Friday, January 27, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 15

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
Wow! The sky is brilliant. To the east where the sun is announcing its arrival, the sky is flaming orange turning into bright pink with purple-blue clouds. Overhead the sky is overcast, but in every direction, north, south and west there is a rim of pink clouds along the horizon encircling the heavens. In the east the pink and orange clouds look like billowing colored smoke. All is changing now. The pink isn't as brilliant as before and the orange has died down. There is a chance of rain this afternoon.

What have I done this week that might interest you? I wrote a short story. It was so delightful and freeing using the instructions Anna gave me. It hasn't been proofed yet, so I will have to wait until next week to share it with you. :) Hope you come back.
I got some other parts to other stories checked and corrected. But no more on Triple Creek. It is rather difficult when you have three novel length stories all going on at once to know which story you should work on. I'm trying to work on all of them. :) And get some short stories in as well.
I'm also working on trying to keep up with Priscilla's letters for her "Traveling the USA." I thought it would be fun to keep a running total of how much such a trip would cost. I'm only recording what it costs to visit places, if we go to a special restaurant, rent something or pay to park somewhere. I'll add gas and toll roads later and food. :) This is one expensive trip! It's a good thing it is a virtual. Though there are some places I would really like to visit in person.

I got to catch up with a two of my "heart-sisters" this week. :) And today, my "triplets" and I are going out for ice cream and to talk! I've known them for almost twenty-three years! Then I babysit tonight. :)

So, now enjoy Triple Creek Ranch and don't forget to let me know what you think of it. :)

Part 15
“I was just wishing the table would sort of set itself tonight,” she confessed. “Because I haven’t had time to do it yet.”
“Where’s Orlena?” Norman stepped over to the door and opening it, glanced through into the empty dining room but saw no sign of his sister.
“Probably getting ready to eat . . .”
“I don’t like you working alone in this hot kitchen,” he frowned as he saw his wife’s flushed cheeks and noticed the dots of perspiration on her temples.
“I’ve been doing it most of my life,” she reminded him quietly.
“But you had your mother and sister to help you,” he protested.
Jenelle smiled indulgently, “Not since I married you,” she told him, adding, “Don’t you think you should be following your sister’s example and washing up?”
“All right,” he grinned. “I can take a hint. But,” he paused in the doorway as another frown crossed his face, “I still don’t like it.”
Jenelle quickly set three places and by the time she had the food on the table, Norman and Orlena were waiting. It was a relief to Jenelle to discover that the dining room was cooler than the kitchen had been. She didn’t want to admit it even to herself, but she was feeling more tired than she had been for a long time.
Grace was said and the meal began. It was a quiet one. No one seemed inclined to talk much. Perhaps the heat had something to do with it or perhaps everyone felt too tired to spend their energy talking. In either case, the meal was half over before Norman, after several glances at his strangely quiet sister and his tired looking wife, questioned, “Did you two have a busy day?”
Jenelle nodded. “It takes a while to unpack a trunk and get everything set to rights.” She didn’t add that it took longer doing it alone with an exacting mistress to please. “And that reminds me, Norman, Orlena’s trunk is ready to be taken to the attic.”
“I can do that after supper,” Norman agreed.
Silence again descended until the steady, sure hand of the clock had ticked away three minutes. Then Jenelle spoke. “How was your day, Dear?”
“We’re ready to move the cattle from the west creek pasture to the south creek. We’ll do that tomorrow.”
“Speaking of tomorrow,” Jenelle set her glass of water down and pushed her empty plate slightly away. “Orlena and I were thinking of going into town for a few things tomorrow.”
“No.” Norman spoke quickly, but with quiet decision and Jenelle looked somewhat surprised. “I don’t want you, either of you,” he added, looking first at his wife and then at his sister, “driving all the way to town in this heat. There won’t even be a cloud cover tomorrow. Wait until it cools off somewhat.”
Orlena hadn’t really wanted to go to town with her sister-in-law, but when Norman had so quickly and adamantly said they couldn’t go, she immediately felt contrary. She looked at Jenelle, wondering if she would pout or plead, but was surprised to discover she did neither. There was no sign of even disappointment on Jenelle’s still slightly flushed face. And no words of protest came from her mouth. Orlena opened her mouth to put in her own protest, but she had no chance to say anything.
“Oh, Norman, do be careful tomorrow if it is going to be that hot.” Jenelle looked concerned.
“We will, Sweet. That is why it will probably take us all day. We’ll be moving them slowly.”
With a sigh, Jenelle pushed back her chair, signaling that supper was over. There were still the dishes to wash and she dreaded the heat of the kitchen.
Feeling uncertain about the outcome, yet determined not to let his wife work in the hot kitchen alone, Norman spoke quickly. “We’ll all help with the dishes tonight. That way they will be done all the sooner.”
A greatful look swept over Jenelle’s face and she smiled at her husband. Yet, she wondered, will Orlena have anything to say about the arrangement? She didn’t have long to wait.
For a full half a minute Orlena was speechless. Had her brother told her they would all be moving out and living with Indians, she couldn’t have been more astonished. Her help wash dishes? She, Orlena Mavrich, who had had servants all her life, or at least as much of it as she could remember, expected to help in the kitchen like a common maid!
Norman’s voice, quick and genial, interrupted her thoughts. “Here Sis, we’ll stack the plates and you can carry them out to the kitchen while I grab these serving dishes.”
“I will not!” Orlena had found her voice. “I am not your servant!” Her grey eyes flashed.
Norman’s voice was even as he replied, “No, you are not. You are a member now of the Triple Creek Ranch and each member is expected to carry their share of the load around here.”
“I am not a member, I am a guest and I’ll have you remember that!”
Jenelle gave Norman no chance to reply for she saw that his temper was rapidly rising. “Dear,” and she placed a hand on his arm, “just carry those out and put them on the counter for me, won’t you?”
And Norman, biting back his sharp words, turned from his sister to the kitchen. After setting the dishes carefully down, he braced his hands on the counter top and stared down at the floor, his heart crying for help. “Oh, God, what do I do?” he pleaded silently. “I can’t let Orlena be another burden on Jenelle, but how do I make her help? And most of all, how can I keep my temper with her when she talks like that?” He pushed away from the counter and strode over to stand in the open doorway and stare into the cloudless evening sky with troubled eyes.

Questions? Comments?

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