Chapter Fourteen

Luke's POV

What the hell had I managed to get myself into now?

I was furious with myself as I drove back home. Just what the hell had I been thinking? I'd just madeout with Sadie on her bed while she'd worn practically nothing! What would've happened if her cutting my stomach with her nail hadn't jolted me to my senses? What would've happened if we'd kept going? Well I knew what would've happened, obviously. And then after that? Expecially considering it wouldn't have even been safe!

I couldn't sleep, of course. The clock had slowly ticked its way to the next morning, and I hadn't slept a wink. God, Sadie really had a way of getting under a person's skin. For the rest of sunday I just stumbled around like a zombie, my stomach uneasy as I wondered how Sadie would treat me the following day. After all, I hadn't been very "gentelman-ey", had I?

As it turns out, I'd been worrying over nothing.

The moment Sadie walked in through the kitchen door-wearing a blue tank-top and a mini-skirt with black flipflops-her eyes found me and she smiled. "Hey Luke." I lifted my brows, watching as she began to put away the eggs she'd collected from the chicken coop. She sighed and turned, still smiling at me, after she'd finished. "It feels good out today, doesn't it?" A little overly-relieved, I gave her three enthusiastic nods. She began walking toward the door. "Alright, well, I'm gonna go get the paint out. Later."

I nodded once more. "Later."

I was staring after her when Cooper-who'd been standing in the doorway behind me, came to my side with a slightly dumbfounded expression on his face. "What was that?" he wondered.

"What was what?"

"That." He gestured to where Sadie had been standing. "She was...nice."

I half-shrugged as I opened the fridge and withdrew a bottle of Dr. Pepper. "We decided to try to be friends."

Owen, who'd of course appeared when Cooper had, snorted. "Let's see how long that lasts."

Ignoring that comment, I walked outside and drank my soda as I watched Billy, Leon, Abel and Brice feed the chickens. Brice made the mistake of letting the chicken eat from his hand, and as a result, the chicken clipped a side of his finger with its beak. I hurried over when Brice began to cry.

"A chicken pecked Brice's finger," Billy said immediatly once I'd knelt down beside Brice.

"I know, I saw. Brice, why would you let it eat out of your hand? You know you're supposed to throw the feed on the ground." I said, but lightened the scold with a soft, sympathetic voice.

Leon snickered. "I can't believe he's crying."

Abel echoed his brother's snigger and said, "What a baby."

Brice began to cry all the harder at that, his hand consequently shaking so that I couldn't see the cut. I gathered him in my arms and straightened. "You two get back to work." I said firmly to the twins, giving them a meaningful look that clearly meant shut the up. I turned to Billy, who was watching his crying cousin with somber eyes. "You go tell Matt that we're running out of hay for the horses." I waited until Billy scampered off, then made my way back to the kitchen.

"Alright buddy," I said as I set Brice down on the table. His little face was tear-streaked. "I need you to sit still while I get you a bandaid, okay?" Brice nodded, grave as though his leg were broken rather than the fact that there was a tiny cut on the inside of his index finger.

"Hey, is the little boy okay?" Sadie had just walked through the door, concern on her face. I felt surprised. She was worried over a little chicken scratch?

"He's fine." I explained, puzzled. "I'm trying to find him a bandaid now."

Brice sniffled, his big brown eyes pouting up at Sadie. She bent down so she was eye-level with him. "Are you okay, honey?"

He knuckled the tear in the corner of his eye, sniffling again. "Mama says I'm not allowed to talk to strangers."

"Sadie isn't a stranger." I told him as I wrapped the bandaid I'd retrieved from a cupboard on his finger. "She works here now. She's a friend." Sadie and I exchanged slightly rueful smiles. "You can talk to her. Your mom won't be mad, I promise."

Brice's shimmering eyes darted along Sadie's body, as though he were measuring her up. Yeah buddy, I thought, I did that when I first saw her too. Only not so innocently. "You're pretty." Brice commented.

She smothered her giggle behind her hand. "Thanks. You're pretty handsome yourself. How old are you, twelve?"

His thin chest puffed out a bit. "I'm ten. I really look twelve?"

She nodded. "Yes you do."

Shaking my head in amusement, I interrupted their compliment fest. "Okay Brice, we need to get back to work. Go find Billy and work with him."

"Where is he?" Brice asked as he hopped down to his feet.

"He should be cleaning up in the horse stables."

" 'Kay."

Brice ran off, slamming the kitchen door behind him. Sadie hitched herself up onto the table where he'd been sitting. She pulled out her iphone and started texting as she said, "He's freaking adorable."

"I know." I chuckled a little, remembering how he'd been.

"Is he Billy's little brother?"

I shook my head as I got down two glasses from the cabnet and poured water in them from the sink faucet. I handed one to Sadie. "No. They're just cousins. Billy is my aunt Treva's son, and Brice is my uncle Cory's son." After Sadie sipped her water, I said, "I almost didn't expect you to drink that. I figured you as the Evian type of person."

She arched an amused brow at me. "Did you know that Evian spelled backwards is Naive?" I grinned. "Exactly."

"Well, we should probably get back to work..." I started gravitating toward the door.

"Wait." She repeatedly tapped her phone screen. "Here. Put your number in."

It was my turn to cock a brow at her.

"Friends have each other's numbers," she reminded me.

I put my number in and then pulled out my own rather old Nokia. I handed it to Sadie. When she gave it back to me, I saw that she'd written her name as "Sadie the Great". I snorted. "Humor. Ha."

She smiled, batting her long golden lashes at me. "I'm a funny girl, Jacobs. You should know that by now, even though your own sense of humor is rather lacking."

I held the door open for her. "Screw you, Princess." I said teasingly.

She passed by me and I got a whiff of that incredible perfume she always wore. She shot me a wink over her shoulder. "You would."

No I wouldn't, I lied cheerily to myself as I followed her out.

The End

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