Chapter Ten

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Zachary and Samantha got back just before sundown. Zachary went about putting all the cattle out to pasture and the cows in the barn while Samantha went into the house and warmed the soup up from the other day. She took some of the venison from the smoke house, cut it up and added it to the soup. She was putting some dough in the oven to bake  when she heard a thud upstairs.

She looked outside but couldn't see Zachary anywhere. She grabbed the large knife she'd been cutting the meat with and walked quietly up the stairs. She listened at the door to Zachary's old bedroom and heard movement on the other side.

Samantha felt her heart beating fast in her chest. Her senses seemed to be on high alert as the adrenaline flowed through her veins. She took several deep breaths, counted to three and slammed the door open, rushing into the room with the knife raised high.

"What the hell!" Tim yelled as he leapt off the bed and jumped back into the corner. "Samantha, calm the hell down!"

Samantha stopped so abruptly she nearly fell on her face. The knife clattered to the floor as she dropped it and put her hands on her chest in an attempt to slow her racing heart.

"You scared me." she stated accusingly once her voice had returned. "What are you doing?" Tim was standing in the corner holding a pillow out in front of himself like a shield. He wasn't wearing a shirt and Samantha couldn't help but look. He was thinner and lankier than Zachary and his chest was covered with a dusting of light brown hair.

Samantha felt herself turning red as she looked up at his face and saw him watching her. She turned her head away and bent and picked up the knife she had dropped.

Before either of them could say anything they heard boots pounding up the stairs. Zachary burst into the room with a gun drawn. Tim gripped his pillow tighter.

"What the hell is the matter with both of you!" he exclaimed. Zachary holstered his gun and picked Tim's shirt up off the floor before throwing it at him.

"What the hell are you doing up here and why the hell is Samantha standing here wielding a knife?" Zachary demanded. Tim laughed as he buttoned his shirt.

"She scared the hell out of me." he said. "I was up here sleeping and I woke up when I smelled the food cooking downstairs. I knew you all must be back so I started getting up when suddenly the damn door bursts open and she comes in here ready to plunge that knife into my heart."

Samantha cringed at the thought of actually stabbing someone with the knife in her hand. It suddenly felt cold and heavy. She handed it to Zachary who took it and wrapped an arm around her.

"I'll talk to you later about how foolish that was." Zachary said to her. Samantha sighed and leaned against him. "And you should have hollered down to her or something to let her know you were up here. You scared her to death obviously or she wouldn't have attacked you with a knife."

"Sorry, Samantha." Tim said. Samantha smiled and nodded at him.

"And Tim, I don't mind a bit if you want to stay here but no more going half naked in front of my wife."

"She wasn't here when I got half naked….wife?" Tim saw the look in both of their eyes as they looked at each other and he grinned happily. He pulled Samantha away from Zachary and spun her around before hugging her the way her brother always had. Samantha felt her throat constrict as happiness and sadness all welled up at once.

"I guess that makes you my sister since Zachary has always been like a brother." Tim said. Samantha laughed and kissed his cheek as he sat her back down next to Zachary. Just then Jake came running into the room jumping and barking happily at Samantha's feet.

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