I put the last of our bags into the back of my car. “You sure you don’t want maybe one of us to come with you? You know a new place, new people? You might want a couple familiar faces.” Levi, one of my many brothers, said to me. I looked at him. He was a ‘looker’ as people would say. I don’t see it but hey he’s my brother. He has dark hair and blue eyes, where were looking at me nervously right now.
“Levi I love you. Now shut up.” He gave me a half smiled. “I’m going to be fine. We’re going to be fine.” I looked into to my mother who was holding my 8 month old daughter. I shook my head at the thoughts that wanted to invade my head. The thoughts I didn’t want to think of.
“Le’s right Hally. We aren’t going to be a phone call away anymore. We are going to be hours.” One of my other brothers Andrew, Drew for short, said. I looked at him as he stood next to his twin Archer. I sighed.
“Dad needs you all here.” I looked between the three of them. “He needs you on the ranch, not in the city with me.”
“What if you need something though?” Archer, my Archie, said quickly.
“Mace got me an apartment right next to one of his platoon brother’s grandmothers. We’ve talked and she’s going to help me with Peyton.” I looked once again at my little girl as my mother came over to the four of us. “We’ll be alright. We just need to start over.” I sighed.
“Boys don’t be giving your sister a hard time. Leaving everything here is hard enough, having the six of you hounding her to either stay or take some of you with her is too much.” Mom was always the voice of reason. You see I have seven brothers. Six older and one younger, all of them over-protective. My younger brother Jude doesn’t act younger. He’s up there next to the rest of my older brother. Even though he is only 17 now. I love all my brothers, even if at times I want to strangle all of them. “Now off you go baby.” She smiled at Peyton putting her into her car seat and buckling her in.
“We just want her to be safe Ma.” Archie said looking at me. Mom looked up from Peyton.
“Archer your sister will be fine. She has a phone, so call her. She isn’t going to the other end of the world.” Archie looked down.
“Unlike Mace.” We looked at Drew. “I was just stating a fact.” Mom clicked her tongue at him.
“Andrew go to tend to the foals.” She said shortly at him. Mace is my oldest brother, Mom’s first born. He is deployed on embassy duty right now. It’s a touchy subject for all of us. Me and Mom the most I think, but I could be wrong as my brothers aren’t also so keen to show their emotions all the time. My family owns and runs a ranch here in Wisconsin. My Dad’s family have owned it for generations and we are keeping it that way. My family isn’t like all the hick families around here. Most of my brothers have graduated from high school, me being the only one who even tried college, but that is another story for a later time. The oldest set of twins, Holden and Hudson, are off in our small town. Holden is trying to open up a mechanic shop with a long time friend of his. Hudson works with the EMTs that cover the county. My parents want us to be happy; they want us to follow our dreams. They are trying to help Holden with the shop, trying to get him the money they can but it’s hard when there isn’t that much money going around.
They try. We grew up well. We have morals, and we had hard-work, love, and food and our bellies. My mom, she was once a doctor. She still is of course makes house calls to the locals since there is no hospital in town, just the County’s. But the ranch is good to us. Archer, Andrew, and Levi are going to stay and run it. Levi was a good business man. He got people to buy what we needed to sell. I told him he should try to get a degree, become famous, and make us proud. He laughed at me and said he was good with ‘some good old country living and didn’t want that to change.’ I looked at the four faces in front of me. “You’ll be back soon right?” Levi said looking at me. I looked at him slowly.
“Probably after I get settled in.” Mom looked at me. She smiled before pulling me into a tight hug.
“I’ll miss you baby.” She sighed. “Be safe. Call me when you get there.” She kissed my head as I fought the tears.
“Alright Mama. I love you.” She let go of me and wiped her eyes.
“I love you too Halyn.” She smiled rubbing my cheek. “Virginia said the movers came yesterday and everything is okay. She’ll be waiting for you and that everything was going to be okay.” Mom took a deep breath. “I have to get going to an appointment at Old Man Henderson’s. Have a safe trip.” She gave me one last look before going to her truck and getting in. Archer and Levi each gave me a hug as Andrew came back to hug me too.
“Make sure my niece doesn’t forget about me alright.” Archie whispered as he gave me one last hug as Peyton started to fuss in her seat.
“I won’t.” He held me a little tighter.
“Did you say bye to Dad?” I nodded pulling back.
“Yeah we said good bye this morning before he went into the fields.” I walked towards my car getting in.
“I’m sorry Halyn, for all that happened.” I looked away from Andrew. I shook my head at him. Andrew was the one that didn’t know when to shut up. He says just what comes to his mind, no matter how much it hurt. He can be my least favorite idiot at times. A lot of the time. I fought the tears once again.
“Damn it Andrew.” Archer said smacking Drew. I buckled up starting it up before starting away from the house watching my brothers getting smaller as I got farther away. I looked at Peyton in the mirror.
“Baby we are going to start out new. And I’m going to make a life for you.” She looked at me with her beautiful hazel eyes before putting her duck into her mouth. “You’ll have a great life baby.” She smiled at me cooing. I drove about halfway to the city before stopping for a diaper change. I got lunch and was able to make Peyton a bottle before getting back on the road. She fell asleep the baby bottle still in her mouth. I smiled to myself at how much I truly love her. She right now is my everything. She was the best thing that could have happened. I was able to make it to the apartment in to no time. Peyton was still asleep, her mouth suckling on her bottle nipple. I unstrapped her from the car seat wrapping the light blanket closer around her. I had the bottle as she lay sleeping peacefully. I made my way up the stairs to the apartment that Virginia owned. I knocked softly. Virginia smiled at me happily. “You made good time.” She whispered hugging me gently to not disturb Peyton.
“Yeah I’ve been up since before 4.” I smiled walking into the apartment. Virginia was Mace’s best friends Grandmother. I’ve just met her when I came to look for a job a couple weeks ago. She is a lovely old woman. She reminds me of my grandmother. She has these warm brown eyes that invite you in and makes some lovely cookies. She helped me get an apartment next door, and is even watching Peyton while I work. “I had to get my Dad before he left for the fields.” She smiled nodding. She had the feeling of someone I could trust with anything.
“I stand you sweetheart. I won’t keep you long. I’m sure you want some sleep. Or even start unpacking.” She picked up the keys I gave her for the movers Mace hired for me. “Here you go. I made sure nothing was stolen or broken.” She put the keys in my hand. “Are you starting work tomorrow?” I nodded kissing Peyton’s head.
“Are you sure you want to watch her? I know I can try to find someone else.” She slapped at me.
“Shush Halyn. I can’t wait to watch this little one. What time are you going to drop her off?” I smiled at her as Peyton whimpered for her bottle. I cradled her before giving her the bottle.
“I need to be there at 9. About 8:30 alright with you?” She nodded getting a tub from the refrigerator.
“8:30 is fine. I made you some dinner since I didn’t know when you would get here.” She closed the door. “Let me help you with getting the bags and watch this little one.” She said picking up her keys. I was able to get all the bags from the car, have dinner, and able to make the crib up before Virginia had to leave. She bit me good night before hugging me and leaving. I had Peyton down by 8, sound asleep. I spent the next hours unpacking and folding away till the early hours of the morning. My cell phone started to ring quietly on the bed next to me as I got ready to sleep.
“Hello?” I asked laying down pulling the covers over me.
“Hey Sis.” I smiled at the sound of my oldest brother’s voice.
“Hey Mace. How’s it going?” I yawned setting my alarm clock.
“Fine. How’d it go? Did Virginia help you? How’d Peyton take it?” I laid back in bed.
“It went good. Virginia has been a big help. I couldn’t have done this without her. Thank you Mace.” I yawned again. “Peyton’s fine right now. I’m waiting on tomorrow for when she realizes it’s just me and her for now.”
“Why do you sound so tired?” I started to laugh at him.
“Mace it’s 2 in the morning and I have to be up at 7.” He groaned.
“I forgot about the time difference. Scattered brain really. I’ll call you late on today? I have duty soon anyway. Sleep tight. Kiss Peyton for me.”
“Alright Mace, love you.”
“Love you too Kid.” I ended the call and put the phone on the nightstand before falling back on the bed staring at the ceiling. Where has my life gone?