Damn that internal alarm clock; my mother had always believed that each person was born with a pre-set time to when they woke up, mine just happened to be at five-thirty in the morning. Every since I was little I could remember waking up in the wee hours of the morning and just sitting there, waiting for the rest of my family to wake up. My mother always complained to me when I was a baby. "Why do you wake up so early?" she'd coo; she'd told me those stories time and time again. I shifted slightly on the bed, turning my face away from the window, heavy blue curtains blocking the light that would be streaming though within the hour. Through the darkness in the room I could make out his sleeping figure; his back was flat on the bed, on arm was cross over the middle of his chest while the other lazily laid on the edge of my pillow, his chest rose and fell steadily and his usually straight hair was a disheveled mess; his mouth hung open slightly. I smiled as I watched him sleep, my hand slowly reached out and brushed the hair away from his forehead; he didn't even notice. My hand caressed his face lightly as I ran a thumb over his chapped lips; there's nothing more important to me in this world than this man. Sighing, I slowly, and silently, got up from the bed; remaking my side neatly before stalking off towards the shower. I flipped the light on and closed the door quietly; normally I would have just stayed in bed and waited for him to wake up at seven, we'd go through the morning ritual of the quick kisses as he got out of bed and headed towards the bathroom, while he was showering I'd make breakfast; we'd talk a few minutes before I'd give him a kiss goodbye and rush to get ready for my day of work at the outfitters. This morning was different though; I took my time with the shower, letting the water get hot enough to clean me, but cool enough to not burn my skin, I sighed as I stepped under the faucet, letting the clear liquid fall into my mouth, over my eyes, penetrating my skin. I was in no rush to leave the house this morning; slowly I ran the sponge over my body the soap smelled of warm vanilla.
It had only been a twenty minute shower, but it felt like it took hours. I turned the shower off and wrapped the towel around me, making sure to wipe the floor after I crossed the tiled bathroom. I turned the light off before I opened the door, not wanting to disturb Russell. He had turned not so that he was on his side, the covers pulled up over his shoulders; a light snore filled the room. It didn't take me long to get dressed, my job as a cashier didn't require me to wear any formal clothing. I slipped out the essential bar and underwear and then layered them with a quarter sleeve gray shirt and dark wash jeans; I'd worry about the shoes before I left. Leaving the room, I flipped the hall light on. The house wasn't big; it had the essentials: a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms…that's all we really needed. The kitchen was small, but enough for a table and two chairs to fit in; a vase of sunflowers sat in the middle of the blue table cloth. I walked over to the fridge and opened it, rummaging though the mess of plastic wrapped morsels and half drunken beverages. I clicked my tongue on the roof of my mouth; What would Russell want for breakfast? I smiled as my hands hit the bag of unopened bacon; guess I'd better make the whole shebang, right? I glanced out of the kitchen window as I grabbed a bowl from the cabinet above the sink; fields of every kind stretched for miles in front of my eyes, it really was a beautiful sight, seeing the sun rise up above the unplanted soil. It would be spring soon; not my favorite season, truth be told…I'd miss the cold winters. I reached into the other cabinet and grabbed a box of pancake batter, and then rummaged though the fridge, again, grabbing the carton of eggs.
I never thought I'd end up in a place like this; Ogden Marsh, Iowa. Located miles and miles away from civilization, it was big change for me. I'd grown up in the Washington DC/Metro area my whole life; I could still remember the small townhouse we had, ah, those were the good old days. It was a two bedroom house, my mother and father shared a room of course, and then my older sister, Tanya, and I shared the other. The walls were white, and the trimming was brown, and we had a dog, if I remembered correctly it was a poodle mix. Seven years ago, I moved here. Why? I couldn't even figure that out for myself. Life in the District of Columbia wasn't the most glamorous thing; my mother owned a flower shop that had been in her family for thirty years, my sister helped her with it. I helped as much as I could, but, my sights were set on high things than planting flowers the rest of my life; I remembered it just like it was yesterday.
My mother and I had just gotten into another argument.
"Why don't you want to work there?" she asked; she always used that voice to get what she wanted, you know, the one that's quite and shaky…letting you know that the water works were coming.
I rolled my eyes for the hundredth time in the last six minutes and slumped down into the chair that was behind the tiny oak desk that my father used to work from home.
"Mom, I'm twenty-one years old. That's not what I want to do for the rest of my life" I argued; I could visibly see she was upset. She rested her hand on her hips and glanced at the planner that had the flower shops name scrawled across the front. I glanced at it as well, feeling slightly guilty. It's true, she'd worked hard to keep the business going, and with my sister's held it seemed to be taking off in the direction that she wanted it to go in, but she'd always wanted me to be a part in it.
"Honey, this business has been in the family for thirty some odd years. Everyone has to pull their weight." She explained, I rested my head against the hard oak desk, groaning loudly. "And just think, you won't have to go to college, which saves us money. I mean look how your sister turned out."
"I don't want to own a flower shop, mother. I want to actually do something with my life." I replied back, now standing up. My mother shook her head in disappointment and talked away from the room, mumbling under her breath; probably about the ungrateful child she had produced.
I slumped back down into the leather seat and starred at the globe; I have always wanted to get out of DC. I watched as the globe spun, making all of the colors blur together like an artist mixing his paints. Whatever my finger landed on…that's where I was going. Much to my dismay it landed back in the United States, shrugging, I took a map from the desk and laid it out. Once again, where ever my finger landed is where I was going…they're was no turning back. I needed a change. A change of everything; the scenery, my life…my future; I opened my eyes. My finger was resting on the small state of Iowa… a tiny town called Ogden Marsh…
And that's how I ended up here, I hadn't spoken to my parents, or sister in those seven years. They'd only visited me at least twice since I'd been here; they come out at Christmas one year, and then for the forth of July the next...then they stopped. They hadn't even met Russell yet. When I first arrived I was the talk of the town; I suspected it had been a while since they'd have a visitor…maybe even a new inhabitant, aside from the native born that already lived here. I got a job at the local diner after getting myself moved in; it wasn't a big house either. It was on a farm, something I was only used to when I would spend the summers in Southern Maryland, a forty-five minute drive from where we lived in DC; I would stay with our grandmother on her farm, it was actually some of the best memories I had. The main house is where I did my laundry and ate my dinners, the couple that owned the place where old, but nice enough. Needless to say, the job barely paid for the bills and rent that they requested every month. It was starting to look grim until that faithful day when the Deputy and the Sheriff walked into the diner…that's when everything changed. He was probably one of the sweetest men I'd ever met, mostly because they were hard to come by where I lived. He'd glanced at me when he first walked in, noticing that a new person was in town; I hadn't meant to hold the stare so long, and as cliché as it sounds, his eyes captivated me. I'd never seen eyes like his before. "Your new here?" he'd bluntly stated when I walked over to take their order; Ogden Marsh struck me as a town that was tight-knit; everyone knew each other…and each other's business. I nodded, cracking a small smile.
"How'd you tell?" I inquired, obviously referring to the community. He smiled back and pointed to the man that I suspected was the sheriff, and then to himself, ordering both of them a cub of coffee and a plate of pancakes. When they'd left, I found a phone number attached to the tip; that's what made me stay…
"Mmm," I felt his lips vibrate against my neck, I smiled; flipping the pancakes in the pan letting the other side cook, "I thought I smelled pancakes," he paused and kissed right below my ear sending a shiver up my spine "and bacon," he kissed the spot again, his hands wrapping around my waist, "and eggs." He ended, I craned my neck around to look at his face, and giving me a smile he leaned down and pressed his lips to mine in a short kiss.
"Good Morning." I said barely above a whisper, my voice still groggy from the early morning routine.
"Morning." He answered back, placing his lips on mine once again; I smiled at him as he drew away from me. His lanky form stalked towards the pitcher of orange juice that sat on the kitchen table; his kaki colored uniform shirt clung on his skinny body as he moved from the table to grab two glasses from the cupboard.
"You coming to the baseball game later on, right?" he asked, I could hear the glasses click against the table as he set them down, the liquid pouring into them shortly after.
"Yeah," I answered, scooping the pancake from the pan and setting it down on the glass plate to my right, "I get off early today," I turned around and watched as he walked back towards me, resting his chin on my shoulder as he watched me cook. "So, I'll be there."
"Promise?" he asked.
I could feel his breath on the back of my neck as he sighed out heavily; I flipped the other pancake over to let the other side cook, again.
"I gotta get you that ring." He lifted his chin from my shoulder and walked over to the side of me, his fingers playing across my hand that rested on the counter top by the stove. I scooped the pancake from the pan and sat it on the other plate, turned off the stove, and turned towards him; lacing my fingers with his.
"Russell, I don't need a ring." I replied, smiling, I leaned up and placed a kiss on his lips before turning and grabbing the two plates; I glanced at the clock seven-fifteen. I placed them down on either sides of the round table and took a seat, he shortly followed.
"You're just sayin' that to make me feel better." He retorted, cutting up his pancakes. "I shouldn't have proposed to you until I had the ring." His southern drawl came out more when he was frustrated; I smiled and took a sip of my orange juice.
"Stop, a ring doesn't mean anything to me Russell," I said, sincerely meaning it. I wasn't one of those women that needed a material object to show that she was in love with someone. "All I need is you, that's better than any ring." He glanced up at me and smiled, chewing his food slowly.
"I love you." He said as he grabbed the keys to his truck and the uniform hat off the small coat rack by the door. I leaned up and placed my lips to his, his arms encircling me and pulling me close before he pulled away, giving me a smile.
"Love you too." I gave him a quick peck on the lips before, slipping on the chestnut colored boots. I grabbed my car keys and followed him out the door, locking it behind me.
"I'll see you later, don't forget the baseball game." He called, as he got in his truck, staring it up.
"Alright, I won't." I waved him off, getting in and starting off my own car. He honked a goodbye as he pulled out of the small dirt driveway first, me following close behind.