To read the previous chapters or for more background
Getting out of your Comfort
“I’ve sent James to help Jake and Butch with the fence.” Travis says, shielding his eyes against the bright sun. The August day’s temperature draining all their strength.
“I noticed the truck; it was good that his mother came to visit. The fellow has new spunk.” Tripp concludes absently.
“Yes, we will’ve to get his head back; he is worried about his mother. She is a pleasant lady, but troubled.”
“Yes, she is.” Peering into the blue-sky Tripp said: “I’m going to the store; we need a few supplies.”
“Good dad, I want to check on that new filly before I help the men with the fence.”
“See you later, son.” Tripp walks towards the truck just as Maria comes out to call him, but holds her tongue when he gets in and drives away. Shaking her head, she waves at Travis, then disappears back in.
“Later, dad.” Travis waves first at his father, then to Maria, but she already went inside, and he grins. Some things never change. With a last look at the beaming sun, he returns to the stables where the mare and her filly are, his thoughts with James’s mother.
She was more than pleasant to him; in the brief time, she became like the mother he never had. He talked to her unencumbered, and she listened. That was how she was with everyone; always making them feel she is fully invested in the conversation.
He understood James’ love and devotion for her. Not only was she beautiful, but caring and considerate, a woman to be admired.
His mother left weeks after his birth. The responsibility of motherhood was not appealing to her. He was about five when he saw her through the truck window. Tripp’s lawyer tracked her down and his father met her at the lawyer’s office to sign the paperwork. If not for the photo his father showed him once, he would never know. Now he can hardly remember her. Tripp never talked about her, and he never asked. The matter was closed.
To have a woman in the house was an unfamiliar experience. Tripp taught him to respect all women, but he cannot help but felt a little bitter. There was a time he drank too much and lashed out, but once his attention was diverted, he stopped.
Mrs Stevenson had shown him a different side of a woman – and motherhood. She had softened his bitter heart, and she had a role to play with his father’s as well.
He had never seen his father laugh so much as in the past three months. They became good friends.
If he ever marries, she will be his role model. A sophisticated lady who’s not afraid of anything.
James loved his mother and was very proud of her, even protective of her. Her influence was noticeable in James. All they did was put some muscle on him. The rest was already present.
“I will be back later to take you out. Will you like that?” he asks Star and rubs his velvety bridge. The Appaloosa nickers in agreement and after a few more minutes with his horse left the stables.
“Make sure all is clean, Freddy. Dad expects buyers.
“Is he selling the big bay?” Freddy asks. The younger man has worked at the ranch since he was sixteen. The horses trust him, and he enjoys his work.
“Yes.” He responds, then walks out into the blazing sun.
On the way to the fence, he smiles when a memory surfaces and he gets his phone.
He and Simone were in the diner, one of the rare occasions they were alone. They ordered lunch after their errands were done.
There was this beautiful girl that caught his attention a few times but always found an excuse to not interact. His bitterness the force that kept the opposite sex at a distance. Well, most were, but she wasn’t, and it intrigued him. Mrs Stevenson had picked up on it the moment they sat down.
“Who is the girl?”
“The one that you locked eyes with since we came in the diner.” Mrs Stevenson chuckled at his discomfort.
“No-one. Just a girl.”
“Does she have a name?”
“Why not?” he had looked at her almost in disbelief and she smiled.
“You should ask her out.”
“She is too young for me.”
“How old are you?”
“That isn’t old, and she likes you. Here she comes, ask her what’s her name.” Mrs Stevenson insisted as she approached them. She was new in town and was living with a cousin not far out of town, he had heard.
He watched her gentle sway, the energy that exudes from her. Once she stood in front of them, no words appeared. It was then that Mrs Stevenson popped the question.
“Hello dear, what is your name?”
“Hi ma’am, my name is Jordan. What can I bring you?”
“Hi Jordan, I am Simone, and this fine young man is Travis Calloway, but I guess you know that?” she blushed and threw a ponytail to the back, then glanced at him and he grinned stupidly.
He felt like crawling into the cushions when both women looked at him. His voice sounded raspy to his own ears when he finally spoke. “Hi Jordan, you can bring us two of today’s specials.” He choked out. He felt like a loser just hearing himself whimpering in front of this girl he had eyed a few times.
“Two specials coming up. Coffee while you wait?” her brows in question marks as she smiled at him.
“Yes, please, Jordan.” Once she left, Simone whispered, “You see, that was not that bad. She has a lovely name.”
“Yes, she does.” He grinned, watching the gentle sway of her lean hips. Everything about her was perfect.
“And she is pretty and the perfect age. Invite her to the ranch on Saturday night. I will speak to your father and prepare everything. Invite a few friends to avoid any awkwardness for both of you.”
He couldn’t remember the last time they had a party on the ranch and after Jordan placed the coffee between them, he agreed.
The next day, he went back and asked her out. The packed diner caused him to sit down and order a burger while he waited for her. He knew she was busy, but she noticed him, and gave him a gorgeous smile and his heart fluttered. The moment it was quieter, she was at his table and asked, “Do you want to order something else, Travis?”
“I was wondering what you are doing on Saturday night. We are having a get together and I would like for you to come?” he had waited anxiously for a response. His nails biting into his hands underneath the table. She had glanced backwards towards Sarah, a slight hesitation before she answered.
“I’ve to work on Saturday night.” Sarah, the diner’s owner, approached them and stopped at his table. “Hi Travis, is Jordan giving you problems?”
His voice had to have a tone of disappointment in it when he answered.
“No problem, I was asking Jordan out, but she says she is working. You work her to hard, Sarah.” He added for emphasis. He knew Sarah for a long time, and she was always trying to hook him up but until now he was never interested.
“Is that so?” her eyes wandered between the two, then she smiled. “Well honey, you are off for Saturday night. Have some fun.” She winked at him, and he had blushed. Scanning the diner, he saw a few people looking there way and decided to get it over with. He was already taking longer than he should have. Then returned his gaze to Jordan.
“So, what do you say, can I pick you up?” feeling brave with the extra help.
Jordan smiled sweetly and said: “That’d be nice. I’ve never been on a ranch before.”
“I’ll pick you up at six.” He placed the money on the table, and said, “See you Saturday, Jordan.” tipped his hat and left. He still can see her like she looked that night and pressed her number.
“Hello cowboy. I thought you forgot about me.” She answers right away.
“Never. In fact, I was just thinking of the time we met.” She giggles, and he grins.
“Is she gone?”
“Yes. Left last night.”
“I will miss her.”
“Me too. Any plans for tonight?”
“Can I pick you up for dinner at my place?”
“I will be ready.” She replies with a giggle. His heart flutters again. He can never get enough of her. She is everything he wished for. Just thinking of her soft lips under his enough to slowdown and comes to a complete stop. In the distance, the men are hard at work.
“I will pick you up at six.”
“Sure. Meet me at the diner. I work till six.”
“Will do. See you.”
“See you later, Travis.” Her voice was as sweet as honey that soothed his heart.
He grew attached to Jordan, her sweetness and spunk grabbing his attention. But he also feels a little guilty. He is holding back. Not trusting her and it’s not because she gives him reason.
The last night of Mrs Stevenson’s stay, she spoke to him.
“I understand that you have this fear, but don’t let this opportunity slip. Give Jordan a chance. Don’t dismiss it because of what someone else did.”
“I don’t know. Women never stay.” He had argued.
“Not all women are like that.” She had taken his hand and squeezed it slightly. “Get to know her. Do things together and get to know each other before you take it further. Don’t rush into anything you aren’t ready for.”
She caught them two weeks ago in the stables, just before it really became intense. Jordan’s passion stirred, and he was burning for her.
Not used to being talked to like this, he thought about her advice.
“Be sure this is what you both want before you continue.” Simone had urged.
After a sleepless night, he called Jordan, and they had a long talk. She agreed they should wait. It has brought a new dimension to their relationship. He loves to listen to her. The respect he has for her now outweighs anything else. Not that he becomes celibate suddenly, but the wisdom in it makes sense.
He misses Jordan, but he must trust her and get rid of his own fears before he can be involved with her.
James waves at him and he waves back, then switched on the truck.