Six months after Claire's husband left her and their thirteen year old daughter, Claire finds herself relocating to Wyoming, changing careers in the process. She dreams of finding something she'd lost long ago....her life.
Jacob Parker owned and operated the Double C Dude Ranch. Looking for a new camp counselor would bring Him more than he hoped for. Feelings he thought he was destined to never experience, suddenly seemed so real.
For Claire, she knew the moment she set eyes on this man that would be her boss, she was in love with him. For Jacob, He hoped it wasn't a dream, Could he have found the love he'd been waiting for? Could they pass the employer-employee relationship? Should they?
For the first time in a long time, Claire was excited about her life, her new life. The past six months Claire Andrews has spent most of her free time searching for the classifieds for another job. Not just any job, the perfect job. Working as a social worker for the Children's home for the last fourteen years has finally burned her out. She was ready to move on and knew that the perfect job would just jump out at her when she came across it. During lunch breaks, she searched the internet classifieds. and finally the day came when she found what she had been looking for.
It gave a telephone number and an email address. Quickly she emailed them inquiring about the job, and attached her resume.
She wondered where this camp was. Far away she hoped. Amanda, her thirteen year old daughter has not been able to accept the fact that her father has ran out on the two of them and isn't coming back.
She opened the mailbox one day and there they were, divorce papers. He had given her custody of Amanda, and child support and alimony. He didn't want visitation. The lawyer said Richard had moved to Florida. Amanda was devastated. Claire was shocked and relieved as their relationship had gone down hill fast over the last couple of years.
That was six months ago, and not a word from him. She had no desire to ever see him again. Amanda, on the other hand was convinced that he would come home, after he got it out of his system, whatever that meant. The only way for Claire to deal with it was to make sure the two of them got on with their lives. She knew Amanda missed her father. Her heart was broken, and she could kill Richard for that.
Today was a paperwork day but she couldn't concentrate on anything due to the day dreams of a new life that danced in her head. South Dakota or North Dakota would be a good place to start all over. Claire knew Amanda would not want to move for fear of her father never being able to find her. Not to mention all of her friends were here, but Claire just knew it was the right thing to do for her.
It was finally time to go home. She put the files away she had scattered all over her desk. Put the few files she still had to finish in her briefcase, grabbed her purse and went out the door. She said her goodbyes to co-workers in the hall, as she went out to her car.
When she walked in the door, she immediatly heard Amanda's radio blasting from her room on the second floor of their prefabricated home. She preheated the oven then took out the stew she had prepared for tonight and set it in the oven. The one addiction she is unable to give up was coffee. She drank it day and night. Whenever the mood for a cup struck her.
The radio still blasted through the house. Claire tried her best to give Amanda the freedom to do the things she wants, so she took her briefcase out onto the porch and sat on the swing to finish her work.
When the first case file had been updated, she took off her reading glasses and went inside to get her a cup of coffee. The radio had been turned down to a low roar, something she could tolerate. She brought her work in to finish in the kitchen, at the table.
At 6:30, Claire yelled up the stairs for Amanda to come down to dinner. She sombered into the dining room and sat across from Claire at the large antique cherry table. Claire kept a large pad over it, to keep it from scratching. It had been her grandmothers table.
Claire tried to make small talk, not really knowing what to say to the girl who had thought of her as her best friend what seemed like just a few months ago. She missed their little woman to woman talks. She just didn't know what she had to do to get them back.
When dinner was finished, Amanda quickly retreated to her room. It was Amanda's day to do the dinner dishes, so she went upstairs and knocked on her door "It's your night to do the dishes, give me about five minutes before you start so I can run some bath water. Ok?" She asked through the door. "Yeah." Amanda sighed deeply. She had been hoping her mom had forgotten.
Claire went into her bedroom and got her nightgown and went across the hall to her bathroom. She ran hot water in the tub and a little bit of bubble bath. Taking her clothes off, her mind began to wonder about moving away from here. The more she thought about it the more she knew it was what she wanted to do. Just to start all over again.
Claire stayed in the tub until the water was so close to being cold, she shivered. She got out and dried off. She heard the distant sounds of pots and pans clanging around downstairs. She smiled to her reflection in the mirror. Amanda may be rebellious, but she did what she was told. usually without question, just deep sighs of protest.
Claire went back downstairs in her fresh nightgown feeling ten pounds lighter with the scum of the day off of her. She only had a couple of case files left to update so she curled up on the couch with her work. She turned on the television just for noise and the hopes that Amanda would want to join her to watch television. No such luck. Amanda finished putting away the dishes, then retreated to her room.
Claire finished her work and decided to turn in early. She stopped by Amanda's room and asked if she had all of her homework finished. "Yes, I did that hours ago." she replied. "Well I am going to watch tv in my room. I'll see you in the morning." Claire announced. "Ok, see 'ya."
Claire went to her room and turned on the television set. She climbed under the covers and watched a sitcom, before she slowly dozed off to sleep.
Jacob Parker had lived his thirty six years on the Double C ranch, his parents owned. The Double C was one of the oldest and most popular dude ranch in Wyoming. Guests came from all over the country. Parents also brought their teenagers to the Double C for a program called C.R.A.S.H.-I.T.
The program was designed to help teens who are having problems dealing with social situations, including drug use, and cerfew problems. The program helps them to realize they are on the wrong path in life, and it wasn't too late to change their direction.It was Jacob's project and it has done well for the past five years.
It doesn't leave much room for a love life. He'd only dated two women in the last year.He was attractive and friendly enough, there just wasn't that many single women around the ranch. Samantha Rogers and Missy Welch were camp counselors on the ranch, but even though they were both beautiful, he felt more like their brother and they were much younger than him.
Guests usually came in couples or families. Jacob has a rancher's life. He liked it, and it was enough, he tried to convince himself. Jacob had extra work now that Joan had gone off and got married. She is running her own ranch now. Jacob placed ads in the newspaper across the closest three towns, along with on the internet. So far, no response.
The cool spring air hit his face as he stepped out onto the veranda. He shared the main house with his parents. The ranch consisted of small cabins with one, two and three bedrooms, depending on your needs. Each cabin had a golf cart assigned to it for easy transport of the guests from their cabins to the main house and various activities on the ranch. The cabins used for the teens were lined upon the east side of the property, close to the main house. all were connected to each other.
Next to the main house were two large dining rooms. The larger of the two was for the guests. The other for employees, family,and campers. Along the side of the guests' dining room, was a buffet style table lined with warmer bins. It was strictly self service. This enabled guests to eat when they were hungry, and not just when meals were served.
Jacob was in charge of two cabin groups now instead of just one, on top of all of his other duties. There didn't seem to be enough hours in the day for him. Celeste Parker took care of the main house, the kitchen and dining room. Charlie Parker and Jacob took care of the animals and maintence of the ranch. Jacob had four counselors, but he needed five.
Jacob sat down at the over sized, oak desk, and turned on the lamp and computer. He sorted through the paperwork he'd left scattered the night before. He had progress reports to fill out, and coundelor reports to read.
" You've got mail." came across his screen. He clicked onto his mailbox. It was a resume and inquiry letter from Claire Andrews of Georgia. Wow, that was a long way away. Her resume was impressive. he hated to hire the first person to ask about the job, but he was getting desperate. He typed in a long letter explaining what kind of person he was looking for and where he was located. She probably wouldnt be interested when she found out where it was at. He thought as he clicked the send button on his keyboard. He returned to his work, which he finished around two in the morning. Exhausted, he took his clothes off and slipped under the cool, crisp sheets.