Chapter 7: The Ranch House
Abigail lay on her back, on her bed, staring up at the posters on her wall. She has three of them, all of her favorite band, The Toilet Trees. The “Lancaster mansion” is on a ranch two miles outside of Kernsville. Two, gray, stone walls separate the road from their land, each about a foot thick and five feet tall. Abigail lives in the “ranch house” with her father.
The house is white with black trim and a red door. About one hundred yards away, farther into the property, is a small mobile home. Abigail’s brother, Sam, moved into it over a year ago. It also is a white house with black trim and a red door.
The ranch house has five bedrooms and four bathrooms. On the first floor is: the living room, kitchen, guest bedroom, dining room, the laundry room, the master bedroom, an office, and another bedroom that they turned into a TV room. On the second floor, is Abigail’s room.
To the right of the stairs, on the second floor is: a couch, the closet, and the bathroom. To the left of the stairs is: another dining room, a couch, two chairs, and a pool table. Behind the couch is a small juice bar and closet. On the right side of the room is Abigail’s bed and a book case. But Abigail’s favorite thing in her room is her ninety inch flat screen TV.
Outside the ranch house, across the driveway, is a field the size of a football field. From the stone walls to the mobile home is a long line of small trees. Next to the ranch house is a large garage. Inside the garage is: three cars, a tractor, a riding lawn mower, and a small work shop. Along the back of the garage, fifteen feet above the ground, is a loft with two sets of stairs reaching up to it.
Next to the garage is a barn. Inside the barn is a stack of hay that touches the ceiling and four stalls for goats. Along the inside of the barn are bins full of goat and chicken feed.
Abigail heard a thudding coming from outside. She got up, walked across the room into her closet, and looked out the window. She saw Sam playing basketball in the drive way in front of the garage. She looked at the clock. What is he doing out at 8:30 p.m.? she thought.
As she walked down the stairs, she slipped on her coat. She stepped out on the front porch and put on her boots. She looked up at the thermometer and saw that it was twenty-four degrees outside. “Are you trying to catch a cold?” She walked up to Sam.
“No, it just comes naturally.” He tossed the ball into the basket. “Why are you out here?”
“I was going to ask you the same thing. Do you realize how cold it is out here?”
“It’s a lot colder than Riverstone.”
“You didn’t have to.” She sighed and rolled her eyes.
“Yes, I did. Will you stop bringing it up?”
“I believe you’re the one who started it this time. Look, I know you’d rather be in Riverstone than Kernsville.”
“I’m sure you do.”
“Why did you come back?”
There was a long pause; no one said or did anything. Then, Sam continued to dribble the ball.
“You had a nice life, Sam. Why didn’t you keep it?”
“Your life changed the second that mine crashed. Let’s just say, something like that happened to me.”
“Well, what happened?”
“The point is, I’m here,” Sam said. “So leave it at that.” He threw the ball at the garage, and walked away toward his house. Abigail let out a long breath, almost like a sigh of disappointment. Then, she walked back over to her house.
Drake and his dad drove past Abigail’s house. “So, what are your plans for tomorrow?”
“I’ve got to go to work for about an hour,” John replied. Drake rolled his eyes. “And then, I’m driving you to Riverstone, so you can take your driver’s test.”
“Dad, you never go to work for just an hour. It’s always two or three,” he told him, as he looked out the window. “And if I’m lucky, all day,” he whispered.
“My dad took me on my sixteenth birthday to take my driving test, and I’m going to do the same with you.” The silence told John what Drake thought of that. “Do you have anywhere you’d like to go tomorrow?”
“Just going out with a few friends.”
“And a few others.”
They pulled into the driveway.
“Okay, just don’t plan anything before three. I want to make sure we have enough time to get back from Riverstone,” John said.
“Okay.” Drake got out of the car and headed inside. John knows that holidays and birthdays are hard for Drake, and have been since his mother died in a house fire a few years ago. That’s one of the things Drake and Rebbeca have in common. Both of their mothers died when they were young.