She had loved him since she was nine years olds. The first time she saw him was on her father’s ranch. Her father gave Trevor McKenna a job cleaning the stalls, feeding and grooming the horses, and finally learning how to break horses. Trevor was the strong, gentle but silent type who’d kept to himself. At sixteen he was already five feet ten inches tall and still had room to grow. Rhian was so enchanted with Trevor that she’d follow him around at a safe distance of course, every chance she got. But her father always managed to ruin those moments.
“Stop following Trevor around and go help your mother and sister’s with supper.” he barked at his daughter. Rhian threw her dad an annoyed look then stomped back to the house.
“Mom, do you need some help?”
Melody smiled at her youngest daughter then motioned her to the table. “Help your sister’s set the table then come back for the basket of biscuits.”
“Yes ma’am.” Rhian skipped off to the dinner table but her sister’s were nowhere in sight. Oh well she thought, she’d just have to set the table by herself. She wrapped everyone’s utensils in a napkin and tied it with a red ribbon. Rhian returned to the kitchen for the biscuits and placed the basket at center of the dinner table, then tracked back for plates and cups.
“All done mom.” she stood proudly at the kitchen doorway with her hands on her hips. Melody came to spy the table and saw everything was in its proper place.
“You did a great job. Where are your sister’s?”
Rhian shrugged her shoulders, “I don’t know.”
“They know the rules, the three of you are supposed to set the table together. I’ll fix those two later. Tell your father suppers ready, will you chica?”
Rhian smiled brightly, “You got it mom!” she said with a fist pump. Running outside hopping down the stairs, spotted her dad and ran to him.
“Dad suppers ready.”
“Alright, I’ll be there shortly.”
Just a few paces away Trevor was posted against the wrought iron fence staring at her. Deciding to close the gap between them she suddenly felt her father’s hand wrap around her shoulder to keep her still. Rhian looked up in question as her father looked down at her with a warning. Brian brought his gaze back to Trevor and asked, “Do you want to join us for supper? Melody always makes more than enough.”
“If it’s alright by you, sir.”
“Come on, lets head inside.”
Trevor strode past them and again Rhian felt her father’s hand mold her shoulder just as she was going to run off to catch up with Trevor. ” Stay beside me.”
“Daaad.” she whined.
Once inside the house, Rhian saw Trevor sitting a chair closer to her mother. There also was an empty chair next to him, but just as Rhian made her way to that empty seat her eldest sister Tamera filled it.
“I was going to sit there.”
“Snooze ya lose.” her sister snorted at her. Does God Almighty hate her? Is this going to be her fate for the rest of her life? Does God think this is funny? Well it’s not!
“Rhian” Melody chimed in, “go on up and wash your hands. We won’t start without you.” Melody smiled at her baby. She gets cut off every single time she tries to advance toward Trevor, her mother thought silently. It’s almost too sad to watch. Melody shook her head and smiled again. “Trevor, you’re doing a mighty fine job training up those horses. Are you enjoying it?”
“Thanks Mrs. Robeson. Yes I really enjoy it. I hope to one day own a ranch and train up some horses. Mr. Robeson seems to make a good living at it, so maybe I can too.”
“Don’t tell your father that or he’ll think I’m trying to convert you.”
Rhian returned and joined everyone at the dinner table. She ended up between her father and her sister Temperance at the opposite end of the table. The only good thing that came from where she was sitting was she could get a clear view of Trevor’s face.
Food was passed from either ends of the table, and that’s when everyone started sharing how their day went. Jokes were traded, and for a split second Trevor looked down the table at her. It felt like forever to her; her heart tripped several times. He was looking at her, really looking at her! Sweet mother of God he finally recognized her! And just like that it was over, contact broken. No matter, she was in new territory now, and made her more determined to get him to like her.
“I hope everyone enjoyed tonight’s supper.” Melody added. In unison there was yes’ all around the table. “Temperance, Tamera you’ll do the dishes tonight.”
“Mom.” both sisters whined in unison.
“That’ll teach you two to skip out on setting the table.”
“I don’t want to hear it. Start busting those suds.”
Temperance and Tamera collected everyone’s plates, cups, and silverware and added them to the dish water.
“Way to go mom.” Rhian said with a devilish smile.
Just then both sisters leaned over the sink to look out the door and gave their little sister an image of their tongues sticking out at her. Even though Tamera was sixteen and Temperance fifteen they acted like kids. Rhian rolled her eyes back at them in return.
“Rhian, it’s time for you to get cleaned up.”
“Guess I’ll be taking my leave as well.” Trevor added.
“Honey take Rhian upstairs,” Melody nodded and ushered her daughter from the dining room into the living room. “I’ll be taking Trevor home.”
“Thanks again for supper Mrs. Robeson.”
“You’re quite welcome sweetheart.”
Rhian waved goodbye to Trevor but he just stood staring at her until a tap on his shoulder brought him back to reality.
“Ready to go?”
“I’ll be back soon Melody.”
As Brian was driving Trevor back to his house he was wondering what was going through this young man’s mind. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Why?”
Trevor smiled and replied, “I’m always quiet.”
“You’re more quiet than usual. What’s on your mind?”
“With all due respect, I don’t think I can talk to you about that.”
“Ah, I see. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m certainly not stupid. I know full well that you like Rhian.”
“Are you trying to bait me, sir?”
The truck came to a stop as Brian told Trevor what exactly his thoughts were. “You may as well fess up. I’ve known from the first day I hired you. I know Rhian thinks she likes you but I won’t permit any goings on between you and her. She’s too young to be wrapped up in this type of thing. Rhian is easily led by her feelings, and I don’t want her to get hurt.”
“I’m not going to hurt her. What’s more, I already knew you wouldn’t approve of me.”
“It isn’t you per say. You’re a good, well-raised, responsible young man, no doubt about that. There’s quite an age difference between you two. It just wouldn’t be right.”
“So you’re saying when Rhian get a bit older, you’ll let me date her?”
“I didn’t say that either.”
Trevor could only smile at Brian, he sure was a difficult and elusive man. What was he trying to say anyway?
“Before I get out of this truck, can I ask you a serious question?”
“This isn’t because I’m white and Rhian’s black?”
“Absolutely not. As long as my daughters are under my roof, they are off-limits to every man on this planet, regardless of their color. Now get out of my truck.” he added with a chuckle.
“Thanks for the ride. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
Trevor exited the truck and waved back and disappeared through the doors of his home.