Authors: NK Morales
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places
and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual
events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013
Daily Dose LLC
All rights reserved.
This book may not be
reproduced in whole or in part, by any means, without permission from the
author. Making or distributing electronic copies of this book constitutes
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I would like to thank my beautiful sisters Franchiskia and
Annaliza for reading the first very rough draft and for encouraging me every
step of the way. A special thanks goes to my uncle Frankie for always believing
in me. I would like to thank my husband Dick for being my sounding board and
for taking this crazy journey with me. Finally I would like to thank my son
Andrew for giving me the time I needed to write even when that meant he would
be eating Ramen noodles for dinner. Again.
For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.
~ Judy Garland
Nothing says “doomed” like your
parents taking you on a summer vacation to a dude ranch. Horses, cowboys,
campfires, and bugs. I couldn’t imagine anything more boring. There was no need
to travel across the state to ride horses when my grandparents had horses I
could ride for free. Sure, cowboys had some nice qualities. For example, I never
saw a cowboy whose keister didn’t look yummy in a pair of Wrangler jeans. There
were plenty of cowboys in Colorado Springs. Again, I didn’t see the need to
travel across the state.
Campfires? They were pretty to look at
and, of course needed to make proper s’mores. One major downside to campfires
was the smoke. The only way to get rid of the smell was to take a shower.
If there is one thing I hate it is
definitely bugs, specifically spiders. Just thinking about them gives me the
heebie jeebies. Thanks, but no thanks.
Apparently, a normal vacation to
Cancun was too average for Tito and Bella Reyes.
Shoot me. Shoot me now!
If I was going to be stuck here for
a week I sure hoped they at least had a pool. A good-looking lifeguard would be
, you are
going to love it,” my dad said as he parked in front of the large red cabin.
For as long as I could remember my
dad had always called me “mija” which means daughter in Spanish.
My mom turned to face me saying, “Don’t
you remember how much fun you have when we visit grandpa’s ranch? You love
being on the ranch, hanging out with the wranglers, having cookouts, and
camping under the night sky.” Bella continued, “It was a challenge to get you
away from the horses. You would’ve slept with them if we let you.”
Bella turned forward and slid out of
the passenger seat. I crossed my arms over my chest and sank deeper in my seat.
“I was eleven, Mom, when I wanted to
hang out with the wranglers and camp outside. Eleven!”
“Espe, don’t worry, sweetheart. It’ll
be fun. You’ll see. Really,” she said as she pulled me out of the car.
“Define fun,” I asked my mom while
walking toward the red cabin.
Stopping to face me, she placed her
hand on my shoulder. “Everything will be fine. I promise,” she said speaking to
me like I was three years old.
“Frank, the Army buddy your dad is
meeting here, has children around your age. I think their names are Mike and
Brandy.” She stared off into space for a second before saying, “Or is it Brooke
Shaking her hands and head in unison
she said, “It doesn’t matter. What does matter is there are plenty of things
for you guys to do. There’s a pool, and a lake nearby where you can fish, hike,
run and stare at the stars all night.”
I gave my mom a stone-cold look. I
was uninterested in what she had to say and I wanted her to know it.
“You do realize those are all
activities I can do at home.”
She ignored me and added, “You’re
going to have so much fun; I just know it! Who knows, maybe more kids will show
up and all of you can play together.” Mom turned toward me grinning and trying her
best to encourage me.
I tilted my head toward my left
shoulder, bit the inside of my lower lip, raised my eyebrows, and let out a sigh
of pure disgust. “Seriously, Mom?” I asked. “I don’t
friends. I’m eighteen, in case you forgot.”
I was wondering what kind of mess I’d
gotten myself into by agreeing to come on this trip.
Mom’s big eyes looked right through
me when she wrinkled her nose. I didn’t need to look into her bluish gray eyes
to know she was disappointed in me. I was being a bitch. Even if I was dissatisfied
in our family vacation I had no reason to take my anger out on my mom. My mom
was the sweetest person I knew. She was also beautiful, wise, and artistic. I
loved my mom and she didn’t deserve to be treated badly. Besides, she was
probably right and I
have a good time. I love the great outdoors
and I love horses. Maybe if I was lucky I’d get along with Brandy and Mike, or
was it Brooke and Matthew? I could spend time with them instead of hanging out
with my parents all week. Doubtful, but a girl can dream, can’t she?
Rolling my eyes I said, “Okay, okay,
you’re right. It will be a good time.” I smiled then kissed my mom on the cheek.
My dad had been holding open a heavy
red wood door which led into the main cabin.
“Today ladies,” he complained.
As my parents checked us in, I took
in my surroundings. To my left was a copper fire pit that had to be at least
six feet around and ten feet tall. It was, by far, the largest fire pit I had
ever seen. The copper bowl that held the wood was about a foot and a half deep.
It sat three feet off the ground on wrought iron legs. It had a large cone-shaped
copper flue which was anchored to the ceiling with a thick straight-link chain.
It was surrounded by four spacious brown leather couches. Chairs made out of natural
cedar logs covered in burgundy and blue Southwestern fabric were dispersed
about to complete the space.
The whole left wall was floor-to-ceiling
windows. Through them I could see the pool, some picnic tables, and a Jacuzzi. The
pool area was enclosed by evergreen trees, which explains why I didn’t see it
when we pulled in.
Beyond the tree line was a majestic
view of the mountains. They were densely covered with aspen and evergreen trees.
Some of the mountains were so tall they had tree lines. It truly was a
In front of me were twelve dining
tables that seated ten per table. Each table was made from the same logs as the
chairs in front of the fire pit. They were rather charming and I could almost
see one of them in my Aunt Sally’s cabin near Creede.
Behind the dining room tables were
the kitchen and a hallway leading to the bathrooms. Farther down the hall were
three more doors. I assumed one was a pantry and the other an employee break
room. The third door at the end of the hallway was open. Through the screen
door I could see it lead out to a barn.
As I continued looking around I
spotted a counter with coffee and tea. A brown wicker basket held granola bars,
chips, and fruit snacks. A wooden bowl contained fresh fruit. A pewter platter
sat in the middle of the counter with chocolate chip cookies, fresh brownies,
and lemon bars. To the left of the counter was a fridge with sodas, water, and
This might not be such a bad
vacation after all.
I thought the main cabin was impressive.
It held nothing on our cabin. It was amazing, even if it was red.
The front view showcased a covered
porch with four white Adirondack rocking chairs. The living room contained a large
leather couch and two recliners. The coffee tables, end tables, beds and
dressers were all made out of logs. The entire cabin was warm and cozy. A part of
the outdoors was inside. I loved it!
Our cabin had two bedrooms each with
its own private bathroom. They were stocked with top-of-the-line bath products
and fluffy white towels. A basket of baby birds made out of washcloths sat on
We had a tiny kitchenette, which
included a small fridge, microwave, and coffee pot. Sitting on top of the
kitchen counter was a note from our maid welcoming us.
Welcome to the Ranch!
We hope your visit will leave a lasting impression, giving
you many happy memories to take home and share.
In preparation for your stay I have stocked the fridge
with several of your favorite beverages. I also included plenty of water;
wouldn’t want you to get dehydrated in this mountain heat.
If you get the munchies in the middle of the night
or just don’t feel like walking to the dining hall you will find some snacks in
the cabinet to the right of the sink.
I will be by daily to ensure all of your needs are
met, including housekeeping and running any errands you may have. In case I am
not around and you need to get ahold of me I can be reached at 970-555-2135.
I look forward to being at your service.
What? Our very own maid who would
wait on us all week? A cabinet with Oreos, Lay’s potato chips, Ritz crackers,
and microwave popcorn. A fridge with my dad’s favorite beer, bottled water, apple
juice, orange juice, Coke, and Diet Mt. Dew!
I loved Beth all
Our cabin even had a washer and
“Holy smokes! This is way cooler
than I ever imagined,” I yelled out to my parents who were busy unloading the
“I’m glad you’re impressed, mija,” my
dad said as he brought in our suitcases.
Standing near the door my mom winked
at me, “See, Espe, I told you it wouldn’t be bad.”
Grabbing my suitcase from my dad I
asked, “Can I go for a swim after we’re done unpacking?”
“Go, mija, we’ll unpack for you. Be
careful and have a good time,” my dad said while kissing the top of my head.
As intimidating as my dad looked, he
was really just a big kitty cat. His toned six-foot-four, two-hundred-fifty
pound stature usually had my friends shaking in their boots when they met him. Even
though he looked mean and tough he was the most sensitive person I had ever
met. It was my dad who cried at my bed side when I was hospitalized with
pneumonia in the sixth grade.
“Be back and ready for dinner by six,”
my mom added.
As I walked down the hall on the way
to my room to change I hollered, “Okay. Six o’clock— got it.”
Every once in a while I couldn’t resist
acting like a five year old, today was one of those days.
The smell of evergreen trees tickled
my nose. The view of the mountains was spectacular. All the windows in the
vehicle were open, allowing the air to bat everyone’s hair around. I was looking
forward to spending time on a dude ranch. I couldn’t wait. Cowboys, campfires,
fishing, hiking, swimming in natural hot springs, and of course all the fresh
air I could muster. The only down side was not having a phone or television for