The sun's warm rays came through the glass windows in the already warm farmhouse's kitchen. The barometer on the wall, right next to a football shaped clock, read ninety, but the blistering heat felt more then over one hundred and ten. The sound of a phone's ring came from the other room, and a soft "Hello?" echoed, followed by a Gaelic curse while the receiver clashed down with a thunderous clank.
A woman with short curly chocolate hair and emerald green eyes came rushing into the country style kitchen, shaking her head, already spotting the smoke rising from the oven and another curse came out of her mouth. "Sto Dialo!" She raced to the stove, pulled hastily the oven door open without even thinking on putting on her grenade designed oven mitts and grabbed hold of the cookie sheet, only to flinch from the pan's heat. Shaking her hands profusely, and uttered another curse, this time in Gaelic!
Rushing to the sink, she quickly ran the cold water on the redness that already began to form, but glancing at the burn, she knew it was not serious and shook her head again. Thank goodness her husband had not been there to see it, for it would had been another embarrassing moment.
"Allie?" a sweet childlike voice came from the other room, and in seconds her sister-in-law burst into the warm kitchen. Her brown eyes widening at the smoke rising from the oven and the charcoal colored cookies on the cookie sheet, ready to be thrown to the garbage.
Nancy Faireborn-Armbruster stood in surprise, yet her brown eyes did not even have any surprise in them. She knew, they all knew that Alison Faireborn, or to the military world known as Lady Jaye who could shoot a javelin on target at anything, was one of the worst cooks in the country, or planet.
Nancy's hand reached behind her back, and played with the tip of her long brown hair, twirling it with her fingers. "Burned them again I see— or should I say smell." She walked over to the corner of the kitchen, grabbed the apron with the words, 'Roadblock loves me' on it, pulled it over her white summer short sleeved dress and hurried to her sister-in-law's side. "Need some ice?"
"No. I'll be fine," Lady Jaye said in frustration.
Nancy shook her head, like a mother scolding a child. "Can you tell me again, why in Kansas did you volunteer to bake over five hundred cookies for the summer festival?"
"Because no one else would," Jaye said and put on an oven mitt. "Dufus!!!!"
Both women turned to spot an scruffy looking brown of a tall slangy thing mix breed of a dog had lifted his leg and sprayed the burned cookies.
"Donatello!" Nancy scolded, rushing over to the large dog and grabbed him by the collar. "Bad."
"I should stick him in the oven and fix him for the festival," Jaye grumbled as she pulled the now wet burnt cookies out of the oven.
"He's not that bad, Allie," Nancy stated, petting the dog on the head. "I'm still not sure why he does this. It's like he loves to torment you!"
Donatello looked from one brown haired woman to the other and barked.
"You go outside," Jaye ordered the dog while she grabbed two new cookie pans and started to put dough down on it.
Donatello slightly grumbled in protest and started to head towards the kitchen doggy door, but instantly turned around and raced out towards the living room.
Nancy glanced out of the kitchen's door, watching the mutt run up the stairs. Again she shook her head. "I think he's going to Cayden's room," she proclaimed, then turned to her sister-in-law. She walked to the stove and glanced at the knobs. "Allie! No wonder they burned! You had the oven set at 550 degrees!"
"That's what the recipe said," Jaye defended, she was not in the greatest of moods.
"Where's the cookbook?" Nancy asked, already knowing her sister-in-law's impatience. She glanced at the counter and picked up the book. Her finger ran down the recipe, then abruptly stopped at the cooking instructions. "Allie, it says, 350 degrees."
"You're kidding," Jaye said annoyed as she walked over to her sister-in-law.
"Here," Nancy said gently and softly, like a patient teacher, showing a student. She pointed to the correct heating instructions. "It's all right. I've done it myself." She smiled while glancing at the other woman's surprised features.
"Please don't tell your brother," Jaye pleaded and went over and turned the knob on the oven.
"Now why would I tell Dashie this?" Nancy smiled, crossing her arms in front of the apron.
Donatello strolled into the kitchen, holding one of Jaye's special occasion's bras and raced out of the kitchen's doggy door.
"DUFUS!!!!!" Jaye yelled and ran after the dog.
Donatello stopped for a second, turned around, glanced at his owner's angry features and raced into the nearest cornfield, disappearing from view.
Nancy came to the kitchen door, leaning against it. "Allie, you know you'll never catch him now, just leave him and have Dashie find the bra. Like always."
"I should make slop out of him for the pigs," Jaye grumbled and came back in.
"Sit down," Nancy said, pointing to the breakfast nook. "I'll fix us both some pink lemonade." She walked to the kitchen cabinet, grabbed a large pitcher, and the lemonade mix, then headed for the sink, starting to let the cold water run. "So when is Cayden coming home from college? Isn't his finals done yet?"
"Next week," Jaye said softly. It was well known that she doted on her son and missed him terribly.
Nancy's eyes brightened. "That's great!" she exclaimed, wanting to see her nephew again. "Brenna called me last night. She said Molly and Megan both got straight A's this semester." Her lips curved to a small smirk. "But Michael got all D's, so she blamed that husband of hers."
"He's such a bright boy. If he would just apply himself he'd be just like his sisters," Jaye said, shaking her head.
"He is bright!" Nancy agreed. "Bright enough not to get caught when he throws a stink bomb in the girls bathroom!" She giggled, laughing at the thought.
"He so reminds me of Dash," Jaye said chuckling, then her eyes turned serious. "When are you and Brad going to give me more nieces and nephews to spoil?"
"Aren't you happy with my evil plastic things?" Nancy asked, pouring the lemonade mix and starting to mix the liquid. "I saw you fix Samantha's hair ribbon the other day."
"Well, it was crooked and I know how you are about stuff like that," Jaye said with a chuckle.
Nancy grabbed two glasses, walked over to the refrigerator, filled them with ice, then poured the lemonade and placed it in front of Jaye. She took a long sip from her own glass, before saying, "I can't believe this heat!"
"I know. I wish the pool maintenance men would come fix the swimming pool," Jaye said, fanning herself. "Not to mention the air conditioning repair men would come to fix the air conditioner." She took a drink of the lemonade.
"I'll have Brad come over after he's done with his last student for the day for the air conditioner," Nancy smiled, glancing down at her wedding band, thinking of her dark haired blue eyed handsome husband known to the Joes as the smart-alec air pilot codenamed, Ace.
Jaye noticed the almost sad look in Nancy's eyes. She covered Nancy's hand with hers. "Something wrong with you and Brad?"
Nancy's head snapped up and her eyes widened. "Huh?" she asked in total surprise, shaking it off immediately. "No! Heavens! We both love each other very much." She placed her other hand on Jaye's which covered hers, and gave it a gentle pat. "I still can't believe we are married five years."
Jaye gave her a warm smile. "You can tell me, Nancy. It won't go no further than me and you know that."
"I know," Nancy returned the smile, her eyes turning softer. "But I assure you, both Brad and I are fine." She stood up from the kitchen table and walked over to the oven, making sure this time the knob read 350 degrees, and started helping her sister-in-law with the cookies.
The phone in the hallway began to ring, making Jaye groan with irritation.
"Dash?" Nancy guessed, thinking that maybe the couple had another of their famous arguments.
"No. He's out doing something at the west edge of the farm. But the phone has rung several times this morning and every time I answer it, they hang up," Jaye said in irritation as she walked towards the hallway phone, their personal home line.
Nancy arched an eyebrow and followed her sister-in-law to the hallway, watching her pick up the phone again and saw her impatience on the woman's face while she yelled in Gaelic mixed up with Greek and probably some Russian in the same sentence and banged the receiver down in a angered flare. "The invisible phone intruder?" she guessed.
"This only happens to me. Never to Dash," Jaye said in frustration and went back to the kitchen and resumed her duties.
"Well, at least it's not one of Brad's poker buddies," Nancy muttered to herself following the ex-covert operative, helping her with the cookies.
For the next few hours the women were busy baking the delicious treats when the phone rang once again— this time it was the business line.
"I'll get it," Nancy hurried to the phone, already in a businesslike manner and answered the fourth ring. "Jaye's Bakery, we got the dough and know how to use it," she said into the receiver then her brown eyes widened. "What?"
Jaye stopped mixing the last bowl of batter and glanced at her sister-in-law with an arched eyebrow.
Nancy nodded. "Take him directly to the hospital. Thanks, Jason," she said into the phone, before hanging up with sigh.
"What happened to Walter?" Jaye asked in alarm, taking off her apron.
"He passed out from the heat," Nancy let her know. "Should I call Dash?"
"No," Jaye said and reached for the truck keys. "I've got to go take care of something. I'll be back in a little while. If Dash comes home, you can send him out to the cow pasture." With that, she left the house and down the porch steps and into the truck before Nancy could say anything. She soon peeled off and headed to the south pasture.
Nancy frowned watching the truck speed its way down the gravel road, spotting the brown smoke from the back tires fly from the dry ground. She glanced to the sky and wondered when the long draught would cease, the land needed water and the crops needed it more, and if no water— no crops and no money.
Everything they had worked for would been gone in matter of minutes, like a poker game hand, winning and losing everything in less than a minute.
She walked to the counter and started boxing the cookies into the white boxes which took her less then half an hour's time. She heard a creak on the porch, and turned to see Dufus peek his head into the doggy door, with the bra gone from his mouth.
"Allie didn't like that," she scolded the dog lightly, who tilted its head to her clueless. Shaking her head. She glanced at the clock, and her frown deepened. She knew Jaye had gone to check on the pump in the south pastor, but why it was taking her so long to return? She made sure the cookies were all out of reach from the dog and headed out of the door. The boiling sun captured her features and made her feel like she was melting from its hot touch on her skin.
She turned to the right and headed through the cornfield, heading towards the south pasture. It took her less then ten minutes to reach it. Sweat ran down her skin and her brown hair glued to her nape from it. She breathed heavily as she caught glimpse of the cows in the dry grassed land, watching her while she returned their stares. She headed towards the pump, when her heart flew to her throat. She spotted her sister-in-law on the ground, right next to the pump, not moving. "ALLIE!" Her voice rang like a cowbell, and she raced to the woman who had won her brother's heart.
Nancy knelt down. "Allie?" her soft voice sounded mixed with the calls from the cows, gently shaking the woman, rolling her over to the side, trying to rouse her awake.
Slowly Jaye's eyes started to flutter open and she released a small moan.
"I shouldn't had let you come here," Nancy scolded herself. She jumped up from the ground and raced to the car, opened the door and grabbed the water from the cup holder, then raced back, kneeling down once again and slowly lifting Jaye's head, tipping the water bottle in her mouth, letting the liquid go down the woman's throat.
Jaye waked fully and looked up at her sister-in-law. "N...Nancy? What are you doing here?"
"Never you mind what I'm doing here," Nancy scolded, her face still holding its concern frightened look. "Come on." She gently walked around Jaye and placed her hands under the other woman's shoulder, helping her off the ground, making sure they both didn't tumble back down. "You all right?"
"Yeah. I guess I just got overheated," Jaye said as she rubbed her forehead and leaned against the truck.
Nancy sent her a soft scowl of displeasure at her actions but didn't say anything about never leaving the truck without any water supply. Thank goodness there was a bottle in there! "Come on," she murmured lightly, helping her into the car, and then getting in herself at the driver's seat. "I'm taking you home and I'm calling Dash."
"NO!" Jaye exclaimed. "I'm fine, really. No need to tell Dash." She climbed back out of the car. "I can drive the truck back."
"Alison, get in this truck right back now. I'm driving," Nancy said in a stern voice, having a no nonsense tone to it. She glared at her sister-in-law.
"Fine, but you've got to promise not to tell Dash. Please!" Jaye almost begged.
"I can't promise that," Nancy replied. "Dash knows I can't lie." Knowing her brother he could see right though her, yet her mind wondered away for a mere moment thinking how much she had already lied to him, keeping a secret. But did she? She shook her thought away. "Allie, if he asks me, I'll tell the truth, but if he doesn't ask me, then I'm not saying anything."
"He won't ask you. I'll just tell him that he has to come out with me this evening and help me fix it. Okay? He'll never suspect a thing," Jaye said. It was obvious she didn't want him to know.
"Fine," Nancy finally said in exasperation. "I won't say anything."
"Thank you," Jaye said with a sigh of relief.
Nancy did not look towards the ex- G. I. JOE member as she drove the car back towards the farmhouse.