“Why are you here so early?” she inquired. He turned and glanced at her but kept silent. “Everytime I ask you a question you never answer. Why?”
His reply was sitting atop a bale of hay, continuing to stare at her with his arms folded across his chest.
“What’s wrong with you? You’re clearly not a mute. Why don’t you talk to me? You talk to everyone else but me. What did I do wrong?” she demanded with her fists planted firmly at her hips. He smiled back at her and shook his head.
“What do you think you’re doing out here Rhian? It’s still dark out.”
She jumped at the sound of Brian’s voice and gave him the truth. “I heard noises outside and found him here.” she pointed to Trevor as if her father couldn’t see another person in the stable.
“It still doesn’t give you the okay to leave the safety of this house. You should have come to me.”
“It’s my fault, I apologize. I just wanted to get a jump on my work.”
Brian nodded turning his attention back to his daughter. “Rhian, go on back to bed.”
“Get on my nerves…” she mumbled under her breath.
“What did you say?”
“Nothin’.” Once again her father intervened and she had to be the one to shove off. It wasn’t fair Temperance and Tamera could date, although her dad didn’t know it, but their mom did. They got to do anything they wanted. When it came to her, her father treated her like a baby, as if she couldn’t make decisions for herself. Rhian knew her feelings better than her father did. So why was he so intent on setting a tombstone on her heart?
Life continued to be this way for her right up until the day she left home. Brian kept secrets from her, the only way she’d known about anything was when she overheard him talking to their mother. The day before she left home for college, she wondered why everyone looked so grievous. A whole day had passed before she heard the news, from her parents bedroom nonetheless. Brain lamented it was a shame Trevor lost both of his parents in a car accident. When she’d heard that her heart sunk and began sobbing over the loss of Trevor’s parents, and more so for him.
Anything that hurt him hurt her. There wasn’t time to pay her respects, her father made sure of that. At eighteen years old, her father still did a fantastic job of keeping she and Trevor separated. She had to leave knowing he had no one left to care for him when he needed, no parents to talk to when he needed guidance. She almost couldn’t believe her father keeping her away from the funeral, and what’s more her mother and sister’s went along with it, by force no less.
Rhian remembered the past all too well as she stared out of her New York apartment window, looking at nothing in particular. It was another rainy day in the Big Apple. She was in luck that she didn’t have to brave this messy, depressive weather because today was her off day. Her plans of doing nothing was going rather well. The only thing she didn’t like about New York was it was so fast paced. How could anyone think a complete thought without another one rushing through? She loved her hometown of Amarillo, Texas.
No one rushed to do anything unless it was an emergency. She missed all the golden fields and the dirt and the open road. Used to be you could get a cup of coffee for an affordable price and enjoy sipping it at your leisure as you slowly made your way to another shop. Not here in New York, people drink coffee fast, gulp rather. She’d never seen so many foamy drinks in her life. What’s with all the latte’s and mocha frappachinos? What ever happened to a good old-fashioned cup of black coffee? Dad never had all these knick knacks added to his cup of Joe.
Even after these few years away from home, she still missed it. She didn’t think she could ever get used to this fast paced life. Actually it’s no life at all. New Yorker’s function so much differently than Texans. New Yorker’s work non stop and when they finally can break away from the nine to five, they are partying, even going on blind dates! Where she was from, you knew everyone from the farmer’s on up to high-ranking officials.
Everyone knew everyone, and everyone looked out for one another whether you wanted them to or not. Rhian really wanted to go back home but didn’t want to be a burden on her parents. Her father all but pushed her out of the house, but her mother came in behind him to soften the blow saying, “You’re an adult now. It’s time for you to take care of yourself. We raised you to be self-sufficient. You’ll do fine on your own, better than fine.”
“You’re kicking me out.”
“No we’re not. You have a scholarship, a full ride to Keller. You’re so smart, don’t waste your time here. Your father may not ever tell you this but he is proud of you and we expect a lot from you.”
Rhian cried and cried in her mothers arms. Sometimes she felt she was either a burden or screw-up to her father. Once she pulled herself together, she waved her goodbye to her mother and climbed in the front seat of the old Chevy her father gave her. The further she drove from home the smaller her childhood home got, until all that was behind her was dust in the wind.
Rhian once again pulled herself back into the present, then went fumbling through her refrigarator involuntarily. Then she heard a knock on the door.
“Did you forget your keys again?”
“If I’m knocking…”
“Smart mouthed hussie.”
It was her roommate Terri Gilland. They met through Rhian’s bulletin posted to a cork board throughout the halls of Keller. One day Terri showed up at her front door and the rest was history. They’d hit it off great. They shared equal loads with the rent, groceries, and anything else that came up. Terri was a fellow Texan herself which made her feel more at home.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”
“No. If you must know, I have the day off.”
“Yeah well don’t get into too much trouble.” Terri smirked at Rhian.
“When have you ever known me to get in trouble? I mean come on.” she waved off her roomies comment.
“Just so you know, I probably won’t be back until morning.”
“Where are you going?”
The twinkle in Terri’s eyes said it all. “You really are a hussie! Your parent’s would go through the roof if they knew what you were doing!” Rhian laughed.
“Well they don’t and I’m an adult. I can do whatever I choose.”
“Yeah until you get caught. Your mom would beat the black off your back.” Rhian made a tsk tsk tsk sound of disapproval and waved a finger back at her. “You’re adapting too much to a New Yorker’s way of life.”
“Am not. I’m just enjoying myself. Back in Austin, there wasn’t a very big dating pool of men. And if there was you already knew them as your friend or a brother type figure. Who wants to date someone they grew up next door to? Gross.”
“Hey, I take great offense to that.”
“Oh that’s right, you never quite got over Trevor. What a love sick puppy you are.”
“Shut it or else.”
They both laughed at the absurdity of a man she was still hanging on to, in her heart and mind. It was too embarrassing to think about so she changed the subject.
“You better be careful out here with these crazy men. They just aren’t as pure as the ones back home.”
“You’re so biased.”
“No, just a realist.”
“A realist wouldn’t hang on to a guy that didn’t give her the time of day. I call that living in a fantasy land.”
Rhian chucked a pillow at Terri and quickly kicked her friend out and wished her safe travels. She was right though, Trevor never gave her the time of day. And even if she went back, just for a visit, he still wouldn’t bat an eyelash her way. Was she really that off putting? Any man that ever asked her out she’d turned down all because of a boy she couldn’t forget. She sighed heavily, wondering if she would ever, just once have a successful relationship? All she ever wanted was Trevor, she even saved herself for him. Rhian was in her twenties and never had she ever let a man touch her. It’s not as if it was a difficult thing to do, abstaining from sex. New York men just weren’t home to her.
Rhian tried turning her mind off. She raked her hands through her hair and splayed her body out over the couch, then rested in a fetal position. Just was she was dozing off her cellphone rang.
“Who in Gods name could this be, calling this early in the morning?” she asked herself. Picking up the phone she saw it was her mother and immediately her heart filled with joy.
“Mom! I missed you.”
“Mom..” she noticed right away her mother’s tone didn’t sound right. “What’s wrong, are you okay?” For a moment she only heard silence. “Mom…” Rhian’s heart began to sink, knowing it was bad news.
“I really don’t mean to be a burden…”
“No, it’s okay. What do you need me to do?”
“Can you come home?” her mom sniffled into the phone. “Your father…he’s…dead.”
Rhian sat stunned at the news, of the loss of her father. It couldn’t be that he was really gone, could it? Her father was Superman to her, he could do anything, beat any odds. I guess not this time, this time something got the better off him.
“Umm, mom, let me settle things here and I’ll be home soon. Okay?”
“Where are Temperance and Tamera?”
“I called them, they said they’d come down as soon as they can.”
“Okay. I’ll be home soon mom, I promise.”
She clicked off the phone and sat there for a while, dazed. Her life seemed to always take a turn for the worst. Whenever her family needed her she’d always rise to the occasion. This time was no different. Her mom needed her and she planned on being right there until her mom could steady herself.