Connections Jan 2015 - Page 65

and scooped her into his arms. “Morning sunshine.” He said, lowering himself onto the old porch swing and settling Meg onto his lap. “What has you up so early?” He pressed his lips to her forehead and frowned. “I don’t feel good.” She moaned, holding her stomach. Shane was immediately on his feet and back in the house. It was too cold for her to be outside with a fever. Once in the kitchen Shane placed his little girl on a chair and began rummaging around for the children’s Tylenol. Once he found it, he grabbed a Sprite from the fridge and moved to her side. “Tummy ache?” He asked gently. “Uh-huh.” She nodded. “And I’m cold.” Her little body shivered to prove the point. Shane crouched in front of Megan and held out the Sprite. “I need you to take little sips. It will help settle your stomach. And I need you to take this medicine.” Meg took the Tylenol and washed it down with a sip of Sprite. “I wanted to go riding with you today.” She frowned, clearly upset about missing her first ride of the season. “There’s always tomorrow, pumpkin.” Shane said lovingly. His daughter was the best part of his l ife, the one good thing he’d accomplished. He loved her more than anything, even the ranch. It was strange, he never thought he’d love anything more than the ranch and certainly not any one. His thoughts turned to Melissa Peters. He’d made so many mistakes with Melissa. She was the only woman he had ever truly loved. Back then his feelings had been so intense, he hadn’t known how to deal with them. So, being young and stupid, he’d messed things up. On days like today, he wondered how things might have been different. But he couldn’t regret his actions. That would mean regretting Megan. And he could never regret such a beautiful, special little girl. Shane watched Meg take another sip of her soda then lifted her into his arms and carried her to the family room. After grabbing the quilt from the back of the couch, he settled into the large rocking chair and cuddled his daughter against his chest. Meg burrowed in close, pressing her cheek against Shane’s chest. She felt so safe in her father’s arms. Her eyes began to droop and she pulled the blanket further under her chin. Then she bolted up and gave her dad a worried look. “You have to go.” She said softly. “You don’t have time to waste holding me. You have to move the cows today.” Shane pushed his daughter back against his chest. “Don’t be ridiculous. I always ha fP