Chapter Seven

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She trudged through the thick, wet mud as she made her way down the dirt track leading into Donne Farm. The journey to work that morning was more difficult than it had ever been in the past month she'd been working there and it was due to the heavy rain that fell the night before. Octobers in Los Angeles rarely ever looked as dreary and wet as they did in Oak View and she suspected that was something she would have to get used to. She looked down at her feet as she walked and realised that her perfectly good white trainers had been ruined by the thick mud that now stuck to the sides. Her laces were stained a brownish colour and she knew she'd have a hard time getting them back to their original state. As Leigh added buying a pair of walking boots or wellies to her mental shopping list she realised that she was slowly succumbing to the farm life. She never saw that as the type of life she wanted for herself but in the month that she had worked at Donne Farm she realised that she began looking into growing plants and vegetables for herself at home. She had a balcony and it got a decent amount of sun light each day and that seemed like the perfect place to start, but starting wasn't that simple. She'd researched as any person new to a hobby would and she'd found the tools she'd need online but didn't know if she had the motivation to begin. Growing fruits and vegetables seemed like a big deal because it was something she would have to take care of- other than herself and wasn't something Leigh was very good at. It had been a long time since she'd had to take care of anything but herself- Katie was an exception. In the first month of moving to Oak View Leigh had adopted her beautiful kitten and even though cats were pretty low maintenance pets, she still found it hard and now she was determined to keep something else alive, other than herself.

Lost in thought, Leigh mindlessly walked the dirt track leading closer and closer to the farm shop and being so lost in thought she didn't realise that a tree was blocking her path. The tree wasn't small by any standards and there seemed to only be one way around it- though that wasn't technically true. She couldn't go around it, she had to go over it, as she thought that to herself she was reminded of childhood rhyme. Securing her bag safely onto her back, Leigh gripped the top of the trunk and hoisted herself up and onto the tree. Easy, she thought to herself. As Leigh gripped onto a branch that was perpendicular to the trunk she prepared herself to jump down the other side but as she did her muddy trainers caused her to slide and she felt herself slipping.

"Woah, easy," a deep voice said in a half panicked tone and a pair of strong hands gripped her waist and lowered her to the floor gently. The faint smell on his shirt was a familiar one but before she could comprehend the accident she'd almost had, the man's hands left her waist leaving a ghostly presence on her skin in their absence. He was marching in the opposite direction and in that moment she couldn't believe that Brett Donne had just saved her from almost making an embarrassing mistake. And to make matters worse she was sure he would bring it up in an attempt to embarrass her later in the day.

When Leigh finally reached the farm shop just before opening she found Brett Donne sitting inside. A dark blue cap sat low on his forehead shielding her from his view. He was staring at the back of the computer screen and that immediately set a fear inside of her. He was never in the farm shop, so why now? Without turning around he spoke;

"Bring up the spreadsheets."

Leigh quickly wiped her feet on the mat by the front of the shop then made her way behind the counter. In a matter of seconds Leigh was passing him again after dropping her bags to the floor.

As she passed, Brett turned slightly to the side catching a glimpse of her footwear. He noted the mud stained sneakers and rolled his eyes. How did she not have suitable footwear? This was a farm after all, he thought. In his mind he began to counter his argument as if he was being pulled from one thought to another by the angel and devil sitting on either shoulder. She had only been working at the farm for a month, he thought...maybe she didn't have a chance to buy a pair of boots. Then reality kicked in. She was a millionaire, she had to be. And even if she wasn't Brett knew Leigh could snap her fingers and have a pair of boots delivered to her doorstep within an hour. So why hadn't she? There was a pair of boots by his front door ready to be donated to charity, they were a pair of his mothers but they were too tight now with her feet constantly swollen from the amount of time spent on them. Brett knew Leigh would find use for them especially as she walked to and from the farm each day but as he was about to offer the boots but decided against it.

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