Unexpected Love

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Holding Back

Sarah and Martha had spent the entire last half of the day in the garden. She had taken some time when she was sitting at Sterling's bedside to sketch out a diagram of the garden plot and had decided where everything should go. So now it was just a matter of putting the trellises back up and planting the seeds. Sarah and Martha had gotten into a good rhythm and were finished planting in no time. Martha went in to begin on dinner and Sarah finished up with watering. Sarah stood on the porch, hands on hips, and smiled at her new little garden. She was proud of it. "Fingers crossed that you grow." She said to the garden as she turned to walk in the house.

She was sweaty and covered in dirt. Sarah decided since she had time before dinner that she would head upstairs to change and wash off a bit and check on Sterling.

Sarah gently tapped on the door before letting herself in. "Sterling, it’s just me." She said quietly in case he was asleep.

"Come on in,” he replied.

Sarah walked in and gave him a smile. "How are you feeling?"

"Bored out of my mind,” Sterling exclaimed with a roll of his eyes.

Sarah laughed, "Some rest is good for you. Garrett and your father have things taken care of." Sarah turned and pulled some clean clothes out of the large armoire. "You just focus on getting yourself better."

"Busy day?" Sterling asked, eyeing the layer of dirt on her clothes and face.

"Mhm,” she smiled, "I'm going to go wash up and then I'll see if Martha has your dinner ready."

"Thank you Sarah." Sterling touched her hand as she walked by. She replied with a gentle smile.

Sarah closed the door to the little powder room. Leaning against the door she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. His kindness had an affect on her and it made her whole body tingle when he touched her hand. "No," she whispered to herself. "He did this before. He starting to be kind, and then went right back to being cold and distant." Sarah huffed, "I'm not playing this game."

Sarah stripped out of her dirty clothes. She washed her face and used a rag to wipe down her arms and the dirt at her ankles. Then she got dressed, pulling on her light blue dress that made her eyes pop.

She pulled half of her hair up and then made her way out of the powder room. "Are you good on water? Do I need to refill your pitcher?" She asked, turning to Sterling. Sterling was just staring, his eyes locked on her face.

"What? Did I miss some dirt?" she asked, touching her hands to her face.

"No, you just look nice,” Sterling answered, offering a small smile.

Sarah stood in shock, did he hit his head too? she thought to herself. She shook her head clear and then walked around to bed to check his pitcher. It was still about halfway full so she left it.

"I'll be back up with your dinner." And Sarah left the room.

She walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. "Martha do we have a tray for Sterling yet?"

Martha nodded, "It's right here, I just need to grab a couple of rolls for him. They'll be out of the oven in just a minute." She looked up, "How is he doing?"

Sarah chuckled, "He's bored. I think sitting in bed all day is against his character."

Martha laughed, "Well maybe tomorrow you can see if he is strong enough to make it down to the front porch. He can sit on one of the rockers and watch the work on the ranch."

"That's a good idea," Sarah said. Martha grabbed the rolls from the tray and placed two on Sterling's tray. "There you go." She said, clapping her hands.

"Thank you Martha." Sarah smiled to her friend as she walked back out of the kitchen and up stairs.

"I have dinner," Sarah sang as she opened the door to the bedroom. Sterling put down the book he was reading and gave her a tired smile. "Okay, today we have braised roast with carrots and potatoes. Rolls and some green beans. Eat up, get yourself healthy." She smiled. As Sterling began to eat she asked, "What do you think of trying to get downstairs tomorrow? You can sit on the rocker on the front porch and watch the work around the ranch. I bet the fresh air would do you some good."

"I like that idea. I don't think I've ever been inside this long in my life." He said sarcastically.

Sarah smiled, "Okay, well enjoy. I'll be back up after dinner to grab your tray."

Sterling called after her as she turned to leave. "Sarah, can you send Garrett up after dinner? I have a few things I need to go over with him."

"Yes, I'll tell him." Sarah walked out the door and back down.

Brick and Garrett had just taken their seats at the dining table. Sarah sat down, giving them both a warm smile. "How's our boy been today?" Brick asked.

"He had some pain this morning, but he seems to be doing a lot better." Sarah replied, "Tomorrow we are going to see if he has the strength to make it downstairs and sit out on the porch for a while."

"Good, good," Brick said, cutting into his meat.

"Oh and Garrett," Sarah turned to him, "Sterling is asking that you go up and have a chat after dinner."

Garrett nodded his head, "Will do."

After dinner Sarah and Brick made their way to the sitting room while Garrett headed up to talk to Sterling.

"How are you feeling my girl?" Brick asked, handing Sarah a small glass of sherry.

"I'm alright. I feel like this whole disaster was my fault and I think I'm overcompensating. I think he's getting tired of me." Sarah laughed.

Brick scoffed, “Sarah my dear, it was not your fault! You're the whole reason he's even alive. And he's not getting tired of you. You and I both know he would have said so."

"True..." She trailed off, taking a sip of her drink.

Sarah walked upstairs when she saw Garrett head back down, carrying his tray.

"Hi, it’s me," she said as she opened the door slowly.

"Come in Sarah." Sterling said quietly, she could hear the tiredness in his voice.

She walked in to see him lying back in the bed, his eyes closed.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know you were trying to sleep. I'll go."

Sterling sat up, "Nonsense, I was just resting my eyes for a minute. Do what you need to do."

Sarah gathered her nightgown and a change of clothes for the next day. As she headed out the door she turned and gave him a warm smile. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight? Where are you going?" Sterling questioned.

"I'm sleeping in the spare bedroom next to your father's." Sarah replied, "You're healing and I don't want to disturb you or accidentally bump your wound. You need some space."

"Sarah that's ridiculous, I'm not going to kick you out of your room. Stay in here." he said, patting the spot next to him on the bed.

"Maybe in a few days when you're doing better. Goodnight."

Sterling sighed, "Goodnight."

Sarah made her way to the other room and closed the door. She had held back. He actually looked disappointed she wouldn't be there with him, but Sarah needed some space to get her head back on straight. He was being so kind she was having a hard time trying to hold herself back from holding his hand or giving him a kiss on his cheek.

Sarah let out a sigh. "You can't let yourself fall for him. He doesn't want you, " she said to herself and then went to bed.

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