|Posted on December 11, 2012 at 12:50 AM|
Hunter stared up at the bright Texas sky and took a deep breath. It was a relief to know that the rumors were false. His heart pounded in his chest from being so close to her. She looked like hell but she would always be beautiful to him.
Cindy was sitting in front of the barn cradling Jake in her arms. She’d been a big surprise and a blessing. She filled some of the void in his heart, the void that was created when Maggie left town. He smiled remembering when he took Cindy in. The rumor mill started instantly that somehow he was Cindy’s real father.
He set the matter straight one night at a barbeque. He came home with a black eye, a busted lip and torn clothes. Both his mother and Cindy were horrified but no one ever mentioned it again. Laren had blonde hair and blue eyes. There was no way with his sandy colored hair and green eyes that he was the father. Cindy had black hair and brown eyes. He didn’t know who the father was. Laren probably didn’t know either.
“Daddy come play,” Cindy invited with a wave of her hand.
He walked over to her and squatted. He kissed Cindy on the top of her head and petted Jake. “Would you like to help me clean out the horse stalls?” He smiled already knowing the answer.
“No, sorry, Daddy, Jake needs me.” Her smile lit up her whole face.
Hunter stood up and wondered what the future held for them. Good things, he hoped.
“That woman is leaving isn’t she?”
“Eventually. Maggie never liked to stay in one place for very long. She needs time to heal. Almost like Jake here.”
Cindy’s eyes narrowed. “How long will that be? I don’t like her.”
Hunter shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know Cin, I really don’t know.”
“I heard what the doc said about her being a drug addict. Is she the one who got my Mom hooked?”
“Whoa, wait one minute. Maggie has nothing to do with your mother. Your mother was three years older than us and we didn’t have the same friends. Maggie was on the barrel racing team in high school. She was the best. I don’t believe the rumors about her.”
“Why is that? You in love with her or something?” Cindy shook her head at him, frowning.
Hunter bent down and kissed Cindy’s head again. “You’re my best girl. Don’t forget it.” He hated the look of doubt on her face as he straightened up. He waited for a smile but it didn’t happen. “I’ll be in the barn if you need me.”
It was going to be more than eight seconds on a bucking bull. He had a feeling they were all headed for a full rodeo. Cindy already had a chip on her shoulder about Maggie. Maggie had been through some sort of hell. He’d hold on as long as he could.
He grabbed the rusted wheel barrel and a shovel and started mucking out the first stall. He couldn’t help but smile thinking about Maggie riding a horse. She was pure magic on a horse. She made it look effortless. She’d been happy then. Her eyes were always so bright and her smile was one of pure pleasure. He loved watching her race around the barrels. He wondered what happened to all her trophies and ribbons. They were probably thrown out after her mother died.
Maybe he could help her. He hoped so. His heart was no longer available. He’d felt like dirt when she left. He wasn’t doing that dance with her again.
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