Chapter 16 | Roses and Thorns

McGrover’s Ranch:

The dawn slowly poured sunshine one streak at a time along her window sill, but Rachael was happy with the heavy burden which kept her on the bed. She managed to shift and look the most handsome person she fell in love with a decade ago. The light played hide and seek in hairs giving it splendid glow. She couldn’t resist touching and raised her hand to catch the light falling giggling at her own silliness. Suddenly she felt to have been lifted up in the air and down with Chris looming over her with a devilish smile playing at the corner of his mouth.

Barbara was almost done with the breakfast, when Rachael and Chris came down late morning. Rachael couldn’t fathom facing anyone knowing well everyone knew Chris had stayed over so that she wouldn’t be lonely. In her usual manner Barbara whipped the eggs and waffles for breakfast and placed it on table for them both ordering to finish before they rode out to check on the fences and cattle.

Rachael felt the joy; she had never hoped to find in all the years she had been away from home. She was truly back home again and her resolve of destroying O’Cauly didn’t bog her down. It didn’t matter anymore. She was amongst the family she had hoped to have and nothing could now take it away from her. She and Chris finished breakfast and rode out together to check on fences and ensure there was sufficient water for the cattle. On the way they met Joshua and Sam brining in supplies for the dining hall. Waving at them, Rachael and Chris rode side by side, with breeze singing along for the good times they would be witnessing.

At the northern side of the farms, Rachael watched as Chris ensured all the cattle were accounted for. “So are you going to participate in the rodeo at the end of this month?”

“Hmmm, Sean was asking me the same? Are you both planning on making me?” said Chris sitting next to her

“Now why would we go make you do anything you don’t want? We just taught you loved bronc riding” said Rachael smiling at him. The smile that melted his insides; but he was no amateur at this game. “Maybe I will think about it, if I get taste those lips which seem to tempt me forever.” Saying he pulled Rachael into his arms for a kiss. Giving him a peck she got up laughing at his shocked face. Sending him a flying kiss, she called back running towards the lake “Maybe I will kiss you once you win that bronc event for me.” Chris followed her running frame at slow pace smiling at his luck.

O’Cauly’s Ranch

Ted waited for Jacob to show up for work, but only to find him absent the whole day. This was first for him. Instead of finding what could be wrong, Ted dressed and went to the town for a drink. As he walked into the only bar in town, Ted found himself to be shunned by the very people who flocked him once. He moved silently to the stool and ordered for shot. A shot was placed in front of him. As soon as he gulped it down, another was placed. He looked up to find a lady filling another short of him smiling at him. “Why are being kind to me missy?”

“Who said I am being nice? I am just getting you drunk enough to listen to my proposition.”

Ted didn’t touch the next shot glass and looked at her suspiciously. She walked out and sat next to him, running her nails along his forearm. “You see, we both have common enemy. And I would like to propose we take care of it together.”

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