Shopping with Sadie wasn't as bad as I predicted. She wasn't rude like I thought she'd be, and when I offered suggestions of what to buy, she listened to me. I wondered if it was because of what happened earlier in her car.
I'd upset her. I know I had. Her face had been pale, her expression strained because she'd been trying so hard not to seem sad. But I'd felt the delicate tremor in her fingers under my hand, I'd watched as she took those short, choppy breaths. Her mom's death was still bothering her, even after eight years. I wanted to know how she'd died, but I didn't want to push her any farther.
All I knew was that Sadie was intriguing me. Everytime I would assume something about her, she'd prove me wrong. I still didn't like her. But I did want to know more about her.
What was the harm in that?
***We didn't arrive back at the ranch until a quarter past four. It was different when Sadie left, because this time she'd actually muttered a quick goodbye to me. She'd avoided making eye contact with me, but still. It was progress.
The next day, Sadie seemed back to her bitchy self. She made snide comments to me about the overalls I was wearing (they were ugly, but we were painting today, so I didn't really care) and she'd rolled her eyes when I asked her to start pasting the bricks back in around the hole. I'd gotten my revenge the next day when Leon and Abel had succeeded in their next prank, which was to put a tack on the kitchen chair right before she'd sat on it, but I hadn't gotten any satisfaction out of it, because Sadie had only picked up the tack-after screaming and leaping to her feet-and strided out of the kitchen with it. I would've followed her to see what she was going to do with it, but then Tommy stepped in front of me.
"Hey we're taking a break. Goin' fishin'." He grinned. "Grab your pole and let's go." He snickered at his poor joke and strutted away (Tommy strutted wherever he went).
I headed on down to the pond and watched as everyone else caught a fish but me. Even Brice-who was only ten years old-caught one.
"Spoiler alert, " Danny said suddenly. We all twisted around in our seats to see Matt approaching.
Ugh. I inwardly groaned. Break over.
Sure enough, the first thing Matt said was, "Break over. Get back to work. Tommy, you and Danny go herd the cattle into the second pasture. Coop, Owen, you two get the horses back into the stables. There's going to be a storm tonight. Billy, Brice and the twins-you all need to go start on the feed."
"What about me?" I asked as everyone else started packing up and leaving.
Matt jerked his thumb back toward the house. "Go see what's going on with Princess. She's freaking out."
Frowning, I gathered my fishing pole and bait and headed down the hill. I dropped them off in my truck, and then went to find Sadie. It wasn't too hard to do. She was slacking, of course, and standing in the kitchen talking-or more like yelling-into her iphone.
"What the hell do you mean you're not coming?" She looked absolutely pissed. Her mouth was hanging open and her eyes were wide with outrage. "Why? " I watched as her expression turned angrier as whoever she was yelling at spoke. "Are you freaking kidding me, Dayton? Who am-yes, I'm still going! How can I not go? It's my best friend's eighteenth birthday, of course I'm going! But I can't go without a date. What part of that do you not understand? " She listened for half a second before saying loudly, "Damn it, Dayton! I don't care! Get your ass off the plane, exchange your ticket for another time and get back here! Don't-no-!" She let out a long stream of curse words as she slammed the phone down on the kitchen counter. Obviously the Dayton guy she'd been talking to had hung up on her.
To my delight-for it was something I could tease her about later-she began to pace and talk to herself.
"What do I do, what do I do." She sounded really stressed. "I have to go, and I have to have a date. All my exes are out of town. My boyfriend's out of town. I have no guy friends. I have to have a date. Her whole party is centered around having a date. What do I do!"
Foreboding rushed over me, and I realized that if she saw me, she might get a bad idea. Just as I began to slowly creep out, however, she turned and spotted me. She gasped and her eyes widened even more as she scrambled to my side.
"Ohmygosh Luke! I need your help. Please." I looked down into her puppy-dog expression. Her eyes were big and green and shining. She had a deathgrip on my shirt sleeve. "Please please please. I'll pay you. I'll do anything. Please!"
I considered that. "Anything?"
She nodded frantically. "Anything. Pleeease."
"Alright." I grinned. "I'll go. But the deal is, tomorrow you have to compliment me. Everytime you see me."
Her brows drew down. I could see the wheels turning in her head. Finally, she nodded. "Deal. Now come on."
"I-what-" She'd began to tug me out of the house. "We can't leave now. Matt will-"
"I don't care!" she said impatiently as she shoved me into the passenger seat. "You're a train wreck! I have to fix you!"
She drove like a bat out of hell until we reached her house/mansion that we'd been at two days ago. She literally dragged me up the stairs and into a bedroom, shoving me down onto what looked like a very expensive bed and then rushing into what was probably the bathroom.
I sat there, clearing my throat uncomfortably. Well, this was kind of awkward. The house was utterly silent. Was anyone ever home here?
"Take off your clothes!" I heard Sadie call from the bathroom.
"What!" I about yelped it.
She made a noise of frustration. Her arm came into view from the doorway, pointing at the opposite side of the room where there was one of those privacy dressing screen things you always see in movies. "Go behind there. And hurry up! I have to get you ready before I can get myself ready!"
I grumbled as I went behind the folding screen and began to strip. A moment later, a pair of ironed slacks fell on top of my head. "Ow."
"Oh stop complaining. You should be thanking me. I'm introducing you to fashion."
I muttered a couple things I was going to introduce my foot to as I pulled them on. A pressed white shirt and black jacket fell on my head, and I pulled them on too. I wrinkled my nose as I looked down at myself. Ugh. It was like a tux. Like prom all over again.
"Are you done yet?"
"Yeah." Disgruntled, I stepped out from the screen. I didn't know whether to be flattered or offended when Sadie's brows rose in surprise.
"Wow. You clean up nice. Come here." She stepped to me, threw a tie around my neck. I thought I saw her cheeks redden, just a little, as she tied it. My chin brushed the soft top of her head.
" 'Kay. Now get those shoes on while I get dressed."
I sat down on the edge of her bed and pulled on the the flats sitting on the floor. Then I lounged there for the next half hour while Sadie readied herself. Geez. Why do girls take so long to get ready?
Finally, she bustled back in. I blinked. She wore a short silver dress that clung to her curves, and her hair was wound into one of those low side ponytails, with the tail curled in shimmering spirals. Her makeup was smokey and perfect. And her legs-since the dress stopped mid-thigh-were long and gleaming.
"Um." I swallowed, hard. She was too distracted with the comb and hairspray she held in her hands to notice. "You look...good."
"Thanks," she said absent-mindedly, setting the can of hairspray down on the bed beside me.
My heart thudded in surprise when she kicked my legs apart to stand between them and plunged a hand into my hair. Oh God. Her chest was right in my face.
"Close your eyes so you don't get any hairspray in them," she ordered.
Okay. That was probably smarter anyway. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried not to breathe too deeply so I wouldn't get high off the smell of her. Holy crap she smelled good.
Five minutes later, she stepped back and I took a deep drag of breath. I felt light-headed.
"I'm all done." She smiled. Her eyes traveled from my head to my toes. "You look..." I waited for the compliment. It didn't come. "Damn, I'm good." she said cheerily, turning to put away the hairspray and comb.
I glanced at my reflection in the mirror. Ugh. I had Zac Efron hair. I did look pretty sharp though. Not as sharp as Sadie, but then again, who does? At the moment, the only woman I could think of who looked as beautiful as Sadie was Catherine Zeta-Jones. And even then her face couldn't push Sadie's out of my mind.
"Alright. Let's go." She started toward the door.
"Wait, what about my clothes?"
She hit the lightswitch. I blinked in the sudden darkness. "We'll get them after the party."
I hurried after her, trying my best not to watch the sway of her hips under that shimmering dress.