1- Sisters Reunited
The aroma of the freshly cut grass linger in the air just as Savannah, the owner of the Golden Ranch and SG Designs, watches her sister open up the front gates. She pulls on a jacket and walks out of the house. She unlocks her car from afar as her sister spots her. Her blonde curls relax against her shoulders as she jogs up to Savannah.
“Morning Sav. You headed back to the south already?” Her sister, Scarlett Golden, asks.
Savannah sighs at the small hint of jealousy coming from her sister, but she knew it wasn’t the jealousy most people would imagine. Her sister loves the country life but would occasionally complain about being stuck in one place. Unlike Savannah, Scarlett didn’t mind the ranch, but also wouldn’t mind taking a long vacation somewhere exotic, although Texas isn’t as exotic as Scarlett might imagine it to be.
Born about half a year apart, Savannah in December and Scarlett in late September, Scarlett was the youngest of the two girls, meaning that Savannah had inherited the ranch after their parents passed away in a tragic car accident. They were returning from a horse drop-off in late fall when a drunk truck driver knocked their car and trailed off the road. They had been pronounced dead. Savannah had been approached by two investigators and the family of the neighboring ranch at school, the University of Texas. She had just finished her morning class when her work-study boss called her into her office. She had found out about her parents’ death before Scarlett, but it didn’t make breaking the news any easier. She had immediately taken up the task of preparing for their funeral and taking care of her sister. She had gone through this before- the death of someone close to her. After all, it was the reason she refused to ride cross country or force any equestrian rider to take a jump they didn’t want.
She had tried country life, but something was always missing. It was a blessing to be able to ride and smell the fresh air, but her dream was to teach others something she loved. Until the reconstruction of the school barn finishes, she decided to be an intern in New York City. She began to intern for the history professor there, Mark Johnson. He had offered her the job at first because of her wide knowledge of US History but put her on hold after hearing that she hadn’t finished college. Despite that, she persistently wrote term papers and essays proving her worth until Professor Johnson gave in and gave her a chance. Now, she was doing something she loved, except at the cost of her sister’s disapproval. Scarlett always hated how much work Savannah had to take on to support them, even after they broke even, but it was something she respected because of the hard times their family went through. The only reason Savannah was even back being that of the upcoming championship, in addition to the piles of paperwork her sister couldn’t understand. Rock Springs, Wyoming is the home of her ranch and design company, yet she had the hardest time seeing a future for her. She had a million-dollar company and loving sister, but she didn’t know where it could take her. Usually turning to the ranch for some long-term comfort, she always had to deal with buyers, but this business trip was an attempt to expand the ranch. A new patch of land opened after the neighboring ranch was converting over to a boarding location and they were willing to sell it to the Goldens at a reasonable price before they would put it on the market. Expanding the ranch itself and affording the land wasn’t the problem. The issue was finding employees that would satisfy her idea of a rancher or worker. This was important to her because every worker had a home on the ranch and Scarlett would never let anything happen to the horses. The new employees would have to be perfect.
Her sister’s worried voice brought her back to reality, “Sis, you should stay longer. The ranch construction is almost done.” Scarlett says, gently urges her older sister to extend her visit.
“I’m sorry, Red. I have to go back to work.”
Scarlett frowns at her nickname. After she dressed as Red Riding Hood on Halloween when she was 9 and refused to change out of her costume, Savannah has always called her Red, despite her constant arguments against it. Scarlett walks in front of her sister’s path to her car, “You’re only 19, Sav. You shouldn’t have to work like this. What happened to Mom and Dad was tragic, but they’re gone. We’re stable now and together. That’s what matters. Do what you love, not something you like.” Her voice starts to crack, “I need you here with me. How can this ranch survive without you? You’re the best trainer and rider we have. You’re what makes this place so special.”
Savannah glares at her, “I don’t ride in competitions anymore. You know that.” Scarlett shrugs, only making her angrier. “Red, I have no intention of putting myself out there in the arena.” Turning the attention to the ranch, she says, “I already put out an advertisement about some job opportunities here. You’ll be fine. I have to start driving back if I want to make my meetings back in Dallas.”
Scarlett doesn’t look up from the ranch land and says, “No rider is out there alone. It’s a partnership between the rider and horse. And it isn’t a partnership of earnings or winning. It’s about doing our best and enjoying the friendships we’ve created with the horses. Dad taught me that.” Scarlett puts her hands on her hips, “I know you. You’re my sister. I know you had to give up a normal life because of the stupidity of another person, but you need to set your priorities straight.” She reaches out for her sister’s hand and looks up at her, “We’re family- us, the horses, and this land.”
Her sister nods, looking up and avoiding her eyes, “A ranch doesn’t strive because of its sales. It succeeds because of the people who make it special. You can breed horses to be the same. You can trade them if you aren’t satisfied, but a true rancher knows that he horses own the land.” She looks down at her watch. “I’ll drive to New York to give my assistant some pointers and to let Mark know I’ll be taking some time off. I’ll be back in a week, but don’t bother calling me until I tell you that I’m on the road again. Training her to know the rules of the company will take some time. I must challenge her to know that she’s ready. If not, I’ll have to take some things to be able to work on the ranch. I don’t want to leave SG Designs if it isn’t in the best hands.” Her sister turns around and smiles before starting to jump around.
“I love you so much, Sav!” Scarlett hugs her sister and starts to walk towards her car. “I promise you that you won’t regret this! I’ll get your riding gear ready for you.”
“Hold it right there, Red.” Savannah stops in her tracks, “I never said anything about riding.”
“Right.” Scarlett hangs her head down, not wanting to look into her sister’s emotionless eyes. In the distance, the two girls hear someone calling for Scarlett, so Savannah steps into her car.
“I’ll see you soon, little sis.” Savannah waves goodbye to her sister before turning onto the road leading onto the highway. Her sister waves to her until her car is no longer in view. She walks over to Cole, the office manger, who was calling her name.
Cole Cross’s dark blonde hair is messy as always, but he suited him well. “What’s up, Cole?” He was Golden Ranch’s most respected worker, up until he and Scarlett had to break things off. They had fallen in love, but Scarlett had other plans. She wanted to keep their relationship professional. After every kiss and emotional night together, they agreed to remain friends. But, they’re clearly still attracted to each other, not that either of them want to act on it.
“Practice is in a few minutes. I’m gathering up the team. We have qualifiers in a week. We need to be ready.” He dips his brown cowboy hat and hands her a piece of paper. “We just got an email from my sister.”
She reads the email:
“From: Little Bumble Bee <JacqCross@gmail.com>
To: Annoying Bear <ColeCross@gmail.com>
Subject: Lightbulb! Tell Letty ASAP!
Hey big bro!
It’s your favorite little sister here. I heard qualifiers are coming up for you and the other riders. I know it’s hard for you to hear that you aren’t the best, but Ginger always beats you guys in the championships. The only way you’re going to beat her is if you can improve your strides/technique or get Scarlett or Savannah to ride. Scarlett was the one putting record times before she stopped and those two are the ones that makes Ginger’s team tremble in fear. And your lovely sister has an idea for convincing Scarlett to ride again because we both know Scarlett is already trying to rope her sister into this. I’ve already set the plan in motion. Just work hard and show them why you’re my favorite older brother!
Always with love,
Your little sister”
She looks up at Cole as she puts the piece of paper in her back pocket, “How is Jacqueline? I heard she’s doing well for herself in Boston.”
“I don’t know much. She hasn’t talked to me in a while, not since she called me out for breaking up with you. Last I’ve heard, she’s dating a firefighter.” He glances at his watch before asking, “So, what do you think about her idea?”
“Your sister is still as blunt as ever.” She hands the email back to him, pulling it out of her back pocket, “What do you think she has up her sleeve?”
He shrugs, “My sister is the closest one to Savannah since she’s in Boston, but at the same time, Jacquie can put the most damage on people without knowing it. I hope she doesn’t do anything foolish.” The bell in the practice arena rings. “We better get going. I already have the horses tacked up and in the arena.” They start walking towards the arena in awkward silence, but Cole speaks up, “Thanks for helping me out with dressage yesterday.”
“Just remembering to trust your horse. Luna is a great horse and is very attentive to her surroundings. It makes excellent in dressage, but it also puts a lot of pressure on her rider to prepare her well. Dad did a great job training her. You and Luna have an undeniable bond.” As they near the arena, the riders are still getting changed so they sit on the fence as they wait.
“Scarlett, you and Schlecht were a good pair, too.”
“Don’t start this conversation with me, Cole.”
“You and I both know you miss it. Schlecht misses you too. He always nudges me when I tack up the other horses. What happened?”
“I grew up.”
“That’s bull, Letty. We both know that.”
“You know what you think you know. This is the end of this conversation.” Scarlett walks away from Cole and checks on the shoes of the horses. She mutters to herself, “This is exactly why things wouldn’t have worked out between us. He meddles too much. Savannah got thrown off when the new coach forced her into an expert jump and Schlecht almost died because of me. He will never understand how scary it was to see Savannah in the hospital, less than ten years after my parents died, and how guilty I will always feel because I was driven to win, completely ignoring my horse’s needs.” The horse beside her, Dawn, nods her head as if she understands the frustrations. Scarlett chuckles a bit, “You guys understand me better than he ever will. I should just marry you, Dawn.” She hears voices approach the arena, so she checks the last horse’s shoes before walking to the front of the arena where Cole and Luna are set up. She says “Good luck, Cole” before walking out of the area.
“Good luck, Letty.” Cole pulls himself onto Luna only to see Scarlett glaring at him from the arena grounds. She didn’t like being called “Letty’ because it reminded her of her relationship with Cole, something she wanted badly but couldn’t have. She snaps out of her thoughts when Luke, her stable manager, calls her name. She groans, “Coming Mr. Grumpy Pants!”
Luke responding by laughing and shouts, “You just volunteered yourself to clean out the stalls!”
She shouts back at him playfully, “You were going to make me do that anyways!”
Luke stands by her side as she starts gathering the wheelbarrow and rake, “Your boyfriend over there didn’t look too thrilled just now. He probably could have killed me from those glares.” Scarlett brushes off his comment. He has always been a “Coletty” shipper, as he likes to call it. “When are you two going to make up, Scarlett?” He raises his eyebrows, “Or make out, that works too.”
She playfully slaps his arm, “Stop that, Luke. We’re just friends. Let’s get back to work.”
Luke returns to the paperwork for a new pair of the championship, while Scarlett clears the manure in the pasture, giving her a nice spectator’s view of the training arena.
The other riders all trot over to where Cole is on his horse. All of their gazes are on one of the senior riders, Alexis, as they wait for her to clear the double-oxer. Cole usually asks her to go first to demonstrate the jumps and rouines, not that she minded. Scarlett had trained Alexis herself, so she knew a lot more than Cole, but of course, Savannah also told her to play nice with him so here she was not fighting back- even if double-oxers terrified her. She glances at the oxer which they put up earlier in the day before practice. It was nicely decorated by Savannah and Scarlett from years ago to “bring some color to the outback”. She stares at the oxer and counts about four strides until she can take off. She whispers to her horse, Dawn, “We got this girl.” She gently kicks her stirrups against Luna to let her know that she’s ready to start. She approaches at a trot and quickens up her pace, clearing the jump with no accidents. She turns Luna around and smiles proudly at Cole. “Is the Gremlin happy now that one of his riders has completed a jump without any guidance?”
Alexis turns Dawn around, so she joins the other riders in the line-up to face Cole. He asks, “Although she didn’t knock down a rail, what could Scarlett have improved?” No one answered him. He looks directly at another senior rider, Lily, but she doesn’t have an answer. He turns back to Alexis, “How about you? Any thoughts about your own performance?” She doesn’t say anything. “Well then, since no one can answer me, I guess I’ll have to tell you.” He glances to his right and sees Natalia, another senior rider, roll her eyes. “And since Natalia loves this kind of oxer, she’ll be going next to demonstrate what I’m about to tell you.”
Natalia is a great rider, but show jumping isn’t her strongest field. Scarlett knew that she was more of a cross country jumper. Natalia excelled at cross country, one of the highly valued portions of the competition, not jumping oxers. It wasn’t until recently that Scarlett had worked with her one on one on her jumping. She was improving, but she was still uncomfortable with the restricted spaces.
Cole explains, “Scarlett’s run would have been flawless if she had relaxed her heel. It brought Dawn down when they took off and if Dawn hadn’t been as well trained as she is, she would have knocked down a rail instead of putting more energy into her launch.” He looks at Natalia, “I’m not always this bossy and all of you know it, but we need to put our best efforts in if we are going to win. We will not come in second for the third year in a row.” Natalia stares at the oxer, but doesn’t move her horse, Cobalt, forward. Cole trots Luna up to Cobalt. “It’s okay, Natalia. Take a deep breath and trust Cobalt.”
She sighs, “I know how to jump it. I just don’t want to let anyone down.” Natalia scratches Cobalt’s ears. “I messed up at the last competition and brought our score down.”
“No one is perfect Natalia. We just have to try our best. If we do that, we’ve already given it our all and that’s enough for our team. We don’t need a trophy to celebrate. We just need to do our best.” Scarlett smiles from the pasture. She had always reminded Cole about her father’s inspirational words- if you give I your best, you’ve already won. Cole was always stressed out about competitions, so these few words would calm him down.
Scarlett joins the group, leaving her tools in the barrow, “Don’t worry about letting anyone down, Natalie. This is a practice session for a reason. We’re here to get better. And if you’re going to make a mistake, this is the best group to do in front of. We’re nothing like the riders at the Longwood Equestrian Facility. We’re a family. We stick together no matter what. And, we support each other no matter what. The score won’t matter at the end of the day, as long as we enjoy ourselves and do our best.” In that moment, the gate of the arena opens with a bang. Everyone turns to look at the arena entrance. Heather and Hunter gallop in on their horses.
“Sorry for interrupting, but we saw a Longwood truck coming this way. We ran here as fast as we could.” Hunter claims in between breaths.
Cole motions to the riders, “I want you guys to cool down your horses.” He looks at Hunter and Heather, “I want you two to check the property lines. I don’t want anyone trespassing. If anything needs a repair, take a photo of it and report back once you’re down.” Everyone disbands, and Cole walks towards the ranch office with Scarlett rushing ahead of him. He arrives just as Ginger Longwood’s truck pulls into their road in the distance. He puts down his helmet on the bench on the porch and waits for Ginger to pull onto the ranch land. Scarlett joins him as Ginger begins to walk up to the house. “What are you doing here Ms. Longwood?” Cole asks her in a deeper, more threatening voice.
“I’m here to offer you a deal you can’t refuse.”
Scarlett scoffs, “And what deal might that be?”
“I’m so glad you ask, dear. I’m willing to buy your ranch for 5 million dollars. Your team has lost to Longwood three years in a row. It makes no sense to continue running.” Ms. Longwood justifies her deal, but Scarlett shakes his head.
Cole argues, “There is no way the Goldens will sell. Take your money elsewhere and I would advise you to leave now.”
Scarlett waits for her to walk back to her truck until she runs into the stable offices. She explains the situation to Lincoln, her second stable manager, and asks him to contact her sister immediately.
“Hello? Is something wrong, Lincoln? Why are you calling me?” Savannah asks.
“I was expecting something along the lines of ‘Hi Lincoln. I really wish that I had asked you to come back to NYC with me, so we could finally go on that second date.’ I’ll forgive you, but you have to give me a date and time for us to have dinner in town.”
“Really Lincoln? I’m sort of busy here.”
“Anyways, Ginger stopped by offering five million for the ranch. She’s up to something and I’m going to figure out what, but until then, I just wanted to let you know she stopped by.”
“No need to investigate. It’s a classic move on her part.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ginger knows Scarlett and I will never sell. She used that as a cover up to look at the ranch to see how we’re doing. It’s how she counters us during competitions. If she sees even a little bit of how we were practicing, she can train her riders accordingly. It’s been like this every year and we don’t lose because of her schemes. We lose because their riders are trained to win. Cole and Scarlett train our riders to befriend a horse and enjoy their time on the ranch.”
“That’s sly for someone in her 40′s. Luckily, I told everyone to either check the fences or to cool down their horses, so she basically wasted her time.”
“I would recommend checking our cameras just in case. I have the security system in my office which Scarlett can access, and I have five backups to each camera so there’s no way she can get past us. Plus, they’re so well hidden by yours truly that there would be no way for her to even know about them.”
“Okay.” Lincoln writes down a few notes, but returns to the phone call, “Savannah, I wasn’t kidding about our date. I thought we had a great time together a few nights ago.” Cole walks into the office and turns on the air conditioner. “I was really hoping to prove my fine dining skills in New York.”
“Lincoln, you know I was just taking you out to dinner. I’m not really interested in anyone. I have a lot on my plate right now, so I don’t have time to even think about dates. I’m really sorry, Lincoln, but I guess I’m not your kind of girl.”
“I really like you, Savannah.” Lincoln plays with the computer mouse on his desk, not willing to let the only girl he’s ever had deep feelings for get away.
“And I like you to, but as a friend. You’re a great guy with a great heart and I’m sure there’s someone out there for you. It’s just not me. I have certain things I need to focus on.” The sound of a car horn sounds in the background. “I have to go, but Lincoln,”
“I’ll be back soon, once I’m done here, and I’ll talk to you about this. Okay?”
“Savannah, please just promise me that you’re going to keep an open mind about this.”
She sighs, “I always do, Lincoln. You’re charming, handsome, brave, caring, and stubborn. That’s only a handful of your qualities. I just don’t think that you’ll fit into my life.” She hangs up. Lincoln tosses his phone onto the couch near his desk and walks out of the house. Scarlett is still standing outside.
“You okay?” Scarlett could notice a sad face anywhere. She saw the face plenty of times as she watched her sister come home late at nights, tired and depressed.
“Your sister is a handful.” Lincoln looks up at Scarlett, but doesn’t let his anger claim his thoughts.
“She didn’t fire you, right?” Shock fills both of their eyes at her question. “Sorry, I shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions. What happened?”
“She’s making decisions about our relationship, thinking that I can’t handle her past or any kind of baggage she might come with.” He looks out at the grassy lands beyond his grasp. “I know she’s been through a lot. I don’t need the details to know she’s scared of getting hurt again or having someone take everything away from her, but I hate that she’s practically running away from her problems.”
“Did you tell her that? Honesty serves as the best policy with my sister. She thinks about everyone around her while ignoring her own needs. She has learned to make a loved one’s life better, even if it’s at the cost of her own. She needs someone to remind her occasionally that she needs to live for herself too.”
“I guess I’ll tell her how I feel when she comes back.” He sighs before heading back into the office, “I’m going to finish going through the files of the new horses. Then, I’m going to start preparing for our party tomorrow. You and Cole can take the truck out to get supplies.”
“Got it, Lincoln. And remember, I’m always here if you need me. I know the staff is small, but we got each others’ backs..”
Sadly, Lincoln had paired her with Cole, again, in which they would be within five meters of each other. Hopefully, it doesn’t get too awkward. It usually does.
Scarlett and Cole begin pushing the cart around Party City. They were planning a party to celebrate the beginning of their new riding season. They had walked through every aisle and not one thing entered their cart.
“What theme do you want to do?” Cole asks Scarlett as they turn around to travel down the candy aisle, one more time.
“I’m okay with any theme, but I feel like the team banners in the front of the store work the best. I’m sure Savannah will be back by Friday morning to unlock her DIY stash. She’s the most creative person I’ve ever met.”
“That stings, Lettiy Remember when I made that Mickey Mouse omelet?” She tries to stop tears from going down her cheeks, but she can’t help herself. “What’s wrong?” Cole stops the cart in a quiet corner and rubs her cheeks.
“I hate it when you call me that. It reminds me of all the good times we had which only remind me of what I can’t have with you.” She starts to push the cart towards the front of the store to grab the banners, but he stops her.
“Scarlett, if I regret anything, it would be agreeing to break up with you. We both agreed to keep our relationship professional, but I should have done more to convince you otherwise. But I also don’t want anything to happen to you or the ranch.” Cole helps her fix her hair and places a soft kiss on her cheek. He whispers in her ear, “How about we make a deal?” As if it were music to her ears, she looks up at him and smiles. “If Savannah opesn up to someone and falls in love, that means the universe is giving us the green light to get back together again. However, that also means we can’t interfere with her love life to sway our opinions. If your sister, no offense, manages to fall in love, it means we’re solid.”
“Deal. I know my sister has it in her to fall head over heels for someone, but it might take her longer. Just for her to admit that she has a boyfriend might take a while. How about we tighten the deal down to her admitting she’s dating someone?”
“Deal.” He begins to push the cart forward, “Now let’s get that banner and head back to the ranch. I can’t wait to see this turns out. Your crafting skills are better than Savannah’s skills, after all.
Back on the ranch, Cole and Scarlett are busy folding the banner up to put into storage. They can’t put it up tonight because of a storm, but at least it meant there would be clear skies tomorrow. Lincoln had just finished checking on the fifth barn, the closest one to the ranch house before he walks into the living room- after taking a hit from mother nature.
“You look like you went swimming in your riding clothes.” Cole jokes as he sees Lincoln come in. When Lincoln doesn’t call make fun of him like he usually does, he realizes that something is up. “What’s wrong man? Why the gloomy face?” Cole can sense the glares coming from Scarlett, but he ignores them.
“Savannah is just so hard to understand. One day you’re having a blast with her and the next she’s giving you the cold shoulder.” Lincoln pours himself a cup of tea from the counter next to the dining table. Cole and Scarlett look at each other, both of them desperately wanting to help him, but also wanting their deal to succeed naturally. “I’m surprised you two know-it-alls don’t have anything to say. I’m going to hit the hay earlier than usual tonight. I’ll be awake before you two jitter bugs anyway, so I don’t see the difference. Night you two.” Lincoln grabs his cup of tea and starts walking upstairs to his room. Cole and Scarlett scoot next to each other on the couch and look at each other.
“Cole, I can’t do this. Lincoln needs me help which means my sister needs my help. Look how miserable he is.” Scarlett moves closer to him but doesn’t look up at him.
“I know Letty. Let’s give it a few days after Savannah gets back before we stop this-”
“It isn’t worth it. Lincoln is your best friend and Savannah is my sister. We shouldn’t depend on their future to decide ours.” She gets up from the couch and walks over to the staircase. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Cole.”
“Good night, Scarlett. Early bird catches the worm.” He sees her laugh before walking upstairs. He sits on the couch for a few more minutes before closing the lights and heading upstairs himself. He knows that he wants Scarlett more than anything, but he also knows the dangers of loving her.
Cole wakes up to the sweet smell of honey in the house. Strange. For one thing, the ranch was far from a bee sanctuary. And for another thing, there was no way honey could be produced within the house, had the bees escaped. He crawls out of his bed and pulls on the first shirt he can get his hands on in his drawer. He rushes downstairs to see Scarlett and Luke flipping pancakes by the stove. Scarlett is wearing her pajamas- purple bear shorts and a light blue tank top, while Luke is shirtless and in his gym shorts. His blood begins to boil to see the two of them so close. He watches them from behind the staircase, trying to remain hidden. Scarlett walks closer to Luke until only an open drawer separates them.
“What are the plans for today?” He casually asks her as she starts to cut up strawberries and melons.
“I need to make some calls to our sponsors to invite them to the banquet on Saturday. I have to make sure everything is in order for that, arrange the performances, and work out a fundraising system. Not to mention, I have to make my rounds today and check on the horses after yesterday’s storm. And- “
Luke cuts her off, “Take a deep breath, Scarlett. You’re going to stress yourself out.”
“Too late for that, Luke.” Scarlett responds as she finishes up with the strawberries. She leans over the opened drawer, grabs the can of whipped cream behind him and lunges back while spraying his face in the process.
Cole holds back a groan from seeing the girl he loves acting playfully with another guy and walks off the stairs. “Morning guys! What’s going on here?” He tries to act surprised as he walks in between them, interrupting their game of ‘Catch the Pancake’.
As if on cue, a pancake drops onto his face, just as Scarlett says, “What goes up must come down.” She and Lincoln burst into laughter, leaving him to eat away at the delicious breakfast. “Morning Cole.” She smiles at him before walking over to the fridge and pouring him some fresh orange juice. “I know you love your juice. Luke already set up the party decorations with me this morning so that’s one thing off your list.” She turns to Luke, “Didn’t you also start checking out the fences and feeding the chickens?”
Luke combs back his hair with his hand, “Feeding chickens sounds easy when it’s first mentioned, but when you actually go into the pen to collect the eggs and feed them, it’s like a game of cat and mouse. I don’t know how you do it, Cole, but I got some scratches here and there. Needless to say, I’ve already brought the eggs to the storage unit so you’re pretty much free for about an hour. Scarlett and I took the herd of horses out early and before we came back here, we brought them back into the pasture.”
Scarlett and Luke were up early. If that wasn’t strange enough, they had been completing his chores together. He frowns but proceeds to drink his juice. “So, I guess I’ll start cleaning out the arena and feeding the horses.”
Scarlett pushes a plate of pancakes towards him on the counter, “Don’t you want breakfast? I even made some honey water to combat the spring allergies around here.”
That explains the smell, Cole thinks. “No it’s okay, Scarlett. I’ll get something later. The horses should eat before me anyways. It’s how I get them to eat. I pretend, most of the time, to eat their food.” He walks out of the house to see a German Shepherd sitting out on the porch. Cole turns around, “Scarlett! Link! Why is there a dog on the front steps?”
The two of them walk outside to see what he’s talking about. Luke immediately bends down to pet the down while Scarlett looks at the collar. “This is Jacquie’s dog according to this tag.” Scarlett looks up at him, shocked. “Your sister doesn’t seem to be like the kind to just abandon her dog, not that I even knew about this little guy here.” Lincoln continues to pet the Shepherd, but Scarlett gets up from the floor.
“I’ll call my sister.” Before Cole can reach into his pocket for his cell, someone jumps on his back from behind. Instinctively, he grabs their legs to keep them from falling.
“Nice catch, big bro.”