The First Night
As Sarah finished setting the table she heard the door open and the men speaking loudly as they all piled into the house.
Brick poked his head into the dining room, “Sarah! Dinner ready?”
“Almost, I think you have time to wash up if you like.” She laughed, spying the layer of dirt covering every inch of her father-in-law.
“Oh good. Wrestled with a few calves today.” Brick smiled before heading upstairs. Sarah followed him out of the room, smiling, and practically crashed into a wall of a man. “Oh!” she gasped. Turning around she looked up to meet the eyes of her husband. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you come in.” Sarah said, straightening dress and then herself. “Dinner will be ready soon, you have time to change and wash up a bit if you like.”
“Hmm.” Sterling walked past her and up the stairs.
“You’re welcome,” she muttered and headed through the dining room and into the kitchen. “Is there anything you need help with Martha? I feel quite useless.”
Martha smiled. “Just waiting for everything to come out of the oven. You can help me carry everything out when it’s all done though.”
The men filed down ten minutes later, Sarah had just finished carrying in the roasted chicken when they entered the dining room. Brick walked past her, placing a kind hand on her shoulders before taking his seat at the head of the table. Sterling and Garrett sat down on either side of him and Sarah hesitantly took her seat next to Sterling.
“How was your afternoon gentleman?” she asked as she settled into her seat.
They all nodded. “It was fine, lots of strong calves this year which means a promising herd next year.”
“Always a good thing!” Garrett chimed in.
Sarah smiled and turned to her husband, “Wrestle some calves yourself today?” she teased. She was met with a humph. “No, I had to do everything else while these bums played with calves.”
All three men chuckled and the group ate their meal. At the end Martha came in to clear some dishes from the table. “Amazing as always Martha,” Brick said cheerfully leaning back in his seat.
“Thank you Mr. Brick. How about y’all go sit in the living room and I’ll bring you your custards.”
“Custard too? Martha marry me!” Garrett joked making Sarah and Martha laugh.
“You couldn’t handle me Mr. Garrett,” Martha teased sarcastically. “The custard is to welcome Miss Sarah to the ranch!”
They all laughed and then walked into the sitting room. Garrett went to the liquor cart and poured each person a small glass of brandy.
“Here you go Miss Sarah.”
Sarah smiled, “Thank you Garrett.”
She sat on the couch as Brick cleared his throat. “Alright y’all. Sarah we are so glad to have you as a part of our family. This group of rowdy men need a woman’s touch, there hasn’t been one in quite a while.” He paused for a minute and Sarah placed her hand on his arm gently. “Anyway, welcome to the ranch my girl! We’re looking forward to getting to know you.” With that he raised his glass along with the rest of the room and they all toasted to Sarah. Even though she was unsure about her new husband, she felt welcomed and even a little loved. They all chatted lightly as they ate their custards until Brick gave a yawn.
“Alright y’all. Early morning tomorrow, I’ll see you at breakfast.” Brick said, standing and making his way out of the room.
Sterling stood and began to walk out of the room.
“Goodnight Garrett,” Sarah said making her way up the stairs to follow her husband.
“Night y’all,” Garrett said before making his way out back.
Sarah made her way into her bedroom and closed the door behind her. She heard Sterling in the washroom and so she took the opportunity to change into her nightgown.
She grabbed her things and then slipped behind the dressing shade. She attempted to get her dress off but the top button on her back was out of reach. She huffed and shuffled until she heard Sterling step out of the washroom.
She peeked out from behind the dressing shade. “Uhm... I need help... the button is stuck.” Sarah said meekly, blush forming on her cheeks when she saw him. Sterling was shirtless, wiping his face with a rag.
“I don’t think...”
“You’re going to make me sleep in this dress? Please, just this top button.” Sarah pleaded, embarrassed she even had to ask him. Sterling huffed and walked around the shade. She turned around and swept her long golden hair over her shoulder. His fingers brushed the base of her neck as he undid the button at the top, making her dress fall. She took a sharp breath. “Thank you,” she whispered, fully aware that he was seeing her in her undergarments. Sterling quickly walked away and Sarah rushed to pull on her nightdress. Her hands were shaking, she had never kissed a man let alone slept in the same bed as one.
She walked around the dressing shade to the bed and climbed under the covers. They both laid there, clutching the blankets until Sterling turned, facing his back to her. “Goodnight” he said, reaching for his lamp. Sarah sighed reaching for her lamp as well, “Goodnight.”
The next morning she woke to find herself alone in bed. She splashed her face and brushed her hair, tying half of it up. She threw on a light blue dress and headed down the stairs.
“Good morning Sarah,” Brick smiled, looking over his paper at her. Sarah sat in the seat she was in the evening before. “Good morning Papa Brick. Where are the others?”
Brick laughed, “Garrett and Sterling are up at 5am. They’ll be in in a bit for breakfast.” He pulled his paper back up and continued reading as Sarah scooped food onto her plate. Just as she began eating the men walked in. She could hear them stomping the dust off their boots as they entered the house.
“Morning y’all,” Garret chimed.
“Mornin’,” Sterling said before sitting down between Sarah and Brick.
As they were finishing breakfast Sarah turned to the three men. “Alright boys. I’m not sure what there is to do, but what can I do to help you? I don’t want to just sit around the house all day... I’m not one for knitting.”
Brick laughed, “You are surprising. Who knew Sterling, your pretty wife would ask for some hard work.” Sarah blushed at his joke.
“Well you can brush down the horses.” Sterling commented, not sure how much she could actually do.
Sarah nodded, “Will do. Anything else?”
The men all looked at each other confused. Sarah rolled her eyes. “Well, Brick, what did your wife do all day?”
Sterling flinched. “Don’t speak of her like you know her. You aren’t a part of this family.” He pushed his plate away and got up from his chair.
“Sit down now!” Brick yelled. Sterling sat reluctantly with a glare.
“I’m sorry,” Sarah began, “I didn’t think that would be such a hurtful question...”
“Nonsense Sarah.” He smiled warmly and then turned to Sterling, glaring. “Again you dismiss that girl as though she is nothing. If your mother was here she’d smack you for even thinking it and you know it! Apologize to your wife... and give her a kiss.”
Sarah and Sterling both stared at him in shock and began to protest when he held up his hand. “No no no. You two make up. Sterling- go on.”
Sterling let out a breath. “I’m sorry Sarah.”
Sterling turned to her and placed a small peck on her cheek. Sarah could feel herself blush but the kiss was over as fast as it started.
“That’s better. Now you be nice or I’ll take you to the woodshed.” He teased. Garrett let out a small chuckle.