XI : The Devil Knows Your Fears

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J A C O B

Seed Cabin
Whitetail Mountains
6 Months Ago

An early spring settled over Hope County; the dead leaves of the trees in the Whitetails shifted to a mix of greens and yellows. Flowers were in bloom, crisp rainfall took to the skies, cleaning the air and cooling the blue to a gray with the coverage of full and puffy clouds. The wildlife emerged from their seasonal hibernation, the hum and buzz of insects and chirping of birds faded off some as it began to sprinkle outside.

The morning was quiet. Jacob just opened his eyes after a peaceful slumber that took over him after he and Diana kept hidden in their bedroom for most of the day. He groaned a bit as he stretched, his legs sore in places they hadn't been in some time after they spent most of the morning tangled and entwined with one another after making love. Jacob's bare skin felt amazing against the sheets, but when he reached over to her side of the bed, he was alarmed that his hand hit her pillow. Jacob rubbed his eyes and frowned as he turned to his side, propping himself up on his elbow to search for her.

He was relieved to find her standing there at the window beside the bed, easily recognized by the curves of her shadowed profile, even with the blanket wrapped around her naked form. The cascade of her raven tresses trickled gloriously down her back. She was silent, observing the view.

"What time is it?" He sat up slightly.

Diana peeked over her shoulder with a smirk, "Almost noon."

Jacob's head hit the pillow and he covered his face. He let out a hearty laugh, amused that they'd been locked away in their room for almost twelve hours. Since they usually woke to meet the sunrise, or even long before that, to get orders out to their men, he wondered if or when Morris and the others had come to knock the door down, to get news or work orders from them. "Damn."

"I know." His wife chuckled, melodic and calming. She kept her eyes fixed on the wide, serene landscape that stretched out on the other side of the glass.

Jacob scratched at his cheek, the rustle of his beard beneath his fingertips, and he made a mental note to do a quick shave. He propped his hands behind his head. "Almost time to get ready for supper at the Ranch."

He didn't miss the subtle hum of discontent from Diana when he mentioned their date.

"Do we have to go?" She asked.

Sitting up fully, he scooted to the edge of the bed and kicked his legs over until his bare feet hit the floor. "They're expecting us."

"So?"

"John and his girl wanted us to come by, said they were preparing a nice dinner for us. Joseph and Faith will be there too, and since we haven't seen them much in a while I thought it would... you know, be nice to get together for once." When he reached for her, she went to him. "You still have reservations about our family?"

Diana winced.

It wasn't her family, however. They were Jacob's, a group of people who were still getting used to the idea of having her around at all. But it wasn't John or Ana she worried about, it was more Joseph. Why she and his brother didn't much get along, he had no idea. But he sensed a palpable tension whenever they were around each other. It was unsettling, but he never asked.

"I know you fight with John, but he's a little shit sometimes so I get it."

She scrunched her nose and shook her head. "You're right about that, but the fights aren't fights, I just like to get under his skin sometimes when he gets too cocky."

Jacob laughed.

"I like John."

"Now."

Diana snickered, agreeing with him. They didn't always get along but she didn't mind him now. "Ana seems like a sweet girl and a nice balance for that little shit."

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