In the previous episode, Zane advised Tala to be careful about being “intimate” with Max as he wasn’t used to being nurtured by a nanny. The next day, Tala dropped Max off at school but, readers voted that he wasn’t happy to see Butch and his cowboy posse waiting for a confrontation.
Tala could see them too. Butch and his cowboy posse standing near the school entrance, waiting.
“You think they’re waiting for you?” she asked.
“I can handle them,” Max said in a tone more confident than he truly felt. He hopped out of the van, made his way over. When Butch saw him, he looked over at Tala in distance, still watching. Butch offered a big fake grin and a wave. Tala glared back, then drove off as Max made his way over.
“Okay, Goodnight. Who is she?” Butch demanded.
“Don’t get smart, College. Who’s the hot Navajo or whatever?”
“She works for my dad.” Max replied.
“Is he bangin’ her?” one of the doofus cowboys asked. “I bet he’s bangin’ her.”
“Maybe Max is bangin’ her,” came a voice from the distance. Butch, Max and the cowboys looked over. It was Max’s friend Spike watching from across the way.
“Shut up, girl,” Butch snapped. “Get outta here.” Butch then trained his focus back onto Max.
“Look. Our first rodeo’s coming up. I want you to get her there,” Butch said. “Introduce me as your cool, older buddy. Explain the whole misunderstanding last time we met, and then vamoose. Once she sees me rodeoing, the Capo charm will take over.”
“Why should I?” Max asked.
“You do this for me. And we will leave you alone the rest of the year.”
“You can’t be a normal person and just leave me alone anyway?” Max asked, incredulously.
“No.” Butch retorted. “Get her there, introduce me. Have a great school year.”
“I’ll think about it,” Max said as he pushed past them.
“Be smart, College.” Butch called. “It’s for your own good.”
Max had trouble concentrating during class. He was thinking about his “date” with Tala the night before. He was also thinking about his dad. He was suspicious that he may like Tala too. Now Butch? Good grief. Being in love with a beautiful woman sure does make you insecure Max was realizing.
He wasn’t too worried about Butch. Tala had too much class to fall for his phony “charm.” And his dad is just way too old… isn’t he? No. Max decided that it was he who was the perfect man for her. In ten years who will care that she’s 29 and he’s 24? It will matter even less in twenty years. Only now does it seem like a big deal. Trouble is… now is now.
But there was another reason Max was having trouble focusing on school. The two year anniversary of his mother’s death was fast approaching. Max wasn’t sure what do to on the day, if anything. But he couldn’t help thinking of her. And for some reason, he was also feeling guilty.
The last nanny was simply an employee. A driver, a cook, a maid. But Tala was becoming a part of the family. He cared for her, not only in a romantic way, but in a loving, nurturing… motherly way. Tala’s touch, to his face or his shoulders, was healing. And what it healed was Max’s sorrow. The sorrow he felt, and was holding onto, for the loss of his mom. If that sorrow goes away, what would that mean? Was Tala somehow replacing his mother? NO!
But also, yes. Sort of. Tala had restored something in the home. The pure male, warrior, masculine energy that had taken over the ranch was finally being balanced by Tala’s feminine gifts. The gifts that his mother had once brought. This was all very confusing.
* * *
Much later, when Max was home, he decided to talk to his father about all this. It would NOT be easy. Nothing emotional comes easy in the Goodnight home. But he had to speak to someone, and who else could really understand?
But when Max went into his dad’s study, he saw his dad and Tala sitting alone, having a drink, sitting close and talking intimately. The confusion gave way to rage as, without a word, Max bolted. He grabbed the keys to the van and he took off into the night. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.