Stolen Kisses

Author’s Note:  Trixie Belden® is the registered trademark of Random House. This story is not for profit. 

This story is based on the events that occur in #39 The Mystery of the Galloping Ghost.  Some facts have been changed to fit in with my universe, but most of it is the same.  Passages from the book have been used without permission and not all the events from the book have been included.  My apologies to the people who have not read #39 for ruining the mystery and not including all the details, but this is really Honey and Pat's story and I wanted you to get to know him a little better.


Honey stared absently out the window at yet another lake as the rented car made its way towards Maple Lake at the hands of Bill Regan.  Trixie sat beside her, also staring out the window at the scenery.  Both girls were silent at the request of Regan, who hated driving but they also had other things on their mind.

Honey rested her head against the cool glass and thought back to the conversation she had had with Brian a few weeks ago.

"It's such a great opportunity for Jim and I," Brian cried enthusiastically.  "Freshman rarely get offered vacation employment and you know how much I need the money."

"That's great Brian," Honey tried to match his enthusiasm but knew she was failing miserably.  "So you won't be home at all over the summer break?"

"We may be able to make it home for the occasional weekend," Brian told her.  "I know you're disappointed and I'm sorry I'm not going to be able to spend the summer with you, but we'll never get this chance again."

"It's a wonderful opportunity for you," Honey mumbled.  "I'm so proud of you.  We'll have other summers together, it will be okay."

"I knew you'd understand," Brian cried in relief.  "That's my Honey girl!"

Honey gritted her teeth to stop the tears that threatened to fall again.  Trixie, too, had been disappointed that Jim wasn't coming home for the summer holidays, but her relationship with Jim was still intangible and she couldn't understand how keenly Honey felt the disappointment.

It's almost like he didn't want to be with me, Honey thought miserably.  He didn't sound that disappointed that we couldn't be together.

Mart and Dan had gotten summer jobs as well as camp counselors upstate.  It was the last year they would be working as counselors.  In the fall, they would be seniors and they both needed the money to put towards their college funds.

Even Di was away; gone on another trip with her parents and twin brothers and sisters.  Honey and Trixie had been faced with their first lonely summer that held no hint of excitement and had jumped at the chance to fly with Regan in the Wheeler's company plane to Minnesota.

"Are we almost there?" Trixie asked, breaking into Honey's thoughts.

Regan straightened his shoulders and, with an effort, relaxed his grip on the steering wheel.  "We must be getting pretty close," he said, sounding eager for the car trip to end.

Honey looked down at the instruction the Murrows had sent.  "There's our exit!"

Regan sighed with relief and turned off the highway onto a two-lane blacktop road line with towering maple trees.  "This must be so pretty in the fall, when the leaves change," Trixie said.

"Oh, yes.  We'll have to come back to see!" Honey said with a forced laugh.

Finally they came to a sign that said FAIRHAVEN RANCH, and they turned onto a long gravel driveway.

It was another quarter of a mile before they came to a clearing that held the house, the stable, and the corral, as well as the many other outbuildings that occupy a horse ranch. Regan parked the car at the edge of the clear­ing, where it would be out of the way — and out of his thoughts for the next two weeks.

A dog had begun barking as soon as the car stopped. Now it came toward them, a large golden retriever, barking and wagging its tail at the same time.

Behind the dog came a tall, slender man who looked around fifty. His face was tanned under his straw cowboy hat, and his neck was burned red under the open collar of his blue workshirt. "That dog's bite is a lot worse than his bark," the man teased. "You girls don't have to worry, though. Not enough meat on your skinny little bones for him to bother with." He winked at the girls, and held out a large, calloused hand to Regan. "I'm Bill Murrow," he said.

Regan introduced himself and the girls. In response to their host's inquiry about the trip, Regan could only say, "I'd rather have come on horseback."

Bill Murrow gave the red-haired young man a knowing look. "You like your horses one at time, under a saddle, instead of a hundred at a time under a hood, right?  Same here.  Come on up to the house.  I’ll give you a cup of my wife’s strong coffee.  It’ll make you so nervous, you'll forget all about the drive!"

Trixie, already giggling, looked at Honey, who rolled her eyes.  They followed Bill Murrow and Regan into the house where they met Bill's wife.

Charlene Murrow was just as calm and low-key as her husband was high-spirited. She quickly took charge of getting settled in. For the girls, there was a small but comfortable twin-bedded room that had belonged to her daughter, now grown and mar­ried. To Regan, she said, "You have a choice of the guest room here, or the living quarters above the stable, which you'd share with Pat."

After  Regan  quickly—and  predictably opted for the room above the stable, Honey asked, "Is Pat your hired hand?"

Nope," Bill replied. "He's slave labor."

"Bill!" Mrs Murrow exclaimed in a scandalized tone. Turning to the girls, she said, "He's our son. And if he's a slave, it's to his passion for horses.  Why, the day he turned sixteen, he announced that he was moving into the apartment he'd fixed up over the stable. Since then, I can’t even drag him into the house, except for meals.” As if suddenly remembering the subject of meals, Charlene began bustling about the kitchen.

Regan and Bill left for the stable, and Trixie and Honey went to their room to unpack. "That Bill is certainly a character, isn't he?" Trixie said in a low voice.

Honey nodded, a smile coming to her face as she remembered his antics. "Mrs Murrow is, too, in her own way. She pretends to be shocked by Bill, but I think she's just playing along."

"I can hardly wait to see what Pat is like," Trixie said.

“He's so attached to his horses, he probably looks like one – buck teeth, bulging brown eyes, and one lock of hair hanging down over his forehead."

Honey's description of a horselike human made Trixie picture a humanlike horse seated at the Murrows' big kitchen table. She began to giggle. In a moment, Honey had caught the giggling fit, and both girls were lying on their beds, holding their sides.

"Oh, how are we going to face Pat Murrow now?" Trixie wailed.

As soon as they calmed down, they went to the kitchen and offered to help Mrs Murrow prepare supper. She put them to work peeling carrots and washing celery, slicing homemade bread, and setting the table. An hour went by quickly and wonderful aromas filled the air.

Mrs Murrow stepped out onto the screened back porch and rang an old-fashioned dinner bell. Trixie and Honey exchanged amused looks, but didn't dare whisper Pat Murrow's name, for fear of setting off another giggling attack.

Minutes later, the girls heard the sound of heavy boots on the porch. The door opened and Regan stepped inside, followed by Bill Murrow, who guided his guest down the hall to show him where to wash up. The last person inside was a tall, slender teenager, too muscular to be called thin. He had high cheekbones and a long, straight nose. He did, indeed, have large brown eyes and a lock of brown hair that strayed across his forehead, but the effect was far from horselike.

"Pat, this is Trixie Belden," Mrs Murrow said.

"Hello," Trixie said with a warm smile.

Pat’s answer was just a nod.

“And this is Matt Wheeler's daughter, Honey,” Mrs Murrow concluded.

Honey, her eyes fixed on Pat,  stepped forward and held out her hand.  Pat stared at her, but made no immediate attempt to take the hand. After an awkward pause, Honey dropped her hand—just as Pat offered his. Realizing he was too late, Pat dropped his hand—just as Honey raised hers. Honey shrugged helplessly and giggled. Pat turned and headed down the hall to the bathroom.

Honey's face felt flushed and she knew she was blushing.  She looked around quickly to see if anyone had noticed and saw Trixie staring curiously at her.  The incident was pushed aside, however, as Mrs Murrow assigned everyone to a place at the table and began serving heaping platters of food.

Honey was hoping to get the chance to talk to Pat during dinner, but she didn't get a chance as Regan and the Murrows kept up a running discussion of horses—their selection, breeding, training, and showing. Honey pretended to listen intently, but she kept sneaking frequent looks at Pat, unable to keep her eyes off him long. Pat seemed to concentrate only on his plate, much to Honey's disappointment.

After dinner, Mr Murrow, Regan and Pat went out onto the porch. Honey caught Pat looking back at her as he slipped outside and she allowed herself a smile.  He had felt it too.

Trixie and Honey helped Mrs Murrow do the dishes and clean the kitchen.  They made an efficient team and Honey was glad, eager to join the men outside.

"Why, it's still broad daylight!" Trixie exclaimed as they moved out onto the porch.  “But it must be 8 o'clock by now!

Honey watched Pat shyly.  He made no effort to talk to her and seemed to avoid looking at her.

“It's  8:20,"  Bill corrected  after looking at his watch. "We get long summer days in this part of the country because we're so far north. It won't be fully dark until 10 o'clock."

"But come December, it will be dark from 5 P.M. to 7 A.M.," Charlene said.

"At least the December cold kills the mosquitoes," Bill said, swatting one that had slipped through the screen. "No deerflies to bite the horses, either. Why, it's a paradise if you like twenty below!"

"If you'll excuse me folks, I think it's time I turned in," Pat said eventually in a low voice.

"Good idea," Regan said quickly.  "I'll see you all in the morning."

Pat gave the girls a nod and they watched as he and Regan would silently towards the stable.  Trixie turned towards Honey and yawned.

"It seems strange to go to bed while it's still light out, but that's what I'll have to do.”

"You've had a long, exciting day,' Mrs. Murrow said sympathetically. "You'll have two weeks of long evenings to enjoy.”

The girls agreed and went to their room.  A few minutes later, Trixie was pulling on her nightgown.  “We didn't even get to see the horses," she said with a yawn

"Plenty of time for that tomorrow,” Honey told her as she crawled into bed.  Her thoughts were filled with Pat and that confused her.

Why, I haven't felt like this since I first met Brian!  Honey thought to herself, remembering as a twelve year old running down to Crabapple Ranch and seeing Brian for the first time.

Oh Brian...  Honey thought in dismay.  Why am I even looking at another guy when I have a boyfriend?  A boyfriend that's thousands of miles away and didn't want to come home and spend the summer with you.

Honey shifted restlessly in her bed.  Surely, there's no harm at looking at another guy, she told herself.  I mean, can I help it if he looks back at me and that just the feel of his eyes on me makes me blush?

She groaned inwardly and tried to imagine Brian's smile, the feeling of being in his arms and his kisses on her mouth.  But for some reason, Brian's face kept turning into Pat's and Honey found herself growing very warm.

"Honey, come look," Trixie said softly, interrupting her thoughts.

Honey got up, and shuffled over to the window. "Look at what?" she asked as she stared out, hoping Trixie wouldn't notice her flushed face.

“At that!" Trixie said, pointing out the window, but there was no one in sight.

What am I supposed to be looking at?” Honey asked. 

"There was a horseman,” Trixie said, still pointing out the window.  “Where could he have gone?"

“Probably home to bed.” Honey headed back to her own bed.

“But how?” Trixie demanded.  “One minute he was there, and the next minute he wasn’t.   And he looked so sad and lonely – and mysterious.”

"Mysterious?"  Honey repeated. She had so much on her mind, she didn't think she could cope with a mystery right now.  "Oh, Trixie, I'm sorry, but I'm just too beat to think about mysteries to­night. Maybe in the morning we can try to find the ghost's footprints. I mean hoofprints. I mean the ghost's horse's footprints. Oh, you know what I mean. Good night."

She turned over and pulled the blanket close around her, as if to ward off further conversation.  Trixie stared at her for a moment, curious about her strange behavior   Wearily, she got into bed but not before she glanced one more time out of the window.



Charlene couldn't help noticing her son's appearance when he came in for breakfast the next morning.  His riding boots were polished, his shirt tucked neatly into his jeans, his hair brushed carefully and his fingernails scrubbed until they were clean.  She hid a smile and refrained from commenting on his appearance.

Finally, he's found something other than a horse to hold his attention.

"Take a seat son," she murmured as he looked up towards the stairs.  "The girls' will be down in a moment.  Did you sleep well Regan?"

"I slept fine thank you Ma'am," Regan replied.

"Come now Regan," she scolded him.  "Please call me Charlene."

Regan reddened and nodded, sitting down at the table next to Pat.  He looked up in relief as the girls came down the stairs and joined them at the table.

Pat stared at Honey for a moment.  Her damp hair hung loosely over her shoulders and caught the morning sunlight.  She looks like an angel!  He thought in amazement.  Honey's eyes met his and he looked quickly away, unnerved by the way his body responded to her casual glance.

"Will we be going out to the stable?" Honey asked. "I really want to see your horses, and see how you work with them." Her glance went from Bill to Pat as she spoke, and she ended her question looking the young man squarely in the eye.

"You can if you want," Pat Murrow said. Then he lowered his head and concentrate on his blueberry pancakes as if they might jump off his plate if not watched closely.

Honey's cheeks took on a delicate pink color. Quickly sizing up the exchange, Bill Murrow winked at Honey and said, "Long-winded rascal, isn't he? Of course, you can come out to the stable."

"I wouldn't let you stay away if you wanted to," Regan added. "Observing the Murrows' training techniques is what we're here for— remember?" He drawled the last word teasingly, and Honey's blush deepened.  Were others already aware of how he made me feel?

After breakfast, everyone but Mrs. Murrow trooped out to the stable. The building was old and weather-beaten, but it was kept carefully painted and  immaculately  clean.   Bill  led Trixie and Honey down the line of stalls, introducing the girls to each of the horses. All were Arabians, with the delicate, intelligent faces that are a sign of that breed. Some of the horses stretched out their necks to be patted. Others backed far away in their stalls, raising their heads out of reach and rolling their eyes until the whites showed.

"They've all got minds of their own," Bill observed. "That's what I love about 'em. That's the challenge of training 'em."

"Can we see how you do it?" Honey asked.

In response, Bill nodded toward the first stall. Pat Murrow was leading out a fiery, fine-boned black stallion. "That's Al-Adeen," Bill said, a note of pride in his voice. "He's the horse I've been waiting for my whole life—I hope." Without further explanation, he went outside as Pat and Regan led the horse into the corral. The girls followed them.

Using a halter with a long rope attached to it, Pat lunged the horse, guiding him as he galloped in wide, smooth circles around the corral. The technique would get the horse accustomed to human control, Honey knew, for she’d watched Regan work with the Wheelers' horses. Pat obviously had lots of patience.  His eyes never left the horse, and he kept up a constant stream of calm, quiet reassurance.  He used a flexible rod called a "lunging whip" to correct the horse's pattern, always with a smooth, gentle touch.

Honey watched Pat work, spellbound.  She almost envied the attention the horse received and wondered what it would feel like to be the center of his attention, to have him concentrate on her the way he concentrated on Al-Adeen.

When Pat finished, Gus, the hired hand, took the reins and led the stallion away for grooming, while Pat began working with a trim little filly.  The girls watched in silence as Pat worked with the filly, riding her around the corral, taking her from a walk to a high-stepping trot to an easy canter. As with Al-Adeen, Pat's gentleness and patience were apparent.

Pat worked with total concentration, undistracted by the fact that everyone was staring at him. Even Regan, the dedicated horseman, seemed content to be a spectator. He leaned against the rail of the corral, a small, apprecia­tive smile on his face.

"It's beautiful to watch, isn't it?" Charlene Murrow had strolled over to the corral and standing right behind the girls.

“Al-Adeen was even more impressive, if that’s possible,” Trixie said.

“Oh, it’s possible alright,” Mrs Murrow replied.  “Bill and Pat have worked a lot of miracles with mediocre horses.  But this time, the horse is the miracle.  We saved for years to buy him.  If we can show him well enough to attract some attention, and breed him to some good mares, we may finally start getting ahead in this business.  You know,” she said, lowering her voice to keep from being overheard, “sometimes I actually have nightmares about something happening to that horse!”

“Nothing will happen,” Honey said firmly.  “You’ve worked long and hard, and now you’re entitled to some good luck.”

But Mrs Murrow’s worried look only deepened.  Without saying another word, she turned and walked quickly back into the house.

Confused, Trixie looked towards Honey and saw the real cause of Mrs Murrow’s abrupt departure: a shiny red pickup truck with oversized tires and fancy wheel covers had just pulled into the driveway.

Honey followed Trixie’s gaze, and both girls watched as the truck’s door opened and the driver stepped out.  The man was wearing an outfit that went perfectly with his truck - cowboy boots, stiff-looking jeans, a red shirt with pearl buttons, bolo tie, and a black felt cowboy hat with a feathered hatband. He stood for a moment as if waiting for everyone to admire him, then began walking toward the corral.

Pat Murrow dismounted from the filly and led her off into the barn without saying a word. His departure seemed a little less abrupt than his mother's, but Trixie had a feel­ing it was just as pointed. Bill Murrow stayed behind, leaning casually against the rail of the corral.

"Hello, Bill," the man called cheerfully, proving that he was not a stranger, after all.

"Mornin', Burke."

"How's it going?"

“It’s goin'." It was an unusually brief answer for the usually talkative man.

Burke reached the corral and put one shiny boot on the bottom rail while leaning his forearms on the top one. Bill remained with his back to the corral, so that the two men were standing side by side but facing opposite direc­tions.

"Have you given any more thought to talk?" Burke asked.

"Oh, now, you know I don't think much" Bill said. "It makes my head tired, and I ha a feeling it probably causes baldness."

Bill's words were his usual teasing nonsense but from the tone of his voice and the look on his face, Trixie had no desire to laugh.

Jon Burke, a young man with a smooth face looked flustered. "Well, I think it's worth thinking about," he said.

"Oh, no doubt, no doubt," Bill replied. "But if I start thinkin' about one thing it'll lead to another, and before you know it I'll be thinkin' all the time. Probably be bald as an onion and running for Congress, eventually. So you see, it just doesn't do to get started."

"Does that mean your answer is no?" Burke asked.

"Let's just say I'm waitin' for a better class of question," Bill said. He tipped his hat and walked into the barn.

Burke gave Trixie and Honey a contemptuous look, then turned and stalked back to his truck. He started it with a roar and drove out of the driveway in a cloud of dust.

"Let's head in for lunch everybody," Bill told them in an absent tone and headed for the house.

Regan disappeared into the stables and Honey looked as if she wished she could follow.

"I thought we should call Brian and Jim tonight," Trixie suggested slyly.

"Really?" Honey asked in alarm.

Trixie grabbed her by the shoulders and whirled her to face her.  "Did something happen between you and Brian?  Is there something you're not telling me?"

"Of course there isn't," Honey replied crossly, her face flushed.

"Then why can't you take your eyes off Pat?" Trixie demanded.

"I don't know," Honey mumbled miserably.  "I was really hurt that Brian didn't want to spend the summer with me.  Pat looks at me as if I'm a woman, not just a friend he's known most of his life."

"But you and Brian are more than just friends," Trixie protested.  "If Jim was my boyfriend, I wouldn't be looking at another man."

"But if Jim was your boyfriend, wouldn't you be upset that he'd chosen not to spend a summer with you?" Honey cried.  "You were upset when you found out he wasn't coming home."

Trixie bit her lip and lowered her eyes.

"There's nothing wrong between Brian and I and there's nothing going on between Pat and I," Honey told her firmly.  "It's too expensive to make a call from here to the boys and it would be rude to ask the Murrows.  Let's just write to them instead, okay?"

The ringing of the lunch bell eliminated further discussion and the two girls headed inside.



"How long have you worked for Matt Wheeler?" Pat asked Regan that night after dinner when they had retired to his room over the stables.

"Quite a few years now," Regan replied.  "I came to work for him when I wasn't much older than you."

"So you've known Honey and Trixie for a long time then?"

"Not quite as long," Regan smiled, wondering where this was heading.  "Both girls were about twelve when I moved out to Sleepyside to manage the stable at the Wheeler's new property.  I hadn't really known Honey before that, but I taught Trixie how to ride."

Pat nodded silently and looked out the window.

"It must be nice having that much money," he said finally.

"Trixie's family is no richer than you are," Regan told him quickly.  "And Honey's adopted brother lived in poverty with a cruel step-father until the Wheelers adopted him.  The two of them, Trixie, her brothers and my nephew, Dan are all part of a club that help raise money for the needy.  They respect money and all of them work to contribute, even Honey."

Pat looked surprised and Regan laughed.  "She's a great girl, no airs and graces with her, that's for sure."

Pat did not reply and Regan paused, wondering if he should mention Honey's relationship with Brian Belden.  Hell, it's not my place,  he told himself.  I've probably said too much already, but who knows if those two are even still together.  Honey hasn't even mentioned his name since they left home.

"Let's call it a night, shall we?" Regan asked finally.

Pat nodded and they switched off the radio.  Regan switched off the lights and they went to bed; Pat's head full, for the second night in a row, of images of Honey.



"In bed by 10 o'clock and you can't wake up by 7!" Bill Murrow chided the girls when they sat down at the breakfast table the next morning, they were blurry-eyed and yawning,

Both Trixie and Honey blushed and Pat watched them from the corner of his eye.

"You must be bored with Minnesota life already." At the girls' protests, he merely raised a hand. "Don't try to argue. I know the symptoms, and you've both got 'em. Fortunately, I also know the cure. About four hours bouncing around in the saddle and you'll be as good as new."

"A trail ride!" Trixie exclaimed, suddenly wide-awake. "I'd love it!"

"Me, too!" Honey agreed. "But you'd have to draw us a map. We don't know the trails around here."

"Oh, I'll do better than that. I’ll send a guide along." He stared across the table at his son, who was busily eating.

There was a long silence before Pat sensed that all eyes were upon him and looked up. "Who, me?" he asked.

Bill Murrow pushed back his chair and rose from the table. "Thanks for volunteering, son," he said, and strode out the door.

"But I—" Pat broke off as he realized that his father couldn't hear his protests. "I guess the horses need exercise, anyway," he said. "I can get them ready."

"Oh, let us help, please," Honey said. Pat looked at the slender girl doubtfully.

"The rule back home is, 'No work, no ride '" Regan told Pat. "If you start spoiling them, I’ll have a heck of a time when we get back."

Regan's request seemed to turn the tide "All right," Pat said. He pushed back his chair walked to the door, and held it open for Trixie and Honey.

In the stable, Pat assigned the girls to two mares, Mur-Elda and Mur-Hadj. From the prefixes, Honey knew that the horses had been raised on the Murrows' ranch. That would account for the horses' sweet dispositions, although both had an Arabian spirit.

Pat didn't quite trust the girls' abilities with the horses. He bridled the two mares himself, led them into the corral, and handed the girls brushes and currycombs. When he came back with the blankets and saddles, he ran his hand along both horses' backs, checking for signs of loose hair or dirt before he let the girls proceed with saddling up.

As if we didn't know that dirt under the blanket causes saddle sores! Trixie thought resentfully as she settled the blanket on the horse's back.

"It's just that he cares so much about the horses," Honey said, reading her friend's thoughts. "He doesn't know how strict Regan has been with us."

"I guess so," Trixie said, feeling unconvinced.

Pat reappeared from the stable leading a saddled and bridled Al-Adeen. He tied the stallion to a fence post and came over to double-check the cinches. Finding no fault with the girls' work, he let out a grunt that could have been either surprise or approval, walked back to his own horse, and swung easily into the saddle.

"I'm surprised he didn't offer us a leg up," Trixie muttered as she mounted Mur-Hadj.

"Trixie!" Honey gave her friend a pleading look.

"All right, all right," Trixie replied. "I won't make any trouble."

"Just a minute!" Mrs. Murrow called. She hurried toward them, holding a large paper bag in one hand and a Thermos in the other She handed them up to Pat, saying, "I put some cookies and a few apples and mixed up some lemonade."

"We won't be gone forever," Pat said, knowing his mom's mothering instincts all too well.

"Be sure to stop and rest somewhere along the way," Mrs. Murrow told him. "The girls probably aren't used to spending all day on a horse, the way you are."

"That's very nice of you," Honey said.

"You just stop him if he pushes too hard," was Mrs. Murrow's indirect reply.

Pat led them down the gravel drive and out along the shoulder of the blacktop road. He set the pace at a sedate walk.  At that leisurely pace, they were able to relax and enjoy the view. The countryside was one of low, rolling hills. Everything—trees, grass, crops—was the tender green of early summer. The sky was cloudless and the sun was warm and gentle.

Just beyond Burke Landing ran a gravel road. Pat led the girls along it, and soon they came to a lake edged by a dirt path. They circled the lake, alternately trotting and cantering.

Pat Murrow never turned around to look at the girls, but sometimes he turned his head to the side, as if to check their progress by the sound of the horses' hooves.

On one straight, level stretch of ground he kicked his horse into a full gallop. Honey, riding right behind him, hesitated for a second before following his lead. As the path headed downhill, Pat reined Al-Adeen into a more manageable canter, then down to a trot, and finally into a walk. After another few yards, he pulled his horse off the path altogether and stopped at a picnic area.

Pat took the bag and the Thermos out of his saddlebag, walked to a picnic table, and began to set out the food. Honey helped him pour the lemonade into the paper cups his mother had provided, then sat down across from him and gave him her most winning smile. "This is a beautiful place. Do you come here often?" she asked.

Pat nodded while drinking his lemonade.

"I was surprised that we didn't ride along the river," Honey said.

"No place to go," Pat told her. "There's a forest on one side that's full of deerflies this time of year. They'd drive the horses crazy. The other side of our ranch is—is private land." He picked up an apple and began polishing it against his shirt sleeve.

"It looked like a construction site," said Honey. "What's being built there?"

"A darned nuisance," Pat Murrow said curtly.

"Wait a minute!" Trixie exclaimed. "Wasn't Burke the man your father talked to yesterday?"

Pat Murrow fixed her with such an angry look that Trixie felt her pulse quicken. "Sorry," she said, "just asking."

Pat softened his gaze. "It wasn't your question," he admitted. "It's just that Burke and his little project aren't big favorites of mine."

"The project must be Burke Landing" Honey guessed. "What is it?"

Pat grimaced. "It's what they call a time-share resort complex," he said. "City folks pay big money for the chance to spend two weeks every year out here with Mother Nature. Only they do it in an apartment with all the modern conveniences. The apartments are all stacked up in a bunch of big, ugly buildings."

"Yuck!" Trixie said.

Pat looked at her and, for the first time, showed a glimmer of a smile. "I couldn't have put it better myself," he said.

"I can understand why you wouldn't want something like that right next door," Honey said. "Isn't there anything you can do?"

"Sure," Pat told her. "Burke himself has given us the perfect solution. We just sell out to him and go someplace where it's peaceful."

"That's what he wanted your father to think about," Trixie surmised, remembering the men's conversation at the corral.  "But it doesn't sound like your father is taking the offer very seriously."

"Of course not. It's our land," Pat retorted, as though those three words explained everything. "My father was born here. His father brought an Arabian horse to the ranch from he East before folks around here had even heard of such an animal. Grandpa got thrown off that horse and broke his neck and died. My dad could have shot it, but that wouldn't have proved anything. He trained it, instead. That was his memorial to his father. So is the ranch." Pat's brown eyes flared with emotion.

Seeing the girls' admiring looks, Pat suddenly turned cold again. "Besides, moving the operation would set the horses back six months because they're so sensitive. It would be crazy to do that when we're finally on the verge of making it big."

"He can't force you to sell, can he?" Honey asked.

Pat snorted. "He would if he could. But he hasn't, so I guess he can't." For a moment, his bantering tone made him sound just like his father. He gave Honey a big smile that showed even, white teeth and made a dimple appear in his right cheek.

Honey caught her breath as their eyes met, but Pat suddenly turned away.

"Anyway, we'd better head back," Pat said curtly. "I have some work to do with the other horses this afternoon." He gathered up the food wrappers and empty cups, and stuffed them into the saddlebag on Al-Adeen,

They mounted their horses and finished their ride around the lake before heading back towards the ranch.  The sounds of construction shattered the calm once again as they neared Burke Landing on their way home.

As the three young people came cantering into the ranch yard, they saw Regan and Bill Murrow working with the young filly, while Gus watched. Pat dismounted and handed the reins of his horse to the old man. "Would you show the girls where the tack goes?" he asked as he went to join the two trainers.

"How do you like that?"  Trixie muttered.  "Not even a goodbye."

Honey did not respond, but Trixie could see the hurt expression on her face and immediately felt ashamed.

It's none of my business, she told herself.  Honey's my best friend.  I know she wouldn't hurt Brian for the world.

Trixie looked back to where Pat was standing with Regan and Bill. She could see that he was watching Honey out of the corner of his eye and realized that Brian had never had competition like this before.



Returning from a late night visit to Wilhelmina, the supernatural sleuth, the girls concentrated on finding their way in the dark, talking little.  The tension was their exchange the day before had evaporated but neither of them were willing to broach the subject again.  Honey was just as confused about her own feelings as Trixie was by her behavior and they seemed to have reached an unspoken agreement not to discuss it any further.

As they approached the stable, they began overhearing a conversation. Two angry male voices were coming from inside.

"Just toss in a match and burn the whole place down, if you're so determined to destroy it," one voice said.

"I wouldn't do that and you know it," the other voice said.

Trixie looked questioningly at Honey, who only shook her head. She wasn't sure whom , the voices belonged to, either. There aren't too many choices, Trixie realized. Regan was unlikely to get into an argument with any of his hosts. Gus's accent would surely be recognizable. It must be Pat and Bill, she concluded.

"Moving Fairhaven Ranch would destroy it," the first voice said.

"Why? It's just a bunch of buildings standing on a plot of land. Wood and dirt, that's all. We can find those somewhere else," the second voice retorted.

"It wouldn't be the same."

"Maybe it would be better. You're still young and romantic. You think nothing bad has ever happened here, and nothing bad ever will. But that isn't so. There'll always be problems here, just like anyplace."

"We were both born here!"

“Does that mean we both have to die here?"

There was a long pause as the other speaker retrained from answering the unanswerable question. Finally, the questioner continued in a softer, less angry voice. "Look, I'm not talking about drawing up final papers tomorrow.  I just want to see how much money Burke has to offer. If it isn't plenty, I'll turn him down "

"Talk to him, then. It's your place. Nobodv can stop you." There was a sound of boots stomping up stairs and a door slammed. Pat Murrow had obviously concluded the conversation with his father.

The girls suddenly realized that they'd been eavesdropping. And now, they were in danger of having Bill Murrow catch them at it. With one accord, they roused themselves, rounded the corner of the stable—and almost collided with Gus, who was rounding the same corner from the opposite direction.

The old man looked sad, his cheeks sunken and his mouth turned down. Without a word to the girls, he hurried off.

"Gus must have overheard the fight, too," Trixie said.

"How sad," Honey said. "Bill and Pat must be almost like a son and grandson to him."

"It must be painful for him to hear Bill talk about selling," Trixie said. "He's been working on this ranch for over fifty years."

"It's Pat who's upset. Yet Bill's been here a lot longer than Pat," Honey pointed out.

"True, but Bill doesn't have to worry about being left behind if the ranch gets moved," Trixie said.

"Oh!" Honey exclaimed, suddenly seeing her friend's point, "Poor Gus!"

"We'd better hurry up and get inside before anybody catches us out here, or it will be poor us," Trixie said grimly. The two girls walked quickly to the house.



Much to Honey's disappointment, Pat wasn't at breakfast the next morning having gone riding with Regan.  Bill set them to work after breakfast and a string of weird occurrences involving missing equipment from the stable and a picture falling off the wall, broke the tension between father and son.

The arrival of Jon Burke did not worsen the situation, and Honey and Trixie watched in interest as the Murrows spoke amicably with the property developer.  They noticed, however, that when Burke held out his hand to say goodbye, all of the Morrows pretended not to see it.

That night at supper, Bill said, "Well Miss Wheeler, by the time you leave, I may have good news for you to take to your father "

"What's that?" Honey asked.

"He'd asked me if I could board and train some horses for him. I said no, because I didn't have room. But it may be that we'll be moving to larger quarters."

Honey couldn't help but look at Pat. His face was expressionless. He's doing his best to go along with this, Honey thought.

"Nothing's for sure yet," Bill added. "It all depends on what kind of offer we get from our neighbor to the south. We aren't about to be run off our land, but we aren't going to turn down a good opportunity, either."

"Daddy would be delighted if you could work with some of his horses," Honey said tactfully. ,

"Does your dad have Arabians?" Pat asked.

"He owns mostly Thoroughbreds," Honey replied.

"Well, Thoroughbreds have a lot of Arabian blood in them. The temperaments are similar enough that we should be able to work with," Pat said confidently.

“Oh, I know you could," Honey said eagerly.  "Of course, after what I've seen the past few days. I might just try to talk him into buying some Arabians." She smiled at Pat and, astonishingly, he smiled back.

After dinner, Pat did not disappear as he normally did, but sat out on the porch in the twilight with Trixie and Honey, readily engaging in conversation.  Trixie watched the exchange between Honey and Pat cautiously.  The shyness and blushing had disappeared and they now seemed comfortable with each other.  Trixie was relieved to see that Honey had returned to her normal behavior.

That night, instead of falling asleep as soon as they went to bed, they sat up talking in their room.

"You know what I think?” Honey said, out of the blue.

"What's that?" Trixie asked.

"I think this whole incident made Pat realize that he was just too wrapped up in the ranch. The mere thought that a sale might come between him and his father made him wake up. I think he knows he has to start paying some attention to the people in his life " Honey's voice was soft and dreamy.

Do you want to be one of those people?  Trixie almost asked, but she left the question unasked not wanting to upset her friend again.



Toward dawn, Trixie fell into her deepest sleep of the night—one from which she was awakened by shouting. She sat up, blinked in the early morning light, and tried to make sense of what she'd heard. In the other bed, Honey seemed to be doing the same,

Most of the shouting was coming from Pat Murrow. Trixie could hear only the loudest words in each sentence: ". . - he was gone ... of course, it was locked... - kicked it right down. . . . one powerful stallion.”

"Oh, no!" Trixie exclaimed, jumping out of bed and pulling open the dresser drawer with one motion. "Al-Adeen must have broken loose!"

The girls dressed as fast as they could.  Charging into the hallway, they almost collided with Bill Murrow, who was rolling up his shirt sleeves as he came out of the bedroom.  Out in the kitchen, the bacon was just beginning to sizzle in the pan. Charlene stood frozen, still in her robe, holding the spatula. Pat and Regan, fully dressed right down to hats and gloves, were standing in the doorway. They had either been out looking for the stallion, or they were ready to go.

Bill strode past them and threw open the door. "Everybody takes a horse," he called over his shoulder. "We'll split into teams and search this whole plague-ridden county, if we have to."

Pat and Regan, Trixie and Honey hurried after Bill. In the stable, they quickly bridled and saddled their horses. Before they were finished, Charlene had joined them, dressed in jeans and riding boots. From the way she slung the blanket and saddle on the horse, Honey realized that her role around the horses wasn't just as a spectator.

They quickly divided into teams—Bill and Charlene, Pat and Honey, Trixie and Regan. Pat waited impatiently for Honey to mount her horse and then he took off, leaving Honey to follow him.  Honey's horse had no problems keeping up with Pat, and her eyes scoured their surroundings for any sign of the stallion.

Eventually, after what seemed like hours, Pat pulled his horse to a stop and Honey came up beside him.

"It's no use," he panted, offering Honey his water bottle.  "He's gone.  He couldn't have gotten this far."

Honey accepted the bottle gratefully and took a quick mouthful.  "Let's not give up yet.  What if we take one of those trails through the woods and see if he's lost in there?"

Pat nodded grimly and Honey shot him a sympathetic smile.  This horse was his life and she knew that it was all he could think about at the moment.  She passed the water bottle back to him.

"I'm ready," she told him.  "Let's go."

Pat almost smiled, grateful for her perseverance, and with a quick click of his heels, prompted his horse into a trot and Honey followed suit.

Please let us find him, she pleaded silently.  I can't bear to see him like this.



Charlene was serving breakfast Honey and Pat finally came in. They both looked pale, exhausted, and depressed Charlene immediately began clucking over them like a mother hen, giving each a cup of steaming coffee laced with milk and putting that morning's third batch of bacon on to fry.

"No luck?" The way Bill asked, it was more of a statement than a question.

Pat shook his head. "I would have given up a long time ago, but Honey wanted to keep going." There was a note of admiration in his voice.

"I just wanted to make sure we'd covered everything," Honey said.

"You did all you could," Pat told her, his voice full of emotion.

Honey smiled at Pat, pleased with his praise.

"After breakfast, we'll drive around and alert the neighbors," Bill said to Pat. ' the horse will turn up in a nearby when he gets tired of foraging for himself.  That's about all we can do."

"Was Al-Adeen insured?" Trixie asked timidly.

Bill shrugged. "He's insured for what he cost, but not for what he's worth. There's only Pat's and my word for that, anyway. Insurance companies are pretty wary of inflated claims from down-and-out horse ranchers."

"We're not down and out!" Pat protested.

"We're down," Bill said firmly. "We're not quite out — not if Al-Adeen shows up in the next couple of days. After that — Well, Fair-haven is going to be a ghost ranch, one way or the other."



As usual, it took inspiration, hard work and good luck for Trixie and Honey to find Al-Adeen, who had been stolen by Jon Burke in an attempt to ruin the Murrow's ranch.  They were spotted by Burke when they attempted to free Al-Adeen from the trailer, and ran to get help, knowing they were no match for Burke.  Both girls had fallen in the river in the process and were lucky to escape with their lives.  They had sent Wilhelmina for help and returned to the trailer to try and save Al-Adeen.

When they got back to the trailer, there no sign of Burke. Nor were there any sound from inside the trailer.  Trixie saw the fear begin to grow on Honey's face. Burke might have taken the stal­lion out of the trailer already. The horse's body, throat cut or shot in the head, might be floating down the river.

The girls' attention was captured by a low noise in the woods. The noise grew louder, and finally its source came into view: Burke's pickup truck was slowly heading their way. Trixie and Honey watched it with growing hope. If Burke had gone for his truck after they'd fallen in the river, he probably hadn't had time to harm Al-Adeen.

Burke backed the truck up to the trailer, got out, and began hitching the two vehicles together.

Trixie tried frantically to think of a plan. The best she could come up with was following the trailer, but she doubted it would do much good.

She didn't have to think any further. Hearing the rumble of hoofbeats behind her, she turned and saw Pat, Began, Bill, and Charlene galloping toward her.

Burke saw them, too. He looked frantically from the trailer to his truck, as if trying to decide whether to escape with one or both. He finally chose to make a run for it.

But it was too late. Pat Murrow had already swung down off his horse and gone after Burke.  He caught the man easily and forced him to the ground.

"The key!" Honey shouted, "Make him give you the key to the trailer!"

Regan ran over to help. The two men forced Burke to hand over the key, then they pulled him to his feet. Regan held Burke, one arm twisted behind his back, while Pat ran back to the trailer.

He unlocked the door and went inside. Trixie, Honey, Charlene, and Bill waited, hearts pounding.

The wait stretched on for so long that Honey had begun to suspect the worst. Then she heard the sound of hooves, and Pat led Al-Adeen out into the open. Pat was wiping the sleeve of his shirt across his eyes, and Honey realized that it was his own emotions, not Al-Adeen's condition, that had caused the long wait.

Charlene and Bill ran to Al-Adeen and began stroking the stallion's neck.

"Is he all right?" Regan called, still main­taining a firm hold on Burke.

"He's just fine," Charlene said.

Pat left the horse with his parents and strode over to Honey, who was shivering. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. "Are you all right?" he murmured, his arm not leaving her shoulders.

Honey smiled up at him. "I'm just fine," she said and shivered, not from the cold but from the warmth of his touch.

Yet another series of noises broke the stillness of the woods. Trixie turned and saw Wilhelmina James hurrying toward her. Left behind by the riders, Wilhelmina had followed on foot. Her glasses had fallen off, and she was squinting as she tried to make out the scene in front of her. Since Trixie was the closest to the edge of the woods, Wilhelmina approached her first. She thrust her face up to Trixie's and asked, "Are you all right?"

Trixie tried not to laugh. She knew that she owed her safety—and Al-Adeen's—to Wilhel­mina. But she couldn't help it. "I'm just fine," was all she could manage to say before the giggles overtook her.

Pat and Regan bundled Burke into his pickup, wedging the developer between them on the front seat.

"Are they taking him to the sheriff?" Trixie asked. "I want to go along. I can explain every­thing."

"You most certainly will explain everything," Charlene Murrow said in an unusually sharp tone. "First thing tomorrow morning. Right now, you're going home to bed." She took Trixie by the arm and led her to the horse that Regan had been riding.

Pat mounted his horse and pulled Honey up to sit behind him.  Her head rested sleepily on his back as they rode gently back to the ranch.

"How can I ever thank you for what you two did tonight?" Pat asked her.

"Trixie solved the mystery," Honey told him.  "As usual, I was just along for the ride."

"But you could have been drowned in that river," Pat cried and his voice dropped to a murmur.  "To think that I might have lost both of you..."

Honey couldn't remember replying, she barely remembered Charlene helping her down from the horse and upstairs to her room.  She and Trixie undressed sleepily and fell into bed, soon slipping into an exhausted sleep.



The next morning, Trixie still felt a little dazed. She kept drifting in and out of sleep, sensing that there were reasons to be up and questions to be answered, but too cozy and content to move. At last, with bright sunlight coming through the window, she forced herself to sit up in bed and stretch.

"Is it time to get up?" Honey mumbled. She rolled over and watched in amazement as her friend suddenly leaped out of bed.

"Gleeps! I'd forgotten all about Al-Adeen and Pat and—and everything," Trixie said. "Come on—we've got to find out what hap­pened."

Honey rubbed the last traces of sleeping from her eyes and jumped out of bed.  In minutes, the girls were dressed and heading down the hall.

Trixie had expected to find the kitchen deserted at that late-morning hour, but there was a full crowd around the table: Regan, Pat, Bill, Charlene—and Wilhelmina James!

Conversation ceased as the two girls en­tered the room. Pat jumped to his feet and hurriedly pulled out the vacant chair between him and Wilhelmina. There was no mistaking whom the invitation was for.

Honey happily took her place next to Pat. Then she asked Wilhelmina, "Have you been here all night?"

"Oh, no," Wilhelmina said. "That is, I was out in the woods for most of the night. Then, early this morning, I went back to my room in town for a brief nap. I must admit I couldn't sleep, however. The Murrows had told me that I might check in on you girls in the morning. So here I am."

Trixie bounced on her tiptoes, too excited to sit down. "What happened to Burke? Is he in jail? Did he confess? Is Al-Adeen back? Is he okav?"

Bill Murrow raised his hands, pretending to snatch the imaginary questions out of the air as they sailed past his head.

Trixie giggled at the pantomime. She plunked herself down in a chair and said, "All right, all right. Just tell me what happened last night."

"Last night , . . last night," Bill said musingly, as though he couldn't think of anything interesting to tell. Seeing that both girls were about to burst from curiosity, he relented. "Well, we took Burke off to jail, where he stayed till first thing this morning. Then he got out on bail."

"Out on bail!" Trixie protested.

Bill nodded, making a disgusted face. "Apparently, horse-thieving isn't the crime it once was."

"Not when the horse is back home, safe and sound," Charlene said.

"Is he okay?" Honey asked Pat.

"No," Pat said, looking serious. Then he broke into a wide grin. "He's absolutely terrific—just the way he always was!"

"Don't let the bail fool you," Regan added-

"Burke stole an extremely valuable piece of property, and the law will see that he's punished for it."

"So much for Burke Landing," Pat said happily.

"Will all the work just stop?" Trixie asked, remembering the huge shell of the first build­ing and the foundations that had been dug for the others.

"Probably, unless someone wants to buy the land from Burke and pick up where he left off," Regan guessed.

"Before that happens, we may be able to buy that land ourselves," Bill said. "We could tear down Burke's Tinkertoys and let the prairie take the land back."

"Now that's something to shoot for!" Pat ex­claimed.

Bill nodded. "It's not so unbelievable, either, now that your girlfriends got our horse back for us."

Trixie screwed her nose up in response to Bill's remark, while both Honey and Pat blushed and looked down at their plates.

"Stop teasing them Bill," Charlene scolded him.  "Let's just be grateful that we've got Al-Adeen back, the girls are safe and we can look forward to a bright future."

"Here, here," Regan cried and raised his coffee in a toast.  The others joined in.

"To Al-Adeen!"  Honey cried.

"To Honey and Trixie!" Pat cried.

"To everyone!" Bill shouted.



On their final night at Fairhaven Ranch, the Murrows held a special dinner for Trixie, Honey and Regan and Charlene even set the formal dining table for them to eat at.

Trixie and Honey dressed in the only nice dresses they had bought with them and even Regan managed to dress a little more formally in pants and an open neck shirt. 

"I wonder if Regan even owns a tie," Trixie giggled under her breath to Honey as they sat down at dinner.

Pat entered shortly afterwards with his father, and Honey swallowed nervously as she looked at Pat.  He wore a white shirt and olive pants and she could even smell a hint of cologne as he moved past her and sat down opposite her.

"Are you sure we can't help you Mrs Murrow?" Trixie called to Charlene.

"Stay right there," Charlene told her in a firm tone.  "You're our guests and everything is almost done."

Everything was almost done.  Charlene brought in steaming platters of meat and vegetables and sat down with them to enjoy the meal.

It was a happy occasion.  The Murrows had been able to buy Burke's land and were planning on extending their ranch.  Bill had already made arrangements with Regan to stable and train some horses for Mr Wheeler, and the had received inquiries from several studs interested in engaging Al-Adeen's services.  The future certainly looked bright for the Murrows and Fairhaven Ranch.

After dinner, Pat invited Honey out to the stables to farewell Al-Adeen.  Honey accepted shyly and they slipped out into the twilight, walking slowly side by side.

"It's been great having you here," Pat said softly.  "I guess you must be looking forward to going home and seeing your friends and family."

"Not really," Honey admitted slowly.  "My family and my friends are all away at the moment.  It's pretty much the reason why Trixie and I came here with Regan."

"I'm glad you did," Pat smiled at her.  "You certainly made life around here much more exciting."

"That's Trixie for you," Honey laughed.  "Wherever, she goes, trouble follows."

They reached Al-Adeen's stable and Honey reached over to rub his nose.

"I'm going to miss you, big guy," Honey murmured, conscious of Pat's body very close to hers.

"He's going to miss you too," Pat told her.  "And he's not the only one."

Honey turned to face Pat.

"You know, I've never been able to talk to anyone the way I can talk to you," Pat murmured earnestly, his eyes locking on to hers.

"I like listening to you," Honey admitted shyly.  She could feel her body growing warm, her heart racing.  No one but Brian had ever made her feel this way.

"You're one of the few people who does," Pat told me.  "You don't have to talk all the time.  You're happy to listen to what others have to say.  I've never met anyone like you Honey."

"I...  uh..." She stammered. 

Almost in slow motion, Pat's hand moved to slowly brush her face and Honey closed her eyes in response.  She knew, she could feel his face moving towards her and suddenly his lips were on hers and he was kissing her so gently and so softly, and the warmth spilled through her body.

Honey couldn't help but murmur and her lips parted and their tongues met slowly, gently teasing each other.  He drew her into his arms and she was powerless to stop herself from responding to him.  All thoughts of Brian and her confusion over his decision not to return home over the summer, were driven from her head.

"Honey, you're so sweet, so beautiful," Pat murmured, kissing her face.  "You've opened my eyes to so much..."

"Oh, Pat," Honey moaned, luxuriating in the feeling of being held, being kissed, being wanted.

They kissed again, long and lingering, tongues dancing slowly.  Honey felt her knees weaken.  All she wanted to do was lie down with him, to be held in his arms, to be loved.

Regan stood in the doorway of the stables, uncertain of whether to make his presence known.  The kiss continued and he became convinced it was no accident.  Finally, he coughed loud enough to let them know he was there.

Honey and Pat froze for a second and then turned to find Regan staring at his boots.

"Regan, I - " Honey began in alarm, pulling away from Pat.

"I think it's time we called it a night, don't you?" Regan muttered.  "We have to leave early in the morning."

With that, he turned and went up the stairs to his room above the stables.

"Honey..." Pat began, but Honey hurried out of the stable and into fading light of the night.

Pat stood helplessly, watching her disappear into the house.  The moment was gone, but he would fight to hang on to it.



"Have a safe trip," Charlene cried, hugging both girls.  "Thank you for everything."

Bill shook hands heartily with both the girls and Regan, as Pat stood silently by, his eyes fixed on Honey.

"Goodbye Pat," Regan said gruffly.  "Thanks for letting me bunk with you."

Pat grunted a reply and the two men shook hands.  It was Trixie's turn to say goodbye and she offered her hand, which he accepted and shook quickly.

"Thanks for finding Al-Adeen," he murmured.

"No problem," Trixie blushed and climbed into the car.

"Goodbye Honey," Pat said softly, extending his hand.

Honey took it reluctantly and he grasped her hand, waiting for her eyes to meet his.  Eventually, they did.

"Honey, I -" he began in a low voice.

"Goodbye Pat," Honey murmured and slowly, but firmly pulled her hand away from his.

She climbed into the car, a smile plastered on her face and waved to the Murrows as the car pulled away from the house.  She willed herself not to look back, and for the tears not to fall.



The girls and Regan wearily wandered through the gates and into the airport.  Tom would be waiting for them, to drive them back to Sleepyside.  But what they didn't expect was to be greeted by a tall red-head and a smiling dark-haired man.

"Brian?" Honey said in amazement.

"Jim!" Trixie cried excitedly.

The next thing Honey knew, she was in Brian's arms, being whirled around and around.

"Oh, Honey-girl," he murmured.  "I missed you so much."

Honey was overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, confusion and happiness.

"Oh, Brian..." she murmured.

Regan watched the scene with interest.  Trixie and Jim had hugged happily, not knowing when to let go, not wanting to and now stood awkwardly, laughing and looking at each other.

Brian held Honey in his arms and they stood looking into each other's eyes.

"I love you Honey-girl," he whispered.

Honey hesitated for a second, searching his eyes for the answer.

"I love you too, Brian."