Fred looked down at the water in the lake, his reflection mirroring back his image. He ran his hand gently over the reflection causing the water to ripple. Fred liked it here, it was secluded and quiet and it gave him the opportunity to think clearly. These pass few weeks have been hectic on him, he was drained both psychically and emotionally. He didn’t know what to do, his Grandfather passed away and doing so left Fred his ranch, which didn’t set well with other members of his family, especially his cousin Ralph who believed he was owed the property. Fred loved the ranch and working on it however he didn’t exactly know how to run it. It was called Second Chance Ranch and it was a place for teens, sometimes adults, to get a second chance in life. They worked with all kinds of people and helped them with therapy, teaching responsibility and other life skills. Fred and his cousins grew up on the ranch and when it came down to it he was the only one who stayed to help with it. Ralph was the oldest that is why he figured the land was his, he wanted to close it down and sell it though. Fred wanted to keep it running he just had to figure out how to balance everything, that is why he was out at the lake, trying to think things through. He got up and was about to head back when he heard hoof beats coming, he looked up and saw one of his ranch helpers.
“Hey boss what cha doing out here?” Sadie asked.
“Just thinking and I told ya not to call me boss. It don’t feel right.”
“Well you are the boss, but I can just call you Fred. Anyway I gathered everyone up like you asked. They are waiting in the barn.” Sadie said as she galloped away.
Fred watched her leave, then got on his horse and rode back to the barn. He wanted to talk to everyone at once and come up with a plan.
Fred got to the barn and put his horse back in its stall. The barn itself was fairly new, it was remolded almost two years ago and made bigger so it could house more horses used in therapy. Everyone was already there like Sadie said. He wasn’t a good public speaker but he was technically the boss now so he had to get use to it.
“Hey everyone I know these past few days have been hard but I want y’all to know we can do this together. I also know that some of you want to leave and can if you want, or stay if that’s what you want. I do plan on reopening the ranch and keeping my Grandfather’s business running. If any of you have ideas, thoughts or just need to talk I’m here to listen. Thank you.” He looked around and then headed towards his office, Sadie caught up with him and gave him a hug.
“That was a nice speech. Just so you know I’m here too and I don’t just mean working the ranch.” Sadie said smiling.
“I know I’m just not a touchy feely kind of guy. That’s why I go to the lake by myself.”
“Yeah that is understandable, but it’s also good to let it out and others in.” Sadie said while the room grew silent. “Well, anyways we should be all set to open back up next week like you planned. I left some papers on your desk that will need signatures and dinner will be ready by six.” Sadie said walking out the door.
Fred sat down and started going through the paper work. Sadie did a good job with the management part of the ranch. Just then his daughter, Claire, ran in with a giant cookie and she had the biggest smile.
“Daddy, daddy! Looky look! Sadie made me a giant cookie and I helped!” She said showing him the cookie and jumping up and down.
“Wow! That is a big cookie, did you tell her thank you?”
“Yes I did. I got to put the chocolate chips in and mix it up.”
“That is awesome sweetie. Can I have a bite?” He said smiling at his daughter.
Claire climbed into his lab and stuck out the cookie so he could take a bite. Then she took one and they laughed together. Sadie walked in on the sweet moment and smiled. Ever since Claire’s mom left Sadie has got to see Fred and his daughter get closer. Claire was an adorable little girl and Sadie loved hanging out with her.
“Hate to intrude but dinner is ready.” Sadie said.
“What? You mean to tell me you ate a cookie before dinner?” Fred asked Claire tickling her.
“I couldn’t help it, it was just so yummy.” She said squealing with laughter.
“Haha, okay I will let it slide this time. Let’s go wash up and eat.”
Claire got up and went to the house, Fred and Sadie followed behind.
“Thank for all your help and not only with the ranch.”
“No problem, Claire is a sweetheart and a great little helper.”
They reached the house and there was a package waiting on the doorstep. Fred saw it was from Ralph and knew it was something bad. Fred sent Claire inside while he opened the envelope. Inside was a letter from Ralph’s attorney with a copy of Grandpa’s will. Ralph found a clause in the will stating that in order to keep the land Fred would have to find a business partner. Shouldn’t be too hard Fred thought, he knew a lot of people who believed in Second Chance Ranch. He would work on finding a partner later; right now he had a dinner to eat with his favorite girl.
The next day Fred sat down in his home office to make a few phone calls about the partnership. He had a few ideas plus he needed to get his lawyer on the phone to see if what Ralph found was true or not. A few hours later Sadie walked in with some lunch and they sat down and ate together.
“So what’s new?” Sadie asked.
“Well according to the lawyer, Ralph is right. I have to find a partner by next year or the ranch goes to the next person on the list. My gut tells me it is Ralph but I don’t know for sure. He is trying anything to get this place but he doesn’t want to keep it going like I do. Ralph wants to sell it to the highest bidder. I’m not going to let this happen. Got any ideas on a good partner?” Fred replied taking a bite out of his sandwich.
“I knew he was no good. Ralph always gave me the creeps. He was always hitting on me and trying to get me to work for him. Gross.” She said shuddering, “But I do know someone that would be a good partner. They have been around for awhile and already have a good standing with the community. Plus they love this place and will do anything to help it stay running.”
“Great! Who are they? How do I get in contact with them?” Fred asked.
“It’s me. I’m not going anywhere and will be glad to help.”
“Sadie that is kind of you but I couldn’t ask that of you, it might be too much and…” Fred started to say but got cut off when Sadie leaned over and kissed him. He wasn’t too shocked they shared a few kisses before and he really liked her. He deepened the kiss and Sadie pulled away. He was confused at first until Sadie spoke.
“Sorry that seemed like the only way to get you to stop talking. It was enjoyable though.”
“Yes it was. Sadie I like you a lot, I just didn’t know where we stood with everything that has happened.”
“I like you a lot too Fred. I was trying to give you time to process everything.. But anyway like I said I would be happy to be your partner on the ranch.”
“That is great. I would like it a lot if you were my business partner.” He said with a smile all while thinking maybe one day she would be more.
One year later
Fred looked at his reflection in the mirror and fixed his tie. This last year has been great, it did have some bad moments but it all worked on in the end. Second Chance Ranch was running smoothly and thriving. Him and Sadie are great business partners and are making it official today by getting married. His daughter was thrilled; Claire loved Sadie as much as he did. One last look in the mirror and he was good to go. He took his place at the front of the aisle and got to watch his two favorite people walk down it.