"Boss, is there anything else we need to do for today?"
Seth Younger glanced at David Thompson, one of the few ranch hands he had been able to hire at such an early start, before taking a sip of coffee. Seth shook his head and said
"You boys leaving tonight?"
"Yes sir, we've got to be in Washington by Friday; otherwise we ain't getting the cattle. My brother Jake can come along for an extra hand, but 200 cattle is a lot for four men to move on their own."
Seth had been thinking the same thing since yesterday when the letter had come through, telling Seth that he could have the cattle. He thought now for a second before saying
"Let me ride over to the Tucker place and see if I can scrounge up a couple of extra guys. Cole's been meaning to give them boys a run, so maybe he can lend a few."
David nodded before stepping off the porch, leaving Seth standing there. Seth thought of his brother-in-law; the man who had let him test his strength at ranching. Seth would do anything for that man, and not just because he had married Sam either. The two were brothers in the closest sense of the word. He finally nodded and yelled out to the boys that their work was done for the day before heading to the barn to fetch Sorrow. The black stallion he had gotten just recently had been a nightmare to break, but now that Seth could ride him, he couldn't imagine another horse. He spurred the horse to a gallop, and smiled as he rode. The land between his place and Cole's had yet been bought, but it was bound to go up fast. Seth thought for a moment of expansion, either his or Cole's place, but he quickly realized it wasn't a good idea. Both had a good 30 acres to deal with, and they couldn't afford much more right now. As he neared the Tucker place, Seth slowed down. He was impressed with the house Cole had built his new bride, though they had been married for a year and a half. He grinned when he spotted Cole on the porch, whittling. Cole glanced up as Seth rode up to the house, and Seth said
"Don't you have work to do?"
"I promised Samantha I would finish this checker set before Michael's birthday; this is the last piece."
Seth sat down beside Cole and watched him for a minute before saying
"Speaking of my hard-headed sister, where is Sam?"
Cole groaned and said
"In the house; she's determined to finish that roast for dinner tonight, and she won't let me help her. I swear she's got to be the most stubborn woman…"
Just then, Sam stepped out onto the porch. Cole quickly shut his mouth, but it was too late. "You boys wouldn't happen to be talking about me would you?"
Cole grinned at Seth before jumping up to kiss his wife. Even though they were both stubborn as mules, Seth envied the love they had for each other. Seth stood and said
"Of course we were Sam. I doubt Cole ever shuts up about you."
Sam swatted at her brother with the towel in her hand before kissing her husband again. Seth laughed before saying
"Cole I was actually wondering if I could steal a couple of your ranch hands."
"Everything all right at your place?"
"Yeah; I just bought some cattle and I need a few extra guys to go with David, Rick and Yates. David's brother Jake is going, but it's going to be a long trip."
Sam glanced at Cole before saying to her brother
"When are you coming back?"
Seth shook his head and replied
"I'm not going; I've got to stay here and fix up the barn. With winter coming, I've got to get that roof fixed up."
Cole nodded and glanced at Sam before saying
"I can help you out with that. Want to stay for dinner?"
"Sounds great, as long as the roast isn't burnt."
Sam's eyes grew wide as saucers and she hurried back inside. Cole shook his head as Seth laughed. The two men stood comfortably on the porch before Cole said
"Head on inside and get you a plate while I go lock up the barn for the night. I think Samantha wanted to talk to you anyways. She's been meaning to get to your place for a few nights now."
Seth narrowed his eyes and stepped over the threshold; Sam was standing over the stove, sniffling. Seth placed a hand on her back and said
"Sam, is everything all right?"
Sam bit her lower lip and glanced at her brother before saying
Seth smiled and hugged Sam, but he stepped back after a second.
"Isn't that a good thing?"
She pursed her lips and looked away. Silence reigned for a few seconds before she said
"Cole and I have talked about having a baby, but not for a couple of more years. He's got so much on his plate right now."
"Sam, you've got to tell him. He's going to be thrilled."
Sam shook her head, but their conversation was cut short when Cole walked in. He kissed Sam once before saying
"Samantha…is everything all right?"
"Of course…let's eat."
Seth sat there, deliriously happy that he was going to be an uncle, and extremely upset that he couldn't celebrate with his sister. Cole must have noticed the weirdness, because he quickly glanced between the brother and sister and said
"Someone want to tell me what's going on?"
Seth stood and said
"I'll see you guys later. I should get back to the ranch before the hands go. I need to make sure they know what they are picking up and everything; Sam, thanks for dinner. Cole."
The two men shook hands, and Seth just met his brother-in-law's eyes. As he stepped out onto the porch, Seth thought of the new addition that was coming to the family. Even though he was thrilled for his sister; he had to admit he was the tiniest bit jealous. He was the older brother; he was supposed to get married and have babies before Sam even thought of settling down. He headed to the barn, feeling incredibly alone.
Haley Davis rubbed her tired eyes as the train came to a stop. She sat up abruptly, relieved to finally arrive in Wolf Point, Montana. As the conductor checked her ticket, Haley glanced out the window. There were a few people milling around, but not many. After living in Williamsburg for 24 years, she was used to hustle and bustle. She sighed once before stepping out onto the wooden platform. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she headed towards the post office. Once at the front of the line, Haley asked for the direction of Cole Tucker's place. As if on cue, someone touched her arm.
"You must be Haley; I'm Samantha Tucker, Cole's wife. He was going to try and meet you here himself, but he got tied up helping my brother with something. Is it just the three bags?"
Haley smiled and said
"Yes, thank you. Hi Samantha."
"Actually, I guess I should have introduced myself as Sam. No one calls me Samantha but Cole, and I can't seem to get him to stop. He says Sam is a boy's name, and there isn't a chance he's going to call his wife that."
Haley laughed and started to pick up her bags, but a pair of hands intercepted her. She glanced up to see a young boy, who grinned sheepishly at her before grabbing her bags. Haley looked at Sam who said
"That's Justin; he drove me here. Cole's a little worrisome when it comes to me going into town alone, though I am almost 25 years old."
Haley laughed again and said
"Well, that's a good thing. He's supposed to worry over you."
Sam smiled, and Haley could see the love she had for her husband. As Justin started driving them back to the ranch Haley said
"So the land I'm looking at; it's between your brother's and Cole's? Why don't the two of you just go in together and purchase the land yourself?"
"Because money is usually tight around here. Seth just got his own ranch up and running, and Cole and I are going to have a tough time soon when our baby comes."
As soon as Sam said it, Haley saw her blush bright red. There was silence for a minute before Sam said
"I haven't exactly told Cole yet…"
"Don't worry; your secret is safe with me. Congratulations."
Sam looked relieved, and Haley smiled. The two talked comfortably for the rest of the way, but once they pulled up to the Tucker's house, Sam said
"My brother Seth should be in here, but I don't think Cole has told him about you looking at the land."
"What does that mean?"
"Basically, watch out for Seth."
Haley thought for a moment, wondering what that could mean. As the women stepped down out of the truck, two men came out onto the porch. They both hurried to help them, and one of them extended his hand.
"Miss Davis? I'm Cole Tucker."
"Hello Mr. Tucker."
"I hope my wife didn't give you too much trouble."
Sam winked at Haley before she kissed Cole. As if remembering that Seth was standing there, Sam pulled back and said
"Seth, this is Haley Davis. Haley, this is Seth Younger, my brother."
The two shook hands, and Haley glanced up at the tall man. His blond hair fell slightly in his eyes, which were a deep hazel. He smiled at her and said
"Miss Davis, nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you as well, Mr. Younger."
The two looked at each other for a long minute before Seth said
"So what brings you out to Wolf Point?"
Haley glanced at Sam and Cole, who both looked panicked for a slight second. Cole recovered first and said
"Seth…let's go check out that barn. Samantha, would you mind getting Miss Davis all set up?"
Seth glanced between Haley and Cole before narrowing his eyes. Before he could say anything though, Cole slapped him on the back and they started to the barn. Haley and Sam watched them go before looking at each other. This is going to be interesting, Haley thought with a smile.