Rebel cut off his radio as he drove his pickup with the horse trailer attached to the back. Cutting off the engine he left the keys in as he stepped out his black t-shirt stretching tight over his muscles. Looking around he could see the shape of Zuradia’s father over by the barns so he leaned on the hood of the truck and waited knowing the man had already seen him pull up. Looking over at the ranches’ main house he looked up at the windows on the second floor wondering which one was his girl’s. He’d barely gotten any sleep last night thinking about her. Tossing and turning all night imaging what he’d do to her if he finally got her in his bed underneath of him, between…
“Hey honey” Zuradia smiled sweetly at him as she jogged down her steps her soft husky voice pulling him out of his thoughts. “I didn’t know you were coming today” she went on coming to stand beside him so close their shoulders touched.
Leaning over her he got eminence satisfaction from the sharp intake of breath she couldn’t conceal quickly enough. He’d resisted asking her out or sending her any signals because he didn’t want to make a move without Jet but now that he was here. “Yeah I have the mares for your father I won’t be here but a minute though” he told her a part of him was elated by her disappointed look.
“Oh” she said looking down at her worn boots and tugged a little on her tank top in nervousness. “I figured you would stay for a while like you normally do” she said quickly before her nerves left her.
“Come out with me tonight Z. Let me take you to dinner” he blurted out abruptly hooking her index finger with his.
Zuradia chewed on her lip while she looked up at him. Wow this was it he was finally asking her out. She’d been waiting for this moment for what seemed like forever. She must have really been thinking hard cause his sexy voice pulled her out of her thoughts.
“Say si Zuradia” he whispered his accent making her name sound like a meringue rhythm. That accent was so sexy he could call her whatever he wanted.
“Yes, si” she rushed out a little too eagerly if she was lighter she was sure her face would have been beet red.
The smile he graced her with was so heart stopping she forgot to breath for a few seconds. “Bueno I’m glad I have wanted to take you out for a long time. How about 8 o’clock I’ll pick up come to the door and everything”.
“No!” she yelled winching when he stepped back startled. “it’s just that my father is really strict he won’t like it. I’ll meet you at the entrance to the Ranch. Eight is fine”.
Rebel looked at her strangely for a minute but then nodded his agreement smiling broadly once more. “Okay it’s a date. Where something nice okay I’m taking you somewhere special”.
“Zuradia don’t you have work to do? Son you got my mares” Barney Jackson growled the warning in his voice clear as he pulled his attention away from Zuradia startling the both of them. He didn’t want anyone talking to his Babygirl, looking at his Babygirl, or thinking about his Babygirl and Rebel Ramirez was a man that didn’t just want his Babygirl he wanted to own her. He knew that type. It’s the same type he was. For whatever reason though he’d kept a certain amount of distance between himself and his daughter but today something had changed he could tell by their body language and he didn’t like one bit.
They looked at each other for a few long seconds before Rebel dipped his head slightly, his way of showing respect to the older man. When Senor Jackson relaxed slightly he led him to the back of the trailer where his men where already leading out the three mares “Si, Senor I have them come”. He watched with half a mind as the three beautiful Azteca Mares were brought before them for inspection. Two were a beautiful brown with long shiny black manes the third was completely cold black. “As usual they all have all been inspected as required and received their birth certificates and certificates as breeding stock…”
“And their letters are?” Barney asked proving his proficiency in the area.
“All three have been given an ‘A’ Senor” Rebel answered keeping his answers short now that he could see that the older gentleman was abreast of things.
Nodding his head “Good” Barney said smiling “they are magnificent creatures. This is going to be great for the ranch”.
In addition to running a cattle ranch the Jackson family’s Eden Ranch named for his late wife housed some of the best Horse shows and Equestrian Competitions in not only Utopia, TX but the entire lone star state.
Turning to his foreman “take them to the coral Jose please” he told his employee and friend smiling broadly as Jose and one of Ramirez’s men walked past him heading to the coral.
“I am glad you are pleased with them Senor. The Eden Ranch is the first we have sold this new breed to” Rebel thanked him shaking his hand.
“Well I’m glad to have them. Thanks again Ramirez”.
“Sure thing… You have a good day Senor” he said closing the trailer doors and started to walk around to get in his truck but stopped at the sound of Senor Jackson’s throat clearing. “Is there something else Sir” he asked though he had a good idea what it was by the look on his face.
“I see the way you look at my Babygirl young man” he began grimly walking up to him until they were face to face their chests nearly touching. “I want you to stay away from her you hear?”
“And why is that” Rebel asked softly.
“She’s hands off for you and everyone else in this town you understand. I have plans for her and you ain’t gonna mess it up” he said his voice beginning to rise as his anger clearly grew.
“Senor Jackson what about what your daughter wants?” he asked shaking his head. “Look I mean no disrespect but I can’t adhere to that. I’ll be honest with you man to man I want your daughter Sir. She’s the one and I mean to have her and keep her with or without your approval. But I certain would prefer to have it. I can tell Zuradia is mighty fond of you and it would mean a lot to her”.
Silently Barney Jackson moved closer pushing Rebel into his truck with his belly something he wouldn’t have normally been able to do but Rebel allowed the maneuver. “You get off my property” he said so softly Rebel had to strain to hear him then backed up.
Quietly Rebel got into his truck and careful pulled around the turnabout and speed off heading home.
Zuradia applied herself a little too diligently to the task of rubbing down Mr.Ed her ten year old prized palomino colored Andalusian. This wasn’t what she was supposed to be doing but damnit she needed a few minutes to cool down. Setting the brush down she began to put Ed’s mane into small braids with beads on the end something she’d done for years. “I’ve got to get out of here Eddie” she said placing a kiss on the horse’s cheek. “I hope Daddy didn’t scare him off’ she said to the horse one of two friends she had that her father couldn’t scare off. The strangle hold her father kept on her was beginning to be stifling… she couldn’t take it anymore he tried to control everything and the few freedoms she did have was only because she fought tooth and nail for them. I mean she was twenty-three and hadn’t even had a boyfriend yet how sad was that. She was even convinced that if her mother hadn’t made him promise that she would get the best education their money could buy he would have kept her with him instead of allowing her to go away for college and even then he came and checked on her every weekend.
“Babygirl” Barney yelled out so he wouldn’t startle her “what are you doing out here I thought you would be doing the books like I sent you to do”.
Turning around she wiped her hands on her jeans before giving her father a half hug “I know Daddy but I needed… a few minutes”.
Looking at his daughter for a few minutes he thought about that Ramirez boy again and forcibly trapped down his irritation ‘I am in complete control of this situation like always’ he mumbled as he watched Zuradia put away her supplies man she looked so much like Eden it was almost scary not to mention bitter sweet. He knew he probably was a bit to stifling but it was the only way of keeping his sweet Eden close to him.
“You say something Daddy?” Z asked him with that same bizarre look on her face that her mama got when she thought that he might be talking to himself.
“Um I have to drive to up to Pleasanton… your Uncle is having some trouble there. I don’t want to leave you alone here so come on we can walk to the main house together and pack we gotta leave in an hour so we can make good time.”
Carefully blanking her face Zuradia prayed to God that her complete devastation didn’t show on her face. She just bet there really wasn’t an emergency but there was no way she was leaving not after Rebel finally asked her out no way was she canceling on him. “Aww Daddy I would love to go but you know I can’t. we have deliveries there’s a show Saturday and on top of that the last time we both left for any amount of time things were a mess when we got back. Jose is a great foreman Daddy but he can’t handle this big Ranch by himself” she finished arguing her case stretching her arms out towards the vast pastures as they walked to the house.
Sighing Barney remained quiet. The truth was his brother didn’t have any trouble he had called and told him the situation and his brother offered to have them come out there for a bit to hopefully give the two of the a chance to cool their jets. But damnit Babygirl made sense as usual but he couldn’t cancel the whole trip or he’d look crazy “You’re right Babygirl you gotta stay here and run things for me. I won’t be gone but a week But I want you to call me and check in every night and I don’t want anyone over while I’m gone you understand me”.
“Yes Sir I do and don’t worry, I’ll be fine” she assured him barely able to contain her elation. “Come on let me help you pack” she said taking his hand and rushing them up the stairs to the house.
Barney could do nothing more then follow along he’d already built his bed now he had to lie in it. As he sat on the bed watching his daughter efficiently pack up everything he would need for the week along with some extra just in case he was overcome with the feeling that things were about to change forever.
“Jet!” he yelled as he walked through the entryway of their four bedroom three bath rancher “Where are you”.
“Here” Jet answered from the kitchen looking up as his twin entered “how did it …” tilting his head to the side he stopped talking an observed his brother for a few minutes as he got a fork and sat beside him promptly digging into the lomein he made earlier. Silently they finished off the huge plate together and silently passed the large mug of Corona back and forth for a few more minutes before he finally spoke again. “She said no” he asked his voice shaky to his embarrassment.
Looking over at him “no” Rebel rushed to reassure him “we go out tonight for dinner at eight. I’m supposed to pick her up at the entrance to her ranch”.
“Wooohooo!” Jet let out a loud scream jumping up to kiss his laughing twin on the cheek. Wait suddenly confused “so what’s wrong hermano?”
Sighing “well” Rebel proceeded to tell him the entire confrontation with Zuradia’s Father by the time he was finished they were both extremely troubled.
“You think he suspects something?” Jet asked a worried look marring his handsome face
Shaking his head no “we’ve been real careful no one’s seen you and when you have gone out it’s been on our private property or as me. No he’s real possessive of his little girl; he doesn’t want to share her”.
“Hmmm, well we need to do something about that. It seems that he really doesn’t like us and that’s not going to fly. Zuradia is real close to her Padre I don’t see her with anyone her father doesn’t accept”.
“I know hermano I know. But right now there is nothing to be done let’s just focus on getting our girl first”.