Jenn Baker’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: The Reading Tree
Author’s Note: This is the continuation of a story that was started in 2011 for the Photo Prompt Writing Challenge. You can read the other installments here:
Breakfast At Main Street Café
After helping Adam finish the morning chores, Aimee decided that she was going to visit her mother’s reading tree. It was a tree in the forest that had a perfect branch to cradle the reader, and at the base of the tree there was hallow created by the roots. The hollow was perfect for reclining and reading. Her mother discovered it as a child and used to take Aimee to regularly.
With a small back containing her book and a few snacks, Aimee rushed out of the house pass the arena were Adam was working. She gave him a quick wave as she continued on. She had left him a note on the table telling him where she went.
As she walked in to the forest, she realized that the land marks to the reading tree might be over grown or gone. But as she continued down the path, she saw the first one. It was short post with her mother’s initials carved on it and an arrow pointing to the left. With a smile she turned left and continued following the trail. Soon the trail disappeared under years of over growth and water erosion. Determined to go to the tree, Aimee continued on without the trail, hoping that her mother’s second marker hadn’t been washed away. A few minutes later, Aimee saw another post similar to the first but the engraving was the image of a horse with an arrow pointing to the right. She walked through the bushes and tree leaves, knowing she wasn’t far from the tree.
Pushing through a tall bush, Aimee looked ahead and saw the tree. Her heart stopped as she looked at the large oak tree that pushed toward the sky. At the bottom of the tree, near the hollow, her mother had engraved a picture of a book so everyone would know that it was the reading tree. The tree seemed larger than Aimee remembered but it had been years since she had visited.
Her eyes looked over the tree, looking for signs of changes. The branch that rested just below the reading branch was no longer on the tree, but sat on the forest floor next to the hollow creating a side table of sorts. The branch and the tree were all covered in lush green moss on their south facing sides. She walked over the hollow and rested her hand over the engraving.
“I’m back, momma.” She whispered quietly. After her mother’s death, Aimee always felt her presence at the reading tree more than at the grave site. Taking a deep breath, she turned around and sat in the hollow. As she scooted back against the tree, she pulled out her book.
Hours later, Adam went in to the house for a glass of tea when he saw her note. He smiled. He knew of that tree. Her grandfather used to talk about it and how Aimee’s mother would disappear for hours in to the forest with a book or two. He ran a finger down the edge of the note. Deciding to blow off the rest of the day, Adam went to his room and grabbed his book. He locked up the house and headed toward the reading tree to sit with Aimee.
When he arrived, she was leaning against the fallen branch holding up her small hardback book. She was so engrossed with the book, she never looked up as he approached.
“Getting so caught up in a book, and loosing track of your surroundings, isn’t very safe out here in bear country.” He said quietly trying not to startle her.
“I heard you tromping through the forest.” Aimee said as she turned a page. “I knew it couldn’t be a bear or a deer because of the racket you were making.” She looked up at him and smiled.
Adam walked over to where she sat and looked down at her. “Mind if I join you.” He showed her his book.
“Sure. That would be nice.” She grabbed her bag and scooted over to give him room to sit next to her in the hollow. When he didn’t sit down right away, she looked up at him again. “What’s wrong? Did I not give you enough room?”
“You did but I don’t want to sit next to you. I want to sit behind you with you leaning back against my chest as we read.” He gave her a big innocent smile, even though his brain was running through all the fantasies of what he wanted to do with this woman, and books weren’t involved.
“Oh.” Aimee bit her lip. Adam bit back a groan as he watched her run her tongue over the spot. She gave a slight nod of her head. Adam figured she came to a decision. “We can try that.” She scooted forward so he could sit behind her.
Adam moved over to the tree, and slowly sat down behind Aimee. Once he was settled, he placed his book on the downed branch. He reached forward and grabbed Aimee by the waist and puller her back against him. With a sigh, she laid her head back against his chest as the rest of her body melted in to his. With a silent prayer, he hoped that Aimee couldn’t tell how aroused he was just by holding her. He laid his cheek against the top of her head, breathing in the scent of her apple shampoo. He smiled and just held her, letting his mind wander.
“I thought you were going to read.” Aimee asked quietly. While he held her, she had lifted her book again. To his surprise, he was content to just hold her. Adam had never felt that way about any of the women he previously dated.
“I’m happy just holding you while you read. I’ll read tonight before bed.” He closed his eyes and rubbed his cheek against her silky hair.
Aimee hadn’t been in town long, but just the few short days she had been with him, he had feelings developing he hadn’t ever felt in his life. He knew she needed to return to Los Angles, but he didn’t want her to go. With a jolt of surprise he realized he wanted her to stay with him. He just needed to figure out how to convince her that she belonged here with him and not in Los Angles with Travis. It was going to be a big task to convince her, but he was more than willing to put in the effort.
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Jenn lives in central Florida with her best friend and husband, Andy. When not reviewing books on her book blog, PonyTails Book Reviews, she writes her own Contemporary Western Romance and Scottish Historicals. Jenn is hoping to have her first novel, The Prodigal Cowboy, published in the fall of 2013.