Crystal Rivers had suffered many things throughout her life, but none was more shocking than the untimely death of her husband. Learning that her in-laws were not the loving people they claimed to be, she soon finds herself in the arms of her only living relative…her elderly, Aunt Milly.
Now with child, Crystal is determined to create a new world for her and her unborn baby on the majestic farm that she herself once enjoyed as a child. Falling in love was not part of that plan, but many things were about to come to pass that Crystal could have never imagined. Deceit and an attempt on her and her child’s life would test her will to survive, to the very core of Crystal’s sanity.
Milly cleared her throat several times on the way to the chicken coop to keep from laughing. She didn’t want to spill the beans, so to speak. She knew the best way to learn how to do anything on a farm was to get down and get your hands dirty, and that was just what she was going to let Crystal do. Once they were at the chicken coop, Milly opened the door and ushered Crystal in.
“Why do I have to go first?”
“Cause you have the feed and I need to lock the door.”
“You’re going to lock me in?” Crystal yelped, panic setting in.
“I’ll be in there with ya, gathering eggs. They ain’t gonna hurt ya,” she promised as Crystal walked through the door. “Just don’t turn your back on the rooster.”
Crystal tried to turn and go back out, but the door was already closed and Milly was walking toward another one. Crystal was on her heels in one huge step.
“How will I know which one's the rooster?”
“He has a pecker,” she replied and burst out laughing.
“He’ll be the one that’s trying to get at your leg,” Milly laughed, then opened the door where the chickens had been throughout the night. She shuffled in and started gathering the eggs while the flock of fowl scurried out. When she didn’t hear anything coming from outside the coop, she stepped back out to see Crystal frozen in the middle of fifteen chickens and one cocky rooster.
“Just toss the grain on the ground and they’ll move away from ya,” Milly said, smiling ear to ear.
Crystal turned the bucket upside down, pouring it all in a single pile, then tossed the bucket toward the corner of the pen. The chickens began flocking around the front of her feet and she jumped back, hitting the rooster with the back of her leg. The startled bird jumped up and angrily flogged the back of her thigh. She screamed and took off running from the creature that came up no higher than her shin, with that rooster on her every step of the way.
She circled around the inside of the cage three or four times before she finally put her back to the chicken-wire wall and started screaming at the rooster to, “stay back or else!” Milly got so tickled that she couldn’t have helped the poor girl if she’d wanted to. She was doubled over in laughter, holding her side, trying to suppress the pain that shot through it from laughing so hard. Every time the rooster jumped at Crystal, she would kick out her foot and try to hit him back.
“That’s right, you have to show him who’s boss!” Milly said between hiccups of laughter.
“I’m done, can I get out now? Please?” Crystal begged as she kicked once again at the rooster that seemed determined to show her who the boss was and it certainly wasn’t her.
Milly turned around and grabbed the last few eggs before walking over to where she and the rooster were engaging in their little war. Milly hollered, “Get!” waving her hand toward the rooster. He bobbed his head, scratched his foot across the ground a few times, and then joined his females.
Crystal carefully slid with her back to the cage wall toward the door that would let her out, not once taking her eyes off of her new-found friend. Milly unhooked the latch and in a split second, Crystal was out in the open with her hands on her knees and her head hanging down.
“I guess fried chicken is out of the question for supper tonight,” Milly joked, knowing she wouldn’t let Crystal live this one down for some time.
Crystal started to lift her head to retaliate when she noticed her tennis shoes were no longer white. “What the heck is that on my shoes?”
“Well, good night child, it’s chicken shit,” Milly said, shaking her head smiling, knowing the day was going to be a little longer than she had anticipated. “Think you’re ready to help me with the horses?”
“You really don’t give a person time to think about their problems, do you? Are your horses very big?” she inquired, scraping her shoes on the gravel at her feet.