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DOWN THE ROAD

by Melinda Kay Jenkinson

Chapter Two


DOWN THE ROAD

Chapter Two

by Melinda Kay Jenkinson


Kaye Leigh walked into the stable; the scent of fresh hay engulfed her. She breathed deeply, loving the smell. Curtis was in there doing some nightly chores.

“How are things tonight Curtis?” she asked giving him a hug.

“Great boss lady, how are you?” he replied. Kaye Leigh laughed, he had called her “boss lady” since the day she hired him.

“I’m good.” She said.

She made her way down to the stall that held her mare, Skye. She had bought Skye with some of the first horses she ever purchased. Skye was a black thoroughbred. Kaye Leigh took a sugar cube out and held it out to the horse. Skye took a few steps toward Kaye Leigh and then took the cube. Kaye Leigh patted her neck and head. Skye nipped at her pocket, “you just want another sugar cube, you don’t want my love do you?” Kaye Leigh said laughing.

“I want your love.” Jeff whispered in her ear as he wrapped his arms around her waist. She jumped a little when he startled her.

“Sorry.” He added quickly.

“Yeah right, you just didn’t want to talk anymore football.” She replied as she turned in his arms and kissed him.

Curtis had come over to say hi to Jeff.

“Good evening Jeff. Hey boss lady have you heard from Becki?” he asked casually. “How is the kid?”

Jeff laughed.

“When are you going to just call her and tell her how you feel?” Jeff asked.

“I was just wondering how she was, I wasn’t suggesting anything else.” Curtis stammered.

Kaye Leigh laughed.

“Good night Curtis.” She said grabbing Jeff’s hand and leading him out of the stable and back towards the house.

“He does like her you know that.” Jeff said.

“Of course I do, I know she likes him also, but until they do something we can’t do anything about it.” Kaye Leigh said.

“You will probably doing something about it soon I think.” Jeff said looking sideways at her.

“You’re probably right.” She agreed smiling.

One of the boys’ parents was picking them up as Kaye Leigh and Jeff came up to the house. They waved to the boys and their parents as they pulled out of the driveway. When they got inside the kids were in the living room watching television. Kaye Leigh went in and joined them sitting down next to Dan on the couch.

“Hey mom.” Dan said.

“I’m going up to bed now; I need to be rested for all my loyal patients tomorrow.” Jeff called. Everyone yelled goodnight, and he went upstairs.

“Good thing we did our devotions this morning.” Grace said.

“He would have stayed up to do them if we hadn’t.” Josh said. “We do them every day.”

“It’s a good thing we do too.” Kaye Leigh said. Everyone nodded. Jeff worked hours that accommodated the average working person, but he had every Friday off so he could be a rancher, that’s what he told Kaye Leigh when he set up his hours.

After the program was over the kids went up to bed, Kaye Leigh watched a little bit of the news then straightened up the downstairs and headed up to bed. She assumed that Jeff would already be asleep so she didn’t turn on any lights, but made her way quietly to the bathroom. When she finished getting ready for bed, she turned off the bathroom light and went back into the bedroom. She pulled back the covers on her side of the bed and slipped beneath them, turning onto her side trying not to disturb Jeff and shut her eyes. She felt his arms go around her and him pulling her close to him.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.” She said.

“You didn’t, I was waiting for you.” He replied kissing the back of her head. With that, she relaxed and fell asleep contentedly in her husbands’ arms.

When Kaye Leigh woke up the next morning, Jeff was already getting ready for work. She got up, put on her robe, and hurried downstairs to the kitchen to start breakfast and coffee. The kids were going with some of their friends to the lake today, so she wanted to make sure they had a good breakfast, because knowing them they would not eat again until they got home at night.

“You were restless last night.” Jeff said kissing her cheek.

“Was I?” She asked returning his kiss. “Sorry; I didn’t mean to keep you awake.”

“Were you dreaming about something?”

“Not that I can remember.” She replied with a shrug. “Want some breakfast?”

“Thanks, but not today. I will just take some coffee. I’ve got to get to the office early and go over some charts before the patients come in.” Jeff kissed her again before grabbing his coffee and keys and heading out the door.

About five minutes after Jeff left the kids came down, all dressed for the beach.

“Good morning guys!” She said with a smile, placing plates of eggs and toast in front of them and kissing their hair.

“Morning.” They grumbled tiredly.

“Be careful today OK? And you boys keep an eye out for your sisters.” Kaye Leigh joined them with a cup of coffee and shook her head as they groaned.

“Mom, you know we all swim like fishes.” Josh complained.

“Yes you do, but it’s my right to worry!” She replied.

“When do you stop?” Dan asked.

“Never,” Kaye Leigh retorted, and they all laughed.

When the kids had left Kaye Leigh cleaned up the kitchen and went upstairs to get ready for the day. When she came down an hour later, she had jeans, a shirt, and her boots on, her hat in one hand and working gloves in the other. Kaye Leigh normally worked around the horses, but today she was going with Curtis out on the range to check on some fences and horses. She put her hat on, stuck her gloves in her back pocket, and headed to the stable to meet Curtis.

Curtis was there and already had Skye saddled for her.

“You know Curtis I do know how to saddle my own horse. In fact I do believe it was you who taught me how to do it.” Kaye Leigh laughed.

“I know but you are way too slow, you talk more than you work.” He replied.

“Whatever.” She laughed at him. They mounted their horses and headed out to the range. Kaye Leigh liked to ride with Curtis if Jeff was not available; they had become good friends those first few months she was in Texas and missing Jeff.

“What’s on your mind today lady?” Curtis asked.

“Nothing much, I was just thinking about how good of a friend you are. What about you?” She replied looking at him sideways.

“Just enjoying your company.” He said.

“What part of the ranch are we heading to?” she asked.

“East.” He said.

“Let’s race.” Kaye Leigh said.

“Yeah right, I’m not falling for that.” He said smiling at her.

“What…” was all she had gotten out before Curtis took off.

“Hey!” Kaye Leigh yelled as she spurred Skye into a full run. When they got to where the guys were working, they reined their horses in.

“You cheat you know that right?” Kaye Leigh said laughing as she came up next to him.

“What are you talking about? I only take necessary measures to ensure you don’t get the best of me.” He replied.

Curtis helped her down; he always helped her when he was around. Kaye Leigh was the sister he never had; he would do anything for her. One of the guys came over.

“Curtis, Mrs. Rutherford.” He said.

“What’s up Tim?” Curtis asked.

“Just repairing fences right now.” Tim replied. He was looking at Kaye Leigh as he talked to Curtis. Kaye Leigh hated the way he looked at her; he was one of the new guys and had only been working for them for a few months. Curtis did the hiring and firing, although she had fired a couple of guys. Tim walked away and went back to fixing the fence.

“What do you know about Tim Curtis?” Kaye Leigh asked.

“He had great references, is a hard worker, very respectful from what I’ve noticed. He is originally from Texas.” Curtis said.

“Why what’s up?” Kaye Leigh looked at him; she did not want him to think that she was crazy or something.

“It’s just the way he looks at me makes me very uncomfortable.” She said shaking her head. Curtis laughed.

“He probably thinks your beautiful just like most of the guys here, except me of course I know the real you.” He said. Kaye Leigh pushed him.

“No one else looks at me like he does.” She told him. Curtis could see it really bothered her.

“I’ll keep an eye on him.” He said seriously.

They were walking along the fence checking different spots out. Tim was walking with them giving Curtis information. Kaye Leigh listened but did not look at Tim, but Curtis watched him. He could see why she was uncomfortable; he was not looking at her like a man appreciating a woman’s beauty as most of the guys did around here, but like she was his for the taking.

When they finished Curtis looked at Kaye Leigh and said “Kaye Leigh I will meet you back at the horses.”

She nodded and said, “Ok, I’ll meet you there.” She turned and walked back to the horses.

Once Kaye Leigh was out of earshot Curtis turned to Tim and said.

“I’m going to give you some one time advice Tim. You just started here and you’re a great worker, now I realize the boss is a beautiful woman but she is a married woman and she doesn’t like the way you’re looking at her.” Tim looked at him.

“I didn’t mean anything by it Curtis I was just admiring her.” Tim replied.

“Well you need to be more respectful or you’ll be out of here faster than a bullet.” Curtis said. Tim nodded and Curtis walked away.

Curtis got over to the horses, Kaye Leigh was already mounted.

“What did you say?” she asked.

“I told him to be more respectful of you or lose his job.” Curtis said.

“Thanks for taking care of me Curtis.” She said smiling at him.

“Just looking out for you for Jeff, so don’t get any ideas like I like you or anything.” He said laughing. Kaye Leigh laughed. Tim watched them. He figured that he would have to apologize to Kaye Leigh later.




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