Things change during revisions. Something I forgot to put back in Gillian’s story was the epilogue. So here is the rough, unedited version. So much has changed in the story, but oddly enough I think it still works. But man would I love to edit it and make it better.
Aidan Baird stepped off the porch surrounding his two story abode house. Conversation swelled behind him pushing him further outside. He liked his wife’s family. He just wished they weren’t here now. He wanted Gillian to himself.
Need filled his belly.
After ten years of marriage, he still ached for her.
Aidan allowed his gaze to roam over the high desert and filled his lungs with the dry warm air. He was a fortunate man. He had Gillian. His children were healthy. And three years ago, he had finally purchased the ranch from his father-in-law. Yes, sir. Aidan Baird was a man who appreciated his lot in life.
White flashed in his peripheral vision. Dread coiled his intestines as his daughter’s head materialized on the roof of the barn. Aidan’s knees bucked as he fought the urge to run. His throat burned with words. He couldn’t startle her. If he startled her she could fall. He swallowed the mounting anxiety, stopping as she did a cartwheel on the edge of the roof.
“Jewel come down from there this minute.” Aidan groaned as his nine old daughter blew her red curls out of her face.
“I’m going to perform in the circus just like Momma.” She tossed him a saucy grin. “I’ve been practicing a new trick. Wanna see?”
“No, I do not want to see.” Too late. His daughter arched her back, curled her body so her hands hit the roof before she kicked her legs up. She rose to her feet, her arms tossed wide in triumph.
“Well, Daddy what do you think?”
“I think I should have extended our wager to eleven years.” Everett Grey nudged Aidan in the ribs while beaming at his granddaughter.
“Give me another year and I’ll either be bald or completely white haired.” Aidan ran his hands through his hair. He had wonEverett’s bet, barely. His hair had started graying when Jewel learned to walk. “Luke do not follow your sister up there. Luke.”
His eight year old son smiled, flashing the gap where his two front teeth were missing. “I need to practice too Dad. Jewel said if I helped with her act, she’d help with mine.”
“What do you want to do, Luke?”
“I wanna throw knives like Mom.”
Everettgrinned. “Your year was to generous. I say three month, six at the most.”
“Both of you. Down. Right this minute.”
“Serves you right.” Arms slipped around his waist. His wife’s fragrance teased his senses but couldn’t chase the fear from his gut.
“Gillian get your children down from there.”
“I wasn’t the one who told them about my circus career. A secret, I might add, you were supposed to take to your grave.”
“Jewel, Luke. Down, please.”
“Best listen to your mother. Grandma made me lug a whole crate full of presents here.”
“Catch me Dad.” Jewel somersaulted off the roof.
Air whooshed out of his lungs as she collided with his chest. Aidan hugged his daughter close before she wiggled out of his grasp. His children grabbed their grandfather’s hands and tugged him toward the house.
“They grow up so fast.” She slid her arm around his waist.
“You haven’t aged a day. Me. I look like your father.” Aidan watched his children disappear inside the old adobe home. “Where are the twins?”
“With their Aunt Magda in the kitchen.”
“You don’t think they’ll really join the circus, do you?”
“No. Gran said something about flying.”
“Flying? Like those lunatics trying down inNorth Carolina?”
“Gran didn’t say, but Jewel smiled when she said it.”
“When Gran said it or your sister repeated it.”
“When Gran said it.”
“Christ Almighty.” Aidan plowed his hands through his hair.Everett’s wager of three months seemed too generous. Hell, Aidan wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the rest of the color simply flew of his head with Gillian’s last statement.
“Seems our daughter has just discovered her gift.”
“I’m going to have to visit the barber.” He hugged his wife close, marveled at the strength locked inside her tiny frame.
“A man should not be whitehaired at forty. Bald maybe but not white headed.”
“Sorry you married me?”
“Never.” He kissed her forehead then kissed her neck.
“Then come inside. It’s cool.”
“Grimsree’s visiting, isn’t he?”
“You know he wouldn’t miss a chance to try to catch Gran.”
“Jewel is gifted. I supposed that’s better than flying.”
“I could be mistaken, Fiona said something about barnstorming.”
“Barns. Barns are safely on the ground. But storming? That sounds ominous.”
“Yes, which is exactly why Jewel would do it.”
Aidan nibbled on his wife’s ear. He would deal with his wife’s revelations later. Now he needed her. He took her hand and tugged her toward the barn and the waiting hayloft. She cast one glance over her shoulder then raced past him.
“Gillian.” He caught her around the waist, pressing her against him before he focused on her buttons.
“Yes, dear.” She freed his shirt from hisLevis.
“Don’t share any more of Gran’s insights with me.”
“Yes, dear.” She kissed his exposed chest. Her hands unhooked his belt.
“Ahh, at last, someone who listens to me.”