Cowboy Dreams 1.0

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Cowboy Dreams Part 1.

“Mommy, where are we going?” The small boy asked as he looked out the window. Buzz Light-year lay on his lap as the boy admired the scenery beyond the window. Cows were eating grass and sheep were being chased by a black-white dog. The boy’s light green eyes twinkled as he saw the horse at the distance. He reached for Woody and Bulls-eye and smiled widely as he stared at the cowboy riding the white horse.

The woman turned on her seat and ruffled her son’s dirty blonde hair. It was starting to get long at the nape of the boy’s neck, he needed a trim soon. She pinched the boy’s chubby cheek and smiled when the boy turned to look at her, his eyes wide with excitement.

“Are we visiting a cowboy?” He asked excitedly, jumping up and down on his booster seat.

His father’s gruff laughter made the boy giggle and continue jumping, “We’re visiting my brother, son. You remember Uncle Charles, right? I guess you don’t, the last time you saw him you were barely a newborn.”

The small boy cocked his head to the side, but before he could say anything, the boy’s attention was diverted to the window. There was a horse right next to his window, keeping pace with the car. The man on top of the horse smiled at the boy and the horse trotted away, leaving the boy smiling in his booster seat.

A few minutes later, the boy’s dad turned onto a drive way and they neared a ranch house the size of their house back in the city. There to greet them was a man dressed in jeans, t-shirt, and cowboy hat and boots. The boy squealed in his booster seat, pulling against the seat belt. He wanted to see the cowboy and his mother couldn’t move any faster. As soon as the belt was off, the boy got off the car and ran towards the cowboy that was now walking towards him. The boy had Woody in one hand and Bulls-eye in the other; he compared Woody to the real life cowboy in front of him.

“Hey, Charles, long times no see, brother,” the boy’s dad came behind the boy and embraced the cowboy. The boy felt shy all of the sudden and hid behind his mother’s long skirt. He peeked around his mother to see the big cowboy crouching almost in front of him.

The cowboy smiled and stretched out his hand, “Hey there, partner, Charles’ the name, what about you?”

The boy looked up at his mother, she nodded that it was alright and the boy shook the cowboy’s hand. “I’m Max… and tomorrow is my birthday… are you a real cowboy?” The three year old asked, biting his lip as he waited for his uncle to answer.

Charles stood up and chuckled as he nodded, “I sure am, Max. Would you like to see Pirate, my horse?”

Max’s smile was so big it made the sun look brighter. He held his uncle’s hand as they walked through the side of the house and onto the barn, where Charles kept the horses. Max’s mouth dropped to see a small horse, eating hay.

“Is that for me?” He said as he looked up at his uncle.

Charles nodded, “It is, but I think we should ask your mom if it’ll be alright.” He whispered and glanced back to see his sister-in-law with a worried expression on her face. Charles understood that Max was the apple of her eye and that she wanted to protect him for as long as she could.

Max’s mother furrowed her brow and her husband patted her back, kissing her temple. “The boy will be fine, love. Charles will take care of him.”

“I don’t know, Marcus. You know how Max is when he wants something and this… alright, I guess it will be fine but after dinner.” Max squealed and hugged his uncle’s firm leg and then ran towards his mother and launched himself at her for a bear hug.

Later that evening, Marcus and his wife had to make some errands in town and would be back before bedtime. Max stayed with Uncle Charles and Granny Peggy while his parents went to town. Since it was Max’s birthday the next day, Marcus and his wife wanted the boy to get what he always wanted, to meet a real life cowboy.

The sun went down and Max’s parents were still out. By the morning, Charles climbed onto Pirate and went into town to find out that his brother and sister-in-law had had a car accident as they headed back home. The news was too much of an impact for Charles wouldn’t believe it until he was able to see the bodies. A week later, Charles took care of the funeral of his brother and sister-in-law. The family came out onto the country to say their goodbyes and to see who would take care of Max.

The boy leaned against the far wall, hugging Woody to his chest, as the adults discussed the boy’s future. They were going at it as if he was an animal that needed shelter and not love. Charles growled deep in his throat and stood up, slamming his fists on the table. His brother's words rang through his head, ‘Charles will take care of him’. Had Marcus known this would happen? Charles asked himself as he looked among his relatives.

“I’ll be taking care of Max.”

Everyone looked at him as if he had grown a second head. Some argued that he hardly knew the boy and that for a boy to grow up with a ‘twenty year old homosexual’ would be scandalous. Granny Peggy and Aunt Cleo said that they would take in the boy but didn’t seem too convinced.

“None of you talked to Marcus after he married Virginia. All of you turned your backs on him when he needed you the most. I was the only one who helped him when Virginia had the miscarriage. I was the one who helped Marcus when he settled the new company. I was the one who was there for Max’s birth. Marcus was MY brother, Virginia was MY sister, and now Max is MY family. I dare any of you to argue with me. Now, when I come back from putting Max to sleep, I don’t want to find any of you still here.” Charles’ breathing was heavy as he pushed the chair back, grabbed his cowboy hat, and walked over to pick up Max from the floor. The boy rested his head on Charles’ chest and tightened his arms around Woody.

Charles placed the boy on his bed and kissed the boy’s forehead, “Now it’s just you and me, partner.” The cowboy wiped the tears that escaped his eyes and left the boy asleep in his room.

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