Welcome back to Take a Peek Tuesday. This week I would like to introduce Caleb, Annie’s best friend. Who wouldn’t want a cowboy for a best friend? But is a friend all Caleb thinks Annie is?
Remember this is still rough and hasn’t been edited.
Baseball Bats and Cowboy Hats Copyright 2016
Seeing Caleb was quite a surprise. Several evenings a week we take out the horses. I’ll cook dinner, or he will take me out. No, we aren’t dating. He is my best friend in the world. Well, him and Vicki. The three of us spend most weekends together after finishing our morning chores.
I told him the boys would be arriving today, and we wouldn’t be able to ride or go out tonight. I guess he is going to spend some alone time with Loverboy.
He greets me with our usual embrace. His rigid muscles alert me to the fact that he isn’t happy. I was expecting a confrontation with him. Just not today.
“Hey, Caleb.” I pull back from his hug. “Bad day at work?” I ask. Knowing the reason he is upset.
“Not a great one Annie. You know how I feel about you taking on these men. It’s not right for a single woman to have six single, young men in her home.”
‘What do you mean not right? We went over and over this when I decided to become a hostess.” I can’t understand why he is so against it. I appreciate how much he looks out for me, but sometimes he seems to forget we are only friends. Plus, capable of making my own decisions. His controlling nature is one reason we could never be more than friends.
“Not only does it look bad for you to be out here alone with six strange young men but it may not be safe. You know nothing about them.”
“Caleb, they are not ex-cons on parole. For that matter, they are only kids. Most of them the same age as David or Christopher. They are college boys trying to better themselves, on baseball scholarships and hoping to get picked in drafts. Having a home nearby is necessary for them. I also need some help out here. The place is starting to fall apart, and I can’t do some of the things.”
“I told you I would hire some construction people and get your house and barn fixed for you.”
Here we go again. Caleb is smothering me with his help. I can’t seem to get it through his thick skull that I need to do this on my own. He isn’t my husband. My husband is no longer here.
“ I told you I don’t want that. I can’t pay you back.” Sometimes I wonder if I should break our friendship so that he might move on with his life. I’m too selfish for that. I need Caleb. Only not the way he wants me to need him.
“I never said anything about payback. I promised Steve I would take care of you and the boys.” The sadness in his voice almost makes me change my mind. Almost.I look towards the barn. The thought of the young man inside makes me wonder if he is right. Maybe this is a big mistake. I can feel the change in the air.
“I am not a kid Caleb. I need to take care of this myself. This arrangement is a win-win for the boys and me. What are you doing here this early anyhow?” As if I had to ask.
“I always come out on Friday for our ride. And date.” He added. The seductive smile on his handsome face could melt steel off a locomotive. That must mean I’m stronger than a train engine.
“Caleb we aren’t dating. And I told you I couldn’t ride tonight.” I contemplate grabbing my egg basket I sat on his truck and making a run for it.
“I don’t see why not. These men are old enough to take care of themselves.” He leans back against his shiny, navy blue pickup, long, slim legs encased in tight designer jeans cross over his boots.
I am not a train engine. I give in. Partially.
“Perhaps it would be good for you to join us and meet the boys tonight. I’m planning a get to know each other session.”
“They are not boys Annie; They are not your sons or foster kids. They’re grown men. You need to get that through that thick, cute skull of yours.”
Exhaling in exasperation, he pushes himself upright. “Fine, I will join you.” Clenching his jaw and rubbing the back of his neck he concedes.
“I’m on my way in to clean up and put dinner on the table. It will be half an hour or so if you want to visit Loverboy.” Then I realize my mistake. TJ is in the barn, and with Caleb’s death glare when they met I can see issues already.
What do ya think? Do you think Caleb may be trouble?