In the previous episode, Tala convinced Zane to loan her a minivan that previously belonged to his wife and that he was saving for Max. She left to pick Max up from school and readers voted that she saw him getting beaten up by the bully cowboys.
Max is smart kid but he is still a kid and sometimes kids say things before they think them through. That explains why Butch had Max by the scruff of his shirt, holding him against the wall as the cowboy posse encircled them both. Butch was angry that Max and Spike had laughed at him when he stumbled during rodeo practice. When the final bell rang, he made it a point to find Max and confront him. But Max had already decided he was not afraid of these Cretans, so when Butch said, “I don’t see you out there, college boy. What’s the matter? Too tough for you?”
Max smartly retorted, “Right. I don’t have what it takes to fall off a horse like a jack-ass.” That’s what led to the tussle.
In the distance, from the minivan, all Tala knew was Max was in trouble, so she raced towards him like a mother bear separated from her cub.
“Get off him!” she screamed as she elbowed past the cowboys, “What’s the matter with you? Let go! NOW!”
Butch did let go. Not because he was intimidated by Tala’s brute strength, but because he was intimidated by her raging hotness. Tala attended to Max, made sure he was not hurt, then draped her arm around him and marched him past Butch and the stunned cowboys. All Butch and his posse could do is watch her (and Max) go.
“Who was that?” Butch finally whispered.
It was quiet in the minivan as Max sulked. Once Butch grabbed him, his fear of the bully did return so yes, he was glad someone got him out of the jam. And yes, it felt loving and nostalgic to have a woman’s arm around him as they exited the scene. But Max was aware of how the females of the species think (at least a little), and where a MAN can rescue a WOMAN in a “damsel in distress” situation, and still fall in love with her later. Reversing the roles simply doesn’t work.
Female mammals want to feel secure in the arms of the strongest male, but when it is they who are the protector, it conjures up maternal instincts within them. That is NOT what Max wanted this relationship to fall into. The fact that she was older was already working against him.
Later, Zane returned home and found Tala in the kitchen cooking hamburgers. She explained that Max had had a rough day, so she wanted to make him his favorite food. Max’s favorite food is hamburgers? Zane had no idea. As they ate, Max explained what had happened. Zane and Tala laughed when he told them his snarky comment. But then something happened that really bugged Zane.
As Max concluded, Tala reflexively reached over to Max and brushed the hair from his face. It was innocent enough… or was it? Zane wondered about the touch. How did it make Max feel? Was it inappropriate? But what he realized later was, it had nothing to do with Max at all. The thing that truly bothered Zane was; he was jealous. Zane isn’t the jealous type. In fact, he’d only felt jealous towards his wife maybe two times and certainly hasn’t felt that way since. But attraction is like magic. There’s no understanding it or explaining it. It can’t be reasoned with, or overcome. You can deny it, but that won’t make it go away. This final truth Zane was slowly coming to grips with.
Later that night, Zane sat on his back porch wondering. What about he and Tala? He sensed she liked him, and that she liked being here. And, although it’s much more common out in Hollywood than it is in West Texas, sometimes older men have much younger wives. Of course there would be gossip. But Zane Goodnight is Palo Duro Canyon’s favorite son. Any romance he gets himself into will spark talk. That’s just life in a small town.
He was contemplating all this when, in the distance, he saw movement… Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.
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