I woke up late the next morning with my bed empty and a small ache in my heart. I was an idiot; Max probably screwed up any other relationship I might have in the future. No one else could even begin to compare to him, at least not when it came to making love, because that’s exactly what he did. Not just once, but all night long. He was insatiable. My lips felt swollen, my body felt bruised-in a good way, muscles I didn’t even know I had ached. I was in post sex heaven. For some reason it pissed me off.
“Wake up sleeping beauty,” Chase said as I opened my eyes. “You look like you had a wild night last night.”
I sat up, fluffing my pillow. “You’re the only sleeping beauty in this house Chase.”
He laughed, handing me coffee before he spilled it.
“I’m becoming spoiled,” I took a sip.
“Max told me to let you sleep in, but not too long, just in case you still wanted to take Lightning out.”
“Did he mention how long he might be gone?”
“No, if he catches that thing he could be gone for a while. If he picks up another job he could be gone for months,” he frowned. “He did tell me to tell you if you need anything to call his cell, he’s going to check it a couple times a day.”
I was an idiot. Regardless of last night I probably wouldn’t see him again anyway. We both lived in different worlds. I liked to travel, he worked for the government. I liked my independence, he liked to invade my space. There was no room for a relationship, and not once had he ever mentioned having any kind of relationship with me. It was just sex. Wonderful sex, but just sex all the same.
“Horseback riding sounds wonderful; I’ll be down in about thirty minutes.”
Chase grinned wide. “Your clothes are at the foot of the bed,” he said exiting the room.
With a sigh I got out of bed, showered, found some warm clothes, got dressed, applied some makeup, and dried my hair. I picked up my backpack and put my notebook, camera, and smokes in it, before I ambled downstairs.
“Ready?” I called to Chase as I searched for my gun. My mind kept circling back to Max, when all I wanted to do was focus on anything else but him.
“Almost, Max left you a present. I’m putting it together right now. Come take a look.”
“Have you seen my gun?” I marched into the kitchen, anger flashing in my eyes. Max was gone and I still felt like he was invading my space.
“Your gun is in your jacket pocket where you left it. What do you think?”
“I think both of you have to stop feeding me coffee,” I growled. Max bought me a black espresso machine to match my black appliances.
Chase pressed the start button and gazed over at me.
“Sit down; we’ll leave after we try this out.”
“You’re starting to sound like Max, Chase.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
I shook my head no.
“Max was really grumpy when he left this morning too. Is there something I need to know?”
“Nothing, sorry. How long are you watching over me?”
“Until he calls or comes back.”
“Aren’t you tired of it? I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.”
“Actually it’s exciting. Besides you’re like the big sister I never had.”
“Are you an only child?”
“Yep,” he turned around to finish making us lattes, signaling the end of the discussion. He added a touch of vanilla and frothed some milk frowning, then smiling, then frowning again.
“I have no idea how to do this,” he said, pouring hot flat milk into our espressos, and handing me one.
We both eyed the coffee, wondering if the milk was still good from so much heat. I took the plunge first, blew on my questionable latte and took a small sip.
“This is really good Chase, flat but good.”
After our jolt of caffeine, I made sure my gun was loaded. We put on our jackets and headed down to the barn with Killer following us.
Killer pounced on Pumpkin giving her lots of dog kisses as soon as we opened the door. I watched Pumpkin flatten herself. Her ears laid back on her head and she gave Killer the evil eye.
“Pumpkin should be used to that by now,” he side stepped the animals. “It happens every time we bring Killer down here.”
“If she lost a little weight she might be able to get away easier.”
He chuckled, “That’s not going to happen until she has her litter and maybe not even then. I think she’s a naturally big boned cat.”
“She’s pregnant? How long have you known? Rose will be absolutely thrilled.”
We stepped deeper into the barn. I wasn’t surprised to see yet another horse in the stall next to Ace’s empty one.
“Who does this horse belong to?”
The horse was brown with a white streak on its nose and was scrawny thin.
“She almost belongs to me. I’m renting to own her. I had the vet come in this morning and give her a general physical to make sure she is in good health, that’s when I found out about Pumpkin.” Chase said rubbing her neck. “She doesn’t look like much right now, but she will be.”
“What happened to her?”
“Her last owner was a mean S.O.B. and the people who adopted her can’t afford to keep her. I’ve been making payments to them. She’s almost paid off.” He said, grimacing.
I mounted Lightning, called Killer, and rode out of the barn with Chase walking out behind us rubbing the horse’s nose and talking to it lovingly.
“I hope you don’t mind taking it easy today, she’s still a little skittish.”
“Not a problem.”
He mounted her carefully, whispering in her ear to make sure she stayed calm.
“What’s her name? Does Rose know about Pumpkin?”
“No name yet, I want to see how she behaves first. And no, I haven’t had a chance to talk to Rose yet.”
“You could name her Brownie or Bolt” I said as we rode towards the meadow.
We went through many more names for his horse, coming up with nothing that fit when we noticed the clouds rolling in.
“Time to go back, it’s going to snow soon.” Chase said as flurries started flying from the sky, the air became rapidly colder.
“Too late,” I chuckled. We nudged the horses into a trot. The weather was another thing I loved about living up here. The sun could be shining without a cloud in the sky, or like right now with the clouds in the distance, and it could still be raining or snowing.
By the time we made it back to the barn at least two inches of snow covered us, and another two inches flurried around us when we finally trekked back up to my house.
With nothing else to do, I decided it would be fun to order toys, clothes, and presents for the kids for Christmas. I also considered buying Chase a Santa outfit.
We both agreed we would rent a car and deliver all of our goodies in the middle of the night, so we wouldn’t be seen. After spending hours on line we tried making lattes again. They came out somewhat better, if not a tad bit messier.
“Who needs to read directions,” I told Chase, wiping the excess milk off the walls and counter tops. “We just need practice.”
We popped some popcorn then watched a zombie movie. The snow still created a white veil outside, and I was happy. Absolutely nothing bad had happened today, it was great.
Blake-A Montana Dayton Novel Ch. 12