Welcome To Whisper Pines Part-3

Welcome to Whisper Pines
Part Three

by:
Enemyoffun


After a tragedy, Charlie and his small family move from the West Coast to the East and to a small and idyllic, dairy community to start anew. Soon he starts to realize the town seems a bit odd and the things there not so right, including himself.

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Author's Note: Its Monday again, time for another update. I wasn't sure if I was going to get this one up this week or not, what with all the fun I've been having. Check out my latest two blogs if you're interested. Thankfully everything in my personal life seems to be ok at the moment. Its a good thing I have plenty of these chapters already written lol. As for the story itself, we get to meet some new characters, an old friend and more set up for the tale to come. I promise the story will start to pick up. I'd once again like to thank ashleigh for editing this tale for me :).

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3.

Morning came too bright and too early.

Someone was knocking loudly on my door. I tried to ignore it by rolling over and covering my head with my pillow. The knocking continued, though. Groaning, I finally threw off my covers to investigate. Opening the door I found Dad standing there. He took one look at my sleeping attire and made a face.

“What are you wearing?”

“Good morning to you too, Dad.”

He scratched the back of his head. “Ummm...is there something you want to...”

I interrupted him. “Sara told Connie I was just pretending to be a boy. So Connie brought me some of her things to wear to bed. Seeing as I didn’t have anything else, I wore the pants.”

“And the room?” asked dad, looking around, noticeably shielding his eyes.

“Sara again.”

“I’ll talk to her.”

I nodded. “Good luck with that.”

Between my parents, Dad was always the bigger push over. Especially when it came to Sara. Sure she listened to him when he scolded her for complaining and what not. When it came to everything else, though, Sara had him wrapped around her little finger. That is of course when he was actually around. The two of them had a different relationship than the one Dad and I had too. Dad was big into sports, especially soccer. Me not so much. Not for lack of trying, though. Besides going to the occasional ball game with him, he tried to get me to kick the ball around the yard with him or shoot some hoops. I was just never really into it, to be honest. With Sara, it was different, though. I think she wanted desperately to get my father’s attention so she did all the things with him that he wanted to do with me. She was really good at them too, especially volleyball. I’m not really sure how it happened but my sister became the son he always wanted.

While also being his daughter as well.

It was like Sara had taken both roles.

I’m not even sure what that made me.

“Well the shower is free right now,” he said, turning away from the room probably to keep from puking. “So I’d take one in a hurry, we’re leaving in about thirty minutes.”

I nodded, anything to get out of these pants and this room.

Dad left after that. I waited for him to leave before I left as well. I wandered down the hall, peeking into open doorways to try and find the bathroom. I found it as Sara was stepping out, wearing fluffy white bath robe.

“Whoa, nice pants bros,” she said with a laugh. “They really bring out the color of your eyes.”

I gave her the finger. It was just too damn early to trade barbs with her.

Thankfully there was no one else around to comment about my attire. I slipped into the bathroom and locked the door behind me. Feeling safe for once, I finally let out a sigh. I walked to the toilet to take care of some morning business then to the sink to wash my hands. As I was washing them, I couldn’t help but look in the mirror. The sight there made me frown. I saw an overly skinny pale kid wearing a pair of girl pants. At home, I usually slept in a pair of bed pants of my own and an old t-shirt. I hated to admit it but these pants were a hundred times more comfortable. Not that I’d ever go out of my way to wear them again of course.

Groaning at the thought, I quickly stripped out of them.

Then I stepped into the shower. I closed my eyes as I turned on the water and let it cascade over me.

When I was younger, I couldn’t even get this close to water.

I used to have this overwhelming fear of it. I’m not even sure where it came from, though. I never almost drown or anything like that. My mother said ever since I was a baby, I used to freak out near the water. I would scream and cry and kick to get away from it. She actually had to give me sponge baths because she could never get me into the tub. It was only things filled with water, though. She was able to wash my hands and scrub me down with wash clothes and sponges. As I got older, though, my aversion to it went away. Sure I still didn’t care for swimming all that much and I never took baths. But I was no longer afraid of it.

Sara used to tease me about it from time to time.

Especially around the large in ground pool, we had back at home.

Well used to have in our former home.

If anything, the shower was pretty refreshing.

It only took me about ten minutes too.

I had enough time to run back to my room and get quickly dressed, toweling off the whole time.

Downstairs, everyone was sitting around the table again. This time it was breakfast. Sara gave me a knowing smirk, Connie frowned.

“You've dressed like a boy again.”

“I am a boy.”

“Ok so you might be a bit tomboyish but there’s no way you’re a boy.”

“Of course he is sweetie.”

“No, Sara said...”

Dad glared at Sara. I saw my sister look like a deer caught in headlights but it wasn’t enough. I sat down at the table and grabbed the salt before she could. Rebecca placed a plate a bacon and scrambled eggs in front of me. I added some salt and quickly---without Sara noticing---I twisted loose the top of the shaker. Then passed it her way. I hid my knowing smile as she shook it on her eggs and the top popped off, pouring the whole thing all over her breakfast.

“You son of a...” she snapped at me.

Dad interrupted her before she could finish, though. “That’s enough from you young lady!” he snapped then quickly apologized to Rebecca before turning to me. “You, you’re old enough to know better.”

“She started it.”

“No, you did with that bottle of pee in the car.”

Well, she had me there.

“Well I’m ending it,” he said and looked back at Sara. “When we get back from the dairy, you are giving your brother the yellow room, you will take the pink room then you’re going to apologize to everyone for misleading them with your stupid, childish pranks.”

Connie looked at me and I nodded.

Her face turned red with embarrassment.

Sara looked as if someone took the air out of her tires.

Served her right.

Breakfast after that was a pretty quiet affair. Sara was pissed, Connie was still embarrassed, Dad looked annoyed. Only Rebecca looked as if she didn’t know what was going on. Her father just sat, reading his paper as usual as if nothing happened. Me, I was satisfied. Sara got what was coming to her but honestly, it wasn’t enough. She’d been messing with me all day yesterday, a scolding from Dad wasn’t enough to settle that. I looked over at Connie and smiled.

When breakfast ended, we all started to file toward the door. Dad wanted to get to the dairy on time.

Connie stopped me. “I feel really bad about...well...you know.”

“It's nothing new. Everyone thinks I’m a girl.”

“I want to make it up to you, though,” she said with a smile. “How about after your dairy tour, you’d let me give you and your sister a tour of the town, show you all the places and things?”

I nodded. “On one condition. I want some revenge against Sara.”

Connie smiled slyly. “What did you have in mind?”

I smirked. “I think maybe you could help my sister embrace her inner girl.”

Connie looked confused for a moment then I saw a tiny light bulb go off in that head of hers.

She looked at Sara and smiled. “I think that can be arranged.”

Excellent.

“C’mon you two, your grandparents are waiting.”

Connie grabbed me and pulled me into a quick hug before we went to the car. I was a bit confused, to say the least. The only girl that had ever hugged me---besides family---had been Fiona. The girl I was still in love with. Looking back at Connie, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say she was pretty but she was no Fiona. I smiled weakly at her before getting into the car.

I think maybe when I talked to Fi tonight, I’d leave the hug out of it.

THIS STORY IS AN EOF ORIGINAL

The drive to my grandparent’s farm took us through the rest of town.

Connie had promised to give Sara and I a tour but I couldn’t help but feel we’d sadly seen everything there was to offer now. After leaving the main road that went straight through the town proper, we took one of the side roads. Here we saw several other little Mom and Pop shops, the Fire Hall and Police station and the elementary/middle school/ high school across the street from that. I paid careful attention to the building actually because it was a lot smaller than the one back home. It was hard to believe every kid in the town went to one school and it was that size.

From there it was houses, some clumped together but most of them alone. Then it was more farmland. There were at least three farms along the way it seemed.

As we drove on, things started to look a little familiar.

I spotted a water tower that I knew I’d seen before and beyond that a large tree in the middle of an empty field. The tree was very old and looked foreboding. Like the Whomping Willow from the Harry Potter books. I think I might have climbed that tree the last time I was here. Past the tree, we had the first signs of civilization again. First, it was the fence then it was the farm itself. As we got closer, the barns and the house slowly came into view. Old memories started coming back. Memories of a warm and inviting place, of baked cookies and pies, of smiling people happy to see me. Also memories of Mom. I found myself wiping away a tear or two as we got closer.

“Is that it?” asked Sara, excitedly.

I couldn’t remember the last time she’d been this excited for anything.

“That’s it,” said Dad as our Accent approached the front of the house.

Grandpa and Grandma Miller lived on the largest farm in the town. Well, that was a given of course. Their house was a giant farmhouse, painted blue with white shutters. There was a large oak in the yard with a tire swing. Beyond the house were the barns---there were three---next to those were the nursery pens. It was all starting to come back to me as I saw it with my own eyes again.

On the front porch waiting for us were my grandparents.

Sara and I rarely got to see them in person these days.

The last time they were in Portland was a couple of years ago for Christmas. They were always too busy with the Dairy to do much traveling. The same could be said for Mom and Dad I suppose. Especially Dad. Work always seemed to be more important to him than family. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time we’d seen Grandpa and Grandma Kanenas.

Grandpa Miller approached the car as we stopped. He always told us to call him Grandpa Hank but we always ended up just calling him Pop. He looked like a Pop too. He was a tall man with broad shoulder not unlike my father actually. That was the only similarity, though. Pop had a thick white beard that he kept well trimmed and his hair was slicked back, looking ever the professional. The only thing that told me he was related to my mother though were his eyes, blue like hers and mine. Today Pop was dressed for business, in a crisp suit. Usually, though he wore a plain shirt and jeans. Ever the farmer, I knew he hated dressing up.

Behind him, Grandma Judy came walking up.

She looked like my mother.

A little too much for my liking at the moment.

Thin and pale, her light blonde hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. She had my mother’s eyes as well but they were pale like mine. She smiled and waved.

Looking at her, I missed Mom so much it ached.

Grandma was the first to hug us when we got out of the car. She grabbed Sara first, pulling her in before she could react. Then it was me. For such a small, thin woman, Grandma had a bear-like, bone crushing hug. When she finally let me go, she fluffed up the ends of my hair a bit.

“Charlie, I hardly recognized you,” she said with a laugh. “You’ve gotten so tall and this hair...”

“I’m trying to get him to cut it, Judy,” said Dad with a laugh.

“Nonsense. I think it makes him look unique” said grandma with a smile.

Pop hugged us next or rather Sara. He shook my hand instead.

Pop was the kind of man who believed boys didn’t need as much coddling as girls.

“I think I agree with Costas my dear, the boy is starting to look a bit girly.”

“You pay little attention to them,” said grandma, scowling at her husband.

Pop was all about tough love too. My mother used to talk about it a lot. Not that he wasn’t a loving father, she said he was great. He just seemed to dote more on her and her sister Grace then he did his son, my uncle, Kurt. Not that it really mattered much anymore. Uncle Kurt was the only one who decided to stick around. Pop was even grooming him to take over the business one day. My Aunt Grace was probably in the Andes or climbing Everest or something. She and Mom shared that same adventurous spirit. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d seen her in person. She emailed from time to time, sent the occasional postcard. Every once in a while I even got a birthday card from her.

“Now Costas, what’s this I hear about you staying at the Bovine Delights in town?”

Dad seemed to cave under Grandma’s gaze.

“I didn’t want to intrude.”

“Nonsense,” said Grandma “We have plenty of room here. Until your things arrive, you and the kids will be staying with us.”

Yes, thank you, Grandma.

No more gag me pink rooms.

No more awkward Connie moments.

Grandma led Sara and me toward the house. Pop and Dad stayed near the car. I could hear the two of them talking business, something I wasn’t really keen to hear. I wanted to be with grandma anyway. After Mom, I just wanted to be close to something motherly. Grandma was the closest thing to my mother I was going to get.

Inside the house, I couldn’t help but get struck by the familiar again.

First, it was the smell, lilacs, and cinnamon.

Then it was the furnishings. Everything looked exactly the same. The living room was off to the left, the dining room off to the right. The main entry way led toward the kitchen, the downstairs bathroom was off of that. The stairs were just off the entryway, leading from the living room to the second floor where I knew there were three more rooms: my grandparents, the one that used to belong to my uncle and the one my mother used to share with Grace. There was also a bathroom up there as well. Say what I will but I missed this place just as much as home.

Walking slowly into the living room, I noticed the mantle above the fireplace was covered in framed photos. Grandma and Grandpa on their honeymoon, Mom in her cap and gown, her siblings in the same, Mom’s wedding, Uncle Kurt’s wedding. There were other pictures too, mainly of Sara and I. I did notice a few of our cousins too---Uncle Kurt’s kids. I’d completely forgotten about Craig and Catherine. Mostly because they were a bunch of snobs. Twins and my age. They walked about like they owned the place and as far as they were concerned they did.

Grandma saw me sneering at a picture of the two of them, sitting and smiling.

“None of that,” she said “they’re good kids.”

I wanted to comment but kept my mouth shut.

“Now let’s go to the kitchen, I made some cookies. We can eat while we wait for the older men folk.”

I didn’t have to be told twice.

Sara and I happily followed Grandma into the kitchen. I didn’t get all that far though before I was nearly bowled over by a charging mass of black fur and barking.

I was on my back before I knew it, the large dog on top of me. He proceeded to whine and lick my face, alternating between the two.

Oh my God Argos.

I couldn’t believe he was still around.

He was my dog.

When I came here all those years ago, my grandparents wanted to surprise me with something special. So they took me a friend of Pop's whose dog just had puppies. Dad wasn’t too happy, though. He was allergic to dogs and well didn’t really like them much. Grandma overruled him though like she often did. Mom just found the whole thing humorous. We named him Argos because he was a little black bundle of energy. Also because well we thought by naming him after the dog of a Greek hero that Dad would relent. He didn’t so Pop agreed to keep him here for when I visited. Of course, that never happened again and I’d completely forgotten about him.

So maybe not forgotten. I cried for days.

I just thought by now he was long gone.

Here he was, though. Still alive and still as energetic as ever.

“Off boy,” I said and he dutifully obeyed. “Good boy Argos.”

Sara looked at him wearily. “I didn’t know you had a dog, Grandma?”

“Oh I don’t,” she said with a smile. “That’s your brother’s dog.”

“Wait, we have a dog!” she asked, excitedly.

“I have a dog.”

I was on the floor, Argos sitting next to me.

He was a large black German Shepherd, still solid and regal after all these years. Unlike Odysseus and his faithful and tragic hound, there was no sign of age at all. It was hard to believe actually. He was a puppy when I left so he was clearly nine or so now. To look at him, though, you would swear he was four or five at the most. Sure he was a great deal bigger than I remembered but the way he knocked me over it was like he was definitely not acting his age.

Dad came into the house a moment later. He paused when he saw me sitting on the floor with the dog.

“That thing is still alive?” he asked, clearly annoyed.

“That thing,” said Pop, coming up beside him. “Is the best damn hunting dog in the county. You know I think he knew you were coming, he’s been sitting there patiently waiting, for a couple of days now.”

Just like Argos.

I stood up and went into the kitchen. Argos followed closely by my side.

I had to admit, I was feeling pretty lousy about this whole moving here thing. Had I remembered Argos though, I might not have felt as bad. In fact, I would have been anticipating coming here.

I sat at the table and he sat right there, the constant sentinel.

“So what’s the plan?” asked Grandma, looking between Pop and Dad.

“Well, I figured I’d give them the local tour first then we’d get in one of the company cars and go to the main dairy.”

I’d forgotten this place was pretty much just for the tourists.

It was a Dairy sure but it wasn’t the real one. Well, it might have been at one time but the main facility was actually outside of town. It was large, made of concrete and several buildings altogether. It was where they turned the cow’s milk into cartoned milk and other dairy products. This farm was here for appearances. I didn’t really understand it all, to be honest. All I knew was that I didn’t really want to go on the tour of the big facility. It sounded kind of dull and boring. I don’t think Sara was too keen on it either. This whole tour thing was mainly for Dad anyway.

“We don’t have to go to the big facility, do we?”

It was actually Sara who asked.

“Don’t you want to see where I’m gonna be working?”

Sara shrugged. “I’m not six Dad. I don’t really get excited about those kind of things.”

“I’m with her,” I said. “I thought maybe I’d just stick around here, maybe hang out with Argos or something?”

Neither Dad or Pop argued.

So it was settled.

Sara and I were skipping the factory tour.

Thank the Gods.

That, of course, didn’t stop Pop from taking us on the “Elementary School Tour” as he liked to call it. I was expecting that to be boring as well but it was actually pretty fun. He took us around the farm yard proper then into the barns. He showed us where the cows stayed and where the calf nursery. He took us into the milking barns and things like that. He ended the tour at the Milk house where the milk was stored before being sent off to the big facility to be processed. All in all the farm tour took a little under two hours to finish. We ended it right back where we started, on the front porch of the house.

“What did you think?” Pop asked Sara.

She shrugged. “Neat.”

She was clearly disinterested.

I figured she would be. This place was not Sara’s idea of living. Much like my snobby cousins, Sara preferred the big city.

Dad and Pop left shortly after, leaving Sara and me alone with Grandma.

“Now then Saina,” said Grandma, looking at my sister. “Why don’t you and I wash these dishes, while your brother takes Argos out to do his business.”

Sara groaned for more than one reason. One, I knew she hated to do chores and two because Grandma had used her real name. Sara hated being called Saina. I used to do it to her just to tick her off but honestly, it got tiring a long time ago. In fact, most of the time I forgot that Sara was actually her middle name. You see my parents gave us both Greek names, to honor my father’s family and traditions. We had normal middle names, though---mine was David.

I left the two women in the kitchen and went out the back door.

Argos followed on my heels.

As soon as I was out the door, he took off. He didn’t go far, over to one of the trees beyond the house. I let him pee while I went wandering. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d took a breath of really fresh air. Sure the air at home was fresh but it was nothing like this. Mind you, breathing here was pretty hard because of the proximity to the cows. I won’t lie, it smelled really bad here. At the same time, though, the air was kind of refreshing too. Not only that but the sky seemed clearer and almost bluer here. Looking up at the clouds I couldn’t help but feel at peace. It was a strange feeling. I’d only been here for a short period time, a long time ago and yet I felt like I’d never left.

Even stranger, I felt like I almost belonged.

I tried to shake the feeling and looked over at the cows. There was a large outside pen for them to graze when they weren’t milking. We saw it briefly on Pop’s tour. Argos was sniffing around one of the fence posts. I walked over to see what caught his interest so much. As I got closer, I caught sight of a familiar cow. Sure they all looked the same but I’d definitely seen this one before. I recognized her bright blue hooves after all. I grabbed a clump of grass and coaxed her over.

The cow absently wandered her way over.

She took the grass, standing close so I could pat her on the head.

As I was patting her, I noticed something strange. Her blue eyes from before were gone. In their place was the same muddy brown of every other cow. Had I been mistaken before? Was I mistaken now? I bent to look down at her hooves, no they were definitely still blue. Though a lot of the nail polish was starting to chip away. I looked over at some of the other cows, wondering if maybe it was a way Pop’s marked them. But nope, no other cow had blue hooves.

This was the same cow.

How was that possible?

“That’s our little runaway,” said a voice as someone approached from behind.

I turned and found myself staring at a tall boy. He was wearing a white tank top, jeans, and leather work gloves. His skin nicely tanned, his muscles bulging. He was wearing a Yankees cap but what hair I saw was brown and his eyes seemed to match. Something about him seemed familiar, though.

“Yeah, I saw her yesterday at the rest stop on the way into town,” I said, still patting the cow on her head.

The boy laughed. “She was a weird one that’s for sure. I can’t even tell you how she got out that far, though.”

“Was she one of yours?”

He nodded. He reached up and touched something in the cow’s ear. “That’s our tag. She had it when we found her. Damnest thing, though, we were pretty sure all of them were accounted for.”

I kept looking at him, wondering where I’d seen him before.

“I’m Lucas by the way,” he said, holding out his hand.

“Charlie,” I said, shaking it.

God, he had a strong grip. It made me feel like a real wimp.

“Oh you’re Mr. Miller’s grandson,” he said, I nodded. “You don’t remember me, do you?”

“Sorta.”

He laughed. “I live on the farm down the road. You and my little brother Rex were friends while you were here.”

I shook my head. None of it rang a bell. I mean his face looked vaguely familiar but that was about it.

“Well, Rex will remember you. He’s got this thing about not forgetting faces.”

I was about to say something more when Sara and Grandma came out of the house. Sara noticed Lucas immediately and practically ran to me. She introduced herself and practically pushed me out of the way. I rolled my eyes. There she goes again. I stepped away, though, done with the conversation anyways.

“Oh I see you’re bonding with our little deserter,” said Grandma with a laugh, noticing me still feeding the cow.

“I saw her at the diner.”

She nodded. “Terri called me shortly after you left. She was absolutely gushing about my two beautiful granddaughters.”

I fingered my hair. “I think I need to find a barber.”

Grandma chuckled. "Its not so bad honey. It's just boys around here tend to keep their hair short, like young Lucas over there.”

I nodded, still feeding the cow. Then I remembered the eyes.

“Hey Grandma, do cow eyes usually change colors?”

She gave me a strange look. “Cow’s eyes are usually brown sweetie.”

I nodded. “I know but yesterday, this cow had bright blue eyes.”

Grandma laughed. “It's called being walled eye but you’re mistaken. This one has brown eyes. They can’t change back and forth.”

She might be right but I definitely was not mistaken. I could swear this cow had blue eyes yesterday.

“It's weird because I could have sworn she had blue eyes before?”

“Sometimes the light out here plays tricks on the eyes.”

Maybe.

“So how are you doing? I know with your mother’s death and the move, things can’t have been easy. I tried talking to your sister about it a little bit but “Everything is fine” to her.”

That sounded like Sara. Nothing was ever wrong when Sara was involved.

Even after the funeral, Everything was Fine.

I shrugged. I didn’t really know what to say, to be honest.

After the accident, Dad thought a therapist might help. So he started taking us to one every week. Dr. Holmes was a nice woman but I don’t think she really got me. She did pretty well with the family sessions but once she got me one on one, she didn’t really ask about Mom. Most of her questions were about girls and the way I saw myself. I think the doctor---like most others---saw my appearance and jumped to conclusions. When I told Dad about her questions, he wasn’t too happy that the woman was making assumptions. We stopped going to see her after that. The ironic thing about it was, she never really ever got around to asking me how I felt about losing Mom.

“It's easier now” I finally admitted to my grandmother. “After it happened, things were different. I think we were all pretty numb you know.” I sighed, grandma looked sad. “I couldn’t go into her room. I tried but every time I approached the door to Mom and Dad’s room, I couldn’t bring myself to step inside. Is that weird?”

Grandma shook her head then pulled me into a hug.

She held me a long time. I think she might have even cried a bit. I wanted to cry too but nothing seemed to come out.

When she finally let me go, she wiped her cheeks.

I forgot that I wasn’t the only one who lost someone. Mom was her daughter. I think Grandma was hurting even more because she and Pop couldn’t make it to the funeral. Dad had offered to fly them out but this time of the year was really busy for the dairy. They sent a large flower arrangement though and paid for the whole thing. Uncle Kurt managed to come, though, alone of course. Mom and Aunt Polly never really got along much. Polly hated Sara and me too. It was all about money to her. Pop made it very clear that the Dairy was to be split between his three children. Grace being the carefree spirit she was, declined. So it was then split fifty-fifty between Mom and Kurt. With Mom gone, her half went to Sara and me.

I don’t think Aunt Polly liked that very much.

“So tell me about this Fiona then?” said Grandma, trying to lighten the mood.

So I did. I took out my cell, showing her several pictures the two of us together. Including the ones, we took right before I left. Doug was there too of course. Grandma asked about him as well. We sat and talked about my friends and my life back in Portland for about twenty minutes. It was kind of nice actually. I lost track of time talking to her. So much so that I didn’t even hear Dad and Pop come back.

“You guys really missed something,” said Dad, after taking a sip from a small carton of milk.

Pop was holding one as well.

“Was she there?”

The way Grandma said “She”, it was clear whoever she was talking about was someone on her radar. Not in a good way either.

Pop shook his head. “Yes, she was. She’s a researcher Judy, she’s doing research.”

‘Uh huh” said Grandma, straightening up with a huff.

I looked from her to Pop and back. Grandma said nothing more and started back toward the house.

“Adult business,” said Pop, ruffled my hair as he walked past me.

I rolled my eyes.

Pop was so old fashion.

I looked at Dad. “There’s some Animal Husbandry expert from the university here. Your grandfather is allowing her and her team to set up shop at the dairy. Your grandparents are not in agreement over it. I met the woman, Dr. Clarke seems like a nice capable person.”

I was confused. What could a researcher want with a dairy farm?

Dad didn’t stay around to say. He walked back toward the house, following my grandparents. I turned to find Sara still at the fence talking to Lucas. It was clear she was annoying him but he was nice enough to stay and talk to her. I whistled for Argos and he came running up to my side a second or two later. I hadn’t realized he’d been that close. I checked my watch as I started back toward the house. Connie still wanted to give Sara and I that tour today. It was almost noon now. I couldn’t help but wonder if Dad would drive us back into town to the B&B so we could meet her.

I ran up the steps so I could ask him.

Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF



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