A Run-in with Chad

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August 1, 1886

It’s funny how time works. When I was younger, it seemed the days took forever to go by. Though I’m still convinced that spending a good part of the  day in the stuffy schoolhouse has something to do with that. But now? Now it’s as if one day slides directly into the next, hardly giving me any chance to catch my breath. Living with Riley here on the ranch has been a bit of a change, though I’m thankful every day that we didn’t have to move far when we married. This land has a hold on me, and I know I could never leave it.

I had an interesting run-in today, with Chad of all people. Sometimes I really don’t think he’ll see me as grown up. Brothers. It was just after breakfast had finished and Riley had headed outside. I wanted nothing more than to follow him. However, I pushed the feelings aside, determined to do the work I despised the most first. Housework. It’s not that I particularly mind the work. I know it takes a capable woman to keep the household running (a fact Aunt Rebecca was always sure to let me know), but all the little details put me in a tizzy.

Anyway, Riley had mentioned soon after we moved in here that he loved the way the sunlight filtered through the windows in the front room and brightened up the area. Just yesterday, I noticed that some of the glass panes had fingerprints smudged from when Lucy had brought her children to visit. I quickly finished clearing the table and wiping it, and then finished the dishes. I’m forever grateful that with only the two of us there aren’t that many to do.

Just as soon as the dishes were put away and the kitchen tidied up, I grabbed a bucket that stood next to the back door and filled it with hot water and soap. The water was almost too hot for me to stick my hand in, but I decided I could manage it. Just as soon as the windows were done, I could head outdoors. I could almost feel the sun on my face and that thought helped me to move faster. I took the bucket though the kitchen and dining room, and then into the sitting room. At first, I planned to clean the lower panes, but looking up, I decided that while I was at it, I had better clean the higher ones as well. If I could do it all now, it would mean I wouldn’t have to do them again for another week or so.

Unfortunately. I’m not tall enough to reach the top panes on my own. After a quick look around the room, I could tell that I wasn’t strong enough to move any of the furniture in here either. But the dining room chairs. They were light enough for me to carry. I set one of them near the window and stepped up on it, grateful that I didn’t wear the ankle-length skirts most ladies wore. (My split skirt made working around the house much easier.) With the bucket in one hand and the cloth in the other, I was just able to reach the top pane if I stretched up on my tiptoes.

Two of the panes were cleaned, and just as I moved on to the third one, the front door banged open. The sudden noise caught me off balance. I desperately tried to keep my footing. I stepped to the side . . . and right off the edge of the chair. The floor met my face with astonishing speed, and I yelped as the hot water soaked through the fabric of my shirt.

“Andrea Carter!” I groaned as strong arms encircled my waist and pulled me to a sitting position.

CHAD MIGHT BE LAUGHING, BUT IT WAS NOT FUNNY!

“It’s Andrea Prescott,” I muttered, not letting myself look up and meet Chad’s gaze. What in the blazes he was doing here at the house? Especially right now? I didn’t know, and at the moment, I was not too happy to see him. Before he could ask me anything, I pushed myself up and stepped back. My knees felt a bit wobbly from their run-in with the floor, and I could feel a headache coming on, but that was all. Looking up, I stared at the mess. The chair had stayed standing, but every single window pane was wet with splattered water droplets and would need to be redone. My bucket lay tipped over on the floor, though there wasn’t as much water around it as I had expected. I reckon my clothes soaked most of it up.

Chad chuckled just then, and looked up to meet his gaze. He shook his head. “Not even Riley can change you too much, can he, little sis?” My only reply was a glare. I guess, writing it out now, that the whole incident seems rather humorous. But oh, was I mad at Chad! I had everything perfectly under control, and he just had to come and barge through that door and startle me. And why had he come to Memory Creek? To extend Mother’s invitation to come to supper tonight. I reckon she misses me . . . at least a little bit. And Riley and I never turn down an invitation for a tasty meal. Uh-uh. Well, I’m yawning and need to finish up this entry. I’m riding the range with Riley tomorrow and need my sleep.

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

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