As a sad looking truck drove off the Adams Ranch, Brad Hughes leaned against the door frame to his bunk house rolling a tooth pick between his lips. Things suddenly became interesting on the ranch. Sarah Jane was a good girl and did everything right. He plucked the tooth pick from his mouth and snapped it in half and tossed it to the ground. Change was in the air. He walked back inside and closed the door.
“So what’s the deal with you?” asked Jenny, eyeing Sarah Jane suspiciously.
Sarah Jane squirmed under the weighting pressure of her secret next to Catrina whose brows stitched together questioningly. Swallowing hard, Sarah Jane knew she was going to have to confess.
“Come on spill,” cried Catrina slapping her on the arm, “I saw you actually smile at Luke Patterson in English and Sam said Luke sat next to you in Business class.” She pointed a carrot in Sarah Jane’s face and then took a cracking bite.
Sarah Jane let out a loud sigh, dropping her head back and she closed her eyes. Opening her eyes, it spilled out like food falling to the floor at dinner when talking with a mouth full of food.
“Luke has been helping me with Business Essentials for over a week now. I’m flunking. He has an A+. You know what my dad will do if he thinks I can’t handle running the ranch.” She took a bite of her sandwich and waited for her friends reactions.
Jenny shivered. “Yeah, let Brad take over. That guy is creep. The way he looks at you whenever you’re around. I would tell your dad.”
“He’ll just think I’m making it up.”
“Still. Doesn’t it bother you to be home when your parents are gone?”
“Yes and no. I know he’s smarter than that to mess with me physically. But I feel like he’s waiting for me to mess up.”
“Man that stinks.” Catrina wadded up her paper sack and jumped off the table top. “So what does Luke get out of this? I see how he looks at you. Let me guess a date.”
Sarah Jane’s cheeks heated, although, she frowned. “No. I’ve been helping on his orchard.”
Jenny’s face grew ugly and she too rose from the table. Leaving Sarah Jane to shovel her sandwich down in three bites.
“Hum. What’s that like helping?”
Sarah Jane recalled all the work Luke and she had gotten done. The work was hard, but in a different way. Time seemed to pass by quietly unlike at home. She liked the contrast. It was nice.
“Oh look at her face Jenny, “Carina said. “She likes it. Is it that it’s different or is it that Luke’s there?”
Sarah Jane sprang to her feet and then pinched both of her friends in the arm. “Not in a million years. It’s Luke Patterson, the guy that has tortured me for years.” She picked up the remaining items from her lunch and placed them in her backpack. “It’s nice to do something different is all.” She peered over all the tables to the back corner of the small gym and spotted Luke watching her. She looked away quickly and walked outside leaving her friends behind.