Chapter Three "Trudy's Will."
Friday, October 7th, 2011. After Two pm. Charlie POV
"Gabe! Dad and Ruth are ready to Skype!" I yelled for my older cousin. Today was the day we were reading my grandma's will, I was nervous because I wondered who she had left the ranch to. What if she had some friend or long lost relative that she had given the ranch to? I would lose it all and I had just started.
Even though I had just had the ranch for a couple of days, I couldn't bear to lose it. I loved it. I loved waking up to the sun and the mountains, I loved watching the horses in the early morning and I loved having my own place. Of course I had responsibilities like taking care of the mustangs and the saddle horses and after Gabe left it would just be me. But I didn't mind them..
Gabe came running down the steps and handed me my burger and fries he had made for us for lunch.
"Hi Charlie!" My dad greeted me as the Skype screen popped up.
"Hey Dad!" I smiled. "Hi Aunt Ruth!"
We got done with the greetings and then got down to business. "Okay, Trudy didn't have much beside the ranch. A few things like her remaining artwork goes to her buyer of course and such. And now onto the ranch...oh here's a letter from her." One apparently said with Preston and then Without Preston. Must be if Preston was alive or dead.
Dad started reading the letter that said Without Preston: "Dear loved ones, if you're reading this then I must be gone. I'm very sorry for the pain I must of caused you and I only want to say don't cry for me and don't be sad. Be happy, celebrate my life." He paused. "Now to the important things, Ruth, Jared, my two lovely children, I know you said you never wanted any part of the ranch and I can accept that just fine. What I left you is in a bank account at the Denver bank, go to Mrs. Wilder and she'll tell you everything and sort it for you. I hope you're happy with the money, it is a great deal of money."
My dad looked at the amount and his eyes bulged. "She left Ruth and I each half a million dollars!"
Gabe and I gasped then looked at each other. Half a million dollars each, which made a million dollars. Our grandma had been rich! After we got over the shock, my dad continued on. "Gabe, Charlie. I love you both dearly and I love that I've gotten to spend more time with you recently. My ranch is at least six hundred acres and of course I have the ranch house, the barn, the pastures. Well I leave it to you both. Three hundred acres each. Gabe I knew you were never fond of my Lavender Victorian house but oh my Charlie, you used to love it, so Charlie the house is yours. The rest you may choose to share, you may pick your land. I also left you a little bit of money in a bank account but in Darton, just go talk to the bank and they'll help you. All I ask is you make room for the mustangs. Keep them please."
My dad took a breath then continued on. "Charlie, I know that won't be a problem for you because I see you like them and see your personality is the same, wild, independent and free. Gabe, I know you'll keep them because of your loving horse, Firefly. You wouldn't be able to turn a mustang away." Dad smiled. "There it all is my dear children and grandchildren. I hope you're happy with this and somehow I know you are. Charlie, Gabe take good care of those horses and my, well yours now, ranch. I trust you. Love, Trudy."
I looked at Gabe and he wiped tears away from my eyes. "It's all okay now, Charlie." Gabe said and I nodded.
"Alright...well I think we should all take time to process this and just accept all of this. Let's say you guys give us a call later?" Aunt Ruth said.
Gabe and I nodded then ended the Skype. Then I let out the biggest scream ever. "Gabe! We get to keep the ranch! It's OURS!" We were jumping up and down and yelling.
"We have to celebrate. Let's go out tomorrow night or have a party!" Gabe was grinning ear to ear.
"Gabe, I don't think right now is the time to have a party here.." I motioned to the house.
"Let's have a bonfire then!" Gabe said.
"Fine." I agreed.
"We can invite the Foresters, the Kenworthys, the Elys, Dallas, Pepper and Ross. Darrell, Ryan Slocum, might have to invite Rachel and Linc too...I hate the thought of that but we have to be-"
"Neighborly." I finished for Gabe.
"That's right...Man, I don't want to go back to college now, maybe I can transfer.."Gabe was thinking.
"Gabe! You don't have to transfer. Finish college, the land will be here when you're finished, I'll make sure everything is fine. We can pick out what land we want, soon. Divide it."
"I guess you're right..plus I don't think Reno has my major..."Gabe sighed. "I'm nineteen and already have a ranch. Just need a house...and I don't think we really need to divide. I mean I just want Firefly for now and maybe I'll take on a few mustangs." Gabe smiled.
We talked about house plans, adding more fencing, some run ins and maybe changing the ranch name until the house phone rang. Seeing it was from the Foresters, I answered with "Thank you for calling Deerpath Ranch, new half owner, Charlie speaking."
"What?!" I heard Sam shriek.
"Hi Sam.." I laughed.
"You're co-owner of the ranch, does Gabe own the other half?"
"Yep. Grandma left the ranch to us two and her house to me." I was smiling.
"That's fantastic, Charlie!" Sam laughed with me. "How does it feel to be a ranch owner?"
"Um, I don't know yet, I've only been a real one for about.." I checked the time. "Forty five minutes..."
"This is great! And since we need to celebrate, I was thinking maybe you would want to go shopping with Jen and I? We both have dates tonight and could use some new clothes..."
"That'd be great! Gabe was thinking that we'd have a bonfire too, soon."
"That's an awesome idea! Just tell me when." Sam paused. "Would fifteen minutes be to soon to pick you up?"
"No that's fine." I said and we hung up. "I'm gonna go shopping with Sam and Jen, is that okay?"
Gabe smiled. "It's fine as long as you don't ask me to go.."
"I won't." I grinned.
"And I'll take care of the horses, so don't worry about rushing back okay?"
"Thanks Gabe!" I hugged him tightly.
"No problem, after I'm gone you'll be here all by yourself being a co-owner of a ranch..." Gabe smiled.
"Oh we're not gonna stop talking like this for awhile are we?" I laughed.
"Nope." We both said in unison.
I heard a horn outside and knew it was Sam and Jen. I threw on my boots and waved goodbye to Gabe on my way out the door.
We shopped for an hour or two then stopped for sodas. "So Ross wanted me to give you something..." Sam pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and handed it to me.
I slowly opened the note and saw writing.
Charlie, I know this seems childish to ask in a letter but you may have noticed I stutter a bit when I'm nervous so I wrote you this to ask would you like to go out to dinner tonight at seven? I know you're shopping with Sam and Jen so I gave this to Sam to give to you.
Hope you say yes. -Ross
I laughed and looked at Sam and Jen. "Ross asked me out!"
Sam and Jen smiled. "Well are you going to go?" Jen asked.
"I...I think so." I blushed, remembering his words before he left. When he said that I was the prettiest girl he had ever met.
"You have some shopping to do then." Sam grinned. They took me to Victoria's Secrets of all places and I got a a half sleeve pink&yellow plaid button up shirt and a pair of light blue bootcut jeans with rips in the knees, thigh areas and top of the jeans. Plus I got a new pair of Colin Stuart(TM) boots in beige and a pair of Chuck Taylor's All Stars in baby blue.
Sam and Jen winked at me as we walked by the lingerie. "Gonna get some Charlie?" Sam teased.
Just to spite her I walked over to the lingerie and looked at some bras. I grabbed one and turned to Sam. "Which one do you like Ross would like the most?"
"I don't know, why don't you ask him yourself?" Jen giggled and pointed. I turned around with the lacy bra in my hands only to see Pepper, Ross and Jake standing there.
I blushed so red I think I invented a new color. "Oh..Ross...hi...um..yeah."I turned around, put the bra back and walked away.
Jen and Sam followed. "I told him your answer. He said he'll pick you up at Seven." Sam let out a giggle.
I mock glared at Jen and Sam but then giggled. "That was so embarrassing! How can I face him tonight?"
"Ask him what he thought?" Jen giggled.
"Not helping." I rolled my eyes. I was about to say something else but I saw some Pj's that caught my eyes.
I ended up spending over a hundred dollars in there and I had also bought Jen and Sam a few things. When I saw the total, I sighed. "Thank goodness I'm getting a job with the BLM." I commented to Sam and Jen. "A pair of jeans, a shirt, two pairs of shoes, spray and body lotion, a shirt for you Sam and body spray, Jen, two shirts. Whoa, I spent a lot but we still saved a lot can you believe that?"
"You shouldn't of bought us stuff." Jen and Sam said together.
"No I should of and did!" I told them. "Plus your stuff was on sale, most of mine wasn't."
We went home and they dropped me off, making me promise that I would text them with details or be on AIM later to IM them. I promised them both and said I wanted details about their dates too.
Gabe came out and opened the door for me to walk in. "Victoria's Secret bags? Uh oh." Gabe said as I carried the bags in. "Does someone got a hot date?"
"Gabeee." I laughed. "Can't a girl just shop at that store without having a date?"
"Maybe...if I didn't know you weren't going out with Ross tonight..." Gabe grinned.
"How did you find out?!" I glared at him.
"I have my ways..." Gabe shrugged. I rolled my eyes and noticed it was about six.
"I better get in the shower..." I took a shower then blow dried my hair. I put on the jeans and my new shirt buttoning it up and I liked the way it looked. I decided to wear the blue Chuck Taylor's instead of the boots and left my hair down instead of putting it up.
I heard Gabe talking downstairs to someone and then he yelled for me. "Charlie, Ross is here!"
I took a deep breath and left my room, heading down the stairs. I saw Ross standing there in a button down blue and black plaid shirt, jeans, his cowboy hat and boots. I smiled, I loved that he was so country. Ross and Gabe were talking about the horses, from what I could hear.
Ross looked over at me as I hit the last step. His eyes roamed over me and he smiled at me. "You look beautiful."
"Thanks, you don't look so bad yourself cowboy." I came up beside him and looked at Gabe.
"Don't forget to check on the horses while I'm gone and give the old guys a treat for me." I told him.
Gabe rolled his eyes. "I know Charlie. Go have fun on your date." He paused then narrowed his eyes. "But not too much fun." He wagged his finger at me.
I laughed and started pulling Ross out the door. "Yes Daddy!" I called as we walked out the door.
Ross opened the door to his truck for me and I got in. He shut it and came around to the drivers side and got in. "So where are we going?" I asked as we started down the drive.
"A little place just a bit out of Darton that I like to go to. They've got some really good food and usually have some good music." Ross looked over as if to see that this was okay.
"Hey, I'm up for whatever tonight. I haven't been out in a really long time, not even to the movies." I sighed dramatically. "Oh crap, I'm a loser."
Ross laughed. "You're not a loser, I'm sure you've been busy."
I smiled at him. "I guess." I played with his radio a little bit and found a country station that was playing some Jason Aldean, one of my favorite singers. "You don't mind do you?"
Ross shook his head. The ride was comfortably quiet and soon enough Ross pulled into a little bar/diner parking lot. He came around and opened my door for me, helping me out of the truck. He kept his hand between my shoulder blades and held the door open to the bar.
When we walked in a band was playing country music and people were eating, drinking and some were dancing. It was a nice small place and I saw the bartender wave at Ross. He really must come here a lot.
Ross sat us down at a table in a corner by ourselves and by a window. A older woman came over and got our orders for drinks, I got a sweet tea and Ross got a coke.
She brought our drinks and Ross ordered a small steak with fries and broccoli. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with some fries, then we handed her our menus.
After she left, I looked at Ross. "So how are your stitches?"
Ross shrugged. "Okay I suppose. Haven't thought much about 'em."
I smiled. "Such a stubborn cowboy."
Ross smiled back then he looked over at the people dancing. "Want to?" He nodded towards the dancers.
I bit my lip. "Sure." Ross grabbed my hand and led me over to the dance floor. He put his one arm around my waist and grabbed my hand with his other and pulled me close to him.
The band was playing "Cowboys and Angels" by Dustin Lynch. I looked up and met Ross's grey eyes and I couldn't look away, we just stared at each other for a moment then I looked away blushing.
I felt Ross's arm tighten around my waist and I laid my head on his shoulder and just danced with him. It was nice. We danced for a couple more songs and then our food came.
The food was absolutely delicious and Ross and I got to talk more. He was actually talking, I couldn't believe it. I learned that his hometown was Battlecreek, Wyoming and he had a mother and a father, still alive, one brother. He rarely visited but he said his parents understood, but I was willing to bet it hurt his parents.
When we were finished he paid the tab and left a nice tip for the waitress. I looked at my phone and it was about nine thirty. Ross and I got in the truck to head back to Deerpath.
"You know, Gabe and I were talking about changing the ranches name." I said looking out the window as we drove.
"Yeah?" Ross asked, interested.
"Yeah, but we're not sure if people would like that or not." I looked over at him.
"Well I think that they would understand if you wanted to change the name. I mean it is your ranch now and you can start your own thing." Ross answered. "What names were you thinking of?"
"Well the one that is kind of stuck in my head is Last Hope Ranch. I mean we have wild horses and there was usually no hope for them,this was there last resort so it would be fitting, I think anyways. Gabe likes it too." I kept looking at him for his reaction.
"I think that'd be a nice name." Ross half smiled at me and I could tell he was being honest with me.
"Thank you." I murmured softly.
"You're gonna need help after Gabe is gone, I could help you if you'd like. When I have time off from Riverbend and I'm sure Wyatt could spare me a few hours or so for a couple of days." Ross offered.
"I'd like that and it'd be nice to have some company too." I accepted.
Before we knew it Ross was pulling into Deerpath, he stopped by the house and we got out. He stopped me before I could open the gate to the house. "I know Gabe probably already did, but do you wanna go check on the horses? I could walk with you."
I bit my lip to keep from smiling. If I didn't know any better, I'd think he was making excuses to keep me with him longer. "Sure."
Ross grabbed a flashlight out of his truck and we headed towards the corral to check on the horses. Judge, Calico, Ginger and Firefly were all grazing contentedly with each other, we walked over to where some of the mustangs were to check on them. The ones I could see were just grazing but some of them looked up snorting when Ross's flashlight hit them.
"Looks like everyone's happy for the night." I said to him as we walked back towards the house. I saw Ross nod and then he stopped me.
We were standing right outside the barn. "What's up?" I asked as we stood there. Ross slipped his hat off and just looked at the ground then he looked up at me. His grey eyes looked torn and I swore I saw pain in them before he turned away.
"Charlie, I-" Ross broke off and shook his head then placed his hat back on his head.
"What Ross?" I put my hand on his arm. My heart beat faster, was he about to kiss me?
"N—nothing. Let's just get you back into the house before Gabe comes out." Ross turned and started walking towards the house. Disappointed, I followed.
Ross wished me a good night and told me he had fun tonight before giving me a hug and then I went inside. I shut the door with a sigh, no kiss.
I watched from the window of the living room as he drove off. I knew Ross was shy but I felt that there was something more to it than just shyness. I heard footsteps on the stairs and turned towards Gabe.
"So how'd the date go?" Gabe asked and I walked out to the kitchen.
"Good, we went to this little bar/ restaurant and the food was delicious. Plus they had a really good band playing." I answered, grabbing a Gatorade out of the fridge and opening it.
"Did he ask you out again?" Gabe inquired as I drank my Gatorade.
"You know, for a guy you ask for a lot of details." I said as I started towards the stairs. I wanted to get out of these jeans and into my Pjs. Gabe followed me up the stairs and into my bedroom, rolling my eyes I went into the bathroom to change. "And for your information, no he didn't say anything about a second date."
I felt disappointed at that and at the fact he seemed like he was going to kiss me or say something but stopped. I changed into my blue and green flannel pants and my gray camisole then brushed my teeth and hair before coming out of the bathroom.
Gabe was sitting on my bed just waiting. "I'd like to go to bed now if you don't mind." I told him with my arms folded with a smile.
"Alright..I see, you're just kicking me out." He acted hurt.
I giggled a bit. "Well seeing as how we both have to be up in the morning and stuff I think we should both go to bed."
Gabe stood up. "So, do you really want to change the ranches name like we discussed? I'm all for it if you are."
I nodded. "It's our ranch now and we're gonna start our own thing. So I think it should have a new name."
"Well I talked to Brynna today about how to do that and she told me where to go. We could do that tomorrow and then maybe we could have a bonfire sometime to celebrate." Gabe suggested.
I nodded. "I like that." Gabe left the room and I got under the covers, thinking about Ross's and my date until I fell asleep with a smile.
Damn, I cursed myself as I drove back to Riverbend. I wanted to kiss Charlie but stopped myself. Why? I have no damn clue.
I could see the disappointment in her face as we said our goodbyes. I still was hurting over Sarah, I couldn't help it and now it was going to affect any kind of start of a relationship with Charlie.
I couldn't help but compare the two.
She was nothing like Sarah. Charlie was outgoing and friendly, she obviously loved the country life, not city life. She could appreciate just seeing the horses out there and feeling content, she could appreciate a simple place like the place we went tonight unlike Sarah. She was up for whatever I wanted, she loved to ride you could tell by her face when she was on a horse. Sarah liked city life, liked the fancy restaurants and wine, she never really wanted to ever do anything I wanted to do, like ride or just have a simple dinner. It was always about Sarah.
And in the looks department they definitely didn't look alike. Sarah had long raven black hair to the middle of her back, while Charlie had blonde hair with all her colors in it. Sarah had cat green eyes, while Charlie had brown/blue eyes, Charlie was on the shorter side while Sarah was as almost as tall as me.
I pulled into Riverbend and parked by the bunkhouse. I saw the lights were still on and I knew Pepper was going to hound me about my date. I sighed and opened the door to the bunkhouse.
Dallas and Pepper were playing a game of poker. Dallas looked up with a smile when I walked in. "You look like you had fun." Dallas commented.
Pepper just grinned. "So let's hear it all lover boy."
I groaned and grabbed a beer out of the fridge. I sat down at the table with them and Pepper just stared at me. "So?"
"We went to Mac's and had dinner then I took her home, we checked the horses and she went inside." I said, half exasperated.
"Did you kiss her?" Pepper wiggled his eyebrows at me.
I just took a swig of my beer and rolled my eyes. Now they were both staring at me.
"What?" I asked, avoiding their stares.
"Well?" Dallas prompted. Great, now Dallas was gonna be on me.
"No I didn't!" I threw my hands up in surrender.
"Why not?" Pepper put his cards down and they started a new game.
"I don't know." I sighed and took another drink of my beer.
"Did you at least ask her for another date?" Dallas dealt out the cards and took a drink of his own drink.
I frowned. "No."
"Didn't you enjoy your night with her?" Pepper inquired.
"Yes I did."
"Then why didn't you ask her for another date?" Pepper asked, irritated.
"I don't know. I'm probably gonna stop by tomorrow to see her, so maybe I'll ask her then."
They both seemed content with my answer and I just watched and drank as they played cards.
After they were both asleep, I sat there in my bed thinking about our date. Charlie had looked beautiful in her jeans and shirt, I had noticed she had put on no makeup which I liked a lot better than her with makeup. She had all the natural beauty, she didn't need makeup.
I fell asleep with my thoughts on Charlie.
Charlie POV 7am Saturday October 8th
I got out of the shower and put on a long sleeved shirt, jeans and my boots. Gabe was probably still sleeping so I headed outside to feed the horses.
All four of them were waiting at the fence expectantly when I walked out. I patted each of them as I walked by their pasture to the barn. "It's coming guys."
I made their feed and carried their buckets to the fence, hooking them up so they could eat. I grabbed some hay of the barn and threw some out to them.
Next I checked on the mustangs that I could see. I would ride out in a little bit to check on them to make sure everyone was okay and I still needed to talk to Brynna about bringing out those mustangs she was supposed to but stopped after Grandma's death.
I went back up to the house and heard the shower running upstairs. Good, Gabe was up. I pulled out some breakfast items and started on some breakfast for us.
I was just putting the food on the table when I heard a knock at the door and Gabe came running down the steps. "I got it!" Gabe yelled out to me.
I heard him talking to someone then footsteps. I turned to see Ross standing there with Pepper. I smiled at them both. "Good morning guys, what brings you out here?"
"Oh just thought you might want to get some work done, I noticed there was a little bit of problem with some fencing down towards the river. So I told Wyatt we were going to patch it up today since we're not really doing anything." Pepper told me.
"Oh well thank you. I mean that's really nice of you to come out on your personal time and help me." I smiled again then gestured towards breakfast. "Would you like some? I'm sure I made enough for all four of us."
They accepted. Ross held out my chair for me and I told him thank you. We all filled up our plates and discussed what needed to be done today.
"Well I need to get over to the Federal Ranch and Farm Agency(I don't know if this even exists...lol so I just made it up) to talk about changing the ranch's name, then I'm gonna stop by Phil's to pick up some feed since we're running out." I told them.
"I could stay behind and help with the fence." Gabe offered. Pepper and Ross agreed with that.
"Also, I might stop over at Riverbend and talk to Brynna if she's home about mustangs she was supposed to bring over awhile ago." I took a sip of my coffee.
"She is, she took the day off cause Cody had a fever last night." Pepper commented as he ate his pancakes.
"Is he okay?" I asked, worried. Pepper nodded.
"He's fine, it's not a big one and he still was feeling well enough to to get into everything." Pepper chuckled.
I smiled and finished my breakfast then got up to clear up the dirty dishes. Gabe grabbed them from me. "Go on and leave, I'll grab the dishes before we head out to do fence."
"Thanks!" I hugged Gabe and said goodbye to Ross and Pepper. On the way out the door, I grabbed the paperwork I would need to change the ranch's name.
I watched as Charlie left the ranch from the porch. Gabe was finishing up the last of the dishes and Pepper was using the restroom before we started.
Charlie had looked pretty this morning with her wet hair all curly and wavy. And I loved the way she looked in her jeans and boots, she was definitely becoming a ranch girl.
I smiled as I thought about her. God I hoped she said yes to a second date, I definitely wanted one and it would give me the chance to talk more about her life before coming to Nevada.
Pepper and Gabe walked out, ending my thoughts about Charlie and we got to work.
I pulled my truck into Riverbend Ranch and parked by the other cars. I saw Brynna, Sam, Wyatt and Dallas standing by the corral watching Jake work a horse inside.
I got out and they waved me over. I walked over to them and Sam hugged me quickly. "How did last night go?" Sam asked with a smirk.
I rolled my eyes at her. "It was good. How did yours go?" I smirked back at her.
Sam blushed but answered me. "It was good too. Anyways, what'd you come here for?"
"Oh gee thanks Sam! Are you saying you don't want me here?" I acted hurt. Her face turned horrified.
"No I just meant-" Sam started but I cut her off.
"Kidding, Sam. Just wanted to talk to Brynna." I giggled and Brynna turned to us.
"Well what brings you over to talk to me?" Brynna asked with a smile.
"You know those mustangs you were supposed to send over but didn't due to Grandma's, death, well I was wondering if you could send them over. I'm willing to take on more horses."
"I could arrange that if you're absolutely sure you can handle more horses. And I'm sure we'll have some more this winter to bring you." Brynna said.
"I'm up for it. I might look into hiring someone or finding volunteers for the ranch." I paused. "Which by the way, you all are the first to know, Gabe and I changed the name."
I could see the shock on their faces, even Jake stopped the horse he was working to face me. "What are you calling the ranch now?" Jake asked, as he patted the horses neck.
"We decided, thanks to the mustangs, to call the ranch Last Hope Ranch. I mean we figured it would be appropriate seeing as we're the last hope for these mustangs and such." I felt nervous as I waited for their response.
"Well, I for one, love the name!" Brynna smiled sincerely over at me.
"It does fit well with what you do." Dallas agreed.
I smiled as the others agreed. "Well I'm glad you guys like it and I was thinking maybe tomorrow we could have a bonfire to celebrate the new ranch name and just so we could have some company over."
"Sounds like a great idea and gives me a reason to do some baking." Grace answered.
After talking for a bit more and planning a time to meet for the bonfire tomorrow, I left. Grace would call the Kenworthy's and Mrs. Coley, The Slocum's housekeeper to tell them about the bonfire and Jake would tell his family. I felt content as I turned into the driveway of now, Last Hope Ranch. Everything was falling nicely into place and I was starting a life out here. Now if only I could figure out what happened to my grandparents.
A/N: Hi Readers! Sorry I haven't updated in so long, If you've read my other updates, you know why, if you haven't..well long story short, I got married, it didn't work out, I'm finally back home and writing(well I've been back since June) and in a few weeks I will be having a baby! So I'm trying to cram some updates in before he gets here 'cause after that it will be alittle bit probably before I update again! But hang in there my loyal readers! I will update as much as possible! Thanks to any readers who are still reading! R&R!
What do you think about Ross&Charlie dating? Did you like it?
P.S: Did anyone see Breaking Dawn, Part 2(Twilight)?! Wasn't it amazing and the twist was just WOW! I really loved it and I am now sad that it's over! Anyways hope you enjoyed this chapter!