BUCKED:The Mountain Man's Babies

By: Frankie Love

1





I’m not a complicated man.

And the things I want in life are pretty damn simple.

A woman to love and a family to protect.

That’s not asking for the goddamned sun and stars. I just want to go to sleep under the moon; in this cabin I built with my own two hands, knowing that I have some fucking meaning, purpose. You know, a life that is bigger than myself?

I’m just a man who lives in the forest who hunts in the winter and fishes in the summer.

Of course, I work, too. I’m not some lazy sack of shit living on canned chili and moonshine. I make a good living as an artist–an unconventional one, sure. I use a chainsaw and carve sculptures. I work with my hands, making something out of nothing.

It’s what I’ve done my whole damn life.

My phone buzzes in my pocket. My chest is bare, my jeans slung low, and leather gloves protect my hands. I power off my chainsaw, placing it on the sawdust covering the forest floor then wipe the sweat off my neck.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Buck, it’s me Jax.” There’s a helluva lot of hollering in the background and I pull my phone from my ear.

“Everything okay?”

“You mean besides three six month old babies all wanting the same thing at once?” Jax laughs. “Damn, I love these kids, but Harper and I have our hands full. You better be living up the bachelor life for me, okay?”

I shake my head, knowing Jaxon is all talk. He found his woman and made a life with her. “You know having your girl and those babies is better than drinking shitty beer alone.”

“I know. That’s the difference between us though, Buck. I don’t drink shitty beer.”

It’s my turn to laugh now. Jaxon may live in the woods, but he’s a city boy in his bones–brewing fancy-ass beer and sporting hipster flannel shirts. I, on the other hand, was born and raised in these woods. This is no lumberjack phase; I’m a man who knows this mountain like the back of his hand, who’s been playing in these forests since I was a boy.

“You call to talk about beer or you got something else on your mind?” I ask, eyeing the chunk of wood I’ve just started ripping up. It’s going to be a bear, but it has a long way to go before it starts looking like a grizzly.

“Nah,” Jax says. “Harper wanted to know if you want to come for dinner tomorrow. She’s making chicken potpie. Your favorite.”

My stomach’s already growling for some of Harper’s home cooking. “Damn, you sure I can’t come this afternoon?”

“Just a sec.” Jax covers the phone and I hear him and Harper talking. Jax comes back on the line, “No, sorry man. Harper says tomorrow. She lives by a schedule these days. Hell, we all do. You can’t exactly do whatever you want when three babies are demanding your attention.”

“Alright,” I say, grabbing my chainsaw and carrying it to my workshop, ready for a shower. “But I’m hungry now and the ham sandwich I was planning on isn’t goanna cut it.”

“Not my problem.” Jaxon laughs, not realizing how good that fool has got it. “Go into town,” he tells me. “Go to town, get lunch at your mom’s diner and stop your complaining.”

“You know my mom can’t cook worth shit.”

Jax laughs, it’s a joke around here, how the one restaurant in town is owned by my mother, a woman who buys prepackaged everything and serves my dad cold cereal half the nights of the week and calls it supper.

“In fact, if you go to town,” Jax continues. “Grab me some sandpaper at the supply store and bring it tomorrow. I’ve run through most of mine and there’s no way in hell I’m getting a get out of jail free card today.”

“Your girl is locking you up?”

“Hell no. Harper’s taking the afternoon off and there isn’t a woman on earth who deserves it more. She’s going a few towns over and getting her hair and nails done, some girl shit. I’ll be here with the babies.”

I nod, knowing Harper and Jax have a healthy relationship, always giving one another what they need.

“Alright then, good luck with Cedar, Alder and Spruce. I’m sure the afternoon will go fine,” I tell him.

“I don’t need luck, Buck. These are my boys. I can spend the afternoon with them without a pep talk.”

I laugh. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I hang up and head inside to change. And damn, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous. I’ve been waiting my whole damn life to find a woman, a wife–and Jaxon was just sitting in his cabin drinking whisky when a snowstorm hit and Harper showed up.

Lucky bastard.



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