The crowd was about half the size of a normal Friday, but not bad for the first week of December. Half Pint did well for her first ride in almost a year, 17.234.

Now we were at Billy Bob’s to unwind, eat, and maybe dance, “Hey Half Pint would you like to dance with your old brother?”

She smiled, “Sure I’d love to, but you’re not old Mac.”

As we danced I got a glimpse of jet black hair that looked very familiar, “Half Pint, look to your left, does that look like Allie to you?”

I turned, so she could see better, “Yeah, I think so.” She looked up at me, “Why don’t we go talk to her, it would appear she’s alone.”

We walked off the dance floor and turned to where I thought I saw her. “Where’d she go she was right here?” I turned around to look through the crowd.

“I’ll check the girl’s room, while you get me a coke.” Half Pint was half way across the room before I moved.

Maybe I was just seeing things. I shook my head and moved my feet to the closest bar, maybe seeing what you want to see is more like it cowboy.

“Hello handsome, what can I get ya’?” It took a minute for my brain to register that a very pretty bartender was talking to me. Long auburn hair, tight t-shirt, nice legs, and back side covered in denim. “You okay there, handsome?”

“Um… yeah… um sorry. Rum and coke and straight coke, please.” As she walked away I tried to pull my head back to the here and now. I got a 20 out of my pocket as the pretty bartender put the drinks in front of me. “Thanks.” I handed her the 20 grabbed the plastic glasses and walked to a table and sat down to wait for Half Pint.

What was wrong with me? Ever since I read that article about Allie I just couldn’t get her off my mind.

“There you are, I was looking all over for you.” Half Pint sat next to me, “I didn’t find her, are you sure it was her?”

I moved her coke in front of her, “No, I’m not sure at all. Maybe I just thought I saw her.”

“Well I don’t know what to tell you Mac, I haven’t seen her in years and I was young the last time she was at the house.” She stopped to sip her coke. “Hair was right though.”

One of the young bull riders from tonight walked up to the table leaned down and spoke to Half Pint, “You did real good riding tonight. My name’s Jake would you dance with me?”

Half Pint cut her eyes to me, yeah, I was in big brother mode, “Oh I’m sorry, if she’s with you I didn’t mean to intrude.”

I laughed, “Yeah she’s with me but not the way you think.” I put my hand out for him to shake, “Patty’s my sister Jake, she just turned 18 so you have me to answer to if you hurt her in any way.”

“Yes sir, I understand, sir.” He had turned white as a ghost, but he turned to Half Pint and said, “I’d still like to have that dance with you, if you’d like.”

Half Pint looked at Jake and smiled, “I’d love to dance.”

As Jake took her hand and moved his arm to her waist I just had to be the evil big brother, “Um Jake,” He stopped and turned to me, “Just a friendly reminder, I’ll be the clown between you and your bulls tomorrow night.” I gave Half Pint a wink. “Y’all go have a good time.”

Half Pint flashed me a no you didn’t look, and Jake dropped his arm from her waist, “Yes sir, she’s in good hands.”

“Jake it’s the hands that worry me.” I lifted my drink to him.

“Mac, I don’t even know Jake yet, stop being a jerk!” She took Jake’s hand and moved his arm back to her waist, “How are we even supposed to dance if he can’t touch my waist.”

I chuckled to myself as they danced. I wasn’t so old that I didn’t remember back to when I was that young bull rider looking for a warm curvy body to share my bed for the night.

Yeah not going to happen with my sister tonight Jake.

 

We pulled into the Rocking R a little after midnight. Saturday’s rodeo went off with no injuries. I couldn’t have asked for a better shift. “I’ll park the rig by the barn, so you can take care of Paint before you come into the house.” I was tired, “I’ll take care of the rig in the morning.”

“Okay thanks Mac, I had a really good time this weekend.” She lifted her head and met my eyes, “You look really tired. Are you feeling okay?”

I parked the truck and opened the door, “Yeah I’m fine, just not sleeping very well for the last few days.” I stepped out and closed the door, walked to the back of the trailer, opened the gate, and lowered the ramp for her. She walked inside to get Paint, “I’ll be fine with some sleep. Don’t worry about me.”

“Okay.” She was walking Paint down the ramp, “Maybe now isn’t the best time to tell you this but Jake’s coming by Tuesday to take me to dinner at the Rusty Nail.”

I stopped Paint by holding his lead, “Really, does he know how far out we live from Fort Worth?”

She started rubbing Paints nose, “Yeah, he works on the Flying J.”

“Really the Flying J. So, he works for Randy.” I turned to her and smiled, “Okay but you know the rules, copy of his driver’s license, no alcohol, none not even one drink.”

She jumped in my arms, wrapped hers around my neck and hugged me, “I told him already, he said he would bring a copy with him and he doesn’t drink, just coke.”

I hugged her back, “Okay then you can go out with him just this once.”

“You’re the best big brother ever!” She took Paint’s lead and walked into the barn.

I walked to the back kitchen door thinking about the words from a Garth Brooks song, ‘I’m much too young to feel this damn old.’

 

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