"Well, well, it's almost like welcoming back the prodigal son!"

"James, shut up and let me in will you?"

James closed the door behind them and said, "Word all over town is that Todd Madden has returned. And you have been gone a week. What happened?"

"Don't worry, Todd isn't back. I'm still pretending to be him."

"So why did you come here? You said you only come back if we had to leave town."

"I need your help. Todd borrowed money from a bank to buy a ship but according to Daisy Greene, Todd hates sailing."

James stood up. "Slow down there! You saying the Negro lady knows who you are?"

"Yes, let me explain everything that's happened."

David began telling James of everything that occurred over the past week, he even showed James Todd's journal.

"I'd say your brother is in some shallow business Dave," remarked James.

"Yes, I know that but I need to know what. Why did he purchase a ship, where was it going? I need you to figure that out for me Jimmy."

"Me? Why me?"

David sighed, "Jimmy, you have connections. I need you to send this number to someone that can find out everything I need to know." David handed James the receipt for the ship.

"You know it could take up to two months to figure all this out, it's quite possible Todd might return in that time."

"Yes I realize that," said David, "but what if he doesn't return? Then it will be eight months without a word from him. Please Jimmy, please help me."

James sat down and said, "If Todd is involved in something illegal, you do realize we'll have to report it? Can you do that?"

David sighed. "I have no choice. His wife is at their house right now and she has no idea what sort of monster she's married."

James looked at David and then asked, "Your falling for her aren't you?"

David shook his head. "No, this is business. I can't get involved."

"Now you sound like Todd. Listen, the only way she's going to believe your Todd is if you show her the love and attention he used to. Who knows, you may learn some things about him from her…"

James was right. The one person who knew Todd better than anyone else would be his wife. She might be the key to helping him unravel this mystery.

"You are a genius!" David stood and kissed James' forehead, "the only way I'll ever learn anything is through her!"

James chuckled. "That's great Dave but the next time you feel like that can you refrain from kissing me again?"

David laughed. "Whatever you say my good friend. What do you say about helping me about some? Can you take this note to the postmaster and make sure it reaches New York?"

"Depends, who is it for?"

David rolled his eyes. "Does it really matter?"

"As a matter of fact it does. If it's for that broad in New York then you can kiss the favor goodbye."

"James, stay out of my business regarding her." David said defensively.

"Cynthia cheated on you and now is carrying the man's bastard; you really want to be with her still?"

"I pledged my heart to her years ago James, besides, she has almost reached full term now. I want her to know I still care."

James shook his head and took a drink of his whiskey. "I refuse to help you be treated like some lovesick puppy by that damned woman! You want the letter to go to New York, you send it yourself. I have nothing else to say on the matter."

David sighed. "Jimmy, you've been in love once…"

"Maggie died during childbirth Dave, she didn't cheat! I sat and watched as you drank your sorrows away, I helped pick you off the floor many times because of that woman. She doesn't care Dave, she never did."

"You can't understand can you? I was heartbroken yes, but before I left she held out hope for me. She told me there was a chance we could be together. And Jimmy… "He spoke softly now "I asked for her hand before I left. I told her I'd care for the child as mine. I ask in the letter to know her answer."

James turned away from David, walked towards the door and opened it. "I've said my piece. I'll help you find your brother but if you are marrying the whore, when we return to New York, you will never see me again."

The room was tense, silent and cold as David slowly walked out. The door slammed shut and David walked slowly down the hallway, Cynthia's letter still in his hand.

James was right. And he was too good a friend to lose. But there was so much hope in Cynthia's eyes when David last saw her. Her full lips, blonde hair, chiseled jaw. Everything he had loved… right there. Waiting.

But David didn't have to wait long for word on Cynthia. He was walking around the town when suddenly the postmaster called him. "Mr. Madden, it's great to see you again. A letter's come for you. I thought it might be wrong because it says D. Madden but I'll give it to you anyway."

"Thank you," David replied. The letter was sent from New York! He quickly got on his horse and rode a short ways from town. He then opened it.

"Dearest David, Peter has returned from France. We talked about the child and he wants to be a part of its life. We have decided to get married. I am so sorry. Cynthia."

David slowly put the letter down, and then ripped it to pieces. James was right; again.

~X~X~

David slammed the door shut when he walked into the house. Kelsey came running out of the kitchen. "Is everything all right?" she asked.

David looked at her, traced her jaw line with his finger and pulled her close and roughly kissed her. She responded but then slowly pushed away. "I am preparing dinner; I am going to burn it." She pecked his lips and walked away.

Today was completely terrible. First James, then Cynthia but David was determined to solve this mystery about his brother. He looked in the kitchen and saw Kelsey and he remembered what Daisy said. Making love to Kelsey never seemed so good until now.