She did the best she could to compose herself before facing him. And then she lost it again as their eyes met. She stood their memorized. His voice snapped her out of it. “Won’t she start?” he asked. “Um, yes…. I mean no. It’s dead.” she stammered.
Avon moved beside her and bent to take a look. She seemed frozen in place. She felt like she couldn’t breath. He smelled of horses and leather and it smelled good. What the heck is wrong with me? Good grief, snap out of it, she thought. “Do you have a wrench?” he asked.
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Jesse Lee finally managed to get her brain working and she answered. “I believe there is one in the tool kit behind the seat. Let me get it.” She finally got her feet to move and went around to the door, opened it and reached behind the seat. “I think you have a loose cable here, is all.” she heard him say. She came back around to the front and handed him the took kit. As he took it from her, his hand brushed across her’s and she felt the warmth. “Here we go.” he stated with a grin, as he removed one of the wrenches and began to tighten the battery cable connections.
“Give her a try now.” –– Jesse stepped back around and into the seat. She turned the key and the truck started right up. “There ya go.” he said as he dropped the hood. She stepped back out and thanked him. “No problem. I better get going before I get fired.” he replied as he turned and walked over to a silver pickup. Yep, she thought. Star Fire ranch truck alright. They all had the ranch logo on the door.
Speaking of moving, she better get down to the park to meet Dee. Quite a morning so far but still no useful information.
Her drive was short but her thoughts raced. His voice had been strong and magnetic. His eyes… They captavated her. Warm and welcoming, yet mysterous. She again thought his features were a likeness to Adam Beach. Avon was taller thou.
Oh good grief, she thought with embarrassment. She had not even introduced herself. But then, neither had he.
She pulled up to the park. Dee was already there and sitting at a nearby picnic table. “So, did you get anything out of ol’ Joe?” Dee started. “No, but he knows something Dee.” Jesse sat down. “He got pretty nervous when I asked. Told me it was a question for my Mama and then he high tailed it back inside.” “I think your right Jesse, I have never seen Joe get nervous about much. Sounds like he knows something and he isn’t telling.”
They sat quiet for a minute but it didn’t last long. “Oh hey.” Dee broke the silence. “I got a couple of tidbits while paying for our breakfast.” Jesse could see that grin break out on Dee’s face. She rolled her eyes. “Well, you going to tell me or what?” Jesse asked. Dee’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “Ok, well, the first thing is his name Avon is short for Avo-naco. It’s Cheyenne and means skinny bear or something like that.” “You asked him?” Jesse said, in shock. Although she should not be shocked at all. Dee had always been pretty blunt and not afraid to ask about anything of, just about, anybody. “Yeah, sure I did, and I was close when I wondered if he was from the rez. Well kinda. He is Cheyenne and Cree but, I didn’t get any more out of him.” She finished.
They both got quiet again as Peter walked by with his dog. Seemed that Peter loved that dog more than people. “Hi Peter.” Jesse waved. Peter raised a hand and moved on. “Do you think he is off a little, like everyone says?” Dee asked. “Hard to tell because he never says much.” Jesse replied.
“He really is good looking Jesse.” Dee smiled. “Peter?” Jesse dug at her a little. Dee laughed. “No not Peter. Avon.” “You better not let Jason hear you talking like that.” Jesse grinned. “Oh silly, not my type, but yours I am betting.” Dee laughed out loud now and Jesse told her what had happened in the parking lot. Dee giggled with excitement.
Dee had been dating Jason Wells for a couple of years now and Jesse knew she was devoted to him. She imagined they would end up married.
Peter came back by and stopped for a moment. He just stood their and the girls looked at him quizzically. “Something on your mind Peter?” Dee asked. “Just, um one thing. Jesse, you stay away from that guy.” and then he tightened his hold on the leash and walked off before either of the girls could answer. Dee and Jesse looked at each other in shock.
“What the heck was that about?” Dee started. “I don’t know, but….. Hey Peter……. ” Jesse yelled. He was gone. He had moved quickly down the street and disappeared. “It was probably nothing Jesse. You know how Peter is. He says things sometimes, that no one really understands.” Jesse pondered that for a moment. “Well maybe, but it sure was strange.”
Dee stood up and stretched. “I better get this prescription back to my Mom. Oh yeah…. almost forgot. We are having a big barn dance this Saturday night.” “What’s the celebration?” Jesse asked. “I think it’s kind of a graduation party for me along with celebrating my brother coming home Friday.” Dee replied. Jesse’s eyes widened. “Micky is coming home? “Yes.” Dee answered. “His tour is up and he is coming home. Mom is so excited. Your family is invited, of course. Mom will be calling everyone this week to let them know. Gotta run now. I will call you.” And with a flurry, Dee was in her car and gone.
Jesse was just about to turn the key when her cell rang. “It’s Mom, Jesse.” “Hi Mom, I am just heading home.” “Jesse we have Dad at the ER right now and I need a favor.” Jesse gasped. “Is he alright? What is going on Mom?” “He is fine Jesse… He broke his hand. They are taking care of it now. Otherwise he is fine. There is a casserole in the fridge. Would you put it in the oven later? We will be back by supper.” “Of course I will. What happened?” Jesse asked. “We will fill you in when we get home. I better go now.”
What a day, Jesse thought as she drove. First it was ol’ Joe being all mysterious. Then Avon causing her all kinds of emotions. Peter with his weird warning. Micky coming home. Now Dad had an accident. She was overwhelmed, excited and sad. Sad because it was looking, more and more, like her suspicions were right. She may not be her Dads daughter. Heck, she may not be the biological daughter of either of them. She was sure Joe knew something he was not telling her. The whole thing was keeping her in a state of anxiety.
She passed the back road to the Star Fire Ranch and it brought her thoughts back to Avon. She was still a bit un-nerved by her own reaction to him. But excited at the same time. Yes!, she was going to find out more about the new hired man at the Star Fire ranch.
And Micky was coming home. He had been her date for Junior prom and they had dated a few times before he went into the Army. The first time he came home on leave they took in a movie and went riding together. He had come home on leave again, about a year ago and that was the last time she had seen him. Jesse had felt they were an item and it seemed everyone else did too. But then, that last time he was home, he told her he did not want her to feel tied to him. He wasn’t very good with his explanation, he just said he was gone to much to expect anyone to wait. Jesse got the feeling he had been more serious than she knew. Well.. It would be good to see him again.
She pulled up in front of the house and it felt strange to come in to so much quiet. Her brothers must have went with them to the ER. She got the casserole into the oven, peeled some carrots and put on to boil. Mom had baked fresh rolls this morning and Jesse spotted an apple pie on the counter. Her stomach growled.
She just finished setting the table when her brother Thomas came thru the door. “Where is everyone?” he asked. “Where have you been?” Jesse shot back. “Up checking cows. Where’s the folks and Neddy?” he answered. Jesse Lee filled him in on Moms phone call.
Thomas headed upstairs to clean up and Jesse puttered around the kitchen making sure everything was ready for dinner. A few minutes later and she heard them pull into the yard. Neddy was first thru the door. “Dad broke his hand, and I am going up to tell Thomas.” Mom and Dad came in next and Jesse could see his hand was in a cast and his arm in a sling. Mom looked at the table. “Thanks Jesse.” “Going to wash up.” Dad stated as he headed for the bathroom.
Jesse Lee was alone with her Mom and she asked what happened. She explained — she had asked him to straighten the old weather vane. He did and when he was coming back down, he fell off the ladder. Landed just right and broke his wrist and two fingers. “I feel terrible I asked him. And Jesse, you may have to help out with the books for awhile. It’s his writing hand. He will not be able to use it for some time.” “You think he will let me?” Jesse asked in surprise. “I already talked to him. What choice does he have? He knows your the best one for the job.”
Jesse was a whiz with numbers. She never had less than straight A’s in math an algebra — all through school. She knew Dad would have to show her what he wanted but she felt confident she could do the job. Heck, maybe they would even bond a little bit. And then another thought popped into her mind. And maybe, just maybe she could do some snooping. If she were adopted — there had to be papers in that office.
Author Linda Carlson. Copywrite 2019
What did Peter mean?
Would Avon be at the barn dance?
Would Jesse Lee find something in her Dads office?
Leave your guess’s in the comments