Palomino Ch. 08byLadyRoscoe©
"Lizzy! You can't be serious! You can't stay... where are you again? Wyoming. Right. Where is that anyway? Never mind." the girl was adamant on the other end of the line. She'd sat through a half hour of some sob story of Lacey being swept off her feet by some cowboy or another. She couldn't stand to be quiet anymore. "You've known the guy what... a week? Be practical Lizzy. Nothing happens in a week. God. If it did, I would've been married a dozen times over by now. Listen. Get on your plane, come back home, and we'll sort all this out, okay? We'll sit down over Starbuck's and ham sandwiches and we'll discuss... oh, I don't know. Ad layouts. You'll be fine."
Lacey nodded, choking on her own tears and sniffled into the phone. "I know ... you're right. I don't know what's gotten into me. Maybe my dad's death is just catching up with me ... I don't know ... maybe it's this place. I swear to God, there's nothing out here, much less a Starbuck's." She closed her eyes, shaking her head. Tyra was right, this was insane. It had only been two weeks ... if she was back in the city, she would NEVER fall for a guy this quickly. She must have lost her mind. "You'll pick me up at the airport, right?" she said into the phone, her voice cracking.
"Yeah.... I'll pick you up. What time do you land? Wait. I've got your itinerary right here. 6:30. How about I take you to dinner? We'll have some wine and it'll calm you right down, okay? Oh sweetie. Don't cry please. If you're gonna cry, cry for the right reasons, okay?"
Lacey tried to still her tears. If this was so wrong, then why did it hurt so much?? "Yeah ... okay. I need something to take my mind off this. I feel like I'm going crazy, Ty. This is ridiculous ... I'll see you tonight and I'm sorry I called you with this shit. Love ya toots"
Lacey flipped her cell phone closed and just looked at it before tossing it into her purse with a sigh. She hated this feeling. She felt like she was going to be sick; literally sick. Moving to her final bag, she put the last of her personal items in it, her eyebrows furrowing as she saw a piece of paper stuck in between her bottle of shampoo and conditioner. It was the note that she had never seen from Wes that night in the hotel. She read it, tears slipping down her cheeks and crumpled it in her hand. Tossing it into the trash, she picked up her bag and flung it over her shoulder before picking up her purse and headed out the door of her bedroom. But then on second thought, she turned, entered the room once more and pulled the crumpled piece of paper from the trash and thrust it into her pocket before heading back out once more. Caroline would be waiting for her on the front porch.
Carol wrapped her up in her arms and kissed her cheek then dabbed at her eyes with her apron. "Oh gosh I'm gonna miss havin' you around Lacey. You take care now, ya hear? Drive safe. If you get lost, just head for those mountains over there. It'll take you into town no matter what road you're on. Send me one of your magazines, alright?"
Lacey hugged the older woman tightly, refusing to give into her tears ... refusing to allow herself to throw down her bags and run for the barn in search of Wesley. She inhaled deeply, trying to still her emotions that threatened to run wild on her and pulled back with a brave smile, "Thank you, Carol. For everything." She wanted to tell her to take care of Wesley but she didn't. Casting a longing look towards the barn, she sighed gently and released Caroline. He hadn't even come to say goodbye. With only a nod of her head, she moved down the steps of the porch and tossed her last bag into the backseat before sliding into the front seat and shut the door. "You can do this Lacey. Time to be strong. This isn't real." She started the ignition, waved to the woman that she loved as a mother and slowly pulled away, blinking back tears as the ranch house slowly shrank in size in her rearview mirror.
Wesley Hardigan sat astride his cutting horse on one of the high hills of the ranch that looked down on the main road and beyond. He leaned on the saddle horn as he watched the little red car drive away in a cloud of dust, the sunlight gleaming on it, making it look like a little jewel in the water. He sighed deeply and reached again for the reigns to turn his head some. "I told you she wouldn't stay, Anne." He said softly into the wind, his voice almost cracking.