"Tell me about how things'll be in Oregon," she whispered dreamily.
Matt swallowed and tried to remember his own dream. It was becoming lost in a sensual haze. He cleared his throat. "I got a little money, not much, but it'll get us a start. Not fancy though." He pushed her away, studying her dark eyes as another reality intruded. "We’ll file on the land when we get there. Married, we get over 600 acres. We have to work it and then the time will come it’ll be ours. First thing we do there will be to build a cabin. I am good at that-- except, the home you had in Missouri was a fancy place. Were you hoping for one like that in Oregon?" He worked to keep his tone deliberately light, as though her answer didn’t matter.
"Any home with you will be wonderful," she whispered. She slid back into his arms, her lips next to his, her breath mingling with his. "If it was just you and me, a tent would be enough."
"It wouldn't, Amy. You don't know what it's like to not have enough-- even for eating."
"You're not helping," she protested. "I want a picture to keep with me, hold near my heart, of a future to look forward to, not dread. I don’t want a list of don’ts, but of dos." She slapped his chest lightly. "Close your eyes, Matthew.” She smiled as he gave up and obeyed. “All right now the cabin will be over to the west, just one room with a loft, at first. The barn with one milk cow and some chickens is over to the north. South of the house, just above the creek is a garden. Do you see it?
“There’ll be flowers mixed in with the vegetables and healing herbs like Mama always has.” She ran her fingers over his lips. “Eventually we'll plant fruit trees a little further up the slope and-- well, who knows what else we'll plant." She stopped.
He laughed, as always reading her thoughts with too much accuracy. "I expect we'll think of somethin'-- to plant," he whispered, his lips brushing hers, lightly, teasingly, then with full possession in a kiss that lingered.
"You do want children, don't you, Matthew?" she asked when she could.
His mother had died in childbirth, his birth. Would he lose Amy the same way? Would that be his punishment for having killed his mother? Another fear, more deeply seeded, refused to come to where he could grasp it. It lingered in the shadows. He was not facing something fully, but whatever it was, he couldn't look at it-- not yet.
Delaying the need to find an answer, he nuzzled the soft curve between her neck and shoulder. "Why is it," he murmured, kissing the soft skin, "you always smell so sweet?"
She laughed. "I was just thinking the same thing about you."
He looked up at her in surprise, thinking she was teasing him. He knew what he must smell like. There'd been no time to wash so much as his hands, and he'd spent the day working with animals, greasing wheels, eating dust and riding a horse for eight hours.
"I meant what I said. You smell like hard work and outdoors, like a man ought to smell."
Slowly they walked back, the darkness now cloaking them from interested eyes. Avoiding the small clusters of people, Matt saw her nearly to her own wagon. He stood in the darkness until she was safely with her family.