That evening, Eden stood in her mother’s kitchen doorway. She’d taken her father’s horse when he had come home, had rubbed it down, fed and watered it and turned it out into the dry but shady paddock behind the stable. As she made her way back to the house, she could smell the biscuits her mother would soon put on the supper table.
But her parents hadn’t heard her as she approached and now she watched them quietly through the open door.
Their backs were to her, her mother wrapped in her father’s arms as he kissed her neck and rocked her gently off balance so that she had to rely on his body for support. Her mother was giggling modestly. Her father was speaking low near her ear.
All her life, Eden had watched her parents in moments like this, which they did nothing to conceal from their twin daughters. She had come to realize, as she grew, that the other couples on the Double S did not behave this way. There was no doubt that everyone on the ranch shared fierce loyalties both to their own families and to the others there. But everyone knew without saying it that there was something special about Joe and Lillian Smith. They were still as in love with each other as a pair of newlyweds.
Eden took off her boots, letting them drop loudly by the door.
Her parents turned and smiled at her. “Are you hungry, darling?” her mother asked. Joe sat down at the table and Lillian stepped to the oven, reached in and brought out the biscuits.
“Busy, I suppose,” Eden said. “I only talked to her for a few minutes.”
Lillian poured lemonade into a glass by Eden’s plate. “I thought you spent the day over there.”
“Just the morning. I went riding.”
Joe looked up. “You took Arrow out?”
“Just down the river a little way.”
“It’s all right,” Joe said. “He’s your horse. How was he?”
“He was lively. But it was all right. I miss that.”
“All right,” Eden agreed.