A young mother is attacked by her ex-husband and ends up in the hospital. After recovery and her ex is thrown in jail, she decides to move her family back home, to where the rest of her family lives. What happens when she calls her family for help? Will they come? And what about her fiancé? Will he go with her?
They say marriage is supposed to be the happiest time of your life. And you expect it to be. What you don't expect is for your husband to turn on you. You don't expect it, but you're never really ready for when it does happen. That's how I was. I was naïve enough to think that what I saw on TV and what I wrote about in my own stories would never happen to me. I was wrong and I nearly paid for that mistake with my life. Nearly.
Our marriage started out just like anyone else's. We were happy in the beginning. We had our dreams ahead of us. We were going to start a family, be there for each other when times got tough, never argue and always tell each other the truth, no matter what we were going through. Should've known that wouldn't last.
When we left Washington State, I was four months pregnant with our daughter Abeni. We arrived in Belden, North Dakota two months before the birth. We bought a ten-acre Ranch, unpacked and Jordan got a job. Being seven months pregnant, we agreed I would look for work after the baby was born. We unpacked, got settled, painted the nursery and took care of the animals.
When Abeni was born, I stayed home with her till she was old enough to be at daycare. By that time, I had lined up a job with our vet as his secretary. His last secretary was moving out of state and there was a daycare right next door, so to say. It was actually his wife who ran the Daycare, which was super convenient.
Jordan and I would get up at the same time (at first) and be home at the same time (at first). When Jordan switched jobs, he had the night shift and I had the day shift so the only time we saw each other was on the weekends because we both had weekends off to take care of household duties and the rest of the ranch.
When Abeni was two, I gave birth to our son Enzo. Jordan didn't really like the name but he also understood why I chose it. I was remembering my grandfather and honoring him at the same time. After Enzo was born, Jordan lost all interest in me. It felt like he was lying to me all the time. And I know what lying feels like, because I used to lie to my family all the time. But when you're the one getting lied to, it sucks.
My job at the Veterinary Hospital took a turn for the better when Jack needed an assistant to help vaccinate the wild horses on the Reservation. While he did the shots, I recorded them to make sure everything was in order. But that's also where I met Cassie and James Wooding. They were brother and sister who had been orphaned in a car accident. They were in the Foster Care System. We bonded almost immediately. There was just one little problem; I wasn't a licensed Foster Parent.
I talked to Jordan about becoming a Foster Parent but he wanted nothing to do with it. So, I talked to Mrs. Cartwright, who was Cassie & James' Social Worker. She said she'd allow the kids to be in my care once I got licensed. And with her help, I would most likely have the kids within the month. I was excited to say the least. With Mrs. Cartwright's help, I got the house in order for the kids, made up two beds, and did what was needed to become licensed. Cassie would share Abeni's room and James would share Enzo's room for now.
As soon as I was licensed, I went out to the Reservation and met Mrs. Cartwright at the kids' current foster home and picked them up. You could see it in their faces that they were relieved to be moving in with me and my family. I thanked Mrs. Cartwright for everything and then drove away. The kids were all smiles.
We stopped at Martha's and picked up Abeni and Enzo before we headed home. My own kids seemed to be happy that there was going to be more kids living in the house, well as happy as a two-year and six-month old could be. When we got home, we unloaded the truck and headed into the house. Jordan had left for work already.
I got Abeni and Enzo situated in the playpen in the living room before taking Cassie and James upstairs. I showed them to the rooms and told them the rules and that though I was licensed, my husband was not. If there were home alone with him, they were still to follow the rules. I left them to get comfortable and said that I would be in the kitchen if they had any questions. I knew they would; Mrs. Cartwright had told me what their previous home had been like. She had been trying to find someone that would take a brother and sister and not separate them.
When they came downstairs, I was making dinner. They sat at the bar and watched me. It wasn't until Cassie spoke up did I realize that the last house they were in restricted access to the kitchen by lock and key. I went over to the fridge and pulled out a pitcher of tea, pouring each a glass and explained that whenever they were hungry, they need not ask and just come grab something. They were all smiles after that.
When Jordan got home the next day, he realized just how serious I had been about being a Foster Parent. He kissed his kids, kissed my cheek, nodded to Cassie and James, grabbed a piece of toast and declared he was getting some rest. Cassie and James suddenly understood why I was the only one who got licensed to be a Foster Parent.
As time passed, the kids got comfortable. They helped out around the house, around the Barn and even in the gardens. It seemed that the more they spent with the family, the more they opened up about their life. When the kids had been with us for a year, Jordan filed for divorce and we both got lawyers. Because I was the one that was home almost all the time with the kids, the judge ruled in my favor and I got sole custody. I could arrange times for Jordan to come see the kids if and when he wanted to.
The divorce also meant that Cassie and James had more chores to do around the Ranch. My boss, Jack, looked after the animals free of charge and Martha watched the kids when I had to take a second job to make ends meet. Since the Ranch was in both our names, Jordan moved to an apartment and said he wanted a clean break. He went to the bank and removed his name from the Deed for the Ranch, pulled me off of his bank account and tried to transfer all the money from my account to his. Tried being the operative word.
When the Bank Manager called me to ask about the transfer of $25,000 from my account to Jordan's, I got the police involved. He was arrested for trying to steal my earned money. He was in jail for six months before he got out. By that time, I had changed banks, had canceled all credit cards and ordered new Debit Cards with new passwords. Anything he might have had that had personal information of mine on it was recovered and shredded then subsequently burned so he would no longer have access to it.
I had changed the locks on all the doors at the Ranch and had hired some Ranch Hands to help around and always be around if anything went south. Since Jack no longer needed me at work, I devoted my life to my kids and running a Horse Ranch. The kids were happier as well. Abeni was three, Enzo was one and Cassie and James had turned ten and eleven.
It was around this time that Mrs. Cartwright came back into our lives. I petitioned the court to officially adopt Cassie and James to get them out of the system and into the family permanently. After the divorce, I had gone back to my maiden name of Force so the kids would have my last name. Abeni and Enzo kept the last name of my married name, which was Court. Mrs. Cartwright was coming to tell us what the judge had decided.
Martha watched Abeni and Enzo while I took Cassie and James to the courthouse to see if the judge would allow me to adopt them. I loved them so much. When the judge came in, she explained that she had gone over the evidence in the case and though she was alarmed about my ex-husband, she believed the children had found their forever home and granted the adoption. We would finally be a family, no matter what the state said. The kids' revised Birth Certificates with the last name of Force arrived in the mail two weeks later.
A month later saw us in the middle of Hay Season. I hired some extra hands to get the work done and Cassie and James watched the young ones while I was out on the tractor. It was also around that time that Jordan tried to get back into our lives. Because Cassie was the oldest, I made sure she had a radio with her at all times just in case she needed to get ahold of me. When she radioed that Jordan was at the house, I was off the tractor and on my horse racing towards the house as fast as possible. The mend didn't know the emergency until too late…
Chapt.2: An Attack:
With my radio back on my tractor, I had no way of knowing that Cassie had locked all the doors to the house as well as shut the shutter from the inside. I needed to know my kids were okay and I didn't care what kind of danger I was putting myself in to do so. When I got near the house, I could see Jordan trying to get in and banging on the door, yelling to be let in. I was furious.
"JORDAN!" He swung around as I got off my horse. He jumped from the porch and stormed over to me.
"Why won't the kids let me into my own house? Why won't my keys work?"
"I had the locks changed when you were in jail. The kids know better than anything not to let you in. Cassie had to radio me when you showed up. And she's probably calling the cops right now. You are not supposed to be anywhere near me or the kids. You are not allowed to be on the property. Everything you own is in your apartment. Now, get off of my property!"
"You mean 'OUR' property? We are both on the Deed! You are my wife and I am home to stay!"
"No, you aren't! When we got divorced, you removed your name from the Deed at the same time you tried to steal my money. Now, I don't know what your landlord did with your stuff when you were thrown in prison, but it is not here. Now, you need to leave. I can even hear the sirens. The cops know you're here. You should go before they get here and arrest you!"
I wasn't the only on that had heard the sirens. In the Hay fields, the rest of the Ranch Hands including Rick, my fiancé, had heard the sirens. He was off of his tractor and near the horses within minutes but he stopped the other hands.
"Finish the haying. It needs to get done by the end of the week before it rains. I'll head back and see what's going on. When you're done with this field, put it all in the Hay barn. We don't need it to get wet and ruined on a surprise Rain storm. Move on to the next fields unless I say otherwise."
With that, Rick was on his horse headed for the house. But he'd get there too late. Jordan hadn't left yet, in fact he was getting more agitated which made me think he might have be high on something.
"Jordan, you are not yourself. You need help. Just let me help you. You don't have to hurt anyone, please."
"I'm not going to hurt anyone. I just want to talk. Can't we talk? I want my family back?"
"We can talk Jordan, but you're not getting your family back. The Ranch has been on the Market for two months. We're moving Jordan and you're not coming with us."
"You can't leave. You can't sell this place. I won't let you."
When he pulled the knife, I backed off a little and positioned myself in front of my house to try and protect the kids from any more emotional distress then they were already in. And that's when I heard the front door open. As I turned my head to see who was at the door, Jordan made his move. He lunged at me and before I was able to defend myself, the knife was embedded in my lower abdomen. Gasping, I hit the ground. Before Jordan knew what was happening, Rick was off his horse and used his rope to tie Jordan up.
Rick was by my side as soon as Jordan was secured. He pressed on the wound and I gasped again. The sirens grew louder and finally skidded to a halt next to the corral. Thankfully an ambulance was with them.
Chapt.3: The Hospital:
As the medics loaded me into the ambulance, Rick called the Ranch Hands and told them to stop with the haying and to bring what hay they had to the barn. When asked why, Rick told them that the police were at the Ranch and that Jordan showed up and assaulted me. They said they'd be in as soon as possible and that they would look after the Ranch and everything that came with it.
After he was done talking with the Hands, he put a call in to Martha and Jack and they promised to meet him at the hospital. As the ambulance left, Rick went into the house, packed a duffle bag of clothes for me, grabbed my favorite blanket, packed the kids into his truck, car seats included, locked the house and sped to the hospital. He would call my family when he knew I would live or not.
By the time they got to the hospital, I was already in surgery and Martha and Jack were in the waiting room. Rick got the kids settled in the waiting room before sitting down himself. Martha could tell just by one look that Rick blamed himself. She scooted over to him and began to whisper so the kids couldn't hear.
"Rick, you know this isn't your fault, right? Nobody knew that Jordan was so unstable. Nobody could have predicted this was going to happen."
"I should've known something was wrong when she raced out of the Hay Field without saying anything. When I heard the sirens, I knew that something was really wrong, but I didn't think it was enough to involve a trip to the hospital. What am I going to tell her family?"
"The truth, when we know she's going to be okay."
"She was hosting her family reunion this year. Everyone that wanted to see how her life was turning out was coming. She was going to persuade them to help her pack everything up and move back home. She accepted an offer on the Ranch. She wants to live near her family again."
"I know, she told me the other day. One of Jack's clients bought the Ranch. He wants one Ranch for the Dude Ranch and one for the farming part. He also understands that when she moves, she'll be taking all the animals as well as the tractors and equipment and almost all the hay. Jack mentioned that her grandfather was unable to hay his fields this year due to inclement weather. Jami had mentioned it to him when they were discussing her moving."
"She said she's definitely going to miss living here but that it was time to go home. I'll be going with her. We were set to get married over Christmas Break anyways."
"You've been good to her Rick; her and her kids. Don't ever treat her the way Jordan did and has. She deserves a good life from here on out. Find a good Ranch in Oregon or Washington and keep her and the kids safe and happy. She couldn't have done better when she met and fell in love with you."
"I get what you're saying but that still doesn't meant I shouldn't have come to the house with her."
"She needed to protect her kids. Until the two of you are married, they will always be her kids. You know that as much as I do. You could officially adopt them but you would have to get permission from Joran to adopt his kids and I don't see him giving that up. Do you?"
"He won't have a choice now. Jami will have his rights terminated so this thing will never happen and if he gets out of prison, he'll never know where to find us. He never met her Oregon family. We could live in Oregon and he'd never know about it. We'll talk more about it later. Cassie and James are looking at us. Best if we don't upset them anymore than they already are."
Martha nodded and scooted back over to Jack who was holding a sleeping Enzo. Abeni was also dozing off, but Cassie and James were playing with their DSi's. As the group waited, Rick got up and went to get some snacks. Knowing how I was when I came to pop, he got the kids apple and orange juices, some sandwiches for everyone and three coffees for the adults from the cafeteria. When he got back to the waiting room, the kids bombarded him. He set them straight real quick.
"Easy, easy, one at a time. I've got juices for you kids and coffee for the adults. I've got sandwiches for everyone. Now who wants tuna fish and who wants egg salad?"
Hands shot up in the air and Rick passed the sandwiches and juice around while he passed some coffee to Martha and Jack. As the group ate, silence reined. Enzo was still asleep but Abeni was awake to eat her food. The adults ate in silence. When the food was eaten, Abeni lay down between Cassie and James, Enzo was moved next to her and then Rick covered them with the blanket he had grabbed. They fell asleep soon after. The adults tried to get some sleep to no avail.
Four hours later and the kids are still asleep. It's been a long and exhausting day for them, especially Cassie who witnessed the whole thing. That's also the time the doctor walks in. Jack, Martha and Rick move to the corner to her if I'll live.
"How's she doing doc?"
"Are you her family?"
"I'm her fiancé. Her kids are asleep over there. Whatever you have to say can be said in front of these two. One's her boss and the other is a good friend."
"Alright, I'm Dr. Joe Hansen and I was called to the ER to work on your fiancé. Jami suffered a stab wound to the lower abdomen and suffered major internal bleeding. The blade punctured her spleen and had to be removed, but a person can live without there spleen without any repercussions. We were able to get the internal bleeding under control and she's in recovery now. She should make a full recovery barring any complications. She should be able to go home in about a week or so. Would you like to see her?"
"Yes, I would. We'll wake the kids and be there in a minute."
"No worries, I'll send a nurse over in a few minutes to take you to her room."
"Thank you Dr. Hansen. Thank you for keeping her alive."
"You're very welcome, but as a surgeon, that is my job."
As the surgeon left, Rick packed everything up and woke the kids. Enzo just rolled over so Martha picked him up. Cassie picked Abeni up and James grabbed the blanket. The group left the waiting room and the nurse showed them to my room. When they got there, Rick went in first. He wanted to prepare the kids on what to expect when they saw me.
Rick put the bag down on the table in the room and went to the bed. Sitting in the chair, he took my hand and kissed it. The oxygen mask covering my mouth and nose was providing the much needed oxygen that my body needed. He stroked my hand and whispered his love; that my family was there for me. When Martha popped her head into the room, Rick nodded his head for them to bring the children in. Jack and Martha brought the kids in and made sure that they knew they needed to be careful.
The kids held my hand and Abeni, who was sitting at the end of the bed, put her head down on my feet and hugged them the best she could. Cassie looked up at Rick and her eyes begged for information.
"When will she wake up Rick?"
"The doctor says she should wake up in a couple days. She needs to rest right now. Jack and Martha are going to take you kid's home with them for the night while I stay here. And then you guys will go back to the house to get some clothes, your backpacks and do your chores. Charles will be staying in the bunkhouse tonight so the animals will be taken care of. The police should be gone by the time you all get there tomorrow."
"So, she's going to be okay? But what about the blood? Will they get rid of the blood too?" James asked.
"The blood will be gone by the time you go home in the morning. Charles will have cleaned it up."
"Okay, but we can come back tomorrow?" Cassie asked.
"Of course you can, she's your mother. I'm not going to keep you from her."
"Are you going to call Aunty Sam?"
"I'll do that later. Right now, you guys need to get some dinner in you. Jack and Martha are going to treat you by going out to anywhere you want."
Once the kids were cheered up, Martha and Jack left the hospital. Rick stayed in the room. If he had to, he'd spend the night. He didn't want to leave and have me wake up in the middle of the night confused, worried and in pain. He left the room briefly to grab a sandwich and coffee at the cafeteria before he as back setting by my side. That's also around the time he decided to call my sister Sam because we had been communicating back and forth about the Family Reunion in about three weeks. Rick pulled out his cell phone and dialed Sam's number. After a few rings, she picked up.
"Hey Rick. What are you guys up to tonight?"
"Are you guys sitting down?"
"Why, what's up?"
"There was an accident at the Ranch today. Jordan showed up and made some trouble. Jami was injured trying to keep the kids safe. She's in the hospital. I'm calling you so that you can tell the rest of your family. Someone should come out and help out before the Reunion do you know any of your family that might come out early?"
"How bad is she hurt?"
"Jordan stabbed her in her lower abdomen and the doctors had to remove her spleen. Doctor Hansen says she'll be able to go home next week sometime. The kids are with Martha and Jack, her boss and his wife for the night. And I've got one of the Ranch Hands keeping an eye on the Ranch tonight. Jami would feel more comfortable if a family member were here or any family."
"I will talk it over with my family and see who can come early. As far as I know, my dad took his vacation early and had some weeks built up. He and his girlfriend may be able to come early but that will depend on if she had any vacation saved up. Please let us know how she's doing and we will all see you when we arrive in two weeks."
"Thank you and I will, I promise. I should go now. I have to call Martha to see if the kids are doing okay; talk to you later Sam."
"Thank you Rick, and I'll call to let you know who is coming early."
With that Sam and Rick hung up the phone. Rick could only imagine the type of talk that would be had with the Force family. It had been Jami's idea to have a family reunion at her Ranch in North Dakota. She'd wanted to do it for some time but Jordan had never allowed her to even bring up the idea. Rick put a call in to Martha then called Charlie to let him know what to use to cover the blood up off the ground. Being that there wasn't that much blood on the ground, the new walkway would do well and bring out the richness of the Ranch. He would have to level out the ground first with dirt.
"Make sure you put dirt on the ground before the kids get there in the morning. Have the other hands continue with the Haying and see if you can get any neighbors to help. We have more acreage than most of our neighbors and without Jami's or my help, you'll be shorthanded."
"Got it boss. We'll let you know how it goes later. Let us know when she wakes up."
Rick got off the phone and went back to my room. The doctor and nurses didn't mind that he would be staying the night and had set a cot up for him near the window. When he woke the next morning, he woke to see me staring at him. It seemed that I had woken sometime in the wee morning hours and hadn't wanted to wake anyone up. He was up and off the cot in a matter of seconds.
"Hey, welcome back, you scared me."
Licking my lips, I whispered, "Water."
"Right, just one moment."
Rick went to the table, filled up a cup with water and then came back. He put the straw between my lips and let me drink my fill.
"How long have I been out?"
"Since yesterday. The doc said you'd be awake soon. The kids are with Jack and Martha. Charles is going to build a new cement walkway leading to the house to cover the blood stain and your sister said she'd let me know who might come early to help."
"You shouldn't have asked my family of that. We could have gotten along fine."
"They can help look after the kids and help with the Ranch. Besides, I think Sam might be sending your dad and his girlfriend this way. You know you won't be able to do much when you get out of the hospital anyways. Accept the help; you don't have to be so stubborn when it comes to accepting help."
"Fine, as long as they don't hover, then it will be fine. Are Jack and Martha going to bring the kids to the hospital today?"
"After a quick stop at the house to do chores and grab clothes."
"Good, then I'm going to rest till they do. Wake me when my sister calls."
"I will love, don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I'll be here when you wake up and so will the rest of your family."
With that my eyes drifted closed and Rick went to grab some coffee. He stopped at the nurses' station on the way back to tell them that I had woken up. The nurses told him they'd be in soon. Around ten a.m. Sam called Rick and Rick woke me up.
"Hey, baby, your sister's on the phone."
I opened my eyes and he put the phone to my ear. "Hey Sam, who are you sending over here early?"
"Dad and Annika got the time off already. They're taking their vacations. They'll be there by the end of the week. But Oliver is too old to go with him, so we're bringing him when we drive out."
"Good to know. Tell people to drive trucks. We're going to need them."
"I sold the Ranch. The Reunion was also meant to help pack and move us home. We have the animal trailers as well as a hay trailer. But other than those nothing. Tell dad to bring the blue and yellow trailers, or someone else can bring the yellow trailer. Our RV will hold most of our totes but we still have a lot to pack."
"Alright, I'll let everyone know. Jess and Alan got married, so I'll get Allen to drive his jeep but I guess that means I have the kids, Jessica and the dogs with me. Ashley and Eric will be bringing Avery, Riley, Luxlyn and Kaiden unless Kaiden wants to ride with me. Steve can't come but mom is so I'll tell her to drive the truck. Marti, Kirk and family are coming but I think they are bringing both trucks anyways, one with the camper, one without. Grandma Force is coming but Dale couldn't come and Grandpa Force and Lois are coming."
"Then tell Grandpa Force to bring the tractor trailer. We have a couple here that we want to bring back with us."
"Will do, get better Jami and we'll see you soon."
Once off the phone, the doctor came in to see how I was doing. He greeted us with a smile and then checked my wound.
"You're healing very well. You might be able to leave by the end of the week if you keep this up. But once you get home, no over-exerting yourself. You don't want to end up back here and I'm sure Rick and your family won't want that either. I'll let the kids in now. I told them they had to wait to come in until after I examined you."
"Thank you doctor."
"You're very welcome."
With that he left and Martha poked her head inside. "Is it safe to come inside?"
"Of course, come on in Martha."
"It's good to see you awake Jami. We had a hard time getting the kids to sleep last night. They aren't used to sleeping at our house."
"I know, but at least you tried. Thank you for taking them. I wouldn't have wanted them at the house alone."
"We know. So the kids did their chores and packed enough clothes for the weekend. Want them to come in now?"
"Yes, please. I can't wait to see them."
"Alright, one moment."
Martha slipped from the room but was back a minute later with the kids in tow. Jack was at work as far as I could tell. Martha had Enzo in her arms and Abeni was holding onto Cassie and James' hands. The kids walked in timidly, not sure what to expect. When Cassie saw me awake, she ran to my side and grabbed my hand.
"Mom, are you okay?"
"I will be, but right now I'm a little sore. Listen up, your grandfather and Nana are on their way here as we speak. When they get here, you'll go home with them until I get out of the hospital. You'll need to behave and do your chores and look after your younger siblings. Help out as much as you can, okay?"
"Your dad or Jordan's dad?" James asked.
"Mine, they're coming early for the Reunion as I'm going to need help when I get home. Rick and the Hands will be in the Hay fields finishing up before the Rain comes. Show your grandpa and nana around the Ranch and show them where they can park the trailer for now. We won't start packing until we need to."
"Alright, but isn't the rest of your family coming to the Reunion?" James asked.
"You mean 'our' family? They're your family now too. And yes, but my dad and Annika are taking their vacations now so they're coming early. Don't worry; you'll get to meet everyone. Now, come give me a hug, one at a time."
Cassie and James helped Abeni up onto the bed before Martha put Enzo on the bed. I hugged both my babies at the same time because I knew they wouldn't be able to hurt me. Once done, Martha took Abeni while Rick took Enzo. Cassie hugged first and then James gave me a hug. Both looked like they wanted to cry but were afraid to do so.
"It's okay to cry when you're sad or afraid. There's no shame in crying. It's okay."
"But, we were always told that crying is for babies. And we're not babies anymore."
"You might not be babies anymore, but you will always be my babies as long as I live. And when Rick and I get married, you'll be his babies, if you want to call him dad that is."
"You mean we'll actually have someone to call dad?" Cassie asked.
"Yes you will. Now, I need to get some rest so Martha will be taking you back to her house until Grandpa and Nana get here."
"Okay, we'll see you later then momma."
"See you later my babies."
Martha took Enzo from Rick and led the rest of the kids out of the room and then headed back to her house. There was no need to stay any longer. Rick kissed my forehead and then headed for the cafeteria after placing my tablet next to my hand. I needed some alone time for now.
Chapt.4: Family Reunion:
By the end of the week, Dad and Annika were at the Ranch. Martha and Jack took the kids home and handed them over to their grandparents. But it's not like they'd be alone that night. I was discharged Friday afternoon with instructions to take it easy and plenty of bed rest. Rick promised the doctor that his orders would be listened to to a 'T', no matter how much I complained. Before going home, we stopped by the pharmacy and picked up my medication and then stopped and picked up two cheese pizzas for the family.
When we got to the house, the kids were sitting on the front porch with their grandparents. The smell of pizza drew everyone's attention. It was rare for the kids to have anything that was take-out. The family always cooked or ate at Martha and Jack's. Having pizza was a rarity. While the kids sat on the porch, Annika went and got the pizzas while dad grabbed the bags and Rick helped me into the house. He set me on the couch for now as everyone filed into the house. Annika put the pizza on the coffee table and the kids sat on the ground. Rick and dad took the bags upstairs to our room. Annika sat down next to me.
"Your dad volunteered us the second he heard what had happened. When Sam mentioned to everyone that we needed to bring trailers, we were confused at first. But then it made sense when she told us you were moving home. The first and last time we ever see your Ranch, huh?"
"Sorry, I wanted the kids closer to my family. Rick doesn't have family here anymore but he says he doesn't mind leaving if it means being near me and the kids. And after what's happened, I need to move home. We'll find a new place back home whether it be in Oregon or Washington. It will definitely be a Ranch, though. The kids love living on one."
"I bet, so what are you going to do about all the animals? Where are you going to keep them?"
"I was going to talk to grandpa when he got here about keeping them on the farm till I bought a Ranch with enough acreage. You think he'll let me keep my animals at the Farm?"
"He'll probably let you if you stay on the farm and look after them. You are planning on buying a farm in Oregon right? Dad said that the Fry place was for sale. You could buy that place and share the Twenty." Dad said coming into the room with Rick who had paper plates and napkins. Dad had the juice and cups.
"What happened to the Fry's?"
"The old parents died and the kids moved away. Dad promised he'd find someone good to buy the place. Who better then you and your family? They know our family and have for years. I'll call dad in the morning and have him get the paperwork together and you can pay the bank when you get to the state. You'll have a house for your family and not have to stay at Dad's long. You can even move your family onto the farm so they don't have to stay at Dad's."
"I'll think on it dad. Can I have some juice now?"
"Depends, are you allowed?" Dad asked with a smile.
"Haha! Pizza not right away but juice yes. We'll go shopping for the Reunion in about a week. By then I'll be allowed to drive. Annika will help me with the kids during the day and you and Rick will help the Hands finishing the Haying. It's supposed to start raining on Monday and I want it all in the Hay Barn before it starts to rain. We'll pull it out and put it on the Hay trailer a few days before we have to leave. I want to keep it as dry as I can before the move. We're only taking ¾ of the Hay because I know the new owner will need some hay for his animals. Dinner will be at seven o'clock every night; breakfast at eight o'clock every morning. Any problems with the schedule?"
"You have this all thought our don't you?"
"What else was I supposed to do in the hospital? Besides get caught up on my gaming and reading?"
"You've grown a lot in the last couple years, Jami. You've become a good mom, a good business woman and apparently a good Rancher. Back when you were living with your family, you hardly did anything and you know it. But now, you're actually doing something with your life. We are all very proud of you. When the rest of your family gets here, they also will see how much you have changed. They'll like how different you've become, how more independent you are. They might not have liked Jordan, but by just meeting Rick, they will like him, trust us. Now, we should probably get some sleep."
"Yes, yes. So the guest room is in the back by the kitchen. Rick can show you where it is. The guest room has its own bathroom but not that big. You guys can use our shower if you want to. There's only a bathtub in there. Been too busy to get it remodeled. But hey, maybe Kirk can deal with it; get it fixed for the new owners."
"Sounds like a plan."
"So, we'll see you tomorrow then?"
"Goodnight you two. We'll help tuck the little ones in and see you in the morning."
"Night dad, night Annika. Oh by the way Annika, you are Nana to the kids, just so you know."
"Alright the, we'll see you in the morning."
Dad helped Rick take the younger kids to their rooms while Annika and the older kids put everything away in the kitchen. Cassie and James did the dishes and then said goodnight. They headed up the stairs as Rick and dad came downstairs. I told them I'd be up soon.
"So, we'll see you in the morning then."
"There's one more thing I want to talk to you about though."
"I don't want Cassie and James to be treated any different than any of the other kids in the family. They are my kids now and I want them treated like a member of the Force family. Since they have my last name, they are my kids. Please don't treat them any different than you would the rest of your grandkids. This will go for everyone in the family as well."
"Jami, you don't have to reiterate that they are our grandkids or that they are a part of the family. But we will respect your wishes and let everyone else know as well. We will see you in the morning. Go get some sleep."
With that dad and Annika headed for the guest room. They'd put their bags in the room when they'd first gotten to the Ranch with the help of James, who'd shown them where they'd be staying. Rick helped me upstairs and I said goodnight to my kids. They were pretty much asleep anyways. We got to our room and we were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
The next morning, Rick was up before me. He let me sleep in while he got the kids up and ready for the day. As it was my first day back at home, he thought he could get away with letting me sleep in and making me breakfast in bed. 'Thought' being the operative word. When he left the room, shutting the door quietly as to not disturb me, I opened my eyes. There was no need to pretend to be asleep when I hadn't been for ten minutes. I got up quietly and made my way to the bathroom. I couldn't shower for a couple more days so I grabbed a washcloth and bathed myself that way. Next came the deodorant and then makeup (well what little I actually wore). I was getting dressed when I heard the door open. Turning my head, I saw Annika standing in the door with a towel and some clothes. I smiled.
"Shouldn't you still be in bed? I think Rick and the kids were going to bring you breakfast in bed."
"I woke up when Rick did. I just didn't open my eyes. I'd rather eat in the kitchen. Besides, we have a lot to do around the house today and I won't be sitting around while you and the kids do all the work."
"You are supposed to be resting. You did just get stabbed."
"I know I did. Get in the shower, we can still talk. I'll shut the bathroom door."
"If you don't mind."
"Have I ever minded?"
"Good point." Annika said as she got into the shower and I shut the bathroom door.
"So, what are Rick and dad doing downstairs with the kids?"
"Rick has the notion that he's serving you breakfast in bed."
"And your father is showing off his cooking skills to the kids. They got the griddle out and he's making pancakes. Cassi and James are working on the biscuits and Rick is dealing with the eggs and bacon."
"And you needed a shower huh?"
"Hey, I figured I'd get one in before your dad did. Besides, I figured if you were awake we could talk some. Everyone was worried about you when Sam relayed the information that Jordan had stabbed you. Everyone wanted to come early but we were able to dissuade them, saying that you didn't need so many distractions while you recuperated. They took the answer for now and promised to see you in a little under two weeks."
"So I don't have to worry about rogue family members showing up unannounced then?"
"Maybe one or two in the coming weeks but I think everyone is leaving in about a week in a half."
"As long as they get here on time. I'm gonna go sit on the bed till you're done getting dressed, then we'll go downstairs together."
"Sounds like a plan."
I left the bathroom and went and sat on the bed. Annika got dressed and then opened the door. She brushed her hair and put some makeup on before grabbing her bag and towel and exiting the bathroom. We headed downstairs at the same time. I could hear laughter coming from the kitchen but at least they weren't crying. They obviously loved their Grandpa and Nana. When we walked into the kitchen, Cassie turned towards me and smiled.
"Momma, you were supposed to stay in bed. We were gonna serve you up there."
"And miss my first meal in years with my father helping cook? Not in a million years. Besides, I was awake anyways. Why don't you guys go wash your hands? After breakfast, we have a busy day."
"Yes momma." James and Cassie headed into the bathroom and I turned to Rick.
"You had to know that I wouldn't just lie in bed while everyone was downstairs cooking. It's just not me anymore. Annika walked in to a shower and I was already getting dressed. If I hadn't been stabbed, I'd be doing everything normal anyways. Let's just agree to disagree that I'm not going to lounge around the house while everyone is working. I might not be able to over-exert myself like I used to, but I can still be helpful. Now, do we understand that you don't have to treat me with kid gloves? Are we in an understanding mode?"
"Yes ma'am. But kid's gloves will be used if you over-exert yourself. I promised Dr. Hansen that you would take it easy. That's the only reason he let you out of the hospital so early."
"I know, but there is still a lot to do before the Reunion and the move. And I aim on getting it all done."
Over the next week, Dad helped Rick and the ranch hands with the Hay while Annika helped me with the kids and getting everything ready for the move as well as the Reunion. By the time the Hay was done being brought in, it had started to rain. Luckily all the hay had already been put in the barn. Dad, Rick and all the ranch hands came in for lunch around the time Annika and I finished making the food. Rick came over and gave me a kiss while dad did the same with Annika. The kids came in from the porch as well and I pointed them to the bathroom to get cleaned up.
"That includes all of you men as well. No need to stay dirty when you won't be able to go back outside for a couple hours. The animals have already been fed. Go on, go get cleaned up. Annika and I will set everything out."