As always any and all comments, thoughts, criticisms, and critiques are welcome. Also, thanks for stopping by and checking out this weeks selection for Teaser Tuesday. Oh yeah, for since it might make a difference DWARFED is a YA,contemporary fiction, work-in-progress.
I was so focused on getting back to the farm house, I didn't notice the guy moving towards me with long strides until I literally ran right into him.
Bouncing off the guy, I fell back, landing on my butt.
”Sorry,” the word fell out of my mouth more out of habit than any real sense of contrition. I didn't really care about the person I'd just run into. Since I was the one who'd ended up on my butt, I figured I couldn't have done much damage to him. I was more concerned about Adelaide. Looking down, I scanned her, searching for new injuries. She looked exactly the same as she did when I first found her. Blowing out a relieved sigh, I glanced at the person I'd bounced off of. ”I was in a hurry. I guess I didn't see you.”
Bending,the guy wrapped an enormous hand around my elbow and tugging me to my feet. ”Are you okay?”
”I'm fine.” I stepped sideways to step past him. The guy quickly blocked my maneuver and placed a hand on my shoulder, his long fingers gently but firmly cupping the joint.
I jerked my shoulder from his grasp. ”Excuse me.”
”Who are you and what are you doing with that duck?”
”I'm Grace.” I shifted my arms, showing him my battered duck. “This is Adelaide.”
The guy's hazel eyes widened. ”Your Grace? As in Ray Bob's niece Grace? Wow! You, you're, well I guess your not quite what I imagined.”
I floated an eyebrow. ”Why, because I don't have Etna's eye patch or Ray Bob's Roman nose?”
The guy slowly shook his head. ”Nobody told me that you're a midget.”
Narrowing my eyes, I glared up at him. There was no way I was going to let this particular insult slide.
I spoke slowly, carefully enunciating every word. ”Do I look like a small, blood sucking fly?”
A look of pure confusion crossed his face. ”What are you talking about?”
I kept my gaze locked firmly on his hazel eyes. ”A tiny fly, do I look like a tiny fly?”
I was a little surprised at how satisfied the guys obviously growing discomfort. Normally I hated making people nervous or uncomfortable, but today simply knowing I had the upper hand, even over such a superficial comment. Today the knowledge that I had the power to make him squirm thrilled me. ”So why did you call me a midget?”
The guy looked totally befuddled. ”But you are,” he sucked in a deep breath. ”You are a midget.”
I rolled my eyes. ”I just got done explaining that a midget is a small fly. I am a human being.”
”I know you're human, but you're a ...” He waved a hand at me, indicating my stature. ” You're also a ...”
I glared up at him, daring him to say it.
”If you absolutely must use a word to describe me, stick to dwarf or little person. Midget is an offensive term. Munchkin isn't any better.”
A wide grin slowly spread across the guys face. The movement was stiff, like he didn't smile very often and the muscles were atrophied. ”You're defiantly related to Etna, you inherited her sass.”
There were a lot of I words I would use to describe Etna, but sass was not one.
The guy extended his right hand towards me. I slipped my much smaller hand into his. His calloused skin scrapped and caught at my softer skin. It was a pleasant sensation.
“I'm Caleb Searc. I work for your aunts and uncle.”
”You're a farmer?” Caleb didn't look at all like what I'd assumed a farmers looked like. His too long hair was the exact same color as newly minted gold. The way it curled would be feminine but for the fact that the guys face was heavily boned, with high cheek bones and an arrogant mouth that made me wonder if his ancestors hadn't been a part of the Roman army. His lips were full and oddly sensual, the kind of lips I imagined Chaucer had. His nose was crooked and a bump on the bridge made me think that it had been broken at least once, maybe even two or three times. His long fingers reminded me of a guitar player. A stained ash gray t-shirt clung to the guys pectoral muscles and torn black jeans rode low on his slender hips. Caleb looked like the typical all-American boy.
”Now you look surprised. Do I want to know why, or are you just going to start yelling at me again.”
My braid brushed back and forth across my back as I slowly shook my head. ”I thought that farmers wore overalls, always had a piece of hay in their teeth, and had huge beer guts.”
”I guess we've both learned something tonight.”
I nodded, ”it looks that way.”
Caleb didn't answer, he just stared down at me. His face and eyes completely devoid of all emotion. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. Being stared at by Caleb wasn't an unpleasant sensation, but it was ... strange, like nothing I'd never experienced before. Before I could stop myself, I reached up and touched my hair, checking to make sure it was laying flat against my skull.
I needed to do something to get things back on track. I glanced at the duck in my arms. ”If you work here, you must know where I can find a veterinarian. Adelaide is hurt.”
Bending, Caleb lightly touched a deep gash on the side of Adelaide's neck. ”You should take her to Maggie.”
”Aunt Maggie? Why?” Even though she called the farm home. Maggie was always so well groomed and put together that I couldn't imagine her spending anytime with the animals.
”She use to be a nurse. It's not the same thing as a vet but she's still pretty good at shots and stitches.”