Jimmy gave him a dry, withering look. “Bro, if I did, would I be here talking to you about how long it’s been since I had sex? I could have that Finch lady any time of the day or night. She and her husband invited me to join them some night. I politely declined. I told them I took a vow of chastity.”
“Why? I usually say I have a girlfriend.”
“Well, they invited me to bring her along.”
“More than a little.”
“I need a shower and a nap. Are you up for the day?”
“More or less, why?”
“Will you be up in an hour to wake me? Or should I set the alarm?”
“Alarm, cause I might doze off. Go to bed.”
Jasper didn’t even get a shower. He stripped to his underwear, set the alarm and fell on the bed without turning back the covers. The alarm woke him about an hour and a half later. Bleary eyed, bone weary, he stumbled into the kitchenette. Jimmy had a pot of coffee ready and a mug already prepared. He handed it to Jasper.
“Dude, I’ll take griddle duty today. You bus tables. I think it’s a safe bet you’ll griddle your face more than the pancakes.”
“Thanks, Jim. I never did get that shower. I still ache from Bastion throwing me and spending all those hours doubled over working on horse feet.”
“I’d tell you to stay home and sleep, but the other cook is out sick and two of the staff have a long weekend. We have a full house today. Sorry, man.”
“Yeah, no problem. Tell Mom I’m going to be a little late. I need a shower and I should shave.”
“No problem. Bus boy doesn’t have to be there as early as the cook. See you in a few.”
“Thanks, Jim. I owe you.”
“No you don’t. Consider this payback for the Infamous Tequila Episode.”
Jasper laughed all the way to the shower. The Infamous Tequila Episode took place the night of Jimmy and Jeff’s twenty-first birthday. Some of their friends and family took them out drinking. Jasper was the only one to stay sober. His grandparents let him borrow the tour bus from the ranch. He drove everyone to the bar and back home.
Jimmy found he liked Tequila. A lot. Unfortunately, that wasn’t reciprocated by the alcohol. He started puking around one o’clock, and didn’t stop for the rest of the night. As the only sober member of the party, Jasper took him home, put him to bed and stayed with him the rest of the night, to make sure he didn’t choke on his own vomit, or trip going to the bathroom. He also took Jimmy’s shift in the kitchen while his younger cousin recuperated.
The hot water stung his skin, turning him a bronze-toned red. He toweled dry, shaved and dressed in less than fifteen minutes. He didn’t expect to see Hana at breakfast, and was surprised to see her in the dining room with her aunt. Since he didn’t have any immediate responsibilities, he went over to say hello, dropping on a chair between them.
“You look terrible,” Enid commented, patting him on the shoulder.
“Didn’t really sleep much.”
“Me either,” Hana said. “It’s our own fault, but that doesn’t make it any easier.”
“I don’t have anything else to do until lunch. After this, I think I’m gonna crash.”
“Good plan. I think I will too.”
Jasper leaned over, kissing her. “We could share,” he murmured.
Hana blushed, smirking at him. “Why, Mr. Mosley, you’re such a tease.”
“No, Miss Maisey, I’m dead serious. And on that note, I need to get to work or I’m gonna get in trouble.”
“Gimme a kiss, Tack, then get busy.”
“Will do, darlin’.” He gave her a kiss on the nose. As he walked off, Hana’s laugh followed him to the kitchen.
Once breakfast was over and cleanup complete, Jasper walked with Hana to the corral where his brothers and cousins were getting ready to put on a show. Instead of participating, he hopped up on the fence beside her.
“Not riding today, cuz?” Jeff asked him, somewhat concerned.
“I’m so tired, I don’t think I could hold on worth shit,” Jasper said. “I’d fly off and end up in Texas. I don’t much like Texas.”
His cousin laughed, walking over to the pen where the bronco was kept. Mr. and Mrs. Finch joined Jasper and Hana a few minutes later. She was dressed in too-tight jeans and a red and white plaid top with a white cowboy hat and red boots. He was in a similar getup. Hana couldn’t help thinking they both looked ridiculous.
Mrs. Finch climbed up next to Jasper with his help and that of her husband. She sat closer to Jasper than he liked, so he scooted closer to Hana. Milly moved over, inviting her husband to sit next to them.
“Fence perching is for the young, honey lips. I’ll just lean, if you don’t mind. Comfy, Jasper?”
“Fine, sir. Thank you. However, I think my cousins could use my help. If you’ll excuse me. Baby, I’ll be back in a minute. Looks like Jimmy needs a hand.” He gave Hana a kiss.
©2022 Dellani Oakes