Palomino Ch. 04byLadyRoscoe©
The bar was loud and noisy with cowboys and cowgirls of all shapes and sizes from the rodeo. Hoots and cheers were heard from here and there as celebration was taking place. Lance was immediately grabbed by some cute girl and was asked to dance. Lance just grinned and accepted and was whisked off toward the dance floor. Wesley had distanced himself somewhat from Lacey since they had settled the hell-bitch, but not too much. He was thinking.... just about stuff. All kinds of stuff. The look on Lance's face had made him pull up short a little. Had he been too brash to pull Anne's hat out of its secret place? Had he moved too quickly?
Lacey moved through the crowd, squeezing through the groups of cowboys and cowgirls, gently turning down offers to dance and smiling at the looks she was getting. She could see Wesley sitting off somewhat by himself, deep in thought, as she came back from a trip to the restrooms. Stopping by the bar, she leaned over the edge to loudly order another beer for him, the bartender having to lean close to hear her and then grinned, pulling out an ice-cold bottle of Coors for him and a Corona with a lime wedged in the neck for herself. Taking them both, she moved toward where Wesley was sitting, glancing to see Lance dancing with a cute young cowgirl. She couldn't help but chuckle, seeing his hands roam over her curves and shook her head some before reaching Wesley with a soft smile. "Here ya go, cowboy," she chided gently, offering the ice cold bottle.
Wesley jumped a little when she neared him and he looked up. Clearly his thoughts had been somewhere far off. He reached for the beer and nodded his thanks with a smile. "Thank ya, Ma'am." He watched her as she sat next to him and he tilted his head toward the crowd. "Whatcha think? Diff'rnt than it is in the city, eh?"
Lacey sat down and sipped at her beer. What a question. Different from the city indeed, but in a way that spoke to her, and she found that her time in Wyoming was quickly coming to an end. Just this morning, she had been on the phone with the magazine and they were practically going nuts that she had already been too long. It was time to go back. "Yeah," she sighed, almost wistfully and took another sip of her beer. "A lot different."
He set his beer down, looking at the woman a long moment and smiled. "Care to dance?" he said as he stood, offering her his hand.
Lacey glanced at the standing cowboy and smiled gently, her eyes seeming to take on a kind of sadness as she realized that she didn't want to go back to the city, or her job, or the townhouse waiting for her. It just didn't feel right anymore. Being here, with him, DID feel right. Slipping her hand into his, she set down her beer and stood as he gently pulled her to her feet. "I would love to," she said with a soft voice.
He grinned and leaned in close as he escorted her to the dance floor. "I wouldn't have given you a choice had you said no." He grinned and winked at her before turning her in his arms to take her by the waist and hand. He was a much practiced dancer. It was something that came as naturally to him as did taming a spooked horse. Wesley didn't seem to have to work at much of anything. He was just the way he was. A down home country man.
Lacey followed his strong lead well and it wasn't long before Wesley had her doing moves that made it look like they had been doing this for years. She was more relaxed and more refreshed than she had been in ages, even though a bit of sadness hinged around her eyes as the reality of her having to go back to the city was looming in the back of her mind. But for the time being, she held onto the cowboy that had strolled into her life, snatched away her false pretenses of being happy, and replaced them with a longing that she hadn't realized she had been missing until now. When a slow song came on, she could feel Wesley pull her closer in his strong arms and her body seemed to naturally fit against his as their cheeks grazed one another's as they danced slowly in time with the music.
His lips grazed her cheek gently as he held her and they swayed to the music. With a smile he gazed into her pretty eyes and tucked her hair back. "If I didn't know better I'd say you were a cowgirl through and through. What kept you in the city?"
Lacey tightened fingers on the back of his shirt as she felt his lips and day's bristle growth graze her cheek and leaned back a bit to look at him as their eyes locked. By god, she wanted to stay like this forever, but how could she? She smiled tenderly as his question and shrugged her shoulders gently, "I don't know, really. My mom left when I was 14, and I just was thrown into city life. That's who she was ... who she had always been. My father couldn't quite get the city out of her, and he wouldn't let me stay behind without a mother either." She sighed gently, moving her free hand to rub at Wesley's strong shoulder, her fingertips absently stroking the strong cords of his neck. "I never wanted to leave here, but I didn't have a choice, and I think that a part of me just thought my father didn't want me out here."
Wesley smiled a bit. His fingers grazed her lower back and he massaged her palm as they turned and swayed to the selection of slow songs amongst the other dancers on the floor. "He always talked about you, you know. It was Lacey this, Lacey that, Lacey the other thing. He was planning on inviting you out for Christmas last year, but never sent you the letter. He was a good old man to work for. Best boss I ever had."
Lacey smiled tenderly, grateful that she had someone to tell her about her Father. She had adored him, but when she and her mother had left, she had felt somewhat rejected by him. "I ... I never knew that," she said, turning her head to see Lance dance by with yet another girl, the grin on his face at seeing Lacey and Wesley pressed together contagious and she smiled at him. She turned her gaze back to Wesley, her eyes roaming his handsome face before she asked the question that she had wondered about for a long time ... ever since she had met him. "I'm surprised a good-looking cowboy like you isn't taken," she said with a soft smile.
Wesley's eyes darkened a bit as he heard Lacey's words, then he relaxed again, forcing the pain away. She didn't mean any harm by it. She didn't know anything more than she'd learned in the past week. "I was. Once," he said gently, almost like he wanted to avoid the subject. She was going to figure it out soon enough anyway.
Lacey stiffened some in his arms as she saw the look cross his face. It was obvious that she had inadvertently crossed a line that she wasn't supposed to cross and she wanted to kick herself for it. Leave it to her and her big mouth to say just the one thing that probably didn't need to be said. As the song ended, she smiled and affectionately squeezed his shoulder before stepping back, feeling the need to give him some space. "Thanks for the dance, cowboy ... I think I'm going to fight the crowd and try to make my way to the ladies' room."
He smiled and squeezed her hands gently to soothe her a bit. He'd sensed the instant tension in her. He hadn't meant to scare her. He just didn't know how to tell her, or what to tell her. Before she slipped away he gave her hand another comforting squeeze. He didn't want to think he was pushing her away. He wasn't. He just wasn't at peace with himself about anything that was going on yet. "Don't get lost, now." As she slipped away he sighed and rubbed the back of his neck as he moved to take a seat where he'd been and picked up his beer to take a swig. He wrinkled his nose. The beer was slightly warm. He hated warm beer.
Lacey inhaled deeply as she moved away from Wesley and felt somewhat confused about the feelings skittering all around inside of her. She didn't quite know what to make of the cowboy that she found herself thinking about more and more as the days passed. The ladies' room line was long and she was somewhat grateful for the passage of time to get her thoughts together and try to sort out what to do from here. She wanted to stay ... stay and see exactly if life on a ranch was where she belonged, and yes, even stay and see if what she was feeling for this cowboy could turn into something more. But she had a feeling that she wasn't going to be able to do either.
Lance made his way over to Wesley, a wide grin on his face as he plopped down next to his friend and stretched out happily. "Where's Lace?' he asked, glancing to Wes and then furrowed his eyebrows, seeing the serious look on his face. "What's wrong with you?"
Wesley looked at his old-time friend a long moment before taking another swig of his beer. "She asked about Anne." He said it simply, almost coldly. Anne wasn't a subject that was ever breeched with Wesley. If he needed to talk, he talked. But not until then. Even Lance hadn't heard much of anything in all the years she'd been gone. A few words here and there was it.
Lance sat upright again, the smile fading from his face. This couldn't be good ... Wes never talked about it, especially with another woman. He couldn't help but wonder what all this meant. Ever since Lacey had showed up, things were changing ... changing for the good, but seeing his friend's face, he couldn't help but wonder if things were going to go downhill from here. God, he hoped not. Wesley needed someone in his life. Even if he would never admit it. "What happened?" he probed gently.
Wes shook his head and took another drink of his beer. "Nothin' really. She asked why I wasn't 'taken'. Not in so many words. Kind of broadsided me. Shouldn't be surprised," He grunted and downed the rest of the piss-ass warm beer and set the bottle down, wiping his mouth.
Lance glanced around, looking for Lacey. He hoped Wes hadn't run her off. He could be brusque when you least expected it. "So ... where's she now? You didn't scare her off, didja?" he grinned, glancing back at Wes.
"She went to the ladies' room. I think I did scare 'er a little. Didn't mean to."
Lance rubbed his jaw thoughtfully, something he tended to do when he was thinking. It was always a dead giveaway that he had something up his sleeve. There had to be some way to push these two together, and he felt like he was running out of time. Lacey was exactly the kind of woman Wes needed and Lance wasn't about to let her slip away without Wes even realizing she was gone.
"Yeah, okay." He had to think quickly. Looking back at his friend, he half-grinned that sure smile that usually got him what he wanted. "So, can you take Lacey back to the motel? I got this cute cowgirl waiting ..."
Wes's eyes narrowed as his friend thought about whatever it was. "Don't you dare, Lance. Stoppit. She don't know no better. Can stay that way."
"What? I'm not doing nothin'!" Lance retorted with a grin.
"Bullshit...." He watched his friend a long moment, and huffed. "Cute cowgirl, eh? Make sure she's not wearing a wedding band this time. I don' want ta bail ya out of a fight again, ya hear? Go on. I'll get 'er back to the hotel."
Lance grinned and stood, adjusting his tight jeans and slapped Wes good-naturedly on the shoulder. "Okay then ... see ya back here in the morning. Try not to do anything I wouldn't do," he teased. He knew he had to get back to the motel before Wes and Lacey did. He had a little business to conduct with the manager.