He passed the second bottle of beer to his friend and gave him a moment’s consideration in his weighty gaze. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Let’s just say this rodeo has been one hell of a ride!" He clinked his bottle with James' before lifting it to his lips, taking a long deep pull of the light draught.

James gave him a confused look before taking a pull of his own beer. "This wouldn't have something to do with the young girl you were just dancing with? Why were you dancing with her anyway?"

"No!" His response was too quick and sharp, and James' brow lifted quickly. Rance cleared his throat. "Liv wasn't expecting the girls from the p... community to turn up so quickly. But they wanted to get away sooner rather than later. All the girls on the enrol list will be at school on Monday, I would imagine. And since I've been helping Liv a bit at Thunder Hollow I met some of the girls this morning. Melody wanted to dance, I was only being friendly and welcoming by dancing with her.” He took another long pull of his beer and hoped that would be the last of the conversation. He wasn't so lucky.

"How old is she, Rance? Fifteen?"

Rance lifted a brow and shot back in a defensive tone. "Seventeen. What's your point?"

"She's one of my students, Rance.” He spoke quietly, but his words were heavy with meaning.

Rance let a resigned breath blow through his nose. "I know. I enrolled her with you remember.” The subject was dropped while both men finished their beers in silence. James lifted a hand to signal to the bartender to bring another round over.

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