Forgotten Trails(6)

By: Bonnie R. Paulson

He'd never forgive himself for being such a coward. For being such a bully.

He had to make it up to her. Something about Rachiah reminded Damon of Melissa. She could have been Melissa's older sister.

He didn't have a lot of money growing up either. Now it seemed like he had nothing to spend his money on, so he had all kinds of money in the bank.

Maybe Damon could take Melissa for a day at the spa or whatever women did. He needed to do something, anything to help her realize she was so much more than poor.

If she was lucky, she would be wealthy and in the position to make him feel like a bug. He would appreciate seeing that.

When had Rachiah become Melissa in his head? The only thing separating them in his mind’s eye was his attraction to Rachiah. He’d never felt that way toward Melissa.

Rachiah represented more than a date. His dogged persistence testified she had a pull on him. More than regret, more than guilt. There was something strong enough he couldn't stop.

Her aloof attitude enhanced his need to befriend her. What if he could make his amends to Rachiah, make her feel appreciated? Would the entire universe of things somehow let him earn back whatever he’d done to Melissa?

The things he'd said to Melissa and done to her had to leave scars, they had to. He hadn’t been nice.

At least not when other kids were around.

“Yeah, well I'll just keep it as my business.” Damon handed the phone to Ryland. “You missed a call.”

Ryland pressed the red button indicating he had a voicemail. After listening to the message, he turned the phone off and glanced toward Damon. “New job. They want us to help tomorrow.” He tilted his head to the side and rolled his shoulder, nonchalantly trying to cover his excitement for another job opportunity.

Damon narrowed his eyes at Ryland. “Doing what?”

Ryland laughed, and swung his arms back and forth at chest level. He shook his head. “You're not going to like it. Cyan got us a job on the reservation. We'll be working for MT. Just a ways down from the house.” He smirked.

Damon tilted his head forward. Shock sent his limbs limp. “What? Working for MT? That guy does not like white guys and you know it.”

“He can’t get any of the tribesmen to help. So he's willing to pay off-reservation to get the work done.” Ryland shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t care if he likes us. I’m not asking to marry him. He wants us to work and you know they pay well.”

Damon considered what Ryland said. He didn't like downtime. If they said now, would MT talk his dad into not renting to Damon and Ryland? They didn't have anywhere else to stay. He could ante up and get a hotel, but if Nate ever heard they did that, they would get a butt chewing.

The reservation wasn’t far from Bella Acres. As much as Damon wanted to stay at his cousin’s, he couldn’t impose on Emma and the pain she had to be going through.

Ryland and Damon had agreed they wouldn't stay at the Rourke house, not with everything else going on. Not with Emma's brother there, and Cyan visiting every once in a while. With Emma's family running in and out, Damon and Ryland didn’t think they could handle seeing Emma weaker and frailer any more than usual. She was dying. They couldn’t take it.

Damon and Ryland couldn’t handle the loss more than anyone else.

Jerking his chin upwards, Damon rubbed at his elbow, already irritated with the job but fully aware they needed the jobs. “Alright, doing what?”

Ryland grinned, cocking his eyebrow. “Your favorite. Posting and fence work.”

Damon hung his head, mock groaning. “Great. I can't wait to dig the post holes.” MT didn’t need help with ranch work. He needed someone to do the grunt work. At least the pay would be good. The reservation paid them awesome on the last job.

Hopefully they didn't have to deal with too much of the reservation residents’ crap.

MT wasn't the nicest guy to the whites – especially those who worked for him.

How would he treat Damon, if he knew about his feelings for Rachiah?

Chapter 3


Rachiah didn’t want to stick around the diner with its plethora of scents ranging from crisping hashbrowns to bacon to a subtle aroma of maple syrup – so much more than just coffee.

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