Jamie questioned her choice of friends as she drove to the family ranch. Why did she choose those like, Donna, with clairvoyant –seer tendencies? Suppose it was partly because of her own tendency to see—what wasn't visible to most. Donna saw danger for her both from a familiar person and a stranger. She did say a familiar person, not a "familiar," didn't she? There's a world of difference in what she said…Now Jamie questioned herself and her memory. I must learn to listen better and not assume.
Courtney was familiar person and always an explosive link in her life. When she wasn't involved in Jamie's life it was a good thing, but Jamie knew, if she returned to the res and the ranch there would be trouble with Courtney. There always was. That was a given.
More pleasant things crowded out those worry thoughts. Arrogant, but interesting, Ben's Grandson. The fact that he wasn't impressed by Courtney's flirting moved him u a notch in Jamie's book. Well, he was only temporary anyway and he'd probably be gone by the time she got back to the ranch.
Ben confided in her that he worried about some of the goings on at the ranch property, cutting fences was only one of them. The small herd of horses and the few cattle, no one should bother with. They certainly weren't worth rustling, not to someone looking for quick cash. So why cut fences?
Jamie was certain it wasn't rustlers, but what then?
She had a feeling she was about to find out as she pulled in to the ranch to see squad cars, troopers in uniform and some men in suits gathered around the bunk house. Where was Ben? Immediately her mind worried over his safety and well-being.
A deputy approached her truck a she slowed the truck and U-haul trailer to a stop. Ben hadn't indicated there was any trouble when she called him to tell him her plans to come back home.
The officer motioned for her to roll her window down. She obeyed without turning the engine off.
"No one is allowed on the premises, a police matter here." He motioned behind him to the men milling around the bunkhouse.
He was abrupt, a rookie showing his power to control. Jamie smiled. She recognized the rooster strut of new hires. "It's okay. I'm the owner. I'm moving back here." She pointed to the U-haul that had a large percentage of her worldly good in it.
Sheriff Ludwick (Ludy to the locals) Hale approached as she tried to reason with the rookie. Jamie smiled at Ludy. "What's up Lucy? Did Ben rob a bank?"
Sherriff Ludy ticked the brim of his hat as a salutation. "Good to see you Jamie." He waved the rookie away. The rookie laced his fingers into his belt and backed off; he didn't wilt, just stood as if on guard to protect his superior. Jamie found the display amusing, but what brought out this entourage of law concerned her more.
The suits definitely were FBI and that wasn't unusual, reservations were treated like a foreign entity, a sovereign nation when it came to law enforcement. Jamie knew this, but why they were here puzzled her.
Sheriff Hale leaned his elbows on the open window. "Discovered a marijuana grow back there."He indicated a region toward the mountain range that bordered the ranch to the North West.
Jamie glanced in that direction and saw J.C. Cole the tribal police chief headed her way. She pulled on the latch to open the truck door and Sherriff Ludy straightened up pulling the door with him.
"Where's Ben," Jamie directed her question to J.C. She didn't like him. He was the type of man who could be bought and often looked the other way when trouble surfaced.
JC shrugged. "Settin warm and cozy in his livin room I 'magin."
Jamie wanted to reach out and smack him. He never grew up. He was always a bully, all through school and continued to think he could get away with it.
She turned to face Sherriff Hale. "You know Ben would never knowingly allow this to happen."
"Well he did," JC fairly gloated.
She ignored him and waited for Sheriff Hale to respond.
"We have to investigate all angles, but I'm as sure as you are that Ben wouldn't have allowed this."
She studied Ludy Hale's face—he was holding something back. She could sense it, but what? Is Ben somehow implicated?
Jamie sat in her office feeling like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. What was Courtney involved in that made her so hateful?It was hard to imagine the poverty and disruption on the reservation since she had last visited. When her father was alive none of this was going on, now…
Her thoughts were interrupted by a customer entering the store. Herbal tonics and information seemed to be much in demand today. Maybe it wasn’t just her world that was in serious need of intervention, of fixing. The interaction with customers allowed her mind to be consumed with their problems instead of her own. It was lunch time before she realized it.
If she hoped to have her friend take over the business for the next month so she could go back to the reservation and try to help correct what was happening, she needed to do that today.Donna had expressed an interest in doing just that for some time now, it would be a good opportunity for her to really get involved and decide if she wanted to open her own store as part of Jamie’s chain. The other managers could handle what they had for a month. They had already proven that to Jamie’s satisfaction.
Donna greeted her with a cheerful hug and hello. “So you need to go home for a while.”
“Actually, I call this home. But I do need to go back to Ignacio to take care of some business. I hope I will be back by Christmas.”
“Wow, that’s over a month. Are you sure?”
“I’m sure if you want to take over the store for me for that long.It will give you some real experience and help you decide if you want to buy into a franchise with me or not.”
“That it surely would. I am convinced, I already want to. But I’d love the chance to prove I can do it to myself and you.” Donna smiled a kind of faraway glaze came into her eyes.
“Why do I feel like a but, is coming here?”
Donna turned toward her and didn’t answer right away. Her pearl gray eyes seemed even more far away as if she was reading through Jamie.
“What, what is it?”Jamie felt a cold sweat start in the palms of her hands. Donna had a tendency to be clairvoyant and while it was part of their attraction to each other it sometimes made Jamie very nervous. What was her friend seeing now that Jamie had failed to see about this whole situation.
Enjoy - until next time, I hope it won't be so long. Mean time think about Donna - how does she fit into this mix, does she see something that Jamie doesn't -- is it possible there is more to the whole than it's collective parts so far?