Mary E. Lyons



The Hidden Rose

Keen freshwater blue eyes searched the horizon. There sure is a storm a blowin' in, Sunny Sills looked at the pure black clouds that had gathered at old St. Rosa's Peak. She sure is blowin' in mad. A mean old eastern wind began to pick up, blowing Sunni's short sandy brown hair in all directions. Quickly she drew her beaten up old brown setson over her head. Better find shelter 'fore nightfall. Otherwise Starburst an' me are gonna be stuck out in this furious ol' storm all night.

Carefully, she poked around until an hour later she had found the perfect cave. This will have to do. Muttering under her breath about the cattle she was suppose to be following she ducked under the cave ceiling and stood up to find that Starburst could come in and fit.

"Come on. Easy girl, relax Starburst. Hoa!!" She screeched as Starburst started at some sound she couldn't hear.

Finally getting the overly stubborn Appaloosa into the cave she began to unsaddle. Silently she slid the stirrup over the saddle. With each movement she listened to the storm rage around her. How are the cattle? Boss is going to be so ticked when he learns about what I did. "You don't just leave the cattle in the middle of a storm no matter how bad the storm is! Is that understood?!" She could just imagine him lecturing her over how to take care of cattle. He would be standing tall, strutting his stuff around the room. He'd be wearing a black business suit and black shoes. His hat would be on the coat hanger in the back corner of the office. A fire would be burning in the fireplace and in his eyes. His black hair would be slicked back in what he thought was attractive way, with that super expensive wheel grease, or hair grease as he prefers to call it. His mustache would be curled on the ends. In fact, he wouldn't have a clue how to take care of cattle. Oh, he's been on a cattle drive, way back when, but unfortunately he didn't do anything. He just got sick and supposedly extremely weak. Now that would probably be the most, dumbness' of a guy she'd ever seen!

"Kid ya in here?" Scott Todd called out from the cave entrance.

Slipping the saddle off the horse's back Sunni called out, "Yeah, Scott, I'm in here!"

"What? Are ya deaf? We've been callin' yer name since ya went after that stray calf!!" Scott jogged into the cave. "Where've ya been?"

Sunni glanced up at the man who she'd known all her life, "Yeah I know Scott! Sorry, I jus' didn't want to lose any of the cows. I'm real sorry!" I turned and began to walk off!

"Lardy, Sunni! Don't ya ever do that to us again!! Ya scared the livin' daylights out ta me an' ol' Ben there!" With those last words he grabbed her arm and turned her around.

"What?" She muttered under her breath.

"Don't ya ever do that again! I'm not goin' to be the one ta tell yer brother about how ya wandered off after some stray and got yerself killed in some storm! Ya understand, Kid?" With that he hugged her.

"Uhhh… Scott? Are ya feelin' like yerself?" She questioned into his jacket.

"Yeah. Why?" He jerked back, there were tears in his eyes.

"Are ya cryin'?" She tried to hide her curiosity and her laughter.

"NO! Why would I be cryin'?"

"Because you, have a crush on Taylor, and J.T. would kill ya if he found out!" She couldn't keep her laughter inside any more she had to laugh.

"No, that's not why, Stephanie."

"Why'd you jus' call my Stephanie? Scott! Why'd you call me my full name?" She had flipped around from picking up her pots and pans, blue eyes blazed with the fire of confusion and a tinge of anger.

"Sunni… I… T.J. wouldn't kill me because I like Taylor… he'd kill me because I'm in love with his kid sister," his eyes were rooted to the ground.

"Scott… are ya serious?" She lifted his chin with her hand.

"Kid… I've never been more serious. Come on Ben's waitin' with the cattle," he muttered to lighten the situation.

She reached over and shocked both him and her with a kiss. She pulled his head towards her and then pressed her lips gently up against his. The kiss grew more passionate. Scott picked her up and moved her over to the blankets that were still spread out, laying her down he broke the kiss.

"Scott! No! Don't please," Her eyes were filled with love but her mind and her heart were yelling at her to stop what was going on.

"Sunni, you're right," With a bolt he sat up right.

She moved a bit more slowly. Once again when she had sat up to her full height, she kissed him on the lips. Slowly she kissed him harder. She could feel herself giving in. No! Don't do this. Cowgirl! He doesn't even know the real you and you know that if he did that he'd kill you. You're a good person but he can never know who you truly are. With that thought in mind she pushed away.

"Kid?" He murmured confused.

"We got ta head back, Ben's waiting with the cattle," With that they packed up and left.

Scott was worried about Sunni the entire way back to Dallas, Texas. He kept attempting to figure out what had happened back in the cave, but Sunni wouldn't talk about it. Then one day, about three in the morning Sunni got up and left. She just rode out. They were a week away from Dallas and she rode out without her bedroll, without food, and with out her saddle. Slowly he followed her. He watched as she rode up beside T.J. and dismounted. What was T.J. doing out here.

He watched as Sunni got all upset about something and then calmed down once her brother took her into her arms. He watched as Sunni mounted up once more, this time heading back the way they came. He caught tears glistening in her eyes as the moon shone on her face. Following her until she came to a cliff wall where she dismounted and slipped into a crack barely big enough for anyone to fit into and disappeared.

Making sure that they hadn't been followed Scott begins to crawl towards the entrance when he hears a gun click. Rolling over he finds himself face to face with the end of a gun barrel. Looking up the gun to the face of the person he can't tell who it is because his face is shrouded in shadow.

"Hello," he mumbles.

"Get up and go into the cave! Now move it!" the man makes a slight movement towards the crack that Sunni had just entered with his gun.

"Scout? There you are. Are you shooting at them darn rattlers again?" Sunni called from the crack.

"Sunni, is this feller with you?" Scout hollered back.

"Well bring 'im 'ere an' I'll tell ya," She laughs trying to make light of the situation.

"Get up and move towards the little lady. Now!" Scout cocks the gun.

"Please sir. Just get up I don't like watchin' killin's none!" Sunni begged.

With slow action that seemed to take forever Scott stood up. He walked over to Sunni and heard her gasp. He knew then that he should've stayed back at camp. He just stared at the ground allowing her to take in the situation.

"Scott?" her voice was laced with disappointment, fear, and anger.

"Yes, it's me Sunni," me murmured barely above a whisper.

"Bring 'im inside Scout. Please don't harm 'im in anyway understood?" with a hesitant nod from Scout she turned and walked back inside.

"Scott you fool why'd you follow me?" he could tell that she was mad because all of her so-called brothers were tense and she was yellin' at him.

"What in the name of sweet Joseph is you yelling at Sunni?" T.J. muttered dropping his pack.

"Welcome home T.J.! Guess who our house guest is," Sunni's voice was cold as ice cubes.

"Who… Scott," the words he was going to ask died on his lips when he saw Scott sitting in the middle of the living room tied to a chair.

"Bingo!" Jack gave a weak attempt at lightening things up.

"Nice try Jack but this time the tension is to thick. Sorry," Sunni kissed his forehead.

"How'd you find this place?"

"He followed me T.J.,"

"He what?"

"You heard Sunni, he followed her here."

"I didn't need it repeated Andy, but thanks anyway at least that topic is cleared up."

"T.J. don't be so cold to Jack and Andy just because you're jackass of a friend followed me home."

"Sorry, Kid."

"Don't worry about it Scott, we've got bigger problems," Sunni smiled for the first time in days.