A Sara’s Cowboy story
“Momma?” The tug on the sheet woke her up about a half second before the thunder had Sara all the way awake, Emmy screaming the way only a four year old could.
“Right here!” She scooped Emily up, listening for the sound of Jonah’s footsteps. “Hush, you’ll wake your daddy and brother up and they’ve got school and work in the morning.”
“I will work with Daddy?” Hopeful eyes the same as her daddy’s stared up, filled with tears.
“One day, maybe, after college. Not now.” She leaned back, cuddling into the pillows, trying to keep Em from getting to Cal. Daddy’s girl.
Cal, of course, slept like a soldier on full alert, reaching right over to pat them both. “College, huh?”
“Mmhmm. In California. With Gram and Grampy.” She hummed, scooted a little closer as Em pushed into Cal’s arms and the bathroom light went on in the hallway, Jonah awake.
Cal got Em settled in one arm, the other curling around her. “Uh-huh. Jonah, maybe. Hey, Em-girl. You can’t sleep, huh?”
“No, Daddy. The thunder.” One little cheek landed on Cal’s shoulder, fingers curled up. Sara just shook her head. Those two couldn’t be more alike.
From the sun-bleached hair to the bright blue eyes and the stubborn streak as big as they Wyoming sky, they fit like two peas in a pod. Just about the time they all got settled, in came Jonah, looking blinky and a little scared.
“Hey, baby. You want to come snuggle?” She lifted the blanket, fighting her grin as the little chin went stubborn.
“I’m not a baby, Momma. Daddy, tell her.”
“Of course, not. I just thought you could keep me and Daddy and Em warm while it’s storming.”
See her not laugh, even if Cal was shaking with it.
“See there, son? You know your momma always feels cold when it storms.”
Once his dad said it was okay Jonah just climbed right in.
She kissed Jonah’s forehead, pulling the blankets around them all as the storm started up again.
“Mmm. This is nice,” Cal said, murmuring low. That voice could soothe horses, panicked guinea pigs and all small children. It was amazing. “So, who wants to bet the storm will blow out in an hour?”
Sara chuckled. “Emily Ellen, you don’t even know what that means.”
“Uh-huh. Daddy said.”
Jonah yawned, settled. “I hope so. It’s basketball at PE today.”
“You like basketball, huh, Tiger?” Cal had so many nicknames for the kids that even Sara had trouble keeping track. It was the nature of the beast.
“Uh-huh. Not as good as baseball, but I do.”
“Not as well.”
Did all little cowboys-in-training sound like that?
“She’s correcting your grammar son. Just day ‘yes, ma’am’.” Oh, that stinker Cal was so gonna get pinched.
Sara looked at Cal, lips twisting. “You can be replaced with a button that turns off, Cowboy.”
“Can not!” Em said, sounding as put out as a little girl could. “My daddy!”
She rolled her eyes, unable to stop her laughter this time. “Are you sure about that, little girl? Are you sure he’s yours?”
“Ladies, ladies. There’s enough of me to go around.” Cal laughed with her for a moment, but then she heard a soft swat on Em’s well-padded butt. “Don’t you disrespect your momma, girl. You hear?”
“Yes, sir. Sorry, Momma.” Em didn’t even know what she’d done, she was just apologizing to please Cal.
“It’s okay. Sleep, now. It’s late.” She leaned to kiss Emily, Jonah already snoring and sprawled beside her. Then she turned her face to Cal. “Good night, cowboy.”
“Night, darlin’. Love you. Love you, Em. Get some sleep and I’ll let you ride with me in the pen tomorrow.” Cal leaned over and kissed her gently, still making her flutter, even after two kids and how many years?
“Love.” Sara shook her head, smiled as herself and sighed a little as she faded to sleep, the storm passing over them.