In the morning after breakfast Sarah and Brick were upstairs, attempting to help Sterling out of bed and down the stairs to the front porch.
He did alright as long as he didn't put any pressure on his injured leg. So it was slow going. When they finally made it outside and sat Sterling down into the rocking chair, all three of them were winded.
"Well," Sarah breathed, hands on her hips, "How is that?"
Sterling smiled, "It's great. Thank you."
Sarah smiled warmly and headed back in the house.
Brick took that moment to sit down next to his son. "I saw that." he smirked.
"Saw what?" Sterling asked innocently.
"You and she are getting along nicely don't you think?" Brick asked.
Sterling sighed. "Pop, I'm an idiot."
Brick laughed, slapping Sterling on the back, "Boy, I could have told you that!"
"I don't know what changed, but I know I need to fix this thing between us." Then Sterling muttered, "She doesn't believe that I'm not going anywhere."
"Well why would she? You haven't given her any reason to believe you. All you've done since she got here was make things hard for her." Brick responded, "You're going to have to be kind to that girl and show her every day that you want her here."
"I know." Sterling said quietly.
Sarah walked on to the front porch with some glasses. "Sweet tea?" She offered, handing them each a glass.
"Thank you dear," Brick smiled.
"Yes, thank you." Sterling smiled as well.
Sarah eyed them both, "What are you two up to?"
Brick laughed, "Nothing. Just having a talk. Come sit, keep him company. I've got some work to do with Garrett on the east side."
"Yes sir." She replied, taking his seat as he got up. Brick left, but not before giving Sterling a good warning stare.
Sarah closed her eyes for a minute. "It's nice here in the shade." Sterling watched her. Her cheeks were flushed and he could see the rise and fall of her chest as she took deep, relaxing breaths.
"How do you do that?" Sterling asked.
"Do what?" She opened her eyes and looked at him.
"Just sit like that. I go crazy just sitting here." Sterling watched her reaction.
Sarah laughed. "Remember what I said before? It's a balance of work and living. This is the living part. I'm relaxed because I know that later I'm going to work hard. So I'm taking time for me." She turned to Sterling, "You should try it sometime. You work too much."
Sterling laughed, "Thats ranch life. There's always something to take care of, something to fix, something to work."
"You're saying you can't spare ten minutes a day to just sit on the porch and enjoy what's around you?"
Sterling thought before answering, "I guess it depends on who I'm sitting with." He turned to Sarah with a sly grin.
Sarah laughed, "Oh, well in that case I'll go bring your father back to sit with you."
Sterling laughed and grabbed her hand as she got up, the force making her fall into his lap. Sterling put one hand on her lower back and one across her legs, making her give him a shocked look. “You are the only company I need.” He spoke low and almost in a whisper. Sarah inhaled sharply, the closeness made her nervous.
She pushed herself out of his lap and walked across the porch, her face flustered. “I, uhm, I have some things to do, I’ll check in later.” And with that she walked quickly into the barn and away from him.
Sarah just about burst through the barn door, her face flushed. “What on earth was that?” She said out loud. She grabbed her brush and walked over to the first stall. She took a deep breath and then unlatched it. “Hey there beauty,” she said sweetly to the horse and stroked its face before giving it a good brush. She brushed all six horses down, giving them each the attention they needed. The work had calmed her, but she was nervous again knowing that she would have to see him in order to get back in the house. She decided to just walk around the house to get to the back. She needed to water the garden anyway. Sarah grabbed her watering can and headed to the spout. After filling it she made her way down the first row. She repeated this until the garden was finished. Then Sarah made her way inside to the kitchen.
“How’s it going Martha?”
“Hi Sarah,” Martha didnt look up, she was mixing something together in a bowl.
“Need any help with lunch?
“No, dear. Thank you though.” She looked up, a bit winded and wiped some hair from her face. She looked irritated.
“Martha what’s the matter?” Sarah asked.
Martha huffed. “Men are such idiots.”
Sarah laughed, “I think these men in particular have just forgotten how to deal with us.”
“He just.. he makes me so angry sometimes.” Martha fumed.
“How about I go give Sterling his lunch and you grab some sweet teas and something delicious for us and we’ll go sit in the back and have a talk.” Sarah offered, knowing it would also help her keep her distance from the ever confusing man on the front porch.
Martha smiled, “That would be nice.”
Sarah nodded her head and then grabbed Sterling’s plate and a lemonade.
“Ready for lunch?” She asked as she walked out the front door. Sterling turned to see her and a smile spread across his face.
“Wonderful. Are you going to eat with me?” He asked.
“I would but Martha is having a hard day, so we are going to go out back and have a chat.” Sarah gave him a smile and then walked back in, “Enjoy!”
She heard Sterling mumble something in reply and she made her way to the back porch. Martha was sitting there with two plates and some large glasses of sweet tea. Sarah sat down, taking a plate and a cup.
“Okay,” she sighed, “what is going on hun?”
“That man is going to be the death of me.” Martha rolled her eyes.
“What man?” Sarah was confused. “I didn’t know you were interested in anyone. Who is it?”
Martha gave Sarah a look that made her think she should know. “It’s Garrett, of course.”
“Wait what?” Sarah was so lost. “When did that even happen?”
“Eh.” Martha leaned back in her chair, “it’s been off and on for the better part of a year.”
“Well what did he do? Do I need to smack some sense into him?” Sarah teased
Martha laughed, “Yes!” Then she looked down, a little sad. “He thinks that in order for us to be together he needs his own land with his own herd, not where he is as the head rancher.”
“Is Brick paying you both fairly?” Sarah asked, already knowing that he probably was, he was an honest man.
“And then some!” Martha continued, “Garrett is one of the highest paid ranchers in the area. And I make a good wage as a cook, I love my job here.”
“He should talk with Brick. I bet they could come to some sort of arrangement.” Sarah thought out loud.
“That’s a good idea.” Martha took a sip of her sweet tea.
“I am sorry though. Men sure can be frustrating.” Sarah rolled her eyes.
Martha laughed, “Don’t you know it. You have your hands full with that one. Stubborn as a mule he is.” She nodded her head toward the direction of Sterling.
Sarah laughed, “Not lately though. Something has changed but I’m not sure what.”
Martha smiled, “Well maybe you finally cracked through that shell of his. I’ve never seen someone try to dislike anyone as hard as he did with you. Apparently you got through.”
“Maybe..” Sarah sighed. “I’m just waiting for it to go back to the way it was before. Him being cold and just constantly irritating.”
“I hear that.” Martha raised her tea glass and Sarah raised hers in reply.