Reese couldn't believe his ears. "You're joking, right? You can't be Charlie Fischer.." The woman placed a hand on her hip and gave him an inquisitive look, though it was a few moments before she actually spoke.
"And why exactly can't I be Charlie Fischer?" Reese swallowed hard. 'Let's try this again." The blonde looked cautiously from the woman to the boy standing beside her.
"Well, pardon me for saying this, but I sort of assumed from your response to my ad that you were, um..." Reese trailed off, not really sure if the woman would be offended about what he was going to say. Luckily, she saved him the trouble of having to say it.
"A guy?" The blonde nodded, and Charlie laughed softly. At least someone found this situation amusing, because Reese sure didn't. "Sorry to disappoint you, but I happen to be a woman. Like I said, my name is Charlotte Fischer, but I do go by Charlie as well," she informed him. Rese finally managed to find the words to speak again.
"Well, it was nice to meet you Charlie, but I think it would be best if you went back home." Charlie looked at the man stunned.
"Now wait just a minute Mr..." Realizing she had no idea what to call him, she trailed off. The man looked at her, seeming to know the problem, and spoke up.
"Call me Reese please." Charlie nodded and continued.
"Right. Well, Reese, Eli and I can't just pack up our bags and go home. We drove down here all the way from Los Angeles. Do you have any idea how long it took us to get here, not to mention how long it would take to get back?" The blonde shrugged and looked at the woman.
"That's not my problem." Charlie couldn't believe what she was hearing. How could this man refuse to let her rent the living space on his ranch simply because she was a girl?
"Now hold on! Just where exactly are we supposed to go if we can't stay here?" Reese shrugged.
"I don't know. There are a few small motels in the area you could stay in, and I'm sure there are some on your way back." He turned to walk up the porch steps and head inside, no longer looking at Charlie and her son. "Figure it out." It wasn't until a small voice said ' Daddy' that he paused, looking down. Lennox was standing in front of him, biting her lip.
"Daddy, we can't just say no. They don't have anywhere else to stay." Reese looked at his daughter's baby blue eyes, which were silently pleading with him, and after glancing over at Charlie and Eli once more, he let out a defeated sigh.
"Alright. You and your son can stay." He whirled around to face them fully and crossed his arms. "However, there will be rules. I haven't really established them yet though, so I will enlighten you on them at dinner time. So for now, I guess you can just settle in and unpack your bags." He heard soft cheers of joy from Charlie and her son, and as he turned around to make his way inside, he felt a pair of tiny arms wrap around his waist, hugging him tightly.
"Thanks Daddy." Reese looked down at Lennox and sighed softly, smiling affectionately.
"You're welcome honey. Now why don't you show them to their rooms, then have them join us for breakfast? I have more to cook, now that we have company." The tiny redhead grinned and nodded, flying down the stairs to greet their guests and show them to their room upstairs. The blonde just chuckled softly and shook his head before heading inside to make some food for their new housemates.
* * * * * * * * * *
Breakfast started out with an awkward silence, as no one really knew what to wasn't until Charlie had finished about half of the food on her plate that she decided to break the silence. "I have to admit, this breakfast is wonderful. I've never met a guy who can cook, much less cook as well as this." Reese chuckled at her comment and shook his head.
"Thank you, but honestly, it's nothing special. I'm glad you enjoyed breakfast though." Lennox set her fork down on her plate, wiped her mouth with her napkin, and dropped it on her plate before looking at her father.
"Daddy, can I take Eli out to see the horses?" Reese looked over at Eli, who apparently hadn't planned to go exploring, judging by the look of confusion on his face. Reese chuckled and nodded.
"Sure. Just put your dishes in the sink before you go." Lennox grinned and quickly picked up the dishes from both of their seats and stuck them in the sink before grabbing Eli's wrist and dragging him outside, but not before he looked back over his shoulder at Reese and Charlie and shrugged.
Charlie laughed at the expression on her son's face and shook her head before looking at Reese. "Looks like Lennox is excited to get to show us around." Reese smiled softly, nodding in agreement before standing up.
"Well, I'd better get these dishes cleaned up. Feel free to explore the ranch." Charlie got up too.
"Oh, I couldn't do that. I'm not very fond of exploring someone's home when I don't know them. Even if I have their permission. I think I'll just go up to my room." Reese chuckled and shrugged.
"Alright then. Why don't you go unpack, and I can show you around after I'm done getting this cleaned up." Charlie smiled and nodded.
"Sounds like a plan." She gave him another little nod and headed upstairs. Reese watched her go and shook his head before turning to the sink and starting on the dishes.