Noah barely looked up from his book as a loud thump shook the bunkhouse wall behind him. Jesse looked up from his school book and wondered aloud. “Did somethin’ fall?”

“Oh,” Noah smiled, “a couple of weeks ago.”

It took a long moment as Jesse tried to make up his mind about arguing, but his attention was caught as Lou walked past the window heading for the door.

“If I was you, Jesse,” Noah tried not to laugh, “I keep my mind on my studies.”

“Hey!” Lou opened the door and stepped inside her face lit up with a smile.

Turning, the page Noah looked up to take in her appearance. “Windy out there?”

Jesse turned half around to lean on the back of his chair to look out through the window. Across the way near the barn a cottonwood tree stood idly by, its leaves hanging still from its branches. He shook his head and turned back around confused.

Meanwhile, Lou had followed Noah’s pointed look at her hair and she reached up to find it mussed and out of place.

“Oh…” she hurried to settle her hair, combing through it with fingers, “yes, the wind,” and patting it down, “it was real windy outside.”

“But it’s-” Jesse’s protest was interrupted by the door opening up again.

“Hey all.” Jimmy came a stop right behind Lou, his hand falling easily on her shoulder as he grinned at no one in particular. Leaning down a bit, his whispered into Lou’s ear, “Hey there.”

She smiled and swiped her hand through her hair again in a self-conscious gesture.

“Looks like you got caught in the wind, too.” Noah closed his book with a thump and set it down on the table.


Lou half-turned and gave Jimmy a shove, snaking her hand through her hair. Instead of messing with it, Jimmy shoved his hat down on his head. “Yeah, real windy.”

Jesse’s curious nature got the better of him. “Did you see what fell against the back wall just a few minutes ago?”

Noah barely covered his laugh as Jimmy gave Lou a warm look. “I may have stumbled up against the wall. I was a little… unbalanced.”

Jesse let loose a low whistle and shook his head. “That must have been a mighty wind.”

Sliding his arm around Lou’s waist, Jimmy pulled her up close and nodded at Jesse. “It sure was.”

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