As Chris lay on his bed, he couldn’t believe the thought that had crossed his mind. “They belonged together.” He didn’t know where that thought had come from. He knew there was an attraction between him and Rachael Burns, but does that mean he is ready to spend his life with her. But it couldn’t be. He had always loved Rach McBurns. “Rach McBurns, Rachael McBurns, Rachael Burns.” “What the hell?” Chris immediately jumped out of the bed and ran up to his attic and pulled out a carefully kept box from the top shelf.
It had been nearly a decade since he had opened it. Rach’s news had been a big blow. Since the first time he had seen her at the bronc riding competition, he knew he belonged to her. He opened the lid and spread the photos on the table. He noticed that the features of her were very similar to Burns. “How could it be?” The need to know that her Rach was still alive, drove him mad. Not knowing what to do, he dressed and walked out to his stable. Picking up a rake, Chris started putting hay in the feeding stall for the horses, and later started grooming Ace. His new Arabian had burned a hole in his pocket, but was well worth it. No matter what he did, the thought didn’t leave him that maybe Rachael Burns was his Rach. He was not sure, how he didn’t see the similarities in her face. If it was her, why would she change her name? “Stupid girl, if she did change her name for some reason, what an alias to choose.”
Not being able to comprehend, what Rach was doing and why, Chris returned home to lay down restless for a long night ahead.
For Rachael, things were not going as planned. The need to take revenge with her father had overshadowed her attraction to Chris. The idea of spending time with him was bringing back all the feelings, she had thought long dead. His presence at the ranch was not something she had calculated. Not being able to fall asleep Rachael walked down to her office. She started drafting a letter to the supplier about the delay in supply of the mares as was promised to John McGrover. Done with the letter Rachael checked up on notes on horse breeding.
A clank of vessel woke Rachael up from her slumber. She found herself sleeping at her office table. As she stretched her muscles, a scraping noise came from her door. Before she stood up, the door opened and there stood the reason that was playing havoc with her heart and life.
“Good morning Rach, nice pajamas”
“Out, you callous. Barbara show Mr. McGrover out the door.” Saying Rachael ran up the stairs to her room. Once reaching her, she looked out the window looking if Chris was outside. Indeed he was talking to Joshua. Both were admiring an Arabian tied to the post. It was a magnificent animal, she had to agree. Closing the drapes on the window, she headed straight to bathroom to get ready for the long day ahead.
Chris was amazed at the amount of work that was going on at McGrover ranch. That was another thing troubling Chris. Any reasonable person would change the name of the place once they had purchased it, but Rach hadn’t. Joshu mentioned that it never came up and they never felt her to be an outsider. Rach had managed to get all ranch hands under control within few days and built a outside luncheon area for all, and a lake on its way to completion. But the question still remained, if Rachael Burns was Rach McGrover or not? He put the question to Donna when she cam out to tend to herbs garden they had recently plotted.
“Donna, how is Sam?”
“He is doing well, Mr. Grover. He is back in school. Ms Burns paid his tuition for next two years and gave me job with large pay to help take care of family.”
Nodding Chris walked towards the stables deep in thought trying to understand who Rachael Burns was and why was she doing what she was doing. Why would she try to start enmity with boar like O’Cauly.
“What are thinking cowboy?” said Rachael saddling her horse
The exclamation was so unexpected, Chris didn’t know how to react so he tipped his Stetson and said, “Praying you will ride with me lady?” grinning at Rachael’s reaction to his reply
“Alright, let’s go check the perimeter and then we can talk about our business arrangement.” Saying Rachael mounted her horse and rode expecting Chris to follow. As soon as they were out the view of the house Chris rode next to her. Seeing it Rachael smiled to herself but kept a slow pace to north pastures. Upon arriving at the pastures, Rachael got down and Chris was already down and tying his horse to a tree branch, and reaching for Rachael’s horse girdle. She swatted his hand away and tied her horse.
Rachael walked along the fence which separated her ranch with O’Cauly’s. In fact her ranch which O’Cauly occupied illegally and now was encroaching into Uncle John’s. She placed her hands on the fence and said, “Chris did you know the people who lived there?”
“McBurns. Yes I did. That house, holds some of the best moments of my life. Aunt Nicole used to bring me home made muffins when visiting mum. Her daughter would tag along running towards the stables not caring for a bit if she would get hurt.” Smiling at the memory, Chris said, “You know I didn’t know until the day she left to study that I liked her. I always thought of her as a kid, not until one day I saw her…”
“McGrover, I warn you if you are playing some game with this harlot to snatch my farm.”As soon as O’Cauly said, Chris let go his whip which marked a bloody scratch on O’Cauly’s face.
Crying out in pain, “He said, You will pay for this. Remember you will.”