Straight From The Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nick Brennan is out on his first date since moving to Gallatin Montana.

Submitted: September 28, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 28, 2016



It was a great day.

Saturday in Montana is something that everyone should experience. No matter what the weather is, the day is always beautiful. People are out and about, going grocery shopping or going to their childrens sporting events. The ranchers were out in the field, using all kinds of equipment taking care of the land. Cowboys were riding horses through town. It had a very old school Western mentality. I really liked it.

I was out in my front yard working in the garden. It was something I never thought I would ever find myself doing. Since moving to Montana, I have found myself becoming more of a handyman. Gardening, remodeling my house, even cooking. I had found a cookbook of local Montana recipes. I had been going through them everyday. Most of them were not good, but then again I had never really been one for cooking. Food Network had become a very close friend of mine.

What had inspired this change in me, was the fact that I had decided to take a leave of abscene from my writing career. I was caught up on my books and I had decided to quit my column. I needed a break. It was time for a change and moving to Montana was what I had needed. Since moving here, I had become involved in the community. I had volunteered as a Basketball Coach for the High School. It was a lot of fun and I also gave talks to the Writing Club at the high school. 

Stress was no where near my life. I wanted it to stay that way.

The best part about being here was meeting the Jacobs family. Sam Jacobs was the local handyman around town. He ran a 50,000 acre ranch just on the outskirts of town. To me he was a doppleganger for Kris Kristofferson. His wife Maria was the best chef in Montana. But, the absolute best part of the family was Jaime. Their daughter worked at Chesnutt's Western Wear. She was a latina beauty with green eyes and long black hair. She had a certain toughness and a fearlessness to her that made her so appealing. 

Sam Jacobs had called and asked if I wanted to be Jaime's date at the KYC Cafe. I said I would be glad to and decided to get ready. I was excited because I got to be near Jaime. I felt this renewed drive to get back in the dating game. But there was a certain hesitation as well.

I had to admit to myself, I was kind of nervous. I hadn't been on a date in almost a year. Holly Harper and I had gone out a few times back in Ridgeview. But this was different. First dates always make me nervous. You wanna be on your best behavior but you don't want to over do it and come across as creepy.

Wearing Wranglers and a black T shirt, I threw my boots on and got in my Truck. It was a ten minute walk from my house but driving felt like a good idea. As I made it into the parking lot, a crowd was gathered in a circle. I got out and decided to take a look. 

It appeared that a fight was going on. I couldn't quite tell who the combatants were. As I wedged my way into the crowd I could see who it was. I was speechless.

It was Sam Jacobs taking on a couple of younger Cowboys. Sam looked like he had taken a couple of hits and his left eye was swollen shut. I counted to ten, thinking that someone was gonna jump in and help. No one had jumped in after ten, I took a deep breath and said "To hell with it" and went to help my friend. 

They were a couple of Cowboys. Both had similar facial features. Granite chins and facial hair. One was wearing a black shirt and a white hat and the other one was wearing a white shirt and a black hat. Black hat was the one punching Sam. He was the guy I went after. 

I shoved Black hat as hard as I could into the crowd. A couple of people caught his fall. He got back up and charged me. I threw a left hook, putting the body into it and connecting with his jaw. He looked dazed from the punch, but didn't fall down. I threw a right cross connecting with the nose. His nose started to bleed. Black hat threw a good combination to the body, which I was slow to cover. I felt a rib possibly break. He threw a right hook which sent my head spinning. I got my bearings and started throwing overhand rights as hard and as fast as I could. He covered the face and I went to work on the body. Watching Rocky movies really helped and I put every bit of strength into those punches. I could see Black hat start to tire. I threw another left hook and followed with a right hook. He was still standing. I had to do something to stop him, and hopefully this fight. I kicked him in the groin as hard as I could. He fell to the ground. I turned to see Sam gaining the upper hand on White hat. He threw a right cross which sent him to me. I threw a right cross and an uppercut which knocked White hat down.

After White hat fell, the crowd started to disperse. I grabbed Sam up from the ground. We wrapped our arms around eachother and walked into the restaurant. Maria and Jaime were standing infront of us, both of them had arms crossed. Sam and I looked at eachother and in the same notion we walked outside. Both of them put their arms around us and walked us over to where a table was set up.

Sam said "Boy, we set this table for you and Jaime. Maria and I are gonna be in the bar." He walked away and Jaime put her arm around me. I felt how soft her skin was against my sore cheek. She smelled of Lavender. We walked over to the table.

"You impress me," Jaime said.

"How is that?" I asked.

"You don't strike me as a fighter," Jaime said. "But you jumped in and thrown down with those assholes."

"I've been watching John Wayne movies a lot lately," I said. "Who were those guys?"

"I'm not sure. Probably just some loud mouth Cowboys that Dad told to be quiet. They didn't listen to him, so he took it as an insult." Jaime said.

"Well damn, I hate to hurt your dad's feelings." I said.

"If it would have been me, that fight would have ended a lot sooner." Jaime said. 

I raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"I would have shot them," Jaime said.

"Shot them?" I asked.

"Maybe a warning shot. Just to tell them that the choice was theirs if they wanted to continue down that particular path." Jaime said.

"Remind me not to upset you ever," I said.

"You are a quick learner," Jaime said.

I couldn't help but stare at her. She was without a doubt the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I had felt the same way about Katherine Taylor for a long time. But Jaime had a sense of real and made no qualms about herself and how she lived. I respected and admired it.

"You know I wanna ask you something?" Jaime said.

"What's that?" I replied.

"Why did you move to Gallatin?" Jaime asked.

"It seemed like a place to be," I said.

"Your a big shot writer, you could be anywhere. Gallatin isn't exactly a place screaming for people to be here." Jaime said.

"Truthfully, I moved here to get away from my career. I'm tired of being a writer. I'm tired of traveling. I want to be in one place and stay. No one sending me to far off places talking to people that I have no intrest in talking to." I said.

"I've always wanted to travel," Jaime said. 

"Where to?" I asked.

"Idaho or California. I always wanted to go to Florida and see the Gulf. I've only been around Wyoming and Utah and Colorado." Jaime said.

"How come you don't travel?" I asked.

"It's hard to leave a place like this. I had this big plan of going to Texas and making it on the Rodeo circuit down there. I'm pretty good at barrel racing. Had this plan all drawn out. My dad even helped me set it up. But one day, I got up and looked at the sunrise. The red and orange glow coloring the sky told me that this was where I belonged." Jaime said.

"I want that," I said.

Jaime raised an eyebrow. "You do?" Jaime asked.

"Of course," I said.

A waitress came over and brought a couple of beers. She handed me a napkin. I looked at the napkin and saw that Sam wrote a note that basically told us to have fun.

"Your dad seems to think we should be together," I said.

"That is a little too forward," Jaime said.

"It says so right here," I said.

I handed her the napkin. She looked at it and shook her head. I tilted my head, surprised at her response. Jaime stared at the napkin for a few minutes. Her expression I couldn't quite define.

"Is everything OK?" I asked.

Jaime got up from the table. She grabbed her purse and ran out of the cafe. I reached for my wallet and threw a twenty down. I ran after her. I saw her standing by my pickup. She started kicking my tire.

"Damnit, son of a bitch," Jaime said.

"I take it you are not OK," I said.

"Why does he do this too me?" Jaime asked.

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"My dad tries to set me up with people. He thinks that I will never find Mr Right. Won't ever give him grandchildren. What if I don't want to date. What if I wanna be by myself right now? I know I will find someone some day. Why does he do this? Damn him." Jaime said.

I shook my head. I should have known that this was too good to be true. I started to walk to my driver side door. I stopped myself and turned around to look at Jaime.

"You can make any choice you want. Your a grown woman. Don't let anyone force you into doing something you don't want to do. Personally, I find you to be the most beautiful woman I have seen in my life. I would give anything to be with you. Even when you are upset. I know we have hardly known eachother, but I feel like I am falling in love with you. I don't want to force you into anything. But consider this, if you wanna take a chance on me, I won't hurt you. I will give you every once of my being for anything you might need. I won't force you into anything. But I am here. I'm not going anywhere." I said.

"Why are you doing this?" Jaime asked.

"I wanna be happy," I said.

Jaime stared at me.

"I am tired of feeling miserable. You know what I do. I sit at a computer for 10 hours a day and make other people happy by doing it. It doesn't make me happy. Seeing a beautiful woman get hysterical and angry in a parking lot does. People deserve to be happy." I said.

I walked over to her and kissed her. I pressed my lips as hard as I could. Wrapping my arms around her as tight as I could. She loosened the grip and put her arms around me. We were in the lot for at least five minutes, our lips making the connection that our words couldn't. We pulled apart. 

"Like I said Jaime. Everyone deserves to be happy." I said. 

I walked over to my pickup. As I got in and started to close the door, I heard my passenger door open. Jaime climbed in.

"I was thinking. Your right. We should be happy. You gonna call it a night?" Jaime said.

"Just gonna go home and watch a John Wayne movie." I said.

"Mind if I come over?" Jaime asked.

"I thought you would never ask." I said.

I put the truck in gear and started for home. I turned on the radio. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jaime watching me. The suspense of what is gonna be played can do a lot to people. I turned it on to the classic rock station in town. The song was probably my favorite song ever. 

"Rock and Roll Fantasy" by Bad Company.

I started to sing a long too it. Moving my head up and down to the rythym of the guitar. Jaime tilted her head and started to laugh.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"You look at a 12 year old boy," Jaime said.

"We are all young at heart, darlin." I said.

While listening to the song, I noticed that I missed my driveway. Before I stated to correct my route, Jaime put her hand on mine. I turned to look at her.

"No hurry. Just keep driving. Please." Jaime said. 

I nodded my head. I aimed my truck for Highway 90 and started to go down that route. Leaving Gallatin was pretty easy. For a town of 500 people, the shape of the town was very small. The equivalant of blink and you will miss it. We continued down Highway 90. Montana was a small state. Not a lot of people and it showed. A lot of forests and open land. We were 30 miles from Bozeman. Jaime stayed still, looking squarely at the road ahead. I looked at the road as well. The music was still working on the radio. The song had switched over to The Eagles. Great road trip music.

"Can I ask you something?" I asked.

"Sure," Jaime said.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"In a couple of miles, there is a wide rest area. Pull off there." Jaime said.

"OK," I said.

We made it to the rest area. There was a very wide open parking lot. It appeared to be more for Motor Homes than just regular vehicles. I parked right in the middle of it. As I turned the truck off, Jaime got out of the pickup. I opened the door and walked over towards her. 

"Jaime talk to me," I said.

Jaime turned to look at me. "Have you ever seen a wild animal in the open fields? No fences, no boundaries, Just an open path." Jaime said.

"No, I haven't." I said.

"We all want to be out in the world. We all need something. We all need to find a purpose. For the longest time I thought staying in Gallatin was my purpose. But tonight just being around you, I know that I wanna do something different. I wanna break free Nick." Jaime said.

"What do you want to do, exactly?" I asked.

Jaime walked about 10 feet from me. She turned to look at the sky. I heard her a take a deep breath. She turned to look at me.

"Take me out of here," Jaime said.

"Take you where?" I asked.

"Anywhere, I don't care. I'm tired Nick. I just want something. Anything, I don't care what it is." Jaime said.

"You can't do that. You can't just throw blanket statements like that. You have to know what you want." i said.

"What if I don't know what exactly I want? What if I can't figure it out? All I know is I don't want to be in Gallatin anymore." Jaime said.

I walked over towards her. "I thought you liked it here?" I asked.

"I love it. It is home. But I need something else. I need to feel a purpose." Jaime said. 

She stood on her toes and kissed me. I leaned back.

"I don't mean to sound dumb, but does your purpose involve me?" I asked.

"Shut up and take your pants off," Jaime said.

I started to reach for my belt. I caught myself and stopped from removing my clothes. I turned to Jaime.

"I'm sorry but this isn't what I want. This isn't right. Come on, let's go." I said.

"What are you talking about?" Jaime asked.

"This isn't gonna help, Jaime. As much as I want you, and believe me I do, this only delays the inevitable. Let's get back in the truck." I said.

Jaime's expression was one of hurt and dissapointment. I was pretty dissapointed myself. I wanted to spend the night with her so badly, but the little voice inside my head was telling me no. The night was as awful as my ribs felt. We both got in the truck and made our way back to Gallatin.

The ride back was one of complete silence. Even the wind decided to take a moment of silence for us. I focused on the road and Jaime stared out the window. I felt like speaking but thought better of it and focused on the road. 

We made it to the Jacobs Ranch. Jaime got out and slammed the door. She ran inside. I saw Sam standing out on the porch. He walked down to my truck.

"What the hell happened?" Sam asked.

Without going into a lot of details, I told him the gist of our conversation. Sam nodded his head and extended his hand.

"I appreciate what you did for me today with those guys. Just a couple of no good weasels I fired a few months ago. I also appreciate what you just told me about Jaime. She's a wild one, Nick. She needs to run free and be out in the world. I wish I could help her with that somehow. I wish to god I could." Sam said.

I didn't know how to respond to that, so I just said goodbye and headed for home. As I started to leave, I turned to see Jaime standing on the porch where Sam was, looking out to where the moon was. 

False idealism can lead people down some winding roads. When we make it to the end of our current path and look towards what direction to turn to next, it can be a very difficult decision. I knew that I had a crush on Jaime. I knew that I wanted to spend time with her. Learning a little bit about her tonight, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue my pursuit of her affections. 

I continued my trip back to my house. I figured that sometimes you just have to leave things alone. It's better to let it be than trying to solve a mystery that isn't solvable.

© Copyright 2018 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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