I jumped out of bed and ran to the window, shrugging on my robe at the same time. I looked out to blue skies, sunshine, and a blanket of sparkling, white, snow everywhere. My deck was covered, I didn’t think we would be able to get out of the house. Life was wonderful. I hurriedly got dressed in the warmest clothes I could find, ignoring the clothes Max had – probably- intentionally – left in my closet, and ran downstairs for my first latte.
“Hey,” Chase said, poking the fire until the flames roared.
“Good morning! Coffee?”
“We really need to get you a bed; especially if you’re going to be here awhile.” I noted the pile of blankets still on the floor.
Chase glanced down at his makeshift bed. “Nah, I’m fine. Killer sleeps right up against me and we’re in front of the fire. Did you know that Killer gets cold? He crawls under the blanket with me every night. You might want to consider getting him a dogie sweater or something.”
I imagined Killer in a dog sweater, hit the start button on the espresso machine, and laughed. I would have to get him something in black since he was such a macho “hunk of a dog.” I pictured him in pink and laughed harder.
“I’m serious Montana, he gets cold.”
“How about a big, pink sweater?”
“Don’t be mean, you’ll hurt his feelings!”
“I was kidding Chase. It’s just hard to believe my big, bad, dog needs outerwear.”
Chase scratched Killers head. “She doesn’t deserve you.”
“I heard that,” I brought out our flat lattes and rubbed Killer’s ears.
“You know I love you, right?” Killer ignored me. “Fine, I’m putting on my snow boots and going outside to dig us out of here.”
“You have your phone on you right?”
“No. I wasn’t aware I needed it.”
“I promised Max you would keep it on you at all times and forgot about it yesterday, so you need to go get it.”
“Fine,” I stormed up to my bedroom, turned it on, and checked my messages. Nothing. I stormed back downstairs and yanked my shoes on, reminding myself that I didn’t want Max in my life.
“What did he do to make you so angry at him?”
“Nothing.” Max inserted himself into my life then walked out of my life! I wanted to scream. I couldn’t seem to keep my thoughts on anything else but Max.
I picked up a shovel. Yanking open the door I disturbed the natural order of things, causing a snow drift to enter the house. I tried to close the door, without success.
“Were going to have to shovel the snow back outside,” Chase commented, gazing over at the mess I made.
I glared at the snow. “I’ll shovel if you get the mop.”
I gently removed the snow from my floor to avoid scratching it, then made my way outside. There had to be at least three feet of the white fluffy stuff on the ground. When I’d finally dug a walkway from the front door to the end of the stairs I stopped, looked around, and lit a smoke. Chase managed to coax Killer outside and was standing by me with his shovel when my phone rang.
“Are you going to answer it?”
“It’s debatable,” I pulled it out of my pocket and looked at the caller ID. I didn’t recognize the number.
“Hey Montana its Bear.”
“How’s it going Bear?”
Chase glanced at me disappointed. I was pretty sure he hoped it was Max.
“Sounds good, I’ll see you soon. Bear is coming to plow the driveway for us. If you take the left side I‘ll take the right, maybe we can get the deck cleaned off before he shows up.”
We diligently plowed through the snow on the deck and barely finished when we heard the low rumble of the plow coming up the road. We stood there, freezing, until he rounded the corner and I was able to get his attention. I signaled him to come inside when he was done; he waved back at us.
We were sitting by the fire with more coffee when Bear knocked.
He stomped off his boots before taking them off. “How do you like all this snow?” he said, walking to the fire. He peeled off his gloves and warmed his hands for a moment.
“I love it. It makes the fire even cozier.”
Bear glanced around the house before looking at me.
“Max had to leave.” I noticed the grin on his face he was trying to hide.
“Would you like an espresso?”
“Sure, but then I have to go plow more driveways.”
“How much do I owe you for coming up here?”
“You have to give to our toy drive. That’s the deal I make with all the folks.”
“I’ll be there.”
“Also, do you mind if Tree and I visited tomorrow morning with our proposal? The bar and grill is on the winter schedule twelve to eight. Is ten o’clock all right?”
“Sure,” I said, watching Bear. I knew he wanted to ask about Max and was glad he didn’t. “How are Rose and the girls doing?”
“Trina and Alexis are leaving up to the springs tomorrow, they’ve been keeping the bar a lively place since they’ve been here. I’ll miss them, but I think Tree will miss them more. Rose is absolutely miserable. Both of us would rather her be here.”
“Me too, I miss her.”
“Pumpkin and I miss her too,” Chase chimed in. “Tell her Pumpkin is pregnant and she’s needed at home the next time you talk to her.”
Bear smacked his hand on his thigh, booming with laughter. “Are you serious? No wonder the cat is so fat.”
“I’m serious, but I can’t tell you when she’s due because she is fat and was adopted that way,” Chase said.
“I’ll let her know. It will give her something to think about while she’s gone. Maybe it will even give her a good excuse to come home early.” Bear pushed his empty cup aside, “I have to go, thanks for the coffee.”
We said goodbye to Bear. I headed upstairs to check on my business dealings, grabbed my laptop and got comfortable on my bed. I noticed my gun sitting on the dresser, smacked myself on the forehead and reminded myself I needed to remember to carry it, even if everything was peaceful.
The rest of the day went smooth. When I finished with business I took the laptop downstairs and Chase and I surfed websites for outdoor wear for Killer. I couldn’t motivate myself to do any research on the creature right now. It almost seemed like the whole thing was a bad dream and I was finally waking up.
After munching on Thanksgiving leftovers we headed down to the barn to walk the animals, then up to Roses to plow her deck. Another perfect day.
We hiked back up to my house, settling in with pumpkin pie and a movie before calling it a night. Once I was back upstairs I noticed I’d missed a call. Okay, so I wasn’t used to having my gun or phone on me at all times. I dialed into my messages as I ran a bath, recognizing Max’s voice.
“It’s nice you remembered to turn your phone on Montana, but I need you to carry it around with you at all times.” A flame ignited in my belly from listening to his sexy voice. “I was just checking in. I wanted to make sure you were all right, and remind you if you need anything to give me a call. I will drop what I’m doing and come back.”
I hit save and sunk into the nice hot water dreaming of Max. When my skin started to look like raisins I got out and snuggled into my bed.
Blake-A Montana Dayton Novel Ch. 12:2