She rose up to situate herself behind Sully. She picked up the brush and began stroking his thick hair. Michaela’s touch on his hair was very gentle, very sensual. She stroked it from the top and from below, taking care to catch it all. She lifted his long locks from the back of his neck and place a kiss on his bare skin beneath his collar. Sully reached to begin removing his shirt when Michaela stopped him.

“Let me,” she said as she reached from behind him to undo the buttons. One by one the shirt buttons were freed as Michaela worked her way down. When the shirt was free of it’bindings, Michaela slowly pulled it away from his chest, down his arms and back. She discarded the garment and began to explore his torso with her hands. She followed the curve of his shoulder blades, then ran her finger lightly along the ridge of his backbone. She moved next to his strong arms, her fingers grazing the definition of his muscles. A log in the fireplace rolled somewhat, startling both of them from their trance-like state. Sully reached up to capture Michaela’ hand. He brought it to his mouth to kiss the tips of each finger, as if to thank them for their touch. He turned to pull Michaela towards him and settle her in his lap. They leaned back on the settee, cushioned by numerous pillows.

“Hello,” he said quietly as he moved his head to kiss her gently. His lips just barely grazed hers with the lightest touch imaginable. Even the briefest of contacts sent shivers running throughout Michaela’s body. Sully reached behind a pillow to pull out a package and handed it to Michaela. She untied it’s silk ribbon and unfolded its paper wrapping. Inside was a beautiful bottle of perfume, its scent of roses. Sully took the bottle from her, uncorked the stopper, and applied its fragrance to Michaela. He brushed it behind her ears, along her collar bone, at the bend of her arm and inside both wrists. Next he stroked it in the valley created by her breasts. He recapped the bottle and leaned in to first inhale softly, then kiss each scented hollow. When he finished his tour, he raised his face to kiss her gently. Their kiss spoke of gratitude and honor.

Michaela said softly, “I have something for you as well.” She reached underneath a cushion in the settee to remove her package. She handed it to him and watched intently as he unwrapped the gift.

When he viewed the sleek knife, folded into it’s elegant black handle, he said, “Oh Michaela. I never had nothin’ this nice.”

She told him, “Open the blade.”

He did as instructed, and saw the shine of the steel, etched with B.S. & M.S. He looked up at her with misty eyes. She reached out and turned the knife over. On the other side was an engraving of their wedding date and A.M.L. He looked up inquisitively. She replied softly, “All my love.”

He closed the blade carefully and reached up to stroke her hair. “You’ll never know how much I love you, Michaela.”

She lifted her hand to stroke his hair, then follow his chiseled jaw. “Yes I do, Sully. I see it in your eyes.”

The cabin steward announced the next stop was Colorado Springs. They were due to pull into the depot in 35 minutes. Sully and Michaela looked at each other. Sully reached for her hand and laced his fingers with hers. “You ready to get home?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” she replied. “I missed the children so. I’m anxious to move into our beautiful new home as well. But I don’t want this to end. Sully, I had the most wonderful time with you. I hope you did too.”

“Michaela,” he said. “What I like most was bein’ with you. Most new couples don’t have three children and a busy medical clinic always interruptin’ their time together.”

Michaela smiled. “I know,” she answered. “We’ll have to try to arrange some time together.”

“Yup, we can sure try,” Sully said, rather unconvincingly.

“Sully, I will try.” Michaela said firmly. Sully smiled, applied a slight squeeze to her hand and looked forward at the now familiar landscape rolling by the train windows. From across the aisle, Sully noticed a well dressed man staring at Michaela. Something about this man was disconcerting to Sully and he had an immediate dislike of him. He hoped he would not be debarking the train in Colorado Springs when he and Michaela returned home.

Each of them were wrapped up in their own thoughts while the train moved them closer to home. Michaela reflected on how different it would be in town and at home to have Sully there for all the things he had been doing for her for so long--providing food, chopping wood, making repairs. But now it would be different. His place at the table would be permanent. It would be his house, their house he would be making repairs on, not her house. She had him to lean on to make troublesome decisions, to help guide Brian and Matthew into fine men.

Sully’s thoughts centered around how much they’d both changed in the two weeks they’d been away. He and Michaela had achieved a closeness he never thought possible. Even their kisses were different. They now conveyed a sense of possession of one another’s affection. It was as if each kiss conveyed a message that was matched by the other’s response. Sully knew that he was right in marrying Michaela. There was no doubt in his mind or in his heart.

Micheala turned to face Sully. Her voice was low, so that no one might overhear her words. “Sully,” she asked, “What did you mean when we toasted our first night in Denver that I was the one you were destined to love?”

He replied slowly. “Cloud Dancin’ told me. He said the when the spirits make a soul, they break it in two, one woman, one man. Each soul has to find the other before it can be whole. He told me once that you were my soul’s match.

“When did he tell you that?” Michaela asked.

“When you was sick with the influenza. I was afraid you was gonna die and he said it depended on me. That my spirit could save yours.”

“You mean you’ve known since then?” Michaela asked incredulously.

“Since the very beginnin’.” he replied with a smile.

Sully could sense Michaela’s growing excitement as the train got closer and closer to Colorado Springs. Each movement she made sent a slight touch of the fragrance of roses in the air. Never again would he smell roses and not think of her. The two were intertwined and would forever remind him of this time with her. He was as anxious as she to return to their shared world and begin their life together, their new life.