Dear Readers,

I have added more to the previous chapter that I advise you to read before continuing. I am sorry for my unorganization and the inconvience. Thank you for reading my writings and as always feel free to leave any feedback in the reviews or PMs. Thanks!

Elyse

CHAPTER 9

Walton

I got up before sunrise, uneager to get out of my warm bed but knowing I would have to do so eventually anyway and if i waited any longer my new employers would be very aggrevated at me. I threw the covers off and walked to the closet where I found a pair of jeans I'd taken from Todd's room earlier and a flannel that I layered over a T-shirt. I stepped into my old leather boots and laced them up to just the middle of my shin. I went to the bathroom to try to part my hair once again though it was pointless because my whole face would soon be covered in dirt and sweat. It wasn't glamorous work but it paid Carter back which made the guilt in the pit of my stomch momentarily go away which was worth every penny I earned. It also seemed to please Diana, which was worth every back-breaking chore.

I'd decided I was falling in love with this woman I knew so little about. I wanted to get to know her better but every time I made contact with those intensely deep blue eyes I could barely blab out a few murmurs much less have a decent conversation. The worst part was she didn't seem to think of me besides a mysterious con mooching off her father. That was why I'd gotten the job in the first place. To prove to her I was a honest, hard-working man. A good, caring, loving man. A man she may like to date.

The Johnson's house was about a half an hour out of Petersen if you count taking the dirt road that cut through their orchard to get there. The Johnsons were a pleasant older couple who had inherited the forty acres from Mrs. Johnson's father after he died forty years ago. Mr. Johnson's responsibilties of keeping up with the cattle and growing the apple trees were taken over by his son, Luke, who had moved back home when his father was just beginning to get sick. Mrs. Johnson harvested the apples in the fall and milked cows on a regular basis. Lately, had trouble with doing the chores even with Luke's help and they were getting behind since it was harvesting time and they had only two pickers.

I pulled up in the old junker Carter let me have after I fixed it. I walked in to see Mrs. Johnson, Luke and his young wife all eating breakfast together at their table.

"How are you, Walton?" Mrs. Johnson asked.

"Just fine, thank you. How are all of you"? I asked.

"Oh, alright. Bill's having troubles so he stayed in bed today."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I hope he gets to feeling better."

"He has his good days and his bad days. He refuses to see a doctor. Typical for him."

"What do we have planned for today"? I asked.

"You and I are going to fix the fence. One of the younger bulls broke it yesterday and we need to get to it before any cattle wander," Luke said getting up from his meal and kissing his wife on the cheek before heading out the door. I followed him to the large plot that spread over several acres dedicated souly to the cattle. "It's on the far corner over there. We'll get there in about an hour. Go get the wood and tools." I followed Luke's instructions andcame back to him wtih the supplies in my arms.

We headed out and got there as the sun was rising and quickly began to replace the two broken boards with a couple of new ones. We were done in about a half an hour and headed back to the house. Luke wasn't a chatty one. He felt that when a job needed to get done it should get done. Pleasant small talk wasn't necessary until dinnertime. He told me that the first day I showed up and I told him I respected that, even appreciated it. It got the chores done quicker and it took the pressure off me to make small talk.

After we got back we fed the cattle and then went straight to the orchard where and Luke's wife had already gotten started. By lunchtime I had filled two bushel baskets full of apples, which might of been impressive if hadn't gotten four bushels before heading out to get us our lunch. We ate while we worked and onto sunset.

By the end of the day I was coated in a dry sheen of sweat and smelled of livestock and body odor which always reminded me of greay pizza you'd regret eating. When I got home the house was empty which gave me a perfect opportunity to take a shower and change into pajamas. I came out of the shower to the smell of dinner and headed downstairs. They all sat at the table with soup in front of them. An empty seat sat beside Diana. I smiled and sat down next to her.

"Hey, Diana," I said.

"Hey, Walton. How was work?"she asked.

"Oh, good. We fixed a fence that a bull knocked over," I said trying to make it sound as masculan as possible, disappointed by how unimpressed she was by the news.

"What'd you do today?" I asked taking a spoonful of soup.

"We went to visit some family friends a few towns over."

"What you do on the way there"? I asked. "I mean, it was kind of a long trip, right?"

"I read," she said.

"Really? I love reading," I said delighted we had something in common and also delighted we were actually talking."That's what I mostly did when I was hurt. So, what's your favorite book?"

"Flowers for Algernon," she said."It's great. It's been my favorite since the eighth grade. I've probably read it twelve times but I lost my copy on the trip up here. I think I left it in the hotel. I was stuck reading one of Dad's old books while we went up there."

"Which one?"

"Some Shakespeare. I read it in highschool but it's so hard for me to translate it I gave up on it. Hamlet, I think."

"I'm not a fan of that one. Julius Caesar is quite good though."

"You're a smart one for just having half your brain damaged,"she said.

"It's a gift," I said trying to be funny and relieved that she chuckled a bit.