“Oh!” Jaime said in great surprise. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to…”
Lance cut her off and spoke with a slight smirk on his face.
“It’s okay. What? Did Treyson, here, scare you?” As he spoke, he reached over the stall gate and patted a baby Jersey calf on the head.
“No… well, I guess… maybe slightly.” She said walking over to examine the calf. “Doesn’t look so scary now. What did you say it’s name is?”
“Treyson. My brother named him Trey but I call him Treyson. I have a knack for giving animals strange names.”
Jaime continued to pat the calf and his mother, not really knowing what else to say.
“Well, I fixed your collar. I mean…Annie’s collar…….not yours.” He said as he rolled his eyes at his stumbling grammar.
“Oh, thanks so much! I wasn’t sure how I was going to get her home without one.”
“It should hold, I think.” He commented as he tugged on the collar to test it’s strength.
They continued to talk as they exited the dark barn.
“I guess I should head home. It was nice meeting you, Mr. Darnell.” Jaime said with an over exaggerated formality.
“It was nice meeting you too, Miss Jaime.” He said bowing like an English gentleman. He chuckled at his joke, as did Jaime. “Just call me Lance. And I’ll call you Jaime, OK?”
Jaime smiled and looked down at the ground, “OK. Sounds good.”
“Hey! What ya doing tomorrow?” Lance said as he lit up with an idea.
“Uh……nothing that I can think of. My mom goes to work, and my older brother probably is at his martial arts thing . Why did you ask?”
“Well……..I …just thought that…maybe you …might want to come down and help me work with my cows for a show next week.” He stumbled over his words and then didn’t give her time to reply, “But if you’re probably busy and have better-”
“I’d love to!” She said with a happy smile.
“Oh. Wow. Yeah that would be great! But you don’t have to, if you don’t want to.”
“No. I don’t mind at all. I’ve always wanted to work with cows.” She smiled and then continued. “I have two horses and some other animals, but that’s it. Maybe one day I could take you to see them.”
“Yeah. That would be Awesome! I ‘d really like that.
A distant yapping interrupted their conversation.
“Oh my gosh!!!” Jaime exclaimed. ” Annie!! I set her down !”
The two ran towards the yapping. They re- entered the barn and searched frantically for the puppy.
“This way.” Lance yelled as he pointed towards a secluded aisle of the barn.
When they came around the corner, they found Annie had trapped a cat in the corner and was trying to play with it. The cat didn’t have the same feelings and was hissing and striking out at the pup with it’s claws.
“Annie!!” Jaime yelled. The puppy looked up and happily wagged it’s way over to Lance and her. “Bad girl!” Jaime felt very angry at her pet.
“She sure likes to get into trouble, doesn’t she?” Lance said as he reached down to pet Annie.
At that moment, Jaime’s phone rang. She felt panicked, but pulled the phone out of her hip pocket. She hadn’t realized how long she’d been gone.
“Hello?” She said answering the phone. Lance pretended to be messing with Annie but really he was straining to hear the phone conversation. He tried to make it out but he could only hear Jaime speaking.
“Well, Annie got loose and I had to to chase her.” *Pause* “I was talking to the boy who caught her for me, and he was fixing her collar…………it broke on some fence.” *Pause* “Yeah. I’m on my way home now……..alright, bye.”
She eagerly hung the phone up and slipped it into her pocket again. “It was my mom. I’d better be getting home.”
“Alright. See you tomorrow?”
“Sure. What time?”
“Anytime. Well…..I……I could give you my number and you could just text me when you can come. Is that okay?”
Jaime felt a little nervous. He’s going to give me his number? She thought to herself. “Yeah. that’s great.” She tried to act calm but really she was too excited for words.
Lance told her the number slowly as she typed it into her phone. When they finished, they said goodbye again and Jaime started down the drive toward home. Although she felt a unexplained happiness in her heart, that feeling still rested in her. What was it? Why did she feel this way? I’m happy but unhappy all at once. Why? What’s wrong with me?