by Janelle Sian
A story about a man that needs help, finds more then help when he hires Sara.
| May was always hot and dry in southern Texas. The heat was intense this time of year and this day was no exception. About sixty-five miles south of San Antonio and about fifteen minutes from a small town called Rolling Oaks sat Twin Oaks Ranch. Trent, the ranch’s owner, was searching a small section of the one hundred fifteen acres for a few head of lost cattle. They had gone missing over night from one of the western pastures. As he sat atop his brown and white paint, he shielded his brown eyes looking for any movement in the tall dry grass that just might indicate where the cattle could be. His tall frame made it easy to look out and over the tall brush growing wild in this part of the ranch. As he looked around, he could not help but think of all the land he had to sale about nine months ago. His ranch was three hundred and twenty acres of lush grass and rolling hills this time last year, and now it was slowly shrinking to nothing, at lest he still owned the part with the creak running threw it for his cattle and horses. He could not help but feel sad and angry for the loss of the land that his great-grandfather had worked so hard to own and keep.
It was not just land that he had lost but also many prize-winning horses and some of his best breeding bulls. To Trent the land was special not very many people understood the wonders of the land how it can make a person feel after a soft spring rain where it makes the ground bloom with life and beauty. Trent felt the sadness deep down in his heart for not seeing what was going on at the ranch, and when he did notice it was to late most of every thing that he held dear was gone sold off by his ex wife the money hungry barracuda.
He heard the sound of hoof beats heading towards him at a fast clip. He knew who it was by the way the horse sounded, some how he could tell the difference in the sound the hooves made hitting the hard dry earth.
The rider and his horse came to an abrupt stop right next to Trent.
"Well, Clint, have you or any of the hands found the lost cattle yet?”
"Aye, Trent we brought them back down to the corral. They broke through the fence into farmer Colin’s cornfield again. You know he is going to be as mad as a rattlesnake when he sees what those cows did to his corn this time. I think its strange how they’re breaking through the fence, we’ve never had this much problem with them gettin’ out before.” Clint said as he thought about what he saw today.
"Shit, it’s that bad” Trent replied as he wiped away the sweat from his brow.
“Aye, they trampled a lot of the corn, and then when we tried to get them out they split up. We had to chase them and we ruined even more corn then what they already had. I am sorry Trent, we tried to keep them together, but they just kept splitting up. Clint replied, with a shake of his head. You know this is the seventh time they have gotten out in the last three months, and it is the same place they broke through last few times. I know it was fixed right, because I fixed that wire my self just to make sure nothing like this happened again. I just don’t get it how they broke that wire.
"I know, Clint, don't worry I’ll go back to the ranch house and call Ben Colin and tell him about what happened and see what he wants as payment for the damages this time." Colin's face was pulled down into a deep frown as Trent spoke in his sad worried voice. "I just hope it’s not money, but don’t worry about it Colin we just need to keep an eye on the fences more is all." Trent said, as he rested both arms on the horn of his saddle and took one last look around.
“Trent, I also came out here to tell you; your next appointment is here for the cook and house keeper position, I have to tell you she captured the attention of all the hands when we came into the yard. She is one "hot" looking woman.” Clint said, with a smile on his handsome face, nearly drooling at the picture in his head of the woman he’d left on the porch.
“That’s just great,” Trent grumbled with a roll of his eyes followed by a disgruntled sigh, just what I need one more distraction for the men, another excuse for them to keep from doing their work at this critical time. I just cannot hire a distraction when the men’s concentration is a hundred percent crucial for me to keep this ranch going. Why does it always seam as I take one-step forward and then two steps back." Trents eyes flashed with frustration and anger.
"It’s just every time we get a head something goes wrong and we get set back or something slows us down. I just wish everything would run smoothly for a long while so we can get stuff strait so we don’t lose the land.”
"Now don’t go off half cocked, we only had a handful of people ask for this job, you have to choose someone. I know what you’re talking about Trent, this has been my home too in a lot of ways, and I just couldn’t bear to see it sold. This place is in my blood and that same blood is in this ground." Clint pounded his fist into his hand as he thought about the land he worked on for most of his life.
"Hell Trent I grow up here as well as at my own home. I can remember times when we were younger when we ran off to go swimming and fishing when we where suppose to be doing our chores. We went fishing with your father many a times. My father had worked for your father for fifteen years so we are like brothers and friends share everything with each other. We grew up to love this place and spent tones of hours riding these fields and helping the men with working it." Clint's head swivled around to look at a sad Trent. Trent was looking out over the land remembering all that once was.
"I know Clint, I would love to have everything back, and its just not working out that way."
"This land is part of us as well as we are a part of the land. The men know that to keep their jobs they have to work as hard as ever. They know the situation we all are in and will do the best they can to help keep this ranch. But we do need a cook, that stuff Herman makes is not fit for the hogs. No man can have the energy to work after eating that stuff. It sits in your stomach like a ton of bricks." Clint said, holding his stomach and making a face.
“It’s not that bad, it might not have any flavor and some times burnt to a crisp, but at least it's food.” Trent said, shaking his head and laughing softly at his friend’s dramatics. "I just hope your right that the men will work hard, for we just can’t afford any slacking right now. And there were a few people to consider for the job."
"Please, those others would not have worked out." Clint scrunched up his face as if he had smelt something bad.
"There was the old lady a few weeks ago that knew how to cook and keep house. The only problem I say was the smell that followed her everywhere she went. The smell of Bengay would get to me after a while and I would soon lose my appetite. I just don’t think any one will be able to replace old Ms. Hanson my god rest her sole. She was a sweet person, great cook and always kept the place Spick and Span.” Trent said making a face of his own.
“Aye man, Ms. Hanson was a very nice lady, and she cooked excellent food that filled a man up right. She always had great advice and a smile for everyone too. She worked here for ages and I will miss her, she was like a grandmother I never had." Clint wipped a tear from his eyes. I still can’t believe she passed away. Just don't forget about that one man who showed up last week asking for the job.” Clint laughed as the scene of the man falling off the porch when Trent went to shake his hand came to mind.
“How can I forget it, when you keep bringing it up? I still can’t believe that man showed up here drunk off his ass then falls off my porch in front of me, and god the smell of alcohol was nauseating."
"Just thinking about the dangers, a drunk can get into or cause for others is scary. I have enough to worry about with out having to constantly look out for him or any lone woman." A shiver ran down Trent's back.
"I hate to think about the problems they could cause” He replied turning his horse around to head for home.
"Well it is getting late buddy, and it’s not nice to keep a lady waiting as my mother always used to say. I also don’t think this lady will be like Laura and do things behind your back."
Trent turned and gave Clint an eivl glar.
"Trent, give this lady a try will ya. Don’t think that every lady you meet will turn out like Laura. Just make sure this one can cook.” Clint said chuckling as he began to follow Trent towards home.
“Well, lets get this over with, I don’t want to spend all day talking, we have a lot of work to do."
Sara had been standing here on the hot porch for twenty minutes now. "This heat is almost unbearable but living here for all these years, she could almost live with it. This place was not too different from Montana maybe some of the scenery and the heat but other then that they were very similar.
At last some men came into the yard not to long ago one of the eleven or so men that came in from God knows where came over and introduced him-self to her. He said that his name was Clint Garcia and he was the ranch foreman. He asked what she was doing here at the ranch and Sara told him. Well at least he was nice and polite and said he would go find Trent, the owner of this big beautiful ranch. She just wished he had offered to get her a drink or a chair to sit on. She was tierd of waiting, and having to stand here for so long.
Clint was a tall muscular man with light brown hair with blonde high lights from the sun. His face was a little round with nice puff cheeks most people called faces like his a baby face. He had a go-t that gave him a rugged look with his black cowboy hat pulled low over his brow. His eyes were a nice soft green, his nose was round just like his face it was not long. He had a nice body one that showed evidence that life on a ranch was mostly physical work.
He was differently a good-looking man. Somehow he fit more into a mountain man instead of a cowboy. With his tall body, large muscular build Sara could easily pictured him in a plaid long sleeve shit with an ax slung over his shoulder.
Sara counted four buildings as she looked around once again. Sara could hear horses calling to one another from one of the buildings. She figured that one of the other ones was the bunkhouse. And since there were no cars in sight just hers, they must be parked in one of the other large buildings.
There was the small building that looked like a house, but it could have been a small office for all she knew. The little house was situated off to the right hand side of the large house and a ways off from the other buildings all by its self. The little house was surrounded by a beautiful white picket fence that made a front yard of its own. The house was white with blue trim around the wide front windows and a beautiful blue door. There were two over grown rose bushes growing next to the door. They were not blooming yet, but after a few trims the flowers would soon come back. It was a cute little house perfect for one person or some one just like Sara with a small family.
There was a long, large, red building was a good distant back from the small house. This building appeared to be the barn, and it was where the men ushered the cattle when they brought them in. The corral that held the ten cows and calves was off to the left side of the barn. A few yards to the left side of the corral was a long narrow building, which looked like a bunkhouse or residence, probably the loud noise from the livestock. The stables that held the horses were next to that corral. From where Sara stood, she could almost make out what looked to be a corral attached to the stables in the back, but she could only see what appeared to be the corner of a top rail. The ranch was exactly what a ranch should be, but for some reason there were not many animals milling around like the one Sara remembered from here childhood. The only animals she could see were the cattle in the corral that the men brought in. To Sara this was strange, but she did not think about it for long for there was so much to look at.
A large old oak tree that grew in the middle of the large front yard not to far away from the porch. The tree was probably very old maybe over a hundred years old, for it was tall and very wide at the base. The driveway went around it and up to the front porch then curved around and went right in front of another building then reconnected with itself. The driveway was made of white and gray gravel on both sides of it grew green and brown grass. There was what looked to be an old garden patch around the wide base of the tree. The flowerbed was full of weeds so it was obvious that it hadn’t seen any care in a very long time.
Sara miss messing with plants and having her hands in the dirt. It had been years since she had a garden to work in. The last time she had her hands in the worm most dirt was with her mother when she was planting the vegetable garden back home before the horrible accident that took both her parents away from her.
She missed those days so long ago spending time with her mother enjoying the quite time with the sun shine worming her skin, not having to worry about so much as she did now. Sara thought with a sad little look on her heart shape face.
The sound of horses grabbed her attention from her surroundings and sad thoughts of the past; she looked up to see a fine looking man riding a large brown and white horse. The man she knew as Clint rode at his side. "He must be Trent; man is he a fine looking man." Sara said aloud to herself.
Oh Sara get your mind back on getting this job not a boy friend, you do not need another broken heart and Marsha dose not need to get her hopes up for a daddy.
She scolded herself and tried to get her way word thoughts under control.
Sara could not seam to stop staring so she decided to look her fill before he drew any closer.
Trent was just jaw dropping gorgeous. With his nicely cut sandy blond hair lighter then Clint's was peaking out from under his black cowboy hat. His face was nice and manly with along angled jaw that was clean. He looked to be a tall man maybe six feet tall, but it was hard to tell with him on horseback. He had nice wide shoulders that pulled his old but once expensive shirt taunt. It was evident that the man worked hard, and those shoulders reminded Sara of the old oak tree’s trunk “wide”. The shirt was made of blue denim; Trent had the western shirt’s sleeves rolled up just above the elbows. His arms were muscular and well sculptured then tanned from the exposure to the sun. His hands that held the reins loosely were large with long fingers, and those hands looked like nice strong hands. He sure is a woman’s dream if you like cowboys or a hard, rugged tip of men.
“Cowboys never use to catch my eye, but this one sure has. Why?
She deffiantly did not need that kind of complication again; she had problems with a good-looking man before. Sara, get your mind off of him that way, think of Marsha you need a suitable job to care for her.” Sara scolded herself once again.
Sara straightened her shoulders, raised her head a notch, and walked slowly down the porch steps to the yard to meet the two men.
As the two men drew closer to the house, Trent noticed an old ford car parked in the yard. The color was once a pale blue now it was a faded blue color from the hot Texas sun and there were some large rusty spots on the hood and fenders. His eyes went to the porch where he immediately saw her. She was tall with long slender legs.
From his distance, he would say her long hair was a dark brown with maybe red high lights was pulled back into a ponytail to keep it out of her eyes and off her neck. She wore old faded blue jeans and a once black t-shirt. The shirt was a little tight and the jeans were even tighter more like a second skin. But damn, they sure looked good on this woman.
"Well Trent, I have to go see what the men are up to and get the rest of the day’s work done. Talk to you later my friend." Clint said, as he watched his best friend check out the beautiful lady standing on the porch.
"Ok. Thanks buddy for your help." Trent said, not taking his eyes off the lady that seemed to straighten her shoulders and started stepping down off the porch.
“Just remember what I said, give her a chance.” Clint said, loud enough for only Trent to hear.
“I can not guarantee that I will hire her, but as you said I will give her a shot, we do need a cook and a housekeeper.”
“That’s all I ask friend. See ya later.” Clint turned his horse and headed off.
With the sun now shining on her and with him being a little closer he could see that her long hair was a soft red with brown highlights through it. It shined with a life all its own. Her hair looked so soft and silky it made him want to run his fingers through it long mass.
She was every man’s dream; “no” she was more like every man’s wish. She had all the curves in all the right places. Just looking at her made him ache in places that had not ached in a long time. And that left no doubt in Trent’s mind she was going to be trouble with a capital “T”. He went throw trouble with one beautiful lady; he was bound and determined that he would not fall for a beautiful face and body again. He had more important things to worry about then a warm body in his cold lonely bed and he did not want to look over his shoulder every five minutes to make sure she was not doing anything against him.
Trent drew rein about five feet away from Sara and dismounted with ease.
He grabbed the reins and walked the rest of the short distance to her.
Trent's hart started to race as he stared at her beautiful face. His palms were sweating too.
It must be the heat nothing else; it cannot be any thing else. Her face is so beautiful with those soft brown eyes with specks of gold in them. Then those smooth soft looking cheeks almost like a peach that calls out to be caressed and kissed. And god those lips the perfect shape and size not to thin not too plump just right with a little divot in the center of the top lip. Perfect for nice long, deep kisses.
"I wonder, are they as silky and smooth as they look?” Damn Trent, get your mind out of your pants. Trent scolded himself.
"Hello, Sorry I kept you waiting I had to go find some missing cattle and didn’t remember our appointment."
Sara noticed that Trent’s eyes were captivating. His rich brown eyes were warm and bright nothing like she has ever seen. The sun also darkened his face. He was defiantly over six feet tall. And his pants fix to his legs showing them to be very muscular.
"Hello Sir. That is quite all right we never really talked I left two messages on you answering machine.” Sara said forgetting all about being thirsty and uncomfortable for the last forty-five minutes or so. This cowboy could make a woman forget her own name.
"I am Trent Stone welcome to Twin Oaks Ranch I take it you are here about the job, right?" Trent moved the reins from his right hand to his left, wiped his sweaty right hand on his dusty pant’s leg then extended it out to the young woman.
"Thank you, I am Sara Temple and I am here about the housekeeper and cook position." Sara replied as she took hold of his hand in a firm handshake.
"Well I am not sure you‘re the kind of person we need here. It is long hours and a lot of hard work. I need the house cleaned so when clients come to buy cattle or horses there should not be a mess for the clients to see. I don’t do all my business in the office I do a lot in my living room. Also, you will be cooking for twenty men. That is a lot of food to cook for just one person to do."
Sara planted her hands on her hips her beautiful face was creased with anger and resentment.
"Mister Stone I worked seven years at the San Antonio Stake House where I was in charge of the hot grills and other things in the kitchen, and on top of that, I kept my own apartment clean. I think I can manage to take care of your house and make the meals." Sara replied in a clearly annoyed voice and she did not care what he thought of it.
Trent dropped the reins knowing his horse would stay put. Trent took a hold of her arm in a soft grip then turned her towards the house.
“What are you doing?” Sara asked not liking how he took a hold of her arm.
“I am taking you inside so we can talk privately. I am sorry that I just upset you. It has been a long day so far and did not mean to take it out on you so let us start over.”
“Ok, I think I can do that since you did say you had to look for your cattle and I bet that was hard work, so yes let us start over.” Sara said, even though she was a little wary.
He then walked Sara back up the porch and ushered her through the screen door into the entryway.
“Just make yourself comfortable and I will be in shortly. I just need to put Jack Pot up in his stall and then we’ll talk about the job. I’ll show you the house and let you see how much work you’ll have to do.”
"All right, thank you Mister Stone for your time.” Sara said more politely
"Don't thank me just yet Ms. Temple. You haven’t seen the inside of the house.”
”Now what did he mean by that?” Sara wondered for the house did not look too big, what she saw when she pulled up the drive way was a nice size house but it did not look too big and it defiantly was no mansion.
Trent turned and headed out of the house to put up his big beautiful horse.
The house was a little darker then that bright sun light out doors.
Sara waited for her eyes to adjust to the dim interior before moving.
She was standing in a small entryway with a bench next to the right side of the door.
She imagined that on rainy days you would sit there and take off muddy shoes or boots so you would not track mud through the house. Her grandfather had something just like it in his house, it was mostly used in the winter and spring when the snow melted, and the ground turned to mud.
On the left hand side was a small oval table that had mail and a newspaper on top.
She could tell that it was once painted white, but the paint was chipped and falling off in many places.
It looked to be very old, but with a new coat of paint, it should look brand new again.
On the wall over the small table was an oval mirror. Sara ran a hand through her long auburn hair as she looked at the beautiful mirror.
The frame was done in silver with daisies and hearts carved into it, and the whole thing was in desperate need of polishing. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful mirror.
Sara made her way out of the little area and looked both left and right. To the right was a nice size kitchen with a long oak table.
On the left side was a spacious living room with a tan couch, a matching love seat, and two chairs.
All were gathered around the single coffee table in the center of the room.
Farther back in the living room in the right corner next to the two windows that looked out to the front yard sat a fireplace that was clearly unused.
On the same wall between the windows and fireplace was an old painting of a horse standing next to a tall slender lady with long black hair. The horse was a paint horse just like Trent's. Sara wondered if this lady was Trent’s mother or an older relative.
Sara turned her attention to the opposite wall from the windows and found more pictures of horses, cattle, and people. Some were paintings and some were photographs.
One picture caught her attention and that was of a boy sitting proudly on the back of very large buckskin with a long flowing black mane. The horse and rider were facing sideways so you only say the one side of the horse.
The boy was facing the camera and what caught a person’s attention was the boy’s happy bright smile.
"I wonder who this little boy is," Sara asked. He looks a lot like Trent, but it could be a brother or even his father at a young age. It sure dose look like him." Sara said to herself aloud.
Sara picked the love seat to sit down on for it faced the entry way and the long sofa where Trent would probably sit.
The furniture was old and worn in many places as if they had been used a lot.
A large ceiling fan with a light hung over the coffee table that would give off the only light to the room.
The coffee table had several horse and cattle magazines on it.
On the left-hand side of the entryway sat a tall six-shelf bookcase that held what seemed like a ton of books.
She couldn’t read any titles from where she sat, but she bet they held books on cattle and horses. And between the book case and the windows were more pictures of horses and cows with blue and red ribbons or large trophies.
She turned her attention back to the picture of the boy and the tan horse.
Her mind wandered to a time gone by when her father used to take her to her grandfathers ranch in Montana. The large open fields and the dozens of horses that ran in the pastures where they frolicked and played, those days when life was fun and she did not have so many things to worry about.
"Boy" How I do miss riding and jumping. How my life has changed, it’s so unbelievable. Here I am a mother of a six year old and a single mother at that. No home to speak of no family other then Marsha and me. Sara thought to herself with a sand long lost look on her face.
A soft cough coming from the entry jolted Sara back to the present time. She rose abruptly from the love seat and faced Trent.
"Would you like some thing cold to drink Mrs. Temple?" Trent asked.
"Yes please, and it is Ms. Temple."
"All right then Ms. Temple would you like tea, soda or ice water?"
"Tea would be great, thanks."
"What would you like in it? Sugar, lime, lemon, or just plain?"
"Plain would be fine, thank you."
“I will be right back." Trent said, as he turned and went into the other room.
Soon Sara could hear the squeak of cabinet doors opening on old rusty hinges. Then the clink of glass
hitting glass was heard as he took them out of the cabinet some where in the large kitchen.
"Would you like some help Mr. Stone?" Sara asked, as she slowly got to her feet.
"No thanks, you just sit there and I will be
in there in a few minutes." Trent called back.
Sara could not sit still with her nerves running a mile a minute. She made her way to the hallway and then right into the large kitchen with its old wooden floors and soft white walls. The large table was of fine oak that was polished to a glossy shine. The stain on the wood made it look dark, but it glowed with warmth and color.
Trent was standing near the stove where a teapot sat boiling. Trent’s back was to her giving Sara a chance to look around before Trent noticed her.
The cabinets and a small bar on the left hand side of the room close to where Trent stood was the same beautiful rich color as the table, they added warmth to the nice neat room.
The counter tops were butcher-block with a soft tan Spanish tile for the back splash that went all the way around the cabinets. The walls were once a nice soft yellow, but in some areas, the paint was starting to flack and it looked to have faded with time.
To the right of the door and the table were large windows that let in the sunlight. On the far side of the large windows sat a tall dark mahogany color cabinet with four shelves and a counter where a punch bowl and many teacups sat. The tall cabinet looked old and maybe was older then the china, but Sara was not to sure but she did notice that both were well taken care of.
"That was my great grandmother’s favorite piece of furniture." Trent said startling Sara not realizing that he was now watching her. “She would polish it every day with beeswax or orange oil from orange peels. I try to keep it looking good, but with all the work I do every day it is hard to keep up. I don’t know how old the cabinet is I do know the china in it is from 1832 some of the finest china there is I was told and it is a complete set too."
"They’re both beautiful. I have never seen any thing like it. The wood is so dark."
"I was told that it is some type of old wood from England. The wood is beautiful and the dark color is the true color of the wood. I have never seen anything with that same dark color of wood have you?" Asked Trent
"No. I have not, this is the first time I have ever seen any thing like this cabinet or the china." said Sara in awe.
"Well the tea is done would you like to go back to the living room and talk or sit in here and talk," Trent asked as he watched the lovely lady admire the old family cabinet.
The soft sunlight coming in throw the kitchen windows added even more to the peach color of her skin making it look even more appealing if that was possible. Trent's hands itched to softly caress her cheeks. Trent could see them now in his room lying in his bed. He thought about his lips playing ever so slowly up and down those soft fields then up to the fine luscious lips, where he would kiss her deeply.
"Mr. Stone?" Her voice brought him out of his self-induced reverie.
"Yes, did you say some thing?”
"Yes, I did, but you had this far away look on your face." Sara said, with a small chuckled. "I would like to have tea in here, so I can get a layout of the kitchen."
"Okay, that’s fine with me. Let me get some ice for the tea, please have a seat.”
Sara sat down and watched as Trent poured the hot tea into two tall glasses and then went to what looked like a brand new side-by-side refrigerator to get the ice. The refrigerator was made to look like a cabinet with wood-like panels on the front to make it blend in with the surrounding woodwork in the kitchen. It was a very nice kitchen and everything that Sara had ever wanted in a kitchen.