New friends and New Enemies
Sterling woke at 5am, shaking Sarah awake.
“You still want to go out?”
Sarah groaned, “it’s still dark outside..” before rolling over.
“By the time we’re up and ready and get the horses saddled it’ll be light. Get up lazy.”
Sarah stretched and got out of bed. She splashed some water on her face to help wake herself and then got dressed, putting on her most comfortable dress she used for riding.
She grabbed some biscuits off the counter in the kitchen and made her way to the barn.
“Biscuit?” She asked, offering one to Sterling. Sterling took it and had a bite,”Thanks.”
“Which one is mine?” she asked.
“That one over there, her name is Sonny.” He pointed to a pretty palomino. She smiled and walked over to the stall. “Hi pretty girl,” she said getting close to let the horse sniff her hand and she spent a few minutes giving her a good rub. After she felt they were comfortable with each other she laid a blanket on the horses back and then lifted the heavy saddle and placed it on Sonny’s back. After hooking the straps she put on the horses bridle and led the horse out of the barn. Climbing on the horse she gave her a pat and looked to Sterling, “Lead on.”
They rode for a while, Sarah taking in the land. It was actually quite beautiful, just in a different way she was used to. The grasses and golden fields mixed with rocks and creeks. “It’s beautiful out here,” she said as they stopped to catch their breath.
“It really is,” Sterling replied leaning forward in his saddle and resting his arms on the horn. “It’s my favorite place. You feel small out here and close to God- it has a calming effect.”
Sarah was surprised, that was the most he had spoken to her since arriving in Texas.
Checking the time he turned to her, “We need to be heading back. Enough living for you?” he smirked.
Sarah closed her eyes and took a deep breath before meeting his deep blue eyes. “No,” she smiled, “but we each have work to do today. So let’s head back.”
They rode back and when they could see the house she slowed and turned to Sterling. “You know we are married right?”
“Oh, I know.” Sterling rolled his eyes.
“We don’t know each other and this is weird being just thrown in together... but could we at least be civil with each other? Maybe become friends?” Sarah looked at him while he sat in silence for a minute or two.
“I guess I don’t see why we couldn’t be civil,” he finally replied making Sarah give a small smile.
“Good, now let’s go in and have some breakfast, I’m starving.”
After putting the horses away they made their way into the house.
“Thanks again for today, I haven’t ridden in months, it was amazing,” Sarah smiled
“It’s been a while since I just took a ride as well.” Sterling replied, running his hand through his dark hair.
“Well...” Sarah offered, “Why don’t we make it a weekly thing? What’s your least busy day? We can pick a day and every week go out that morning for a ride.”
Sterling thought for a minute before he opened the door to the house, “It’s a good idea, Thursday’s are probably the least busy- at least in the mornings. Alright, deal.”
Sarah beamed. Finally she was getting somewhere with this stranger of a man.
As they walked into the house, faces flushed from the ride, Brick hollered at them from the dining room, “I was wondering where you two disappeared to...”
“Sorry Brick, we went for a ride this morning.”
“A ride? Good, good. Glad you two are taking some time together.”
Sarah sat down in her usual seat and filled her plate. The ride had left her famished. “Actually Brick I was wondering how busy you are today.”
“Never too busy for my favorite daughter-in-law. What do you need?”
Sarah chuckled, “Brick I’m your only daughter-in-law, I’m the favorite by default.” That made Brick laugh. “Actually I was wondering if you would take me into town today. Martha and I are going to fix up that back garden and I need to get some seeds along with a few other things.”
She turned to Sterling, “I would have asked you, but I’ve already taken up so much of your time this morning.” Sterling replied with a small smile.
“Oh don’t worry about it, I’d love to my girl. That garden needs some love. It’ll make me happy to see it thrive again,” Brick smiled warmly.
After breakfast Sarah and Brick climbed into the wagon and headed south to town. Their small post wasn’t much. It boasted a hotel with a saloon, a school, a post office, a general store, a blacksmith and livery, and of course the train station.
They pulled in to the general store and Brick hopped down and walked around to help Sarah off the wagon. They walked inside and were greeted with a friendly hello.
“Mr. Evans! What brings you to town today?” The store owner asked.
“Miles, I’m here with my new daughter-in-law to buy a few things. Where are you hiding the seed bins?”
“Oh! This must be her! Such a lovely girl. Welcome Mrs. Evans. Please help yourself to the seed bins, they’re over there lining the back wall by the stairs.”
“Thank you Mr. Miles.” Sarah gave him a sweet smile and then walked to the seeds. They had so many different things so she decided to stick to what she knew and what she loved. She knew it was the end of summer and it would be cooling down a bit, so she grabbed some heartier vegetables. Winter squash, pumpkins, green beans, collard greens, turnips, potatoes, beets, and carrots. She was happy with her picks and strolled back up to the counter. Brick added a few things to the lot like coffee and flour, and Sarah grabbed a bag of grits. With their score of goods they made their way to the post office where she sent off a letter to her parents informing them she had settled and a long letter to Katie. She was determined to keep her promise to write every week and was looking forward to Katie’s letter in return.
Leaving the post office they met a group of young ladies, all near Sarah’s age.
“Good morning Mr. Evans,” the girls giggled as they walked by.
Brick tipped his hat, “Good morning ladies.”
A tall, beautiful girl stepped up, “Mr. Evans who is your friend?” She looked Sarah up and down before turning back to Brick.
“Hello Missy, this is Sterling’s wife Sarah, I just brought her to town to run a few errands.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Sarah smiled warmly, holding out a hand.
Missy’s eyes were wide, “You’re Sterling’s wife?” She asked, ignoring Sarah’s offer of a handshake.
Sarah grinned tightly, “Yes, we were married two weeks ago in Atlanta.”
The girls gasped and started whispering to each other. Missy looked as though her head would explode. “You expect us to believe that he picked... you?” She gave a disgusted look.
“Oh honey, bless your heart.” Sarah laying on her Southern sass real thick. “You expect us to believe that he would have picked you?”
Missy recoiled and the girls gasped. Brick laughed out loud, “Good day ladies.” And he helped Sarah on to the wagon. Sarah gave a cheeky smile, “good day ladies.”
They drove away, Brick still laughing at the scene that had just played out before him. “My girl, that was the best thing I’ve seen all week!”
Sarah smiled, “The best thing I learned from my mother- how to use sass and a quick comeback. What was their problem?”
Brick adjusted his hat, “Well you see Missy has had her eyes set on Sterling since they were in primary school. They were an item on and off for a while, but Sterling ended things with her for final right before we left for Atlanta. She’s just sore that you got him.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “Lovely.”