What a fine woman Drew had found for himself. Trent couldn’t help but admire her apple cobbler, and her fried chicken put to shame anything he could sneak past Sonoma. He pushed his plate back and settled an aching leg on the chair on the other side of the kitchen table with a sigh of relief.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like thirds?” Suzie bustled around the kitchen with a spoon in one hand and a mixing bowl in the other. She smiled warmly, making Trent feel right at home.
“No ma’am. I have to watch my girlish figure.” He grinned at the pathetic joke, but also watched her reaction.
Some folks couldn’t quite make it as far from ordinary as what he liked. It was fine. He could adjust. But hanging around with people who didn’t hold any particular prejudices felt better.
“You and me both,” Suzie teased back. She poured the batter for banana bread into a bread pan waiting next to the range. “I’m not generally very hungry anyway, but I like to cook a lot. That’s why I like so much to see other’s eat. If not, the food just piles up.”
He chuckled. He’d have said something about cooking less, but Drew had already mentioned her habit of cooking when she was upset. Though right now he’d say she was cooking because she was happy.
Drew walked in and grabbed a plate. “You look good,” he said to Suzie.
“Thanks! Gene just told me that he wants me to adopt him.” She grinned from ear to ear. “Finally, he has come around.”
“Oh! Wonderful!” Drew gave her a one armed hug before loading up his plate.
While the two of them bustled around the kitchen, Trent’s mobile phone rang. He didn’t bother to move his old bones for a bit of privacy, even if that ring tone belonged only to his true love.
“Trent, come home.” Sonoma started right in without preamble. She’d been hinting for a day or two already that it might be about time he headed back.
“What’s wrong, Sweet Heart? Crapper explode again?”
“Not this time. It’s Stewart and Rudy. They’ve been fighting.”
“That all? Those two are always fighting.”
“They put a hole in the wall of the upstairs hall. And there’s Carly. She’d gone missing.”
“She left right after you did and no one has seen her since.”
“Did she take her riffle?”
“Yes. That’s what scares me. Who knows what she’s hunting this time.”
Trent closed his eyes and sighed. He felt tired. “Sonoma. None of this is beyond you. I’ve seen you handle much, much worse problems.”
There was silence on the other end of the line for long enough Trent began to wonder if they’d been disconnected.
“Let me guess,” Sonoma grumbled. “You’re bonding with Drew’s people.”
“Yeah, well. Maybe. They’re good folk.”
Sonoma sighed. “Would you come home if I told you I’m lonely? I miss you.”
“There you go.” Trent chuckled. “That was painless, wasn’t it? I’ll be on my way first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Wonderful! Call me every night until you get here.”
“Will do.” He hung up.
Suzie and Drew were both looking at him. Drew looked like he might cry.
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