Healing Hearts Ranch - Part 4
Luci looked down at Nathan he hung his head it seemed and picked up some more bales “I’d love to.” Luci answered “Maybe I can get gramps to let me bring some money along to save some horses.” She pushed another bale down. “Sounds, fun. How many’s that boys?”
“Uh, lemme go check.” Steve said and went into the barn.
“So, gonna go with him?” Nathan said up at Luci.
“Yeah, it sounds nice.” She said looking down at him.
“I thought so. It was nice of him to ask me.” Luci said.
“Why wouldn’t he have asked you?”
“It’s obvious you guys have a thing for each other.” Nathan cut her off.
“Nathan, when are you going to know enough is enough?” she asked her voice upset.
She cut him off “I don’t want to hear anymore.”
“But Ci-” he protested.
“Nathan.” She growled.
Just then Steve came out of the barn. “Eighty seven.” He said.
“One hundred thirteen to go.” Nathan said sighing. Luci pushed more bales off the wagon and leaned back. What was with Nathan? Why did he keep making those remarks about her and Steve? She couldn’t stand it. Her and Steve were just friends. Just like her and Nathan, Nathan didn’t have any reason to be jealous or upset over them being friends.
Nathan picked up two bales and carried them into the barn. She had called him Nathan, it killed him for some reason. He didn’t know why, his heart wrenched when she called him Nathan. She sounded so angry, so cold. He kept on his work faster now, he wanted to get done and away from Luci and Steve. He wanted to go for a long ride, or a long drive. She had always called him Hans, why was she calling him Nathan now? The only time she called him Nathan was when she was extremely angry at him. He sighed, his heart hurt so badly when she called him that. The coldness and bitterness in her voice when she said that to him chilled him to the bone. He was now carrying four bales at a time and working at record pace.
“Hey slow down you’re gonna hurt yourself.” Steve said to him concerned.
“I’m fine.” He replied curtly.
“Okay just don’t make this place Hurting Hearts!” Steve laughed.
“I’m fine.” Nathan said again bitterly. As he picked up more bales and carried them in. He heard bouts of laughter coming from outside and could barely get himself to go back to the wagon, but he gathered up himself and strode out. He picked up another bale and said “I’ll count how many this makes.” Steve was just standing there, he couldn’t stand it! He was standing there making Luci laugh, Luci’s cute little innocent giggle. He counted one hundred and fifty-two. He walked out and said “One hundred fifty-two.”
“Oh! Only forty-eight left!” Luci exclaimed. She was no longer high up on a mighty perch, she was lower and there were only about three bales of height underneath her now. In some places two. They finished up the bales and had them all stacked. Luci hopped down off the wagon and clapped her hands together, “Who wants some lemonade?”
“I certainly do!” Steve exclaimed coming alongside her putting his arm around her shoulders.
Nathan shuddered. It was happening. He was jealous.
Luci looked up at Steve and smiled “Oh!” She exclaimed abruptly “Hold your breath when we get in the house, Jessi has been dusting.” They walked through the door and everything was shining and sparkling. “Jessi?” Luci said in shock.
Jessica came through the hallway looking confused “What’s wrong?”
“It’s it’s-” Luci started.
“Spotless.” Steve finished her sentence. Luci looked up at him and smiled.
Nathan had heard it all and waited outside in fear that he would give Steve a good firm punch, something that would give him a reason to cry. He walked in to see Steve’s arm still around Luci. It was really bothering him. He cleared his throat and Steve turned around to look at him. Nathan glared at him, a glare that could bore a hole in something, or someone. Steve took his arm off of Luci’s shoulders and Nathan almost smiled. Victory. Those glares worked on almost anyone, even the horses or the stubbornest of mules.
“How bout that lemonade?” Steve said glancing back at Nathan.
“Yeah, Ci, I figured you’d have it poured and ready by the time I got in here, but I see you were preoccupied.” Nathan said glaring at Steve again.
Luci rolled her eyes at Nathan and scurried to the refrigerator. “Jessi where’s the lemonade I made this morning?” She called to Jessi.
“I don’t know ask Lar, she had it last.” Came the reply.
“Nathan go ask Lar where the lemonade went.” Luci grunted and leaned against the counter.
Nathan’s heart wrenched again, she kept calling him Nathan and when she said it it was like she was spitting out his name like poison. He felt awkward leaving Steve and Luci in the kitchen alone, but he reluctantly went out the door. He walked into the barn and said “Lar?”
“Yeah?” Came the reply.
“Where are you?”
“In the tack room.” Lillian answered.
Nathan jogged into the tack room and asked “Where is the lemonade?”
Lillian smiled sheepishly and pointed to an empty pitcher and a half full glass. “Uh, well it was in the pitcher over there.” she answered.
“Lar.” He grunted. “You drank all of that?”
“Uh, yup. All but what’s in that cup.”
“Well in that case let me finish it off.” Nathan said and grabbed the glass. He swigged it down and wiped his mouth. “Ah, just how I like it.”
Lillian pretended to frown “Aww, come on, that’s all that was left!”
“Well I probably won’t like it next time because she’ll probably make it the way Steve likes it!” Nathan complained and leaned against the desk with his ankles crossed.
“Oh, I saw Steve was here.”
“Yeah, he’s here that’s for sure, with his arms all over Luci.”
“Jealous much?” Lillian said teasing.
“I saw you out the window practicly flying in here with those bales, figured you were mad about something.”
“How would you like it if-” He stopped.
“If what Nate?”
“Nothing, I’d better get this back to the kitchen.” He said walking out the tack room door. There was no way he was telling Lillian about him and Luci, no way! She’d tell the world for all he knew. He walked to the house quickly to find Luci sitting on the counter and Steve leaning over her. He walked in and slammed the door shut. Steve turned around and Nathan glared at him again. Steve moved and Luci hopped down. This time Nathan glared at Luci too. Then he took it back and felt like he had just killed her. She took the empty pitcher out of his hands without even lifting her eyes to him. She walked over to the sink and filled it with some water then took out the lemon juice and filled it the rest of the way.
“How do you like it Steve?” She said adding emphasis to his name.
“Sweet like you.” Steve answered.
Nathan coughed and almost choked on his own spit. He was about ready to shoot some at Steve.
“Alrighty.” Luci answered and added two cups of sugar. She stirred it and took out two glasses. She put three ice cubes in each and poured the lemonade. She handed one to Steve and took a sip of the other one. “Wanna go sit on the porch?” She asked him glancing at Nathan.
“That’d be nice.” Steve replied walking out the door. Luci followed. Nathan was left alone in the hot kitchen, to get his own glass, ice, and lemonade. He for some reason felt more alone then ever, hearing Luci’s giggles and Steve’s laughs. He was loosing her to a shorty. He pulled out a glass and dumped some ice cubes in it and poured some lemonade into the glass. He pulled out the kitchen chair and slumped into it. He was slouching, he knew he wasn’t supposed to, but this was a slouch worthy crisis. He sipped his lemonade. A moment later Luci walked in with the glasses and silently walked over to the counter and poured some more lemonade.
“You’re not coming out on the porch?” She asked Nathan as she filled up her glass.
“Naw. You sound like you’re having fun.” Nathan replied blankly.
“We are.” Luci said curtly. “You can just stay in here and pout.” she walked out of the house and back onto the porch.
Nathan sat at the table sipping the way-to-sweet lemonade. “Great.” He said to himself “Alone, in the kitchen, listening to them laugh. What a wonderful day and it’s only ten o’clock.” He sighed deeply, and finished the way-to-sweet lemonade. He stood up and walked over to the counter. He leaned on the counter then put his glass in the sink. He sighed, he was loosing her. He shook off the thought and put on his best face. Which was hard to do at the moment because he was so confused, angry and upset but he did it. He walked out the door and onto the porch. He silently walked down the steps and over to the barn, somewhat disappointed Luci hadn’t said anything to him. He walked into the barn and sighed deeply and loudly. Lillian came out with a head stall in her hand and said “What now?”
“Nothing Lar.” He replied blankly.
“Hah! Can’t fool me anymore Nate!” She said accusingly “Something is going on between you and Luci.”
“No! Nothing was ever between me and Luci.” He said in defense.
“Hah! Can’t fool me Nate!’ Lillian repeated.
“What?” Nathan said looking at her sheepishly “We didn’t, don’t, won’t.”
“Right.” She said her voice trailed off as she walked into the tack room.
“Lar!” He walked in after her “Why do you have to do this?”
“Because, you like Luci, Luci likes you, Steve is cocky and flirty and he likes Luci, he’s also around her age, Luci likes Steve or is getting you jealous.” Lillian said fast.
“And you know all this how?”
“Because I am very observant.”
“Figured that out when you knew-” He stopped.
“Knew what? That you stare at Luci all the time?”
“Lar!” he growled.
“What?” She shrugged one thing she was good at was telling the truth and not keeping her mouth shut.
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