3. Going back

It was almost a week since I saw Brenton. I was looking at my room, I got four unfinished sketches. All of them didn't feel right.

I cried in frustration when trying to sketch the first canvas. Gemma was calming me down, but by the fourth failed attempt she was telling me to suck it up and leave me to type diligently back in her room before she ends her day.

Then I was desperate when the week ended and Brenton called to check up on me.

"Why didn't you go back to your parents? I thought we agreed on that matter?"

"Well yeah, but the thing is... ehm, I have a thing..."


"What? it's his book signing and I've jotted the event on my calendar since months ago." I whined and pouted while knowing that he wouldn't see me from the other line.

"Tell me one thing, does he even notice you?"

"Well, with the long line of crowd it'll be tough, but..."

"Ella, go to your parents. If you won't do this for me, do it for Gwen."

The mentioning of her name made me, slumped back to my seat and I finally said my okay to him.

I texted Gemma and told her I'm going home for a couple of weeks. So, that late afternoon I was on my way back to my parents and arrived just before dinner time.


"Mom, I miss you!"



"What? you didn't tell us you're coming."

"Wait," I was instantly suspicious and look at the dining room.

Candles, meatloaf dinner, wine...

"Eww... mom! are you having your dinner date with dad?"

"Why not? our kids are all grown up and we finally have the nest to ourselves." She shamelessly shrugged, but continue to hug me.

"And I miss you too my most beautiful baby girl." She cupped my face and pinched my cheeks as if I was still five years old.

"Mom! I'm your only daughter." I hugged her back and takes in her favorite floral perfume scent.



"You didn't say you're coming home, is everything okay?" dad asked as he walked into the kitchen from the back porch, he was still in his shirt and jeans all dirty from his backyard studio.

"Oh my god, dad! both of you, can I just go back home without being questioned? maybe I just miss my parents!"


"Right? that's what I asked and she gets offended." Mom smirked and kissed me on my cheek before she gets back to the kitchen to set up another plate for me.

Dad hugged me and I inhale and rubbed his back as I was missing his outdoor earthy studio scent.

"You've been busy?" I looked at dad's hands and he chuckled, telling me he was doing a commissioned sculpture for one of his clients.

Yes, I got my artistic side from my dad and he has been spoiling me more just because of it. Meanwhile, I was just glad that he's not expecting great creations from me.

"You don't come here often, not like your brothers." Mom was opening the conversation, and the first thing she said was most predictable.

"Well, maybe Ella is busy?"

"I have been busy," I nodded in agreement to dad.

"Right, still read those books?"

"Mom!" I blushed instantly realizing one of my stupid brothers must've told her about me and my reading habit.

"Look, there's nothing wrong about reading those books. But, you have to live in our world too. Be creative, unleash your potential. Your brothers, they're just worried about you." Dad said with him warm loving tone.

Mom called us to the table for dinner, her cooking was as delicious as I remembered. It was the most welcoming dinner we've had, and it's probably because I was telling dad that I was there to paint.

Dad was all too excited about us working side by side in his studio, while I was worried that he would find out that I wouldn't live up to his expectations.

I was nervous for tomorrow and decided to have my alone time at the back porch. I was sitting on my childhood swing looking at the darkening skyline when the handsome cowboy greeted me. 

"Hey! I didn't know that you're here."


He laughed when I run to him and hugged him the moment his off his horse.

"I missed you too." He twirls me and kissed my forehead.

"Where're the others?"

"Really? after all these months I finally meet you and you're asking for those two lame cowboys?"

I giggled knowing there was nothing lame about them, the hot cowboys I have as my neighbor were usually the ones keeping me entertained.

"How are you?"

He was standing to my front when I started telling him about why I was coming back home.

"I'm sure you'll do great. I believe in you, come on, they're waiting." He grinned and held out his hand to help me mount the horse.

He took me to ride with him, the black horse took us to a deserted area where his two buddies were laughing and drinking beers.

"Ella? damn, you've gotten cuter by the day." Jack the tallest of them all hugged and suffocates me at the same time until Sam slapped his head and told him to let me go.

"It's about time you come to visit us," Sam pulled me in for his brotherly side hug.

"Dude, she's here for her parents," Danny opened a bottle of cold beer and give it to me.

The guys would do gather to relax after their hard days working on the ranch down the road. I know the sisters who live there and asked about them after sipping the beer.

"Well, Emilie is happy with her family and this guy here is still messing with her sister." Danny slapped Sam's back while Sam is telling everyone that Celia's dad is scary and her brother-in-law is the worst.

"He's a freaking surgeon but acts as he can kill you, and I don't know any surgeon who travels with their so-called assistant who looked more like bodyguards. And I know for sure that they're packing guns under those expensive suits."

We laughed while the boys were catching me up with the newest gossip around our small little town. It still amazes me how these cowboys keep up with the trending talk of the town.

That night I was drunk and laughed like I haven't laughed in months. The three cowboys treated me with respect like they always do and brought me back home all giggly and tipsy.

I was having the worst hangover in the morning, yet the situation seemed to kick off my work when I suddenly get up and know exactly what I was going to paint.

And yes, it was not Brice Durant's face.

Days went by and I was painting and spending more time in the studio. Dad was at a point where he was so proud of me that he gets into a fight with mom because she made me eat my meals in between my session.

"She still has to eat,"

"But she's painting! an artist needs her creative flow."

"Right, just like you when you don't want to be interrupted?" she talks as if they were arguing about something else other than his work and it was making me uncomfortable to the point that I started chewing faster.

"Done! I'm getting back to the studio. But mom, how about we have a girl's day in the city tomorrow?"

"Right, you need to buy your art supplies. But sure, I'll go." She sounded disappointed, but I could see her little smirked and dad confirmed it by giving me his secret wink making me laugh at both of them.

Days turn into weeks, and I haven't had the time to stalk Durant's latest activities up until it was week three when I was finished with one medium size painting and another painting on a larger-size canvas.

I was overworked, tired, pale, and have bags under my eyes. But I feel happy and mostly relieved that my work was coming together. I was taking a couple of days off from painting before I decided to go back to my apartment in the city and show my finished paintings to Brenton.

Then he'll be the judge of my career choice as a painter.

"You're going to go far Ella, you're my daughter." I hugged my dad, thanking him for his confidence in me while mom was busy preparing her homemade cooking and packed them up for me to take back to my apartment.

"...there are plenty for you and Gemma, sends her my love and tell her not to work too hard." Mom hugged me after she managed to put everything in the passenger seat.

So there I was an hour later, staring out to the afternoon traffic and thinking about my life choices while listening to the audiobooks of one of Brice Durant's mystery romance novels.

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