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In the Crosshairs of a Mother's Eye

By Rebecca Crawford

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Copyright 2003 Rebecca Crawford





    The next morning, Robin lay there in Liz’s bed with an extreme hangover.  Liz laughed at her, “Poor baby, I’ll get you some aspirin and a tall glass of water.”

    Robin lay there not moving with her arm draping over her head, “Laugh all you want, I’m too miserable to win a conversation with you today.”

    Liz got up and brought Robin back the pills and water, “Was it worth it?”

    “Yes! I had a blast last night.”

    Liz giggled at her condition, “Just checking.”

    Robin sat up, took the pills, and downed the entire glass of water.  “Okay, my friend, what’s on the agenda for our last youthful summer together?”

    Liz gave great thought to her question, “I think we should do something total different than our other summers.  Let’s get a cabin for the summer in Boise, Idaho’s national forest.  We could hike. We both love to fish and we’ll add whatever else we want to do.”

    “That’s a good five hundred miles from here!  It sounds like a great idea though.  I wonder if they have any cute boys there.”  Robin said thoughtfully.

    “Oh, Robin, you have guys on the brain!”

    “Hey, I’m a blossoming young woman, what do you expect?”  They both laughed.

    “We’ve been saving the money we’ve earned over the last three years.  We’ll pull out some of it and go in halves on the cost of the trip.”  Liz paced the floor talking with her hands.

 “Liz you always crack me up when you start brain storming.”  Robin chuckled. 

 Liz stopped pacing and sat on the bed, “I think we should leave tomorrow.  I’ll call and reserve a cabin today for us.”

    Robin pulling a pillow over her head said in a muffled voice, “Liz, you’re always too energetic.  At least let me lay here awhile until my headache goes away.”

    “Okay, I’ll give you, oh, thirty minutes.  I’m going down stairs and getting our reservations made.  Maybe Grandma will have breakfast cooking.”  Liz walked out of the room.

    Liz bounced down the stairs and into the kitchen.  Grandma was sitting at the table with her apron on.

    “Good morning!”  Liz went over and gave her Grandma a kiss.  “What’s that wonderful smell?”

    “Biscuits, gravy and scrambled eggs,” Grandma grinned.  “You sure do seem extra chipper this morning.”

    “Robin and I have decided to go on a trip to Boise for our last summer vacation.”

    “You’re eighteen now, Liz, and have always shown us you’re responsible.  I think it would be a summer to always remember.  Your young years should always be cherished memories.”

    Liz loved Grandma’s sensible and encouraging words, “It’s mine and Robin’s last real time together, just me and her, like we’ve always been.”

    “You two were always a pair.  Into everything, you both loved the great outdoors.”

 “I need to make our reservations.”

     Liz walked out to the phone, calling the operator and getting the number to the lodge’s main office.  She, with luck made their reservations, as they were almost booked up, and got off the phone.  She headed back into the kitchen, “I made the reservations, and we’re leaving tomorrow to drive over there.”  Liz went over and sat down at the table.

    Grandma had fixed Liz a plate, “Well then!  You’ll need your energy, so you better eat.  Is Robin coming down for breakfast?”

    “You know her, Grandma, she’ll be down.  She always did love your cooking”

    It wasn’t long before Robin came sleepily into the kitchen.  Liz and Grandma started laughing.

    I wish I was as awake as you two, what’s for breakfast Grandma?”

    Grandma rattled off the menu, Robin, slowly walking over filling a plate and sat at the table.

    “Grandma, Liz is a slave driver!  She won’t let me sleep in and now I have to get packed and go to the bank today.”

    “Robin, it will do you and Liz both some good to get out of Helena and spend this last summer together before you go your separate ways.”

    Liz finished her plate and put her dirty dishes in the sink, “I’m going up and getting dressed.  Hurry up, Robin!”

    “Geez, I’ll be up in a minute.”

Robin finished her meal and by then her headache subsided.  “Thanks, Grandma that was a great meal.”  She headed upstairs after Liz.

    “You definitely have the stamina for the military.  I can’t seem to slow you down!”

  “There are always things to do, Robin.”

    “Yeah!  Like sleep!”  Robin said slipping on her jeans and shirt, “I think I’ll skip the makeup routine today.”

    Liz was dressed with her hair and makeup done, “Good, then let’s go.”

    Robin rolling her eyes then fell back onto the bed; Liz came walking over grabbing her hand pulling her up, “On your feet.”

    “I still think you’re a slave driver!”

    Robin followed Liz out.  They got into the car and headed to the bank.  They each withdrew five hundred dollars.  Liz drove Robin to her house to get her clothes.  Robin’s parents weren’t home, but Robin left a note for them telling them where she was going and how to get a hold of her at the cabin.  “They’ll probably call every other day, Liz. You know how protective they are.”

    It made Liz think back about her own parents as she stood staring at all the pictures on the walls of past family events, “They love you, Robin.”

    “I’m packed and ready!”

    Liz helped Robin carry her bags, “We better get back to my house.  We’re getting up at 5:00a.m. in the morning to leave.”

 “5:00 a.m. in the morning!  Well, don’t expect me to drive that early, I’m bringing my pillow.”

    Liz started laughing at her, “You’ll have plenty of time to sleep once we get there.”

    “Yeah, right, you probably have a full summer schedule lined out!” 

    They spent the day packing the car and washing up any dirty clothes they wanted to bring.  At 7:00 p.m. they took turns taking showers, while gossiping about the dance the night before.

    Robin, washing her hair in the shower asked, “So, what was the deal with pretty boy, Johnny Sly, last night.  You pawned it off as no big deal, just friends stuff, but I’m not dumb.”

    Liz sat on the toilet painting her toe nails, “He wanted me back.”

    Robin, pushing the shower curtain aside said, “I hope you told him no way in hell!  He put you through enough crap, Liz.”

    “Don’t worry; we’re not getting back together. We’re just going to be friends like I told you last night.”

    “He’s had lots of so called friends since he broke up with you, Liz.”

    “I’m sure he’ll have more when I’m gone too, but I’ll always have a special place for him in my heart, Robin, he was my first love.”

    Robin finished her shower toweling dry her curly black hair.  She didn’t dare attempt to blow dry it, she always got the frizzes.  Liz and Robin went upstairs and got into bed. 

Liz always thrashed around in her sleep, causing Robin to wake up a lot, “Hey, try to stay on your own side of the bed for once.”

    Liz giggled, “I’ll do my best, but when I’m asleep my unconscious mind takes control.”

    “Oh, Liz, good night.”

    Checking the alarm and making sure it was set for 5:00 a.m., Liz reached over and shut off the light. It wasn’t long before they were both asleep.   

    The next morning arrived too quickly for Robin.  She woke up to Liz shaking her, “Get up! And good morning,” Liz said happily.

    Robin, mumbled a few cuss words, and set up in bed.  She waited for her eyes to focus, “Why do we have to leave so dam early, let’s go back to sleep for a few more hours.”

    “Robin!  Get up!  You know we’re going to have fun.”

    “Alright! I’m up, okay?”   

 Liz threw Robin her clothes hitting her in the face, “Get dressed, I’ve already made coffee.”

    “I hate coffee. Do you have any Dr. Pepper?”

    “I think there’s Coke will that do?”

    “Beggars can’t be choosers, right?” 

    Liz as usual, was already dressed and ready.  She went down to the kitchen and poured herself a large mug of coffee with lots of sugar, then fixing Robin a glass of Coke, went to the table to sit down.

    As usual, Robin came dragging into the kitchen sitting across from Liz.  She looked like a bear with a sore ass and the attitude to go with it.

    “You always wake up such a grump!”

    “Liz, do you hear birds singing outside?  No, you don’t, that’s because there still asleep too!”

    “I hope you grabbed your pillow, I sure don’t want to listen to your pouting this morning.”  Liz gave Robin a smile.

     “You happy morning people all make me sick, and don’t worry I’m going back to sleep the minute we get on the road.”

    “Good.  Let’s boogie!”

    Robin downed the rest of her drink, and went upstairs to grab her pillow.

   Liz climbed behind the wheel of the car, Robin was busy propping her pillow up against the seat and window, attempting to go back to sleep.  Liz looked at her, shook her head, and backed out of the driveway.

    Liz left; looking in her rear view mirror and watching Helena slowly slip into the distance.  She was ready for a fresh start and was looking forward to her Army entry date.

    It was 9:30 a.m. when Liz woke Robin, “Hey, are you hungry? We’re on the outskirts of Idaho Falls, and I need to get gas.”

    Robin stretched in her seat, “I’m game. I’m starving.  Liz turned at an exit with gas stations and a Denny’s restaurant.  She filled up the car at the gas station then pulled into the restaurant parking lot.  They went in and were seated at a table.  After they ordered,

Robin sat looking out the window, “It is nice to get away from Helena.  I think this will be a fun trip.”

    “The bear finally awakes from hibernation.”

    “Yeah, and I feel rested, just be glad you stopped to feed me or I would have eaten you!”  Robin said as she held her hands up in a claw type manner, they both laughed.  “How much longer before we get there?”

    Liz, calculating in her mind replied, “About four to five hours.”

     “Good, I hope you got a cabin with two beds.  I can’t imagine my vacation with you sprawling all over me.”

    “Yes, Robin, I got two beds.”

     “Just checking.”

    The waitress arrived with their food, and they ate heartily.  Robin sprung for the check and after going to the bathroom, they got underway again.

    They arrived five hours later pulling into the cabin rental office.  Liz went in, got their key, and paid for their stay.  She came back out and drove into the beautiful wooded landscape with the Rocky Mountains dominating the sky line.  When they pulled up in front of the cabin, Robin came barreling out with actual energy.  She was more of a night owl than Liz.  “Now this is my time of day!”

    They both grabbed their bags out of the trunk, “Yeah? I didn’t see you offer to do any of the driving.”

    “I’m pretty good at getting out of that stuff.”

    Liz shut the trunk, “You always were, Robin.”

    The cabin was small but cozy.  Going up the wooden steps, they went inside. The cabin’s décor had the feeling of the great outdoors.  It was a one bedroom, with two beds.  Going in, they threw their bags on the bed and returned to the living room, sitting down.  Liz got out the brochure from the cabin rental office and explored their options of fun events.

    “Hey, Robin, there’s a dance coming up in two days at the pavilion.”

    “Where’s that at?”

     “I’m not sure, but we need to go to the local grocery store for food and supplies.  We can take a drive around the grounds, get familiar with the place.”

  “Let’s go now so we can get something for dinner, I’m hungry again.” Robin jumped up grabbing Liz’s arm and pulling her off the couch.

    “Okay, we might just find something going on tonight as we’re driving around.”

    Robin and Liz left the cabin following the map on the back of the brochure which showed the location of the small grocery store.  Finishing their shopping spree, they drove around the camp grounds.  There was a horse stable, miniature golf, hot air balloon rides, a swimming pool, and lots of arts and craft shops.  There was a small restaurant on the banks of the Boise River, boasting the pavilion where the dance would be held.  There were canoes and paddle boats available.  There was more than enough to do for the summer. It usually got up in the 90’s; the weather would be great for their outdoor activities.

   They didn’t spot any action going on, so they returned to the cabin.  Robin stood in the kitchen, “Since you drove, I’ll cook for us.”

   “No fight there, I’m going out on the porch.”  Liz went out and sat in one of the rockers on the porch watching the sky of oranges and blues from the setting sun.  The Rocky Mountains in the distance made a most serene picture.  Liz thought a horse back ride would be fun tomorrow, and if they packed a lunch they could do some hiking in the afternoon.  Liz decided to go inside and get her clothes unpacked and put away.  She had just finished when Robin called her to eat.

    Liz sat at the table, “Hamburgers and chips, one of your more extravagant dinners.”

    “Oh, Liz, give me a break.  I left my Betty Crocker book at home.”  They laughed.

    “I’m cooking tomorrow night, we’ll have pork chops.”

    “Okay, Chef Liz.”

    “I was thinking, tomorrow we should go on a horse back ride, pack a lunch and do some hiking in the afternoon.  What do you think?”

    Smiling at Liz, “You’ve always been the chorographer of all our outings, don’t start asking me now.”

    “Consider it fair warning then.”

    “As long as you don’t get pushy, and let me sleep in some.”

    “No problem, sleeping beauty.”

 They finished their dinner and cleaned up.  Liz left her bed side light on so she could read.  Robin rolling over mumbled, “You always did like those romance novels, personally they never did a thing for me.”

    “I know its not true reality, but there’s no harm in dreaming.”

    “I hope to be dreaming soon, but with my eyes shut.”

    Liz sat up and read for an hour after Robin had dozed off.  Finally feeling sleepy, she closed her book, laid it on the night stand, and turning off the lamp.  That night she drifted into dreams seeing a dark haired man with icy blue eyes.

    Liz woke the next morning, hearing the stir and sounds of the wild life outside.  The birds were on high alert and singing away.  She crept out of bed grabbing her clothes and heading for the bathroom.  After finishing she opened the door to discover Robin lying wide awake.

     “I thought you’d never get done in there, I have to pee!”

    “Why didn’t you just come in?”

    “I figured you locked the door, you always do that.”

    Robin jumped up charging for the bathroom. 

    Liz went to the kitchen to make a simple breakfast and prepared a lunch for the days hike.

    Robin walked in fully dressed and ready, “What time does the stable open?”

    “I think it said 10:00 a.m. in the brochure.”

     Eating and cleaning up, they left the cabin headed for the stables.  When they pulled up in the front there were already cars there.  They went in, paying for a three hour ride.  A young girl dressed in western wear worked the desk said, “If you’ll go around to the rear of the building, Lee will get your horses for you.”  Liz and Robin thanked her and went around back.

    A good looking guy with olive colored skin and his black hair pulled back in a ponytail approached them.  “Hey, how are you, I’m Lee.”

    Robin stared at him with a dumb struck look, so Liz spoke up, “Hi, Lee, I’m Liz, and this is Robin.”

    Robin just waved her hand, as she was at a loss for words.  Lee did a double take as he saw Robin, then lowering his eyes said, “Come with me, I have two very gentle quarter horse’s for you.”

    They followed Lee, finding two beautiful chestnut mares, “They’re gorgeous!”  Robin said as she pet their noses.  “What are their names?”  

     “This one is Shalita, which will be Liz’s mount, and this one is Carmela.”  Lee said as he walked up behind Robin who was petting Carmela.  Robin’s hair felt like it stood on end when he came up and stood close behind her.

    “I’ll be your tour guide for the ride this morning.”  Lee remarked.  “Lead them on out and I’ll help you two get mounted.”

     Robin turned looking at Liz as if her dream had come true.  They lead the mares out of the stable.  Lee’s horse was beautiful, reddish brown and white paint gilding, already saddled and tied to the post.

    “I gather that’s your horse.”  Liz asked.

    “Yes, that’s Flying Eagle.  I’ve had him for five years now.”

    “How did he get that name?”  Robin asked curiously.

    “You’ll see, when we get out to the open pasture, I’ll show you.”

    Lee stood looking at Robin causing her to blush.  “Let’s get the two of you mounted.”

    Lee helped Liz on her horse with no problem.  When he went to help Robin, she lost her footing in the stirrup and fell, Lee caught her.  They looked in each other’s eyes saying nothing for a moment.  His eyes were dark, almost black; they seemed to pierce right through her to her soul.  He seemed to be reading her thoughts, “Shall we try again?” he asked.

    “Sure, I’ll try not to knock you down this time.”  Robin climbed into the saddle.

    Lee went over throwing himself upon his horse with hardly any effort, “Let’s ride ladies.”  He smiled at Liz, but gave Robin quite a different look.  Then rearing up on his horse they walked the horses out of the yard.

     Lee took them along the river, and up into the woods, not following any trails. They had ridden for a couple of hours.  Liz and Robin filed behind Lee’s beautiful paint, soaking in the wilderness that surrounded them.

    Lee looking back at them from his horse said, “You two ready to stop and stretch your legs? There’s a clearing up ahead by the river, we can stop there.”

    “Sounds good, I’m getting a little sore.”  Liz chuckled.

    It wasn’t long before the clearing opened up; exposing a massive flat rock that jutted out over the river bank it was a breath taking view.  Lee led them to a tree near by where they tied their horses.  Liz and Robin stood there feeling like their legs had a permanent bow in them.  They walked over and sat down upon the rock watching the water cascade down stream.

    Liz looked at Lee, who was now chewing on a grass stem he had plucked, “I’m so glad we came here for the summer.  This is such a beautiful place, its like being in another world.”

    “Liz, your mind is always in another world.”  Robin replied.

    “Oh, and you never drift off into la la land?”  They both started laughing.

    Lee could tell by their conversation that they had shared a friendship over many years.

    “How long have you been here, Lee?”  Robin asked.

“My whole life; my mother is a full blood Spokane Indian and my father is full blood Italian.  My parents meet in Boise and raised me here.  Mother always taught me to be one with the plants and animals.  Father always pushed me to be strong and win at whatever I did.  They still live in Boise, and I go see them quite frequently.  I’ve always loved an animal, that’s why I work here.  So, where are the two of you from?”  He eyed up Robin favorably.

    Robin felt more at ease around Lee now, “We’re from Helena, Montana.  This is our last summer together before we take off in different directions.  I’m going to college in Butte, and Liz is joining the Army.”

    Lee turned to Liz, “What made you want to go in the Army?”

    “I want to get away, see the country, experience things I won’t be able to when I get older.”

    “You have the heart of a lion.  I could see that in you the moment we meet.”  He turned to Robin, “But you, you have the heart of a dove.”  Lee gave her one of his piercing gazes.  He broke off his stare standing up, “We should be getting back.”

    They got up, walked over and untied their horses, mounting them.  They rode back toward the stables.  When they got there Liz and Robin helped Lee unsaddle the mares.  Robin was taken by Lee and asked, “Can you come for dinner tonight?”

    Lee looked at Robin then at Liz, “Is that okay with you, Liz?”

    Robin eyed Liz excitedly, “Sure, we’re in cabin twenty two, come around 7:30 p.m., I should have dinner ready by then.”

“I’ll be there.”

       We want to go hiking for a couple of hours any suggestions on where we should go?”  Liz asked Lee.

    “Near the restaurant you’ll see a sign for a hiking trail.  It has a small water fall, very nice.”

    “Then that’s were we’re headed.”

    Lee, holding the bridals said, “See you two tonight, thanks for the invitation.”

    Robin’s heart leapt as she looked back over her shoulder waving to Lee.  She thought Lee was a handsome man, but she couldn’t quite figure out how old he was, she would ask him tonight.

     Liz and Robin went hiking on the trail that Lee had suggested, and it was just as he described, beautiful.  They returned to the car at 5:00 p.m..

     “We had better get to the cabin, so I can start cooking dinner.”  Liz said with a twinkle in her eye.

     “What?  Why are you looking at me like that?”

     “Come on, Robin, I see hearts in your eyes when you look at him,” she laughed.

     “Is it that obvious?  I really like him, Liz.  He’s so enchanting, not to mention a real hunk.”

     “He is a pretty boy, and I like him too, not like you, of course.”

     “Good! Less competition,” Robin and Liz laughed all the way back to the cabin.

     When they got there, Liz got busy cooking dinner, while Robin was rummaged through her clothes looking for something appealing to wear.




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