Filler. I was too impatient to finish the rest of the story and submit all at once so here's a snippet.
"Well, it's nice to have the new roommates go out to the market," Bo pointed out as she soaked the dishes in the bucket of water that was ahead of her, "Gives me a break for once."
"Well, I'm glad you get along with them easily, Blondie," Woody huffed as he dried the clean plates.
"What do you mean by that?" Bo asked, pausing to turn to the concerned brunette. Woody faced her and smiled, shaking his head quickly as he picked up the rag again to wipe the plate in his hand.
"Nothing, Bo, really," he assured, not wanting to worry the shepherdess. Her consoling touch on his arm sent shivers down his spine.
"Really?" She knew him too well.
"It's just…I'm afraid of a romance forming. Feelings could get hurt and things can get complicated," he clarified, thinking of Jessie and Al.
"A romance between who?" Bo questioned, squeezing his arm. Looking at her in silence, Woody impulsively leaned in to give her a kiss on the cheek and slowly pulled away.
"I finished the last dish," he informed, staring slightly above her head with no emotion. "G'night." Starting to stroll out from the kitchen, he heard Bo's voice, causing him to freeze in his tracks.
"You don't usually do that," she whispered, rubbing her forearm apprehensively. "That kiss."
"Of course I do," he responded, looking over his shoulder, "I always give you a goodnight kiss on the cheek. I've been doing it every since we were kids."
"You've never kissed me-" she cut off, swallowing the awkward feeling she felt before spurting out the subsequent words out of her mouth "-you've never kissed me like that before." He stayed silent. "You know, maybe it's because you have a lot on your mind about Jessie and Al and the new roommates, but you've been very odd this past week. What's on your mind, Woody?"
"Nothing, Bo. I'd…I'd rather keep this to myself, if you don't mind." Startled but his hostility, Bo crossed her arms defensively. Relaxing his face, Woody span around completely and sighed. "I'm sorry, Bo." Walking up to him, she cupped her hands on his cheeks, searching his eyes.
"That's alright, cowboy. I know you mean the best. Whatever it is, I'm always here to hear you out." Sauntering out of the kitchen, Woody stopping in the hallway and turned his head to look at the portrait of Bo that hung in front of him.
"That's the problem," he murmured, delicately touching the frame, "you're the only person I can't talk to about this." Suddenly, an idea came to him. Sneaking into his sister's room, he reached for her drawer by her bed and groped for matches to ignite the candle that was on the top of the desk. After doing so, he took the lit candle and moved it closer to the bed, gently shaking his sister.
"Jess," he whispered, ignoring her protests of waking up, "Jess!"
"What Woody?" she sprang up in frustration, causing Woody to shush her, "D'ya have to wake me up right now? Couldn't ya wait till the mornin'?"
"Pipe down Jessie," he hissed, "I need to get this off my chest."
"Since when d'ya need my help with anythin'? I thought you were the 'lone ranger' who didn't need anybody."
"I'm serious, Jess, I need to talk to you."
"Talk to Bo," she commanded, plopping her head on her pillow impatiently.
"That's the problem, Jess. Bo. I think I may like her."
"No kiddin'," Jessie muffled into her pillow.
"I mean really like her. I don't know what to do. Sometimes I can't stand to be around her. Not because I hate her or anything but…I don't know. I don't want to look like a fool. Yet I want to be around her. All the time. I've never been in love before. I'm thinking it just may be an infatuation but this has been going on for a while now." Woody knew his sister wasn't listening. It was evident by the soft snores she was executing. But it felt good to him to say his feelings out loud. Smiling at his slumbering sibling, he brushed her crimson hair from her cheek and pecked her gratefully. "Hopefully I'll figure things out soon."
The next morning, Woody found Mrs. McWiggin frying bacon on the skillet as John and Al McWiggin along with Bo Peterson and Jessie Pride joyfully consuming them along with some fruit that had been picked from their fruit trees in the backyard. Swallowing her food quickly, Bo patted the seat next to her when she caught eye contact with Woody.
"Join us, Woody!" she invited, reaching for an apple, "The fruit trees are producing fruit like mad and Sally makes the best bacon!"
"Oh shoot," Sally McWiggin objected with a playful swat, "I wouldn't call mine the best, darling."
"I-I can't, Bo," Woody said, wrapping his robe around him tighter, "I have to work in the back." Couldn't come up with anything more original, Woodster? he asked himself in his head, knowing that he just wanted to avoid Bo to have time to think.
"Well here," Bo called out, tossing the apple towards him, "You should at least get some kind of a meal." Showing a smile, Woody said his thanks as he walked out the screen door.
"So Jessie," Al started, causing the redhead to squeeze her fork in a nervous shock, "Later on do you want to go on a horseback ride?"
"Yes!" she enthusiastically accepted. Clearing her voice and regaining her composer, she lowered her voice and ignored Bo's smirk. "Sure thing, Al. Can't wait." She looked out the window to see that her brother was mindlessly throwing chicken feed around and observed the scattering chicken. "May I be excused? I, uh, have to check on Woody for something."
"Woody," Jessie shouted as she approached the cowboy. "What's goin' on?"
"Save me that crap Woody," Jessie interrupted with a sly smile. "You know that I'll keep pesterin' you about this until you break." Woody grinned at his sister; she was a feisty one.
"It's about Bo." Jessie threw her arms up in faux shock.
"Surprise of all surprises!" she announced in exasperation, "OK, Woody, what is it now? The same stuff we've been going over for how long now? I've lost track."
"I just don't know what to do."
"I told you she likes you! But you don't believe-"
"She shows no signs. I-It's hard to read her, you know?" At this point, Jessie knew to leave her brother alone by the tone of his voice.
"Hey," she interjected, "I'm gonna take the horses out. Al and I are gonna have a horseback ride." Pulling down his hat to cover his face, Woody grimaced and let out a labored sigh.
"Don't stay out too late, Jess."
As the two 18-year-olds rode their horses, they noted the dark atmosphere surrounding them.
"How long have we've been out here?" asked Jessie, watching the sun setting in the distance.
"It must've been hours," Al answered.
"We better get back, Al. My brother will kill me if we stay out here any later," Jessie pointed out, steering her horse back towards the house.
"Wait up," Al called out, digging his heels into his horse's side to catch up with the cowgirl. "I can't believe time passed so quickly." Then, something caught his eye. "I never noticed that necklace before."
"Oh," she replied, grasping it, "It was my mothers. W-well, my grandmother's then she passed it down to me."
Al let out a small, amused whistle. "It's gorgeous. Is it real gold?" Jessie nodded her head defiantly.
"Yup. My grandparents were gold miners and my grandfather had this made for her. These are also real diamonds," she proudly told him.
"A beautiful object of a beautiful girl," Al complimented, causing Jessie to duck her head sheepishly.
"W-we better get back," she suggested with a smile, "I'll race ya."