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A Convenient Husband
Published Mar 24, 2009


Written By

drewsoltesz

Storyteller
21176Views4.7Rating

Page 1 / 87

A rancher must make a decision to help the woman he secretly loves...will this life altering decision bring him the happiness and contentment he so desperately craves?

A rancher must make a decision to help the woman he secretly loves...will this life altering decision bring him the happiness and contentment he so desperately craves? Helen Thornton lived with her older brother Jake, the sheriff of this small town nestled in the Black Hills of the Dakota territory in 1876. Not even 21 years old, she filled her days attending to her bachelor brother's household. Matt Butler owned his own ranch/farm. He lived alone and looked after the place himself. It was not an easy life, but he managed to keep himself afloat the the ranch a going concern.

When he could find the time, he sometimes courted the sheriff's sister, Helen.
But really, while he was growing quite fond of Helen, her heart seemed engaged elsewhere, though she would not talk about it.

She at times seemed aloof in a friendly way.

Matt was not quite sure he wanted to pursue this any further. But he did find her appealing, quite lovely if he were to be honest.
But Helen had a deep secret she kept from Matt and her brother, her heart was indeed engaged elsewhere. She was secretly meeting a man, An Indian named Great Wolf. Her brother would never approve, nor the rest of society.


This was the 4th morning in a row she felt nauseated. Her mind went through the possible reasons for this feeling, perhaps she was getting sick, maybe it was something she ate...but she knew what it was, her body was telling her in no uncertain terms, she was expecting a child, Great Wolf's child.
Reality came crashing down on Helen with a mighty force. Unwed, having an Indian's child...Jake will throw her out. She would be shunned by all society, as would the poor innocent child. Helen began to hatch a plan.



That very afternoon, Helen took the carriage and rode out to Matt Butler's ranch. She should not be alone and unchaperoned, but she did not care.

Helen remembered the way Matt looked at her when last she was here, and prayed he would be open to her idea.
"Hello Matt..." she said softly. Helen smiled warmly. He really was a fine man, perhaps it would not be a hardship to be his wife.

Matt gulped. Helen here alone? What was going on? "Good afternoon Helen, What brings you way out here, and alone? That was not very wise."

"Perhaps not, but I had to talk to you Matt, it is very important." Helen walked slowly toward him.
"I need your help, as my friend Matt. I am here to ask you to marry me, right away. My reasons are selfish I cannot deny it, for I am expecting a child. It is a man called Great Wolf's, and I want the child to have a proper start in life, with a family. Not shunned and branded. I will be a good wife to you Matt, I will keep house, cook your meals." She stopped and breathlessly waited for Matt's reply.



He was thunderstruck. Married? Isn't that what he wanted? But a pain shot through his heart. A child...not his. Could he bring up this child as his own, this proof of Helen's love for another man?

Would she ever grow to love him half as much as she apparently loved this Great Wolf?
After several minutes, Matt walked slowly toward Helen and embraced her warmly. "We will be married right away, no one will know about the child except us. As far as society knows, it will be mine, I give you my oath. I...I care for you Helen."

Actually, he realized he more than cared, he was in love with her.

Helen hugged Matt tightly. "Thank you..." she whispered with great emotion. What a wonderful man, such a dear friend!
The night before the wedding and Helen was nervous. But what tore at her heart is that she found out Great Wolf had left the territory with his tribe, she would no doubt never see him again, she never got to tell him she was carrying his child. How she loved him, it broke her heart.

The tears fell from her cheeks. She prayed she was doing the right thing.
Matt was having his own doubts, pacing the floor in his room. He had a nagging feeling he was making a mistake. He loved her, it was obvious she still had feelings for this other man. How could they make this work? He was sacrificing a lot here, including his heart. Barely a week later, Matt and Helen were standing before the Reverend Playfair in the small chapel. They exchanged vows, and pledged their love and devotion before God. Helen's heart did a little flip when Matt walked in, he looked very fine indeed in his new suit. But her heart did another flip when she thought of the wedding night...she was extremely nervous and a little apprehensive. She was filled with doubt, was she doing the right thing? The Reverend droned on, finally declaring them man and wife.

Matt placed his strong masculine hands still on her shoulders. "We will be alright Helen, you will see, I will do everything in my power to make you happy."



Helen started to tremble. The deep emotional cadence in his deep voice scared her a little, was Matt in love with her? She prayed he was not, for she knew she could not return it, and she did not want to hurt Matt for anything in the world.
The newly married couple made their way out to Matt's farm ranch for their wedding night. After Matt thanked Jacob Carney his neighbour for watching his place and said his good-byes, Matt impulsively gathered Helen in his arms and carried her across the threshold. She felt so good in his arms, so right. He put Helen down gently. "You can do whatever you wish to the house, Helen. This is your home now. The...ah...bedroom is through there." Matt pointed to the door at the back. "I'll give you time to prepare."

Helen was still trembling. She nodded quickly, unable to speak.
She hurried into the bedroom and stood and stared at the bed. Memories of being in Great Wolf's arms flooded her and covered her like a blanket. She felt tears form in her eyes.

How can she even consider being in another man's arms? Her body began to ache in loss and regret. was it only 8 weeks since she saw him?
She at last tried to calm down and tried to relax on the large bed. After sometime, Matt entered. Helen smiled bravely, but inside she was falling to pieces.

Matt slowly took off his coat and started undoing his shirt. Helen looked away and took a deep intake of breath.


When she looked back, he was stripped to the waist. She stood, he was nearly as muscular and beautiful as Great Wolf.
Matt looked at Helen, his face visibly softened. She was extraordinarily beautiful, breathtaking in fact. His desire was threatening to take over his senses.

He made a few steps toward her. "You are utterly beautiful..." he whispered. He leaned down to kiss her, to pull her close.
"I can't!! I can't! Oh Please Matt! I can't do it!" Helen began to sob uncontrollably. She could feel his masculine presence, the breadth of his muscular chest, it was all too much.

He reminded her too much of Great Wolf.

The tears spilled with no control, her body wracked with sobs.

"Helen..." Matt began, but it only made Helen cry all the more.
Matt turned away, his face etched with hurt and disappointment. "Helen, I will give you the time you need." He said in a soft voice, laced with anguish. "I will sleep in the other room."

He went out and gently closed the door...Helen was inconsolable.
After crying herself to sleep, Helen managed to get a few hours rest at least. She awoke before dawn and got up to make Matt his breakfast. She went over the events of the past 24 hours. She had behaved horribly. Matt have every right to claim her as his wife, she couldn't go through with it, but why? Was it too soon, were her emotions out of control because of her condition? Or were the memories of Great Wolf still too raw? Matt stepped out of the spare bedroom to find Helen busily at work slicing the bacon. He stood and looked at her, his body still ached from wanting her so. He hardly slept at all, tossing and turning with the unfulfilled desire keeping his thoughts racing all night. He loved her and wanted her, pure and simple. He would have to be extremely patient with Helen. This was going to be very difficult, when all he wanted to do was take her in his arms.
They sat down and began to eat. "Matt, I...I am sorry...for last night. I don't know what came over me..." Helen said softly.

Matt looked down at his plate. "There is no need to apologize, as I said last night, you will know when you are ready. You can let me know."

"But it's your bed Matt! You can sleep in it, or I can take the other room..." Helen offered.

"No..." Matt said in a low gravelly voice. "I cannot sleep in the same bed with you Helen, the temptation would be too great. You stay in the room."

They finished their breakfast in silence. Matt rose to leave. "Thank you Matt, for being understanding and the caring man you are. I will work through this, I promise." How long it would take was another matter, she thought inwardly.



Matt felt an throbbing ache take over his whole body. "I'm going out to feed the stock and tend the crops, let me know when lunch is ready."
Helen got up from her nap. "Oh Matt! I am sorry I slept so long! And the breakfast dishes still out! I am so tired today!"


Matt sucked in his breath at the sight of Helen in her nightgown,he fought the urge to hold her close.

He cleared his throat. "It's alright, don't concern yourself."
Helen looked at Matt. Truly he was a wonderful man, and an amazing looking masculine specimen, so what was the matter with her? Why could she not muster up any depth of feeling or desire for him? Honestly, she thought to herself, had she even tried? She was with Great Wolf for just a matter of weeks, but she was going to be with this man the rest of her life, she must try! But even the thought of showing Matt any affection made her heart ache with a depth of loss and guilt. How much longer will he be patient, before it starts to affect their relationship? They were already good friends, she did not want that damaged. Helen found it hard to look into his eyes, they were filled with such feeling, it made her cheeks blaze.



"There is enough water left in one of the barrels, why don't I fix you a bath?" he murmured. His silky deep voice made her shudder. "I can heat some of the water up for you, and you can use some of that bath stuff I gave you."
Helen felt her mouth go dry. Matt had bought her those French bath salts for her wedding. She was genuinely touched, what man would take time out of his busy chore-filled day to attend to a bath for his wife? This glorious man would. "Thank you Matt...that would be lovely. I can't think of anything I would want more than a nice long soak." she whispered.
Sometime later, Helen lowered herself into the tub, the water temperature was just right, not too hot, nor too cold. The lavender scented bath water was relaxing, the silky water hugged her skin. Matt rapped lightly on the door. "If you need me to scrub your back, just holler out." he said in a light seductive tone.

Helen heard his foot steps walk away. She smiled slightly, she was sorely tempted to yell for him to come back, but she just could not do it.

Oh Wolf...why isn't it you here with me? I want you...not Matt! An inexplicable wave of sadness poured from her heart.
Later that evening, after supper was over, the soft lilting notes from the song 'Shenandoah' filled the parlour. Matt looked up from his book and listened to the haunting tune, it stirred his heart the way Helen played it.


He closed his book and slowly walked over to the piano. "Do you know the words?" he asked gently. Helen nodded. "Please, sing it for me..." he whispered softly.
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Away, you rolling river Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you, Away, you rolling river Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you Away, I'm bound away, cross the wide Missouri.



Matt felt a few tears form in his eyes. She sung it beautifully. "Enchanting, I did not know you had such a beautiful voice. I hope you will sing often, Helen."

Helen's cheeks flushed from the cadence of his deep voice. She saw his eyes glistened wistfully and it touched her heart. Her insides began to roll and flutter slightly.
Gently and with a great deal of tenderness, Matt reached up and stroked her cheek. It was almost the same way Great Wolf had done all those weeks ago. But it felt different somehow, while it did not have the intense crackle of Wolf's touch, it nonetheless was having an effect on her. Matt leaned in, was he going to kiss her?

Suddenly, Helen felt bile rise in her throat, she gagged and ran for the bathroom.
Helen almost did not make it, she was violently ill. It went on for several moments.
Matt was pounding on the door. "Helen! Are you alright? Is there anything I can do?" Helen was mortified, how humiliating! Matt was about to kiss her and she promptly vomits?

She struggled to catch her breath. "I am alright, it has passed, it is just my condition!" At least, she prayed that was the reason she was so ill.
Getting ready for bed, stripping down to his underwear, Matt climbed into his bed in the spare room. They had been married over a month now, and still they had not consummated the union. His patience was nearing the end. He longed to hold her, love her, show her his deep feelings, but he held back. Was he a feared of rejection? That he would not measure up to this Wolf character?

He couldn't wait any more, this was pure torture.
As he started to drift off to sleep, his thoughts were filled with Helen. He would have to talk to her and make her understand that enough time had passed, they had to get on with the business of living and loving, she could not pine away for this Great Wolf any longer.

Yes, he would talk to her tomorrow...
Helen's condition was starting to show itself a bit. She felt the first kick, and instructed Matt to feel. He gently placed his hand on her stomach and waited, there it was! He smiled slightly. He would have been more content if the child growing inside Helen had been his and not the Indian's. 'Face it, you're jealous', Matt thought inwardly.

Now was the time for that talk, he has been extremely patient, and the feel of another man's child growing in Helen hit the point home.
Matt held her close, he began to whisper seductively in her ear. "I want a kiss Helen, I want more than that, God help me, I want to love you. I'm your husband and my wanting of you is as natural as breathing and eating...when Helen...when?"



Helen's pulse began to beat at an erratic pace. Matt's words burned and turned her insides to jelly. What was she waiting for? She was responding to him at last, perhaps it was time...
She looked into his eyes, yes, what was she waiting for? Wolf will not return, this dear man came to her assistance in her time of need, married her and has been nothing but kind and patient with her. She cared for him very much, perhaps it would grow into more...



NO!! a voice cried deep within her. 'You will never feel what you felt with Great Wolf, it is not possible! No one can find that twice! You swore never to feel or to love again!' But how will I know unless I try? She argued with herself.
Aloud she said, "Kiss me, Matt..."
At first, his lips touched hers ever so gently, barely making contact. then it deepened, Matt moaned and pulled her closer, crushing her against his broad chest. How long he has waited for this moment, it was every bit as sweet as he imagined.



At first Helen was very stiff and tentative, but she soon softened and she threw her arms around his neck and returned the warmth of his embrace. It was not the same as Great Wolf's kiss, but it felt good...different.

Matt bent Helen back and began to land small urgent kisses on her neck and chin. "I want you Helen," his head motioned to the bedroom where she slept alone. "Let me show you how I feel, I swear I will be gentle with you."



Helen's emotions were swirling out of control. She was still apprehensive, and maybe reluctant, and maybe more than a little excited, after all, he was her husband. She nodded.
Matt no sooner released her and took her hand to lead her into the bedroom when Helen yowled with incredible pain. She grabbed her stomach, the waves of stabbing pain were endless. She collapsed at Matt's feet.

He lifted Helen and carried her to the bed, then sent his ranch hand for the Doctor.
After a lengthy examination, Dr. Forbes Corbett came out of the bedroom to talk to Matt. "Your wife is resting comfortably Mr. Butler. I must tell you it is very important she not overtax herself for the remainder of her confinement. Is there someone that can help with the household chores?"

"I can hire someone." He replied.

Forbes sighed. "Very good. I must also tell you that all martial relations must cease and desist until well after the birth, Mrs. Butler is in a delicate condition, brought on by the fact that she is expecting twins."
Matt felt as if the Doctor had slammed his fist into his middle. What martial relations?? Now he would have to wait even longer...and TWINS??

Matt closed his eyes, the pain and hurt flooding his heart. Why would Helen ever want to have a child of his now? Would she ever come around and let him love her the way he longed to? "Of course Doctor, whatever you advise..." Matt whispered. "Will Helen be OK?"

As long as she follows my directions, she should be delivered of healthy babies, I heard two strong heartbeats Mr. Butler."

Matt thanked Dr. Corbett, paid him and showed him out.

Matt went down into the bedroom, Helen was resting comfortably, obviously ready for bed. "It seems Matt, I am forever apologizing to you. I did not mean for this attack to happen when it did..."



"I know." Matt said quietly. God, she looked glorious, pregnancy only enhanced her beauty.

"Dr. Corbett told you, about my condition?"Helen asked with apprehension in her voice.

"He did. I must say it is a shock, to you too I suppose." Matt turned to leave, to let her rest.

"No! Matt...please don't leave! Please, come sit with me here on the bed." She said, her voice quivering.
Matt sighed deeply and got on the bed next to Helen. "You must know I love you Helen, and have for quite sometime. I will help you through this, together we will get you safely to the end of your term. I will be hiring someone to take over most of the household chores, and I will help when and where I can. I will see your babies born healthy." Matt's voice was thick with deep emotion. "You must follow the Doctor's orders Helen, promise me you will."
Helen snuggled up to Matt and took his hand. He tentatively put his arm around her, and pulled her close. His touch enveloped her, she felt safe and protected. "Stay with me, Matt. Sleep in the bed, your bed. Will you?" Matt looked into her tear filled eyes.
Well, it is what he wanted. Sort of. Even if he could not love her in that way, he could hold her and comfort her. He nodded.
After holding Helen for sometime, Matt took off his clothes down to his long johns and then he slipped into bed, fatigue soon had him sleeping soundly.
Helen laid for the longest time watching him sleep, her hands on her mid section. She could feel movement. Twins. Never in her wildest dreams. She glanced at Matt again. What man would accept not one but two children from another man? Not many. Maybe he will feel differently when they are born, and start to grow up, looking like Great Wolf. She prayed that would not be the case, that Matt would not grow to resent the children...or her.
She stood and slipped under the covers and inched her way slowly over toward Matt. She reached out for him, pulling his body close to hers, she longed to feel the heat and strength from him.

He turned slightly, his eyes opened sleepily. "Wha..." he croaked sleepily.

"Go back to sleep Matt, it is only me. Sleep." Helen whispered.
He turned back over and was asleep again instantly. His broad chest rising and falling with his every breath. Helen curled her body against his, her arms around his torso, her face resting against the musculature of his back. She sighed contentedly. Yes, this felt good...right.

She soon slipped into a deep, peaceful slumber.
A few weeks have passed, Helen went for an afternoon nap, the pregnancy was talking its toll on her stamina, she tired easily and was nauseous a lot. Her emotions as well, were all over the map; she felt tears come to her eyes for no reason.

And she found her dreams were more vivid than they had ever been in her life, and they were all filled with images of Great Wolf.

Helen relived every kiss, every embrace. It felt as if his warm silky lips were caressing her skin right now. She moaned softly.
Matt came into the bedroom to check on Helen, she was thrashing about in the bed and moaning in her sleep. He watched her for a few moments with great concern, should he wake her? Was she having a nightmare?

Suddenly Helen called out in a voice laced with want, "Yes, Wolf, love me! Great Wolf..." her voice died away.


Matt felt as if a knife had been shoved into his heart. She was not over the man, she never would be. He slowly left the room, desolation and anguish awash in his heart and soul.
Later, at supper, Matt walked into the kitchen. He did not speak, pulling out the dining chair with a great deal of force; he sat down and looked at his plate.

"Matt! I was beginning to get worried! You are late for supper!" Helen stated.

"Worried?" Matt sneered. "I highly doubt it." He pushed his plate away from him. "I am not hungry." he growled.

Helen was visibly taken aback.

Matt stood so abruptly the wooden chair crashed to the floor. "I have things to do." With a slam of the door, he was gone.
Helen sat frozen in her chair. Never had she seen this side of Matt before. What ever could be wrong? There was a decidedly chilly air in the room, Matt was so cold, so distant!
So unfeeling! This was not like him at all!

But did she truly know him? Married only a few months, a few polite social encounters before that...Helen decided she would try and get to the bottom of it, later when he calmed down.
The sun had set, and Matt finally returned to the house. He ignored Helen sitting doing some sewing in the parlour and immediately went into the spare room and slammed the door.

After waiting for sometime, Helen knocked and entered. Matt was sprawled on the bed in his undershorts reading a book.

Helen took a sharp intake of breath, he was a fine looking man, there was no mistake.
Matt continued reading, not acknowledging her existence in the room at all.
"Matt, what are you doing in here? Why aren't you in your own bed, our bed? Is something wrong?"



Matt shrugged. "I just want some time alone if that is not too much to ask. To be honest you are keeping me awake at night, so I will be moving back in here."

That stung. His voice was dripping with ice, his manner standoffish.
Helen felt desolate, to not be able to feel his heart beating beneath her fingers? Why, that is what helped her sleep, she felt safe, warm...cherished. She did not know what to say. "What has happened? Have I done something to upset you?" her voice quivered.

"Helen, go to bed and leave me in peace." He snapped.

Helen felt a few tears cluster in her eyes, he did not look at her...not once.

She turned and ran from the room.
Matt had started going in town most nights to the saloon, playing poker. He had begun to talk to one of the saloon girls. One night, Matt whispered in Catherine's ear for her to meet him in the storeroom. He wasn't sure why he wanted to be alone with Catherine, but here he was.

"Why did you want to talk to me, Matt?" Catherine questioned.

"I am not sure..." Matt whispered. He was lonesome, desolate over Helen's determination to stay emotionally tied to another man.
"I just am feeling a little...lonely. I thought maybe we could go somewhere and talk, or share a meal. Nothing more, I promise you." Matt said in a low voice.



Catherine stared into his handsome rugged face. This man lonely? Was his wife crazy? What could she say?

She was attracted to him...he was a magnificent looking and powerfully built man.
Catherine's look of interest was clearly showing on her face, Matt saw it and responded.
He gathered Catherine in his arms, she was soft and feminine in all the right places. "You are a very beautiful woman..." he whispered in a husky voice.

Catherine was beginning to tremble. The sheer magnetism of this man, was his wife immune?

What woman could possibly not feel the animal pull of him? His blatant masculinity filled the room.
Matt's desire for Helen was all consuming, his frustration in her indifference haunting his soul, chipping away at his heart

He impulsively pulled Catherine close and kissed her. He closed his eyes and imagined it was Helen he was kissing, and the kiss grew deeper, more urgent.

Catherine groaned under the spell of his electrifying, exciting kiss.
That sound brought Matt back to reality. His eyes flew open, this was not Helen. He backed away immediately.

"I am sorry, that was not supposed to happen. I am married." He rasped.



"Obviously not happily..." Catherine stated. "Or you would not be kissing me. Matt, I can see the unhappiness in your face. Leave the woman if she is making your life a misery."
Matt turned away. "I can't...I love her."
Catherine should have known, the look of misery in his face, he was very deeply in love with his wife if he were to admit it.

"Then go home to her Matt, what are you doing here? Go home and make it up, whatever is wrong, fix it." Catherine whispered.

Matt thought about it for a few minutes. He nodded. "Thank you Catherine, for being a friend." Matt turned and left, he cashed in his chips and climbed on his horse.

Catherine gave him something to think about.
Matt started to head out of town. It was late, and he admonished himself for leaving Helen alone again, what kind of man was he? Was his male pride hurt that much that he was neglecting his duties to protect his wife?


And what was he doing kissing another woman? He had to admit his ego got a boost from knowing Catherine found him attractive, God knows his ego needed it, it had been battered of late. He was behaving as a petulant school boy, he would have to make amends.
Matt had come in from tending the cattle and was washing up when he heard the soft click of the bathroom door being opened, he knew it was Helen, already he could smell the fresh scent of lavender permeate the room.


He caught his breath, he had seen so little of her the past few weeks, ever since he witnessed her dream of the Indian, he either stayed out in the fields to all hours or went into town to the saloon.
He turned to face Helen. She looked tired and a little sad. "Matt, please. We have not spoken in weeks."

Matt stared at her...He knew he had been unfair to her, but his male pride would just not let him admit that it rocked him to his very core that she preferred another man over him. He thought by now she might soften toward him, but he had seen no sign.

"I will not be going into town anymore, at least for awhile, I have been neglecting you,I won't leave you alone again." Matt smiled assuredly.

"Oh Matt, I was hoping you would say that, I have missed you." Helen said quietly.

Matt took her by her shoulders. "Really...you have missed me? Or are you just saying that because you think that is what I want to hear?"



Matt was looking at her with that hooded intensity again, she felt her insides quiver, suddenly she wanted him to kiss her...but he did not. She found she could not answer, or act. Her emotions were in a turmoil.


"Come..." he said huskily. "I'll tuck you in and stay with you until you fall asleep."
Helen nodded, still unable to speak.
He was right back where he was weeks ago, nothing had been resolved. Why wasn't he truthful with her? Was he afraid to even mention the Indian's name? Did he have so little confidence in his masculinity that he was jealous of a wisp of smoke that haunted Helen's dreams? Could he bear to lie next to her while she slept and called out in the night for another man?



And what will happen when this man's children are born, they will take up all her time, and be a constant reminder of this Wolf and the love they shared!
Matt's thoughts were tortured, he loved her so completely he was afraid to speak of it aloud, he was a feared she would laugh at him...
Matt had kept his promise and stayed closer to home. Now he had a ranch hand to assist him, they managed to get a lot accomplished the last few weeks. Minor repairs to the fences, planting even more crops, and as Matt was attending to, some landscaping that needed doing.


He thoughts were as usual, filled with Helen. He was still sleeping in the spare room, but they managed a fragile truce and were at least speaking civilly.
He still let her dreams of Great Wolf fester in his mind, it still rankled him.
Matt paused and wiped the beads of salty sweat that was running down his forehead into his eyes.

He just could not bring himself to talk to Helen about it. He did not want to hear her say the words aloud, that she still was in love with another man. That she was 'fond' of Matt, thought of him as a friend and always would.

He'd rather leave things unspoken between them, because to hear her say those words would split his heart in two.
Matt's tortured thoughts of Helen were soon interrupted,
His keen hearing concentrated, he heard the nicker of a horse.
His nose wrinkled, what was that smell?

Matt dropped his shovel and ran for the front of his property.

Matt froze in his tracks. His barn was completely on fire, from the rooftop to the ground below, a raging orange-yellow inferno had engulfed his newly built structure.
There were a couple of horses still in the barn, their frenzied whinnies could be heard over the flames. Matt ran in and led the spooked horses out one by one to safety.



The roof was now totally engulfed and creaking and groaning ominously, like it could cave in at anytime. How it caught fire, he did not know.
Helen ran outside, But what froze her heart was watching Matt dash into the burning structure to free the horses. She cried aloud. What if the roof collapsed on him? What if she lost him? She could not bear it!

As fast as she was able, Helen began to fill the buckets with water, as the two men tried to vain to douse the roaring flames.

Her arms were killing her, but she willed herself to continue...Horrible thoughts of the fire spreading to their home spurned her onward, giving her a strength she did not know she possessed.
It was no use, Matt and his ranch hand could not save it, the barn burned. They all turned to watch the last of the barn burn. The smoke was thick and acrid, the sky glowed an eerie orange from the flames.

The roof had collapsed, inside bags of feed and their stores of vegetables burned and roasted. The air was rife with scorched wood and carrots.

The only good thing is the fire seemed contained, it would not spread.
Thank God there was no wind to carry the sparks into nearby trees or the house.
Helen was inconsolable, all their hard work, all the crops, the feed, gone.
Matt held Helen close, consoling her, but outwardly he was indeed stricken.
The roof was completely gone, the north wall had collapsed, there was nothing to be done.

The sun had all but set, the fire crackled and sent a few sparks floating into the ink coloured night sky.
Helen suddenly turned to Matt and held him close. She was so thankful he was safe. She embraced him warmly, crying soft tears onto his broad shoulders.
In spite of the tragedy before them, Matt could not help but smile. God, she felt good in his arms, they had not been close like this in many weeks.



"Oh Matt, when I think what could have happened to you...when you went in that barn..." her voice trailed off.
Helen stood back and looked at Matt, she cared for him, more than she realized. Her heart surged with a rush of deep emotion and she kissed him.

The only noise was the crackling and snapping of the burning wood of the barn.
Matt was elated by her burst of emotion, but it still did not convince him of any shift in her preferences, but he enjoyed the kiss, nonetheless.

They parted, and together watched sadly as the barn was reduced to a pile of burnt rubble.
The last couple of weeks were hard indeed, the last bits of the burned barn were hauled away by Matt and some other men.
Helen came into the bedroom as Matt, shirtless, was washing up.
"You have been working so hard Matt, we have had no time to talk at all." she whispered. "I want to talk about us Matt. There is a barrier between us, I feel it. Please, I want us to talk about our feelings." Helen whispered.



Matt was quiet for several minutes. "I don't know what there is to say Helen, when I look in your eyes I see duty and gratitude, but not love."


"You are not looking hard enough..." Helen said softly. "It is true I married you out of gratitude for my situation. But it has grown into so much more than that Matt, everyday it grows stronger."

Matt stared into her eyes, they were glistened with tears, and staring at him intensely. Could it be...? "What about Great Wolf?" There, he finally said the man's name.



"I will not deny a part of me will always care for him, but he is not here, he is gone. I have to accept that, I have accepted it." Helen said firmly.


"And what of your dreams, the fact you call out for him in your sleep?" Matt questioned pointedly.


Helen gasped. "Is that why you moved back into the other room? Why you have been so distant??"

She ran into his arms. "Oh Matt...it was only a dream, it has nothing to do with us, how I feel for you. I haven't had that dream since. All that matters is here...and now.l He will always be part of my life, especially with his children about to be born. But you will be their father Matt, You are my husband, I want us to be close, to be a family."

Matt held her tightly. Her words were glorious to hear. How he loved her.
"You told me once Matt, that you loved me. You have not said it since. Do you...love me?" she asked, her voice trembling.

Matt pulled her close. "Dear God yes, that is why I have been so tortured, I was hurt...deeply. Perhaps it was foolish, but it is how I felt. I love you Helen, and always will, until I draw my last ragged breath."


"Oh Matt, How I longed to hear you say that to me again. I have grown to care for you. I adore you. When you ran into that burning barn, I was so afraid I would lose you, it was then I realized how I felt."

"You...love me?" He gasped incredulously.

Helen pulled Matt into her arms closer and kissed him deeply. Yes, she loved him. She spoke the truth, it was growing stronger everyday.
And she desired him, he was an amazing looking man, his touch made her nerves spark under her skin, his rugged good looks excited her. But it was more than that, he was tender, thoughtful, gentle, giving and all-man

How, she thought, had she been so lucky as to have such a man in her life...again?
"I love you, Matthew Butler..." she murmured under his lips.
A few weeks later, Helen came in suddenly from the bedroom. She was out of breath and grabbing her stomach. "Matt, I think you better fetch Dr. Corbett right away....OH GOD!!" she screamed.



Matt turned to his ranch hand. "Can you go for him now? I will stay here with Helen!"
The man left his supper and grabbed his hat and ran for his horse immediately.
Helen began to howl, the pain was excruciating!
The Doctor arrived and Matt paced back and forth across the floor, his boots reverberating on the wooden planks. He could hear the muffled screams of Helen from down the hall, it sliced at his heart.

He clenched his fists and look skyward. 'Do not take her from me, let her come through this...I could not bear it.'
6 hours passed...finally, the sound of a baby crying pierced the air, 15 minutes later, another cry.
Forbes came out to face Matt. "Helen is fine, there was some difficulty but she safely delivered a boy and a girl, congratulations Matt."

Matt exhaled. "Thank God..."

"You can go in shortly to see them." Forbes smiled.

"Helen will be alright? She will recover?' Matt asked worriedly.

Forbes laughed. "Yes, Matt. There is no reason the two of you cannot have more children if you are so inclined."

Matt shook Forbes hand. "Thank you..." he whispered.
At last, the house calmed down, A tired but happy Helen sought out Matt.
"We must talk about names Matt. We agreed on Matthew Benedict, why don't you name the girl." Helen said quietly.

Matt thought a moment. "I would like to call her Amanda Rose, after my late mother, how does that suit?"


Helen smiled. "Oh Matt, I love it! It is beautiful. I spoke to Forbes. I am afraid it will be sometime before we can...before...12 weeks maybe..." Helen stammered.


Matt laughed. "We have waited this long, what's another 3 months or more?" He lifted her chin gently and looked into her eyes with such love and affection, Helen thought she would melt into a puddle at his feet. "All that matters to me is that you recover, get your strength back, that is what is most important to me."

"Oh Matt, I do love you." Helen's voice quivered.
Matt carried Helen to bed and tucked her in. He then went into the nursery to get a better look at the babies. He lifted the boy first and cradled him gently in his strong arms. The infant burbled and cooed, looking at Matt with his large brown eyes. Both he and Helen had blue eyes, oh well.

"Matthew Benedict Butler, I think I will call you Ben, just so there is no confusion..." Matt said in a soft voice to the baby.
These are Helen's children and I will love them as my own, regardless of society and it's prejudices.
"We are a family now, and nothing or no one will ever tear us apart. You have my word Ben. No one will ever hurt you as long as I am around. You are my son, and let anyone say anything different!"



Matt, finally, no longer felt like a convenient husband.



~THE END~

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#60QGMar 31, 2009

aww.I would or could never marry/love a lesser man i think... prolly why i haven't had a boyfriend since i was sixteen.\:confused\:
awsome story, through the whole thing i was worried like hel you would show up with one of your evil yet genius plottwists like he would astray, she wouldn't grow to love him or heaven forbid great wolf returning. but i was so glad it ended like this! by the way, i am much more intrested in the help, who was that darkhaired hansome guy? maybe it's the mystery and only one clear shot of him, profile wise too that i liked XD but don't think i didn't noticed shirtless Matt, nor did i mind the shirtlessness\:rah\:

#61shehadgaunApr 1, 2009

That was a fantastic story! Will there be a continuation? That would be wonderful, I would love to see a continuation in which the two of them have a child.

#62Sarah A. DavidApr 2, 2009

wonderful lovestory!
Just how I like them

#63simsuperstars333Apr 4, 2009

So very Beautifull!!!\:wub\:
I love the costumes, houses, lots and story!!!!!!\:rah\:
So perfect!\:wub\:

#64SuperStar94Apr 9, 2009

Awww I'm feeling quite emotional! That was a beautiful story, the screenshots were perfect! \:wub\:

#65Apr 10, 2009

Good work! \:\)

#66fabrizioammolloMay 10, 2009

Your story is really good, so feeling overflowing! \:wub\:

#67MangioMay 31, 2009

Excellent story. I loved it. So romantic \:wub\: and emotional. The screenshots are amazing.

#68shady411Jul 6, 2009

Another amazing story\:rah\:   Loved it!

#69madeaSep 11, 2009

That was a really good story. Keep Writing.

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