Chapter 21

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     I walked down to the stairs after I calmed down from the shock of Levi walking in on me in the bathroom. It was pretty funny but still he had seen my private parts that only two people have seen before and that made me feel very embarrassed. Even though I knew I would have a hard time looking at Levi once more since high school; I knew that I still had to be somewhat civil to him because of all that he had done for me. 

     I decided to take a tour of my new home for the next week or so since I had nothing else to do. I looked around and saw nothing more than an old ranch house. I think dad said that it had been in the family for a few generations since before the civil war. In what little pictures we had of the house, it started as a small one bedroom shack and then one of my grandfathers expanded it when he came into wealth. 

     Now it was a big modern ranch house with five bedrooms and a cellar. Along with the barn, this used to be the biggest plot of land in Montana. Since the great depression hit some land had to be sold and now it was just average. Not that i'm complaining since it is my temporary safe house. 

"Uh. Hey. You're uncle told me to keep this rat inside before the crows get it." 

"Oh thanks." I mumbled in response as I took baby from Levi.

     I stared at baby in my arms who wanted nothing more than to wiggle and lick any exposed skin from Levi and I. Levi sensing how awkward this was just gave baby one pat on the head and turned on his heel and left. Since I had to keep baby company I stayed inside. Even though baby didn't need a baby sitter, I wanted to make sure she didn't eat the furniture or wires. Plus I had enough humiliation for one day.

     I walked around the house and tried to get an internet signal but had no luck. I only had one or two bars and it would take an hour for any site to load. I walked around and found the tv room. I guess uncle Ed's last wife, Aunt Shirley, may she rest in peace, really wanted to give the old country thing about having a sitting room separate from the tv room. 

"Might as well watch some tv." I mumbled to baby as we sat on the couch.

I turned the tv on to find it on some old western movies. I slightly grimaced and changed it to a news channel. Even the news was boring. It must have been a slow news day which hopefully wouldn't last long. I was certain I would die here and weighed my options. Stay here and die of boredom, or, go home and die by Blake's hand. The former won out but not by much. 

"Man. Even construction isn't that brutal." Levi mumbled as he walked in the room and sat down on a recliner.

"Get outta my seat boy." Uncle Ed said as he walked in and claimed his recliner.

    Levi got up and plopped on the couch while shooting me a tired look. I held my smile in as hard as  I could but I wasn't successful. Levi looked so pitiful and tired. Like an old cat who just wanted to lie in peace. 

"Well?"  I turned and looked to uncle Ed who stared at me. 

"You didn't work the fields today and somebody has to start dinner." My eyes widened in disbelief as I thought he was joking. I turned to Levi who gave a chuckle and a sly grin.

"You heard him. Get to it. We workin' men been out in the hot sun all day." Levi pestered. 

     I scowled at him but got up and put baby down who ran and jumped at me once more. I told her to stay and turned back as she bugged uncle Ed who growled at her. I smiled elated once more. I walked into the kitchen and didn't see any meat that was left out so I dug around and decided to defrost some chicken in the microwave. I wasn't sure if the ranch hands were going to join us so I decided to make the whole bag and lots of sides. Even if they didn't we'd have lunch tomorrow.

-

     I wiped the sweat off my brow and smiled. I was finally done. After nearly two and a half hours, I was able to get dinner on the table before the sun dipped below the mountains. I walked into the tv room and grinned. I got my phone out and quickly took a few pictures. Baby was curled up on uncle Ed's lap who had his head back and was snoring. 

     I walked over to gently wake uncle Ed and Levi, but a thought occurred. I stared at Levi as he lay on the couch peacefully. I took a rubber band from my wrist and gently grabbed some of his hair. His soft hair. His shiny, blonde locks. So soft. What shampoo did he use?  I stopped myself before I leaned over and sniffed his head. How creepy would that be? "Hey guys watch out for Jamie, he's a head sniffer." I shook my head and tied some of his hair at the top of his head into a tiny bun. I couldn't control my giggles and took a picture.

"Ouch!" Levi hollered as I slapped his thigh hard.

"Dinners ready." I replied sweetly. I got up and took baby from uncle Ed as he grunted and stretched. 

     I walked into the dining room and sat with baby at a chair. Uncle Ed came in with the group of ranch hands. About seven or eight. I was suddenly very glad that I had made three times as much food than usual. They all sat and some gave me a once over and chuckled to themselves or turned to their buddy and laughed. I frowned. Cooking all this food for them and they still laugh. But I happily joined in when Levi walked in. He looked confused and took some jokes in stride but not quite understanding. It wasn't until one man flicked the tiny bun that he felt his head. He turned and glared at me as he walked to the bathroom. He came back and shot the rubber band at me. 

"Ouch!" I yelped but then laughed a bit more. 

"Alright. Time to say grace. Dogs don't sit at the table boy." Uncle Ed told me as he stared at baby in my arms. 

"Sorry." I mumbled as I put her on the floor. She whimpered and scratched at my legs with her tiny little paws. My little lip stuck out in sympathy. I looked at uncle Ed and realized everyone was staring at me. I blushed hard and tried to ignore the sad little puppy who just wanted to be held.

"Okay. Well..." Uncle Ed said grace and we all dug in. 

     I haven't heard that many men groan since I first discovered the "joys" of the internet. I smiled to myself at the perverted thought in my head. I snuck baby some people food while listening to stories of the day and grew annoyed when they talked of my first day on the job. I was hoping that they would let that down soon. 

     The night drew on and once the food was gone everyone got up and headed out. A couple put the dishes away to be washed. I sighed as I realized they probably expected me to wash the dishes, which I did so. After my fingers looked like raisins and my shirt damp I called my parents. They wanted to hear everything which I told them...most of the stuff. Not all. But uncle Ed was kind enough to tell them for me. He laughed and I could hear my dad laughing on the other end of my phone. Ed, Levi, baby, and I sat and talked for a bit and then I took baby out before heading to bed. I stripped down to my underwear and a shirt and slipped into bed. Baby slept by me. She even got her own side. I was vaguely aware of Levi coming in later.

***

Sorry its so short, but I finally know what direction this is going in. I had insane writers block. I know I had it a long time ago and wrote the idea down,,, but it was like, only a few words....not a good idea since I couldn't piece them together. So now, I remembered. Thank goodness!!! 


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