Chapter 12 – Face-Off

McGrover Ranch

Rachael lay on her bed and dawn was yet to start, but she felt very unsettling. Her plans were going as planned but she not anticipated one complication ‘Chris’. Tucked in her bed she turned towards the window looking out as the sun rose slowly over the horizon casting a yellowish and orange glow at the tinted windows. She could hear, ranch hands working at the stables and Donna walking in the kitchen. Having no choice but to face the day ahead, Rachael got up. She walked down to her office after an hour to find a lady waiting for her.

“Hello, how can I help you?”

“Are you Rachael Burns?”

“Yes”

“Listen missy stay away from Christopher” screeched the lady with her fists at her side ready to fly at Rachael

“And why should I do that?” saying Rachael sat in her chair folding her hands

“Because I say so. He is mine and I am going to marry him.”

“Well good for you, if he marries you. Why come here and disturb me?”

“Well you know well why. Do not act as if you don’t?”

“Listen, you have right to have any opinion what you wish, but I don’t share so you better leave the way you came or should I show it you?”

“You think you with your fancy pants and fair skin can win him over. You cannot because he is looking for woman who can keep him warm and at the same time take care of his house. What do you fancy britches know about keeping a man happy?”

“Well I can’t say what I don’t know, but I know plenty how to keep my man happy, but I don’t think I need to discuss that with you now do I. Now if you would see yourself out it will appreciated unlike you I don’t have time to waste.” Saying Rachael booted up her laptop wondering who this female and why was she swearing her off Chris.

Now knowing what to at being dismissed Karen stomped out the office pushing Donna on her way letting hot coffee fall her. Donna screamed as soon as the hot liquid touched her skin. Rachael came running out to find Donna on floor among the broken china set with her hands turning red. She immediately ran to kitchen and bought a water soaked cloth and placed around Donna’s hand. She stood and turned towards Karen “I don’t know who you are and why you came to house, but I tell you this if I find on my property and abusing my employees you will be sorry. Joshua, please escort this lady of the property at once.” Saying Rachael helped Donna careful towards the dining table. She brought the first aid kit from her room and applied medication on Donna’s hand. Ensuring Donna was comfortable she walked into the kitchen and made some tea for Donna and coffee for herself. She brought the cups to table “How many cubes Donna?”

“No miss, I am alright. I can do the work.”

“Donna I know you can, but I would like to help.”

“But it’s not right Ms. Burns. It is my job.”

Laughing Rachael looked at Donna and said, “Dear Donna I am not taking up your work. I am more than happy to stay away from Kitchen if I can help it. But helping friends is allowed.”

At her words Donna smiled and asked for cube of sugar and both of chatted until Joshua came along with Barbara. Hanging her hat and bag Barbara asked Donna of what had transpired. “Oh that evil Karen was here. She in her usual way walked out the office knocking out coffee and snacks on me and berating me for my clumsiness.”

“Ohhh, if only I was here, I would have shown that witch.”

“Rachael helped me. Karen couldn’t open her mouth.” Said Donna mimicking Karen, making everyone in the room laugh

“This looks interesting, can you share the joke with me too.” Said Chris walking in the kitchen as if he owned the place

Donna kept silent smiling at Chris with Barbara walking up to Chris with a cup of coffee. “Nothing we can’t handle now, what would like to have for breakfast?”

“Some bacon and eggs would be nice mam.” Said Chris with his charming smile which made Rachael weak in her legs

He walked to table and sat beside Rachael encouraging Donna continue what she was saying, but she brushed it off overcome by shyness. But Barbara didn’t stay silent “That witch Karen was here.” Suddenly realizing her mistake “oh my…am sorry Chris, I forgot you are seeing her, but if you ask me I don’t know what you see in her.”

“What was Karen doing here?” asked Chris stunned and suspecting what may have transpired

“I don’t know why she was here, but she hurt Donna. Why was she here Rachael?” asked Barbara taking the ingredients needed for breakfast.

“It was nothing, I think she was curious about me running ranch and all” said Rachael pouring a cup coffee and hiding her embarrassment at what she had said to Karen. If Chris found out, she would have to be on run.

“That busybody has nothing good on her mind” Said Barbara again forgetting Chris’s presence in the room.

“Rachael, did she say anything to you?” asked Chris worry lines clearly visible on his forehead

“Nothing of consequence”

He held Rachael at her forearms ready to barge her with more questions, but immediately turned around and walked out of the house.

Karen’s house

Karen was dressed up and waiting for Chris to show up at her doorstep. Just as she had anticipated, she heard a door knock. She ran to door and slowed down, smoothed the front of her dress and opened the door to furious Chris ready to smother her. He shouted “What did you do? What did you say to Rachael?”

“Come inside Chris, do you want everyone to hear you?”

“Nobody is around and I don’t care who hears.”

“Well I do. Come inside. My maid hanging the clothes outside and don’t want her listening to our bickering even before we are married.”

“Married?”

“Yes”

Chris took a deep breath, calmed his anger and spoke very calmly with Karen, “Listen Karen, we are not getting married. I am not in love with you…”

“You don’t need to love each other to marry you silly.  I know I can keep your house and also help in ranch. You need a strong woman to handle that ranch of yours along your side. That girl in britches cannot help you. She doesn’t know a thing about living on ranch but to strut about in front of men.”

“Shut up. One more word against Rachael you won’t what would happen here. She is more than capable of running a ranch looking like she is walking the ramp. This is my final warning Karen, one more contact with Rachael and you will know the ugly side of Christopher McGrover.”

Karen stood dumfounded as Chris showed himself out. She sat down on the sofa for hours together at a time wondering what she would to do make everything as she had planned. “That witch needs to leave hot springs and far away from Christopher McGrover”

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