Reese sat on the couch Peyton on his lap as he typed on his laptop. Peyton watched the screen as the words appeared from under his fingers. “Ba,” She smiled looking at him.
“What baby?” He smiled as she watched the screen again. Reese looked up as the front door opened and the guys came in. He smiled at them as Peyton waved at them before putting her pacifier in her mouth. “Hello.” He smiled at them as Peyton leaned back on his chest.
“What are you still doing up?” Andrew asked after looking at the clock.
“Peyton wouldn’t go to sleep so I told your sister that I’d watch her till she fell asleep.” He closed his laptop putting it away. He ran his hand down her hair stroking it as her eyes finally got heavy.
“Oh.” He said rubbing the back of his neck. Reese stood up holding on to Peyton as she clutched onto him her eyes closing.
“I better get to sleep. Goodnight.” He smiled at them. “Come on sweetheart. Off to go see Mommy.” Peyton whimpered as he walked up the stairs rubbing her back. He walked into the room. He smiled as he watched me curled up on the bed the covers around me. He laid Peyton in the crib in the corner of the room. He pulled the blanket around her as she yawned going back to sleep hold her ducky. “Goodnight baby.” He whispered kissing her head. He pulled out his shirt and jeans before crawling into bed next to me pulling me onto his chest.
“I thought you weren’t going to come.” I muttered yawning as he pulled the blankets back around us.
“Penny didn’t want to go to sleep.” He kissed me. I smiled weakly at him closing my eyes.
“She does that at times. Thank you for staying up with her.”
“It’s nothing. I love spending time with her.” I snuggled into him.
“I love you.” I smiled at him falling back asleep…
I was getting dressed when Reese moaned and turned to look at me. “Where are you going?” He asked squinting at me.
“I’m just going to do something for my Dad.” I kissed him. “I’ll call you.” He nodded at me closing his eyes. “Peyton’s still asleep.” I said looking over at the crib to where she was still sleeping.
“I’ll watch her. Go on.” He yawned. I kissed his head. “I love you. Have fun.”
“Thank you.” I smiled pulling on my hat. I walked down the stairs smiling at my mom. “Morning.” I smiled at her.
“Morning Sweetheart.” Dad walked in pulling the hat off my head smiling at me.
“Morning Sweets. I need you to go off to the Stevens. They’re buying a horse off of us and need to decide on which.” I nodded holding my hands out. Dad handed me all the paperwork. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. Levi used to send me on these all the time. He says I’m good at them. But it’s just something I do. I used to go on them all the time with Dad. It was our bonding moments.
“The Stevens just live on Murphy, right?” I asked taking my hat back shoving my phone into my pocket. “Dang it, I don’t have my car.” I huffed. “How am I getting there?” Dad shrugged.
“Take Mustang.” He smiled. “I’m off. Got to check on the cows. Betsy is going to give birth soon.” I smiled.
“The Baby’s staying here right?” We don’t have a lot of cows here. We mostly breed horses but milk brings in some good money. Sometimes we’d sell the babies born here, sometimes we don’t.
“Yup. We’re hoping for a little girl, but we could use another breeder.” He smiled.
“Good to know. I should go get Mustang ready for a ride.” I walked out making my way towards the Horse barn. Each of us has our own horse. We raised them from when they were just foals. I remember getting my Mustang. We have a ton of horses here but my Mustang was easy to pick out. He’s a stallion. A purebred American paint horse to be exact. I was there when he was born and he’s my baby, my first baby. “Hey Baby.” I smiled walking up to his stall. He pushed his nose into my shoulder huffing at me. “I missed you too, Bubba.” I opened the gate to his stall taking hold of his harness hooking him up to the leads getting my saddle pad. “I have so much to tell you Bub.” I patted him. He’s always been my best friend. I never had any in school. No one really talked to me. I was just the one to get made fun of. My brothers kept the bullies away. Mom says it’s because I’m submissive. I’m not for violence. I rather take a beating then fight it. I guess that’s why I had into the whole mess with him. It’s why Peyton’s alive. I put on Mustang’s saddle hooking him up I had the paperwork shoved into a bag that I quickly put on the saddle.
“Ready to go Bubba?” He nodded his head as I finished putting on his reins and harness. I unhooked him from the lead and pushed myself up onto his saddle. It was still early in the morning so the sun was just rising into the sky. I smiled as Mustang walked off towards the house before he got antsy and started to glop before running off. We made it to the Stevens house in good time. He blinked at me.
“Why look who it is?” He laughed as I tipped my hat slowing Mustang down.
“Morning Mr. Stevens, long time no see.” He stepped down from the porch as I got off my horse.
“I haven’t seen I got kicked by that cow a couple years ago.” He smiled as I got my bag from the horse.
“I remember that.” I shook my head. “Can’t believe you started crying.” I laughed at him walking into the house.
“Hey that hurt.” He said pulling out the chair for me.
“I’m not saying it didn’t, but it doesn’t top the time I got locked in with that Mustang.” I shook my head shuddering at the memory. “That hurts, and I got all the scars to prove it.” He shuddered.
“Your Dad told me that story.” I pulled out the paperwork and pictures putting them on the table.
“Let’s get started. Now Dad said that you had narrowed down your choices?” We spent the next hour talking over which horse would be good for his farm. We finally decided on a Canadian horse. It’s perfect for working.
“So you can get one, correct?” I nodded at him.
“We have a breeder just off of the boarder who sells to us. We can get you one easily. The other horse is going to be a Paint Horse mare, right? You and my father already decided on this?” He nodded.
“They aren’t bad are they?” I shook my head taking a drink of my water.
“I love my stallion. I was just making sure. You’ve set up a breeding season with Mustang as well?” He nodded. “That’s pretty cool. I’ll have to come up to see one of Mustangs baby’s being born.” I closed the folder.
“I thought you still live with your parents or in the apartments in town.” I shook my head.
“No Sir. I moved out a couple months ago to live in the city with my daughter. My car broke down so I came back for my brother to take a look at it. I don’t trust those city folks at that.” He gave me a shocked look.
“I thought you still lived with Lucas. He’s been talking about you like you do.” I swallowed hard.
“No, I haven’t lived with Lucas since Peyton was 4 months old.” I cleared my throat standing up. “I should be going.” He looked up at me.
“That boy hangs out with Nate.” He said matter-of-factly. “Don’t talk to him. He’s no good.” I gave him a weak smile.
“I know.” God I knew. I wish I didn’t. “I should get going.” I hated talking about Lucas. I hate it so much. The thought of seeing him made me want to run away crying. It’s while I left. I don’t think about him much since I’ve been with Reese. I’d have forgotten about him. Now, I might have to see him? Peyton might have to see him? No, I can’t deal with it. I can’t.
“I made you uncomfortable, didn’t I?” I shook my head.
“It was nice to see you again Mr. Stevens, but I have to get going.” I tipped my hat before walking out whistling. Mustang looked over from where he was sniffing at some of the Stevens boys. He came running over as I hopped onto him wanting out of here. I wanted to be in the comfort of my house. The house I know where I would never see Lucas or any of the people he hung out with. I got home faster than I had got to the Stevens Ranch. Levi stood in his bathing suit but took Mustang as I hopped down.
“Go change, Baby!” Mom called out to be from where she was feeding the chickens.
“Why?” She looked over as Reese walked out with Peyton who was sucking on a bottle staring at the birds on the ground. I kissed him before looking back at mom.
“We’re going to the lake!” She smiled as Reese put Peyton down to walk to the birds. She put one of her hands out to touch one -being the curious baby she is- only for the chicken to peck her. She started to cry dropping her bottle.
“Ah!” She screamed as it started to chase her. “Dada!” She screamed as Reese scooped her up holding her above the clucking birds trying to get her.
“I gottcha.” He said picking up the bottle for her as I stared at them in shock.
“Dada.” She whispered looking up at him showing her red hand where the chicken got her. He kissed it better. Since when was she calling him Dada? She looked over at me. “Mama.” I took her into my arms blinking not answering. Reese rubbed the back of his neck fighting to find the words to say.
“Why don’t you all get changed so we can head to the lake?” I nodded walking into the house to change to leave, my mind wondering about this all….