Adam McFadden rose from where he'd been kneeling along the fence line and stretched his sore back muscles. The hot California sun beat down overhead. He adjusted his hat, and turned to his brother Brian.
"Let's take a break. Wanna beer?"
"Good Lord, yes!" Brian grinned at his brother. They walked to the horses and rode back to the barn. They found Daniel inside mucking out one of the stables.
"Ah, the glamorous life of a star." Brian teased.
"Shut up." Daniel said.
Laughing his older brothers went inside the house. They pulled two beers out of the fridge and sat down at the kitchen table.
"Where's everyone?" Brian asked.
"I sent the boys to fix that shed by the south pasture. Hannah's at the grocery store. Crane tagged along to help." Adam said sipping his beer.
"Lucky him!" Brian said. Shopping for eight was no small thing - particularly when most of them were ever starving boys. It took at least two people to manage it all. But it was a trip no one really enjoyed. Although, Hannah did enjoy piling on coupons, discounts and deals. She loved to watch the numbers go down and down and always left the store triumphant!
"Eighty-six dollars!" She would announce. "I saved eighty-six dollars!" she would fairly glow with joy, and everyone would tease her and laugh. But when she got all lit up like that he wanted nothing more than to kiss her. He smiled thinking of it.
"If this ranch succeeds, it will be built on the shoulders of that wife of yours and her coupons!" Brian said. "Good thing, you're good looking enough to keep her."
"She likes me for my charm." Adam grinned.
"Well, it sure as hell wasn't for your fortune and the easy living." Brian said.
As they laughed over this the phone rang.
"Hello!" Adam said still laughing.
"No, that's me. I'll accept the charges."
Brian looked up surprised, but he could read nothing in Adam's expression.
"Hello. No, I remember you. She's out. What?" He leaned against the door jam. "Say that again. When? Ah, hell."
Brian rose concerned now and stood beside Adam. "Yeah. No, we will. I'm real sorry. No, I have it. Alright. Yeah. Well see you then." He hung up the phone and sighed.
"What is it?" Brian asked.
"Damn it!" Adam said chucking his empty beer can across the room into the trash.
"Come on, I got talk to the boys." He said with a heavy sigh. "I need a big favor, Brian." Adam said his face serious.