I clucked the horse forward as he went into a trot around the circle pen on the lunge rope. As much as I need to focus on watching the horse’s movements and be focused on the horse’s workout to ensure he doesn’t overwork I couldn’t help my mind drift back to the new worker… Tatt.
Shaking my head to keep him away I focused back on the horse and what I am supposed to be doing. I have had the horse rehab centre for over three years now; it had always been a dream of mine and after moving from Boston I knew this life would be the only way to bring peace back to Sienna’s and my life. So, on Sienna’s seventh birthday a year after everything went down I packed my car and drove across the country ending here to buy the horse barn from the old man who was selling it. Three years later and I am finally successful enough with a good client list that I am not scraping by but comfortable. I have had good workers for me but since my only full-time worker got deployed I had been depended on the community service program. I had talked to Sienna about it asking if she wanted strangers around the farm, with her at school she would rarely see them if they were here at the week, yet Tatt is coming on the weekends since he has his own job. But my baby girl has a heart of gold and wants to help anyone who comes through those barn doors. And yes, I have cried countless times over it because no matter our past she always tries to see the good.
This place has a way of rehabilitating the people and not just the horses, Sienna who can now be herself and me, so why not offer it to others who are in trouble as well. Just like Tatt. He owns his own tattoo parlour which I hear is success yet here he is serving his time for the court.
God Tatt… he just had to be a MC biker who obviously knows hotly attractive he is. That blonde hair that he runs his hands through, the tattoos on his body, that confident look as he took his duty in knowing that he would actually work and not slack. He definitely doesn’t want to be here, no one wants to be community services but when I came back to check on him he was doing ever thing 100%. And the only reason why I went to check on him was to ensure he was working and okay, totally not because he is attractive. Nope not that reason.
He’s a criminal! That’s why he is here! And men, have I learned nothing from before what can happen when they are displeased? How they can be attractive, nice and then have another side to them? I will never let anything happen to Sienna, never again. Never. Again. No matter the blond, sexy, hot biker in his tight tank top and jeans. His perfectly carved body passing me by every once in a while, when I see him passing emptying wheel barrows or gathering hay for paddocks.
Why did I do this? He is a criminal. A sexy criminal mind you but a criminal. Yes, I desperately need help on the barn but despite assurances that he would be fine, I shouldn’t have taken the risk with him around Sienna. Usually the criminals who come here are ‘criminals’ loosely with just petty theft and other misdemeanour crimes but not Tatt’s crime. I was just that desperate for workers to agree to a biker with his record. That and Sienna saw his file and said we have to take him on since he looks ‘badass enough for her Avengers team’.
But as I told him, he will not be getting into my pants so this inner thought must stop.
With a small hand movement, the horse came to a walk heading in to me at the centre. Well at least I can still do this right. Taking the horse inside to the barn and letting him into his stall I was about to ask Sienna if she wanted to cool him down when I realized the entire barn was quiet. Too quiet.
Glancing at the watch on my wrist I see that it’s past noon meaning Sienna must be having lunch but where’s Tatt? A fear struck me that this random criminal stranger is with my daughter making me close the latch on the stall door before jogging to my house next to the barn. Getting there as fast as I could in case something was wrong. What kind of mother lets her daughter around a stranger?!
As I sprinted out of the barn I made it to the house in under a minute, my hand opening the door to the mud room ready to find my daughter.
“It’s not wrong.” I heard Tatt scoff.
“It’s not right either.” Sienna mumbled.
“It’s right. See you put the ketchup at the bottom of the bowl then you put the mac cheese on top of it. That way you eat mac and cheese with hotdog regular but then when you want the ketchup it’s on the bottom ready for you. It’s a perfect balance since you control the mixing.”
Speed walking into the kitchen I find Sienna and Tatt sitting at the kitchen table with empty bowls and a pot of mac and cheese with hotdogs on a heating pad. Tatt holds a bottle of Ketchup that is already in his bowl while Sienna tapped her chin thoughtfully.
Something hits me at this image, I wasn’t sure how but Sienna already took a liking to this man. And she very rarely like any men yet she has already adopted Tatt into the farm. But that wasn’t just the only reason there was something about this image of this man taking time to help my daughter.
Shove it down.
This is not a romance movie where the woman sees the man and the sun comes out of her life for both of them, love at first sight. No. This is real life and he is here helping me with the barn and I am content with my rabbit.
… Can I trust myself to have eye candy and not act on it?
“Mommy! Is it right to put ketchup on the bottom of the bowl?” My little girl asked me seriously like this was a serious debate that will affect her entire life. “Tatt says it’s the best way but I like zigzagging it on top.”
Tatt put his hands up in surrender seeing how seriously Sienna was taking this, “hey never said it was wrong just offered a solution to when you said you put too much ketchup on. Hello Raven.”
Looking between them my nerves relaxed as I saw nothing was wrong, “Afternoon Tatt, I did warn you that she would make you cook. Sienna, maybe you could try it his way then you can compare it to make your final decision on what is the best way.”
Sienna just nodded holding her empty bowl out, “ketchup me biker boy.”
Tatt chuckled, “As you wish little darlin’.”
I took a deep breath to prevent any chuckle that would rise at the two interacting and walked to the fridge, opening it up to grab the extra salad that was from last night’s dinner. Just because he acts well with my daughter doesn’t mean I can be swayed by his looks.
“What crime did you do?” I heard Sienna ask through her mouthful of food making me spin around to her.
“Sienna you don’t ask people that. Apologize to Tatt, that is none of your business.” I scolded her as Tatt chuckled softly making me flush with embarrassment.
Sienna looked at me then Tatt before turning back to me and began to sign; her hearing isn’t the best but her father never allowed any money to spend on her so we signed until a few years ago, till I got her hearing aids and she felt safe to speak. “But I need it for my delinquent bingo!”
My eyebrow cocked up as I looked at her, delinquent bingo? Her vocabulary is good for her to know ‘delinquent’ with the wide range of books she reads. I shake my head signing back, “Delinquent bingo?”
“Yeah, I created a bingo sheet of crimes for each of the workers we get.” She smiled at me bouncing in her chair and looking at Tatt who was eating his food looking back and forth between us confused. Why do I have a feeling I need to apologize for keeping him out of the loop?
I bite my lip to keep myself from laughing at his expression when he couldn’t gather any indignation of our conversation, “no asking people about their crime. Apologize.”
Sienna just sighed looking to the man, “Sorry Tatt.”
Tatt just chuckled softly at her mumbled apology as he ate his food, “It’s okay little darlin’. Should I be worried that you two were talking about me?”
Sienna dropped her fork as I sat next to her placing my hand on her head to run through her hair to stop any fear she may get from saying the wrong thing or having signed around him. No matter how many years pass there is still that fear in her. “Nothing to be worried about Tatt, us girls need our own secret code isn’t that right my little one?”
I glanced back to Tatt as I saw Sienna fidgeting on her chair but he was watching us carefully making me annoyed. I don’t need someone coming in seeing past scars and thinking they can save us. Previous workers did their work and time than left; their heads down. But this is his first day and he is already looking into it. Why does he need to care?
“You know little darlin’ your moms right,” Sienna looked to him picking her fork up with a tilted head, “my sisters at the club, Princess and Doc got annoyed with all us guys growing up, so much so that they learned Morse code and tapped to each other when they were with us to complain about us.”
Sienna gasped, “and you don’t get mad?”
Tatt shook his head, “mad no, worried they are going to pull a prank on me, yes. Anytime I hear them tapping I get out of there fast.” He winked at her making Sienna chuckle, her body relaxed without the memories of her father.
“Did they do anything bad?” She asked bouncing in her chair from excitement now, I still am perplexed about her comfort level with him.
The biker let out a deep groan, “Oh there are some stories but none of them would be appropriate to tell you little darlin’. But let’s just say it’s not smart to anger a hacker and a medical student; they will screw you up.”
Sienna gave a little mischievous smile, “can I be their friends and learn their ways? I don’t know Morse code but I can learn it, mommy can I get a book about it.”
Tatt chuckled giving her a wink, “I have a book I can give you as long as you don’t tell them I learned it, I need some protection if I can’t have a clean get away. After you learn it I can introduce you to them, they are always saying there needs to be another girl in the mix.”
My little one bobbed her head fast, “deal! Your secret is safe with me.”
Hearing a truck backing up Tatt looks out of the kitchen window that looked towards the barn, “that delivery you mentioned is here, I’ll go handle it.”
Before I could say anything, Tatt got up placing his food in the fridge before heading out of the front door to sign for the hay delivery. Once I knew he was gone I looked back to Sienna who was humming as she mixed the ketchup with her food.
“You okay sweetie? If you don’t like him being around you tell me.”
Sienna looked up shaking her head, “no I like him, I have earned ten dollars from his swearing today. Plus, you always say to give people chances so that’s what I’ll do give him a chance.”
I chuckled taking a bit of my salad, maybe I should tell her the money goes into the swear jar and only applied to her but I think I will let this slide. “Sometimes I think you are more mature than I am.”
Movement caught my eye making me look up towards the barn seeing Tatt take of his shirt as he took the chain to lift the hay up to the outer attic door.
Fuck. that body should be illegal. Why did he have to be so focused on doing his work and slack off. Yet there he is cutting his lunch to help with hay going into the barn. The way his body flexed when he lifted and strapped up the hay had me crossing my legs.
No, no, no, no. Stop he is the worker, criminal worker. He is here to help out to the barn that’s it.
THAT IS IT.
I looked back to Sienna who was humming the Avengers themes song while she ate making me smile. She’s my life’s greatest achievement and I’ll always do something to keep her safe. Getting interested in my worker is something that I would never have time for and to keep her safe why would I want to be involved with a criminal biker.
… two weeks of this argument in my head has begun.