Johnny Lancer, hat in hand and spurs jingling, exited through the open French doors and approached next to his brother who was savoring an after dinner brandy while he contemplated the sunset from the veranda.
“You sure you don’t want to go into town with me, Scott?” the younger man asked. “Have a few drinks? Play a little poker?”
“Thanks, Johnny but I’m sure,” the blond replied with a smile. “I’m actually looking forward to a quiet evening here at home with Delia.”
Delia was Delia Abbott, or rather she was Delia Lancer now as Scott had married the pretty school teacher about six months back.
“Boy, you sure are whipped, Boston,” Johnny grinned. “Delia said she wouldn’t mind when I mentioned it earlier at dinner. We all heard her. C’mon, what do ya say? Please?”
“Johnny, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a married man,” Scott looked back into the house where he could see Teresa and his wife laughing together as they cleared the dishes from the dining room table. “It’s that what a woman says isn’t always the same as what she means.”
“Aw, heck, Boston, I take it back,” the younger man laughed as he clapped his brother on the back. “You’re not just whipped, you’re roped, saddled and gelded!”
“That may be true, Johnny, but I find that I don’t really mind all that much. There are benefits after all.”
“Yeah, well, I can get those ‘benefits’ in town, at the Golden Slipper, with no preacher or ‘I do’ required,” Johnny exclaimed over his shoulder as he headed towards the barn. “And I aim to go and get me some right now.”
A few minutes later, he re-emerged, a saddled Barranca in tow. As Johnny mounted up and headed off down the road with a wave, Scott felt a pair of slender arms slip around his waist.
“You could have gone with him, you know,” Delia said.
“I know,” the blond murmured as he turned and wrapped his own arms around his wife, pulling her close. He buried his face in her dark hair, losing himself in the soft, verbena scented curls. “But I’d much rather stay here with you.”
“That’s good to hear,” she replied, gray eyes twinkling merrily as she pressed herself closer. “And to make sure you don’t regret your choice, why don’t we head upstairs? We can engage in some of those ‘benefits’ you and Johnny were discussing.”
Blushing at having been caught out, Scott chose to keep silent. Instead, he allowed Delia to lead him back inside and, despite the early hour, up the stairs to their room.