Saturday, December 26, 2015
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
The next morning we each had conflicting feelings about leaving our mountain retreat. We enjoyed having time to ourselves, but admitted that we were anxious to get back to Appaloosa to see Maggie. Halfway there, I noticed that Jeff stopped talking and I tried to patiently wait for him to tell me whatever he was trying to work through in his head.
“Maggie stayed at Robert and Regina’s last night.” His statement startled me; not because I was shocked from her staying with them, but from his sudden outburst of the information.
I nodded. “I’m sure she had fun.” I offered, hoping that it would help him reveal the reason for his declaration. The car filled with silence instead and I tried to remain patient as I waited for him to continue, occupying myself by watching the scenery that passed by my window.
“They’re bringing her to Mom’s and should arrive there soon before we do.” He finally continued his thought and I glanced over at him. I knew he still wasn’t thrilled that I wanted to talk to them alone, but by him mentioning that they would be at the ranch when we arrived I also knew that he’d accepted that I wanted to do it.
“Do you think that it would be better to talk to them there, rather than going to their house?” I hadn’t imagined having the conversation at the Hobble Ranch but the idea was more pleasing.
He quickly nodded. “Yes.”
“And you promise to stay out of the room, and not listen from the hallway?” I hinted. His head slowly turned and he studied me for a moment before turning his attention back to the road. The slow slump of his shoulders and sigh signaled that I thwarted his plan and he gave his complete surrender.
“Yes.” He whispered and I reassuringly patted his leg.
An hour later we pulled up to the ranch gate and the sight of Robert and Regina’s car on the other side made my stomach start to do flips. I completely believed that the impending conversation needed to happen, but as the time drew near I couldn’t stop my nerves from wreaking havoc on my stomach. Once Jeff parked the car, he hurried over to my door and the reassuring squeeze he gave my hand as I exited surprised me. I realized then that I must have done something for him to know that I was nervous.
“Look, Maggie! They’re here!” Amanda’s voice interrupted any thoughts that Jeff was about to voice and we turned our attention to the door. She walked out of the house while holding Maggie and the smile she gave us as we walked towards them made my heart feel like it might burst. She squirmed in Amanda’s arms as she tried to turn around and held out her arms towards Jeff as he rushed over to grab her.
“Maggie Pie!” He gushed as he hugged and kissed her. “We missed you!” He said right as I joined him and she immediately looked at me and held her arms out. The completely happy and tender smile that Jeff gave me as he released Maggie into my arms convinced me that my heart would indeed burst from my chest at any moment.
“Did you start walking while we were gone?” I playfully asked once I held her and she giggled at me.
“No, but I swear it won’t be long.” Amanda admitted and I looked up to see that my Mom, Chuck, Robert and Regina had also ventured out of the house. I hoped that as we each greeted each other that there wasn’t any awkwardness on my part, worrying that my nervousness would make them believe that I had an issue with them, and it reaffirmed the reason for the pending conversation.
Amanda ushered everyone back into the house and I almost immediately handed Maggie back to Jeff. I didn’t dare look at him as I did, afraid that his expression would extinguish the small flame of bravery that was left, and instead turned my attention to Robert and Regina. I discreetly asked to talk to them in the living room and as I began to follow them, I glanced one last time at Jeff and Maggie, not knowing what I’d see when I did. His nod and the reassurance I saw in his eyes gave me the boost of confidence I needed to continue into the room and I vaguely noticed Jeff leading his parents away as I sat down on the couch opposite of Robert and Regina.
This chapter is NSFW! Thanks for reading!
The hilly grounds of ASU eventually transitioned into the mountainous landscape of Mountain Falls and with each passing mile, Star grew more and more anxious to learn where we were going. In all honesty, I had never been to our destination either. When I first mentioned to Mom and Dad that I wanted to propose to Star while the family was at ASU for her graduation, I eventually admitted that it would be nice to take her away for the weekend. Of course they’d known of a great spot and gave me the number of a friend of theirs who owned a home that would be perfect. After several phone calls and emails I decided it would be perfect. But as I slowed down and turned to pull the car up to the gate, I realized that the pictures hadn’t done it justice.
The normal beauty of the house was magnified by the glow that the setting sun cast on it and the shocked gasp I heard from the seat next to me made a slow, satisfied grin appear on my lips. Not being able to keep from giving into my curiosity, I turned my head and watched her blink her eyes in disbelief as she took it all in.
“Here? We’re staying here?” She asked, finding her voice after several moments of stunned silence. “How did you ever find such a place?” Her disbelieving eyes met mine, causing me to chuckle.
“I’ll give you one guess.” I teased her. It didn’t take her long to start nodding and a light laugh escaped from her lips.
“I’m guessing from the surprised expression you’re trying to hide that you’ve never been here, so I’d have to say your Mom and Dad told you about it.” She said matter-of-factly. I nodded my agreement, even though I didn’t need to since she was more than convinced that she was right. A satisfied smile appeared on her lips as she turned her attention back to the house and I reached out the window to enter the gate code. The loud buzz was soon followed by the slow opening of the gates and I let the car ease into the driveway, stopping right in front of the two story windows that lined the front of the house.
I quickly put the car in park and rushed over to the passenger side door. The second she stepped out of it, she turned around and first looked through the massive windows at the inside. Their escaping glow highlighted areas close to the house, tempting her to catch glimpses of the outside, but with each passing minute it became harder and harder to see as the sun continued to disappear.
I moved closer to her, wrapping my arms around her waist. “We’ll have to explore the outside tomorrow.” I whispered in her ear. Her sudden squirming caused me to loosen my grip and she whirled around, placing her hands on my chest as she looked up at me. There was a tenderness in her eyes that I hadn’t expected and I couldn’t ponder about for very long since she once again surprised me, that time with the suddenness of her kiss.
Her soft, warm lips made any other thoughts leave my mind and once the initial shock wore off, I placed my hand on her back and pulled her closer. It wasn’t a very long kiss, or even the most passionate, but it still made me feel lightheaded and made my heart race like all of her kisses did. My mind started to clear again when she pulled her lips away and my wonderment continued as her sweet smile returned.
“Thank you.” She whispered and I held her closer, hugging until a chilly breeze tickled my skin.