“No, I don’t care how fast you can run around, you are tending the bar,” said Neva to Ginny. She took the order Ginny had set up and headed back to the lunch crowd. She was having issues with the new bartender Charles had hired. Ginny was good, but just a bit too self confident. Neva delivered the drinks and then took orders at the next table. The concert crowd had arrived earlier than anyone expected. Musicians filled the one dining room and the regular lunch time crowd was having fits because their routines had been upset. Charles was running around like his hair was on fire.
“Neva, can that friend of yours come down early?” he asked as he grabbed a bunch of towels for a room.
“I can call,” she said.
“Do so!” he said as he headed upstairs.
Neva smiled and grabbed her cellphone. She got the answering machine and left a message. It was the best she could do.
Jesse had come home for lunch after the cattle up in the north pastures had decided it was time to munch hay straight out of the the back of the pickup. He’d dumped the hay and headed in early. As he grabbed clothes for the evening, he noticed the answering machine blinking. He hit the play button.
“Hey there! It’s me! It is crazy down here and Charles wanted to know if you could come in early. It’s 10:45am. Give me a call when you get this!”
Jesse looked at his watch. It was 12:15pm. He picked up the phone and dialed Neva’s cell phone. “Hi beautiful,” he said when she answered. “I’ll be down in about twenty minutes of you still need me early. Okay, be there soon!” He hung up the phone and headed for the shower.
Neva smiled when she saw him walk in the door. It wasn’t even 1pm, and Charles had gone to the bank twice for change and to make deposits. She liked the fact that Jesse walked in like he owned the place and people just moved out of the way.
“Hi,” she said.
“Hello. Now what do you need me to do? Hustle old ladies out? Make children eat their broccoli?” he asked looking around.
“Well, if you’d been here at noon, yes. We had a screamer. Charles needs you to watch the front desk and do a little crowd control. Musicians to the dining room on the left and regular customers to the far dining room. Everyone else send this way,” she said pointing.
“How am I suppose to tell them apart?” he asked.
“Ask. ‘Are you a musician? Are you here for the concert?’ That kind of thing. Just smile and be your charming self,” she said.
“Alright,” he answered and turned to help some customers who came up to the desk. He started directing traffic and Neva went back to filling orders.
“Would you take this over to the bank?” Charles asked Neva.
“Thanks. And thanks for calling Jesse in. What in the hell was he before he became a rancher?” Charles asked.
“He was a rancher first, and a Marine second,” said Neva as she took the deposit bags. “Do you need change?”
“Yes! Ones and quarters.”
“Okay!” said Neva as she headed out the door. She smiled and waved at Jesse and headed for the bank.
Jesse was trying to eat a sandwich when Neva rushed past. He delighted in watching her walk away from him. Dark jeans, white shirt and a colored vest that delineated her curves nicely. He swallowed the bite of sandwich and then turned to help a couple of people who walked up to the desk. After they headed off to the appropriate dining room, he sat back down to eat. Ten minutes later, he finally finished half his sandwich. “No wonder they called in the Marines,” he thought with a laugh.
Neva returned in time to set up the cash box for the concert, refresh the tills and then make up another bag for deposits. It had been a busy day at the B & B. She moved the ropes and stands to guide people into the concert area and then sat back. When Ginny relieved Jesse at the desk, he came over to where Neva was sitting.
“I think I’d rather herd cattle than people,” he said sitting down next to her.
Neva smiled at Jesse. “Yes, and now the fun begins. If you’d direct traffic, I’ll take tickets. Then later on, you can work the door while I ply people with drinks.”
“Sounds good,” he said as he stood up and stretched.
“You know, you look damn fine in those tight bluejeans and that dark cowboy shirt.”
“Thanks. I’m trying to dress to impress a lady,” he said with a smile and walked off.
Jesse hauled the last of the trash out to the bins and then headed in to see if Neva was ready. The concert had been packed and people were decent for the most part. There were a few incidents of drunken behavior, but nothing Jesse couldn’t handle. The worst incident had been when Ginny thought she could move through the crowd like she did a lunch room. Neva and Jesse had no sympathy for her when she got covered with beer.
“You ready to go home?” asked Neva.
“Yes and no,” said Jesse.
“I want to leave here, even though I’m $150 richer. But I don’t want to drive all the way out to the ranch tonight,” he said.
Neva looked at him. “Is that a sly way of asking to come over to my house for the night?”
“No. Honestly, I’m too tired to drive. If it was just me, I’d just sleep in my truck. On the other hand, I wouldn’t turn down a chance to come spend the night,” he said. “If you want me.” Neva had told him the mess Charles had started, and had been upset. He didn’t want to cause her issues when it came to her job.
“Of course I want you. Will you spend the night at my house?” she asked. Neva had been hoping that she would be able to ask him to spend the night.
“Well, there is this blanket in the back of the truck that I really like, but I guess I could spend one night,” Jesse said with a smile.
“You are a terrible tease,” said Neva. “Follow me home?”
“Sure.” Jesse climbed into his truck and headed off before Neva had gotten her car started.
Neva looked at him and then remembered that he’d picked stuff up for her and knew the way to her house. She turned onto the main street and headed home. By the time she got there, he was sitting on her front porch.
“You are a brat.”
“Yes, but do I still get to spend the night?” he asked.
“Of course. You owe me a back rub though,” she said as she opened the door.
“Only a backrub?”
They both laughed.