17. Friends in low places

41.3K 2.2K 167

Jake didn't speak to me the entire way back to the ranch

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.

Jake didn't speak to me the entire way back to the ranch.

Nope, he couldn't even bothered to say hi, look my way, or acknowledge my existence in any way. And damn it to hell, it bothered me.

After we'd made eye contact right after he'd been thrown off Satan, he'd turned his face toward the sky and placed an arm over his eyes. He lay there for a few minutes, his chest rising and falling, first fast, then slower. Once he caught his breath, he stood up, and got back to work.

Jake herded the horses along with the rest of the men while Beth and I were relegated to the far edge of the group - just close enough to stay safe without getting in the way.

Once the last of the sun set beyond the canyons, plunging our world into an inky darkness, the coyotes started yapping in the distance, their eerie chattering mingling with the cacophony of the crickets on the ground. We made slow time, the pace set by the worn out horses, their hooves dutifully dragging across the dry Texan earth.

Trudging along at the mind numbing pace, I looked at the stars, I looked at the moon, but mostly I looked at Jake. He rode alone and in silence for the most part, stopping every once in a while to trade jibes with the other ranch hands. Every once in a while, he'd laugh, a flash of white teeth in the light of the flashlight beams that crisscrossed through the group. I replayed the scene with the horses over and over again in my head, trying to convince myself that it was merely admiration of his exquisite horsemanship, but I knew better than that.

I glanced over at Beth. She was apologetically staring at me and didn't turn away when I caught her gaze. Instead, she rolled her eyes heavenward.

"What?" I asked.

Oh come on. Her expression told me.

I feigned innocence.

She rolled her eyes again then mouthed a single word at me: Jake.

I scowled, glanced furtively around me and shushed her with a finger held against my lips. I nudged Phoenix forward, closer to Beth.

"You've been making moon eyes at him for an hour. I'm pretty sure it's no longer a secret," she said.

Heat rushed to my face and I busied myself with rearranging the reins in my hands.

"I should've known better," grumbled Beth. "I thought you'd be able to appreciate him for what he is instead of going bat shit over his appearance like everyone else. But I was wrong, so never mind. Carry on and join the party. Make an ass of yourself like all the other girls." Shaking her head to herself, Beth rode forward, leaving me alone on the outer edges of the group.

I chewed on my lower lip for half a minute before I followed her, figuring I had nothing to lose at this point.

"What is he?" I asked.

How We Were | ✔️ (Complete)Read this story for FREE!