Disclaimer: They aren't mine.
A/N: MERRY CHRISTMAS MY JULESY! This is for you! Early, I know but you deserve it, my Rory. I love you much! More to come. Hand full of Barbie. Chick named Stella. Study tree. Crack babies and puppies. 12 blueberries. No squishing during the movie. Pippi virgin. Cat Kirk. Tofurkier. Drumrolls that sound like helicopters. Luke's doppelganger. APRIL 2010!
The gravel road bumped the cars along at a slow speed, and Stella knew she would have hit her head on the roof, had she not been buckled in. She was hoping the ride would be over soon, as she was starting to feel slightly carsick. It was most probably being on the back roads for the last hour, but she could blame it on Danny's driving and be satisfied. She looked down at Lucy who was sleeping in the car seat next to her, and felt extraordinarily jealous that she could sleep so hard through so much.
"Are we there yet?" she asked finally, feeling much like a five year old that had to use the bathroom.
"Ten more minutes," Lindsay answered, looking out the window. "And yes, my parents do have running water, so you won't have to use the outhouse."
"You guys have an outhouse?"
"Well, not anymore. My brother ran into it with a tractor. It wasn't quite private anymore, so dad filled it up with dirt. I'll pay you ten bucks if you can figure out where it was."
"Did you guys ever use it?"
"No one had used that thing for about thirty years. We're not that far out in the boonies."
"Montana, we passed the boonies twenty minutes ago. Didn't you see 'em waving?"
"Shut up, Danny."
Stella chuckled and turned around to look out the back window.
"You guys really think it was safe to put those two in the same car for so long?"
"Flack hasn't pushed Adam out yet. We might be okay," Lindsay said, turning around to look too.
"Adam's probably about halfway through his "If you've heard of the Smashing Pumpkins, then why don't you listen to them" speech. Poor Flack," Danny added, having heard the speech only once before giving in.
Stella snickered and turned back around to face front. The six of them, counting the now snoring Lucy had caught a plane early this morning from New York to Denver, then Denver to Boise, and then had barely made their train from Boise to Bozeman. They had planned to just rent one car, a nice mini-van. Unfortunately, the rental agency was all out, and they were stuck with two Ford Tauruses.
The whole trip had been slightly impromptu from the beginning. Lindsay's family had decided to throw her and Danny the wedding reception they never got. And Danny and Lindsay were told to invite their friends. Sheldon was testifying in a case this weekend, and Mac felt like he needed to stay to hold down the fort. Sid had been invited as well, but was more interested in the woman who died swallowing strait pins, than he was in taking the weekend off and going to Montana. So that left Flack, Adam, and Stella, to help their friends celebrate their now two year old nuptials.
"Geez, has this place ever heard of pavement?" Danny asked as he guided the car off the road and onto the even bumpier dirt driveway.
"That's what we bury you under when you insult us, honey. Dad's a master at getting just the right consistency for a quick dry. You might even still be alive when it seals over you."
Danny just rolled his eyes and stopped the car in front of the house. The screen door opened and Lindsay's mother came down the steps, wiping her hands on her apron.
"Hey baby girl!" she said, embracing her daughter. "You guys made good time."
"No traffic, believe it or not," Danny said, walking around the car. Lindsay and her mother both made faces at him as he opened the door to get Lucy out.
"Time to wake up, honey. Want to see grandma?"
She rubbed her eyes and nodded. Danny smiled and handed her over to her grandmother.
"Hey princess. Did you have a good nap?'
"Do you want to play with the dogs?"
"Yes. I hungry."
"We'll have some dinner soon. You like hamburgers, princess?"
"Hankaburrs? I love hankaburrs."
Flack and Adam's car stopped in the driveway behind Danny's, and Flack jumped out, heading straight for Stella.
"Stell, I am not riding back with him. You're coming with us, and you're going to be a buffer."
"Hey, it's not my fault you don't like country music!"
"But you played it non stop!"
"We're in the country! Lindsay would back me up on this!"
Lindsay stepped away from them and held her hands up in surrender.
"Boys," Stella started, placing a hand on each one of their shoulders. "You're forgetting that you're guests. You need to behave."
"Yes, Stella," they muttered, shooting death glares at each other.
Lindsay cleared her throat.
"Mom, I apologize in advance for the antics of my colleagues. There is no excuse for their behavior sometimes."
"It's alright, darling. You were much worse as a kid."
Lindsay didn't seem embarrassed by the comment. She just shrugged her shoulders, made the necessary introductions, and followed her mother inside.
"Why Lindsay Gladys Ethel," came a booming voice from the back of the house. "Why didn't you come running in to see me?"
"Because you used my full name, dad. In front of people."
Her father walked through the door and wrapped his daughter in a hug.
"I could get out the naked baby pictures. Would that be worse?"
"Well then you should be thanking me."
She chuckled as he stepped away from her and shook Danny's hand.
"The boys and I are going fishing in the morning. Four o'clock. Are you coming?"
"Yes sir," Danny agreed, over the stifled snickers of Flack and Adam.
"And how about you two?" Dale asked, eyeing them.
"We'll be there, sir," Flack agreed. Adam nodded his head. They had no reason to be scared of Dale Monroe, but agreeing to go fishing seemed like the best course of action.
"Supper will be ready in a few minutes," Anne announced. "You boys can bring in the bags. There's only three extra rooms upstairs, so besides Danny and Lindsay, two of you are going to have to share."
"I'm bunking with Stella!" Flack announced.
"No way man! I am!" Adam shot back.
"Hey, dudes, I think the two if you are bunking together. You both snore," Stella decided. They both just looked at her and sighed. There was no arguing with her.
By the time supper was eaten and cleaned up, it was nearing nine o'clock. The boys all went to bed, as they had to be up in a few hours anyway. Lindsay was sitting in the front room, talking with her parents while Lucy played on the floor with the dogs. Stella would have joined them, but her yawns were bringing tears to her eyes. She climbed up the stairs and changed her clothes, then opened the window. A warm breeze flooded her senses, and she breathed deep. You couldn't get a feeling like this in New York.
She picked up her cell phone and was glad to find that she had full service. She hit the first speed dial number and flopped down on the bed.
"Hi, it's me."
"Hey. How was the trip?"
"Long. Flack and Adam are about ready to kill each other. And Lindsay's mom made them share a room.
"Well, just make sure they come back alive. We need them."
"You sound tired."
"It's been a long day."
"Go to sleep, Stell. I'll talk to you later."
"Okay. Goodnight Mac."
"Night Stell. Sleep good."