This was my entry for the Ruggeddom contest that Jonesn hosted. She picked it for host's choice and I thank her so much for it.

I was debating on whether or not I wanted to post it here, but I figured... Why the heck not?

Right now, I don't know if I will continue it. I'm just not feeling it at the moment. I won't completely rule it out though so keep me on alert. If not for this, for Tocowana, my WIP.

Ooooor check out my collab with Hoodfabulous under the pen name PrescriptionNotStreet if you haven't already. Who knows where we might take that hot mess express. Word on the street is it's my turn to start something.

Undying love and inappropriate hugs/kisses go out to my beta Daphodill Fic because I'm terrible at this grammar "thing". She makes the garbage I call a story much more enjoyable and understandable.

I don't own anything but the plot so please don't steal it since it's all I've got(why are bad country songs in my head now?).


He hasn't been here long. Daddy just hired him a few weeks ago to help out.

The new farmhand's Carhartts are the color of damp sand, hugged and fitted in all the right, but oh so wrong places. There is a Skoal ring indention in his left back pocket, and a hole worn from the brass decoration of his wallet in the right. There are Texas Longhorn studs on his leather belt; I watch those bull heads sway—up, down and side to side.

He starts to walk away, but I can't let him out of my sight just yet. The farther away he gets, the more I lean over from this tree stump I have roosted myself on.

I lean, and lean, and lean. A cloud of Texas dirt billows up after my graceless fall.

Annoyed with myself for wasting so much time watching him, I decide I should get up and be productive. With a huff, I haul myself up from the ground and dust dirt off my worn Wrangler jeans. Not much use dusting myself off only to get more dirt on myself later. I can't sit here and watch the new guy put up fence posts all day. Eventually, I will have to go out to earn my keep and my part that helps keeps this farm running.

Grandaddy likes to think his moonshine runs this farm, but if it weren't for the hogs, we'd lose everything. Between his gambling and Mamaw's habit of testing the product, we'd definitely be in the poor house.

Hogging is in my blood. Daddy jokes saying I was born to hog. There has been no truer statement uttered by the man I'm blessed to call my father. People are still having kids out of necessity rather than want even if the economy is supposed to be better. Around here, we struggle to make ends meet. Daddy considers most of the work I do "chores," which is really just free labor. At least now I get a cut of what I bring to the table.

Hunting wild hogs started, like many things around here, from a need. Since boars are nocturnal, they often tear through crops and pens under the cover of night. Anything in their way doesn't stand much of a chance—livestock, deer, fences—they'll eat any and every thing they can before bedding down to sleep the day away. Wild boars are a menace, and not much can control them other than trapping or killing them because there aren't many larger predators in the area to keep the population down.

A job that started in duress warped into a money-making business.

As I walk to the dog pens to ready my most trusted partners for today's hunt, I tie my mid-back black hair on top of my head with the ponytail holder that is ever present on my wrist. I have Charlie Swan to thank for my features. His Comanche bloodline won out against my mother's blonde hair and blue eyes. Not only did I inherit Daddy's dark features, I also recieved his love for the outdoors. Because I'm an only child, I had my Daddy's undivided attention. He taught me everything I know, which includes hoggin'.

I taught myself how to train dogs.

One of the reasons I train my own dogs is because I don't trust anyone else to treat my babies right or train them to hog correctly. The other is men just don't treat women in the hoggin' circle fairly. Just 'cause I don't have a pecker swingin' between my legs, doesn't make me less of a hunter. My daddy is one of the best hoggers out there and he trained me. Even though he taught me everything I know, he will admit in a second that I'm the better hogger.

He says the reason I'm so good at what I do is because of how I treat my animals. Daddy always says watching me with my dogs is like watching an artist work.

The first pen holds my two leading ladies, Molly and Sassy. As two of the best bay dogs I've ever owned, they are literally my leading ladies. In the hoggin' ring, Catahoula Curs are well-known bay dogs, but I had never used them before. When I saw an ad for a pair of sisters for sale, I took a chance. Just taking a look wouldn't hurt. I fell in love with them then and there. Near twins, Molly's and Sassy's only real difference are the spots on their backs. When they're lined up side by side, the spots form a heart. That and with their cracked-glass eyes, I couldn't resist.

Buying dogs on appearances may not always be the smartest thing to do. I knew I made a good buy when I got them home, Molly and Sassy shot out of the truck when I opened the door. They tracked the scent of a small boar I keep penned for training on the other side of the barn. I found them barking and howling at the thing when I finally caught up to them.

We use catch dogs to, well, catch. After the bay dogs get the wild boar cornered, the catch dogs come in and catch the boar, holding it still until we can come in and tie them off. We use this method because I don't shoot to kill the hogs. My catch dogs Sam, Beau, Cooper, and Duke are all male Pit Bull Terriers. The breed has a terrible reputation, but these four dogs are the biggest babies. They would be lap dogs in a heartbeat. Pit Bulls may be known for aggressive behavior, but honestly, I have never seen anything of the sort from any of my dogs, unless you're a boar.

Sam is probably my favorite since he was the first catch dog I ever trained myself. We spent a lot of time together figuring this whole hoggin' thing out. He is close to retirement, but since he's so good at catching I haven't had it in me to train another dog. I will soon, though. Most of the time after I have bathed him I will let him come inside for dinner. He will sit on the couch like watch Daddy eat his supper off a TV tray. His black muzzle twitches and follows every bite Daddy lifts to his mouth. Once, dad even stuck a dinner napkin in his collar to finish off his look.

When you talk to Sam he listens with rapt attention and his head tilted to the side, one ear stands straight up, the other flops over as if it's tired.

A few more weeks is all I need and I will start training a pup to take his place. I just have to let the puppy get old enough to start his training. Until this Sam will still have to join us on hunts.

Speaking of hunts...

My partners are late. They should have been here to begin with to not make me prepare the dogs alone. I have to vest and collar all the dogs in order to protect their vital organs during a hunt. A boars tusk can to a lot of damage to an unprotected dog.

I'm pulled from my thoughts when I hear the gate open. I turn my head and shoot my two friends an impatient frown. "Ladies, you're late. I really don't care about your appearance. You know you're going to sweat off your make-up anyways."

Other than my dogs, my team consists of two of the prissiest women in all of Texas. I will never understand why these two want to deal with my crazy idea of a job catching hogs. We make dern good money and we never have trouble finding jobs between the three of us. Men don't respect us much in the hoggin' world, but that doesn't keep them from wanting to look at us. As long as we get paid and rid them of their hog problem everybody wins.

Rosalie mans a horse named Lady during our hunts. Rose is all tan arms and legs with a round butt and huge breasts. Long blonde hair is always piled in a perfectly unperfect mess on top of her head to keep it out of the way and off her neck during hunts. This, combined with her ice blue eyes, makes her bear the resemblance of some kind of rustic Barbie.

Alice drives our jeep while I ride along as a passenger. She's a mad woman behind the wheel. Tall and gangly almost to the point of being awkward. Even though she's almost six feet tall, she always has high heels on when she isn't in cowboy boots. Her eyes are the color of dark washed denim. The use of a pony tail isn't necessary with Alice because she got mad a few weeks ago and cut her shoulder-length hair to a near buzzed pixie cut. The whole episode was very much what I'd imagine a bra burning ceremony to be like complete with kitchen shears and a mason jar of Grandaddy's hooch.

What made her mad in the first place is beyond me. From when she first walked in my door until the time she passed out, all she did was mumble. I never could understand what she was saying since she was already half lit when she came in. When I tried to take the scissors from her, she tried to stab at me. So I just left her alone.

I came back fifteen minutes later and she was passed out in a pool of her chopped off hair.

The next morning when I woke her up, she refused to talk about anything from the night before. She just swept her hair into the garbage bin and left.

"Rose, do you at least have Lady loaded?" She shakes her head as she walks my way. Rose yanks my ponytail as she begins to speak."That's why we're late, boss."

I growl at her and continue snapping Sassy into her vest.

"Your daddy is getting Lady re-shoed today."

"What does he expect me to do? I have to work today. Why can't he do it when I'm not working."

"Because we are always working." Alice pouts.

"Well, he could have at least told me."

"He didn't tell you because he knew you'd keep making excuses and then Lady would end up with hoof rot. Get over it," Rose says matter-of-factly. These women know me. I'd never want to harm an animal, but I do tend to get wrapped up in my work.

"Plus your daddy said for us to take his truck and let the new farmhand tag along." Rose giggles.

"I don't see how that is remotely funny, Rose. He doesn't know anything about hoggin'. He could get one of us killed."

"Well, at least now you don't have to sit on that stump to ogle him." Rose goads.

"Ha, ha, ha, Rose. Please tell me that if you ever quit hoggin', you're going into stand up comedy." I say with a fake laugh.

The gate clicks open and we are joined by someone else. A soft, unfamiliar chuckle fills my ears and draws my gaze.

A straw-colored Stetson is perched on the back of his head. Sweaty, dark brown hair is matted to his forehead. When he takes off his hat to shake out his damp hair, the sun hits his locks at just the right angle, making the red highlights sparkle.

Accustomed to only seeing him from behind, one of the most shocking things about him from this new vantage point are his eyes. They are the color of a clover patch—light green fading to dark—something that is so rare here. We see them late April to early May before everything turns to dust.

His red flannel shirt has the top three buttons undone. Tan skin and a sparse amount of blond curls peek out the top. The shirt is tucked neatly into those sinfully tight Carhartts which are haphazardly shoved into light brown Georgia boots as if his shoes were an afterthought when he was getting ready this morning.

"We match," he says with a laugh, eyeing my Wranglers. "Well… Sort of, I reckon."

Grinning, his eyes linger on the bare skin of my stomach where I have tied my own red flannel shirt at my waist. The main difference in our two shirts is the sleeves on his are rolled up to his elbows and mine lost their fight to a pair of scissors years ago.

I didn't notice the color of his shirt before when he was working on the fence because I never made it that far up. Never did I get past watching his hips sway and then bob slightly from the force of the fence post driver.

"Who gives a rip? Don't you have a fence to fix?"I ask, annoyed. Most of my time in the past was spent training my dogs how to hunt; I really don't have the time or the energy to make sure Daddy's new farm hand doesn't get himself killed.

On a good day, the worst thing that happens is we get tangled up in briars. I would hate for it to be a bad day and his pretty face get ruined.

"Well, I reckon I do, but I don't have anybody to watch me do it." His fingers hook on his belt loops which direct my eyes to his large, beat up belt buckle. My gaze trails down to his zipper, then darts back up to his eyes.

"Overcompensating for something?" I ask.

"Naw, just trying to give you somethin' to gander at. Seems like it worked, too." Ever so slightly, he rocks from his heels to his toes, a smile planted on his face.

He sees right through me.

I hate it.

I want him.

I hate that I want him.

Men complicate things.

They cut into hoggin' and I don't have time for that. Men want to change you. They want you to be dainty, and cook their dinner, expect you to not have dirt under your nails and possibly in your hair. What they expect from you is to be barefoot and pregnant, cooking their dinner while they are off pussy footin' around at the bar behind my back with some woman twice my age and with way more money.

I played that game once with my high school sweetheart and got burned.

I should know better. Once bitten, twice shy and all that mumbo jumbo. Jim was pretty to look at talked a smooth game. I was in love faster than a jackrabbit in quicksand. youth and naivete had me spreading my legs at Jim's declarations of devotion and assurances that virgins can't get pregnant. He made me believe him—his silver tongue knew how to stupefy me. When I found out Jim and I were having a baby, I thought he would be ecstatic. We hadn't been seeing each other long—just the last few weeks of our senior year—but he was already my forever.

Jim and I had a shotgun wedding in the truest sense. Daddy told Jim he needed to do right by me and his unborn child while Grandaddy made a show of how keen a shot he was, shooting cans off a fence post. Mama sewed me into my dress that she modified to fit my enlarged abdomen. Clutching a handful of daisies from the flower bed, I stood beside Jim, who wore a pair of khaki shorts and a white polo, and said my vows.

I'm glad Hope has never met her sperm donor. He never laid eyes on her because he packed his things and abandoned me while I was giving birth to our child. He made himself so scarce that I almost wasn't able to track him down to sign our divorce papers along with his rights to Hope.

There were a few weeks where I did nothing but lay in the bed and mourn my loss. Postpartum depression was heavy on my chest. I lost way too much weight in a short amount of time . I quit taking care of myself and refused to take care of my child. My parents were so worried about me that they took me to get help.

Day by day, I clawed myself out of that darkness and threw my life into Hope and hoggin'.

I've got Hope now, so I regret nothing, nor do I have time to entertain the thought of anyone else in my life... It will be a cold day in Hades before I ever hand my heart over to another man. Daddy and Grandaddy fill the fatherly blanks in Hope's life and I honestly don't have time or energy to give anyone else a chance.

Plus, "Bitter isn't a good look," Mama always tells me. I check those feelings before I sink deeper into that particular emotion. My heart aches. I shake it off so I can do what I do best—next to being a mother—hoggin'

"I'm just doing what your daddy told me to, darlin'. I promise to stay out of your way."

I sigh, not really liking his answer, but he can drive Rose and make it easier for her to jump out for a hog.

"Okay, newb. You drive and Rose will ride with you."

He starts to protest.

"Problem?" I ask.

"Please, call me Edward."

"I'll think about it, newb. Go with Rose and get the jeeps ready." I peer over at Alice. "You stay with me and help me vest up the guys." I stand to join Alice so we can move to the pen that holds my catch dogs.

Edward is just staring at me, unmoving and mouth agape.

"Newb, I ain't got time for your lolly gaggin'. Shut your yap and go on and do what I said."

His jaw snaps shut and he storms out of the pen. Hopefully, he will stay in a bad enough mood and avoid me for the rest of the day so I can be done with him. Pushing him away is for the best.

We've been tracking hogs for about forty-five minutes before the girls catch a whiff of anything. They are going crazy on the carpeted hood of my jeep. Alice is driving like a mad woman, as always. I'm strapped in because the whole thing is open, but I still cling to the roll bar in hopes of keeping my brain from jiggling all the way out my ears.

"Alice, stop. Let me unhook Molly and Sassy. I think we are close enough to where the hogs have bedded down. We should be able to get to them on foot."

The second truck finally comes to a screeching halt beside us, dust billows up from underneath the tires.

"Nice of you ladies to finally join us." I fake a yawn and blow on my nails, then shine them on my shirt.

"Not my fault you told Grandma Moses to drive." Rose spits her words at me while glaring back over her shoulder at Edward. She hops down from the passenger side of the jeep.

"Sorry, but you ride shotgun in case I need you to jump out quick for a boar," I say to Rose, not liking her annoyance with me.

Edward finally comes ambling around from the other side of the vehicle. As he is walking, he buckles a gun holster low on his hips. The attraction I have for this man is definitely a sin.

I know next to nothing about him other than he drives a mean pole…

I mean drives a pole well…

Ugh…

He does a good job at putting up a fence.

I know Daddy was trying to help by sending Edward today, but I am going to have to give him a strong talking to when I get home.

The gun holster slaps at his strong, muscular thigh. He walks with a natural air so my gaze trains toward him and I don't want to look away.

I can't look away.

But I have to.

Glancing up, he catches me staring at him. I close my mouth. Annoyed that he caught me, I holler at him, "Took you long enough, Granny. Were you trying to apply your makeup while driving?"

"Granny?" he asks. "What happened to newb?"

"Oh, you're still a newb, but that was before I found out you drive slower than my mamaw. I think I'll call you Granny from here on out," I say through my laughter. "Mostly because Mamaw drives faster than you, and she's liquored up about ninety percent of the time. Thank goodness she's only allowed to drive on the the farm now."

I call him Granny is in hopes of desensitizing myself to him and ticking him off in the process.

I unsnap the girls from the hood of the jeep.

"You've seen first hand what she can do to a fence. We took all the car keys away from Mamaw years ago. The last time, we took the four wheeler keys from her she bought a Gator…we had to take those keys away also, but she keeps a spare hidden from us all."

Mamaw gets into her all-terrain-utility-vehicle and does some damage. Edward just spent his morning repairing the fence she took out yesterday. The Gator is bigger than a four wheeler and has rollbars on it, so it keeps her unharmed. Everything in her path is a different story.

Moving to the back of the truck, I unleash the guys. My bay dogs will wait to lead on my command and the catch dogs will follow. They are so well trained now, all it takes is for a different set of whistles to make them come and go.

"Ready, ladies?" Everyone but Edward nods at me. All I get from him is a scowl.

We head toward the entrance to the woods when I realized I forgot to grab the zip ties. I'd rather not shoot a hog unless I have to. On a hot day like today, the meat will spoil fast and I won't get a good price.

"I'll be right back," I holler over my shoulder as I walk back to my vehicle. I'm not running yet because there will be plenty of that when the dogs find the hogs.

Finally, I make it back to the truck and start digging in the glove compartment for the zip ties. I'm so focused on trying to find them that I don't hear anyone approach me from behind until they are there.

A warm body lines up with mine, and all my nerves are on end. A calloused hand skims my ribs, then grabs my pony tail to pull my head backward slightly. I can't help but let it happen; I think I'm in shock.

"Bella…" His breath is warm against the shell of my ear. My breath picks up and I can see my own chest heaving underneath my shirt. I honestly don't want to give him the satisfaction of being able to see exactly what he does to me.

"The jokes about my anatomy are getting a little old. I am far from a woman. I'd like for you to acknowledge that." He emphasises his words by slightly brushing his hips against mine. I might have called him a lady or Granny far too many times, but I have never been less accurate.

Thunk. My heart hits my stomach. I can't even speak correctly which doesn't matter much because he ignores whatever it is I'm trying to say.

Slowly, he lets me go and joins the girls. My heart is palpitating and I wipe my palms on my jeans. I grab a pair of work gloves out of the glove compartment while I'm in there and shakily put them on to cover my sweaty palms. The zip ties would slide right through my fingers if I tried to tie a boar up right now. The man is more dangerous than I gave him credit for. Not only is he pretty, but he knows how to press every button imaginable—ones I forgot I had. The way his stubble grazed my neck and his hands guided my hips…

My cheeks heat at the thought and I hope my tan is enough to hide the redness I'm sure has covered my chest and face. If anyone asks, I can just blame the redness in my face and the sweat beading on my brown on the stifling heat out here. The Texas sun is hot but it's nothing compared to the way this man warms me from the inside.

I shake the fuzz out of my head and grab what I came for. He has already made it back to Rose and Alice before I catch up. They eye me warily. They have only seen me like this once before. That didn't end well and neither will this.

"Granny, if you don't quit trying to distract me I'm going to make you stay in the truck." There is a pregnant pause before I continue. Edward still seems annoyed with me. "Plus, I'll tell Daddy. He might chop your pecker off." Wincing, Edward slightly cups himself.

"Let's do this," I say to the group. The ruse of trying to pretend I don't have an attraction to Edward is wearing me out. The sooner I can get home to Hope, the better.

I give the start whistle, and my ladies shoot off with their noses to the ground. They catch a trail quick, barking and running all the way. It's everything we can do to keep up. We are all in a dead sprint, dodging trees, hopping over rocks.

Edward's long limbs come in handy. His run through the trees is almost like a dance. Deciding I've been distracted long enough, I return my attention to the trail.

When we catch up to the dogs, Molly and Sassy have found where the hogs are bedded down for the day. The girls are eager, but move back to let the boys go in for the catch. We're lucky. The dogs have found four hogs that are on the smaller side. I can tie one up while the dogs keep the others occupied.

Sam has one of the boars down. I grab it and slam its body onto the ground, tying its legs with precision. Before I can pull my knee off the boar's neck, I feel someone grab ties out of my back pocket. Edward approaches the boar Beau is nipping at with no apprehension and ties the legs in record time.

Watching his muscles strain and glisten under his tan skin, my skin starts to overheat. My fingers and toes tingle. I'm filled with a desire I haven't felt in so long I almost forgot what it felt like. I look away before I get caught staring again.

"Can we please get out of here? All this sexual tension is suffocating me," Rose teases. Her hands are on her hips and a hog is at her feet.

"Hog-tying champ for six years in my teens. Reckon I still got it," Edward shrugs then picks out the biggest boar and slings it over his shoulders.

"Only because I didn't compete. I chose use my skills to help out the farm, not compete in some fancy-schmancy hog competition," I tease as I turn away from him to hide my laugh and pick up the boar by my feet. Edward huffs his annoyance behind me.

Everyone but Edward opts to drag their hogs. Those things are covered in lice and I'd like to not have to cut all my hair off. Alice will think she is starting a trend.

Turning slightly I catch his eye and smile. "Plus, I guess being around all those corn-fed hogs, you forgot that these wild boars carry all sorts of things… Diseases… Lice…" He shudders slightly but continues to tote his boar on his shoulder back the way we came.

Halfway through the woods Rose hollers out. Dropping my boar, I run to her aid. I see that she has tripped in a hole that was difficult to see because it's covered in leaves. She's clutching her left knee and is on the edge of tears.

"Rose, you can save the dramatics. I can see the jeep from here." This causes her to laugh.

Edward tosses the hog to the ground and picks Rose up as if she's as light as the hog he was just carrying.

"Seems like Granny is good for something. At least I ain't gotta drag you out the woods this time. You have got to start watching where you are going." I tell Rose.

I have learned to keep ace bandages in the jeep because Rose is always falling. You would think that girl was a baby horse for all the falling she does on the job. Put her in heels or have her run and she's a graceful gazelle, but have her walk out of the woods and she will fall on her face every time.

"Well, thankfully it was my left leg this time. I can still drive. Just wrap me up and I'll be good to go,"

Finally, we get all the hogs and Rose back to the vehicles. she's seated in the driver's seat of the truck she and Edward were in earlier.

"Rose, you drive Alice." I grimace. Keeping Edward at arm's length is much easier when he isn't actually within an arms length. "Granny will drive me." I'd much rather him just go away altogether.

He starts to protest.

"Don't argue with me. Yeah, you did good with that boar, but that was in a group. You are still unproven when it comes to on-the-spot by yourself stuff. Don't worry, though, Rose is a lot slower of a driver than Alice." I laugh. "You should be able to keep up with her."

We load back up and put the hogs in the cage trailer that is hooked to the back of the truck.

I watch Edward drive. The same muscles that warped his skin while hog tying are at it again. There is a light smattering of golden hairs on his forearms. I'm momentarily distracted by the tanned skin and freckles that dot his skin.

The distraction is almost too much, I nearly miss a glimpse of some wild boars making a beeline into the woods.

"Stop!" I yell while leaning over the seats to unhook the guys as Edward slams on the brakes. I shoot off toward the woods before he can come to a complete stop.

I spy two hogs and take off with the dogs who sprint ahead. Once I catch up, I realize I've made a huge mistake. There are five hogs—three of them are on the larger side—and I'm without backup.

I whistle for the guys to retreat, but one of the boars catches Sam by the leg.

Why didn't I just retire him? Being stubborn and not wanting to train a new dog could make me lose the best dog I have ever owned.

Springing into action, I try to overpower the boar and get him tied off. It's biting and burrowing at Sam's abdomen. If I don't do something, it's going to end up killing him.

The boar probably weighs more than I do and throws me off easily. I land on my back, striking my head on a rock.

Shots fire before I black out.

When I come to I'm back in the jeep. I notice we are no longer parked in the field. We are, however, parked right next to the tree line; I'm assuming to keep Edward's walk short. I touch the back of my head—it's tender but thankfully not bleeding.

After scanning the area, I finally find who I'm hunting for—Edward. Not sure how I could have missed him for all the noise he is making grunting behind the truck.

He is loading dead hogs into the trailer up, down, and side to side. The dogs are already loaded up and snapped into place. Everything is done. So for the time being, I just enjoy watching him.

I watch him move because it's safe. He can't hurt me if I never let him close enough.

"Why'd you shoot them?" I barely croak out. "You know we don't kill them. They aren't worth as much dead."

He startles and gazes up at me from his work.

"You're killing my profit, Granny."

I momentarily forget about my throbbing head and flop it back on the headrest to peer up at where the treetops meet the sky.

Wincing in pain, I remember. "Sam?" I ask barely above a whisper. All of the dogs I have used in hunts hold a place in my heart because I trained them. Sam is special, though. He will always be the one I trained first and the biggest baby of the lot.

"He'll be fine, boss. Rose and Alice went ahead to take him to the vet. Told them I'd load up what I could and then take you back to the farm. You weren't bleeding and I figured you'd be mad if I left the hogs here."

Thank Heavens. A piece of me would surely die if I lost Sam. Who else could I tell all my secrets to? Anyone else would judge me, Sam won't. He'll just listen with one ear perched at attention and the other hanging over taking a nap.

He quits loading all the dead boars.

"Sorry I panicked and killed all your money," he says with a nervous laugh. "I'll make it up to you though.

Climbing into the truck, he reaches across the console to touch the back of my head.

"Don't. Just don't Edward. I can't…"

"Can't? Or Won't?" he asks angrily as he removes his hand.

"Both." There is way too much baggage in my life. Way too many complications. A man like him, with so much life behind his eyes, shouldn't be tied down to a woman with a child. If the man who gave me my child couldn't even be bothered to stick with me, no one can.

Hope.

She's my sole reason for living.

A man, no matter how pretty, will always be just that. Something to look at and nothing more.

All they cause is heartache and leave you stranded and alone, raising your daughter on your own.

Wisely, Edward realizes he isn't getting anything else from me, removes his hand, and turns over the ignition.

We leave that field on a bumpy path, headed everywhere but nowhere all at the same time.