The next morning, Nicole got up expecting to remember where the arrows were at, but nothing came to her. She was disappointed. She got the laundry cart and filled it with all the bedding, linen, towels, and soaps and waited for Mr. Blackhawk to leave the room. At 8:30 AM he came out of his room. She spied him from the window in the office. He had on a brown suede shirt, with blue jeans and brown boots. His hair was straight, and he looked beautiful to her. She had never seen a man who had hair as long as his. It went straight down his back, pass his waist. It was so silky smooth, she wanted to run her fingers through it to feel the hair in her hands.
This always happened to her. A nice looking man would have a room for a few days, she’d dream about him, admire him from a distance, and wish she had the courage to meet and strike up a relationship with him, and then he left. Story of my life. She just couldn’t seem to get over her shyness and her inability to connect deeper with men.
After cleaning his room, she went to the laundry room and started the wash. Debbie came in to help her. “That Mr. Blackhawk sure is a gorgeous looking man, isn’t he?”
“I supposed.” Nicole turned and looked at her sister-in-law.
“What? You don’t think he’s good looking?”
“Yeah. He’s good looking.”
“I wonder if he’s single? You’ve been talking to him, did he indicate to you whether he was single or not?”
“No. Besides, you’re married.”
“I’m not looking at him for me, silly. I’m looking at him for you.”
“Oh. Well, I don’t know if Ronnie would ever approve of him.” Nicole stammered, unsure of where this conversation was going to lead.
“What does Ronnie have to do with it?”
“He got a little miffed at Mr. Blackhawk for questioning me about the arrows that he’s looking for.”
“Remember? A few years ago I told you about some ancient arrows I saw in a cave?”
Debbie drew her brows together. “I remember it, vaguely, I think.”
“Anyway, he says they are the Sacred Arrows, and they belong to his tribe. I’ve been trying to remember exactly where I saw them in the mountains. He was repeatedly asking me questions, and Ronnie didn’t like it.”
“Well, you could just tell Ronnie that it’s none of his beeswax.” Debbie put a hand on her hip. “He’s probably being overprotective because he thinks he’s your big brother and has to keep an eye on every man that comes here.”
“If you were to remember where the arrows are at, how does he think he’s going to get them? He’d have to wait until summer. There is no way he’d be able to get up those mountains now. Some of them are still snow covered.”
“I don’t know how he figures he’s going to get them. First, I have to remember where I saw them.”
After finishing the laundry, she went down to the creek that ran through their property near the mountains. She scooped down and put her hand in the water. It was ice cold but was clear and fresh. The creek was high this time of the year because of the snow that had melted in the mountains. She sat down to listen to the water as it cascaded through the creek. It was so relaxing and comforting. Sierra came up and sat down next to her, and she petted her on the head. She sat cross-legged and focused her mind on the pine tree that stood across the creek from her. While meditating, it came to her. She knew exactly where the arrows were. She knew which part of the mountains it was on and how to get to them. She felt so relieved and excited she couldn’t wait to see Mr. Blackhawk to tell him.
She waited all afternoon for him to return. He finally pulled into the parking space in front of his room and got out. She was ready to run up to him and tell him when another car pulled in next to his. Three young boys got out, and a woman got out of the driver’s side. She walked up and gave him a hug. Mr. Blackhawk reached down and picked up the young boy with a cast on his arm and hugged him. They disappeared into one of the rooms.
Nicole felt sick. He’s married. He has three boys. How could she possibly believe that he was single? Tears formed at the corner of her eyes and dropped down her cheeks. Disappointment etched in her heart once more. She wandered aimlessly outside and walked down to the creek again and sat on a log. After sitting there for a half hour, she heard a child’s voice and saw that Sierra was running and romping around the yard, chasing the little boy with the cast on his arm. Soon a little voice said to her. “Hi. My name is Nathan, and I have a broken arm.”
She looked up at Nathan, who looked exactly like his father. “My name is Nicole, how did you break your arm?”
“I fell down the stairs.”
“Oh my, you’re lucky you only broke your arm.”
“Yeah. Is this your dog?”
“Yes. Her name is Sierra.”
Nathan petted the dog behind his ears with his good arm.
“Can I sit next to you?”
“Sure.” Nicole scooted over so he could sit. He stuck his hand in the water.
“The water is cold.”
“Yes, it is very cold, it doesn’t get warm until summer.” Nicole looked at the boy sitting next to her and smiled. He sure was an adorable little guy.
“Aren’t you afraid of boogie monsters out here?”
“No. There’s no boogie monsters here.”
“How do you know?”
“I chased them all away.”
“How did you do that?”
“I put my hands up here by my head and wiggled my fingers and said, “Boogie monsters, I’m going to eat you alive.” She made a face.
Nathan laughed. “They don’t bother you anymore?”
“Nope. They stayed away. Plus, I have Sierra here, and she chases the boogie monsters off our land. See all those white things that look like sticks in the ground over there?”
“Those are bones that Sierra finds in the mountains. She brings them down here and places them all along our property line and dares anybody to trespass. If they do, she chases them off.”
“I like Sierra, she’s a good dog.”
“Yes, she is quite special.”
“My dad’s a lawyer. He helps put bad people in jail.”
“Really? That’s good.”
“Yep. He tries to put the bad people away so they don’t hurt anyone anymore.”
No wonder why he knows how to drill her for information. “We need lots of good people like that to help put the bad people away.”
“What have you got in your hand?”
“Gummy bears. Daddy brought some for me. Want one?”
“What flavor do you have?”
“Yum, that sounds good.”
“Here, have one.” Nathan handed Nicole a red gummy bear, and she took it and put it in her mouth.
“What other flavors do you like to eat?”
“I like the orange ones, and the yellow ones too. It’s the only candy daddy lets me eat. He says that if I keep eating them, all my teeth will rot and come out!” Nathan laughed.
Nicole laughed with him. “Well, that is true. There is a lot of sugar in the candy.” She recalled watching a show called “How It’s Made” on the Discovery channel and seen how the gummy candy was made. Sugar, sugar and more sugar.
“Nathan, come on, son, we need to get settled in for the night.” A masculine voice said from behind them. Nicole stood up and watched as Mr. Blackhawk came walking from a distance.
“Dad, did you meet Sierra? She chases bad things away.”
“Yes, I did meet Sierra.” He smiled at Nicole, she stood up and stared at him.
“Well, have a good evening, Nathan, Mr. Blackhawk.” Nicole started to leave.
“Please, call me Marcus.”
Nicole looked up at him, and he smiled at her. She nodded her head and walked back to her room with her head down, tears ran down her cheeks.
* * * *
“Let’s go, son.” Marcus placed his hand on the child’s head to lead him toward the motel. He wondered what Nathan and Nicole talked about before he arrived. He heard voices as he walked toward them and stood under the tree listening to the conversation before he interrupted. They were talking about the dog, Sierra. Nathan didn’t usually makeup to women, except his aunt, and he was surprised to see him talking so candidly with her. The minute he saw Nicole’s eyes, though, they went from tender looking to daggers when she looked at him. Was he pushing her too hard? Why the chilly reception?
“What are we gonna do, dad?”
“We’re going to go into town and grab something to eat. Then we’ll get comfy and watch a movie on television. How does that sound?”
“Yippee!” They walked back to their room. Marcus watched the lone figure walk to her room. She walked as if she was forlorn and sad.
“Dad, Chief David took us to see Chappie. That movie was cool.”
“Was Chappie a robot?”
“Yeah, he was a good one, and I want one. Can I have one, dad?”
Marcus knew this was coming. “We’ll see.” He looked down at his son. “Looks like your arm is doing better and you’re not in any pain.”
“It still hurts.”
“When was the last time you took some aspirins for it?”
“Aunt Shana gave me aspirins this morning.”
“Did you take them?”
“You’ll have to be careful not to run so much for a while. Let the arm have a chance to heal.” Telling this child not to run is tantamount to telling him to take aspirins.
* * * *
Nicole waited until she saw the group leave. They came out of their rooms and climbed into Marcus’s SUV. Why did they sleep in separate room? Why didn’t he just get a bigger room for them all for the weekend? Well, whatever. Not my concern or my business. Both rooms were seriously messy from all the snacks and toys that the kids brought with them. She was careful not to touch or move any of them. She got both rooms cleaned just before they returned. She went to the laundry room to start the wash when her brother, Ronnie, came in.
“Hey, kiddo. Can you do me a favor?”
“Can you wash these clothes? I am going with a couple of guys this afternoon, and we’re going to Sandpiper mine across the highway and do some digging.”
“Okay. Should be done in about an hour or so.”
“Great, thanks, sis.”
She smiled at her brother.
“Talked to mom and dad last night,” Ronnie said as he approached the door.
“How are they doing?”
“They are doing good. Can’t wait for us to come down and visit them. Are you sure you don’t want to go with us in August when we travel down to Arizona to see them?”
“I’m sure.” She would rather NOT have to listen to her mother carry on and on about the fact that she didn’t have a boyfriend, and was not married, and have not given her any grandchildren. She loved her mother, but every time they talked, her mother just wouldn’t get off the subject. She didn’t like the idea that she wasn’t married and didn’t have any children either, but constantly having it rubbed in her face was not exactly how she wanted to spend a summer vacation.
“You know, if it’s money, we will pay your way,” Ronnie said.
“I know. But, you know mom. I just don’t want to be constantly nagged on the fact that I’m single.”
“Yeah, she can be a bit of a drag. She is always harping on Debbie and me about having children.”
“So, when are you going to start a family?”
“Now, don’t you start.” Ronnie smiled. “That’s like my asking you, when are you going to get married.”
“The other thing is, I don’t think we should close the motel in August. It’s one of our busier times and someone should be here to run it.”
“We can hire someone to do it.”
“But, it won’t be the same. I don’t think. You know how particular I am about laundry and all the sheets and pillow cases be ironed and just right, and everything in the rooms being squeaky cleaned.”
“Yeah, Debbie says that sometimes after you guys are done cleaning, you go behind her and reclean everything that she’s done. Why do you do that?”
“I don’t know. I’m just compulsive that way, I guess. It’s nothing personal, and I don’t mean to hurt her feelings or anything. But I’ll make plans to go and visit mom and dad in October, sometime.”
“Okay. I’ll be back in a while.” Ronnie walked out the door.
It was almost evening when she went and grabbed her book and Sierra. She went to the picnic table where she sat to read, and Sierra went hunting. She thought she could get an hour in before it was too dark to read outside. Sometimes she just went to check her bones, other times she went into the woods to find more. She was never very far away, and when Nicole whistled for her, she always came back on a dead run.
No one knew how much she loved delving into romance books. It took her away from her own meager existence and allowed her to live in a fantasy that she knew she would never have in real life. She heard a playful bark from Sierra and lifted her eyes from the book. She saw Nathan running and playing with Sierra and Sierra was excited. She was jumping and running around in circles. She could hear Nathan laughing, and she saw the other two boys coming around and playing with Sierra too. This was a treat for Sierra. She didn’t normally get young children to play with her. Soon they headed to the creek to throw rocks in the water.
Nathan came up and sat down next to her. “Hi, Nicole,” he said.
“Hello there, Nathan. How are you doing this evening?”
“Okay. My arm hurts.”
“I bet it does.”
“Dad makes me take aspirins for it. But it doesn’t really work.”
“Have you told dad that it doesn’t work?”
“Well, maybe you should, so he could get you something a little stronger for the pain.”
“I don’t want anything stronger. I don’t like taking aspirins.”
“Guess that means you got to live with the pain then, huh?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Sometimes we have to do things or take things we don’t like to feel better. I don’t like to take aspirins either, but sometimes, when I have a bad headache, I take them to make me feel better. I don’t want to spend my day in pain when I can take something that will take the pain away.”
“I’ll have daddy give me something stronger, then I won’t spend my day in pain. I went to a movie.”
“You did? What did you see?”
“We saw Chappie.”
“I heard that was a cool movie.”
“It was. I want a Chappie robot.”
Nicole smiled again. She wondered if Nathan’s parents knew what they would be buying him in the near future.
“What was the movie about?”
“Robots being cops and shooting up the bad guys.”
“Wow, I bet you enjoyed that.”
“What kind of games do you like to play, Nathan?
“I like to play card games with my dad. We play Old Maid, and he always gets stuck with the old maid.” He laughed.
“Gee, you’re a card shark, huh?”
“We play games like Sorry and stuff like that.”
“Have you ever played a card game called Uno?”
“Yes. When we have a party and there are lots of people to play.”
“Hmm, something tells me I have to sit far away from you if we ever play that game.”
“Yeah, I’ll slip you a draw four if I have too!”
Bryan came running up beside Nathan. “Look, Nathan, there’s a river over there.”
“I know. I saw it yesterday.”
“There are some deer there.”
“Really? I want to see.”
Nathan took off running to the creek with Bryan. Soon she heard a yell. It sounded painful. She turned around and saw Nathan on the ground, crying. He looked like he fell and hurt his arm that was in the cast. Nicole quickly got up and ran to him.
“What happened, honey?” She asked as she ran her hand through his hair.
“I slipped on that rock and fell. My arm hurts really bad.” He cried.
“Okay, will one you boys run to get your mom and dad and I’ll carry him to the picnic table?”
“I will.” Daniel took off on a run.
Nicole picked Nathan up and carried him to the picnic table and sat him down. He was still crying as she leaned his head gently on her breast and rocked him.
“My arm hurts so bad.” Nathan whimpered.
“I know sweetie, mommy and daddy will be here in a second.” She whispered in his hair as she hugged him.